Welcome to the weekly Page of the Wind blog! Jeremy here, and this week’s episodes from page 195-201 cover the tale of Lanre, Lyra and the fall of Myr Tariniel. This is a foundational myth of world The Kingkiller Chronicle, and if you believe half of Nick’s crazy theories, it’s also a key to understanding Kvothe’s story.
This story is actually the origin of the Chandrian – or at least, one version of their origin. As we learn by story’s end, Lanre becomes Haliax, and is cursed by the legendary namer Selitos to always have his face hidden in shadow, and that his name itself would be a weapon against him, so he would never know peace.
But before his turn to the Dark Side (with apologies to George Lucas), Lanre is a culture hero, like Gilgamesh or Achilles – a peerless warrior who is noble, selfless and brave – or at least, that’s how he’s coded in the story. There is a compelling argument to be made that this reading is missing the forest for the trees, and that you can read the story that Lanre and Lyra are vicious butchers. The enemy they’re described as fighting is not a chance to have their side heard, after all, and history is written by the victors.
As it happens, a few weeks ago was St. George’s Day, a holiday celebrating a semi-mythical Christian knight and martyr. St. George is the patron saint of England, though he is also the patron saint of Aragon, Catalonia, and Romania, and he’s important in the cultural mythology of Sweden, and is renowned in the Middle East as a saint and prophet. (The historical George had Syrian and Greek ancestry).
St. George is most famous for rescuing a princess from a dragon, and slaying that dragon with a lance. In gratitude, the local King and all his subjects convert to Christianity. Though the story originally takes place in Syria, its location and the other details of the story change depending on who’s doing the telling. Indeed, depending on the location and time period, St. George’s deeds are conflated with several other historical saints and legendary heroes. This just reflects how stories from history change in the telling, to serve a particular purpose, and one should always consider who is telling the story as much as the story itself.
So who is telling Kvothe this story, and why now? Has Skarpi been waiting all this time? And what is it about this version of the story of Lanre that gets Skarpi in trouble with the Church later on? What don’t they want revealed. Indeed – what in the story of Lanre/Haliax is so dangerous that it gets Arliden and Laurian killed? These questions taunt us all the way through The Name of the Wind, as does the question, asked of us over and over again … why are we being told this story, this way. Patrick Rothfuss definitely has a purpose. What that might be … who can say?
If YOU can say, or you have another interesting tidbit about cultural heroes and how those myths are shaped over time … let us know in the comments here, at our e-mail email@example.com or on Facebook and Twitter @pageofthewind. Until next time, listeners!