Fri
Dec 16 2011 1:15pm

Malazan Re-read of the Fallen: Midnight Tides, Chapter Ten

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 Ten 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.

Note: Due to Amanda’s heavy involvement in her new job (yay, Amanda!) she will be adding her posts in the discussion section in the next few days. Also, a note that our last post of 2011 will be Wednesday. We’ll be taking our holiday break at that point and returning, rested and rejuvenated, on January 4th. Enjoy the holidays to all and we’ll see you in 2012!

Chapter Ten

SCENE ONE

Ublala is upset over being treated like a sex toy. Tehol has little sympathy. Tehol and Bugg head out to get Shurq, who has been staying at a brothel, “feeding” her new addiction. The brothel turns out to be the priciest, most exclusive one in town and they worry how they’ll get her out when the Madame (Matron Delisp) probably is reveling in her newest whore. Tehol starts to create a whole bunch of stories and false reasons why he should be able to take Shurq, when Delisp interrupts and tells him to get rid of that “demoness.”

SCENE TWO

Tehol and Bugg find Shurq and tell her the Matron wants her out. She refers to her new appetites and Tehol suggests Ublala might help. Shurq agrees to try it.

SCENE THREE

As they prepare to leave, Matron Delisp tells Tehol she owes him. Shurq says Delisp actually owes her money and she wants it sent to Tehol’s residence where she plans to spend it quickly.

SCENE FOUR

Shurq says she’ll meet Tehol (and Ublala) on the roof at midnight. Tehol heads off to the Azath House to speak to Kettle. He offers to do for her what they did with Shurq and she says she’ll think about it. She likes how Tehol looks and asks if she can call him father like she calls Shurq mother. He asks what the tower tells her and she says it’s afraid and someone in the ground is going to help once he gets free but there are bad ones down there as well who scare her and the House and destroy them all if they get free. Most of the others don’t talk at all, she says, save one who promises to make her an empress if Kettle helps her get free. Tehol advises Kettle not to trust that one and Kettle says Shurq told her the same. Before leaving, Kettle asks Tehol if he ever dreams of dragons.

SCENE FIVE

Turudal Brizard, consort to Queen Janall watches Brys train his students. Brys thinks back to older threats to Lether—Bluerose in the north, tribes being driven into Lether areas by far off Kolanse, city-states in an archipelago in the Dracons Sea. All had been dealt with (Kolanse had a civil war and withdrew into itself). Brys wonders if Brizard is, as the Consort claims, a sign of what’s to come—people lacking martial training, Lether more focused on economic than military engagement and dominance. After the session, Brizard tells Brys the Chancellor (Triban Gnol) wants to see him. They discuss the feud between the Chancellor and the Ceda and Brizard talks of how peace leads to strife and Brys disagrees. Alone, Brys can’t figure out just what Brizard was trying to do or say; he prefers the clarity of physicality. He thinks Brizard is in a tough position, between the Queen and the Chancellor. He enters his room, noting it had been entered by spies, a regular occurrence. He heads off for to meet with the Ceda.

SCENE SIX

Brys finds the Ceda in mid-experiment. The Ceda discusses the world being round, gravity, tidal forces, the world’s four moons (at least four he says), how the other three moons beyond the visible one have seemingly faded, the idea that the world’s continents were once all joined. Brys tells him of Brizard’s reference to a feud between the Ceda and the Chancellor and Kuru Qan calls Brizad an “errant, troubled lad” seemingly filled with sorrow. He asks Brys to find out what he can about the feud the Ceda didn’t know about.

SCENE SEVEN

The Chancellor (Gnol) asks Brys about the military’s readiness and Brys says they are ready and capable for war. Gnol says he worries about Hull and Brys says his family is Brys’ business, not the Chancellor’s. The Chancellor says Brys shouldn’t take his concern as a warning and dismisses him.

SCENE EIGHT

Brys leaves, feeling out of his depth, knowing he lacks Tehol’s cleverness. He plans to seek advice from Tehol.

SCENE NINE

Shand, Rissarh, and Hejun come to meet Tehol and complain about not being involved and him not doing anything. He forestalls their complaints by giving them tasks. Mollified, they leave.

SCENE TEN

Shurq arrives and meets Ublala, who isn’t cooperating. She asks what he saw when he walked the canal bottom at the drownings and he said lots of bodies. She asks how deep the canal was originally and Bugg tells them seven man heights, but Ublala says he could almost reach up to the surface. Shurq wonders who is killing all those bodies and Tehol tells her not to worry. She asks Ublala if he can create a diversion while she breaks into Eberict’s estate. He’s reluctant until she says Eberict’s men don’t like him. They leave.

SCENE ELEVEN

Brys walks to Tehol’s, thinking he’s always felt uncomfortable in Letheras, bothered by its greed, how people are being left behind, how the military was increasingly separated from the culture it is meant to protect. Brys asks Tehol for advice, saying he’s lost among the factions in the court that are trying to prod him into involvement. Tehol sums up the factions (Queen, Prince Quillas, Chancellor Gnol, Consort Brizard in one; King, the Ceda, First Eunuch Nifadas, Preda Hebaz, Brys, and maybe First Concubine Nisall in the other). Brys objects to being listed, but Tehol says he has no choice. Tehol advises him to say nothing (he’ll appear smarter) and treat it all like a duel. Brys says he worried about Hull and Tehol says he think Hull believes he’s going to die soon and wishes to take Lether with him, meaning someone will have to kill him. Brys says that will mean Brys will have to seek vengeance and Tehol says his first loyalty is to the King, not his family, but Tehol has no such constraints. He says he will avenge Hull. Brys smiles. The two discuss the brothers’ differences and differing paths. Tehol asks Brys to learn about people going missing.

SCENE TWELVE

With Ublala’s help, Shurq breaks into Eberict’s estate and then his private quarters, guarded by a dead man, set there as penance for incompetence. He wants to know how Shurq, also dead, looks so good and she says she can do the same for him. He helps her break in so he can go with her. Turns out he’s Harlest Eberict, Gerun’s brother, who died via a fall down the stairs ten years ago according to Gerun. Harlest informs her that Gerun killed him.

SCENE THIRTEEN

Shurq and Harlest collect papers, Gerun’s seal, and other things. They learn Gerun is calling in his money and Shurq speculates he’s planning something big and expensive. She tells Harlest they plan on breaking Gerun’s finances. They leave.

SCENE FOURTEEN

Kettle feeds another body to the Azath grounds. She thinks it’s been getting harder to find bad people to kill and wonders where they’ve all gone. Her friend underground had told her he was trapped and couldn’t go farther, though he said help was on tis way. She hopes Tehol will visit again, thinking he might know what to do now that the tower was dead.

 

Bill’s Reaction to Chapter Ten

I don’t have a lot to say abut the opening few scenes as in my mind they mostly serve as comic relief—a good move I’d say coming after the tension, dread, and horror of the prior chapter.

Speaking of dread, that scene with Kettle shifts us from the comic relief into the serious pretty quickly as we consider the pathos of Kettle’s loneliness (asking if she can call Tehol father, her search for brothers and sisters) and then her ominous references to those who lie beneath the Azath grounds—the “bad ones” who’ll destroy everyone if they get out and the one who promises to make Kettle and Empress. I like too how at the close of this scene, which begins with Kettle presented as a lonely, homeless, family-less waif, we are reminded of her much darker side as she mulls over just whom to kill.

It would be easy to glide right through Brys’ interior monologue as he trains his men, but it’s a good idea to slow down through here:

In those days there had been external threats aplenty. Bluerose to the north, the independent unruly city-states of the archipelago in Dracons Sea, and the various tribes on the eastern plain had been pressuring Lether, driven against the outposts by one of the cyclical expansionist regimes of far Kolanse. Bluerose now paid tribute to King Egazra... and Kolanse had subsided into isolation following some sort of civil war a few decades past.

Bluerose is going to be important not too far down the road. And Kolanse. Well, Kolanse and what happened to it will be of prime importance to the series. As far as I know, this is our first reference to it. Anyone recall something prior?

Brys’ musing on the army’s place in society is, like so much of this novel—has resonances for modern society. There has certainly been a lot of concern in recent years over the separation between the military and the civilian society in the U.S. and of how the military continues to pull from an ever-narrowing pool. Brys’ question is a good one—what effect does it have on both the military and the society it defends when the gap between the two ever widens?

You can see Brys’ lack of subtlety in his discussion with Brizad (whose own words recall the “subtlety” in the Crippled God’s discussion with Rhulad); this is why he needs help from Tehol. And why he prefers the relative simplicity of the martial life.

And then after some serious thought, we move into some more humor via the Ceda, stuck swinging to and fro over his fallen map. We do get some interesting information about the moons and the continents, a little multi-layered discussion on forces in conflict impressing themselves on people, and, well, a revelator line that screams out to re-readers, though I’m not sure about pointing it out here.

Amidst the humor of the Tehol abode conversations, a little interesting tidbit about all those bodies in the canal.

And more from Brys that yet again has painful parallels to our own modern day society as he wonders at the ever-increasing concentration of wealth in Lether and worries about a tipping point when those being left out turn from helplessness to anger. Will there be an “Occupy the Old Palace” gathering?

From the humor atop Tehol’s, we move into darker territory as he and Brys discuss their brother Hull. It’s a pretty grim certainty both seem to have that Hull is aiming himself, knowingly, toward death. And I love that little familial moment where we get to see as readers that Brys has respect for Tehol and has come to see him as more than perhaps he once thought him:

You would avenge Hull?
Count on it.
Eventually, Brys smiled

 

Love that moment.

And then we meet another fun character—Harlest. If it seems there are a lot of undead popping up around Lether, well, there are. More on that to come... And that’s also a bit revealing about Gerun—his willingness to kill his own brother. We’re left with a few lingering questions after the raid: What is Gerun planning that requires so much money, and will Harlest get his fangs?

Then we’re back with Kettle, picking up with her where we left—grim Kettle rather than cute Kettle, as she watches her latest body sink into the ground, licking the blood off her fingers.

Speaking of questions—where are all the bad people getting to? All the spies and criminals? And what sort of “help” is coming to aid in releasing her friend in the Azath grounds? And will it get there in time? Especially now that, and you can almost hear the organ at the end of this chapter, the “tower was dead.” Da da dum!


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. She is the editor of young adult SF imprint Strange Chemistry.

36 comments
Chris Hawks
1. SaltManZ
Y'know, I think I was finally able to put my finger on why, though I love Tehol and Bugg and their dialogue and interaction dearly, I don't enjoy their scenes like the rest of the books; why MT and RG are my least favorite books in the series. And it has to do with POVs. Right now, most of the book is being told from (if I'm counting right) four POVs: Trull, Seren, and Udinaas with the Edur, and Brys in Letheras. The Letheras plotline also closely follows Tehol and Bugg, but it's not being told from their perspective like the others. Where the other four are full of introspection and thoughtful, personal musings on society and the human condition, the Tehol and Bugg are almost 100% dialogue. It's hilarious dialogue, to be sure, and it's obviously a very conscious for SE to write them this way, but I miss the intimate, personal narrative that the rest of the book (and, indeed, the other books in the series) has.
Chris Hawks
2. SaltManZ
And yes, according to Google Books this is the first mention of "Kolanse" in the series. It gets a couple brief mentions again in RG, but that's it until the DoD/TCG finale.

And man, when I first saw that giant clue dropped by the Ceda (only noticeable to rereaders) my mind was blown.
Steven Halter
3. stevenhalter
SaltManZ: And there are, of course, good reasons why we don't get close in POV now from Bugg and Tehol or Tavore for that matter.
Chris Hawks
4. SaltManZ
Absolutely. The difference with Tavore, though (and most other enigmatic, non-POV characters in the series) is that she's never the focus of the narrative. In contrast, 1/4 to 1/3 of MT (and a comparable but smaller portion of RG) is dedicated to following Tehol and/or Bugg around.
Mieneke van der Salm
5. Mieneke
Poor Brys, he's really put in a position he's not really suited to, is he? I mean political machinations-wise, martially he's perfect as King's Champion.

Harlest made me laugh, but it also made me wonder about all the undead and the why's and how's of them, especially as Bill hinted we'll see more of them.

I agree with SaltmanZ, that the lack of internal monologue makes it hard to bond with Tehol and Bugg as we do with Brys and the others, but at the same time I do think we see a lot of Tehol's inner workings in what Erikson shows us. Like the fact he baldly states he will avenge Hull, we know he has done so secretly before, with the islands, but his determined answer here gives me the shivers, necause it makes mexpect a revenge of cataclysmic proportions mear the end of the book!
Joe Long
6. Karsa
there have been oblique references to it - isn't Lanas Tog's statement about the fate of the Ifalyle T'lan Imass and Kerluhm T'lan Imass on the continet of Assail (27, 814 Kerluhm. 22, 200 Ifayle "dead")... "Eight months of battle. We have lost this war"

(from Memories of Ice)
Julian Augustus
8. Alisonwonderland
Lanas Togg's news referred to Assail, and the entity killing off the Tlan Imass is in fact a human (!). Ericson only makes a few oblique references to Assail because the goings-on in that continent belong to the Esslemont part of the Malazan universe. Kolanse is an entireky different sub-continent and would feature prominently in the last two books of the series.
Julian Augustus
9. Alisonwonderland
Midnight Tides, for the most part, is a harrowing, dark story. The light moments in the book are provided by two pairs of unique characters, Tehol &Bugg, and Shurq & Harlest, with Ublala interacting with both pairs I think it is deliberate on Ericson's part that we see the light movements chiefly through dialogue, while the POVs are reserved for the dark brutal story unfolding.
karl oswald
10. Toster
here's one thing i'll bet you never thought you'd encounter in epic fantasy. male sexual objectification.
Iris Creemers
11. SamarDev
Ha, Amanda, hope you weren't disappointed that ch. 10 moved back to Letheras again (I think me that we are starting to reach the point where Midnight Tides will start to accelerate. I simply could not put this chapter down, my skin creeping as I read those last few dreadful scenes. (...) I think I’m ready to move onto Chapter Ten immediately!)
You're right, things are starting to accelerate indeed. 'All of a sudden' I've found myself at ch. 23, in stead of following the reread-tempo. And I just reread the whole series when this TOR-read started, so what is it telling about this book that I can't wait again? :-)

Re the holiday-break: apart from the timing with the holidays, I think starting it after ch. 11 is a very good point, as it is the end of book 2, and it brings Amanda back to the Edur once more, with new developments indeed...
Iris Creemers
12. SamarDev
The Letherii court is so full of intrigues, it is shown here again for those who weren't already aware of it. Spies attending Brys' training openly, spies spying on other spies... hmmm, you have to like living in it.

Nice detail by the way, how Brys cleans himself. Not just taking a shower, as we would, but 'he layered himself in scented oil which he then scraped off with a wouden comb.'

And Tehol is quite effective, isn't it? He hasn't broken any sweat visibly, but his investments are already bringing in a peak!

In between lines Tehol/Brys offer some critics on the Medieval-witch-drowning-like Letherii justice system. Before it was presented as quite normal (with all the gambling about it), but now it shows even the king is aware of the ridiculousness of it. And again it proves money is above everything in Letheras.
Iris Creemers
13. SamarDev
SaltManZ @ 1
It's always difficult to grasp why you like a particular plotline more, or less. The POV/introspection versus dialogue/no internal motivations might just be that. But I still love the dry dialogues, if not for the content then for the comic relief needed with all the other grim plotlines.

And @ 2: talk about clues... :-)

Toster @ 10: do you mean Shurqs needs / Ublala's complaint being used as a sex toy? I'm afraid I don't understand you...
djk1978
14. djk1978
Certain characters get built from only other's views of them rather than showing their own POV. That seems to be intentional and I would say its to preserve elements of a character that might otherwise be revealed by their inner monologue etc. I don't mind that but I do see the point that of all the storylines in MT Tehol and Bugg's is one that is lacking anyone with a direct POV, most of the time. It's not something that ever bothered me.

SamarDev, I think Toster means that Ublala's almost sole purpose as a character so far is to gratify Shurq (and the other three whose names escape me before her), which is pretty atypical to have a male character with that type of role in the story.
Chris Hawks
15. SaltManZ
Yeah, another thing that's always bugged me about MT/RG is the (relative) abundance of sexual humor, much of which revolves around Ublala and his enormous wang.

Chapter 11 quote game time!

Like a spine breaking.

What waited in the world beyond the borders of their knowledge, sufficiently formidable to challenge this monstrosity?
Iris Creemers
16. SamarDev
@ SaltManZ 15
Yes... Like a spine breaking.

'Lead us home, Emperor.'

It is Rhulad, yet it is not. I don't know him. And I know him all too well and, Daughter take me, I am frightened most by that.
karl oswald
17. Toster
@13 & 15, yes that was the gist of what i was getting at. the humour in MT is rather sugestive most of the time, even when it's just bugg and tehol talking. SE takes things quite a bit further, regarding gender and sexuality (to say the least), in RG, and it'll be interesting to see how the first timers react to certain things in that one.

Quotes!

"We might as well be in a village abandoned to the ghosts."

"Why do you say nothing, Acquitor?"

"In the citadel, Finadd. There has been an . . . event."
tri nguyen
18. zadent
Just wanted to say happy holidays to everyone. I've been keeping up with the re-read and have been enjoying all these discussions. I don't post cause I don't have much to offer except "wasn't this cool?!", and that doesn't make for a good discussion. Anyway, Bill and Amanda you guys rock! Happy holidays everyone!!!!!!! *hugs*
Sydo Zandstra
19. Fiddler
Is everybody at TOR still drinking champaign because WoT's last book is finished? ;-)

Isn't there something lying around that should be put up? :P
Steven Halter
20. stevenhalter
I think it a combination of the "Evil Stubby" reign of terror and all the WoT drinking. The horror, the horror.
Tricia Irish
21. Tektonica
Where's yesterday's post? WoT hangover? I thought the goal was to finish book 2 before the break? Did I make that up?

Happy Holidays to all, whatever you celebrate.
Rest, rejuvenate and toast to life!
Iris Creemers
22. SamarDev
I guess so, would have been a nice break halfway the book... But patience is a good thing, I'll grasp the last chance to practice it this year :-)
Everybody happy holidays, be careful with fireworks at New Years Eve / slippery roads for those with a white christmas, and see you next year!
Chris Hawks
23. SaltManZ
My only issue is that two weeks between reading the chapter and discussing it makes for subpar discussion (at least on my part.)

But whatevs. Merry Christmas, all! Have a safe and happy New Year!
Iris Creemers
24. SamarDev
SaltManZ @ 23
hey, you can never reread it often enough! ;-)
Iris Creemers
25. SamarDev
hmm, in latest comments I just saw a comment of MWD at 'Midnight Tides chapter eleven', but the link was broken. Can't find chapter eleven elsewhere, and of course when new comments came in, MWD's comment disappeared too... Santa-humor? :-)
Emiel R
26. Capetown
@ Amanda will you still comment on this chapter? :-)
Amanda Rutter
27. ALRutter
Lady Elassara of Trate? This is a new name, although we have heard of Trate (the place that saw the arrival of the three ships housing the terror that Hannan Mosag summoned). Will this Lady prove to be someone we come to know? Or is Erikson merely making a point with her?

I'm all confused about the continent on which the Edur and Letherii live. After all, in the space of just a few chapters, we've gone from plains of ice to a room that is close and steamy. I mean, sure, I understand that different places will experience different weather, but I didn't think Letheras was that far from the Edur.

Another classic piece of dialogue between Tehol and Bugg. I especially love the bit where Ublala has clearly been weeping into his hands for ages and Tehol has just as clearly ignored every minute.

Bits like this do make me chortle:
"We'll have to go and get her."
"Go outside?"
"Yes."
"Into the rain?"
"Yes."
"Well," Tehol said, resuming his pacing, "I don't like that at all. Too risky."
"Risky?"
"Why, yes. Risky. I might get wet."

Haha. That exchange between Tehol and Ublala has been done many a time in various other media, but I still love it - the idea that a man would be complaining about relentless sex. Sure, it might be sexist, but it is amusing.

I do really like that Erikson makes it a great brute of a man who feels so sensitive about the matter.

I find it vaguely uncomfortable that a dead person is the newest hot property in a brothel. It isn't helped either by phrases like "her dry-dock repairs" with regards to Shurq and her overhaul.

Hmm, I do love the Tehol and Bugg sections, but they feel odd in terms of the rest of the book. They have the feel of a light-hearted epic fantasy or a crime caper - certainly not the rather grim work that fills the rest of the pages. Now, I think that some levity is required, but this is almost too jarring in style.

Also, it leaves me feeling as though I can't comment much on their sections, because they are mostly quip-filled dialogue rather than moving on the story much.

I do think this is a valid comment with regards to brothels: "It's the spent smell."
"Spent? Oh, yes."
"Smells of...regret. I hate that smell."

Ugh, I forget how cities were truly disgusting until modern plumbing was installed: "Residents had taken advantage of the unexpected downpour, emptying chamber pots from their windows rather than carrying them a few dozen paces to the nearest communal dump-hole. As a result, some of the pools held floating things and the streams in the gutters carried small flyblown islands that collected here and there in buzzing rafts that bled yellowy brown slime." So disgusting! But well done Erikson for making me actually shudder.

Kettle is ever so mysterious to read about - I feel she is one of the most important parts of this novel. And who is this uncle that is going to come from the ground to help? Who are the bad ones who will destroy all if they get free before the uncle? And which is the one promising to make Kettle into an empress? Lots of questions about a tiny, tiny section. So much more happened in that than in ten pages worth of Tehol and Bugg dialogue - and I prefer it.

Is it that Brys can be quite naive about the political motives of others? If someone was watching me train recruits and had no appreciation for weaponry or fighting, then I would be suspecting them of just keeping an eye on me...

I've been to see the second Sherlock Holmes film (featuring Robert Downey Jr - YUM!) and Moriarty expresses the idea that the human soul yearns towards strife - and here we have the consort, Turudal Brizad, expressing a similar idea:
"We exist in a state of perpetual stress. Both within ourselves and in the world beyond." He shrugged. "We may speak of a longing for balance, but in our soul burns a lust for discord."

I like the fact that the consort is involved with both the queen and the Chancellor, female and male. Is good to see a love triangle including a same sex relationship. The fact that this has been so clearly laid out surely means it will feature in the plot at a later stage?

*grins* The Ceda is rather a special character, one I am growing increasingly fond of. I love here that, despite the fact it has already been proved that the earth is round, he is trying to prove it through theory because eye witness accounts cannot be trusted. And also the fact he is endearingly oblivious to the fact that the Chancellor might have a problem with him.

It strikes me that Erikson is cunningly inserting little bits of information into the Tehol dialogue to let us know what is occurring - the fact he has already accumulated about a peak from a few investments, the fact he is asking the three savages to start buying up shares in various companies.

Who *is* killing all the people whose bodies litter the bottom of the canal? They can't all be those who failed the trial of crossing while loaded down...

I love how Shurq gets Ublala moving - looks like they'll be a good match. It is even funnier to hear that Ublala has taken down half of the building when standing up to Shurq's dare.

This political intrigue reminds me a lot of Robert Jordan writing about Daes Dae'mar in Cairhien, especially when Tehol recommends to Brys that he simply do nothing, as Rand did when invited to many different parties. Doing nothing drives other people mad *grin*

I particularly like this quote about the three Beddict brothers: "Three stones in a stream. All subjected to the same rushing water, yet each shaped differently, depending on its nature."

I appreciated the action section featuring Shurq at the end, and noted her possessive use of 'my man' when referring to Ublala. The conversation between the two dead people is excellent, especially that last few lines where Shurq asks why Harlest's loyalty wasn't guaranteed by Gerun when he was brought back to existence and he responds that they're brothers. Much more fun than more dialogue between Tehol and Bugg!

And what a line to end on! The tower is dead? I can't see any good repercussions from that...
djk1978
28. Jordanes
"I'm all confused about the continent on which the Edur and Letherii live. After all, in the space of just a few chapters, we've gone from plains of ice to a room that is close and steamy. I mean, sure, I understand that different places will experience different weather, but I didn't think Letheras was that far from the Edur."

Remember the Jaghut ritual at the beginning of the book Amanda? That has a lot to do with...well, everything in this part of the world, but also the cold climate up north whilst Letheras has more humid, swamp-like weather (a bit like imperial and medieval Rome, by the way). The consequences of the unravelling of the ritual will be physically seen in Reaper's Gale.

Also, Lether, while maybe not as big as the Malazan Empire, is still an empire, so there is some fair distance between the Edur villages and the capital.
Steven Halter
29. stevenhalter
@Amanda:
It strikes me that Erikson is cunningly inserting little bits of information into the Tehol dialogue to let us know what is occurring...
Yes, indeed. They're slippery, those three (Tehol, Bugg and SE).
Iris Creemers
30. SamarDev
Shalter @ 29
hmmm, can imagine more slippery participants in the MBotF... :-)

Hi Amanda, love to read your comments! I agree that the non-Tehol/Bugg-lines are more interesting with respect to content. T/B are fun, much fun, but no need to delve too deep there. Or... Well, let's say that the other lines let us think more, even though there are some things in the T/B plotline (now and to come) that might let us scratch our head.

Kettle is important indeed. You're asking good questions about her section, but some of them you could answer already. For example, it is already mentioned (partly) who 'the five are (chapter 4), and you might puzzle things together about the possible good uncle and bad 'empress-promiser'.
And which character(s) like(s) to kill?

Oh, you'll find out by reading further! But it's already possible to get some suspicions here and there. Part of the fun of finding out before it is explained openly...
Brian R
31. Mayhem
@Amanda
Who *is* killing all the people whose bodies litter the bottom of the
canal? They can't all be those who failed the trial of crossing while
loaded down...

Well, since Kettle is taking the bodies to the Azath House, who else do we know in Lether who has the desire for killing people without possibility of punishment?
Tricia Irish
32. Tektonica
Thanks for posting, Amanda! How's the new job, btw? Hope you're liking it, but that it doesn't take you away from us! (She says selfishly.)

I agree with you about Tehol and Bugg, and I think you hit it on the head. It provides much needed levity, but in general is too "madcap" for the tone of the rest of the book, imho. I do like them, and there are some gems hidden in their dialogue, but it's just rather incongruous.

And....pretty much everything else that's happening is very important going forward.

Happy New Year ALL!!
Tai Tastigon
33. Taitastigon
Aww, c´mon guys, you are missing some vintage snippets here !

Nobody notice the priceless little scene of Tehol & Bugg encountering the executioner when entering the whorehouse ?:

...the frame was filled by a huge, hooded man wearing a black surcoat, a massive double-bladed axe in his gauntleted hands.

The axe-carrying giant faced Tehol. "If anyone asks, sir, you never saw me here."
"You have my word."
"Most kind." he faced the street again, the cautiously descended the steps.
"Ooh," he said as he set off, "it´s wet ! Ooh !"

"Ooh," he said as he set off, "it´s wet ! Ooh !" ???
Heck, what kind of executioner is that ??? Prissy about rain ?

I love Erikson for these little morsels - he must get a real kick of throwing these things in there.
karl oswald
34. Toster
haha, that encounter is an absolute gem, thanks for reminding me of it. best is shurq's later quip, (to paraphrase) "The axe was poor compensation"
Tai Tastigon
35. Taitastigon
Darn, Tos, I forgot about that quip. You are right !
juanita heath
36. nanajade
Just a quick note. Kettle is in some ways reminiscent of Sorry/Apsalar --innocent (child) and deadly (killer)...cannot recall name of the other character of this type at the moment.

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