Wed
Nov 2 2011 1:15pm

Malazan Re-read of the Fallen: Midnight Tides, Prologue

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 the Prologue of Midnight Tides by Steven Erikson (MT).

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.

Prologue

SCENE ONE

The setting is during the sundering of Emurlahn and the Edur invasion. Edur and Andii legions have defeated the K’Chain Che’Malle, with the Andii bearing the brunt thanks to the late arrival of the Edur. Scabandari Bloodeye, head of the Edur, is joined by Silchas Ruin, head of the Andii. Scabandari celebrates that they hold the gate to this new world, and that the K’Chain are all but destroyed, save for Morn where the Short-Tails rebel. He says none will stand against them—The Jaghut are too scattered and few, Imass too primitive, Forkrul Assail indifferent. The Andii can escape their civil war in Kurald Galain and the Edur the rivening of Kurald Emurlahn, which Ruin notes is Scabandari’s own doing. Ruin says a Jaghut (Gothos) is observing and beginning an Omtose ritual. Scabandari stabs Ruin and the Edur slaughter the Andii. Scabandari takes Ruin to an Azath and plans to hunt down the Andii already in the world, thinking they have no champion.

SCENE TWO

Gothos is joined by Mael, who asks what he’s doing. Gothos says he is “cleansing” the mess the battle has made. Mael says Kilmandaros is going to ally with him. When Gothos tells him Scabandari is bringing Ruin to the Azath, Mael thinks it is premature of Scabandari to think there is no opposition to him. He asks Gothos to “preserve” rather than destroy this and says he’ll owe him. Gothos agrees, but warns that Mael and Kilmandaros should take down Scabandari quickly before Rake awakens. Mael says Osserc is already moving to deal with Rake, “again.”

SCENE THREE

Withal the Swordmaker, of the Third Meckros City, wakens on a strange beach filled with bodies and the wreckage of his floating city that had been destroyed by mountains of ice rising from underneath it. Three Bhoka’ral (seemingly) arrive and gesture for him to follow. They lead him to the Crippled God’s tent. The god tells him he saved Withal and has prepared a place for him so he can make him a sword. Once Withal does, the god will free him. The three creatures are to help; they are not bhoka’ral but Nachts, created by the Jaghut.

 

Amanda’s Reaction to the Prologue

Into the breach once more, dear friends...

Ahhh, straight away I notice we’re back to Erikson setting the scene via a chapter heading. So here we’re dealing with the first days of the sundering of Emurlahn — am I correct in thinking that this is the Warren fragment that has been causing so much trouble over the last few books? Here we see how and why it happened? Scabandari Bloodeye — this guy is definitely a vegetarian pacifist, right? Usually Erikson’s names aren’t so blatant. And also the Time of the Elder Gods — I do hope to learn more about these rather mysterious personages.

Now that is the way to open a book! That opening paragraph provides just brilliant imagery. We’ve already encountered the awesomeness of one sky keep in the form of Moon’s Spawn, and the idea that there would be many of them, plunging the the ground, wreathed in flames and blood... well, it just sets the tone really, doesn’t it?

Ah, Scabandari is one of the Tiste Edur — and a draconean shapeshifter in the same vein as Anomander. His name sort of fits with the feral appearance we’ve seen at a later date from the remaining Tiste Edur. Having said that, this incarnation of the Tiste Edur seems much closer to their Andii cousins at first glance.

And our first encounter as well with the K’Chain Che’Malle. I’m waiting to have my first impression of these guys — that of remorseless and rather talented killers — overturned by Erikson, to be honest!

What is astonishing is that we’ve seen the devastating effect of just a few K’Chain Che’Malle — and here the Tiste Edur legions have beat them into submission. Not without high losses, granted, but that gives an idea of the level of proficiency of the Tiste Edur.

I am loving the fact that, although people have warned that Midnight Tides is rather a departure from the Malazan story to date, there are many familiar elements that have been built carefully in my mind through the first four books of the series. I already know the relationship between the Tiste races. I know that there are some Soletaken. I know that the K’Chain Che’Malle have K’ell Hunters, Short-Tails and Matrons. It could have been a much more jarring way to enter a book without that carefully constructed background in my mind.

Scabandari sounds cold, from his description. Like winter and death.

Silchas Ruin. That name rings bells. And a bone white dragon. I am keen to know more.

Oh! This is the bit where we realise that the Tiste are, in fact, the invaders in this new world! But not the first, it seems, since Scabandari mentions other Tiste Andii present in the world.

Mention of Morn being on a whole other continent, which lets a new reader know, if they didn’t already, that they ain’t in Kansas anymore....

Wow, the arrogance of Scabandari.... “Who else in this world has the power to oppose us? Jaghut? They are scattered and few. Imass? What can weapons of stone achieve against our iron?” What a sweeping dismissal of two of the most powerful races we’ve seen previously!

Scabandari caused the rift in Kurald Emurlahn? And here is named Bloodeye, because Silchas believes him to be blinded by the blood he wishes to spill.

I simply didn’t see that betrayal coming. What a shocking way to open these first few pages of Midnight Tides....

What champion can the Tiste Andii throw up against Scabandari Bloodeye? I can think of one!

We’re being thrown an onslaught of information here. Silchas Ruin not killed, merely imprisoned within the Azath — hm, I wonder if they are linked across continents? Might Paran be one day meeting Silchas Ruin? We also learn that Silchas Ruin is a child of Mother Dark, alongside Andarist and Anomandaris Irake. You know something? Language over centuries might mangle that last name there to something like Anomander Rake....

Teehee! Gothos! The Gothos we’ve seen before! The one who is currently advising Paran whenever he travels into the Azath, am I correct? And our first encounter with Mael. We’ve seen people who follow the principles of Mael, but I never realised that he was an Elder God before. Also, the fact that all the people who follow Mael seem to be a bit, well, nasty, doesn’t really make me warm to this chap.

Who else is imprisoned within that Azath Tower?

Ah, but now Anomander Rake is mentioned by name here, so perhaps I was wrong with my suggestion above? We already know that Rake has clashed in the past with Osserc — maybe now we will see a little of those “discussions.”

If we then move to the 1159th Year of Burn’s Sleep, we’ve come forward significantly in time, haven’t we? And now meet the Letherii who, I’m given to believe, are the other major race in this novel.

Glaciers of ice indicate Jaghut destruction of the city — is this Gothos’ work? Is 1159th Year of Burn’s Sleep, in fact, the way of recording the same year for a different race as that of Scabandari’s time? (That sentence was confused but hopefully you understand the gist.)

A mysterious hooded figure — a fallen god. There are many candidates for this person. I hardly dare suggest any, for fear of looking frightfully silly, but, here goes... With the whole sword forging business, it could be Draconus, but, as far as I remember, he forged Dragnipur on his own. It could be the Crippled God, thanks to the coughing and the broken feel to him. It could be Silchas Ruin, carrying the fragment of his warren around with him.

I think in future that if anyone says to me that they want to write a novel, I shall point them in the direction of this prologue. It is supreme and back to the quality I’ve come to expect. If the rest of the novel lives up to this explosive beginning, Midnight Tides will be a winner! See you Friday!

Bill’s Reaction to the Prologue

As Amanda says, that’s a great epic-scale visual to start this book. The blood raining down, the image of those huge sky-keeps attacked by dragons and then crashing down, the ensuing clouds that shot above their fall. Talk about starting with a bang.

We’ve seen someplace similar to where the “victorious” legions are reforming. In Memories of Ice, Chapter Nine’s epigraph has someone citing Gotho’s Folly, which mentions “an area of thousands of square leagues, stretches a vast plaza . . . Should we attach a dread name to the makers of this plaza? If we must, then that name is K’Chain Che’Malle” (the writers closes by saying he thinks Gothos’ claim is “nonsense”).

If anyone doubts just how potent the K’Chain were, these numbers should put that idea to rest. Four hundred thousand Andii took on sixty thousand K’Chain hunters, and the Andii lost all but one thousand.

I like that ominous description of the Edur — “re-formed into a rough ring around the last surviving Andii.” Especially coming as it does after Scabandari’s less than sincere “regret” that the Edur’s belated arrival cost the Andii so many lives. I know even on my first reading I wasn’t buying it.

It’s such a complex series, with so many details and layers (thus why it rewards a rereading so much, not to mention re-re-readings), so I think you just have to enjoy those little frissons of pat-yourself-on-the-back recognition, as when Scabandari mentions Morn and you go “Morn! I remember Morn—that’s where the rent was, where Kilava sent those poor Jaghut kids through!”

Obviously, and especially coming out of House of Chains, we’ve had lots of references to the shattering of Kurald Emurlahn. We now get another piece to the unfolding puzzle—that Scabandari, at least according to Ruin, has direct involvement in that (and judging by Scabandari’s reaction to Ruin noting that, Ruin seems to have hit a nerve).

So for all of Scabandari’s obviously careful plotting and planning, or maybe because of that, I especially enjoy just how oblivious he can be, such as when he dismisses the Imass as a potential threat, or is so confident the Andii already here have nobody who could stand against him (while of course we’re all mentally chanting “Rake. Rake. Rake!” in our heads), or that Rake will never be seen again (“Rake. Rake. Rake!”). So when he also tells us that Ruin will be “eternally” imprisoned, well, let’s just say going on his track record in this section....

Gothos’ loss of wonder is a bit sad, eh? Though I do love his wryly laconic “Typical” when he feels Scanabdari betray Ruin. Gothos’ loss of wonder reminds us of the concern about ascendants—that sense of distance from mere mortals which allows them to act perhaps more cruelly—with a sense of, to use another catch phrase in the series, a sense of “indifference.”

So we’ve seen most of those gods Gothos mentions: K’run, Draconus, Sister of Cold Nights, Osserc. We have not seen the last two—but they’re good names to file away as they will play huge roles later on in the series. Mael as well, and while we haven’t seen him, we’ve heard of him and seen him referenced. Remember Mallick Rel is a Mael priest.

Remember Mael’s request—that “time freezes” in this place.

Another wholly cinematic visual—the Meckros city upended and destroyed by mountains of ice rising from beneath. It’s funny how sometimes the most epic moments of this epic happen somewhat offstage or are covered in just a few lines as backstory.

It’s interesting—I don’t recall that we’ve heard before that this little pocket of the Crippled God came from memories of his home. Anybody else remember if we’ve heard that before? If not, it lends him an interesting bit of humanity, I’d say, making him a bit more pitiable. Then, of course, he has to go and ruin it by threatening Withal with “begging for death.” Though Erikson is also careful to immediately let us know that Withal is merely suffering the same fate he and his Meckros kin have rendered to others.

Some nice cliffhangers in this prologue:

  • What is the mistake Scabandari made?
  • What is the effect of Gothos’ freezing time here?
  • What kind of “particular” sword is the Crippled God going to have Withal make and for what purpose?

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.

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.

65 comments
djk1978
1. djk1978
I think most people love Rake so immediately Silchas Ruin, as another Tiste Andii of suitable awesomeness becomes a character that we might feel affinity for. And he is promptly betrayed by Scabandari who's really set up as not a nice guy.

Amanda, it spoils nothing to say that Scene 1 and 2 are not the same time frame as Scene 3. But I'll not ruin the rest of your voyage of discovery.

Also is it not Raest who is in the Azath and not Gothos? I think you are mixed up there. Or maybe I am.
Chris Hawks
2. SaltManZ
@djk: Amanda has it right: Raest is in the Finnest House, but Gothos is (IIRC) in Tremorlor.

Amir posted it in the last thread, but this has got to be one of the best lines in the series:
'Ice,' the Elder god snorted. 'The Jaghut answer to everything.'
'And what would yours be, Mael? Flood, or... flood?'
djk1978
3. djk1978
@SaltmanZ: Ah ok that makes sense. I was not thinking of Tremorlor.
Chris Hawks
4. SaltManZ
But, yeah, I think Amanda mixed them up, too, as Raest is the one who chats with Paran.
Peter Reen
5. pnr060
I don't think this is too much of a spoiler but (re. Anomander's name): it seems like Anomander is referred to by a few names during the series. He mentions that "Anomander Rake" is the closest thing to his name that humans can pronounce when talking to Baruk in GotM. Tattersail and co. note that the poem "Anomandaris" refers to him. The Galyn demon in GotM calls him "Anomander Purake" or someting like that. We get Anomandaris Irake here, and someone else refers to him as "Anomandaris Dragnipurake" at some other point. I'm guessing that "Dragnipurake" is just a sobriquet given to him when he got his sword, although if I remember correctly (no guarauntees here!) some Kurald Galain flashbacks in Toll the Hounds indicate that it might stem from him drinking the blood of Tiam, in which case that act and the name of Dragnipur might share some common root word. If this is the case, Irake and Purake and all of those are probably just artifacts of a hundred thousand years of language evolution. Although it might be interesting to compare which simplified forms that characters who knew him from specific time periods use, I think we might need more data...
Maggie K
6. SneakyVerin
I too, loved the imagery of the initial battle scene....a visual we need to keep in mind now that we are dealing with the Edur!

It occurs to me that Meckros Ruins pop up a couple times throughout these books...I wonder if any of them are connected????
djk1978
7. DRickard
A hint on the timescape, Amanda: remember that Morn was already destroyed in the prologue of MOI--set during the 33rd Jaghut War--and then remember how long the Imass have been undead T'lan...
As for Mael: while he never quite loses his taste for blood sacrifice, he mellows a lot over the millenia, and becomes quite likeable. Watch for it.
B H
8. Greyhawk
This book is where I took an extended hiatus from the series. In fact this reread is what motivated me to get back into it. I am now in Reaper's Gale. Nothing in my mind has matched up to Memories of Ice so far and while I appreciate the scope of Erikson's work, I am finding myself frustrated by what in my opinion is a somewhat self indulgent (for a writer) exploration of noncentral societies and personalities. This prologue is great, and I sometimes find myself wishing Erikson had covered some of the material in the books at this summary type level and maybe shortened the series some. Would have allowed more exploration of the "central" characters. As talented as Erikson is (no question there) I think his characteriztion suffers a little because of the ambitious scope of his endeavor.
Rob Munnelly
9. RobMRobM
This book threw me a ton when I read it because I had no idea that Erickson would open up a new continent and new races. I spent most of the book trying to figure out where it was located in relation to the other continents, and it diminished my enjoyment of the book. In retrospect, with the benefit of later books, this one is a really good one in many respects.

Rob
David Thomson
10. ZetaStriker
Yeah, Midnight Tides is a book few people read without complaint their first time through – the characters are new, the setting foreign, and the plot connections seem tenuous at best. We basically trade Malazans for Letherii, which is not a good trade in anyone's book. I myself hated it at first, and only kept reading for Tehol and Bugg for much of the novel.

Now, five books later, I find myself far more ambivalent in my assessment; having read through the series entire, the Lether sections seem absolutely irreplaceable, and its characters are now as beloved as any member of the Bonehunters or Bridgeburners. There is one character I'm still dreading my reacquaintance with, however. Hull Beddict rubbed me wrong from page one, and returning to the start of his storyline does nothing but fill me with dread at having to begin down that road once again. Here's hoping the wealth of other rich and interesting characters – the Sengar and other members of the Beddict families in particular, will help me with that.

As for the prologue itself, there is one thing that's thus far escaped mention that I always found the most interesting kernel of information in here: Scabandari caused Andarist's grief, and Andarist himself doesn't know it. Having only stepped in to briefly witness the end of his story, Andarist strikes a very intriguing figure in my mind, and I can't wait to get the details on all of this from the upcoming Tiste Andii trilogy.
Steven Halter
11. stevenhalter
This prologue is fantastic. We find out that the Edur arrival is begun with betrayal--note where there end up vs. where Bloodeye thinks they are going.
The events here (with Bloodeye) are taking place quite a while prior to the prologue in MoI (119,736 years ago). Note that Gothos is already old at that far removed time.
The exchange between Mael and Gothos is a perfect example of Jaghut sensibility:
Instead, I ask that you . . . preserve."
"Why?"
"I have my reasons"
"I am pleased for you. What are they?"
The Elder god shot him a dark look. "Impudent bastard."
"Why change?"
djk1978
12. djk1978
@Greyhawk: It all comes together, although as I have said several times I had the same struggle. By the time you get to the end of the series it would be very difficult to argue which characters and societies are non-central. Some things that may not seem important right now may be very important later. Hence Bill and Amanda's "filing" system.

So in complete contrast to your thoughts there I actually find it remarkable how diverse the characters and cultures are that Erikson comes up with.
Steven Halter
13. stevenhalter
@Amanda:A small note is that the events in the prologue mark the most familiar things you will see for awhile (with the exception of one notable person you will recognize.)
Chris Hawks
14. SaltManZ
pnr060 @5: I don't think the Rake's name stuff needs spoilering.

If Rake is referred to as "Anomandaris Irake" in the MT prologue, which takes place before the MoI prologue, and if in MoI Draconus isn't yet finished with Dragnipur, than perhaps indeed the name "Anomandaris Dragnipurake" does come about because of his taking of Drac's sword...
djk1978
15. Dr. Locrian
I just have to say that Midnight Tides is close to my favorite book in the series. It got even better on my re-read. The Letherii are most certainly, uh, not as "cool" as the Malazans, but come on, it's an amazing fictional society. With tons and tons of flavor, and my two favorite characters in the series live in Lether. I think you know of whom I speak. :)
Emmet O'Brien
16. EmmetAOBrien
Am I the only person following this readalong who can't stand the "comic" duo to whom so many of you seem to be looking forward ?
Chris Hawks
17. SaltManZ
@16: I personally enjoy them, and find their interactions witty and amusing, but I'm definitely not in love with them like 95% of the fandom seems to be.
Hugh Arai
18. HArai
EmmetAOBrien@16: Possibly. Sense of humor is a very personal thing.
Amanda Rutter
19. ALRutter
@16 - Personally I am dreading meeting them, purely because everyone has shouted about them so very much! That is usually a precursor to me disliking them intensely, or being mystified about everyone else's pleasure in them :-)
djk1978
20. jelko
After anti-climax of House of Chains I wanted to quit the series (I supported the rebelion, sympathised with Felisin and didn't like the cold Tavore @that time - got it all wrong :-)
, but Midnight Tides sucked me right back in.
I realy loved that complete new and different setting. That's why I love this series so much, you just don't know what is going to happen, because anything can happen, at anytime. Maybe that just the essence of FANTASY. The scale SE does this, is just breathtaking. Also I think MT is also a great stand alone novel.
Sydo Zandstra
21. Fiddler
@16 Emmet:

No you aren't. I liked it the first time, but found their dialogue to become repetitive on rereads, and found myself skimming these sections after my 2nd reread.

While the soldiering banter of the BB and BH and the wedded couple misery from Pust and Mogora never stop amusing me...

But there are other funny gems in this book. ;-)
Rob Munnelly
22. RobMRobM
@16 and 19 - I enjoy them, even though a couple of the sub-jokes get repetitive. No reason for dread, Amanda.
Tricia Irish
23. Tektonica
This prologue really puts events in order. I was lost the first time through, but now it all makes sense! Question: Are the dragon bones that the Trull brothers find later, those of Scabandari? Just put that together. Seems like Kilamandaros caught up with him. ;-)


I must say this introduction doesn't make me any happier about having to reading about the Edur ;-( They don't come off too well here....at least their "leader" doesn't. The first part of this book was probably my least favorite part of any Malazan book. I'm hoping there are some new insights this time through to make it more interesting.

As for the Comic Duo....I like them well enough, but as characters, not necessarily for their humor. Don't worry Amanda, there are plenty of other good characters in MT too.

Greyhawk@8: This prologue is great, and I sometimes find myself wishing Erikson had covered some of the material in the books at this summary type level and maybe shortened the series some. Would have allowed more exploration of the "central" characters.

That's a good summary of my feelings too.
Amir Noam
24. Amir
In this prologue, Erikson again shows us how great a scene could be which describes the aftermath of a major battle (which was never shown). He's done the same at the beginning of GotM, where we join the action immediately after the siege of Pale ends.

I think that too many other authors would have felt the need to actualy describe the battles themselves, missing the subtelty of just showing the aftermath.
djk1978
25. djk1978
@23: Yes I think so.

Doubtless said duo are not for everyone. In fact I skipped parts of them the first time and only appreciated them the second time. I'm sure reaction varies. This will be my third read so we'll see how my impression holds up.

I think we've been given a mixed view of the Edur. Scabandari is not painted in a good light, nor were Trull's "brothers". But Trull himself more or less was, even if some people didn't connect with him in House of Chains. So whats the real picture of Edur?

The Meckros are a big question mark for me. We've seen them a couple times now and both times in ruins (Memories of Ice I think right? With Lady Envy?) What's going on with them I'd like to know.
Chris Hawks
26. SaltManZ
Tek @23: Yep (to your spoilered question.) I think we get a little more on that in the RG prologue. And I thought Todd Lockwood did a great job of the discovery scene in his Tor MT cover.
djk1978
27. Jordanes
'a very particular sword.'

Cue evil cackling laughter :D

I love this book. I loved it the first time I read it, and while it was jarring from the previous novels, it also provides a fantastic feeling about two-thirds of the way through when we meet some characters who are equally as jarred in this place as the reader is ;) The book itself is the best read in the series as a standalone novel.

Scabandari Bloodeye is definitely someone I want to read about more. A very cool 'bad guy'. And as for his boasting 'who can stand against us?' speech....well, have we heard of Scabandari before this point? I think not, which somewhat already answers if someone managed to stand against him or not ;)
David Thomson
28. ZetaStriker
SaltMan@26 - Well, except for them being white. But let's dodge that racist bullet and move on as quickly as possible.

As for the Meckros, I had the most irrational imagine of them in my head when I first read this Prologue. For some reason the picture in my mind was of a floating city - as in a floating above the ground city - plummeting through the skies as chunks of ice tore it apart from underneath, and Withal being snatched out of thin air. The only thing is there is nothing in this section to indicate any of this, so I have no idea why my brain lashed on to that idea.
Robin Lemley
29. Robin55077
@ 16. Emmet & 21. Fiddler

I am pretty much with Fiddler on this duo. I enjoy the characters themselves but I found their dialogue "quirky" on my initial read and almost irritating at times on subsequent reads. Like Fiddler, I went to just skimming their conversations on re-reads. I think for me there is just too much of it.

I much prefer Mr. & Mrs. Pust (or my favorite comedy duo -- Telorast & Curdle).

:-)
djk1978
30. djk1978
Robin, that's proof that everyone's tastes differ. I dislike every scene that contains Pust and Mogora. The only exception to that is when Pust gives Mappo directions and Mappo recognizes the short route.

So definitely people should not let their view of the book be defined by two characters.
Iris Creemers
31. SamarDev
I think I can't add much to the things already said about the prologue. Great post-battle-scene, harsh betrayal, first glimp of Mael, and a very particular sword...
Overall I like 'The' duo very much, just sometimes their humor gets a bit too much - until it gets so over the top again that I can't help smiling .
Now waiting for the story to start for real...

(btw, Bill/Amanda, any word if we can still hope for a Q&A for HoC, or has that chance passed this time?)
Robin Lemley
32. Robin55077
The overriding thought I had upon reading this prologue was the numbers.

400,000 Andii vs. 60,000 K'ell Hunters...leaving only 1,000 or so Andii alive at the end of the battle. WOW !!!

Helps place things into perspective back in MOI where 14,000 T'lan Imass faced off against 80 K'ell Hunters outside Capustan.

or

Onearm's Host of 10,000 facing 1,000 K'ell Hunters in Coral.

or even

Lady Envy's little group wiping out those 7 K'ell Hunters south of Coral as they moved north.

WOW....WOW....and....WOW !!!

:-)
David Thomson
33. ZetaStriker
Keep in mind too that those MoI examples were of undead K'ell Hunters. While a little harder to kill, I believe it was said they were not as fast or deadly as their living counterparts.
Hugh Arai
34. HArai
Amanda@19: You may like them, you may not. The potential is there. I think the main thing people wanted to convince you of is that the humor and heart in the series didn't go into terminal decline at the end of MoI. You haven't even been introduced to some people's favorites yet. Keep the faith.
karl oswald
35. Toster
Certainly this is one of the best prologues of the series. the flash-flood of information, the particular sword. i get chills just thinking about the first display of it's power. and wow indeed regarding those 60,000 k'ell hunters!

but backing up to the very first lines, where we get a kind of inverted echo of the scene in capustan where gruntle creates a meat-partment. anyone notice that ruin and bloodeye, ARE STANDING ATOP A MOUNTAIN OF K'CHAIN CHE'MALLE CORPSES??????
Robin Lemley
36. Robin55077
@ 33. ZetaStriker

Yes, we were told in MoI that the undead were not as big a threat as live ones. That they were not as fast.

But still.....WOW.

In MoI I thought they were nasty to deal with (certainly the worst by far that we had seen to that point) but to see here that they totally decimated 399,000 Tiste Andii....well, it kind of blew my mind on my first read. At this point in my initial read, I would not have expected it to be possible that 60,000 of anything would be capable of taking out 400,000 Andii.

:-)
Robin Lemley
37. Robin55077
@ 30. djk1978

Don't get me wrong, I love both those characters and the interaction between them. Bugg ranks right up there as one of my more favorite characters (below Fiddler, Ganos Paran, Karsa, and SamarDev of course, but still up there). I just meant that their "humorous" dialogue kind of got a bit old for me, probably because there was so much of it.

They are definitely good characters and play important parts to the series as a whole so I am not "dissing" them at all.

What we find funny is definitely individualized, and for me, I guess, based partly on amount.

:-)
Gerd K
38. Kah-thurak
I guess one point about the Tiste Andii is, that they would rely quite heavily on Kurald Galain magic to be effective in a fight against K'ell Hunters. I would assume, that the magic of the K'Chain Matrons and the Tiste should have held each other in check as it seems to be the case in most major battles. And on a pure close combat level, K'ell Hunters (and the other K'Chain Che'malle that should be evident in such a force) are hard to beat for any vaguely humanoid race.

@Tehol&Bugg
They are not really my flavour of humour either. Nevertheless they work for me most of the time in this novel, which is quite suprising really. In later books (espeacially DoD) I did not enjoy them that much anymore.
Pirmin Schanne
39. Torvald Nom
Regarding the Meckros:

I always assumed that the Meckros city wreck that showed up in MoI was the same that Withal came from. But considering the timeline, I'm not sure anymore, since I think that the city in MoI was destroyed by the ice raised by Panion.
Amir Noam
40. Amir
Torvald Nom @39:
Why can't it be both? Maybe Panion destroyed the Meckros city with ice (definitely a Jaghut thing), while the CG snatched Withal from the wreck for his own purposes.
Sydo Zandstra
41. Fiddler
@Amir, 40:

Regardless of existing timeline 'issues' ( ;-) ), I think the wrecked Meckros city Withal was taken from by the CG is not the one in MoI.

Pannion raised the Icewall late in MoI, approxemately at the same time as a certain event later in this book. The sword Withal was required to make has been in full use for a while at that moment.

And we do get to see another wrecked Meckros city later in this book.
;-)
Gerd K
42. Kah-thurak
I think the timing is aproximately right for the the Meckros Cities in MoI and MT to be the same. Both books cover the time before HoC, and I guess this is as precise as SE's timelines are about to get ;-)

EDIT
@Fiddler
You are right. This can hardly be the same city. I forgot something ;-)
Mieneke van der Salm
43. Mieneke
*clears throat* Uhm, hi, remember me? Sorry for dissappearing again. I'm still working on catching up with the chapters I missed from HoC, but I thought I'd just start following along again at the beginning of this book. This is the first book I've never read, up till now it was a real reread for me, but from this book on I'm in the same boat as Amanda!

This was some prologue! But I think I'll need to find my feet with the change of scenery and characters. I'm both excited and a bit apprehensive about how I'll like Midnight Tides.
djk1978
44. Jordanes
@ 41. The Meckros city Withal comes from and the ruins of the one that we see later in the book are the same city. This is made explicit either in this book or in RG, I can't remember which, by the mother of the survivor from the Meckros ruins we see later.

As for Tehol and Bugg, I enjoy them. But I love Ublala Pung :)

And if I had to choose between the Beddicts and the Sengars, I would read more about the Sengars any day of the week.
Alan Miller
45. AlanM
@2. SaltManZ

Agreed. I laughed out loud reading that.

As for the comic duo, I'm 2/3 of the way through this book and I find their exchanges witty, intelligent and funny. I am enjoying them and their story line immensely.
Tai Tastigon
46. Taitastigon
Aaah, finally - we´re finally starting "the book that put Mr. Abalieno to run"...*gg*.

I must admit - the first read was not my favorite. Upon rereads, this book has grown on me. In retrospect, it may be one of his best written in terms of style and flow. Plus a very linear plot. And it contains a truckload of info that fill out tomes 1-4. So why is it not among my favorite volumes ? Well, except for some bystanders (that become really relevant in later volumes), it is next to impossible to root for anybody here. It is one bunch of d*cks against another bunch of d*cks, with one crazy god laughing his butt off. In general terms, very essential to the overall cycle. In individual terms, it takes away from the emotional investment. You simply don´t care as much.

Re "the pair": I like them, but I agree - it gets a bit much over time. However, forget for a second what they *talk* and just check what they *walk*. They have a very creepy quality to them, those two.
Hugh Arai
47. HArai
Taitastigon@46: I could name a bunch of people I root for but then I imagine we'd argue over whether you included them when you mentioned bystanders. And people are already arguing over that in the WoT re-read and once is enough for me. But really once you go beyond the level of individuals I'd say it's hard to root for any of the groups in the MBotF. I don't think SE or ICE really go for good guys versus bad guys.
David Thomson
48. ZetaStriker
I was able to root for one side on my first read . . . even if they only looked good by comparison, by virtue of being the lesser of two evils.
djk1978
49. tromedlov87
I think that the whole "who to root for?" idea is one of the reasons this book is so good. For me, I don't really "pick" a side to root for, I just sort of naturally lean one way or the other. In this book, though, SE wrote it in such a way that I felt my allegience going back and forth to BOTH sides. I think I switched sides two or three times throughout this book, and I don't think that I've ever had a book do that to me before. It's really a testament to SE's writing that he can get you to do that over the course of one book.
Tai Tastigon
50. Taitastigon
Harai@47

You are pretty much on the money about the *bystanders* - the sympathetic ones are in there, so no need to argue, I guess. The biiig groups, though - what a bunch of d*uchebags ! *gg*

And good/evil with SE ? Nope. Rather sympathetic/unsympathetic. In this tome, however, he gives us mostly "f*cked up", I´d say.
Hugh Arai
51. HArai
Taitastigon@50: Hmm, I think for me it's mostly that in this book neither of the big groups are clearly worse than the other. It's not that the Malazans have been so great so far, it's that Raest, Pannion and the Whirlwind have been really really bad. Jaghut tyrants and a "goddess" that wants to annihilate humankind over an affair. The groups in this book are just... sordid, however brightly some individuals may shine.
djk1978
52. djk1978
I think there's more to it than just 2 opposing sides but at this point I don't want to get into it too much so as not to reveal more than has already been revealed about what Midnight Tides is about. I'll save my ideas on that until we get into the chapters proper.
Steven Halter
53. stevenhalter
I think that the prologue provides the first lesson and then the rest of the book provides the amplification of that lesson and the lesson is Hubris. This goes along very nicely with the Greek tragedy aspect.
In the prologue Bloodeye is just oh so sure that nothing is going to stop him. From his being fairly absent in the other books (and knowing about Rake) we can tell right away that maybe he was overestimating his side of things.
In the rest of the book we'll see some groups who are "quite obviously" the main groups and consider themselves so. In the final analysis ...
David Thomson
54. ZetaStriker
Speaking of hubris, quotes!
He could see how the waves moved, up and down along the entire shore, a ceaseless motion that ever threatenedto engulf all the land, yet ever failed to do so. He watches the sea . . . and sometimes it did indeed reach far, but always it would sullenly retreat once more.
Iris Creemers
55. SamarDev
@ Mieneke 43
Hi, welcome back! Nice to see you here again. Don't worry if you'll like MT, as it is a new setting to you. If not now, you'll like it the next time round :-). Just trust SE, as you did before.
Robin Lemley
56. Robin55077
@ 6. SneakyVerin & @ 43. Mieneki

HELLO to both of you!

Welcome back Mieneki and I believe you will enjoy MT, if not immediately, then in the long run. For me, Trull was a lot like Karsa. When they first showed up on the scene I couldn't see how either of them fit in with everything else....after a while, I couldn't imagine the story without them. Just trust SE and he will reward that trust.

Sneaky! I am shouting out a welcome to you as well because I don't recall having seen much of you either very recently. I do read all the posts and if I just don't remember seeing your name I apologize.

I have missed both of you!

:-)
Iris Creemers
57. SamarDev
'There is a reluctance in you, Trull. You hide it well enough, but I can see where others cannot. You are a warrior who would rather not fight.'

'We are Edur. We were masters of the Hounds, once. We held the throne of Kurald Emurlahn. And would hold it still, if not for betrayal, first by the kin of Scabandari Bloodeye, then by the Tiste Andii who came with us to this world.'
Tricia Irish
58. Tektonica
Taitastigon:

I think we're on the same page on MT. Hubris is the right word for the two main groups. Arrogance and hubris...they do go hand in hand, don't they? I just find the first section of MT depressing, and therefore hard to slog through. All of it is relevant, but oh, I don't know....maybe there's just a bit much of it?

The two main groups both have exaggerated tendencies towards various bad societal tendencies, which gives SE a great platform for observations, and viewpoints on (our) society at large, and he expounds in an entertaining way, for the most part.....especially when it picks up a bit later in the book.

MT ties up a number of loose ends from the first 4 books, and provides new characters and viewpoints going forward, so it's certainly relevant. (I just wish I could go directly to Letheras.)

Meineke and SneakyVerin: Welcome back! Nice to see you again.
karl oswald
59. Toster
Look away to see. Trust in it and you will be led into Shadow. Where all truths hide.
Look away to see.
Now, look away.
djk1978
60. djk1978
I see the truth of that, Fear. I shall endeavour to curtail my indifference.
Iris Creemers
61. SamarDev
He could hear his heart now, thundering in answer to that touch. And another heart, distant yet quickly closing, beating in time. But it was not hers, and Udinaas knew terror.

'Tell me, Uruth, could you sense her power when you healed her?'
Trull's mother shook her head. 'Unimpressive. Or...'
'Or what?'
Uruth shrugged. 'Or she hid it well, despite her wounds. And if that is the case, then her power surpasses mine.'
Maggie K
62. SneakyVerin
Thank you Robin and Tek!
I skipped the HoC read, as I was a little too busy in the life department, but am going to try to stick through this read....
Julian Augustus
63. Alisonwonderland
Like many of you, I hated this book on my first read. I was sure it was easily the worst book in the series so far. After a few re-reads, however, I have come to really enjoy this book and now consider it one of my favorites.

As for T & B, I still enjoy them. But I'm surprised no one has mentioned Shurq and Harlest. Those two are probably the most unique characters I've ever encountered anywhere, and I think some of the best lines in this book come from Shurq.
Robin Lemley
64. Robin55077
Yes, there are sooooooo many good characters in this book. I am trying to wait until we get to them before I mention them... it is so hard to wait!

:-)

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