Feb 24 2011 3:48pm

Malazan Re-read of the Fallen: Deadhouse Gates, Chapters 20 and 21

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

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.

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

Chapter Twenty


As Ragstopper nears Malaz City Elan tries to convince Kalam to let him help Kalam kill Laseen. Kalam says he has no intention of trying to kill the Empress (Elan doesn’t buy it) and then asks Elan directly was sorcery working on the ship. Elan says they’re being tracked by someone who wants to ensure the cargo gets to where it’s going. Kalam tells Elan he’s supposed to make contact with friends outside the Deadhouse.


Pust, Mappo, and Crokus all try unsuccessfully to open Tremorlor’s door. The D’ivers bloodflies are heading for them. Icarium wakens and draws his sword. The Hounds and D’ivers reach the House’s yard together and the grounds erupt, reaching for both. Fiddler tries the door as Mappo attempts to hold back Icarium, but it will not open. Moby climbs down Fiddler’s arm and opens the door. They all enter the House with Icarium lapsing back into unconsciousness. Pust tells them the Hounds helped Tremorlor take the D’ivers then escaped themselves. They look down and see a long-dead corpse on the floor. When they wonder where Moby is Pust tells them he’s a Soletaken. Apsalar says the corpse is probably the last Keeper (every House has a Guardian) and Mappo identities it as a Forkrul Assail. Apsalar says the layout of Tremorlor is the same as the Deadhouse in Malaz City. Moby returns. Pust tells Mappo to let the Azath have Icarium while he’s unconscious, but Mappo refuses. The Trygalle Trade Guild appear out in the now-quiet yard, led by Karpolan Demesand, who tells them he’s there via Quick Ben. He delivers a box of munitions to Fiddler, then leaves.


Apsalar theorizes that Moby had thought he’d found the Path of Hands, had been drawn by the promise of Ascendancy, which was partly true as the Azath is in need of a new Guardian. Fiddler tells them they need to look for a portal which links all the Azath and Apsalar gives directions thanks to Cotillion’s memories. Moby leads them, passing a huge suit of armor he seems enamored of. The come across another body, this of a young woman, whom Apsalar identifies as Dassem Ultor’s daughter. She says Dassem recovered her after Hood “was done using her” (she’s described with “vicious wounds crisscross[ing] her slight form”) and brought here to the Azath before breaking his vow to Hood and cursing him. Apsalar says the portal is not far and when asked, both Mappo and Pust say they’ll join the group, though Mappo says he’ll probably exit at a different spot and Pust mumbles he’ll look for a chance of betrayal. They say goodbye to Moby and Crokus realizes Moby had been protecting them through the storms. When he worries Moby will be lonely, Apsalar says there are other Houses and other Guardians (all of them linked).


After they head for the portal, Moby goes back to the suit of armor, from which a voice tells him “I am pleased my solitude is at an end.“


Duiker is in the midst of a counterattack against Korbolo Dom’s forces, who have been constantly and relentlessly raiding since the surprising attack on Dom by the Khundryl three days ago. The Chain, down to five thousand soldiers, is dropping like flies from the raids and from exhaustion. Lull and the unnamed female marine meet Duiker and tell him Coltaine wants him, that they’ve met another tribe who seem content to merely watch rather than attack. Lull asks what Duiker knows of the tribes in this area and Duiker responds that they have no love of Aren and that the Empire has treated them well, paying for passage and not asking for inordinate tribute. He can tell from Lull’s expression that Coltaine has come to some sort of decision and he worries what it is. The three realize what they continue to fight for is the children’s “dignity.”


As they come to the flat hill, they can see two old raised (15 arm-spans high) roads. The Crow Clan mans the raised road like a fortified wall. Coltaine tells Duiker he is sending him with Nile and Nether and a troop to meet the new tribe and try to buy passage to Aren. Lull tells Coltaine that the wounded, along with Corporal List, have refused to go with them. Coltaine tells Duiker to “deliver the refuges to Aren” and when Duiker mentions the possibility of betrayal, Coltaine says then they’ll all die together. Duiker offers the alchemical bottle delivered by the Trygalle Trade Guild but Coltaine refuses it, telling Duiker he, as historian—the teller of the tale—is more important. And that he should tell Dujek, if he sees him, that it “is not the Empire’s soldiers the Empress cannot afford to lose, it is its memory.” Lull tells Duiker that List sent his goodbyes and wanted to let Duiker know he has “found my war.” Coltaine prepares to attack. The unnamed female marine gives Duiker a piece of cloth and tells him not to read what’s on it for a while.


Duiker leads the refugees out then takes Nether with him to meet two elders of the new tribe. He tells them Coltaine is offering a “collection from all the soldiers of the Seventh . . . forty-one thousand silver jakatas.” The tribal elder identifies that number as the annual wages of a full Malazan army and scorns Duiker for stealing the soldiers’ wages to buy passage. Duiker tells her the soldiers in fact insisted; it was a true collection. Nether adds more from the Wickans: all that they looted on the long journey, all that they have (and, it is implied, all they will have no use for when they die). The elders say it is too much, more than the treaties specify, and agree to take the remainder to escort the refugees to the Aren Road as well as feed and heal them.


As dusk falls over the refugees, Duiker listens to their slow realization that they are being cared for, their tortured response to the kindness of the Kherahn tribe, even the possibility they may in fact make it to Aren, and that it comes at the cost of those sacrificing themselves in battle against Dom. Nether tells Duiker she can no longer speak to Coltaine. When he asks if it means Coltaine is dead, she says they would probably sense his death cry. She says she fears they will not make it, as it’s still going to be three leagues to Aren from the Aren Road to which the Kherahn will escort them. Nethpara arrives and tells Duiker some of the well off have purchased fresh horses and wish to leave now for Aren. They also mention that Tumlit “fell ill” and died. Duiker refuses them freedom to leave, worried it will cause panic. Nethpara starts to challenge Duiker to a duel and Duiker knocks him unconscious with the flat of his sword.


After a day and night’s march, they arrive at the start of the Aren Way, a raised road with ditches to either side and cedars lining the tops of the banks on its 10-mile path to Aren. The Kherahn elder tells Duiker a large force is swiftly approaching and then asks if he’s sure Aren will open its gates to the refugees if they even make it. Duiker laughs and says basically we’ll see.


They march past huge mass graves from when the T’lan Imass slaughtered the residents of Aren earlier. They can see the pursuing army behind, opting for the shorter cross-country path rather than the road itself. Duiker guesses the barrows, which will slow their pursuers, are too new to be on maps and this may just give the refugees the extra time they need. Nil, who has been sent ahead, sends to Nether that they can see the city and its gates are shut. Dom’s army seems to be coming slower than it should be. The first refugees are within a thousand paces of the city and its gates remain shut. Duiker orders Nether to ride ahead with the Wickans. Duiker passes refugees simply stopping and giving up. He scoops up an eighteen-month old and continues on. Aren has finally opened the gates and the refugees are streaming in, helped by the Aren City Garrison. Pormqual’s army, however, simply watches from the walls. Duiker hands the child to a garrison soldier—Captain Keneb—who tells Duiker he’s to report to the High Fist immediately. He also tells him the soldiers on the wall have been ordered by Pormqual to do nothing and they aren’t happy.


Duiker looks back and sees the refugees who had given up, unable to move and too far for him to retrieve (and it’s clear the Fist won’t let his soldiers out of the city). He looks north to see a dust cloud over the nearest barrow, then the high pillar of the Whirlwind. He enters the city.


Apt and the boy Panek are in Shadow. Cotillion joins them and tells Apt her reshaping of the boy will scar him inside. She replies and he tells her he [Panek] “now belongs to neither.” When she speaks again he smiles and calls her presumptuous, then introduces himself to Panek as “Uncle Cotillion.” Panek says he can’t be related because his eyes are different and that Cotillion had walked through walls and trees of “the ghost world as if ignorant of its right to dwell here.” Cotillion asks Apt if Panek is insane and is shocked at her answer. He then asks what Panek recalls of his other world and Panek says he remembers being told to stay close to Father, then being led away by soldiers who then punished him and all the children for not “doing what we were told” by nailing them to crosses. Cotillion gets icy then tells Panek he wasn’t hurt for not doing what he was told but because nobody could stop those people, that Panek’s father would have but was helpless. And that Apt and Cotillion will make sure Panek is never helpless again. Then he says he and Panek will teach each other: Panek can teach Cotillion what he sees in the ghost world, the “Shadow Hold that was, the old places that remain.” Panek says he’d like that, as well as meeting the Hounds (“cuddly mutts”) Cotillion mentions. Cotillion tells Apt she was right, she can’t do it alone and he and Shadowthrone will think about it. He says Apt has to leave, she has debts to pay, and asks if Panek would rather go with her or join Cotillion in settling the other children. Panek answers he’ll go with mother to help the man from before (Kalam), who dreams of the sight of Panek on the cross. Cotillion says that doesn’t surprise him, that Kalam, like Cotillion, is “haunted by helplessness.” He turns to Apt and says when he Ascended, he had hoped to “escape the nightmares of feeling . . . imagine my surprise that I now thank you for such chains.” Panek ask Cotillion if he has any children and Cotillion says he had a daughter “of sorts” though they’ve had a falling-out (Laseen). Panek says Cotillion has to forgive her and Cotillion replies the forgiveness should actually go the other way.


Ragstopper enters Malaz Harbor just before midnight. Kalam can see a pennant flying above Mock’s Hold and realizes someone important is here. Kalam is beginning to think the Deadhouse is a possible escape route of last resort if things go wrong here. The crew is strangely asleep aboard ship and he starts to realize he has seemingly lost his will and control over his body. Elan appears beside him and tells Kalam his mind now betrays him. He continues, introducing himself as Pearl and saying Kalam is a legend among the Claw, and that Kalam would have been head of the Claw had he not left, no matter what Topper thinks. He informs Kalam that the Red Blades assassinated Sha’ik shortly after Kalam delivered the book. Pearl/Elan says the Empress is here to have a conversation with Kalam but the Claw takes care of its own business. He then stabs Kalam to weaken him and warns him three Hands wait in the city for him, ready to start the hunt, before tossing him overboard. His last words to Kalam are it’s a shame that Pearl has to now kill the captain and crew. Apt suddenly appears with Panek on her shoulders and strikes Pearl. He conjures an Imperial demon then leaves.


The captain wakes and finds the sailors watching two demons fighting on deck. He orders the First Mate to get the dories ready to abandon ship and the First Mate calls him “Carther,” which the captain answers with “shut your face . . . I drowned years ago, remember?”


On the trader that had been keeping pace with Ragstopper, the captain and First Mate comment that the Ragstopper is about to go down and get ready to help rescue people. Minala appears on deck atop Kalam’s stallion and jumps the horse into the harbor. The Captain, impressed by both her bravery and stupidity, orders the ship’s mage to clear her a path through the sharks and anything else ahead of her.

Amanda’s Reaction to Chapter Twenty:

Reading that exchange between Kalam and Elan, did anyone else get the picture of two boxers or fencers sparring warily as they get the measure of each other? Very sardonic, arrogant, and both hiding monumental secrets—although I think that Kalam is becoming a little disturbed by the measure Elan seems to have gained of him.

The tension is ratcheting up unbearably with Icarium’s posse. With the approach of the bloodflies D’ivers, and the fact that Tremorlor is trying to take Fiddler’s uneasy allies (the Hounds), and the awakening Icarium—all of it leaves me positively screaming with tension and flicking pages swiftly. Here is a great line to sum up exactly how I am feeling:

The pressure slapped Fiddler against the door’s sweaty, dark wood and held him there in effortless contempt, whispering its promise of annihilation.

And, eek, even the Hounds are terrified of Icarium....

Hounds howled from the farthest reaches of the yard, a triumphant, outraged sound that rose towards fear as Icarium’s own rage swallowed all else.

Heh, and then a slight release of tension as Moby arrives! I have to say, I adore how this little guy has wended his way through the plot of these first two Malazan novels (GotM and DG). We’ve been sort of aware of him now and then, and grown vaguely curious about him, but never really considered him a major part of the story. At least, I haven’t. But here he is again! Also intrigued by the continuing mystery of Moby—his additional weight on Fiddler’s arm and the way he drifts in and out of focus—there is magic at work here...

I also couldn’t help but grin at the idea that Shadowthrone, the double-crosser, was being double-crossed in turn by the Azath, although Apsalar’s reasoning is sound:

“That betrayal might have been instinctive, High Priest [...] Five Ascendant’s in the House’s yard—the vast risk to Tremorlor itself, given Shadow’s own penchant for treachery...”

Also, just shouting out Apsalar’s respectful reference towards Pust—High Priest—when no one else in the group is using the same. Is Apsalar just being polite? Or is this Cotillion’s influence?

And there we go: Moby is a Soletaken. Oh, and now to try and work out whether we’ve already met his human form! Wouldn’t it be SO amusing if Moby was someone like Kruppe? *grins* [Bill’s interjection: Well, that would explain the weight.] I’m guessing we haven’t met his human form though.

Nice to know that Quick Ben is still looking out for Fiddler—and I should have realised that the Guild were delivering to Fiddler after visiting Coltaine! This is when I start doubting my own intelligence. I even found myself wondering, when Demesand said to Duiker and Coltaine that he had one more delivery, where he was heading onto.... *stupid*

I like the humour inherent in the Guild—they are faintly ridiculous with the manner in which they suddenly arrive—and their dialogue matches this:

“Now we must flee—ah, a rude bluntness—I meant ‘depart’, of course.”

And the package? Containing items from the Blue City’s streets? We’ve seen these explosives before! Which also lends humour to Fiddler’s assertion that Demesand hasn’t jostled the items too much.

Oh no, completely wrong about Moby! Looks like he’ll be stopping in the Azath for a...veeeeery...looooooong...time, if he’s to take over as the new Guardian. And it seems as though his true form is demonic—honestly didn’t see that. But I am incredibly touched by Crokus’s reaction on saying farewell to Moby—it strikes me that he probably sees this as losing the very last link to his uncle.

Here again is reference to colours associated with warrens: “a midnight flash.”

Who is the suit of armour? Who? Who? Who?! Yes, yes, I’m sure this is something that will be given to us at a later stage, but I can’t help myself trying to work out who it might be. Someone who has been in solitude for a long while and who has past association with the Azath—could it be Dassem? Or is it a god of some sort? Or the Azath—or, hey! How about a Nameless One, with their close ties with the Azath?

Then back to the Chain of Dogs... I have no words for the pain and chaos and desperation we’re presented with. Soldiers falling from exhaustion, horses writhing on the ground in death throes, decimated Wickan tribes. All is hard to read.

The scenes Duiker had witnessed were beyond horror, beyond his ability to comprehend.

Imagine this: imagine being a refugee here. Somehow you’ve survived thirst, exhaustion, death. You’ve stumbled on for months and months, across an inhospitable environment, driven on by the coldest of commanders. And now you can literally see your impending death, as it nips away at your heels. Who could honestly cope in that situation without madness setting in?

They were part of a tidal flow where no ebb was possible, where to drop back too far was fatal, and so they stumbled on, clutching the last and most precious of their possessions: their children.

These words move me utterly: “Five thousand soldiers... spitting in the face of every god...”

And again: “We defend their dignity.”

You know that something I had in my eyes last time out? Well, it appears to be back. Oh, dang it all... *feels tears* You know something? I’ll be back once I’ve retrieved my box of tissues. I have this awful feeling I’ll be needing them.

That image of Fist Coltaine standing alone, watching the army, his cloak fluttering—what an unbearably lonely scene. I can’t even imagine what thoughts must be going through his mind—to have run so hard and so long, and to see the end in sight, but perhaps not the end that he truly wanted...

How can I convey to you the feeling within me while reading this exchange:

“You should seek out a cutter,” he said.

“I can still hold a shield—”

“No doubt, but it’s the risk of infection...”

Her eyes widened and Duiker was felled mute, a rush of sorrow flooding him. He broke the gaze. “You’re a fool, old man.”

Please, it’s not just me so affected, is it? I’m so immersed in this world, in these characters. How can the impending death of an UNNAMED CHARACTER affect me so? Do you know the feeling when you want to read, but you almost can’t turn the pages for the dread and sorrow that you suspect lies ahead.


Sorry, guys.

“Lead the refugees to safety, soldier.”

“Yes, Fist.”

Can anyone deny right now that ”soldier" is the title by which anyone under Coltaine’s command would wish to be known.

“Stay in Hood’s blindside, friend.”

“I wish the same for you, for all of you.”

Coltaine hissed, wheeling to face north. He bared his teeth. “Not a chance of that, Duiker. We intend to carve a bloody path... right down the bastard’s throat.”

I’m honestly not sure how to cope with reading this. Do you know, there are less than five books that have ever made me cry. I cry at the drop of a hat when watching movies, even the most manupulative tosh, but books have to work hard to wring that sort of emotion. And I’m not ashamed to say I currently have tears streaming down my cheeks. I suspect I’m not alone. [Bill’s interjection: You may get five books that make you cry just in this series.]

This next moment:

“Do your soldiers know you have stolen their wages to buy passage?”

Duiker blinked, then said softly, “The soldiers insisted, Elder. This was in truth a collection.”

And this amazing passage:

Joy wrought with dark, blistering anguish, wordless screams, uncontrolled wailing. A stranger would have believed that some horror stalked the camp, a stranger would not have understood the release that the historian heard, the sounds that his own soul answered with burning pain, making him blink at the stars that blurred and swam overhead.

See? Even Duiker is crying. I’m allowed.

Ugh, the nobles are truly vile. Don’t think I’m alone in thinking Tumlit’s death is suspicious, since he alone provided a voice of reason amongst the nobles. And now they’re trying to weasel away from the rest of the refugees and sprint for their own safety. I’m so blisteringly angry at them.

Even in the depths of desperation, Duiker still recognises a kindness done. Although the Kerahn tribe did only as much as had been negotiated for payment, they conducted their duties willingly and imparted gifts and healing on the refugees.

Again, this chase towards Aren is desperately hard to read:

He saw a child, no more than eighteen months old, wandering lost, arms outstretched, dry-eyed and appallingly silent.

And finally:

Too much to comprehend, too swift, too immediate this end to that extraordinary, soul-scarring journey.

*draws a deep breath* Apologies that this commentary descended to a mere picking out of quotes—but you know. You’ve all been here. You know what I’ve faced, reading this for the first time.

*another deep breath* It feels really strange to have to move onto another part of the story....

It’s wonderful to catch up with Cotillion—he is rapidly becoming a favourite. And that use of “Uncle Cotillion” helped lighten my mood somewhat. I was also incredibly touched by his desire to make sure Panek knew that he had done nothing wrong, nothing to deserve crucifixtion. And who else has marked the fact that Cotillion makes clear Panek is neither one nor the other, will fit into neither world—suspect that might be of importance later on.

Hounds: cuddly mutts?! Umm....

That last line from Panek really tickles me too: “Does he imagine that he now walks unseen?”

Hmm, how much experience has Kalam had with the Azath before now? “He’d never liked the Azath, had no faith in anything that appeared so benign.”

Elan is Pearl! Of course! *bangs head against desk* How did I not make that connection? Y’know, y’all can tell me if you’re thinking the same thing about me. *winks*

“ the Claw, we deal with our own.” *shudders*

Grr, I really appreciated Apt’s appearance here to tackle Pearl, and I found I could face his shoulder dislocation and pain with great equanimity. Funny, I liked Pearl/Elan right up to where he started against Kalam—and suddenly I dislike him intensely. This interests me—it shows me that despite my slight dissatisfaction with his particular storyline through DG, I still have fierce loyalty towards Kalam and won’t stand anyone facing him down.

Absolutely love Panek’s reaction to the appearance of the Imperial demon in front of Apt: “Let’s be quick with this one, shall we?” A child’s over-confidence? Or is Apt just that powerful? [Bill’s interjection: Yes.]

Actually, loving the end of this chapter and its little hints and connections a great deal!


Bill’s Reaction to Chapter Twenty:

I like the image of Elan and Kalam standing “at the bow like a pair of Great Ravens”—the sense of menace, death, and sorcery that surrounds the two of them. And it’s yet another subtle way Erikson keeps major figures/ideas in front of the reader. With so many characters/concepts spread out over so many pages and years, it’s good to slip in the occasional reminder to the reader via these sort of small, subtle touches: similes, curses, etc.

I have to say that while I had figured out Moby was much more than he appeared by this point, on my first reading I didn’t see him being the one to open Tremorlor coming.

I like how Erikson ratchets up the tension momentarily as all we get at first is “stabbing pain lances the back of Fiddler’s hand” which Fiddler, and thus the reader, takes at first as the beginning attack of the bloodfly D’ivers. Then we get some disorientation via Fiddler with Moby blurring in and out of focus and growing heavier and lighter as he works his way down Fiddler’s arm. We’re not left to forget the horror of the situation though as Fiddler is screaming throughout this. Then it’s a great close to that tension as Moby reaches out “a tiny wrinkled hand.”

I confess just prior to that to a bit of satisfaction at the Azath’s attempted double-cross of the double-crossing Hounds.

I already mentioned Erikson’s penchant for keeping things before the reader and here we get another quick in and out example of that with the dead Guardian. To say Forkrul Assail will play a major role by the end of the series is a bit of an understatement.

Those with good memories (and you need one of those for this series) will recall what the Bridgeburners were doing in Darujhistan (the “Blue City”) with regard to the streets—mining them. Those without good memories merely need to wait a few paragraphs for the more direct explanation of what Quick Ben sent along via the Trygalle Guild (an act we were set up for by Quick’s mention to Kalam that he’d try and think of something to do for Fiddler when he learned he was heading for Tremorlor).

Another dead body, another offside reference to an event that will have major repercussions for the series. In this case, Hood’s use of Dassem’s daughter and Dassem’s subsequent breaking with Hood. More to come on that as we forge ahead.

Here’s some confirmation that Moby was indeed fighting battles alongside the group—once more, if you wait long enough (though granted “long enough” might mean books and years) often what is muddy is clearly explained, at least in terms of basic plot.

Guesses on whose voice that is emanating from the suit of armor?

“Five thousand soldiers . . . spitting in the face of every god.” That concept is one that will drive characters and events all the way through to the very end, and I mean the very end, of this series.

Lull and Coltaine’s brief conversation regarding the tribes gives us yet another example of the benign or enlightened aspects of the Malazan Empire. We’ve seen several such examples earlier and we’ll continue to see them throughout the series as a whole, and will see it contrasted by examples of other types of Empire as well. What is gained and what is lost in the conquering, perhaps by both sides, is a topic rife for further exploration.

Speaking of words that will echo down to the very end: “Never underestimate a soldier.” Woe to the commanders, emperors, and gods who do so.

Sure, you’ve got the catalog of deaths, the vivid descriptions of wounds and corpses, but the exchange between Duiker and the unnamed marine really drives home the situation these soldiers are in, and their clear-eyed knowledge and acceptance of it:

“You should seek out a cutter . . . the risk of infection . . . ”

Her eyes widened and Duiker was felled mute, a rush of sorrow flooding him. He broke the gaze. “You’re a fool, old man.”

Let’s not say we’re not prepared for the end of this book. But more on that when we get to that end.

Time and again in this series, I’m moved by small moments or lines dealing with the quiet humanity and dignity of Erikson’s soldiers. The single line where Duiker tells the elder that the soldiers insisted on giving up their wages is one such example.

Poor Tumlit, it would have been nice if the one noble we’re shown with some, yes, nobility, had made it to the end. And I confess that while I respect and understand it, I wish Duiker hadn’t used the flat of his sword on Nethpara.

Even an outsider tribe is aware of the possibility of betrayal by Pormqual if the refugees arrive at Aren. It’s a good thing to remember that through all this long march, all the fighting and dying, the Seventh has known throughout that such a possibility lay at the end. Think of that.

Soldiers on the walls. Watching. Watching. Ordered, in fact, to do no more than watch. Here’s a darker side of that famed Malazan discipline we’ve had referenced again and again. And darker is yet to come.

Captain Keneb—we’ve seen him before obviously, we’ll see him again.

Raise your hands those of you that didn’t get a smile at the image of “Uncle” Cotillion. And then didn’t have that smile wiped off by Panek’s tragically innocent matter-of-fact summary of how he and the other children had been punished for not doing what were told by being crucified. And then didn’t get a thrill of anticipation at how the voice of Cotillion—Dancer-Rope—God of Assassins went “strangely flat” upon hearing that. I liked Cotillion quite a lot in these very early books, and that feeling only grows as the series continues to the end. That battle some Ascendants fight to keep their humanity once they’ve Ascended is key to so much of what happens in the Book of the Fallen, and Cotillion’s ongoing struggle in that vein is one my favorite, most poignant story arcs. As his sorrow over the fracturing of his relationship with Laseen and his confession that it is he who needs forgiveness, not her. Note too how he describes that sense of empathy/humanity: Chains. A words with lots of meaning here and more so throughout the series. A word so often associated with the negative, though perhaps not here. Compassion. Chains. Armor. Audacity. Not a bad idea to keep a list of the single words that appear again and again in these books.

Those lessons of Panek’s—showing Dancer the “old places that remain”—will come in handy down the road

I know some folks haven’t been enjoying Kalam’s storyline. And it certainly hasn’t been carrying the emotional weight of the rest of the book, not to mention lacking in much of the sense of action (something recognized structurally I’d say by how much shorter his sections are), but oh is that about to change.

Just how many of those “drowned” Old Guard folks are walking around anyway? You haven’t met them all....

Chapter Twenty-One


Felisin/Sha’ik looks down on the city from a watchtower, alongside the young girl she adopted. Heboric joins her and tells her L’oric is the “one to watch,” that he seems to sense that Felisin has made a bargain with the goddess rather than acceding to letting the goddess be fully reborn (Heboric says instead the goddess has been “remade”). Heboric asks Felisin when the goddess first turned her eyes to her, when she began the manipulations that would lead to this point and Felisin says she never did—that all the twists and turns of mortality (deaths, decisions) makes things too complex for the goddess to manipulate. Sha’ik Elder did have prophecies and visions, but they made little sense to Dryjhna and were too uncertain, not to mention that the goddess isn’t much for strategy. Heboric answers then that if not Dryjhna, someone/something must have guided Felisin as Sha’ik never would have had those visions, and he wonders if even gods are pieces on a board, as mortals are. Felisin replies with a quote from Kellanved: “Elemental forces in opposition”, words meant, she says, to “justify the balance of destruction with creation—the expansion of the Empire.” When Heboric asks what she’ll do about Dom’s atrocities in her name, she corrects him with “in the name of the goddess” and says Dom remains “unfettered” and so “free to answer his obsessions.” Heboric says it’ll take months to march to meet him and by then Dom will have done so much that Tavore will be more than justified in whatever harsh retribution she brings down on Seven Cities. Felisin says she’ll have the advantage over Tavore, as her sister will expect to face merely an ignorant desert witch, not someone who knows so much of Tavore’s mind. Besides, she says, as the Whirlwind lowers itself horizontal, it won’t take months—the Whirlwind is the goddess’ Warren and will take them South.


Duiker and Nether go to the tower where Mallick Rel and Pormqual stand looking down, along with Nil and an unknown commander barely in control of himself. The soldiers on the walls are screaming in rage and outrage as they see Coltaine, with fewer than 400 soldiers left, still fighting his way toward Aren and being slaughtered by Dom’s thousands, close enough that Duiker can see individuals clearly. Duiker reaches for Pormqual but is held back by the Garrison Commander as Pormqual says there are too many. Duiker says a sortie would save them, to which the garrison commander replies Duiker is right but the Fist won’t allow it. Duiker turns and watches Bult die, then Corporal List, watches as a massive cattle dog, pinioned with arrows, tries to defend Coltaine and gets speared, then sees Coltaine being nailed to a cross as thousands of crows darken the sky. Kamist Reloe uses sorcery to kill the crows, refusing to allow them access to Coltaine’s soul. The garrison commander calls for Squint, his best archer and orders him to kill the man on the cross. As he aims, Squint realizes it’s Coltaine and then, weeping, kills him. The crows swoop down on Coltaine, Reloe’s sorcery shunted aside, and when the crows fly off Coltaine is gone. Duiker holds the archer, who appears to have broken by what he did. Duiker watches Pormqual grow more fearful as he gazes at Dom’s army and “shrinks into Mallick Rel’s shadow.”


Amanda’s Reaction to Chapter Twenty-One:

Does Felisin—or, rather, Sha’ik, since this is how Erikson now chooses to name her—actually know this, or does she just think she knows? And is it the case with all gods? “Even goddesses cannot foresee unexpected deaths, those twists of mortality, decisions taken, paths followed or not followed.” Is this why all gods dread the appearance of Oponn in the eternal game, because it means carefully laid plans are subject to chance?

“Elemental forces in opposition.” This line describes most of the conflicts through the books so far.

And back to the Chain... *braces*

I’ve read it. And I need a hug.

Do you know the bit that affected me the most? The fact that eleven crows were needed to carry Sormo’s soul, but that thousands turned up to claim Coltaine’s.

And that’s all you’re getting from me. I’m a weeping mess. See you next week.


Bill’s Reaction to Chapter Twenty-One:

The conversation between Heboric and Felisin is certainly an interesting one. We’ve been given some hints and reasons to think that the goddess has been manipulating events to this point, but here’s Felisin, who seemingly has access to the goddess, saying no, that isn’t so (of course, we don’t know that she truly knows what the goddess is thinking). And when Heboric, seemingly accepting the idea, argues somebody must have been doing some manipulating, he wonders who might treat gods the same way gods treat mortals: as mere pieces on a board. Felisin offers up three kind of answers:

  1. it’s just a mystery sometimes
  2. “elemental forces in opposition” begging the question, who are the elemental forces
  3. a connection back to Kellanved, a connection that blows Heboric’s mind somewhat

I think, Amanda, that we see enough examples of mortals “surprising” the gods that we can take Felisin’s words as pretty accurate. That’s my view at least. I think as well, the more removed from “humanity” the gods are, either in time (being aeons olds) or emotional state, the more difficult it is for them to lay out “fates.”

I like the use of the word “unfettered” coming so soon on the heels of Cotillion’s use of the word “chains” to refer to human empathy/connections. Dom is the example of what one is capable of without those chains, “unfettered” by compassion or a sense of connection to others.

Think of what a cinematic image it would be to watch the Whirlwind “toppling.”

Really, what is there to say about Coltaine’s Fall that doesn’t rob it of impact? It is just so painful and when Erikson writes “the distance was not enough to grant mercy to the witnesses on the tower or along the city walls” he may as well be speaking of the reader as well. We’re agonized by the absences: “less than four hundred soldiers,” “The horses were gone. The Weasel Clan was gone,” (nice use of short hard sentences for impact). We’re agonized by who is fighting and in what numbers: “half a dozen old men and horsewives.” We’re agonized by the butchery of their ending: “Many of them no longer raised weapons, yet stood their ground even as they were cut to pieces.” By the vividness of the details: “their forearms shattered . . . their skulls crumpling.” By their sheer refusal to yield: “using naught but flesh and bone to shield their leaders, the ones who had led them across a continent to die.” By their names: Bult, Lull, List, Coltaine. By the unfathomable loyalty of a dog. And above all, by the knowledge that it needn’t be, that ten thousand soldiers are watching all this, watching and being shamed by what they see. It’s a measure of the agony of this ending that the moment of release is the killing of Coltaine, and even that, that act of supreme mercy, has as its result seemingly the utter breaking of the man who performed it. How will Erikson drag us out of this abyss?

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

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

Steven Halter
1. stevenhalter
@Amanda:And now you know why I've been doing the Moby cheering all along. Yay Moby! :-)
Steven Halter
2. stevenhalter
And then:
"There was an arrow."
As Bill says, words escape me on the impact of the death scene of Coltaine. When I read that that was the scene that SE imagined at the start for Deadhouse Gates I was truly blown away.
The litany of the dead--Bult and List and the cattle dog. Massive and crushing.
Like Dukier,
I cannot watch.
Yet I must.
Steven Halter
3. stevenhalter
@Bill:Is it specified that Cotillion is thinking of Laseen as his daughter? I don't recall. That is a quite possible choice.
Apsalar also seems to fit this role well. In many ways, it could be said that Cottillion is very much the father of the Apsalar that we now see. More so than Servant.
Philip Thomann
4. normalphil
I was listening to the audiobook while shoveling snow recently. The part about the dog made me let out a choked sob completely out of the blue. Still as raw as the first time I read it.
Rajesh Vaidya
5. Buddhacat
Let me begin that debate all over again - the "daughter of sorts" Cotillion was referring to is Apsalar.
Bill Capossere
7. Billcap
You’re right--Apsalar makes a good choice as well and in many ways a better option; somehow she slipped my mind in this. I don’t think it’s ever specified, though we’ll keep an eye out. It’ll be interesting to track through the series now,
good call!
Steven Halter
8. stevenhalter
When Salk Elan reveals that he is Pearl, he says:

“Salk Elan, a name I admit to being proud of.”

Elan means "a feeling of strong eagerness." Salk doesn't seem to mean much in this context, though. Other than just being Pearl, being snide, does anyone know of why he might feel proud of the name?
Catherine w
9. korlat
I always thought daughter referred to Apsalar as well, mostly because he says he is the one who needs to be forgiven. Laseen hadn't occurred to me, now I need to think on that.
10. djk1978
Yep, I definitely thought Apsalar and not Laseen in regards to Cotillion's daughter.

The end of chapter 21 is so tragic and there is still so much to come. I dread what Amanda's state will be by then.
Thomas Jeffries
11. thomstel
Why is it I can't find anything to say about Coltaine's Fall? Is it truly that memorable a scene that no more needs to be said?

However, I will caution the first-timers: we're still not done. There's at least a metric ton of ninja badassery, epic come-uppance and readers' white hot fury to go, capped with the absolute BEST epilogue ever.
Chris Hawks
12. SaltManZ
@11: "Best epilogue ever", YES. Every time I reread Chapter 21 (which has been a LOT this month) I immediately flip to the Epilogue. DG still remains my favorite Malazan book, and the Chain of Dogs arc (and Coltaine's Fall in particular) is precisely why.

Also: yeah, Cotillion's "daughter" is definitely Apsalar, especially given the "forgiveness" line.
Chris Hawks
13. SaltManZ
@11 again: Though I must say that end of MoI's epilogue is right up there, especially with how it relates to this book.
Steven Halter
14. stevenhalter
Another thing of curiousity is that the poem for chapter 20 is by
Bhok’arala is the species of the flying monkeys. The average ones at Pust's temple didn't seem quite sophisticated enough for poetry. I've always had a suspicion that Moby is the author and so Trout is the name of his demonic self. At least it amuses me to picture him writing poems in Tremorlor to while away the time.
Any thoughts on that?
Chris Hawks
15. SaltManZ
That name had always stuck out at me, but it never occurred to me to think it might be Moby. I love the image, though! :D
dustin mcclelland
16. dustin3278
does anyone know how to get to the recap for chapters 6&7? the link seems to be broken?
Karen Martin
17. ksh1elds555
I have to agree that I read the Cotillion's "daughter" part as Apsalar, based on what I know of their interactions in a later book. This is also my second time reading so the later book may have made me think that way. But Bill and Amanda read her as Lasseen so it may be her...?

I'm right there with you on the tears part, Amanda. In fact I can't think of another book that made me cry EXCEPT for DG and MoI. It's a terribly good kind of pain though. I teared up when seeing the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel for the first time as well. Sometimes a thing of great beauty can do that. And no words can really do it justice.
Amir Noam
18. Amir
It's easy to forget that the series is called The Malazan Book of The Fallen. This is a tragedy that Erikson has spun for us. Certainly epic. Occasionaly uplifting or hilarious. But always a tragedy.

Amir Noam
19. Amir
shalter @2:
Do you have a link to where Erikson said that the scene of Coltaine's Fall is what he envisioned at the start of DG?
Amir Noam
20. Amir
shalter @14:
I've also notice the name of 'TROUT SEN’AL’ BHOK’ARALA' and indeed wondered if this is related to Moby :-)
Sydo Zandstra
21. Fiddler
He saw a child, no more than eighteen months old, wandering lost, arms outstretched, dry-eyed and appallingly silent.

Hello Grub, you wonderful special child!

Squint, oh poor guy... :(

And having finished tCG last night, the dog part makes me weep again... :(
Chris Hawks
22. SaltManZ

Scroll down to the House of Chains section. WARNING: there are some definite MoI spoilers there!
Melissa Goodrum
23. Daydreamer
shalter @ 14:
LOL, what a brilliant image! A much needed laugh after this section.

SaltManZ @ 13:
Ugh, yes that MoI epilogue just starts me crying all over again. :-(

RE this section: I'm with Amanda. It's difficult to make me cry, especially with a book. But it's a good job these chapters weren't among the many I've read on public transport or in a cafe because SE manages to turn me into an absolute wreck. I'm quite glad my copy if DG is still lent out so I'm excused from actually re-reading this right now. Knowing it's coming doesn't help at all.

Oh, didn't I comment last(?) week about how the Trygalle Trade Guild's resupplying of the army added to the poignancy of the ending, for me? It's the way so many people put so much effort into keeping it on its feet and fighting, only for them to reach their goal and die because Pormqual refuses to make the slightest effort to save them. Doesn't Duiker describe the few survivors as 'almost within reach. No, within a soldier's reach'? SE really does break my heart. Again and again. :-(
Tricia Irish
24. Tektonica
Well, I'm exhausted now too. That is such a wrenching scene. Coltaine has such honor. As do List and Lull, Bult, and Duiker, etc.
And the soldiers on the wall....I feel so bad for them....I so wanted them to just off Pormqual and Rel. gggrrrrrrr. How incredibly frustrating, watching all the soldiers die, defying an ancient code.

I thought Cotillion was referring to Apsalar too....ruing his possession of her.

More later.
Maggie K
25. SneakyVerin
I came on here to post earlier, but when I read the post I started crying again and had to come back :(
"I cannot watch, yet I must"
ugh at Pormqual

Re Cotillion's daughter...funny, I must not have caught this the first time through, and when I reread it, I thought of Lostara. But now I realize that at this point in the books that really wouldn't have made sense. DId not even think of Laseen

Funny about Salk ending up being Pearl..I was SO SURE it was Topper, because of the green outfit and the rings.

@11 Thomstel-I agree-to say anything would cheapen it

Poor Squint indeed
Hugh Arai
26. HArai
@ Amanda:

Do you know the bit that affected me the most? The fact that eleven crows were needed to carry Sormo’s soul, but that thousands turned up to claim Coltaine’s.

A true measure of the man. You can see why the Wickans are in awe of him. Makes it interesting to recall that "raving lunatic" Kellanved won him over to the Empire.
Adam Bodestyne
27. thanners
Oh gosh, going over these couple of chapters again, even in re-read form, was quite a wrenching experience. My own re-reads have so far never failed to produce the same powerful effect, and it seems that even just reading a summary of it, with a few select quotes, does the trick. It is an amazing piece of writing.

Amanda: I do not see that you should apologise for your commentary becoming a "mere picking out of quotes." Analysis and so on is nice, but the quotes-dump also reveals that the same particular words managed to elicit the same response in you as it did for probably many of us.

Amanda, HArai@26: regarding the crows -- yep. That particular section made me .. tingle with awe.

shalter@14: ha! the image of that made me laugh.
Julian Augustus
28. Alisonwonderland

He saw a child, no more than eighteen months old, wandering lost, arms outstretched, dry-eyed and appallingly silent.

Take note of this child, he's something special. You'll meet him again in Book 4 and following books.
Robin Lemley
29. Robin55077
Easy things first, I too thought Apsalar as the "near daughter" of Cotillion. Try as I might, I just couldn't ever feel a "Father/daughter" type connection between Dancer and Lasseen, nothing strong enough to for me to think the reference was to Lasseen but Bill could be correct, I just see it more in line with Apsalar, especially in light of later interactions between the two.

As for "The Fall"... As a reader, I often become very emotionally attached to characters so I am someone who cries frequently while reading, although not always the exact scenes that most people do. Coltaine's death, for example, did not pull a single tear, as I knew with a certainty on my initial read, from the moment Bult told us way back in Hissar that "11 crows" had come for Sormo, that there was no doubt that crows would come for Coltaine of the Crow Clan, the most respected and revered Warleader of all the clans, not just his own. But oh, there were many other scenes that had me crying like a baby. Tears started when Lull passed List's message on to Duiker, that List "had found his war" and when List was killed I was crying so hard I couldn't even see the page to read on and had to physically put the book down and walk away from it for over an hour before I could even pick it up again to continue.... The fact that Bent ripped out the throat of the last man who speared him as he made his final slide down the spear... When Duiker tells us that Nil soiled himself when the shock of the Fall was too much for him... When Nether clawed her own skin until blood was running down her face...When Nether cries "release him. Please..." When Squint realizes that it is Coltaine and he starts crying....When Squint collapses into Duiker's arms....and oh, so many many more.

Ultimately, my thoughts (once I was capable of lucid thought again) was "WOW, what extremely POWERFUL writing!
Julian Augustus
30. Alisonwonderland
Shalter @ 8:

Elan means "a feeling of strong eagerness." Salk doesn't seem to mean much in this context, though. Other than just being Pearl, being snide,
does anyone know of why he might feel proud of the name?

I always assumed that since Pearl, Topper, etc., are obviously nicknames, Salk Elan might be Pearl's real name.
Julian Augustus
31. Alisonwonderland
For me, one of the most poignant scenes was the leave-taking between Duiker and his marine, the understatement and quiet dignity as she hands him a piece of paper to read later, both of them knowing he will never see her again, and he still didn't even know her name ... that broke my heart.
hazel hunter
32. Hetan
I don't have a lot to say about these chapters because I am as emotionally affected by them now as I was when I first read them. I am as always, in awe of Steve's ability to bring so many emotions to the fore and not just once, but time and time again. Sometimes it is so draining and I understand and empathise completely with Amanda's reactions to these pages.

What I would like to ask about is why people think that Kallam's act in taking the book to the Seeress was a bad thing? In order to get your enemy where you want them you have to draw them out - and the Whirlwind needed to be drawn out.

The daughter thing - I cannot see Laseen in that role - she has never been portrayed as being "close" to either Kellanved or Dancer in that respect - she had them assissinated after all - therefore I really cannot think that either of them would be feeling fatherly towards a woman who was a companion at best and a traitor. In addition Cotillion says "the forgiveness is the other way round" , that she needs to forgive him, therefore it's Apsalar for me all the way. Cotillion has compassion, as we shall see time and time again in later books and even on his first possession of Sorry he barked at Shadowthrone -

‘Enough!’ Cotillion growled. ‘She’s not some mouse under your paw, Ammanas. Besides, I’ve chosen her and I will choose her name as well.’

The notion of evil as a personal perspective has been discussed and in a way I agree to a certain extent that to see something that way is a diminshment of one's self - after all I like to think that there has to be some good in everyone, but I have to say that Bidithal is the one person in these books that I could happily go all Karsa Orlong on :p Amanda will understand when we get to that storyline. However Pormqual's complete disregard for the tragedy that was unfolding before everyone's eyes came a close second for me -anger and disgust, sorrow.. it all comes back whenever I read those parts.

On to lighter things however, I have to say that I laughed when the door bell went - I never thought of an Azath house having a door bell!

and this - ‘How does one say goodbye to a bhok’aral?’
‘With a boot in the backside, how else?’ Pust offered.

These are the little things that are an absolute delight to read after the pace and emotional turmoil of previous pages and to me - they contain so much humanity, from the irreverance of the sappers to the awesome battles and give these books such depth, bringing the whole thing to life.
Rob Kerr
33. useofweapons
I confess that I never cried at the ending of the Chain -- I was just awed. I'd kind of expected Coltaine et al not to make it given how he had treated Mallick Rel and having sent him back to Pormqual, how easily that could go wrong. But the power in those scenes, especially the crows, was amazing. Not for the crows themselves, but for the fact that it took Squint's arrow to release Coltaine's soul, and the power of the man's soul was enough to overcome Kamist Reloe's magic and permit the crows to take his soul away. That was superb writing.

The bit that made me cry is still to come.
Amir Noam
34. Amir
Hetan @32:

What I would like to ask about is why people think that Kallam's act in taking the book to the Seeress was a bad thing? In order to get your enemy where you want them you have to draw them out - and the Whirlwind needed to be drawn out.

But Kalam did not see the Whirlwind as an enemy. Taking the book to Sha'ik was not a tactical move to draw the rebellion out so that the Malazan Empire can deal with it. As many characters (including Kalam) have commented, a competent High Fist or Emperor would have already crushed the rebellion a long time ago.
Kalam had two motives:
1) As a Seven Cities native he was torn between his loyalty to the empire on the one hand and to his people's apocalyptic myths on the other. He felt compelled to be a part of the long prophesied
2) A full scale rebellion in Seven Cities will create chaos in the empire, making it easier for Kalam to find an opportunity to assassinate Laseen.

I feel that the real reason for his actions is the first motive. The second motive is an excuse that he gives to himself to try and rationalize his actions.
Amir Noam
35. Amir
Something occured to me earlier today. I was thinking on this quote from Nether from chapter 16:

“And no less a cipher to us, Historian. The clans do as he commands and say nothing. It is not shared certainty or mutual understanding that breeds our silence. It is awe.”

As readers, we are lead on journeys by authors. We follow the paths that they have created for us. Some writers we come to trust to care for us along the way. Some writers we follow with some measure of suspicion or reservation as we progress.
I can say, for more than any other writer that comes to mind right now, that I've been following the path that Erikson has created not by any sort of shared certainty nor by mutual understanding. It is awe.
36. Alt146
Like a prayer, Squint, like a Hood-damned prayer

Instant goosebumps.
Tricia Irish
37. Tektonica
Hetan@32: You bring up some great points....

‘Enough!’ Cotillion growled. ‘She’s not some mouse under your paw, Ammanas. Besides, I’ve chosen her and I will choose her name as well.’

And notice the name he picked, Sorry. I think it is Apsalar he needs to beg forgiveness from as a quasi-daughter.

As for
Pormqual's complete disregard for the tragedy that was unfolding before everyone's eyes.....
I wondered if Pormqual, who is portrayed as fairly incompetent and out of his depth, wasn't under some Mockra influence from Rel. Thoughts?
Whited out spoiler below:

Isn't it Rel controlling the crowds in Malaz City with Mockra when Tavore and the Bonehunters arrive? Or am I mixed up here?
Gerd K
38. Kah-thurak
I am pretty sure that Claw operatives are responsible for the "crowd control" in TBH. As to Pormqual... we just dont know. There are no details on him that I am aware of.

As for the C0tillion's daughter bit, I am pretty sure Apsalar is the right answer. Laseen was more of an equal/rival to Dancer than a "daughter".

Another point here:
"Elan says they’re being tracked by someone who wants to ensure the cargo gets to where it’s going."

I guess we can be pretty sure who is the mage doing this. The question is, which part of the cargo is so interesting? Kalam, so he can get to Laseen? Or something else?
Iris Creemers
40. SamarDev
@ 37. Nice catch about Sorry's name. The excuse seems so obvious when I read your post, but it never came up while reading the book :-)
41. Mayhem
@Shalter & Alisonwonderland
Indeed, in a later book we learn that the Elan are a tribe on a distant continent, now sadly diminished. It isn't beyond reason that Pearl comes from that tribe, either directly or via emigration of his ancestors. Tribal loyalty seems to be a strong influence in Wu.
Gerd K
42. Kah-thurak
@41 Mayhem
I really dont think that the "Elan" in Pearls Name has anything to do with that tribe... remember that there was no contact between the Malazan Empire and Lether for a very long time.

Also Pearl has Tiste Andii blood, I think I remember something about Drift Avali origins.
Iris Creemers
43. SamarDev
Darn, post gone while previewing... :-( Next try:

Maybe rather late in this book, but I have been wondering about Duikers name for a few reasons.

- Does 'Duiker' has a (hidden) meaning in English (as happens more often to characters in these books)? In Dutch it means literally 'diver' (no, not "d'ivers" ;-)). The Dutch translator choose to change Duikers name to 'Denker', which means 'thinker'. Nice catch for an historian, but (for me) a much more free translation than with for example Stormy - Storm.

- To me Duiker appears to be a strange name in English, because of the vowel 'ui'. During holidays I have had much fun with non-Dutch people trying to pronounce the typical Dutch vowels 'ui', 'au/ou' and 'ei/ij' in a correct way. (Fiddler / Mieneke: recognizable? If not: try it, it's better than Scheveningse schaats!).

Therefore the always nice question in a written context: how do you pronounce Duikers name while reading it? :-)
Gerd K
44. Kah-thurak
I didnt think so, but...

And funny enough the origin of the name is Afrikaans and therefore Dutch, so you should know the pronounciation quite well ;-)
Chris Hawks
45. SaltManZ
Alison @28: If this is indeed that same child, isn't it odd that Keneb refers to it as "lass" when Duiker hands him/her off?

Atl @36: Yes. YES.

Kah-Thurak @42: It's Topper that's part Andii. Or are they both?

Personally, I think Pormqual is under someone's influence: notice Mallick Rel slimely announcing that "the High Fist cannot be swayed".

Also, I gotta say it's fairly serendipitous seeing Blistig appear here for the first time while I'm digging into TCG; it's eye-opening being able to compare and contrast him in this book and that one. You would not believe how many times TCG calls back to DG, and I'm only a quarter of the way in!
Gerd K
46. Kah-thurak
@45 SaltMan Z
Maybe I mixed Topper and Pearl up. But I am not sure.

The contrast between Blistig in DG and TCG is indeed intersting. Not a really important character but his "evolution" is well described from DG to TCG.
Al Cunningham
47. BygTymeGuy
When Bill stated that Laseen was the daughter, it got me reaching for my book to see why I thought it was the daughter was Apsalar.

When I re-read that part, I was trying to understand when Cotillion had a falling-out with Apsalar. It wasn't until I read Tek's comment about the acutal name, that I went back and noticed that before he said "falling-out", he smiled wryly. I'm guessing that "falling-out" would mean that he fell out of her. Which would then make total sense to me.

I'll include in another post the portion of this I need help understanding. That'll teach me to reach for my book!
Iris Creemers
48. SamarDev
@45/46 re Blistig
and it is proof that getting to know someone better / for a longer time doesn't nesseccarily make them more likable or understandable, as is often the case (see Cotillon or the discussion about Kallor). Just as in real life, people develop because of the things they have to handle with. Sometimes this binds people stronger, and sometimes this causes you to grow apart.
Al Cunningham
49. BygTymeGuy
As usual, when I re-read something, slowing down to where I actually read every word, (Evelyn Wood be damned) I catch something that I missed the first time through. It may be a large nothing within the series, I just find it hard to believe that SE would end a chapter with it, if it didn't have some kind of meaning, though.

Panek says to Cotillion, “What you walk through unseeing.”

And the chapter ends with Panek saying, “Does he imagine...that he now walks unseen?

The first quote appears to me to relate to the fact that the Shadow Realm that Cotillion sees is not the same Shadow Realm that Panek sees. He walks through walls and trees, obviously not seeing them, although he does comment as to the natural inhabitants of the realm, so they may be of the new Realm. These walls and trees are from the old Realm which Cotillion refers to as a ghost world.

Why can Panek see this ghost world, yet Cotillion cannot?

When Cotillion leaves shadows engulf him, eliciting the second quote from Panek. So Cotillion goes from someone who can’t see all within the Realm to someone who is unseen within the Realm.

Maybe I’m butchering my interpretation of this. Is this something that gets answered later? Without spoilers, maybe someone can enlighten me as to what I should be getting out of this TO THIS POINT?
Steven Halter
50. stevenhalter
I found the whole Cotillion interlude fascinating. There was the daughter comment. And the deeper layering of Cotillion's compassion.
Then, Cotillion not being able to see the "shadows" of the old Shadow Realm while Panek and Apt could was intriguing. It hints at the deeper layering of the Shadow warren and its denizens.
Sydo Zandstra
51. Fiddler
@SamarDev, re: pronouncing some Dutch words in English.

LOL, yes, it does sound familiar...

@Byg Tyme Guy:

Panek has been tansformed by Apt, and has one eye, like Apt has. It's an Aptorian Demon eye, that's why Paneksees the old walls and structures.

edit: I mysspelled 'Byg' ;-)
Steven Halter
52. stevenhalter
Byg Tyme Guy:

Why can Panek see this ghost world, yet Cotillion cannot?

Presumably it is because Shadowthrone gives Panek the same sort of eye as Apt. He is seeing the world through the eye of its native inhabitants.
Julian Augustus
53. Alisonwonderland
SaltMan Z @45:
Also, I gotta say it's fairly serendipitous seeing Blistig appear here for the first time while I'm digging into TCG; it's eye-opening being able to compare and contrast him in this book and that one. You would not believe how many times TCG calls back to DG, and I'm only a quarter of the way in!

But Blistig was also in House of Chains, The Bonehunters, and (I believe) Reaper's Gale. If I remember correctly, He had evolved considerably in the later books from the commander we meet so briefly in Deadhouse Gates. Why does the one in tCG refer specifically to DH?
Julian Augustus
54. Alisonwonderland
SaltMan Z @22:

Thanks for the link. Some very interesting responses from Steve there.

This quote from Steve himself is for the members who think of Felisin in the same category as Korbolo Dom (*cough* Robin *cough*):
As for a character's philosophy or world view, I try to keep it distinct and internally consistent, while recognising that people change their minds all the time. Even so, Duiker's growing cynicism was certainly a product of the ordeal he was suffering on the march. While Felisin's inability to recognise people who cared was a direct result of the betrayal that sent her to the mines and her experiences once there.
Chris Hawks
55. SaltManZ
Alison @55: I'm just saying it's interesting to see how Blistig got from where he started (in this reread of DG when we first meet him) to nearing the end of his character arc (in TCG). The events in DG's chapter 21 shaped him considerably, which is made fairly obvious (if not stated outright) in TCG.

But TCG has many, many other callbacks to DG besides just Blistig.
56. DRickard
Amanda--if you're weeping now, you'll never be able to take the ending of MOI.
Joe Long
57. Karsa
I wondered if Pormqual, who is portrayed as fairly incompetent and out of his depth, wasn't under some Mockra influence from Rel. Thoughts?

Rel is a priest of Mael, I haven't seen anything to indicate he is Mokra. I think he influenced Pormqual the old fashioned way -- flattery, fear, promises, and generally making himself Porm's "salvation". I've always thought Pormqual was one of the Nobles that worked their way into the military and was in way over his head, not knowing what to do or how to do it.
Michael Rubino
58. Bauchelain
@Kathurak 46

No, you're right. Topper is half-Andii and Pearl quarter-Andii
Steven Halter
59. stevenhalter

Guesses on whose voice that is emanating from the suit of armor?

The voice says:
"I am pleased my solitude is at an end, little one. Tremorlor welcomes you with all its heart…even if you have made a mess on the hallway floor."

So my thought on first reading was that the voice was Tremorlor and the suit was a gind of golem occupied by the spirit of the Azath.On second thought, I notice that the phrase begins with a first person "I am pleased" and then switches to either a referential (or third person) "Tremorlor welcomes".
So, there is ambiguity.
shirley thistlewood
60. twoodmom
On Pormqual & Mallick Rel
Rereaders may recall that in a later book Rel commands a deity.
He should have no problem at all with a twit like Pormqual.
Karen Martin
61. ksh1elds555
The Kalam storyline on the boat was the one that had the least impact on me. If I had to rate them, I would say the Chain of Dogs would be my favorite, followed by Fiddler/Icarium and Felisin/Heboric. Maybe that is why I am still confused a bit... I don't know who is casting the Mockra or whatever it is to confuse the crew, Kalam, and the captain. I thought first it was all about the gold the ship carried, but now are we thinking the important cargo was NOT the gold but certain passengers i.e. Pearl and Kalam? On my first read, none of this storyline stuck with me. I thought I was doing better on my second read but apparently I'm still missing something important! :-)
Sydo Zandstra
62. Fiddler
Re: Rel using magic to influence.

I think what Tek meant was that Rel was using Ruse, which is the right one IIRC, to influence Pormqual. Not that it would have been a big effort with this nobleborn twit who bought himself up in the first place.

But: adding to Tek's whitened out tBH spoiler:

ISTR that there was mention of 'pockets of Ruse magic' all over Malaz City there in tBH, meant to whip up people. That's what she meant.

Robin Lemley
63. Robin55077
@ 25. SneakyVerin
"Funny about Salk ending up being Pearl..I was SO SURE it was Topper, because of the green outfit and the rings."

I could be way off base here, but I always saw Pearl's "love of green" as SE's subtle way of telling us that Pearl wants to BE Topper, as in take over Topper's position as head of the Claw.

hazel hunter
64. Hetan
@34 Amir
Yes but
1) there was no competent fist in Seven Cities and
2) we can move on to this bit in two books time.... ;)

@ Tektonica – of course you understand it.
The “Jhistal inside” clue a few chapters ago was a big filing cabinet moment. Incidentally, just because he is a priest of Mael doesn’t mean he can’t use Mockra too.

Regarding the child – well I guess Duiker didn’t have time to check things out - and if a toddler has curly longish hair (as some do) it could be easy to assume it’s a girl.

@ 49 Byg Tyme Guy - As for Cotillion walking through unseeing – there’s more of that later as there is shadow and then... there is shadow or illusion - Meanas being the human warren.
Julian Augustus
65. Alisonwonderland
Kshields @61:

I don't know who is casting the Mockra or whatever it is to confuse the crew, Kalam, and the captain.
Isn't it obvious? I always assumed it was Salk Elan.

Tricia Irish
66. Tektonica

I found the whole Cotillion interlude fascinating........ And the deeper layering of Cotillion's compassion.

Cotillion has a really interesting character arc. When we first meet him in GotM he seems so evil, possessing a tiny young innocent girl...killing a whole coast line. Then we start getting glimpses of his humanity and empathy, and inklings that there is a much bigger picture being drawn here.

Bottom line, he's becoming one of my favorite characters.
Tai Tastigon
67. Taitastigon
Tek @66

Oh, Cotillion is quite a peach. Look at his interaction with Apsalar in tBH and tell me there ain´t a *thang* going on between those two... ;o)

Brilliantly conceived and written...
Robin Lemley
68. Robin55077
@ 54. Alisonwonderland
"This quote from Steve himself is for the members who think of Felisin in the same category as Korbolo Dom (*cough* Robin *cough*):"
The only "category" I can think of that would include both Felisin and Korbolo Dom would be a category entitled something like, "Characters I Don't Especially Like." Although, to be honest, Korbolo Dom would more likely be in a catagory with a very few select characters entitled somthing more like, "Characters Without Any Redeeming Qualities" and, as such, Felisin would certainly not be included in that list.

If I were to place Felisin into a category with other characters that I feel similar about (meaning that I understand why they are the way they are, but I simply just don't especially like them) then such a "category" of mine would include the following: Felisin, Rhulad Sengar, Redmask, Leoman, Hairlock, and The Crippled God, to name a few.

hazel hunter
69. Hetan
@34 Amir

I disagree about Kalam wanting to be part of the rebellion. He didn't fool Mebra :-

‘Kalam is here for another reason, Commander. He sought only safe passage across the Pan’potsun Odhan. He takes the Book because to do so will ensure that passage. The assassin is heading south. Why? I think that is something the Red Blades – and the Empire – would know. And such knowledge can only be gained while he yet breathes.’
‘You have suspicions.’
Tene Baralta snorted. ‘To slip a blade between Pormqual’s ribs? We would all bless that, Mebra.’
‘Kalam cares nothing for the High Fist.’
‘Then what does he seek at Aren?’
‘I can think of only one thing, Commander. A ship bound for Malaz.’

And Fiddler discusses his motive with Crokus :

"Kalam wants to be at the heart of things. It’s always
been his way. This time, the chance literally fell into his lap. The Book of Dryjhna holds the heart of the Whirlwind Goddess – to begin the Apocalypse it needs to be opened, by the Seeress and no-one else.
Kalam knows it might well be suicidal, but he’ll deliver that Hoodcursed book into Sha’ik’s hands, and so add another crack in Laseen’s crumbling control. Give him credit for insisting on keeping the rest of us out of it.’
‘There you go again, defending him. The plan was to assassinate
Laseen, not get caught up in this uprising. "

Kalam is loyal to the Empire, but not to Laseen. He is motivated by vengeance against her -

" The sapper understood Kalam’s
hunger to wound Laseen through the blood spilled by rebellion, but the potential damage to the Empire – and to whoever assumed the throne following Laseen’s fall – was, to Fiddler’s mind, too great a risk".

He does have conflicting emotions :

Involuntarily, Kalam dropped to one knee. He held out the Book. ‘I deliver unto you, Sha’ik, the Apocalypse.’ And with it, a sea of blood –how many innocent lives shattered, to bring Laseen down? Hood take me, what have I done?"
Mieneke van der Salm
70. Mieneke
Who and what is the Guardian that spoke to Moby? Will we see them again?

Like Shalter @3 and a lot of others, I also wonder whether Cotillion's daughter of sorts isn't Apsalar instead of Laseen?

Shalter @14: I thought Trout was Moby too!

SamarDev @43: Oh that's definitely familiar! Imagine trying to teach an English speaker the proper way to pronounce Mieneke (which is my real name, in case that wasn't clear to anyone here not Dutch ;-)), it hilarious! There's a reason I made hubby promise me we'd pick names for our kids that are pronouceable both in English and Dutch!

Should we already have been able to identify Carther and Palet from Old Guard mentioned in GotM and DG or will they be further identified in later books?

I wonder when we'll see the meeting between Tavore and Sha'ik. Will it be next book or even further on in the series? For the life of me I can't remember!

On a similar note I wonder whether we'll see Coltaine again, in the same vein as we saw Sormo, Nil and Nether return, since the crows came for him.

On the Fall... I cried so hard, hubby came to check what was wrong. To be honest I cried at Crokus' goodbye to Moby as well, but the Fall just left me drained. All I hope is that Pormqual and Rel get what they deserve!
Amir Noam
71. Amir
Bill and Amanda:

Just a suggestion: How about having the next re-read post cover the rest of the book? After the next couple of chapters we'll only have remaining chpater 24 (which is only 18 pages in my paperback copy) and the 2 page epilogue.
Chris Hawks
72. SaltManZ
Mieneke: Yes, we should be able to figure out who "Carther" is at this point, or rather, "Carther—" as the captain cut him off before he could finish the name. I believe Stormy and Gesler dropped this name earlier.
Iris Creemers
73. SamarDev
@ 71 Amir:
I thought about that as well, but maybe it's an idea to combine chapter 24 and the epilogue with the total wrap-up of the book?

And I don't know if there are plans for a Q&A this time, before we move on to MoI? I can imagine that Steven Erikson is more TCG-minded at the moment, with booktours etc...
Julian Augustus
74. Alisonwonderland
Mieneke @70:

Here are answers to your questions:

Should we already have been able to identify Carther and Palet from Old Guard mentioned in GotM and DG or will they be further identified in later books?

Yes, there is enough information at the moment to figure out who "Carther..." is.

I wonder when we'll see the meeting between Tavore and Sha'ik.

House of Chains, Book 4.

On a similar note I wonder whether we'll see Coltaine again, in the same vein as we saw Sormo, Nil and Nether return, since the crows came for him.

Spoiler: Yes, Return of the Crimson Guard
Bill Capossere
75. Billcap
Shalter on names:
Great image of Moby (pen name Trout) whiling away his guardian time as a poet. I can only imagine what Ode to a Priest Named Pust or Sonnet on a Mule would be like

funny you had that question on Salk Elan. I don't know what it is, if it's the name or just Pearl's personality, or the whole subterfuge issue, or a combination of them all, but that's one of the only names in here that's always bugged me as feeling like I'm missing something--some clever scramble or allusion that points to Pearl.

On Apsalar as daughter----I hang my head and blame my sickness for completely blanking on her. And there's reason in TCG to think that as well (which I had just read twice before doing the summary so I don't know what was going on in my head)

I teared up at the Sistine Chapel too--so be prepared from some crying at TCG

on the whole evil thing (mentioned here and carried over), while I agree that there is some eye of the beholder thing going on throughout, I think there are some distinctions made between characters doing bad things and evil things. Dom's penchant for bloodshed and terror--his crucifixion of children for instance--separates him into the evil category for me.

Saltman: it certainly added a whole new light seeing Blistig here and in TCG so closely together reading-time wise.

I always pictured Pormqual as under slight influence from Rel. I say slight cuz the image I have of Pormqual leads me to think he'd only need a nudge to do what he does here, but it's so poorly thought out for so many reasons that I just can't see him doing it without that little nudge.

Cotillion is absolutely one of my favorite characters and especially how he either evolves or flowers for us as more facets of his personality are revealed or actually grow. And this carries all the way to the very, very end. We hear reference all the time to how the longevity of Ascendants makes them cold and indifferent--watching Cotillion struggle with this is a great series-long arc

I thought myself about covering the rest in one post, especially as one whole long section is basically summed up as "Kalam arrives, kills Claws. Lots." But the whole-book wrap might be too much. We'll look at it though
Tricia Irish
76. Tektonica
Bill: Thanks for that morsel about Cotillion! He seems to indeed be struggling to remain "human", and seems more compassionate and empathetic the more I read......Unlike ST, who has remained a cypher to me.
(I'm so excited to get their whole picture in tCG;-))
Robin Lemley
77. Robin55077
@ Bill

An anagram of "Salk Elan" is "All Snake" which rather fits.

"Dom's penchant for bloodshed and terror--his crucifixion of children for instance--separates him into the evil category for me."

The Korbolo Dom/Kamist Relo duo are the closest thing to pure eveil I have found in these books. In huge part, because Koroblo Dom is just so psychopathically brutal, but in part too, I suspect, because we never get other information as to his possible motivations....other than that he just seems to be a very sadistic psychopath.

"I always pictured Pormqual as under slight influence from Rel."

I agree that Pormquel gets his nudge from Rel, however, I don't see it as "mockra" or any other type of magic nudge as some readers see it, but rather only a nudge similar to that imposed by a person with a strong personality (and an agenda) exerted over any weak-willed individual in a position to somehow aid them in their goals.
Kimani Rogers
78. KiManiak
My God.

I have never been moved by any book as I have been in these two chapters of Deadhouse Gates, alone. What a time to catch up to the reread!

I’m a proud Malazan-first-timer; I just read/finished Chapters 20 & 21 of Deadhouse Gates today. I could have just tried to process and reflect on this alone; but I have the benefit of being exposed to Amanda, Bill and all of the group’s perspectives and feelings as well. This was one of the most emotionally moving and yet pleasurable reading experiences I’ve had from a fantasy novel. Major props to Tektonica and Fiddler for encouraging me to read this series; I feel incredibly happy and fortunate that I did.

I hope you guys don’t mind; I just have to share my take on some of the more emotional moments that moved me as well as some of the developments that intrigued me-

(Um, as those who are part of the WoT reread know, I’m kinda longwinded, so Wall of Text Warning)

-Moby leaving the group (poor Crokus) was the first scene to grab me. And I’m very much intrigued by the armor…

-Coltaine, Lull and the rest giving Duiker the refugees as they ready for a last stand...
(Is it getting really dusty in here? Oh, and no, Amanda, it is definitely not just you. Also, only a select few books have made my eyes really sensitive to the dust around here, and this book has just joined those ranks)

-The donation of the Malazan army and the Wickans to pay for the refugees free passage. The Kherahn have honor, and respect the actions of Coltaine and his men. Too bad the same can’t be said for the freakin nobles...
(although I believe it was Pullyk Alar that tried to challenge Duiker and then got pimp slapped with Duiker's sword)

-Duiker sending Nether and the remaining Wickan children to rush for Aren’s gate as he stays behind. That one act stood out to me in the mad scramble to get all of the refugees into the gates of Aren. Duiker would do everything in his power to protect all those he could, and he never lost sight of the fact that those brave Wickan warriors and mages were just kids. He wasn't going in those gates until he made sure (even with his life, if necessary) that all those refugees who still could make it, did. He didn't run and hide behind those walls, unlike some other leaders...

-So, I read it as Cotillion viewing Apsalar as a daughter figure; why should the reader at that point in the story have read it as Laseen and what would Laseen need to forgive? Really interesting comparison of Dassem and his daughter vs Cotillion and his daughter in the same chapter.
I still wanted to go with Apsalar as Cotillion’s daughter figure even after reading the plot summary above, since nothing to this point had led me to believe that Cotillion viewed Laseen that way (and because the plot summary sometimes makes little mistakes regarding getting character names mixed up, like with Pullyk Alar being knocked down by Duiker’s sword, not Nethpara); and since Cotillion had possessed Apsalar and then released her, leaving her his memories and some of his abilities. But with seasoned-vet Bill making it a point to say that Cotillion views Laseen as his daughter, I guess this is one of those things I would have gotten wrong if I had just been reading this book by myself.

-Panek seems like he’s going to be very interesting. I hope this isn’t one of the characters you think will be featured prominently in the future, only to find he dies in like, the next 5 chapters or something. I think there can be use for someone who can see through shadows that are meant to cloak what’s normally there. And, if I read Bill right, there will be...

-Salk Elan being Pearl was such an easy curveball that Erikson sent to the reader in my opinion (sorry Amanda, no offense intended) that I over thought it to the point where I thought he may be Topper instead. I’m intrigued by this type of sorcery he used. What little info we’ve gotten so far makes me think its from warren Meanas as it deals with a type of illusion or trickery or the deception of the mind. Then again, I still barely grasp the concept of warrens and sorcery in this universe...

-Coltaine lives!!! Uncle, Lull, the Sappers! They cheated Hood!
(I think that dust or something is getting in my eyes; I’m starting to tear up a little bit…)

...only tohave that initial feeling of wonder and glee be replaced with...

-Those bastards don’t want to send help!?! Are you frickin kidding me!?! It’s rare that a book will get me so happy and so pissed within a couple of paragraphs. Pormqual is a m*ther f*ckin b*tch! I was so sad/angry/sorrowful/pissed that I couldn’t even read the text for a minute and I had to set the book down.

My God, this is great writing! Erikson, you are a cruel, emotionally-manipulative genius! These 2 chapters alone have you ascending to among the top of my fantasy authors list!

-Bult’s last stand… List… Bent the dogs last stand… Bent took an enemy with it as it’s last act; how badass!
(Dammit; something’s in my eye again…)

-Squint releasing Coltaine and the sorrow that he felt. This whole segment had me emotionally…moved. (Screw it; I was crying and it doesn’t bother me to (ultimately) admit it. This material was that good!)

- I notice how Erikson wrote that Pormqual retreated into Mallick Rel’s shadow. I’m reminded of Bill’s previous opinion of Mallick Rel (I think Bill slightly dislikes him) and I have suspicions that Pormqual may not have been the real person running things here.

Regardless, Pormqual has quickly “ascended” (to stay in theme with Erikson) to one of the literary figures that I despise the most in all of my years of reading. I’m curious to see if Erikson ever gives us an alternate story arc that portrays Pormqual in a opposite, more positive way. Short of him being ensorcelled, or of the welfare of all of his men being held hostage to him allowing that betrayal to happen, I can’t think of any way in which I would be willing to forgive that bastard.

-Korbolo Dom and Kamist Reloe will someday learn that payback is an ice cold bitch, and right now I hope that Erikson shows us that scene in excruciating detail over a number of pages.

So, I’m usually a little less passionate in my observations during rereads, but like I said, I just finished these chapters this afternoon so the memories and emotions are still fresh.

Okay, guess I should read the comments. I’m curious how the Malazan vets will choose to discuss this, and what they/you all highlight...
Robin Lemley
79. Robin55077
78. KiManiak

Welcome! I am so gad you took Tek and Fiddler's advice and decided to read these books. Just a head's up, "you ain't seen nothing yet," so be prepared to run the gauntlent of your emotions with this series. Often times, various emotions over the span of a few sentences. It is great!

Also, take it from another poster on here who tends to be rather "longwinded" from time to time. No one seems to mind as they have not chased me off yet. I think most of us read every word that is posted on here, and for those who don't want to read a particular post, well, that's what they make scroll bars for. I quit apologizing for the length of my posts a long time ago, as it just made them longer. :-)

Once again, glad to have you here and looking forward to reading more posts from you!

Steven Halter
80. stevenhalter
"Kalam arrives, kills Claws. Lots."

And has a nice chat. :-)
Robin Lemley
81. Robin55077
@ Bill
"Guesses on whose voice that is emanating from the suit of armor?"

Can you provide a clue as to your thoughts on this? On my initial read, I simply thought it was the current "Guardian" of Tremorlor welcoming Moby as his "replacement in training" so to speak.

However, on my second or third time through, I wondered if it were not a "welcome" from a Guardian at another House of the Azath, in particular from the Finnest House in Darujhastan. Especially in light of the fact that someone in that House had possessed Mammot and would, conceivably, have retained Mammot's memories much like Sorry/Apsalar did with Cotillion. So, long story short, I kind of saw it as "Mammot welcoming Moby" possibly.....Mammot welcoming his old familiar.

I would love to see/hear everyone else's thoughts on who it is that welcomes Moby to the House.

Kimani Rogers
83. KiManiak
Bill, thanks for the clarification re: Cotillion’s daughter. I take it reading Buddhacat@5 that there is apparently some debate in the Malazan fandom about who Cotillion's daughter may be.

@many – Wait, you mean there’s even more emotionally moving storyline left?! After GotM (which had its climax a few chapters before the end of the book, in my opinion), I assumed that DG had also peaked a little early. I eagerly await devouring the remaining pages after I get through all the comments here.

Amir@18 – re: Malazan Book of the Fallen - Thanks for that reminder. I agree, so far it appears to have many tragedy-like aspects. But, I’m going to (probably naively) pull for some of my favorite characters until Erikson heart-crushingly, yet eloquently writes their demise.

Hetan@32 – re: Kalaam bringing the book to Sha’ik – I also didn’t see it as a bad thing. My loyalties at that time (and still as of this chapter) are to the Bridgeburners and to them achieving their objectives. At this point, I’m not overly fond of the Malazan Empire as a whole (love Coltaine and the Seventh!) so I had no problem with something that would work to destabilize it, as it seemed the Bridgeburners are trying to do, what with the intended assassination of Laseen. I’m not thrilled with the actions of Reloe and Dom, but the story states that Sha’ik wasn’t necessarily sanctioning those actions.

Tektonica@66 – re: Cotillion – Yeah, I’m starting to like him, too. I really enjoy that Erikson writes 3-dimensional characters with nuance, and not your generically evil “Assassin of the Shadow.”

Mieneke@70 – re: the old Guard and Sha’ik/Tavore – I echo your 2 questions about those characters. Oh, and I also kinda hope we see Coltaine reincarnated, or maybe even Ascended.

SaltmanZ@72 – re: “Carther-“ That’s where the reader had heard the name previously. Thanks for the reminder! Interesting how Stormy and “Carther…” both spend a decent amount of this book on boats…

Robin@81 – Thanks! Yeah, I may add a “Wall of Text warning” every now and then, but most of the time, when you see a post from me, the wall of text warning is implied :-)

Every Azath House has a guardian? I’m reminded of Rallick Nom, covered in Otataral dust, being welcomed into Darujhistan’s house. I wonder if he was “drafted?” Oh wait, Robin@81 is proposing that Raest may be the Darujhistan house Guardian…

I like how it took numerous crows to capture Coltaine’s soul. I wonder… we were shown that Coltaine could harm someone (Gesler) who was close to Ascension, which apparently is unusual. I wonder if the fact that so many crows were needed to take Coltaine’s soul shows that he was near Ascension, or was ascending himself. I’m curious to see an actual act of ascension via the text; I wonder if Erikson will provide it for the reader…

Just to add my two cents: I like Kalam’s storyline. I was too late for last posts poll, but my least favorite storyline was Felisin’s. My favorite was a tie between Mappo/Icarium and the Chain of Dogs once Duiker joined them.
Tai Tastigon
84. Taitastigon
Ki @83

@many – Wait, you mean there’s even more emotionally moving storyline left?!

Oh boy, yer in for quite a ride yet... ;0).
Capustan, Coral, Y´ name ´em...
Robin Lemley
85. Robin55077
@ 84. Taitastigon

In your response to Ki @ 83
"Oh boy, yer in for quite a ride yet... ;0).
Capustan, Coral, Y´ name ´em..."

Not to mention next weeks chapters of Deadhouse Gates!

Robin Lemley
86. Robin55077
@ 82. Shalter
"@Robin:or All Sneak."

Which fits even better!

87. Night Owl
All Sneak or All Snake, I don't care, For some reason I like Pearl! (He also announced to Kalem that Pearl was his true name.)
It's such a wacky name for a guy.

These last chapters were more than a few tissues to handle. It is such a tragedy and to compound it, you have a soul-less Korbolo Dom and Kamist Reloe, plus a spineless, mindless Pormqual.

I have no clue of who or what is in the armor, but I like the idea of Mammot.

I'm with the majority of those who feel that the daughter is Apsalar, Leseen was never considered.
Mieneke van der Salm
88. Mieneke
Salt @72: Right, that means I'll have to go look through my book again lol

Alisonwonderland @74: Thanks for the answers :D

Kshields and Bill @75: I've never visited the Sistene Chapel, but the Chapel of the Sainte-Chapelle in Paris had a similar effect on me I'd guess. This picture doesn't do justice to just how breathtaking a work of art that is:

And I went and read next week's chapters and then I couldn't stop! So I've finished DG now. *cries* And you people are telling that the epilogue to MoI is even more emotional. You might want to be ready with a mop or something in three months time, because I'll have dissolved into a puddle of tears.
Amir Noam
89. Amir
Welcome aboard! It's always good to greet new Malazanites. Enjoy the ride.

Don't dwell too much on all the "you ain't seen nothing yet" comments. We're trying to avoid major spoilers here but sometimes it's not easy to keep back the excitement when hinting to the new comers at things to come.

Yes, there's more tragedy to come (both in this book and others), but for me personally, this chapter (21) is the most
kathartic and is the climax of the book.
90. Night Owl
All Sneak or All Snake, I don't care, For some reason I like Pearl! (He also announced to Kalem that Pearl was his true name.)
It's such a wacky name for a guy.

These last chapters were more than a few tissues to handle. It is such a tragedy and to compound it, you have a soul-less Korbolo Dom and Kamist Reloe, plus a spineless, mindless Pormqual.

I have no clue of who or what is in the armor, but I like the idea of Mammot.

I'm with the majority of those who feel that the daughter is Apsalar, Leseen was never considered.
Tricia Irish
91. Tektonica
Hi KiManiak! And Welcome!

(To all my fellow Malazanites; KiManiak is an insightful, prolific poster, and should definitely liven things up here even more with his you can see.)

Pormqual/Rel: They are certainly in my "Evil" category. Most of SE's characters have some gray areas, or a personal history that can provide us with some measure of compassion (Felesin), but these two....perhaps we don't get enough backstory here, but to me, Dom is a psychopath and a murderer, Rel is his cohort/enabler and thus an Evil Murderer as well.

And then there's Pormqual....whether he is under Rel's influence magically or otherwise, he is a worm. A spineless, slithering, unctuous worm, and how he got into his position (presumably appointed by Laseen!) is a mystery to me.

I have no clue who is in the armor in the Azath etiher....hints, please....I do like the idea of it kind of being Mammot to Moby, but I don't get how that could be?? Help, please.
Al Cunningham
92. BygTymeGuy
So, I notice that the Whirlwind has found its way to the pages of this re-read. I suggest safety glasses to keep your eyes dry!

Books rarely get tears out of me, though. Although I found the writing superb, I never shed any tears during these two chapters. The last time I had tears running down my cheeks while reading was the unveiling of the Spirit statue in Terry Goodkind's Confessor (I think that was the book..and oh yeah, I got that far). I guess pride affects me so much more than grief.

It's kinda funny how different things turn on faucets for different people. I'm a 53-year old male, but I swear I must have been a woman in a different life who had a high estrogen level, because I have been tearing up at the damndest times for the past 5 years. I can't even watch "So You Think You Can Dance" with other people, or I will embarrass myself!
Stormy Simpson
93. Stormy70
I was an emotional roller coaster when I read these chapters the first time. I was walking around my living room, and I yelled WTF?! when Pormqual did nothing! My husband said "your book is like THAT?" He is finishing up GOTM today and I will be anxiously waiting for him to get into DG. What an epic book.

Apsalar = Cotillion's daughter.

I always think of the Chain of Dogs storyline when I hear Ted Nugent's Stanglehold. Just brings all the emotions back when I listen to it.

I have ordered TCG from Amazon, as it is almost March 1st. I CAN'T WAIT!!!!!
Paul Boyd
95. GoodOldSatan
Chapter 21 ... Best ever, made the book, chrystalized the series (remember, on first time through, this was only the second one), and left me yearning for a long, long ride through this world. Thanks Steve for granting my wish.

My only frustration was this ... of all the soldiers standing at the wall, watching the horror unfold, there was not one wannabe Whiskeyjack, Fiddler, Kalam, etc., who said "F**k it, I'm going out there to help, High Fist be damned."? The BBs would not have have given a damn about Pormqual's orders (probably would have loosed a few bolts in his direction as they headed out). ... Not to mention balking at the next set of orders. Well, quite a contrast of Malazan soldiers.

Still, best chapter ever.
Paul Boyd
96. GoodOldSatan
Oh, I do know that some did balk (but they weren't so much Malazan soldiers).

Robin Lemley
97. Robin55077
@ 91. Tektonica
"I do like the idea of it kind of being Mammot to Moby, but I don't get how that could be?? Help, please."

I don't know that the voice has anything at all to do with Mammot, it was just a thought I had on a re-read and, once my mind went down that path it has kind of stayed there, waiting for someone else to tell me different. LOL

In this week's chapter when Crokus is upset upon parting with Moby and worried that Moby will be lonely, Apsalar says:
"He looks content enough. As for being alone, how do you know that will be the case? There are other Houses, other guardians..."

Also, a little before this scene, when the group is on the way to the stairs and they walk by the armor and Moby paused and reach out and rubed his hand over he boot, we are told that Crokus,
"stumbled in passing as it momentarily gripped his full attention."

I freely admit that it was a GIANT leap that I made to a possible connection to Mammot, and thus most likely wrong. However, I thought that, if Cotillion's possession of Sorry resulted in a transfer of memories, then it stands to reason that Raest's possession of Mammot could also have resulted in a transfer of memories. Then here we have Apsalar (with Cotillion's memories) basically telling Crokus that the Guardians must be able to communicate with each other (how else would they be able to relieve Moby's lonliness). And then, when you add the fact that something about it gripped Crokus' attention as we walked by, enough that he stumbled....well, I just thought that perhaps there was some recognizition from Finnest House and Moby was possibly welcomed through Mammot's memories.

I know it is a very, very thin thread. But, that is what I thought about it on one of my re-reads. Especially since SE rarely provides such a detail that means absolutely nothing. I just thought it was probably something I should know and that is what I came up with.

That is why I was hoping that Bill's direct asking about it would have others commenting. I really wanted to see what theories everyone else came up with.

Tricia Irish
98. Tektonica
Thanks have presented your reasons very well! Whether SE did indeed intend that, we may never know, but I'd love to hear some discussion of this, as I think someone else said they thought they knew who was in the armor.

Another soletaken?
Mammot himself?
Random Jag?

I'm just throwing spagetti at the wall here......
Gerd K
99. Kah-thurak
Hm... I wouldnt know any clues as to who is in that armour. We know a few Azath guardians but none of them is wearing such an armour as far as I remember... so I guess we just dont know him.

By the way, I finnished The Crippled God yesterday evening. Great final :-)
Mieneke van der Salm
100. Mieneke
Robin @97 and others: I might be completely dense here, but I thought Rallick entered the Darujhistan Azath as it's new Guardian? I always figured that Raest was imprisoned by the Azath much as Messremb was by Tremorlor in this book. Did I completely misunderstand that last part of GotM?
Gerd K
101. Kah-thurak
No you did not misunderstand the end of GotM. Though Messremb was killed by Tremorlor not imprisoned.

The guardians of the Azath houses are sometimes recruited from those imprisoned by it. All further information on this would be (minor) spoilers at this point, so I will put them in white:

Rallick Nom enters the Azath house and stays there for a while, but does not become its guardian. Raest does.
Mieneke van der Salm
102. Mieneke
Thanks Kah-thurak :) I guess that was a case of RAFO!!
103. Mayhem
@97 While Jaghut do make for good guardians, Azath houses also make for convenient places to avoid the whole T'lan Imass issue, and equally importantly other Jaghut :p
Kimani Rogers
104. KiManiak
Taitastigon@84 & Robin@85 – re: more emotional storyline – Yeah, I’ve already jumped ahead of the reread and finished the book. I look forward to Amanda & Bill’s next posts (Parts of Chapt 24 were confusing and/or I think I just didn’t get a thing or two, so I’m awaiting the summary and Amanda & Bill to help clarify & then to possibly bounce some stuff off of the rest of you).

Amir@89 – Hey, thanks for the warm welcome Amir! I appreciate your words, but I kinda don’t mind the “You haven’t seen nothing yets” because it shows the enthusiasm that a lot of you have for this book, as well as the series. I don’t mind the minor spoilers that kinda leak through (which, is a major step for me; but I won’t go into that unless you really want to know), because I see the desire by folks here to let the newbies enjoy and discover the important things on their own. Oh, and I agree that the emotional climax of the book for me was Chapter 21. I’ve probably read that 5 times now. Moved me each time.

Tek@91 – “And now, there’s pressure.” :-) Seriously, thanks for your incredibly nice words. I’m curious as to how my posting on this reread will unfold as I’m still new to the material and so for the next few weeks/months or so, I’ll be more a prisoner of the moment and/or limited information instead of being able to look at a particular chapter or two and place it in the context of the overall series (I’ve read almost every Wot book at least 2 times and some as many as 7; here, I’ll be lucky to possibly get through each twice before we get to the Crippled God reread in that year and a half or two). It will allow me to have more time to process certain events and maybe not post such emotional name-calling, if nothing else :-) I echo your questions about Pormqual and foresee more comments on that in this book’s reread.

Stormy@93 – Yeah, I kinda yelled at Pormqual and my book, too. A little more creatively than what I showed at my post@78 :-)

Mieneke@100 – I had the same opinion about Mallick Rel Rallick Nom, Raest and the Azath house in Darujhistan. I can’t recall anything in the story as of Chapt 21 in DG that would have led us differently, but as a few Malaz vets have stated that Raest is the guardian in Darujhistan, I guess we just got go along with it (although I think it would be comedy if some of you conspire to give us newbies one of the greatest fake-outs of Malazan reread post history by casually alluding to something and it ends up being shockingly different; still, I doubt this qualifies). Anyway, I’ve noticed that the vets have been careful to not volunteer any info on Mallick Rel Rallick Nom, so that leads me to hope that he plays a nice role in some future book…

Amanda and Bill, -since I didn’t say this in my very first "caught-up" post (quite rude of me), thank you for the posts and your perspectives on this incredibly amazing material. This reread has been a great aid in reading/processing these books. In my efforts to catch up in DG, I would read 2 chapters then stop and read the reread to see the material from a different perspective and see what I might have missed. I look forward to the next reread...

EDIT: I meant Rallick Nom, not Mallick Rel. I'm not particularly fond of Mallick Rel.
Karen Martin
105. ksh1elds555
@Meineke 88- Thank you for the wonderful reminder. I was lucky enough to visit Paris a few years ago and I agree! The Sainte- Chapelle is stunning and worthy of a few tears for its singular beauty. I think it impressed me all the more because it's not as famous(at least AFAIK) as Notre Dame or Sacre Coeur, so I was not expecting something so amazing.
@Aliceinwonderland 65- You're right, it almost seems too obvious. Like I mentioned earlier, this storyline was the one I could least remember and I don't remember Pearl doing any magic or using warrens. So I didn't think it was him. *thinking* did Pearl ever use the Imperial warren? I know several characters have used it as a means of transport, etc. Maybe he did earlier in the book and I totally missed it...

IIRC, I remember the suit of armor in the Azath house described as Giant in size... so I thought the owner would have to be someone of a bigger race like Jaghut or Tiste Andii. Pust said Moby is a soletaken so I wonder if in his true form, he will fit the giant-sized armor...
Chris Hawks
106. SaltManZ
@105: Pearl and Lostara used the Imperial warren when trailing Kalam. Of course, it was Kalam (via QB) that opened it, but still. I seem to recall that most Claws are supposed to be mages of some kind or another, though there are obvious exceptions such as Toc the Younger.

Halfway through TCG, and I have to admit I don't recall ever finding out any more about the giant suit of armor in Tremorlor.
Rajesh Vaidya
107. Buddhacat
I think Raest is the Guardian of the Finnest House in Darujhistan because he accepted the role. If he hadn't, he would be buried in the ground, feeding the Azath.

As for who was talking to Moby, I recall my first impression in my first read was that it was the House itself. Re-reads haven't really changed my mind. We have all sorts of "elemental forces" and natural elements become sentient, even turn into gods, so I see no reason to think Azath are also not sentient. When we think of Shadowthrone's deal with the Azath for Icarium, who is doing the deal? Some Guardian somewhere? Gothos? Or may the House itself.
Steven Halter
108. stevenhalter

When we think of Shadowthrone's deal with the Azath for Icarium, who is doing the deal? Some Guardian somewhere? Gothos? Or may the House itself.

Chapter 23 has some very pertinent info on this.
Travis Nelsen
109. Zangred
Buddha@107: My first impression as well was that it was the Azath itself welcoming Moby. Never really saw any reason to think otherwise, of course I never spent a whole lot of time thinking about it either, since I immediately assumed it was the House.
Travis Nelsen
110. Zangred
kshield@105: While Pearl and Lostara initially start pursuing Kalam at the opening Kalam created, recall that Pearl was already in the Warren and exited when Kalam caused the tear to open. Also when Pearl and Lostara make a quick stop to help out Duiker and friends, it shows Pearl has no problems accessing the Imperial Warren at will.
Rajesh Vaidya
111. Buddhacat
Right, it's coming back to me now - daddy made the deal.

Still, the voice coming out of the armour talking to Moby could have been the House itself. After all, it says it was lonely due to the previous Guardian having died.
Tricia Irish
112. Tektonica
Thanks Buddhacat@111:

Made me think...could daddy be the guardian in the armor in Tremelor? I think I may have read something about that somewhere.....ummmmmm....anyone?

Is daddy, Gothos? He is a guardian somewhere, isn't he?
Tricia Irish
113. Tektonica
When I post a whited out spoiler, it shows correctly, ie: whited out when I preview, but then when I post, it shows black. So I have to edit to make it white. Any one else having this problem??
Sydo Zandstra
114. Fiddler
Let's not be going into a WoT-like 'who is Demandred' discussion here. The armour talked to Moby. Moby is happy.

This particular thing will never be addressed again after this chapter. So, as Buddhacat said, it was probably the House itself speaking.

Gerd K
115. Kah-thurak
I second that. We dont have enough information to make assumptions and it really does not matter much, who greeted Moby. It might indeed have been the house itself or any other guardian of any other house (including the one Tek mentions in her spoiler).
Steven Halter
116. stevenhalter
Tek@113:Sometimes the white out does that for me and sometimes it doesn't. Whenerver I post a white out, I'm poised to edit just in case the text goes black. I've seen others (Hetan) post they have seen the same thing, and still others that it has never happened. I seem to get it about half the time.
Steven Halter
117. stevenhalter
Buddhacat@111:I would go with the voice being from Tremorlor absent any other info.
Tricia Irish
118. Tektonica
Thanks Shalter....knowing that the white text first appears black, I too remain poised and ever vigilant to white it back out!

Glad to know it's not just me.
Robin Lemley
119. Robin55077
@ 100. Mieneke

Apologies, apologies, apologies! This time, MY timeline was off. I thought that information was provided at the end of GotM. I now realize my error and feel really bad about that. I have edited my posts (I think I caught them all) but unfortunately the damage is already done.

I remember that on my first couple of reads, I assumed it was the House itself welcoming Moby and I agree 100% that this is the most likely answer. It was just one of those "little pieces of nothing" that caught my eye on one of my re-reads and caused me to pay attention to/think about it.

Due to SE's skill at hiding information in plain sight for us to only learn the true meaning of somewhere down the road, I am very often guilty on re-reads of reading too much into something. This was OBVIOUSLY one of those times!
Robin Lemley
120. Robin55077
Counting down. Only 5 hours and 22 minutes until I can start reading The Crippled God!
121. Abalieno
This morning I got another huge illumination linked to the previous (just imagine this impossible huge puzzle that starts moving and composing on its own. I've witnessed that). Now it got to the point that it seems to me so brilliant that I'm wary to share it.

If it's indeed the way the series unfolds it could be a rather huge spoiler. If instead it's another of my big delusions and the series goes down a different path, then I'm also wary of sharing it because it's really a grandiose concept that I'd rather give to Erikson to do whatever he wants with it (and it's also a direct product of what I read without any invention on my part). A too cool idea to be wasted.

...So I have as many proofs that it's exactly what is going to happen, as I have that I've been blinded by my own huge delusion. But... it's so awesome! I need to contact Erikson somehow and give him this scheme solely for his own use. Mmmh.... Maybe I could send the scheme to Hetan who could forward it?
Hugh Arai
122. HArai
Tektonica@118: It's definitely not just you, I've even had repeated attempts to edit the text to white fail when I post.
Robin Lemley
123. Robin55077
@ 122. HArai

Like you, I have also had numerous attempts fail. I am certainly not a computer guru and I am sure many, if not most, on here probably are a lot more knowledgeable than I am in this area, but I suspect it may have something to do with either the individual computer system you are using or perhaps even the internet connection used. For some reason, the command just isn't getting through the connection from our individual computer to this site.

It seems that it works for some individuals without too much dificulty and for others of us it rarely works. After numerous attempts months ago, I quit trying. I haven't tried it for a while so am going to try it again now.

Just a test: To see if the "white text" hidden spoiler information witll work for me at this time.

Robin Lemley
124. Robin55077
Nope! I redid it numerous times, edited the post twice, cannot get it to work. Perhaps I am doing it wrong but it works perfect in the text box until I post it.

125. Abalieno
I think you just need to put tags manually.

In this case color=white between , then text, and then you close it with /color (again between )

Like this:

126. Abalieno
I finished reading and this time I don't have anything to complain about ;)

I think every PoV in this was done wonderfully, even if the Chain of Dogs stands out more. Not only because the tension continues to stay high, but because there's a sense of dread and impending doom. You have a certain fright and trepidation toward the pages themselves (and a sense of things not under control) and I've seen Amanda had a similar reaction. In this case the way the refugees react feels extremely "true", especially when they begin to run at the sight of the gates. The emotional part of the scene is described so well. It's done well on the level of the single face, as it is about this mass of refugees as one entity. Recognizing one in the other. A collective feeling that grows and grows.

On my first read I actually guessed at the beginning of the chapter that the gates would stay closed and that the slaughter that would ensue would seal the "tragedy". Duiker actually voices this fear (but no, that would be a betrayal beyond sanity), but it is quickly dismissed and the story continues to feel strongly authentic. So the scene actually went in a more positive way than what I expected, yet I thought the whole deal was over and so I wasn't prepared to what happened next.

Duiker picking up the child was a strong moment that didn't feel at all gratuitous or convenient. I forgot about this scene, is this the same "gifted" child that shows up in HoC? Guess so. Another small piece that isn't lost in the story. So many small touches in the whole PoV that make it so balanced and effective, without giving in this case the feeling that Erikson is trying to force emotions artificially. I think what makes it work here is that he's merely putting on the page the strict description of the consequences of the story: he's giving justice to those characters and the thousands of "redshirts" that compose the refugees. Even if it's stuff imagined, it carries the power of significance and all those people feel real and imposing the reader to remember their story. Erikson achieved here one of the highest ambitions, which is to make this story carry real value, and make the reader feel part of it, completely. Erasing the distance. Along the book we had Duiker thinking about humanity and history (taken as abstract or distant ideas, if you want), and here the reader is active in the story, being directly part of the process. Witnessing something legendary (because so filled with significance), be right there and be the demonstration of the power of a story.

It's like the difference between celebrating something and feel actually part of it. Belong to it wholly. The achievement is: the reader becomes part of the Chain of Dogs. One of them.
Steven Halter
127. stevenhalter
It's Tuesday and I'm reading TCG. But, from 22:

There was no shortage of spikes ...

and from 23:
“Of course he’s close,” snapped the leader who had first called the halt. “He doesn’t have wings, does he? ...
Sydo Zandstra
129. Fiddler

If it's indeed the way the series unfolds it could be a rather huge spoiler.

Feel free to send it to my shoutbox in private mode, and I'll tell you if you are right or wrong there, without giving spoilers. No kidding :)

@people having trouble whiting out text:

I have never had this problem. I just select the text I want to whiten out, and select white in the colour palette above the text box.

I think this is browser dependent. I know Tek is on a Mac, so she probably uses Safari. I am using Firefox myself. :)
David Thomson
130. ZetaStriker
I already started re-reading MoI. I am so weak. Luckily The Crippled God is going to keep me from moving too far ahead when it arrives later today.
Karen Martin
131. ksh1elds555
@126 Abalieno- I agree 100% with your post! THAT is what makes this book one of my favorite of all time.
pat purdy
132. night owl
Somehow I don't think this child is the child that is later know as Grub. A soldier told Duiker that he found a relative to care for that child.

My copy won't get here until the 7th ! Rats !
133. Toster
"Sixty paces on, Keneb's mind was suddenly flooded with the memory of when he had last heard the word "Jhistal."

"I'm freeing my horse," the historian said reasonably, "The enemy won't bother with her - too worn out to be of any use. She'll head back to Aren - it's the least I can do for her."

"You wished for their lives," Shadowthrone hissed in glee, "Or so Apt claims. Now you have them. Your children await you, Kalam Mekhar and Minala Eltroeb - all thirteen hundred of them!"
Bill Capossere
134. Billcap
just a heads up folks as once again real life has intervened in our posting. Amanda's housemate had to be rushed to the hospital and, as one might imagine, that has slowed her down a bit. Due to the obviously unexpected, and then lengthy nature of the situation, we won't be posting tomorrow. The plan is to post the next two chapters on Thursday with my comments alone if Amanda is still busy, with both of ours if she can get it in. We'll then cover the last chapter, epilogue, and whole book wrap-up in next week's post. On Wed (he says, tempting the gods . . . )

Send your good thoughts to Amanda's housemate!

135. Abalieno
I figured that since Amanda wrote something on Twitter. I'd suggest to wait till she's free even if it means losing a week. It's not like we're time constricted and need to rush toward a definite date. It will take a lot of time anyway ;)

It's also a better idea to delay a week and close the book by then, instead of leaving 20 pages or so for the final commentary. Just delay it and put it together. Or so I'd suggest.

On the matter of the "scheme" I imagined about the series I finished writing it down and sent privately to Hetan, so it will hopefully reach Erikson (and she now confirmed me she did). Maybe I'll send it to Fiddler too if I figure out how private messages work here. I'm curious to see if someone finds any value in what I wrote or has the same giddy reaction I had ;)

I also finished reading the other chapter, but it needs no comments.

And yep, it seems I'm wrong about "Grub", a grandfather is mentioned. I've seen other had gussed the same I did, so the matter isn't closed completely.

I was thinking that the reason why some readers may find Kalam storyline slower or less interesting in this book is because he basically stays alone. That is a big enough element to make the difference. The characters he meets along the way are new ones that need to win the sympathy of the readers, while on the other side we have Fiddler, Crokus, Apsalar, Icarium, Mappo, Pust. Or the Chain of Dogs, or Felisin & company. Kalam is more lonely and solitary, not even with Quick Ben with him. Plus the fact that his intentions are mostly kept in the shadows, and a lot of what happens around him is weird, vague and mysterious. Not many handholds for the reader.

I also thought how his reaction to Salk Elan changed at the beginning of the chapter. Surely Elan pressed on him, but I think the fact that Kalam ran out of tricks (he used up both the shaved knuckles he had) played a role and he felt truly cornered and without escape.

The pattern instead makes sense again and I was fooled. I thought that "the plan" was to reach Laseen, in Malaz City. So I then couldn't figure out why Quick Ben expected to be summoned in Unta. I was simply wrong since the capital is Unta and Laseen should be there. So no need to reach Malaz City itself, the endgame would have happened in Unta, and so it's the place where that last "knuckle" should have been used. All makes sense now :)
Brian O'Reilly
136. idlefun
Night Owl @132.
It's definitely Grub. He describes in a later book how Duiker picked him up outside Aren.
David Thomson
137. ZetaStriker
I hope Amanda's friend is okay! In the meantime, I agree with the others who suggest delaying and combining the final two posts for Deadhouse Gates. While your commentary is always appreciated, Bill, I think part of what makes this re-read so engaging is the combination of Amanda's neophyte reactions and your reasoned comments and hints. And especially for a set of chapters as powerful as what is to come, Amanda's reaction is something that deserves to be included.
138. David DeLaney
Bought TCG on Tuesday. Am reading it.

May be some time.

Dave "have already received several revelations" DeLaney
Iris Creemers
139. SamarDev
I 'vote' for a final conclusion to DG next week. There is no need for Amanda to hurry now. How much I like this reread, what's a book compared to a real-life beloved's health?
pat purdy
140. night owl
No,no - It can't be the same child, because that snaggle of crows that flew off with Coltraine's soul has to find an "empty vessel" awaiting it.

I ditto the vote for a final conclusion to DG next week. And I hope Amanda's friend is OK and doing better.
141. David DeLaney
... ok, done reading TCG now


Dave "WE GOT A POV FROM BENT, how cool is THAT?" DeLaney
143. kjtherock
I figured the voice from the suit of armor was Dassems daughter since she is also in Tremorlor. She is also missing her armor.
Emiel R
144. Capetown
The posting for chapters 22 and 23 has arrived, but has not been linked in the main post. Here's the link for those who have trouble finding it:

By the way, new here. Hi. :-)
145. Jgilson27
I am the only one that saw the Biblical reference at the end of chapter 21??

Thrice denied, High Fist
Coltaine is dead. They are all dead.

A Jesus/ Saint Peter reference, perhaps?
146. endertek
Jgilson27 - nope - I think there's a lot of Biblical stuff in here and I am a bit stunned that no one seems to point these things out. Glad to see I'm not the only one. Of course - since I'm a year behind you, you will probably never see this!
Vincent Lane
147. Aegnor
Wow...just finished Chapter 21 (first time reader). Absolutely incredible. Epic. Heartbreaking.

I barely breathed through that whole section.
Alex P. W.
148. Alex_W
Ok, I should've guessed, that Salk is Pearl. I'm with Amanda here on this. I have no idea how I could not have thought of Pearl. As he was last known in Aren too and known to be a Claw. Merde.

It somehow saddens me too. Because I remembered Pearl as beeing quiet a decent guy, having helped the Chain of dogs the way he did together with Lostara that one night. Also his conversations with Lostara during their travel made me have good feelings towards him. Yet betraying Kalam that way, destroyed that good feelings almost alltogether. Sad indeed. Oh how I would want to be a wittnes of that fight between Apt and the other demon as long as I would be out of their reach of course :-)

And again, we don't see Icariums power all scale. Oh how much I would want to see that. As it is implied, that he's probably the most powerful beeing in that series, at least so far. And then, will we never see the true shape of Moby? What kind of demon is he? Will those questions be answered? I am eager to know.

Here also comes the first really sad scene for me, as Crokus needs to say goodbye to Moby. That beloved "little" and funny familiar of his which ties him back to his past in Daru and to his caring uncle Mammot. I feel as I will miss Moby as much as Crokus probably will. At least Moby seems to be ok with this and his new role and at least the Azath and the other guardians of the Azath will obviously make sure he will not be too lonely there.

Ant then comes the next, the most saddest scene for me so far. Here I had honestly tears in my eyes as well. When Duilker says somehow goodbye to Coltaine, to his unnamed marine. To his friend Lull. The realisation that he will probably never see his unnamed marine again. The passing of the note by the same marine to Duiker telling him not to read it for some time. The farewell greetings from List passed on to Duilker. What a gruesome sad and tragic scene. Here the strength of Erikson's writing to be able to create such emotion in the reader, truly shows. It barely can get any more tragic and sad then that. Imagine beeing Duiker in that scene. Could you really leave this group of people like that? Leaving them to their last stand knowing so? Well he has to alas it seems the refugees seem lost too. And for what would that last stand of Coltaine be good for if not for the refugees surviving. Oh my.

Nice to see Keneb again. Thanks to Kalam we might say.

Interesting scene there with Cottilion "the kind uncle" reappearing after so much time. Here we see his decent caring side. For a slight moment of a second I first thought of Lassen to, as his daugher, but I dismissed it quickly as not making a lot of sense and then I was sure he means Apsalar. I'm still sure now. This is probably his daugher of sorts in his opinion. And yes, he needs to be forgiven not the other way around.

So the Captain has finally a name now. "Carther-". It's clear now to me that this must be the former High Fist of Seven Cities known as Cartheron Crust named earlier in the book who was part of the old Guard of the former emperor and vanished when the purge of them started. He was known to have drowend as mentioned here again. I guess he will play a bigger role still yet to come in this book and/or others to come.

I wonder how acually Felisin/Shaik feels about those two horrible figures Korbolo Dom and Kamist Reloe slaughering away so ruthlessly and brutally all in the name of her whirlwind-goddess. I hope she will tie them back a little upon finally arriving at Aren.

And then, the climax scene of these chapters, the collapse of the 7th, the wickans and dear friends of Duiker. While I had not so much wet eyes like I had at the partings described above, the most saddest scene here appears to be for me the killing of Bult and List. While we know, that there are Ravens salvaging the soul of the warlord Coltaine and having been prepared allready earlier that he has almost ascended and so knowing this will probably not be the true end of the great Coltaine, it seems pretty much clear that it is the final end of our Uncle Bult and our friend List and even though not mentioned it was probably also the final moment for the unnamed marine of Duiker. These parts and thoughts made me the most sad in this scene. Not the apparent dead of Coltaine.

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