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What all is in the Third Silence…?

Much has been said in reddit already about the idea that the Waystone Inn is a trap. A lot of it is due to the prologue to DOS that Pat shared a while back. I am bought into this idea 100%, with the copper locks and grey stone foundations.

Both those things are referenced as being a part of the third silence. It got me thinking that the third silence then is the part that relates to the trap. So I decided to compile a list of everything that’s said to be in the third silence across the 2 books and the DOS prologue. Things that seem to be repetitions of the same idea are indented together:

  • the wooden floor underfoot
    • the thick timbers of the door
  • the chill of the window glass
  • nestled deep in the building’s gray foundation stones
    • the thick stone walls of the empty taproom
  • the slow back and forth of a white linen cloth rubbing along the grain of the bar
    • polishing a stretch of mahogany that already gleamed in the lamplight
  • the smooth plaster walls of the innkeeper’s room
  • rough clay jugs of cider
  • the rough, splintering barrels behind the bar
  • the hollow taproom gaps where chairs and tables ought to be
  • [Summary of the fact Kote is injured at the end of WMF]
  • the chill copper of the Waystone’s locks, turned tight to keep the night at bay
    • the chill metal of a dozen locks turned tight to keep the night away.
  • Kote’s hands (various mentions)
  • the mad pattern of a crumpled memoir that lay fallen and un-forgotten atop the desk
    • pointedly ignoring the pages he had written and discarded long ago
  • the flat, grey metal of the sword that hung behind the bar.
  • the dim candlelight that filled an upstairs room with dancing shadows
  • the dark chest that lay at the foot of a hard and narrow bed
    • Slowly undressing beside a narrow bed

Some of these I have some pretty good ideas about, and some I am pretty stumped.

The wood in the floor and timbers- We know there are various woods of significance. Not just roah, but also ashe and elm. Felurian says about dark fae: “what keeps these from moonlit trespass? iron, fire, mirror-glass. elm and ash and copper knives…” So those woods if nothing else. Note also when Kote is chopping firewood: “Cord on cord of oak and ash were stacked to make tall, crooked walls between the trunks of trees.”

WMF also suggests that Kvothe knows the name of wood. Elodin says at some point that namers wore rings to show their mastery, and in WMF Chapter 151, we hear that stories of Kvothe say he has rings of: stone, Iron, amber, wood, bone, blood, air, ice (with a flaw…), flame, no name.

Speaking of mirror-glass, as for the window, in Chapter one, there is this mention of Kvothe’s window: “the lamplight turned its surface mirrorlike against the dark behind it.” Glass is used in all kinds of sygaldry. If nothing else, twice-tough glass has been mentioned many times. The Inn wouldn’t be much of a trap if they could shatter the windows and jump out. So I assume it’s somewhere in that realm.

I just went on and on in a previous post about stone. We know greystones are important, and stone is also one of the names Kvothe knows. I will point out one other small thing. It is called out repeatedly that the fireplace in the Inn and Kote’s bedroom are made of black stone. No other fireplaces mentioned in the book are black. In fact, the only other black stone (other than obsidian, it’s own rabbit hole) mentioned in the book is the river stone that Fela turns into her ring. Now that is actually super interesting, because every single prologue and epilogue says the third silence is heavy as a great river-smooth stone. Every single one.

Next, we have the obsessively polished bar, the 2 oak barrels behind it mentioned several times, the clay jugs, and the plaster of the walls. I am lumping them all together because my best guess is that they are a combination of sygaldry and alchemy components of the trap. Note that in Kote’s room, “Nothing decorated the walls or covered the wooden floor.” While Kvothe doesn’t know alchemy as of day 2, the fact he is teaching Bast from Celum Tinture means he learned it somewhere later. (My guess, from Auri or possibly Devi.) We know Kvothe went out of his way to have brass (an alloy of copper) bindings on some other barrels.

I noticed somewhere in the book it’s mentioned at another Inn that its bar is made of “varnished wood.” So my best guess at why the continued polishing is important is that he is varnishing it with some king of alchemical substance that will matter to the trap?

The gaps from missing tables and chairs- Is this a reference to the ones that have been smashed in the last couple days of the frame story? Or empty spaces that will have significance when the trap is sprung? I don’t have any great ideas here.

Kote’s injuries- I hold the theory that many others have voiced as well, that he let himself be beaten to maintain his cover as a hapless innkeeper, which is necessary to keep the trap a surprise.

Copper locks keeping the night at bay- as many have observed, copper has special properties, especially related to naming. The reference twice to keeping the night at bay suggests to me something rather specific, given how much night and darkness are integral to Iax and Haliax.

His hands- plenty has already been said about this as well. However, if it is part of the trap, maybe his hands weren’t injured? Maybe he has done something to them deliberately? Maybe it has something to do with how easily he holds Bast in NOTW Chapter 13, and the bruise it left that is seen in Chapter 17? Again, all I have is guesses on this one. But if he knows the names of Blood and Bone…

The crumpled papers- This one is really interesting. I am going to give Pat’s sophisticated writing the credit of assuming that every one of the things in the third silence relates to the trap specifically, so this is more than just a reference to Kvothe hiding his story/identity. So the best I have here is the following: the reference to a “mad pattern” is interesting. Also, they are “un-forgotten.”

These papers are talked about more in the last Chapter of NOTW: “Bast made a crumpling motion with his hands and tossed imaginary papers away. …’He didn’t throw them away. He just…threw them. They’ve been lying on his desk for months.’” And there’s a moment where Kvothe finds that one of the papers has fallen off his desk and pointedly picks it back up. I absolutely believe that saying all the Chandrian names aloud in Book 2 was part of getting their attention. Maybe he wrote about them also to get their attention? Maybe it’s the written magic we’ve heard Denna talk about? I don’t have a strong conclusion on this one either.

The sword- unless part of the plan is literally grabbing the sword of the wall and fighting the Chandrian with it… I dunno.

The candle and dancing shadows- also super interesting. We know candles, both ones that shed light and ones that are dark, have a prominent place in the mythology. But I don’t have any more specific ideas how they are a part of the trap…

Then of course, there is the thrice-locked roah chest. It has already been the subject of much speculation; we know it’s important. Its inclusion in the third silence has made me consider it in a new light. Kvothe made it. We know from the discussion in WMF Chapter 71. It has two metal locks and one unseen lock. Per Chapter 151 he has the keys. So why does he say, “Open, damn you. Edro”? It doesn’t make a lot of sense that he can’t open a thing he made. There have been some theories about him locking a part of his name or his magic inside, and honestly I thought they were as good as anything, but I noticed something when I look at this in the Third Silence context:

In Chapter 151, he tries to open the chest without using the keys first. Only when that doesn’t work does he go get the keys, and the box they are in is covered in cobwebs. He hasn’t needed the keys in a long time. When Kvothe can’t open the chest, he makes “the expression of a man who has finally received bad news he’d already known was on the way.” Finally received. Something is different.

Then, in the opening of DOS, which will take place right after this, something else is different on Day 3: “In the basement of the Waystone … Everywhere was the evidence of hurried work.” Bast sure as hell wasn’t searing iron down there. It was Kvothe, and something that happened on Day 2 has made him hurry, whereas he had not been in the previous days. So I am beginning to think… perhaps the chest is somehow a warning/detection mechanism that the Chandrian are coming.

  • Kendo   /   January 13, 2023., 9:54 pmReply

    Really enjoy these posts. Many thanks.

  • AVG   /   February 9, 2023., 2:38 pmReply

    What if it’s like a… knack reversal thing? I know we seem to think he has a knack for naming- but that isn’t really a knack in that while it’s uncommon it’s not heinously rare like the gardening knack Ben’s childhood friend had. K’s real knack seems to be gaining entrance to things that shouldn’t be possible. The Maer’s chest, the archives, Felurian’s Bowery, the Cthaeh’s field and things similar to these. Which makes me wonder if it’s his inability to open his un-openable box that’s the bad news. And I wonder if this is related to whatever is going on with his shaky hands (shown to shake in the leaked Book 3 page), having an iron grip on bast’s grip, generally fumbling things. I THINK the thing that may have tipped him off/freaked him out could’ve been the fact that he genuinely tried to break lion himself out of the mercenary’s grip at the end of TWMF but was incapable. Causing him to spiral a bit.