In Clerres, one of the most common prophecies regarding the advent of the Destroyer is know as the "candle prophecy". Here is the version that Bee Farseer dreamed about:

I dream it as a vine that splits into two branches. On one branch there are four candles growing. One by one they are kindled to flame, but their light does not illuminate. Instead, a crow says, ‘Here are four candles to light you to bed. Four candles lit means their child is dead. Four candles burn for the end of their ways. The Wolf and the jester have wasted their days.’ Then, on the other branch of the vine, three candles are suddenly kindled. Their light is almost blinding. And the same crow says, ‘Three flames burn brighter than the sun. Their blaze engulfs an evil done. Their angry mourning purpose gives. They do not know their child still lives.’ Then the crow suddenly has a broken candle. She drops it and I catch it. In a slow and frightening voice she says, ‘Child, light the fire. Burn the future and the past. It’s what you were born to do.’

We know, that the candles are the last four candles made by Molly that Fitz kept for sentimental purposes and that he lost one of the candles when his camp was attacked by bear. Later Bee finds the broken candle and takes it with her to Clerres where

she uses it to set the library on fire.

But I don't understand, why the prophecy says that "Four candles lit means their child is dead" - Bee could do what she done using something else (in fact, the candle was used only as a delay mechanism).

Let me clarify a bit: I'm looking for a cause-effect kind of explanation. If for example there was a prophecy "If you'd go left, you'll die" and on the "sure death" patch there is a dragon, evil witch or simply thunderstorm, then you'd be kill by a monster, spell or lightning, not a prophecy.

  • Have you read book 2 and 3 in the trilogy yet? – shredalert Jul 21 '17 at 8:38

Regarding the candles and Bee’s survival. I have considered it like this: in one line Fitz finds the 4 candles and take them. In this line Bee dies.

In the other line, Fitz finds only three, leading to Bee finding one. Thinking on the number of days they are at the site, I belive the forgotten candle will be found by Bee. The candle makes a nexus. So why does the candle make Bee live? Every time she is close to giving up, she smells the candle and finds strength from the memories of her mother and her past life. Living through abuse and slavery is hard. The candle also give her something only for her; a touchstone and a small rebellion to keep sane and strong. A personal item can make a difference. So without it she would have lost hope.

The candle is also used for doing the work of the destroyer. Setting 3 fires without lighting herself up, helping her again to survive.

  • That is actually a good argument! I had to re-read the fragment to make sure who in the end had three candles and who had only one. Anyway I can clearly see the cause-effect: Bee finds a candle and has a will to live or fails to find it and succumbs to depression. – Yasskier Mar 25 '18 at 22:27
  • By line, do you mean "timeline"? The white prophet sees possible futures. This dream is about two of them. – Jontia Mar 25 '18 at 22:54

In one of the novels, I don't remember specifically which, the Fool tells Fitz about the dream in Bee's journal. I'm quite certain that it went along the lines of "Three candles and the child lives, four and the child dies".

When Fitz and his companions go through the skill pillar into the mountains (recall Bee, Dwalia, and her companions were there too), they get attacked by a bear but Fitz manages to find three candles. If memory serves me right Bee manages to hold on to one candle. This gave the Fool in particular the certainty that Bee was still alive, but as we know Fitz didn't always fully believe in any of the prophets' dreams. I remember quite clearly Fitz didn't want to get his hopes up too high.

  • I know about the prophecy and the fact that it's old. I just don't understand why number of candles decides about Bee's life and death – Yasskier Jul 21 '17 at 9:15
  • I'm pretty sure the 'meaning' of the prophecy is what I addressed in my answer. Fitz finding 3 candles and that fulfilling the prophecy that Bee is still alive. Or giving him the knowledge that she is still alive. – shredalert Jul 21 '17 at 9:17
  • We are running in circles here - WHY having a candle saved Bee's life? Or to be more precise - why Fitz LOOSING one candle saved his daughter – Yasskier Jul 21 '17 at 9:19
  • Also, Fool doesn't know that Bee has the candle - Fitz lost them when he was attacked by the bear and both he and Fool were at this stage going to avenge Bee's death. They didn't know that Bee was traveling much slower through the pillar and arrived at the bear attack place weeks later and found one missing candle – Yasskier Jul 21 '17 at 9:21
  • Well, Bee lost three candles. She held on to one. If you read the prophecy it says Bee lives if there are three candles. Fitz found three candles, therefore, Bee lives. If he found four candles, she would have been dead and "The Wolf and the jester have wasted their days" trying to search for Bee to bring her back home alive. – shredalert Jul 21 '17 at 9:22

It is about how many candles Fitz finds when he arrives at the camp. If there are four candles it means Bee is dead because she never found the broken one and took it with her. She died before finding it, either from the bear or because Dwalia doesn't figure out the pillar and they freeze to death. If she lives and finds it, then Fitz will only find three, meaning Bee is alive with the candle but the wolf and jester dont know it. Plus with Bee alive, she now goes to Clerres and uses it to burn the future and past, meaning the recorded dreams.

  • Interesting ideas, but can you provide any evidence for them? – Edlothiad Aug 4 '17 at 16:13
  • I mean without going back and re-reading it would be hard to pull passages and such. Really my evidence is just the events of the book and how they fit the prophecy. Rarely are the prophecies explicity explained, they are meant to be left to interpretation to some degree. The fool often says as much. – Joant73 Aug 10 '17 at 20:03
  • Also, if you recall the parts when Bee, Dwalia, Vindeliar, the chalcedian and the other whites are trapped at the camp, they are all close to death, freezing and hungry, the one girl turns on dwalia thinking she is doing nothing, but she is trying to put together the map and the pillars. At one point bee runs away, and I beleive that is when she finds the camp and the candle. Most of these prophecies revolve around a specific turning point, one moment where the future fell to one path or the other. The fool speaks about this on several occasions throughout the series. – Joant73 Aug 10 '17 at 20:03
  • I believe this was the turning point, bee either finds the candle or dies. I believe the events of the book and the conversations Fitz and the Fool have about the dream point to this. For the direct cause and effect of how bee would die, I dont think there is one, or at least it is never explicitly stated. But we know a bear is around, they could have easily frozen or starved, the chalcedian is also losing his mind and could have gone mad and killed them. But it was a turning point, with the candles being a representation of what ultimately happened. – Joant73 Aug 10 '17 at 20:04

At the end of Chapter 11 Bee realises that finding the candle meant her father had come after her, and possibly died in a bear attack. Bee then reasons that if her father is in fact dead she would have to save herself. I see the fourth candle as Bee's catalyst in fighting for her own survival, and thus Fitz only having the three candles leads to Bee still being alive.

  • Do you have a quote handy from the passage you're talking about in Chapter 11? – Rand al'Thor Dec 10 '18 at 11:52
  • That actually kind of makes sense, it could indeed inspire her to fight on her own for her survival, although I am unsure does she really believe (and if so - for how long) that Fitz is dead – Yasskier Dec 10 '18 at 18:59

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