Sep 29 2010 2:30pm

The Malazan Re-read of the Fallen: Gardens of the Moon, Chapter 24 and Epilogue

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 24 and the Epilogue 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!

And just one more quick ANNOUNCEMENT before we get started on this week’s post - if you hadn’t seen here Steven Erikson will be answering questions submitted by you, the readers, next week!

Chapter Twenty-Four


Crokus is rebuffed by Baruk’s ward. Before he can enter another way, he’s interrupted by the demon lord dragon crashing to the ground nearby, knocking a hole in Baruk’s wall. The demon veers back into his shape and tells Rake (who has appeared behind Crokus) that the Empress will let him leave. Rake refuses. Rake kills the demon but is wounded; he tells Crokus to go protect Baruk, who is in danger.


Derudan and Baruk have felt yet another of their fellow mages die. Vorcan arrives but before she can attack is attacked herself by Serrat. Vorcan kills Serrat, strikes Derudan with a blade dusted in white paralt poison, and is about to kill Baruk when Crokus knocks her out with two bricks. Baruk saves Derudan with the only antidote to the poison and then notices Vorcan is gone.


Whiskeyjack contacts Dujek via the bone phone. Dujek tells him he knows Rake killed the demon lord because Tayschrenn is in a temporary coma. Whiskeyjack tells him Lorn’s gambit with the Jaghut failed, they’ve decided not to detonate the mines due to the gas, and that they’re pulling out. Dujek says they’re about to lose Pale, Seven Cities is a week from rebelling, and the Empress has outlawed Dujek, who is supposed to be arrested and executed (they intercepted a messenger from Laseen to Tayschrenn). He says he’s parleying with Brood and Kallor tomorrow to see if they’ll attack or let Dujek go or join him against the Pannion Seer. He also says the Black Moranth are on Dujek’s side.

Dujek promotes Whiskeyjack to second-in-command, puts Paran in charge of the Bridgeburners. He tells Paran Whiskeyjack and the squad have earned the right to walk if they want. All tell Paran they’re with him, but Fiddler and Kalam say they’re going to take Apsalar home. Coll wakens and offers them his help in getting out of the city.


Rallick, back in the garden as the Azath grew into a house with a yard filled with mounds, one of which the roots had pulled a man-shaped figure into. Vorcan appears, wounded, chased by Tiste Andii. Rallick picks her up and runs into the house.


Korlat and the other Tiste Andii arrive too late. Korlat says there is precedence for the Azath allowing Rallick in; the Deadhouse in the Empire had let in Kellanved and Dancer. Though Rake could destroy the Azath while it’s still young, Korlat decides to leave it.


Kruppe and Murillio watch Moon’s Spawn head west. Crokus joins them and tells them Rallick is in the garden and Apsalar’s been kidnapped by Malazans. Crokus tells him not to worry, and also that Gorlas saved Challice at Simtal’s estate.

Amanda’s Reaction to Chapter Twenty-Four:

Conveniently, the poem at the start of chapter twenty-four concerns the Azath and hints at the qualities of this strange entity—imprisoning demonic hearts, starving pilgrims, holding for ever the dream of fruit. Once again, my poetry analysis is not up to much. (I am glad for those who follow this re-read and have greater skills than I!) One point of interest is that the name of the person who wrote the poem is Adaephon, which also happens to be one of the names by which Quick Ben is addressed.

I wouldn’t want to be in Crokus’ shoes right now. Trying to get to Baruk—now one of the few people he knows and trusts—having watched his uncle die, and then getting caught up in a big ass dragon fight. I like the humour inherent in Crokus believing that the demon lord was talking to him at first.

Erikson certainly does write the sweepingly epic moments well, but he also excels at bringing the action down to just two characters. (As with the duel we saw between Rallick and Orr.) This duel is turned up to eleven, compared to that one! Sword swallowing light, while axe flares—two immortal bad asses attempting to destroy one another. The image of the Galayn being swallowed by the smoke and chains into the sword will long stay with me.

Baruk thinks:

It was unlikely that Vorcan would possess such material [Otataral], given that she was a High Mage...

Strange that he would think this considering he was the one who gave Rallick the Otataral that now affects him—and I’m pretty sure that Baruk has skills in that direction. Or am I wrong? And Baruk has no magic, only knowledge? Huh, just read further and Baruk actually uses magic in this section, so I reiterate that it is strange Baruk would think that Vorcan wouldn’t go near Otataral! [Bill’s interjection: His thinking I believe is that Vorcan wouldn’t deaden her own magic abilities by using Otataral. Lorn/Rallick have none, so Otataral gives them advantage, but it would be detrimental to an actual mage.]

Oponn in action, it seems, as Crokus is able to take down a master assassin/High Mage with just two bricks. I wonder how much of that result is also a commentary on magic vs. mundane?

After all the chat about DEM over the last few weeks, I find the fact that Derudan was cured of poison with a cure that no one but Baruk knows about a little bit DEM, actually!

Lastly I’m not sure at the “sudden panic in the boy’s face” relating to Crokus—why the sudden panic? Because he’s seen the Tiste Andii? Because he realises that Apsalar might be beyond his reach?

I’m sure we have so much more to see with Apsalar. [Bill’s interjection: oh yes, much more.]

Whatever Mallet had done to her, she was a changed woman from the one he’d known. Less, and somehow more as well. Even Mallet was unsure of what he’d done.

People were hinting about Whiskeyjack’s wounded leg being a key moment from the last chapter. Here we have mention of it again—the fact it has been healed, but some damage remains. I’m completely sure that, without those hints from the commentators last week, I would just have skimmed over this information as well.

I love seeing the way that Dujek knows exactly how to deal with Whiskeyjack, making sure that he doesn’t rush back to Pale. These two work great together, in scenes of dialogue that feature them both. The shorthand they speak conveys exactly how friends who greatly respect each other would talk.

Alright, we now see the completed Azath house with Rallick, who seems a changed character. The use of Otataral, his near-death, the culmination of his revenge mission—all have changed him, and here we see the slightly mystical:

He knew with unaccountable certainty, that what grew here was right, and just.

It will be interesting to see what happens to him within the house with Vorcan.

Oooh, some intriguing little tidbits about the Azath from Serrat: there are others, including the Deadhouse of Malaz City (which I presume gives the title for the second book in the main series) and the Odhanhouse of Seven Cities; Pillars of Innocence, they are also refered to as; and two people who went into the Deadhouse are Kellanved and Dancer! Interesting as well that Serrat could summon Rake at this point to destroy the Azath, but chooses not to since it is new and innocent, like a child.

It is both lovely and amusing that Kruppe, so wise in so many other ways, is clueless as to the fact that Crokus has transferred all his affections to Apsalar rather than Challice!

This is an odd chapter to read, going from all-action to a peaceful scene as Kruppe, Murillio and Crokus come together at the end. The pacing set my teeth on edge, as we came to a juddering halt after a couple of chapters of heroics and mage warfare and excitement.

Bill’s Reaction to Chapter Twenty-Four:

I too liked the comic relief in such a tense scene of having Crokus answer the demon lord—classic Erikson.

We get another reference to Tiam here as well, note the “reek of Tiam” is not “on” Rake (the usual preposition with reek) but “in” him.

And seriously, did anybody, including the Galayn Lord, actually think Rake would entertain that offer of Laseen’s reward? Anyone?

I actually found that battle with the demon lord interesting for reasons beyond the actual fight itself. For one, the fact that the demon lord is a dragon Soletaken. I also found his axe “cascading light” was an odd sort of descriptive touch, made even odder by Rake’s recitation:

“To the Mother’s regret
Was Light granted birth.
To her dismay . . . she saw too late . . . it’s corruption.
Galayn, . . . you are the unintended victim . . . to punishment . . . long overdue.”

Seems like a lot more going on here than fighting Tay’s pet demon but I’m not sure that’s actually the case as I can’t quite get “much more” to mesh.

I have to confess I don’t care much for the Vorcan attack at Baruk’s. The melee among the mages is fine, and I find Serrat’s death moving, but Crokus’ “bricking” of Vorcan was just a bit too easy, especially with Vorcan facing him. I could live with the even-mages-can-be-taken- down-by-mundane-methods, but I needed a bit more sneakiness. I’m also not a fan of the “luckily I’m the one person who can . . .” so I’m with you Amanda on Baruk’s white paralt antidote. Granted, if anybody would have an antidote, it would be Baruk—an alchemist/mage aware of the assassins and their methods, but the use of the white paralt didn’t add anything to the moment as it’s resolved so immediately. Finally, I always hate the unconscious-villain-who-seems-down-but-really-isn’t-and-so-gets-up-and-leaves-unnoticed bit. Especially as it seems she could have easily killed Baruk and Crokus since they were clearly oblivious to her standing up. Though I do like her and Rallick entering the Azath house and yes, those are tantalizing tidbits on the other Azath’s: more to come!

I’m all for Korlat’s decision to forsake vengeance (in contrast to far too many in the series). I like to think she eventually gets rewarded for this (more later on this) and this scene also sets us up for what happens with her later; it’s an early important characterization.

Kruppe’s wrong girl comment is priceless and does a good job of puncturing his bubble of omniscience.



Mallet and Whiskeyjack watch Moon’s Spawn depart. Mallet worries he hasn’t fully healed Whiskeyjack but Whiskeyjack tells him later. Quick Ben has a plan he’s keeping from Whiskeyjack.


Paran, wearing the Otataral sword, vows he’ll come to Tattersail once they deal with the Pannion Seer. He hears her in his head saying she’ll wait.


Crokus joins Kalam, Fiddler, and Apsalar in the boat heading to Unta to take Apsalar home. Crokus drops Oponn’s coin in the water. Circle Breaker watches from the bow.

Amanda’s Reaction to the Epilogue:

Well, it’s a brief one so not that many comments to make: Whiskeyjack’s leg is emphasised twice—first when Mallet expresses that fact he’s not happy with the healing process, and then when Quick Ben decides it isn’t time for...something, not until the “old man’s” leg is better.

I’ve got no idea what plan Quick Ben is hatching either, so I hope that I’m not meant to have picked up teensy hints about it prior to this!

It’s lovely that Paran is visited by Tattersail, and realises that she might well remember those feelings she had for him previously.

I love this:

The only voices reaching the assassin came from Apsalar and Crokus. They sounded excited, each revolving around the other in a subtle dance that was yet to find its accompanying words. A slow, half smile quirked Kalam’s mouth. It’d been a long time since he’d heard such innocence.

It’s also lovely to know that Fiddler misses Hedge as though he had lost an arm and a leg!

A nice quiet ending—but I suspect this is the peace before the storm descends...

Bill’s Reaction to the Epilogue:

Oh, that damn leg!

As far as Quick Ben’s plan, I don’t think you’re missing anything Amanda. The only direction I’d point you in is to consider who is usually in on Quick Ben’s plans and what’s going on with that person.

The Fiddler-Hedge relationship is one of the great ones in this series, and surprisingly enduring. *grin*

I like the little throwaway line that Paran is rising from Lorn’s grave. As much as I think she made her bed and is now lying in it, having lots of choices and always choosing the wrong path despite having all the info she needed, I’m happy she’s given this moment of respect and dignity.

And I’m a huge fan of Circle Breaker closing the book, a book of all the formerly anonymous—the grunts in the trenches, given voice through the Book of the Fallen. Nice close.

Amanda’s Reaction to Gardens of the Moon:

Well, Book 1 of a long, long journey completed and time to reflect on this opening chapter...

I don’t think, when I took on this project, that I knew how all-consuming it would become, or how it would force me to look differently at my reading habits. Over the last two months or so, I have come to deeply enjoy my time spent in Erikson’s world—loving the dissection of words, the wondering about foreshadowing, the commentary that accompanies every post Bill and I put up. When I haven’t been reading Gardens of the Moon directly, my mind has often wandered to it, which rarely happens with books I read. Part of that is the density and challenge provided by GotM, but mostly it is because I am reading it so slowly—enjoying every chapter, and not skipping past essential parts of the plot because I am skim reading. It makes it far easier to remember plot points as well, which I hope will stand me in good stead over the next few books!

Anyway, Gardens of the Moon...I started the novel with confusion and no little frustration as people I didn’t know had conversations I didn’t understand. But then gradually my understanding expanded, my desire to know more about the world grew and I immersed myself more fully in GotM. By the time the big finale came, I was a little bit in love with virtually all the characters, and I definitely don’t want to get off this ride!

One thing I have been enjoying most about the novel are the different levels of interest it provides—for someone like myself, whose attention is captured by human relationships and great dialogue accompanied by big ass fights and lots of magic, it does the job. For someone who likes their fantasy grim and grimy, it delivers. But GotM also delivers for those readers who appreciate a philosophical slant, and discussion points galore. Erikson writes comfortably on the theme of war, the fact that there is no easy right or wrong. He shows us moral dilemmas and doesn’t let his characters take the easy way out. In the commentary each week, I have seen some people take the easy ride like me, and just read this thumping good story, enjoying the characters and not looking much past the surface detail. And I have watched with awe as some of you dissect key passages, provide essays on points that interest you and argue philosophy. Good job! And what a great thing that we can get all that from one book and (hopefully) one series!

So, final wrap-up:

Favourite moment of the book? Probably when Rake transformed into his dragon form—I had waited so long to see it and it didn’t disappoint at all!

Favourite character? Hmm, I’m going to get tiresome and say Anomander Rake here! I think everyone who reads my commentary has been able to see which way that was going. Right now I have an almighty fiction-crush on the guy and I can’t wait to see more of him.

Would love to hear yours! And, y’know, least favourite on both counts if you have them...

So, onto Night of Knives— and I have to confess I’m a little nervous. Mostly because I am wondering how I will adjust to Esslemont’s writing style versus that of Erikson, and whether I will find characters that are as enduring as in this first novel of the Malazan. One good thing! I took a sneaky peek and there is no poetry in sight! *grins*

Bill’s Reaction to Gardens of the Moon:

Boy, Amanda, am I with you on how I hadn’t thought how all-consuming this would be. And I went into it thinking it was going to be pretty time-consuming, having read the series already. And I too am loving the commentary that follows our posts and just wish I could dip in more often.

As a general reaction a few things struck me on the reread. One is that the book was far less confusing than I’d been prepared for, not so much based on my own memories of being confused (it’s been years after all) but based on all the complaints I’ve seen on it over the years. The book, save for a few areas, was much more straightforward than I’d expected. Another is how much brick-laying Erikson had done, something I obviously couldn’t have picked up on during my first read. I had no memory, for instance, of Whiskeyjack’s leg breaking in that last scene, but that sort of small, throw-away line that ripples out throughout the series to reappear thousands of pages later showed up again and again in this re-read.

In my original review long ago, I referred to the story as “stimulatingly frustrating” due to the lack of clear answers and spoonfeeding and said I liked it for that reason. On a reread, it was less “frustrating” as I knew many of the answers this time around (though not all, not all!) but no less stimulating. In many ways, I found it even more so thanks to looking for or finding all the links to future events. I also said that some of the characterization was a bit “shallow”—that flaw didn’t arise on a reread though, because I’d spent so long with so many of these characters. It was impossible not to feel the weight of all those pages bearing down on my interaction with them in these earliest of pages.

As for favorites, I envy Amanda being able pick out a single character or two and who could quibble with Rake, but I’ve seen so much of these people as mentioned above that I can’t pick one out.

Favorite moment? Again, how do you pick one?

  • The entire scene with Paran getting killed is one, the suddenness of the killing, Hood’s gate, Hood’s herald, Shadowthrone’s arrival, Paran’s strength.
  • Rake’s first arrival on scene, at Baruk’s.
  • Serrat’s running troubles attacking Crokus.
  • Circle Breaker at the very end.
  • Quick Ben meeting Shadowthrone.
  • Paran inside Rake’s sword.

OK, I’ll stop there!

Further on and further up!

And don’t forget to get your questions in for Steven!

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
Yes, its very interesting that the poem at the beginning of chapter 24 is by Adaephon. So, let's take a look:
Another interesting piece is right next to Adaephon--(b.?).
Note the wording that the Azath holds "locked in each chamber some trembling enraged antiquity." This line is interesting as while the grounds of the Azath look rather like a cemetery, this line bespeaks a prison, ...

Another interesting thing is this continues a stylistic point we will see again and again. SE shows us the Azath in the last chapter--through actions and images. In this chapter he tells us some things about the Azath. Show and then tell. This varies from what some are used to where we get tell and then show.
Rob Munnelly
2. RobMRobM
Favorite character - the Kruppe-meister, by a mile. Rake second. Sadly, Lorn third.

Favorite scene - strangely enough, Paran buddying up with Coll. Two worthy nobles who've already been through a lot sharing time together.

Steven Halter
3. stevenhalter
My reactions to GotM this time around are that it holds up to rereads very well. I think this is the fourth time I've read this volume and I stuck to the reading pace of the reread for it. Doing two chapters a week is quite different from my usual reading. I've really enjoyed the commentary and back and forth. The extra bonus of having SE show up and talk about things is great.
Some things we've seen in GotM to keep in mind for Deadhouse Gates (and beyond):
Quick Ben has a plan (he always has a plan).
Kalam and Fiddler are heading off with Apsalar and Crokus.
There are other Azath.
There is a Pannion Seer.
Tool is unbound.
Whiskeyjack's leg isn't fully healed.
K'rul is awake.
Crokus got rid of the coin.
a a-p
4. lostinshadow
Can't believe we've finished one of these!

I will have to agree that GoTM is definitely less confusing the third time round but also based on some of the commentary from newbies here, (maybe it was all those warnings to be careful and not plow through at a rapid pace) it may have been less confusing to newbies than it originally was for me.

Favorite character & scene...that's difficult honestly, at the moment I'm plowing through the later books and some of those later characters seem to be overshadowing these first ones but...

anything with Fiddler and Hedge in it is a great scene for me

and I agree with RobM2 above that the scene with Paran and Coll becoming friends is an excellent one.
Calin Iorga
5. ShadowDonkeyThrone
Azath as cemetery works fine in my opinion as long as you keep in mind that the people in the graves are not dead(sadly for them). It's a bit like Rake's sword in that way.

Favorite character: Whiskeyjack or Paran. Maybe I'm biased by WJ in later books but he is a really amazing character. Fiddler too in fact. All the bridgeburners get a lot more depth as the series goes on, whereas some of the other awesome characters(like Rake, are already pretty well established).
Steven Halter
6. stevenhalter
Favorite intriguing character:
Quick Ben

Favorite scenes in GotM:
Quick Ben and Shadowthrone
Rake clearing the street with Dragnipur
Rake and the demon fight
Steven Halter
7. stevenhalter
Oh, yes, also note Crokus, standing on the ship with "his uncle's demon familiar clutching his sholder."
Dan K
8. kramerdude
"The reek of Tiama is in you, Lord. There is more of her in you than Tiste Andii blood."

Nice catch on this one Bill, one to store away for future reference and dragon discussions. It all comes back to the dragons doesn't it...

I enjoyed the Baruk/Rake scenes and Paran's scene in Dragnipur is one that always comes back to mind. As for favorite character that's hard to separate out now that I've gone so far into the series. Fiddler is definitely a fav but his role is fairly small as far as only GotM.

As for Night of Knives it is definitely a bit of a different read. But it should be interesting...We'll be going back in time to shortly after the prologue of GoTM so we'll see some backstory on some interesting characters (not naming them for the first timers). Definitely told in that Malazan style, even while Cam's style is unique from Steven's.

One thing I'm finding at the moment is that it's interesting planning to read these all together as opposed to the year long breaks (or more) that occurred between publishing of books. I'm going to try to stay close to the reread schedule as well not moving to far ahead as we proceed.

Cheers all...
9. Abalieno
I'm currently ripping my hair while trying to formulate the Ultimate Sorry (the character) Question, but it's utter chaos.

If we wrap up opinions/impressions about this book I have to say that I missed a whole lot initially on my first read. Even Darujhistan's political situation mostly went over my head. The reason is that I was "trained" by other readers to go on reading because at the beginning the novel can be extremely confusing (while for me the first part was relatively simple). So I always went on reading hoping everything would clear out by itself and missed many of those aspects of the plot that were intricate but that should have been understood if someone pieced them together.

As I said the end of GotM was for me too pushed against the suspension of disbelief and excessive, I also thought too "rushed". So this ending kind of soured the impression I had of the novel. I considered it as something holding a huge potential but still flawed and somewhat immature. (reminds me of Ormologun "It shows promise...")

It was with Deadhouse Gates and, especially, the three novellas that Erikson completely convinced me as a *writer* instead of just someone with fancy ideas and questionable execution. DG was one excellent book where the writing itself improved a lot. Loved the characters, depth and ambition, and how it all was written. It lifted the series to a completely new level. Yet I had some problem once again toward the end because of some boring battles with bees and bears that only looked silly and redundant to me, and also felt again that the writing wasn't as solid and inspired than most of the rest of the book.

The novellas instead built a HUGE admiration for Erikson's writing and won my unconditional faith. I still think it's the best stuff Erikson put on the page. I loved every line, I think The Lees of Laughter's End is a masterpiece, and The Healthy Dead reads like one awesome manifesto of subversion. Erikson showed me a much broader "range" about what he could do and he was more ruthless in a short story than in a big novel. Not only I loved the writing and ideas, but I was even on the same mindset and approach. I found something that I had empathy with on all levels.

Then there's MoI. I think the writing in MoI is not as brilliant and inspired as some parts of DG. I was also coming from the novellas that were simply on a whole different level with the writing itself. I have an odd opinion of MoI since I consider it "wasteful". The bigger book, but also the one bursting with ideas. Some of them not played to their full potential and "spoiled" too quickly. Yet it's a book of impossible ambition and it surely stands out just because how how far it reached.

After MoI I read the fourth recent novella that was much different than the other three. I loved it, I was in once again for the writing and the writing was excellent. I also loved the theme, brilliant on all levels. At this point Erikson was already by far my favorite writer in fantasy. I read House of Chains and beside this re-read it's where I am currently. HoC is the book that most readers put at the bottom of the "ladder" of preference of the series. For me it was the best book among the first four. More consistently and better written than DG and MoI, brilliant on all levels. It had a very clear intent, was deliberate and inspired. I liked every part of it minus some very minor quirks. Such a wonderful experience :)

All this to say that I came with this re-read, mostly just to see if I could straighten some obscure details of plot... only to find a much better book than the one I remembered. Better written as well. So I do wonder if most of the "changes" I perceive in the books were just the result of me adapting to a particular style and learn how to "mine" for the treasure contained within.

And it's probably both, because it's true that Erikson experiments and that his style improves. But it also true that one needs to "adjust" and "tune in" with a writer that is quite uncommon. GotM, for me, wasn't even remotely enough.
10. Abalieno
Also, I always had a BIG problem with the Epilogue.

That plan within other plans mentioned by Quick Ben is NEVER mentioned again. It's such a huge bait and yet it vanishes there. I should mention this to avoid disappoinment to other readers. Big red herring. Too blantant.

One can speculate a lot, but it's not possible to give a definite answer.

The best answer possible is that QB is planning with Kalam to put WJ on the throne. This would explain a lot of other things in GotM and following books, but this idea is never once even HINTED in the books. It's entirely a readers' speculation.
Tricia Irish
11. Tektonica
I"m sure a big reason I loved this book and got into it so quickly was, in large part, due to you veterans, and your various hints and explanations. So thank you one and all. And thanks to you Amanda and Bill too. I'm sure I"ll complete the series. Sadly, having read through MoI, I'm finding it hard to bring myself back here to comment with any insight. I'm certainly reading all the excellent discussion however!

Favorite scenes? So many!
Paran in Dragnipur.
Paran's whole murder and resurrection.
QB's trip to see Hood.
Rake talking to Baruk in front of the fire.
Lorn's death scene with Paran.
Paran and the DHounds and Hairlock and Rake on the plain!
And most anything with Kruppe!

Just listing these scenes should make it obvious that Paran is probably my favorite character....Paran and Rake....and Kruppe. I love WJ too, but that is because of MoI more than this book, where he is much more opaque.

It amazes me that SE set this all up 10 years before he completed the series. The details are amazing, but it his characters that compel my interest. He is an amazing observer of our species...our foibles, weaknesses and motivations. I love his people!

Looking forward to his wrap up questions too! This is great!
Thanks again.
ezzkmo .
12. ezzkmo
While reading it I just figured Quick Ben's plan was that he was going to leave on the boat with Kalam and rest without telling Whiskeyjack. I could be wrong though.
Steven Halter
13. stevenhalter
Abalieno@10: Quick Ben does have a plan and we do find out more about it. Its more than hinted at.
Tai Tastigon
14. Taitastigon
Aba @9-10

I am still wildly impressed how you come to your judgemental conclusions re plot of this cycle w/o having read even half of it.
Your speculations would be understandable if only the first four volumes had been published. Considering, however, that we are up to volume 9, with tCG about to be available...*head shaking*...
Chris Hawks
15. SaltManZ
"It's the leg that worries me," the healer muttered. "I need to work on it some more, and you need to stay off it awhile.

"Whiskeyjack grinned. "As soon as there's time," he said.

Mallet sighed. "We'll work on it then."

Ah, I choked up a little when I read that.


It all comes back to the dragons doesn't it...

Too right. Have you read the jacket blurb for The Crippled God? (Don't seek it out if you haven't read the first 9 books!)

My favorite character so far is probably Paran. I loved him from the start in GotM, loved him even more in MoI, and was pretty much in full-on man-crush mode for TB. I'm also a huge Kruppe fan. (Iskaral Pust can suck it.)

Dunno if I can pick out a favorite scene or even scenes. But I do really love those "human" moments where two guys share a quiet moment. Think the Rake/Baruk scenes in GotM (or Gruntle/Paran in MoI).
Julian Augustus
16. Alisonwonderland
Abalieno @10:

That plan within other plans mentioned by Quick Ben is NEVER mentioned again. It's such a huge bait and yet it vanishes there. I should mention
this to avoid disappoinment to other readers. Big red herring. Too

One can speculate a lot, but it's not possible to give a definite answer.

The best answer possible is that QB is planning with Kalam to put WJ on
the throne. This would explain a lot of other things in GotM and
following books, but this idea is never once even HINTED in the books.
It's entirely a readers' speculation.

How can you make such statements when you've only read four of the nine books currently available? How do you know that Quick Ben's plan is not revealed in any of the books you haven't read? Everybody keeps telling you to read the rest of the books before you form opinions on the direction of the entire series, yet you seem oblivious to this sensible idea.
I've read all your posts and most are well-written. I happen to agree with many of the points you make. However, when you insist on giving definitive opinions about what is or is not in the series, as you do here, when your familiarity with the series is, at best, only introductory, it does your credibility no good. Do yourself a favour and read the rest of the series, please?
Julian Augustus
17. Alisonwonderland
Salt-Man @15:

My favorite character so far is probably Paran. I loved him from the start in GotM, loved him even more in MoI, and was pretty much in
full-on man-crush mode for TB.

My sentiments exactly.
18. Abalieno
@16 @14

Maybe because Quick Ben plan involves WJ in some way and the immediate situation?

It's like a character says: "I'm going to make coffee." Then we read four other books and the character still hasn't made coffee or ever talked again about this intention.

"Oh, but he simply wanted to make coffee ten years from now."

Quick Ben hidden agenda in MoI depends entirely on what happens in that book, so nothing in that book is tied to that original plan in the Epilogue.

If it's not a GotMism, then almost certainly involves Kalam's travel in DG. Problem is that Kalam never mentions it again, and in the end things go in an entirely different direction.

It's curious how you all tell me the plan comes up again and it's obvious, when every time I bring this up 10 readers come up with 10 different interpretations (like the one who commented after me who thought it was Quick Ben leaving by boat). That's to me a pretty blatant proof that the plan is at the very least controversial.

At the time I asked on Malazan forum about QB's plan. They read all books. The answer they gave to me is the one I wrote up there, and confirmed that the plan in this Epilogue never comes up again "officially".

So there. I usually ask exactly because I haven't read anything. In most cases the questions are revealed rethorical.
19. Abalieno
Ok, I'll come to this bluntly again, since it has nagged me for the last two years and is still nagging me. And also nagging those I was discussing recently to the point that some of them gave up on the series entirely. So: my perspective.

I'm not one of those who are outraged at timeline problems, the position of the continents and other inconsistences. On the blogs I usually read, a big chunk of EVERY review I read about Dust of Dreams and Toll the Hounds was dedicated to complaints about more and more problems of that kind cropping up, to the point that they seemed to become the most important aspect. I remeber that at the time Toll the hounds came out Erikson wrote that he himself "used to" obsess as well over details, but that over time he was content enough to follow his ideas and accept the flaws when they happen.

But there's an objective problem with the whole situation. The Malazan series is a series filled with mysteries and mysterious characters. Part of the fun is piecing things together, enjoy the big revelations and everything. It was intended as a huge puzzle. The problem is that on top of this level of deliberate and purposeful obfuscation, there's a whole other unintended level due to inconsistences and mistakes Erikson made that, together with the legitimate mysteries, can make the whole thing rather frustrating for a reader who spends time tracking things and paying attention. This attention is at the same time rewarded and punished.

I personally think that Erikson did the very best work humanly possible, so that's not the point. I'm not blaming him for having done a sloppy job. I don't think that. But, at this point, I have a request.

With the series being finished, I'd like that Erikson (or even Cam, but he seems even more insulated) would compile (help to compile) a list of all those GotMism, mistakes and timeline problems (as we go) and flag them as "official". Like a sort of Errata Corrige.

Erikson says (I want make myself understood):
I hope I have not ruined any of the romance or mystery regarding Gardens of the Moon. (context is: him lifting the veil too much)

Which is the point: I don't want much the plot and mythology "explained" and made obvious. But, I think, it would be necessary to clear the path from that obfuscation that was not intended. While I don't judge "flaws" like the timeline and the rest as the result of Erikson doing a poor job, they actively DO RUIN for me the romance and mystery of the series. Because even if EVERYTHING would be justified, at the end I have that nagging suspect I'm chasing just a red herring due to something that was actually a mistake. These problems *discourage* from keeping attention to the detail and discourage from trusting the writer.

Mistakes happen, entirely normal in a series so huge. But I do think that we really could use a way to defuse them and take them out of the picture for good.

Erikson has always been quite honest on this, admitting mistakes when they were brought up. But I think it would be really helpful to make a more pervasive work. It's not about taking the blame as it is about taking actively responsibility and solve the problem radically instead of having it lingering forever like a Crippled God chained to Burn.
ezzkmo .
20. ezzkmo
This is my very 1st read just FYI.

It's so hard to name any favorite characters or scenes. But I really like Paran, Whiskeyjack, and what they stand for and feel much of the time. Sort of the confused heroes (to me's impossible to label anyone in this 'grey' world). Also liked Circle Breaker, Toc, and Crokus.

In some ways this book felt like only 100 pages really did fly by! And in another way I feel like I've just read a 3000 page tome and taken 3 history courses on the Malazan Empire! And this is only Book 1!

It really was a fantastic story. And the comments I've read over the years about it being too confusing must have prepared me to open up my mind as I read and not quit or let anything deter me. I am so glad I kept on and finished. I am very excited to continue this series.

Thanks for the enjoyment so far Mr. Erikson!
Brian Daniels
21. HoosierDaddy
Abalieno: Finally you just out and out admit it here, like you did over at ME:

You want SE and ICE to "Flag and compile" errors in their writing because it ruins the reading experience for you. The "flaws", "red-herrings", and "obfuscation" are simply ruining the romance and mystery? Really? The mysteries presented are ruining the mystery? Do you know how ridiculous that sounds?

This is the most ridiculously selfish request I can imagine. Picture Gaius Maximus here, "ARE YOU NOT ENTERTAINED?"

The author has said he won't spoon-feed you, so you ask for a sippy-cup instead? You are like a student in the history of science who obsesses over Ptolemy's system and its inaccuracies as opposed to reading on to Aristotle and Kepler.

By the way, how about you read the actual books you are bringing up that criticize Toll and Dust before jumping the shark 5 books too early in your quest for clarity? Oh, and actually make your mind up yourself about those books, and don't worry about anybody else's opinions. Dust is my favorite book so far.
22. Abalieno
It's not like I threatened to not read the books if my orders aren't followed. I made a request and motivated it. If it goes ignored absolutely nothing changes.

I do think it would be useful if said list was compiled so that readers like me can focus more on those parts that are consistent instead of being "mislead" when misdirection isn't necessary. There's already enough misdirection and mystery in this series *without* more being added because of mistakes, or, worse, the suspicion of mistakes.

Spoon-feeding is obviously completely different from clearing mistakes in the text. In the same way people were pissed when the spellchecking in Return of the Crimson Guard was all messed (the limited ed). Mistakes are on the same level of typos. Human mistakes. One usually tries to clear them.

Problem is that when people ask *me* questions I don't know what to answer. The other day I was saying that HoC is pretty consistent and that timeline problems seem to start only later in the series (this was confirmed to me on Malazan forum when I specifically asked). And then someone pointed to me, just as an example, that Karsa's journey starts in 1159, after some months, right when Karsa is captured, he hears mention of the fall of Pale. The fall of Pale is in 1163, four years later.

How do you explain that?

Yes, I think it would be extremely useful if there was a list of things like this one, so that I'd know it's an HoC-ism and stop wondering how the thing could make sense. Or ask on the forum every time there something that does not seem to make sense.

The thing is: timeline problems are blatant and can't be denied because they are about numbers. Numbers aren't open to interpretation. (even if now warrens are being used to justify them) While if the problem is with a motivation or behavior of a character then everyone will say that the character was lying or has hidden plans. The mistification is always implicit.

In too many cases these are starting to be used more as apologies than something actually true. I think this is ultimately detrimental to the series as a whole since more and more readers refuse to pay attention since too many things do not make sense. It's an attitude that can as well bounce back readers.

I also think Erikson made a mistake when he said that if he had the possibility he'd go back and remove all the dates. Doing that would *exacerbate* the problem because it would make mistakes even harder to spot. They would still be all there and frustrate even more the readers and ultimately sour them and convince them they are wasting time when trying to piece things together. Again obfuscation that IS NOT necessary at all.

Again the "faith" thing. It can be problematic because even if in most cases Erikson rewards it, in some cases he punishes it too.
23. Abalieno
I bring on some "evidence", not that the series suck, but of the kind of context my position comes from.

Larry, of the OF Blog, is one of the most respected bloggers out there. Surely not one of those guys who jump on the bandwagon, has hidden agenda, or judges things superficially.

Here some lines out of his Dust of Dreams review:

For others, the novel will bring back bad memories of long expository scenes, very slow scene transitions, repetitive to the point of nausea soldier discourses, event outlines that seem to be off almost as much as the infamous, mysterious five year gap in Toll the Hounds.

I could spend quite a bit of time nitpicking about the narrative mess that this series has become

On the whole, Dust of Dreams is a glorious mess. On a structural level, the novel is rife with continuity errors.

For those fans who read this series for the plot, there is much that will aggravate you

I'm quite sure that a number of these aspects have been misjudged, but on the whole the problem seems rather undeniable even if Erikson can masterfully tie most ends. I picked Larry because he's one who had a positive impression while still being critical.

The fact is that someone like Adam Whitehead, instead, had helped to make the series popular in this blog sub-community. Yet lately he came out as much more sour about how things have developed *because* of the trend.

He's the one who worked on the world map, he's always been one of the most active in the community. I think at some point he stopped caring. For example I know he has an issue about the Jade giants subplot not making sense. The point is: these problems do drive people away. So I think it's batter to face them aggressively than dismiss them.

And, IMO, it's better to make a list than simply saying "Yes, there are problems here and there" without knowing where they hide and have that suspect wearing out the experience.
Gerd K
24. Kah-thurak
I mean no offense, but this is getting tiresome. If you actually read the series instead of spending your time reading Blogs on it or speculating on errors which may or may not exist, you might be able to answer your own questions. Or not. Eriksons wrighting does not yield easy answers and sometimes not even complete ones. A lot of things proove important later, others dont. Sometimes characters are even wrong and tell you things they believe to be true, but in fact are wrong. This is how this story is written. If you need absolute clarity than maybe these books arent for you.

@Favourite Character
Considering only Gardens of the Moon I guess I would go with Kruppe. Though Rake, Tattersail and Paran are pretty close.

@Favourite Scene
Quick Ben and Pearl on the rooftops.

@Gardens of the Moon
I dont really know how many times I have read the book now (like 5-6 times?) but through the slow pace and detailed analysys of this re-Read I have still found things I either forgot or never realized. It is a great book. Not the best in the series, but how many other Authors best works could compare with it?
Gerd K
25. Kah-thurak
@Crokus skill at throwing Bricks
Just lucky I guess ;)

And that is it actually. Noone could have taken out Vorcan by throwing bricks. Thats why she probably didnt take the attempt serious. But as with Parans sword hurting a Hound of Shadow, Bricks thrown by someone who is under the influence of a god things work differently and trusted magical defenses just might not work as they should.
Robin Lemley
26. Robin55077
Too much drama and it is starting to take the fun out of this for me!

In my very, very humble opinion...Gardens of the Moon would have been a great read as a stand-alone book. As the introduction to a series, you can only really rate it once you are further into the series and see how it links to the later books. For all of you newbies, and those who have read some but not all of the other books, all I can say is buckle in and enjoy the ride. I have never, ever, read any other series where I found myself thinking back to prior books (to the point of having to pull them out and look stuff up), like I do this one. And remember, Gardens of the Moon was the first book, written I think like 9 years prior to Deadhouse Gates. Take my word for it, Erickson did not stagnate in those years between the 1st and 2nd book….He got BETTER. So now we go to Cam’s book “Night of Knives” and after that, back to Erickson’s series with Deadhouse Gates. What a wondrous ride we are set to enjoy together!

My favorite character: Ganos Paran. He was my favorite on my initial read, and having read the other books and knowing what is in store for him only makes him more so.

My favorite scene: The scene between Paran and Coll. We got to see Paran relaxed, just talking to an equal, without the weight of the world on his shoulders. As far as I can recall, this is the only time we get to see Paran in this light and it makes it so much more special to me for that.

My favorite line (yes, I'm such a geek that I even have favorite lines :-)) occurred on the 3rd page of the prologue: Whiskeyjack says to 12 year old Paran, “Every decision you make can change the world.” No way of knowing at the time how prophetic that line is but when you look back to that line in the prologue as you read later books, WOW!

2nd most favorite line: When Paran is riding alone toward Darujhistan: Paran thinking to himself, “Scholars and mages write endlessly of fell convergences – it seems I am a walking convergence, a lodestone to draw Ascendants. To their peril, it seems.”

My least favorite character: Hairlock. I cannot think of a single redeeming quality to make me like him. I found myself cheering for the hounds as they tore him to pieces.
Filip Belic
27. fbelic
I think that most of those who read only this book would be surprises if I said my favorite character was Fiddler...
Robin Lemley
28. Robin55077
@ 27. fbelic

Is this the only book you have read? Fiddler is one of my favorite characters in the series. However, since he didn't get much face time in GotM, he wasn't really a favorite this early for me. If this is the only book you have yet read, you will absolutely love him in the books to come!
Travis Nelsen
29. Zangred
Ah, GoTM comes to a close! Such a great introduction to what lies in store for us throughout the rest of the series.

Favorite characters are Kruppe and Rake if taken solely in context to GoTM. Of course as you get farther into the series, it becomes an increasingly harder task to pick a favorite character from each individual book, and god forbid someone actually expect me to pick a favorite character for the entire series. I don't think I could do that.

Favorite scenes? Quick Ben and Shadowthrone. Paran in Dragnipur. Fiddler's card games. Pretty much any scene with the Bridgeburner's, they have such wonderful dialogue and the banter between them is absolutley priceless.

I feel the overwhelming need to thank Amanda and Bill for doing this re-read. Being able to read the series in step with both first-timers and scarred, battle-worn veterans alike is an amazing experience. Having Steven and Cam stopping in from time to time as well is almost more than I can handle lol.
Filip Belic
30. fbelic
@28. Robin55077

No... I've read complete series a couple of times ;-)

It was meant as comment to everybody glorifying Rake. While he is definitely one of bigger bad-asses and one of the noblest characters in series, there is bunch of other great characters, just waiting to get attention, so keep an open mind.
Gerd K
31. Kah-thurak
Though based on GotM alone it is rather difficult to appreciate Fiddler. His first real "Screen Time" comes in Deadhouse Gates and yes from that time on he does become a favorite character for me too. Among many others.
Steven Halter
32. stevenhalter
Abalieno@18:While Quick Ben has many plans (and plans within plans), the particular plan he is thinking of at the end of GotM is unveiled (I believe) in Deadhouse Gates.
When we get to it, I'll point it out.
Thomas Jeffries
33. thomstel
I think it's rather telling of the quality of the story that many of our favorite moments are conversations. Also, having gone through this part of the tale 4-5 times now, I have found it to mellow quite nicely with age. With that in mind...

Initial read's favorite character: Rake

Initial read's favorite scene: Rake vs. demon lord

This re-read's favorite character: Kruppe

This re-read's favorite scene(s): The short exchange between Kruppe, Baruk and Rake at the party, and Kruppe's dialogue with his aspects in his introduction.

Night of Knives is coming up, and first-timers be forewarned that it will read very differently and "reset" the game so to speak. New characters will be introduced and it may very well irk the heck out of you to have to read about someone of which you know nothing, but given time you'll come to love reading about them as much as your favorites from GotM.

In addition, ICE and SE are continually adding characters, so mastering your impatience when not reading about WJ, Paran, Rake, etc. is a good skill to cultivate. There are only a few character's whose storylines could be classified as "clunkers", but that's really only in comparison to the awesomeness that the rest of the story is composed of. It's still leaps and bounds ahead of the majority of the field. In other words, the authors' rarely let you down, so be patient and have faith.

Also, I envy those who will get a different sequence on the personas introduces in NoK. For those who read the series as published, a lot of the players remained very opaque throughout many more of SE's main series. I'm very interested in seeing how having them appear on-screen so early will flavor first-timer's perceptions of them throughout the series.

I'm thinking of one High Mage in particular of course...
Steven Halter
34. stevenhalter
thomstel@33:Yeah, it will be interesting seeing reactions to KoN at this point and how they color things. I didn't read it until Toll the Hounds--Amazon kept losing my order and then it finally showed up at Barnes and Noble here.
Thomas Jeffries
35. thomstel
Abelieno@18 & shalter@32:

I think that Quick Ben's plan here in GotM has everything to do with Kalam's entire storyline in DH. Given that everyone just found out that Dujek has been outlawed and the long-standing perception that the BB are being targeted by the Empire, it's not too far a leap.

Even making the attempt would qualify as something that WJ would hate, but add to that the ramifications of Kalam succeeding...WJ would hate it even more given the state of affairs on Genabackis.

Is it every spelled out specifically that I'm on the right track? No. Is it necessary that it be? No. I'm a big boy, I can connect the dots, and even if I get a tea kettle instead of a fish, I'm content with what I'm able to do. :)
Tricia Irish
36. Tektonica
Robin@26: I concur. Too much drama! Just go with it, I say! Life is not neat and tidy, and neither are these books. Nor is that what these books are about, imho.

“Scholars and mages write endlessly of fell convergences – it seems I am a walking convergence, a lodestone to draw Ascendants. To their peril, it seems.”

I love this Paran quote! Oh, yes, Paran's the man. I love his ability to self-reflect. Rare.

Agree about Fiddler, and QB too....great characters, just not fleshed out enough in this particular book. And WJ in MoI is incredible, but here, a bit of a cipher.
37. SneakyVerin
Wow-It's all over? There seemed so much to speak to that it theoretically should go on for another month!
I also want to thank Bill and Amanda again for doing this reread. Although I've been meaning to read this series for awhile, there are no words to express how enamored I am with this series!
My favorite character was Kruppe, my favorite humorous scene was the food flying to him as he walked through the market...too funny! I was in complete awe about the scene with Paran going into the sword.
I also very much liked Toc. I'm curious to see more of him, as I assume he is in no way dead just yet!
And please-NO DRAMA! This is too enjoyable to let certain people get please, the only certified expert is SE himself!
Steven Halter
38. stevenhalter
thomstel@35: Yes, I agree with you, many of Kalam's actions are tied to QB's plans. In DG we start really fleshing out QB and Kalam.
Gerd K
39. Kah-thurak
We will see a lot more of Toc, starting in Memories of Ice. Though simply dying might have been a more merciful fate for him.
Maiane Bakroeva
40. Isilel
Curses! Foiled again! Here I thought that I have caught up with the re-read with the last installment, but the new one is already up! I guess that I'll just re-post my previous comment on chapters 22-23 now that I am caught up for reals and add a bit about these last chapters for the good measure. A Wall of Text incoming:

Ch 22-23:

Speaking for the last time of Lorn - IMHO her death was very poignant and a fitting ending for her arc. Nor do I have problems with her powers, as we certainly see Paran quickly and haphazardly acquiring some massive powers too.
I have to say that Lorn, who rejected her doubts in the name of her belief in the Empire and Empress is more palatable to me than the Bridgeburners, who have enormous doubts, yet
easily unleash slaughter when it suits them (I have big problems with certain BG's actions in DG too).

I guess that I see the whole situation through the prism of Stalinism, which Empire strongly ressembles and survivalist cynics who are ready to sacrifice thousands to survive stick in my craw the way a young zealot, who gladly dies to escape the conflict between her perceived duty and her humanity, does not. And yes, BGs are often compassionate to individuals, but it makes their wanton destruction of faceless masses even more difficult for me to accept.

BTW, they would have gone up with Darujistan if they had exploded the mines and destroying the city completely didn't serve their interests anyway. It was not mercy that stopped them.

Also, Lorn was one of the few female bad-asses in the series so far and apparently one of the few characters to die permanently, so I'll miss her for that too.

Another thing - I wonder how are the Adjuncts selected? I have to admit that the next person in that office makes little sense to me - but I didn't yet finish DG, so maybe all will be revealed in the other books.

IMHO the idea that Finnest was booby-trapped has a lot of merit - personally, I hate the sloppy imprisoning of villains that always lets them escape eventually and become a nuisance again.
But then - why was it in the Barrow? And why wasn't it planted already?
Another slight peeve - why did the Barrow even have an entrance/ exit if the idea was to seal Raest for all time? Still, I really like that theory.

Ch 24 - Epilogue:

So, does WJ now have a Warren in his leg? Inquiring minds need to know!

Rake in a truly bad-ass fight is always worth the price of admission and all the hints about Darkness and Light are deeply tantalizing.
BTW, are Tiste Andii formerly technologically advanced aliens and Moon's Spawn their spaceship? If so, why are they reduced to medieval weaponry? Apart from Dragnipur, that is.

So, now that Paran ceased channeling the power of Oponn, he'll get superhuman powers from Otataral sword? As well as the Hound connection, of course.
Anyway, as a luck-based character Paran doesn't annoy me too much, since his Werdegang as a noble, officer, Claw trainee and the Adjunct's associate also played into what he became. His survival versus various ascendants did often rely on quick thinking on his part rather than pure chance.

As opposed to Crokus, for instance. Does the lad realize that the Bridgeburners intended to murder his uncle even without the Tyrant's possession? As well as many other Darujistani. Frankly, I find Crokus's and Coll's friendliness to Bridgeburners a bit perplexing, even if the 2 do personally owe them.

Why did Rallick prevent Vorcan's killing? He didn't feel much loyalty to the guild previously and viewed his choice of profession as a mistake, didn't he? Vorcan betrayed Darujistan and more than deserved to die. And now she is bound to haunt us again...

The first time around, Kalam and Fiddler's decision to escort Apsalar seemed totally out of the left field to me and fairly unconvincing, but now that I am most of the way through DG, I can appreciate the deep and subtle plan behind it all.
Tai Tastigon
41. Taitastigon
Well, so there goes GotM. Obviously, it got me hooked on the series. Hard to decide on favorites: BB, Paran // Kruppe and the Phoenix crew // and of course Rake, the only immortal I know that can scare you into a puddle of tears while enjoying a sip of wine and sponging an entry ticket to a VIP-party. Go dude !!

The most off thing: No, not the *release the 7* thing...but the bone I happy that somehow we ended up losing THAT one...*g*
Tai Tastigon
42. Taitastigon
Isilel @40

*So, does WJ now have a Warren in his leg? Inquiring minds need to know!*

Cool concept, but no.

*BTW, are Tiste Andii formerly technologically advanced aliens and Moon's Spawn their spaceship?*

They did not built it, they appropriated it.
43. Tarcanus
I just want to point out to everyone wangsting about the timeline issues and GotMisms that the Malazan Book of the Fallen is a history of the Malazan Empire.

History is written by the victors and there will be errors and timeline issues even in real life. If you come at this series understanding that it's supposed to be a history (and Erikson even goes so far as to highlight a historian as a main character in Deadhouse Gates) the errors aren't nearly so bad.

Imo, Erikson is writing from a 'realistic' perspective and not trying to make sure that every single thing matches up in his world because in real life, events rarely match up when people are talking about them.
Steven Halter
44. stevenhalter
Isilel@40: WJ doesn't have a warren in his leg. That would have been an interesting side effect.
I don't think I can comment much on the other questions without being spoilerish.
On the Empire--we'll see that the Empire itself is not Stalinish in its effects at all. Its means to get there are a tad hard on the people being assimilated, but for the most part the regimes they were under prior to the Empire aren't that fun for most of the citizens either.
Tai Tastigon
45. Taitastigon

Come to think of it - is there any region/regime at all in that world that is fun/peaceful/etc. ...? Does make the Malazan Empire kind of a product of its environment...with a relatively short half-life, actually. It really took a raving madman to build THAT thing succesfully, after all...
Steven Halter
46. stevenhalter
Taitastigon@45: I can't think of any parts of the world that could be classified as peaceful. They were probably fun for some of the people (rulers) not so fun for most everyone else.
Russell Watson
47. rustyw8209
New reader to the series currently working on HoC. Love these posts every week. Favorite character would have to be Kruppe so far, so enigmatic. Favorite scene would have to be Paran in Dragnipur.
I had GotM in my bookcase for years and have such a long tbr I never picked it up until I saw this re-read thread. Decided to give it a shot and boy am I glad I did. Can't put it down.
I suppose I could (as anyone probably could in most works of literature and cinema) point out flaws and apparent inconsistencies, but that would be a serious buzz kill. Fact is these books are exactly what I want books of this nature to be, enjoyable and fun to read. Haven't been this excited about a series of books in a long time and am having a blast!
Tai Tastigon
48. Taitastigon
shal @46

Yep. Mel Brooks was right. "It´s GOOD to be the king"...
Elena Vaccaro
49. EarthandIce
I really enjoyed this book. Mmmm......favorite character.... I have to go with Kruppe. Like I said in a previous post he so much reminds me of Belgarath, and I know that one dates me soooo much. Like Isile, I liked his scene in the market place where he is using his magic to pilfer food. His self effacing is supurberb to keep his true identity secret. And his manipulation of the 'Ruling Council' is so much fun to watch.

Don't get me wrong, Rake is awesome along with Paran and many others, it is just Kruppe made me laugh out loud.

I really like the integrity that has been infused with the characters and that Erikson has maintained that integrity through all of the books I have read so far (close to the end of HoC, had to wait for it to be returned to the library, ggrrrr) and anticipate that integrity to continue.

Also as an anthropology student, I can catch the underlying layers. Makes the series more interesting to me.

Taitastigon @45 Is he a raving mad man or do we just not realize his motives? So many questions to be answered in later books.

In the classic: RAFO (read and find out)
Tai Tastigon
50. Taitastigon

- Taitastigon @45 Is he a raving mad man or do we just not realize his motives? -

Why not both ? Maybe he is a raving madman that has his motives. Typical for SE´s world - everything is ambiguous...even madness...*g*
Elena Vaccaro
51. EarthandIce
Oh, just curious, do we eventually see Rallick and Vorcan again? A yes or no will be ok to help keep spoilers to a minimum.

Ohhh, Taitastigon. Very true. Brings to mind a joke I heard about a mad squirrel and his advice. Very old joke.

Edit: for spelling
Steven Halter
52. stevenhalter
Yes, we'll see Rallick and Vorcan again.
Hugh Arai
54. HArai
Yep. Mel Brooks was right. "It´s GOOD to be the king"...

Just not the High King.
55. Alt146
And that's the book!

The one thing I really like about this series is how different the books are on rereads. The first time I read through this book I was confused and carried along by the strength of the action and the writing, most of the clues and history were lost on me. I enjoyed the Phoenix Inn cast way more than the Bridgeburners because of this - their characters are much more easily graspable and their story-line relatively self-contained. On subsequent reads the Bridgeburners (and WJ especially) came across almost as if they were new characters, and their scenes and exchanges meant completely different things to me than what they did the first time round.

As to QB's plan, I think Shalter has it on the button when he says that it plays out in DG. It's never stated as such explicitly, but Kalam intuits as much in DG.
ezzkmo .
56. ezzkmo
Do we have a rough idea of the reading schedule for NoK? Just wondered what summaries might be posted next Wednesday to start it off, if that's when we're starting that is. :)

Dan K
57. kramerdude

I have purposefully not read the blurb of tCG and am going to try to avoid doing so until the book comes out. I have read the rest of the books though and even though in fits and starts dragons always seem to be on the periphery of the events.

In fact when people talk about the larger events and plots of the cycle I will say this. The Malazan Empire is a tapestry by which far larger events are taking place. The machinations of who's scheming who to hold the Malazan throne, what factions are in power are mere sidelights to a coming convergence that will play out in tCG. It's a bit like Tavore who at some point realizes that this is all so much bigger than just the Malazan Empire.

There is 300,000+ years of history at play here. How many of us remember the actions of our meager lives which such precision. As others have mentioned history is mutable, actions look different in hindsight once more information becomes known. And often we never get all the information so we make hypotheses and theories as to what happened and why. And at what point do we finally make the distinction between what is real, what is myth?

As opposed to a central focus on the Empire itself consider this broached in Ch. 24. What is Rake's and by extension the Tiste Andii's relationship with Mother Dark? Consider these two statements. First Rake to the Galayn Lord during the fight:

“To the Mother’s regret
Was Light granted birth.
To her dismay...she saw to late...its corruption"

Later Korlat and Orfantal converse outside the Azath House

"The Queen of Darkness spoke thus of Light when it was first born: "It is new and what is new is innocent and what is innocent is precious."

"Thus did Light survive, and so was Darkness destroyed, its purity vanquished-and now you would have us flawed, as our Queen was flawed."

So we have the history of the Tiste Andii (the Children of Dark), by extension Light comes into play, and we heard the briefest of mentions of the Tiste Edur (Children of Shadow). Throw in this Crippled God guy that Kruppe read about in Baruk's study, a few dozen other gods, elemental forces, dragons that seem to pop up all over the place, some extinct (or maybe not so extinct) races, and a host of other things we haven't learned about yet as of the end of GoTM.

We will learn that Kellanved and Dancer have ascertained some inkling of this knowledge and other bits of this tangled history and have chosen actions that are leading to something (I don't think its too big a spoiler to state this)? What that is we don't know yet? (and this isn't just after GotM but after DoD as well). We don't know how much knowledge K&D know at a specific point in time, so we are left to hypothesize at their actions. In the same way we might hypothesize at anyone's actions in the historical record.

So all that saying, I'm OK with their actions. I'm OK with Quick Ben taking one course of action here and as he garners a bit more knowledge, changing his plans as well. We'll get to where we get and in the end we'll put the pieces together as best as possible. In the end that's what we do in everyday life anyway.
Chris Hawks
58. SaltManZ
Well said. I like that the two quotes you provided can be read as somewhat contradictory; just goes to show that everything revealed in dialogue must be taken with a grain of salt, and that none of the characters in these stories have all the answers.
Steven Halter
59. stevenhalter
kramerdude@57:Good summary of the state of events.
Steven Halter
60. stevenhalter
re Timelines and such:
Something to think about if timelines and questions of who exactly did what in TMBotF are of great concern to you is the general history of our own world.
Here, recorded history only goes back to to the 4th millenium BC or so at the best. Dates for much of that period are extremely problematic. Who the "good" guys are is largely determined by who got to write about it.
For example, when did Homer create the Illiad? Was there a Homer? Is Homer a composite? ... None of these questions can be completely answered now. Or, for something even more recent, people often debate on whether Shakespeare really wrote the plays attributed to him. And that was only 400 years ago.
In TMBotF we are dealing with 100's of thousands of years of history and various characters who have been around for large chunks of that time. The memory of things that occured that far in the past has got to be wildly influenced by the piling on of later events in those characters lives. Do a Google on "eyewitness reliability" to see how people's memories in the very recent past are influenced.
Robin Lemley
61. Robin55077
@ 57. Kramerdude 7 @ 58. Salt-ManZ

I agree wih both of your assessments. One of the things I love most about this series is that nothing (and I mean nothing) is simply black or white. Everything is surrounded in shades of grey and boy, do I love all those shades of grey!

Does that make me Tiste Edur?
Tai Tastigon
62. Taitastigon
shal @60

SPOILER (I guess...)

Funny thing about that timeline: If you think about it, the only serious disruption that jumps to the eye relates pretty much to Karsa Orlong and one little boy plus two girls and a dog in TtH. For the rest, if there is, you really would have to treat the cycle as a textbook to work out the details...

Considering scope and depth of the work, it´s not that much.
I can live with that, I definitely can live with that...
Dan K
63. kramerdude

I noted the seeming contradiction as well. But Orfantal's follow-up still brings the corruption angle back into it. Did Mother Dark (MD) first think that Light was innocent and pure when it was first created and only later (too late by Rake's line) comprehend the corruption. And of course the whole thing bristles with the elements of creation myth. Was this something MD said/did or is it just a story the Tiste Andii made up? Or maybe a bit of both? Guess we'll have to read and find out.
64. Tarcanus
Tait @ 62

And, you know, Harlo being 5 years old.
Dan K
65. kramerdude

I was thinking a bit on those lines as well. Here's another thing with "stories". All of them have gaps. All of them can be nitpicked with an occasional glaring inconsistency. From Homer to Shakespeare to things today like 24 and Lost all require a measure of suspension of disbelief to explain (or overlook) some information for the benefit of the overarching story. Even more so when we are reading something that takes a historical tact to the tale.


There is a certain journey in RG that needs to be stretched really far out depending on how you look at it. But then again the Israelites wandered for 40 years in the desert in the Bible too. :)
Tai Tastigon
66. Taitastigon
kdude @65

*There is a certain journey in RG*

Doesn´t that involve warrens (actually...good time to do a quickie reread on RG) ? Warrens excuse everything...always...under any exceptions...*cough, cough*...
Robin Lemley
67. Robin55077
@ 60. Shalter

Thanks, once again, for posting that explanation. My thoughts are quite often identical to yours but when I attempt to post a similar explanation, I find myself unable to do so "briefly" and "to the point" in the manner that you can. My posts would end up so verbose that I would assume most readers on this blog would just skip them as rambling. LOL

To be absolutely honest, there is only one "timeline error" (if you want to call it that) that has ever given me the slightest bit of pause and that is, I believe, because it resulted in a first impression being made during my initial read of GotM.

I am, of course, talking about the prologue and Fiddler's first appearance. At that appearance, Paran notes that Fiddler is only a few years older that his 12 years. So...I assumed Fiddler's age at around 15 at that time (1154 b.s.). Ten years later, at Pale and again in Darujhistan (and certainly in later books) Fiddler is always described as an older soldier. At Pale, he would have been only 24 years old. Perhaps this could be explained by his being a soldier (and perhaps more importantly a sapper) for this long that "aged" him beyond his years. And I gladly accept this as possiblity and have no probelem with it. In fact, there is a scene (I think it is in BH) where someone comments to Fiddler upon seeing him without his beard that they forgot how young he really was. This once again fits in with my first impression of Fiddler's age.

My only problem comes in with the fact that the "Bridgeburners" came into existence and became known as such to people outside the military sometime prior to 1154 because Paran knew them as "Bridgeburners," not simply as part of the Third. When was Seven Cities assimilated? What year did Whiskeyjack and his group of men take off across the Raraku dessert in pursuit of their quarry? One of my goals on this re-read is to try to figure out the answers to those two questions.

Anyway, it does not detract from the reading experience in any way for me one way or the is just that my very first impression was that Fiddler was around 15 years of age in 1154 b.s. and every time I see Fiddler after that in the series, I always think of him as basically being the same age as Paran, then everyone describes him as being so much older and it makes me pause for a split second to readjust my thoughts.

Steven Halter
68. stevenhalter
Robin55077@67:A "few" could vary some, but say Fiddler was 15-18, then at Pale he would be 24-27. This doesn't seem old to us, but as you mention, being a soldier for that long could certainly have aged him.
Also note that to Paran Whiskeyjack appears (in the prologue) to look fairly young for a commander. Yet, we see several characters think/refer to him as the "old man". This can be explained in that military people very often refer to the commander as the old man--even when they might, in reality, only be a few years older than the person thinking of them as the old man.
As I was typing, I thought of an alternate possibility to explain the ages. Both WJ's and Fiddler's ages are given based on how the young Paran thinks they look. In TMBotF there are all sorts of ways (magical and potion based) that a few years can be shaved off. This is another possibility--I prefer the "weight of experience" angle also, but magical means can't be entirely discounted.
69. PJBrs
Ha, so I'm skipping one week, and look! Steven Erikson himself has posted! Very nice!

I'm coming in to see if the DEM-bit is already beaten to death :-) I like the observation that, whatever definition you put to a DEM, it's often in the eye of the beholder whether it actually was one. The introduction of the Azath? It's a matter of perspective whether you see it as sudden (the last couple of chapters) or not (already introduced two or three chapters ago); whether it resolves a major plot arch (Raest, both himself and the finnest, would not have been resolved without Azath) or not (Hedge's munitions would have done the job, otherwise Rake would've done it). And I know that I'm treating Steven Erikson himself as a reader here, with just another opinion, instead of The Writer, to whom the whole series is an open book anyway.

What I'm trying to say; I think it is more interesting to read about the reasons people have for calling it DEM or not, than discussing whether or not it is a DEM.

And my own opinion? I'm afraid I'll still have to agree to disagree even with the author, oh dear! But I hope you'll all forgive my stubbornness. And I can easily forgive a couple of DEM's in a great series :-)
Robin Lemley
70. Robin55077
@ 68. Shalter

Thanks! I too have generally always chalked his being/appearing older to his experience, rather than his actual age. However, the only thing that would throw this off for me is when exactly was that chase through Raraku? What year were the "Bridgeburners" created?

If the Bridgeburners were created within 5 or 6 years of 1154, and we assume Fiddler was as much 18 when he met 12 year old Paran, that could fit. If, however, it was say 10 years prior...then even assuming Fiddler were 18 at the time of his meeting with Paran, that would put him at only 8 during the chase across Raraku and that is not possible. Thus.....a puzzle for me to solve and clues to watch for during this reread.

71. PJBrs
Favourite moment; favourite character...

I'd be very hard-pressed to decide this... One thin I know for sure; it's not Rake--he's too severe to my tastes. I do very much enjoy Kruppe, both as comic relief and as this kind-of wildcard character that has so many people fooled about both his identity and his capabilities! Then Paran--as his character grows, he becomes more and more enjoyable. I think it is a nice touch that he actually does get to be the Bridgburners' captain, and not only in name, and despite being a noble. Like he deserved it!

And I like Crokus too--his confusion and his coming of age, trying to play with the grown-ups but not getting half of what's really going on--that adds a very nice touch to his character.

And my favourite moment? I really couldn't say. You'll understand it's not the ending :-) I enjoy every moment with either Shadowthrone or Cotillion. I really liked the bit where Rake, Paran and Shadowthrone meet, as well as QB sneaking into Shadowthrone's palace. But there's so much more too! These are main, plot-moving events, but then there are the small moments too, e.g., Tattersail and Paran, Rake and K'rul (maybe not so small), oh well...

I'm looking forward to the next book!
Dan K
72. kramerdude

I don't think we are ever explicitly told when the chase through Raraku occurred. We are going to learn "generally" when Y'Ghatan (I) occurred in NoK, but how much further back things went in Seven Cities is pretty much up in the air (at least as far as I remember - perfectly willing to be corrected on this). Probably for the best in some respects.

I do remember some discussion that what went on during that chase did have a magical component to it. How that absolutely affected the BB those is beyond my recollection. Re-reads are great to try to pick this stuff back up for me.
Dan K
73. kramerdude

Well there's definitely some warren madness at the end of the journey, but how long did they wander from the start at the end of MT to where we picked them up in RG.
Tai Tastigon
74. Taitastigon
Dude @73 ever with these books - I guess I will specifically have to reread that arc to check for sure. Re warrens, I always have this latent excuse that time may not function the same as in the real world, but then again...will have to reread it...
Dan K
75. kramerdude

Its definitely not a huge deal to me. Its more trying to figure out when MT occurred in the scope of things and then move things forward to RG. I definitely think there's something strange with Time/Distance distortion in the warrens for sure.
Julian Augustus
76. Alisonwonderland
Isilel @40:

personally, I hate the sloppy imprisoning of villains that always lets them escape eventually and become a nuisance again.
This not uncommon in the Malaz world. In HoC another being imprisoned under a rock for centuries is released. This being promptly caused some havoc among its rescuers, made a prophecy, and disappeared. I've been waiting to see the fulfillment of that prophecy for five books, but I'm not sure it will happen. ICE also got into the act in RotCG where another horrible being is imprisoned instead of killed and this being is released to cause immense havoc.

BTW, are Tiste Andii formerly technologically advanced aliens and Moon's Spawn their spaceship?

Right deduction, wrong species. There's a whole more about this in the later books.
Tai Tastigon
77. Taitastigon

So I start rereading that specific arc...and DANG...!!!...I start finding other stuff that I missed the first (second, etc.) time around...

STEVEN !!! I !!! HATE !!! YOU !!!!

(Nope. Just kidding, Steven, just kidding... ;0) )
Gerd K
78. Kah-thurak
@Imprisoned "Villains"
There is actually a good reason for this. In the Malazan World it is a) extremly difficult to kill a powerful beeing and b) the results are often everything but final. So imprisoning a Jaghut Tyrant/a D'ivers Demon /a Forkrul Assail is often the only possibillity availbable and maybe even safer than "killing" it. Even though no prison lasts forever (no, not even that one ;))
Robin Lemley
79. Robin55077
@ 72. kramerdude
"I don't think we are ever explicitly told when the chase through Raraku occurred. We are going to learn "generally" when Y'Ghatan (I) occurred in NoK, but how much further back things went in Seven Cities is pretty much up in the air..."

Thanks! In the prologue to GotM we are told that Y'Ghatan (I), where Dassem was reportedly assassinated, occurred in 1154 b.s. It had apparently just occurred because Whiskeyjack was shocked that Paran even knew about it because they were "still looking for his body in the still-hot rubble of that damned city..."

Honestly, this is not a real "issue" for me but rather
reveals how my "fantasy" life parallels real life. LOL

My first impression of Fiddler (based on the prologue) was that he was only a few years older than Paran and so every time I come across Fiddler in the books, I think of him as basically Paran's age. However, he is always described/perceived by others in the books as more of an "older" soldier, grey bearded, etc. Just always causes me a split-second pause when I see him described as such, because my "first impression" was so different. :-)

Also, I enjoy setting myself missions (seeking answers to random questions) every time I read these books. I honestly believe I could read this entire series a dozen times and on the 13th re-read find something I missed or didn't connect on the prior 12. That's why Erickson is my favorite....I have never read any other author to date who has been able to surprise me on a re-read, let alone numerous re-reads (this had to be a least my 6th or so for GotM).

I'm definitely not complaining that it ruins the books for me or anything like that. If anything, I'm complaining that my "first impression" of someone is even interferring in my "fantasy" world. LOL

Filip Belic
80. fbelic

Regarding the timeline problem, in later books, there is a line where someone from BB (I think it is Fiddler, but not sure; not sure which book) curses Raraku for having impact on their ageing. I always thought that this means that members of BB have longer life span. Though, I don't know does this clears the problem or brings more confusion to it :-)
Robin Lemley
81. Robin55077
@ 80. fbelic

Thanks! I actually always felt it was the opposite, that it was so gruelling that it tended to age them prematurely, but I cannot recall why I have that general feeling. Nothing specific to quote or anything, and I hate posting an "opinion" without something more specific than a feeling to back it up. LOL
82. Alt146

Well said - there is also the whole problem with convergences, of which every major player is aware. As early as this book we've had comments on how convergences are something to be avoided, as almost no one can accurately gauge how they will proceed. So tricking and trapping an opponent is much preferable to an out an out brawl to the (not-so-)final death. There's every chance someone even bigger and badder than whoever you are fighting is going to be drawn into the fray seeking their own advantage.
Chris Hawks
83. SaltManZ
Kah-thurak @78:
In the Malazan World it is a) extremly difficult to kill a powerful being and b) the results are often everything but final.
Indeed. Consider how the Azath operate.
Thomas Jeffries
84. thomstel

I'm torn between "Zing!" and "Oh snap!". :)
Steven Halter
85. stevenhalter
Fiddler's age:
slightly spoilerish--vague info from ahead:

fbelic@ 80: I recall the conversation you're talking about, but I can't remember which book its in either or what exactly was said.
There is another exchange where Fiddler refers to he and Whiskeyjack and others as being pretty familiar with Dancer. This also lends weight to the Fiddler is older than 18 at the start of GotM.
Robin Lemley
86. Robin55077
@ 85. Shalter

Yes. Simply the fact that Whiskeyjack is often referred to as "old guard" throughout GotM could arguably lend to Fiddler being older, since the term "old guard" basically referrs to those in the military who were once loyal to Kellanved.

However, for me, the question certainly boils down to exactly when the chase across Raraku took place. I gladly accept that Fiddler would probably have been a fairly new "recruit" when that occurred, so I would expect that he was very young at that time. Raraku and the actual formation of the Bridgeburners
is the most direct event that I am aware of that could be used to more definitively pin down a more exact age for Fiddler. That is why I will be watching specifically for information related to the formation of the Bridgeburners as we work our way through this re-read. And, I know that I can count on my "friends" on here to help me, so it is easier and more fun than simply digging through the books now to try to find the answer myself. (Admittedly, I'm being a bit lazy, you see.)

The "date" for the trip through Raraku and the formation of the Bridgeburners is simply a thread, if you will, that I have failed to specifically follow in my prior re-reads.

I'm looking forward to to the hunt! :-)
Steven Halter
87. stevenhalter
Robin55077@86:I agree that this is an interesting thread to be looking for. I think we'll find some decent details on it.
The Fiddler age sentence is an interesting one that I hadn't really noticed in my reads--a good catch for the reread for me.
Dan K
88. kramerdude
Robin55077 @86 and Shalter@85: I remember that comment as well. I would assume either DG or HoC when thinking back to previous times in Raraku but don't remember for sure.

Robin55077@79: Yep see the mention there as well. More explicit than I thought. I've given NoK a kick start and saw Temper placing recollections of various events in sequence so took my thoughts from there.

Good luck on the mission and if I miss it I hope you catch it.
89. billcap
"As for Night of Knives it is definitely a bit of a different read"
"I envy those who will get a different sequence on the personas introduces in NoK. I'm very interested in seeing how having them appear on-screen so early will flavor first-timer's perceptions of them throughout the series"

I agree with both these. NoK is absolutely a different read and it will be interesting to see the differing reactions to the change (I'm assuming there will be differing reactions). And I'm also curious to see how reactions to characters and plot events will be different for those reading in this order, one so different than many of us doing this as a reread. So much of a reread is colored by the previous reread--how one reacts to characters that are "minor" in this book for instance but who to the rereader come with so much weight of reading experience from the other books. On the other hand, new readers might come to events in NoK with less "underbrush" to be cleared away from some of the characters (I'm thinking of a particular mage indeed, among others). I'll probably zigzag between irrational petulant envy and smirking superiority . . .

We'll have an NoK rough reading order next week, but basically we'll be averaging covering roughly 50 pages a go (50 trade paperback pages, that is). The first one will be the prologue and all of chapter one--that should whet your appetites.

And don't forget your questions!

oh, and thanks for the thanks--we're having a ball
Sydo Zandstra
90. Fiddler
Guys, and Ladies,

Forget about discussing Fiddler's age. It's been messed up in the timeline since GotM. SE even joked about it in later books when somebody stated that Fiddler looked younger without the beard.

And why is this is important anyway? Just ignore the timeline and enjoy the story... :)

Oh, my favourite character in this book is Tattersail.
Favourite scene: the demon summoned by QB having to face Rake...
91. Karsa_Orlong_Is_Bad_Ass
re: timeline

I've always wondered why when something is so detail oriented as this set of books would have something that is so messed up...but then we here things like characters talking about Kel and Dancer "from their grandfather's time" and they spent god knows precisely how long doing thier Azath thing. then there is the Raruku time warp. oh yeah -- warrens too.

Given all that, I think it is NOT a safe assumption to assume that time works the same in Malazan as it does here -- or even that it works the same in different places of the world.

re: the contradictions in the poem...I also think this is deliberate. different poets have different views and the fact they are contradictory show not that SE messed up, but that SE wants us to know that there is more than one way to look at it, and the Tiste Andii have been conflicted about it for a long, long time. I love it -- adds a lot to the books to have things like that.
Travis Nelsen
92. Zangred
@the timeline:

Even in the terms of "real world" history, timelines and ages of historical figures are often off depending on who is doing the writing. If we can't keep these things straight for "real history" over a few thousand years, why should we expect them to be perfectly aligned in a history spanning hundreds of thousands of years, with many different POV's.

As for the age of some characters not entirely meshing well with the timeline, remember that we are not in a modern, civilized world here. While it is normal for us to think of someone around the age of 18 to be just entering military service, more than likely by the time someone is 18 in this series it is very possible they could be considered grizzled veterans. There are parts of our world right now where kids much younger than 18 are carrying guns and part of a "military" organization.

Also, age in the military as observed by an outsider can be misleading. As an example I give you this - I was in the military 10 years and I called my direct supervisor "the old man" all the time, even though he was three years younger than me. This was for two reasons, he had been in the military 4 years longer than me and he outranked me. Age can be relative to the casual observer as well, before I grew my beard last year I was constantly getting ID'd for beer and smokes (I am well past the legal drinking age heh), but once the beard was grown in I have not been asked to show my ID one time, even when going to the same establishments that previously ID'd me every time.

So after all that, what is my point? Just as certain events in the books can be perceived vastly different depending on the POV we see it from, so can dates and ages.
93. billcap
Here is the tentative NoK reading schedule folks (we’ll repost this at the top of our first post as well). Start your engines . . .

Prologue and Chap 1
Chap 2 to the section that begins "Temper shouldered" (about one-quarter through Chap 3)
To end of Ch. 3
Chap 4 "old enemies old friends"
Chap 5 "Feints and Fates"
Chap 6 to end
Chris Hawks
94. SaltManZ
I'm looking forward to NoK precisely because I didn't enjoy it much the first time. I mean, I appreciate its place in the canon, but the writing itself left me cold. I've always figured a second read would improve it vastly.
Tricia Irish
95. Tektonica
Salt-Man Z@94:

Maybe I'm just less picky, but I enjoyed the writing in NoK...finished last week...and I am a newbie. I liked getting some perspective on timelines and various characters....a good fast read. It helped me formulate a few theories, that will no doubt be shot down by the next book, lol.

Btw, someone, spoiler alert..... (Jhenna the Jaghut), in NoK mentions that time in the Warrens is totally different than in real life...fwiw.
Mieneke van der Salm
96. Mieneke
Whew... I'm of sick for a week and look what happens! I finally got caught up on everything. I'm with Robin and Tek, I'll be skipping the drama and staying with the books!

I don't have that much to add to this week's chapter discussion. Only to note that I felt sorry for Whiskeyjack. I mean he finally realised he was among friends and accepted their friendship and along comes Dujek and pulls him out :(

Oh and I had a question for our own 'old guard': Does Crokus' flipping the Coin overboard mean that Oponn has been taken out of the game again? That from now on chance is truly chance and not Oponn putting their hand in?

As for favourite character and scene: My favourite character is more of a duo: Fiddler and Hedge. They're just full of win. And my favourite scene was the Paran's jaunt into Dragnipur. That sequence gives me goose bumps every time for some reason.

Final thoughts: I’ve loved this re-read of GotM. Thanks to everyone’s comments I got so much more from the book this time round. I can’t wait to start Night of Knives. I’ve never read it before, so I’ll be depending on you veterans to not let me miss stuff ;) I've actually already read the bit for next week (see being sick was good for something lol) and a) I really can't wait for you guys to tell answer my dumb rookie questions and b) I'm already loving it :D
Tricia Irish
97. Tektonica
btw....The Pittsburgh Steelers have a player named "Hood".
What does that mean?
What does it say about me, that my first thought was of Malazan?
Hugh Arai
98. HArai

Oh and I had a question for our own 'old guard': Does Crokus' flipping the Coin overboard mean that Oponn has been taken out of the game again? That from now on chance is truly chance and not Oponn putting their hand in?

It means Crocus is no longer their focus/pawn/tool. Presumably they are free to exert themselves in other ways but intervening strongly again would require direct intervention or another pawn.

Tektonica@97: It means you need to read more MBotF? :)

Also, yay for NoK - the introduction for a couple of my favorite characters.
Mieneke van der Salm
99. Mieneke
@ 98 HArai: So they're only able to nudge at the moment, not out and out push (or pull). Guess I'll need to keep an eye out to see whether they recruit a new pawn! Thanks for answering :)
Gerd K
100. Kah-thurak
The next sighting of Oponn might prove very satisfying to you... they have upset a lot of people with their meddling and there is some payback due ;)
Steven Halter
101. stevenhalter
Mienke@99: Also, keep in mind that Paran gave Cotillion the sword Chance.
Sydo Zandstra
102. Fiddler
Kah-thurak@100 (@Mieneke):

The next sighting of Oponn might prove very satisfying to you... they have upset a lot of people with their meddling and there is some payback due ;)

You are referring to tBH, I'm guessing. Very satisfying indeed. Oponn's influence shows in the books before that, though.

(spoilers are whitened:)

In HoC, Corabb is having a lot of luck with surviving against odds. :)
In tBH, I note Sergeant Hellian seems to be getting lucky too. It shows even more in RG.
Julian Augustus
103. Alisonwonderland
Helian is one of those characters only Erikson could create. I can't imagine any other series that can possibly have characters like Helian or, my all-time favourite, Shurq.
104. HoosierDaddy
Hellian hasn't been directly connected to Oponn, like Corabb is connected. Her luck seems to be... self-generated. She is the personification of stumbling into lucky happenstance (and you know why.)

I might actually do the NoK re-read, seeing as how it is my least favorite Malazan work to date.
Elena Vaccaro
105. EarthandIce
I have a question for the "Old Guard". I finished HoC and had read parts of MT while waiting for HoC to come back. I know the timeline is messed up, but can a Warren go elsewhen as well as eslewhere?

A character in HoC has some family problems, then in MT, the problems are not there until the end of the book.

If it is very spoilerish, you can put it in my shoutbox, or white it out.

Oh, and really enjoyed KoN. Different pace in a way, and lots of background.

Dan K
106. kramerdude

Read the very end (epilogue) of HoC. In it the character you reference begins to tell a story. MT is essentially that story and occurs before the events of HoC.
Chris Hawks
107. SaltManZ

Remember how the first quarter of HoC took place before the (so far) rest of the series, only to catch up at the end? MT is the same thing, but for the entire novel.
Chris Hawks
108. SaltManZ
Fun! A database error that (apparently) erased the last 3 hours or so of content! And no new Malazan Reread post yet. :(

Anyway, as I posted earlier (but which has since been relegated to the Void), here's a fun quote I thought made a good bookend to the GotM reread. It's from an interview* with fantasy author Paul Kearney that went up today:
Kearney: Steve’s books leave my jaw bumping along the floor in awe. I remember when I first picked up Gardens of the Moon, and just the opening of the book had me gritting my teeth and thinking you son of a bitch – because he had the courage to get in there, dark and dirty, and chuck his world at the reader with almost a sneer. He takes no prisoners, and expects those who read his work to be paying attention. It takes real bravery on the part of an author to do that. And despite what I said about world building in the previous question, I think Erikson’s is so deep and real that it permeates every page of his books, and gives his world a rock solid gravitas that never – and I mean never – falters or stumbles. He simply never drops the ball. With Erikson, you don’t see the wizard behind the curtain, and there aren’t many writers I can think of today who manage that.
* (link here because this comment editor seriously sucks so flippin' hard you guys)
Robin Lemley
109. Robin55077
@ 108. Salt-Man Z

Thanks for posting that. What a compliment to the Worl of Malaz from antoher writer! Thanks for sharing that on here.
Dan K
110. kramerdude
Just a good thing it didn't happen in the middle of some interesting discussion. Not that the quote posted isn't interesting...or the other missing posts weren't interesting...or, well you get my drift, it was a mostly quiet time over here. :)
Chris Hawks
112. SaltManZ
duplicate post deleted
Maiane Bakroeva
113. Isilel
Hm... favorite characters in GoTM. I'd have to say Lorn (yes, I can appreciate a tragic, doomed villain ;) ) and Kruppe. With Tattersail, Rake and Paran being the runners-up. The former could have easily become an allround favorite, if she wasn't taken out of the action too soon.
Chris Lough
114. TorChris
Hi everyone,

The site had a hiccup this afternoon and we seem to have lost all
updates made here since midnight. We've restored all posts but any comments made are gone for good. We apologize (and sympathize) for the inconvenience.

Team Tor
Dustin George-Miller
115. dustingm
Well, then -- I'll just repost it!

I love Steven Erikson's characters in part because many of them are obviously derived from roleplaying characters, and I'd guess most of them from Steve's and Cam's early games.

And so many of them just sound like so much FUN! Fiddler and Hedge, Stormy and Gesler, Bottle the closet Hold-aspected mage, Quick Ben and Kalam, Caladan Brood...

As a former gamer (though I haven't played an RPG in 20 years), I can't tell you how much fun I think it'd be to play a character like Hellian -- the perpetual drunk female soldier with a Luck of 20. (I'm hoping for an interaction before the series ends between Hellian and Corabb, with his god-aspected Luck of 25+.) :-)
Tricia Irish
116. Tektonica
Guess I'll ask again then:

Anyone know if we're getting Steve Erikson's question/comments today? Or the start of Night of Knives?

I'm twitching over here!
Chris Hawks
117. SaltManZ
Guess I'll answer again. ;)

Last I heard, today is GotM Questions With Stevie E, and next week is Prologue/Chapter 1 of NoK.
Tricia Irish
118. Tektonica
Well, Wednesday's come and gone and no post. Sigh.
I live for Wednesdays!

Bill? Amanda? What's going on? Hast thou abandoned us?
120. Abalieno
I don't think there's anything weird. The reread probably would take a break for one week and Erikson may well be distracted or busy.

Next week we'll likely have NoK reread and all goes as planned.
Amanda Rutter
121. ALRutter
Sorry for the lack of post and not keeping you guys updated!

The questions haven't yet gone to Steve, but we kept yesterday free for the interview to take place thus: sadly, no post.

Me and Bill are working hard on the first post for NoK, which will be broadcast next week, and the interview with Steve will be posted as and when it takes place - we'd rather you got a decent effort than something rushed through just to make sure there was a post.

But! Sorry for disappointing everyone yesterday!
Tricia Irish
122. Tektonica
Thanks for the Head's Up, Amanda. Glad everyone is OK. I was getting guys are usually so good about communication.

Whenever Steven gets the time is certainly best. Looking forward to the Night of Knives reread.

I'm on to House of Chains....I just can't stop!!
Maggie K
123. SneakyVerin
Thanks for letting us know Amanda... Malazan post and no WOT post in the same week...I am having definite withdrawal issues!
124. Toster
Salt Man @ 119

Good word, disconcerting. Nice sly way of saying that they're having shit hemorrhages down there. ;)
a a-p
125. lostinshadow
I can't complain, my friend will be bringing me NoK sometime next week so I won't be as far behind as I had feared. In the meantime, Dust of Dreams awaits!
Sydo Zandstra
127. Fiddler

You went through RG and TtH fast, I'd say. :)
a a-p
128. lostinshadow
:: waves at Fiddler:: Well, I did try to make them last but the stories were really compelling and I do read pretty fast in any case (I'm sure I missed a gazillion things which will make the rereads even more fun).

I don't know, for me book 5 was a bit bewildering (largely because none of the characters were familiar) but grew and me and book 6 just blew me away and books 7 and 8, now that we seem to know most of the characters who pop up, were real page turners.

I know Alisonwonderland (*waves and winks*) finds DoD too philosophical and that worries me a bit since though I enjoy the challenge of this series I don't want to feel like I'm back in philosophy class debating some weird esoteric thought I can't really grasp.

Now if only ToM would be immediately available on kindle.
Sydo Zandstra
129. Fiddler
@lost: I find DoD more of an avalanche than a philosophical discussion.
130. billcap
Hi all,
Just wanted to echo Amanda's apology for the lack of communication. As you might imagine, these things happen when you've got three parties coordinating (us, Tor, and Steven) and one of them is an incredibly busy author. We'll try and do a better job of keeping you all in the loop, even if it's just to say we're in waiting mode ourselves.
Elena Vaccaro
131. EarthandIce
Tektonica @ 122: I cannot remember right off how you reacted to the slavery issue over at WoT, but beware there is an aspect coming in HoC that can be disturbing. If Leah has not read this series we should gang up on her to keep her from doing so.

Thanks Salt Man Z for the clarification.

As far as no post, well, that much more time to read! I look forward to the post next Wednesday.
Tricia Irish
132. Tektonica

Thanks for the warning....I'm there now. This is fiction, and altho I certainly don't like the idea/reality of slavery, I know this is not my world. I put my "separate category" hat on and don't extrapolate. In fact, it is a safe way to comment on the practice.

We are getting a post THIS Wednesday, aren't we?????

Although WoT has about 6 threads right now, they are getting pretty redundant while everyone twitches for Nov. 2nd. It's a great time to be over here in Malazan instead......please, pretty please have a new post!
133. billcap
In case people missed it, Steven has graciously begun answering questions in the thread linked at the top of this one (where the questions themselves have been posted).
135. jaypeedaylee
I just finished this book on my first read-through, and it's definitely one of the best undertaking I've ever done in the Scifi/Fantasy world. Just wish I knew about this re-read earlier so I could follow along with the commentaries chapter-by-chapter.

As far as my favorite character goes, I'd have to say Paran by far. He underwent the most change out of anyone in the book (except maybe Sorry) from a confused bright-eyed boy to full-on badass. Even up against gods Paran carries himself as an equal being, while others would tremble in fear or grovel in feigned worship.
In an earlier chapter, K'Rul says to Raest "It is now we gods who are thye slaves, and the mortals our masters-though they know it not." I thought this was a powerful line that describes how much power man holds now than man from thousands of years ago. And through this line, my first thought was that Paran might be the first to truly understand the power man holds.

With that said, my favorite scene was definitely Paran basically spitting in the face of, and even threatening Oponn upon finding the recently deceased Lorn. Definitely was a great moment of vengeance after having been a tool of both Shadowthrone and Oponn for so long.

Can't wait to read Deadhouse!
Sydo Zandstra
136. Fiddler
That will happen soon, jaypeedaylee :D And welcome!

We're almost done with NoK. Then it's DG. I'm looking forward to that too. :)
137. Dr Hoo
Just to chime in here with favorites:

From GoTM only, Rake was my favorite character (later it becomes QB or Kalam). Scene, has to be the march of Raest towards the city and the fight with the dragons. The imagery of him awakening to his power is awesome.
Jamie Watkins
138. Treesinger
Well, it may seem wierd to comment on a thread that is over a year old but I wanted to say that I picked up a copy GotM based on everyone's enthusiastic recommendation and I am glad that I did. I didn't read all of the comments but I found Amanda and Bill's comments so insiteful that otherwise I would have been lost. I am about to go out and find Night of Knives. Eventually I will catch up. I am disappointed to learn the this book goes back in time. I really am interested to find out what happens to Sorry.
139. djk1978
Hi Treesinger,

You definitely do not need to read Night of Knives next. In fact, some people argue that you are better served by waiting on that one. I'd suggest you read Deadhouse Gates and Memories of Ice before Night of Knives at very least. Maybe House of Chains too.
140. Jordanes
Yep, the recommended reading order over on the Malazan Empire forum is for Night of Knives to be read after Midnight Tides and before The Bonehunters, actually. This is because some of the characters from NoK have cameos in The Bonehunters, and it will make tBH even more satisfying if you have the backgrounds of these characters fresh in your mind.

In addition, books such as Deadhouse Gates contain quite a few 'what may have happened on the Night of Knives' conversations, and it's nice to read those before finding out what actually went down :)
Jamie Watkins
141. Treesinger
Okay I will read Midnight tides and then Night of Knives. Why does this re-read do Night of Knives next?
Hugh Arai
142. HArai
Treesinger@141: The re-read order is as recommended by the authors. I find it neat that the order recommended by a lot of readers differs.
143. djk1978
Treesinger: I think you misunderstood Jordanes. The authors suggest a read order of:

Gardens of the Moon
Night of Knives
Deadhouse Gates
Memories of Ice
House of Chains
Midnight Tides

Jordanes (and I) are suggesting a read order that avoids some albeit minor spoilers as follows:

Gardens of the Moon
Deadhouse Gates
Memories of Ice
House of Chains
Midnight Tides
Night of Knives

Do not read Midnight Tides next, that would not make sense.
144. towo
Late addition: in light of the revelation on the nature of Tiste Liosan soletaken, the Galayn fight is... pretty interesting.
Alex P. W.
145. Alex_W

To keep it short this time:

Most favourite Charakter: Paran closely followed by Kruppe, Lorn, Toole, Rake, Schadowthrone, Cotillion, Baruk, hell, well I better stop, so many great charakters, I could go on and on :-)

Favourite Scenes: Rake, Paran and Shadowthrone meeting. The conversations between Lorn and Toole (especially the one about futility) Release of the demon Pearl by QB having to face Rake. Paran and Coll chatting upon their first meeting and chilling around together. Dying-scene of Lorn. Well, here too, I could mention more, but I'll stop here.

I also hated that puppet. I was very happy seeing it beeing ripped apart by the Hounds :-).

Very good book. I will certanly continue to read this series. My next will be of course Knight of Knives, since it's the authors suggestion like that and since the reread continues there as well.

Well I am very tired now. Have to sleep :-). DO YOU PITY ME??? :-)
146. Laughing coffin
I have a couple questions and I hope that someone replies especially by sending me an email before I can start reading The Deadhouse Gates. please help me.

My question goes as follows:
1- what is it all about the deadhouse ? as described in book one 1 ? who are the only 2 able to access it's doors and confines ? I didn't understand.

2- What happend to Darujhistan ? was it destroyed or left unExploded by the bombs of the bridgeburners? What happend to our hereos ? did they leave the perimesis of Darujhistan ? or did they stay ? or where will they go now and what will happen ?

I beg you guys to reply asap !!!!
Gerd K
147. Kah-thurak
@Laghing coffin
Actually, all your question are answered in the summary of chapter 24 and the epilogue at the top of this page ;-)
Alex P. W.
148. Alex_W
@ 146.

Kah-thurak is right. But may be English is not your native language (as it isn't mine as well) and you're having some trouble understanding everything in the book and here in the chapter summary because of that reason?

Well let me try to answer your questions as well and as easy to understand as I can:

-The Deadhouse/Azath is a place, as far as I understood, that captures very powerful magical beeings like in this case it has captured Raest, the Jaghut Tyrant. Why it does so, I don't know. Maybe just because very powerful beeings are a threat to the world, for the realms within and around it? The warrens? I don't know. I have only read as far as the beginning of Memories of Ice, were I am kind of stuck right now.

-The People entering the Deadhouse here are Rallick Nom the Assassin you've read a lot about in this book and Vorcan, the Assassin Guild Master of this City (Daru...)

-Daru... did not explode. They do not detonate the boms/mines, due to the risk because of the gas under Daru..., as far as I understood.

-Fiddler and Kalam leave Daru.... together with Crokus and Apsalar and Moby. Apparently to bring Apsalar home to her homeplace on the Continent of Quon Tali. The rest of the Bridgeburners together with Rake head out of Daru too, to face a new threat in the South of Genabackis (The Pannion domin and its seer). Baruk stays in Daru. And as written before, Rallick enters the Deadhouse with Vorcan. Did I forget anyone important? Ah, yes Kruppe of course. What he will do and where he goes, I have no idea myself :-).

-What will happen to them all after that you will of course have to find out in Deadhouse Gates and Memories of Ice.

Subscribe to this thread

Receive notification by email when a new comment is added. You must be a registered user to subscribe to threads.
Post a comment