Mar 30 2011 1:53pm
Ask Steven Erikson Your Deadhouse Gates Questions!

Steven EriksonBefore Bill and Amanda get too deep into their Memories of Ice reread, we’d like you to take one more look at Deadhouse Gates. Specifically, so you can pose your questions about the book to Malazan series author Steven Erikson!

The procedure is somewhat the same as it was when Gardens of the Moon and Night of Knives were wrapped up. Post your questions (or questions) to Steven in the below comments. We’ll collect and sort them all on Monday morning and send them off to Steven for answers.

There are no strict guidelines for questions, but concise and well-composed questions are always best!

1. Edgewalker

Damn you for making me cry every single book. The Crippled God had me sobbing, much to my fiancee's bemusement/shame.

When you write someone infuriating, such as Mallick Rel, do you get annoyed with the character as you write it? Think to yourself, "Wow, I can't wait for this guy to get his," or anything like that?

Also, was Fiddler becoming a focal point of the series always intended or did he grow on you as time went by?

Thanks for giving me what I consider to be the greatest series of books I've ever read. As a write, you humble me.
2. Abalieno
Oh! I didn't expect this.

It's actually hard to think what to ask because Erikson personal presence has increased considerably in the last year. A bunch of interviews, articles, blog posts and comments on the reread, I surely got far more than I could have expected a couple of years back and lots of this material is quite revelatory. Then it's also hard as usual because questions about a specific book have a tendency to be about plot details, the ones that Erikson won't likely directly address ;)

Anyway, I'll start with that one since it keeps nagging me and I haven't found a way to wrap it up. Disclaimer: if it's RAFO (so revealed in some other book), then point it to me. I'm patient, so the question exists as long the specific point stays ambiguous and isn't addressed again:

- The Prologue. We are shown a priest of Hood that "is not there". A message from Hood himself to Heboric: "a secret to show". While the scene is evocative and can be related to various aspects of the story, I'm missing its main significance and motivation. What was Hood trying to show? What's this secret? This happens before Heboric fortuitously brings Fener in the mortal realm and it appears unlikely that Hood's message was about some future event or development. So what was the intention right there? There are a number of suggestions or misdirections already in the scene: "the swatting hand of a furious god", "the secret was the mocking of immortals", "a joke far beyond her understanding", "was that Hood himself", "why stand before a once-priest of Fener - what was the message behind the revelation?"

I'm still wondering. Especially because I can't find a motivation about why Hood (or someone who can relate to this scene) would have an interest in Heboric at this point.

I'll probably have more questions later. Oh, few more, I get started and can't stop:

- I'd rather not talk who's exactly the Jaghut face that Duiker sees at
the end of the book (because of spoilers, I think), but who's this
laughing god, especially the one that is laughing when Heboric looks up
at Duiker? The Crippled God is the best bet, but it's odd that he's not
coughing, or maybe this was avoided to not disrupt the scene before the reader was aware of that trait? Is it him to mercifully "blind" Heboric in that scene?

- "Beneth" is a rather curious name as it first appears in a kind of blatant alliteration: "Felisin lay unmoving beneath Beneth." I'm wondering how this character was named and if the name came directly out of that scene. There's probably a subtext about the name and character but it's rather bold to go with that specific line. It's probably something that most writers would directly avoid. So I'm curious about the decisions involved in both that name and that line.

- Who's the "Trout Sen'Al' Bhok'Arala" that writes some of those chapter headers? Just an idea tossed in, or is this character related specifically to someone in the book or some specific scene/plot/whatever (it was speculated he could be Moby passing time in Tremorlor, but seems unlikely)?

- Reminded by the previous question: am I right if I say that there's a specific convention in the use of apostrophes in names? They appear to mark a distinction of "quality", happened at some point, that changed subtly or radically what that word defined. The most obvious example being the T'lan Imass, after the ritual. Marking the change before and after. So is this "breaking" of the name used specifically in relation to the breaking, or change, of the subject?
Isaac VanDuyn
3. isaacvanduyn
So this is a small question, but one I've wondered about:

Where did you come up with the idea for creatures with more joints than humans, and why?

I was wondering this particularly when reading Deadhouse Gates again (in preparation for finally cracking open my copy of The Crippled God) and saw that List mentioned a many-fingered hand to Duiker, which is then later identified as a Jaghut hand, even though in my Kindle I wrote down a note that said, "Forkrul Assail?" because in my mind, after reading the entire series minus TCG, the Assail are inexorably linked to multiple-joints. But now that it seems like two of the "founding races" have multi-jointed features, I'm wondering where that idea came from? Is it something from human evolution I'm not aware of? Some way to make certain races seem alien and unknowable?
4. Marc Rikmenspoel
The Kalam parts at the end of DG always reminded me of something similar to a Tarantino scene out of Kill Bill, or from the Asian movies that inspired him. Was it your intention to create this impression in readers?
5. Abalieno
Two more!

- Speaking of names. What's behind the "K'Chain Che'Malle"? I was reading MoI today and there's a scene where Whiskeyjack is described wearing a "chain camail", a normal armor piece (the more common "chainmail", I guess). The assonance between the two is too strong to be casual, not even really disguised, yet it's unclear what's the relationship between the two.

- Could you confirm or elaborate a bit more on the story behind the writing of this book? We know for example that after GotM you started writing what would become Memories of Ice, but at some point during the writing of the book you lost everything and were too frustrated to start again from scratch, and that was how we got Deadhouse Gates as a second book. How much this "incident" affected the writing (and planning) of the two books? Did it help you to have a second glance at MoI and make it so complex and satisfying for most readers? I seem to recall that you said DG is a book whose plot was not established earlier as part of the roleplay that shaped the series, yet it has one of the most complex structures in the way it interlocks with book 3 and 4. The scene where Heboric touches the Jade statue seems to happen in parallel with the scene in MoI that takes place in Capustan about a certain priest's hands. Then what happens on the Silanda is the "consequence" of a scene narrated in book 4. How were you able to extricate and plan ahead this sort of tangle and non-linear structure? And was the "clean(er) slate" (as I understand) of DG something that helped with or upped the challenge of writing that book?
Paul Boyd
6. GoodOldSatan
Ok, so just a few questions to clear up that were not resolved (for me) during the reread discusssions.

Why did Fiddler choose Seven Cities and the 7th rather than Genabackis and the Bridgburners?

Which God laughed at Pormqual's beheading?

Does the identity of Duiker's Jahgut matter?

I also have a general question about how you decided to weave and space the variuos threads both within and between chapters. How do you decide how much of a particular thread to reveal at one time (particularly when the threads are not instantly connected; e.g. Kalam and CoDs)?

7. Gatekeeper
I always wanted to know if when completing DG, you sat back and exclaimed "Oh, yeah, this is going to me 'em cry.". Or not
karl oswald
8. Toster
A lot of discussion went on about Felisin in this portion of the re-read. at one turn, she is a tragic case bound to elicit sympathy from readers, but at the very next she comes off as a spiteful, ungrateful, little slut. what i'm wondering is how you approached writing such a contradictory character and what, if any, individual/group/theme from our own world did you find useful as inspiration?

and just for kicks, and even though i know you'll probably just smile and say nothing, who are the three dragons seen by fiddler and co in tremorlor? is it gothos? is gothos a d'ivers eleint??
Gerd K
9. Kah-thurak
A question concerning the Deck of Dragons. In the reading in Deadhouse Gates Kalam is represented by the Assassin of Shadow. I presume this does not mean, that he actually is the Assassin of Shadow, Cotillion still holds that position. Am I reading does right or is, for that period of time, the position of in High House Shadow actually shift?

Thanks for doing this!
Steven Halter
10. stevenhalter
1) Deadhouse Gates, Bantam Edition (Trade Paperback) page 114, first sentence:

Without another word the three began walking.

So, the question is--Is "three" a typo or is there a non obvious person walking along with Icarium or Mappo?

2) In chapter 19, as Fiddler's group struggles to enter Tremorlor, they see a bloodfly swarm (a d'ivers) coming towards them. Is this swarm related to (or the same as) other bloodfly d'ivers we see in later books?

3) Did Gothos write Gothos' Folly before or after entering the Azath?
Bill Capossere
11. Billcap
Not sure if you can answer this safely, but it appeared to me that there were a lot of echoes especially between DG and TCG. I'm curious if this was just the natural outgrowth of working within the same world of characters, images, themes, etc. or if any of it was intentional. And if so, if it was intentional looking forward (i.e. writing/revising DG with at least some of TCG in mind) or looking backward (writing/revising TCG with thoughts of DG in hand)

DG (in my memory at least) more "philosophy" than GoTM, an aspect we see throughout the series and one which I think helps separate the books from a lot of other fantasy. If you agree, did you consciously feel more free to indulge in this as an older, more experienced writer or was it just the way you wrote at that time? Did you (or your editor) ever feel any concern that these bouts of reflection on culture, human nature, society etc. might slow the pace or lose some readers who prefer "less talk more slay"?
Tricia Irish
12. Tektonica
Thanks Steven for taking time for us. I started this reread as a newbie, but have just finished Toll the Hounds. These are very hard to put down!

To elaborate on Bill's question above.....I have been enjoying the "philosophy," reflections on culture, human nature, history, society, etc. and agree with Bill that this aspect definitely sets this series apart from anything else I've read in the genre.

I am wondering who your major philosophical influences have been? I detect some Hegel, Camus, even Kierkegaard, in the emphasis on the integration of Man with Nature (and the lack thereof), personal responsibility and "truth", the importance of history, and on being present to ones' choices. Am I on the wrong wave length?

Thank you!
Sydo Zandstra
13. Fiddler

Somebody above mentioned the 'can you hear a god laughing?' part when Duiker is crucified. It's been discussed in the threads here about which god that would be. Hood and Shadowthrone are the contenders.

As I read that part, the phrase 'can you hear a god laughing?' was more general, as in 'Mallick Rel, this whole crucifying people along Aren Way is going to backfire on the rebellion'. Without one of the gods being involved here.

I am paraphrasing, probably. But could you shed some light on that so we can bury the issue, please?

I also want to thank you for finishing a magnificent series, which has moved me deeply in numerous books, for numerous reasons, numerous times. After finishing reading The Crippled God, I just couldn't read serious fantasy for a while, and consoled in reading predictable stuff like Feist and Brooks (which is satisfying in its own way).

I do have more questions, but I'll save them for the post-MoI session.

Thank You.
14. normalphil
What are Apt's motivations? The same as she told Shadowthrone? Why is she involved in the first place?
15. StevenErikson
Hello everyone, and thank you for your questions, which I will either answer in a most direct fashion or blithely evade as suits my mood (well, not really). I admit that I am in something of a quandry with respect to many of these questions, as they relate directly to interpretations of text, which my instinct tells me to leave pretty much alone, in the sense of the long-standing tradition of writers not being 'present' to explain the works they've had published. I suspect many other writers are facing this same dilemma: the days of remaining outside or noncommunicative with respect to reader/critic/reviewer interpretations of works seem vaguely behind us in one sense (that of this internet thingy), yet a permanent truth in another (dead writers tell no tales). Now, I'm not yet dead, but a part of me wants to play dead, if you see what I mean.
A number of you ask which god was laughing, and I shift uneasily at the query. And I know that my reply will prove unsatisfying to most: get into the character's head, as far in as you can go, and then wonder who might be laughing -- at his helplessness, his ignorance, his blindless, his grief -- he is asking cruel nature for a reason, for all of it, for any of it. He is a blind man seeking proof of god -- any god -- anyone who can answer the vicious acts of humanity. He stands facing history (Duiker) yet knows it not, and a god is laughing...
Duiker's 'Jaghut' is one of those RAFO, which for those who have read ahead is pretty much the answer (not the one in Deadhouse Gates).
Edgewalker: nasty characters are if anything easier to write than generous ones: it is simpler to follow their lines of thinking (which mostly isn't thinking, just being pulled along by fear-fuelled emotions leading to facile rationalisations); whereas generous characters are bound to acts of courage that can be difficult to get across with the necessary subtlety. I try not to think too much of 'what's coming to them' unless I have a specific scene already in mind, in which case I may foreshadow some of that. Otherwise, they live for the moment, and in the moment, as much as I can manage to convey that.
Abalieno: the priest of flies ... well, as you noted, the interpretations are myriad, and uh, that's how I wanted it. read it one way, read it ten ways; it's an image that riffs throughout the novel, and indeed the whole series. I wouldn't have done that if I didn't think it was strong enough to carry all those meanings. There is simply no way that I can give you specific meaning, because it carries multiple meanings. Beneth is just a name; Trout is just a name that amuses me; and a general rule for the insertion of glottal stop apostrophes is that, in Imass language, it confers past-tense.
isaacvanduyn: multiple joints ... no reason beyond that of invention, and creating a species distinct from general humanoid forms.
Marc: I think Kill Bill showed up well after the publishing of Deadhouse Gates (though I'm not sure, as I hated those films): for kalam's run in Malaz City, I probably had more in mind a kind of desperate juggernaut, which is how I see Kalam when he's in trouble. As always, great fun to write.
Abalieno #2: chain camail and K'Chain Che'Malle? Coincidence, mate. Your second question... well, where do I start? I've said in previous interviews that I kinda rolled up my sleeves when it came to writing Deadhouse Gates. I wanted to see what I could pull off, what I was capable of, and just how much I could pack into a novel. The links and cross-referencing to Gardens and Memories of Ice, were all part of that envisioning. I challenge myself, when writing, in assembling the most intricate structural links as I can, and then to make them as unobtrusive as I can.
Good Old Satan: see above for various responses; as for the working of threads, when to return to them and so on, it's mostly down to instinct, deciding when it's time to return to characters we've not been with for a while; and then weighing that with where I need them to be at a certain time.
Gatekeeper: the questions of whether readers cry at certain sections of these novels must always be preceded by the question of whether or not I cry when writing those scenes. If I feel nothing then readers will feel nothing; if I feel something, and manage to get that across in the prose, then I hope the readers will feel the same, but I cannot expect it. It's more down to just feeling anything, isn't it?
Toster: Writing Felisin's character was always a matter of staying as close as possible and showing not telling, making the writing not just tight, but terse. As an exercise, it was an eye-opener, and taught me alot which I then made full use of with the first part of House of Chains. I never didn't like her, by the way. The three dragons ... no idea who they were: I wrote them in to remind readers that the world exists beyond the tale itself.
Kah-thurak: mortals take on roles in the Deck of Dragons specifically related to what they're involved in at the time. It's variable and more than one person can assume a title.
shalter: #1: I'm really not sure (no copy at hand), but it sounds like a typo if there's only Mappo and Icarium present. #2: same bloodfly swarm; the first sighting was foreshadowing. #3: Gothos began writing his Folly long before he entered the Azath Houses.
Billcap: the connections between the final scenes of Deadhouse and those in The Crippled God are indeed reflections. I can't tell you which serves the other, though in sequence obviously the former precedes the latter insofar as reading them are concerned: in my own mind, I really don't know. But there are parallels like that throughout the series.
Philosophical elements ... I don't know, I think it has more to do with staying with characters as they progess through a broad sequence of events and experiences: without some contemplation, without a host of questions pushing up from the whole mess, are we not just brainless automatons? I suppose I am writing about the relationship between each of us and the outer world, via the internal monologue/dialogue we each have with ourselves. Since this is what interests me, I pretty much cannot avoid it in a long, intense tale as this series describes. For some readers, it's clearly too much and they skip those sections; for me, it's what all the rest is all about. As for influences (next questioner), they are many. I've read widely in the field, though my retention ain't what it used to be.
Normalphil: Apt is what she is, and for me the first word that comes to mind is: cute.

cheers for now
16. Abalieno
I had other questions too ;)

For example on the Silanda there's a map showing fjords. It may be Lether but we know from Esslemont that the continent was your invention and not part of the original mythology. So I was going to ask if that map was intended to be Lether and if so the continent was "added" before Deadhouse Gates was planned/written. Or: at which point the more detailed structure of the series was written down? (then there are more questions to ask about the geography that I guess I'll keep for MoI, like the relative position of Korelri and Jakuruku that are contradicted in the text...)

There was also another obscure part related to Kulp & company entering the flooded warren while they were being assaulted by the mad mage. I initially thought that they entered the mage's warren, but on a second read I noticed that it's the mage that trails after them into what should be the Nascent. So how they make into that warren?

In HoC there's a similar sequence when Karsa travels east by boat. I wonder if there's some kind of portal that stays open in the middle of the ocean, but in that case it is odd that the Malazans are not already aware of it since those routes should be quite trafficked.

I guess you would just keep teasing us anyway ;)

I have a certain dissatisfaction at the priest of flies. Not because you didn't want to give a straight answer here, but because I think it would be needed in the story. I enjoy a lot the multiple layers and meanings, but I also feel that they should exist on top of a strong foundation. Then they can thrive and add meaning.

The problem with the scene, though, is not in the ambivalence and "richness" of possibilities, it's that neither of them is solid enough to "sustain" the scene. So all those possible theories and interpretations feel to me kind of "floaty" in the sense that a certain implausibility lingers (as I asked: why Hood should have an interest in Heboric at that point of the story?).

I love the possibilities, the echoes, the interpretations. But all of these would be enhanced if there was at least one motivation that was solid enough, then carrying all the ambivalence you put on it as a plus.

And as usual I'm just offering honest feedback, do with it whatever you want.
17. champooon
Thanks SE, always grateful!
18. amphibian
Oh, there's reasons for Hood to have an interest in Heboric...
19. Abalieno
At that point, though?

Heboric doesn't seem to have an active role at that point of the story and the events do not seem to follow a "plan".
Hugh Arai
20. HArai
Abalieno@19: Issue of scope again. Failure to see a plan after 2 books in a 10 book series does not deny the existence of a plan, it simply means you don't see one yet.
21. Abalieno
Thinking about it, there's also another part that does not convince me.

The three dragons ... no idea who they were: I wrote them in to remind readers that the world exists beyond the tale itself.

While the use of those dragons is evident, it still needs a context. Even if those dragons don't have a specific identity or a specific story, there must be a reason why they have access to an Azath warren and can exist/enter as they please. Are even dragons wandering around freely?


Oh sure. I never mind a RAFO. Just as long it's true that it's explained later.
Bill Capossere
22. Billcap
Thanks as always for the responses. Just gotta say, of all your answers on here in these Q & As so far, my favorite by far is "no idea"

On your philosophical musings, I assumed it was what interested you (and I assume it's what interests most who read through the whole series--reading all the works while skipping those bits seems akin to those out-the-bus-window-18-countries-in-15-day tours you see now and then). I guess what I was curious about (if you come back here) was in the editing/publishing process if you felt any pressure (self-pressure, agent, editor, publisher) to minimize those parts. Say, did you ever have a "Steven, it appears many of your readers are skipping those parts or just stopping reading; can't we get more of that guy with the cool sword killing more big dogs?" kind of conversation?

Thanks again!
23. Abalieno
Earlier today I was reading a comment about David Foster Wallace on another forum:

I feel so weird using spoiler tags for IJ because the plot is so
ancillary w/r/t the theme(s), and everyone should know by now that
particular plot resolutions weren't something DFW was all that
interested in showing the reader, because that was beside the point in
every important way.

Just to say it happens all the time and to different degrees ;)

For me, the "slow" parts of this series are usually those that "move" the most. Things happen internally before they have an outcome outside, and so the parts that have more "action" are those that are merely triggered by all the set-up that came before.

Not surprising that those who don't like that kind of brick-laying and introspection are those who get more disappointed about the books.
24. amphibian
David Foster Wallace did provide plot resolutions. The characters concluded their particular narrative arcs and then moved on (or not in some cases). We see a little bit of the post-Entertainment life for some characters and that lack of definite finality may be what throws off the person quoted above.

In my reading of DFW's works, the characters within the books don't stop existing once the story's over. They live their incredibly bizarre lives and DFW drops us into their lives with perhaps the most wry, darkly funny, subtle and appreciative camera ever constructed. That camera trundles into the past a great deal, so we readers can see the backstory, see how things came to be in the present, see why the things occurring in the present matter and why all of this leads to the slight bit of the hopeful/sad future we glimpse.

I believe that what happened to Hal Incandenza & Co. mattered greatly to DFW and should matter greatly to the reader as well. It's a fantastic journey to get through Infinite Jest and certainly there's a tremendous amount to take from the read beyond plot resolutions, but DFW wrote the book to be appreciated upon many levels - of which character arcs and the telling of the story are the primary foundation upon which everything else rests.


Is it odd that so many people on the forums and here have taken the names of your characters? Does it sometimes affect what comes out of your head to see, let's say... Hetan on the forums, talking about enjoying immensely DC Universe, hosting wonderful BBQs and so on? Any hint of a "Oh, she's fantastic - maybe I can tip the ending this way to be happier for her as a sly tribute..."
Tricia Irish
25. Tektonica
The action in these books is exciting and compelling, as well as tragic and moving, ( and sometimes funny), but for me, being inside these peoples' heads is the real thrill. So much of fantasy is plot and world...surface stuff. Everyone of these characters is unique and not cliche. Such a treat.

Thanks again Steven for dropping in here.
Steven Halter
26. stevenhalter
The changing dynamic in the writer/reader relationship is fascinating to me. Especially the acceleration of change. Over the relatively short span of our own lives so far ~60's on, we have seen the opportunity for authorial access expand dramatically.
For SF, there have been the slow route of fanzines for some discussion and if you were lucky enough to be able to go to a Con (money and distance) you might be able to actually speak! to your favorite author.
Now, an author can choose to intereact directly (thanks for choosing this, Steve) with the readers. The speed of reader interaction is itself orders of magnitude faster than it was in the past.
This part of the future (at least) is indeed a brave new world.
27. Abalieno

The plot issue about DFW is the two years gap that is not covered in the books and that makes you wonder what happened in the meantime. There are a number of teases but you can only guess how things went, or even what is that happened to Hal. So it can certainly leave some readers unsatisfied.

The Broom of the System even ended mid-sentence.

What I mean is that there's a pattern that repeats no matter who's involved.

The Japanese anime Evangelion is a perfect example. For the last episode they dropped ENTIRELY the plot to go fully thematic. The result was that the fans raged.

Hideaki Anno (the director) saw during the show how the fans focused on the trivial parts like the robot fights and fanservice, while instead he wanted to reach deeper and show them something that mattered. So for the last episode he dropped all conceits to go straight to the true message, and the result was that he pissed almost everyone. He received hate-mails and even death threats and had a depression as a result.

The moment he opened his heart the most to "reach out", was the moment the fans used to stab it. That's how things go.

I mean, you try to put everything you have and all your passion in something and the result is that your fans want to kill you because they say you cheated them. That's soul crushing.

This is an extreme example but as I said it's a pattern that repeats. In the end even Evangelion was a very personal work and I consider that last episode a rare masterpiece. There are always risks when you try to go deeper and have a "surface" that is targeted at a certain other public.

The Malazan series surely has no restraint using the most spectacular aspects of the genre, in the same way Evangelion had indeed the robot battles and fanservice (and so was representative of a certain genre and conventions). But when you then try to do something different, new, and reach deeper and do something entirely different and more "personal" then you risk to "divorce" from that public that is there just for the louder entertainment.

For some readers Malazan is unreadable because it's too much "genre", and for others it's also unreadable because it's not enough.

Be glad to have an open mind ;)
30. amphibian
Ano saw what the segment of the audience he paid attention to said. Unfortunately, the disgruntled, the genuinely angry and the uncontrollably vehement are often the most vocal initially. The themes that Evangelion dealt with may have attracted some extremely unbalanced individuals as well and I am sorry that the creator deal with so much unwarranted and intrusive shit due to his creative decision to not fully live out his previous promises. I mean, I flat out hated the ending of Lost for somewhat similar reasons, but I'm not going to personally attack Cuse and Lindelof for it.

From what I can tell, Evangelion affected a TON of people in a very positive and meaningful way. I never got past the first few episodes because it was so relentlessly emo and didn't have a strong enough plot for me to forge through the rough spots, but I still respect the show and its effects.

Kazushi Sakuraba (perhaps THE iconic mixed martial arts fighter in history) still shows up at televised MMA events in a helmet that's a tribute to an Evangelion robot. It's awesome in a sense, but in a way, it's also somewhat sad that he connected so strongly with an anime that centers upon loneliness and alienation.
31. Abalieno
Not sure if I should insist, but I was amused at the fortuitous parallel between Malazan and Evangelion here because I then read a completely different discussion a minute ago (solely about Evangelion) and found this:

I think the reason that Evangelion gets so much interpretive attention isn't because it's uniquely deep or meaningful, but because it (I would say rather cleverly) refuses to give the audience the kind of surface-level world building and neat plot closure necessary to make it satisfying in that sense.

It's a strategic move to throw the focus onto the characters and the way they think, and also to put you in their shoes to a certain extent because they have no idea what's going on either.

And then another intejected:

The first episode just drops you straight into it with absolutely no explanation of what the **** is happening.

...reminds me of a certain book series ;)
32. amphibian
Well... maybe there's some of that, but to me it's also kind of accidentally intelligent mistakes by the director/writers.

If you screw up and things go kablooie, fess up and own up to it. If you screw up and things go swimmingly, keep your trap shut and hope nobody catches on.

And maybe you secretly hope that you figure out what exactly you did right and why it worked, so you can replicate it in the future, akin to the writing process Erikson keeps hinting at.
33. Gatekeeper
Let's keep it tight, eh boys?
34. Abalieno
Well, I quoted those lines not because I share that opinion, but just because they show a certain structural similarity that is indeed there.

I disagree with the conclusion that those quotes lead up to, since I do not see anything "casual" in Malazan, nor deceiving.

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