Wed
Aug 11 2010 1:44pm

The Malazan Re-read of the Fallen: Gardens of the Moon, Chapters 10 and 11

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 Tor.com readers. In this article, we’ll cover Chapters 10 and 11 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!

CHAPTER TEN

SCENE 1
Toc meets Paran and tells him he is a soldier of the 2nd rather than a Claw. Paran tells him Tattersail is on the way to Darujhistan and believes Lorn means to kill Whiskeyjack and his squad, though he doesn’t agree. Toc says Lorn’s mission is well beyond killing Sorry and that the Bridgeburners days are numbered which will lead to mutiny and civil war. Paran decides to go to Darujhistan and Toc says he’ll go with him.

SCENE 2
Tattersail is travelling by warren but something is deadening her magic. She finally exits the warren on the Rhivi Plain and finds Bellurdan, sent by Tayschrenn to intercept her. He tells her it was Tool’s Elder magic power that created a magical dead space. Tattersail asks Bellurdan what Tayschrenn sent him to Genabaris for and he tells her it was to seek an ancient Jaghut text Gothos’ Folly to learn about the entombment of a Jaghut tyrant near Darujhistan. She realizes Lorn’s task is to free the Jaghut, but Bellurdan argues they’re most likely trying to prevent that. They ready to fight and Tattersail opens her warren fully withinin the Imass’ area of influence, which consumes her and Bellurdan, though just before doing so she gets an idea from noting her own spell of preservation on the sack Bellurdan still carries with Nightchill’s remains.

SCENE 3
Tool and Lorn, from a distance, witness a pillar of fire, a mixture of many warrens. When the fire dies, Tool says its source was destroyed but something also born.

SCENE 4
Crone flies into Brood’s camp. Brood wears an enormous hammer reeking of power. They discuss tactics and the power on the Rhivi Plain from last night that all sensed. Crone tells him of Oponn’s meddling and that she knows the Coin Bearer. Brood decides to protect the Coin Bearer and try to prevent a confrontation between Rake and the Empire that would destroy Darujhistan. Brood leaves Kallor in charge, who mutters under his breath that Brood should destroy Rake and that would be his “last warning” to him (Brood does not hear it).

SCENE 5
Toc and Paran approach the scene of the fire. They find Tattersail and Bellurdan’s bodies embraced and charred. Toc notes small tracks leading away, tracks that appeared to have been made mostly by bone feet. Paran decides Tattersail’s death was Tayschrenn and Lorn’s doing. As they exit, Toc, as he has before, notes a powerful itch in his blinded eye.

SCENE 6
Crone flies over the Rhivi Plain and sees bursts of power. Arriving, she receives a report from another great raven who tells her a shape-shifter puppet arrived on the plain via warren and has killed two ravens. Investigating, she is almost killed by Hairlock’s chaos magic then flies off to inform Rake.

SCENE 7
Lorn and Tool watch the interaction between Hairlock and the ravens and Tool tells her whatever creature is using Elder magic (Hairlock), it appears to be tracking them. He tells her a convergence is happening and that power draws power, something the Jaghut and Forkrull Assail knew (the two founding races besides the Imass), though the lesson has escaped the Imass and humanity.

Amanda’s reaction to Chapter Ten:
Kallor? Who is Kallor? Has he been mentioned before? I guess now is time for another confession in terms of my personal reading habits: I really do have a memory like a sieve. If I have a large cast of characters to deal with, then those of lesser importance or who have only been mentioned a couple of times will be lost. And then I experience moments like this where I can’t be sure whether I’ve already met a character! Frustrating! And certainly makes for numerous re-reads of those long-running fantasy series whenever a new volume comes out so that I am able to follow the action in the new book...

Here I’m guessing that we haven’t yet encountered Kallor—but, hell, I want to! The T’lan Imass are an ancient race yet this guy has been around for countless years more... “I have spread the fire of my wrath across entire continents, and sat alone on tall thrones.” Just, wow! And how revealing that Caladan Brood is a step above this guy—man, do I want to get to know him properly as well!

Has to be said, so far Gardens of the Moon is both chockful of absolutely stunning, vibrant characters that you just want to read more and more about, and heavy with hints about future characters that will also steal our hearts and fill our thoughts. Erikson’s characterisation is just excellent.

We open with Toc, who is in Pale—again, we join the action which has been occurring in our absence: Toc has received instructions to travel to a particular inn, the Vimkaros Inn. Who instructed him and for what reason will undoubtedly become clear as the chapter progresses, but Erikson likes to keep us thinking just for the moment!

Gosh, I know my head is full of this tale to the point of struggling, because I wondered whether Toc had been in Pale before... Yep, I actually confused Pale and Darujhistan!

“Toc suspected the peace between the two men would not last.” Since Dujek and Tayschrenn have “mutually exclusive responsibilities,” I would assume that Toc’s thought is an understatement.

“The less noticed he made himself the better, as far as he was concerned.” I would assume that, as a Claw, this would be Toc’s constant aim! I’m not sure why even ranking Claws would make themselves known considering their use to the Empire as assassins and spies. Is there a specific reason why they would become known to all and sundry?

Did Toc hear about Paran’s death? If he did, that is one deadpan reaction to seeing Paran alive and well! *grin* And what about Paran’s curious message to Toc—does this have hidden meanings apart from the obvious fact of Paran’s death? “A gentleman will soon join you who has been out of his depth yet not aware of it. He is, now.”

I like the fact that Toc reconfirms his loyalty to the Second Army:

“Tell me, Toc the Younger, am I speaking to a Claw, or to a soldier of the Second?

Toc’s eye narrowed. Thay’s a tough question.

Is it? Paran asked, his gaze intense and unwavering.

Toc hesitated, then grinned again. Hood’s Breath, no, it damn well isn’t! All right, Captain, welcome to the defunct Second, then.”

But I can see—especially when Paran asks questions to him as a Claw—that this could become a very conflicted position for him, with these mixed loyalties.

There is a quick build of trust between Paran and Toc—built, I think, because of their mutual association with Tattersail:

“Captain,” Toc’s expression was grim, “the days of the Bridgeburners are numbered. Whiskeyjack’s name is damn near sacred among Dujek’s men. This is something of which I couldn’t convince the Adjunct—in fact she seems to think the opposite—but if the sergeant and the Bridgeburners are eliminated, this army won’t be pulled back in line, it will mutiny. And the Malazan Empire will be up against High Fist Dujek with not a single commander who can match him. The Genabackan Campaign will disintegrate, and civil war may well sweep into the heart of the Empire.”

I just don’t see two people who don’t trust each other saying anything to this level of detail about the situation in the Malazan Empire.

I like the way that Erikson does tie up some loose-ish ends, or, rather, reveal a few bits that we were mostly sure of: here he shows that Tattersail “distracted” Paran—this romance really is occurring between the lines—and Tattersail let slip that Paran’s connection to Lorn has been severed.

And do you know something that just came to me: Malazan Book of the Fallen reminds me in some ways of Lost. Lots of theories coming through, a few minor plotlines resolved, but the overall arc kept secret until the final denoument. Agree? Disagree?

And we move viewpoints to Tattersail:

“She travelled a Warren of High Thyr and not even Tayschrenn possessed the ability to assail it...”

Is this another indication of just how powerful Tattersail is? “The power that opposed her was pervasive, and it deadened her sorcery.” Lorn? Tool? Hairlock? I have these few names but I’ve been wrong in my theories before!

Here is an indication that something we discussed before might be true—wherever events of chance take place, Oponn might be taking a direct hand in events:

“She entertained once again the suspicion that an outside force had acted upon her, severing her from the Deck. The first distraction had come from Captain Paran, and while it had been pleasant, she reminded herself that Paran belonged to Oponn.”

The fact that she has been separated from her Deck sounds rather ominous—or is she just becoming paranoid, what with the situation?

Ah, it does appear to be Tool’s magic that has affected Tattersail’s Warren:

“The T’lan Imass who accompanies the Adjunct has created around them a dead space. Our sorcery is devoured by the warrior’s Eldering powers.”

Also, is it just me or is Bellurdan really damn creepy? It is chilling the way he says so calmly, if with regret, that he has to kill Tattersail.

Bellurdan also makes an interesting point, which I think we have touched upon in our discussions:

Bellurdan spread his hands wider and said, in a pained voice, “I will never betray you, Tattersail. The High Mage commands both of us. How can there be betrayal?”

We discussed the fact that it is hard to draw up sides in this conflict. After all, technically Paran, Tattersail, Tayschrenn, Dujek, Whiskeyjack, Lorn, even Laseen are all on the same side—all fighting for the might of the Malazan Empire against those externally who would destroy it. So, Bellurdan wouldn’t be betraying Tattersail if Tayschrenn ordered her death for the good of the Empire. But we think he is definitely betraying her. Hard to know where those lines are drawn.

This short exchange between Tattersail and Bellurdan is another one of those confusing ones, with plenty of information given to us but not all of it immediately understandable right now. We speak again of Gothos’ Folly, which has come up a few times previously; we hear that Bellurdan has Jaghut blood, but that Gothos would deny this, we learn of the burial of a Jaghut Tyrant, “a burial that was in fact a prison.” It is not completely clear whether Tattersail is correct about Lorn and Tool heading to the prison to free this Tyrant.

Hmm, neat little foreshadowing:

A spell. My own spell. She recalled now: a gesture of compassion, a spell of... preservation. Is this my way out? Hood’s breath, is it even possible? She thought of Hairlock, the journey from the dying body to a lifeless...vessel. Shedenul, have mercy on us...

Now, is Tattersail thinking of trying the same spell that Quick Ben did to move Hairlock into the puppet? Is she thinking of using Nightchill’s body to reside in? If so, how does she have the power to accomplish this? I thought that the spell was as a result of Elder magic? Curious...

And now we see the reactions of Lorn and Tool, having seen the magical effects of the battle between Tattersail and Bellurdan—it leads to an interesting exchange:

“Do you recognise the Warren, Tool?”

“Warrens, Adjunct. Tellann, Thyr, Denul, D’riss, Tennes, Thelomen Toblakai, Starvald Demelain...”

“Starvald Demelain, what in Hood’s Name is that?”

“Elder.”

“I thought there were but three Elder Warrens, and that’s not one of them.”

“Three? No, there were many, Adjunct, all born of one. Starvald Demelain.”

Lorn wrapped her cloak tighter about herself, eyes on the column of fire. “Who could manage such a conjuring?”

“There was one...once. Of worshippers there are none left, so he is no more. I have no answer to your question, Adjunct.”

Is this K’rul, the Elder God who has been awoken, stepping into the fray?

“...the source is indeed destroyed. But something has also been born. I sense it, a new presence.” So is this Tattersail being successful in her rebirth to Nightchill’s body?

And a sinister but intriguing final few words from Tool:

“Life is fire [...] With such words was born the First Empire. The Empire of Imass, the Empire of Humanity.” The warrior turned to the Adjunct. “You’ve done well, my child.”

Finally we meet Caladan Brood face to face—and he seems more burly than I was imagining him to be when I just heard the briefest mentions of him from other characters. He and Crone throw a few names and places at us that we haven’t heard about yet—just goes to show that just when you settle into the characters in the book, Erikson shows he isn’t done with adding in new viewpoints or situations. It is interesting to hear about the Crimson Guard but right now we have no real knowledge about them or allegiance: Erikson is laying those bricks again though:

“Why not drive northward?” Crone asked. “Prince K’azz could liberate the Free Cities over the winter.”

“The Prince and I agree on this,” Brood said. “He stays where he is.”

“Why?” Crone demanded.

Brood grunted. “Our tactics are our business.”

And it does sound as though there is history aplenty between Anomander Rake and Caladan Brood:

“Rake’s disdain for everything beneath him has left us stumbling and flat on our faces one time too many,” Brood said. He glanced at Crone and raised a hairless eyebrow. You’re scattering my armies. Stop it.

Crone stopped pacing and squatted. Once again, she sighed, Caladan Brood the Great Warrior seeks the bloodless way. Rake gets that coin and he’ll pull Oponn right in and spit the Lord and Lady on that lovely sword of his. Imagine the chaos that would ensue—a wonderful ripple that could topple gods and deluge realms.

It seems as though Crone is working for both Rake and Brood, but I’m deeply confused about all of this and a little help wouldn’t go amiss, especially when I read something like:

If only Rake wasn’t even more stingy than you, Crone said, as she hopped towards the doorway, my spying skills would be used on you instead of on him.

The freedom that is death, a freedom denied me.” Well, okay, I have to say that I hadn’t considered the implications for Paran about being put back in life by a god—is he now immortal? Can he not die? Feeling more and more sorry for him, especially since he has now lost Tattersail after such a brief snatch of time together. Even if she is still alive, it won’t be in any recognisable form, I wouldn’t have thought.

And Paran is NOT happy!

“...Lorn’s taken her from me, just like she’s taken everything else.” [...] Paran’s hand unconsciously gripped the pommel of his sword. “That heartless bitch has a lot coming to her, and I mean to deliver it.”

Oh, and another hint here that Brood and Rake are not playing well together:

“This was something Anomander Rake must know of, never mind Caladan Brood’s instructions that the Tiste Andii lord be kept ignorant of almost everything.”

To finish Chapter Ten (and Book Three) I’m just going to pull out these sentences which I think will prove enlightening:

“The Adjunct paused to test her shoulder tentatively. It was healing quickly. Perhaps the injury had not been as severe as she’d first thought.”

Bill’s reaction to Chapter Ten:
Ah, Kallor. We’ll learn much, much more about him and his long, long history. He is, by the way, not exaggerating in that opening declaration. And you’ve got to love after all that pompous self-aggrandizement how sharply and concisely Brood takes him down. But as far as this chapter goes, his last few acts/lines tell us a lot about him: recalling his past advice to Brood to betray his ally Anomander Rake, waiting for Brood to leave before saying Brood will “rue” dismissing Kallor’s advice, and his final threat: “consider that my last warning,” only voiced once Brood has gone out of sight.

I have to say as well, it’s when you say “hints about future characters that will also steal our hearts” that I really envy you your first trip through here. Can I get a Beak from anyone? Anyone? Oh, so many great characters you’re going to meet...

Wow, you really want to open that door with Lost? Danger Will Robinson! Danger! I can see how one might make that connection with the complexities of plot and character, and the idea, as you say, of smaller plot lines being resolved while larger ones march onward. But as someone who thought season one of Lost was one of the best single seasons of television in the past few decades (and the next few seasons some of the worst writing on TV), I’ll offer up my opinion that Erikson blows Lost away because he knows where he’s going and how he’s getting there while it quickly became apparent the same was not true of Lost’s writers. I’ll let it rest there (oh, I could rant and rant, believe me), though I’m sure we’ll pick this up in the comments section!

The clue that it was Tool deadening Tattersail’s magic (revealed quickly enough by Bellurdan) is that “mustiness that reminded her of unearthed tombs.” Note too that bricklaying as Bellurdan warns her about what would happen were she to open her warren fully (BTW—this T’lan Imass ability is pretty much limited to GoTM I believe—anyone else?) Also, if you recall, in Chapter Nine Tattersail told Paran that were she to try to open her warren in her then-current state, she’d be “consumed to ashes.”

Another interesting tidbit that gets tossed into the conversation between Tattersail and Bellurdan is that the Jaghut Tyrant (who will play a major role) was imprisoned by other Jaghut, “for such a creature was as abominable to them as it was to Imass.” It’s a line to file away and pull out to mull over every time we hear about the Imass’ “nth” war with the Jaghut from the Imass point of view.

That list of warrens is indeed informative and you’re right, K’rul does involve himself in that birthing, as you’ll see. And Tattersail is reborn as you guessed as well, though not finally into Nightchill’s body.

It’s interesting you read the “fire is life, life is fire” exchange as “sinister” Amanda. I didn’t take it that way at all. I took the “fire is life” aspect, and its relation to the beginning of the First Empire, in the sense of fire as the symbol of civilization (as in Prometheus) with all it brings to the table: the expansion of time (no longer is night unavailable), the expansion of space (no longer does one have to migrate with warmer weather or crouch hiding from predators frightened of fire), the expansion of tool use: fire hardened tools and weapons, alloys, etc. and so on. And the “life is fire” I took as passion, energy, but also quick-burning for humanity. Though thinking about it more I can see “life is fire” as destructive (and Erikson will get into that in later volumes—the way we destroy as we grow or progress) so I guess it can turn sinister.

As for the Crimson Guard, we’ll hear much more of them and see several up close and personal, but the real exploration of them will take place when we look at Esslemont’s Return of the Crimson Guard. A few other lines just to note in that scene with Brood: the powerful “earth magic” bleeding from his command tent while Brood is in it and the description of him as like “a shaping of stone and iron...” both of which don’t tell you much here but prepare you for further information. And you also get a quick note as to how the Malazans are doing against the Guard with a tossed off “entrenchments once held by Malazans and now marking Brood’s front lines.” Finally, note how Brood waits for Crone to be out of sight before calling for Kallor: he and Rake do not get along, to put it mildly.

Paran’s abilities will become more apparent to both reader and Paran himself as he feels his way through what he is and what he will eventually become. With regard to feeling sorry he’s lost Tattersail, you’ve already noted that Tattersail appears to have been reborn, something confirmed by several people: Tool, Toc, Brood. So has Paran really “lost” her? We’ll see...

CHAPTER ELEVEN

SCENE 1
In his dreamscape, back at the “very beginning of things,” Kruppe meets Pran Chole, a Bonecaster of the Kron Tlan. Pran tells Kruppe that their wars against the Jaghut continue, with the Jaghut dwindling and in retreat; that the Forkrul Assail have vanished, that the K’chain Che’Malle are no more, that the T’lan are over hunting the herds. And also that they are about to perform the Rite of Imass, which will make the mortal T’lan into the undead and near-immortal T’lan Imass.

They are joined by a pregnant Rhivi women who tells them that the Tellann Warren of present day has birthed a child in a confluence of sorceries (Tattersail’s sorcery) and its soul needs a vessel. She says K’rul will help and he is using Kruppe’s dreamscape because Kruppe has somehow made his “soul immune” to interference from the Younger Gods. The child’s soul will be born a Soletaken (shapeshifter), akin to the T’lan Imass bonecasters. Tattersail appears in a horribly wrecked body and is informed of what they will attempt. K’rul appears and advises Kruppe that what the Malazans want isn’t necessarily clear and also warns Kruppe that Lorn and Tool approach the city with “destructive” purposes and that Kruppe should seek knowledge of them but not directly oppose them as others will do so. Tattersail is reborn via the Rhivi woman and when Pran bemoans that he won’t see the child grown to womanhood, K’rul tells him he will, in 300,000 years.

SCENE 2
Kruppe hears a Malazan curse from the roadworkers outside of Baruk’s home.

SCENE 3
Sorry tells Whiskeyjack that Kruppe, now walking away, is “vital” and possibly a Seer. The Malazans continue to plant mines under the roads as Whiskeyjack thinks about Sorry’s eeriness, her cold murderousness and feeling of being “old” and then thinks as well how she is a mirror to what he feels himself becoming—inhuman. He tries to hold up against despair for his men.

SCENE 4
Crokus visits his uncle Mammot, who is writing a history of Darujhistan. Mammot tells him of the battles between the Jaghut and Imass and that a Jaghut’s barrow is rumored to lie in the hills near Darujhistan.

SCENE 5
Sorry, following Kruppe, tries to get hold of herself after Whiskeyjack’s use of the word “Seer” had blossomed in her head, awakening a presence that is now losing a battle inside her, to the sound of a child weeping. She names herself “Cotillion” and soon buries the other presence, then continues after Kruppe, whom she considers dangerous, and, “all that is dangerous, she told herself, must die.”

SCENE 6
Kruppe wanders the market casting spells to steal food, then enters the Phoenix Inn.

SCENE 7
Sorry kills a sort of lookout outside the Inn then goes inside.

SCENE 8
Crokus finds the dead body.

SCENE 9
Crokus enters and tells everyone of the murder. He figures out Sorry did it as Sorry figures out he’s the Coinbearer (when he pays for his ale).

SCENE 10
Kalam meets Quick Ben and tells him he’s had no luck contacting the local assassins who have gone to ground. They discuss a plan of Quick Ben’s that will attempt to get a lot of Ascendants involved, though that’s usually something to avoid at all costs.

SCENE 11
Kruppe, Crokus, Coll, Rallick, and Murillio are together at the Inn and they discuss rumors of an alliance with Moon’s Spawn and that it is home to “five black dragons.”

SCENE 12
Quick Ben travels via warren to Shadowthrone’s realm and hears the baying of Hounds.

Amanda’s reaction to Chapter Eleven:
The little poem by Ibares the Hag seems to be fairly clear, highlighting Oponn. If this is true, and I haven’t been tripped up by alternative meanings, then I must reflect on how far I’ve come in 350 odd pages. We’re pretty much at the halfway stage of Gardens of the Moon at the start of Chapter Eleven, and my initial gropings towards meanings at poems near the beginning of the novel were meagre stabs in the dark. Now, at least, I am able to make a better stab at what is being spoken about—and, I have to say, I wouldn’t have this base of knowledge if I had read the book at my normal reading speed without pausing to ponder and make comments.

Having stated that so proudly, the second poem defeats me! The mention of the masons reminds me of the Deck that Tattersail did, though.

And we kick the new book and the new chapter off with another visit to Kruppe on one of his dreams. “He held his hands over the flickering, undying hearth that had been stoked by an Elder God. It seemed an odd gift, but he sensed a significance to it.” And he doesn’t like not knowing the significance!

I might be wrong here, but I think that each time Kruppe enters the dream the sky is showing a different flux of colour, this time a green “almost luminescent though no moon had risen to challenge the stars.” I wonder whether this reflects the new players in the game, or Warren colours—it is definitely related to magic and to the situation in Darujhistan. It also sounds as though Kruppe enters the dream without conscious choice.

Kruppe has indeed traveled far in this dream, which is being used by K’rul. We learn that Kruppe’s mind is unassailable by the younger gods; I think this amply demonstrates his power. He has traveled “To the beginning and to the end...” to a place where he meets a member of the Tlan race which became the T’lan Imass:

“We are the Tlan, but soon the Gathering comes, and so shall be voiced the Rite of Imass and the Choosing of the Bone Casters, and then shall come the sundering of flesh, of time itself. With the Gathering shall be born the T’lan Imass, and the First Empire.”

So the Tlan chose to become the Undead warriors? Although in the previous chapter, Lorn mused a little on the T’lan Imass:

Before meeting Tool she had generally thought of them as undead, hence without a soul, the flesh alone animated by some external thought. But now she wasn’t so sure.

You would make of this child, born of Imass powers, a Soletaken.” They have to be talking about Tattersail—it appears that K’rul has now stepped in to ensure that Tattersail achieves some sort of humanity again, even as a shapeshifter.

Ha, I love the gentle humour of Kruppe’s sections—as where he congratulates himself on his charms, since he manages to encourage the abomination to follow him!

An explanation of sorts:

“Within you is the past,” Pran said. “My world. You know the present, and the Rhivi offers you to the future. In this place all is merged. The flesh you wear has upon it a spell of preservation, and in your dying act you opened your Warren within the influence of Tellann. And now you wander within a mortal’s dream. Kruppe is the vessel of change. Permit us to aid you.”

In recompense for using him, K’rul offers Kruppe knowledge. But how much does K’rul know, having been only recently reborn? Is the knowledge that he offers going to be biased, so that it will achieve the aims he has?

I absolutely love the exchanges between Kruppe and K’rul actually—they are vibrant and humorous. I like this response to where Kruppe asks how much Tattersail will remember of her previous life:

“Unknown,” K’rul replied. “Soul-shifting is a delicate thing. The woman was consumed in a conflagration. Her soul’s first flight was carried on wings of pain and violence. More, she entered another ravaged body, bearing its own traumas. The child that is born will be like no other ever seen. Its life is a mystery, Kruppe.”

I notice that the white fox tattoo has gone, and the child is birthed “furred in silver,” although “the fur sloughed away.”

Oh, and this little discussion is simply priceless!

“I am saddened, Pran said, “that I may not return in twenty years to see the woman this child shall become.

“You shall, K’rul said in a low tone, “but not as a T’lan. As a T’lan Imass Bone Caster.

The breath hissed between Pran’s teeth. “How long? he asked.

“Three hundred thousand years, Pran Chole of Cannig Tol’s Clan.

Kruppe laid a hand on Pran’s arm. “You’ve something to look forward to, he said.

[Bill’s interjection: He knows when to leaven scenes with humor, for sure.] Brilliant! And also adds mystery to the link between the Tlan (or T’lan—it was spelled both ways in this section; guess that might be a GotMism, and corrected in future editions) and the T’lan Imass. It seems as though T’lan from the past are drawn through to the future to become T’lan Imass. Am I way out? [Bill’s interjection: Yes if you think that’s why they’re still around hundreds of thousands of years later—that they were “drawn through” as in “brought forward”—they have lived through all those years.]

And terrible puns! “For a time there, Oponn’s power had waxed considerably.”

*grins* I finally get all your sniggers [Bill’s interjection: Nice sniggers, though!] about who is mending the road against Baruk’s residence. And I confess to feeling rather silly for not realising sooner—but the timelines are slightly off, being as we saw the Bridgeburners ready to enter Darujhistan after we’d seen Baruk thinking about the road workers. Is this usual? This loose attitude to timelines?

Although Sorry is aware of many things, she seems to have misread the sheer importance of Kruppe: “No. He works for the alchemist. Not a servant. A spy, perhaps. His skills involve thievery, and he possesses...talent.” He might have this attributes, but he is also so much more than this. And why does Sorry fear Seers so badly? [Bill’s interjection: If you remember when Sorry was possessed, the woman with her was a seer. A question to ask is whether her response to seers is Sorry’s or Dancer’s.]

Dear God, I do love the Bridgeburners—so funny!

Trotts was swinging his pick as if on a battlefield. Stones flew everywhere. Passers-by ducked, and cursed when ducking failed. Hedge and Fiddler crouched behind a wheelbarrow, flinching each time the Barghast’s pick struck the street.

This and the remainder of the same passage is just so endearing.

Sentences like this actually strike me as a little bit clumsy for Steven Erikson—I expect to see this sort of heavy hint from a lesser author who doesn’t have as much careful consideration for their words:

“Something nagged at the back of Whiskeyjack’s mind but he dismissed it.”

I mean, we’re not given anything else—I don’t think—to even start guessing at what this must be, and it makes it too obvious a pointer that we need to watch out for this.

Ha, how cool are the Bridgeburners as well:

“Planting mines ain’t going to be easy,” Fiddler had pointed out, “so we do it right in front of everyone’s nose. Road repairs.”

Whiskeyjack shook his head. True to Fiddler’s prediction, no one had yet questioned them.

I love hearing about characters from the perspective of other characters—particularly someone as mysterious and chilling as Sorry. Here are Whiskeyjack’s thoughts:

He could look at her and part of him would say: “Young, not displeasing to the eye, a confidence that makes her magnetic.” While another part of his mind snapped shut. Young? He’d hear his own harsh, pained laugh. Oh, no, not this lass. She’s old. She walked under a blood-red moon in the dawn of time, did this one.

Whiskeyjack’s terror is almost palpable. What occurs to me is this is the first time we’ve really heard anything about Sorry’s appearance since she was a poor fishergirl, and the fact that she is alright to look at sits uneasily with the fact she is possessed. I can’t even comprehend her looking nice. It is the nature of evil that it should be cloaked and hooded and walk in shadows, obviously, otherwise how would we ever be able to identify it? *laughs*

Wow, Whiskeyjack is falling apart at the seams here: seeing in Sorry a reflection of his soul, since he will be sending people to their deaths. I really feel for him, because he is in reality worlds away from Sorry—he feels, he cares, he knows he has to earn and keep the trust of his squad.

When he had looked upon Sorry at Greydog, the source of his horror lay in the unveiling of what he was becoming: a killer stripped of remorse [...] In the empty eyes of this child, he’d seen the withering of his own soul. [...] And yet his friends might die - there, he’d finally called them what they were [...] The roll-call of shattered lives seemed unending.

We’ve already seen numerous examples of these shattered lives: Sorry herself, Lorn, Tattersail, Paran, virtually everyone we’ve met in Gardens of the Moon has been damaged by the course of war.

These headaches of Whiskeyjack’s—due to stress, or because of something more supernatural?

Mammot has a flying monkey! How could I have missed that before? Actually, it occurs to me that, despite the world-building being pretty strong, we’re not hearing much about the flora and fauna of the Malazan Empire and surrounding places. I quite like this, find it refreshing—in other fantasy series, we stop and observe (along with the characters) interesting animals and birds that they would have encountered many times, but regard in detail so that the author can lovingly describe them.

This is a rather cute piece of writing:

Mammot leaned forward and poured tea. “Lad, a thief must be sure of one thing—his concentration. Distractions are dangerous.”

Crokus glanced up at his uncle. “What have you been writing all these years?” he asked suddenly, gesturing at the desk.
Surprised, Mammot picked up his cup and sat back.

A real neat little distraction from Crokus towards his uncle there!

Darujhistan was “born on a rumour” which is an intriguing way to say it. Turns out that Darujhistan came into being thanks to people searching for the lost Jaghut barrow—the same one, presumably, that Lorn is now heading for. So, if the barrow wasn’t found all that long time ago now, what makes Lorn think that she can find it? What extra knowledge does she have? The information from Tayschrenn? The presence of Tool? [Bill’s interjection: Yes and yes.]

“So the Krussail vanished, the Jhag were defeated. What happened to the third people, then? The ones who won? Why aren’t they here instead of us?”

Mammot opened his mouth to reply, then stopped, reconsidering.

Crokus’s eyes narrowed. He wondered what Mammot had been about to reveal, and why he’d chosen not to reveal it.

Mammot set down his cup. “No one is certain what happened to them, Crokus, or how they became what they are today. They exist, sort of, and are known, to all who have faced the Malazan Empire, as the T’lan Imass.”

Handy little potted history—although I suspect this isn’t the full story [Bill’s interjection: Ohhh no], and probably doesn’t tell us what really happened from the perspective of each race. I’d like to know whether Mammot actually said what he’d thought about originally, or if his reconsideration brought about different words.

Poor Sorry! For the first time we’re given a slight insight into what it must feel like to have so many conflicting characters in her head:

“I am Cotillion,” she heard herself murmur, “Patron of Assassins, known to all as the Rope of Shadow.” The weeping grew fainter.

“The Seer is dead.”

A part of her mind cried out at that, while another asked, What seer?

What a fantastic passage showing the colour and cultures clashing in Darujhistan! I enjoyed reading the descriptions—you can almost smell the marketplace, see the livestock being sold, hear the cacophony of noise. And then we see Kruppe performing his own particular brand of magic, which amuses me no end. So often we see mighty mages using their powers during titanic struggles. And here instead we see a rotund little man stealing food. *grin* And then immediately we are forced to once again reassess Kruppe and remind ourselves that he is far more than meets the eye:

The fat little man was a wonder. She’d seen enough of his exquisite ballet to recognise him as an Adept. Yet she felt confused, for the mind behind the man’s facade hinted at capacities far greater then those he’d shown.

Gosh, it is shocking how easily Sorry kills the guard at the Phoenix Inn. [Bill’s interjection: ’Course, it helps soften our reaction that he is planning on raping her.]

Who are Meese and Irilta really? Why are they so keen to help Sorry? Will I ever get past this feeling that every new character introduced is much more than what they originally seem?

Alright, so this style of reread makes me frustrated at times—where I’m sure if I was just reading without taking notes it would feel much smoother. Like here, for example, I noted the fact that Crokus eyes Sorry and then his face whitens as his gaze moves down her body, but wasn’t really sure why until approximately seven paragraphs and another page later where it is revealed that he has seen the blood on her hands. So, you must excuse me, if sometimes I mention items where you know for sure that a couple of pages later it will all be revealed, but I will try to keep them to a minimum!

“A likely lad,” Meese said. “Me and Irilta, we look out for him, right?”

Sorry leaned against the bar, her eyes on the tankard in her hand. She’d have to play this very carefully. That burst of Shadow sorcery, responding to the Coin’s influence, had been entirely instinctive.

“Right, Meese,” she said. “No worries on that count. OK?”

And here we have Meese threatening Sorry as well—either Meese has no idea who Sorry is, or knows who Sorry is and doesn’t care—I really am curious about this little duo now...

We stop briefly with Quick Ben and Kalam as they try to search out assassins—we’re obviously seeing the fallout here of the fact that assassins have been dying to an unknown source in Darujhistan; (not so unknown if you remember they dropped from above) those remaining are now hiding. It is amusing to me that the Daru assassins wonder if they’re being taken out by members of the Claw, while Quick Ben and Kalam think that the City Council might be behind it.

Wow, Quick Ben’s plan seems to involve drawing the sharks deliberately—he says: “The more Ascendants we can lure into the fray the better.”

“Five black dragons!” In Moon Spawn? How does Coll know? Bring on the dragons!

Bill’s reaction to Chapter Eleven:
You’re right the first poem deals with the coin of Oponn, but it also has some play on words with Crokus’ dream to get “Chalice”—a noblewoman “made for gems” (which Crokus is not).

Away for a moment from the interpretation/analysis aspect of these posts and just a note on Erikson’s writing craft, something we don’t want to just put aside in favor of plot/meaning. You’ll see a lot of times when Erikson moves us fluidly from chapter to chapter or scene to scene by repetition of images or language. As here, where we move from Chapter Ten with the lines “fire is life/life is fire” hanging in our heads to Kruppe holding his hands over a “gift” of fire. I’m not sure a reader picks up on these consciously, but I like to think they smooth and enhance the reading on a subconscious level. A page later, of course, we get the blatant literal repetition as Pran Chole repeats the fire/life lines.

Other times, more I think for emphasis of plot/theme rather than for structural fluidity/cohesiveness, we get more direct repetition, as when Pran Chole repeats the fire/life lines or K’rul warns Kruppe that “power attracts power,” an almost exact mirror of Tool’s words to Lorn a few pages back and Quick Ben’s (“power draws power”) a few pages later. “Convergence” will be emphasized again and again (you know, until we finally get a, well, convergence).

And then, in the usual fashion, the accretion of more detail with regard to back history (in this case on the elder races); sometimes we get more knowledge and sometimes we just get reminded of details so they don’t end up so far in the reading background that we completely forget them.

I think that while we often hear how “difficult” Erikson is, this chapter shows us that perhaps what we call “difficult” or “complex” is in many places merely our own impatience. A common technique (albeit perhaps not common enough for some) in the books is a full explanation coming shortly after something that had been previously wholly mysterious: what happened to Tattersail, for example, is answered in this chapter in quite clear, expository fashion. I wonder if in recalling books we read so long ago we forget how so many “frustrating mysteries” or “WTF Just Happened” are so clearly and quickly resolved. BTW, mixed into that explanation regarding Tattersail are a few hints of upcoming reveals: Pran Chole telling the others when he looks at Tattersail, “I see the effects of the Imass upon her. But there is more” and then later, “the child drew from me power beyond my control.”

I agree with you Amanda on the clumsiness of that Whiskeyjack line: “something nagged at the back of Whiskeyjack’s mind but he dismissed it.” You actually do have all the information you need to figure it out, but the line doesn’t add anything to that info save that it has to do with their plans, which we’re already seeing in action. So it’s not merely superfluous, but intrusive. I felt the scene with Baruk and Crokus sometime later in the chapter is equally clumsy, though for different reasons. I’m always leery of “lecture” scenes, where one character suddenly feels the sudden need to “instruct” another character i.e. the reader and this scene felt a bit forced to me.

But those annoyances are swept away by that powerful scene inside Whiskeyjack’s head as we bear witness to his grief, strength, sacrifice, and the stakes at hand. Beyond our further bonding with WJ the character, through him, again, Erikson refuses to let the reader distance him/herself from the deaths that will ensue in this series. And not just from the singular deaths but the ripples that spread outward from those deaths—every literal death resulting in a series of little metaphorical deaths; every life lost resulting in less of a life for the survivors: the wives, husbands, children, parents.

The scene inside Sorry’s head fills in a bit more on the earlier question you asked, Amanda, about why she is so afraid of seers. And how heartbreaking is that “weeping of a child”? Made more heartbreaking by it being heard only “faintly.” (Erikson uses children in powerful fashion throughout the series and it never feels exploitative or manipulative). Think too of how her battle here echoes so many other characters. Her self is utterly subsumed by Cotillion in this scene, similar to how Lorn subsumes herself into the Adjunct, how Whiskeyjack walks the edge of loss of self into Sergeant, how Tool and the T’lan Imass subsume themselves into vengeance: so many battles of inner selves being waged and it’s not always clear who wins and who loses, or even what constitutes victory and loss.

One of my favorite parts of that scene with Crokus and Sorry in the bar is Crokus looking at Sorry and being reminded of the time when, as a young boy, he watched a troop of mercenaries ride through, echoing Sorry’s own similar moment.

I love the description of Quick Ben in the warren and entering Shadowthrone’s realm, but I’m not sure we see anything like it in later versions of warren travel. And how about that close: the howling of Hounds...


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 fantasyliterature.com.

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

99 comments
Steven Halter
1. stevenhalter
You missed a character introduction. In Chapter 11 scene 4, we meet Moby--gotta love a flying monkey.

(Spoke too soon, I see Amanda does notice Moby, but he wasn't in the chapter overview.)
Steven Halter
2. stevenhalter
@Amanda
Yes, the poem is the first intro to Kallor. As Bill says, it is not inaccurate. I also love the way Brrod takes him down with the single line.

When we meet Kallor later in the chapter we see several of his characteristics -- he wants to betray Rake and he talks behind Brood's back.

I think that Kallor comes closest to being a purely evil character in the story. As far as I can tell he has no redeemable qualities. Anyone ever see anything to the contrary?
Steven Halter
3. stevenhalter
@Bill
Yes (or as far as I can recall), GoTM is the only place we see the magic deadening ability of the T'lan Imass.
Steven Halter
4. stevenhalter
@Amanda

Also, is it just me or is Bellurdan really damn creepy?


Yeah, he really strikes me that way too. I think its the mixture of misguided power and naivety he displays.
Steven Halter
5. stevenhalter
@Amanda
Yes, Crone is working with both Rake and Brood. Recall that the Great Ravens feed on magic to some extent. That's the "Stingy" part Crone is referring to.
Mieneke van der Salm
6. Mieneke
@Amanda RE: Paran’s curious message to Toc

When Toc guides Paran into Pale, just before he leaves him, he says: "Out of your depth, Captain? Don't worry, every damn person here is out of their depth. Some know it, some don't."
Mieneke van der Salm
7. Mieneke
I love that Paran says Tattersail distracted him, while Tattersail claims Paran distracted her. You have to love these different points of view :)

Why does Tool tell Lorn she has done well? Because she quotes some old saying at him? I must be completely clueless not to get that one.

Besides getting that itch again after finding Tattersail and Belluran, Toc also notes that 'a formless fire burned behind his empty eye-socket - something he had been experiening often lately.' Is this another hint that Toc might have Seer abilities?

I love how Mallet sort of pretends not really healing WhiskeyJack just easing his headache, but WJ's reaction reveals he's been doing it regularly.

Irilta and Meese are interesting characters!

That whole Quick Ben sequence just gave me the shivers. Could that be more eerie?
Steven Halter
8. stevenhalter
So, in these two chapters we meet Caladan Brood, Kallor (boo hiss), and Moby (Yay Moby!) and various people in the tavern.

We see the 'death' of Tattersail and Bellurdan and the 'birth' in Kruppe's dreamscape of the new being.

We also see the Bridgeburners hard at work mining the intersections (instead of the main gates) and the confrontation between Sorry and the Coin.

I think we also see the first reference to the K'Chain Che'malle, via Pran Chole.
Taitastigon
9. Taitastigon
@Amanda

- *grins* I finally get all your sniggers about who is mending the road against Baruk’s residence. And I confess to feeling rather silly for not realising sooner—but the timelines are slightly off, being as we saw the Bridgeburners ready to enter Darujhistan after we’d seen Baruk thinking about the road workers. Is this usual? This loose attitude to timelines? -

In this case, it is - at best - ambiguous.
But my recommendation is (well, basically everybody´s): Nevermind (at least that much)the timeline. This issue will become a hairy one in future volumes, but can be forgiven in view of the sheer scope of the overall work.
Maggie K
10. SneakyVerin
Hi there from a latecomer to this reread....I am a newbie and just started reading this when I saw there was a reread happening (although it's been on my must-read list for a while) I am loving Eriksons style!
It's also striking me that there is so much to 'catch' in this work, it's so easy to miss things. A tight writing style indeed!
Taitastigon
11. Taitastigon
@Amanda

*Here I’m guessing that we haven’t yet encountered Kallor—but, hell, I want to!*

Kallor...
What a character !
A case where the background story ends up being better than the blurb in Ch. 10.

Too delicious to spoil, so: RAFO in MOI...
Taitastigon
12. Taitastigon
@Amanda

*What a fantastic passage showing the colour and cultures clashing in Darujhistan! I enjoyed reading the descriptions—you can almost smell the marketplace, see the livestock being sold, hear the cacophony of noise.*

One thing about this cycle that I love and consider very distinct: Lots of descriptive archeological and anthropological snippets and vignettes that give this world a depth and richness like none other. SE goes all out on that starting DG.
Taitastigon
13. Osyris
@Bill

I don't think that the use of "Tlan" is a GotMism. I seem to recall from one of the following books (Memories of Ice perhaps) that the ' (as used in T'lan) is a language tool to indicate a sort of past tense or to show that it is now different to what it once was. Similarly, as further example, Onos T'oolan was once Onos Toolan if I recall corectly... I may be wrong.
Amir Noam
14. Amir
I so love the Kallor/Brood dialog at the beginning of Ch. 10 :-) It really captures the essence of the two characters.

shalter@2:
I think that Kallor comes closest to being a purely evil character in the story
I disagree. Kallor has done horrific things in his time and has never regretted them, but in Erikson's world most characters are not so... simplistic as to describe them as "pure evil". Kallor is... interesting. In later books he shows some real regret over having to kill people he admires (though that doesn't stop him, of course, if they are in his way). If anything comes close to pure evil in this world, I think it has to be the Crippled God.
Steven Halter
15. stevenhalter
Amir@14:
That's why I said he come's the closest. Most characters have are many shaded and can't be described as pure anything.
Kallor, however, pretty much always acts always in self interest and usually in the most damaging way. Maybe I just don't like him, but we'll be seeing more of this as we go.
Robin Lemley
16. Robin55077
@6. Mieneke

"When Toc guides Paran into Pale, just before he leaves him, he says: "Out of your depth, Captain? Don't worry, every damn person here is out of their depth. Some know it, some don't.""

Excellent, excellent catch here. I reread that message the servant delivers to Toc at the Inn several times trying to figure out the meaning and finally gave up. I even caught the following where Toc asks:

"His own words?"

"And yours, sir." The servant replies.

I knew there was an underlying meaning there and just could not place it. I never made the connection. GREAT job!!

Thanks for the back reference.
Bernhard Fries
17. Iwan_Emmetowitsch
@Amanda and Bill

About the Whiskeyjack line; I thought it perfect as a little snigger from the author at the reader, because of all the important story stuff happening we overlook the simple and straightforward implications of what the Bridgeburners actually are doing.

Also I quite liked the lecture scene. There are infodumps and then there are infodumps. This scene was very good set up, with Crokus thinking of how to win Chalice's heart and then trying to deflect Baruks interest in his thieving career. I thought it flowed very well with the rest of the Book.

I love this reread, you're doing both a great job indeed! Keep it up! *thumpsup*
Julian Augustus
18. Alisonwonderland
Amanda:
“Something nagged at the back of Whiskeyjack’s mind but he dismissed it.”

Some time later in the book WhiskeyJack will remember what has been nagging at him and it is a doozy. It changes all their plans. I believe Erikson felt it was important that he reminds the reader of something important going on, so that the final reveal doesn't come as a huge surprise. I've often accused Erikson of employing deus ex machina liberally in his books, but this is one case where the final important reveal was telegraphed well in advance.
Steven Halter
19. stevenhalter
I think that the nagging sensation that WhiskeyJack is experiencing is meant to show WhiskeyJack's frame of mind more than to remind the reader. WJ is under a lot of pressure here so not connecting all the dots is not surprising. Also remember that the particulars of the nagging idea are not something that he would even be used to thinking of.
So, I recall it as adding suspense for when WJ would figure things out rather than being a needed clue.
Hugh Arai
20. HArai
"Yes," said Caladan Brood, "you never learn."

Kallor is complex, complicated, and ancient almost beyond comprehension, but those three words sum him up so well...
Taitastigon
21. MDW
I don't think that the use of "Tlan" is a GotMism. I seem to recall from one of the following books (Memories of Ice perhaps) that the ' (as used in T'lan) is a language tool to indicate a sort of past tense or to show that it is now different to what it once was.

I believe it was in Midnight Tides that the use of an ' to indicate the past in First Empire languages was described. Typing this comment made me think of the T'orrud Cabal and wonder why they have an apostrophe. A failed shield?

The usage of Tlan here doesn't match the rest of the series. There the living race is always Imass and the undead T'Lan Imass, and the ritual the Ritual of Tellann. I figured T'Lan came from Tellann.
Steven Halter
22. stevenhalter
MDW@21
Yeah, I think the living members are always referred to as Imass in the rest of the series.
Taitastigon
23. kramerdude
And here we see some more of the multi-book setup of the MBotF. Other than a brief appearance Tattersail (or what/who Tattersail has become) will await us a few books in the future. Same with Kallor.

Regarding the timeline and showing the Bridgeburners working on the roads, I think it was just flux in the storytelling timeline. As Taitastigon says, there will be much more difficult timeline anomalies to resolve (or not) in the future.

@14 - I've never necessarily thought of the CG as being pure evil. He may be closer to pure insanity than even Shadowthrone. But then if you've been violently pulled from your world into this one (the Malazan World), chained multiple times with all that entails over the ages you might be a bit crazy too. Kallor on the other hand has had a choice and has always chosen to act in his expediency. He may express a degree of regret but he has always chosen to commit his evil acts knowingly.
Matt LaRose
24. TheLegend
kramerdude@23.

Ya if I was the CG I would be pissed too. Like you say Kallor does things because it advances his position and not for anything else.

@Amanda

The sniggers were fun, even more now that you finally get them. lol.

Don't worry that you feel you would have missed alot of this if you had read at your normal pace. I have reread GotM at least 3 times and like any book I read I have to force myself to slow down. Speed readers unite!
Chris Hawks
25. SaltManZ
I think it's in MoI that we're told the use of the apostrophe denotes something broken. So the use of Tlan for the living race, as opposed to T'lan Imass for the undead, makes sense--though at the end of that scene there are a couple of honest typos where Pran Chole (fully alive) is called a T'lan.

Of course, as others mentioned, that's still a GotMism because the living race is Imass for the rest of the series. A lot of so-called "GotMisms" can be massaged or explained away, but this one is pretty blatant. I also found it odd that Chole said they'd choose bonecasters after the Ritual, but of course we later meet a bonecaster who wasn't even around for the Ritual...

As for Tool's warren-deadening powers...I swear I read something in MoI where he pulls or at least mentions something similar. We never see it from another T'lan Imass, but Tool's status as First Sword could have something to do with it. (Recall what I said about explaining away potential GotMisms. :)

As for the road construction timeline, it's consistent. Sure, we go from Baruk noting the road workers at the end of Chapter 7 directly to the BBs on the north shore of Lake Azur in Chapter 8, but it's simply a matter of jumping back in time a little to catch up with the BBs. Get used to this!

On a final note, the fragment describing the Fall of the Crippled God was an eye-opener for sure! Especially the part about him hitting multiple continents! Halfway through GotM, no less! Amanda, this is definitely file-away-for-later material.
Taitastigon
26. Taitastigon
Salt @25

*On a final note, the fragment describing the Fall of the Crippled God was an eye-opener for sure! Especially the part about him hitting multiple continents! Halfway through GotM, no less!*

Only point being, doesn´t this only show up at the beginning of Ch. 12, i.e. next weeks´reading...?
*cough, cough, nudge, nudge*...
;0)
Taitastigon
27. billcap
On Kallor,
Clearly self-interest rules his life (his long, long, long life) and I think total self-interest often equates to what we think of as "evil" in this universe. But even he, who has as we'll learn, executed some of the most despicable acts imaginable, can surprise us with unexpectedly human emotions/responses. Erikson I'd say prefers his readers discomfited by complexity rather than safely ensconced in the ease of "pure" anything: good or evil. So just as you've spent thousands of pages thinking "can't wait to see that *^%$@ Kallor get disemboweled," suddenly you find yourself feeling for the bastard (if only for a little while).

On Whiskeyjack's nagging idea, I can buy it as an attempt to show us how much the pressure's getting to him, save we've already been shown that in much stronger fashion via the content and style of his interior monologue, not to mention his physical symptoms. Perhaps it would have felt less of an authorial flag-wave had it occurred in regular dialogue, drawing less attention to itself ('course, some might think that would draw more attention to itself)

I do think there is one other time Tool's deadening is mentioned (possibly MoI as you say), but my memory is that it didn't actually work and got explained away or something like that and that was it for that ability. But no surprise if I'm completely remembering that wrong--certainly though, with as often as we see the T'lan Imass, it's pretty much dropped (which would fit with your idea that it can be rationaliz err I mean explained by some fine print in the List of Arcane Abilities Accorded Solely to First Swords)
Amir Noam
28. Amir
shalter@15, kramerdude@23:
I never liked Kallor. I've quite hated him at times for some of the things he has done (and will do). If I'd been in the Malazan world I wouldn't want to go have a beer with the guy (nor probably to be on the same continent as he).

However, my view of "pure evil" is that these are those rare characters that act solely for the purpose of hurting others (even if there is an explanation of why they ended up like that, such as being miserable themselves for a very long time). Kallor doesn't like hurting others - he's just after Power. Period. And he will cut down anyone in his path, though he will regret the need for it at times. And as Brood said: he never learns.

EDIT: And I just saw that billcap@27 sums it up perfectly.

@Amanda: RE road repairs
Such 'aha' moments are definitely worth it to see the reaction of a first time reader :-)

Regarding the shift in time lines, I think this was done very well. Enough to confuse just a bit the first time reader, but not something that would make you miss an important piece of information - just something that a couple of chapters later you can go: "wow! so that's what that was!". Jumping back a bit in the time line of a separate party to let them catch up is common. Think in The Lord of the Rings, where we follow the battle of Minas Tirith until the horns of Rohan are heard, and then the next chapter jumps back to describe the ride of Rohan to join that battle, and the time line of these two stories then converges on the next chapter.

And as a related anecdote, in the last week or so, as I've been driving to work, each morning I drove past a group of workers digging holes at the side of the road. "Who's in charge of road maintenance?" kept going through my mind :-)
Robin Lemley
29. Robin55077
@ Bill

"The clue that it was Tool deadening Tattersail’s magic (revealed quickly enough by Bellurdan) is that “mustiness that reminded her of unearthed tombs.” Note too that bricklaying as Bellurdan warns her about what would happen were she to open her warren fully (BTW—this T’lan Imass ability is pretty much limited to GoTM I believe—anyone else?)"

This ability of Tool's does resurface in MOI when he and his companions are travelling through Morn. If I recall correctly, in essence, Tool explains to a companion that he is able to keep a part of his warren with him. For everyone else, they magically "open a door" and enter their warren, if you will. (I know, really dumb, simplistic way to explain it, but, once again, my lack of ability with words :-)) As far as I know, Tool is the only one that we are ever told has this ability to physically keep a bit of his warren with him. (Not counting warrens specifically created/suited/tied for a specific purpose, like a sword or a bag.)

I do not believe we are ever told that Tool was a Bonecaster or had any special abilities in the area of magic. This is not a special ability of the Imass (or something specific to the warren of Tellan), or other Imass would most certainly be using it. So far in the series, it seems to be something unique to Tool.

Is is something specific to his being the First Sword? The fact that he is unbound? That fact that he is an unbound and First Sword both? I don't know. If anyone has any further info or any ideas on this, I would love to know. Thanks!!
Robin Lemley
30. Robin55077
@ Bill

"The scene inside Sorry’s head fills in a bit more on the earlier question you asked, Amanda, about why she is so afraid of seers. And how heartbreaking is that “weeping of a child”? Made more heartbreaking by it being heard only “faintly.”"

I agree that this is a very, very heartbreaking line. Something that Erickson is great at. However, as strange as it may sound, I do remember that on my initial read, I found it uplifting as well. For me, it was only at that point that I realized that the child who had been possessed by Cotillion was not dead and gone...just buried very, very, deeply. Occassionally, we would see a thought of hers surface (such as her knowledge of fishing) but a stray thought, to me, didn't mean that she was still in there. At this point, I knew that she was still there. Not in control in any sense of the word, but she was still there. There was a certain joy for me in learning that. In addition, I began to think a little bit more kindly toward Cotillion. It was one of the important lines in the book for me.
Robin Lemley
31. Robin55077
@ 7. Mieneke

"Why does Tool tell Lorn she has done well? Because she quotes some old saying at him? I must be completely clueless not to get that one."

I think it is safe to say this now, since the clues are both in this passage and in the conversation between Kruppe and Pran Chole in the next chapter. (If not, everyone has my permission to scream at me !!)

Most have probably already figured this out by now but humans are descendants of the Imass. "Fire is Life/Life is Fire"...

"With such words was born the First Empire. The Empire of the Imass, the Empire of Humanity." The warrior turned to the Adjunct. "You've done well, my child."

I read this as Tool meaning that he believed that "Humanity" had done well. It is also the first point in the series where an Imass is verbally acknowledging humans as descendants. This verbal acknowledgement occurrs again in the next chapter when Pran Chole is speaking with Kruppe.

"My kind gave way to your kind, Kruppe, though the wars do not cease. What we shall give you is freedom from such wars."

For me, the most important part of that exchange between Tool and Lorn was not that he told her she had done well, but the fact that he called her "my child".
Steven Halter
32. stevenhalter
Amir@28
I agree that Kallor is not someone to have a beer with :-)

The subject of what constitutes evil is an interesting one and is (I think) one of the threads Erikson is exploring in this series. I agree that Kallor's intent is to garner power and not just to hurt someone. However, there are three aspects to his power seeking that put him into the evil camp:
1) He doesn't just want the power--he wants everyone to totally acknowledge that he has the power and if they don't he'll cause bad things to happen.
2) He pursues the power regardless of consequences to others.
3) And finally, his having regrets sometimes just (in my mind) puts him firmly in the evil camp. It shows that he knows that his actions are wrong, but then he goes ahead and does them anyway.

As kramerdude@23 mentions, the Crippled God has some reasons for being pissed off and is quite possibly insane--but we'll have lots to talk about the CG as the series goes on.
Steven Halter
33. stevenhalter
Robin55077@31:

That was pretty much my reaction to Tool's comment to Lorn.

The one thing I'm still unclear on is whether humans are directly descended from the Imass or the Imass are more like cousins--kind of like the relationship between Neanderthals and Homo Sapiens in our world.
I tend towards the cousins theory (with some cross breeding).
Steven Halter
34. stevenhalter
I'd also like to especially call out the first mention (during the Tattersail rebirth) that Soletaken are shapeshifters. We'll be seeing more of this and it's important.
Gerd K
35. Kah-thurak
Concerning the relationship between Rake and Brood: This has allways seemed like GotMism to me. In MoI there is no hint of the mistrust bordering on enmity that is shown between the two during Crone's visit to Brood.

Concerning Timelines: I think that the timelines work quite well inside individual books but are sometimes screwed in following books as people are older or younger than they should be. Erikson even makes fun of this in DoD ("His timeline isnt right.").
Chris Hawks
36. SaltManZ
@26: Ah, um, yeah, you're right. Nothing to see here, move along.

@35: The antagonism between Rake and Brood seemed out of place to me, too.
Julian Augustus
37. Alisonwonderland
Robin @31:
Most have probably already figured this out by now but humans are descendants of the Imass.

Later on in the series we meet the literal first parents of the human race. That was mind-blowing.
Steven Halter
38. stevenhalter
Alisonwonderland@37--
I'd forgotten about that. Thanks.
Robin Lemley
39. Robin55077
@37. Alisonwonderland

"Later on in the series we meet the literal first parents of the human race. That was mind-blowing."

Thanks! Do you recall where that was in the series?
Robin Lemley
40. Robin55077
@ 35. Kah-thurak

"Concerning the relationship between Rake and Brood: This has allways seemed like GotMism to me. In MoI there is no hint of the mistrust bordering on enmity that is shown between the two during Crone's visit to Brood."

I agree 100% with the fact that that "rift" between the two was not real. Since MOI begins just a couple of months following the end of GoTM, I don't think there was any event in the interim that changed their relationship. I believe it is either a GoTMism or it is simply a result of the fact that all interaction between the two in GoTM is done using Crone as a go-between and thus, learned by us exclusively through Crone's POV.

I love the character of Crone. She has that "I'm old, I've lived a long time, I'm smarter than you, and I don't care what you think because you are totally insignificant" attitude.

She reminds me of that very old, grandmotherly, busybody, neighbor who you love, but tends to get on your nerves if taken in too large of doses. When she is rude, you simply overlook it because she is old.

One thing you can be sure of with Crone, she would never, ever acknowledge anyone with the title of "Master" unless she truly respected them. Crone is not a creature that makes many friends but I believe both Rake and Brood are seen to her as friends. Knowing that she highly respects both Rake and Brood, I always tended to see this "rift" between them in GoTM as something imagined, if you will, by Crone (perhaps it brought more excitement to her life to be a "double agent" spying on both of them, each for the other, or maybe she was just bored and trying to stir things up), rather than something that in truth really existed.
Chris Hawks
41. SaltManZ
Also worth bringing up is Brood's mentioning of Prince K'azz. Note how even though he's name-dropped so much, you never actually see him. This allows for more "explaining away" of what would otherwise be a major GotMism/continuity error in light of Return of the Crimson Guard.
M D
42. Abalieno
Got some time to do some re-reading myself.

On the Kallor poem at the beginning of the chapter: the theme is one that can be generalized to all humanity. The tendency of history to repeat itself and lead to the same tragedies. Kallor represents this theme directly, personifying it entirely into himself. This is a method that Erikson uses often so that he can play with a theme directly as if it was a character, and so a protagonist of a story. Even with a gift close to immortality Kallor doesn't seem to learn from his experiences.

The theme is only hinted here and I suggest to read this article written by Erikson where he deals with it much more directly. It will help to understand with what kind of approach Erikson build the whole series: http://www.stevenerikson.com/index.php/commentary-endgame-vol-1-and-2-by-derrick-jensen/

That poem is also used to quickly determine who's the actual leader between Kallor and Brood, along with some "flavor" about their respective personality. We see right away that Kallor is rather boastful and rhetoric, and later in their PoV some enmity can be detected between them, suggesting that Kallor right now finds himself under Brood, but dosn't recognize the leadership and will look for an opportunity to rise again to his appropriate place (and so the threat to Brood, that Kallor is careful enough to avoid voicing in front of him, hinting that he's actually quite scared to face Brood directly).

Then there's the meeting between Paran and Toc that is used to summarize the current situation in Pale ("Dujek and Tayschrenn were involved in mutually exclusive responsibilities") and then to set up the context for them to leave together Pale to try to get to the Bridgeburners before the Adjuct.

To notice that Paran doesn't believe the Adjunct wants WJ dead. Paran knows that they are both on Genabackis specifically to hunt Sorry (and Sorry knew, since she killed Paran without hesitation), but Toc tells him that Lorn has another purpose and that the proof is the presence of the T'lan Imass ("The Adjunct's mission involves far more than just killing Sorry"). Paran doesn't have a counter argument to that, so they both decide to travel together in order to save WJ's hide.

Now. On a first read it's actually a bit complicated to connect the dots, but on a re-read everything is so plain obvious ;)

We are lead to believe that Toc's interpretation is the right one. It is plausible and coherent with everything that came before. We've been persuaded that Laseen wants WJ dead and whether it's Tayschrenn or Lorn, we see the constant threat to the Bridgeburners as something undeniable. So what's the instinct of a reader? To cling to the first theory that makes sense... And consequently miss all other important hints (and call a Deus ex Machina when things are suddenly overturn).

And the answer to Lorn "true" mission comes directly with the following page (so the reason why I say things are so plain obvious), only that it will be discarded as it comes from a character (Bellurdan) who hasn't earned the reader's trust.

Bellurdan says that the presence of the T'lann Imass is unrelated to the Bridgeburners (or better, that's the simple connection to make expected from the reader), but that the mission has something to do with a dormant Jaghut Tyrant, and that this mission was already in the making for quite some time (lead by Tayschrenn himself, about the recovering of the Gothos' Folly).

If one analyzes, what Bellurdan says can't be easily reconciled with what Toc said to Paran. Which of the two interpretations is correct? What's Lorn real mission?

Follows Lorn PoV, and the mention I totally missed on a first read about Starvald Demelain. Now I wonder, what was that Quick Ben used on Hairlock? Because it's either that, or the "other" thing we know about... Then at the end of this PoV there's also a parallel between Tellan and Fire. And Tool mentions that Imass Empire defines "Humanity" in general. One doesn't give too much importance to these associations, but they are essential.

The following PoV is about Brood, Crone and Kallor. It sets some ambiguity since we're giving evidence that Brood is now scheming even against Anomander Rake, suggesting that even this alliance is one of opportunity and that everything is in a flux.

There's also another important plot point that is always missed as it appears here and then goes unmentioned till the end. This also leading to another pretty big perceived Deus ex Machina. Brood sends the Crimson Guard to protect Crokus, also hinting that Crokus life is presently threatened by Rake, if he discovers that Crokus is Oponn's pawn.

On a re-read everything is so plain obvious ;)
Gerd K
43. Kah-thurak
@39 Robin
I think it is in House of Chains, but I am not 100% sure.

@40 Robin
Crone has another great appearance in Toll the Hounds. "Show me a written history that makes sense, and I will show you true fiction." Great quote that ;-)

@42
I think Lorn's mission is to conquer Darujhistan (emplpoying among other things the Jaghut Tyrant) and seeing Whiskeyjack and his squad dead in the process. So Toc is right but doesnt know everything and Bellurdan is fooled by his loyalty (and as we will learn not only in that respect).
M D
44. Abalieno
@Amanda

And do you know something that just came to me: Malazan Book of the Fallen reminds me in some ways of Lost. Lots of theories coming through, a few minor plotlines resolved, but the overall arc kept secret until the final denoument. Agree? Disagree?

I've often used Lost as an analogy for this series but I also agree with Bill that Erikson succeeded where Lost failed.

I also have to say that the analogy with Lost isn't already valid with THIS book. It's what comes later that grows in scale and in complexity to match and exceed Lost. The mysteries in this book are mostly straightforward and their role in the bigger picture only comes out in the third book. Things are still on a very small scale here, even if for a new reader they can already be quite daunting.

Things will escalate AFTER the first book, and it's only then that the series builds and delivers far more than "Lost". Whereas Lost is a constant tease and bait whose "answers" are never satisfying or fully delivering, Malazan will be rewarding at every page, while continuing to rise the stakes.

Think about the successful part in Lost, how the "hatch" lead to the whole Dharma thing and the unveiling of a so much bigger and ambitious picture (that is sadly consequently dropped to return to "magic" fluff in the final season). That type of escalation is what you'll find constantly in the Malazan series.

I've dealt with some thematic analogies between Lost and Malazan on my blog, but it's stuff in the fourth book. For some out of context fun superficial parallels look here.

It's almost like Lost copied directly Malazan :)

*grins* I finally get all your sniggers about who is mending the road against Baruk’s residence. And I confess to feeling rather silly for not realising sooner—but the timelines are slightly off, being as we saw the Bridgeburners ready to enter Darujhistan after we’d seen Baruk thinking about the road workers. Is this usual? This loose attitude to timelines?

I don't think there are any strict timelines problems here. The Bridgeburners had their time to reach Darujhistan and we aren't given strict timeframes to know that Baruk's PoV was consequent in time to the Bridgeburners' one.

Just because one PoV follows another doesn't mean that they are placed consequently in time. They can jump back and forth. It's actually a clever trick/misdirection splendidly executed. Erikson can love misdirection.

@35
Concerning the relationship between Rake and Brood: This has allways seemed like GotMism to me. In MoI there is no hint of the mistrust bordering on enmity that is shown between the two during Crone's visit to Brood.

Why Gotmism? There's no real mistrust. It's just that Brood thinks that Rake is going to make his own moves if Oponn enters the fray. Brood isn't and shouldn't be involved with that kind of stuff. This has more to do with the position of Rake in the Deck of Dragons and less with the alliance itself. The power game affects Rake more directly than Brood and Brood knows that he can't expect Rake to stop if the opportunity arises. The other gods wouldn't hesitate if they had the opportunity to take out Oponn, Brood knows and acts on his own to prevent this.
Gerd K
45. Kah-thurak
@44 Abalieno
If I read how Brood actually talks about Rake to Crone I get the feeling of a strong, mistrusting rivalry bordering on enmity. Later their relationship is rather described as long standing friends and allies. If you only take into account Broods actions you can read it as you say but his words sound differently.
Hugh Arai
46. HArai
Robin55077@40, Kah-thurak@45: I've always read the "rift" as something cooked up by Brood and Rake to keep Crone amused.
M D
47. Abalieno
I read again that part and there's indeed something odd. More than mistrust or enmity there's some intolerance and exasperation on the part of Brood.

Yet it seems that at this stage the alliance isn't so strong and both are acting independently for the most part (Brood deals with his front, and Rake with another). In my comments I got something of this, Brood knows Rake well and knows what he would do in certain situations and so has to counteract to avoid the worst. Brood is here a "neutral", while Rake is willingly to sacrifice more.

On the logical level things work well, the tone being used a bit less.

There's basically just one guilty line:

"Rake's disdain for everything beneath him has left us stumbling and flat on our faces one time too many,"

It's not complimentary but it isn't even all that excessive, especially considering Rake's personality, friendship or not.
Steven Halter
48. stevenhalter
I think exasperation on Brood's part is probably the right pick. He's responding to Rake's tendency to disdain problem's of less than world shaking consequence and how that doesn't necessarily work out well in immediate situations for the troops on the field. Rake's priorities are different than Broods.
One thing to recall is these are characters with (very) long and complex histories.
Steven Halter
49. stevenhalter
Abalieno@42:
That's a good theme catch on the Kallor poem--"You never learn" is a succinct way of framing many of the actions we will see in forthcoming books.
Julian Augustus
50. Alisonwonderland
Abalieno,
So what's the instinct of a reader? To cling to the first theory that makes sense... And consequently miss all other important hints (and call a Deus ex Machina when things are suddenly overturn).


*******SPOILER ALERT************










Well, I am glad for you that so many things in this and other books in the series seem so obvious even as you get to it the first time. But if you say that you saw enough hints in the text to foresee Tool magically appearing out of thin air (dust actually) to save Lorn just as it appeared she was about to be killed, or that you saw enough hints in the text to foresee the azath magically appearing out of the ground to save everybody just as the Jaghut Tyrant ("Memmoth") was about to enslave them, then you must be Steven Erikson.
Taitastigon
51. WJD
My take on the upthread discussion of Tool calling Lorn "child". Yes he is saying that humans descended from the Imass, but perhaps more in a symbolic way than a genetic way. Humans take up the mantle from the Imass in conquering/populating the world for the most part as the Elder races start to fade away and after the T'lan ritual. In later books we see that there is not apparently a direct genetic link between the two races, as there were times when mortal Imass and humans were around at the same time.

Also, I believe there is more significance to him saying "You've done well, my child." to the person who is the Adjunct to the Empress of the most powerful empire in the world, and likely the most powerful one the world has seen in quite some time.
M D
52. Abalieno
@50

That stuff is better discussed when it's time. anyway, the Azath is a Deux ex Machina in respect to the book, but not in respect to the whole series. A similar thing can be said for the timely arrival of Tool.

A Deus ex Machina is a method used to "solve" a too complicated tangle of plot. An easy way out. While these two instances in this book fall in the category, they still miss the main trait: they are deliberately done and planned by Erikson.

The Azath is structural to the whole series even if it will appear out of the left field. That appearance wasn't necessary, it doesn't solve an impossible situation, it just fits in the scheme that Erikson is going to build later. It's a deliberate scheme.

Same for the adjunct/Tool scene. There's no set-up, the scene's purpose is not to save the Adjunct from a too dangerous situation, but to set up some properties of Tool. I'd agree that it could have been done more subtly in this specific instance, but that chapter is built *around* the Deus ex Machina and not simply resolved by it.
M D
53. Abalieno
I'll elaborate since it may be brought up more frequently.

Let's take the Adjunct/Tool scene that is simpler to analyze. What may be irritating for a reader here is that Tool appears out of thick soil at the very last second to save the day and the Adjunct's hide. It feels a lot like a typical action-scene construction in movies. What is at stake in technical terms is the "suspension of disbelief". The scene isn't completely plausible and believable because that timing of Tool's arrival is just too well placed for the spectacular effect. A too handy coincidence, and so feeling artificial and contrived.

Now the point is that the use of this Deus ex Machina isn't indispensable for the plot: Tool could have arrived sooner, save the redshirts/Jakatakan warriors, and the whole scene would have been plausible with no Deus ex Machina in sight. Meaning that the Deus ex Machina here is done for the spectacular effect, and not to affect or compromise directly the plot.

So why Erikson decided to build the scene that way instead of letting it flow more naturally? My interpretation is that this choice was made not to enhance the surprise and make the scene more spectacular, but to slowly build a sense of mystery and curiosity toward Tool and what T'lann Imass represent in general. Meaning that the main function of that whole PoV is more about "character development" than "plot being resolved". The scene's purpose starts and ends there, it's not a story arc that began somewhere else and that culminated in a Deus ex Machina used to seal the conclusion.

That's why I think Erikson decided to make that concession to the natural flow of events and play on that level. What really comes out of the scene is not how the Adjunct survived a deadly battle (we don't even really care about the character at that point of the story), but to show, in an effective "show, don't tell" scene, various traits and property of the main characters involved: the Adjunct, her attitude and her atypical sword, Tool and his atypical powers and way of being, Toc and his approach to the other two. The scene is used to set up those characters in the story and what happens later, and it tries to do that in a kind of spectacular and effective way.

While the scene on its own feels a bit contrived, it doesn't compromise the plot and is used to do some excellent character development.
Steven Halter
54. stevenhalter
I recall that my first reaction to Tool's emerging from the barrow was that the barrow dead were emerging and that things had just gone from bad to worse for Lorn. Then after he had helped her, I though he was pretty interesting and didn't think about it too much more.
On reflecting on this moment now, and in light of later reads I think it fits quite well with Tool's 'frame' of mind at that moment. He was investigating the barrow and Lorn wasn't being killed quite yet. The soldiers were of no concern to him. when Lorn needs some help he intervenes and links up with her as the job at hand required.
I think where people feel it is contrived is that again we are entering in the midst of an ongoing story--things that seem random and sudden have really been going on for some time.
Julian Augustus
55. Alisonwonderland
Abalieno,

Don't get me wrong, I love the series and have read everything Erikson and Esslemont have written so far, some of the books more than once (MoI three times). But I find Erikson far too fond of coming up with a surprise rescue in the nick of time, when we as readers have no clue about the powers he is suddenly going to unveil to effect the rescue (for example, Sinn at Y'gatan, Beak at Letheras, QB beating off 3 powerful goddesses and scaring off arch-mage Silchas using hitherto unknown powers, etc.). Any time I come across such completely unexpected powers being revealed I think Deus ex Machina, no matter how well he incorporates the device into the story afterwards. I would prefer he gives subtle hints beforehand so that when the reveal finally comes I am blown away by the revelation and by connecting the dots that led to it. Maybe that is just me. Your mileage may vary.
M D
56. Abalieno
Don't get me wrong either. ;)

I've read the first four books and I also thinks that certain elements could have been handled better, but it's usually best to discuss them separately.

If we have to make generalizations I agree that there's a tendency for some fortuitous happenstances in the plot. Pieces of the puzzle and chains of events that move into place a bit too neatly to seem completely natural and believable. But all these instances I noticed were always very minor aspects that never compromised the plot or the intent of a novel.

The important core element is internal consistency, and I think Erikson did the best he could humanly do with a story of so huge breadth and ambition. Some flaws were unavoidable without lowering the bar.

That said, this is also common criticism and there's some legitimacy about it. The foundation of the series is set from the start as rather opaque and complex, same as the characterization. You have to figure things out, read between the lines, work hard. All these traits make the "suspension of disbelief" harder to hold. The magic is largely unexplained and so can be seen as inconsistent, characters' motivations can be fuzzy or apparently contradictory (as we discussed even here above). All these elements have the tendency to stack and sediment and then corrode the trust in the writer. And that's a problem because the bad aspect about Deus ex Machina is that it gives the impression that the writer is piloting the plot instead of the plot developing through cause and effect.

Yet,

I would prefer he gives subtle hints beforehand so that when the reveal finally comes I am blown away by the revelation and by connecting the dots that led to it

this is something where Erikson EXCELS. It can bite him back in the ass, but in the great majority of the cases he succeeds spectacularly. We've seen various examples already in the chapters of the first book and it only gets better. And MANY of what reader call Deus ex Machina are due to the *reader* missing the hints instead of the hints not being there.

Which still doesn't mean that there are other minor instances that could have been handled better.
Taitastigon
57. Fiddler_notloggedin
Hey guys,

I don't have much time to keep checking, so if I don't answer to replies to me, I'm sorry about that. Also, I'm now sending in red mode because I am on a machine that doesn't have passwords saved. Right now, changing passwords is too much of a bother.

Anyway, on the Deus Ex Machina discussion, the only situation I think deserves the label is when the Azath house grabs the Jaghut Tyrant in GotM.

In the cases of Sinn and Beak, I wasn't surprised when they showed how powerful they were. They are/were both mages and we've seen from the start that they weren't really sane. In the case of Sinn, I suspected she had some hidden powers from the start. As for Beak, I think Erikson built it up well there. We got to know he was special from the start, so we should expect something special there.

Beak's MOA is heading my list of favourite Malazan scenes, btw, so I may be biased ;)

Remember the spirit of the crazy mage that threatened the boat with Felisin and company when leaving the Otataral Island. I think insane mages may be stronger than sane ones. That includes Sinn and Beak.
Hugh Arai
58. HArai
Fiddler@57:
Remember the spirit of the crazy mage that threatened the boat with Felisin and company when leaving the Otataral Island. I think insane mages may be stronger than sane ones. That includes Sinn and Beak.


A lot of it appears to be dependent on just how far the person in question is willing to go. In the POVs of the sane ones we often see something like "he didn't dare unveil his warren fully...". The insane ones just open up and let'er rip :)
Julian Augustus
59. Alisonwonderland
Hi Fiddler:

**************SPOILER ALERT********************













The reason I cited Sinn is that prior to Y'gatan we readers had never met Sinn or had any inkling that someone like her with high-mage powers was among the children in the Bonehunters' camp. Then in Y'gatan, when the proverbial brown stuff hits the fan and it looks like the Bonehunters are going to be destroyed, up pops the previously unknown Sinn to stop the conflagration. Don't you think that was entirely too neat?

As for Beak, again we the readers had not the slightest inkling during the entire formation and training of the Bonehunters, through their clash with Sha'ik, and through their travails in Y'gatan, that one of the common soldiers, Beak, had powers greater than all the Tiste Edur mages put together. It was only when the Bonehunters actually landed in Letheras and started the invasion that we were introduced to this paragon, who, of course, ended up saving the Bonehunters (and the Letherii army) from being wiped out by the same Hannan Mosag magic that had conquered Letherii. Pretty damn convenient, don't you think?

In the case of Beak, for example, if Erikson had introduced him from the beginning at the formation of the BH like he did Bottle, and gradually built him up the same way he did Bottle, then we the readers would not have been completely surprised when Beak started being a guardian angel to the Bonehunters and ended up saving everybody. As it is, the fact that he was introduced only during the Letheras invasion, just when his powers were urgently needed, is Deus ex Machina no matter how it is spun otherwise. Same thing with Sinn appearing out of the blue to save the day at Y'gatan.

This kind of authorial intervention being introduced at any time to solve whatever problems the protagonists are facing is what keeps me from placing the MBotF at the very top of my list of fantasy series. Like I said earlier, to me all those incidents are Deus ex Machina, no matter how well the author explains it AFTER the incident. I agree others may feel differently.
Tricia Irish
60. Tektonica
Alisonwonderland@59: ::waves::

I agree with you on the deus ex Machina....I'm only through Deadhouse Gates, but there do seem to be instances when new people or abilities just pop up to save the day. They do continue, and so become integral part of the story, but their introductions seem so abrupt.

BTW, What book do Sinn and Beak come in?
Julian Augustus
61. Alisonwonderland
Tek:

Sinn is in The Bonehunters (Book 6) and Beak is in Reaper's Gale (Book 7). You have quite a ways to get there yet, but enjoy the journey!
Taitastigon
62. WJD
@Insane mages being stronger than sane mages. It's not that they are stronger per se, more like a person on cocaine is stronger than someone sober. Yes, they might be able to punch through that windshield that a sane person wouldn't, but when the high wears off their hand will be broken.
Steven Halter
63. stevenhalter
I'd rather wait for an intense discussion of Sinn and Beak when we get to them. I recall there are some clues, but I'd rather wait until later to go through them.
Taitastigon
64. Grogromalz
@Alisonwonderland:
You're wrong about Sinn. The first time we see her is in House of Chains.
Robin Lemley
65. Robin55077
Additional info to my post @29:

I just started another reread of MOI and came across a section where Silverfox is explaining the Ritual of Tellan to a group of characters. She states:

"The last Gathering," Silverfox replied, "was hundreds of thousands of years ago, at which was invoked the Ritual of Tellann - the binding of the Tellann warren to each and every Imass. The ritual made them imortal, High Fist. The life force of an entire people was bound in the name of holy war destined to last for millennia-"

So I must now admit that I was a little bit right...and a lot more wrong. RIGHT - Tool does keep a bit of his Tellann warren with him at all times ( and this is what he uses for his "deadening" power); however, WRONG - in that I thought he was unique in this ability because it appears that all T'lan Imass have a piece of the Tellann warren bound to them.

Sooooo, I have no idea why Tool is the only Imass we are told ever uses this ability. It certainly doesn't seem like it is unique to him. It seems like something pretty handy to me...deadens magic, repells beasts, I have no idea why they are not all using it.

Just wanted to let you all know...I can admit when I am wrong. :-)
Taitastigon
66. Taitastigon
Hello ye all !

One funny thing: We have gone on a complete spoilery binge fest here.

Even funnier: If you´re a neophyte, you won´t have a clue or even remember what these spoilers are about.
That´s the magic of MBotF.

;0)
Taitastigon
67. Fiddler_notloggedin
@Alisonwonderland

I guess we're having different opinions on a Deus Ex Machina. ;)

To me, they always come out of the blue to fix a plot point. For example, take the situation in the Lord of the Rings movies where the armies are about to be pounded in front of the Black Gate and this guy suddenly shouts 'The eagles are coming!', and giant birds start attacking the ringwraiths. (I'm citing the movies, since I'm not sure if it's described in the books in the same way)

That's a moment where I go and think WTF.

In the case of Beak, you are right in that we haven't seen him before Reaper's Gale. However, he's introduced early in the book, and we get to see his story through the Lether campaign, until he does what he does. (don't want to spoil here)
I just don't see that as a DEM moment.

As for Sinn, we saw her first in House of Chains, as Grogromalz pointed out. She had poisoned a bunch of rebels that were besieging Malazan troops. Her brother (corporal Shard?) was among those troops and she wanted to get to him. She wasn't defined as a powerhouse there, but she certainly was shown to be mentally unstable, and traumatized. And, in my view of 'crazy mage = EXTRA POWER', she's not a DEM.

I guess what I mean is that in both cases I don't see it as a random fix, or explained afterwards.

But, as shalter said, let's wait with this discussion. :)

If you want DEM in the Malazan books, look at Sergeant Hellian. ;) Now there's some random fixing on the spot ;) Although, I have a theory that she's in Oponn's care, just as Corabb is.


@Tek:
Good to see you made it back here! I'll drop you a mail when I'm able to spend some more time at my desk. :) For now, it's touch and go for me.


Oh, and after checking if Sinn was in HoC, looking at the character list made me re-realize how much I like Captain Kindly and especially Lieutenant Pores.
Robin Lemley
68. Robin55077
@ 67. Fiddler_notloggedin

"Oh, and after checking if Sinn was in HoC, looking at the character list made me re-realize how much I like Captain Kindly and especially Lieutenant Pores."

I love the exchanges between these two and can't wait to catch up to them! I think it is some of the best "dry" humor in the series (and that is saying a lot).

Thanks for the reminder that they are "yet to come." There are sooooo many great characters in these books that I cannot even imagine how many I am "forgetting to remember" right now....if that makes sense to anyone. LOL

ALSO

Relative to Beak....I would just add that for me personally, I think it would have ruined that whole experience if it had been "clued" and/or blah, blah prior to the event - because a huge part of Beak was that none of the other characters wanted to or cared to know any more about him when he was around. So for me....to have given you information then, when absolutely no one wanted it or cared, would have been, well... wierd?!?!? and so unlike the Erickson I am used to.
Amir Noam
69. Amir
Fiddler@57:
I think insane mages may be stronger than sane ones.
You may be onto something here. Also, it seems that an insane priest is stronger than a sane one :-)

Fiddler@67:
For example, take the situation in the Lord of the Rings movies where the armies are about to be pounded in front of the Black Gate and this guy suddenly shouts 'The eagles are coming!', and giant birds start attacking the ringwraiths.
This is not really a Deus Ex Machina - the eagles do not save the day (or the plot). They are just thrown into the fight with all the others, while the real fate of the battle (and the world) was always at the hands of Frodo and co. at Mount Doom. All the eagles actually did was to fly in time to save Frodo and Sam. While it was an unexpected introduction to the scene, it wasn't something that magically resolved the plot (as the main plot was resolved with the Ring being destroyed).


Regarding Deus Ex Machinas: I'll leave the main discussion for the appropriate time in the re-read. I'll just say that I am in the camp that thinks the books are filled with DEMs, but:
1. The story, world and characters are so interesting, I can look past it.
2. After passing through the first Major DEM (still to come in this re-read), the rest of them bothered me a lot less.
Taitastigon
70. Fiddler_notloggedin
@Amir:

The eagles thing wasn't plot deciding (except that Aragorn and his troops would certainly have been killed if the 8 had free reign).

However, it still was a WTF moment, and that was my point. It just was the first example of DEM I could come up with ;)

And yes, we have a DEM coming up, and like you I don't mind it at all. We can argue about the other ones later :D


Robin55077@68:

I fully agree with you here. Erikson tells stories about races fighting other races, gods fighting gods, and in between there are a few Malazan armies who try to fight for what's right. He certainly doesn't map out all power players in advance.

The 14th army has thousands of soldiers and mages in them. We only get to see their story from the POV's of Sergeant Strings and everybody in and around his squad. Erikson chose to tell the story of Beak during their campaign on Letheras.

And he included the background, to make him a full character. Reading about Beak still makes me go teary-eyed after re-reads, with how his brother kept him from being abused. A Malazan reading experience in par with certain moments in DG and MoI.
Julian Augustus
71. Alisonwonderland
Fiddler @67:
Oh, and after checking if Sinn was in HoC, looking at the character list made me re-realize how much I like Captain Kindly and especially Lieutenant Pores.

Robin @58:
I love the exchanges between these two and can't wait to catch up to them! I think it is some of the best "dry" humor in the series (and that is saying a lot).

Those two are absolutely fantastic characters. They get into even crazier "stunts" in DoD. Their interaction is in large part what make the book bearable as far as I'm concerned.

Talking about unique characters, I think Shurq Ellale is perhaps the most unforgettable fantasy character ever. Erikson's facility for creating memorable characters is the absolute tops. I didn't really appreciate Midnight Tides on my first read, perhaps because I was looking for a continuation of the MoI or HoC storylines, but on re-reads I find myself liking the book more and more. The humour between Tehol and Bugg, Shurq, Harlest, Ublala, and other assorted characters, interspersed with the very dark and grim Edur conquest, makes it one of the really outstanding books of the series.
Robin Lemley
72. Robin55077
71. Alisonwonderland

Relative to Kindly and Pores:

"Those two are absolutely fantastic characters. They get into even crazier "stunts" in DoD. Their interaction is in large part what make the book bearable as far as I'm concerned."

Their best stunts were in DoD. Excellent character writing and I absolutely love it!

I am a borderline fanatic when it comes to this series (and the border is harder and harder to see as each day passes with this reread and reading everyone's posts on here)!! For me personally, Erickson has set the bar so high that I fear it will be many years before I find another author/series to match this experience.

Many times over the years, I have thought about who my favorite character is in this series and can honestly tell you that I cannot name one. I've even tried to break it down to, say...who is my favorite mage? However, I cannot even difinitively say that my favorite mage is...because then I think, well, I absolutely love Bottle and so it would be him...but then I think, I love the love and loyalty of Quick Ben when it comes to Kalam and the Bridgeburners, but then, there is Beak, and his all consuming love for his circle of humanity, then there is Tattersail...then there is Sinn,Sormo, Nil, Nether, Rake, Pran Chole, Salmar Dev (technically a witch, but I would include her for my purposes here)...the list is endless. Pick one...as a favorite... absolutely impossible for me. And that's just trying to think of a favorite mage!!! LOL Dang...I cannot even pick an absolute favorite demon...Apt, Greyfrog? How could I ever choose one as better than the other over all. I love them both!

I have come to the conclusion that my absolute favorite character in this series is......whichever one I am reading about at the moment. And that is a special gift from Erickson that no other author has ever given me.
Taitastigon
73. billcap
It’s tough to discuss some of these in the debate on d-e-m without getting too spoilery, though much of that, as Tait 66 says, won’t actually be very revealing to newbies thanks to the sweeping, complex nature of the books: “who did what to whom where? But wasn’t he already dead?!!”. As mentioned, though, it’s probably best if we hold off on some of those until events occur, especially as by the nature of d-e-m, we’re discussing resolution of some major plot events. That said, I’m not the comment police here so feel free to continue talking about those, though I think one is more likely to feel more comfortable doing so when not constrained by spoiler concerns (and of course, remember that spoiler alert).
Personally, I can’t wait to get a full airing on Beak as he’s one of my favorites.

I’m happy to cut Erikson some slack on introducing new characters that he may not have seen coming when outlining the whole thing (if he did a detailed outline)--I prefer to think his creative process over such a long time is more dynamic, less static.

On LOTR and the eagles, I wouldn’t call it much of a d-e-m as we’ve been set up by prior events for the eagles being in communication with and helping the good guys (not to mention the battle in The Hobbit scene). So it doesn’t surprise that they’re at what everyone seems to think is the “final” battle. My bigger complaint is that they don’t appear more, as it seems they’d be around a lot more since they’re allegedly helping--you know, spying out troop movements, chasing off the birds being used as spies by the bad guys, etc.

Kindly and Pores? Absolutely. Imagine a double-bill comic duo bit with Pores and Kindly and Tehol and Bugg--who wouldn’t pay for that?
Taitastigon
74. MDW
For comic duos, I prefer Curdle and Telorast, but Tehol and Bugg make a close second.
Robin Lemley
75. Robin55077
@ 74. MDW

Curdle and Telorast are a great duo as well.

Your comment, listing just those four characters, made me smile at Erickson's ability to apply such unexceptional names to some very exceptional characters in this series. :-)
Amir Noam
76. Amir
RE the eagles at the end of The Lord of the Rings:
Of course, since the eagles were mentioned before in the book (and the Hobbit), it would have made more sense for them to appear like this. :-)
Travis Nelsen
77. Zangred
Robin @ 72

I am right there with you when it comes to favorite character, or even favorite duo. It is an impossible thing to choose, SE does such a fabulous job with character dialog and interaction.

One of the things I love so much about this series is the range of emotions that SE can elicit from me, how attached one can become to certain characters often without fully realizing it, until the proverbial Shit Hits The Fan. So many laugh out loud moments, on the edge of your seat pure adrenaline rush moments, depressing as all hell moments, and yes there have even been times I have found myself in tears (end of MOI anyone?). Hell, I have found myself laughing and teary eyed at the same frakking time! And I love the series all the more for it.

My friends often look at me like I'm possessed when we start talking about MBotF. Maybe I am. I can't recall any other series I have read where I have initiated a new re-read, while already in the middle of a re-read! Of course I blame that part on this site. :)
Steven Halter
78. stevenhalter
On Deus Ex Machina:

Since this is coming up here (and I see is often used on the net as a general objection to Erikson's writing) I thought about it this weekend and did some looking around.
The origin of the phrase comes from Greek theater where a god would literally be brought on stage by a machine (like descending from a crane or ascending through a raised platform) and then solve the crisis in the play with no prior warning.
So the key parts are: Powerful being (or event), solves crisis, no prior warning.
The example mentioned in the text we have covered so far was Tool saving Lorn. Tool fits the powerful being category. The fight taking place on a barrow provided some foreshadowing that something might emerge from the barrow, but didn't really foreshadow a T'lan Imass. It's a little arguable that Tool actually saves the day as Toc also arrived at that point and took out several Barghast with bow shots. So, this scene does fit the definition to some extent.
On the other hand, Tool then becomes an integral part of the story. This lessons the 'DEMishness' of this episode in my opinion.
As we near other episodes, I think we (prior readers) should try to point out where foreshadowing (if any) is occurring.
Amir Noam
79. Amir
Personally, I never saw Tool saving Lorn as a Deus Ex Machina. It's true that it's unexpected, but this is just Erikson's decision on how to introduce a new character relevant to the story (and very much consistent with Tool's character). If this scene was the end of the book (Tool magically appears, saves Lorn and they ride happily towards the sunset), then I'd see it as a DEM.

On a similar note, consider the introduction of the Bridgeburners: Hairlock lies dying on a battlefield with half his body torn off, and suddenly a group of soldiers appear our of nowhere, and one of them is a surprisingly powerful mage who just happens to know how to save Hairlock. Like with Tool - not so much a DEM, but a way to introduce a new character integral to the story in an intriguing and mysterious way.
Steven Halter
80. stevenhalter
Amir@79:
Yeah, the integrating the introduced character with the storyline is one of the key distinctions here that I like.
Another point is that it is quite arguable that these points make the story more like the 'real world'. TMBotF is sufficiently complex and is supposed to mirror 'reality' in some aspects. Sudden unexpected things do often happen in this world.
Travis Nelsen
81. Zangred
Another thing in relation to the DEMishness of certain scenes is that we are not following isolated farmboy and his group of friends on his grand adventure to overthrow the evil overlord.

This story is much more about the Malazan Empire and the world at large than it is about a small group of heroes fighting the good fight. We are introduced to new characters at every turn, entire books are based on new sets of characters and plotlines that we have never heard of before. It stands to reason that we will be introduced to new things rather suddenly, quite the same way the characters in the story are introduced to many of these same things themselves. Right from the start we are thrown into this massive world, with stuff going on all around us, with other things being alluded to that are taking place on entirely different continents at the same time.

To me, this is one of the things that makes these books so compelling to read. The reader is right there in the trenches with the grunts, sucked in and trying to figure out what the fuck is going on around them.
Taitastigon
82. Taitastigon
@78-81

Yeah, I am with you guys on that one. It seems DEMish, but it is SE´s way of introducing characters.
More funny even: Generally they do not ride off into the sunset, happily ever after - but they do ride off into the sunset, to happily get f*cked ever after...to a degree they wish they hadn´t been saved in the first place...*g*
Steven Halter
83. stevenhalter
@82: lol, -- too true. Being 'saved' is a relative term in MBotF.
Rajesh Vaidya
84. Buddhacat
In all these discussions above of the Deus Ex Machinas, I'm surprised my nominee for the Worst DEM interventions hasn't found voice yet: The Eresal woman. For NO credible reasons whatsoever (apart from sexing Bottle, if it can be called a reason), she helps steer the BH to Malaz City, saves their fleet from the Edur, exploits T'amber and saves the Adjunct in Malaz City, and saves QB and Trull from Icarium (how does that happen anyway - with just a touch?).

And then what? Nothing! She is invisible in Reaper's Gale (except for the off-screen "sex"ing with Bottle), Toll the Hounds, Dust of Dreams,.... She's simply vanished. Pure DEM. Unsatisfactory.
Robin Lemley
85. Robin55077
I agree that to some who read these books, certain sceens may appear DEMish, while to others of us they do not. I have never read a sceen in this series that I thought Erickson just folded and "DEM"'d his way out of a conflict. I love the element of surprise! Is there a better way to introduce a T'lan Imass than a hand appearing so unexpectantly from beneath the dirt? Not a chance in the world that I would be laying the book down any time soon after reading that line! And when you boil it down to its most basic level, isn't that what we all want when we place our money on the counter to purchase a book?

We all read in different ways, for different reasons, with different expectations. If not, there would be a single blueprint for writing that all writers would follow and how boring would that be?

I know some of you have stated that you sometimes, or often, skim through passages when you read. That is a foreign concept to me ..... most likely as the fact that I read every single word when I read is foreign to some of you. I want, and even expect, that those words will draw me in, to run the gambit of my emotions, to shock me, to surprise me, to make me think, and even, from time to time, to confuse me to the point that I am turning back to passages that I have previously read in an attempt to figure something out. If a writer can do that...I am a fan. If a writer can still do that during rereads, WOW !!!! All of this is part of what makes this series so special for me. I always reread any series that I like. This is the only series for me that is as exciting (sometimes even more so) than the first time through. I am still amazed that on my third or fourth time through, I still learn something new.

Perhaps it is just me, but I often find myself spending a considerable amount of time attempting to answer some basic question. For example, for most any other book I have ever read, if you read the jacket on the way to the counter at Barnes & Noble you already know the protagonist and antagonist, and what they are fighting over without even reading the first paragraph of the book. With this series....who is the main character? Easy answer, the Malazan military. But then you get to book five (Midnight Tides) and they don't even make an appearance ... not even an honorable mention. If my memory is correct, the word "Malazan" is not even used once. An entire book, over 930 pages, without even an honorable mention! There is no one main character, not even if you count all military personnel as the "Malazan Military", a single character) ... there are a hundred main characters in this series, and I love every single one of them.

Okay, I'll step off my soap box now. I know we all enjoy Erickson's writing or we would not be here. We would be working our way through some other reread, posting to some other blog. I just don't want us to get so bogged down in the minutia of one POV that we lose site of what an exquisite piece of work this writing is.
Karen Martin
86. ksh1elds555
I just started following in on your reread - I started the series this year and I'm about 1/2 way through House of Chains. I have already decided I am going to reread this series and probably all the Malazan novellas and stories. I just have to say, Amanda wait til you get to Deadhouse Gates...There were so many holy @$%! moments in that book. I was brought to tears more than one time. I think Erikson is the best fantasy writer out there, but he's not for the faint of heart or casual reader. When I tell people about his books and what they are like, I say his world is like a mosaic or enormous puzzle. Each chapter and book presents you with pieces that you don't know what to do with at first, or where they belong. But you keep reading and things start to come together. And you see a complex, beautiful creation. Thanks for doing this reread and enjoy the ride! Oh, and Erikson is done with the Crippled God. Yay!
M D
87. Abalieno
I'm going on with my re-read and noticing this (taken from Amanda's commentary):

Kruppe has indeed traveled far in this dream, which is being used by K’rul.

On a re-read this acquires a totally new meaning, assuming that my guess is correct.

The landscape around him was barren; even the ploughed earth was gone, with no sign of habitation in sight. He squatted by the lone fire in a tundra wasteland, and the air had the breath of rotting ice.

Initially here I even thought we still were in Darujhistan, but in a time when the city didn't exist. We know that Genabackis went through some devastating geographic and climatic changes, so I wonder where geographically the dream takes place. Kruppe says they are far in the North, but maybe it's just an association he makes without knowing how the land was three hundred thousand years before. It's obvious we jump back in time (indeed, traveled far...), but the place is unknown.

It's also interesting that on a first read one doesn't associate "ice" with "Jaghut". We have been taught through the scene with Lorn that the Tlann are associated with "fire", but I don't think it is evident on a first read that this "fire" (and "ice") are associated with the respective warrens, and that what seems a thematic abstract aspect is instead very concrete,

So what seems just a climate description is instead delivering crucial information about the state of things. "rotting ice"

In the distance moved a massive herd of brown-furred beasts. The steam of their breath gusted silver in the air above and behind them as they ran, turning as one this way and that but ever at a distance. He watched them for some time.
When they came closest to him he saw the reddish streaks in their fur, and their horns, sweeping down then up and out. The land shook with their passage.


This also sounds as perfunctory description, yet we know the importance of these (again if I'm not wrong): ay and ranag. To meet again in MoI.

'Kruppe has travelled far, then.'
'To the beginning and to the end.'


I guess meaning the end of Imass as mortal beings, and the beginning of their immortal existence, through the rite.

What we shall give to you is freedom from such wars. The Jaghut dwindle, ever retreat into forbidding places. The Forkrul Assail have vanished, though we never found need to fight them. And the K'chain Che'Malle are no more - the ice spoke to them with words of death.

The Jaghut dying is an event was somewhat "foreshadowed" by the descriptions about the dying ice. The Imass hunt to the Jaghut resonates with the climate change. No more walls of ice, but the tundra. The ice is rotting. Life that claims again its space.

Then we are given some details about the other mysterious races. What happened to the Forkrul Assail is unknown and seemingly unrelated to the story of Imass and Jaghut. And the K'chain Che'Malle were apparently vanquished by Jaghut. No idea how much of this remains consistent, but I completely forgot how many important details were given already in this book (and how much is packed in perfunctory environmental descriptions).

'Fire is life, and life is fire. The age of ice passes, Kruppe. Long have we lived here, hunting the great herds, gathering to war with the Jaghut in the southlands, birthing and dying with the ebb and flow of the frozen rivers.

We are the Tlan, but soon the Gathering comes, and so shall be voiced the Rite of Imass and the Choosing of the Bonecasters, and then shall come the sundering of flesh, of time itself. With the Gathering shall be born the T'lan Imass, and the First Empire.'

And here I chuckle, thinking how much confusion will generate that "First Empire" in DHG.

Also thanks a lot to Bill for picking really important nuances that I easily missed (chalice/Challice in the poem or the fire gifted to Kruppe, so obvious once explained, but that went completely above my head. So much is buried in the text if one has the patience to look for it...).
Mieneke van der Salm
88. Mieneke
@16 & 31 Robin: You're welcome :D So pleased I finally caught something lol
And right that does make more sense if you take the latter part of the sentence to be the more important. I hadn't totally figured out that the Imass were humanity's forebears. I knew they were related, but hadn't worked it out completely :)

@33 Shalter: That was where I was heading to, the cousin theory, especially since the Imass are described as having 'a heavy chinless jawbone, high cheeks and a pronounced brow ridge.'
Robin Lemley
89. Robin55077
@ 88. Mienke

That's one of the reasons why I love reading these posts! I have read GoTM four, maye five times prior to this reread, and every single time, I would pause on that scene, knowing that there was a reference there I just wasn't catching. LOL
Matt LaRose
90. TheLegend
Robin55077@88

I know the feeling I just started reading Deadhouse Gates and as I eased up my normal pace I keep seeing all these hints about things that I totally missed before.
Tricia Irish
91. Tektonica
Hi all...I've been traveling and fully engrossed in Deadhouse Gates. Now I'm 150 pages into Memories of Ice and things in GotM are getting clearer and clearer! Boy, there's a lot going on!

I've been keeping up with all your wonderful insightful comments. Thanks for all the good input. Still loving it!

Now I need to go back to GotM tonight and reread the next chapters so I'll have something to add to the discussion.
Taitastigon
92. Taitastigon
Tek @91

Welcome back !
And memorize every word of the Prologue of MoI. More *in your face* is impossible. And you GOTTA love Kallor - what a f*ck-up !
;0)
M D
93. Abalieno
Mammot saying to Crokus:

it's said some Jaghut survive to this day, though, thankfully, not on Genabackis.

Quite a misconception considering all the talk about the buried Jaghut tyrant in this chapter ;)

@ Amanda

So, if the barrow wasn’t found all that long time ago now, what makes Lorn think that she can find it? What extra knowledge does she have? The information from Tayschrenn? The presence of Tool?

Well, it's not just that they may have better information. It's that Jaghut are being trapped by T'lann Imass, so it makes sense that Tool is able to lead Lorn to the very place.

Sigh... I should speed up my own reread instead of commenting stuff when it's already time to move on.
Matt LaRose
94. TheLegend
Abalieno @93.

I don't know if it is a misconception but more of a misdirection by Mammot. We know from later on the Mammot is probably the most active in the search for the Jaghut tomb. Heck he even finds it himself later but he doesn't trust Crokus enough to tell him about it. Although that is not super surprising considering Crokus doesn't even know what Mammot truly is.

I am sure that there will be a flurry of posts today before the new part of the reread gets posted.
Taitastigon
95. Tree Frog
It's not truly revealed in GotM what Baruk, Vorcan and Mammot are doing in Darujhistan, but Crokus's comment about distractions also applies to Mammot writing those histories.

He's there for another task and has just been accidentally reminded of that by someone who has no idea of the true situation. Amazing scene - if you're aware of all the layers...
Nathan Martin
96. lerris
I'm new to the series, and have been following this reread upon finishing the corresponding chapters myself ( about a week into it now ).

One thing nobody touched upon in the comments ( though admittedly I was skimming ) :
Pran Chole learns that he would see the woman grow up in 300,000 years.
Tool earlier mentioned the ending of the diaspora after 300,000 years.
Is Kruppe's dreamspace being used as a vehicle for transmitting prophecy to the past?
Stefan Sczuka
97. moeb1us
In Kruppe's dream, K'rul -one could say- makes a prophecy to Pran because to him the impact of the born entity in regard of the T'lan Imass is known. He also knows that Pran will live through the time till that moment. So, I would say, yes.
Taitastigon
98. Matt2474
I've read GoTM before as well as Deadhouse Gates but decided to re-read with the "assistance" of this re-read and I definitely think it's helping as I'm picking up things I hadn't previously. One thing I noticed that I don't believe anyone else mentioned is the during the Kruppe dream scene, as he's greeting Tattersail before she's reborn, he's actually speaking in the first person about himself. I think this is the first time he's done that in the entire novel.
Steven Halter
99. stevenhalter
Matt2474@98:Good catch on the first person from Kruppe. I hadn't really noticed that.

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