Apr 25 2012 1:00pm

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

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 readers. In this article, we’ll cover Chapter Eleven 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 Eleven


Cutter’s group continues forward. Heboric muses on those inside the Jade Statues, the idea that Icarium should be killed to stop more potential bloodshed from him, and the idea of returning Fener and having Treach and Fener share the Throne of War. He thinks on the relationship between gods and worshippers and as he hears more voices begging him wonders if this is what a god feels like.


Cutter wonders if they really need to keep traveling such barren areas since it seems clear nobody is chasing them. Scillara tells them Heboric has been guiding them via old roads and cities of dead ages and when Cutter asks why, she replies it’s because he “likes his nightmares.” She says people “suck the land dry” just like they do to each other; the world is filled with injustice and oppression. She says Bidithal’s cult was brilliant in its idea and Heboric corrects her, saying it was the Crippled God’s idea—the “promise of something better” beyond death. He agrees with Scillara that it is a seductively powerful idea, but if it is a lie, then it is the greatest injustice/betrayal of all, arguing, “If absolution is free, all we do here and now is meaningless” which invites chaos.


Pust and Mogora spar. Mappo begins to slightly stir, his body marked all over by lines of the healing spiderwebs.


Mappo wakes in dream realm/past history on Jacuruku. He speaks with Ardata who wonders what interest Shadowthrone has in him or in Icarium. She tells him Veed has replaced him with Icarium and that the Nameless Ones “made him and now they will use him.” Which makes her think she now knows what Shadowthrone plans and is offended both at his assumption she would help and the correctness of that assumption. She sends him back. He truly wakes to find Pust and Mogora.


Paran’s group is chased up a hill by the monstrous bear-like guardian. Paran makes a card and sends the beast through it.


Paran’s group looks down on five huge black statues (and two empty pedestals they discover later) of the hounds. Paran believes the two shadowhounds he freed from Dragnipur reunited with their “counterparts” and then were released. Hedge tells him they appeared at Sha’ik’s camp and were killed by Karsa, which stuns Paran. Ganath mentions how Dessimbelackis believed making his one soul seven would make him immortal. When Paran says the Deragoth were far older, she tells him they were nearly extinct by Dessimbelackis’ time and made “convenient vessels,” adding the Eres’al were domesticated by the Hounds and the Eres’al then gave rise to the Imass who gave rise to the humans, though she admits that is an oversimplification.


Paran’s group discovers a possible temple at the foot of the statues. Ganath and Paran enter to find Sedora Orr and Darparath Vayd’s (from the wrecked Guild carriage on the bridge) bodies who had been ritually killed as sacrifice. They realize this means the Deragoth will be close and Ganath agrees to assist if needed. Hedge plans to set the charges to blow up the statues but wonders if the Deragoth will go after their shadows before heading off to the Malazan world, something Paran hadn’t thought of. Paran uses a card to communicate with Shadowthrone and warns him the Deragoth are about to be released. ST calls the idea both clever and stupid, angrily recaps the steps that led to this, then realizes something and calls it “pure genius”, seemingly agreeing to send his Hounds to Seven Cities.


Hedge tells Paran the planned destruction won’t work as planned and they should leave him behind. Paran says they’ll move off and wait as long as possible. Karpolan warns Paran as the statues start to go that he’s having difficulty. One of the Deragoth appears and Karpolan opens a gate into a realm of nightmare with countless undead clutching at them asking to be taken along. Ganath takes them out into a new realm onto a glacier, which the carriage slide uncontrollably down then flips over (Paran separate on his horse is in better shape). The carriage is a wreck, several shareholders dead, other wounded, and one of the undead managed to tag along. They decide to make camp.


Hedge steps out from hiding, happy his plan to be left on his own worked. He heads off to explore, thinking “absolution comes from the living, not the dead, and . . . had to be earned.”


Scillara thinks of her past: her mother as a camp follower to the Ashok Regiment, her mother’s death, her own camp following, Bidithal’s cult and its promise of paradise after death, Heboric dragging her away. She thinks the Crippled God’s religion will find lots of adherents/slaves and evil will grow unchecked. She and Heboric spar over balance and flux. They reach an arid basin filled with flies and fish/bird bones and broken eggs. They start to cross.


Heboric considers the role of Destriant—the right to slay and deliver justice in a god’s name—and thinks he cannot do that and Treach chose poorly. They reach an old hamlet. They are all covered with flies and Heboric thinks back to the priest telling him “something to show you now”.


They are attacked by Imass, Scillara, Cutter, Greyfrog, Heboric horribly, seemingly/possibly mortally wounded.


Amanda’s Reaction to Chapter Eleven

Okay, so this quote: “My faith in the gods is this: they are indifferent to my suffering.” I would say that some of them are indifferent. I would say that others are really not indifferent. For instance, the Crippled God is definitely not indifferent to suffering — that is what he looks for in his followers and something he monitors in those he pursues to be part of his Deck!

What exactly is Heboric giving to those by having hands of jade? What contact is he making with them? Is he becoming godlike to them? We move right from indifference in the statement by Tomlos (who clearly felt that Fener wasn’t exactly attentive) to Heboric who pays great attention to those he touches.

This quote says SO much about Heboric’s state of mind: “Unseasonal clouds painted silver the sky, behind which the sun slid in its rut virtually unseen.” Its rut? As in, day after day taking the same old path?

“Fener had simply disappeared.” What a reminder that we need to bear in mind we will be seeing Fener again at some point! Hmm, I wonder how he will reappear? A babe in arms? Someone who died but is brought back to life with the spirit of Fener?

I’m glad that Felisin is such a glass-half-full sort of person, otherwise having Scillara and Heboric and Cutter all together at the same time would just be a nightmare of a depressing storyline! Here she makes a good point that children are the true reason for people gathering together and creating families and communities in which to live.

Scillara is certainly coming into her own as she leaves the confines of Sha’ik’s rebellions — she is showing a rare turn of observation and intelligence, certainly more than Cutter who seems mostly oblivious considering he is supposed to be an assassin!

Nice interplay again from Mogora and Iskaral Pust — but somehow a little one-note. I am rather glad that we don’t see these two in an extensive capacity together, because I sense that they might become wearing. It might be an inappropriate thing to think — but I can’t help but wonder why they spend any time together. It seems now, though, that Pust has some kind of plan to rid himself of Mogora — although she knows exactly what he is up to.

Has Mappo prematurely aged because of the spiders? Or simply gained wrinkles to reflect the spider thread as it covered him?

It strikes me that it is crueller to bring back Mappo than to let him die — his realization of what has happened with Icarium might well destroy him.

I certainly experience this myself: “Does it afflict us all, I wonder, the way one’s sense of self changes over time?” I know that I was a distinctly uncomfortable teen — believing myself to be fat and not attractive. I now look back on photographs of a slim and pretty young girl and wish I had had the knowledge I have now when I had that appearance!

Ooh! Who is this Elder Goddess? The Ardata that Cotillion already mentioned? We see more hints at Shadowthrone’s endless manipulations, with her comments that he is forcing her hand. Why does Shadowthrone want Mappo wounded?

And Icarium is a weapon for the Nameless Ones. For what have they prepared him? What are they sending him towards? It’s a pretty terrifying thought that Icarium has been designed to take something particular down. Who do the Nameless Ones want to rid themselves of?

Ha! I’m glad that someone else verbalised my exact thought as Paran performed his little magic trick — “if you coulda done that any time what was we runnin’ for?” I like the way that Erikson will recognise that some events come at the wrong time! Also like Paran’s “I hope this works” *grins*

This is interesting: the Deragoth were simply vessels for Dessimbelackis, and “had their own history, their own story” — so what are their goals and aims? Why are they allowing Dessimbelackis to use them?

Is Hedge the Mason? Or was he before his death? I only ask because of this quote: “A mason would look at this and say it was for occasional use...”

Hmm, am I understanding that the Hounds of Shadow are merely the ‘shadows’ of the Hounds of Darkness? So created from the original? Does that mean someone can create Hounds of Light?

I like the ongoing theme of this chapter — the idea of a god’s attention. We see here that the Deragoth have gained worshippers, and there is discussion between Ganath and Paran as to whether is it fair to release the Hounds of Darkness against those who now worship them. I love this that Paran says: “If they weren’t interested in the attention of their gods, Ganath, they would have avoided the spilling of blood on consecrated ground.”

Fabulous monologue by Shadowthrone — especially love this ‘Master Idiot of the Deck of Dragons’. *shudders* He certainly isn’t someone I would want to talk with, or try to reason with, or threaten. But I have noted here that Paran isn’t afraid to face up to Shadowthrone — and is also aware that he has a long-ranging, impossibly complicated plan.

Oh man! What a terrific scene! First we have Hedge and his laconic “Always an even trade, Captain”; then the release of the Deragoth and their frightening pursuit; then that intriguing comment from one of the dead in Hood’s realm: “He’s forgotten us...” — what is Hood doing that he’s neglecting his own? And, finally, that desperate slide down the ice thanks to Jaghut magic and the Pardu’s comment: “Hood knows, we’ve had worse trips...” Excellent stuff!

Oooh! Did Hedge double-cross Paran?

Ugh... The scene in the basin with the flies — that is a little bit of a personal nightmare for me. *shudders*

Heboric is suffering his loss of faith and lack of reason for leaving terribly, isn’t he? I feel awful for him, truly.

Ummmmm........ Excuse the language, but what the FUCKING WHAT just happened?! Scillara dead? Cutter dead? Greyfrog: “Dismay. I can hop no more.” *snickers* But still, WHAT?! Is this just an echo from the past? Surely it must be!

My jaw is hanging open. Is it Friday yet? I need to read MORE!


Bill’s Reaction to Chapter Eleven

Those are good questions re Heboric Amanda, but to be honest, I’m not sure what to say here. So as I’ve done a few times, I’ll leave it to the comments section to decide just how much they’d like to discuss this at this point (which in and of itself is a bit of a spoiler I’d say).

Nice pick up on the Sun in its rut, which does amplify a pretty consistent concept bandied about by sundry characters in this series so far—the idea of walking the same paths. We actually see that language just above the sun image: “The ghosts and their insensate, repetitive lives measure out stride by stride again and again.” Take this line out of its fantasy context and it would seem quite at home in a contemporary lit novel about the dreariness of modern life. Or, not-so-modern: “the mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation.”

We’ve had several reminders of Fener so yes, you definitely don’t want to forget about him.

I do like this phrase: “the divisive clash of singularity.” That’s a great tight expression.

I have to admit I don’t quite get what Scillara is saying with her “But look at this stupid journey . . ." the “but” seems to indicate she’s arguing against Heboric’s statement that “some choices we make, but most are made for us” but the way she phrases it all makes it sound like they all just got swept in, which would seem to be agreeing with him. Unless we’re just supposed to read between the lines and she is saying that they made choices to stay with Cutter or Heboric, though I’m not sure we’ve really seen that. Am I missing something obvious here? Sure feels like it.

I like how Heboric’s thought that Fener would have been better served by Heboric’s indifference plays off the epigraph to the chapter that the gods merely show indifference. And this continues to be a running theme—this idea of the relationship between god and worshipper, just who is driving the bus. The cost to the god. The cost to the worshipper.

“Redemption was not a gift. Redemption had to be earned.” A line echoed in this very chapter by Hedge. And a line to file.

Scillara’s summary of human nature, its destructive, wantonly cruel nature, the way it bleeds “the colour from every scene” is another one of those pessimistic views toward humanity that I really wish I could wholeheartedly argue against. But....

I find the discussion of the Crippled God’s cult/idea fascinating in terms of historical religions, and would be happy to open up discussion of it in comments here. But I also recognize that this is something that really opens up for interpretation as we go forward. So again, I’ll leave it to the comments section to take my lead.

Personally, I think this section with Pust is a bit over-long, and too much of a shaggy dog ending with the “gone fishing”. But I’m so willing to let it lie just because we get one of my favorite lines of the entire series at the end of the scene: “I’d kill the mule.” Oh, how I love that line. I say it aloud to myself now and then just to crack myself up.

“It strikes me that it is crueler to bring back Mappo than to let him die” It strikes me how often one could say this about a character in this series....

Yes, Ardata. Not much to say about her here, but more to come....

I like how we see Shadowthrone’s long game in the way that Ardata is impressed (angry but impressed) that he “so blithely assumed my allegiance” and that his assumption proved correct. I think it says something that one associated with webs and spiders is impressed by someone else’s long-range plans.

I mentioned before we’ve gotten several scenes that seem to want to emphasize Icarium’s power/danger. And here is another one to add. Icarium is quickly becoming Chekhov’s gun I’d say in this book.

“I’d kill the mule” is without a doubt tops for me but I’ve gotta say “I was saying ‘I hope this works’” comes pretty close. And don’t you want to see where that beastie comes out? I sort of picture Scottie telling Kirk where the tribbles went, or Tony Shalhoub’s character sending the rock monster into the room amidst the bad guys in Galaxy Quest (sorry, forgetting his name and too lazy to Google it, though I suppose I could have done it in the time I just typed too lazy to Google it. Oops, could have done it again. And....)

I think Paran’s reaction to the idea that someone killed two Deragoth (someone not even a god) is another brick to add to the Dejim discussion about how the legendary big bads of the past have been eclipsed somewhat. Again, not to say the Deragoth are powerless, but they’re not quite as unstoppable as perhaps Paran thinks.

I find Ganath’s characterization of Dessimbelackis interesting: “an ascendant eager to become a god” in that I wonder if the separation between the two is simple worship (and perhaps that’s too simple?), why he would have felt the need to use the Deragoth as vessels for a D’ivers form. In other words, I wonder why he couldn’t have been worshipped simply as he was.

I have no answer for you Amanda on why the Hounds let Dessimbelackis use them. Though of course, it is possible they were using him as much. After all, if they were near extinction in this evolving world, perhaps sharing souls with a creature of the new world might be a way of evolving/adapting with it, a tool to increase one’s chances of survival.

I swear I can almost hear Erikson himself in Ganatha’s words re the family tree as readers try to figure out the line from Eres’al to Imass to human: “far more complicated . . . but for our purposes, it will suffice.” Snicker.

Shadowthrone does tend to liven up the scenes he appears in. I think the use of him throughout, very careful doling out, is a good choice as I’m not sure one can take too much of him. As well, keeping him off stage increases the sense of him as the mysterious manipulator. I do love his dialogue here and especially his recap.

See what I mean about how the Trade Guild isn’t shown as performing its tasks “easily”?

And in a chapter filled with some very funny lines, let’s not gloss over “Thank you . . . how much do I owe you?” from the corpse.

And here’s that echo of Heboric’s line from earlier:

Heboric: “redemption was not a gift. Redemption had to be earned.”
Hedge: “Absolution comes from the living, not the dead, and as Hedge well knew, it had to be earned.”

Potential theme anyone?

More on faith and the Crippled God from Scillara. Again, discuss here or later?

Flies on the body and Heboric “something to show you” hearkens back to the Deadhouse Gates prologue.

So Heboric thinks he’ll make a lousy Destriant. Thinks he cannot take a life, is not the one to hand out “justice.” Thinks Treach chose wrong. Something to file.

Oh Amanda. No, not an echo of the past. Not a dream (or nightmare). And that’s all I say for now about this save to add, that is one hell of a chapter ending.

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

1. parabola
Amanda, you are absolutely excused. I distinctly remember having the exact same reaction to that scene.

I'll admit, the unspoken tension between Hedge (and, by extension, the rest of the dead Bridgeburners) and Paran in this part of the book left me confused.

Why did Hedge feel the need to go behind Paran's back?
Brian R
2. Mayhem
There's a famous line from the Malazan Empire forums on this line of thought.
'There are no Hounds of Light' - Steven Erikson, 2004ish.

Not much to say on most of this, although it is interesting to see Ardata maintains her abode as shortly after the Fall, despite the many years in between. According to Kallor she hid herself so well he could not find her, did she hide herself in time?
Brian R
3. Mayhem
Good question re the Bridgeburners.
Rather than spoil things with an outright answer, I'm rather going to just ask you who (or what) else might have a call on their loyalties now?
4. parabola

I've read the series a couple times now, so I'll try not to spoil anything for others as well...
Paran has great respect for a primary member of that plan. If he's not already privy to the knowledge of what's coming up for the BBs (being the Master of the Deck, that seems a bit off) why not explain it to him?
Paul Boyd
5. GoodOldSatan
OK, so a great chapter. Yet I'm (still) confused by a couple of scenes.

Scene 5: What exactly was (on) the card that Paran created? Is it now a new card in the Deck? (or was it just temporary?)

Scenes 6 & 7: This whole hounds thing is not clear (although I know some of you have tried to lay it out for the easily confused). Paran releases two Hounds of Shadow (back in GotM) and they travel (via
Verdith’anath, the Bridge of Death) to where the 7 statues of the Hounds of Darkness (Deragoth/"Counterparts") sit. Sometime around then (or soon thereafter ... DG?) Onrack and Trull arrive and release 2 of the Degaroth. The Deragoth go to Raraku and are killed by Karsa. Is this correct? What happened to the 2 Hounds of Shadow?

Amanda, wasn't there some mention of someone being apprenticed as a mason for a while prior to joining the army?
Chris Hawks
6. SaltManZ
GOS @5: The idea goes that, since the Hounds of Shadow are (presumably) "shadows" of the Deragoth, they merged when they met.

Whiskeyjack was apprenticed as a mason. I don't remember if anyone else was noted as such.
Chris Hawks
7. SaltManZ
Amanda: "Does that mean someone can create Hounds of Light?"

I can't resist answering you by way of this quote from Toll the Hounds, which doesn't reveal nearly as much as you might think it does (I think it's meant rhetorically) but it's still the first thing I thought of:
"What then of Life? Fire and Stone and Wind? What, you fools, of the Hounds of Death?"
8. Gibberish
5. The masons were Whiskeyjack and Fiddler if i remember correctly.
Bill Capossere
9. Billcap
In our recap of the scene when Onrack freed the Hounds from the statues, we wrote: "Back in the Nascent, Onrack can hear the “howls of rage” coming from the spirits trapped inside two of the statues" Earlier in the recap, we mentioned Onrack telling Trull that only two of the statues were "alive."

I think it's safe to assume that those two "live" ones are sensed as such thanks to the Shadow Hounds "conjoining" with the Hounds of Darkness inside the statues. When Onrack frees the Hounds, a detail is noted that they "cast a shadow", a minor detail but not a random one I think--in other words, I'd say it's meant to show they have regained their shadows. When Paran looks back at the Hound freed by Hedge, no mention is made of a shadow, though of course there is "no mention" of lots of things. I take the difference though to be telling.
Paul Boyd
10. GoodOldSatan
Thanks. Helps a little ... so, ... two were "alive" when Onrack/Trull visit (because the two Hounds of Shadow ... ??? ... did what?). The one Hedge frees is (or is not) "alive"? What does alive mean here? Unascended?(hmmm, I'm having uncomfortable spoilerific feelings here .. and will jump this over to the spoiler thread.)
Thomas Jeffries
11. thomstel
She says Bidithal’s cult was brilliant in its idea and Heboric corrects her, saying it was the Crippled God’s idea—the “promise of something better” beyond death. He agrees with Scillara that it is a seductively powerful idea, but if it is a lie, then it is the greatest injustice/betrayal of all, arguing, “If absolution is free, all we do here and now is meaningless” which invites chaos.
OK, now that we've got to this point and made this observation: Has anyone else considered (here in the reread, Malazan forums, elsewhere) that the Crippled God, before being pulled to Wu, could be our world's Jehovah? A heavy focus on experiencing/dealing with our worldly flaws while here on Earth, with the goal of achieving something akin to paradise in a world beyond this one?

It's something that struck me as a possible interpretation about midway through Dust of Dreams on my first read, and so I've been on the lookout for more clues/hints during the re-read. Anyone else have any thoughts about it?
Brian R
12. Mayhem
The way I see it, the two Hounds of Shadow freed by Paran jumped into the Gate of Darkness, which forcibly reunited them with their corresponding Hounds of Darkness, and embodied them in the Statues. This meant that their statues were 'live' when found by Onrack. They were then released, and we all know how that ended.
At some point subsequent to Onrack's visit, the TTG wagon arrived in the area, and the two TTG mages were captured by the local inhabitants and sacrificed to Darkness - an act of Elder blood sacrifice in worship of the Hounds. This brought the remaining five to inhabit their statues. Hedge then frees those five, presumably to hunt down their Shadows.

Totally separate idea - I wonder if there is any connection between the Nascent, and the realm of Raraku's memory, where L'oric went to find his father. Or if the descendants of the half-human worshippers of the Deragoth are present somewhere here.
Paul Boyd
13. GoodOldSatan

Thanks! I overlooked the sacrifice. So Paran's plan (the one ST thinks is brilliant) is to have the newly released Deragoth track down the remaining 5 Hounds of Shadow, join/merge with them and then kill Dejim?

The 5 remaining Hounds of Shadow are in 7C? ( ... and were never in Dragnipur?) Why are they in 7C?

ugh, I'm so confused.
Mieneke van der Salm
14. Mieneke
Bill mentioned all the things I'd noted to comment on here except for these:

In that first scene, where Heboric is musing on restoring Fener and whether Treach would object and he decides that they can just share the Throne of War as there are two sides to every conflict – btw how cool a concept is that – he thinks: The Boar and the Wolf could share the Throne of War. I'm confused, I thought Treach was a tiger? Or is this connected to Thogg as well?

And the second thing was that that realm with the undead immediately made think of the Letheras continent and the fact that there is no Hold/Warren of Death there (as yet). Are these the dead from there or are they unrelated?
Chris Hawks
15. SaltManZ
Satan @13: The Hounds of Shadow weren't in 7C, but Shadowthrone will now be sending them there. That was the whole point of Paran contacting ST: Paran wants the Deragoth to chase Dejim, but the Deragoth want to chase the Hounds. The solution? Send the Hounds after Dejim. ST will play along because he doesn't want the Deragoth invading his Shadow Realm.

Mieneke @14: I assumed the undead were from one of those forgotten layers below Hood's Realm (like the Jaghut Bridge of Death.)
karl oswald
16. Toster
it's interesting that we've now had two characters wonder if what they're feeling is what gods feel. both bottle and heboric have had these thoughts, and both at times when they felt complete helplessness, completely out of control. heboric kind of sorrows about it, but bottle is younger and more fiery, so it's a cool contrast of perspectives.

now if this is how gods feel, i wonder, is it war between the gods? or is it just war between the gods followers? likely it's a bit of both, and we'll see evidence of that soon enough.

about the horde of undead, is it not later revealed by karpolan demesand that they didn't even reach the gate to hoods realm? all these dead were between them and the gate?

i can think of a couple of reasons why that might be. the first is spoileristic, but has to do with a certain books ending and the dead marching somewhere, while the second may be more likely simply because it's more relevant to the book, tBH, itself. maybe they're all the plague dead from seven cities, waiting in a queue at the gate? by the end of this book, seven cities is virtually depopulated by this plague.
Mieneke van der Salm
17. Mieneke
Salt @15: Ah, okay, so their joirney was sort of an archaeological dig through all the layers of death realms?

Toster @16: That could be and gods that is a frightening prospect, an entire continent almost wiped out by plague. Poliel has a lot to answer for.
18. SirExo
Im a big fan of the MBotF, i just found this reread and finished reading the GotM reread, so i think il be caugth up with you guys some time this summer (the comment sections are soooooooo long, but so good).
19. Jordanes
So finally we see what it was that that priest of flies wanted to show Heboric ;) I also remember when I first read this and thinking 'no way!' The detail about Crokus' intestines spilling out is especially sickening.

By the way, i'm not sure if you're all aware, but we do find out/have found out where that beast was sent by Paran.
Mieneke van der Salm
20. Mieneke
Quotes time!

'Yes, trying to conceive the inconceivable, the inconceivable being the notion that Shadowthrone is actually quite sane.'

'No, not innocent. There is nothing exculpatory in ignorance, Taralack Veed.'

'Queen Nulliss, High Priestess of Bitchiness!'
21. endertek
#11 thomstel - you posed a question I've been waiting for someone to mention since GotM! I'm SO late to this reread and I'm hoping to post real-time in the next week or two, but wanted to do due diligence and read everything first. I've read through tCG - so I'm hoping this gets more deliberation.

Here's what you wrote:

OK, now that we've got to this point and made this observation: Has anyone else considered (here in the reread, Malazan forums, elsewhere) that the Crippled God, before being pulled to Wu, could be our world's Jehovah? A heavy focus on experiencing/dealing with our worldly flaws while here on Earth, with the goal of achieving something akin to paradise in a world beyond this one?

IMO - I think SE has to be thinking of Jehovah/Yahweh/Jesus throughout this series. How can you write a book about gods and godhood and all its permutations / relationships among and between worshippers and so forth and NOT think about real world godhood?
One of my favorite characters is Itkovian and I believe the connections to Jesus of Nazareth are more than coincidental. I cannot read Itkovian and not see Jesus.

I’m going to use Bill’s commentary in Chapter 17 of MOI as a sounding board for my thoughts–

Bill - The concept of a god overwhelmed by grief and needing a mortal heart to contain it, to bear the “sorrow of the world” is just a great concept and again, not how one expects “gods” to be used.

Me - Jesus was born both human and God to carry the sins of the world – to carry the burdens / the grief of the world.

Bill - I like how Itkovian’s future redemption of Rath’Fener and then the city/god … is foreshadowed by his approach through the city: “He was recoiling like a caged animal cruelly prodded on all sides. Escape was denied to him, yet that denial was self-imposed, a thing born of his conscious will . . . He must assume this burden, no matter the cost . . . He would be the redemption.”

Me – this is a description of Jesus’ passion – his way of the cross as he carries it through Jerusalem – he is cruelly prodded on all sides, he could have refused, yet he chooses to make this journey to the cross - he willingly takes up the burden so he could redeem the world.

Bill - And how tragic is the thought process that leads him to an emptiness where his god is supposed to be and that aching refrain: Who will embrace me? Who will embrace me?

Me – Jesus, hanging from the cross cries out, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”

Bill - And in typical Erikson fashion, we are granted the complexity of humanity, as not even Rath’Fener is all evil; even he is not so evil that he would give to Itkovian what Itkovian is asking for.

Me – Think what Pontius Pilate does as he interviews Jesus – he sees that Jesus is innocent and underserving of this fate and puts it to the crowd, who shouts “crucify him” and then Pontius Pilate washes his hands of it – he wants nothing to do with what will happen to a just man.

Bill – …—“seeking to make of the unexpected gift of a mortal’s two hands something of beauty”) has done.

Me – Christians believe that God can make a thing of beauty out of all that is done by man – all evil and all good work towards his purpose – which is good.

Bill - And then this line … “We are the rack upon which they are stretched.”

Me – who can read this and not see an image of a crucifix – Jesus stretched out on the rack – the cross?

Bill – not one life’s history unworthy of notice . . . every death. Every death.” Just think of that burden—the entire lives, the entire weights of all those lives’ trauma and pain and grief and sorrow.

Me – Christians believe that Jesus died for each of us – if only one human had lived throughout all eternity, Jesus would still have suffered the cross for that one person.

A couple other things to note – Both Amanda and Bill have indicated that they are not religious / possibly atheists? Please, please correct me if I’m wrong! I find it interesting to say the least that you both took up this series with its key theme being theology and all….

I even think the name "Itkovian" has more than a passing resemblence to the Latin word for Jews – think of the INRI inscription on the cross put there by Pontius Pilate – “Iesvs Nazarenvs Rex Ivdaeorvm” which means Jesus King of the Jews. Itkovian vs. Ivdaeorvm? You be the judge…
Steven Halter
22. stevenhalter
endertek@21:The dying god is a fairly common theme in a number of religions. See, for example, Osiris, Dionysus, Odin and Persephone. The shared traits of sacrifice and compassion (to lesser or greater degrees) are indeed shared in Itkovian.
23. Aergrim
I would like to revisit the issue raised by Mieneke. Why does Erikson refer to Treach as a wolf instead of a tiger, this baffled me to no end. Surely if it was a simple error or slip any half descent editor would have caught this by now. If not, would Erikson perhaps refer to the two Wolf deities recently enthroned in Memories of Ice? This leaves in constant turmoil and state of utter confusion...
24. Mormont
I'm about two years late to this reread so I doubt anyone will answer this but I'm confused about the realm Paran was in, it's described as a forgotten realm of death below Hood's realm, before the Hold of Death. So it's aspected to Death, yes?

But the statues from the Nascent are in it? How are the statues of the Nascent, a shard of Kurald Emurlahn, in this realm of death at the same time? How are dark/shadow connected to Death?

And maybe I'm reading it wrong and this IS the Nascent, after all there is floodwater. But then how does the Bridge of Death lead to Kurald Emurlahn? I don't think it can be the Nascent though as a lake of floodwater isn't exactly the same as a flooded realm, and Paran says it's hard to tell if a day has gone by, while Onrack said the Nascent had either four moons or four suns or two of each... so clearly they're different.

I just don't understand how these statues are in two realms at once
Brian R
25. Mayhem
The realm they are in is linked to Verdith'Anath, the Jaghut realm of Death. That realm is linked to Hood's realm, but not necessarily in the manner you expect.

Where it gets complicated is in the statues. Now, the Nascent is a large fragment of Kurald Emurlahn, similar to the realm of Shadowthrone. Which means it also moves around. And remember that Shadow isn't necessarily a copy of Wu, it is a copy of the original realm of the Tiste, which is kind of overlaid over Wu now.
Perhaps the Deragoth were slain in the past, and these are the equivalent of ghosts, re-embodied by sacrifice?
I think it is safe to argue that the realm they are in now is the original - the one that the Nascent is a copy of. So the Hounds freed by Onrack were freed in Shadow, which meant they also disappeared from here.
These Hounds will be freed in the real world, and therefore aim to reunite with their Shadows before returning to their home location, which is apparently 7C.

Does that help?
26. Mormont

Wow I didn't expect a reply, with this reread being on The Crippled God by now, thanks that does help, it does make sense that a shard of Emurlahn could end up connected to the Jaghut Death realm.

I guess the statues being the same in this realm and in the Nascent is part of Erikson playing with the concept of a God's followers 'capturing' them in art or statue actually affecting and chaining the God, so when one statue of a Deragoth gets destroyed, they all do. Or maybe because those two Deragoth died, all the statues are destroyed because of the link between shrine and deity.

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