Adem

From The Kingkiller Chronicle Wiki

An Adem warrior with only one hand might be more deadly than a common warrior with two, your grace. [...] Despite his deficiency.

Kvothe to Lerand Alveron


The Adem are a matriarchal communal warrior society that center their lives around the Lethani, a Zen-like concept that encapsulates the perfect decision for the circumstance. There are several different schools that focus on different methods of attunement to the Lethani. One of the oldest schools is the path of the sword tree (Letantha), but there are also paths of passion, joy, and restraint. Each are schools based in different geographic locations of Ademre.

Relationships and sexuality

Monogamy is a strange concept to the Adem, and it is normal for men and women to have frequent and multiple partners. The act of sex is treated casually, and does not carry additional emotional significance. Coupled with the lack of a nudity taboo, the Adem do not go out of their way to hide their carnal indulgences. It is not uncommon to stumble upon lovers rutting in public spaces.

Child rearing and family structure

While the topic is not directly addressed in The Wise Man's Fear, Adem don't appear to have exclusive relationships or marriage. The practices for cohabitation are not clear, but many of the leadership appear to live alone and children likely live with their birth mothers but are communally raised. This conclusion comes from the notion that the culture does not recognize men as having any contribution to conception. Women are believed to ripen on their own and produce children completely independent of sexual activity.

Communication and language

At first glance, the Adem appear to be emotionless. They speak sparingly, don't make eye contact, and avoid facial expressions. In truth, however, the Adem utilize a system of hand gestures to communicate various emotions. These gestures can provide Ademic subtleties, conveying multiple meanings (generally at least 3) depending on the cadence and tone of the gesture. Emphatic facial expressions are reserved for close friends and family in Ademre. When publicly displayed, it is considered to be bad form as it assumes an intimate familiarity. Laughing and crying are the exception to the Adem taboo of emotional expression. It is believed that stifling these primal expressions is unhealthy.

Music taboo

Music is viewed as pornography by the Adem. While their culture does have musicians, they perform behind screens and are viewed similarly in Ademre to how whores are viewed in the commonwealth. This cultural stigma stems from the intimacy attached to facial gestures and continuous, loud and public verbal utterances.