June 1 2012

Some Map Work — Four Corners

I do a little map based detective work about Patrick Rothfuss’ world here. Very minor spoiler ahead (if my assumption are correct).

In Chapter 9 (A Civil Tongue) of Patrick Rothfuss’ The Wise Man’s Fear, the Master, randeur asks Kvothe the following admissions question:

Brandeur looked down at the papers before I’d even finished speaking. “Your compass reads gold at two hundred twenty points, platinum at one hundred twelve points, and cobalt at thirty-two points. Where are you?”

He is referring to a trifoil compass. A trifoil compass works by using some magical properties of that world by aligning with three objects at known locations. Rothfuss doesn’t supply any more info here, but he does supply a map . At a later point in the story we find that clocks are divided into 60 minutes and so, it isn’t an unreasonable guess that they also use a base 360 degree circle. If that is the case, then you can plot the three directions given above as rays in a polar coordinate system.
That gives you an image like:

If you then take the map of the Four Corners and overlay it with the coordinate map and rotate things a bit, you can arrive at an image that looks like:

In this case, I choose to align the “gold” direction with The University and the “platinum” direction with Atur. You can see that this places the “cobalt” direction a bit off from Renere. It also places the cobalt ray pretty much right over where we think Newarre may be.
If all of these things are correct, then the answer to the admissions question is where the lines converge.

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Posted June 1, 2012 by user in category "Interesting stuff


  1. By Stephen McNeil on

    If you take your polar coordinate orientation of vectors, and overlay it on the periodic table, you can get the directions more or less pointing at the stated element if the origin is on palladium.


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