Wed
Apr 27 2011 1:57pm

Malazan Re-read of the Fallen: Memories of Ice, Chapter 10

Welcome to the Malazan Re-read of the Fallen! Every post will start off with a summary of events, followed by reaction and commentary by your hosts Bill and Amanda (with Amanda, new to the series, going first), and finally comments from Tor.com readers. In this article, we’ll cover Chapter 10 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.

Note: The summary of events will be free of major spoilers and we’re going to try keeping the reader comments the same. A forum thread has been set up for outright Malazan spoiler discussion.

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

Chapter Ten

SCENE 1

Stonny slaps Gruntle awake out of a drunken stupor then tells Buke Gruntle is all his and leaves. Buke tells Gruntle he needs him. Gruntle asks how long he’s been drunk and Buke says six days and now the Septarch and Pannion army have crossed the river and it’s too late to leave the city. Buke says it’s time for Gruntle to sober up and grieve and when Gruntle says Buke is one to talk Buke replies he did his grieving long ago and it’s over, leaving nothing but “ashes,” and he adds that Gruntle isn’t like him. He challenges Gruntle as to what he will “carve out of” Harllo’s death, how will he make it have meaning? And asks if this is what Harllo sacrificed himself for. Buke says Hetan and Cafal have been hanging out with the Grey Swords and that he is still working for Bauchelain and Korbal. Gruntle appears “back.”

SCENE 2

They head for the barracks and Buke tells Gruntle his bosses have taken ownership of an abandoned estate and that the killings have already begun in the city. Gruntle suggests telling the Prince, that such a thing during a siege will be even worse than normal, but Buke says he dare not. Gruntle says they have to be driven out and that Buke should just leave, maybe take Reese with him. Buke says the necromancers are too powerful, they’ll kill too many soldiers, wreck the city, leave it ripe for the Pannions. Though he thinks if the Pannions are the ones to rile them, then maybe the necromancers will turn on them instead. Buke thinks if he can shadow Korbal and keep him from killing, with Gruntle’s help, maybe they can finagle things to work out. Gruntle eventually says he’ll think on it, but Stonny can’t know anything about it or she’ll just try and kill Korbal and get herself killed. Buke says he knows a priest who can heal Gruntle’s hangover.

SCENE 3

Itkovian awaits Brukhalian, Karnadas, Hetan, and Cafal to join him for a meeting with the Mask Council, requested by the Barghast. He has spent the morning viewing the besieging army and been shaken not only by the numbers but the savagery and horror of the Tenescowri. The others arrive. Hetan informs Itkovian she will “bed him,” but Karnadas tells her the Shield Anvil has taken monastic vows. They head through the prepared defenses toward the meeting. Brukhalian informs them that the T’lan Imass have said they will fight the undead K’chain Che’Malle but not moral humans. He anticipates the surprise Septarch Kulpath will find when his K’chain are taken out by the unknown T’lan. Brukhalian also says the alliance may prove temporary as the T’lan Imass may “find themselves directed to a new purpose” at the Gathering, and that the Summoner is with Brood’s army, about six weeks away. Itkovian says they cannot hold Capustan for that long. Brukhalian asks Hetan if the White Faces will ally, but she says they will not come to Capustan to fight. The Grey Swords ask why the Barghast have asked for this meeting and Hetan says it was the second of two tasks her group was set by her clan’s shouldermen.

SCENE 4

The 14 priests of the Council are awaiting the group. Hetan begins with “The White Faces are in mourning” and Rath’D’rek interrupts to say it’s a crazy time to come with the same claim that has already been rejected: “the answer was no the first time, no the second time, no every time!” Hetan and her brother bring magic and as guards reach for weapons, Karnadas warns them that the Barghast spirits are in the room. Itkovian tells Brukhalian that this is an “old petition,” that the Barghast claim this land under Capustan was once theirs. Hetan recaps the past reasons for rejecting their claim: early Daru records say the land wasn’t occupied, the oldest buildings were not Barghast-built, the Barghast lived in the north and only made rare pilgrimages to this area. She then recites the Barghast’s past responses: this was holy ground and the Barghast don’t live on their holy ground where their ancestors were buried, the early Capan tribes found only the Barghast barrows and built on top of them, the Barghast don’t expect the city to be removed but just ask that their claim of ownership be formally recognized and rights given to make pilgrimage. Hetan then says the Barghast’s patience is over, and now that the Pannion will seemingly take Capustan they have decided to act. Some of the priests realize that what Hetan is saying is that since the Barghast will not be able to make pilgrimages to their artifacts, she and her brother will move the artifacts to the Barghast. Itkovian and Karnadas realize that the bones Hetan seeks must be the remains of their mortal gods and that the Barghast themselves weren’t ever certain they were there until now. Itkovian also realizes Hetan’s father, Humbrall Taur, will need them to unify the clans to make war/defend against the Pannion, though Itkovian wonders how they will get them out of the besieged city. Rath’Queen of Dreams (who knows where the bones have been gathered) agrees to Hetan’s request and says they will be returned, though it will take some time to get to the resting place. Workers come in and start digging in the floor of the chamber, breaking through the stone floor. Meanwhile, the Council discusses tactics with the Grey Swords. Some think the fall of Capustan inevitable, some argue over holding the outer fortifications, some want to know of the undead Ay, of the two mages (the necromancers), of Keruli. Eventually they decide to postpone discussions due to the chaos of the digging. As they wait, Rath’Fener tells the Grey Swords he has gone to Fener’s realm and learned the Tiger of Summer is dead, though he cannot explain why Rath’Trake seems so happy. Karnadas says perhaps Trake is not so dead and Rath’Fener declares, “There is but one god of war!” then leaves. Karnadas tells Itkovian he has known of Trake’s death for some time and then asks Brukhalian for permission to declare himself and put Rath’Trake in his place, but is denied. The pit in the floor reveals buried outrigger ships, filled with bodies, both preserved by sorcery (tens of thousands of years old according to Karnadas). Rath’Queen of Dreams says many of the originally discovered dugouts disintegrated, but those ships and bodies not destroyed were gathered together: nine canoes and more than sixty bodies. She adds the scholars did not think the bodies were Barghast, they appear “almost Toblakai in stature” and she thinks the Toblakai, Barghast, and Trell are all from the same stock, “with the Barghast having more human blood than the other two.” Hetan confirms these are the Founding Spirits and Cafal says they are finding “their power.” Karnadas tells Itkovian “we are witnessing the birth of gods.” Itkovian asks Cafal how they’ll get them out of the city and Cafal says they don’t know yet. He says these were the first Barghast to come here and they have now ascended, so who now “dares challenge our pride?” Itkovian thinks, “That remains to be seen.”

SCENE 5

Stonny tells Gruntle he owes Keruli an apology and that Keruli pulled their souls into the Elder God’s warren (dreaming) so the K’chain thought they were dead, thus saving their lives. She tells him she was guarded by a giant wolf and when Gruntle asks “some kind of servant of the Elder God,” Stonny says he doesn’t have servants; he has friends. And that put her on his side. Gruntle agrees to go apologize but he won’t swear to him or his god. She takes him to K’rul’s new temple, a house sanctified by the blood of a family that committed suicide in it. They enter and Keruli says he has helped the souls to peace. Gruntle says thanks and is about to leave but Keruli says he has something for Buke, to help in his “endeavors.” It’s a little clay bird that Buke is to crush and mix with water then drink. When Gruntle says Buke will be skeptical, Keruli says tell him otherwise his quarry will escape him and that Buke needs to accept allies as must Gruntle, and that other allies “will find him [Buke].” Stonny asks what’s going on and Gruntle says it’s private then leaves. Keruli tells Stonny Gruntle will be walking a “difficult path” and that “his time is coming soon.” Stonny asks what she’s supposed to do about it and Keruli says to stay close to him.

SCENE 6

Hetan, Cafal, and Itkovian are in the pit at the Council hall. Itkovian sees the ships are carved with pictures, some of the Barghast fighting “a tall, lithe species with angular faces and large, almond-shaped eyes.” Cafal calls them T’isten’ur, the “Grey Skinned Demons . . . who collected heads, yet kept the victims living . . . heads that remained watchful, bodies that worked ceaselessly . . . demons who dwelt in shadows . . . the Founding spirits . . . drove the demons back into their underworld, the Forest of Shadows.” Itkovian tells him of the Tiste Andii and “their shadow-kin, the Tiste Edur.” He notes the Barghast language is akin to the Imass and asks if Cafal understands Moranth. Cafal says the Moranth say they are related to the Barghast, call the Barghast their “Fallen Kin. But it is they who have fallen . . . who have found a shadowed forest in which to live . . . who have embraced the alchemies of the T’isten’ur.” He tells Itkovian to ask no more but Itkovian warns him the past refuses to stay buried and once opened it will bare unpleasant as well as pleasant truths. Cafal says Humbrall Taur has told them “in success, we shall find seeds of despair.” Hetan tells the Council they can recover the pit for now, that the removal will have to wait. Brukhalian tells Itkovian to keep an eye on the Barghast because he thinks they have a plan to remove the relics and implies Itkovian should use any method, including sleeping with Hetan. When Itkovian objects Brukhalian says this demand comes from Fener who is “filled with fear.” He then tells Karnadas to contact Quick Ben. Rath’Trake interrupts them and asks if they don’t wonder who “dares cross blades with our Lords . . . whose hidden face lies behind this fated ascension of Trake. What [is] the value of two gods of war? . . . . Why has Fener seen the need to revive that loftiest of positions [Destriant] now?” and says they can ask him for help if they need it. As Itkovian leaves, he thinks how the “earth has shifted” and all is uncertainty.

 

Amanda’s Reaction to Chapter Ten:

So, here at the start of Chapter Ten, we have some little hints about Erikson’s form of Dark, High, and Feral Elves—although, of course, his are something truly extraordinary. Not Elves, but beings from another world. And our sympathies currently lie with the Tiste Andii, thanks to having met Anomander Rake and his mob already. Our only encounter so far with the Tiste Edur was one of menace and confusion aboard the Silanda. And I don’t believe we’ve seen the Tiste Lians at all. It definitely sounds as though these guys do not like each other AT ALL!

The start of this chapter is dark and bitter, with discussions of the meaning behind life and death. Buke is the ideal foil to Gruntle here—someone who has been there, and grieved, and is now empty of all feelings. His admonitions towards Gruntle show that he is aware of his own mistakes: “From the way those Grey Swords who found us described it, you were down, and he did what a friend’s supposed to do—he defended you. Stood over you and took the blows. And was killed. But he did what he wanted—he saved your hide. And is this his reward, Gruntle? You want to look his ghost in the eye and tell him it wasn’t worth it?”

What I like about the whole sequence is the notion of friendship, and how much these friends look out for one another. Harllo gave his life for Gruntle, while Stonny has made sure to cover all of Gruntle’s debts while he was “absent.” Now Buke is trying to bring Gruntle back to himself—it shows that, despite the darkness, there is always something worth living for.

Gruntle is sharp even under the influence of a six-day hangover, isn’t he? Walking through the city, he notes the panic of the the citizens and realises that it is thanks to the predations of Broach. People keep assuring me that I’ll see the humour in Bauchelain and Korbal Broach, but so far...not so much. [Bill: It’s possible those of us who assure you are, umm, a certain kind of people.] I find them dark and remote, and with little or no redeeming features.

With Buke and Gruntle here, we also see a discussion on the idea of sacrificing a few in favour of saving many—what with Buke contemplating the idea of pointing the two necromancers in the direction of the Pannions, and trying to disrupt the murders that will be committed before that can take place.

Ouch—the idea of a siege taking place outside a city within which two competing factions loathe each other really doesn’t bode well, does it?

And here we get a first glimpse at the forces arrayed against Capustan, and their allied forces. Around eighty thousand regular soldiers, and then the ravening horde of Tenescowri. (Which currently remind me greatly of the Reavers from Firefly!) Erikson never puts his characters into easy situations, does he? Itkovian’s reaction says it all, “A starving horde, and seeing them crumbled the professional detachment with which Itkovian had viewed Kulpath’s legions. He had left the walls, shaken for the first time in his life.”

*giggles* Hetan is voracious, isn’t she? She amuses me greatly—and I have a feeling those monastic vows of Itkovian will not stay intact for long under her perseverance! [Bill: Or, you know, just under her.]

Eighty K’ell Hunters! I rather like the fact that the T’lan Imass have stated that they are not going to fight against mortals, only take on the other undead warriors in the battle. It gives them a sense of honour—even given the fact I’m conflicted about them because of their behaviour towards the Jaghut.

Heh, unless the K’ell Hunters and the Pannions have some sort of way to second guess the movements of the T’lan Imass then they sure are in for a shock, when 14,000 T’lan Imass appear to stop them reaching Capustan. And now that has me terribly worried that the Pannion Seer is aware of the movements of the T’lan Imass and knows their capabilities...I can certainly see destruction ahead.

What strikes me is that an awful lot is riding on the second Gathering of the T’lan Imass—we, the reader, have no idea of what is going to happen, and that leaves a sense of dread and anticipation. Will the outcome be of benefit to the mortals that we know and love? Or will the T’lan Imass be withdrawing entirely from the world that is passing them by? [Bill: Soon they’ll be sailing, sailing, leaving the Havens on graceful ships for oh wait—wrong epic fantasy. Sorry.]

Hetan is harsh towards the Capustans here (does she see it as harsh?): “The clans have never united to wage war, but if they did, the warriors of the White Face would number seventy thousand.” Her smile broadened, cold and defiant. “They will not do so now. No march. No relief. For you, no hope.” Mind, this stark and definite statement does allow for a dramatic switch in attitude at a later stage from the White Face clan?

Our first look at the Masked Council, representations of various gods. I wonder how the Council came about and why. It seems as though the true gods do not have any sort of alliance, uneasy or otherwise, so why a Council of them all? Do the masks create avatars of these people, so that they are somewhat imbued with the powers of their respective gods? Or are they imagining the import of their position?

Karnadas—the Destriant—is so worried about the Barghast spirits? How scary is that? “Look carefully upon the sorcery you see before you, I neg you! No simple shaman’s magic—look! The Barghast spirits have assembled. Brothers and sisters, the Barghast spirits are here, in this room!”

Hmm, one of Erikson’s rare clumsy moments here... This is as close to an infodump as I have read, where Hetan is used to describe the past situation between the White Face and the Capustan. It sits ill next to the rest of the prose.

I do love Hetan’s turn of phrase...“fart-fouled runt” and “beetle-under-rock.”

I wonder whether there is any importance in the fact that the Masked Council god representatives who realise immediately about the implications of what the Barghast are looking for are Rath’Queen of Dreams, Rath’Hood, Rath’Shadowthrone? *senses she is reading too much*

An audacious plan indeed! To gain the mortal remains of the Barghast spirits in order to try and unite the Clans? Might this dramatically alter the attitudes of whether the Barghast want to join the conflict against the Pannion Seer’s forces?

This Masked Council really aren’t unified on anything at all, are they? Gods prove to be uneasy bedfellows... And they are definitely trying to cause friction between the Grey Swords and Prince Jelarkan. “We will not participate in such crass bargaining, Mortal Sword. We wish to know the nature and the significance of these beasts, and you will provide us with answers.” Hmm, there is an indication that they are not true representatives of the god, since gods like Rath’Queen of Dreams would know the way.

Here we can see the relative importance of Rath’Fener, since he has to quest long and far to stand at the feet of his hand, while the Destriant says, “I, sir, have never left that place.”

Hmm, now Rath’Queen of Dreams is doing the “here’s what happened” convey of information in streams... Having said that, at least it isn’t two characters who both know the situation having the discussion for our benefit! I do like hearing Rath’Queen of Dreams’ theories on the three races of the Toblakai, the Barghast and the Trell: “...all from the same stock, with the Barghast having more human blood than the other two.”

Even some of the quiet scenes in Erikson’s novels resonate with power and meaning. “Shield Anvil, we are witnessing the birth of gods.” I actually quite like it that the birth of gods is not accompanied by screaming storms, masses of magic and probable blood rituals....

A reflection here, as Stonny talks to Gruntle of her experiences in the warren of whom we suspect is K’rul, of the Bridgeburners reaction to Whiskeyjack, “...dammit, I’m his, Gruntle, body and soul.” What does this say about Whiskeyjack? He’s already receiving a form a worship... Is Whiskeyjack going to become a god?

Oh, and here a delightful quote about women *grins*:

“Gods, I wish the world was full of passive, mewling women. [...] On second thoughts, what a nightmare that’d be. It’s the job of a man to fan the spark into flames, not quench it...”

I do delight in Gruntle’s extreme cynicism and his sarcasm, whereas Stonny takes everything so literally!

“Maybe a goat’s milk hawker knocked on the door,” Gruntle suggested, “and she was trying to cancel her order.”

Stonny studied him for a moment, as if considering, then she shrugged.

“Seems a bit elaborate, as an explanation, but who knows? Could be.” [...] Sighing, Gruntle followed.

Hmm, the scene with Gruntle, Stonny and Keruli seems to have a lot of portent for the future—the giving of the statuette for Buke, Gruntle’s feelings about being beholden to a god, Stonny being told to stay close to him—but it is hard as a new reader to the series to grasp everything here.

Oooh, lots to try and pick up here... The Barghast and the Tiste Edur are mortal enemies. (And, with reference to the sea dwelling races, could the Tiste Edur be those who destroyed Callows?) The Moranth are related to the Barghast, but exchanged secrets and alchemies with the Tiste Edur. Am I all straight?

And here are some of my own questions... Who requires two Lords of War? Who is behind the ascension of Trake? The easy answer would be The Crippled God, but I doubt easy is truth, in this case.

 

Bill’s Reaction to Chapter Ten:

Well, we open with one of the more mysterious background stories of the series: just what the hell went on with Mother Dark, her lover, and her kids? Our first version came in GoTM via Tool, who told Lorn:

The Tiste Andii were of Kurald Galain, the Warren of Darkness. Kurald Galain stood alone, untouched. The goddess, their mother, knew loneliness . . . sought something outside herself. Thus was born Light. Her children the Tiste Andii saw this as betrayal. They rejected her. Some hold they were cast out . . . Some have embraced another Warren, that of Starvald Demelain . . . the First Warren . . . home of Dragons.

In Deadhouse Gates, we get Heboric quoting Gothos’s Folly:

There’s mention of three Tiste peoples arriving from another realm . . . Tiste Andii . . . Tiste Edur— . . . Children of the unwelcome union of Mother Dark with the Light . . . The Tiste Andii considered it a degradation of pure Dark and the source of all their subsequent ills.

Here we’re told Mother Dark favored the first-born Andii and then “birthed in pain” the second-born Lians of Light. After the Andii “Denied their mother and so were cast out, doomed” the Andii and Lians ended warring, and then, “in mercy” Mother Dark gave birth to the Edur of Shadow. At this point, I’d say just file this away. We will get more info, though I wouldn’t say it gets a lot clearer.

I really enjoy the fine characterization of Buke, a character who could have been simply a “type”: Grieving Deathwish Man. Instead, we find subtleties within his “stock” story and his storyline remains one of my favorite in this series though he isn’t at all a major character (similar to Circle Breaker in GoTM, though I like Buke’s arc even more). The image of him having passed through grief (or more accurately perhaps grief having passed through him) leaving a “vast unlit cavern” is a starkly evocative image I think—that echoing, dark sadness within after a great loss once the passionate emotion has torn through you. That endless sense of emptiness, the way it stays with you, is of course manifested in Buke’s burn scars, making his other metaphor—“ashes”—all the more poignant in our minds as Gruntle recalls how Buke clawed through the fire’s remnants looking for his family.

I also like the actively physical phrasing of what will you “carve” out of those deaths you mourn. (“Carve” by the way will be a lot of what Gruntle ends up doing.)

Of course, this is a diverse world Erikson has created, so we quickly jump from one way of mourning (Buke’s) to a slightly different form, as Hetan describes her grieving method, “to mourn is to feel a flower’s slow death . . . To bed a man is to recall the flower’s bright glory.” Anybody want to take bets on Itkovian’s chances of being the plucked flower?

I really like the image of the priests behind their masks at council. It’s a great visual.

I’m a big fan of how Erikson constantly throws us into the belief that we’ve walked into the middle of a story rather that its beginning. In this case, it comes via Rath’D’rek reaction to Hetan’s opening words:

“Again? . . . The same opening words! . . . The answer was not the first time, no the second time, no every time!”

The treatment of native or aboriginal or simply prior populations by those who come afterward (no matter the mean nor intent) is a running theme throughout the series (no surprise given Erikson’s profession). Here, I like how the myopia of a culture is portrayed as the Capustans difficulties in imagining the views of the Barghast toward the land. As well as the appropriation for decorative purposes Barghast burial urns (the fact that the Barghast “care nothing for vessels” is news to them apparently, so they don’t get let off the hook on that.)

It’s an interesting mix of priests that know what Hetan is about to propose: Burn, Queen of Dreams, Hood, and Shadowthrone. Hmmmm. And note Oponn has no idea. Is it any surprise as well that Shadowthrone’s priest’s first thought is how to use the revelation to scheme/manipulate?

Hetan’s arrival to claim the Founding Families should raise echoes of the Mhybe’s gift from Kruppe of the original Rhivi spirits as well as Quick Ben’s freeing of Talamandas, an ancient Barghast spirit. The past, as I’ve said before, rarely remains the past in Malaz.

I do so like Itkovian. I like how he roots for Hetan here and then love the sly way he so politely suggests that Rath’Shadowthrone “enquire” of Bauchelain and Korbal as if they are just two regular joes.

As a reader, it’s hard not to get a little shiver at the “we are witnessing the birth of gods” line. And it’s also hard not to speculate that if we see the birth of gods, mightn’t we sometime see the deaths of one or two as well?

Stonny’s description of K’rul as having “friends” rather than “servants” goes a long way toward making him a likable kind of god, one we as readers can trust if we accept this point of view (always a question). This will be true of another god or two we’ll eventually meet. And like Keruli’s Elder God, that one also won’t be “one for pomp and ceremony.” And that’s all I say about that for now.

Another reason to like Keruli and his god:

“I have wiped clean their [the dead family] slates . . . They now dwell at peace. Their souls have fashioned a worthy dream-world.”

Also, a sneaky way to get another mention of a “dream-world” in there.

Gifts from priests of Elder Gods. Yes, file away. Note the form as well.

And the mention of “additional allies” for Buke who will help him “achieve what he desires.”

And the obvious foreboding of some great change in Gruntle’s life.

That description of the T’isten’ur by Cafal should ring some bells. We mentioned I believe that Stormy et. al’s discovery of the Silanda in Deadhouse Gates was us coming into the middle of a story. Here’s a bit more of it for us, though we’ll get much, much more.

We’ve already learned of the relationship between the Moranth and the Barghast, but it’s interesting to note that the famed Moranth munitions have connections with the Tiste Edur “alchemies.”

Itkovian’s line “The past refuses to remain buried” is about as appropriate a line as one can find for this series. And of course, it also can be applied literally as well. After all, we’ve already had several creatures dig themselves out literally from the past. There’s also a bit of foreboding in Itkovian’s continuing words: “the past hides restless truths, too, unpleasant truths . . . Once the effort of unveiling has begin . . .” Lots of people, not to mention groups of people (races, clans, nations, etc.) are carrying around lots of “buried” pasts, secrets. We’ll have to keep an eye on what happens when they get revealed.

Speaking of foreboding, we’ll have to keep an eye on that near-prophecy of Humbrall Taur’s: “in success we shall find seeds of despair.”


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.

59 comments
Steven Halter
1. stevenhalter
@Bill:Nice recap on how we have seen slightly different stories of the Tiste races. I like the way this is slowly revealed. Pieces of information slowly accrete as we progress. Not all of the information will fit--and some will downright contradict.
Much more like how we find out real historical detail than a simple infodump. Nicely done, SE.
Thomas Jeffries
2. thomstel
Re: B&KB

As a professed fan of their storyline(s), I just want to clarify: the humor is generally found via the circumstances that the duo (trio really, with Mancy) find themselves. That being said: the nature of their work is vile, vile stuff. No question. Provided you can accept that (at some level), the humor comes from the consequences and reactions of their necromantic endeavors.

Also, the humor is not so much on display here - the novellas are the better place to find it.
karl oswald
3. Toster
Just one chapter today? at first i thought, oh well, this must be one of the long ass chapters, but, it's not really. maybe just saving up the siege of capustan for one week? ah well, w.e the reason, i can't wait!

bit of a smirk at the use of the word 'finagle' in the summary. is that accepted vernacular now? cuz it should be!

also, first time out, the way that the tiste were slowly revealed in bits and pieces was one of the biggest draws for me. such a unique take on the long-lived elf-like people, and the dynamics of the eons long war between light, dark and shadow reveal themselves and impact events in every book in the series! can't wait for the kharkanas trilogy!

i also think it veeerrry interesting which priests knew about the canoes and the bodies. Burn, Hood, QoD, and ST... wonder what else those four gods might share...
Amir Noam
4. Amir
I love how Rath'Shadowthrone is so... "Shadowthrone-y".
'Shadowthrone never panics', indeed :-)
Amir Noam
5. Amir
Amanda,
The Tenescowri are indeed similar to Firefly's Reavers, and in more ways than one: not only in their horrific acts (cannibalism) but also in they way regular people join them after witnessing the horrors, feeling they have no other option to remain sane.
Amir Noam
6. Amir
One thing that I've noticed in this chapter is that people openly call Brukhalian "Mortal Sword", and both Rath'Trake and Buke called Karnadas "Destriant". However, we find that Karnadas still keeps his true title secret and doesn't assert his seniority over Rath'Fener.

I thought that these ancient titles are secret since none held them for millenia (Karnadas was shocked that Quick Ben knew these titles and what they meant).

Any ideas?
Chris Hawks
7. SaltManZ
@6: MoIism? In later books, it seems every other god and/or ascendant has their own MS/SA/D, when in MoI it's made out to be this forgotten and archaic thing.
Robin Lemley
8. Robin55077
@7. SaltManZ

I know exactly what you mean. The way I tend to see it (which, of course, could mean absolutely nothing) is that these three positions are similar to positions in the Deck. They are filled when they are needed. At times of great need a god will choose a MS/SA/D.

I saw it as appropriate at this point that Fener was the first god we see to currently make these choices as we know that Fener is in jeopardy because of Trake's rise, but also, having read DG, we know that Fener is about to experience some very, very bad times. Also, it seemed appropriate to me as well based on the fact that, although the Grey Swords are a mercenary group, they are all sworn to Fener, almost a "cult of Fener" so very unlike the Malzan soldiers who each tend to worship either a god of their own choosing, or no particular god at all.

It seems acceptable to me that most people would not be familiar with these titles as those positions may not have needed to be filled for a very, very long time. However, with the world and the pantheon in its current state, these positions are once again going to be needed by some of the gods.

:-)
Marcel Steffen
9. Rotzlucky
White Face Barghast: Is there any other Barghast Clan out there? Or why is it that they have this distinctive name? I can't think of any at the moment!

Rath'Trake: I'm a little curious how he got to be part of the council. Trake just ascended. The implications of having two gods of war is highly discussed. But Rath'Trake acts as if he is part of the council for a long time. Isn't this a little odd?

Also, just coming to my mind: the irony of Trake ascending. On 7C all Soletaken and D'ivers are searching for the Path of Hands to ascend into godmode and Trake just does by dying.
And regarding the events in DG: Has the portal in Pust's temple been available all the time and is it still open after DG? And do you really only have to step through to ascend? Just can't remeber if this was adressed in the books or in the comments here!
Jordanes
10. Jordanes
@ Rotzlucky

We saw some Ilgres Barghast in GotM attacking Lorn and her bodyguard before Tool and Toc showed up. The Ilgres are now with Brood's army, though I don't think they play much of a role.

The Barghast clans things is tricky. It seems there are 'nations' - White Face, Ilgres - and then there are various clans within those nations, such as the Senan, Gilk, and Ahkrata. I grinned widely in my reread when the leader of one of those clans was named, though never shown - but is a character who'll play a very significant role many many books from now :)

It seems the Moranth also stick to this nations-clans setup. They have the Moranth 'nation' in Cloud Forest, and then various clans - the Gold, Black, Green, Blue, etc.

As for your comment with regards to the irony of Trake ascending whilst all those other shape-shifters were looking to do it far awar - I believe one of the characters actually comments on that very thing later, though I can't remember who - it may even happen in the next book, House of Chains.

As far as I know, the portal in Pust's temple is never mentioned again. In any case, now that Trake's about to take up that 'vacant' position, I assume the others have lost their chance to ascend - though again, this is somewhat murky: The shape-shifters wished to ascend to become gods over their own kind, whilst Trake doesn't seem to assert this, he instead vies for the god of war position.
Gerd K
11. Kah-thurak
Trake's Ascension has nothing to do with the Path of Hands. Trake was allready worshipped by some before he died, which puts him pretty close to ascension anyway and then there seem to have been some machinations by K'rul and other gods to make Trake replace Fener. The followers of the Path of Hands not only sought ascensions but also supremacy among the Soletaken and D'ivers, a godhood of another kind.
Brian R
12. Mayhem
@7 & 8
Another point, I can't think of any god having the Mortal Sword/Shield Anvil/Destriant setup outside of the gods of War.

Up to this point, Fener has been made out to be the paramount God of War in this time period, so it is possible he is the only one still deeming those positions .. necessary.

Later efforts are either specifically mentioned as copying the idea or have been around long enough to know of the idea themselves.

I was about to say I don't think the positions are as singular as they seem as at one stage there appears to be more than one set on the go, although upon thinking it through, it still comes down to one per god.
Iris Creemers
13. SamarDev
# 12 Mayhem, re gods of War

first I thought the same as you, but... Have you read all the books? If so, you might remember in the last two books a specific group of beings (no gods!) which is looking for a MS/SA/D.
Sorry that I'm so vague, but naming it would give away too much info about that species and so be spoilerific...
Jordanes
14. Jordanes
@ #11 Kar-Thurak:

You're right to an extent I think. Trake was not on the Path of Hands, not interested in finding a gate to ascension, or lording it over his fellow shape-shifters. But that doesn't mean that he wasn't the one, out of all of them, who was still chosen to ascend.

There are many instances in this series where a character ends up gaining power or whatever else despite not looking for it.

And, for certain, there is a character that says something along the lines of (and I'm certain this is in HoC now) "all those poor fools on the Path of Hands, and the game was won far away" as part of a conversation on Trake/Treach. Thus, SE does make a connection between Trake's ascendancy and the Path of Hands. As you say, Trake's ascendancy was then manipulated so he would become the god of war - perhaps rather than becoming ascendant over shape-shifters.

In any case, in two later books, we'll meet creatures who were previously worshipped as gods by Soletaken and D'ivers :)
Brian R
15. Mayhem
@13 Oh yes, I was including them. I thought I should have made it clearer. That particular group falls under the ones specifically referred to as copying the idea, as does the occurrence later in MoI.

I still can't think of a GOD with the MS/SA/D combo outside of the Gods of War.

@14 "all those poor fools on the Path of Hands, and the game was won far away"
Right idea, wrong god. They aren't speaking of Treach, they're talking of the claiming of a Throne at the end of MoI.
Gerd K
16. Kah-thurak
@14 Jordanus

"And, for certain, there is a character that says something along the
lines of (and I'm certain this is in HoC now) "all those poor fools on
the Path of Hands, and the game was won far away" as part of a
conversation on Trake/Treach. Thus, SE does make a connection between Trake's ascendancy and the Path of Hands. As you say, Trake's ascendancy was then manipulated so he would become the god of war - perhaps rather than becoming ascendant over shape-shifters."

Actually, that Character makes the connection, not SE. It is not as if the Shapeshifters in 7 Cities fail because Trake ascends, so I see the connection here as rather distinct. It makes for a good sarcastic comment though, which may be the entire point of the quote ;-)

Mayhem's interpretation is also possible though I am no sure of this.

"In any case, in two later books, we'll meet creatures who were previously worshipped as gods by Soletaken and D'ivers :)"

Yep. The poor thing(s) ;-)
karl oswald
17. Toster
ok, i'm gonna come out and say it: I miss ZetaStrikers third perspective.

can anyone direct me to his blog?
B T
18. amphibian
There's a ton of people who aren't posting - perhaps finals are getting in the way of things.
Mieneke van der Salm
19. Mieneke
@Amanda RE: Whiskeyjack's possible godhood; didn't the Tanno Spiritwalker (blanking on the name and can't get to my DG atm) suggest the entire company of Bridgeburners could ascend because of who they were and what they'd experienced?


The Council Hall was a massive chamber, domed with a semi-circle of wooden tiers facing the grand entrance. The dome's ceiling had once glittered with gold-leaf, of which only a few patches remained. The bas-relief images the gold had once lit were now faded and mostly shapeless, hinting of a procession of human figures in ceremonial garb. The floor was laid with bright geometric tiles, forming no discernible pattern around a central disc of polished granite, and much worn.



This description of the Council Hall at once gives an impression of great age and neglect, almost a loss of pride, almost as a loss of pride in what it represents. Is this a reflection of the state of the Council or am I reading too much into it?

By the way, am I the *only* one who wants to slap those priests?

And what's with all the mention of wolves? Hetan and Cafal keep calling Itkovian a wolf and now Stonny was protected by a wolf connected to K'rul? And of course, there's Toc and Togg and Baaljhagg and the T'lan Ay. Are wolves the DG insects of MoI?
Jordanes
20. ksh1elds555
I think SE is a dog-lover. How else could he write such amazing canine characters?? :-) So does anyone know if we are doing chapter 11 and 12 next week? I already read ch. 11 for this week but there's no posting on it. Or should I read 12 &13 and we will get back on the 2 ch's schedule next week?
Jordanes
21. ksh1elds555
I also had some questions about the Fener/Treach issue. In reading the book, I never felt like Treach was ambitious about becoming the God of War. It was more like he found himself there because there was an "opening", and he was most suited to fill that opening. I got the impression that something else caused Fener's downfall...was the Crippled God behind it, or was it just the chance of Heboric touching the jade statue and then his otataral infused ghost hand touching his tattoos, or some grand plan I haven't even thought of... Haven't read the tCG yet so if it becomes more clear in that book, I will just RAFO.
Tai Tastigon
22. Taitastigon
Hello peoplz.
Kinda busy little, so it´s tough to keep up.
Realizing what I loved about MoI. First, providing the info platform in the first chapters that most authors would put as starter in the first book, while simultaneously having this very meticulous, slow and systematic build-up to what will be Capustan, making that one of the (if not THE) best sequences in the whole cycle. At the time, my thought was: Jeez, have never read anything like this before.

A word re the Saltoan interlude: Not even half a chapter, but enough material in there that other authors would possibly stretch to an entire novel, incl. characters. Incredible world-building skills !
Tai Tastigon
23. Taitastigon
Mieneke @19

And what's with all the mention of wolves? Hetan and Cafal keep calling Itkovian a wolf and now Stonny was protected by a wolf connected to K'rul? And of course, there's Toc and Togg and Baaljhagg and the T'lan Ay. Are wolves the DG insects of MoI?

RAFO. ;0)
It´s always there for a reason...
Kimani Rogers
24. KiManiak
Thanks Amanda & Bill,

Amanda, I do think you bring up a good line of questioning regarding the Mask Council of Capustan. How were those particular deities selected to be part of the Council? Can the Council increase or decrease in number? Are the people (or the masks, themselves) some type of avatar or representative of the respective gods? What gives them power to act as a legislative or ruling body? We do get answers to some of these questions, but (if I recall correctly) not all of them.

I know the first time I read the “...dammit, I’m his, Gruntle, body and soul.“ comment, I thought she was talking more about Keruli’s god then about Whiskeyjack. Hmm, I’ll have to go back and read that again.

Bill, re: the mention of Mother Dark, the Tiste Andii, Kurald Galahn and Starvald Demelain - it seems that we get bits and pieces of this ancient story as we progress along in this series, and sometimes the bits and pieces seem to contradict or replace what we’ve heard before. It’s to the point that I’m now half accepting & half-skeptical of the info that I get about the 3 Tiste races, the 2 Kuralds and Starvald Demelain whenever I come across something new. This series is definitely written to reward those who read and then reread (and probably reread again). Even then, it seems that “what actually happened” for some of this story is still open to debate or interpretation. Which is tres cool, in my opinion.

Btw ::slaps forehead:: I’m slow sometimes. I completely didn’t view the Tistes as Erikson’s version of elves. Once you guys mentioned it though, it became so obvious!

Hetan cracks me up. Will Itkovian’s vows of celibacy remain intact? We shall see…

All in all, a solid chapter.

Comments on the comments...

shalter@1 – Yeah, as I said, the Tiste origin stories continue to evolve and often refute what we’ve previously learned. It is similar to how we learn history in the real world, as well. “History is written by the victors” seems to apply when it comes to stories about the 3 Tiste races…

@17 & 18 – I’ve noticed the decrease in comments as well. I hope Zetastriker comes back and posts, and anyone else who has something to say.

Mieneke@19 – You’re not the only one. There are times I wish that I could enter certain works of fiction and knock some heads together or slap some folks upside their head so that they can get a clue. Here, most of our protagonists in the Wheel of Time throughout multiple books, and Catelyn & Sansa in A Game of Thrones immediately come to mind.

Kshields555@21 – re: Fener’s fall – I believe that we get more info about this in HoC or BH.
Tai Tastigon
25. Taitastigon
KM @24

it seems that we get bits and pieces of this ancient story as we progress along in this series, and sometimes the bits and pieces seem to contradict or replace what we’ve heard before.

And that is exactly the way SE intended it. You never get a single, clearcut version of things, you always get different interpretations, depending on the PoV, and those may conflict. Just like in real life.

And all the other names you wonder about in the same paragraph - FILE THEM ! ;0) They are key.

This series is definitely written to reward those who read and then reread (and probably reread again).

You wouldn´t believe...*grins*
Hugh Arai
26. HArai
KiManiak@24: I think they were drawing a parallel between how Stony feels about Keruli's god and how the Bridgeburners feel about Whiskeyjack, not that Stony feels that way about Whiskeyjack.

Re: the history of the Tiste races - someone (David Drake I think) said that anyone that makes blanket statements like "the fall of Rome was caused by X" only prove how little they know about history. I think SE would agree.
Chris Hawks
27. SaltManZ
I imagine part of the decrease in comments this week is related to covering only one chapter. Thus, half as much material to comment on.

I know the first time I read the “...dammit, I’m his, Gruntle, body and soul.“ comment, I thought she was talking more about Keruli’s god then about Whiskeyjack. Hmm, I’ll have to go back and read that again.


No no, she was talking about Keruli's god, it just exactly echoes the sentiment given by QB and Kalam in WJ's BB origin story.
David Thomson
28. ZetaStriker
I'm still here, I just haven't had time to keep up with the re-read lately so I've reverted to lurking. A heavy cold and catching up in my classes after a month of bed rest post-surgery has been thoroughly widdling away my free time, although luckily the former issue seems to be fading. So yeah, sorry to disappoint, but there are no comments of mine right now! I should be back in the swing of things within the next couple weeks, as I continue to knock out assignments and get a local Steampunk convention out of the way.

RE Trake: I'm of a mind that, from the Holds that Icarium and Mappo found beneath Pust's temple, that the shapeshifters were actually fighting over the empty throne of the Hold of Beasts. . . And I'm left to wonder if Trake failed to take that role because of Toc's imposition of Trake's human will during the final moments of his mortal life. In either case, I'm not so sure Trake is who they refer to in the HoC quote mentioned . . .
Bill Capossere
29. Billcap
Hi all,
Thanks for taking the single chapter in stride. We’ll let you know whether next week will be two or three.

On the Mother Dark story, yes, it does come at us in fragments and slowly and yes those fragments will collide. Which is a very realistic expression I think of deep history viewed through a variety of cultural lenses. History is written by the winners, as they say, but it can also be written by the losers; it’s just not the same history. “Truth”, even when (or if) it exists is hard enough to ascertain or convince people of in the here and now (current politics shows that). Try keeping a “truth” together over the time span we’re talking about and it’s gonna get a bit threadbare. Now multiply the “truth-tellers” and you’ve got a tapestry of truths, not a single thread. I really like how this plays out through the series; I don’t actually need to know the truth I figure--I just need to know how certain characters’ (or societies’) “truths” drive them

Of course, personally, it also helps that this particular truth is so grandly mythic: I love that stuff (which is why my wife years ago bought me for a birthday present a slew of out-when-I-was-a-kid Thor comics)
Bill Capossere
30. Billcap
A few others responses to responses;

I agree with Thomstel that the novellas are a better vehicle for the necromancers, but we’ve got simply a great scene coming up with them that stands with anything in those books I’d say (it helps it has Quick Ben in it). And yes, it probably goes without saying that those of us who enjoy their storyline aren’t endorsing their actual activities. Kinda like the character Dexter maybe (I don’t know the source but isnt’ some sort of serial killer who kills serial killers?)

Yes, the potential for Bridgeburner ascendancy was pretty bluntly emphasized in DG. I’d even say unusually bluntly. Which means you can view through that prism all the later moments: the Raraku story, the “heart and soul”, the god with “friends”, the frequent references to Whiskeyjack’s leg, the inherent pain of an immortal like Rake befriending a mortal like Whiskeyjack, even I’d say the connection between Whiskeyjack and Paran which we begin the series with and which Paran reminds us of in the end of this chapter (or was it the next one?)

And the series rewarding the reread? And the reread? Absolutely. It’s so big and so complex I think it’s almost impossible to hold it all in so that all the interconnecting details stay in your mind. You just forget so much as you keep moving forward as the details begin to accrete, you hold onto a percentage of them and note those echoes, then next time you do the reread you hope you hold onto to some of that percentage still and then remember different details. The really rewarding method I’m thinking would be to read a book a day and the moment you get to the close of the Crippled God, start with GoTM again and repeat. So read it three times in a month and I’m guessing you’d be amazed at what you missed the first time.
Jozefine Propper
31. Onderduikboot
First of all thanks to SamarDev and Mieneke for their warm welcome. Yes I'm Dutch and fortunately able to read the books in English, since I heard the Dutch version loses a lot of subtleties in the translation.

Though I must confess I'm not a very analytical reader and if it wasn't for the reread I would miss a lot of connections anyway.
I'm learning a lot and not only about the MBotF but also about how to read a book at a deeper level. Thanks to all of you!

This is my first comment and I'm terrified of spoilers. If I do make a mistake; please correct me. And edit my post.

I'm rereading RG at the moment and still the history of the Tiste's baffle me. Somehow I still don't get the whole picture. But I love it when I get another piece to the puzzle.

Just like I love the way the characters develop like Gruntle, Stonny and Buke in this chapter. At first they are likable and interesting, but at some point they get to be real people. With their strong points and flaws. Especially flaws like Gruntle being drunk for 6 days. Buke being more than a deathwish grunter.

The Tenescowri are definitely my worst nightmare. A mob of fervent, unreasonable feral devotees. Absolutely like reafers.

@KshieldsSt regarding your Fener/Trake issue.
I'm definitely not an expert, but I seem to recall a conversation in which Feners disposition was explained. He was already weakened by the debarring of Heboric of the priesthood. His severed hands were somehow offered to him, but he couldn't accept them because it was unjustified. Heboric's hand were lying at his feet or something? Then in DG after H. touched the jade statue and got ill Baudin put the stump of his right hand to the sacred mark of Fener, causing Fener via Heboric's hands to be drawn into this world. As far as I know neither Baudin or Heboric were under tCG's influence. So I don't think tCG had anything to do with it.

Someone commented on all the wolves in the book. Briljant, obvious, but somehow I didn't connect the dots.

Another new year's intention for 2011 rereading the chapters discussed on this forum for the 3rd time. As Bill said I will probably be amazed by the things I missed again.

Okay, scared again, but 3, 2, 1... post.
Jordanes
32. Jordanes
Mayhem @ 15, and ZetaStriker @ 28

Yeah, you guys are absolutely right, I got Trake mixed up with the, erm, other later happenings in MoI :) But yes, I think it's safe to say that the Throne the shape-shifters were after in DG is the one which we see occupied in MoI.

Quoting ZetaStriker: "I'm left to wonder if Trake failed to take that role because of Toc's imposition of Trake's human will during the final moments of his mortal life. In either case, I'm not so sure Trake is who they refer to in the HoC quote mentioned . . . "

This has reminded me that there are further later observations made by characters with regards to Trake's role (in later books). Trying to say this somehow whilst avoiding spoilers - namely, why he doesn't quite reach the top seat in the House he occupies following ascendancy, and why that goes to other characters instead. All to do with how new and not-as-powerful Trake is, still a baby in godhood terms, coming to grips with his power.

Indeed, we see his somewhat clumsy and direct attempts to recruit followers, both in MoI and HoC, by just selecting them without even asking. Clearly, Trake has a lot to learn still about being a god.
Amir Noam
33. Amir
KiManiak @24:

I completely didn’t view the Tistes as Erikson’s version of elves.


Not just elves, but Elves from Outer Space! (Dun!)
Steven Halter
34. stevenhalter
I'm a bit ambivalent about referring to (or thinking of) the Tiste as Elves. They are a long lived race(s) that practices magic, but that's about it for similarities, especially with Tolkein elves. They certainly aren't sparkley and don't go around singing silly songs.
It could, perhaps, fall under the umbrella of Trope turn around.
In general, I just think of them as Tiste.
Amir Noam
35. Amir
shalter @34
Don't forget "almond shaped eyes" in the list of elves similarities.
Chris Hawks
36. SaltManZ
I always think of the early-book races as analagous to Warcraft III:

Tiste Andii = Night Elves
Jaghut = Orcs
T'lan Imass = Undead Hordes
David Thomson
37. ZetaStriker
I always thought of the Tiste as the typical "Gray" type of alien, with color variations and an appearance much closer to human. The eyes in particular is where I make that comparison. The elf parallel never occurred to me either, although I suppose it makes sense.
pat purdy
38. night owl
Yes, I see the parallels between the Elves and the Tiste, they are both immortal, imposing, great warriors, tall and slender with striking features. They also are cool, seemingly indifferent to the world around them. Both races give off a heavy feeling of melancholia.
I would recommend : get a job, develop a hobby or live with doses of happy pills. : -)
Sydo Zandstra
39. Fiddler
First, a warm welcome to Onderduikboot. Seems like us Dutchies are taking over here... :D

Oh, and don't worry too much about spoilers. Most people here have read the books, so just avoid things like sudden deaths and big plot twists. Personally, I treat everything past The Bonehunters as possible spoilers, so I white it out (select the text, and use the colour option to make it white)


shalter@34:
I'm a bit ambivalent about referring to (or thinking of) the Tiste as
Elves. They are a long lived race(s) that practices magic, but that's
about it for similarities, especially with Tolkein elves. They
certainly aren't sparkley and don't go around singing silly songs.

Heh, spot on. Elves belong to the general fantasy conventions. I thought we already knew that Erikson doesn't feel bound by those.

Besides, Tiste do not have pointy ears. ;-)

Back to the topic at hand:

The priest council may be a politicking bunch of bastards, but I do think it takes a God's mark to be able to be in it. Rath'Fener is just hiding the fact that he shouldn't be in there anymore. Some of the other Rath's know. And we see a Rath K'rul getting in there later on.

Am I the only one who is snickering at the fact that Rath is just Rat with an h added to it?

The Grey Swords in Capustan: this plot is just so very much gripping awesome. Here we have a city under siege by an army that basically wants the inhabitants for dinner. They are outnumbered heavily, the city's own troops have divided loyalties, relieve troops are weeks away from arriving and on top of that, their God (Fener) has been taken out of the game. That sucks.

And yet, they stand. And deliver. More than possible. Awesome.


Bauchelain and Korbal Broach are an acquired taste indeed, and the acquiring is done in the three novelettes erikson wrote about them. Strangely enough, I do not consider them as evil. Some of their acts are evil of course, but their motivations aren't. In the novelettes we find out that Korbal Broach making that weird organ thing in his chest is an answer to him having to want a child. Which is disturbing, but not evil in itself. Personally I prefer the more conventional ways to achieve that, though. ;-)

Still, they are fun to read about, and I cannot wait for a certain mage to visit them, and for a certain company in Brood's army to decide they do not like them...

The White Face Barghast... Somebody asked here or earlier why they are called like that and if there are more clans. That last one was answered, but here is why they call themselves the White Face Barghast, whited out because it's mentioned in tCG: ( they are called like that because they consider the Forkrul Assail as their main enemy )
Robin Lemley
40. Robin55077
Re: "White Face Barghast"

I always tought they were called "White Face" because of the white paint on their faces?

I seem to remember that somewhere we were told that they had painted their faces white and thus, looked rather like skulls?
Gerd K
41. Kah-thurak
@Robin
That is obvious, yes. The question is where the name and the white paint came from. The answer Fiddler gives as a tCG spoiler is correct, but it should be added that it is lost to them.

@Bauchelain and Broach
Actually I liked the two necromancers in MoI because they only minor players who were frequently kicked around by the real powers in the book (think of the Bonecaster backhanding them etc). In the novels I did not like them at all because there was noone there to do the kicking ;-)
Amir Noam
42. Amir
Bill/Amanda,

Any update on which chapters will be covered this week?
We need to know how far to read ahead :-)
Bill Capossere
43. Billcap
Amir and all:

Hey folks--we're aiming for three chapters this week: 11, 12, and 13. So plan accordingly . . . :)
Tricia Irish
44. Tektonica
Hi all. Sorry I have been MIA....Moving and renovating have taken over my life. And what bad timing, as I love MoI!! I've given up starting DoD just to try and keep up with this reread, because there's so much great info and foreshadowing here. I just can't keep my eyes open at night and the days are chaos! Thank you all for the great discussion.

But I'd rather be in my position than yours, ZetaStriker@28. Hope you're feeling better every day and are recovering from both surgery and illness. Bummer. Looking forward to you being back up to speed here on the thread, as well.

Thanks for the heads up about the chapters, Bill.
Amir Noam
45. Amir
Tek,

I'm in the same place - progressing very slowly in DoD (which I haven't read yet) since I'm focusing on actually completing each week the MoI re-read chapters :-)
Brian R
46. Mayhem
@Fiddler, 39
"Am I the only one who is snickering at the fact that Rath is just Rat with an h added to it?"

I suspect it may be influenced from German - their term for Town Hall is Rathaus, literally Council House.

Also, (spoiler) you got the reason for the White Faces reversed iirc. Servants, not opponents, which is one reason for what happens to them.
Steven Halter
47. stevenhalter
And, it's Tuesday (and a 3 chapter presaging Tuesday at that):

"Beru fend me, I underestimate even the true idiots in this company."

Yet he would not eat human flesh.


'We're Hood-damned killers, me and my sister, sir.'
David Thomson
48. ZetaStriker
@46: Actually, he was right, from what I remember. They were servants, but they betrayed the Assail. That is why their ancestral armor was chosen specifically to counter the bare-handed fighting style of the Assail.

As for this week, I think I'll be falling behind one more time before I'm able to catch up for next time. I'll be sure to make my full initial write-up available for those who were interested when the time comes.
Jordanes
49. djk1978
Hi all,

I've also been quiet, and I'm reading well ahead in the series too compared to this re-read so sometimes its hard to get on track. I just wanted to mention something I found very interesting. The question of power levels comes up quite often and why the whole A>B>C type of power doesn't work. I thought it interesting to note that there is a very good explanation of it given in the series itself. The problem is that you have to wait until Dust of Dreams to get it.

Also regarding Broach and Beauchelain I just didn't like them either, sorry Bill. There is indeed a good scene coming up with them and a character we all know and love. Aside from that I could just as easily have done without them. What they do is pretty reprehensible and I just didn't find their personalities all that redeeming to the story. Especially not Broach. Bauchelain is better.
Jordanes
50. Bauchelain
@49
Ah but actually if you look at it closer, Bauchelain is far worse than Broach.
Broach was so traumatized by his castration that he went insane and become obsessed in finding a way to create life anyway.
Bauchelain instead while completely normal allows Broach to continue and indulges him for personal curiosity.
Hugh Arai
51. HArai
I find B&B to add a fair bit to the story: they're an example of what you can get when you start with amorality/sociopathy and add raw desires (Broach) or intellectual interest (Bauchelain) and power (their sorcery). They bring more flavor by comparison to characters like Brood or Quick Ben. Quick Ben is intensely curious but he doesn't give his curiosity full reign like Bauchelain. Brood's rage can flatten mountains but he restrains himself unlike Broach. And then you add in more and more variations like Kallor or Iktovian and it just grows and grows...

I think people like B&B the way they "like" Dexter or Hannibal Lector. What they do is horrifying but there's that seductive attraction of a world view with so much less holding you back.
M D
52. Abalieno
I have not digested well some parts of the previous chapter, but the 10 is another very good.

Gruntle and Buke take things into perspective again. Very good dialogue that doesn't feel bogged down. Amanda points out how she doesn't see traces of humor about B&KB and I think it's a "feature" here. It is because B&KB share some of the over-the-line position of Lady Envy and the Seguleh, that it's an achievement using Gruntle to "lower" the perspective and picture B&KB in a way that makes them plausible and real in the story. They become again "serious". Not by manipulating them or the plot, but by moving the perspective to the human level. So the "humor" also is a point of view more than an absolute. Depending how you observe something it becomes drama or parody. In parallel. Also winking to Duiker's comment on sleight of hand and laughing and crying at the same time in DG.

I was also thinking about the "carving of meaning" mentioned by Buke. In a way it reminds the illusion. The way we transform a reality into something we can accept or tolerate. A way to find a sort of false consolation. To purchase some kind of meaning. Or this is the cynical way I see it. But there is some positive emphasis on what Buke says: "no other goal is worthwhile".

I see a certain abstract link between that line and what becomes a theme afterward in the scene at the Mask Council. Itkovian:

It is well, when you find yourself in the embrace of your god.

Maybe thematically this link can be about the creation of meaning. Gods also acquire their power after death (as is the lingering plot about Treach). Then we've seen Barghast "stuck" without progress of any kind as consequence of their gods not having the possibility to develop. So maybe there's this undercurrent. Something made symbol of, to an extent that it acquires true power. But then I wonder about the "truth", as the real undercurrent that links this story to our world and our perception. These processes described do not belong to the Malazan world, they are ours. So how they translate to our god-less world? What do they mean?

The description of the Tenescowri out of the walls of Capustan reminds me the animals and insects that followed the Chain of Dogs in DG. "Feeding" (literally) on refuse left by the main army, trailing it. Like the "humans" living with the dogs in a particular scene from HoC. Which makes me think that this may be another of Erikson's twisted "metaphor made real".

Hetan and her "proposal" to Itkovian, makes me wonder how readers would react if instead of Hetan it was a male character showing that kind of behavior. Not so sure it would have the same effect. If anything it's Erikson plain manipulation with that pattern. Not the only way to interpret the character, but I'm quite sure it was one.

Your mouth will be too busy when I bed you.

Huh-uh. Really not quite working the same if you think it's a man speaking...

Are her names foreshadowing? Hill bear, wolf, scrawny pup. Beetle-under-rock. They certainly have some "insight" and maybe she uses them not as a way to reduce them to things she's able to understand, but as a way to de-mask them of the conceits. There's also, oh, foreshadowing going the opposite way. See my last comment to the past chapter... about Moranth. See? It happens here too. Moranths, if one remembers from GotM, also gave Whiskeyjack a similar nickname (Bird That Steals). It seems an habit in common they have...

The association between Queen of Dreams, Burn, Hood and Shadowthrone appears to me a VERY deliberate one. I recognize at least a certain affinity. Not sure where this is going, but I bet it is going somewhere. Even in this idea about the Mask Council built like a greek theater ("a semicircle of wooden tiers facing the grand entrance" and "the navel") must have some sort of intent that I can't readily deconstruct. The "hinged masks" are another awesome invention to join the million others that Erikson packed in this book. I don't think another book exists with so much imagination and inventions. If anything it makes an extremely vivid image. (I'm also thinking "mouthpiece")

The long scene that follows and especially the "unveiling" at the end conveyed an air of "holiness". The momentum builds, with suspense, and it truly gives an idea of something that has meaning and magic. The revelations and all they imply add layers to the story and aren't overstated. In the previous pages we were exposed to the idea that the Barghast descended from Imass, and here it goes even further, Toblakai, Baghast and Trell too having a common root. Plus an element: the Barghast having more human blood. So what are specifically the human and non-human roots? Were Imass human and become non-human after the ritual, or they were always considered non-human?

A link I made myself was a simple one: the bones held here are of the "Founding Families" or the first people (of this root) arriving in Genabackis, while Talamandas is not part of this group (even if ancient as well) because instead he was "the first child birthed on this land". So the first child of these "Founding Spirits".

I had again that feeling of reading the book as if it is the first time :)
B T
53. amphibian
It's a very minor thing that combines a little from future books and more from already read books in this re-read, but the Toblakai are actually the shattered remnants of the Thelomen Tartheno Toblakai (TTT).

The TTT are one of the earlier species to arise on Wu and the non-human root of many different groups in the Malazan world. They have several characteristics that become key in later books.

The Imass were never "human"; they are firmly non-human in the mold of Neanderthals. True humans, as in the 7 Cities tribes, the Malazans, Kolansii and so on, arose after the Imass did. The timing of the ritual and the rise of humanity is unknown.
M D
54. Abalieno
The timing of the ritual isn't right after the scene of the Prologue? If so we have a date that is precise enough.

Anyway, read the last few pages left. This time the link between Moranth and Barghast is exposed (I pointed a couple of hints in past chapters). It is kind of fascinating because it's one element that follows a certain trend that is only fully revealed later. Up to this point, this book included, Erikson has added more and more pieces of the puzzle. More pieces are going to be added but some of those pieces are already starting to lock into place together with other pieces.

It's something I started to notice in particular in HoC but it's already happening with these revelations on the common origins of Imass/Toblakai/Trell/Barghast/Moranth: at the beginning the story "branched out" in a number of different threads and multiplication of factions, now it's starting to move in the inverse direction. Complexity is not just added, but it is also being reduced as different threads are shown to have a shared origin. The same happens when behind a brand new power it is revealed to be hiding something we already know. So this Big Picture is starting to form up and it is satisfying because how the disparate parts are starting to connect (and how what you "learned" is being used for a deeper understanding). It's not anymore just sprawling, but also coherent.

I forgot completely the mention that Moranth's peculiar skills were due to a relationship with the Tiste Edur. Still it doesn't explain everything, like the permanent armor. Lots of links to DG (the mention of boats and animated headless bodies) and also the mention of Lether. Far to the south-east. I was going to call the inconsistency but then imagined that they still could believe it's in that direction, even if the distance should be shorted reaching it by going SW.

Cafal calls the Tiste Edur "demons" and this seems consistent with the definition we have. Demon = not native of this world. If Tiste Andii are coming from "outside" then also the Edur, so both being effectively demonic.

There's also the explanation of glottal stops that coincides with the answer Erikson gave in the last Q&A: they come from Imass language and are used for past tense.

I'm left wondering about what is that the Moranth "hide" under their armor, and if it is related to the Barghast will to keep their culture in stagnation. Both seem somewhat conservative reactions of some kind.

Also wondering about: The pit of darkness from whence all thoughts and all words first came.

It seems more universal than something related to Barghast or human culture and "the pit of darkness" reminds closely of Mother Dark and maybe of the "Abyss". Still, words and thoughts are things of culture.

Then again the questions I asked in previous comments in previous chapters, like: whose hidden face lies behind the fated ascension of Trake?

From what was said previously this should be K'rul, the one who's manipulating a number of threads and seems to be "preparing" this shift in the pantheon. Still, it needs to be better motivated to understand also what is K'rul real intention.
M D
55. Abalieno
Also reading the comments.

@6

One thing that I've noticed in this chapter is that people openly call Brukhalian "Mortal Sword", and both Rath'Trake and Buke called Karnadas "Destriant". However, we find that Karnadas still keeps his true title secret and doesn't assert his seniority over Rath'Fener.

I don't see anything problematic. The titles they use are public and not secret in any way. They use those titles even when a "stranger" (Quick Ben) reaches them. What is "secret" is the fact that those aren't just titles, but also correspond to a real "proximity" to the god. Quick Ben for example wasn't impressed and simply deduced the titles were being used without a true legitimacy. As long the god or some priest don't complain I guess one can use any title he wants.

Same as Rath'Fener in the Mask Council: using publicly a title he does not truly possess.

@21 Discussed in previous chapter, unseen ;)

Also, since I see the discussion of B&KB: I read the first three novellas BEFORE MoI, if anything the book was diminished because of that, since I thought the novellas had Erikson's best writing and I loved the characters. In MoI B&KB are comprehensibly slightly underdeveloped, so reading the novellas before the book makes them a bit anticlimactic. Still, for me it's some of Erikson's stuff I love the most.

In the novellas they are surely more likeable because used as a tool to subvert rules of morality. I sympathize with Bauchelain quite a bit :)

Well, at least I think tomorrow I can start to comment the CURRENT chapters.
Brian R
56. Mayhem
@aba, 52
Moranths, if one remembers from GotM, also gave Whiskeyjack a similar nickname (Bird That Steals).

Actually Whiskeyjack is an interesting case. In a later book we find he was known as Iskar Jarak by a remote 7c tribe, and in another we find that a Jarak is a kind of bird, a cross between a shrike and a crow. So it seems the whole Bird that Steals is his *real* name, Whiskeyjack is more of a corruption of it when translated into Malazan.

@54
I forgot completely the mention that Moranth's peculiar skills were due to a relationship with the Tiste Edur

Now this is something that gets overlooked a lot, but what I also notice is that the Edur mentioned here are a separate grouping to the Edur we shall meet later in the series. These were refugees who formed an alliance with their opponents, who eventually died out having never regained contact with their sundered kin. Another grouping crops up as uneducated slaves on an island to the north of 7c continent. It feels like the Tiste Edur were splintered along with their warren, with groups dropped all over the known world, as opposed to the Andii, who specifically emigrated to Wu in multiple waves.

@55 (&6)
With regards to using the titles, it seems more to me that Rath'Trake is well aware of Karnadas's position in the hierarchy, due to his own close connection to his god. Rath'Fener on the other hand is blinded by ambition, so is unable to see what should be obvious, and it is specifically stated that the Grey Swords are concealing the fact from him for their own reasons.
As for Buke, he travelled with Itkovian, who mentions to the Bonecasters that his Destriant is High Denul so that was how they could effect their healing. It can probably be assumed that he was willing to say similar things to the rest of the group as an explanation for their healing during their ride back to town.
M D
57. Abalieno
Well, (W)iskar Jakar is quite close to Whiskeyjack :)

About the Tiste Edur I already see them as a divided population. They seem to have no "King", so they don't have a figure like Rake who leads them. The tribes in MT have some kind of leader but it's quite obvious that he's only leading the locals and is not "aware" of Edur tribes that could have settled elsewhere. I'm not even sure how aware they are about their own true history...

And I still don't understand the problem with the Destriant title. Maybe Rath'Fener is not addressing Kardnadas with that title? I haven't noticed anything weird.
Brian R
58. Mayhem
Yep, that's it exactly. The original poster was complaining it seemed weird that everyone else (or so it seemed) started addressing Karnadas as Destriant, yet Rath'Fener doesn't know and considers him of (slightly inferior) equal rank.
Alex P. W.
59. Alex_W
Having read this chapter, I must say, while it gives us a few nice and interesting informations, it seemed to me a little long-winded. Especially the parts in the chamber of the Mask-Council. Hope the next chapters will be again a little more "thrilling".

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