Wed
Mar 23 2011 11:56am

Malazan Re-read of the Fallen: Memories of Ice, Chapters 2 and 3

Memories of Ice by Steven EriksonWelcome to the Malazan Re-read of the Fallen! Every post will start off with a summary of events, followed by reaction and commentary by your hosts Bill and Amanda (with Amanda, new to the series, going first), and finally comments from Tor.com readers. In this article, we’ll cover Chapter 2 and Chapter 3 of Memories of Ice by Steven Erikson (MoI).

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 Two

SCENE 1

Picker’s squad stops Munug, an artisan/trader at a checkpoint. Picker buys a trio of ivory torcs that according to the artisan had received a blessing from Treach, the Tiger of Summer. Picker says Treach was a First Hero (a demigod, Soletaken ascendant) not a god, but the trader says a new temple has been sanctified in his name. The ivory comes from a “furred, tusked monster” that was Treach’s favorite prey—it was found in frozen mud. When she puts them on, they click.

SCENE 2

Munug thinks how he has tumors between his legs and that the Crippled God has chosen him for those “flaws” along with his skills. He enters a warren gate and comes out on a plain with a smoky tent. Munug hands the CG in the tent a deck of cards, each with a flaw. As “payment,” the CG heals the tumors but Munug’s legs are dead as the price of the cure, as “perfection is anathema” to the CG.

SCENE 3

Picker and Blend discuss how they put a magical “beacon” on Munug so Quick Ben can track him, as he was clearly carrying something.

SCENE 4

Quick Ben arrives via Black Moranth flight. He immediately notes the torcs and tells Picker she’s “acquired the blessing of an ascendant.” Upon learning they belong to Treach, he tells them Treach lost himself in his Soletaken form hundreds of years ago. He says he’ll take a look at where his tracker went and Picker mournfully thinks how they’re off to another war, this one against the Pannion Domin.

SCENE 5

Quick makes it clear via internal monologue that he knows Dujek’s host isn’t actually outlawed. He follows his beacon to the Crippled God’s tent. He learns that the CG is poisoning Burn and that the CG wants Quick to do something in payment for the CG returning his beacon, that the CG believes the gods and their world must suffer as he has. Before he can continue, Quick unleashes his power, grabs his beacon, and runs. He starts getting pulled back by the CG’s power, but a huge hand reaches up from the earth and pulls Ben down into a huge cavern where stand several such giants, arms holding up the cavern’s ceiling and what appears to be giant ribs in it. Quick realizes he is “within Burn, the Sleeping Goddess. A living warren.” One of the giants asks Quick for help, tells him that Burn is dying. Quick asks how long and the giant says “tens of years.” Quick leaves his beacon there so he can find his way back and vows to return with help, though it’s too late for that giant.

SCENE 6

Picker tells Quick it’s time to go. The look he gives her scares her so much, she says, that she’s “ready to piss ice-cubes.” The last line tells us Quick remembered those words.

SCENE 7

Paran has been sick at his stomach, had nightmares and visions, is in lots of pain, imagines some of it at least is a child’s, some of it the Hound’s blood in him. He wonders why Dujek and Whiskeyjack feel the need to take on the Pannion Domin. He tells himself not to think about the Empire, better to trust in Tavore.

SCENE 8

Hedge tells Trotts Dujek wants the Bridgeburners back in Pale. They’re having a parley with Brood soon.

SCENE 9

Mallet (the healer) tells Whiskeyjack that leg of his needs “serious attention” but WJ puts him off. Paran is given command of the 38 remaining Bridgeburners. He thinks of how he heard Tattersail’s voice meaning she was somehow alive. His internal monologue mentions his pain and “a child screaming in darkness, a Hound howling lost in sorrow, a soul nailed to the heart of a wound.”

SCENE 10

Mallet tells Whiskeyjack that Paran is in worse shape than WJ and that Mallet’s Denul (healing) warren “recoiled.” He says Paran has sorcery running through him and Paran is fighting it and that’s what’s killing him. He and WJ agree to have Quick Ben take a look at him. Mallet tries again to get WJ to let him heal his leg but WJ says later.

 

Amanda’s Reaction to Chapter Two:

Outrider Hurlochel is writing about Silverfox—but the extract refers to Dujek Onearm and his Host, which suggests they should be meeting up at some point. I do hope that means Paran and Silverfox will encounter one another. (Sort of again. *grin*) Also, the last part of the extract: “...those to its soul were the gravest...” When we hear that and when we see events like Coltaine’s Fall, we realise the the Malazans are being beaten to a bloody pulp really, yet still raising their heads in defiance.

Why are they so determined to be the ruling Empire? What gives them the right? Why should we root for them and not for those of the Seven Cities? Hell, if these books were written from another POV, we’d probably be rooting for the Crippled God and wondering when he is going to beat those Malazan bastards back and show them what he’s made of!

Oho, now this I love... Who immediately assumed, on seeing the name Corporal Picker, that this was a male soldier? I confess I did—and then had that turned on its head and ended up feeling a little ashamed of the fact my assumption was about a male soldier! Erikson does this brilliantly. I cannot think of very many female characters in his novels who are characterised by the fact that they ARE female. Felisin probably comes the closest, and even with her it is more about the ills that are carried out against her because she is female. Her being female is crucial to her storyline, but the point never over-laboured.

Okay, and here again is a point I might have mentioned in my interminable ramblings before—Erikson does happen to fall prey now and then to the usual fantasy trope of nasty appearance = bad guy (or, at least, guy with shady intentions). Here I present Munug:

His sunburned forehead was broad over a narrow set of features, vanishing into an almost chinless jaw. His snaggled, crooked teeth jutted out in all directions, making his smile an argumentative parody.

Not a pretty chap, by any means.

And definitely shady—evasive with answers, over-effusive with apologies, self-effacing regarding his skill as an artisan. Everything flags up someone who isn’t quite right... Which means that I look askance at those torcs he sells to Picker. Two things spring out at me from the scene—the fact that he mentions jade in the list of materials he works in (and the links to jade we’ve had already), and the fact that both Picker and Munug repeat the word “damned” so often in relation to the torcs. Methinks they are going to end up being a big plot point....

Also want to briefly pick out Treach, the Tiger of Summer—a Soletaken ascendant according to Picker, but has had “a new temple sanctified in his name”. Which apparently makes him a god. Is it purely the worship of people and the formalization and sanctity of worshipping that makes a god from an ascendant?

I ended up casually wondering why Munug is referred to as a poor bastard by Picker when she hears his name—it did end up emphasising the fact that I didn’t believe Munug was a very likeable soul. And then we find out that he is driven, at least in part, by a terminal illness, by the sounds of it. It doesn’t make me like him anymore, but it sort of lends understanding to his plight and gives me a little sympathy for him—desperate people are willing to take desperate action.

And Munug has decided to link himself to a fallen god...dun dun DUN! I do fear for Picker, wearing the mark of a man who deals with the Crippled God....

What are the cards that Munug makes for the God? Are they a Deck? [Bill: Yes.] Deliberately flawed? [Bill: And yes again.] Certainly the Crippled God has decided to enter the game. “Cherish this moment, dear Munug! By your hand, the new game is begun. By your hand, the world shall tremble!” Did anyone totally hear a maniacal cackling in their head after that very dramatic pronouncement? Just me? Oh.

And isn’t it just awesome to have the Bridgeburners back on screen? *sighs happily* Hey, is that Togg they keep swearing by the one-eyed wolf who interfered with Toc? It’s great to see the innate sneakiness and cynical aspect of the way the Bridgeburners work—marking Munug so that Quick Ben could trace him, feeding him specific lines that they want passed out around Pale. This is a whole different side to warfare than the very blatant hack and slash in Deadhouse Gates—lots of subterfuge.

It is interesting to see that Munug was telling the truth about having the torcs blessed by the ascendant Treach—and it is cool how this enables Erikson to reinforce the idea with us that Soletaken can lose themselves in their beast forms. Little dribbles of information, all the time. Please tell me no one remembers all of these little tidbits, right? I don’t retain half of them without checking back to previous things I’ve written about the series!

Uh oh...anyone else getting worried at the fact that Quick Ben is off to find the pebble with Munug? I have jitters he’ll come face to face with the Crippled God.

And this line, “Fener’s hoof, who or what is the Pannion Domin, anyway?” is, I think, something we’re all going to learn together over the next few weeks.

Hmm, we see immediately that Quick Ben isn’t party to the inner discussions of Whiskeyjack and Dujek, since he says:

“Outlaws, are we? Indeed, and Hood dreams of sheep gamboling in green pastures, too.”

Suggests that he doesn’t know quite what is going on, but it definitely not being taken in by any of it.

Even Erikson can’t make admin sound interesting:

“The wizard had been busy weaving a network of communications through Pale and its outlying approaches. Tithes and tariffs, in answer to the army’s financial needs, and the imposition of control, easing the transition from occupation to possession.”

Yawn. *grins*

Ah, Quick Ben—ever the mystery—“Quick Ben accessed his warrens—he could only manage seven at any one time though he possessed more.”

Oh my word...the Chained God is destroying Burn, the sleeping Goddess, the very land on which all the puny struggles between mortal armies are taking place. Talk about putting it all into perspective...“She cannot awaken, whilst I burgeon in her flesh.” Burn has been referenced a few times in the series to date, such as the dates showing X year of Burn’s sleep. Here she becomes an entity to join those we already care for:

He clawed at the ground, stared at the furrows his fingers gouged in the earth, saw the dark blood welling from them. “Oh, Burn, forgive me.”

Also, Quick Ben was being totally DESTROYED by the Crippled God before his rescue. By a God who has been chained. By one who doesn’t have access to all his powers. Oh dear. That bodes ill for those needing to go up against him....

Bill and I seem to talk about particularly cinematic scenes all the time, but the Malazan novels are chock full of them—here is another. Quick Ben being torn into tatters, screaming with pain, scrabbling to escape from a hooded god and—just before he is finally delivered into pain and death—he is rescued by a massive hand reaching up and dragging him down through the very earth. Awesome. That would certainly leave me breathless if I watched it on a film! But what I am saying? My imagination probably does it tons more justice—although I wouldn’t mind at all if Hans Zimmer decided to write a score to accompany scenes like that. *grins*

And now we reach the quieter scene after the breathless escape scene. This one is incredibly poignant—the childlike creatures warning of Burn’s death and begging Quick Ben’s help. And his response, “All right, then, it’s my war, now.” Again we see a creature fall and die that we’ve barely met, and we feel sorrow at their passing. Nameless, practically faceless, and yet I’m all choked up. Truly the Book of the Fallen, and it feels like we mark them all.

It’s nice that we’re stopping at most of the major players from Gardens of the Moon here—reminding us of how we left them at the end of the novel. Paran’s segment is particularly well written, in my opinion. He was the driven soldier, the man with ambitions, then became touched by a Hound of Shadow—and now is...what? A Soletaken? We know that the blood of dragons can turn people into Soletaken, from the Tiam/Anomander Rake connection. Is Paran destined to become a Hound? We’ve seen him snarling and baring his teeth.

“Bestial blood...it whispers of freedom. Whispers of a way out—but not from darkness. No. Into that darkness, where the Hounds went, deep into the heart of Anomander Rake’s cursed sword—the secret heart of Dragnipur.”

Paran definitely doesn’t have his mind on the day job, does he? This mention of Dragnipur—and knowing the previous owner of the sword—makes me wonder how Lady Envy and Paran will react to one another when they inevitably meet.

When someone like Trott starts spouting prophetic-sounding nonsense like that, why does Paran just dismiss it as “the sun withering his brains”? I would be finding out what on earth had caused the loquaciousness and getting to the bottom of it—but then I have the advantage of knowing that in Erikson’s series it probably means something momentous. *grins*

“Trust in Tavore, Ganoes Paran—your sister will salvage the house.”

But no mention of his other sister?

Hahaha, caught out! Trott is just faking it. *giggles* I love when Erikson catches me unawares like that!

Oh, I love the banter—I have missed it:

Trotts rose. “One day I may cook and eat you, sapper.”

“And choke to death on my lucky bone.”

The Baghest frowned. “My offer was true, Hedge. To honour you, my friend.”

The sapper squinted up at Trotts, then grinned. “Bastard! You almost had me there!”

Sniffing, Trotts turned away. “’Almost’, he said. Hah hah.”

Straight away we hear mention of Whiskeyjack’s leg—and, since everyone was so quick to point out I should remember this at the end of Gardens of the Moon, well, here I am remembering it! And a quick recap of our situation concerning Paran’s command of the Bridgeburners and Whiskeyjack’s elevation to second-in-command. But it’s all done so naturally that you never feel at all as though Erikson is talking down to you or doing a “Previously on Malazan Book of the Fallen...” recap. You’re just reading about characters, with subtleties thrown into relationships and ongoing enmities and friendships brought to the fore.

“Thirty-eight bitter, resentful veterans, already twice betrayed. I wasn’t part of the treachery at the siege of Pale, and Laseen’s proclamation of outlawry embraced me as much as it did them. Neither event can be laid at my feet, yet they’re doing it anyway.”

Heh. I like the fact that Whiskeyjack’s reaction to Paran possibly being ensorcelled by a god is one of strict pragmatism:

“If gods are plucking Paran’s strings again, I want to know who, and then we can mull on why.”

No wailing, no sound of fear from him at gods being involved—just a “we’ll sort it” statement.

It’s good to be back with the gang again. *grins*

 

Bill’s Reaction to Chapter Two:

Yes indeed, Amanda, those torcs of Treach will become hugely important in this series—keep an eye on them.

As will Treach’s development from First Hero to god. You’re pretty on with the musing regarding gods vs. ascendants—we will get a bit of a lecture on this from a character coming up. Note as well with regard to the torcs that we’ve got the ivory coming from a “frozen in mud” creature—so there’s an echo of our prologue with the creatures Pran Chole sees frozen in the ice. And it’s from a “furred, tusked” beast—something else to keep in mind. Finally, the ivory came from “Elingarth” and it will turn out we’ll later learn of a mercenary group from there who will play a large role in the plot. I like how Erikson slips in these small little throwaways so when we later hear a word/phrase/name in a different, often more significant context, it sounds familiar and natural. We see this as well with gods he wants to keep in our minds or that will play a role whenever we get their names put in front of us via a curse of some sort: “Fener’s tusk,” etc.

“Entering the game” is an interesting way to put it with regard to the CG. It will turn out that “entering the game” will take some official recognition or “sanctioning.” The question is who will that official be?

Well, we’ve said this is a “big” series and it’s tough to get bigger than the death of the world. “Poison” will be another of those words/themes/image pattern (chains, armor, audacity, compassion) we’ll see throughout. And speaking of audacity, I love that Quick Ben realizes it’s a war among gods and says “all right, I’m in.”

Glad you remembered the leg—two mentions of Mallet not healing Whiskyjack’s leg in a relatively short chapter. Hmm, think that’s going to be important at some point?

Your question on why we root for the Malazans is a good one. Certainly point of view is a huge part. We do get some interesting hints that the Empire has performed some good acts, has in some ways “improved” the lot of the areas its conquered: outlawing of slavery, bringing an end to tribal conflicts, etc. It’ll be interesting to see if these continue and if we get some harsher views of what is lost in the conquering. We will also have chance to get a contrasting look at another empire soon.

File cabinet: piss ice cubes. No, really.

File cabinet: “a child screaming,” “a Hound howling lost in sorrow,” and “a soul nailed to the heart of a wound.” By the way—we’ve seen that word multiple times in the prologue so you have something concrete to connect it to.

And really file cabinet “trust in Tavore.” Like, the firesafe kind of file cabinet.

Chapter Three

SCENE 1

The Mhybe (Silverfox’s mother) is old and feeling the energy Silverfox (looking about 10-11) is drawing from her, aging the Mhybe unnaturally, though she believes Silverfox does not know this. Korlat arrives and she and the Mhybe discuss how Kallor continues to argue against Silverfox, though Korlat says Brood remains steadfast. The Mhybe worries that this is only because he needs the Rhivi and will end once he allies with the Malazans. Korlat says they hope the Malazans will know more of Silverfox’s origin, but the Mhybe says though she has the souls of two Malazans and the body of a Rhivi, she is in truth a Bonecaster Soletaken, born in Tellann warren wove by an Imass bonecaster. She wonders why the T’lan Imass need a flesh and blood Bonecaster. When Korlat points out the T’lan marched under the banners of the Malazan Empire, the Mhybe answer they no longer do and wonders why and what hidden motives the Malazans may have. Korlat says Brood is probably aware of such questions and invites the Mhybe to the parley. The Mhybe thinks of how the Malazans and Moranth bombed the Rhivi land, killed the sacred herds, and yet now they are asked to ally with them, and not even in the name of peace but for yet another war. She looks and sees the Malazans moving their way. Silverfox joins the Mhybe and Korlat and says she is sad because she can sense that the “sacred trust” between the land and the Rhivi spirits has been broken and the Rhivi spirits are “naught but untethered vessels of loss and pain.” The Mhybe asks if anything can be done and Silverfox says it no longer is necessary.

SCENE 2

Silverfox tells the Mhybe that while her memories keep her fighting against the Malazans as the enemy, memories should tell her something else and that Korlat can explain. Korlat says the experiences are the same “across the breadth of time. Among all who possess memories, whether an individual or a people, life’s lessons are ever the same lessons.” Silverfox says to think on forgiveness through what’s to come, but know that “it must not always be freely given . . . Sometimes forgiveness must be denied.” The Malazans join them: Dujek, Whiskeyjack, Artanthos the standard bearer, and Twist the Black Moranth. When the Mhybe asks who the man next to Dujek is, Korlat guesses Whiskeyjack and says he “cuts quite a figure.” Silverfox says she thinks he’d be a good uncle; she trusts him. Twist she says always laughs inside—a laugh of “sorrow”—while she is and “always has been” “uncertain” of Artanthos. Caladan Brood and Kallor join the parley. The Mhybe thinks that Kallor hates Silverfox and seems to know something about her nobody else does, something that makes him fear her. She wonders at his claims to have lived for millennia and destroyed his own empire, and muses he can’t be an ascendant as his face and body show the ravages of time—at least a century. He looks with contempt at the Malazans. When Dujek introduces Artanthos, Silverfox thinks he hasn’t used that name for some time and also that he isn’t “as he appears.” Dujek asks Brood where the Crimson Guard is and Brood says they are attending to “internal matters” and will not be involved in the Pannion war. Dujek and Brood appear to take an instant liking to each other. Korlat marvels at the ease they put away prior to battle and the Mhybe says “pragmatic soldiers are the most frightening.”

SCENE 3

As she passes by some Tiste Andii, the Mhybe thinks of their inherent strangeness: “a people plagued by indifference . . . secret tragedies in [their] long tortured past. Wounds that would never heal. Even suffering . . . was capable of becoming a way of life. To then extend such an existence from decades into centuries, then into millennia, still brought home . . . a dull shock of horror.” She thinks of them as ghosts, always waiting. As she sees Crone, she wonders at the relationship between Brood and Rake and of Crone as the “bridge between the two.” Silverfox greets Crone and says she had not “before realized that your kind were born in the rotting flesh of a—” and is quickly interrupted by Crone who says it is a secret. Crone tells Silverfox to be careful of what she reveals of herself, that she and the Mhybe will need protection. Inside the parley tent, Whiskeyjack laughs to see the large map table, which had been made by Fiddler and Hedge for a card game using a Deck of Dragons and then stolen by the Mott Irregulars. Silverfox examines the table then asks if Fiddler and Hedge cheated. Whiskeyjack says he doesn’t know, but the coins did flow one way only. The way he looks at her shows he senses something familiar about her but doesn’t know what it is.

Brood says the Pannnion’s forces are preparing to lay siege to Capustan, which is ruled by two warring factions: Prince Jelarkan and the Mask Council—a group of High Priests. The prince has hired the Grey Swords from Elingarth as a mercenary company to help protect the city while the priests have each temple’s private company of soldiers. Brood informs them that the peasant army of the Pannion—the Tenescowri—is not supplied by the Pannion Seer and so they eat the enemy. As Dujek talks strategy Crone and Mhybe laugh at how much he sounds like Brood. Whiskeyjack says they need to make contact with the Prince. Silverfox says he and Dujek have already set up to do so as they plan on liberating Capustan. Brood agrees and says that on the surface, the majority of their forces must be seen marching overland at a pace as a feint to throw off the Seer’s plans. The two groups agree that beyond Capustan, they must strike at the heart of the Domin—Coral. Brood says yes—they’ll liberate the cities of Setta, Les, and Maurik then attack Coral. Whiskeyjack says the armies will march overland—no boats—so as not to make the Pannion commander, Kulpath, hurry his forces. He then asks about Rake and Brood says Moon’s Spawn is moving toward the Domin and will “disappear” so as to be an unpredictable asset. When he says the Andii have “formidable sorceries” Silverfox says it won’t be enough. Kallor interrupts to say Silverfox shouldn’t be trusted, that “betrayal is her oldest friend.” He points out she is killing the Mhybe and should be killed herself. Silverfox is horrified by the revelation. The Mhybe says it is what it is, and that there is an “urgency” inside Silverfox, a “force ancient and undeniable.” At which point Kallor interrupts again and says “you don’t know the half of it,” then grabs Silverfox and yells “you’re in there, aren’t you? . . . Come out, bitch.” Brood orders Kallor to let her go and says if he touches her again he will beat her. Whiskeyjack says if Kallor does it he will “rip your heart out.” When Kallor answers “I shake with fear,” Whiskeyjack backhands him. Kallor starts to draw his sword but Brood grabs him and says he “earned” it and if Brood needs to he’ll use his hammer (Burn’s hammer) on Kallor. Kallor agrees and Brood lets him go. Whiskeyjack asks who Silverfox is. She answers that she is Tattersail and Nightchill and that Tattersail’s death happened inside a Tellann warren (at which point Artanthos flinches) and that a Bonecaster from the distant past and an Elder God and a mortal helped her be born in the Tellann warren and in the Rhivi plain and she “belongs to the T’lan Imass.” Kallor snorts at the the name Nightchill as a “lack of imagination” and wonders if K’rul even knew. Silverfox goes on to say the T’lan Imass are gathering and will be needed against the Pannion Seer. They are gathering due to her birth—a summoning every T’lan Imass on the world has heard and will try to answer.

SCENE 4

Whiskeyjack recalls Pale, “a plague of suspicions, a maelstrom of desperate schemes. A’Karonys. Bellurdan. Nightchill. Tattersail. The list of mages whose deaths could be laid at High Mage Tayschrenn’s sandaled feet was written in the blood of senseless paranoia.” He’s glad Tayschrenn left them but suspects he didn’t go far. Whiskeyjack understands that Silverfox knows the outlawing of the Malazans is a sham. Looking at her, he sees Tattersail. He recalls what he had heard of Nightchill: a wielder of High Rashan, one of the Emperor’s chosen, mate to Bellurdan, hard-edged—and he worries about Nightchill’s influence within Silverfox. He then remembers that Paran was Tattersail’s love and wonders what this will mean and do to Paran. He grieves for the Mhybe and thinks despite Kallor’s advice he will not stand for a child being harmed, though he wonders if she is really a “child.” He makes eye contact with Korlat and after noting her beauty realizes she’s trying to tell him that Silverfox is indeed a child, a blank slate, one that might be influenced by those close to her.

SCENE 5

Crone is terrified by what has been revealed: that Silverfox controls the T’lan Imass, that K’rul—who knows the Raven’s secret—is involved, at Silverfox’s carelessness in all she reveals. Crone worries Rake might learn that the Ravens were born as maggots from the Crippled God’s flesh at his Fall. She notes they were also at the chaining and have been “honorable guardians of the Crippled God’s magic,” magic they can unleash as well. Crone thinks it was lucky for Brood that the T’lan Imass alliance with the Malazan Empire ended with the death of the Emperor, but then thinks that Brood also never “truly unleashed the Andii . . . let loose Anomander Rake . . has ever shown his own true power . . . Tennes—the power of the land itself . . . the power to shatter mountains.” Crone thinks too that what lies at the heart of the Pannion Domin is a mystery but Silverfox knows, and knows the T’lan Imass will be needed. She wonders both what that secret is as well as what it is that Kallor knows about Silverfox.

SCENE 6

The Myhbe recognizes that Silverfox is seeking allies, that Tattersail/Nightchill are reaching out to the Malazans. She sees the alliance is fragile and wonders what Dujek will do. Dujek asks why the Malazan Empire knew nothing of other T’lan Imass beyond the armies of Logros. Silverfox says the First Gathering bound the Imass to each and every one, making them immortal in the cause of war. Kallor interrupts to say that the Jaghut were pacifists save a few Tyrants. Silverfox counters Kallor is hardly the one to talk about injustice and says the Nightchill part of her knows what Kallor did—that he “laid waste an entire realm . . . left nothing but ash and charred bones” and identifies it as the Imperial Warren. Silverfox continues to instruct Dujek by saying Logros and the clans under him were tasked with defending the First Throne while the rest went to fight Jaghut, which proved “costly” and many armies were decimated. Others, she says, may still be fighting. Dujek says when the Logros left, they went into the Jhag Odhan and came back “much diminished.” Silverfox says she is unsure if the Logros have answered her call, though she says she senses one army nearby. The Mhybe sees Silverfox is not telling all. Dujek asks Brood if they should continue discussing strategy. As they do so, the Mhybe, Silverfox, Korlat, and Whiskeyjack exit. Whiskeyjack tells Silverfox he sees much of Tattersail in her and she says she recalls faces and feelings. She names some and says her thoughts of Tayschrenn confuse her, no “sense of loyalty, no sense of trust.” She says she does recall Paran and has in fact met him already, when he had Oponn’s sword and caught all the lances on it. She tells WJ he knows she’s alive and he can send word to Paran. He says they’re all coming anyway. Silverfox knows he wants to have Quick Ben and Mallet examine her and says she’s curious herself what they will discover. Korlat and Whiskeyjack leave together.

SCENE 7

Whiskeyjack says Silverfox revealed too much. Korlat agrees and muses on all the T’lan Imass have “witnessed” and remember: the Fall, the arrival of the Tiste Andii, the “last flight of the Dragons into Starvald Demelain.” When WJ mentions how flustered Crone got, Korlat reveals the great “secret” and says the Andii all know. In fact, Rake finds the power in Crone (the First Born) “appalling” and so keeps her and her kin close. Korlat says she’s looking forward to meeting Quick Ben, whom she recalls from their clash in Darujhistan. She tells him Silverfox trusts him and she does as well. When he recounts for her what he knows of the events of Tattersail’s death, Korlat wonders: they know she has Nightchill and Tattersail in her, but where is Bellurdan? Whiskeyjack thinks he has no idea.

 

Amanda’s Reaction to Chapter Three:

Two things from the extract—who on earth is Artanthos? Not sure we’ve yet heard about this chap or chapess? I’m definitely taking more note of those names that crop up as authors of extracts and poems, having encountered many of them through the pages of the books (like Gothos and Duiker). Second point is on the rather ominous final line:

Neither Dujek nor Brood, nor anyone else among their legendary company, could have anticipated the ensuing clash—not of swords, but of worlds...

On my first glance, I thought it said words, and felt it was rather prosaic. Worlds is something altogether greater!

Another nice little indication of the sheer time scales we’re dealing with:

Since memories began the hills had been sacred to the Rhivi.

Especially ironic considering we’re about to enter a meeting with some who existed before memories began....

We meet the Mhybe—the “mother” to the child Silverfox. Her inner monologue is bittersweet. It shows no hatred of Silverfox [Bill: Wait for it.], despite the fact that the unique soul is stealing her life force bit by bit, but does rue the lost opportunity of marriage and sees herself as an object to be discarded once its usefulness has run its course.

Here is one little hint about Nightchill actually being Sister of Cold Nights:

“...the other held back from death through ancient sorceries...”

We also have a reminder that, although Silverfox has been created from the souls of women/goddesses grown, she is but a child:

“Look at her now, playing the games a child would play; she smiles all unknowing of the price her existence, her growth demands of me.”

Silverfox looks to become one of the most intriguing characters yet—is it mere coincidence that she is now present and in existence when the Crippled God joins the game?

“This child belongs to the T’lan Imass. She may well be clothed in the flesh of a Rhivi, and she may well contain the souls of two Malazan mages, but she is now a Soletaken, and more—a Bonecaster. And even these truths but brush the edges of what she will become.”

How difficult must it be to try and forget the war and pain that has passed between the Malazan/Moranth and the Rhivi? This is such a terribly fragile and tenuous connection—and the presence of someone like Kallor must make it doubly so.

This description here feels a little as though it shows some of the complexity of the entire series—the worldbuilding, the scale, the life cycles, the different races. Plus, I just like it and wanted to quote it!

“Here we three stand, for all to see—a child of ten or eleven years, a woman of youthful visage with unhuman eyes, and a bent old woman—and it is, in every detail, an illusion, for what lies within us is reversed. I am the child. The Tiste Andii has known thousands of years of life, and the girl... hundreds of thousands.”

Then there is a discussion of memories, experiences and forgiveness—I must admit that some of this went over my head in terms of depth and philosophical musings, but I sense that all of these will be strong themes through Memories of Ice. (The title is indeed a clue!) One aspect I think I did understand is that among whichever people “life’s lessons are always the same lessons.”

Isn’t it fantastic to see characters we’ve known for a while from the point of view of new characters? I particularly love the way that the Mhybe and Korlat eye up Whiskeyjack a little bit. *grins*

If there is Barghast blood in Caladan Brood, does that mean that he has something to do with the ship Silanda?

Meeting Kallor here properly, and Nightchill in the body of Silverfox—and having seen the long-diminished K’rul in Gardens of the Moon and knowing that Draconus was defeated by Anomander—well, we’ve now seen all the results of those most terrible curses issued in the Prologue of Memories of Ice. And, I have to say, Kallor’s does seem the most terrible—someone who is desperate for power to never achieve ascendancy, never rise to godhood, but will live to see others reach that goal. Lesser others, in his opinion as well. Yes, for Kallor, that is a very proper curse.

Ooh, there is that name Artanthos again! And Silverfox says: “He’s not used that name in a long time. Nor is he as he appears.” Even more intriguing... Silverfox also calls him “a chimera”—something to remember, I’m guessing.

This first meeting between Brood and Dujek is excellent—two skilled veterans who have fought against each other many times finally coming face to face and taking each other’s measure. The exchange is quiet, dignified but with an element of sparring that amuses me.

The Tiste Andii are just SO EMO, aren’t they? I can’t help but picture them forlornly sighing about how life is difficult, and then writing bad poetry. The Tiste Andii are definitely the type to have Livejournal sites that detail the minutiae of living for millennia. *grins*

“A people plagued by indifference, an apathy that made even the efforts of civil discourse too much to contemplate. There were secret tragedies in the long, tortured past of the Tiste Andii. Wounds that would never heal.”

Ooh, this is one unique factor that I’ve not seen before in long-lived races...the fact that the Tiste Andii do not mourn their dead. Usually with these immortal types (such as elves in other books), they will extensively mourn the passing of any of the souls they’ve survived with for so long. Mind, the Tiste Andii seem to have few concerns or cares—internal misery and self-absorption is the order of the day.

The Mhybe’s reflection on Brood and Rake’s uneasy alliance makes me think about WHY they teamed up so long ago. What hold do they have on one another? Why do they fight for the same cause so often?

It’s awesome to see Crone again. *grins* And I’m touched by the way she refers to the Mhybe. I do think that Silverfox could perhaps take a little more notice of Crone’s long experience with hiding complete truths....

That table is too cool—if Fiddler and Hedge used it for the Deck of Dragons, might that have imbued it with latent energies? Given Fiddler’s sensitivity? This is also the second mention of the Mott Irregulars—thieves and scoundrels, by the sound of it! I’m keen to see them centre stage.

We have a quick crash course in the situation that Dujek and Brood are facing, concerning the Pannion taking over various cities and the political situations therein. I’m sure all will become clearer—this feels as close to an info-dump as Erikson ever gets. Once again, a nice little comment on the burgeoning respect and relationship between Brook and Dujek, and the “poetry in their mutual war.”

If I was having a rather cagey discussion with new allies, I don’t think I’d want Silverfox there, with the amount of information she spills! The child just can’t keep secrets!

Kallor isn’t exactly endearing himself to readers here, is he? Threatening SIlverfox, revealing the fact that child is destroying mother, trying to call out the goddess whom he cursed into this position. Not a nice guy at all.

Silverfox really does tell too much—revealing that she exists to command them. What would people do to gain power over the entire T’lan Imass race? More than Silverfox can bear while she’s still childlike and not grown into her full powers, I’m sure.

I think Erikson is also presenting an observation on the nature of motherhood. We’ve seen the Jaghut mother sacrificing her children, and here we can see the sacrifice of the Mhybe to bring Silverfox to life—is Erikson suggesting that motherhood always involves some sort of sacrifice?

Interesting...Brood’s power as an ascendant is that of Tennes, the power of the land itself. The power of Burn. Burn, who is fading and dying under the ravages of the Crippled God. That is going to have repercussions, non?

Whiskeyjack shows tact that I had forgotten he possessed in talking to Silverfox of Paran, and hinting at their previous relationship. Imagine having to broach that sort of issue with someone who looks, at best, eleven years old—but having to do so, in order that his captain does not suffer extreme pain if coming upon her all unawares. I love Whiskeyjack.

I have to confess to grinning widely when seeing that Crone’s great secret that she panics so about is already known to Rake—and is a reason he keeps her so close.

Okay, seems to me that all the recapping is done—and it is time to enter the real meat of the tale. See you next week!

 

Bill’s Reaction to Chapter Three:

The tragedy of the Mhybe will run through much of this book: a young Rhivi maiden turned unnaturally into a bent old woman and continuing to age at a greatly accelerated rate. Which in turn breeds an unnatural mother-daughter relationship—the daughter feeding off the mother’s life and in so doing killing her and the mother resenting/hating the child for doing so. However, I do think Amanda you’re right that Erikson is pointing out that motherhood, and I’d broaden that to parenthood, always involves sacrifice. Does it not? Here the sacrifice is made literal. And does a child’s growth not every day remind us of how old we are getting, how much closer to death, as we watch them grow? “It all goes so fast” is a common parental complaint, after all.

We’re also introduced quickly to the inherent mistrust between these allies early in the alliance, the questioning of motives. This will rear up later as well, so it’s good we’re set up for that, no matter the seeming good natured acceptance we see in this meeting.

The Mhybe’s question—why do the Imass need a flesh and blood Bonecaster is a good one, and will indeed be answered

We can see in the Mhybe’s thoughts on working with the enemy how smart a move it was—this deception with regard to Dujek and the Empress:

“Think not of mistrust, think not of the horrors visited upon us . . . Dujek Onearm and his Host have been outlawed by the hated Empress.”

We’ve got some hints to Silverfox’s long-range plans (at least, one of her plans) with regard to the Rhivi spirits that are untethered: she will “answer them” and be a “bridge” between “ancient memories and recent memories.”

And in her words on memories, we have again that theme of tolerance, of empathy “across the breadth of time, Among all who possess memories,” no matter the people, the tribe, the species, whether they have stars on the bellies or not, “life’s lessons are ever the same.”

It’s a harsh turn from that to sometimes “forgiveness must be denied,” begging the question of course as to what is Silverfox planning to not forgive? And whom?

[Warning—I’m going to be talking about hints regarding Artantho’s identity. Though I won’t be naming him myself, the hints—all of which we have been given—may lead you to who it is. Some (you know who you are) may wish to skip this paragraph.]

Okay, we’re told outright that Arthanthos is not who he appears to be, that Silverfox knows/knew him, that she was never sure of him, and that he’s used that name before but not for some time. Since he’s with the Malazans, it’s probably a good bet that it’s the Malazan aspect of her that knew him: Tattersail. Thus we can guess it is someone Tattersail never fully trusted. At this point, I’ll simply say we’ve seen him before (in his true self) and that we’ve seen his name or a variant of it as well. [Amanda’s interjection: *lightbulb moment* I know who it is!]

Back to our scheduled commentary.

By the way, we’ll see a bit of what is going on with the “internal matters” of the Crimson Guard and why they aren’t here in Esslemont’s Return of the, um, Crimson Guard.

That “tragic history” of the Andii will slowly get revealed in bits and pieces (and no, not completely) and will as one may imagine, play a role in events. After all, Erikson is a firm believer in this series in Faulkner’s timeless words, “the past is never dead. It’s not even past.”

And we’ve seen this idea of the long-lived Andii, the despair such long life could possibly entail, before. As well as the question of why they fight “for causes not their own.” Is it ennui? To stave off despair? Is it a belief in “freedom,” however the Andii may define it? Is it desire to feel like that are integral player in world events?

I also enjoy Crone’s secret being not so much a secret.

Love the table. And we haven’t seen the last of it by a long shot... And is anybody shocked that Fiddler and Hedge rigged the games?

There’s that mercenary company I mentioned earlier—the Gray Swords—from Elingarth.

Cannibalism. Yum. Consumption made literal?

Back to how this alliance, while coming nicely together, isn’t exactly one hundred percent transparent. We’ve got Dujek and WJ already planning how to contact the Grey Swords and Brood’s side already positioning Moon’s Spawn.

It’s a little line, Silverfox’s “not enough” when Brood references the “formidable sorceries” of the Tiste Andii, which of course means one has to ask: what does she know of the Pannion Seer and what could its power be that even Moon’s Spawn, Rake, and the Andii will not suffice and that makes her so sure the T’lan Imass—thousands of them—will be needed?

What a horribly wrenching scene, Silverfox’s learning of what she is doing to her mother. By the way—stop for a moment and just visualize that scene—Kallor, worn by life, mailed, grabbing a little girl and pulling her face to his and calling her “bitch.” Yes, hard to like Kallor much in this book. As Whiskeyjack clearly does not. File that little confrontation away for later.

Note Whiskeyjack’s suspicion that Tayschrenn is closer than is meant to be thought.

Whiskeyjack and Korlat. It’s not all death and war. Let’s see where this goes.

File cabinet: Crone telling us the Ravens “have been honorable guardians of the Crippled God’s magic.” Then later Korlat telling WJ the ravens “carry with them fragments of the CG’s power.”

Interesting complexity that as much as one can’t stand Kallor in this book so far, his is the voice that defends the Jaghut against genocide. So yes, now suddenly we’re nodding our head in agreement with someone who just tried to beat up a ten-year-old girl and called her “bitch.” Wait. How did that happen?

Hmmm, what’s going on with those missing T’lan Imass?

Yes, a bit awkward the whole Paran/Tattersail/ten-year-old girl/lovers thing, eh?

Wait, the “last flight of the Dragons into Starvald Demelain.” Where did that come from? And do we get to see it? What made it the last flight? What a tease!

Speaking of a tease line:

“Where then is this Thelomen, Bellurdan?”

Hmmm...cue organ music: Da Da Duh!


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.

94 comments
Steven Halter
1. stevenhalter
@Amanda:

That table is too cool—if Fiddler and Hedge used it for the Deck of Dragons, might that have imbued it with latent energies? Given Fiddler’s sensitivity?

Good question. Wait for it ...
Chris Hawks
2. SaltManZ
Speaking of a tease line:
"Where then is this Thelomen, Bellurdan?"



And what a tease! We'll be waiting a looooong time for the answer to that one, and when it comes it will be completely unexpected.


Here are my own notes from Chapter Two:

• After The Crippled God, I had half-convinced myself that the artist Munug was in fact the Crippled God's avatar. So I was a little bummed to see that they meet face-to-face here.
• And speaking of which, remember in Disney's Aladdin when Jafar dresses up as a beggar to trick Aladdin? Yep, that's how I've always pictured the Crippled God. :)
• And on that topic, I know that the chick with the sword on the Tor cover by Todd Lockwood is supposed to be Stonny Menackis, but I always picture her as Picker.
• And speaking of Picker, do those arm torcs ever play a significant role? I forget. I know they get a brief mention in TCG, but I don't remember them actually ever doing anything.
• Ganoes Paran is fretting so much over the Hound's blood in him, it makes you think there's some big change coming. And there is, but it's not what you'd expect. This amuses me.
Gerd K
3. Kah-thurak
"Why are they so determined to be the ruling Empire? What gives them the right? Why should we root for them and not for those of the Seven Cities? Hell, if these books were written from another POV, we’d
probably be rooting for the Crippled God and wondering when he is going to beat those Malazan bastards back and show them what he’s made of!"

An interesting statement that... true and false at the same time for very interesting reasons ;-)
Paul Boyd
4. GoodOldSatan
Bill and Amanda, Great job!

My first question is about Silverfox's statement that "It is no longer necessary," referring to the observation of the broken trust between the hills and the Rhivi. Is this later made clear?

My second question involves a past event, but addresses a future spoiler, so is whited out below (I hope).

I am (now) noticing repeated references to an injured knee, and I cannot remember how, where, when it was injured. Can anyone point me to an answer? (Maybe in my shoutbox?) Thx
Thanks,
GOS
Chris Hawks
5. SaltManZ
@GOS: It's not a spoiler. WJ's leg was injured when a pillar fell on it during the Fete in Darujhistan.
Paul Boyd
6. GoodOldSatan
Thanks ... see below ...

I didn't think the injury was a spoiler, just a constant reminder of it, hinting at major consequences to a mior event.
That aside, I'm hopeless if I cannot remember even important details.

As always, ... GOS
Pnr060
7. Pnr060
I seem to recall that Picker actually appeared briefly in Gardens when Paran was looking for Whiskeyjack.
Also, Artanthos spoiler:
It's pretty obvious who he is if you remember "Artan" from Night of Knives.
Steven Halter
8. stevenhalter
Quick Ben's confrontation with TCG is cool from a couple of points:
1) Albeit with surprise, he manages to knock back a god and get his stone back. He does not bargain with TCG. This makes a nice contrast with others we will see eventually. We also learn here that he can control 7 of his warrens at one time.
2) He quickly sees that Burn's being poisoned is not a good thing. He promises to help.
Steven Halter
9. stevenhalter
I really like the little bits of character building going on in Chapter 3 for Whiskeyjack. Silverfox innately likes him. The various physical descriptions are flattering of him. He comes to the aid of the child against Kallor. His chat with Korlat is open and honest.
Steven Halter
10. stevenhalter
I liked this line from the Mhybe:

Among humans, cold indifference was often manifested in acts of brutal cruelty, was often the true visage of evil--if such a thing existed--...

And whose discription so far has shown cold indifference?:
...but for the High King it was clear to all that such contests were but passing games, attended to with distraction and barely veiled disinterest.

We've got a winner! Now of course, he does show interest in Silverfox and the goddess within. He does take the side of the Jaghut against the T'lan, but note that it is an attempt at lending further discredit against Silverfox.
Steven Halter
11. stevenhalter
And here we have more of a description of the relationship between the T'lan Imass and Tellann:

The last Gathering, Silverfox replied, was hundreds of thousands of years ago, at which was invoked the Ritual of Tellann--the binding of the Tellann warren to each and every Imass. The ritual made them immortal, High Fist.
karl oswald
12. Toster
@ 4 GOS - your first question about the rhivi spirits does get addressed later on, with silverfox taking a direct hand. wait and see...

chapter three is one of my favourite of the book. the parley and all the fraught navigations of personality and the deadly past between the two sides. very very cool
David Thomson
13. ZetaStriker
Well, I’m a little late this time, but better late than never! Here we go.

. . . aaaaand we’re back with the Bridgeburners. Which I think quite a few people were waiting for, despite the quality of Deadhouse Gates. First we have a rather brief snippet of Outirder Hurlochel though, thankfully (still) not in the form of poetry. I’ve got enough of that coming up in my Creative Writing class. *shudder* Anyway, I’m sure Bill and Amanda will beat me to this one in good measure, but the important thing about this little snippet is the combination of where it trails off and the title, implying that the “wounds . . . to its soul” is meant quite literally in this case. But more on that when Silverfox joins the party.

Then we get to meet Blend and Picker, a pair that in my mind would get along a little too well with Gesler and Stormy if they all showed up on the same scene. I especially love Blend’s moment, where she lets slip a laugh at the mention of how those particular torcs had been blessed. I really don’t think I’d have had Picker’s enthusiasm after getting that little bit of information! A lot going on in this scene with them too, new characters aside. We hear of Treach’s claim of godhood, and Picker gets one of the first artifacts blessed in his name. We’re caught up a bit on the current state of the occupation of Pale, and of course, there’s Munug himself, who Blend seems at least a bit suspicious of.

And with good reason, we find. Munug is a servant of that Crippled God we’ve all heard so much about, and through him, we finally get our first meeting with that spiteful wreck. Munug has crafted and delivered to him a set of cards, and in the Malazan world cards always mean a Deck of Dragons. Through Munug, the Crippled God has entered the game, and while less than satisfactory, the hapless artisan’s rewards seem about what can be expected from a god whose only known name is the title “crippled”. Misery loves company, after all, and I’d certainly be miserable if my one claim to fame was being literally torn to pieces and scattered across an alien world before being chained in place so I can never return to my own. So, er, yeah.

Three hundred councils to buy my arm falling off. Wonderful.”
“Think positive, Corporal. It’ll give you something to talk about with Dujek.”

Did I mention how much I enjoy Picker and Blend? Especially since their entire “cutting Munug a break” act was just a giant scam? And now Picker is stuck with Treach’s blessing, whether she wants it or not; it doesn’t take a genius to jump to the conclusion that that might come up again soon.

And of course there’s Quick Ben, who now has to follow his tracker into the hands of the Crippled God himself thanks to Blend. I find their brief exchange almost comical. In my mind’s eye I see the Chained One beginning his evil speech, twirling his proverbial mustaches as he begins to tease out the details of his master plan . . . and so Quick Ben blasts him in mid-sentence, snatches back his prize and books it. Sure, it doesn’t exactly go as planned, but I loved every second of it. Lesson learned. Don’t waste time on long speeches with Quick Ben, or he’ll live up to his name.

On my first time through this novel, the following scene with Burn’s servant was heart-wrenching for me. This pain, and acceptance of grim fate, the stilted golem displays to Quick Ben invoked a great wave of sympathy within me. Even if the Crippled God hadn’t attacked Quick Ben and crippled Munug, and even his poisoning Burn’s flesh was a result of his Chaining, and not exactly malicious will, this would have very clearly put the Chained One in my “do no like” category. And Quick Ben obviously agrees, as even he, the usually stoic and secretive mage, is moved enough to swear to find an answer.

Although I do have to say, I do find his subject very interesting. On the one hand, I’m constantly inclined to pity him for what has continually been done to him since his violent arrival; Chainings and abuses that have given to him a life of pain in this strange land. I can’t necessarily blame him for lashing out, as he seems to be doing, but when it threatens more likeable casts of characters . . . that’s where I draw the line. And you’re on the other side of it, buddy. *glare*

. . . and then we’re given a horrific mental image by Picker before moving back Paran, another favorite of mine. Really, most of the characters in these books are favorites of mine though, so take that worth a grain of salt. Unfortunately, we find him suffering. I think I’d have cashed in a few of my sick days if I were in his position, with the Hound’s blood eating away at his stomach like an ulcer, but that’s just me. I’m also left wondering if Paran’s suffering is in any way meant to parallel the Crippled God’s arrival in the game. It’s not a thought that occurred to me my first time through, but I can’t help but notice that thematically Paran entered the stage with this pain just as the topic of the Crippled God faded at the end of Quick Ben’s segment. More on this later, as I look for further parallels through this novel.

Before moving on, however, I do have to mention Trotts. Oh, Trotts. A Barghast waxing philosophical has to be one of the funniest things I’ve seen yet; almost reminds me of Ham from Brandon Sanderson’s Mistborn series, in a way, although a little more barbaric in tone. I also like that Paran’s segment ends with his worry over the cull of the nobility Lasseen was no doubt issuing at that moment, and we already know how badly that ends for House Paran . . .

And we’re greeted to more Trotts! Gotta love his dry banter with Hedge.

“Noble and Mysterious. I’m impressed.”
“You should be. Such poses are not easy to hold, you know.”

Whiskeyjack! Gotta love the man, even if we don’t love his refusal to get that leg healed. It is kind of jarring to hear his warning about the Bridgeburners though; although Paran may have won over the squads that went to Darujhistan, he’s still just another noble commander to the rest. I think that would be pretty crushing, to be honest. You buck tradition, turn on the Adjunct, fighting alongside the squad and turn murderous intent into trust . . . and then you’re told you have to do it all over again with the other twenty-something members of the company ‘cause they ain’t buying it yet.

The blurb at the start of the next chapter is yet another attempt to put me at ease before a poem manages to strike; this except, like most of the others we’ve seen, is there more to set the scene than anything else. Although that author sure stands out, doesn’t he? If Artanthos doesn’t immediately spring to mind, think Night of Knives and see if anything comes to mind.

And we meet the Mhybe. Ugh. I like Memories of Ice, I really do, but in my mind the Mhybe reads like molasses. I was interested in her plight the first time through, truth be told, but on a second glance she comes off as more annoying than Felisin and less interesting than Kalam, to use examples from Deadhouse Gates. I still find the concept very intriguing; a mother who rapidly ages and then dies to bring her child rapidly into adulthood is great reading. But knowing the ending has spoiled the entire plotline for me. Even just forcing myself to read it puts my stomach in so many knots I might as well feel like Paran.

But through her, we do learn of the state of Brood’s camp. Silverfox, who is Tattersail and Nightchill reborn, holds some significance to the T’Lan Imass, and Korlat supports her while Kallor vehemently opposes her existence. Given that we’re all in the open over Nightchill = Sister of Cold Nights, there’s little doubt as to why on that regard. Kallor, while not outright evil, is stll a vortex of negative emotion that is rarely tempered by compassion. Although in my opinion the years of suffering under the curse of the Elder Gods has weakened his pride from the megalomaniacal level we saw in the prologue, he’s definitely the type to hold a grudge, and he must see Nightchill as one of the most horrid of his enemies. Silverfox is a threat to him, pure and simple.

Also, wisdom from children is always creepy. Picturing Silverfox’s aside to the Mhybe about the spirits of the land just sends a chill down my spine. Honestly, between her and the black-clad duo from chapter one, I’d be tough to choose which I find more unsettling. Naw, who am I kidding, Silverfox may be odd, but at least she doesn’t have that air of danger KorBauch radiates. And yes, I just used one of those stupid “Hollywood Couple Names” for them. You can hate me now.

She shrugged. “In all that is to come, think on forgiveness. Hold to it, but know too that it must not always be freely given.” Silverfox swung her sleepy gaze to Korlat and the dark eyes suddenly hardened. “Sometimes forgiveness must be denied.”

This quote really stands out to me, although in my mind its focus lies not with Korlat, but with a cetain Shield Anvil we’ll later meet. It will also serve a major theme throughout Toll of the Hounds, which is what really struck me about this moment. It also shows the conflict of the two souls inside Silverfox. The sudden intensity in her eyes strikes me as a shift from Tattersail to Nightchill, and the dominance of those two personalities will play out throughout this novel.

The Mhybe nodden. “Who is that on Dujek Onearm’s left?”
“Whiskeyjack, I would imagine,” the Tiste Andii replied with a wry smile. “Cuts quite a figure, doesn’t he?”

*grins* I love that Silverfox immediately claims him as an uncle too. Too cute right there.

Gotta love all the hints of Artanthos’ identity in here too. To anyone who read Night of Knives, they might as well have set up a wacky waving, arm flailing inflatable tube man in front of a sign with the character’s real name of there. I wont spoil it though, even though I’m sure someone else will. In fact, I hope they do, I’m just trying to dodge that particular bullet myself.

“. . . they spent most of their time stealing our supplies and then running away, as I recall.”
“A talent for logistics, we called it.” Kallor commented.

I swear, the Mott Irregulars have to simultaneously be the funniest, and most irrationally competent military forces in the Malazan world. Doesn’t hurt that they have the Bole family on board though. The entire section in Brood’s tent, with the table, had me chuckling too. Makes the war seem more like a slapstick comedy, even though they usually describe Moot Wood as being one of the worst battles the Bridgeburners had seen.

Speaking of Brood’s tent, it’s here that we get that other tease of the Great Raven’s origins. Silverfox is quite the insightful little girl, isn’t she? Yeah, I know, understatement.

I have to make an aside here to say how exciting I found all of this to be my first time through. All the characters from Gardens of the Moon, who before were bitter enemies, are now making peace and coming together to face a mutual threat. No more split loyalties, now it’s just everyone in one place, all our heroes aligned together. While some of that effect has been lost now, I remember being as giddy as a schoolgirl on Christmas Eve my first time through these scenes.

And then we talk about the Pannion Domin, and Capustan’s defense. The Gray Swords, the prince, the priests . . . all this will come up soon, so keep it in mind for now.

“If certain other rumors are true, then cannibalism is the least of the horrors–“

Yes. And ew. Also, ouch. That’s all I’ll say on the Tenescowri until we meet them later.

The moment near the end, with Kallor’s outburst, still just about breaks my heart. Despite my distaste for the Mhybe’s storyline, the moment where Silverfox realizes what her mere existence is doing to her mother gives me empathy pains. Makes it hard to acknowledge Kallor’s view on the matter. I also love Whiskeyjack going to bat for her as well. Brood had things in control, but Whiskeyjack backing him up both solidified the alliance and openly showed his support for the child, both of which are major bonuses at this point.

And then Silverfox tells him the truth of the matter. The gathering of the T’Lan Imass and the nature of her birth, both given to light before the newly formed allies. And “Artanthos” flinches. Heh. I think it’s great that Whiskeyjack spends two pages reeling over these revelations, worrying about everything from the complication of the T’Lan Imass to the absurdity of Paran having an underage lover, and still finds time to comment on how he thinks Korlat has a totally rocking body.

And then there’s Crone’s reaction, which gives us the confirmation of the Great Raven’s birth. Again, only two chapters after the first hint arrived, I really don’t believe spoiling this little secret managed to add anything to our discussion; if anything, it takes away the “oh, that’s what they meant!” moment and nothing more. It has little impact on the plot, true, but we really couldn’t wait one week to spoil that? Yeah, I’m still bitter about it, even if I agree with the rest of everyone’s arguments. To be honest, it’s more a bit of information to file away than a game-changing revelation, but keep that little fact in mind for the future. Like so many other things, this little detail will have a huge payoff somewhere down the road.

Am I the only one who gives Kallor bonus points for defending the Jaghut, even if he’s not very nice about the way he does it? His verbal sparring with Silverfox is entertaining, at the very least. Imagine them in your head. Two figures, one a small child, the other old beyond imagining, arguing about ancient lore amidst a room of baffled adults. Like most Erikson scenes, this is one that proves much stronger, and interesting, when given a strong visual image.

Small bit of info to remember:

“. . . the last flight of the Dragons into Starvald Demelain . . .”

You should be wondering why they never came back out. More to come. Also,

“Commander, we sense Tattersail and Nightchill within the child – she herself admits to these two – but now I wonder, where is this Thelomen, Bellurdan?
He could only draw a deep breath and shake his head. Gods, I don’t know . . .

Also very important. Keep that mystery in mind, although the answer wont come soon.
David Thomson
14. ZetaStriker
Looking up at the posts now, I feel like I mimed Bill on a lot of points this week, particularly our choice of scenes to explicitly visualize. I do have to say one thing though:


As will Treach’s development from First Hero to god. You’re pretty on with the musing regarding gods vs. ascendants—we will get a bit of a lecture on this from a character coming up. Note as well with regard to the torcs that we’ve got the ivory coming from a “frozen in mud” creature—so there’s an echo of our prologue with the creatures Pran Chole sees frozen in the ice. And it’s from a “furred, tusked” beast—something else to keep in mind. Finally, the ivory came from “Elingarth” and it will turn out we’ll later learn of a mercenary group from there who will play a large role in the plot. I like how Erikson slips in these small little throwaways so when we later hear a word/phrase/name in a different, often more significant context, it sounds familiar and natural. We see this as well with gods he wants to keep in our minds or that will play a role whenever we get their names put in front of us via a curse of some sort: “Fener’s tusk,” etc.



I see what you did there. =D
Hugh Arai
15. HArai
ZetaStriker@13:
Am I the only one who gives Kallor bonus points for defending the Jaghut, even if he’s not very nice about the way he does it?


As far as I'm concerned, yes you are. He's interested in playing up the threat of the T'lan Imass, not concerned for the Jaghut. Either that or he's a hypocrite of outrageous proportions.
Joe Long
16. Karsa
does anybody else find the Mhybe mighty annoying. This is one of my favorite books and I've lost track of how many times I've read it, but i find that I tend to skim/skip the Mhybe's story line. its not about how depressing it is (very) or sad (very)...it is just so...WHINY

re Munog...I don't think it is much of a spoiler to say that he shows up again. much later. it is one of the most touching scenes in the whole series. the scene that I think really defines the series. file it away someplace in that cabinet of yours! :)
Julian Augustus
17. Alisonwonderland
Let me mention here that the hints Erikson gives in this chapter about Artanthos are very subtle. Further, Erikson then mostly ignores him until the big reveal at the end of the book. It is fairly safe to say that 99% of readers would have forgotten these extremely early hints about Artanthos by the time of the bid reveal. And I might also mention that if one does a normal read of the series one would NOT have read NoK by this point.

All of this is to say that I think all the focus on Artanthos this early, and the way he has been practically "outed" here spoils the big reveal moment for a new reader that I suspect Erikson had carefully set up in the book. I remember my surprise on my first read when the big reveal came, and my frantic backtracking through the book to find the clues Erikson had so carefully planted in the first few chapters. Now the experience is spoiled for first time readers.

In my view, this is as bad as hinting who is going to die later in the book. The fact that the clues to Artanthos were planted in this chapter doesn't mean the solution should be practically given away right now. And already hints are being given in the comments that would spoil for new readers one of the biggest events in the entire series. I am beginning to feel sorry for new readers on this blog who may not get to experience what Erikson perhaps intended them to experience.
Julian Augustus
18. Alisonwonderland
Let me mention here that the hints Erikson gives in this chapter about Artanthos are very subtle. Further, Erikson then mostly ignores him until the big reveal at the end of the book. It is fairly safe to say that 99% of readers would have forgotten these extremely early hints about Artanthos by the time of the bid reveal. And I might also mention that if one does a normal read of the series one would NOT have read NoK by this point.

All of this is to say that I think all the focus on Artanthos this early, and the way he has been practically "outed" here spoils the big reveal moment for a new reader that I suspect Erikson had carefully set up in the book. I remember my surprise on my first read when the big reveal came, and my frantic backtracking through the book to find the clues Erikson had so carefully planted in the first few chapters. Now the experience is spoiled for first time readers.

In my view, this is as bad as hinting who is going to die later in the book. The fact that the clues to Artanthos were planted in this chapter doesn't mean the solution should be practically given away right now. And already hints are being given in the comments that would spoil for new readers one of the biggest events in the entire series. I am beginning to feel sorry for new readers on this blog who may not get to experience what Erikson perhaps intended them to experience.
Julian Augustus
19. Alisonwonderland
ZetaStriker @13:
Kallor, while not outright evil, is still a vortex of negative emotion that is rarely tempered by compassion.

Here we have a character who in this prologue alone, is described as the ultimate in cruelty to others, whose pitiless enslavement, pillaging and murder of others, his incomprehensible tyranny was so unbearable that a group of wizards pulled down a god in an unsuccessful attempt to find something, anything to help them get rid of him. This is the guy whose pitiless tyranny even the Elder Gods couldn't stand, and when he thinks the Elder Gods are coming to dethrone him, he kills every man woman and child on the entire continent, and burns everything on the continent to ash so that it becomes permanently uninhabitable. All that destruction and genocide he committed for the sole purpose of denying the Elder Gods the satisfaction of taking his victims away from him.

AND YOU DON'T THINK HE IS OUTRIGHT EVIL????????

Then what would you consider outright evil, I'm trying to understand?
karl oswald
20. Toster
oh kallor's evil all right, but he's got himself a few redeeming qualities. granted, none of them come out in MoI, but down the road we actually get to know the man, and not the legend, if you know what i mean.
Joe Long
21. Karsa
re Artanathos:

http://www.tor.com/blogs/2010/11/open-call-for-questions-for-ian-cameron-esslemont

question 10

don't go there if you don't want a spoiler.

I couldn't find the answer in my cursory search. I recall they did answer it though.
Amir Noam
22. Amir
ZetaStriker @13:

Lesson learned. Don’t waste time on long speeches with Quick Ben, or he’ll live up to his name.

Reminds me of Tuco from The Good, The Bad and The Ugly: "When you have to shoot, shoot. Don't talk."
Gerd K
23. Kah-thurak
As a side note:
In the infamous Suvudu Cage Match 2011 Quick Ben is currently fighting against some Harry Potter Villain named Snape. It is unthinkable that he should loose so we need to vote for him ;-)

http://sf-fantasy.suvudu.com/2011/03/cage-match-2011-quick-ben-versus-severus-snape.html
Pnr060
24. Margaret Brinkley
Don’t waste time on long speeches with Quick Ben, or he’ll live up to his name.

D'oh! I've always seen 'Quick' in QB's name as meaning 'alive' as in 'the quick and the dead.' Until now I'd never considered the meaning 'fast' - how could I have been so dim?!
Maggie K
25. SneakyVerin
I agree with Karsa @16...I found the Mhybe's plotline very annoying. OK-She sucked out your life...we get it...Unfortunately this will go on for scenes and scenes and scenes.
David Thomson
26. ZetaStriker
Yeah, I've already mentioned my thoughts on the Mhybe. ==;;

Alison@17 - 19: In my opinion, I don't think the Artanthos reveal is a big secret so long as NoK is read first, and we've already put that book well behind us on this re-read. No one's out and spoiled it yet, only spelled out the clues we've already been given so others can figure it out for themselves. Some may, some may not, but I don't think we've done anything unnecessarily huge. After all, we haven't revealed to anybody that he's Fiddler's father's brother's nephew's cousin's former roommate.

As for Kallor, well, let's face it. 100,000 years is a long time, and although he's still bitter and amibitious, I do believe he has softened somewhat since his tyranical rule over what is now the Imperial Warren. Centuries of having your immense pride broken down can do that to a man. I don't believe he is a good person, and certainly not a friendly one . . . but neither is he one-dimensionally evil.
Amir Noam
27. Amir
ZetaStriker @26:

After all, we haven't revealed to anybody that he's Fiddler's father's brother's nephew's cousin's former roommate.

"What does that make us?"
"Nothing! Which is what you are about to become".

Sorry. Reflex :-)

Edit: Is it impossible to use the quote tags without the comment getting corrupted and needing a manual fix later?
Amir Noam
28. Amir
Kah-thurak @23:
Thanks for the link! That's hillarious!
I also see that Perrin Aybara won against Paul Atreides! What the hell?
Gerd K
29. Kah-thurak
@28 Amir
Too a large degree it really is a popularity contest... so we may have to live with the idea of Quick Ben loosing to Emo-Perrin... however ridiculous it is ;-)

@Mhybe Plot-Line
Not one of my favourites as well, but not that bad either. It is an important motivation later on so maybe it was necessary to flesh it out in the detail it has been done.

@Arthantos Spoilers
I think we shouldnt get into a spoiler discussion every three posts. It IS a re-read after all, and while it is good not to outright spoil major plot points, it is pretty obviuous that hints to later developments will be discussed... so readers who really want to avoid even such minor spoilers should avoid re-Reads of books they havent read yet ;-)
Steven Halter
30. stevenhalter
re Kallor: 100,000 odd years of living under a grinding curse will probably have done something to him.
However, if he had the opportunity at such power as he had with his empire would he do the same again? I'd say yes. As Brood says--Kallor never learns.
B T
31. amphibian
What's so interesting about Artanthos is that when these books first came out, it was impossible for us first time readers to figure out who he was. We experienced the books as they came out and then only later did we realize how nicely it all fit together.

Now, with the series largely finished, the newer readers have the opportunity to go "Aha, so was worth it after all!"
Hugh Arai
32. HArai
SneakyVerin@25:
I agree with Karsa @16...I found the Mhybe's plotline very annoying. OK-She sucked out your life...we get it...Unfortunately this will go on for scenes and scenes and scenes.


Inevitable result of SE's choice for tight PoV. What else would you expect to dominate the Mhybe's thoughts? It's not the sort of thing a person just shrugs and ignores from then on. Maybe the plot line could have had less "screen-time" but as pointed out above it's a motivator for several things later on.


shalter@30:
As Brood says--Kallor never learns.




Agreed. He's not one dimensional because no one "real" is. But even the things people point to where "he's not so bad" seem to me to really boil down to self-centeredness and/or self-interest. Like his "defense" of the Jaghut here.
Hugh Arai
33. HArai
Oh joy. Quoting previous posts is now apparently spam. Oh well maybe my posts will unlock in time to be still relevant to discussion.

Regarding the Artanthos "spoiler" - didn't we have this discussion when Bill and Amanda first decided on the "SE and ICE recommended read order"? If you read NoK where this re-read did, it's going to be different than publication order. Not better/worse, just different.
Steven Halter
34. stevenhalter
re Artanthos: If you hadn't read NoK at this point, the reveal is quite a bit more difficult to figure out. I'm pretty sure I didn't figure it out at this point my first time through.
Is that a problem--no not really. As HArai says, it's different.
Tricia Irish
35. Tektonica
kah-thurak@29: Agree wholeheartedly. Well said.

Artanthos: 1. Isn't that important anyway. 2. I wish I'd known the first time through, it might have enhanced the read. *shrug*

Mhybe: Ug. OK, I get it. I even agree...Motherhood, in fact living, causes death. It is poignant, but seems a bit overwrought to me. YMMV.

Kallor: A total opportunist. I put nothing past him. What he has learned is to "bide his time", as far as I'm concerned. Don't trust him, nope, not a bit. I have met certain people in RL like him, luckily only 2, who seem to be missing some kind of "empathy" gene. I call them "takers". It's always all about them. It really seems almost like a gene is missing or something. Creepy.
Antoni Ivanov
36. tonka
I didn't figured out who Artanthos was when I read MoI but I immidiately figured out who Artan was when I read Night of Knives.

And Memories of Ice is my favourite book in the Series. Probably because it features my favourites. That is the Bridgeburners (all of them, I find every one fascinating they are so different and in the same time such a perfect blend - from Picker and Blend, the angsty Antsy, Spindle with his hairshirts, Trotts who are we gonna see in action soon, and etc. etc. all the way to the leaders Whiskeyjack and Paran).
And Anomander Rake is another favourite, and in the Daruhistan's represantives who are coming we will see another favourites of mine. While not favourites I like Toc the Yonger and Tool (for instance I didn't like Karsa from the begining, nor did I Felisin and it was tedious to read about them in the beginning). Lady Envy is fun and so are the Seguleah (sp?). The Pananion and what they do (shudders). They are quite an enemy
Of course I have yet to read the last 2 books of the series and Midnight Tides (I kinda skip it but I was introduced with the characters in Reaper's Gale)
Kimani Rogers
37. KiManiak
Thanks Amanda and Bill. Nice recap.

These chapters really seem to get things moving. Chapter 2 seems to be laying the foundation of some of the major plot points and introducing some characters (Blend, Picker, The Crippled God, the Earth Giants), reconnecting us with some others (Paran, Quick Ben, Hedge, Mallet, Trotts), and introducing some noteworthy “things” (Picker’s torcs, QB’s pebble-tracers, Paran’s sickness).

Chapter 3 introduced a lot of history, backstory and exposition, but not in any kind of dry or boring way. The Mhybe reflects on what has happened to her and Silverfox. We get info on the Pannion army, Silverfoxes origins, the Great Raven’s origins, etc in the form of a somewhat tense first meeting/war council between Dujek’s army and Brood’s army. Even Kallor’s… questionable actions and opinions inform the reader without it appearing like a boring info-dump.

I was on the figurative (and probably, literal) edge of my seat as Erikson gave us more information about this incredibly deep and well-fleshed out world and history that he has created. Actually, the casualness with which he gave so much information shocked me at first; then led me to the realization that he could so easily give up this information because there is so much more that we get to discover through this series.

I see that Amanda and Bill both quoted sections of these chapters in their comments. I decided to follow Tektonica’s example and attempt to reread the reread’s chapters each week (while also still reading ahead in my normal read; still getting through HoC), and I caught so many lines and phrases that foreshadow so much or allude to different parts of the story. Or can be seen as ironic or naïve. I may just throw in some of my favorites in a future post.

Oh, and a continuous thanks on the items to file away (and to place in a firesafe cabinet?). Some of these appear to need to be filed away for future books, even (unless I’m missing something).
Pnr060
38. ksh1elds555
There is so much important info packed into these 2 chapters that will influence the rest of the series. It's hard to fit it all in, especially on your first read. I'm doing a little better the second time around.

Every book brings to light some new awesome characters and this one is no different. In addition to my faves from GotM, I found 3 new characters to love in this book. Gruntle, Picker, and Itkovian(who we meet later). One thing I really love about the Malazan army, is how the female soldiers are portrayed with the same effectiveness and general kick-ass-ness of the male soldiers. SE is the first writer I have read to do this and I find it awesome. It was also one of the elements of Battlestar Galactica that I loved- women were as capable and competent as the men. I think Picker has become one of my faves because she is so well-written, intelligent, practical, down-to-earth and competent. She is not a larger-than life Rake or Quick Ben with mind-blowing magic or shapeshifting. She is a normal person, a soldier, who becomes exceptional through her experiences. You don't have to be a supernaturally powerful character...to be a powerful character in these books.
B T
39. amphibian
@35. Tektonica,

Interesting choice of words.

Kallor is an opportunist in the form of Sisyphus or Tantalus. He'll do a bunch of work, get every duck lined up nicely in a row and the opportunity slides away before his helpless eyes because of the curse.

Absolutely one of the best characters in the Malazan world.
karl oswald
40. Toster
@36 tonka

wait wait wait, are you actually saying you haven't read MT... and just skipped by it????

if so, wow, you need to go back and rectify that situation. MT's is one of the best entries in the series. i can't believe you read RG without reading MT. that just blows my mind. aren't you just baffled by, like, everything?
Iris Creemers
41. SamarDev
Re the Mhybe. I think I read MoI twice about 4 years ago, on my first entry to the books up until then. Although I reread most of the other books during the following years, I always skipped MoI thinking 'oh, that was the Mhybe'. But, when I entered the reread this summer and went ahead, I discovered I actually forget all the other very very interesting and powerfull plotlines in the book. AND I discovered I could 'manage' the Mhybe-storyline much better then ever before.

I don't know why, but having finished the complete reread now, it went the same with some other story-arcs (in RG / DoD) which I found annoying the first and second time I (re)read them.

I'm curious how the newbies will see those three arcs, which have been discussed (and/or criticized) a lot on the Malaz Forum. Will they like them more their first time around, because they read in a more easy pace ánd have all the discussions and hints about them while they do so? Or will they need a reread (or two) as well before appreciating them?
Sydo Zandstra
42. Fiddler
Ah, Picker and Blend, one of my favourite couples in this series. Especially in this book.

'None of them are,' Picker agreed, tugging at the torcs on her arm. 'These things are damned tight.'
'Your arm will probably rot and fall off, Corporal.'
(...)
'Three hundred councils to buy my arm falling off. Wonderful.'
'Think positive, Corporal. It'll give you something to talk about with Dujek.'
'I really do hate you, Blend.'

Keep a tab on this pair... Especially with Sergeant Antsy around... :D


As for the Mhybe, her plotline isn't my favourite one in this book, but it's more bearable in a reread, because you know where it's heading.
Amir Noam
43. Amir
I've never really like Antsy much, but when he's around Picker and Blend - comic gold :-)
Kerry Lee
44. King Lear
All the discussion on Kallor's inability to learn got me thinking. Either as a result of his curses or as something intrinsic to himself, Kallor seems unable to gain insight, or maybe more accurately he is unable to act on his experiences. (This comes from something later in the series, in TtH) Effectively (in terms of gaming) he his unable to level up from his present (though powerful) form. Just a random thought.

Knowing that the Malazan world came from gameing sometimes colours the way I think about the books :P
Pnr060
45. MDW
Re : The Mhybe. She didn't annoy me, what bothered me about this plotline was that if Silverfox had just explained what she was trying to do it would have saved everyone a whole lot of grief.
Brent Grahn
46. BDG91
What I don't understand from the Mhybe storyline understand is the lack of empathy toward her. She is going through what is one of the most chilling things I have ever read in a book. Yet people say things such as "she so depressing" of course she, she is literally wasting away and watching her daughter grow from her life force. If there is any reason to be depressed that is up at top of the list. It is by no means my favourite storyline, truthfully far from it, but I do think she is a wonderfully written and realized character.
Iris Creemers
47. SamarDev
@ 46
I agree completely, but for me it took the last (third?) reread of the complete series to realize that :-)
Kimani Rogers
48. KiManiak
I had planned to comment on these chapters a lot more than I have as we get introduced to new characters (or get more background on characters we met briefly in GotM), get the initial meeting of these two former adversarial armies’ executive officers, and get a massive infodump; but I’ve been engrossed in HoC (get past that Book One, and I think it’s as good as MoI and DG).

One thing that I’ve continuously noticed (and that is done so well in HoC that it finally led me to comment) is how Erikson develops his world so well, even through the little things like the swearing. I think this was discussed here (maybe another reread; sometimes I get them confused), but the number and imaginative types of swear-phrases is astonishing. And they don't use the standard "real world" swear-phrases (other than the occasional "bitch," "bastard" and "damn").

It’s obviously not in these two chapters, but I busted up and started laughing out loud from Strings’ “Hood’s balls under a big rock.” The soldiers’ various mannerisms, their outlook on life and their duties, and even their swearing continue to make Erikson’s writing and crafting of his universe top notch.

Hmm… these chapters do have a creative swear-phrase or two; better than what appears to be the pc “Fener’s hoof,” or “Beru fend,” anyway.

-Picker: “Togg’s balls

-Trotts: “You, sapper, are the scum beneath a pebble in a stream running through a field of sickly pigs”

-Whiskeyjack: “Hood’s Breath” (Okay, not really a good one)

I’m sure we get even more when the Bridgeburners (or other soldiers) interact amongst each other or think amongst themselves in future chapters. Just another thing to enjoy about this series…
Kimani Rogers
49. KiManiak
I am surprised that there’s only been 50 or so comments, with a lot of potentially cool things to discuss other than the potential annoyance of the Mhybe’s story arc (which is the only major drawback to this book, in my opinion).

Let’s see:
- there’s Quick Ben’s accessing of multiple warrens (foreshadowing his use of his warrens in creative ways throughout this book);

-Paran’s internal “changes” and warring with himself;

-recurring theme: Kallor vs Silverfox; Kallor vs Brood; Kallor vs Whiskeyjack; Kallor vs…

-Korlat’s first meeting with Whiskeyjack, and their early interactions after the war council

-introducing that Korlat -and by extension, the Tiste Andii- may know more about a situation (ex. Crone and the Great Ravens) than they let on, which becomes a recurring theme in this book as well; etc.

-Silverfox contains at least 2 souls that channeled separate warrens, plus her access to Tellan; what could come of this type of ability; as well as how much access to Nightchill’s abilities and memories does Silverfox really have

-if Silverfox = Nightchill = SoCN, an elder god on par with K’rul (who could place the imperial warren, and perhaps others, within himself) and Draconus (who created Dragnipur), then shouldn’t her power levels be insanely high? If Nightchill's power levels weren't that high before her death (or currently as of her "resurrection") then what happened? When?

Maybe I'll try to get to my opinion on -or questions about- some of these if I take an extended break from HoC and March Madness..
karl oswald
50. Toster
well, nighthchill was probably pulling a QB when she was with the empire, keeping her head down, not showing her true powers, which would draw too much attention. and as for her role in the silverfox conglomeration, she definitely adds some muscle, but the nature of that power has shifted because she's sharing a body with another person, not to mention, she is first and foremost, a bonecaster
Gerd K
51. Kah-thurak
@KiManiak
"-if Silverfox = Nightchill = SoCN, an elder god on par with K’rul (who
could place the imperial warren, and perhaps others, within himself) and Draconus (who created Dragnipur), then shouldn’t her power levels be insanely high? If Nightchill's power levels weren't that high before her death (or currently as of her "resurrection") then what happened? When?"

Power levels are a difficult thing in these books (as you will again see in the final of HoC). It is quite hard to say who is more powerful than who and what that actually means. The Elder Gods for example are powerful beeings, but they were much more powerful, when they were still worshipped and blood was shed on their altars (think on how K'rul awakened in GotM). How much power Silverfox actually has, and how much of it she has allready mastered is a question that is not answered so far.
Robin Lemley
52. Robin55077
The typical "if A defeats B and B defeats C, then A can defeat C" does not work in SE's books. At all! We find that with SE, each event is unique. This runs true throughout the entire series.
Tricia Irish
53. Tektonica
KiManiak@48:

For your reading pleasure: I have been compiling a list of Malazan Swear Words, as find them very colorful! (Beru Fend is now in regular use in my vocabulary and no one knows I'm swearing!)

I'm a bit behind in posting to this list from my reading, but ALL:
Please feel free to add to this!

Malazan Swear Words

Hood's breath
Hood's grin
Hood's stubby ankles
Hood’s toes
Hood’s humps
Hood’s Teets

Beru fend
Togg's feet
Togg's teats
Togg’s balls
Fener's tusk
Fener's hoof
Fener's hairy balls

Bloated bladder of piss.
Miserable snake
Hairless rodent
Hood’s shithole
Hood’s balls under a big rock.
Steven Halter
54. stevenhalter
KiManiak@48:In addition to the warren accessing, we see Quick Ben's rapid actions in dealing with the Crippled God and in accessing the danger to Burn (and the world) and promising to get help.
This shows us two (at least) more aspects of his personality. He is decisive and willing to act in an altruistic fashion. He isn't just a slippery conniver.
Gerd K
55. Kah-thurak
@Tek
Hood's marble balls on an anvil ;-)
Amir Noam
56. Amir
Robin55077 @52:

The typical "if A defeats B and B defeats C, then A can defeat C" does not work in SE's books.

Let's see...1. Icarium can beat anyone.
2. Mappo can knock out Icarium with a single club blow to the head.
3. Therefore, Mappo is the most powerful being in the Malazan world.
Q.E.D. :-)
Pnr060
57. djk1978
I view the power scale in terms of something like professional sports. All the teams are pretty good. None are likely to lose to an amateur team too often. But sometimes upsets happen, the best team does not always win. In fact the best team is unlikely to go undefeated. And just because the best team beat the second best team recently, doesn't mean they can't lose to the last place team.

SE's gods, ascendants and even heroes work like that. And, like for example in the FA Cup in soccer, sometimes even a weak team can cause a giant slaying.

If anything, I find this more realistic than the typical power scale idea of A > B > C.
Mieneke van der Salm
58. Mieneke
@Amanda: That's an intriguing idea about Paran becoming a Hound soletaken! I'd never considered that.


The Tiste Andii are just SO EMO, aren’t they? I can’t help but picture them forlornly sighing about how life is difficult, and then writing bad poetry. The Tiste Andii are definitely the type to have Livejournal sites that detail the minutiae of living for millennia. *grins*



I just fell of the couch laughing when I read that!

*preens* I guessed who Arthantos was at first mention! Is it sad that I was proud of that fact?

Okay so my first reaction to Quick Ben's only being able to use seven Warren's at a time was: "Wait, so 'Awaken the Seven within me!' was a red herring?" And here we were all sniggering at the corny line!

I think I must be crazy, but I actually like the voice of the Mhybe. The juxtaposition of seeming and truth emphasised with the observation of Silverfox, Korlat and the Nhybe was arresting to me.

Uncle Whiskeyjack *snorts*

I really liked Crone's observations on the similarities between Dujek and Brood. Another reminder that what divides us is often more of our own creation, than a division in truth.

I LOVE Whiskeyjack!! That scene with Kallor is classic. "That will do,"and Blam!! It had me cheering out loud.

So we get a lot of background info on the T'lan Imass, but we still don't know what happened in the Jhag Odhan right, or did I miss that somewhere?
Mieneke van der Salm
59. Mieneke
*cries* My post was marked as spam :-(
I'll check back tomorrow morning to see whether the moderator releases it and otherwise I'll re-type it then :-(
Kimani Rogers
60. KiManiak
Re: Silverfox = Nightchill = SoCN

As I was reading Chapter 3 for the first time and came to the realization that Nightchill was SoCN that we were introduced to during the prologue, I admit that my mind immediately jumped to the possibilities for Silverfox. She was a T’lan Imass bonecaster, with Tattersail’s access to High Thyr and some of the abilities of an Elder God? The possibilities were numerous!

As we progress through MoI, we’ll learn more about Silverfox, so I don’t want to go too much into what she can/can’t do now. But I will say that one of the great things about this series is that Erikson may give you information (i.e.: Cotillion is the patron god of assassins) which allows your imagination to run wild; but it’s not until he actively shows you what that character can (and can’t) do that you truly get an idea of how capable they are and aren’t (let’s just say I really liked Cotillion in HoC).

I trust Erikson to let us know what Silverfox is capable of at the proper time (and I expect that we learn even more about her in future books). As far as speculation goes, though, it seems that Silverfox has the potential to be a pretty powerful player.


Re: Power Levels

Fortunately, I’ve had a few of the Malazan vets (Fiddler, Tek, and a few others come to mind) warn me not to make assumptions about how powerful a character is based solely on who has beaten who. I also think this reread group has done a good job of reminding us about that from time to time. I appreciated Amir@56 and djk1978@57’s separate examples to help clarify (although part of me wouldn’t mind if Mappo were the most powerful being in the Malazan universe).

Still, it’s fun to contemplate (based on the information that we have at this point in MoI) that Silverfox could conceivably be a major badass in her own right, without even calling on her T’lan Imass.

I wonder if she and Quick Ben ever sit down and have a heart to heart about certain things they have in common...
Kimani Rogers
61. KiManiak
Tek@53 – Hah! Thanks for the list. Yeah, I came across a few other good ones in HoC. I think we really get exposed to them when the soldiers either think to themselves or talk to another soldier about something. Strings alone gave us a number of good ones!

Shalter@54 – I think that’s a good point about QB. In GotM we see him as a type of master manipulator (his dealings with Shadowthrone); is creative and a strong capacity for ingenuity, and a capable fighter; in DG, we see that he is loyal to his friends; and here we see that he’s also willing to put his own ass on the line when it’s for the greater good, as well.

I like how QB says, “alright then; it’s my war now” and you just get the feeling that he really has made it personal, and that this mortal will play a major role in this confrontation between gods. And as we see later on, Quick Ben has no qualms about confronting other “major” gods to accomplish his goals.
B T
62. amphibian
The swearing will get a brief in-book discussion somewhere along the line. "Togg's teats" and "Beru fend" feature prominently. It was easily one of my favorite language parts of the series, along with Glanno Tarp's wonderful supercolliding words.

The tension between what is "planned" and what fell into place by serendipity remains constant throughout the series as well. It's a frequent matter of debate on the Malazan forums in nearly every book and involves nearly every significant character or groups of characters. Lovely work Erikson and ICE do here to propel such fascinating ambiguity and layers of discussion.
Mieneke van der Salm
64. Mieneke
So retyping my post from last night, I hope I can still remember most of it :-( And it flagged it again!! Good thing I remembered to copy it before I hit post!!

@Amanda: I never thought of Paran becoming a soletaken Hound, that would be interesting though!


The Tiste Andii are just SO EMO, aren’t they? I can’t help but picture them forlornly sighing about how life is difficult, and then writing bad poetry. The Tiste Andii are definitely the type to have Livejournal sites that detail the minutiae of living for millennia. *grins*
I just about fell out of the couch laughing when I read that!



When Quick Ben reveals he can only use seven of his warren's at a time, all I could think was: "Wait, so 'Awaken the seven within me!' was a red herring all along?" And here we were just sniggering at the corny line, SE totally slipped that past us!

I seem to be the only one, but I love the Mhybe's voice. The juxtaposition she observes between seeming and truth, illustrated here by Silverfox, Korlat and the Mhybe herself, was really arresting to me.

Uncle Whiskeyjack *snorts*

I love Crone's observations about the similarities between Dujek and Brood; last night I had a whole eloquent line about how this shows that humanity is more often divided by it's own imaginings than fact, but I can't for the life of me remember it and make sense at the same time, so that's lost to the spam gods I'm afraid!

Allow me a fangirl moment:I LOVE WHISKEYJACK!!!! That scene with Kallor is classic! "That will do," and Blam! It had me cheering out loud. /fangirl

There was lots of background info on the Imass in these chapters, but we still don't know what happened in the Jhag Odhan right?

This post is way shorter than last night but I just can't dredge up what else I'd written down.
Mieneke van der Salm
65. Mieneke
So retyping my post from last night, I hope I can still remember most of it :-(

@Amanda: I never thought of Paran becoming a soletaken Hound, that would be interesting though!

Re Amanda's EMO comment on the Tiste Andii, I just about fell out of the couch laughing when I read that!

When Quick Ben reveals he can only use seven of his warren's at a time, all I could think was: "Wait, so 'Awaken the seven within me!' was a red herring all along?" And here we were just sniggering at the corny line, SE totally slipped that past us!

I seem to be the only one, but I love the Mhybe's voice. The juxtaposition she observes between seeming and truth, illustrated here by Silverfox, Korlat and the Mhybe herself, was really arresting to me.

Uncle Whiskeyjack *snorts*

I love Crone's observations about the similarities between Dujek and Brood; last night I had a whole eloquent line about how this shows that humanity is more often divided by it's own imaginings than fact, but I can't for the life of me remember it and make sense at the same time, so that's lost to the spam gods I'm afraid!

Allow me a fangirl moment:I LOVE WHISKEYJACK!!!! That scene with Kallor is classic! "That will do," and Blam! It had me cheering out loud. /fangirl

There was lots of background info on the Imass in these chapters, but we still don't know what happened in the Jhag Odhan right?

This post is way shorter than last night but I just can't dredge up what else I'd written down.

Okay that was three times I got flagged! Is it because I quoted Amanda? I took that out now, lets see whether it posts now!
Mieneke van der Salm
66. Mieneke
Huh, I guess the qouting was the problem :/
Iris Creemers
67. SamarDev
It's tuesday, so...

No matter what, Tavore will take care of Felisin. That, at least, I can take comfort from...
Iris Creemers
68. SamarDev
'It has been a long time since I last faced such a worthy opponent,' Tool said. 'All the more challenging for using the flat of my blade.'
Thomas Jeffries
69. thomstel
SamarDev@67
Talk about one-liners that echo for awhile...nice find.

djk1978@57
Is it wrong that I read that line as the "Forkrul Assail Cup"? Too much Malazan when...

As for the Mhybe, while her story starts off bearable, fear not. Everyone's distress at having to read it again is justified...she doesn't age well (ba dum...*tish*) as the story progresses. One cool thing to take away though is the term Mhybe: it crops up throughout the series in different flavors and slightly different meanings. One of the good examples of the decay/progression of language SE throws in the tale, as opposed to potsherds references.
Pnr060
70. djk1978
@thomstel @69:

Somehow I don't think a cup sponsored by the Forkrul Assail would end well for the participants, especially if it went to arbitration.
Steven Halter
71. stevenhalter
'Looks like the parley went off as planned,' the healer commented. 'We havent been cut down by a sleet of quarrels yet.'
'I too take that as promising,' Paran said
Steven Halter
72. stevenhalter
'It is all right, sir.' Paran smiled. 'The children of my parents are, one and all, capable of virtually anything.
Amir Noam
73. Amir
'It seems', Whiskeyjack said, striding to the edge of the barrow's summit, 'we will have to promote you to a rank equal to mine, Captain, if only to circumvent your confusion as to who commands who around here.'
Amir Noam
74. Amir
'You wish me to strike heroic poses against the sunset, Lady Envy?'
'Indeed!'
Amir Noam
75. Amir
The Crippled God's declared war on the gods, on the warrens, on the whole damned thing and every one of us in it. Fine, O Fallen One, but that means you'll have to outwit me. Forget the gods and their clumsy games, I'll have you crawling in circles before long…
Kimani Rogers
76. KiManiak
'One, however, snagged in his mind and stayed with him, at first meaningless, a curiosity and nothing more: she prefers the cold. Strange. Most old people like heat and plenty of it…'
M D
77. Abalieno
Late!

Began reading the chapter and nothing to complain about it! ;)

It's very well done because these parts work as a recap while also not feeling redundant at all. The plot is already moving, new characters presented and already so fun to read (some awesome banter and pairings again, the little quip about Picker's arm falling off and giving her something to talk about with Duiker made me laugh aloud, great also because of how this humor is naturally woven in the scene), and these short scenes deliver a chunk of story that gets immediately interesting and easy to follow. For example how the Crippled God gets directly involved and a scene ends with Quick Ben reaching out for Munug to figure out where he's gone, without being aware of the mess he's getting in. That's already enough to keep the pages turning and the story exciting. A so huge book that has just started but is already filled with so much greatness. From the prologue taking the shortcut to the most pivotal scenes (and presenting them in the most succinct way), the presentation of Gruntle and his meeting with "the spooks", the return of Tool and Toc (making already direct links to the scenes in the Prologue), Lady Envy, the Seguleh. And finally the return on the scene of the Bridgeburners, new and old, still with all the flavor, made better because Erikson has improved in the time between GotM and MoI and will give them here more space to grow as characters.

I complained a bit about specific parts in the last section but as a whole the beginning of the book is condensed and perfectly balanced. The game has its stakes already rising and Erikson moves without restraints. Not a parsimonious book and one of the bigger reasons why it's the favorite for so many readers.

It seems others have read the short bit from Hurlochel at the beginning of the chapter different from me. I'm missing the reason why it's titled "Silverfox" and how it relates to her, but I made a parallel between "the wounds" of the army's soul with the excerpt right at the beginning of Book one. Where it was written that the chain of events leading up to Onearm's Host being outlawed may be seen as "incidental". It makes me think, in general, that there's always a price to pay, and my perspective on this is that the price is NEVER affordable or excusable, no matter the results.

It should also be noticed how the Crippled God not only wants to enter the game, but is also following the typical patterns, like picking servants or allies that share with him some kind of trait, or sensibility, or analogy of condition. By this definition one should expect that his allies won't be exactly lucky, pleasant chaps.

About Artanthos, his identity is something I had figured out early in the book. Not because of all the hints, but because of a certain ABSENCE.

Haven't reread anything of the Mhybe yet, but on my first reread I liked those parts, sometimes liked them a lot since they are filled with the mystery of the dream scenes, and because of how the whole thing develops. It rubs most readers the wrong way but the way the story develops requires, imho, that it is handled like that. Then, "whiny", sure. But it all entirely depends if a character has good reasons to be so. Mhybe is another tragic character but whose tragedy couldn't even be "shared".

Hate her as long you are on the lucky side, I just wish you that you don't have to cross.
Kimani Rogers
78. KiManiak
'A natural coward, that's me. I take it, then, that you show no... unease?'
'I yield to no-one, Toc the Younger.'
Amir Noam
79. Amir
Crone bounded down to hop towards Kruppe. 'You, sir, should have been a Great Raven!'
'And you a dog!' he shouted back.
Crone halted, teetered a moment, wings half spreading. She cocked her head, whispered, 'A dog?'
'Only so I might ruffle you behind the ears, my dear!'
'Ruffle? Ruffle!'
'Very well, not a dog, then. A parrot?'
'A parrot!'
'Perfect!'
Amir Noam
80. Amir
So many good Kruppe lines :-)

'Kruppe and the truth are lifelong partners, friend Coll! Indeed, wedded bliss -- we only yesterday celebrated our fortieth anniversary, the mistress of veracity and I.'
...

'Dear friend Murillio. Have you climbed in the world with this new profession, or perhaps sidled sideways? Kruppe was unaware of your obvious talents in leading mules---'
...

'My patience with you is growing very thin, Kruppe ---'
'Alas, I can only dream of thin.'
a a-p
81. lostinshadow
waayyy late to the party again - RL is really wearing me down...

I seem to be the opposite of many here in that I really enjoyed (well maybe appreciated is a better word) the Mhybe story line the first time round because it is extremely well written and well, poignant and moving. But with every reread I dislike it even more and now usually just skip over it. Not sure why it seems to be affecting me this way, the whole Silverfox story annoys me more and more everytime I read it, after my last reread of MoI, I actually relegated Silverfox to my bottom three in least liked characters (maybe it's because as I read into the series I couldn't see why after building her up so much and causing so much pain to Mhybe she never comes back up again in the story - still haven't read tCG - or I could have swiss cheese for brains and not remember/miss all other references)

oh and old time vets with way better memory and observation skills than me...does the issue of burn being poisoned come up again in the later books or have I completely missed that too? surely tCG touches upon this and revisits some of the characters that we have barely seen since MoI? ... feel free to respond in my shoutbox so as not to worry about possibly spoiler complaints
M D
82. Abalieno
Some observations on the Mhybe.

Re-reading the chapter I find the Mhybe even slightly less "whiny" than Paran. Both rely on internal monologue instead of confronting the space around them, so I see them similar. I've commented before that from my point of view being whiny depends on the motives. There are two aspects at the root of the way the Mhybe suffers her condition. One is the one I already mentioned: the fact that she lives this completely alone.

The second aspect is as strong because of how it is related to the rest: she is young. This detail is extremely important because it brings this situation to another level: the possibility of choice. One of the strongest themes in the whole series.

The chapter opens by echoing again the theme of a land that heals, the way it shapes and is shaped, but stays "unmindful", or unaware. Rules of nature that stay above choice or even will. The Mhybe is a vessel. It seems that the Rhivi do not consider her anything more. The self is crushed below. The way the Rhivi see things is somewhat similar to the Imass. Things happen in the way they should, the "self" is disregarded.

So the Mhybe (I think of "maybe", or more like "may have been" a life that is lost, not unlike Felisin's journey in the 2nd book) is consider as nothing more than a "function". But has anyone asked her if she wanted to be that? Has her own choice been considered? She says that, as in other occasions, she has been prepared for that function, but the feel is that it was again a destiny that bent the self.

A young woman, alone, bereft of choice.

A pattern that surely isn't unprecedented even in our world. Erikson here merely gives her a voice. Makes her even unsympathetic (so challenging the reader), maybe not with a clear intent, but her irritation toward Silverfox is often manifest.

There's a line that makes the parallel with Felisin even stronger:

and now every truth of her life was held within it. The name: Mhybe

Like Felisin she sacrifices her name for another. Felisin makes this step on her own will. She offers her "maybe" to another young woman, giving her her own name (while the moment of breaking happened before the Prologue of the book). The Mhybe follows a similar pattern but in reverse. She had her life, unthreatened. But she's forced to sacrifice it for another. Unmindful of her own choice.

She doesn't desire nor accept her sacrifice. And she can't even share the burden. Not just tragedy, but alone in it.

(and, I'd say, her being unsympathetic to the reader makes it a tragedy unwitnessed)
M D
83. Abalieno
Some observations on Silverfox and the Tiste Andii.

Seeing them from a similar perspective. The presentation of the Tiste Andii here makes me think of "locked destinies". Somewhat like what happened with the T'lann Imass. I see both these cases as "chained" and "prisoners" of their own fate.

The T'lann Imass sacrificed everything for a "war". Meaning they put it above everything else. A case of "caring too much", maybe. The Tiste Andii instead seem not caring anymore:

a people plagued by indifference an apathy

They are similar in the way they are locked in that condition and seem to have no way to escape it.

So Silverfox. At this point I'm wondering if the T'lan Imass choice of her was particularly inspired. She bridges two worlds, the past and present. But more than that, she mediates between them. There's also enough emphasis on the fact that she's flesh and blood, so retaining something that all other T'lan Imass have lost. Was this a deliberate choice?

What I'm thinking is that the T'lan Imass foreseen that the ritual would have had its costs and cut away a possibility of awareness and judgement. So the choice of Silverfox may have been a way to compensate the loss and give the responsibility of choice to someone who could be "whole". Joining not just past and present, but also the world of flesh with the non-life (and lack of doubt) of the T'lan Imass.

Silverfox becoming their "conscience".

If both the Tiste Andii and the T'lan Imass are locked in a similar destiny. And Korlat says:

life's lessons are ever the same

Silverfox becomes someone outside the "blind spot". Someone who can tap on awareness, and will have to judge.

In all that is to come, think of forgiveness.

And:

Sometimes forgiveness must be denied.
M D
84. Abalieno
Oh, and a little detail: the Tiste Andii seem indeed as Amanda describes them:

The Tiste Andii are just SO EMO, aren’t they? I can’t help but picture them forlornly sighing about how life is difficult, and then writing bad poetry. The Tiste Andii are definitely the type to have Livejournal sites that detail the minutiae of living for millennia. *grins*

But not quite. "Emo" is more a reaction to life and lack of power steering or grasping things (so more like the Mhybe, if you want, the lack of power or strength to decide).

That last quote:

Sometimes forgiveness must be denied.

Is something that Silverfox says directly to Korlat. It has a certain ambivalence (in regards to the T'lan) but the direct message I see is that she belives the Tiste Andii have done something in the remote past that made them *beyond* forgiveness.

Making them responsible and not victims. So under the sadness there seem to be guilt more than lovesickness, nostalgy or sullenness.

Or maybe I'm horribly wrong ;)
M D
85. Abalieno
I guess I'll continue the monologue since I think some more things deserve to be pointed out.

In particular there's a line that says far more than what it would in the specific context it is used:

You plan on liberating Capustan, though of course not directly - you two never do anything directly, do you? You want to remain hidden behind the events, a classic Malazan tactic if ever there was one.

There's something hidden and important in this quote. Can you see?

During the GotM reread it was pointed out how the relationship between Brood and Rake wasn't exactly about a friendship. Brood was describes as distrustful of Rake (even if there were specific motivations).

I seem to recall that later in this book they appear more like friends, but here the theme from GotM is not forgotten and is carried over as it was:

yet Brood tolerates her in the same way he tolerates Anomander Rake himself. Uneasy allies... the tales all agree that Brood and Rake have worked side by side for a log, long time, yet is there trust between them? That particular relationship is a hard one to understand, with layers upon layers of complexity and ambiguity, all the more confusing for Crone's dubious role in providing the bridge between the two warriors.

Crone's role becomes even more ambiguous when it becomes clear that the Great Ravens originated from the Crippled God. Could this be then double crossing? The Crone's PoV, though, keeps them ambiguous and reveals that, maybe, not even Rake knows the truth behind them.

When Crone mentions the "broken peaks east of the Laederon Plateau" I went back to the beginning of the chapter to see if was the same scene that was already described, but it's not related, so not even connected to Silverfox saying the land won't heal easily. I thought I had caught a link. Instead the Laederon Plateau seems to come in play in book 4. I don't remember anything specific since the only scene that may be linked to this episode about Brood was instead about a war between T'lan Imass and Jaghut. So I'm wondering if this story (about what was Brood doing up there) will be mentioned again later.

Silverfox comes more in the front here. She seems to disregard entirely Crone's advice:

There are those waiting within who will view the extent of your awareness - should you be foolish enough to reveal it - as the deadliest threat. Revelations could mean your death. And know this: you are not yet able to protect yourself.

Instead she actually plays with that "awareness". A word that has more meaning if seen from the perspective of what I wrote before about her. The awareness of bridging two worlds and the possibility to command the T'lan because of it.

Crone calls the Mhybe a "clay pot" but the Mhybe intends it as a form of protection for a child that is now outside her, so feeling her impotence. Instead I see that definition again in the sense of the "vessel". Something that is shaped purposefully for a function (and then discarded).

I said already that the Mhybe seems deliberately presented as a complex character and unsympathetic to the reader. Where's this complexity? For example here:

You must forgive... forgive yourself. Oh, spirits below, I dare not speak such words - I have lost that right, I have surely lost it now...

This is the Mhybe thinking she "has lost the right to speak such words". Why? Because (quoting an earlier passage):

The Mhybe closed her eyes, wishing she could hide the truth from Silverfox once again, and for ever more. Instead, she said, "Not your choice, daughter - it is simply part of what you are, and I accept this" - and yet rage at the foul cruelty of it - "as must you."

The Mhybe has rage within her. She has not accepted her role that was imposed on her. She does not feel the "privilege" of having been chosen for an important task. And in a way she probably has not forgiven her daughter, even if the responsibility isn't hers directly.
M D
86. Abalieno
But I am not yet done.

The last few pages of the chapter begin reinforcing what I was saying:

Defying her own overwhelming self-disgust

The Mhybe is just not presented as a sympathetic character, not intended to be so. In a way, it seems readers react the way Erikson intended. I usually believe that there's a certain "failure" in writing when something doesn't obtain the effect the writer originally intended (but far from an absolute rule). Say, for example, when some readers of Sanderson's "The Way of Kings" consider Shallan not at all smart and witty as she was pictured.

But here the character is a problematic one, and like in Felisin's case, Erikson doesn't seem interested to obtain the reader's approval through the easy way. He's not trying to make her sympathetic or round her corners (or present her in a romantic way). The character is rough and chafing. In Felisin's case it was even more obvious because of how she lashed out. While in Mhybe's case it's just not easy, nor eased, for the reader to adjust to her perspective and understand/accept the way she is.

It's as if Erikson is not preparing the way for that adjustment (willingly or not). And being hers a point of view filled with introspection, this is akin a violence on the reader. Or at least a forceful push that can annoy.

That said, I was also thinking how "I do not care" is probably the most hurtful thing you can say to a writer.
M D
87. Abalieno
I'm wondering as well if there's an hidden layer to Kallor's story.

I had noticed in the Prologue:

"What I have unleashed will never heal. Do you understand me? Never. And it is all your fault. Yours. Paved in bone and ash, this noble road you chose to walk. Your road."

When the three Elder Gods arrive Kallor is blaming them for his own actions (or re-actions).

During the parley Kallor again accuses Nightchill/Silverfox:

"Ah, you are there, aren't you. But hiding, I think, twisting the truth into false memories. Hiding, you pathetic, cursed woman!"

Maybe the truth twisted into false memory isn't simply Kallor's own twisted perspective, but a layer of the story that hasn't been revealed yet.

Another hidden layer in the same section is about the Logros clan of the T'lan Imass. A couple of pages later Whiskeyjack says to Silverfox something evident here: "You've the sorceress's blunt honesty." Something similar even the Mhybe noticed, but for another reason: "the confessions were a call for help."

Amidst this unusual honesty or clarity there's that passage about the Logros:

Logros and the clans under his command were entrusted with the task of defending the First Throne.

His command meaning Shadowthrone. Or, well, Kellanved. The sense I get from this is that Logros' task... wasn't given up after Kellanved took control. Which hints at certain other things.

Still in the same section, the Jaghut are associated again directly with the warren of ice, but also at the thematic thread that opened the book:

Omtose Phellack is a warren of ice, High Fist, a place deathly cold and almost lifeless.

So back at the Prologue when the shattering of ice lead to the line: "the ravaged land held the scent of healing."

So life that returns.

I'll also quote a reply from Matt Hilliard to one of my comments since it deals with what is going on this chapter and it's something I've not brought up again here:

You make an interesting point about “Council of Elrond” scenes…I think that usually they take place in moments of safety and serve as a time out from the dangers that lurk in the shadows of a traditional quest narrative. In Memories of Ice the alliance is very uneasy and they are always on the verge of coming to blows, so there’s no sense of rest.
Steven Halter
88. stevenhalter
Abalieno@87:
Logros and the clans under his command were entrusted with the task of defending the First Throne.

His, here, refers to Logros.
B T
89. amphibian
@Abalieno, 87:


Logros and the clans under his command were entrusted with the task of defending the First Throne.




His command meaning Shadowthrone. Or, well, Kellanved. The sense I get from this is that Logros' task... wasn't given up after Kellanved took control. Which hints at certain other things.



You are wrong in your reading of the sentence. The person who commands the clans in that sentence is Logros. That kind of skews your particular inquisitive tacks in a direction that would be useless. The questions you should be asking is "First Throne? Who sits on that throne?"
B T
90. amphibian
Goldang spam function ate my comment just now.

As shalter @ 88 said, Logros is the one commanding the clans.

Abalieno, your lines of inquisition would be better served if you ask yourself these questions: "First Throne? Who sits on that throne? And how does Silverfox and/or Kellanved relate to that?"

What's interesting about this series as a whole is how much bindings, curses and vows fray and distort over the milenniums involved. Things don't stay the same very often in the Malazan world.
Steven Halter
91. stevenhalter
amphibian:Yeah, the spam filter is somewhat random and capricious. Whenever I quote or link something I hold my breath.
M D
92. Abalieno
His, here, refers to Logros.

Then I misread it. But it's not a big difference as in the page before it was said that the Malazan army only knew the Logros clan.

But then it also means that the line doesn't say anything about their task AFTER they went under Kellanved's control.
Irene Gallo
93. Irene
Hi Guys,
I'm sorry about the "quote" feature causing spam alerts. We're trying to get that fixed ASAP. In the meantime we'll monitor everything as close as we can and, feel free to email me directly if anyone gets caught:
irene.gallo@tor.com
Hugh Arai
94. HArai
Thanks for the update Irene, tnh has posted something similar on other threads. So long as it's a known issue and being worked on, I can be patient. I was much more frustrated when I didn't know why everything I posted was being eaten.
Alex P. W.
95. Alex_W
Holy Falah'd, it has taken me quit some time to read through those last two chapters. I must say, it seems that my big enthusiasm over this series, which held on for the first three books (GotM, NoK and DG) has diminished a little bit. I can't keep myself reading on for a lot of time at once. Well may be that will change again.

Hah, Arthanthos. Without the hints of Bill I would never ever have guessed who he acually is. But after his mentioning that we have seen his name in another variant before, I had this light bulb moment too. Of course, Arthanthos / Artan. Well, I'm not sure if I would have wanted it to be spelled out like this so early on. May be it isn't such a good idea after all to follow such a reread here while reading the books for the first time. And since my enthusiasm of reading this series is not as it used to be at this moment anyway, I might as well quit following this reread now. At least for the time beeing. It takes a lot of time anyway.

I'll see.

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