Jul 28 2010 2:06pm

The Malazan Re-read of the Fallen: Gardens of the Moon, Chapters 6 and 7

Welcome to the Malazan Re-read of the Fallen! Every post will start off with a summary of events, followed by reaction and commentary by your hosts Bill and Amanda (with Amanda, new to the series, going first), and finally comments from readers. In this article, we’ll cover Chapters 6 and 7 of Gardens of the Moon (GotM). Other chapters are here.

A fair warning before we get started: We’ll be discussing both novel and whole-series themes, narrative arcs that run across the entire series, and foreshadowing, so while the summary of events may be free of spoilers, the commentary and reader comments most definitely will not be. To put it another way: Major Spoilers Next Eight Months.

Another fair warning! Grab a cup of tea before you start reading—these posts are not the shortest!


Crone, a Great Raven of Moon’s Spawn flies down to Darujhistan on a mission from Rake to seek out a particular sorcerer.

A guard with the alias Circle Breaker mans his position at the Despot’s Barbican and watches as two Darujhistan councilmen meet: Turban Orr and an as-yet unnamed one. The guard muses on an upcoming civil war.

High Alchemist Baruk reads a message from Circle Breaker, informing him of Orr’s meeting (the other councilman was Feder). We learn Circle Breaker is a servant of the Eel, a mysterious, unknown but powerful figure in Darujhistan, that Baruk is a “secret” power in the city and fighting for its defense, and that Circle Breaker and the Eel have been feeding Baruk information for a year. Crone arrives at Baruk’s window to request a meeting with Rake. Orr arrives.

Assassin Rollick Nom spies on Lady Simtal and Councilman Lim at her estates. Nom is there to avenge a friend against Simtal. He overhears Lim tell Simtal that Baruk has power of some sort and mentions a secret “cabal.”

Orr and Baruk speak (Crone appears as a dog to Orr) and Orr wants Baruk to agree (and convince the city’s mages as well) to a proclamation of neutrality with the Empire. He tells Baruk that an Empire Claw assassinated all the mages of Pale before the attack. Baruk says his information contradicts this, and refuses to support Orr’s proposition of neutrality. Crone hears a spinning coin and senses a tremble of power from somewhere in the city.

Rollick hears the coin as well and suddenly changes his mind, assassinating Councilman Lim instead of Lady Simtal. Later Ocelot, an assassin Clan leader, tells Rollick that Darujhistan’s assassins are being hunted; they suspect Claws. Rollick is to be bait for a trap.

Crone tells Baruk that a convergence of power is starting. Rake arrives with Dragnipur, his impressive sword, to seek alliance. He tells Baruk that the Claws did not kill Pale’s mages: Rake killed the Claws, but that the mages fled. Rake demands their heads. He also says Tayschrenn attacked his own people. Baruk agrees to give up the mages rather than have Rake use Dragnipur on them.

Inside the Phoenix Inn, Crokus, Murillio, and Kruppe play cards. Coll is passed out drunk. Crokus tells of assassins being killed. Rallick arrives and says it’s just rumor. Crokus suspects Rallick and Murillio of conspiring. We learn Crokus apprenticed in thievery with Kruppe, whose “mask of blissful idiocy” has never slipped in the years Crokus has known him.

Amanda’s reaction to Chapter Six
Hmm, is this poem mention of the Greyfaces who monitor the gasses that light up Darujhistan? Or is it reference to a proper cabal and sorcery—the emerald fires being a specific magic of the Warrens? [Bill’s interjection: I’d say go with the sorcery]

Our first viewpoint from Moon’s Spawn! And we’re introduced to Crone, a Great Raven, who flies on the business of her Lord (which must be Anomander Rake). Great Ravens can detect sorcery, as well as using it to lengthen their lifespans. This demonstrates ably that we are moving to a viewpoint which fair crackles with sorcery and ancient magic. As a complete contrast, we have the mention of “publicly known sorcerers” in Darujhistan, which suggests a control over magic, and hidden sorcerers. Definitely a clash of cultures on the face of it.

Just as an aside, am I alone in not appreciating lengthy descriptions of how many gates a city wall has, or where this District is in relation to that District? I imagine some people find this invaluable and essential to the story, but I end up glazing over while I read it.

We definitely have another set-up chapter here—lots of viewpoints, light on in-depth details, probably moving the plot along but in a manner I am currently struggling to ascertain. I don’t like to confess this publicly but I groaned out loud when I saw what a bitty chapter this was. I needs me some good solid plot that fits neatly with what has gone before. *whispers* I definitely want a short section that is a little less challenging... At the moment (with this chapter and the one prior), because I’m not really finding out anything that makes sense and I’m unable to pull out themes or gain much impression of new characters. I’m ending up doing nothing more than slightly lengthier chapter summaries rather than providing any true discussion on new facts gleaned from GotM. Ack, I hope Bill can bring more to the party than this!

Maybe I should just pick out the passages I feel most directly push the plot onwards? Like this one for example:

If Circle Breaker’s luck held, he might survive the civil war into which Darujhistan, he felt, was about to plunge—and never mind the Malazan nemesis. One nightmare at a time, he often told himself, particularly on nights like these, when Despot’s Barbican seemed to breathe its promise of resurrection with mocking certainty.

With all that I’ve said above, I still really enjoyed the conversation between High Alchemist Baruk and Crone—they are both knowledgeable and sly, and their wordplay is sharp with mockery. I am looking forwards to reading more about these two characters.

Wow, Anomander Rake is something special! Much is made of those unnerving, vertical-pupiled eyes—so much so that I feel it will prove important. The Tiste Andii are Erikson’s “Elves” and even he couldn’t avoid the cliché of cat’s eyes for an otherworldly race. And that sword... We have a real nod to Elric and Stormbringer here, I reckon. The description of the sword is amazing:

From the weapon bled power, staining the air like black ink in a pool of water. As his gaze rested on it Baruk almost reeled, seeing, for a brief moment, a vast darkness yawning before him, cold as the heart of a glacier, from which came the stench of antiquity and a faint groaning sound.

I also love the fact that Baruk deems it more merciful to cut the heads off wizards than have Anomander kill them with the sword!

Speaking of wizards, as Bill pointed out I find out in this chapter the different perspective on the siege of Pale: the wizards of Pale fled when they discovered an Empire Claw had infiltrated the city—a Claw that Anomander himself dispatched. There is also confirmation that Tayschrenn did indeed raise demons and unleash them against his fellow mages. It’s definitely interesting to hear about this event from two different angles. [Bills’ interjection: wait for it, wait for it...]

Also, how is this for a throwaway mention that adds further intricacies? Back in my commentary for Chapter Three I highlighted the author of the work Gothos’ Folly—Gothos himself—and I idly wondered whether he would be mentioned again. Here in Chapter Six we have the following quotation:

“In the alchemist’s library lay copies of the surviving tomes of Gothos’ Folly, Jaghut writings from millennia past. In them Tiste Andii were mentioned here and there in an aura of fear, Baruk recalled. Gothos himself, a Jaghut wizard who had descended the deepest warrens of Elder Magic, had praised the gods of the time that the Tiste Andii were so few in number.”

Very intriguing mention of Gothos. I also like the reference to the “gods of the time”—implying that the gods in power shift and flux. After all, we’ve already been given hints that they can die!

What this chapter does very effectively is present the idea of a power struggle within Darujhistan: with the Council split down the middle as to whether to declare neutrality (I love the fact Orr boasts to Baruk that they are one vote ahead as Rallick kills Lim!), the assassin war starting, and the real power, the Cabal led by Baruk, being courted by Anomander. The levels of political intrigue are dense and intricate right now and only going to become worse, I imagine.

Bill’s comments on Chapter Six
Nice sum up in that last paragraph Amanda. This chapter is a “bitty” whirlwind of vignettes that mostly serve to set up future events, so I think I’ll respond in kind:

Another nice unity of image, moving from the Moon Spawn assassins floating slowly down, cloaks spread like “black wings,” to Crone flying down to Darujhistan, black-eyed and enormous-winged. If all of this isn’t intentional, I sure hope Erikson is smart enough to pretend it is when we point it out.

We are also reminded of how steeped in time some of these characters are, as we learn Crone is thousands of years old—a “hundred thousand” as a matter of fact, if she doesn’t exaggerate. This span of time means more a difference of kind than degree, I’d say, creating a truly alien point of view to our own short-lived one.

The tiny detail of Orr’s arrival at the barbican, with his finger tapping in time on his dueling sword, sets us up nicely for events toward the end of the book. I love sentences like that in a 600-page book; they let me know the writer isn’t taking any time off.

That Rake really knows how to make an entrance, doesn’t he? Lights flickering, walls groaning, mansions nearly crumbling. Guy just can’t use a doorbell, huh? And yes, a definite nod to Elric with that sword, but I truly envy you Amanda learning how much more there is to that weapon.

I have to say I was surprised at Baruk’s seeming surprise that Rake is Tiste Andii. Guy’s been around for millennia, poems and songs about him, and Baruk is clearly a man of deep knowledge, but this is a surprise? I admit the lack of knowledge about Rake didn’t make sense earlier to me back in Pale, and it makes just as little sense here, especially as it’s mentioned that he’s encountered the Empire before, so we know that it isn’t like Moon’s Spawn has just re-emerged after thousands of years of absence. I’m curious as to whether anyone else was bothered by this or has an explanation.

Rake’s eyes—file that description away Amanda! [Amanda’s interjection: Hang on, hang on! With the dragon chat as well—oooh, am I totally barking up the wrong tree? If I’m not, then by God I am now excited!]

Good question on the descriptive passages; I too am curious where readers of this series are on that spectrum between “look, no dialogue—time to skip ahead!” and “wait, did he just say the fourth gate was 14 meters high? But that would mean that his description of the third gate 48 pages ago was off by...” I actually do tend to read the whole thing, though I can’t say I focus too hard on it. If the writer hasn’t been holding my attention all along though, I have more of a tendency to skim through such passages. I do like city maps though. And country maps. And world maps. I’ll take a map of somebody’s dinner table: where the plates and utensils are in relation to the pitchers of ale, etc. Love a good map. (And hate the lack of them in a lot of books).



Kruppe dreams and meets the Elder K’Rul, who tells him to seek out Adjunct Lorn and Tool, the “Awakeners,” and then says he (K’Rul) will lose a battle.

Circle Breaker waits to deliver a plea for help against Turban Orr to an agent of the Eel, but then tears up the message.

Lady Simtal accuses Orr of appeasing the Empire w/ “neutrality” to gain the title of Fist. She fears the traditional Malazan culling of the nobility. She asks Orr set up the murder of coll, her ex-husband.

Murillio manipulates two invitations from Lady Orr to Lady Simtal’s party on Gedderone’s Eve.

Rallick warns Crokus off of thieving the Orr estate. Crokus asks Kruppe (his fence) for his D’Arle stolen goods back and shows Kruppe the coin of Oponn. Rallick and Murillio meet, deduce Crokus is infatuated with Challice D’Arle, and decide to conspire in turning Crokus “honest.”

Baruk is bothered by noisy roadworkers outside his estate. Kruppe arrives and the two discuss assassins being killed by some outside force and then Kruppe shows Barkuk a wax copy of Oponn’s coin and tells him Crokus is its owner. Baruk tells Kruppe to protect the coinbearer but also to prepare Rallick for the possibility of killing him if necessary.

Amanda’s reaction to Chapter Seven
This chapter begins with an epitaph to Gadrobi—person? place? god? not sure—although on the map in my edition (yes, despite my general disdain for maps, I did actually take a look) there is a location called Gadrobi Hills which, I’ve just realised, doesn’t actually shed any more light!

Aww, we’re joining Kruppe again—let’s see how well I get on with his style of speech this time around...

I am wondering if Kruppe’s dreams are his way of accessing his warren? I especially noted the reference to the sky which “swirled a most unpleasant pattern of silver and pale green” since I know the warrens have different colours. Kruppe also says “’All is in flux’” which would refer to the great period of upheaval we’re observing.

I must admit I do love Kruppe’s statements of arrogance—they are so humorous:

“Of course, Kruppe is unique in never requiring practice—at anything.”

Who is the hooded figure, with his hands in the flame?

“Have you summoned me, then? It has been a long time since I walked on soil.”

Aha! Just read a little further! Looks like we’ve now met K’rul, who was awakened by the blood of Talo in Chapter Five.

I could see exactly why Kruppe would be disconcerted and scared by the new presence of an Elder God!

The thought of an Elder God awakened and wandering through his dreams sent his thoughts scampering like frightened rabbits.

Wow, what an exchange between Kruppe and K’rul! We gain a sense of just how long K’rul as been dormant—again lending weight to the sheer amount of history in these Malazan books.

“Long before the first towers of stone rose to mortal whims, I walked among hunters.”

K’rul also mentions the fact that he is “here to await one who will be awakened” and reveals to Kruppe that he is being used. I’m not completely sure by whom, although reference to the Child Gods could be K’rul talking about gods such as Oponn. And a key, key phrase (or at least I think it is so):

“Play on, mortal. Every god falls at a mortal’s hands. Such is the only end to immortality.”

This definitely suggests that gods merely fade into obscurity if they lose their followers, but never actually die unless killed.

Councilman Turban Orr has not come to Circle Breaker this night, breaking the recent routine.

We are never far away from a bittersweet or grim moment in Erikson’s prose. With Circle Breaker he brings forward the idea of an innocent youth making choices through his life out of desperation that lead to a dark life.

The years between him and that lad marched through his mind, a procession of martial images growing ever grimmer. If he searched out the many crossroads he had come to in the past, he saw their skies storm-warped, the lands ragged and wind-torn. The forces of age and experience worked on them now, and whatever choices he had made then seemed fated and almost desperate.

Here we have another of those throwaway lines that Erikson likes so well, that mean so much and that resonate through the series:

Never reach too far.

I want to know who Circle Breaker is—this spy seems to be more than what he is initially represented as. He is desperate to preserve his “frail anonymity.” He is also wondering whether to seek help from the Eel or whether to face off against Turban Orr himself. When he decides against it, the coin of Oponn can be heard spinning, which would indicate he has entered their game.

Circle Breaker’s life seems so bleak and dangerous! And certainly he is aware of the skills of wizards—so what on earth is his background?

In that room he allowed no place for memories; nothing to mark him in a wizard’s eye or tell the sharp-witted spy-hunter details of his life. In that room, he remained anonymous even to himself.

And then an entertaining and biting conversation between Simtal and Turban Orr. When Rallick assassinated Lim, he made mention of the fact Lady Simtal was bedding two councilmen in order to aid her bid for power, so Orr must be the second—unless there are more that Rallick was not aware of. Which doesn’t seem right considering he has a personal vendetta against Simtal.

This all shows us another example of being dropped right into the middle of a situation: we don’t know anything much about Simtal’s “beloved dispossessed” and we have no idea why Rallick has such a vicious hatred for Simtal (unless he is the dispossessed!). There is also a hint that Simtal is definitely just using Orr:

A hint of contempt had slipped into her tone and she wondered if he’d caught it.

She is relieved when he doesn’t pick up on this contempt, so she clearly still needs him as well. Also, Simtal and Orr have a discussion about Darujhistan being handed to the Malazan Empire for peaceful occupation: Simtal accuses Orr of simply trying to become a Malazan High Fist and using the city to achieve this aim. Simtal is worried about what will happen to the nobility in the event that Darujhistan is handed to the Malazan Empire:

“This Empire devours noble blood.”

Certainly we have seen previously to this that culling has taken place. [Bill’s interjection: And that policy will have oh-so-major consequences in upcoming books.]

What continues to astonish me is the sheer level of detail available in each section. On the face of it we have a discussion between a man and a woman, intimate chat after what appears to be sexual relations. Beneath that, though, Simtal and Orr’s conversation seethes with hidden elements, with little plants ready for future reveals, little throwaway comments, descriptions of the political situation. It is just breathtaking—and this is a mere three pages amongst hundreds. It gets to the point where I am studying every word for all its nuances—and still missing information!

In the very next section we meet Murillio, the “dandy” who is courting Lim’s widow and raising the interest of Lady Simtal. It appears here he is lunching and wooing Orr’s wife—am I right on this? (Ah, reached the end of the section and it looks like Murillio is arranging a little adultery for Gedderone’s Eve with Orr’s wife). Erikson shows us another God here:

“The Wolf Goddess of Winter dies her seasonal death, on a carpet of white, no less.”

Ooh, Murillio is in cahoots with Rallick, Lim’s assassin! It looks as though Murillio doesn’t think much of Rallick:

“Idiot! The man’s face, his hands, his walk, his eyes, all said one thing: killer. Hell, even his wardrobe had all the warmth and vitality of an executioner’s uniform.”

But it looks as though, when we read Rallick’s own section next, that he has been told to make it plain what he is as he strolls through Darujhistan. Rallick has his own worries, apart from his vendetta towards Lady Simtal—he knows the the Malazan Empire does not look fondly on those who practice the assassin’s trade outside of the “secret ranks of the Claw.” The assassins of Darujhistan will either find themselves assimilated or disappeared.

It is interesting to see Crokus’ reaction to his visit to the rooms of the D’Arles daughter:

Yet he’d never before understood the most subtle and hurtful insult his thefts delivered—the invasion and violation of privacy.

Is this the start of a change of heart when it comes to the thievery? We see a little more of the personality of Crokus—he seems so young and idealistic, having the same point of view as his uncle and despising the “pretense so rife in Majesty Hall.”

I sort of get that Crokus, as a thief, will notice all the little details about his surroundings—height of walls, materials of buildings etc—but it feels like so much extraneous information. Either Erikson is deliberately putting in the details for future use, or he enjoys showing off his world and the knowledge he has—could be a little bit of both!

We’re given a little tidbit of information relating to the nature of Darujhistan and High vs. Low society:

It had been a long time since the last High Criminal was hanged, while off in the Gadrobi District the Low Gallows’ ropes were replaced weekly due to stretching. An odd contrast to mark these tense times.

I love the description of Oponn’s coin, with the young man and woman showing the two different faces of Oponn. I also adore the chat in the tavern between Kruppe and Crokus! I’m finally coming round to the wonderfully irreverent humour of Kruppe [Bill’s interjection: Yeah, one more for the team!], which hides his burning curiosity and fierce intelligence. The moment when Crokus declares he is keeping the coin for good luck—“Kruppe looked up, his eyes bright”—I think that this is a side of Kruppe kept mostly hidden. Especially when people see him being garrulous and jovial, and playing to an audience.

Ooh, I do like the fact that we are led to believe the goldsmith Krute is completely genuine, and then we find out it is a front for a Guild passageway—something that Rallick has told Murillio. Another conversation full of meaning and detail follows between Rallick and Murillio: they are both concerned about Kruppe finding out about their plans; they talk about the wraiths in the tower of Hinter (Real? Or is Rallick keeping Murillio out of the tower?) and they seem to start the wheels in motion to setting Crokus up with the D’Arle maiden:

“Turning a thieving child into a man of standing and learning will require more work than a swooning heart will manage.”

I’m interested in knowing why Murillio says of Kruppe:

“All that holds him together is fear of being discovered.”

By whom? [Bill’s interjection: check out my list of throwaway lines.]

Rich symbolism inherent in the scene where Baruk is filling his map with red to show the advance of the Malazan Empire, and then spills his red inkpot and watches “the spreading stain cover Darujhistan and continue south to Catlin.” I like the brief mention of Caladan Brood facing off against the Crimson Guard—I’m guessing we see this in detail in another novel? [Bill’s interjection: We’ll see a lot more of Brood in Erikson’s books and more of the Crimson Guard in, wait for it, Return of the Crimson Guard by Esslemont.]

Kruppe is one of Baruk’s agents! But Baruk doesn’t trust him:

He studied the man, wondering if he would ever catch a glimpse of what lay beyond Kruppe’s cherubic demeanour.

Kruppe’s description of the coin says so much, and reveals his intelligence and knowledge to Baruk to some extent:

“An item,” he said softly, his eyes on the disc, “that passes without provenance, pursued by many who thirst for its cold kiss, on which life and all that lay within life is often gambled. Alone, a beggar’s crown. In great numbers, a king’s folly. Weighted with ruin, yet blood washes from it beneath the lightest rain, and to the next no hint of its cost.”

Baruk knows that Oponn are involved now, and that this will transcend any matters of the city. Baruk wants all his contacts to watch over Crokus, and find out whether the Lady has him, or the Lord.

This chapter moved on apace the story within Darujisthan—giving us a flavour of both the petty politics that the Councilmen are involved in and the magic and gods that are directing the main players. I really like Crokus and I’m starting to feel sorry for him—not only are Rallick and Murillio planning on manipulating him, but his life now belongs to a god (and one that might either push or pull). Kruppe DEFINITELY grew on me; I enjoyed every part of the chapter involving him and his unique style of dialogue. We now move onto Book Three: The Mission.

Bill’s comments on Chapter Seven
Hmm, I wonder, is Kruppe actually arrogant if he can back up what he says? Is he arrogant or merely accurately descriptive?

That is a great scene between Kruppe and K’rul. You’re right to point out Kruppe’s fear (we don’t often hear a “tremor” in his voice), but it also tells us something about him that he remains there and maintains an intelligent conversation. The fact he guesses so quickly and correctly who K’rul was also shows us Kruppe’s sharpness. [Amanda’s interjection: This is something that Erikson does so well, in my opinion—he is definitely in the school of “show, don’t tell.” We are given so many snippets about characters but never overtly told, always shown.]

We also, of course, learn something about K’rul and through him about the gods. As we’ve had reason to believe from prior scenes, they are not omniscient (there is “doubt” in K’rul’s voice—perhaps a parallel to Kruppe’s “tremor”) and they are not aloof from emotion (Kruppe hears the “wistfulness” in Krul’s tone). Their plans can go awry (“The Child Gods have made a grave error”) and they have reason to fear mortal action (one of my favorite recurring themes in the series; I love these mortals taking on the gods).

I think the whole subplot with Crokus and Challice, while it has its plot purposes here, also sets us up for what we’ll see in the future with Crokus. His realization of what he’d done: “He’d come into her room...where innocence didn’t just mean a flower not plucked. Her sanctuary. And he’d despoiled it...his crime against her was tantamount to rape. To have so boldly shattered her world..." prepares us for his response to another young girl we’ve already seen who has experienced such a violation, but worse. And thus the brick-laying continues.

I’m glad you liked Circle Breaker so much, Amanda. He’s one of my favorites in the book because he’s another example of Erikson investing his world with real-life characters rather than disposable action figures (the aforementioned “red shirts”). Just look at the detail we get: the Freeman Privateers, Filman Orras, Dead Man’s Story, the burning deck of a corsair, its belly filling with the sea as it drifted outside the pinnacle fortifications of a city named Broken Jaw. Or as another author might have put it: “the gruff former pirate waited.” I’m also curious (or will be as we go on) where you think these books fall on “don’t reach too far”—as good advice or bad advice? [Amanda’s interjection: Knowing Erikson as I do so far, I suspect it shall fall on both sides of the line. *grin*]

Speaking of throwaway lines, here are a few:

  • “He’s a slippery one, is Kruppe.” (Hmmm....)
  • “Seek the Awakeners.” (What’s to be awakened and why is it a huge plot point?)
  • “Dessembrae be praised.” (Not really a major plot point but a mention of a major historical figure we’ll learn much more about in later books—the fact that he appears early on in this kind of tossed-out phrase gives us a vague sense of familiarity so when we hear more about him we experience a fullness to the world we keep talking about.)

The same is true for Rallick’s description you mentioned of wraiths caught in a “sorcerer’s nightmares.” This particular sorcerer or these particular wraiths won’t play a role, but we’ll see later in the series characters caught in other characters’ nightmares/dreams and so yet again, we’re set up for it in a casual aside. This way, when it happens and actually is a plot point, it doesn’t feel like some arbitrary artificial situation crafted by the author—but rather a natural outgrowth of how things work in this strange world.

And from a casual stroll through the market:

“...the man recognized the dyed lavender twists...two cities to the southeast he knew had been annexed by the Pannion Seer in the last month.”

Park this little tidbit of news from the greater world someplace safe.

“Who’s in charge of road maintenance?”

(Which also makes that closing paragraph oh so funny.)

Bill Capossere writes short stories and essays, plays ultimate frisbee, teaches as an adjunct English instructor at several local colleges, and writes SF/F reviews for

Amanda Rutter contributes reviews and a regular World Wide Wednesday post to, as well as reviews for her own site (covering more genres than just speculative), Vector Reviews and Hub magazine.

Sydo Zandstra
1. Fiddler

“Who’s in charge of road maintenance?”

(Which also makes that closing paragraph oh so funny.)

Oh yes... :D

More comments will follow.
Steven Halter
2. stevenhalter
Hmm, is this poem mention of the Greyfaces who monitor the gasses that light up Darujhistan?

I'd go with sorcery also.

Wow, Anomander Rake is something special!

Yes. The echo's of Elric are there, but more of a superficial resemblance. Likewise, I also remember thinking that Tiste Andii were kind of like elves on my first read, but as you get to know them the resemblance fades.

Dragnipur (Rake's sword) -- we'll be finding out more on this. It is Major and Baruk is completely correct in being merciful about killing them himself rather than letting Rake do it.


I also thought it was somewhat strange that Baruk didn't know more about Rake. But based on later events, I'd guess that his translation of Gothos' Folly is not a very good translation. Also, I think that Rake and the Andii haven't spent much time in Genabakis recently.
Steven Halter
3. stevenhalter

Wait for it ... (and keep excited)

Bill and Fiddler:
Oh yes indeed ;-)
4. Taitastigon

* I have to say I was surprised at Baruk’s seeming surprise that Rake is Tiste Andii. Guy’s been around for millennia, poems and songs about him, and Baruk is clearly a man of deep knowledge, but this is a surprise? I admit the lack of knowledge about Rake didn’t make sense earlier to me back in Pale, and it makes just as little sense here, especially as it’s mentioned that he’s encountered the Empire before, so we know that it isn’t like Moon’s Spawn has just re-emerged after thousands of years of absence. I’m curious as to whether anyone else was bothered by this or has an explanation *

I know. This, IMHO, is - what I call - a structural GotM-ism: There are some plot contrivances in this book that aim to up the *epic*-ness/drama somewhat at cost of plausibility. This is one of them. (one of the others are the motivations of ST & Cot. in GotM vs. in the rest of the cycle).

Nowadays I tend to ignore it, because it becomes dramatically more cohesive starting DG. GotM really is a little bit of a stand-alone, for that and other reasons.
Steven Halter
5. stevenhalter
I'd agree that the Crokus and Challice subplot is foreshadowing for later events in Crokus' life.

“He’s a slippery one, is Kruppe.” (Hmmm....)

lol, "hmmm" indeed.
Tony Zbaraschuk
6. tonyz
One of the things I think happens is that Rake has been around for, oh, a very long time, but he hasn't been here in long enough that people have forgotten the details. (Icarium is another of those things.)

But Baruk really should know more about Rake and his people, considering that they've been fighting alongside Pale against the Malazans for several years now, and that's the next of the Free Cities north of it. (If I have the geography right. The maps definitely need to be reproduced in a larger size.)

Secrets within secrets in these chapters; it's mostly scene-setting and introductions, but plot bubbles merrily in the background.

I think that Erikson is really into the detail of his world, but he's also good enough to show us the parts that matter.
Matt LaRose
7. TheLegend
@Shalter 3.


Wait for it ... (and keep excited)

Bill and Fiddler:
Oh yes indeed ;-) "

Wait for it indeed. lol. snicker.

The sense of how old Erikson can make the world feel really continues to amaze me as we go farther and farther into the reread.

The throw-away lines are what make the reread so essential to really see the breadth and scope of Malazan book of the Fallen. All the hints are there you just have to see them.
Thomas Jeffries
8. thomstel
I really like Crokus and I’m starting to feel sorry for him—not only are Rallick and Murillio planning on manipulating him, but his life now belongs to a god (and one that might either push or pull).

Don't feel too bad for Crokus. If I had to have someone manipulating me, I'd want the Daru crew. I know they'd be doing it for the right reasons.

And as for Oponn, Crokus is a Lady's man for sure this novel. Even when Oponn's influence is lacking, various other coincidental ascendant activities fill the void nicely.
Steven Halter
9. stevenhalter
@Amanda & Bill:

Regarding the description of the city and gate heights and such. In this chapter it is mainly scene setting, I think, sometimes, though, these little scenic details are important later on. We'll get to one such in chapter 20. (Probably others before that, this is one that sticks in my mind.)

So, I guess the moral here is that no it's not safe to skip scenic details.
10. Taitastigon
@ Bill

About one throwaway you missed:

...then Kruppe shows Baruk a wax copy of Oponn’s coin and tells him Crokus is its owner.*

When did Kruppe make that darn wax copy ????

Hint: Look for the t.a. in the Phoenix Inn...

I´ll say: That man does not only have throwaways, he has throwaways of throwaways, or throwaways preceded by red herrings, or...or...
Tricia Irish
11. Tektonica
Hi and thanks, Amanda and Bill. Good Comments!

Erikson is a seducer! He can certainly write grit and great battles, but he also writes so beautifully, often in contrast to the subject matter!

Around her, thin wisps of shredded smoke rode the currents of the night air like lost spirits.

Lovely, not cliche, worthy of an underline.

Circle Breaker seems to be a minor player, but is given such emotional detail, and a pov. Nice.

I really like Baruk...."Far be it for me to defend my species."

Love Kruppe.....The whole exchange with Murillio and Crokus when they are playing cards is hysterical...Kruppe never plays, so they just concede! "I surrender consumed by hopelessness."Murillio.

I surprisingly like Anomander Rake. I just have a good feeling about his integrity. Oh, his sword....bad news! A terrible justice and a beautiful description, again. (The description of Rake with black skin and silver hair reminded very much of Drizzt, another good assassin.) And why doesn't Baruk know more about Rake? He should be an expert on this stuff! Good point! Interesting to get Rake's take on the battle of Pale and Tayschrenn too.

Crone....."I am but a winged witness to your eternal madness." "Your guest is mundane, a restless personage whose thoughts are thick with greed and treachery. A demon crouches on his shoulder, named Ambition." (Orr.)

Lady Simtal....Ick.... The ghosts of betrayal would not leave her alone.

I liked Rallick Nom and Murillio...they reminded me of "Two Muskateers"....they have great banter and an integrity amongst thieves, and they want to help Crokus better himself. Good guys......that kill people....bad people.

Yes, there's much description of place, and I dont' mind it at all. First, Erikson's writing is beautiful, rendering the city a character in this drama, one we need to be familiar with. Second, I love maps. I make them in my head, if I can't see them. I could spend hours with maps. I wish these were better and bigger and more detailed!
Kate Smith
12. Rukaiya
Yay! I'm so happy you're doing a re-read of MBotF! This is a series that definitely needs and deserves a close community read. I definitely get more from it every time I read it (this'll be my third time for the series). For instance, on the first read-through, I didn't pay much attention to the descriptions, but I've paid more and more during my reads.

As for these chapters, I have to admit that the first time I read these books, I was annoyed when the viewpoint switched away from the soldiers and Tattersail, as I quickly got wrapped up in their viewpoint. Darujhistan does sort of grow on you and Kruppe is hilarious. I find myself laughing over and over again in his scenes at his sly humor and utter self-assurance. It only increases in later books, too. Also an excellent entrance from Rake. I love how Erikson really brings home how powerful some of these characters are by showing other characters' reactions to them. And Rake is definitely one of the most impressive, though it does seem like people no longer connect the Lord of Moon's Spawn to the Anomander of poetry and legend. I tend not to see it as a GotM error, however, as I think it conveys the weight of history behind Erikson's world. So much time has passed that legends can go unrecognized even by the wise.
Chase Collins
13. whiskey-jack 42
I agree wholeheartedly with Tektonica, I love Erikson's detailed descriptions of Darujistan, it makes it so much more real. His level of writing makes so many other authors look like amateurs.

As I re-read GotM I am just amazed at Kruppe's dialogue, there are so many hidden gems that I never realized the first time. I found him kind of annoying the first time and mostly skimmed over him.
14. WJD
I don't have my copy of GotM, so idk for sure this line was said in this chapter (though I'm pretty sure it was), but how has nobody mentioned Baruk's line about ascendancy!! I've heard so many people so that that was the line that really drew them into the series that I can't believe it wasn't even given a mention here.

@ Amanda, I haven't actually read Salvatore so I can't speak to the apparent similarities between's Dragnipur and Elric's sword, but trust me when I say despite some subtle clues by Erikson, you have absolutely no idea what Dragnipur is (don't worry you will be the end of the book).
Hugh Arai
15. HArai
@Amanda: "beloved dispossessed" is Coll.

Tektonica@11: I'd say your instincts are accurate about Rake's integrity.

As for why people don't know more about Rake, we're talking about someone with a history that goes so far back that even the immortals who were there at the time remember events differently from one another. Unreliable witnesses for yet another reason, even if they weren't biased and it seems they all are. So someone like Baruk is working from vague hints.

As for learning about him when he encountered the Empire before, the guy has been floating around in a flying fortress taking on armies. People haven't been dropping by from the Biography channel :)
Not to mention the entire history of the Empire only spans a few hundred years.
Steven Halter
16. stevenhalter
Elric is from Michael Moorcock.

The Baruk ascendancy quote comes in chapter 13.

One of the things that Erikson does very well is take a well known fantasy trope as the faintest sketch of a beginning and then twist it in a totally different direction:
White haired sorcerer with big black sword? Check, but then off in a different direction than one would expect.

Young naive thief? Check, but again off to a different place.

Lovely stuff.
Tricia Irish
17. Tektonica
HArai@15: LOL Re:Rake

.....the guy has been floating around in a flying fortress taking on armies. People haven't been dropping by from the Biography channel :)

Rake obviously has his own agenda, saving his people, but he does seem to want to assist when Darujistan's (and Pale's before) interests and his own coincide. He seems to be an enemy of Laseen's, or the Malazan Empire's, whoever is in charge. I don't know about that yet, but I feel he's honest. (Probably not a good thing to assume.) His justice is certainly harsh, and he doesn't seem to discriminate between crimes, but it is consistent, and he's pretty black and white. Clear. I like him.
Tricia Irish
18. Tektonica
oops...double post.
19. WJD
Ah thank you for the corrections. I was confusing authors I've never read lol. And also about the Baruk quote, I thought it came in the first conversation those two had...stupid cousin's dog eat my book!!

Rake's agenda and interests: It's not so much saving his people as trying to keep them interested. We get a very good description of Rake's motivations at the end of the book during his conversation atop Krul's Belfry.
Tony Zbaraschuk
20. tonyz
Circle Breaker is very well-done, and the way the Eel treats him will be important for one of Erikson's main themes throughout the series.

You have to pay attention to even the mooks and red-shirts.
Hugh Arai
21. HArai
Tektonica@17: I think you'll keep on liking him. I certainly have. As for sides, the consistent theme is he's very much for his Tiste Andii. The rest is subject to change with the situation, but you're right: he's clear about it. And the neat thing is even after all he's seen and done, he still forms friendships and sometimes does things just because he likes someone.
Mieneke van der Salm
22. Mieneke
@Tek I had that card game written down to comment on too!!

But for my other comments.

To start off, do we ever find out who the Eel is? Oh hang on, is that why that line about Kruppe's slipperiness is important? I guess the light just went on in my head :D

Bill noted that Orr's introduction at the gate with the tapping of the sword sets up for later in the novel, but I noticed that Erikson keeps emphasizing that Orr is a duelist, it's mentioned several times.

Is K'rul being used by Oponn? It seems so, since all the other events in these chapters are influenced by them, but I don't know, that's exactly why I'm not sure K'rul isn't being used ny someone else.

Do we ever see Circle Breaker again? I can't remember anymore.

And okay, I know why Crokus needs to get a conscience, but what on earth happened that he starts developing it after robbing the D'Arle maiden? To me it came rather out of the blue. Why is he suddenly realising all this stuff? Is this again a little push from Oponn?

The coin stuff's already been mentioned, though I was pretty pleased with myself for catching Kruppe making the wax cast of the coin (having completely missed that before ;))

"If the Lord claims the Coinbearer, the assassin's talents will be required."

Why is the Lord more dangerous than the Lady? From the description of them on the coin you'd expect it to be the other way around. And if we need to wonder about who claimed Crokus, do we also need to wonder at who laid claim to Paran? And are they the opposite of the one who claimed Crokus or were they claimed by the same person?

Oh and road maintenance? You gotta love that!
23. David DeLaney
One note for Amanda? Once you're done with this book, you may well want to reread it immediately. Whether or not you do ... go ahead at that point and reread your +commentaries+. Trust me on this one.

(Same applies for the entire series, it seems; I'm in the middle of the Chain of Dogs in Deadhouse Gates, and again am _not_ remembering all this having been there this early in the series previously, or these particular character combinations. It may be because I've had to wait for each book to come out, so there was a time when the first two were all the series there was...)

--Dave, "I want to know who Circle Breaker is" - heh
Gerd K
24. Kah-thurak
@Tektonica 11
With this:
"I surprisingly like Anomander Rake. I just have a good feeling about his integrity."

You have found a truth ;)

The Lady stand for the Luck that Pulls i.e. good luck, while the Lord represents bad luck ("the push, not the pull). It seems Baruk does not want a tool of divine bad luck in his city...
Gerd K
25. Kah-thurak
Rollick hears the coin as well and suddenly changes his mind, assassinating Councilman Lim instead of Lady Simtal. Later Ocelot, an assassin Clan leader, tells Rollick that Darujhistan’s assassins are being hunted; they suspect Claws. Rollick is to be bait for a trap."

I am pretty sure that Rallick planned to kill Lim all along. That was the way Murillio and Rallick planned it.
Robin Lemley
26. Robin55077
@25 Kah-thurak

You stated:

"I am pretty sure that Rallick planned to kill Lim all along. That was the way Murillio and Rallick planned it. "

It seems to me that Rallick's intended victim that night was in fact Lady Simtal. He had his finger on the trigger of his crossbow, ready to fire when Oponn shows up and his plan changed. The passage reads:

"He froze. A whirring, spinning sound filled his head, whispering words that left him bathed in sudden sweat. All at once everything shifted, turned over in his mind. His plan for quick vengeance tumbled into disarray, and from the ruins arose something far more...elaborate.

"Rallick swerved his crossbow an inch to the left, then squeezed the trigger."

Anyway, that is the way I read it was that his initial intent that night was to kill Lady Simtal, then he changed his plan at the last second and killed Councilman Lim instead.
Gerd K
27. Kah-thurak
@26 Robin
Maybe you are right and I am fooled by having read the actual outcome far too many times ;-)
Robin Lemley
28. Robin55077
@ Amanda

Relative to Rake, you wrote:

"Much is made of those unnerving, vertical-pupiled eyes—so much so that I feel it will prove important. The Tiste Andii are Erikson’s “Elves” and even he couldn’t avoid the cliché of cat’s eyes for an otherworldly race."

Other's have already alluded to the fact that you will later learn something about Rake that may link back to this so I will not cover that. However, I did want to add that one of Rake's names (as I'm sure you will recall he has many), is the "Son of Darkness". The Tiste Andii, as descendants of Darkness, have perfect vision in the dark. As such, "cats' eyes" seems the logical choice.

You also stated:

"Just as an aside, am I alone in not appreciating lengthy descriptions of how many gates a city wall has, or where this District is in relation to that District?"

Personally, I enjoy these descriptions (along with maps and glossaries). (I'm kind of "geeky" that way, I guess.) That aside, I think this is another area that sets Steven Erickson apart for me. For most writers, the cities are merely "backdrop", but with Erickson, I always felt that some of the cities were themselves "characters". Darujhistan is certainly one such city, along with Malaz City, Coral, Y'Ghastan, and Lether, which we will find later in the series. To me, these cities are not merely "backdrop" and take on an almost "entity" quality. Thus, I love the detailed descriptions, just as I would with any character. It helps me picture it in my mind.

Finally, you stated:

"It looks as though Murillio doesn’t think much of Rallick:

“Idiot! The man’s face, his hands, his walk, his eyes, all said one thing: killer. Hell, even his wardrobe had all the warmth and vitality of an executioner’s uniform.”

But it looks as though, when we read Rallick’s own section next, that he has been told to make it plain what he is as he strolls through Darujhistan."

I think you just misunderstood this. I believe Murillio just didn't want Mrs. Orr to see Rallick and that is why he made the hand signals and told Rallick to leave. Had Mrs. Orr seen Rallick, she would have taken note of him and that he is a "killer" as Murillio describes him (he doesn't exactly blend in with others on the street). You will understand why he didn't want her to take note later in the book.

Rallick was told to "make it plain" that he was an assassin, but that is for a totally different reason/plan, which you will also find out later. Don't you love all the mystery?!?

Your assumption that Murillio doesn't "think much of Rallick" really couldn't be farther from the truth. I always felt that their relationship was equal to Quick Ben/Kalam's. Just the "civilian" version, rather than the martial.
Robin Lemley
29. Robin55077
@27 Kah-thurak

Been there/done that! Every time I read this series I find some clue I missed, some reference that blew right by me on a previous read, or something that I thought I knew but now see in a different light.

I am now convinced that I am trying to decipher "clues" that are probably not "clues" at all, but rather simply "text". LOL

Dang, there is one character that I am convinced has an "unveilling" forthcoming and I am determined to figure it out before the "big reveal". In all probability, this character is probably exactly what he appears to big big reveal coming. :-)

Dang, I am almost obsessed by it...almost (Baudin's father?)...almost (Toc the Elder)...almost obssessed!!!!!!!!!

That's honestly why Steven Erickson is my absolute favorite author.
30. Elmomo
Great job you're doing here.

I'm currently reading book 3 (that would be Memories of Ice) and I realise there's just so much I missed. Particularly hints (how many of them are there ?).

I love Erikson's style, but as a non-english native I have to say it's not the easiest read I've had (words you're just not used to see count in the thousands, compared to, say, GRRM).

As for thr first encounter between Baruk and Rake, I'd say that even if Tiste Andii have been scouring the land for some time now, what gives another plausibility layer to Erikson's world is the way informtaion passes : incomplete at best.
Tricia Irish
31. Tektonica

Is K'rul being used? I think he states that he is, but by whom? Oponn seems to be using just about everybody! Chance, fwiw.

Circle Breaker: Yes, we see more of him in this book, and from what happens to him, I assume Erikson will revisit him in some book, somewhere.;-)

Why does Crokus grow a conscious here? Could be Oponn. Could be hormones. He's a pretty bright boy. I think it's stated somewhere that he took up thieving to "rebel", but his Uncle is a very learned man. Crokus has excellent powers of observation and deductive guess is he's headed for a more adventurous, worldly life. ;-) again.

And, don't you love the "road maintenance" guys! Duh, can you say "irony"? LOL, Erikson.

David DeLaney@23:

I agree about rereading immediately. I'm a newbie, and am now half way through Deadhouse Gates. Going back to this book every week, rereading these chapters, and the discussion here is really helpful. I'm picking up tons of little details.

I must say the style of writing is much different between the two books, as is the structure. GotM is much more linear and jumps around a lot less, but then, it is more contained geographically too. I know ten years separate the two books, and the author's growth is evident. Even more "reading between the lines" is required during "clipped" took me a while to get into it, but I certainly have!
32. Clairificus Rex
@16 shalter

I totally agree about ur comment that Erikson takes trope's and plays with them, he is brilliant at it, and he can twist ideas from so many series and authors but make them his own and not at all predictable.

In fact I think the best example of that is the warrens, after all almost all fantasy has a magic system, readers kno and expect that, yet here is one so complex and exciting that we are arguing about it and still not sure what's going on nine books in! Delicious!


I wanted to make a point about hints and realising stuff in re-reads. I started reading GotM again after getting into this blog, (probably for the fourth or fifth time, ive lost track) and right at the beginning when Lorn meets Paren and recruits him to her service I caught a hint I'd never caught before. Bill mentions the Malazan culling of the nobles and how important that episode becomes later in his Chapter 4/5 wrap up, but what I had failed to realise until now is that that whole culling, by am empress who had previously been uninterested in harassing the nobles (which is why Paran is where he is, in his words), may have been caused by Parens careless words to Lorn. After Paran leaves Lorn turns to the nameless captain and says something like "So tell me about the effect of the nobles on the military". Since she is the adjunct to Laseen, im guessing Lorn tells Laseen and that triggers the later purge... Anyone else see this link?
Steven Halter
33. stevenhalter
Clairificus Rex @32:

Yes, it seemed like Paran's offhand comment may have been a nasty trigger to me also.
34. WJD
@29 Robin

"Dang, I am almost obsessed by it...almost (Baudin's father?)...almost (Toc the Elder)...almost obssessed!!!!!!!!!"

Were you just saying random names here? Baudin's father was named Baudin as well, Toc the Elder isn't related to him in any way.
Tricia Irish
35. Tektonica
Clarificus Rex@32:

Great insight! Thank you! Boy, there's nothing random in here.
36. Taitastigon
Rex @32, re cull:

Darn, another snippet. Could be. On top of everything, SE loves to be ambiguous. This whole culling-*thang* gets discussed on and of over DG and HoC & several factors seemed to have built up to lead to the cull.I am sure that SE has given a concrete picture to this, just - as usual - scattered over 3-4 different volumes & in places where you´d not expect the info. Paran´s comment might have been the final trigger for a process that was waiting to happen...
37. Taitastigon
Tek @35

It is even more *cruel*: With SE, you don´t even know whether *nothing is random*. Could be, could not be.
He lets you steam in this.

Get your nerves ready: In the 1000 pages of DG he hides an incredibly innocuous phrase of exactly 10 (!) words in an innocuous scene that simply determines one of the major plot lines in the first half of the entire cycle...

THAT is what he does to us...
Tricia Irish
38. Tektonica
Thanks for the head up, Taitastigon...I'm 350 pages into DG and underlining...I'll be looking for 10 innocuous words. Hard to find anything innocuous!
39. Taitastigon
@Tek #38

How do you like DG so far ?

& 2 little hints:

(1) You passed those words already.

*SPOILER help*

(2) Did Kimloc touch somebody ?
40. David DeLaney
Also, one note on the "elves" comparison - it's a little deeper than it might seem. The Tiste Andii correspond to "dark elves" in several ways, dokkalfar or svartalfar; the Tiste Edur are in some ways "shadow elves" or "grey elves", and the Tiste Liosan (no, you haven't seen either of these latter two yet, I believe) are like "light elves", liosalfar. But in ways that're rather different than typical elven origins - you've already seen references to "Mother Dark" and, I think, "Father Light"...

And here they HAVEN'T been around since The Beginning (the four Founding Races, apparently, have been), but came to this world from elsewhere. (Humans ARE native, descended from the Imass... and unlike our own world, are not the only member of their family left.)

Mieneke van der Salm
41. Mieneke
@Kah-thurak #24
I must have missed that somewhere, thanks! That does explain it :)

@Tek #31
Guess I'll just have to be patient and see whether SE tells us who's using K'rul :) Though you're probably right and it's Oponn and I'm getting paranoid by all the hints, red herrings and tricks Erikson plays on us ;)

Crokus thieving to rebel against his uncle is actually a pretty good notion. It would fit wouldn't it!
Chris Hawks
42. SaltManZ
@39 I knew what you were talking about, but not the exact phrase. A quick search at Amazon and I found it, but I had to read two pages twice before I hit on it. It's that innocuous. Amazing.
Steven Halter
43. stevenhalter
Taitastigon@39: Yeah that touch "echo's" through the story.
44. Taitastigon
Salt @42


maybe by the 3 or fourth reread I got off my butt to check for myself re *that* damn question that pops up late in DG, then HoC, and even rereading that specific segment - would you believe I missed it ? I had to do it again, literally word by word, to find it. And even then you doubt yourself whether it qualifies as a touch because...nothing happens, nothing registers, it just slips by...even the touched one. And before that, SE throws a red herring the size of a truck to derail you from noticing it.
What a sob ! (in a good sense).

You know, if you look at the chapters discussed here, SE does a prototype of such a megathrowaway - the wax coin that Kruppe shows to Baruk. The only hint that Kruppe ever took that copy is Crokus wondering about some wax on his fingers as he leaves the Phoenix Inn.
Darn, I only stumbled over that one on this reread here, because I had to pay attention...!
Robin Lemley
45. Robin55077
@34 WJD

"Were you just saying random names here? Baudin's father was named Baudin as well, Toc the Elder isn't related to him in any way."

Thank you for your insight. I know the two (Baudin Sr. & Toc the Elder) are totally unrelated. This statement was simply my failed attempt at humor. LOL

I simply threw those two names out as possible true "identities" of the character that my obsessed mind is convinced remains to be unveiled.

I must apologize, but my attempts at humor are not the best on good days and I had posted that at 6:00 this morning following a night with no sleep. That will teach me! LOL

Brad Bulger
46. tatere
Rake arrives with Dragnipur, his impressive sword

ha! that deserves to be a permanent stage direction anytime Rake shows up from now on.
Amir Noam
47. Amir
Regarding throwaway lines, the exact exchange is even more interesting:
Murillio: "He's a slippery one, is Kruppe."
Rallick: "Yes. He's the slippery one, all right."
Very subtle.

I've also completely missed these early references to road maintenance when I first read the book.
Tricia Irish
48. Tektonica

It took me awhile to get into DG...about 150 pages. It makes GotM look Harry Potter simple. So many more people, places, references. I felt not only dumped into the deep end, but like I'd been pushed off the high board.

That said, I'm loving it now! In fact, I'm going to get off this computer and go read it! Try to find your Kimloc touching somebody hint. Geesh. ;-)
Thanks for asking.....
49. Abalieno
There chapters are so rich of important details but also easily a wall for most readers since many of those details are easily lost and building on confusion. Reading these chapters requires the reader to forget all that happened before, already struggling to make sense of THAT plot, only to have to parse and digest much more stuff along a rather convoluted political intrigue. Yes, hugely rewarding if someone does pay attention, but definitely not a "pageturner" you read for fun. It requires quite a bit of effort and, still at this point, doesn't pay back.

I don't get much the debate about Anomander Rake. I think the Tiste Andii have been hidden for a long time, it's the Malazan expansion that started to stir things and made other parties join. Were there previous contacts with the population and the Tiste Andii?

In fact the anomaly is the Malazan empire itself that is expanding for the first time and so building contacts with other populations. The Free Cities on Genabackis I think have stayed in isolation for a long while. Did they even know the Malazan empire before it arrived? Were they aware of the mythology of the world? On which basis we attribute knowledge across different cultures?

Sure, the war went on for years, but did Rake came directly into play before or was he just an ominous, legendary presence that only became active for the first time at Pale? Did anyone see him or speak to him?
50. Taitastigon
@Tek #48

- It took me awhile to get into DG...about 150 pages. It makes GotM look Harry Potter simple.-

Yep, that is exactly the feeling. GotM kind of eases you into SE-style writing. DG is SE pulling all the punches and going ballistic...
51. Abalieno
About the poem at the beginning of Chapter Six: It's obviously about the T' Orrud Cabal, as one can see in the Dramatis Personae. The "emerald fires" are mostly a metaphor to say that this cabal is an underground ruling party that controls everything in the city, without doing it in a explicit way, and somewhat opposed to the Guild of Assassins.

When I first read the part with Crone I was somewhat surprised that even a "bird" got its POV. So confirming there aren't privileged perspectives into the story. To notice that the scene is powerfully cinematic, with the crow approaching Darujhistan. The beast is perfect to have these sweeping, evocative flyby/perspectives. Feels like a movie with powerful imagery.

At the same time Erikson also uses the properties specific to the written language and not just the cinematographic ones. For example what he does with that road maintenance scene could never be done in a movie if you think about it (there's another powerful scene, the book 2 prologue, that uses the same trick). Here he can hide certain infos through a POV (the writing being more ambiguous than an image), but in a movie the spectator would retain those infos and recognize right away who those guys actually are.

GotM was written as a screenplay to begin with, so it makes sense that it was done with a particular sensibility to that language, yet Erikson doesn't simply extend it to a novel form, but also uses the specific medium to its full potential.
Sydo Zandstra
52. Fiddler

For most writers, the cities are merely "backdrop", but with Erickson, I always felt that some of the cities were themselves "characters". Darujhistan is certainly one such city, along with Malaz City, Coral, Y'Ghastan, and Lether, which we will find later in the series. To me, these cities are not merely "backdrop" and take on an almost "entity" quality. Thus, I love the detailed descriptions, just as I would with any character. It helps me picture it in my mind.

That's why I love the detailed city descriptions too. For me, whenever we return to one of those cities in later books, it feels like I know the place.
Tricia Irish
53. Tektonica
Taitastigon: Found it. Filed that away. Thank you!

Abalieno@51: Beautifully said.

Erikson paints incredible pictures. Those "digressions" not only create the pictures in our heads, but alter the pacing. It's a kind of break, and gives us time to absorb and reflect. His style: changing povs, description of place, plot, action, humor, adds up and the world and people become real, down to your bones. It's far more than action.
Steven Halter
54. stevenhalter
Abalieno@49: Actually, in many places these books definitely are page turners. Most of the time I'm turning the pages forward, sometimes rapidly backward ("Ah, so that's what that meant").

There's no real surprise that Anomander Rake isn't well known in general, just a little bit surprising that Baruk doesn't seem to know much about him. Baruk is supposed to be a learned scholar. On the other hand, as I mentioned, Baruk's copy of Gothos' Folly seems to be a poor translation--(thanks Amanda for the handy quote):

“In the alchemist’s library lay copies of the surviving tomes of Gothos’ Folly, Jaghut writings from millennia past. In them Tiste Andii were mentioned here and there in an aura of fear, Baruk recalled. Gothos himself, a Jaghut wizard who had descended the deepest warrens of Elder Magic, had praised the gods of the time that the Tiste Andii were so few in number.”

From later events, it seems unlikely Gothos would have written about the Tiste Andii with "an aura of fear" or particularly cared about the "gods of the time".

Or, as Taitastigon@4 suggested, this could have just been a GoTMism.

Away from that specific, I agree with you that much of the world has been highly separated for a long time (a really long time). We see this even more in later books.

In fact, I think that part of the motivation for the Emperors' founding of and expansion of the Malazan empire is to do away with that long isolationism for reasons that we will see.
Chris Hawks
57. SaltManZ
The entire series does suffer a bit from "knowledge creep", where mostly-unknown things/people somehow become almost common knowledge by later books.
58. Dreamwolf
The search for a Tano spiritsinger gave a unexpected gift in the for of Malazan backstory that nicely sums up the the closest time before GotM.
Steven Halter
59. stevenhalter
Dreamwolf@58 -- yeah that seems like a decent back history. There are some spoilers in there for anyone concerned about such things.
Chris Hawks
60. SaltManZ
@58/59 Yeah, serious spoilers there, considering those details are carefully doled out over the course of half a dozen books. First-time readers who care about such things are better off avoiding that.
61. Taitastigon

Ouhh, defintely spoilers...!

A definite NO-NO for neophytes.

A great qwik-source for rereaders that want a quick reference guide...
Amanda Rutter
62. ALRutter
Especial thanks to Robin @28 who explained the actual behaviour between Murillio and Rallick. I've re-read the scene and that makes plenty more sense :-)

Also, the wax coin? Didn't spot that at all! Had to go back through and read that again to see it happening.

Hard work - challenging but SO rewarding!

*scurries off to carry on reading*
63. Abalieno
About the scene with Kruppe, Crokus, the coin and the wax.

Notice how there isn't just that throwaway reference to the wax. Kruppe takes the coin and then asks Crokus to go look out of the door, hence creating the opportunity to make the copy with the wax.

The other aspect is even more brilliant. Kruppe is genius. After he makes the copy and returns the coin he notices that Crokus is figuring out something (he looked up to see Crokus frowning down at his hand), and how he (Kruppe) distracts him?

"Has something smitten the lad?"

Notice Crokus reaction. He blushes. With that question, worded in that peculiar way, Kruppe makes a veiled reference not to the wax, but to Challice, being that the veiled argument in the previous conversation that made Crokus blush a first time. Doing so Kruppe distracts Crokus from the wax itself, preventing him to formulate a suspect. "Smite" having the double meaning of suddenly noticing/realizing something and falling in love (and also being afflicted by a god's influence, or infatuation for that coin). Three meanings at once.

In fact Kruppe "asked quickly", because he knew Crokus was noticing something he shouldn't have.
64. Abalieno
Btw, I was also rereading now the part of Baruk and Rake's encounter and I don't think it's said anywhere that Baruk doesn't know that Rake is a Tiste Andii.

In fact:

Anomander Rake's skin was jet-black, befitting Gothos' descriptions.

So he's aware of this. Even if everything he knows is second-hand. More than surprise, here, I think the intent was to show Baruk's awe for the creature. And in fact:

This moment marked the first time Baruk had ever seen a Tiste Andii face to face.

I'd say this whole reaction is plausible and works well, since Baruk has only read about these legendary creatures, and now he sees for the first time one, their lord, in front of him. Don't you think he too can be impressed?

Reading about something is obviously a lot different than seeing it right in front of you, and Anomander Rake must be definitely an impressive sight whether you've read descriptions or not. A slight incredulity I think fits very well the scene, along with the actual purpose of offering various infos to the reader.
65. Karsa_Orlong_Is_Bad_Ass
"The throw-away lines are what
make the reread so essential to
really see the breadth and scope
of Malazan book of the Fallen. All
the hints are there you just have
to see them."

I'd go one step farther -- you can't *possibly* get it all the first time through. There is a one line description of a body in book 3 that is never mentioned explicitly again. Then at the end of book 5...if you remember the throw away line from book'll be allowed to put it together and know what happened. SE won't tell you. SE won't remind you that it was mentioned before. it is left for you to figure out.

That is one of the things that I just absolutely love about SE's work. it is the *trust* in the reader to put it toghether. I wonder if the reason other people don't write like this is that they just don't respect their readers the way SE does.
a a-p
66. lostinshadow
@65 - that's an interesting theory about respecting readers. I would give most authors the benefit of the doubt and assume they do respect readers but perhaps don't want to go through all that trouble.

What I mean to say is to have a throw away line in book 3 explain something that happens in book 5, the author must have already planned at least to the end of book 5 while writing book 3. A lot of authors might not want to work with such detailed and long term plans.

Also, I don't know much about the publishing world but authors don't necessarily have a guarantee that their work is going to be published so to plan for that long term project only to have the first 3 books published would be a lot of work that may never pay off.

For instance people on this forum have mentioned how the first book of this series is more stand alone and perhaps hesitant than the rest of the series because at the time SE did not have a 10 book deal. Once he got the 10 book deal he "let it rip".

Another thing is that intricate plots are not the only things that make a good story. Don't get me wrong I love the intricacy and complexity of SE but there are other works out that that I enjoy which lack that kind of complexity but have other good aspects such as amazing characters or exceptional emotional development.

So it need not be lack of respect for the reader, it could be more about realities of the publishing siutation or what the author prefers to write.

Or of couse in some cases it could be that the author is thinking, your average reader is an idiot and I'll just feed the lowest common denominator and make a living. whatever marketing wants, marketing gets kind of thing.
67. Clairificus Rex
@64 - i think your argument is sound and I am convinced :D detailed rereading and interpretation on your part is appreciated :D

@65 - karsa orlong rules! and i would aggree to a certain extent, having read steven's blog and seen his attitude to his readers I reckon in his case he wants to challenge hsi readers and demand more from them than perhaps your average fantasy writer might.

That does not mean that im slagging other fanatsy writers, just that I love SE for the quality he expects form his readers, as much as the quality he writes :D
Tricia Irish
68. Tektonica
I've got to agree with Lost about many of the vagaries of publishing influencing authors. And I also agree with KOIBA, that SE shows great respect for his readers by not recapping and dumbing down his narrative.

All that said, my guess is that SE really writes for himself. The complexity of plot, and attention to minute detail say much about who Erikson himself is. Formidable.
Steven Halter
69. stevenhalter

If you go back a couple of paragraphs, you will see:
... Nevertheless, he was able to distinguish quite clearly the man's features. "You're Tiste Andii," he said.

So, while it doesn't explicitly say he didn't know that Rake was Tiste Andii, Baruk's statement would be an odd thing to say if he knew that Rake was a Tiste Andii.

On rereading this a couple of times, though, I've decided that it's not so much of a surprise that Baruk doesn't seem to know that Rake was Tiste Andii for the reasons mentioned above (long isolation and such).
70. Taitastigon
shalter @69

In the end, it´s all pretty damn ambiguous...which is just the way SE likes it. Once we get into ST & C´s motivations in GotM vs. the rest of the cycle, we get into the same type of *discussion* - GotM-ism or on purpose...?
Steven Halter
71. stevenhalter
lol, yes, that's safe to say.
72. Abalieno
So, while it doesn't explicitly say he didn't know that Rake was Tiste Andii, Baruk's statement would be an odd thing to say if he knew that Rake was a Tiste Andii.

As I said, this is for me the expression of disbelief and awe more than sudden realization.

Basically a confirmation that legends he was reading about in books were actually real and mostly correct.
Steven Halter
73. stevenhalter
Yes, you could read it either way. That seems about as close as we can get on that scene.
74. yckoj

"All that said, my guess is that SE really writes for himself. The complexity of plot, and attention to minute detail say much about who Erikson himself is. Formidable."

My belief is that he is actually writing for Ian Esslemont. Isn't the origin of the Malazan mythology the roleplaysessions of SE and IE? At least, I think I have read that somewhere...
75. Taitastigon
Tek@68 & yc@74

Tough to say for who SE specifically writes. To me, he lays out a gigantic archeological digging site & invites us to put together the pieces, like the original job he was trained to do. It takes forever, but once you pieced that dinosaur together, it is pay-off time...*g*

Fron another angle: Whenever you read about him discussing the genre, you feel his frustration that the genre is generally being considered *lightweight* & only the fewest works make it into the mainstream to general literary acclaim. MBotF is his attempt to take the *lightweight* out of the genre.

What, in my view, is absolutely ironic - and I believe that SE pokes very strongly and with intent in that direction - is how conservative the fantasy genre actually is. It is supposed to be imaginative, but it is impressive how irritated large parts of the genre fans react if that *imagination* does not follow well established, easily understandable genre standards, by preference spoon fed for easy consumption...just the characteristics that give the genre its *lightweight* reputation - which is something that frustrates equally large parts of the genre fanbase.

The irony of the irony is the criticism that SE gets for simply trying to break that mold...*too complex, too confusing, he doesn´t explain anything*, etc., etc. ...kinda funny, that...
Chris Hawks
76. SaltManZ

From the Introduction to NoK:

"From the beginning of the Malazan series, I was writing to an audience of one - Cam. And he has reciprocated. Thus, the dialogue continues; only now there are others, and they are listening in. Finally, to both sides of the conversation. We hope it proves interesting."
77. Taitastigon

Well, settles THAT question...
Amanda Rutter
78. ALRutter
Okay, one thing that is surprising me a little - and I'd be willing to hear any thoughts/feedback on this:

If the Malazan Book of the Fallen is considered much harder and more in-depth than the Wheel of Time, then why is our re-read garnering less comments?

I simply cannot believe that it is because Bill and I are covering off everything!

Are there less of us? If so, get recruiting and let's invite others over here (who still might not be aware of the re-read).

Is it because Gardens of the Moon has less to comment on than future books? Again, experiencing the read myself, I would say this is incorrect, since GotM is very complicated!

What are all your thoughts?
Steven Halter
79. stevenhalter

Good question, Amanda. I'd say there are a few things going on. First, there are a lot more WoT threads out there already, so we see more posts to those. Second, there are (I think) more WoT readers in general. Third, so far we are still in the introductory stages of GotM. Things start to heat up soon, and that should result in more comments.
I haven't been following the WoT boards since I stopped reading the series after the fifth book or sixth book. So, I can't really comment on what type of posts are being made there.
Finally, I think you and Bill are doing a good job of covering the chapters so far.
a a-p
80. lostinshadow
Amanda my guess is that there are a number of reasons for my fellow WoT lovers to not be commenting here.

First, WoT has been around longer and is more easily accessible to younger readers so WoT in general does probably have a larger following.

Second, my sense (though I may be wrong about this) is that this tor site is largely dominated by North American readers and Erikson actually seems to have caught on later in the US in particular than he did in the UK. My best mate in London is the one who introduced me to the series sometime in the early 2000s. So if there really are more North Americans on this site, the readership, esp. in comparison to WoT (which caught on in N. America first) would be even smaller.

And, well I can tell you that one WoT reader at least has said he will only join the reread once he's finished reading all the available books - and well that might uhmmm well, take a while.

Finally (I feel like I'm writing a paper, it must be lingering effects of the memorandum I've been working on) as a result of the above, I think that the main difference is that everybody on the WoT reread have reall ALL the books at least once so we have no worries about spoilers whatsoever.

Many people on this reread have not yet all the books, some like you are complete newbies while others like me have read the first three then lost track and are now catching up (for instance I've only managed to read through to book 6).

I think because we haven't all read the books people are more hesitant about blatantly discussing things that happen in later books and prefer to allude to them rather than flat out discuss how events in GotM link up to things that happen say in the Bonehunters.

If this is the case, I think that as more people read ahead into the series more comments will be coming.

Also, we seem to be a serious bunch here, a lot of the WoT comments can get frivilous and we have random discussions on things absolutely non WoT related. Just wait until (american) football season or the baseball playoffs.

Hey Tek, maybe we should build a bunker here? or a warren I guess we should call it? something in the house of Shadow perhaps?

(Edit: how silly of me House of Tor of course. The Warren of Rereads affiliation as yet unknown. two kings SE and Esslemont...)

oh and we can always do a survey. WoT rereads can jack up the numbers significantly with surveys.
Gerd K
81. Kah-thurak
If you compare the number of comments that were posted within one week to your 3rd Re-Read post to the number of comments to the 3rd WoT Re-Read Post within the same time the WoT Re-Read wins out 127:117. Considering that I am pretty sure that WoT does have more readers than MBotF this is a pretty good number...
Steven Halter
82. stevenhalter
Here's a link to an interview by Steven Erikson:

I thought this part was interesting since it ties into some of the things we have said here:

Gardens was something of a romp, stamping fairly roughshod on a number of fantasy cliches and tropes that had always irritated me. I wanted intrigue but wasn't prepared to take sides. I wanted the full gamut of actors, from the frighteningly powerful to the lowest street punk, and then I wanted to push the dominos in the opposite direction because that made it more fun. And I wanted an egalitarian world (but I'll touch on that after). It was written how it had to be, a chapter in a long, elaborate conspiracy, in a world that had begun long before Page 1 and was sure to continue well past the last page.
Tricia Irish
83. Tektonica

Not to worry. Lost has the right of it. The WOT reread has been around for over a year and a half, at least, too. It started out with far fewer commenters, fewer posts than it has now and many lurkers. I myself was a lurker for several months after I found the reread, and finally worked up the courage to join in. Momentum. This will build. I'm talking up MBotF to everyone who will listen to me over at WOT.

And we do get pretty frivolous over there at times. We have all gotten familiar with each other's style and pet peeves and pet theories....that takes time. Don't worry! We love you!

I do think you guys hold back on making connections and discussing nuance because of us newbies. I know Bill and Amanda's introduction states that their commentary won't have spoilers, but that the comments in general will.

So, have at it!!! Don't hold back. Post "Spoiler Alert" at the top of a comment, if you want to, or don't. If it starts ruining things for me, I'll just read Amanda and Bill and skip the GD, but I'm one of those who doesn't mind spoilers. It in enhances my understanding. And I thank you!

Discuss Away!!!

PS: These books are so good. I would venture a guess that none of us newbies that started this reread are dawdling along with the reread pace. I'm on pg. 540 of Deadhouse Gates. This is a thrill ride!
a a-p
84. lostinshadow
@82 hey that's a great interview, thanks

and some of the Q&A on that actually go back to a question asked above about whether SE respects his readers more than your average author. Well, if this interview is anything to go by, it's not the author but the marketing people you have to worry about who thought that "the books have been too complex for US audiences (!) and it seems that once the decision was made, it proved difficult to go back on it" (that reminds me, as far as I know the Harry Potter series was also "simplified" for US audiences, which is why everyone I know got their books from the UK.
a a-p
85. lostinshadow
In that interview SE says he has been inspired by a number of cultures he studied, one of which was the Byzantine Empire. I wonder if he used Byzantium as the inspiration for Darujhistan - that's what I always imagine every time I read about it.
86. Taitastigon
Tek @83:

I guess we are a little bit shy to lay out the spoiling goods...(yet). People tend to get...iffy about that. But, re MBotF, unless you rub it explicitly into peoples´ faces who dies or not, most spoilers should not have that much impact because chances are, you won´t even understand what they mean. Heck - I am rereading & I still have to check what certain spoilers mean... ;0)

Talking about that: Notice in what highly unusual manner SE introduces the Chain of Dogs ?

Amanda @78:

-> Well, as commented - we are just starting out.
-> Smaller overall readership than WoT.
-> ...and - at least in my case - GotM is the volume that kinda interests me the least to comment on. Simply not enough going on...*cough, cough*...bring on DG !
87. Taitastigon
lost @85

Re influences/inspiration: SE is a little bit like a Quentin Tarantino to me - he darn knows his non-Tolkien fantasy stuff & how to work it in ! Now, considering that the man is a Brit in his late Fourties, he must have read the Godstalker cycle from P.C. Hodgell, at least the first volume published in the Eighties. I can´t help but get the feeling that he combindes the city building in that book with the archeological/anthropological background...
Steven Halter
88. stevenhalter
lost @85:

Probably some of the politics in Darujhistan in specific, and the Empire in general are inspired by Byzantine politics. Lot's of back stabbing back there.
a a-p
89. lostinshadow
Taitastigon@87 I haven't read the Godstalker cycle so I can't comment. would you recommend it?
90. Taitastigon
lost @89

It has been a very, very long time since I read *God Stalk* (1982) and its sequel, *Dark of the Moon* (1985). I liked the first one very much, it is pretty much self-contained & IMHO hat one of the best, most interesting fantasy city settings, but may be hard to get nowadays.

Problem is, Hodgell pulled a GRRM on the readers (here is a link, look at publishing dates:

Volume 2 is also quite interesting, even though completely different in feel from its predecessor.
Never read the rest because I didn´t know it exists...
Steven Halter
91. stevenhalter
@89--Yes, Godstalker is quite good. It's two books, Godstalk and Dark of the Moon that are now available in one volume I think. Although, now I'm feeling old to think that it was published back in the 80's. There was a long wait, 1982 - 1994 between the two volumes. But now you get the advantage of them both being done in the past, lol.
Now that I look, Dark of the Moon was finished in 1985, but was almost impossible to get until the 90's because of publishing problems. I can remember attending a reading from PC Hodgell at a Minicon in the late 80's/early 90's in which she read from Dark of the Moon, but no one could get it yet.
Matt LaRose
92. TheLegend
@78 Amanda

I think what everyone has said before about the number of comments is pretty much right. Not to mention we are still kind of in the intro phase of the reread. I think the comments will pick up as we hit the meat of the first book and beyond.
Chris Hawks
93. SaltManZ
Tait@87: Well, he's a Canadian actually, though he lives in England.

Amanda@78: (1) WoT has more readers than the MBotF by many orders of magnitude. (2) And the perceived difficulty turns so many off to the series, reread or no. (3) Part of the reason us veterans are so hesitant to discuss heavy spoilers is that those delayed reveals and piecing together of mysteries is half the fun of the series. (4) And, quite honestly, in the overall scope of things, the events of GotM aren't that important to the rest of the series anyway. Not to say that the fight for Darujhistan isn't an important part of the story, but so was Pale, and you saw how important it was to show that battle in detail. :)
94. Taitastigon
shalter @91

Darn, we ARE getting old...

I believe the long breaks did this cycle in. It is funny to see that the continuation of *DotM* came out 16 (!!) years later...- deadly, being in a time before the I-net...
95. Taitastigon
Salt @93

Drat, OK, the other way around...- but he did a previous, pre-MBotF stint in the UK, if Wikipedia is not wrong...
Tricia Irish
96. Tektonica

Chain of Dogs: pg. 500 in the paperback, after a great battle. Sobering. So sorrowful. Geez, that guy can write battles.

In order for SE to turn the Scifi/Fantasy tropes on their heads, he must be very familiar with them. While it is wonderfully refreshing and should prove energizing to the genre, it is also a kind of homage. It helps me appreciate the differences and the radical in his writing.
Steven Halter
97. stevenhalter
Yeah, there are a couple of key events that happen in GotM that have repercussions in later books. The events that I can think of that we have seen so far that cause things in other books are:

Sorry's possession.
Paran's "death" and being drawn into the affairs of gods.
The Empress' harassment of the BridgeBurners.
Crokus' getting the coin.
Tayschrenn's (possible) betrayal of the mage cadre.
The death of Nightchill.
WhiskeyJack and One arm's conversation.
The awakening of Krul.

Anyone think of other major events that have effects in later books that we have seen so far?
Chris Hawks
98. SaltManZ
Tek @96: Sobering, sorrowful battles? Just wait about...oh, 270 pages. ;)
Chris Hawks
99. SaltManZ
@97: I'd like to think that the first 3 along with the last are the really important ones (with Paran and K'rul being key.)

They all have major ramifications ("Every decision you make can change the world"!) but it's the ramifications that are important, more than the event itself. For example, in later books Crokus is important; the fact that he picked up Oponn's coin, not so much.
100. Taitastigon

270 pages ?
Wait until she gets to Capustan...;0)
101. Taitastigon
salt @99

*For example, in later books Crokus is important; the fact that he picked up Oponn's coin, not so much.*

Well, SE does love his butterfly effects. If Crokus hadn´t picked up the coin, would the rest have happened...?
Steven Halter
102. stevenhalter

That's exactly what I'm thinking. Some events are obvious and large, while others are small (like a butterfly) but end up having big effects later on.
103. Taitastigon
shalter @102

Yeah. Kimloc can sing a song about that...*g*
Steven Halter
104. stevenhalter
And the Mule can carry some seashells back to the sea.

105. MatCauthonReborn
Re the number of comments

For me, I know WoT a lot better than MBotF and would feel a lot more confident on commenting on future events.

Re important information in this book

I think the information we get about Dragnipur is very important.
106. Taitastigon
Tek @ 96

I only really noticed upon reread how he actually gets to the Chain of Dogs & it increases its impact: He does not present it from the outset, but from an *outsider´s* view, documenting the generalized mayhem in its wake. It takes him a while to get to the actual Chain & by the time that happens, you indirectly know already what these dudes are capable of. Very, VERY unusual approach !

And yeah, he knows his sh*t and loves to twist it. I am always trying to figure out who he is referencing; it is loaded ! I basically got hooked on him because I came off Glen Cook´s *Black Company* cycle and I saw SE taking over that concept straight down to the names. I was miffed about that, at very first - but SE nailed and executed his interpretation of *Black Company* in such succesful way that Cook never was able gto achieve with the original (a case of a magnificent idea too good for the writing skills of the author).
107. Taitastigon
shalter @97

If we talk Nightchill, we can add the whole Silverfox line to that.
And there will be a truckload of discussions about the Azath...
Matt LaRose
108. TheLegend
Tait @107

Truckload about the Azath might be an understatement
109. Taitastigon
TL @108

Well, what do we learn from this ? Don´t plant acorns when you shouldn´t...
Steven Halter
110. stevenhalter
Yes, we'll be getting some important info on Dragnipur before too long and an important event related to it.

Yep, the Silverfox line is where the import of Nightchill comes in.
Matt LaRose
111. TheLegend
Tait @109.

I see what you did there.

Shalter @110.

In my first few rereads I always missed the Nightchill connection and always thought it was only Tattersail.
112. Abalieno
If the Malazan Book of the Fallen is considered much harder and more in-depth than the Wheel of Time, then why is our re-read garnering less comments?

I think it's mostly because of accessibility. WoT has a much bigger fandom because it is so much more accessible and easy to get into. Younger readers can find a much better entrance, the first books are relatively straightforward, the style of writing traditional. It's a "fantasy epic" in the most strict and standard meaning of the term. Much bigger exposition to the public. Relatively easy to read at all levels (and ages).

Also consider that WoT has been Tor's own flagship for a long time, and that's why they are pushing so much Sanderson's Way of Kings: they need some kind of replacement that can aim to a large public.

Erikson's series is definitely more "niche" and requires a different kind of dedication to be appreciated. I'd say more sophisticated and peculiar. The possible target is narrower because the style of the narrative is much less traditional. It's not exactly a series you expect to reach mass culture, let's be honest. More personal, experimental, uncompromising. Not really prepared to become "comfort food". There are FAR fewer readers out there who are willingly to hold a 1000+ page book of a 10-book series AND sweat on every single page.

It's like rock climbing. Awesome, but not for everyone.

I mean, if you do a re-read of Harry Potter or the Twilight saga, and succeed in bringing that target on this site, you'd probably see the WoT re-read comment count dwarfed by those other series. Would that be because Harry Potter or Twilight are more complex than WoT? Nope, it's just that all these products, including WoT to a slightly lesser extent nowadays, have a broader appeal and have a better accessibility.

I think it's a basically absolute rule that the large public pretends strong leads in their stories. That's the only way you can hook them for longer series. Malazan breaks all rules of what can make a series popular for a broad public.

It's the price to pay to have a so extraordinary work ;)
113. Abalieno

I picked randomly one of LotR re-read articles and had 80 comments.

So does it mean that WoT is better? ;)

It really depends on trends.
Sydo Zandstra
114. Fiddler
I fully agree with Abalieno@112.

Also, WoT has been around longer, for about a decade.
WoT and Malazan cannot be compared really. They are in different leagues.

So no worries about numbers, Amanda. :)

"If you post it, they will come..."

(first to catch the reference gets a cookie :p )
115. Taitastigon
Fid @114

Malazan Field of the Dreams

starring Costna Orlong.

I want my cookie !
Sydo Zandstra
116. Fiddler
We have a winner ;)

And LOL at Costna Orlong. :D

(On a side note, I'd prefer having lower posting numbers over having posts saying 'Yay! First post! Now I am going to read.' ;) )
Bill Capossere
117. Billcap
on the lack of knowledge re Rake, I agree with many of you that the vast majority of people wouldn't know who he was due to the vast amount of time, the way information is lost or incomplete, etc. My quibble was with this select group of highly knowledgeable, curious, scholarly, power players not knowing; that seemed less likely than the local barkeep not knowing (of course, some barkeeps . . . ) But it was a minor quibble.

I'd love to say I have a nice thought-through policy on the whole spoiler issue, but I'd be lying through my keyboard. I sort of take it to where either I feel I'm not ruining some hugely delightful moment for the reader or, more often in these books, to the point where beyond which it becomes like a series of nested dolls: whereby if I reveal A, then I'll have to reveal B,then C or someone else will feel the need to, and suddenly we're 6000 pages later. Not to say that won't ever happen--it just hasn't so far (did I mention no thought-through plan?)

I think you've all correctly identified the reasons we have fewer comments here than on WoT; I'll just say I'm more than happy with the number and the quality here. I haven't popped into the WoT for some time, so I also wonder if, beside the more frivolous commentary alluded to, there is more back and forth on the actual quality of the books themselves (or at least, back and forth on the wisdom of some writerly decisions) and if that may be less likely here as most of us seem to agree w/ the craftsmanship shown by Erikson, even in this novel which has some issues due to the gap in time to the next one?

"House of Tor"--love it

God Stalk and Dark of the Moon blew me away when I first read them, wonder how they'd feel now. My past me would have absolutely recommended them, my current me not sure why or what I loved about them--just remembers the desperate desire for book two and then three.

"These books are so good. I would venture a guess that none of us newbies that started this reread are dawdling along with the reread pace."

that's my assumption as well. My hope is you all lap us and add even more depth to the discussion your second time around

"And the Mule can carry some seashells back to the sea"

seriously, how can it not be a great series when you're loving a mule as a character?

"Don´t plant acorns when you shouldn´t... "

good, very good
118. Taitastigon
Bill @117

Godstalk/, that was way back in the last millenium when I read it. By now, I remember it hazily for some extremely cool concepts that I kinda feel got fed into MBotF (e.g. gods large and small walking the streets as normal as popcorn)than the exact plotline. Dunno myself how it would hold up to a reread today. Sometimes I rather live with the legend of the first read than the reality of the reread...

Re spoilers: I am kinda starting to chill. There is SO much info that, as a neophyte, you will literally go blank at the spoilery (except for a few high level deaths) offered: I could pick up @110, take Silverfox to Nightchill, which leads on to Kallor, tying into Whiskeyjack, then the Tanno, then Raraku...and as newbie you may suspect this is a spoiler, but have no effing idea what it actually means. And this is just ONE string in a whole net of different tie-ups...
Steven Halter
119. stevenhalter
"seriously, how can it not be a great series when you're loving a mule as a character?"

Exactly, lol. And for those who think Kruppe has some odd habits, just wait for Iskaral Pust. (It'll be a while)
Hugh Arai
120. HArai
shalter@119: Pust is one of my favorites. Someone whose can manipulate you while explaining out loud how he's manipulating you? That's awesome. :)
121. Abalieno
You're forgetting that Pust manipulates by being manipulated himself. By someone who's insane.

'Shadowthrone... uh... my worthy Lord of Shadow... is thinking. Yes! Thinking furiously! Such is the vastness of his genius that he can outwit even himself!'

Amir Noam
122. Amir
Re WoT vs. MBotF:
I agree with all that was said here on the reasons that the WoT re-read has way more posts.

However, I find this relieving. I can't follow anymore the threads in the WoT blog since there are just so many of them. I don't have the time to read a almost a hundred of them a day and so I always feel that I'm missing out on some of the conversation.

In this blog, though, since we still have fewer posters, it's quite easy to follow along in the discussion and not miss anything.
Amir Noam
123. Amir
shalter@119, HArai@120, Abalieno@121:
Pust has his cute moments, but he's always annoyed me as a character.

I can't wait for the re-read to get to Tehol, though :-)
Travis Nelsen
124. Zangred
Pust annoyed me a bit at first but later on his interactions with both his wife and mule had me cracking up pretty much every scene they were in.

And I agree, can't wait for Tehol!
Gerd K
125. Kah-thurak
The scene between Shadowthrone and Pust, when he is practically given the position of "Mage of Shadows" is priceless...
126. Clairificus Rex
Arrggghhh been too long since i read this and now I have so many things I wanna add...

WoT - hmm read books 1-11, read the first few more than once, can't be stuffed to ever read again too much time for too little pay off...

Im loving the smallness of the group, Im getting to know my fellow readers, Im loving the quality of the dialouge and the intratextual reading... It is genuinely improving my experience of the best fantasy series I have ever read. (Thanx to all! :D )

I agree with Bill that if we were arguing about the quality of the writing or decisions about plot or characters we might be posting more but our respect would be lower! Instead we spend our minds and brian power on unravelling clever hints and butterfly effect puzzles... much cooler!

I can't stand Pust, he drives me crazy. BUT I love the mule!!! Love him, infact Kruppe's mule also awesome!

Id like to add to the list:

"Sorry's possession.
Paran's "death" and being drawn into the affairs of gods.
The Empress' harassment of the BridgeBurners.
Crokus' getting the coin.
Tayschrenn's (possible) betrayal of the mage cadre.
The death of Nightchill.
WhiskeyJack and One arm's conversation.
The awakening of Krul."

Nightchill and her husband in general.
Kruppe! His mystery starts now builds later.
Discussions between Lorn and Onos T'oolan.
Tattersail (added by someone else)
Also certain aspects of Darijustan (ignore sp pls)are important in TtH.

As far as spoilers go, despite having read the first 8 books many many times ( istarted reading the ninth and decided t wait and read 9 and 10 like it was one book), Im still seeing new things and I feel like I don't want to take that moment of forehead slapping awe when you realise how page 100 of book x has predicted the last half of book Y etc.

My suggestion would be, which I saw some people do earlier on at one point, is if someone really wants to know somehting they should ask in the open forum but recieve answers via private message, unless everyone wants the answer as well?

I mean veiled illusions are all very well but maybe sometimes people really do wanna know stuff outright and other times they don't wann know anything? what do u guys reckon?

P.S Im in Australia, they only publish stuff year months after Europe and the US :( and books are way more expensive :(((
Steven Halter
127. stevenhalter
Clairificus Rex@127

Those are good additions.

I agree with the non spoiling of future "epiphany" moments if we can avoid it.
a a-p
128. lostinshadow
yes, one of the best aspects of this series is that moment of "epiphany" when something from 2 books ago suddenly makes sense - so we probably should try to avoid spoiling those moments as much as possible.

and those like Tek (::waves::) who sometimes feel they just have to know something can always ask us on our shoutboxes.

Clairificus Rex@127 - the only Erikson book currently available in Turkey, where I am is the first one. Had to get my friends in the UK to bring the others to me every time they came for a visit and they were not at all amused by the size of the books.
129. Taitastigon

Yep, I think we can keep *epiphany* spoilers to a minimum.

In any case, as this progresses, we will be hard-pressed to keep track of all the ramifications and WTF-moments anyway; I think the number of posts will increase significantly over time just trying to piece this whole thing together...
Stefan Sczuka
130. moeb1us
hey there from germany.
i stumbled over this blog series early this week and now i'm kind of stuck between pure awesome-ness and groaning. I love the idea of a re-read and discussing every detail of a section, that is just what is needed. I myself can discuss the content of mbotf with a friend of mine for hours, and it's always a pleasure. But I'm not sure if I should read all the comments or not:

my concern is with some of them - not that they contain spoilers or so, but it is sometimes straining to read them. I don't want to miss things or important/interesting aspects, but some comments tend to be bloated unnecessary, repeat stuff that was mentioned again and again, are twitter-like (i'm in book x on page y and it is fun). Don't get me wrong I am new here and have no reason to troll but imho it is definitively wrong to count comments or post unnecessary stuff to raise the impression that this post has many followers or whatever. I don't care for the number of followers of WoT either. Let them have theirs, I know what I have found in Erikson. This series is a true gem. If one cannot grasp the beauty and greatness if it, so be it.
131. aaronthere
i'm just doing the reread of GotM now, and don't really expect anyone from the thread to chime in this late, but it might be nice for future rereaders who might get something from my comments.

This being my second read, i'd am struck this time by how much Oppon is influencing things in this book. The twins don't play a huge role in the series as a whole, so I had forgotten about them.

My question to other readers is this: Has anyone else made the connection between the coin tosses that seem to effect the plot of this first book so strongly, and the fact that the storyline was actually influenced by gaming, or die tosses I'm guessing (i don't game myself but i've heard that is how it is done)? Obviously not a coincidence, as fans of SE are won't to say of him in general.
I haven't seen any mention of it yet, and y'all are some pretty astute mother fuckers. I'm thoroughly enjoying the comment threads here, albeit two years too late.
Matt Hiebert
132. Blackhand
My god I love this series. I'm halfway through the second book and my bookseller said they get better as they go. I prefer these to the Game of Thrones series because they're absolutely soaked in magic. Where Martin holds back with a sprinkle of magic here and there, Erickson's system rages through the plot.
133. BigMikey
This is my first time reading this book/series, same as Amanda. I can't wait to finish this book just so I can see how I read other fantasy books following this. I feel like my mind is mutating, I am use to having a straight path with maybe three forks in the road at a time to consider, ever since I picked up this book, I have yet to feel comfortable that I know ANYTHING that is coming. Its exciting and frustrating, reminds me of girls back in high school.
Alex P. W.
134. Alex_W
Here I am again. Just finished the 7th chapter on my first read of this.

What the heck does the scene 1 summary of chapter 7 play at exactly?

"The Elder god tells Kruppe to seek out the Adjunct Lorn and Toole"? Well, may be I am somehow blind? Or I have slept reading? But I haven't read anything of this in this same scene myself. I understand, that the god tells him to seek out the T'lann Imass and the woman who will be led by them. Well, most probably this is some kind of spoiler I guess. Seems to me so far, there is no way of knowing yet, that one specificaly T'lann Imass named "Toole" is meant by this nor that the lady he will obviously lead is the Adjunct. Seems to me I'm the only one here to have catched that?

Also the Scene 3 summary for the same chapter revealed something to me I think I should not be knowing having read only so far as to the end of chapter 7. Her husband or former-husband (exist there acually divorces in Darjuhistan) is actually the drunkard Coll? Interesting.

Well, I must say, Crocus does not seem so clever after all. Giving Kruppe the coin and then beeing sent to the door to see if some merchant waggon is arriving, then coming back and finding wax on his hand after re-receiving the coin from Kruppe. Well I most certainly wouldn't have fallen for this. Even when Kruppe sent him to the door, I allready suspected that he had something in mind with that coin. First I thought to steal it somehow maybe? But when the wax was mentioned, It was absolutely clear to me what had happened. Not so subtle after all. Seriously people. If a friend of yours wants to send you away with such a stupid request, after you have handed him out something like that, would you really fall for that?

Although there was not much action going on in these two chapters, I liked them. Liked some new characters in them (Crone, for example). Like the fact, that there are set up some true mysteries for the future, which hooks me up even more. Anomander Rake is truly impressive, but I haven't figured out yet if to like him or not. After all, what are his reasons to involve himself in this battles against the Malazans and siding with the free cities? Strange thing to do, if he really cares so much about his own people on this moon of his as much as he is stating, and why show himself like this just now, after obviously not showing himself to the world for so long. Did he may be just get bored by the many many thousands of years only spending on that flying rock of his?. But I like Baruk, I like Rallick, I like Kruppe. Crokus seems to me a bit of a fool actually, who just seems to have a lot, in fact a great lot of luck so far :-). But what is to be expected, he is only 17 after all. Maybe his charakter will get better, as the story evolves.

One thing is really starting to worry me somhow. I don't like the idea, that this people, which I like so much so far in this city, may have to fight somehow against the Bridgeburners and my favourite charakter "Ganoes" now probably soon in the future. I don't want neither of them seen hurt by the other :-). Well, maybe they find a way to fight for the same cause somehow against the same evil players. I sure hope they will. But probably not, as I suspect.

Last for this post of mine, I am really wondering, after having read the comments here even more, who is in charge of that damned roadmaintenance in this city. But I might have allready some idea about that, since there are some people, who have yet to infiltrate the city right :-)? Let's find out soon, who those workers are and see if I'm right.

Bye bye


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