Mar 28 2012 1:00pm

Malazan Re-read of the Fallen: The Bonehunters, Chapter Four

Malazan Reread on Tor.comWelcome 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 readers. In this article, we’ll cover Chapter Four of The Bonehunters by Steven Erikson (TB).

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.

Chapter Four


Mappo and Icarium explore a crevice in a recently uncovered area of desert and find a K’Chain Che’Malle sky keep. Icarium explores a wrecked flier in a lake and finds a K’Chain Short-tail corpse. He thinks a Jaghut arrived to make sure nobody escaped, saying the lake is Omtose Phellack ice and also blood. They decide to explore the keep, though Mappo is worried what Icarium will find.


Cutter’s group reaches an old monastery of D’rek, Worm of Autumn. The priests and animals are all dead.


Felisin asks if Scillara will take care of her; says she feels she’s getting more child-like, and Scillara says she’ll try. They discuss Greyfrog signing to Felisin, her mother, and Karsa’s killing of Bidithal.


A portal opens and an armored Seguleh rider appears, both horse and rider looking dead. He yells at Hood for diverting him, saying he was “on the trail” then tells Cutter everybody in this realm is dead. Heboric calls him Soldier of High House Death and the Soldier salutes him as Treach’s Destriant. The Soldier talks of the Tyrant in Darujhistan, the Seguleh, the Cabal, then says he’s seen enough — “she’s made her position clear” — and exits in search of Skinner, leaving his spear behind.


Icarium and Mappo find a passageway in the keep and discover a central tower with a broken bridge leading toward it. Gravity seems neutralized in the area. They find another bridge and cross. Inside they find a huge cruciform of black wood with a dragon impaled on it via an iron spike. Icarium identifies it as Sorrit, whose aspect was Serc, the warren of the sky.


Apsalar travel Shadow with Telorast and Curdle, arriving at Urko’s place. Inside is a headless skeleton akin to a T-rex, along with three smaller size reconstructed bodies the size of crows. Telorast and Curdle possess the bodies. Urko mistakes Apsalar for Dancer’s daughter, drugs her, then gives her the antidote when she says Dancer possessed her which infuriates him. She realizes Cotillion knows something, which is why he wanted Urko “shaken up.” Urko says she can believe Cotillion when he tells her he’ll leave her alone once she’s done. She leaves.


Taralack Veed follows Dejim Nebahl as it tracks its prey.


Scillara suffers from morning sickness as Greyfrog watches; she thanks him for keeping her secret. Scillara and Cutter talk and he reveals Shadowthrone or Cotillion gave him the job of escorting the group. She’s not happy two gods (Treach and ST) are interested in the group. She deduces a woman is involved as well somehow.


Gregfrog tells Scillara Felisin likes Cutter. He adds the others are having bad dreams and says there is danger approaching.


Leoman and Corabb and the army arrive outside Y’Ghatan. The Falah’d (Vedor) rides out to welcome them, making clear he assumes they are moving on. Leoman tells him they’ll make their stand there and when Vedor laughs Leoman kills him, claiming rule for his own. The ranking officer of Y’Ghatan is Captain Dunsparrow, a Malazan, and he names her his Third, behind only Corabb. She names him the new Falah’d. They ride into the city.


Amanda’s Reaction to Chapter Four

Hmm, the snippet that begins Chapter Four gives a very wild picture of K’rul — someone who is happy for any possibility to exist, as long as they are numerous and varied. So someone who isn’t concerned with good or bad — truly the elemental force that Cotillion referred to when talking about Elder Gods.

It is funny how a stark landscape creates the reaction of curiosity in Icarium. Does anyone else feel that, despite all his potential for violence, Icarium is actually very childlike? He has a natural curiosity, he gambolled like a child in the new sea of Raraku and he is willing to be led by the parental figure of Mappo. Because of his lack of memories, I guess he lives very much in the moment as a child would do.

Heh. I’m sure Icarium isn’t alone in looking at his best mate and wishing they were of the opposite sex so that a “complete” relationship could flourish (y’know, for those who want relationships with the opposite sex!) Thing is, he would lose so much of the relationship with Mappo if this was true. Amusing exchange between them about it, anyhow!

And here is the flipside of Icarium’s curiosity — Mappo’s feeling of dread about Icarium discovering what he shouldn’t And, oh boy, the tragic nature of Mappo’s existence writ large in this quote: “Yes, time. Delays. Follow where he will lead, Mappo Runt. You can do naught else. Until...until what? Until he finally failed. And then, another would come, if it was not already too late, to resume the grand deceit.”

Since it is being mentioned so very clearly and referenced this early, I imagine that maybe I should not get too attached (more than I already am) to Mappo....

Are these magic pouches in which he secures his shoulder pack (Mappo)? Else I can’t see how a pack can be worked thus: “Mappo then, with some effort, pushed the shoulder pack into this last one. Tightened the strings. He stuffed that pouch into the next smaller and followed by forcing that one into the small belt-pouch, which he tied at his waist.” I know, in the grand scheme of things, this little section is just not that important, but it made me go “huh” so I am duly reporting my “huh” to you chaps and chapesses!

Has Erikson ever used anything like “man-heights” before this book? I thought he worked with things like feet and inches and stuff like that! This really jarred at me as I read.

Hmm, we’ve seen on a number of occasions that those who people this world should beware disturbing rocks for fear of what might have been trapped beneath them!

He could “smell cold ice”? Jaghut then?

Oooh! The buried machinery and the sky keep all whispers K’Chain Che’Malle instead! Rather dangerous for Icarium and Mappo to be investigating — or is it dangerous for whatever might be trapped down there with them? I like how Icarium recognises his own pieces of machinery — but, with the gaps in his memory, how can he? Some signature piece that he uses?

Interesting that the tales Mappo have heard “said little of who or what had opposed them,” them being the K’Chain Che’Malle. So much warfare and peoples have come and gone, and the tales faded with them. It feels so genuine and real reading this series, knowing we’re coming in at just one point in a very rich history. Also, the only peoples Mappo can conceive of competing with the K’Chain Che’Malle are implied to be the Jaghut, the Forkrul Assail and the Elder Gods. No mention of the three Tiste people.

Okay, so the stumpy tail thing implies that this isn’t usual with the K’Chain Che’Malle, so we’re looking at something similar, possibly related, but different. Did Icarium learn his mechanical skills from these people?

Very interested in Heboric’s mutterings here and something I am going to file! “Autumn awaits, and the seasons are askew, twisting to avoid all the unsheathed knives. Yet the prisoners of the jade, they are forever trapped. There, in their own arguments. Disputes, bickering, the universe beyond unseen — they care not a whit, the fools. They wear ignorance like armour and wield spite like swords. [...] So it’s a broken world, why should I care about that?” WHO is trapped in the JADE STATUES?

Ouch. Cutter really is starting to change, with his uncaring attitude to the dead in the monastery!

Hmm, is this another temple/religious place of D’rek that has had everyone within it killed? Who wants to commit such vengeance against D’rek? It’s a “she,” from what Heboric says. He also says the word “spite” in his tirade — just a coincidence?

Do you suppose that followers of the Worm of Autumn would appreciate the fact that their flesh upon death is left seething with worms?

So Greyfrog is aware that Scillara is pregnant (I think we already knew that) — why isn’t he telling anyone about it? Why isn’t she? The fact that Felisin is looking for mothering from Scillara — a person wondering whether to sell her own unborn child — is so very sad. But it might also provide the means for Scillara discovering her maternal instinct. I do hope so. These two broken women so need to have something good in their futures.

A very interesting scene showing the Soldier of Hood and High House Death, on the trail of Skinner (who we saw mentioned as being a rather amazing fighter amongst the Crimson Guard/Avowed). But Hood has now ensured (so a god meddling in the world of mortals AGAIN) that Cutter is going to head for Darujhistan thanks to what he heard. Love that the soldier is one of the Segulah, but, as pointed out, a rather garrulous version of such.

Now... what to make of the names/connections between the Segulah, the Tyrant and the T’orrud Cabal in Darujhistan? What the hell is going on there?

The machinery and the sky keeps of the K’Chain Che’Malle seem to demonstrate an ability with technology that is absent from this world and other races. It almost feels like something at the level of our technology put into the Malazan world, with mechanical flyers and forcefields protecting chambers. What do you think as to how advanced the technology is?

Awww, Icarium wanting to fly is much like Hopper the wolf from the Wheel of Time.

A dragon! Dead! Who killed the dragon? What is impaling dragons and preventing the warren from being used? At least, I guess that is what happens when you kill the dragon aspected to a warren? And such danger in Icarium remembering things like this...

And a quick switch to Curdle and Telorast bickering about the throne they sensed. I wish that Apsalar would pay more attention and pin them down about it. She’s too uncaring about the bigger picture right now — she’s just doing her job for Cotillion in order to find her version of peace.

And again she doesn’t press the ghosts after this exchange:

“That thread of Shadow felt...wrong,” she said.

“Oh yes [...] It’s sickly. All the outer reaches are. Poisoned, rotting with chaos. We blame Shadowthrone.”

“Shadowthrone? Why?”

“Why not? We hate him.”

Is it that Apsalar doesn’t care to know? Or is it that she thinks she won’t get a straight or truthful answer? [Bill: I think a little of both.]

Ah! Urko again! Nice to see him. Now I can see to an extent why people were so vehement about there being no romance between Apsalar and Cotillion, what with Urko seeing her as Cotillion’s daughter.

I absolutely love the scene where Telorast and Curdle jump into those little bony skeletons and begin hopping about on the tabletop!

It’s really great seeing another perspective of Dancer, from the point of view of one of his Malazan peers: “I’m not surprised he’s the Patron of Assassins. He was the most feared killer in the empire. More than Surly, who was just treacherous. Or Topper, who was just cruel. I suppose those two still think they won. Fools. Who now strides among the gods, eh?”

Clear mention that we’re likely to see a lot of the old guard who drowned: “We all made the drown.”

It’s nice that Apsalar gains confirmation that, despite the fact a god is involved (or an ascendant), she will still be able to vanish once everything is done — that Cotillion will keep his word. Of course, that does rely on Cotillion being around when everything is done!

I’m not sure I caught the subtleties in the exchange between Urko and Apsalar where she conveys that Dancer wanted Urko shaken up some. Is his shifty gaze just because he knows that Cotillion is essentially making it clear that Urko can’t hide away forever? Not quite sure exactly what is going on there.

Why is Taralack Veed an outlawed Gral? What did he do to earn that?

Ha, loving his very specific number of avowed enemies.

He’s not exactly a charmer, is he?

I am really disturbed by Scillara’s thoughts about her child. I’m hoping that this perspective gets entirely turned around by the end of her story, and that she finds benefits of being with child. The fact that she is feeling contentment is promising.

Scillara certainly sees more than Cutter — she recognises the fact that a woman has put him in his state, and she is the first to query the fact that at least two gods are currently pushing them around. I’m not too sure about the fact that Scillara is expressing an interest in Cutter, although it might let him recover from the effect that Apsalar had on him.

I’m glad that Cutter is a little bit repulsed by the idea of Felisin being attracted to him. I can’t help but see her as a child.

What on earth does Greyfrog mean here? And is it about Scillara? “Greyfrog is already Sentinel Circler to soft-curved, large-breasted goddess-human.” Goddess? [Bill: Yes, I think he’s talking about Scillara.]

Anyone else now getting worried about lifting up any rocks? Honestly, the amount of things kept under rocks in the Malazan world and the various continents makes it seem as though you turn up any rock and find something... Bit over-used for me.

And so Leoman enters Y’Ghatan. Let the games begin.


Bill’s Reaction to Chapter Four

I’m kind of partial to a god who loves “possibility,” as opposed to those who prefer to close possibilities down.

Though as usual, it comes with some grayness — that whole “blood was his nectar” bit.

Yet another scene to add to the “the past will out” theme that runs throughout the series

Speaking of “layers” — that line by Icarium when he examines the rock has its own layering to it: “Immense pressures . . . And then, violence.” Let ‘s just say, wait for it.

What a knife edge poor Mappo walks, indulging Icarium’s curiosity as his friend, while always fearing as his “guide.” A sharp edge nicely represented by the sharp-edged cliffs they walk. And then later “That was a precipice they had both clung to not so long ago.” Though that tension is cut so nicely with that great repartee about Mappo being a woman.

Well Amanda, let’s just say you’re right to worry about Mappo. The Nameless One’s ritual gave us pretty strong hints as to who was going to be targeted. And you’ve already met the “another would come.”

Mappo’s Magical Pouch is apparently a warren — the fabled endless bag of D & D adventurers everywhere! Back in Deadhouse Gates, Pust is with Icarium and Mappo and speculates it might be “another fragment [of the shattered Emurlahn] trapped within it.”

Yes, “ice” always carries some weight every time we see it in this series. Jaghut indeed.

Good job with the stubby tail and Icarium. We’ll learn more about the distinction between short-tails and long-tails. Enough to say now that the distinction is highly important. And yes, there are some questions about Icarium and K’Chain.

Again, we get one of those signature Erikson moves as we change scenes, in this case we move from fissured, broken desert rock to “parched, broken wasteland. And a reminder of where we started — a D’rek temple. I like how this is a bit of a running mystery below the plot proper — you can almost see it as a trailer for an Agatha Christie movie: “WHO is killing the priests of D’rek?!” Note the similarity of “rot” to the other scene from the beginning.

So here we have another Heboric and Felisin journey turning into a nightmare. Both parallels and contradictions arise. Hard to imagine, for instance, Felisin Elder asking to be taken care of, though one wonders at how different things might have gone had she. Or know someone was trying.

As for why Greyfrog is keeping it a secret, it seems just a) general respect and b) especial respect for a mother-to-be.

And another running question that is easy to lose track of in the page-to-page plot: what is Heboric going to do at the statue? What will be the effects? Can he free those in the jade statues? Should he? What would that mean?

That just a great visual (cinematic?), the appearance of Hood’s Soldier — arriving out of a portal at full gallop; exposed muscles, bones, tendons on both horse and rider; the horse rearing; weapons a-plenty, armor a-flying. Would love to see that on-screen. And to hear his threat to eat frog-legs merely out of “spite.”

Cotillion’s war between gods is repeated with the Soldier’s “The pantheon is riven.”

I could tell you about the Seguleh, Tyrant, the Cabal, and Darujhistan, Amanda, as I’ve read Orb, Sceptre, Throne, but then I’d have to kill you. But we’ll get there. We’ll get there....

Speaking of cinema, you can almost see the camera panning over to the Soldier’s spear and lingering there with the requisite important music. What will happen with this spear? Was it truly accidental? Will it be needed against the Tyrant? Will Cutter take it there? Will it matter to the Soldier when/if he meets Skinner? And will we get to see that meeting?

The K’Chain technology is in fact “not of this world” as their arrival was a seeming “invasion.” And wouldn’t you like to read that story? But what we do get from this is the Tyrant appears destined to return and the Seguleh are his army. The phrasing doesn’t make it clear though — are they being “held in readiness” for/by the Tyrant and to deal with this eventual return?

Who doesn’t love the idea of miserly Icarium?

Funny how you got the “Awww” reaction from the flight conversation. I get the “that’s so sad” reaction, with poor Mappo saying such dreams are for children only. This struck me as so sorrowful.

It’s been a while since we’ve had discussion of “balance” so it’s nice to get this reminder from their conversation regarding the K’Chain:


Between order and chaos. An inner dichotomy, conflicting impulses.
The contradictions evident in all intelligent life . . .

And back to some more layered language. When Mappo grabs Icarium off the bridge where gravity seems to be neutralized, he tells him “You weighed nothing, when I had you in my grip. As light as a mote of dust.” Think of that — Icarium as no longer, for a few quick moments only, no longer a burden to Mappo. If only that had lasted longer....

I like how the “spiked ball of iron” in Mappo’s hand is echoed by the iron spike impaling the dragon.

Still lots of info to come on the dragon, and not too far off, so we can hold off on that discussion a bit. I will say though that our shift from the dragon to Shadow isn’t as jarring as it may first appear.

That’s our second reference early on to Apsalar being Imass. Are we just getting more worldbuilding background or are we being set up for something?

I always did love the “we all drowned story” — just so silly.

Even back then, we learn, even as the most feared killer of them all, it appears Dancer was “sensitive.”

Glad you liked the scene with Telorast and Curdle possessing the bodies Amanda; you’ll be seeing lots more of them in those bodies.

I like how immediately protective Urko is of her, (despite the drugging), how angry he is that Dancer would corrupt her by teaching her assassination. Then even angrier that he possessed her. But despite that, he is positive Cotillion can be trusted to keep his word. Which tells us a lot about him (though I’d say nothing we wouldn’t already guess).

Urko does eventually rouse himself, though I’m not sure I’d say we could see coming what’s coming from him.

Poor Veed — live by the charm of the viper, die by the charm of the viper I guess (not literally die of course).

Clearly, the rustleaf does not come with a warning about smoking it and pregnancy....

I find it the “evil, demon” child that makes her feel happy funny, but wonder if it smacks at all of a man’s perspective on pregnancy — that “dreamy, pleasant state . . . blissful stupidity.” Anyone?

“Full of life” Get it? Get it?

I guess it takes a woman to recognize the effects of a woman, huh?

If only Scillara knew of Hood’s Soldier, she’d count that as three gods interested in them.

Maybe I’m misreading this, but I find the “demon’s” or “monster’s” view “signifier of higher intelligence, acknowledgment of community interests” a bit ironic considering all the human lack of such acknowledgment.

“Our new city,“ Corabb said grinning. ”We shall defend it with our lives."

Leoman shot him an odd look . . .

Misgivings indeed. Misgivings indeed.....

Amanda Rutter is the editor of Strange Chemistry books, sister imprint to Angry Robot.

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

Steven Halter
1. stevenhalter
Awww, Icarium wanting to fly is much like Hopper the wolf from the Wheel of Time.
& @Bill:
Funny how you got the “Awww” reaction from the flight conversation. I get the “that’s so sad” reaction, with poor Mappo saying such dreams are
for children only. This struck me as so sorrowful.
For another level of depth (and danger) in relation to flight and this section, relook at Icarium's name -- dream's of flight and grasping just a bit too far led another son of a famous father to a great plunge. Icarus/Daedalus.
Brian R
2. Mayhem
I have to point out the wonderful clue in Heboric's speech as to what happened to the Monastery. Think back to what position he held, and why he was cast out.

‘The unexpected visitor, that’s who.’ He laughed, raised his hands. ‘We play our games. We never expect ... umbrage. Outrage. I could have told them. Warned them, but they wouldn’t have listened. The conceit consumes all. A single building can become an entire world, the minds crowding and jostling, then clawing and gouging. All they need do is walk outside, but they don’t. They’ve forgotten that outside exists. Oh, all these faces of worship, none of which is true worship. Never mind the diligence, it does naught but serve the demon hatreds within. The spites and fears and malice. I could have told them.’

As for Icarium and Sorrit ... Sorrit wasn't just murdered. A cruciform of blackwood, with a spike of iron through the throat - Sorrit was sacrificed and bled out. And blood in the Malazan world has Power. So now the question is By Whom, and more importantly, Why?
Emmet O'Brien
3. EmmetAOBrien
I've grumbled a few times about Erikson's humorous passages not working for me, but the bit with Urko's tyrannosaur skeleton here really amuses me; I went through my small-kid-nuts-about-dinosaurs phase back when pop-science palaeontology books all showed T. rex standing upright the way Urko is trying and failing to make work, rather than with the posture that Telorast and Curdle's skeletons naturally fall into and Urko realises is how his skeleton should be standing too, which is the generally accepted way people now think T. rex would have stood.
Brian R
4. Mayhem

Oh my yes, especially when you consider Icarium as the extremely skilled Builder of Mechanisms!

And boy, does it ever echo when you think back to who his father is ... and what we later find his father is responsible for in TTH ...
Chris Hawks
5. SaltManZ
Emmet @3: Yeah, I've always loved how T&C "discover" the horizontal posture of the dinosaur skeletons for Urko.

Some pretty heavy foreshadowing in this chapter for a number of events not only this book, but still many books down the line...
6. Gibberish
Hey everyone!
Finally my reread reading has caught up with my reread :-)
Thx for the reread so far! Pretty impressive to see - well read how different people percieve the same story.
Oh and @ Amanda: I wanted to say this since ~ chap.8 of Midnight Tides:
"Time" and the Spanish Inquisition mentioned in the same post made me feel at home in this reread instantaneously!
Sydo Zandstra
7. Fiddler

Very interested in Heboric’s mutterings here and something I am going to file! “Autumn awaits, and the seasons are askew, twisting to avoid all the unsheathed knives.

Hmm, is this another temple/religious place of D’rek that has had everyone within it killed? Who wants to commit such vengeance against D’rek?

Do you suppose that followers of the Worm of Autumn would appreciate the fact that their flesh upon death is left seething with worms?

All the clues are in there, Amanda. I'm sure you'll figure it out if you think it through. The real question is, who can commit such vengeance against the followers of D'rek?
Chris Hawks
8. SaltManZ
@Fid: Against all the followers of D'rek?
Sydo Zandstra
9. Fiddler

Since I said 'can', yes, almost all... ;-) Got your point :-)
Sydo Zandstra
10. Fiddler
edit: double post.
David Thomson
11. ZetaStriker
I am amazed by how much of Orb, Scepter, Throne was set up in this novel.
Brian R
12. Mayhem
And to think we all thought they were forgotten plot threads!
Amir Noam
13. Amir
Just as a reminder to any first time reader, we've had some references to the K'Chain Che'Malle Short-Tails before (3 books ago).

Look back to Memories of Ice (the book where we've first met the KC): In chpater 15 we get some info-dumping from Kallor. It's a long monologue, but here's the relevant part:
'Suffice to say, an ancient breed was… resurrected, returned from extinction by the Matrons; a more primitive version of the K'Chain Che'Malle themselves. For lack of a better name, my scholars at the time called them Short-Tails.'
'For the singular reason,' Kallor went on in his dry monotone,'that they physically deviated from the other K'Chain Che'Malle in having short, stubby tails rather than the normal, long, tapered ones. This made them not as swift - more upright, suited to whatever world and civilization they had originally belonged to. Alas, these new children were not as tractable as the Matrons were conditioned to expect among their brood - more explicitly, the Short-Tails would not surrender or merge their magical talents with their mothers'. The result was a civil war, and the sorceries unleashed were apocalyptic. To gauge something of the desperation among the Matrons, one need only travel south on this continent, to a place called Morn.'
And in chapter 22, the Pannion Seer tells Toc the Younger:
'The Jaghut remember Moon's Spawn. I alone am in possession of the relevant scrolls from Gothos's Folly that whisper of the K'Chain Nah'rhuk - the Short-Tails, misbegotten children of the Matrons - who fashioned mechanisms that bound sorcery in ways long lost, who built vast, floating fortresses from which they launched devastating attacks upon their long-tailed kin.
Oh, they lost in the end. Were destroyed. And but one floating fortress remained, damaged, abandoned to the winds. Gothos believed it had drifted north, to collide with the ice of a Jaghut winter, and was so frozen, trapped for millennia. Until found by the Tiste Andii Lord.'
Chris Hawks
14. SaltManZ
Fid @9: Yeah, that was more a "hint, hint" at Amanda than anything else. In hindsight, that might have been clearer without the question mark. :)
Iris Creemers
15. SamarDev
'Piss on Hood's bony feet! Pluck out the hairs of his nose and kick his teeth in! Drive a spear up his puckered behind and set him on a windy mountain top!'
Always good to get some new inspiration in case of a real life dispute :-)
(in the summary) Heboric calls him Soldier of High House Death and the Soldier salutes him as Treach’s Destriant.
I don't think he does. The Soldier says: 'Treach made a mistake, I see, but I must salute you nonetheless.' After which Heboric acknowledge that he thinks the same, but can't do anything about it.

To see how Orb, Sceptre, Throne was prepared here... Planning, planning, planning...
And enter: Dunsparrow... 'Yes, she is perfect.'
16. Jordanes
You do have to respect Leoman's, uhm, direct, style in gaining entry into Y'Ghatan. And not more curiosity with regards to Dunsparrow? What's a Malazan doing here eh? ;)

As for the OST set-ups....yeah, if only they were executed better in OST itself sigh.
Bill Capossere
17. Billcap
Thanks for the reminder re the Icarus derivation of Icarium. I think we hit on that way, way back when we first met him, but this is a good place to bring it up as he talks about flight obviously, which of course means you should mark your calendar to remind us of it again in, well, you can do the math :)

Urko's attempts to nail down the fossils has always been a favorite minor sidelight in these books and I really like that Erikson shows us him getting it wrong first--in true scienctific fashion. And I'd love to say I like it due to my small-kids-love-dinosaurs stage, but then I'd have to explain away somehow the fact that I still have dinosaurs on my desk here. Some kids never grow out of it I guess

Zeta--I confess I was completely shocked at the bluntness of these lines re the Tyrant. When I read OST, I didn't remember this scene at all. At all. My memory was the Tyrant, Seguleh was all some big mystery. Thus, never trust my memory . . .

Amir--thanks for bringing back those lines from Kallor. Sigh. Forgotten that one too. Falling down on the job here folks, sorry! Luckily you're all on the ball--that's what commentary community is all about.
Robin Lemley
18. Robin55077
@ Amanda
"Gregfrog tells Scillara Felisin likes Cutter. He adds the others are having bad dreams and says there is danger approaching."
This conversation is between Greyfrog and Cutter (not Greyfrog and Scillara). Greyfrog has never spoken to Scillara.

Just something to note, that Greyfrog speaks to everyone else, but has never once spoken to Scillara.

Darren Kuik
20. djk1978
I am probably alone in this but I've not really ever warmed to Mappo as a character. I can't put my finger quite on it. I almost get the feeling he is depressed or self-pitying. I sympathize with what he must do but I don't feel attached to him at all. I do love this scene with Icarium and the sky keep though. So much about it is awesome, and it raises so many questions about where Icarium's knowledge comes from.

Reading about the Soldier of Death makes me really want to read Orb, Sceptre, Throne now. Amazing if it's set up so far in advance. More than one person is after Skinner it seems, and we haven't even met him yet.

This chapter makes it clear why Greyfrog won't speak to Scillara. He's applied some code of his own race to her it seems. Or to Cutter. I'm not sure if Sentinel Circler is protecting Cutter's interests or Scillara's. Evidently he sees her as a goddess also. One or both of these are the reasons he will not speak to her.
Steven Halter
21. stevenhalter
djk1978@20:Mappo is almost certainly depressed and filled with self doubt. He took his "job" thinking that Icarium had slaughtered his village. Eventually he found that Icarium was his friend and that his mission might be based on false premises, but that Icarium was certainly dangerous. So, Mappo is filled with a terrible conflict.
I like him quite a bit.
Darren Kuik
22. djk1978
Yep. I get all that. I just find that I don't like him all that much.
Steven Halter
23. stevenhalter
djk1978@22:No problem--we're all allowed to like different characters here. :-)
For a differing opinion view on good/bad this morning, Google on "Stross Internet puppy". Very civilized we are, here at
Brian R
24. Mayhem
Heh, I love how fast he got his T-shirt available for purchase.
I wonder how many of them will be worn at Eastercon.
Robin Lemley
25. Robin55077
@ 20 & 22. djk1978

I just wanted to say that I understand what you mean. I felt the same way about Felisin Paran. I was aware of the tragedies in her life. I could see why she was the way she was. I understood why so many readers would sympathize with her. I just did not care for her at all.

I happen to love Mappo and see his relationship with Icarium as the deepest "love story" in the series. But I do understand how you can understand everything about a character, but just not care for that character.

In your post @ 20, you stated:
"I'm not sure if Sentinel Circler is protecting Cutter's interests or Scillara's."
I think I see what you are saying here. Obviously, Greyfrog is referencing Scillara when he says: "Greyfrog is already Sentinel Circler to soft-curved, large-breasted goddess-human." However, when you read that whole exchange, it seems that what he is saying is that in his own world, they live in a society much like wolves (for example) where only the dominant male mates with the female and the Centinel Circlers (other males in the pack) protect the female. I always read the "Centinel Circler" title as that they literally circle the pond where the pregnant female has layed her eggs to protect the pregnant female. However, now that I have reread that section with an eye toward exactly whose interests the Circler is pretecting, I can see where they are there to prevent any other male from mating with her, thus protecting the interests of the alpha male (and their group/unit/pack at the same time).
When you look at it that way, he is protecting Cutter's interests. Thanks for pointing that out as I hadn't really thought about it that way and always just read it that he was simply protecting Scillara.

karl oswald
26. Toster
wow, great breakdown there robin. i've never thought too much beyond the surface of greyfrogs 'sentinel circler' thing, but you just illuminated a whole world of depth i hadn't even suspected. amazing. gotta love the reread for that :)
Darren Kuik
27. djk1978
Thanks Robin, you encapsulated clearly exactly what I was referring to. I think it's neat that we can take basically a throw away line here and expose a layer of Greyfrog's world, just to show again that these "demons" have their own cultures and backgrounds rather than just being harnessed killing machines.
Robin Lemley
28. Robin55077
Thanks to both of you, Toster and djk1978.

Does SE really use any throw-away lines? I always figure that even if it appears to be a throw-away line to me, if I wait patiently enough, someone on here will point out to me that it really isn't. lol

Mieneke van der Salm
29. Mieneke
@ Bill and Amanda RE: Scillara's pregnancy:

Like you Amanda I am really disturbed by Scillara's thoughts about her baby and wanting to sell him or her. Of course it dosn't help that I'm typing this with a three week-old lying in the crook of my arm, I mean I'm obviously prejudiced on the subject. However, I do undstand her reluctance to raise a baby after all she's been through, not to mention that the baby is a product of rape, you'd have to be a saint to be able to just accept that.
Bill, I do think that that blissful spiel is a fable, perhaps not specifically thought up by men, but a fable nonetheless. I mean, while I love the results, I really disliked being pregnant both times. That may have been because I had 24/7 morning sickness, but it was also because especially towards the end I always felt like my body had been possessed by an alien and the only way to get it back was by giving birth. Funnily enough, most of my friends felt the same during their pregnancies! In that sense I do get Scillara's irritation at these weird (hormonal) feelings ;-)
30. Karambha
28. Robin55077
Does SE really use any throw-away lines? I always figure that even if it appears to be a throw-away line to me, if I wait patiently enough, someone on here will point out to me that it really isn't. lol

I agree - I would say now I have started the Forge of Darkness that there are no throw away lines, only long in the future or past threads........
I love it AND it drives me mad.

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