|This article is about the nation in Temerant.|
|You may be looking for the spoken language, Ademic, or the Adem sign language.|
The foundation of the Adem culture is a code of conduct called the Lethani, and adherence to this code informs everything an Adem says and does.
Within the practice of the Lethani are different schools of study:
- The path of the Letantha, or "sword tree" is the school where Kvothe trains, based in the village of Haert.
- The path of Joy is the school attended by Vashet before she joined the path of the Letantha.
- Celean mentions the paths of passion, restraint, ribbon, chain and moving pool.
Ademre is well known for producing the powerful, capable and talented fighters known as Adem mercenaries, or Cethan. It has many schools which teach different "paths" or styles of fighting. Those who are trained, and who successfully demonstrate their prowess through tests and challenges, are allowed to "take the Red" or begin wearing the bright red tight-fitting clothing that distinguishes Adem mercenaries from others. They then are usually sent out to work as highly paid body guards and warriors for hire, sending funds back to the barren homeland which is then used to support their schools and their families.
Citizens of Ademre are as a rule fair in complexion, with light or pale skin and hair that ranges from sandy blonde to light brown. Their eyes are typically grey, adding to their almost universal air of impassiveness and severity.
It is of notice that all of these traits are recessive in nature, something Patrick Rothfuss himself confirmed in an interview, saying he deliberately chose recessive traits for Adem people's general appearance.
The land of Ademre is harsh, barren, rocky and windy. Ademre is located in the foothills of the Stormwal Mountains, and is often battered by the storms that give the range its name. Accordingly, Adem houses are typically low and sturdily constructed, often built into the sides of cliffs, into hills, or as holes in the ground. Adem living spaces are austere by Commonwealth standards, but the Adem are by no means an impoverished people.
Adem in Haert lead what appears to be a simplistic, ascetic lifestyle without much material wealth. Contrary to this initial appearance however, the inside of their houses demonstrates that they are well accommodated and supplemented, but do not make their wealth easily visible to strangers. They like to live in a way more natural than their means would otherwise suggest.
The Adem believe themselves to be culturally superior to the other people inhabiting the Four Corners, to whom they refer as 'barbarians'. This is primarily a result of their beliefs regarding outward displays of emotion, the repression of which is viewed as a mark of civilized culture.
To outsiders, the Adem may seem at first impression to be aloof and emotionless, as they use words sparingly, avoid eye contact, and typically maintain an utterly blank facial expression. In addition, they are sometimes perceived as fidgety and anxious, for while they tend to be silent they can often be seen making small gestures or tics with one hand.
In truth, however, these gestures are how the Adem display their emotions, using a form of sign language while repressing facial expressions. The hand signs provide additional subtleties to their already nuanced spoken language, in which a single word can have many meanings depending on cadence and tone. Facial expressions are allowed while interacting in a family setting; as described by Tempi, while emoting in public shows an embarassing lack of self-control, one does not need to feel embarassed in front of one's own family.
While most emotions are not expressed facially or verbally, the Adem do not feel the need to refrain from laughter and crying, as they believe that such basic, primal emotions should not be kept inside. However, singing is taboo in their culture, as it is viewed as a wildly improper display of emotion and feeling. Troupers, bards and other performers are thus viewed in much the same way as prostitutes: people who share what is rightfully a private and intimate experience with strangers for money, on a regular basis, shamelessly and without discrimination.
Non-vocal music is not forbidden in Adem culture; however, Adem musicians never play in public, instead visiting individual families to perform for them privately. It is generally not considered a very respectable profession, and musicians typically carry a screen with them to sit behind while they play, in order to hide their identity from their audience.
Sexual beliefs and behavior
Most surprisingly, the Adem's understanding of the mechanics of human reproduction differs greatly from the learned consensus, and they do not believe that men have any role in helping women to conceive children, nor in passing on heritable traits. They call this belief of 'barbarians' the concept of 'manmothers' (their word for 'fathers'). Instead, they believe that women naturally "ripen" and bear children after reaching maturity.
The Adem believe that sex is the product of a kind of 'anger,' called Vaevin, which can be understood as being "a wanting of life". In the Adem worldview, all living beings have Vaevin - even plants, who manifest it by pushing through the soil and growing towards the sunlight.
The Adem are also not shy about sex, meaning they have no concept of sexual privacy (at least not the same as in the rest of the Four Corners), they aren't ashamed of nudity, and they can be in more than one sexual relationship at the same time without any kind of resentment from the other partners. Sex is not assigned any of the emotional weight and ceremony that is typical of other cultures; while it is an intimate experience, it is viewed as more of a fulfilling of bodily needs than an expression of romantic feelings, with sex and love being very distinct concepts to the Adem.
Even though the Adem are extremely open with sex, they are disgusted by the idea of having sex with barbarians, thinking of them as disease-ridden individuals. Because of the fact the Adem only have sex among their own people, and are extremely aware of it, sexually-transmitted diseases are evidently nonexistent among them. If one of the Adem would happen to transmit a sexually-transmitted disease to another Adem, he would be dishonored and every other Adem would shame him.
Another thing of note is the fact that the Adem have only recessive traits for their general appearance, which is a sign of how strong their values about not having sex with foreigners is: either they never have sex with foreigners, as if they did, their children would inherit their father's traits, which would quickly dominate the appearance of their people; or they are right about 'manmothers' not existing, and they are a different race from normal humans, where the father has no part whatsoever in the making of children (and wouldn't pass genetic characteristics forward).
Women have a strong place in their society, considered as better warriors and wiser overall. Most of that comes from the idea that men are too full of 'anger' (Vaevin), making them strong, but much more reckless, where women can control their thoughts and anger and focus it better.
Women are therefore considered as stronger warriors because the Adem use martial arts which make strength less important than agility, self-control, focus and precision, where women are considered superior.
Women are also considered superior, in a way, because they are able to have offspring, where men cannot bring forth new life.
- Ademre is pronounced as
Ahh - Dem - Rayin the audiobook narrated by Rupert Degas.
- Adem is a Dutch word, derived from the verb ademen, which translates to to breathe in English. The word Adem can be translated to breath, air or just plain oxygen. It is also the Turkish name of Adam and is used as a boy's name, meaning man or earth.