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So in Fool's Quest Kettricken mentions she knows that Verity borrowed Fitz body to provide a Farseer heir, because she's not sure if Fitz will come back from his journey.

She doesn't do that before he sets out with the company to the outislands to slay IceFyre previously, nor when Fitz is in critical danger, best examples to my mind is when he's critically injured after killing Laudwin's horse and is near death's bed. Furthermore she blames herself as the possible source of Dutiful's Wit in the first book of the Fool trilogy, which wouldn't seem fair or logical if she knew that Fitz is essentially Dutiful's father.

So why would she not make mention of this earlier, or if she only recently learned of it, how?

Chapter 23

"We both fell silent for a time. Then she spoke in a husky whisper. "Thank you for my son." I lifted my eyes from the map. I just looked at her. "I've known for years. How it was done." I didn't ask how she knew. Starling had possibly told her. Perhaps Verity himself. "Your body. Verity's will." "I wasn't there, Kettricken. I spent that night inhabiting Verity's body." "He's Verity's son. I know" And we left it there, and I was not certain if I felt better for her knowing and letting me know she knew or if I felt even odder about it. I only asked her, "Are you telling me this because you don't think I'll come back?" She met my gaze. "I think you left when you lost Bee, " ..

  • Why the downvote? It's a reasonable question. But user1821961, it might be helpful if you can quote the passage where she "mentions she knows" - I don't recall it offhand, and a lot of things characters say in that universe are subtle and complex. – gowenfawr Jul 19 '16 at 2:42
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No, it's not a plot hole. She knew about it at the time of conception. As to her having wit, in some measure at least, this was hinted at in Royal Assassin while Fitz was having a conversation with her in her chambers, and later confirmed by Nighteyes during Assassins's Quest. It would be natural for her to presume that she'd had at least some contribution to Dutiful's wit. She's his mom.

which wouldn't seem fair or logical if she knew that Fitz is essentially Dutiful's father.

Verity was indeed Dutiful's father. Verity simply borrowed Fitz's body, while Fitz sat for a while in Verity's decimated body after his uncle asked him for the loan. "Essentially Dutiful's father" is one of those half truths at best. Robin Hobb doesn't choose get into the nitty-gritty of how the soul/person is formed in the womb. (And I think she chose not to go there on purpose, but can't prove it).

It was pretty clear in the book Assassin's Quest, after Verity had borrowed Fitz's body to be able to make love to his wife again (and to thus provide an heir) that not long after that Kettricken gave Fitz a look that he describes as making him uncomfortable and a certain knowing passed between them. (The page reference in Assassins' Quest will have to wait for my return to the book shelf later today.)

Based on that point, the discussion you cite is Kettricken going over ground already familiar to both of them. While I recall a similar interchange in the Tawny Man series, it's been enough years since I read that where more research is needed. Robin does a lot of recapitulation in her sequel series, which I think she does a service to readers who did not start with the Assassin series, and which for an old fan adds to page count without a lot of value.

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In addition to @KorvinStarmast answer:

Dutiful is Verity's son, Verity was not Witted so the Wit must came from the Kettricken. Fact that Verity used Fitz's body is irrelevant to the queen.

Bee, that you've already mentioned, is a similar case, since while she has been conceived by Fritz and Molly, everything points to the fact that her real father (at least partially) is Fool, because Fritz shares part of his soul.

As to why she never mentioned it earlier? Well, two reasons come to my mind:

  1. It was uncomfortable truth: Kettricken and Fitz have deep feelings for each other, I could even risk that they love each others as brother and sister. Admitting that they had sex is at least unpleasant.

  2. It is a dangerous knowledge: If someone would find it out, it would be a HUGE risk to the Dutiful and the queen.

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