Wed
Mar 9 2011 1:56pm
Malazan Re-read of the Fallen: Deadhouse Gates, Chapters 24 and Epilogue

Welcome to the Malazan Re-read of the Fallen! Every post will start off with a summary of events, followed by reaction and commentary by your hosts Bill and Amanda (with Amanda, new to the series, going first), and finally comments from Tor.com readers. In this article, we’ll cover Chapters 24 and the Epilogue 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-Four

SCENE 1

Sha’ik and her army enter onto the Aren plains from the Whirlwind warren. Her three mages and Heboric can sense death ahead of such fashion or on such scale that all “flinch.” Heboric asks Sha’ik if she regrets her choices and she thinks of the argument she had with her sister when she accused Tavore of killing their parents, though her answer to Heboric is “I have a daughter now.” She tells Heboric her daughter has a gift with words, a “poet’s eye,” such as Felisin herself might have had had she been given the freedom. Heboric warns such a gift might instead be a curse for Felisin Younger, saying those who “invite awe” can be very lonely, “lonely in themselves.” Sha’ik assures him she won’t be lonely and says she understands remoteness. When he asks if she’s named her Felisin, she says yes, the name “holds such promise. A fresh innocence such as that which parents would see in their child.” Heboric weeps as he listens and when she tells him “Oh Heboric, it’s not worthy of grief,” it crushes him. Leoman, Rel, Reloe, and Dom arrive. Sha’ik sees what Dom has done and scouts report that the crucifixions number in the thousands and line the road for at least three leagues. Dom admits he could not take Aren and that Tavore’s fleet has entered the bay. He marvels that the army surrendered as Pormqual ordered and says it shows the Empire’s weakness—its lack of great leaders. He says Coltaine was the last and Tavore is untested, noble, outnumbered, and lacks advisors. Sha’ik orders the corpses on the plain (not the crucified ones) buried and then a return to Raraku to await Tavore’s army on her terms (though her interior thoughts reveal her terror at the thought). Heboric asks which crucified body he stands before, if anyone knows who the body is. Rel says it’s “an old man. . . A soldier, no more than that.” Heboric asks if anyone else hears a god’s laughter.

SCENE 2

Heboric, last to leave, still stares at the corpse, still hearing laughter in his head, and wonders why is he blind: is it cruel joke or mercy Is it Fener or the jade He tells Fener he wishes “to come home.”

SCENE 3

Blistig waits to greet Tavore. Keneb arrives and said he had no luck finding Stormy and Gesler or Squint, and that the 7th army is ready to be inspected. Blistig worries Squint will commit suicide. Keneb tells Blistig the survivors of the Chain are broken and Blistig agrees, thinking his own company is “brittle.”

SCENE 4

Mappo lays the still-unconscious Icarium down for a rest; he and Icarium were spit out along the Aren Way and Mappo has been futilely trying to find a spot “free of death.” He watches as a cart with three men stop at every tree to examine the bodies nailed to them, then move on to the next. Mappo goes to meet the cart—Stormy, Gesler, and Truth—and when they mention need of bandages he offers his skill at healing. They tell him it’s a pair of dogs, not people, who are wounded and that they’d found them at Coltaine’s Fall. Mappo says it appears they are looking for someone among the bodies and Gesler says yes, and when Mappo asks how many bodies there are and that they’ve checked, Gesler tells him 10,000 and they’ve checked them all—these at the Aren Gate are the last few. Mappo says he’ll look at the dogs and is shocked at their condition and that they still live. Truth is utterly distraught. Mappo worries that when Icarium wakes he’ll wonder at the grief Mappo will still be carrying. He is sad that Icarium loses his memories not only of death and horror but also memories of “gifts given so freely,” and wonders how Icarium would answer all this death. Stormy, who has been checking bodies, yells to Gesler to join him at once. They return to the cart and when Stormy asks if they found him, they tell him no, it wasn’t him. Truth is relieved that at least there is a chance their goal is alive then. Mappo, looking at Gesler, knows he’s not telling the truth for Truth’s sake. Mappo turns down an offer for a ride then, after they head back toward Aren a bit, jogs after them, rummaging in his pack.

SCENE 5

Pust, walking down the path toward the temple, suddenly starts tearing at his clothes as spiders drop from them. The spider D’ivers assemble into a Dal Honese woman named Mogora, who tells him she’s been watching him for months—saw him lay the false trails, etc. When he tells her she’ll never find the real Path of Hands she answers she doesn’t want to: “I escaped Dol Hon to be rid of idiots. Why would I become Ascendant just to rule over other idiots” They walk off together.

SCENE 6

A dragon rises before them and disappears into a warren.

SCENE 7

Pust says the dragon was there to guard the real gate, and identifies the dragon as a T’lan Imass Bonecaster. He and Mogora prepare to enter the temple together.

SCENE 8

A large ornate wagon is halted at the Aren Gate and two creatures that look like bhok’arala disembark and head to a tree. The two are named Irp and Rudd and their dialogue makes clear they are on a mission from Baruk. Rudd climbs onto a corpse nailed to the last tree and searches under its shirt. He pulls out a piece of cloth with the name “Sa’yless Lorthal” written on it then pulls out a small bottle. Rudd says “it broke all right” and then, examining it, says “he’s in there all right.” They start to take the body down to bring back with them to Baruk in Darujhistan.

SCENE 9

Icarium wakes and notices he’s injured. Mappo says he gave away his last two healing elixirs to heal some dogs. Icarium says they must have been “worthy beasts” and he looks forward to hearing that story. The last thing he recalls is spotting the aptorian demon (back at the start of the book). Mappo says that were cast out from a warren and Icarium hit his head on a rock, and it’s been just a day. They head off into the Jhag Odan plain as Icarium wonders aloud what he’d do without Mappo.

Amanda’s Reaction to Chapter 24

Right at the start of Chapter 24 we have a neat little reminder of all the themes we’ve seen throughout the rest of the novel: blood and insects, mostly!

The grasses were black with dried blood. Capemoths fluttered here and there across the scene. Flies buzzed the heat-swollen bodies.

Isn’t it so terribly heart-breaking that Sha’ik’s path to this point came as a result of what she terms: “...a sisterly spat that went too far.” I wonder how Tavore sees it....

I’ve missed the point here of the conversation between Sha’ik and Heboric a little, and I’m sure I’m missing something poignant and moving. I believe it is the little girl that Sha’ik took under her wing, a girl she called Felisin, and is determined to provide a good life for. But there is also a suggestion that Sha’ik the goddess has taken over Felisin’s body entirely, and is then referring to Felisin who has now been lost or is only allowed to the forefront occasionally. Thoughts from you, our lovable readers

“The Empire has lost its great leaders–” Oh really *skeptical* I can think of a few who remain....

I delight in the fact that, after Korbolo Dom defected from the Empire, after taking an age to finally defeat Coltaine (and, even then, creating a legend about him), he is then brought to heel by Sha’ik like a little puppy.

Does Heboric feel nothing of Duiker because of the gift of the statuette I have to say, my heart-strings are plucked at the idea of Heboric, looking small and helpless, begging with the god he betrayed to bring him home. Also, after his comments regarding the fact that Duiker defended him against the Empress, it seems unutterably sad that now Heboric doesn’t recognise him.

Here is another theme brought home to us in the description of the two Wickan warlords: “Two children who are not.”

I am going to be very interested to meet Tavore and T’amber in the future and find out their side of the story....

Mappo really is so incredibly conscious and tender of everything that might affect Icarium—sure, it’s to stop him falling into a towering rage, but I suspect, in fact know, that Mappo cares more than he should about the survival of his friend. “It was not the best of smells for the Jhag to awaken to....”

“A massive flint sword...” This the one he was given [Bill: Yes.]

Ooh, hang on! Three strangely hued men who went through the flame of a dragon—were those three dragons Gesler, Stormy and Truth [Bill: That would be cool, so cool I hate to answer in the negative.]

It’s so fitting that Stormy and the other two are paying tribute to those crucified by looking on each face and acknowledging them.

And here is the perfect summary of the Chain of Dogs:

“Coltaine guided thirty thousand refugees from Hissar to Aren. It was impossible, but that’s what he did. He saved those ungrateful bastards and his reward was to get butchered not five hundred paces from the city’s gate. No-one helped him...”

Oh, the cattle-dog! The lap-dog!

Were Geslar, Stormy and Truth looking for Heboric For Kulp For Duiker

Pust and those spiders! What a fantastic match for him Mogora is. *grins* I already love them as a double act!

“You are a true Dal Honese hag, aren’t you Spiteful, condescending, a sneering bitch in every way!”

“And you are a Dal Honese oaf—conniving, untrustworthy, shifty—”

Sa’yless Lorthal Is that the name of our previously unnamed marine [Bill: Yes.]

And Baruk is rescuing Duiker Ahhh, except he believes it is Coltaine, right I expect a surprise will be coming to the Daru lot when this plotline reaches fruition.

Why is it that Icarium reaching equilibrium and becoming much as he was at the start of the book makes me feel so damn sad It’s as though he was on a journey and has now been thwarted.

 

Bill’s Comments on Chapter 24

As far as Dom goes, it tells you something about his vileness, I’d say, that Bidithal flinches with “appalled horror.”

Amanda, I find that conversation between Felisin and Heboric also a bit opaque. Thinking aloud here, I wonder if Felisin’s answer to Heboric’s question “do you now finally regret the choices you have made”—”I have a daughter now”—have to do with the idea that all her choices prior were predicated on a world of ashes. In other words, it didn’t matter what happened due to her choices: her death, her moral death, the world’s death. But now she has a stake in the world and those choices will affect her. Is that what causes Heboric’s anguish That she’s wrecked a world her daughter will live in Or is it that Felisin Elder now has a reason to live—a daughter—and now is about to be utterly consumed by the Goddess Hmm, just typing that makes me sad. And naming her Felisin is recognition that this Felisin’s life is literally over. I think that may be what she means by “I can feel no awe”—as a soon-to-be goddess I think Heboric cries not only at Felisin’s loss of self just as she’s found reason to live (or created another self for herself—a still-innocent self) but at her crushing confession that her loss of self isn’t worth grieving over. Okay, that’s my thinking...anyone else

Poor Felisin—to fear Tavore so. We’ll see much more of that, and why Tavore engenders such fear, in later books.

You can see why Dom thinks as he does about the Empire’s leaders. The Seventh Army and Coltaine are destroyed, Dujek/Whiskeyjack are outlawed (as far as Dom knows I believe at this point—admitting some blurring of books here), the Old Guard are all “drowned” or such, and Tavore is a noble who has never led an army. ‘Course, Dom has issues with certainty....

Love the echo of Duiker’s earlier names when he says Duiker is “an old man . . . a soldier, no more than that.” Love the echo, hate it in Rel’s mouth.

Okay, I’ve got my views on the god’s laughter, but I’m gonna hold off for the comments section. So let’s hear the theories....

Anybody else find Blistig’s thoughts regarding Stormy and Gesler: “Those irreverent bastards could do with a blistering,” kinda funny Blistering—warren of fire—blistering. Anyone

The idea of the army/garrison being “broken” and “brittle” will carry for some time with this group.

Yes, “two children who are not” is another one of those “themes in a line.” Along with “children are dying” and it turns out there is more than one way to die.

We know Stormy and Gesler are on the verge of ascendancy, so we can see why something about them—”a latent power” would make him “uneasy.”

Gesler’s unfinished line when Mappo notices they’re looking for someone:

“Stormy’s up to the last few anyway. You know, even if we wasn’t looking for someone particular . . . well, at the very least.” He shrugged.

How do you all see that finishing I’m thinking something along the lines of at least these soldiers were recognized, or “witnessed” to use an important word in this series.

Lot of Hood talk going on this last chapter or two. Just saying....

Mappo. I like how what he does is set up by his monologue to Icarium about how he mourns Icarium’s memory loss—losing his horrible memories canceled out by losing as well memories of “gifts freely given.” And then another line that echoes throughout the series: “how would you answer this”

And then the compassion of Gesler and Stormy lying to Truth, letting him hold to false hope.

And the start of yet another classic Erikson duo: Pust and Mogora

We’ll see that Bonecaster undead T’lan Imass Soletaken dragon again folks.

How sad to finally get Sa’yless Lorthal’s name this way.

I love how Icarium’s immediate reaction to Mappo using the elixirs on two dogs is a smile and the words “they must have been worthy beasts. I look forward to that tale.” In the comments on the last one is a little debate over whether Mappo did the right thing with not letting Icarium go. I think this is why I’m with Mappo.

Interesting word to end on.

Epilogue

A young pregnant Wickan widow walks into the grassland near her camp. She been told by the horsewife that the child within her had no soul, it has been cursed, and so she is about to drink a potion to abort the child. Suddenly, the horsewife appears to stop her. The two watch an approaching storm that turns out to be a cloud of crows heading their way. Inside her belly, “the child stirred.”

Amanda’s Reaction to the Epilogue

COLTAINE!!!!!! *cheers*

Amanda’s Reaction to Deadhouse Gates

Oh. Em. Gee. What a bloody ride! I feel absolutely wrung out by this reading experience, completely exhausted, rundown, joyful, hopeful and a myriad other emotions that I have hopefully articulated well enough over the course of this novel.

I did feel worried broaching Deadhouse Gates at the idea that I wouldn’t be spending time with many of those I’d come to love within the pages of Gardens of the Moon—and yet I’ve found even more characters to love. Dear lord, I think with pity on all those people who put down Gardens of the Moon and never continued through the Malazan series—they would have missed out on Icarium and Mappo, on Duiker, on Pust (whether loving him or loathing him)! What a truly horrible thought.

You know what I appreciate most having now read two of Erikson’s books The way he has absolute confidence in his readers. DG is a much smoother ride to GotM, in terms of immersing in the world, in terms of the degree of explanation required to help the reader along a little, in terms of the prose. It is a far superior book in every way—and yet still doesn’t try and baby the reader along. We are forced to engage our brain, to remember occurrences from hundreds of pages previously, to note seemingly throwaway lines. We are treated like scholars, and our patience and energetic reasoning is paid back one-thousandfold.

Deadhouse Gates is probably the most fun you can have over the course of a thousand pages, although I do use the word “fun” loosely. Mostly I was cringing, crying like a babe and carolling my fervent joy about events from the novel. Deadhouse Gates is not a “fun” read, rather an intense and utter submersion into another world.

Erikson’s background as an archaeologist certainly comes to the fore in this novel—he explores themes to a lesser and deeper level through the pages, like death and redemption, courage and the reason for being. And his research gives it all a ring of authenticity that allows the reader to trust in what Erikson is saying.

There was a heavy hint of the philosophising that, I am led to believe, becomes rife in later novels of the series but here it merely helped to lend weight to some of the events, such as that final battle between Coltaine and Korbolo Dom and Duiker’s thoughts leading up to it.

My favourite characters Will it come as any surprise right now that I say Icarium and Mappo—the deeply tragic nature of their friendship provides subtle nuances to every series of dialogue they conduct. The loyalty, the appreciation for each other—all is written perfectly.

My favourite part of the novel I think the sappers of the Seventh. *grins* If not for them, the last few battles would have been unrelentingly bleak and they helped give some hope and humour to proceedings.

All in all, Deadhouse Gates was a tour de force. I honestly don’t see how Erikson can improve on this in later volumes, but I’m chafing at the bit now to go and find out! Simply tremendous!

 

Bill’s Reaction to Deadhouse Gates

Deadhouse Gates for me is where this series really takes off. I liked Gardens of the Moon, like it a lot as a matter of fact. But DG is a whole ‘nother thing entirely. It’s why when I recommend this series as the best fantasy series of the past 20 years or so, as I often do, I always try and remember to tell people not to stop if GoTM didn’t do it for them but to read the first two books. The emotional sweep of this book stands out amongst so much other fantasy, as does the depth and philosophy embedded throughout. I love the way this book (and series) moves through deep time—layers on layers of acts and civilizations and repercussions and ripples and echoes and resonances. Again and again we see characters moving over (literally and figuratively) the detritus of earlier lives (or, for those long-lived Ascendants) earlier acts.

As Amanda says, she worried about leaving behind the great characters of GoTM—Whiskeyjack, Rake, etc—but of course this is balanced by the characters we get here, many of whom we’ll see across multiple books. There are just too many characters and references to things coming up to even begin to address (Soletaken, Kimloc’s song, Bonecaster undead dragon, Fener pulled down, Toblakai/Karsa, Heboric’s hands, shattered warrens, the Silanda, the Talons, The Chained One, souls sealing warrens/rents, Tiste Edur, Drift Avilii, things buried in ice, the empty Beast Hold, etc.) But one of my favorite aspects of this series is how some of these are just thrown out there in trivial fashion so as we don’t even notice them. For instance, the Queen of Dreams gets a tossed out reference that has no impact on events at all (Pust’s temple was once hers) but we’ll see her later. Everything is there, even if we don’t know it the first time.

DG fills out the full triad of House Paran: Tavore, Felisin, and Paran. Erikson will make use of this family structure throughout the series. For instance, we’ll get the Beddict brothers: Hull, Brys, and Tehol. The Sengar brothers: Bindadas, Trull, Fear, Rhulad. Rake and his brothers.

We get the shift to completely new characters and new setting (get used to that).

We get the idea that dead doesn’t necessarily mean dead, via the Wickan reincarnation method (and oh there will be other ways as well).

So many key lines as well:

- Children are dying
- soldiering means standing firm when that time’s required
- the lesson of history at that no one learns
- Name none of the fallen, for they stood in our place
- Life crawls on ever on.
- How does a mortal make answer to what his or her kind are capable of
- spitting in the face of every god
- Compassion. Chains. Armor. Audacity

There is a lot here in book two that will pay dividends not just in book three, but books 6, 8, and yes, 10. The ride is just beginning folks....


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

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

81 comments
Chris Hawks
1. SaltManZ
Amanda, now you see why every time I reread Chapter 21, I immediately flip to the Epilogue. :)

Honestly, I've never understood the "laughing god" bits. I've heard some theories, but none of them rang true to me. I'm interested to see what you think, Bill.

Oh, Icarium. Without spoiling anything, let me just say that having finished TCG, the way Mappo and Icarium's story winds down in DG reads even more bittersweet than it ever did before.
Sydo Zandstra
2. Fiddler
Blistig worries Squint will commit suicide. Keneb tells Blistig the survivors of the Chain are broken and Blistig agrees, thinking his own company is “brittle.”

I wanted to comment on the whole discussion about why Fiddler decides to reenlist instead of going back to the BB, in the earlier thread, but this is a better place for it I guess.

Well, here is the reason, quoted above, or part of it. The 14th will consist of this brittle company and an army of untested recruits, and Fiddler thinks he'll be of more use here (IMO). This army needs a few veterans. We'll learn how that will go in HoC and beyond.

Also, there was the discussion about how these soldiers in Aren were atypical to how the Malazan soldier is described. I disagree slightly there: the soldiers described there always were the core of a fielded army: Marines and Heavies.

This is not a spoiler really, even if it's from tCG: we learn there that the bigger part of a fielded Malazan army consists of regular soldiers who are not Marines, heavy Infantry or Sappers. Paraphrasing: 'if you showed promise on the recruitment grounds, you got to be a Marine or a Heavy infantry. If not, you joined the ranks of Light Infantry.'

The Aren garrison (extended garrison probably) was not a fielded army, and lacked a core like Dassem's Sword or the Bridgeburners. There is a reason why some units get garrison duty, and the leadership they got didn't really improve their backbone...


On to the book: one of my favourites in the series, especially emotionally (poor dogs :( ). Knowing MoI will top this, we're in for a ride with Amanda :-)
Melissa Goodrum
3. Daydreamer
Amanda, love your reaction to the epilogue! About the same as mine the first time. Love it so much, I think it's a great way to end the book on a not horribly depressing note.

I also remember being rather disappointed the first time I started DG that we were switching settings, especially as the characters carrying over weren't amongst my favourites at the time. Needless to say that disappointment didn't last long. So many great characters, many of whom I still consider favourites after the entire series. Duiker, Coltaine, Pust, Mappo, Icarium (SaltMan Z, I agree completely about tCG and DG. Ugh, I foresee this series getting quite a few more tears out of me.) and I could go on. I'd loved GotM but DG completely blew it away, as I'd been promised it would.

Oh, and I don't get the 'laughing god' reference either. Theories?
SneakyVerin
4. SneakyVerin
I have to say, this book (and MOI too) is so damn EMOTIONAL. Just wow. I too appreciate we were not babied along, I love how for every cry there is a laugh.

I assumed the laughing god was Fener, but was not sure, since he has been 'pulled down', maybe Treach?
Rajesh Vaidya
5. Buddhacat
I think it was Hood, laughing because he knew Duiker was still alive, and can tell the real story.
Sydo Zandstra
6. Fiddler
Heboric asks if anyone else hears a god’s laughter.

I always took that as figuratively speaking, as in 'Rel, you have no idea how wrong you are', instead of it referring to a specific god...

But if it is a god, I'd say it would be Hood (or maybe Dessembrae, given the tragic aspect of Coltaine giving Duiker that glass bottle to wear because he valued him higher than himself).
Steven Halter
7. stevenhalter
I'm not sure on the laughing god either. Fener doesn't really seem the sort for chuckles. It could be Hood, but Heboric doesn't really have a direct link there.
The power associated with Heboric's green hand does seem to have some possibility.
Amir Noam
8. Amir
Best. Epilogue. Ever.

Despite the sad and depressing last few chapters, this last chapter (+epilogue) actually manage to end with some uplifting note (relatively): Felisin finds a reason to live (a daughter) and pulls the apocalypse armies back to Raraku; Duiker will indeed get a chance to survive; the two dogs are healed by Mappo; and of course, Coltaine's upcoming rebirth indicated in the the very last line.

This is the first time I've re-read the book since my first read (quite a few years ago). I've forgotten so much. And there's a lot that I've now read completely differently with the knowledge of future books. I can't wait for the new perspective and insight as we move on to the next books in this re-read.

Re: The laughing god:
I also assumed it was Hood, given that Duiker's soul was saved and he didn't "really" die. But I really like Fiddler's explanation @6 of this laugh being at the expense of Rel.

Re: Icarium:
No wonder that Mappo was looking for a place free of death for Icarium to wake. Given Icarium's sense of justice, can you imagine his response if he were to wake up among 10,000 recently crucified soldiers?

Bill:
One addition to your list of key lines from the book: "sleight of hand".
Melissa Goodrum
9. Daydreamer
I'm not sure there needs to be a specific link between Heboric and the laughing god. Duiker also think he hears a god's laughter earlier, after Pormqual's execution. It would be weird, I think, if the two occurences weren't linked. I guess perhaps it could be written-off as Oponn. They might find Pormqual's execution and Heboric being unable to see Duiker (at least, I assume that's what's meant to be being laughed at) amusing. Argh, I have a feeling I may be trying to read too much into this.
karl oswald
10. Toster
well. i even got shivers reading a synopsis of that epilogue! that's when you know that you've got something special on your hands.

oddly enough, DG was my first taste of Malazan. i'd found it in my local library, but they didn't have a copy of GotM. so i read DG, picked up the piece of my brain and went on with my life for a while, not willing to continue the series without reading the first volume. i eventually found a copy, sitting on a coffee table in the basement of a church, no less. and after nobody had claimed it for a couple of weeks, i adopted the poor thing and never looked back.

@7 shalter

huh, i never considered that... in DG that particular god doesn't make an appearance, but he would be the kinda god to laugh at this juncture. is SE even now setting up the character of that god? he might be present, hiding behind the whirlwind goddess... very interesting
Amir Noam
11. Amir
Amanda has already commented on the recurring theme of insects (mostly flies) in the book.

Another thing that I've noticed is that the epilogue closes the circle that started with the book's prologue. In the prologue, we get the swarm of flies around Hood's priest, which then dissolves to show no man there after all.

As a direct contrast, in the epilogue we see a woman pregnant with a dead child (or, at least, soulless), with a swarm approaching of what appears at first to be flies. Only this time, the flies turn out to actually be crows. And instead of the swarm showing an emptiness where a man should have been, the crows' arrival signifies a man's rebirth where no soul was previously.
SneakyVerin
12. DoubleA
Great comments all - love the re-read for one of my fav all time series! I had one thing to add - the laughing god - I read him to be Shadowthrone. Heboric, Duiker, etc all have connections (even personal) to Kellanved who many thought to go mad before his ascension (which is supposedly unknown to most although it seems everyone knows he is one and the same). Plus, he seems to always be giggling in numerous scenes throughout the books. I would find it difficult for Shadow not to have watched Coltaine's trek. Plus, he did have a soft spot for historians... just a thought.
Sydo Zandstra
13. Fiddler
@shalter and Toster:

Wouldn't that particular god be laughing in a very coughing way at this stage (kind of like me atm with this huge cold; but he has other and better reasons for it)?

What I mean, if it were tat particular god it wouldn't sound like laughing. Erikson being the Wordsmith he is, would have written something like 'smiling' or 'grinning' if this were the case, I'd expect...
Sydo Zandstra
14. Fiddler
@Amir:

As a direct contrast, in the epilogue we see a woman pregnant with a dead child (or, at lease, soulless), with a swarm approaching of what appears at first to be flies. Only this time, the flies turn out to actually be crows. And instead of the swarm showing an emptiness where a man should have been, the crows arrival signifies a man's rebirth where no soul was previously.

That is a good observation. I suggested in an earlier thread that it might be a good idea for Bill and Amanda to revisit the Prologue after reading the Epilogue because there are connections between them and looking at those two parts side by side makes a lot more clear about the book itself. Starting with MoI.

But that was right before the next thread came up, so it was probably missed. :)

@Bill and others, what do you think here?
Chris Hawks
15. SaltManZ
I honestly always think the laughing is metaphorical when Duiker hears it. (In a "How do you make God laugh? Tell him your plans" kind of way.) But then Heboric hears it too, which seems to nullify that idea.
Melissa Goodrum
16. Daydreamer
Fiddler @ 13: Duiker describes the laughter as 'harsh'. There's probably somewhere that description could be checked to see if it fits the character in question later in the series.

I like the idea though. It would be a neat reference so early on.

SaltMan Z @ 15: I agree. It's the fact that it's brought to our attention twice that makes me think SE had something specific in mind.
SneakyVerin
17. Tarcanus
Considering what the Crippled God(c'mon guys, the last book is eponymous, I'm pretty sure it's not a spoiler to say) has to express (in the excerpt of The Crippled God) about pain, the slaughter of the Chain of Dogs would be like a lodestone to him.
Steven Halter
18. stevenhalter
Daydreamer@16:Yeah, the harshness is one aspect I was thinking of.
Fiddler@13:It is also a mental laugh, so it might not really be affected by physicallity as much.
Amir Noam
19. Amir
Fiddler,
I agree that revisiting the prologue at the end of a book could be very interesting indeed. The prologue of DG is practically filled with hints, foreshadowing and metaphores about the entire book's upcoming plot.
Emiel R
19. Capetown
Did anyone spot the old man on a mule among Shaik's retinue? I laughed out loud when I read that. :-)
Emiel R
20. Capetown
The links on the main page to this post and the last seem to have disappeared. Could anyone at tor please fix that?
Amir Noam
21. Amir
It seems that with the new tor.com look we (the registered users) have moved from the Grey Swords to the Black Company :-)

Or is it that we've moved from being Edur to being Andii?
Steven Halter
23. stevenhalter
Ok, Deadhouse Gates--here's a little story: Gardens of the Moon came out in 1999 and I managed to pick it up almost right away at Minicon (a local convention). Deadhouse Gates came out in September of 2000 but since it was a UK only edition, it took me awhile to first figure out that it had been published and then figure out how to order it from a UK seller. So, by the time I finally got DG I'd read Gardens a couple of times.
When I finally got my DG copy from across the ocean I eagerly opened it and thought, "hmm these aren't any characters from Garden." This was rapidly followed by "Wow, the shambling priest of flies and then the trip to the boats!" And then, we got Fiddler and co. back and then we got Dukier and Coltaine and ...
All of which goes to say that I was rapidly swept away and my wait was rewarded.
I think that if I had to pick one storyline from DG as my favorite, I would pick Mappo and Icarium. Their journey and friendship really contains all the themes of the story--compassion, inequity, history, power and the results of unchained power, friendship and betrayal. Everything is there in those two.
The Chain of Dogs is, of course, immense and powerful. The struggles along the way become our struggles and triumphs. Then, the fall of Coltaine is an epic impact. An image that burns itself in.
We learn more about our friends Fiddler, Kalam, Crokus and Apsalar. We here small echos from Quick Ben.
Then, there are the little fillips that delight along the way. There is Moby. There are Bent and Roach.
It all works very well for me.
SneakyVerin
24. djk1978
Great book overall. I particularly enjoyed the Chain of Dogs and Path of Hands story lines. I can understand in some ways why this is some people's favorite of the series. It isn't for me. I think MoI, MT and BH are all better and that's as far as I've read.

Can't wait for the next book in the re-read.
Robert Gallagher
25. btowl1818
Like Bill, Deadhouse Gates is what convinced me to continue reading this series (along with the mostly fine people at malazanempire.com... j/k those guys are great). Gardens of the Moon was okay, but not as great as I had been led to believe. I never felt terribly connected to any of the characters and the story itself felt jumbled at times but, having read that the series gets much better in the second book, I continued and I'm glad I did.

Deadhouse Gates was a million times better in just about every way, from its throat-chokingly emotional thrust to the characters and story itself. And even though I'm on Bonehunters now, it remains my favorite by a considerable margin, even though the others I've read have all been awesome in their own way. I've thought it was because it was the first book in this series that really hooked me; this re-read has brought me to the conclusion that that line of thinking, for me, kinda cheapens what transpires in this book. It's just too awe-inspiring to be written off that lazily :)
Bill Capossere
26. Billcap
on the laughing god, my thinking (no better than any other’s I assure you) runs along these lines and in the end, I don’t feel at all secure with the conclusion as I think one can punch holes in much of it or bolster the “eliminated” ones

I don’t think Fener, for the same reason Shalter gives--he doesn’t seem the sort (let alone he’s been pulled down). And in fact, Gesler says much the same thing earlier: “The Boar God's humour ain't the laughing kind” Though he is connected to Heboric.

Oponn to me seems just too removed from the whole thing. That line carries a pretty big weight in that section, coming at the end, from a main character, and with such emotion. Linking it to Oponn seems too abstract in that context for me. Though the irony of chance fits.

The same goes for the Crippled God. Plus, it seems he’s kinda busy elsewhere at this point (though time blurs. And, of course, he is a god). Though Heboric himself wonders if it might be him.

The Goddess: Seems she’d have a good reason to laugh at this point, but it also seems Felisin would react so I’m eliminating her. Though the laughter “rides the wind” (twice basically) from the Goddess’ warren.

Hood. He’d be my second choice. Though if it were him, I’d see him as laughing not at all the death or souls through his gate, but laughing at one (or both) of two things: the fact that Duiker is not actually dead, or laughing at the joke that Duiker and Heboric have been “reunited” but neither is able to tell.

My first choice is Shadowthrone for a couple reasons. One is we see him laughing repeatedly in his appearances. Two is that Duiker hears a god’s “harsh laughter” when Pormqual is killed and that seems the sort of thing and person ST would laugh at (and we know he’s been following these events). ST’s laugh has also been described as “harsh” earlier in the novel. The laughter Heboric hears I see a bit differently. I can see him laughing for the same reason I gave Hood above--at the irony of the unrecognized uniting of Heboric and Duiker. I can also see him laughing at the irony of Rel’s description--Duiker being described in “dismissive” fashion by the very words he’d take honor in.

That’s all I got--and it ain’t much, I admit.
Steven Halter
27. stevenhalter
@Bill:As you say there doesn't seem to be a perfect fit for the laughing god. ST never quite fit right for me as there seemed to be a bit of meanness in the laughter. Not that ST can't be mean, but his laughter always seemed of more the giggly/manic sort than the mean edgy sort.
Melissa Goodrum
28. Daydreamer
Bill @ 26: Nice analysis, thanks! I could go along with ST. I don't think there's any need to rule out the Crippled God due to him being busy elsewhere though. DG takes place about the same time as MoI and MT, yes? He appears in both of those so he could be paying attention here too. But I suspect shalter is right and there is no definitive answer.

Edit: Ok, just reaslised MT must be earlier than the others. Meh, he's a god, he can do what he wants. ;-) I'm going to leave the timeline alone now.
SneakyVerin
29. ksh1elds555
wow the updated site looks really... odd... it doesn't seem to work well with mozilla. I have some random thoughts on how the finish of this book made me feel and what it made me think about.

I find it really interesting, or maybe it's just human nature, to grasp on to the positive parts of such a brutal story. I found myself cheering at the fact that Duiker may not be dead after all, that Coltaine may have the chance to be reborn, that Icarium has not been consigned to eternal imprisonment and may still have a chance to break free from his curse somehow, that Felisin had found her "reason" to keep living in her new daughter and her quest for vengence, that Apsalar and her father might make it home after all, that Fiddler was going to help the Malazan soldiers in 7 cities, that the story Mappo had been fed about Icarium destroying his people had been a set-up, that the innocent Malazan children had been saved from their deaths by crucifixion....I'm sure I am forgetting a few. In short, after being devasted by the events of DG, I came away feeling hopeful! what an emotional rollercoaster... Also I started thinking about, what is the overarching theme of this series? I don't think it's very apparent by the end of this book but some things I have come up with after reading through RG are compassion, redemption, and how these can be shared through the telling of stories.
Bill Capossere
30. Billcap
Shalter@27
It’s funny you say that about the meanness and ST, as I actually had the same original thought, but save for the word “harsh” to describe the laugh Duiker hears at Pormqual’s death, Heboric’s laughter isn’t ever characterized--it’s simply “a god’s laughter”, “a god’s laughter,” “the laughter in his head,” “the laughter that rode the wind”. That’s partially why I leaned to ST after looking at it more closely, in that I could see him laughing harshly at Pormqual’s death but without that harshness at Duiker

Daydreamer: The Crippled God is active in MoI now, but MT is earlier by some years I believe (for instance, we’ve already seen some repercussions of events in MT in this book)

but “no definitive answer” is as good a sum up of this (and many other things) as any
Paul Boyd
31. GoodOldSatan
Amanda Re:

And Baruk is rescuing Duiker Ahhh, except he believes it is Coltaine, right I expect a surprise will be coming to the Daru lot when this plot line reaches fruition.

Thanks for reminding me that it was Coltaine they were looking for and Duiker they took (and who did the taking). It does clear up a "What's he doing here?" issue I had later (unfortunately, much later) in the series.
Steven Halter
32. stevenhalter
Bill@30:Yeah, I can't really point to a textual reason (other than the harsh sound) for the feeling of meanness.
Tai Tastigon
33. Taitastigon
Bill @26

My first choice is Shadowthrone for a couple reasons. One is we see him laughing repeatedly in his appearances. Two is that Duiker hears a god’s “harsh laughter” when Pormqual is killed and that seems the sort of thing and person ST would laugh at (and we know he’s been following these events).

And three, tying into two: ST is laughing at Laseen, for getting the *bill* (no pun intended ;0) ) for having a hack like Pormqual as a High Fist - something which would not have been possible under Kellanved. That would feed into the revenge motif established in GotM, even though I could not tell whether and/or how ST actively meddled with the CoD to cause this outcome. But he sure as hell seems pleased...
Chris Hawks
34. SaltManZ
I can't see it being ST, not only because he's not at all connected to the CoD plotline, but also because so much of it would be personal to him: Duiker, his handpicked historian, not to mention the Wickans, an entire people whose loyalty he had personally won. If ST were to give the end of the CoD a response at Laseen's expense, I don't think it would be laughter.

If pressed, I would have to reluctantly go with Hood. He does, after all, have a...certain sense of humor.
Tai Tastigon
35. Taitastigon
Salt @34

I can't see it being ST, not only because he's not at all connected to the CoD plotline, but also because so much of it would be personal to him:


Salt, man, kinda yeah, kinda nay. I mean, in retrospect...who the f*ck seems ST to be *connected to*...? Look at the run of the MBtoF cycle & who ST *connects*, or better - doesn´t *connect* to ??? (Hint: TtH and ST´s meeting off the coast with a *supposedly* very old buddy).

If ST were to give the end of the CoD a response at Laseen's expense, I don't think it would be laughter.

That, IMHO, would be EXACTLY ST´s reaction to Laseen !
(and great we don´t agree on that. Viva diversity...! ;0) )
SneakyVerin
36. Alt146
I also always figured the laughing god was Hood - Duiker's last thoughts were to embrace death. The last of the chain to die, he sees an end to his pain (physical and emotional) and looks forward to seeing his lost friends on the other side of Hood's gates. From Hood's point of view I think that would be pretty funny - all souls come to him in the end, so he isn't exactly losing anything when Duiker cheats death; but Duiker has been pulled back into a world full of pains that he was ready to cast aside. At the end of the day it's Duiker that's been cheated, not Hood.

I also agree this is the book that hooks you. Gardens is bait - intruiging and unfamiliar you take a little nibble. Then you take another bite out of Deadhouse Gates and the next thing you know you're being pulled along at a frentic pace :D
SneakyVerin
37. Tarcanus
Alt @ 36

The ideas of pain and how Duiker thought he was being released from it when he was really going to be pulled back is actually what makes me think that it was the Crippled God laughing at the irony. tCG has kind of made it his 'thing' to gather as worshippers all of those in pain or suffering and sharing his own pain with them as blessings and whatnot. I think he'd find Duiker's realizations hilarious - that anyone could escape life's pain.
Steven Halter
38. stevenhalter
I think the interesting things about the laughing god are:
1) It is ambiguous at whom the laughter is aimed (could be Dukier & Heboric, Laseen, Whirlwind/Sha'ik, the dead, the event, all, ...)
2) It is ambiguous who the god is. It could even be different gods between Heboric & Dukier.
3) The intent of the laughter is ambiguous. It could be laughing at the events or in spite of them.
Depending on which way you resolve the various ambiguities, different answers become preferential. It is the reader who determines their own answer.
Chris Hawks
39. SaltManZ
So...we on for Memories of Ice this Wednesday?
Bill Capossere
40. Billcap
"So...we on for Memories of Ice this Wednesday?"

yep!
Chris Hawks
42. SaltManZ
Man, DG is my favorite of the series (still) but for some reason I just can't wait to dive into MoI. Maybe just to watch Amanda flip out at everything. :D
Melissa Goodrum
43. Daydreamer
Yay, looking forward to MoI! Not that I can actually re-read it right now since my friend still has my copy. But she's enjoying the series so all is good. Shame she had a major event at the end of MoI spoiled though. Mind you, it saves me from anguished screams of 'why didn't you warn me?!?'.
Paul Boyd
44. GoodOldSatan
Let's not discuss, mention, or hint at "major events" yet.
Bill Capossere
45. Billcap
Fiddler, and all

Yes the first post will be prologue and chapter one (still hoping to say more about DG's prologue here, which was a good suggestion)
David Thomson
46. ZetaStriker
Excellent. I'm about as excited for Memories of Ice as everyone else; rather than Deadhouse Gates, this was the novel that really stood out in my mind as an "early best". I'll probably crawl out of the woodwork to give more feedback as we get started on that. Although lurking is still fun too.
Tai Tastigon
47. Taitastigon
What ?
Coming Wednesday MoI Intro and Chap 1 ???
I just wet myself...! ;0)
Julian Augustus
48. Alisonwonderland
Like ZetaStriker, for me Memories of Ice is the book that hooked me onto the series ... it is where I think I finally began to understand the Malazan world, and it still remains my favorite book of the series.
Tricia Irish
49. Tektonica
I think at this point in the series, I was still pretty lost as to how this world fit together, but I was well and truly hooked after DG. The depth of emotion, the full rounded characters, and SE's language were plenty for me. I figured it would all sort itself out eventually. ;-)

MoI is great because we come back to our origins in Darujhistan, with all the old familiar players from GotM. But then I missed Fiddler and Kalam and Genebackis! Never fear we'll get back to that......

Thanks Bill and Amanda, and all for good discussions of DG. I'm afraid Life is getting in the way of my reading this month, so I'm mostly just following along. I'm too tired at night to get more than three or four pages read before my eyes blur.

Looking forward to you starting on my second favorite book on Wednesday.
M D
50. Abalieno
...Burn is stirring in Japan. I guess that's getting most of the attention.

(and Tor restyle still hasn't given an usable text editor that allows normal commands lke cut&paste)
Mieneke van der Salm
51. Mieneke
Sorry for being late again, I can't seem to shake of whatever cold bug the baby gave me in January, so I was out of commision again last week :-( Hopefully, these anti-biotics will shift it and I won't be ill anymore this winter *fingers crossed*

@Amanda's reaction to the epilogue:
That was a fist pump moment if I ever read one! It made me exit the book with a smile and hope instead of tears.

Tai @33: That is some butcher's bill Laseen is receiving.

As for my reaction to Deadhouse Gates as a whole. What a ride it was. I'd read it once before, years ago and I'd forgotten more than I remembered. But what made it extra interesting to me wasn't just the superb writing, the story, the hints for the rest of the series or the discussions here (though all of this is true) it was the fact that this was the first time that I actually realised, while reading, that my outlook on life has changed irrevocably by becoming a mum. The fact that as I said a couple of weeks ago, the way Erikson wrote about the children resonated with me so powerfully. It made the scene where Felisin talks about having a daughter so much more poignant to me and I think Amir and kshields are right that Felisin the Younger gives her a reason to live and I hope perhaps will influence her actions in ways so that she won't leave the world in ruins after the Whirlwind. But I guess that's a case of read and find out, isn't it ;-)

My favourite storyline in this book was the Chain of Dogs, so it shouldn't come as a surprise that my favourite characters in this novel were Duiker and Coltaine. I love their bravery, their dignity and their tenacity and they just made me bawl like a baby the last few chapters.

My favourite part was the scene where Apt bullies Shadowthrone into remaking Panek for her and she adopts him. That just made her so relatable (I was going to say human, but not the right word I think). Those two, Apt and Panek, were very high on my list of favourite characters, if only because they occasioned the line 'I'm ... Uncle Cotillion' *grins*

I can't wait to see where MoI takes us, I'll be starting it later today. One thing though, promise you guys will mop me up when I dissolve into tears as inevitably will happen from all the hints our old-timers having been dropping?
M D
52. Abalieno
Another bout of clarity offered via interview. A couple ones. Not sure if they've been pointed out.

One from Esslemont:
http://elitistbookreviews.blogspot.com/2011/03/interview-with-ian-c-esslemont.html

The other from Erikson:
http://the-void.co.uk/book/interview-damn-contrarian-steven-erikson-conversation-094/

The latter is rather in depth and there's some discussion about thematic development and how it affects the mythology (metaphor made real).

(and REALLY hope Esslemont changes the working title for the Jakuruku novel...)
Emiel R
53. Capetown
Thanks for the links Abalieno. So the Kharkanas trilogy will be Shakespearean. Hmmm.
a a-p
54. lostinshadow
Have to say, having read it many years ago and without any warnings, I'm not sure I ever forgave DG for throwing a whole new set of characters at me and leaving my favorites GoM hanging.

So while I've come to enjoy DG much more in subsequent rereads, particularly seeing how some things are hinted at here and only come into fruition 5-6 books later, it's still not my absolute favorite (it also introduces the Felisin storyline which I think I can safely say is my absolute least favorite of the lot (through all 9 books so far)).

Still, obviously the Chain of Dogs is amazingly well written and touching and was the reason I was willing to continue on to MoI (at the time I didn't know anyone who was reading Malazan so there was no one to reassure me that I would be revisiting some of my favorite characters).

Icarium and Mappo is another great storyline (a bit worried on how that has been resolved in tCG) and as someone mentioned above, pretty much has everything.

And of course there's Fiddler! Already a favorite who just gets better with each book.

Re the new tor site: are other people having trouble staying logged in or is it just me? can't seem to stay on longer than 5 minutes, it's very annoying.
And where are the links to these rereads anyway, it's really hard to find them.
Hugh Arai
55. HArai
lostinshadow@54: I was having a heck of time staying logged in long enough to post last night.
Amir Noam
56. Amir
Abalieno @52:
Thanks for the links. Very interesting.

Capetown@53:
So the Kharkanas trilogy will be Shakespearean. Hmmm.

Indeed. Intriguing:
Two households, both alike in dignity,
In Dark Kharkanas, where we lay our scene,
From ancient grudge break to new mutiny,
Where Tiam's blood makes civil hands unclean.
...
Hmm. I think I'll stop here.
Thomas Jeffries
57. thomstel
Having come to the end of DG I once again recognize the single work of fiction I hold dearest to my heart. As I stated early on (I think...), this is the one that made my emotions flow in many ways, which, for printed text on white paper, is quite an accomplishment. Stephen King equates writing to telepathy: I wholeheartedly concur. While many authors have connected with me intellectually in this fashion, Erikson is the first to have really tapped into something deeper than that. Kudos.

Having wrapped this re-read, and having completed The Crippled God a week ago, I'm feeling drained. I read a little of some other short stuff (Vonnegut's _Look at the Birdie_) and tried my hand at a couple things I'd been putting off until the Malazan trip was over. And Minecraft. Jesus, so much Minecraft. Last night I grabbed my beat-down MoI paperback and was totally absorbed all over again. Why does that prologue have to be so awesome? Ah well, we'll get into it in a couple days...

Re: New Tor site
My issue lies in the page layout being borked unless I'm logged in. Once that's accomplished everything lines up nicely. No issues staying that way so far though. *crosses fingers*
Sydo Zandstra
58. Fiddler
thomstel@57:

Having wrapped this re-read, and having completed The Crippled God a week ago, I'm feeling drained. I read a little of some other short stuff (Vonnegut's _Look at the Birdie_)

I know what you mean. I felt the same. I decided to do some 'light' reading for a while, until I feel charged up enough to do a TTH/DoD/tCG reread back to back.

In the mean time, I'm reading some Feist. And I have a Shannara book unread.

I will do the MoI reread though, since it's one of my favourite books ever...
Thomas Jeffries
59. thomstel
Holy crap Amir.

Way to prime the pump on Kharkanas. I don't know if I could handle a book of that much awesome.
Tricia Irish
60. Tektonica
Lostinshadow@54:

I had to log in 3 times this morning in order to post. Every time I changed a page or previewed I had to re-login. Tedious. Frustrating.

I did post something in the "Forums" section, as there is a "bug" thread. It seems to be a common problem for many. Here's hoping they fix it!

Thanks for the links Aba.
M D
61. Abalieno
Well, I guess I'll have to thank Erikson for something not so usual.

Discussing these days about nuclear power I see how reading Malazan gave me a perspective that seems missing in others. People say that the two-three incidents in 60 years about nuclear power are indication of its safety. They say it's a risk worth taking since it takes an extraordinary event like that huge earthquake to put those plants at risk.

Malazan gave me the perspective of how RISIBLE are 60 years. People are squarely locked in their life-span perspective and just can't perceive how 60 years are nothing compared to how truly things move.

Was the earthquake even extraordinary? Yes, in one own's life-span. But it was highly PROBABLE in the cycle of nature. Absolutely predictable.

I defined nuclear power as a sort of gambling. For a lot of people the risk is low enough the be worth it. From my point of view instead not only the risk is insane, but it should be also forbidden simply because it's not gambling with "your own money". If things go wrong, they go wrong for everyone, so the national confines are pointless and the choice of using natural power is not a private one. The costs fall on everyone.

And then there's this Malazan-like staggering contrast of scale. A natural incident, earthquake and tsunami, that causes death for thousands of people. The costs are huge, but they'll recover. What can't be recovered is the cost of a possible nuclear disaster. The radioactivity can have Jaghut-like decay times. It's not a few months or years. It's not the mortal life-span gauge. Millennia of disaster, and Malazan was never so actual.

I also think to those "heroes?" working at the nuclear plant who are gambling with their life in order to save the day. That's again The Crippled God, and I wonder again if the price is worth it. If the costs are acceptable.

Finally, it was pointed out to me how nature reclaims all, and is almost disinterested of radiation levels.

It's not about fear. Chernobyl should be our temple to keep memory alive. As is the Holocaust. But memory is fickle.
David Thomson
62. ZetaStriker
To be fair, Chernobyl is an extreme example of Soviet disregard for competence and safety. If you want a standard to bear, you should probably aim for what's happening in Japan right now, as that is happening despite competent efforts.

But that's another matter entirely. Memories of Ice tomorrow! Anyone going to pull quotes? I never have a book with me when I think to do it myself.
Steven Halter
63. stevenhalter
Some quotes:


After all, what could be worse than death?...
...
‘Since the time of All Darkness, I have been forging a sword.’
...
‘Black is Bauchelains eternal shade, sir.’
...
Barrows. Great, I just love barrows.


Thomas Jeffries
64. thomstel
‘We are not cruel.'

‘Tell me, will you in turn give up your life for those children?'
Mieneke van der Salm
65. Mieneke
'Perhaps Burn had shifted uneasy in her eternal sleep.'
...

'Can you be more specific?'
'Perhaps.'
...

'All is struggle, all is war for dominance. Those who lose, vanish.'
Steph
66. MacMac
Elder Gods, it has been said, embodied a host of unpleasantries.


'You want a rise, fish elsewhere.'


'Korbal, we have here Gruntle, a name that is most certainly a slanting hint to his personality.'


We each survive as we must, and when time comes to die, we find our places of solitude...
karl oswald
67. Toster
"Any more of this nonsense and I shall lose my temper-"
All three Seguleh flinched back a step.

"Thus, what you would refuse me, I now refuse you."
Gerd K
68. Kah-thurak
"Three voices have cursed you. It is done."

"One voice has spoken three curses. Thus."
Rob Munnelly
69. RobMRobM
Hello all.

- I finished Crippled God. Very satisfying in most respects but I was confused/disappointed by a couple of aspects. Did Bill ever do a spoiler review? Love to talk about it.
- Very much looking forward to MoI. I'm still processing reading the entire series starting last fall but DG and MOI are locked in a battle to be my favorite for the series.

Rob
Steven Halter
70. stevenhalter
RobMRobM: There's no spoiler review, but I just created a thread called "The Crippled God Discussion Place" in the new forum section for anyone who wants to talk about spoilery details. For people who haven't gotten that far, the will be spoiler details there, so don't look if you don't want to see them.
SneakyVerin
71. djk1978
This series just keeps getting better and better. I just finished Reaper's Gale, which was awesome. Really couldn't put it down. So next it's time to re-read RotCG.

Probably been asked but could one of the fine folks at Tor update the index page?
Steven Halter
72. stevenhalter
djk1978:Is something not updated? One of the big thrusts of the site update was that the series indexes will be automatic.
David Thomson
73. ZetaStriker
I'm still reading The Crippled God . . . I still haven't found the time to sit down and power-read through most of the book in a single day, so I'm going pretty slowly right now. I did find it hilarious that in one of Erikson's vague scenes I recognized a character simply because something worn was described as "voluminous". XD
Chris Lough
74. TorChris
@djk1978. The indexes have new URLs now and are regularly updated. Do you have the previous one bookmarked?
SneakyVerin
75. djk1978
Maybe I just don't know what the new index is then? I usually use the latests posts or hot bookmarks links to get here and the links in the articles also go to an index which goes here:
http://www.tor.com/blogs/2010/04/malazan-re-read-of-the-fallen. And this page is missing the last two articles.

Can someone post the right index please and spare me the search?
SneakyVerin
76. djk1978
Never mind. I found it!

Thanks.
Steven Halter
77. stevenhalter
The new index is at:
http://www.tor.com/features/series/malazan-reread-of-the-fallen

It is also on the right hand side of the tor.com main page.
Melissa Goodrum
78. Daydreamer
Thanks, shalter! Having the index on my favourites doesn't help much when they change the URL.
M D
79. Abalieno
I obviously join late the debate on who's the god laughing.

My pick is on the Crippled God even if I was also expecting the laugh turning into a fit of coughs. The text itself suggests two possibilities, Fener and the CG because they are the two that are linked to Heboric, and so Heboric assumes it's one of them.

Hood I exclude for reasons that I won't elaborate here.

But there's another point that makes me pick the CG. The presence of the god here is, or appears, as active. Maybe it's because Duiker's soul is not there that Heboric sees nothing, but Heboric believes that the god who's laughing is deliberately making him blind when looking at Duiker.

Heboric thinks:

What am I not meant to see?

That line is for me the important one. It may be again the consequence of Duiker's soul not being there, but it is suggested that the god's intervention is more active. "Not meant" suggests active will, not casuality.

From this point of view the god who "blinds" Heboric is a merciful one. He spares Heboric the sight of Duiker ended like that, so he spares him the pain. Yet the god laughs, and it is why the incongruousness is more fitting on the CG.

So either we assume the Heboric's blindness was driven (and so it's the CG), or that the laughter is lingering in the place, but not connected to Heboric specific role (and so it may even be ST).

Instead the dialogue between Felisin and Heboric seems a good example of what Erikson described in one of his articles, about how characters hop and circle around a theme without addressing it directly as if fearing it. I don't feel it as opaque, but the characters speak while following their own patterns, and so the outcome is a little disconnected, but also carrying more clarity.

I see the situation a bit similar to the mantra "a life given for a life taken". Felisin's daughter is her way to take a sort of revenge on what happened to her. A way to create a split in her life at the time things took the wrong turn.

'She rarely speaks. Yet when she does... a gift with words, Heboric. A poet's eye. In some ways, as I might have become, given the freedom ...'

Some sort of search for redemption, or for something valuable in her life. But this pattern is not one of salvation or recuperation. Felisin is essentially giving her life while "purchasing" salvation in another. She condemns herself.

So Heboric's reaction is about that life that is lost. Felisin, the one she knows, is essentially lost. That's why that "missed" opportunity at healing, it's a way to remind that she's not truly changed, or not accepting to change. Instead of trying to change and try to save herself in some way, she's simply thrusting herself into damnation only with the promise of someone else carrying her name and her qualities "unsullied".

Heboric knows there's a loss. He grieves for that loss.

Lastly, I still can't understand the Prologue. I still have no idea what Hood was trying to show Heboric. That part stays quite mysterious for me...
SneakyVerin
80. Sergio AS
Thank you, Amanda and Bill! It's been a great pleasure reading this series of posts. Given the facts that English is not my mother tongue and that I always read DG when I went to bed, I had missed several points from the plot. The chapters' summaries helped me to light up some of the dark spots in the storyline... and to confirm that other dark spots were such for all readers.
As a novel reader of the Malazan saga, I have skipped Bill's comments for now, but Amanda's ones suited perfectly my personal experience, adding new perspectives and questions I hadn't thought of, as well as stating opinions I sympathised with (Coltaine good, Nethpara bad).
In short, you guys rock! Read you again when I am done with the next volume...

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