Sep 15 2010 1:07pm

The Malazan Re-read of the Fallen: Gardens of the Moon, Chapters 20 and 21

Welcome to the Malazan Re-read of the Fallen! Every post will start off with a summary of events, followed by reaction and commentary by your hosts Bill and Amanda (with Amanda, new to the series, going first), and finally comments from readers. In this article, we’ll cover Chapters 20 and 21 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!


Murillio worries Rallick has lost too much blood to kill Orr. He muses on a giant time-keeping device built over a thousand years ago by a part-Jaghut named Icarium who traveled with a Trell (another race). He runs into Kruppe (literally) who tells him Coll has been healed and gives him masks for Lady Simtal’s party—one for Murillio, one for Rallick, and Kruppe keeps one for himself. Murillio tells Kruppe he’s figured out Kruppe is the Eel and Kruppe magically makes him forget.

Baruk tries, to no avail, to convince Rake not to attend the party. Both expect a “convergence” of power. Rake learns the new year is called Year of the Moon’s Tears. When Baruk tells him not to worry, the name was given a thousand years ago, Rake tells him that’s not so long; in fact, Icarium (with his Trell companion Mappo) visited Rake 800 years ago. Rake also mentions the presence of Caladan Brood and Osric/Osserc (with whom Rake continued an “old” argument). Baruk hints he knows Kruppe is the Eel when a message comes from him.

Mammot has awakened from his trance/entry into the Jaghut barrow and Baruk tells Rake Mammot is one of the T’orrud mages. Mammot tells them he was caught “for a time” but not sensed by the Jaghut, and that he estimates two to three days before the Jaghut awakens fully. Baruk learns that it is Mammot’s nephew Crokus who is the Coin Bearer. Rake asks to make sure Mammot will be at the party (he will) then leaves abruptly.

Lorn enters the city and heads for Whiskeyjack and his squad. Her wound is healing less quickly than expected due to her time in the barrow.

Circle Breaker was one of the guards at the gate Lorn entered through; he notes she matches the description given him by the Eel. He switches jobs with the other guard so he can be at the party.

Lorn finds some of the squad at Quip’s Bar. Fiddler and Hedge, playing cards with a Deck, tell her they’ve been expecting her. Whiskeyjack arrives and tells Lorn they’ve mined the city, Tiste Andii assassins have been hunting them, and they lost Sorry. Lorn tells him Sorry was a spy and isn’t dead but in hiding because Lorn has been hunting her for three years. Lorn tells him she’s giving the orders now.

Lorn tells Whiskeyjack she doesn’t believe Rake and the Andii are in the city. She asks why the squad hasn’t taken out the rulers since the Guild deal isn’t going to work. Whiskeyjack says they’ve arranged to be guards at the party tonight with that possibility in mind. Lorn realizes Whiskeyjack isn’t “broken” as she’d expected. She leaves, saying she’ll return in two hours.

Quick Ben says Kalam is getting impatient on his mission, Trotts says he’s been successful in his, and Whiskeyjack tells Quick Ben Lorn didn’t drop off something Paran had expected her to.

Apsalar and Crokus are waiting in K’rul’s tower before heading to the party so Crokus can talk to Challice. Both realize Apsalar is at war in herself but she tells Crokus she thinks everything is okay, she’s holding things together.

Serrat, about to attacks Crokus and Apsalar, is instead taken by surprise and told to warn Rake to leave Crokus alone—the message is from someone Rake/Serrat know who is not as far away as he once was and also comes “compliments of the Prince.” Serrat leaves and Crokus thinks he felt something.

The Jaghut (Raest) awakens and remembers his rise to power, enslavement of the Imass, attack by other Jaghut who imprisoned him. He rises and goes after the Finnest.

Crone witnesses five dragons above the barrow’s hills.

Raest causes an earthquake by sending a spear of pain into Burn, the goddess who sleeps deep in the earth. The dragons confront him, led by Silanah red-wings, whom Raest distinguishes as “true-blooded Tiam” as opposed to the four Soletaken dragons, “whose blood is alien to this world.” They fight.

Amanda’s Reaction to Chapter Twenty:
So, here we are starting the seventh book of seven—the end play—and, great... Two poems again, as is Mr Erikson’s wont at the start of a new book...

The first poem (or extract really, in this case—a work defining Darujhistan) is by Maskral Jemre, an unfamiliar name to me. He/she speaks about the Flaying of Fander marking the Dawn of Gedderone, which leads to a festival in Darujhistan. Two matters here—one is the quote:

It is as if the gods themselves pause their breath.

Well, this is certainly how we find matters at the start of Chapter 20! The second matter is the fact that I couldn’t tell whether Maskral is male or female—and I would say that this is similar for a great many of the names that Erikson uses. I don’t know if it constitutes much of a discussion point, but it occurred to me, so I thought I would bring it up.

The second poem is entitled “T’matha’s Children”—I’ve had a look through the Glossary and the list of pertinent people featured at the front of the novel, but can’t find any reference at all to T’matha. However, because we know of Mother Dark and that the Tiste Andii have some connection to dragons, I might be tempted to assume that Mother Dark and T’matha are one and the same. There is also a reference in the poem that also indicates this:

brought light into dark and dark into light

I enjoyed the thoughts of Murillio as he dwells a little on the naming of the year. As he himself mentions:

The arrival of Moon’s Spawn threw the new years title [Moon’s Tears] into a different light.

Since Erikson has explicitly made this connection, it almost makes me feel as though he is employing deliberate misdirection to prevent me from thinking what else it might mean.

I just wanted to pull out the fact that the wheel marking the Cycle of the Age was gifted to Darujhistan by a man named Icarium, who supposedly had Jaghut blood. This emphasises again that the Jaghut were much more than just about the war with the Imass.

Still loving Kruppe’s way of speaking!

“Twas healed magically,” Sulty said. “By some stranger, yet. Coll himself was brought in by yet a second stranger, who found a third stranger, who in turn brought a fifth stranger in the company of the stranger who healed Coll.”

In the same section, where Murillio confronts Kruppe about being the Eel, we receive another show of magic from Kruppe—slight, subtle, and definitely magic that suits the little man i.e. just a flutter of his fingers that induces forgetfulness.

Anomander Rake sounds as though he could be somewhat of a rake in truth—lounging comfortably, smiling slightly, suggesting that he has good taste in attire. I like the guy more and more!

We have hints that the relationship between Anomander Rake and the T’orrud Cabal has soured somewhat, thanks to the killing of members of the Assassins Guild.

There are mentions again of Rake’s eyes, this time changing colour from dun green to amber to grey. I’m deeply curious as to how this relates to dragons!

The small hints about Rake’s past, where he considers the visit by Icarium and Osric, come thick and fast. I have no doubt that this should be filed away for further use!

Regarding the line ”Osserc, as the local worshippers call him“—local to where/whom? “Osric and I argued, as I recall, and it was all Brood could do to keep is apart. It was an old argument”—what did they argue about? How powerful must Brood be to ensure that Rake doesn’t lay the smackdown on other people?

We learn that Baruk does not know Kruppe is the Eel, but suspects that he is:

The alchemist smiled. “As I said,” he laughed, “everyone will be there, and in this case, everyone is an appropriate term.” His smile broadened at Rake’s blank look. “The Eel, Lord. Darujhistan’s master-spy, a figure without a face.”

“A masked face,” the Tiste Andii reminded him.

“If my suspicions are correct,” Baruk said, “the mask won’t help the Eel one bit.”

The last few paragraphs of the section involving Baruk, Rake and Mammot gives lots of little details that no doubt add to the overall picture but elude me right now: Why is Baruk so scared about Crokus being Mammot’s nephew? Is it simply because Baruk knows that Crokus is the Coin Bearer? How does Mammot know that Crokus is the Coin Bearer? Why is Rake’s tone strangely flat after regarding Mammot?

I do love the heavy foreboding inherent in:

Baruk had no time to think about Rake’s sudden departure. It was his first mistake of the day.

It is also great how Erikson introduces Lorn’s arrival into Daru with the line:

A woman with a shaved head and long flowing robes ran shrieking from the gates, a shred of brown fur streaming from one hand.

It misdirects for a few lines as the reader wonders if this signals the arrival of the Jaghut Tyrant. It also ties back into the first poem of the two at the start of this chapter, telling about the Flaying of Fander.

Lorn’s wound not healing—red puffy flesh—gives me a sense of worry (however much I don’t like her). The fact that the Jaghut Tyrant’s magic might negate Otataral’s healing properties might become something we need to know in the future.

Eyeing the two guards stationed at the gate, she approached warily. Only one seemed to pay her any attention, and this man spared her but the briefest glance...

What is the betting that this guard turns out to be someone we already know? *grin* And oh! Just read on slightly—hello to Circle Breaker again!

The exchange between Circle Breaker and the other guard, Berrute, showcases a number of the matters we have discussed previously in the comments to each post: an extremely minor character being given a name and a few tidbits of history; and a discussion between two characters being used to add flavour and depth to the novel, rather than just saying “Circle Breaker was able to swap shifts with another guard to enable him to be present at Lady Simtal’s fete.” Would love to know Circle Breaker’s proper name!

Oh wow, this is why I love Gardens of the Moon—for scenes like that with Lorn finding the Bridgeburners! The way that it is revealed that Fiddler is actually using a Deck of Dragons to play the card games! ”Knight of House Dark is the wild card“—I guess it is true that this game will play out due to the actions of Anomander Rake, and they cannot predict him.

“But what about this damned Virgin of Death?” groused the healer.

“She’s had her teeth pulled. Take a look, the Rope’s right outa the picture, ain’t he?” Fiddler laid another card. “And there’s the Dragon bastard himself, sword all smoking and black as a moonless night. That’s what’s got the Hound scampering.”

This is delicious writing! I love the fact that recent events are being gradually shown by Fiddler. Lorn’s question is pertinent—is Fiddler a talent? When she asks whether he should be using the deck, does this indicate that those without talents are not actually allowed to handle them? It probably isn’t a question that needs answering but I found myself curious about it.

“Throne inverted” is the card pulled for Lorn—not too sure what this is in reference to, unless it indicates something to do with Laseen stealing the Throne from Kellanved.

“Orb.” Fiddler laughed. “True sight and judgement closes this game, wouldn’t you know it?”

Again I think that Lorn is being laughed at here, and reference being made to past events, but I don’t quite know if I’m barking up the right tree with that.

I like how Whiskeyjack is snide towards Lorn when he says that if the Bridgeburners had known of the plans about Sorry, then they could have done something. That pointed remark of his shows that secrets are not always the wisest course. It also goads the Adjunct into taking over his squad, which is part of the plan of keeping Lorn close so that they will be able to deal with her and potentially tackle the Jaghut Tyrant.

The plans of Whiskeyjack and the Bridgeburners really start to pull together with this scene between him and Lorn. It is interesting that Lorn is convinced that all of the Tiste Andii are elsewhere, and equally interesting the scorn with which she mentions the idea of Anomander Rake leaving Moon’s Spawn. Especially so when we think about the fact that Laseen knows the Jaghut Tyrant will bring Anomander Rake into the fray! There are lies within lies in this scene—to the point where I’m no longer quite sure whose plan is what, and who knows what will really be occurring.

“Your Corporal Kalam ranked among the best in the Claw before his... his falling out”—how intriguing! What did Kalam do?

Apsalar sounds as though she will come to a point where one set of warring memories in her brain will take over the other—at the moment Shadowthrone’s memories are coming more to the fore, considering she describes Unta and sounds as though she is having to convince herself about missing her own father. The “smooth, black stone” that takes Apsalar inside is concerning—she could just be describing the way she is feeling, but thanks to her possession any odd thoughts of this nature might be residue of Shadowthrone. Including his magic?

Thanks to the hints from everyone about who is protecting Crokus from Serrat—the biggest clue comes here:

A low chuckle answered her. “Compliments of the Prince, Serrat. Take it up with our mutual friend.”

I take it this Prince is K’azz D’Avore? *wink*

The Jaghut Tyrant refers to himself as Raest and was worshipped as a god by the T’lann Imass.

The power he commanded insisted upon subjects. Strength was ever relative, and he could not dominate without the company of the dominated.

This is the reason why the Tyrant enslaved the Imass—they were subjects that did not die and could suffer his tyranny. We also hear that the Jaghut are normally solitary creatures, who do not desire community, but in order to defeat Raest they banded together.

And FINALLY we see the dragons! What is it that Crone screams?

“Silanah! Dragnipurake t’na Draconiaes! Eleint, eleint!”

Silanah is the red dragon—I have my suspicions that this might be Anomander Rake’s alter ego and he is only able to assume the form thanks to the sword Dragnipur (connected to what Crone says)—right? Or very wrong?

Ouch, Raest is a bit of a bad ass... (Yep, I am Queen of No-Brainer Statements right now!) His first actions are to wound a goddess and create a volcano, and yet he’s not at full power?

Another mention of Soletaken—shapeshifters—in reference to the four black dragons. Raest recognises them as dragons “whose blood is alien to this world”—so Tiste Andii then? The Jaghut Tyrant is unable to enslave dragons—interesting to know. Also interesting to see him try and woo the black Soletaken to his cause. We also have confirmation that Raest is able to possess others:

His power was absolute, the vessel that carried it had little relevance. If need be, the Tyrant would find other bodies, bodies in the thousands.

This thundering battle of sorcery between Tyrant and dragons is just amazing—my mind did all kinds of WOWOWOWOWOW at what I imagined! What an epic ending to Chapter 20!

Bill’s Reaction to Chapter Twenty:
I think you pulled out the key line of that first poem, Amanda—the one pointing to the lull before the storm. Just wanted to add that Fander is yet another name to add to the long list for future reference...

On the second poem, I’m unsure myself as to just what’s going on here but might hazard that T’Matha bears some resemblance to Tiam, a name we see just a bit later and one associated with true dragons (The children of chaos?). But “matron” usually calls up something else in my mind and though we do see eventually a connection between dragons and “that other” I can’t quite connect it to the “birthing of dragons.” And certainly Mother Dark does get called up as well by the light/dark. Ideas?

In usual Erikson fashion, we get a character—Icarium—that sort of leaks out in dribs and drabs: he makes timepieces (very, very cool timepieces, not to mention oddly prophetic in this case), as you mentioned Amanda he has some Jaghut blood, and has a Trell companion. And then, via Rake, some more driblets: the Trell is named Mappo, and oh yeah, the two of them visited Rake 800 years ago (speaking of characters exposed bit by bit, as you guessed Amanda, you want to hold onto the name of Osric/Osserc as well—we’ll be seeing him, Mappo, and Icarium eventually).

Who else loves Kruppe’s seemingly confused response at Murillo’s implication that Rallick will recognize him despite the mask? And then a few pages later, Baruk’s wry remark: “the mask won’t help the Eel one bit.”

Who else also thinks that while Rake does have obviously bigger things on his mind than a party, he’s actually being somewhat honest in telling Baruk:

“I would like to attend this fete. My own people hold little to such social affairs. There are times when I grow weary of their dour preoccupations.”

The answer to your question on Rake’s tone toward Mammot, Amanda, is it is some more foreshadowing re: Mammot and the Jaghut in this scene. The first comes when Mammot tells us “withdrawal proved easier that I’d imagined.” (Really, who believes anyone when they say that?) Then when Rake asks him quite, quite seriously, and “in a strangely flat tone” if he’ll be at the party, then when Mammot’s “of course” leads Rake to look forward to that meeting with “something like anticipation,” and finally the line about Baruk’s mistake. [Amanda’s interjection: Hmm, does this mean that Mammot has been possessed by the Tyrant in some form?!]

Okay, here we go with another Deck reading. I’ll toss in my interpretation and let you all have at it (though sometimes I think it’s more fun to ignore these sort of interpretive moments and watch the crowd get their teeth into them first—any preferences?):

Well, we’ve got Rake as Knight of House Dark as Amanda gleaned, and the wild card obviously. Virgin of Death I’m going with Sorry, who has had her teeth pulled when Cotillion (the Rope) was evicted from her by Shadowthrone. Certainly with the convergence coming up the Herald of Death is no surprise (and I could say more here about that but perhaps too spoilerish so I’ll hold off). We’ve seen Rake face Shadowthrone (The Hound) down and we’ve had enough references to Rake and dragons by now so that isn’t all that obscure. As for Orb, I have a few ideas but think they go in the spoiler realm, so I’ll hold off (the discussion thread is fine for that sort of thing though).

Okay, here’s one I need help on—Captain of Light. The Captain of Light is rising, and sure we know the Jaghut is about to rise, and in fact when he does so he “walked into the light”—but I can’t quite put him as Captain of Light. We’ve got Paran as a captain, but I have some issues with that one as well, though he’s certainly on the rise. Fiddler adds an intriguing tidbit: “That Captain’s already dancing on the Knight’s shadow,” but to be perfectly frank, I’m not sure what that phrase means here. I can see Paran dancing “in” Rake’s shadow, as they’ve already met and Rake has saved him once and Paran is making some moves. But I’m not sure what Paran dancing “on” Rake’s shadow would be—perhaps there’s no difference? Someone dancing on “Rake’s shadow” might be the someone playing with Serrat, who gets revealed (to some extent) as a Crimson Guard and agent of Brood, so perhaps that could be the Captain of Light? Though Brood seems to have his own connection and I’m not sure about how the Guard might connect to Light. Hmm, I’m now wondering if Raest returns as a candidate as his possession of Mammot could be seen as “dancing on Rake’s shadow”?

Anyone? Anyone? Bueller?

As for those without talent using a Deck, Lorn isn’t worried about ones without talent but those (like Fiddler) with talent, as the Deck can do some odd and dangerous things when one with talent uses it (as we’ll see in some great Deck readings in the future!)

Also, while we’re on the subject of my ignorance, anybody know what Paran was expecting Lorn to “drop off”? I seem to have missed something (probably something embarrassingly obvious, in which case I’ll have to shamefacedly hand in my Tor Re-reader Decoder Ring) [Amanda’s interjection: I just thought that the something to be dropped off was the Finnest? But then I guess he wouldn’t have known about it, so I think I need to hand in my Tor First-Reader Decoder Ring. *grin*]

On Aspalar’s “smooth black stone,” I’m thinking it’s the seer still keeping watch over her. And while we’re in that scene, Anybody catch Crokus, listening to Sorry, thinking this to himself:

Possession, Coll had said. Two sets of memory warred in the woman, and the war was getting worse. He wondered if Mammot had shown up yet.

Now sure, he has a reason for thinking that, as Mammot is supposed to help Sorry, but still, c’mon: possession—Mammot, possession—Mammot. Love it.

Good pick up on who has been tormenting poor Serrat, Amanda; we’ve only had one “Prince” mentioned, so if you can recall that, this isn’t so much a hint as a declaration. Even more intriguing than this reveal, I think, is the line: “as Rake well knows, he’s not as far away as he once was.” “He” being Brood.

So, if you wondered just how bad the Jaghut could get, or at least, this particular Tyrant, now you know: killing other Jaghut, driving “countless species” into extinction, “bending nature to his will,” even taking on the earth itself as it resists him. That’s all in the past though, right? Now he’s still weak, newly wakened, most of his power still inaccessible in his Finnest? So he “stabs” Burn (a goddess sleeping deep, deep in the earth), raises “a line of hills,” and causes a volcano. You can see why Rake refuses to call the outcome “certain.” Even if he sends his best backup.

And what backup, eh? That’s not a bad guess re: Silanah, Amanda, based on all the dropped clues re: Rake and dragons. Note, however, the distinction Raest makes, calling Silanah (twice the size of the others) “true-blooded Tiam (to the file cabinet with Tiam!)” and “eleint,” then stating that she leads not other “true” dragons, but “Soletaken” dragons—not quite the same thing.

Oh, and just a minor clarification on the Jaghut Raest and the T’lan Imass/Imass. If you look carefully, you’ll see he calls them Imass, which if you recall is what they were called before they underwent the ritual making them the undead T’lan Imass.


Lorn plants the Finnest acorn in a garden. She imagines the death and destruction about to be visited upon Darujhistan and feels herself breaking down. She sets off to kill Crokus and take the Coin, her “last act.”

Kruppe heads toward the party, thinking of how “someone” is protecting Crokus perhaps even better than Kruppe has been. He also plans to let Circle Breaker retire tonight after the party, which he feels will be a crux for future events.

Crokus and Apsalar head for the party.

The squad is hired at the party. Quick Ben tells them the Jaghut has been freed and is winning whatever battle it’s fighting out in the hills.

Kalam and Paran, at the Phoenix Inn, discuss killing Lorn. Kalam tells Scurve the bartender to get a message the Assassin’s Guild master that a big contract is waiting for them at the party. They head to the party.

Baruk and Rake head to the party. Baruk marvels at the power of the battle outside the city and that Rake seems so calm despite the fact that Raest is clearly winning and will be in the city in hours.

Lady Simtal and Turban Orr meet Baruk and Rake (who is wearing a dragon mask) and welcome them. (Orr doesn’t recognize Rake’s name and is suspicious of Baruk’s power and influence.)

Murillio and Rallick hope Baruk doesn’t see them. They watch as Kruppe heads toward Rake and Baruk.

Baruk tells Rake Kruppe is the Eel. Kruppe reveals he knows Rake is a Soletaken dragon. (Baruk thinks the mask is merely a mask.)

Orr recognizes Circle Breaker and realizes he’s the spy Orr has been seeking. Before he can move to kill him, Rallick crashes into Orr and provokes him into a duel.

Murillio and Lady Simtal are in her bedroom.

Rake steps in to be Rallick’s second in the duel. Mammot, wearing a Jaghut mask, joins Baruk.

The squad realizes Rake is there. Quick Ben tells Whiskeyjack the magical battle outside the city is wreaking havoc among all the magic-users, including him. They can’t protect themselves by using their barrows because the Jaghut, even at this distance, would “take the weaker ones.”

Crokus arrives, after leaving Apsalar at the garden’s back wall. He joins the crowd waiting for the duel, standing next to Circle Breaker. Kruppe arrives and gives Circle Breaker a message from the Eel, which is about his lucrative retirement in a different city via the Eel. Rallick kills Orr easily then leaves. Baruk introduces Rake to the witch Derudan, who worries about the Jaghut. Rake tells them his concern isn’t with who is beyond the city walls.

Rallick bursts in on Murillio and Simtal (after the sex) and tells Simtal that Orr is dead, that Coll will be returned to his status/house. Rallick leaves, then Murillio as well, though not before leaving Simtal a dagger, knowing she’ll commit suicide. He already starts regretting what his vengeance makes him feel like.

Crokus grabs Challice and brings her into the garden.

Circle Breaker leaves, happy.

Amanda’s Reaction to Chapter Twenty-One:
Even with my lack of interest in poetry, I can appreciate the beauty of the poem Anomandaris that starts Chapter 21. Every single line is just gorgeous, but I particularly love:

Their sorcery bled from them like the breathing of stars and I knew then that dragons had come among us...

Intrigued by the fact that the poem is called Anomandaris, which bears a great resemblance to the name Anomander, non?

We can infer that Lorn has left the Finnest at the fete—this just cannot end well, but at least it looks as though all the main players will be present there! Hmm, I’m pretty sure that when Paran was sent by Lorn to kill Sorry that the Adjunct knew Sorry was being possessed by Shadowthrone? Ah no—I just read back and realised that this occurred during a conversation with Topper. Remember him? I almost didn’t! Will we see him again because I kinda liked him? So Lorn won’t be aware that the reason Sorry is untraceable is thanks to a god relinquishing control of her.

It’s a really sad scene with Lorn, actually, no matter how much I despise her at times. She really is breaking apart, as she tries to stay aloof and behind the mask of the Adjunct. And yet she frustrates me as well! She feels the pain of death and insignificance and knows one day that she will be part of it, but she still chooses to go ahead with the plan that will cause such destruction. Alright, Raest has now been unleashed, but she could still ask Whiskeyjack not to explode the city intersections.

Aww, Kruppe—I can always rely on you for a little light relief. (Although I really need to make sure that I still read every word of his closely considering there are many revelations lost in the gentle patter of his speech.) In this little scene I loved the fact that he tried to fasten the last button of his waistcoat, and then shrugs and leaves it. There is another little hint about his power, but doesn’t give any real indication of how he comes to know the pattern—but I do suspect that Kruppe’s ability is tied into dreams and daydreams:

He’d spent the last hour seated at his table, to all outward appearances musing on nothing of great importance, though in his head a pattern formed, born of his Talent, and it disturbed him greatly.

I’m guessing that the “something like lightning” that Crokus can see is the Jaghut getting closer and closer to Daru—that description of clouds which are an eerie and sickly ochre colour leave a deeply ominous impression. There are tiny hints that Crokus is starting to feel real affection for Apsalar—making sure that she will be okay in the event that things go wrong; enjoying the feel of her hand in his, and finding it hard to remember what she was capable of during her possession. I think the last sentence in the section really represents everything about Crokus:

Eyes wide, yet seeing nothing, Crokus allowed himself to be guided down the stairs.

This really shows the naive child who is being led by the nose by various people.

Why does Trott using the name Niganga cause Whiskeyjack to think ”Hood’s Breath!“ like that? Just as a quick aside—I recently read The Lies of Locke Lamora for the first time and found it deeply enjoyable but the real world swearing left me cold and jarred me out of my reading. I would like to say that curses such as ”Hood’s Breath“ are much more in keeping with a fantasy world. What are your thoughts?

Starting to know Quick Ben as we do, hands up who is now scared as anything about the Tyrant after seeing him so shaky and scared?

“Don’t you get it?” Quick Ben said shakily. He took a couple of deep breaths, then continued, “That creature out there is in a fight. We’re talking major sorceries, only it’s getting closer, which means that it’s winning. And that means—”

“We’re in trouble,” Whiskeyjack finished.

Paran rubbed his red-shot eyes. “She must have given them something,” he insisted wearily, “even if they didn’t see it.”

We know from the rest of the conversation between Paran and Kalam that the ”she“ in question is Lorn, so is Paran referring to the Finnest? Does he know about it? And the ”them" in question is the Bridgeburner squad, right?

I really enjoyed Kalam finally losing patience and threatening Scurve with violence if he doesn’t get a message to the city’s Master of the Assassins—the whole little scene was comedy gold, from Paran’s drawled comment, to Kalam politely giving the innkeeper coins for his trouble after promising to kill him, to the fact that Kalam is trying to get in touch with the Master of the Assassins so that he can con Laseen out of coin. Love it!

Those Greyfaces have been mentioned by Kalam—and this time he brings them up because of something about them nagging at him. Another little mystery that I’m sure is building up to something important. *grin*

Rake’s arrival at the fete certainly causes a stir—there can’t be too many seven foot tall men around though, right? I like that his mask is that of a black dragon—more hints. I’m a little unsure of the timeline now, though—is the Tyrant still on his way in? Has he defeated the dragons sent to try and stop him? I’m just ascertaining whether Rake was one of those dragons, but now I’m thinking not.

Baruk sighed. Anomander Rake, a name known by poets and scholars, but not, it appeared, by councilmen.

This line made me giggle! However, it does also have a lesson with regards to forgetting history—at one point Rake would have been known as an historical figure, now he is just part of myth and stories. What have we forgotten of our own history, now only known by scholars?

Oh, again Erikson provides us with much amusement, at the point where Kruppe meets Rake! First of all, Rake’s incredulous “Do you jest?” made me laugh, and then their conversation (which I sense is deeper than it seems) is also entertaining.

“It is easy to fool oneself,” Rake answered, “into viewing those beneath one as small and insignificant. The risks of oversight, you might say.”

This could be taken in so many ways—such as Rake purely trading quips with Kruppe, or Rake letting Kruppe know that he isn’t underestimating him.

Turban Orr’s messenger being sent to Pale—through the thunderstorm: we know that they are unlikely to get there. Add to that the fact that Orr suffers a rather terminal case of knives-in-the-body later in this Chapter, and I am wondering whether Erikson mentioning this is deliberate or just to flesh out details of Orr’s ponderings.

We see a lot of plot strands coming together at the end of this Chapter: Rallick finally facing up to Orr (despite Murillio’s fears that he wouldn’t be recovered enough to take his revenge); Lady Simtal being taken down a number of pegs, as Murillio woos her during the duel between Rallick and Orr; and the first steps towards Coll being reinstated.

*shudders* More indication that Mammot is being possessed:

“Good gods, Mammot! Where did you get that hideous mask?”

The old man’s eyes held his briefly then shied away. “An accurate rendition of Jaghut features, I believe,” he said softly. “Though I think the tusks are a little short.”

We hear that all the mages are affected by the Jaghut unleashing his power but equally they don’t want to access their power in case Raest destroys them or consumes them. This definitely puts the citizens of Darujhistan at a disadvantage against the Tyrant.

Crokus appears to still be under the influence of Oponn as he manages to sneak through Whiskeyjack’s squad as they stand guard—I’m assuming it is this that keeps him invisible as he makes his way through the garden? Equally it could be the Crimson Guard who have been protecting him from Serrat.

I’m really pleased that Circle Breaker gets to walk away—over the course of his chapters we’ve seen him weary, scared and frustrated and, even knowing so little about the man behind the name, I am glad he will find peace. From the fact that he is sweating at the idea of the duel between Rallick and Orr, I am guessing that he relates to one of both of these men. Erikson has probably even told us his name in passing!

The duel between Rallick and Orr reminds me a little of that scene in Raiders of the Lost Ark—where Indiana Jones faces off against the guy twirling his sword in a fancy manner and then just shoots him. All this time we’ve been building up to a mighty duel, with much being made of Rallick’s ability with a blade and the fact that he might be too hurt to duel effectively, and then he really just assassinates Orr.

Rake is aware that there is something building within Daru:

“Should it prove necessary,” Rake said, “I will attend to the matter personally. I do not believe, however, that our greatest threat is the one beyond the city’s walls. A suspicion, Witch, no more.”

The Lady Simtal was gone, and he dared not study too closely the creature in her place.

Now does this only mean that Simtal changed demeanour as she realised that she was no longer in power and would be defeated by Coll’s return? Or did she actually change into a creature?! [Bill’s interjection: Can’t be too careful in fantasy books, but in this case, the mundane first answer is the right one.]

Murillio reveals a little more about himself:

Justice had seduced him and he wondered what he had just lost, he wondered at the death he felt spreading within him. The regret following in that death’s wake, so unanswerable it was, threatened to overwhelm him. “Mowri,” he whispered a second time, as close to praying as he’d ever been, “I think I’m now lost. Am I lost?”

This is bleak and that little cry for help at the end really moves me. Who is Mowri? [Bill’s interjection: She’s in the glossary under Ascendants—Lady of Beggars, Slaves, and Serfs. We’ll see people swear to or by her now and then.]

Gosh, Crokus really is reacting without thinking right now, isn’t he? Imagine kidnapping Challice! Not exactly the way to win her heart, or to keep himself safe...

Bill’s Reaction to Chapter Twenty-One:
I agree with you that Lorn’s progression through this novel is a sad one. As before, just when you think she might be turning down a more human path, she shuts it off: “Find the Coin Bearer. Kill him.” Good use of those short, abrupt sentences to convey the coldness and the cutting off of her humanity.

I too liked that last line about Crokus being led down by Sorry. And you’re right Amanda, the flickerings of affection have already begun. (The boy is doomed, doomed!)

On your BTW, Amanda re: swearing, I have the same reaction. I mean, you go to all this trouble to craft a world with different species, cultures, moons, flora and fauna, magic for god’s sake, and then you’ve got character throwing around contemporary slang swearing. Some I can live with, as they have the characters speaking (mostly) “English” for the obvious reason that we need to be able to read the books (even Tolkien didn’t put all of LOTR into Elvish), so anything w/ bodily connections I can tolerate, but the others just seem a bit lazy.

Pesky Greyfaces, always hanging around at dusk...

You have to figure Erikson had some fun with the masks in the round-up-the-usual-suspects collage (though I’m not sure I needed Mammot’s—a bit of overkill I thought). They’re all pretty clear, but just another name to remember Amanda—Rallick’s tiger mask and the reference to the god Trake.

Ahh Kruppe’s slippery, double-edged language. I think we can count on him knowing that Rake can in fact take dragon form and so when Baruk tells him Rake’s dragon mask is just that, a mask, look how cleverly funny Kruppe’s ensuing lines are:

Such is the irony of life . . . that one learns to distrust the obvious

[Such as the mask is just a mask.]

On Rake’s line re: “oversight,” I think this hearkens back to a few liners earlier in the book. One is when Brood complains to Crone that “Rake’s disdain for everything beneath him has left us stumbling and flat on our faces one time too many.” Another is the conversation between Baruk and Rake where Baruk wonders if Rake cares if Darujhistan is destroyed so long as Rake “wins.” Here I think Rake is musing on the fact that he must stand constant guard against his (and his people’s) own potential to disregard those “below” him and my guess is he thinks many others of power have failed to do the same.

The irony of Orr thinking about how the “Moon’s Lord” would surely be defeated by the Empire just after meeting said lord isn’t quite as satisfactory for me as I still have some issues with folks not recognizing Rake’s name, especially as Orr knows about Pale and one would think would be going all out to learn some intel on what the city has to deal with. But time to move on from that complaint, I guess.

My guess is that most fans have a large soft spot for Circle Breaker, one of the very, very few Erikson characters who seem (so far) to have played their part and moved on to have another life beyond the misery of war and death and horror. I love that last line describing him moving out through the gates.

I agree Crokus is acting without thinking (hmm, adolescent boy anyone?), but I thoroughly enjoyed his big build-up to this moment culiminating in “Gorlas? Is that you? I’ve been waiting all night!”

Things will be moving fast and furious now. Buckle up!

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

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

Steven Halter
1. stevenhalter
@Amanda & @Bill:
I take T’Matha to be a corruption of the name Tiam. Tiam, as Bill says, is "associated" with real dragons.
Steven Halter
2. stevenhalter

Also, while we’re on the subject of my ignorance, anybody know what Paran was expecting Lorn to “drop off”?

I think that Paran is expecting Lorn to drop the Finnest off with the Bridgeburners in order to put them at ground zero when the Tyrant arrives and get them all killed.
3. endymion
Tiam is definitely referred to in later books as Tiamatha, so the shortening to T'matha makes sense
ezzkmo .
4. ezzkmo
Amanda, I'm glad you pointed out the little backstories given to minor characters such as guards. I love how after 1 page, you are fully aware of a meaningless guard's history. Rather than just saying "the guard" and moving on. It really really gives a sense of life to this city and show's how every individual is part of it and has a whole story themself. The majority of people in a society are "the little meaningless guys" who have nothing to do with an epic story full of the select few heroes. So naturally, most readers are going to relate to the tired, sick, overworked, every-day Joes just trying to earn some money...feed the family. So why not give them a page of description? Rootin' for the little guys!

And that whole Mammot possession thing went right over my head by the way! How could I not see the signs?!
5. Marc Rikmenspoel
I work at night, so it's great to get up around noon eastern time (USA) on Wednesdays and open a browser to see the latest Malazan reread!

Here's a question that has been puzzling me. How high are Erikson's sales? Adam "Werthead" Whitehead has mentioned a few times some old (2006) sales figures, but these are from before Erikson really took off in the USA. I've noticed in chain bookstores in both Colorado and the New York City area that a LOT of copies of Malazan books are moving off the shelves. Both Erikson and Esslemont, trade and massmarket (the hardcovers are really only for libraries, from what I can tell).

So the question of, why isn't Malazan selling as well as other giant doorstopper fantasies, should be moot. These days, it is outselling most fantasy not titled The Gathering Storm (which is a phenomena of its own).
Steven Halter
6. stevenhalter
I'd like to point out this bit from chapter 20:

The earth resisted him, and its power was immense. Yet it was directionless and could not overwhelm Raest in its ageless tide.

and this bit from chapter 21:

ADJUNCT LORN rose from her crouch and brushed the dirt from her hands. 'Find an acorn.' She smiled to herself. 'Plant it.'

and tag the combination as foreshadowing #2. I'm not saying what they are foreshadowing--we'll have to wait just a bit for that (for you first time readers).
In addition to just doing foreshadowing, Lorn is, of course, planting the Finnest in the garden of the fete in order to draw the Tyrant right into the midst of things.
Steven Halter
7. stevenhalter

Oh wow, this is why I love Gardens of the Moon—for scenes like that with Lorn finding the Bridgeburners!

Yeah, this is a fantastic scene. The interactions are great. I really like how SE takes the common soldier pasttime of playing cards and uses it to inject both plot and characterization. Pay attention when Fiddler plays cards!
Oh, and I think Bill gets the reading right.
Steven Halter
8. stevenhalter

Okay, here’s one I need help on—Captain of Light. The Captain of Light is rising

I take the Captain of Light to be Paran. The part about dancing on Rake's shadow I took to be referring to the time Paran spent in Dragnipur.
Chris Hawks
9. SaltManZ
Intrigued by the fact that the poem is called Anomandaris, which bears a great resemblance to the name Anomander, non?
How quickly we forget! The Malazans quoted Anomadaris earlier in the book regarding Caladan Brood ("Wake him not, wake him not") and noted that the poem was not about Brood, but about his companion.

Like a lot of ascendants in this series (Trake/Treach, Osric/Osserc/Liossercal, etc.) Rake has a number of names, but he takes first place with varying combinations of Anomander and Anomandaris with Rake, Purake, and Dragnipurake.
Hugh Arai
10. HArai
Pesky Greyfaces, always hanging around at dusk...

Chris Hawks
11. SaltManZ
@#$% comment editor keeps eating my posts when I hit "Preview"...
Steven Halter
12. stevenhalter

This thundering battle of sorcery between Tyrant and dragons is just amazing—my mind did all kinds of WOWOWOWOWOW at what I imagined!

Yeah, WOWOWOWOWO, pretty much sums up my reaction the first time I read that battle scene. I think SE writes the best massive sorcery battles out there. This one (in addition to just being way cool) is showing us five dragons battling Raest and gradually being pushed back in spite of dealing massive damage. So we get a sense of the relative strengths of the dragons and Raest. Also, note that the dragons aren't just flapping about--they are acting in concert, attacks from the front and the back. And yet Raest continues.We later get the comment from Rake:

“Should it prove necessary,” Rake said, “I will attend to the matter personally."

This gives us more insight into Rake. We've seen the massive battle going on and he doesn't seem particularly concerned that Raest is something he can't handle if he needs to.
Hugh Arai
13. HArai

How powerful must Brood be to ensure that Rake doesn’t lay the smackdown on other people?
We'll see in the future that there's reasons for the "Wake him not, wake him not" line when he's mentioned in Anomandaris. Not to mention Osserc can apparently hold his own... :)
Steven Halter
14. stevenhalter

I can appreciate the beauty of the poem Anomandaris that starts Chapter 21. Every single line is just gorgeous

One thing I really like about the chapter poems and pieces is that they are done with varying styles based upon who the author is. In this case, the author is Fisher and the poem Anomandaris is referred to in places as an epic. So, the gorgeous style fits that sort of work and author precisely. On other occasions, we see pieces of poetry that are by common soldiers or ascribed to folklore and the styles fit those authors also.
Mieneke van der Salm
15. Mieneke
@Amanda, we know Fiddler has some sort of talent since the squad is wont to trust his instincts whenever he has a sense of foreboding about something.

I love those lines on Crokus. What a great catch!

‘Orr suffers a rather terminal case of knives-in-the-body later in this Chapter’ that made me giggle!
Mieneke van der Salm
16. Mieneke
Here's my comments and observations for this week's chapter. For once I was ahead and my notes all typed out on Monday ;)

I love this exchange between Murillio and Kruppe: ‘No more magical cantrips, Kruppe. I’ve known you a long time, remember? I’ve seen you cast spells. You’ve got everybody fooled, but not me. I’m not telling, though. You don’t have to worry about that.’ He smiled. ‘Then again, if you don’t come out with it here and now, I might get annoyed.’
Sighing, Kruppe returned the handkerchief to his sleeve. ‘Annoyance is uncalled for,’ he said, waving a hand and fluttering his fingers.

The name dropping in the scene between Barak and Rake, Icarium, Mappo, Osric, they set up such a nice feeling of Rake’s age, the way he just shrugs off not having talked to them for 800 years as if that’s just a short time.

Lorn’s wound sort of seems infected (red and puffy) am I just reaching or might the Omthose Pellack have messed with the otataral?

When Lorn tracks down the Bridge Burners they seem to already expect her, which sort of throws her. In the card game (with a frigging Deck of Dragons!!) we see some of our main characters make an appearance. I couldn’t work out who the Captain of Light is though. Is that Paran? And the inverted Throne for Lorn… does that signify her moving away from Laseen at one point or her supporting the usurper Laseen?

Nice face off between Whiskeyjack and Lorn. Andwhat on earth are the Bridge Burners up to?With Quick Ben hiding in that tunnel!

The scene where Serrat is confronted by her mystery assailant is interesting. ‘Compliments of the Prince, Serrat. Take it up with our mutual friend.’ Is this someone sent by Prince K’azz of the Crimson Guard on Brood’s command, or is this actually already Brood himself, since he speaks of their mutual friend?

The weird language Crone speaks is Jaghut? Because it definitely resembles what Raest speaks.

The black dragons are Soletaken and Raest cannot possess them. Does that mean he wouldn’t be able to possess Silverfox or Quick Ben either?

If anything gave Kruppe pause, it was the pattern’s abrupt ending. Beyond tonight, the future was blank. Clearly, a crux had been reached, and it would turn, he knew, at Lady Simtal’s Fête.
This seems pretty ominous, doesn’t it? Like Kruppe doesn’t even know whether he’ll make it through the night!

The sense of impending doom is nicely increased by the fact that Raest’s approach is constantly hinted at, both by characters who know what it is and by those who don’t.

The little byplay where Orr doesn’t even know who Anomander really is, is brilliant. You can almost see Baruk rolling his eyes at such gross stupidity.

The interaction between Rake and Kruppe is genius. I think Kruppe has actually grown on me this time around!I hadn't expected that!

Also, Murillio’s realization that getting justice (and revenge) isn’t always enjoyable in the end, even if it’s right, is so sad. Doesn’t this also fit in with the theme that war always has a price?

Can't waiy for next week as everything is heating up like crazy now!!
Nathan Martin
17. lerris
Alas, I didn't pick up on Mammot's possession.

Though Tiam and T'matha did immediately strike me as a variation on Tiamat, from Sumerian myth, and often associated in the genre with dragons ( most notably in D&D ).
Steven Halter
18. stevenhalter
In 20 we get our first mention of Icarium--part Jaghut, has a Trell companion named Mappo, build interesting devices and hangs out with Rake every few thousand years.
Note that Rake advises Barruk to not take anything Icarium does lightly and that a thousand years really isn't that long.
For a classical reference, Mare Icarium was the name given to the sea into which Icarus fell after flying too close to the sun.
Julian Augustus
19. Alisonwonderland
Shalter @8:
I take the Captain of Light to be Paran. The part about dancing on Rake's shadow I took to be referring to the time Paran spent in Dragnipur.

Is Captain of Light an actual position in the Deck? I don't have a book here to refer to, but if that reading refers to Paran, which seems right based on his trip through Dragnipur as you say, then I'm inclined to think the Captain of Light reference is probably a foreshadowing of his position later in the series.
Rob Munnelly
20. RobMRobM
Nice to see the Osric reference. Now I know that it was not the complete WTF out of nowhere reference I has thought it was when reading about him later.

Still love Kruppe - so much fun. Having read MoI, I enjoy him even more. (I'm reading Book 5 and also enjoying Tehold very much - nonconventional competence can be entertaining.)

Up until this point in the story, I was wondering whether Crokus would be heading towards Sorry or Challice. Things are now clearer.

This was the chapter where I began to realize I had no freakin idea about the scope of power of many of these nonhuman entities in the series (Jaghut, Rake, Tisti Andi Soletaken, T'lann Imass, etc.) Tough on the humans.

And I must confess I still don't understand who and why Crokus is being protected from Serrat. I guess it is the Crimson Guard, potentially at behest of Brood, but I don't understand how they know about it and why they are stepping in here.

Steven Halter
21. stevenhalter
Captain of Light is an actual position in the deck, but in this case, I think Fiddler is using it to represent Paran and his actions rather than saying Paran actually holds that position.
And, of course, they're just playing a card game. Another reason to dislike Lorn is she didn't pay them the 10 gold. She shouldn't have sat down at the table if she didn't want in on the game. That's also could be said to describe her whole role in the book--She's been sitting at a table playing a game she doesn't really know the rules to and who's stakes may be higher than she's willing to pay.
Sydo Zandstra
22. Fiddler

but she (Lorn) could still ask Whiskeyjack not to explode the city intersections.

plus 1:
Those Greyfaces have been mentioned by Kalam—and this time he brings them up because of something about them nagging at him. Another little mystery that I’m sure is building up to something important. *grin*

plus Bill saying:
Pesky Greyfaces, always hanging around at dusk...

Equals? ;-)
Steven Halter
23. stevenhalter
The guard is protecting the Coin Bearer (Crokus) because Brood doesn't want the coin falling into Rake's hands and Oppon ending up spitted. The more gods get pulled directly in, the worse things tend to get for the humans standing around.
Rob Munnelly
24. RobMRobM
I'm almost finished with 5th book and at this point in the story Brood is the GoTM character I understand the least. Not getting him at all. Assume all will be clear(er) later in the series.
Maggie K
26. SneakyVerin
I am a first time reader of this series, and I can't even get over how excited I get about this read-thru every week. Thank you so much Amanda and Bill...reading anything that gets me this excited is a treat!
I too did not see the Mammot's possession. I did see Rake's connection to the dragon though.
and Amanda, I agree that the battle scenes between the dragons and Raest were simply fascinating! So much to love here...
Sydo Zandstra
27. Fiddler

You will see him back in Toll the Hounds. Not before. :)

But I promise you that you are going to love book 6...

I've started a quick reread there, in anticipition of the last book.

(at Y'Ghatan now, or under it to be exactly)
Hugh Arai
28. HArai
RobMRobM@24: I found the conversation between Brood and Rath'Burn in MoI to be helpful there. Not so for you?
Rob Munnelly
29. RobMRobM
@28. I don't remember that. :-( MoI has so much plot I must have lost track.

@27. Thanks for the head's up.

@25. LOL.

Sydo Zandstra
30. Fiddler
@Bill and Amanda:

Have you already decided on a reading schedule for Night of Knives?

I'd like to do this one along with your reread pace. :)
Hugh Arai
31. HArai
RobMRobM@29: It's brief and to the point so I don't blame you. It's near the end of the book if I recall correctly, don't have the books here :)
Maiane Bakroeva
32. Isilel
I will never catch up with this re-read!
Anyway, I find Lorn's POV very poignant and vastly more sympathetic than that of the Bridgeburners, who are busily and jokingly preparing to murder thousands of people in Daruhjistan without even believing in the Empire!

Lorn doubts, yes - and after her conditioning and scene with Dujek and Tayshrenn it is a wonder that she still has the strength to do that! But in the end her belief in Empire and Laseen wins by a hair - and it tears her apart.
The Bridgeburners feel no doubts about their villainy, as long as it helps them survive... Sure, they are charming and intriguing, but umm...

So, the bane of D@D, half - well not quite elf but half-ancient magical humanoid enters the scene, even if only by reputation. A pity. I'd have thought Jahguts too alien for such shenangians.

Hm, Otataral - a shortcut to becoming superhuman? With Joker-Ace variations, perhaps? Adjunct's powers seemed much cooler before it became apparent.

Rake is utterly awesome and very sharp, dragons are neat and the Tyrant's powers are mindblowing. I can proudly say that I figured the truth about Mammot the first time around.

Crokus and Apsalar are kinda amorphous at this point and his name prevents me from taking him seriously :). The same with D'rek ;).
Steven Halter
33. stevenhalter

A pity. I'd have thought Jahguts too alien for such shenangians.

Actually, we'll find that pretty much all the races are engaging in cross-race "shenangians".
Rob Munnelly
34. RobMRobM
@32. You just might get some good news on the Crokus name front in future books....
Sydo Zandstra
35. Fiddler
The Bridgeburners feel no doubts about their villainy, as long as it helps them survive... Sure, they are charming and intriguing, but umm...

I never saw them as villains, just longtime war campaigning veterans.

Which, I guess, takes one to have a certain cynical look/attitude on/towards things, which is basically like 'better others than us'. On top of that, they believe their own empire is out to finish them off.

I really appreciate how Erikson manages to capture the squad feeling, both with the Bridgeburners and the Bonehunters later on. :)
Thomas Jeffries
36. thomstel
Re: Year of Moon's Tears
Much more direct symbolism to this in MoI...can't recall if the situation with Moon's Spawn then is during the same actual year or not...any timeline junkies know for sure?

Re: Lorn's Drop-off
I thought this was the Finnest as well. Even though Paran wouldn't have known exactly what the item she'd bring would be, he has his suspicions that she'd plant something there to ensure the big bads swoop in and annihilate the BBs.

There's a few f-bombs floating around later. They do jar you a bit after "Togg's teats" and "Beru fend". However, given that some of them are absolutely priceless one-liners ("Fucking dragon") after Crowning Moments of Awesome, they are mostly forgiven for making my eyes widen. :)

Re: Orr's messenger
Strangely, this thread does get closed (IIRC). Raest mentions obliterating a lone traveller at some point on his way into the city. I think. Maybe...anyone else remember?

Re: the DUEL
Yeah, Rallick ends this quickly. But remember he did smear the Otataral dust on himself, which helped a lot even though no one knows it. Orr's over-confidence wasn't completely baseless. Also, later in the series (Book 8), we will get another great echo of this scene between a duelist and an assassin, with similarly gratifying results.
Maiane Bakroeva
37. Isilel
Fiddler @35:

I never saw them as villains, just longtime war campaigning veterans.

Well, they are preparing to murder thousands of people who aren't even an enemy yet! That's quite villanious, IMHO.
And yes, their Empire does seem out to get them, but how does it justify mass murder of essentially by-standers? With no qualms whatsoever? On the contrary, their lack of belief in the Empire makes their acts all the more villainious, because it makes them so selfish.

Unlike most here, I suspect, I find myself liking Lorn much more than the Bridgeburners. She is very young and very brainwashed and even so she doubts her mission.
Bridgeburners don't care. I also wonder at Paran - I'd have thought that after befriending Coll he would have tried to stop the slaughter prepared by WJ and Co.

P.S. Yes, I also thought that Orr's mesenger was killed by Raest.
Thomas Jeffries
38. thomstel
Up until this point in the story, I was wondering whether Crokus would be heading towards Sorry or Challice. Things are now clearer.

As with all good teen romances, things get more complicated for these three later on. This is just the beginning of the drama. :)
Sydo Zandstra
39. Fiddler

But it is Lorn who is instrumental in bringing a Jaghut Tyrant down on Darujhistan. The Bridgeburners consider themselves to be a vanguard of the Malazan Army.

I know what you mean by thousands. But the BB don't know yet, at this point. Only Kalam is starting to think about certain implications...
Hugh Arai
40. HArai
@Isilel: I don't think we can conclude the Bridgeburners don't believe in the Empire. They don't believe in Laseen, which is something different.
ezzkmo .
41. ezzkmo
In Kruppe's letter to Circle Breaker he says, "You enter a different world soon, with its own games." In one hand I think it means he is done for good...go rest in his new life and home. On the other, it could mean there is a whole other ballgame about to start, so get ready because we're just getting started. So rest up while you can buddy! Am I reading into this way too much, because every line in this book has 18 meanings lol.

As much as I want the guy to retire in style, I'd love to see Circle Breaker again! (Although I haven't finished this book yet, I may have my answer in these last 50 pages yet...)

Chris Hawks
42. SaltManZ
ezzkmo @41: You might even get your answer on the very last page...!
ezzkmo .
43. ezzkmo
Salt-Man Z @42: I need to get reading then!
Jim Millen
44. jim.millen
@ Isilel: Well, they are preparing to murder thousands of people who aren't even an enemy yet! That's quite villanious, IMHO.

I think that's absolutely Erickson's intention in how he writes the Bridgeburners. They're normal, average people, struggling to make sense of a complex world and stay alive in the face of ascendants, gods, dragons etc... As a reader it's hard not to empathise with them!

Then on the other hand there's glimpses of how others in their world must see the Bridgeburners. Cold, implacable, and capable of the worst atrocities...

In a nutshell, I think the Bridgeburners embody morality as it exists in the Malazan world; a myriad shades of grey. Perhaps most readers tend to fall on "their side" as they get a lot of screen time, often in a sympathetic way, but I can see why some find them reprehensible. Villains? Maybe not, but certainly not heroes either.
45. Taitastigon

*than that of the Bridgeburners, who are busily and jokingly preparing to murder thousands of people*

- Sorry, that statement is just simply wrong because this is NOT their intention, as will become evident before the end of this book.

SPOILER below !

The BB, at this point, have not understood yet the implications of their potential actions, that is why they act matter-of-fact.
Amir Noam
46. Amir
Some random thoughts:

Re Icarium:
Big name drop. It's quite telling how shaken Rake is when Icarium is mentioned. It's a safe bet to pay attention to anyone who Rake takes so seriously.

Re Mammot:
I've completely missed the possesion when I've originally read the book, and since it's been years I've managed to forget about it and miss it again :-) It's impressive how when looking back at the various hints it all seems so obvious.

Re Kruppe:
I like his short exchange with Rake. Kruppe is intelligent enough that some of his discussion with Rake even goes over the head of Baruk (who is no fool). Rake is obviously impressed by Kruppe. And I like how Baruk says that he and Kruppe worked for each other,

Re Lorn:
She still has her internal battle. She clings depsperately to the Adjunct's mission. This becomes everything for her, so even as she continues to doubt, she really has no choice but to continue or shatter everything that holds her together at this point.

Re Lorn vs. Whiskeyjack:
I'm having a really hard time understanding Lorn's hostility towards Whiskeyjack. She seems annoyed that he hasn't been "broken" by his demotion to seargent even as she is forced to admit his competence. Consider this in contrast to her feelings of open admiration for Dujek. Both Dujek and WJ are Old Guard. These are the men who made the empire great (Dujek was actually there along side Kellanved when he created the empire). I can understand her admiration for Dujek and I can understand her desire to break/destroy WJ (as part of the old guard), but I can't understand both sentiments together.

Re T’matha/Tiam:
Indeed these are the same and relate to dragons, but not a reference to Mother Dark. As lerris@17 wrote, the myth reference is to Tiamat, often associated with dragons.

Re Kalam:
Has Kalam's leaving the Claw ever been explained? It strikes me as odd that the Claw would simply allow anyone to leave their ranks alive.

Re Captain of Light in the shadow of Knight of Dark:
I also read this as Paran's trip inside Dragnipur. I don't think this means Paran actually occupies the Captain of Light place in the Deck (in the glossary, that spot is left unoccupied). Likewise, I don't think that (possessed) Sorry was actually occupying the part of Virgin of Death, since High House Death was not really involved (just High House Shadow).

Re Simtal/Orr/Coll:
OK, I'm not following the details too clearly. I've read Coll's tale to Paran, and understand that Orr was Simtal's "only link to power", but I can't quite figure out how all this works. How exactly was Simtal so powerful before to so completely destroy Coll? And why does the death of Orr suddenly leaves her with no power and only suicide as a way out?
47. Karsa_Orlong_Is_Bad_Ass
@1 I think that is backwards -- "Tiam" is the evolution of "T’Matha". This world is *old* and words change over time.

@swearing: there is a great scene later in the series where (I think) Fidler explains them. "Hoods Breath" (Hood is dead, he has no breath) "Trogg's Teats" (Trogg is a dude. to teats). and so on.

@Icariam...ah Icarium. lots of my friends and I think about the series as a series of Bad Ass(tm) characters (hence my handle here)...but of all the Bad Asses, Icarium is the most Bad Ass of them All!

@dominating Imass...I think somebody said it earlier, but
Raest messed with 'em before the ritual.
Dan K
48. kramerdude

Re Simtal's Power, Coll says talking to Paran, that she slept her way to power ("I don't how many men she took to her bed to buy their influence"). Assume that Lim and Orr were probably her main backers and without them she would have no standing to convince others on the council that she was the rightful owner of the title. Nothing specific to back that up just reading between the lines.
Dan K
49. kramerdude
Random comments:

Like Bill and others, I assumed the T'matha/Tiam connection but also wondered at the "matron" connection. There's some interesting hints here about what we will learn about the nature of the real dragons in the Malazan world.

Everyone's spoken on the Lorn/Paran/acorn topic so I won't belabor that point.

Raest's history and the subjugation of the Imass. Wonder if any of this influences our Tool discussions from previous weeks. Not really sure and nothing subjective anyway. By the many other Jaghut Tyrants were there in the past and were they all this powerful?

One more on the Paran/Captain of Light thing. Hedge claims Fiddler says the Captain of Light is rising. Paran has recently risen from the dead (essentially).

The convergence is quickly coming...
Robin Lemley
50. Robin55077
@ billcap
"But “matron” usually calls up something else in my mind and though we do see eventually a connection between dragons and “that other” I can’t quite connect it to the “birthing of dragons.” And certainly Mother Dark does get called up as well by the light/dark. Ideas?"

Each Tuesday evening I pull out my copy of GotM and read the two weekly chapters in preparation for Wednesday's post. When I read this poem, seeing the use of the term "matron" certainly threw me for a loop! As you pointed out Bill, the term "matron" in this series certainly pulls up a certain picture to mind and it most definitely did with me. My thoughts went swirling a million miles a minute! What? How? Have we ever been told about the "birthing of dragons" anywhere in the series to date? Not that I can recall.

But that is definitely going on my list of questions to watch for as we work our way through this re-read!

I'm sure on my initial read, I just assumed this was a reference to Mother Dark. Although, I see no connection between Mother Dark and the "birthing of dragons" other than as the mother of Rake but he is soletaken, not a true dragon.

At this point, I have to simply state that....I think I must have missed something somewhere ?
Julian Augustus
51. Alisonwonderland
RobM @34:

Actually, I prefer Crokus to the name he later picked for himself. Too derivative for me.
Robin Lemley
52. Robin55077
Re: Captain of Light's rising.....already dancing on the Knight's shadow.

Okay, I see a potential for a totally different explanation of this.

First, I cannot think of any other time in the entire series where one of Fiddler's card games turned a card that did not specifically reference to that particular position in the Deck. Therefore, I find myself believing that this card is specific to the position of "Captain" in High House Light. The only character we have yet been introduced to that has any direct reference to High House Light is Osseric and he definitely is not the Captain.

My thought is that we don't know who this Captain is yet because they are just now beginning to rise? The reference to "dancing in the Knight's shadow" could simply be a reference to someone just now becoming know to or associated with Rake in some way. Or even, simply someone currently physically in Darujhistan, which would put them in the shadow of Moon's Rake's shadow.

I wouldn't be surprised at all if at some point during my read of "The Crippled God" a Captain of High House Light is named and that person turned out to be a citizen of Darujistan, say Crokus or Rallick Nom. Wouldn't surprise me at all......not in the least.....for us to look back and, Erickson clued that way back in GotM.

Tricia Irish
53. Tektonica
Thanks Bill and Amanda and all the commenters. I'm on vacation and popping in to keep abreast of what's going on...I don't have this book with me...big oversight. Sigh. I loved these chapters.

I missed Mammot's being possessed....I knew something weird went down with him at Baruks and the fete, but didn't figure out just what...maybe you'll fill me in next week!

Isilel: I do agree that Lorn is a terribly tragic character. Her youth, her responsibilities, and her innate moral compass, combine to create such internal conflict that she self destructs.

The Bridgeburners are also tragic characters to me. They are devoted to each other and they are committed to their missions, but the price they've paid to maintain the sanity and humanity that they still retain, is phenomenal! Think of what they've seen and been through! It's particularly remarkable that they do still have compassion for humanity. And they do! We will be witness to incredible risks and hair raising defenses of others by the BBs in future books. Hang in there with them.
Tricia Irish
54. Tektonica

Good thoughts! It could even be WJ, given events in MoI. ? I haven't gotten past MoI, so I could be waaaaay off base, but.......maybe??
55. Lizra

First, I cannot think of any other time in the entire series where one of Fiddler's card games turned a card that did not specifically reference to that particular position in the Deck.

We might not have seen that in one of Fiddlers games but we have seen something like that earlyer in Tattersails reading, when Sorry is refered as Virgin of Death.
I agree with the version that the Captain of Light is Paran.

I think the matron is Tiam, since she is the mother of all pure-blooded dragons.
Other hints in the poem are the cold blood, which we learn later to be typical for dragons, and the "children of chaos".
The "flowing river of fate" and the line with "Brought light into dark and dark into light" is possible to refer to the first Soletaken dragons, who (spoiler MT)
drank Tiams blood,
and so destroyed the pureness of those elements.

(Spoiler TtH)
That Anomander drank Tiams blood led eventually to the brake with Mother Dark and the birth of light.
a a-p
56. lostinshadow
Mammot's possession flew by me on an 3 reads of the book. I think I may blow through these books too fast.

I'm of the camp that Captain of the Light signifies someone other than Paran who subsequently comes to hold a different position in the Deck and looking back on it, is clearly already being groomed for the position.

::waves at RobM2:: wow you really are blasting though the series real fast. I agree with Fiddler that you will probably enjoy book 6 a great deal but you may want to read it a bit slower than usual, it pulls in a lot of threads together (and has some great comic relief scenes in it)

@Isilel - welcome aboard! I too feel Lorn to a tragic figure (there are a lot of tragic figures in this series come to think of it) but I think you may be judging the Bridgeburners a bit too harshly, a lot of characters in this series (and the Bridgeburners are in and of themselves a character) transform as the story unfolds and often first impressions can be turned on their head (Karsa (book 5 I think) being the most blatant example of this I think). Most of the characters here are playing and/or victims to a much deeper game than appears at first blush.
57. alt146
Two epic chapters, Orr's assassination was the scene that stuck with me the most after my first read of the book. This time round though Simtal's reaction to hearing of Orr's death sent shivers down my spine - beautifully written stuff.

Shalter @21 - When a card in the deck refers to a specific person, it doesn't necessarily mean that that person now occupies a position in the pantheon, just that their actions and intentions match up the most closely with that aspect. Apsalar isn't the sanctioned virgin of death, but it is a good description of who whe is and her role in the events. Captain of Light seems to be referring to Paran, but given what we know of High House Light later in the series it doesn't gel properly at this point (GotMism?). Throne inverted I thought was forshadowing that things will not be going Lorn's way (she is the representative of the throne after all) - I wonder if Fid and Hedge ever actually got that gold :P I also loved the way the last line of the chapter made it clear who Death's Herald is :D

I think scenes like this do help to explain the knowledge creep we tend to see later on in the series - the BB's especially are always much better informed than what you think they would be.

@Bill (and partly at @55) - Rake isn't technically a soletaken dragon, as we discover later in the series, but I can't remember if there have been hints of that yet, so maybe that distinction wouldn't be known yet. Spoilerish:

All who drank Tiam's blood are elient, and are part dragon, whereas soletaken dragons are just people who can use magic to transform themselves into dragons.

Also, out first mention of Icarium! So many references to the characters in book two that you miss the first time round. I have a niggling feeling that the meeting that Rake mentions is discussed again later in the series, anyone remember?
One of the chainings maybe?
Gerd K
58. Kah-thurak
I am pretty sure that you are wrong concerning the soltetaken dragons. Rake becomes a Soltaken Eleint (Dragon) by drinking Tiams Blood. The other Tiste Andii Soletaken Dragons are either his kin or joined him in the drinking of Tiams blood.

I do not believe that every person associated with a card of the deck in a reading has that position in the respective house.
59. alt146
@58 Spoiler:

Reast explicitly says that of all the Dragons Silanah was the only elient present. All the elient in the series have the ability to veer into a dragon, it's part of the territory. It is possible to veer into a dragon without having drunk Tiam's blood, in which case you are a soletaken, as is the case with the other four Dragons. It's a bit of a nitpicky point, I know. I think it is important to keep in mind though since being an elient has a lot more repercussions than being a regular soletaken, even if you are a soletaken dragon.
Gerd K
60. Kah-thurak
Silanah is the only "pure" Dragon / Eleint that attacks Raest. That is because she did not drink Tiams Blood but is a "born" dragon, a spawn of Tiam. The others are Soletaken Tiste Andi who drank Tiams blood with Rake or are his kin.

You can also find this information here:
61. alt146

Hmm, that's not the way I understood it working, but it appears I was wrong.
Rob Munnelly
62. RobMRobM
One suggestion - when you are doing a spoiler, try to identify the associated book. I'd love to read spoilers re the first five books, not so much after it. Uncertainy means I can't read (unless I am on blackberry, where spoilers show in a different colored text. Then I typically look)

Lost @56 - waves back. Yes, I am on a reading roll, both this and my re-read of the Vorkosigan books in anticipation of Cryoburn coming out next month. My wife is complaining that I'm not keeping up with her favorite TV show, MadMen, or with Project Runway. Priorities, people.

Note (and I hope I haven't said this already in a Malazan post). One of the best Vorkosigan stories is available on line for free at the Baen publishing web site. Search in google for Vorkosigan Mountains of Mourning Baen and it should turn up at or near the top of the search list. Truly wonderful, Hugo award winning novella that gives a good sense of why the Vorkosigan books are among the most honored SF stories out there. Not a light read - Miles is asked by his father to investigate an infanticide in backwoods mountain country of his planet, Barrayar - but balanced with humor and sharp characterization. Brilliant, entertaining stuff.

And re Bonehunters - yes, definitely some funny stuff so far (120 pages in). The demon accompanying the two guys and two girls is hilarious - "Curious. Mounds of flesh, water storage vessels, there on the hips and behind. On the chest - "

AiW @51. Agreed.

Gerd K
63. Kah-thurak
In this case I think it is only a true spoiler for Gardens of the Moon. You should be fine ;)
Gerd K
64. Kah-thurak
Steven Halter
65. stevenhalter
Re: Bridgeburners morality:
As a couple of people mentioned, at this point the BB don't firmly know what the extent the casualities in Daru could be, so we can't really count that against them. Now, they do know that there are going to be some casualities and don't seem to be overly concerened. This doesn't make them villains in my mind but rather fairly representative soldiers from their world. They've got a job to do (take Darujihstan) and they mean to do it. They also mean to stay alive in the process.
Remember, also, at this point we haven't seen many first hand points of view from the BB themselves (other than Paran who isn't quite a BB).
Thomas Jeffries
66. thomstel
Uh-oh, now we're getting headed in the direction of "are individual soldiers responsible for the morality of their actions?" arguments.

And while that's a fascinating argument to have, I'm going to sidestep it and say it doesn't matter in the terms of the story: the BBs (and other military organizations throughout the series) behave the way they do because SE wrote them that way, as reflections of the variation that could occur in real life. Yeah, they're damaged, continue to be damaged further as we ride along with them. They take an evil path one moment, and the higher ground the next. Then they mull over what it was they just did, or realize later the full implications of their actions and have to internalize it all. Some go nuts, some desert, some re-enlist after deserting, some just growl a bit and go on to the next fight.

We get a lot of insight into the various thought processes throughout the series, and they're the portion of the "philosophy" sections that I find most directly relevant to the story, and are a welcome addition IMO. Seeing all the bravado, cowardice, honor, villiany, etc. is fine, it's the plot. Seeing the case-by-case motivation for said deeds as often as we do elevates the story to something more, which is one of the reasons this series stands out among its peers.
67. ShadowDonkeyThrone
I can't believe how much I missed on my first read through. The "grey-face plot" totally escaped me. Mammot's possession totally escaped me and probably lots of other thing.

Re. Captain of Light, would that not be "that-character-with-that-name" from Return of the Crimson Guard? The one that frees the wind dude and gets a sword?

It makes very little sense for Paran to be Captain of Light because a)he's had no contact with High House Light or it's other affiliated Ascendants(they're all pretty reclusive) and b)his later role is completely neutral as far as the warrens are concerned. Neutral by definition in fact.

We might be dealind with a little gotmism here, ie. Paran was taken in a different direction than what the author planned for him in GotM.

Also Icarium is possibly the most tragic(and powerful) character in the series.
68. ShadowDonkeyThrone
Is there a way to edit comments? Anyway

re. Bridgeburner morality: The whole discussion seems kinda silly, they are in no way "planning" to kill thousands of people. In fact when they discover this unintended consequence of their plot they immediately rush to prevent it.
Robin Lemley
69. Robin55077
@ 55. Lizra
"We might not have seen that in one of Fiddlers games but we have seen something like that earlyer in Tattersails reading, when Sorry is refered as Virgin of Death."

Thanks for your post. I know that 99.999% of the readers believe that the Captain of Light is a reference to Paran and yes, I can live with that. I cannot point to text in any book to date that specifically says that the Captain of Light is named as someone else so that 99.999% guess is as good as mine (and much better than mine if your are playing the numbers). People have listed what they see as valid reasons and valid links in support of the Paran theory and the masses are probably correct and it is a reference to Paran. I certainly have nothing to back up my theory other than a gut feeling so I am certainly not trying to convince anyone or sway anyone to my train of thought. That's one of the great things about not being "spoonfed" all the information, we get to make our own assumptions and based upon those assumptions, our own deductions. One of the many things I love about this series.

One thing I clearly do not understand however; if Tattersail named Sorry as the Virgin of Death during her read, and Fiddler clearly names Sorry as the Virgin of Death during his read this week, how/why is it the belief that Sorry is NOT the Virgin of Death? If you have read the entire series then you know that positions do change (sometimes even from one house to another) and later in the series a new Virgin of Death is named. Throughout the series, Fiddler's readings are when we are most often told about an individual character's being named to a specific position in the Deck, or a change to a new position. Just simply being told that Fiddler will be doing a reading adds an extra bit of excitment for me to whatever else may be going on because that signals for me that there have been or are about to be changes in the positions in the Houses. Tattersail and Fiddler both named Sorry as the Virgin. I have noticed more than one post this week stating that Sorry is not the Virgin of Death and I don't quite understand that. I am sure that people are basing that belief on something. But for the life of me, I cannot see what I have missed. Help?

I am very curious as to the basis for this belief that Sorry is not the Virgin of death and would love for someone to point me to the text that forms the basis for that belief. I really hate it when I miss something like that.

Thanks for any clarification anyone can bring to me on this!
Sydo Zandstra
70. Fiddler

Re: editing posts.

If you register an account with Tor, you will be able to edit your posts.

You will also get a shiny Grey name above your posts. ;)

Gerd K
71. Kah-thurak
The fact that the Card "Virgin of Death" represents someone in a reading in a certain situation does not make that person the "Virgin of Death". That is how I see it. This fits well for example with the reading in Deadhouse Gates where, if I remember correctly, Kalam is represented by the Card "Assassin of Shadow". Which he is not.
Chris Hawks
72. SaltManZ
What Kah-thurak said.

Also, re other theories on the Captain of Light besides Paran: have we ever seen a deck reading whose participants/roles were not covered in that same book? Please correct me if I'm wrong, but I don't think we ever have. Which makes me doubt highly that a deck reading in GotM would refer to characters/events in TtH or RotCG or wherever.
73. Lizra
I'm with Kah-thurak there.
There are some positions we know, that are occupied by a certain person, eg Rake as Knight of Dark, and then there are "open" positions, who refer to persons relevant to the actions / games of the ascendants and even the occupied cards can serve as open cards, like in Kah-thuraks example with Kalam.
Keep in mind, that people with talents use the cards to find out about major events in the futur. It avails them nothing, if just the cards, which are occupied, would be in the game, because no interactions with the mortals would get visible. That is why the card that suits the mortal, who is refered to, best represents him in the readings. In Sorrys case that is the card of the Virgin of Death.
Calin Iorga
74. ShadowDonkeyThrone
Sorry can't be the literal Virgin of Death in Tattersail's reading because at the time she is possessed by the Rope who is the Assassin of High House Shadow. She is almost certainly never the ascendant/holder of the title Virgin of High House Death because, as far as I remember, she is never mentioned in conjunction with Hood or even Hood's tragic opponent.

It could also be that GotM deck readings are a bit sloppier than those in later books(I don't think that is the case, though). I'm actually quite curious what Erikson could(would) say on the matter.
Steven Halter
75. stevenhalter
That's my take on things also. While possesed, Sorry was really Cotillion and so the Virgin of Death reading by Tattersail was just descriptive, not saying that she held the position.
Thomas Jeffries
76. thomstel
There are definitely "positions" within the House hierarchies. These positions can be filled, empty or in transition. It's not 100% clear how those positions are determined. Anything below the top rank seems like it can be appointed by the top rank's authority (see the House of Chains, the House, not the novel).

However, it is also clear that positions can be vacant for extended periods with no penalty, as evidenced by the gaps in the House hierarchies in the novel glossaries. Is this a naturally occurring situation, or are the people who fill those positions ancillary to the tale and we don't get to see who they are?

Now, with the Deck, it seems eminently mutable. Rake pops up as Knight of Dark pretty consistently on the cards, which aligns with his actual position in the House. Assassin of Shadow is clearly filled by Cotillion, but it sure does appear that Kalam fills that "role" (extraordinarily well in fact) during his night-fight in DH. Did Cotillion ever step away from the "position" within the House? No, but apparently that doesn't matter much to the Deck. It does read the current pattern of things, and with a talent's guiding hand, can illustrate that pattern to a degree. It does not allow for 100% identification of the "positions" within the Houses.

I think of the Deck more like a compass, which can be used to orient yourself at any time, but you still have to be somewhat informed/observant to make good use of what you learn from it.
Maiane Bakroeva
77. Isilel
SDT @68:

re. Bridgeburner morality: The whole discussion seems kinda silly, they are in no way "planning" to kill thousands of people.

Yes, they were, they have even discussed it. Blowing up all those munitions during the biggest festival of the year, when everybody was in the streets?
Even without that little something in the back of WJ's mind, that he didn't quite grasp at the time it would have been devastating.

And taking out the power structure maintaining order at the same time? Yep, we are talking about thousands of bodies there. Of essentially bystanders. Lady Simtal's estate alone probably would have provided several hundreds of corpses.
They were also quite unphased re: the Tyrant part of the plan, when they learned about it...
I don't hate them or anything, but I find it difficult to empathize with them.
Robin Lemley
78. Robin55077
Re: The Deck and Positions in the Houses

Thanks for all of the input. Definitely food for thought and at least with the explanations Ican see where people are coming from rather than a simple "you are wrong" which leaves you with no where to go. In this case, the explanations mean that the shade of grey deepens a bit for me. :-)

Toulmé Cédric
79. Drick
Hi, what a pleasure to read all your comments every week.

I'm sure the position of Captain of Light is filled in this book by the Galayn Lord we will see in chapters 23-24.
81. Marc Rikmenspoel
And taking out the power structure maintaining order at the same time? Yep, we are talking about thousands of bodies there. Of essentially bystanders. Lady Simtal's estate alone probably would have provided several hundreds of corpses. They were also quite unphased re: the Tyrant part of the plan, when they learned about it...

I don't hate them or anything, but I find it difficult to empathize with them.

That's the nature of being a soldier. There's an old joke with several variations that goes something like "Join the Marines: Go to strange, faraway places, meet interesting new people, and kill them." This is all a condemnation of war, more than it is of soldiering. Granted, this sort of moral dilemma has kept me from ever wanting to join any military force, but a valid argument can be made that having organized armies with trained soldiers allows at least a degree of order and rules. The alternative is lawless banditry and murder, unless you believe in a world free from violence (something that may or may not be attainable, but that's a different argument).

The soldier's creed is supposed to be to serve with honor, and Erikson recognizes that. Politicians start wars, but soldiers are obliged to fight them, and in the best-case-scenario, they do that fighting in a way that causes the least suffering and destruction (or creates the most rapid victory, which should lead to less suffering and destruction in the long run).

This is a hard situation to feel comfortable with , and that's been the case for many nations, for many years. The Romans may have been confident of their right to do as they pleased, but many later states felt compelled to tell their citizens that they were the good guys, fighting the bad guys, in order to justify the various wars, and have those citizens fight as soldiers. But if both sides are the good guys, or believe they are, you start to realize why modern Fantasy often includes shades of grey as a plot element. Again, Erikson recognizes this, and uses these shades in his Malazan tales. It's more realistic than heroic knights battling evil creatures, even if such legendry also has a place in storytelling.
83. alt146
@69 A couple of other people have covered this reasonably well, but I'd like to put my 2c in too.

One distinction that you have to make is that the Deck and the Pantheon are not the same thing. As I said in an earlier comment, the Deck is a kind of sorcerous weather forecast, which reveals the flavour and intensions of the forces affecting the Talent's situation. The Deck uses the positions in the Pantheon to indicate the nature of the players involved, not to indicate that a player has a place in the pantheon. The line is often blurred by the appearance of actual members of the Pantheon who will always be dealt their corresponding card, as it is impossible for them to act in any other way than that of their position. In the reading in this question Rake, Cotillion and the Hounds are all given their corresponding cards because they actually fulfil that position and are actively involved in the situation.

As we see later in the series, actually taking a position in the pantheon is something that doesn't happen often and is a big deal, not something that happen as regularly as someone is linked to a card in the deck. In this (and previous) reading Virgin of Death indicates Apsalar (the actual fisher girl trapped inside her body). Not because she made a deal with Hood and received the assosciated benefits of holding the actual position in the house, but because she is an innocent, surrounded by death due to Cotillion's actions. Similarly Raest is the Herald of Death simply because his arrival brings with it the possibility of great loss of life. We meet the actual Herald of Death in book three iirc, as well as the appointment of a different Herald of Death in book eight, neither of which are Raest. Given the timelines between books one and three, it is reasonably safe to say that the position of Herald is actually filled at this point in time. Raest still gets linked to the card though, because his aspect links up to the aspect of the card.
Toulmé Cédric
84. Drick
I totally agree with you it is why i think the Captain of Light, in this book, is not a physically member of High House Light. It's just a force in opposition of the Knight of Darkness.
Hugh Arai
85. HArai
Drick@84: Are you sure it's a force in opposition to Rake? Darkness isn't the absence of light in this series.. it has it's own existence. I think the Captain of Light is more likely to be a person representing Light as opposed to being the position held by Rake's opposition of the week.
Amir Noam
86. Amir
I've just read ahead into the next chapter, and boy, did I miss the significance of Circle Breaker finding Kruppe in a deep sleep!

Sneaky, sneaky Kruppe :-)
Chris Hawks
87. SaltManZ
Someone wondered what the reading schedule for NoK might look like. It's 6 chapters plus a prologue and an epilogue, so I'ma go out on a limb and say 1 chapter per week?
Steven Halter
88. stevenhalter
The Duel:
I thought I'd do a little analysis of the duel between Orr and Rallick:

The councilman unsheathed his sword and fastened his glove's leather straps to the ornate grip behind the bell guard.

This is a decent idea. The straps keep you from dropping the blade.

Turban Orr assumed his stance. His opponent stood ten feet away, both hands hidden beneath his cloak. He looked at ease, almost bored. 'What's this?' Orr demanded. 'Where is your weapon?'
'I'm ready,' Rallick replied.

Here is Orr's first big mistake. Letting your opponent not display his weapon--very stupid of him, but seem's in character with his arrogance.
Turban Orr jumped forward and lunged in a single, fluid motion, fast he'd fully extended his weapon before the handkerchief struck the paving stones.

The jump forward/lunge is a decent maneuver to cover the 10 feet seperating them. It sounds like a ballestra, lunge in fencing. The extending forward before the handkerchief strikes the paving stones sounds good, but isn't really very fast.
He saw his opponent's left hand dart under his blade, then twist up and outward, a short, curved knife flashing in its grip. The parry was a blur, yet Orr caught it and deftly disengaged, driving his point in and towards the man's midsection.

Nice misdirection from Rallickhere. Catch Orr's attention with his left hand knowing that the disengage is going to be coming. Note that how it describes this from Orr's side makes the adds some suspense as we think that Orr has done something right.
He had no time even to notice the second knife, asRallick turned his body sideways, the blade in his right hand guiding Turban Orr's sword past him.

Rallick completes the real parry with his right hand blade (this is why Orr should have asked to see the weapons--he's using single weapon tactics.
The assassin stepped in then his left hand moving in a high swing that buried its blade in the councilman's neck. Rallick followed this by driving his other knife into Orr's chest.

So much for Orr. The step in would be with the left leg coming forward, completing the turnto the right. Since Orr's blade is past him, Orr is also free to release the parry from the right and use the right hand blade to finish Orr off.
The councilman staggered to one side, his sword clanging on stones as he clutched at the gushing wound in his neck.

One small problem with this part. Since Orr had strapped his glove to the grip of the sword, the sword wouldn't have clanged to the stones until Orr fell down.All in all a nice little scene. It was quite effective in showing Orr's foolishness to the end and Rallick's cleverness and use of his own weapons.
In addition to grand sorcerous battles, SE writes very nice individual fight scenes. The actions actually work together and fit the weapons being used.
Julian Augustus
89. Alisonwonderland
Drick @79:

I don't see how your candidate for Captain of Light resembles that aspect. As far as I can see, your candidate was released as a follow-up to the same plan involving Raest. What makes his aspect that of the Captain of Light?
90. billcap
shalter @ 18
For a classical reference, Mare Icarium was the name given to the sea into which Icarus fell after flying too close to the sun.

thanks for that!

Thomstel @ 36
("Fucking dragon")
so much one of my all-time favorite lines in this series!

Re Captain of High House Light
I can see the arguments for Paran, but it just jars for me for some reason (part of it may be the Captain/Captain which seems too neat for Erikson). And Drick, there are some elements to the description of your choice that can also point his way. But none of the candidates feel fully “clean” to me as choices. (weeps as the universe fails to meet his every need and desire)

re the Bridgeburners’ morality
I agree that they don’t necessarily not believe in the the Empire (which can be and we’ll see has been a force for good in many ways) but they certainly have some issues with Laseen (even if not quite so many as might first appear).

And I think we’ll see many of them ruminate on the choices they’ve made they may ameliorate some of Isilel’s concerns about their cold-hearted (yet charming) nature

we’ll get back to you on a reading order for NOK (as mentioned, bumping it up to number two caught us a bit by surprise as well)
Robin Lemley
91. Robin55077
@ Amanda

Way back in Chapter 7, you questioned Murillio's actions/feeling toward Rallick:
"It looks as though Murillio doesn’t think much of Rallick: Idiot! The man’s face, his hands, his walk, his eyes, all said one thing: killer. Hell, even his wardrobe had all the warmth and vitality of an executioner’s uniform.”

And I responded as follows:
"I think you just misunderstood this. I believe Murillio just didn't want Mrs. Orr to see Rallick and that is why he made the hand signals and told Rallick to leave. Had Mrs. Orr seen Rallick, she would have taken note of him and that he is a "killer" as Murillio describes him (he doesn't exactly blend in with others on the street). You will understand why he didn't want her to take note later in the book."
This is the part of the book I was alluding to while trying not to spoil it for you. As you now know, Rallick and Murillio's entire plan hinged on the ability to manipulate Orr into challenging Rallick to a duel. Orr had no clue that he was challenging Rallick Nom of the Assassin's Guild. Orr thought he was challenging some clumsy guest at the Fete. That is why Murillio, way back in Chapter 7, did not want Mrs. Orr to notice Rallick. Murillio did not want to risk Mrs. Orr bringing the assassin to Orr's attention prior to the duel, or risk Orr withdrawing the challenge once made, if Mrs. Orr recognized Rallick Nom and mentioned it to her husband.

You have to think that if Orr knew that it was the ASSASSIN Rallick Nom, he would not have challenged him. Rallick would have then been forced to initiate the challenge which would have then looked like an assassination (which in truth it was but no one knows that). Their long term plans for Coll gaining his life back was dependant on Orr initiating that challenge.
92. Karsa_Orlong_Is_Bad_Ass
re Paran and the Captain of Light

I also don't think Light is in apposition to dark, so I don't think the Captain of Light has anything to do with Rake at this point.

I do think it interesting that there seems to be a lot of competition over our friend Captain Paran. The empress (via Lorn), Oponn, and (possibly) High House Light.

I think this is just the Pantheon all competing for players. Imagine it like a giant game of kick-ball (or "kick-ass ball"... ) where you are allowed to pick people that have already been picked.

We know from other books that just because you are picked, doesn't mean you like it (or embrace it) (e.g. Trake's Champion or Sheild Anvil)

So I think we *might* want to think about Fidler's statement as "High House Light is trying to get invovled and has picked a Captain"...turns out the Captain didn't accept the job and got a better offer....
Sam Kelly
93. Eithin
The Deck of Dragons seems to be more descriptive than prescriptive so far - the cards/titles gravitate to the person aspected closest to them in a given situation, and how far that person's "lock" on the card extends is related to their own efficacy/presence in the world. So powerful Ascendants like Rake, Oponn, or the Queen of Dreams always get their own card and that card never represents anyone else, but a card like the Mason of Death or the Captain of Light is ambiguous, and acts as a general-purpose signifier rather than a job description. And works perfectly well for people whom the Deck has noticed as being Important, but who haven't Ascended and got their own card.

(At least at this point in the series - MoI/HoC spoiler: when the Crippled God starts making blatant offers of positions in the House of Chains, and handing out titles like candy, it looks a bit different. Perhaps the rules are different for Chains, as a new House.)
Robin Lemley
94. Robin55077
Re: The Deck of Dragons

I know that I see the Deck as something more significant (for lack of a better word) than most believe it to be, but personally, I believe that the "rules" are the same for all Houses.

We are specifically told (I think it is in MOI) that the main reason for allowing House of Chains into the pantheon is they were acting without any limits or bounds but once sanctioned by the Master of the Deck as a ligitimate House, they were then bound by the same rules and limitations as all other Houses.

I think House of Chains simply rushed to fill their positions because they were planning such a power play that those positions were needed. One can assume that at various times over the years that have passed since the beginning of the houses, that at various times, other houses too had most, if not all of their positions filled.

The way I see it (and you can take that as not worth much if you want) a House only worries about filling a position if it is needed. Also we know that the positions are not permanant, as the position holder sometimes walks away of their own accord, are sometimes dismissed from that position, and even sometimes killed, all of which vacates that position. Often this happens and the position is not refilled right away because there is no current need. When a need arises, it will be filled.

95. Karsa_Orlong_Is_Bad_Ass

So powerful Ascendants like Rake, Oponn, or the Queen of Dreams always get their own card and that card never represents anyone else

I think there is pretty good evidence through the series that this isn't quite right. Leaders of the houses, come and go. People in the pantheon come and go. the only reason those people seem to be there forever is that...well, they live forever and are entrenched in their position. Talk about tenure! You also have cards disappear from the deck and then return when somebody claims the throne (e.g. Shadow). Rake, afterall, is nothing but the Knight of Darkness. Kinda like the "Captain of Light"...just another title for the same role (we'll see "Soldier of Death" and others take on similar role for the other houses)

the interesting thing is that the Houses seems to stay forever. Stay tuned on how new houses get created. We also see that the Houses can go into "hiding" (or seem to disappear), but can come back. now...what makes the Houses so permanent?
Julian Augustus
96. Alisonwonderland
Shalter @88:

There is a replay of this duel in TtH, again between an arrogant duellist and an assassin. That one ended even faster than this one, with the same result. Talk about people never learning! The duellist in TtH must have known exactly how Turban Orr died, yet made exactly the same mistakes Orr made that you point out.
Amir Noam
97. Amir
Alisonwonderland @96:
Since it's been years since I've read GoTM, I haven't noticed the parallelism between these two duel scenes when I've recently read TtH (completely forgot so much of GoTM). When reading now the Ralick/Orr duel, I immediately thought of the duel you mentioned from TtH. Especially interesting to note the identity of the assassin in the TtH duel. He certainly knew how the Rallick/Orr duel went :-) (the duellist was probably also there in the croud - at least it's hinted)

In many ways TtH is a direct continuation of GoTM, but there are soooo many pages between them that it's almost impossible to remember such subtle (and less subtle) references without reading them in close proximity.
Robin Lemley
98. Robin55077
@ 88. Shalter

Thanks for the great overview of the duel !!
99. Alt146

So powerful Ascendants like Rake, Oponn, or the Queen of Dreams always
get their own card and that card never represents anyone else

I don't think this statement is 100% accurate. An ascendant will always be given their card if they are present in the events being viewed by the Deck, but we have seen occupied cards given to other people when the actual holder of the position in the pantheon is not around. For example Herald of Death describing Raest (we see in MOI that the position is filled by someone else and seems to have been for some time), and I'm reasonably sure Kalam gets the Rope's card later on in the series too.
Tricia Irish
100. Tektonica there any justification for reading TtH after MoI? Or have too many other things happened in that story line, so that it would make no sense?

Now I'm dying to know about the other duel! You guys are big teasers. I just can't read fast enough!
101. Alt146

That wouldn't be adviseable, quite a bit happens :P By TtH the plotlines have started to merge in a big way, so there is lots of stuff from the other books that is referenced.
102. PJBrs
I had a hard time figuring out that the identity of the Prince here. In fact, the first time I read Gardens of the Moon I did not get it all, and when I recently reread, I only understood that it must bet someone sent by Caladan Brood. This also is the first spot in the book that had a bit of a "deus ex machina" feel to it. And that's not only because I had a very hard time figuring out who was protecting Crokus, but also, more importantly, because I felt (and still feel) that a character that's sufficiently powerful to forestall a Tiste Andii mage (Serrat) should be well-known. Or at least, as a reader, I'd have liked to be able to at least see it coming that a Tiste Andii mage could be thwarted not as difficultly as one would expect. Opinions will obviously vary on this, of course!

Still, this is where Gardens of the Moon starts to proceed at a murderous pace, and becomes quite unputdownable. In other words, the "bad" obviously is off-set by the good. I really enjoyed the way the point-of-view characters change more and more often; its as if you're watching some kind of intricate "thing" unfold from so many viewpoints, but you still don't know what it is that you're looking at...
Julian Augustus
103. Alisonwonderland
Tek @100: there any justification for reading TtH after MoI? Or have too many other things happened in that story line, so that it would make no

Very inadvisable. You are much better off reading the books in publication order. You know how Erikson reveals information in bits and pieces across several books. About half of TtH is devoted to the journey to Black Coral (you remember that from MoI?) of a group of characters you haven't yet met. The storyline for this particular group of characters starts on an Island called Drift Avalii. If you don't recognize that name, don't jump books.
104. Karsa_Orlong_Is_Bad_Ass

I felt (and still feel) that a character that's sufficiently powerful to forestall a Tiste Andii mage (Serrat) should be well-known.

The person is well known. just not by the reader. yet. but there are a huge number of well known characters that we haven't met yet that could do it as well. Image in the First Sword decided to get involved. splat. no more Serrat!
Tricia Irish
105. Tektonica
OK Alt146 and Alisonwonderland.....You've convinced me...pouts... I just want to know who the "similar" duel was with! I'll be good. Promise.
Steven Halter
106. stevenhalter
The thwarting of Serrat is (in my opinion) handled wonderfully by SE. As I pointed out last week, Caladan Brood basically tells us he is going to have the coin bearer protected in his conversation with Crone. However, the first time through the book this seems like an offhand comment and is really easy to miss (I missed my first time). Then (first time) it becomes a mystery as you wonder who is doing the protecting. Then with the reveal of the Prince's compliments, the identity is revealed. I remember reading the reveal and thinking "hmm, Prince ?" and then leafing back and seeing the Crone/Brood conversation and thinking, "Cool--it was all there."
So, it was all there, but nicely subtle. (By the way, that makes it definitely not a a DEM.)
Steven Halter
107. stevenhalter
Thanks. I'll probably do this with a few fights. There are a lot of really well done fight sequences--especially some involving Kalam.
Julian Augustus
108. Alisonwonderland
PJBrs @102:

It isn't exactly clear from your post whether you are aware of the distinction, but the person doing the protecting is not actually the "Prince". The protector is an uber-powerful mage who works for the Prince. There are hints about this mage throughout Erikson's books, but we really meet him on-screen in RotCG.
Robin Lemley
109. Robin55077
@ 107 Shalter

There definitely are some great ones! I'm nearing the end of my most recent re-read of Bonehunters. (Adjunct is just leaving the ship to head up to Mock's Hold.) Some great scenes for you to analyze coming up shortly! Thank you for taking the time to "play-by-play" it like that. That is one of the things that I love about this series....the ability by Erickson to make me want to dig in deep and analyze scenes, characters, motives, actions, conversations, etc. Just another aspect that makes this series so special for me. :-)
110. PJBrs
@108 Alisonwonderland
Indeed I was aware of the distinction, but thanks for pointing it out!

@106 shalter
I agree that the way Crokus is protected does not fulfill all criteria of a DEM--indeed, it was foreshadowed that something would be done for him, and also, I don't think that that particular thread in the plot is very vital to the storyline of GotM as a whole. So maybe I should speak of DEM-ish tendencies.

What I'm trying to say is; the way Crokus got his protection, and the strength of that protection, it irks me (shalter: that's where we probably disagree :-) ). I cannot exactly lay my finger at why. I think, in part at least, it's because of how little foreshadowing is given. But other aspects are that the protection involves a character that we haven't seen "on-screen" anywhere before. I don't know. In fact, that's what I'm trying to find out.

Now some, might actually like this particular part of the plot very much. But I wonder--who else found it a bit unsatisfactory? And if so, why?

In closing--I find it a bit awkward to criticise SE, when we're all here because we enjoy these books so much. And I don't want to spoil that one bit. But I also think that SE can easily stand a bit of criticism here and there, since quality of the series is beyong doubt anyway. But let me know if I'm spoiling things for anyone, 'cause then I'll shut up :-)
Steven Halter
111. stevenhalter
PJBrs@110: You're right--I don't mind the help coming from characters we haven't explicitly seen yet. Like you, I'd be curious on how people feel on this in general.
In the particular case of Serrat thwarting, I liked that SE didn't have Brood do an info dump and say something like: "You know, Crone, I'm going to send X, my very powerful mage ally, to Daru to make sure the Coin stays out of Rakes hands."
That would have been one of those unnatural infodumps that everyone says they dislike. Brood and Crone both knew what was going on--they wouldn't have discussed much more.
Now, there could have been some other portion where we saw X explicitly in action earlier, but X really doesn't fit into the story except where they show themselves.
Oh, and I'm just guessing, but I would think that no one minds a lttle constructive criticism here. If we all just agreed about everything all the time it would get a tad tedious ;-)
Thomas Jeffries
112. thomstel

The duelist vs. assassin in TtH is a very satisfying moment, placed particularly well within a story that deviates significantly in tone from the other books. While it is very tempting to go read about it now, you would be better served by reading it when you get there naturally rather than skipping ahead.

Also, now that you know it's forthcoming, you'll have some additional dramatic irony added to your read as you see the persons in question (they're not hard to pick out) maneuver into close proximity throughout the book. :)

Re: Un-introduced characters
After finishing GotM the first time, not knowing who the heck was messing with Serrat irked me to no end. The tradition in fantasy literature is that mystery characters get some facetime at some point within the same novel, but in this case we don't get to meet them until many books (and via another author) later. A good thing, a bad thing? Eh, personal interpretation I guess.

The interactions in Serrat's scenes sure are hilarious though. I have a feeling that knowing who was tweaking her nose may well have lessened that effect.
Tricia Irish
113. Tektonica

I was a bit miffed that I didn't figure out who was tweaking Serrat's nose and protecting the Coin bearer....I figured that was Brood's doing, but didn't know who he sent. I did expect to figure it out...that is part of the fun of this series. The search.

I let it go as I plunged into DG and MoI, but I still haven't figured it out. In fact, I probably would've forgotten all about it, until the beans were spilled, but you guys have now made me wonder. Sigh.

By the way...I'm on vacation....don't have GotM with me...and I can't remember who the prince was in the conversation with Brood and Crone. Anyone willing to fill me in? Please.

I'm enjoying NoK now....a much faster read. Do we meet any of these characters again?

Thomstel@112: Thanks for the heads up...I'll be watching.....
Steven Halter
114. stevenhalter
Tek@113: The prince is Prince K'azz D'Avore, the commander of the Crimson Guard.
Sydo Zandstra
115. Fiddler

I'm enjoying NoK now....a much faster read. Do we meet any of these characters again?

Yes, some characters will show up in The Bonehunters.
Dan K
116. kramerdude

Just to clarify on shalter's comment (not sure if its needed or not). The prince being referred to in the conversation was Prince Kazz as shalter states. He was not in the conversation however. The conversation was between Brood, Crone, and Kallor.

And yes we do indeed meet a few of the characters in NoK in The Bonehunters. - Oops didn't see Fiddler's comment before posting.
Tricia Irish
117. Tektonica
Thank you shalter, fiddler & kramer! I have a vague memory of the K'azz reference......too many characters crammed into too little space (in my head) just now. LOL. Thanks again.
Tricia Irish
118. Tektonica
It's been 8 hours since my last post, directly above!!

OK...I'm gonna go read Night of Knives.....
Travis Nelsen
119. Zangred

What I'm trying to say is; the way Crokus got his protection, and the strength of that protection, it irks me (shalter: that's where we probably disagree :-) ). I cannot exactly lay my finger at why. I think, in part at least, it's because of how little foreshadowing is given. But other aspects are that the protection involves a character that we haven't seen "on-screen" anywhere before. I don't know. In fact, that's what I'm trying to find out.

Apparently I'm among the minority here, but not meeting the character protecting Crokus didn't really bother me.

For whatever reason, the conversation with Crone and Brood stuck in my head the first time I read through GoTM, so I recognized that whoever was messing with Serrat was sent by Brood. It was also fairly obvious to me that since Brood was well aware of Rake and the Tiste Andii, he would send someone capable of smacking them around a bit if need be. Up until this time in the book the Tiste Andii are portayed as uber powerful beings and here we have some unknown player that doesn't seem to have any difficulty hindering their plans.

Personally I like the idea that things are going on outside the immediate area of the story and that we catch small glimpses of them from time to time.
Steven Halter
120. stevenhalter
Gredien@119: Yes, that was pretty much my take on things. Brood knows Rake and the Andii and so he sent in people he knew could handle the situation.
I also like it that we get glimpses of things going on outside the story. There's a whole world out there and there are lots of things happening.
Robin Lemley
121. Robin55077
@ 119 Gredien

I'm right there with you on this. We were foretlold but you had to be paying attention or you would have missed it. Even if you missed it though, the "compliments of the Prince"phrase gave it away.

For me, the fact that Erickson didn't spoon-feed this information to us made it much more enjoyable for me. I experienced that initial shock with Serrat as to "WTF was that?" I loved the fact that it seemingly came out of no where and I had to figure out on my own what exactly was going on. It certainly heightened the effect for me. For me, items like this bring me into the scene, amongst the characters, so I can experience their surprise and confusion, rather than simply reading that they are surprised or confused.

Hugh Arai
122. HArai
I got the feeling from the foreword to NoK that SE always intended ICE to be the one to give the details of the Crimson Guard. For GotM, it seemed enough to me that it was established the job of foiling Serrat was given to someone playing at her level.
123. PJBrs
@119 Gredien Maybe your _not_ the minority here, looking at the other reactions :-)

I still cannot really like it, but I admit that the thought that Brood knew he had to sent someone capable to "address" Tiste Andii had not occurred to me. And makes the situation somewhat more palatable. Still, I would have liked it more if it had been someone who already had had some screentime.

Maybe, for me, another factor might be that I find it very hard to understand Brood's motives for keeping Oponn in the game Just as hard, by the way, as I find it to imagine Rake's annoyance with Oponn. The situation suggests prior dealings between the two of them, but at that time it's very hard to really understand what's going on here.

I understand that this is clarified at least to some extent in a later volume, right? So really, my irkings depend also on how much context is given in GotM. And if at a later point more context would be given, that also would make it easier for me to wholly accept this part of the plot.

Anyways, it's great to hear other opinions about it! I don't mind disagreeing, I just like the exchange!
Dan K
124. kramerdude
So I went back and looked at Crone's conversation with Brood regarding the Coinbearer. Brood says two things that are enlightening as to his reasoning behind protecting the Coinbearer.

Brood: "Without Oponn, Rake's power is presently unmatched. He hangs over Darujhistan like a beacon and the Empress is sure to send something against him. Such a battle would--"

Crone: "level Darujhistan."

So Brood wishes the coin to remain in play precisely because of Rake's tendencies "of disdain to everything beneath him." Oponn plays counter to that. So he's seeking to keep the forces of chance in the game to save Darujhistan.

The second is concern of what would happen if Rake posessed the coin as Crone states:

"Rake gets that coin and he'll pull Oponn right in and spit...(them)...on that lovely sword of his. Imagine the chaos that would ensue - a wonderful ripple that could topple gods and deluge realms."

So I think there is sufficient discussion to Brood's motivations but its often lost in the quickness of that passage. Even if one remembers that it was Brood that sent the Guard to protect Crokus, they forget the details of the passage.
Julian Augustus
125. Alisonwonderland
One of the problems with Brood sending a powerful mage to protect Crokus is that he risked the very thing he claimed he was trying to prevent. I know the 'protector' is very powerful and could handle Serrat easily, but suppose Rake himself had shown up? Recall that when QB invoked Pearl and Serrat saw she might have some trouble she called on Rake and he showed up to dispatch Pearl. So what would have happened if Rake had showed up when the CG mage was bullying Serrat? A potentially city-destroying battle which Brood was attempting to avoid in the first place?
Robin Lemley
126. Robin55077
@ 124 Kramerdude

Thanks for the post setting that out for us. I was too busy this week (and a bit too lazy) to look up the passage. I appreciate the time you spent and for sharing it with us on here.

@ 110 PJBrs
"But let me know if I'm spoiling things for anyone, 'cause then I'll shut up :-)
Just as everyone else on here is probably thinking, I will say to you..."please, don't shut up!" The great thing about this re-read here on Tor is that you not only get to voice your own thoughts and/or opinions, but you get to hear everyone else's. I always enjoy seeing where everyone else's thoughts lead....sometimes it makes me reassess something because maybe I hadn't looked at it correctly....sometimes, I may read someone else's pov on a situation and think, "okay, I can see why they think that" but I'm sticking to my thoughts on that....and sometimes, I might think, "I have no clue where that is coming from".....but these posts always make me think! I love keep posting your thoughts for me. :-)

@ 102 PJBrs
"because I felt (and still feel) that a character that's sufficiently powerful to forestall a Tiste Andii mage (Serrat) should be well-known. Or at least, as a reader, I'd have liked to be able to at least see it coming that a Tiste Andii mage could be thwarted not as difficultly as one would expect."
First, I'm not saying that the Crimson Guard mage is not extremely powerful because I certainly believe he is, but I always saw this as his success being greatly the result of the fact that (through magic) he is able to hide from Serrat, thus she never even knows he is there until "POW," out of nowhere, he knocks her upside the head. Is he powerful enough to stand toe-to-toe with a Tiste Andii assassin when she knows he is standing there? Personally, I think probably not. So, if you look at it that way (and I'm certainly not saying that you need to) then your thoughts on the Tiste Andii's prowess, really need not change.

@125 Alisonwonderland
"So what would have happened if Rake had showed up when the CG mage was bullying Serrat? A potentially city-destroying battle which Brood was attempting to avoid in the first place?"
I always felt that if Rake had shown up on the scene the mage would have simply said that he was sent by Brood and Rake would have taken the matter up with Brood before destroying Darujhistan. Also, although I know Rake himself discussed the possibility of his taking actions that could result in the destruction of Darujhistan (I believe it was in one of his conversations with Baruk) I believe that is something that Rake would avoid at nearly any cost and that destruction would only be if he had no other option available...his very last resort. I think he enjoyed letting Baruk believe he wasn't overly concerned about it, but I just cannot see him actually doing it.

127. PJBrs
@126 robin55077 Not shutting up then :-)

Alex P. W.
128. Alex_W
So first of all, Tektonica, if you might to happen to still read this here, a advice for you: be patient. Patience pays. Almost always in lots and lots of situations. Also here. Trying to get ahead so fast, just leads to missing things. Important things, beautiful things. Staying calm and beeing patient, enjoying what's there right now, I think that's always a good, very good way to go :-).

Then, I also seem to be one of very few here to actually not only feel for Lorn but also to like her somehow. She has lost so much in her past, has probably felt so much pain, that it was probably getting trained as a Claw and appointed to Adjunct was like saving her Life somehow. To forget this horrible things from her past, about her family she had lost in such tragic circumstances. She might not have made it if not for here training and without Laseen. So I can understand why she clutches herself to that funcion and to the empress in order to forget the pain and also in a way thanking Laseen for what she has done for her in the past. I feel a lot for her and I would like to think, if she would have been given the chance in the past to lead a different life, not so young beeing taken by the Empire, she would have turned out a really nice, loving, passionate woman. Which deep inside her she still is now but is not able to listen really to that deeply hidden personalitiy of her. Erikson does rally a great job here, to present this dramatic person in such a, well the way he does it.

Raest, what a horrible, horrible creature. Now that's one I would certanly like to see destroyed as soon as possible. It came as a big surprise to me, that he was once seen as god by the Imass. A terrible god he probably was. His Tyranny must have been also horrible, brutal and merciless. Now I don't wonder myself anymore, why the Imass, later known as T'lan Imass turned out the way they did. And also no wonder, they tried, as soon as Raest was away, to take out all the other Jaghuts, having lived under one in such a terrible tyranny. To make sure, that never ever again any Jaghut would ever be able to do such a thing. It certanly throws some other light on the behaviour of the (T'lan) Imass. Now I seem to somehow understand their cruel actions against the Jaghut later on. Anybody else out there having similar thoughts about that?

And by the way, with this Raest, we have actually one realy evil charakter here. I guess nobody wants to claim that there is some good in this one particular Jaghut tyrant?

And yes, the fight between him and the dragons ist just aweful!!! I would have liked to see with the eyes of Crone when that battle was happening :-) And I'm crazy to know what happens next.

And yeah, Kruppe really rocks!!!!! Surely, Kruppe does!!!!!!!

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