May 16 2012 1:00pm

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

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 Seventeen 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 Seventeen


Banaschar enters Coop’s Hanged Man Inn in Malaz City and meets with a man he knows only as “Foreigner,” who tells him lots of transports have come in from Korel. A recent purge had killed some local Wickans in the Mouse Quarter; Duiker, Coltaine, Bult, etc. are now considered traitors, and rumors abound: neither Coltaine nor Sha’ik are really dead, the rebellion in Seven Cities isn’t really over, plague and a new Sha’ik Reborn, Drek’s priests and priestesses have disappeared to hunt Wickans, a citizen army prepares to march on the Wickan Plains, Tayschrenn is in Mock’s Hold. Banaschar can sense Tayschrenn and has sent messages to him but gotten no response. Foreigner says Banaschar seems to be slowly giving up, and that he (Foreigner} has been waiting for years but has come to a kind of faith, adding he’s not “unfamiliar with drowning.” Temper joins them.


Aboard a ship in the north sea, Ahlrada Ahn recalls a Bluerose tapestry depicting a history of the Andii. Ahn thinks of his placement as a spy among the Edur, recalls how Rhulad banished Trull, how he was ordered to find Fear and Udinaas, failed and was nearly executed before being ordered out again to seek champions to fight Rhulad. He recalls as well how they found “fallen kin . . . lesser creatures.” He thinks that maybe they had found someone who might kill Rhulad, though not forever.


The Letheri Commander Atri-Preda Yan Tovis (Twilight) tells a seasick Veed that Tomad Sengar isn’t impressed with Icarium and Veed needs to convince him otherwise or they’ll pitch them overboard. Icarium says he doesn’t want to kill anyone. Veed points out their fellow passengers, the fallen Edur who had been enslaved and thought the Edur saviors but are now mistreated. Veed reminds Icarium they seek vengeance for “what they witnessed” of the Edur and warns him they won’t get the chance if Icarium doesn’t rouse himself. When Icarium protests against killing innocents, Veed rejects the idea that there is any innocence and tells him only Icarium can end the abomination of the Edur Empire and do justice. Tovis tells them Sengar is considering a test for Icarium.


Cotillion arrives at the First Throne and meets Ibra Gholan and Minala, who is battered and wounded. She tells them the Edur arrive via chaos warren and have attacked four times, inflicting heavy losses on her children, adding without the T’lan Imass, Trull, and Apt, she would have lost. Cotillion says the warren is evidence of the alliance they had feared and implies worse will come. He agrees to send more help “when the need is greatest.” Minala, angered, tells him she’s lost hundreds and more are dying. He replies Shadowthrone will come heal the wounded. Trull thinks once the Edur recognize him, they will return with warlocks. Cotillion speaks with Monok Ochem, Onrack, and Trull. Onrack says the Edur, when they win the Throne, will realize they cannot use it and wonders why Minala’s children sacrifice to defend it. Cotillion says because the Edur will use Chaos to destroy the throne and when Onrack asks if that’s a problem, Cotillion has no answer. Monok and Onrack argue and Onrack says he fights for his own reasons. Cotillion wonders why Monok can’t call more T’lan Imass and Monok answers the others journey to war. When Cotillion says they cannot win in Assail and there is nothing to gain there anyway, Onrack says the Imass continue out of pride, warning Cotillion that the power of the First Throne over the T’lan Imass is weakening as Shadowthrone “loses ever more substance.” Cotillion asks if they can restore the Throne’s power, but when the Imass make clear they will try and kill Onrack if he replies, Cotillion tells him not to. Monok calls Cotillion dangerous and says they need to think about him. Trull asks if Cotillion will withdraw them now that the First Throne defense has no meaning, but the answer is no. Minala begs Cotillion to take the children and he says he can’t. Onrack says Cotillion is walking an unseen path and they won’t see him again (much to Cotillion’s dismay). Panek tells Cotillion he misses Edgewalker’s stories of dragons and shadows, and of how “they all cast shadows, Uncle . . . into your realm . . . That’s why there’s so many prisoners.” Cotillion is shocked by the implication.


Trull doesn’t understand why the Edur fight half-heartedly, or even why they’re here and not seeking the Throne of Shadow, wondering if it’s because of the alliance with the Crippled God and the Unbound Imass. Onrack tells Trull Minala prays Trull will fight on, defending her children and when Trull weeps, he apologizes, saying he’d hoped to instill pride but has caused despair. He tells him he senses an “animal” presence watching them with compassion. Shadowthrone appears and says it isn’t him and then begins to heal.


Feather Witch tells Samar to teach her language. Samar refuses and when Feather Witch threatens her, Samar says Karsa will kill everyone on the ship (save the chained) if Samar is killed. Feather Witch leaves and Samar thinks of her as dangerous, one without honor. She worries she’s now thinking of Karsa as a weapon as well and wonders if he knows he’s being used, then thinks he does and will turn on his manipulator(s) eventually. The Taxilian tells Samar how he was captured, how the Edur warlocks killed the Tanno Spiritwalker on the Taxilian’s ship (thought the Spiritwalker resisted longer than expected). He explains he is “teaching” Feather Witch four languages (extending his usefulness) and says the two halves of the Edur fleet plan to meet near Sepik then head home. They discuss Karsa and the “liberated” Edur below decks, but are interrupted by the sighting of the Malazan fleet. The Taxilian tells her the Edur plan on annihilating the fleet this time because Sengar’s ships are behind the Malazans.


Banaschar heads to Coop’s, noticing that he’s being followed. He meets Braven Tooth and tries to get him to help get Banschar’s message to Tayschrenn. Braven Tooth says he’s in mourning for lost friends in Y’Ghatan he just heard of. Temper joins them.


Pearl, in Mallick Rel’s room in Mock’s Hold, mourns Lostara Yil’s death. He tells Rel his report will upset Rel’s plans, but Rel says Rel alone was a true witness to events on Seven Cities and that history is “revised.” Pearl knows Rel’s agents are everywhere, whispering rumors, making Rel into a hero, stirring up the populace against the Wickans. Rel tells Pearl to talk to Dom in the catacombs and listen to his story of how he was really Laseen’s agent when he fought with Sha’ik, that he was going to kill Sha’ik, but then “discovered” a “greater betrayal.” Pearl warns Rel that the Claw is outside the Jhistal priest’s influence but Rel seems to threaten the Claw itself.


Amanda’s Reaction to Chapter Seventeen

Hello! *waves wildly* I definitely needed that break. I’m now on the fourth chapter of today, so you’ll forgive me for being a bit brief in my reactions (you can go back and check my thoughts on the three chapters I missed now in the comments section). But I thought best to pick up the thread of the re-read. As Bill said, sometimes it ends up wiping you out trying to do in-depth analysis of each chapter!

Ouch. That snippet from Kayessan hurts — seeing how Coltaine’s actions could be reversed easily and portrayed as betrayal. I’m sure some commanders from history would be aghast at how their actions are now presented...

We’ve seen Malaz City and particularly Coop’s Hanged Man Inn before, when we did the read of Night of Knives — and it definitely seems much more infused with flavour and drama the way that Erikson writes it.

Ah, another mysterious character! Foreigner this time, rather than Traveler or any of the others. Based on past experience we’ll either learn almost immediately through clues who he might be, or it will be one of those ongoing mysteries... Straight away we discover that he has an accent that a person very well traveled cannot place.

And Banaschar — an ex-priest of D’rek. Ex why? His desire, his god’s demise? Oooh, what does he have over Tayschrenn that the High Mage should be responding to his messages?

We’ve seen a number of casual references to Korel, and it’s starting to build to the point where I’m expecting us to head to that locale soon.

Another little clue as to Foriegner’s identity: “whose massive hands and wrists were scarred and puckered with weals.”

I really like the way Erikson makes clear the fact that rumour and false tales can be enormously damaging. The sacking of the Mouse Quarter, the stoning of Wickans etc — all because of tales coming secondhand. This must have happened so often in the past, and happens now. We have the media creating panic — at least in this Malazan world there isn’t anything like that!

Woo! Hi, Temper!

A nod to Star Wars? “Somewhere in the vaults of a city far, far away...”

Fabulous look at the three brothers born to Mother Dark — and an interesting nod to the fact that Anomander has denied his darkness in favour of chaos. Especially because we now know that chaos is something we should be watching out for in this series.

Equally fabulous seeing how Ahlrada Ahn hid amongst the Tiste Edur as a spy, watching them rather than hiding with the rest of his kin in Bluerose.

I enjoyed the whole section that brings us up to date with the happenings in Letherii and the Edur overlords establishing their empire. Rhulad’s madness seems to be worse and worse, with barely a leash on it, and now this horrendous plan to find a champion (Guest!) who will be able to defeat him finally. What is most poignant is Ahlrada Ahn’s thoughts about Trull, his regret that he watched Trull’s shorning and was not brave enough to speak up or tell Trull he was right.

Huh! While Ahlrada picked up Karsa, Tomad Sengar picked up Icarium... Is this Icarium’s true task? To destroy Rhulad? Or has he been sent there to meet Karsa and destroy him?

It makes me sad that Cotillion’s customary condition is grief-laden, that he remembers joy only with nostalgia.

Ah! Now this is a passage that is so fundamentally true: “And the blood, which they had shed so profusely, had yielded no evidence of its taint, for neither the name of a people nor the hue of their skin, nor indeed the cast of their features, could make life’s blood any less pure, or precious.”

I did forget that Minala was one of those protecting the First Throne. (Bad reader!) Here another mention of the fact that those attacking the First Throne are from chaos and here: “Proof of the alliance we had feared would come to pass.” Tiste Edur and K’Chain Nah-Ruk? [Bill: Edur and the Crippled God]

Oh bless Trull Sengar — more misery for him... Killing his own kin in order to protect the First Throne; a terrible option.

Ha! I love the fact that Cotillion contemplates the fact his hair needs cutting — how mundane, indeed! Oh, and I have worked out the PERFECT person to play Cotillion in a Malazan movie: Tom Hiddleston, who plays Loki in The Avengers! Thoughts? And general thoughts about any other casting? I know you guys have probably considered this before...

Wow, it is remarkable to see Cotillion lose control here, shouting at Monok Ochem about the T’lan Imass persisting in a war on Assail that seems to avail them naught.

Oh my word! Shadowthrone is gradually losing substance, becoming impure — what effect, if any, does that have on events?

My mind is full from all the information coming my way, the blows that I am receiving, concerning the actual non-obedience of the T’lan Imass, the fact that it is known how to restore the power of the First Throne. Almost too much!

I wish, I truly wish, that I could comprehend the stunning effect of some of these words — I am actually jealous of you re-readers in this case, that you know exactly what is meant when Panek says: “They all cast shadows, Uncle [...] Into your realm. Every one of them. That’s why there’s so many...prisoners.” I am wondering if it is relating to dragons, since we saw Telorast and Curdle as prisoners in the Shadow Realm.

With this brief glance at Trull and Onrack — and with the background I’m now aware of regarding Trull — I can suddenly see the fondness that many of you had for this duo. I am especially touched here by Onrack’s attempts to ease Trull’s pain and grief.

I like that Samar Dev immediately recognises the negative aspects of Feather Witch’s character, makes me think more of her. Same applies for the fact that she recognises in herself that she has started thinking of Karsa as a weapon. This is the kind of self-realization that is awesome to see in a character.

From the conversation between Samar and Taxilian we learn that this Edur fleet is going to end up around Sepik — I’m remembering what Grub said!
What?! The Imperial Fleet is at risk? This is starting to become truly explosive...

Amused by Banaschar’s internal thoughts, particularly about the reports of the person following him!

How is it possible to feel sorry for Pearl? Yet I do, in his grief about Lostara. And how about this? “Hood take this damned, foul city anyway. Why must imperial events ever converge here? [...] Genabackis had Pale. Korel had the Stormwall. Seven Cities has Y’Ghatan. In the heart of the Malazan Empire, we have Malaz City. Where is begins, so it returns, again and again. And again. Festering sores that never heal, and when the fever rises, the blood wells forth, sudden, a deluge.”

Ick. Mallick Rel. Isn’t he dead yet? I was hoping he would have met a rather horrid fate... And what a sinister end to the chapter — knowing that Rel is planting those rumours, that Rel and Dom are in cahoots. Not good!


Bill’s Reaction to Chapter Seventeen

I hate this storyline with the rewriting of history regarding Coltaine and the others. I love the theme, think it very well handled and more than plausible. But oh, how I hate it.

Yep, Foreigner is a mystery. We are granted a few (not obvious) clues:

  • the unplaceable accent
  • his “hands and wrists scarred and puckered with weals”
  • he talks like a sailor according to Banaschar
  • he is not unfamiliar with drowning

Note how Erikson again weaves in reminders to us when Foreigner’s accent is introduced, as we have Banaschar name among the places he’s been: Nemil, Perish, Shal-Morzinn, etc. which either have been mentioned in regard to other characters or will be.

So there are the flames/fire implied in the opening poem — the populace is being manipulated, attitudes are being molded, and events are being set into motion. And how easy it is, to turn the mob against someone, anyone the finger is pointed at.

That’s a nice narrative tease with regard to Tayschrenn: why is he in Malazan? What does Banschar know that also keeps him there? What frantic message is he trying to get to Tayschrenn? Is Tayschrenn not getting the messages or ignoring them?

“The world, Ahlrada Ahn knew, was indifferent to the necessity of preservation.” That’s a great, if somewhat sad, line and one which sums up so much of one of this series’ themes. As for the “endless repetition of willful stupidity that so bound peoples and civilizations,” well, we’ve certainly heard a myriad of variations on that topic, and seen it in a myriad of images as well.

Well, even if we didn’t know at this point that Bluerose was an Andii place, do you think some of the titles might have tipped us off? The Obsidian Throne, the Black Winged Lord, the Onyx Wizards. Hmmmmm

It’s a sad reminder of Andarist, especially when we get to the line “he would continue his guardianship of Mother Dark, in isolation, and in this would be found the measure of his life.” And indeed, it was.

It’s also interesting to hear Silchas Ruin as the one who attempted “reconciliation,” mediation — something to keep in mind.

“Betrayal ever haunts those three brothers” Well, “ever” is a pretty long, ongoing concept. Does this mean we should be wary of betrayal still, with those brothers remaining?

And of course, outside of the interesting tidbits in this, the section also serves as a nice tidy reminder recap of past events: the war against the K’Chain Che’malle, the turning away of Mother Dark, the betrayal of Scabandari, Hannan Mosag’s unification of the Edur tribes, the shorning of Trull (and now we see who one of the “brothers” in that scene was), Fear and Udinaas’ disappearance, the fleets sent out to seek champions.

And I’m with you, Amanda, how sad is Ahn’s regret, his too-late recognition of Trull’s honor and clear sightedness?

Note how we get a glimpse of the corruption and cruelty the Edur have fallen into (note as well the use of “poison,” that word that was such a repeated theme in Midnight Tides): “their [the Letherii] overlords did nothing beyond consuming wine and the endless courses of meals; or took to their sumptuous beds Letherii slave women, and those that they”mi use dup, left broken and raving with the poison of Edur seed, were simply flung over the rail.”

Veed is good at what he does, huh? Will Icarium find a last innocent to refute Veed’s claim?

And yes, Yan Tovis does, as Icarium says, “hide herself.”

Cotillion. I’m not sure there’s a character that evokes more emotion from me more consistently. We can see the effects of ascendancy, of long-life, that struggle he has to recollect his moments of “unmitigated joy.” It’s not just the loss of memory that is problematic, but if we are the sums of our memories, of our experiences — if they are what makes us what we are, then how can we not become something other than we are once we’ve forgotten so much?

And how smooth a move is it that after Veed speaks of innocence Cotillion muses on how “that golden past moment of true peace and wellness . . . was rooted in childhood, in a time before the strictures of enlightenment had afflicted the soul, when what had seemed simple unfolded its complexity like the petals of a poison flower, to waft its miasma of decay.”

And how often is this the truth of our world: “too young in truth to be soldiers.”

And how often has this truth gone willfully ignored in our world: “neither the name of a people nor the hue of their skin, nor indeed the cast of their features, could make life’s blood any less pure, or precious.”

I like how Cotillion stands as the antithesis of Veed with his sharp justification of “the rightly punished,” while Cotillion calls those who make such distinctions “Wilful fools with murder in their rotted hearts . . . with such conviction, the plunging of knives proved so very easy.”

When we read Cotilion’s “The fallen had but one message to deliver to the living, and it had nothing to do with forgiveness,” let’s not forget what this series is called....

Yes, you have to love the haircut thought coming out of nowhere like that. Talk about humanizing this near-god. And not just with the hair cut thought, but then the thought after that — that it was his way of trying to avoid dealing with the horror of facing Minala.

I’ve mentioned before how Erikson often gives us the sense of a much wider world, that what we see here is just one of infinite stories and Assail is yet another example of this. How intriguing, after all, is this “To hell with Assail . . . You cannot win there! You send clan after clan, all into the same destructive maw . . . Among the Tyrants there it is nothing but a game!” We’ve had other tiny references to Assail, but very little. It remains a big story off our stage.

And now we get some clarity on the First Throne. The power Shadowthrone has over the Imass is limited: the Throne was already weakened it seems by the passage of time, its control was limited to the Logros simply because they happened to still be close by, Shadowthrone’s increasing thinness, his spreading of himself, further attenuates the Throne’s power. It also appears quite likely that the Throne’s power can be refreshed, though Onrack’s revelation of the method, if he knows it, is cut off when the other T’lan Imass make clear they’ll try and stop him.

I really like this characterization of Cotillion: “You think what must not be though . . . You are as a hunter who walks a path no one else can see.” Something to keep in mind as we move forward.

That line of Minala’s: “there wasn’t enough time” is such a haunting line. That moment between her and Cotillion is so fraught with pain on both sides. That little bit of slapstick with Onrack’s spear point slipping through his chest is a welcome respite.

“I would know more of this Trull Sengar.” I think the two, Trull and Cotillion, would get along quite well. Quite well indeed. And how appropriate and telling is it that Trull says he feels sorry for Cotillion — Cotillion, the god who speaks so often of compassion and empathy, pitied by someone. And we know Cotillion would echo these lines of Trull’s: “a world in which children were subjected to such things was a world in which compassion was a hollow word.”

Well, I’m not going to speculate on Edgewalker’s words to Panek and from Panek to Cotillion here, though we should file this passage away for a later discussion. But I’d say Amanda that there isn’t a lot that this rereader at least considers he knows “exactly what is meant.”

After their little bit of slapstick a few pages ago, that’s a wonderfully moving scene between Trull and Onrack. And here is something to file away: “I smell a presence. It is faint, animal. It comforts me . . . I feel as if we are being observed . . . and in those eyes there is vast compassion . . .”

Yes, Samar Dev is a smart woman. She sees right through Feather Witch, sees that Karsa is merely waiting to turn the tables on those that seek to use him, and even more impressively, sees as Amanda says, into herself, recognizing how she also is beginning to view Karsa as a weapon.

I like how we get another reference to a Tanno Spiritwalker, the way the idea is kept in the series after one played such a major role so once again, the concept of the Spiritwalkers and their power isn’t just a narrative one-off, a handy plot device used and discarded

And wouldn’t you love to hear one of the Taxilian’s language lessons?

The meeting of the Edur Empire and the Malazan Empire. Oh, “explosive” indeed, Amanda.

In case we didn’t have reason enough to hate the mob rule now going after the Wickans, we get the poor cobbler carrying around his dead little boy with the caved in skull. And that image will stay with us when we meet the instigator of all this — Mallick Rel. Boy, I hate Mallick Rel.

It would sort of fun to line up all the various way through all these books that Erikson refers to the liquids these folks all drink and just read them through one after the other, like the red-vine tea “a local concoction sometimes used to kill ants.”

Remember that weather vane atop Mock’s Hold from the very beginning?

Oh, I so want Pearl to “launch a poison-sheathed quarrel into the flabby neck of Mallick Rel.” I so want that.

If Rel feels he can threaten the Claw, he has grown powerful indeed. As you say Amanda, a sinister 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

Darren Kuik
1. djk1978
Ok I recant my interpretation of Grub's prophecy. Possible spoiler: It's clear now that "the big man with cut hands" = Foreigner = Withal. I think I placed some of Grub's thoughts too far into the future. End spoiler.

The sections of this chapter involving Cotillion, Trull and Onrack are so poignant. The emotions involved are very raw.

And don't you just wonder even more about what is going on in Assail?
3. Tufty
BANASCHAR!!! Best character ever! No need for crazy adventures and Ascendancy when you can drink at Coop's all day, every day, for an entire year!
Chris Hawks
4. SaltManZ
Is it just me misremembering, or do the language barrier issues that Taxilian is working around here completely disappear by the time we get to Reaper's Gale?

And I can't for the life of me come up with what that "casting shadows" revelation means.

I assume we're planning on reading Return of the Crimson Guard after this one (and the break)?
Brian R
5. Mayhem
'He would continue his guardianship of Mother Dark, in isolation, and in this would be found the measure of his life.'
There he stood, and there he fell. Possessed once of a singular will, but no longer, for undisclosed reasons. And for those that have read ahead, reconsider the line in conjunction with the resolution of Toll the Hounds.

As for the Taxilian .. I love his language lesson, especially the Tribal Rangala - ‘Not until she dies, and I’d swear that old hag’s going to live for ever.’ Not to mention that its yet another piece of history casually dropped in conversation.

Echoing the disgust of Mallick Rel.
And echoing the note on the weathervane - it seems turbulent events are afoot for the Empire once more.
Steven Halter
6. stevenhalter
I hate this storyline with the rewriting of history regarding Coltaine and the others. I love the theme, think it very well handled and more than plausible. But oh, how I hate it.
Seconded. The subversion of the facts and the twisting behind that really rankles. Unfortunately all too believable. But, very well done.
Tricia Irish
7. Tektonica
The various mentions of betrayals and twistings of history, and of manipulation are so 21st century. So much of these books is a big ol' analogy. Genre can be so relevent.

I got sick when I realized Mallick Rel and Dom were in cahoots and in Malaz City. Not imprisoned or executed, as they truly should've been. Mallick Rel must be one smooth talker...and Laseen more of a fool than I thought.

Samar Dev is wonderfully smart. The Edur get more disgusting, as they lose all sense of honor. Veed is so slimy. Icarium so tragic.

Nice to see Banaschar and Foreigner and the Hanged Man! The plots are thickening.

I too don't understand the bit about the Shadow Realm having prisoners? Who? What? Could someone please explain this reference.
And why is Shadowthrone fading. We have seen numerous references to his vagueness. Is he in many places at once? Dying? Was he somehow injured when they ascended that night at the Deadhouse? Cotillion doesn't seem to have this problem.

And the whole bit with Cotillion/Onrack/Trull /Minala is very touching. Such contrasts in these books, of emotion vs. brutality, insight, vs. stupidity, and action. So much.
8. Tufty
re Salt-Man #4:
Is it just me misremembering, or do the language barrier issues that Taxilian is working around here completely disappear by the time we get to Reaper's Gale?
Yes and no. The way I see it, Feather Witch is trying to learn from Taxilian an actual 7C language. But we also already have Yan Tovis talking to Taralack and Icarium with just a brief mention of "learning the language faster". I suspect it doesn't take long for a trader language to come around based on the common words between some 7C languages and the Letheri language (all decending from the First Empire language, so some commonality should exist).

There is one big joke of some characters deliberately botching the Letheri language in RG, I take that as an indicator that most of our characters are pretty good at picking up new languages, excusing the rest of the book.
And I can't for the life of me come up with what that "casting shadows" revelation means.
I see it as the realization that all the chained up (or not, like the Hounds) creatures in Shadow are not necessarily just beings by themselves, but that many may be just shadows of counterparts in other worlds/warrens. It's a cool revelation, but I'm not sure we ever see it in action other than the Hounds... too bad, it'd be great to see the shadow of some chained demon or FA or something in Shadow in conjunction with seeing it's true form elsewhere.

Or, :
Maybe he realizes with this statement that/how he can take the journey he will undertake to be in the place he needs to be, later on.
9. Tufty
^^^Spoiler above, don't look!

How are you guys doing this white-text thing for spoilers? I tried to change the font colour to white but it still came up black when posted...
Steven Halter
10. stevenhalter
tek@7:We have seen that there are a number of dragons and other beings imprisoned in the Shadow realm. Recall Cotillion and Edgewalker going to talk to some of the dragons.
Recall another time in which Cotillion was walking and didn't notice all of the things he was walking through that Apt and
Panek could see.
Recall what the reason was for many of those prisoners being in Shadow.
And, then (I think) recall Plato.
Steven Halter
11. stevenhalter
Tufty@9:Don't bother white out until you hit preview. After hitting preview, then apply the white font color.
If it still comes up black, the redit and try again.
For re-editing, you will have to register (take the black) with the site. Then your user name will be in black and you can edit your comments.
Chris Hawks
12. SaltManZ
As for ST becoming more immaterial, I've assumed that the longer he remains ruler of Shadow, and the further removed from his previous mortal existence, the more he takes on the aspect of shadows themselves. Also, hasn't he already mentioned something about being "stretched too thin" due to his endeavors? (Or maybe that's to come?)
Tricia Irish
13. Tektonica
Shalter@10: LOL. Probably Plato...can't remember...too long ago. And thanks. I was wondering if they were referring to the dragons.

Re: Shadowthrone. He is the ruler of Shadowland now....he sits the throne, anyway, but what then is Cotillion? I was under the impression that they were co-rulers. They did go through this together. They seem to have disparate plans, but going in the same general direction, and they do call upon each other when needed (special secrit decoder rings). I'm just a bit confused on their pecking order....if there is one. Thoughts?
Brian R
14. Mayhem
Shadowthrone is becoming more immaterial because he's in more than one place at the same time. As is the shadow realm.

From Chapter Two
‘A matter,’ added the first dragon, ‘of semantics. Shadows cast by shadows.’
‘You believe that Ammanas is sitting on the wrong Shadow Throne.’
‘The true throne is not even in this fragment of Emurlahn.’
Cotillion crossed his arms and smiled. ‘And is Ammanas?’

The revelation to Cotillion is that every dragon casts a shadow into Emurlahn. Alive or dead. Foolish and Wise. ALL cast a shadow.
And the implications from that are staggering. No wonder he looks poleaxed.

As for Ammanas & Cotillion, they are ... allies of long standing. Ammanas is the King of Shadow, but Cotillion is his perfect companion, who happens to be a deadly assassin. High Vizier perhaps.
James Golden
15. Treemaster
Welcome back, Amanda! I'm on a forced break myself right now, as I left my copy of Dust of Dreams in a hotel room over the weekend, and I have to wait for the hotel to mail it back to me.

I have a question, assuming it can be answered without spoilers. Is Drek the same entity as Polieil? I noticed last night in the Gardens of the Moon glossary that Drek is identified as an ascendant that is sometimes Poliel.
Darren Kuik
16. djk1978
No. Drek and Poliel are not the same.
karl oswald
17. Toster
not the same, but easily confused. one's a god of plague and disease, the other of decay and rot.

also, the shadows being cast into emurlahn that panek refers to, are the shadows of all things, imo. but the transient things don't make much of an impression in shadow. a person, even a house or city wall will move and dissappear before they become 'solid' in shadow. But a dragon or demon chained with high sorcery wards will retain a forceful presence, even if only a spirit, for hundreds of thousands of years. eventually becoming so real that shadow can carry them off and drop them someplace else (ie: the strange incident of sorrit in the skykeep)
Mieneke van der Salm
18. Mieneke
So many echoes in this chapter of that first prologue, the one in GotM. Not just the creaking weather vane, but also another purge, although for different reasons.

And I ? Braven Tooth, for reals... I mean picking Tayschrenn up by his 'cute braid'? Too funny!

And poor Minala. That whole scene with Cotillion, Minala, Onrack and Trull was just heartbreaking. So much loss... even if we don't know any of those children by name, Erikson managed to make me feel their loss by way of Minala.

And rather off topic, but I have a little video up on my blog of my eldest reading Erikson or rather what seems to be Erikson in two-year-old language. I thought it might amuse some of you ;-)
Chris Hawks
19. SaltManZ
It randomly occurred to me last night that the two main themes of imagery in this book are spiders and fire, and that the two don't play well together.
Brian R
20. Mayhem
So many echoes in this chapter of that first prologue, the one in GotM.

Very true, but then it kind of makes sense too - all five books prior have been essentially background & putting the various pieces out on display.
Now with Bonehunters SE gets to knock over the first significant dominoes, and it pays to reflect back on where things started to see the full scope of everything cascading down.
Tricia Irish
21. Tektonica
LOL Mieneke. She's quite the literary maven. Erikson already! Is she reading in Taxilian?
Mieneke van der Salm
22. Mieneke
@20: I hadn't thought of it that way!

Tek @21: That could well be! Or it might just be what my English sounds like for her, I'm guessing. Remember, English isn't her first language! So far she only knows eye, ear, nose, mouth and dog wiyh any consistency ;-)
23. Jordanes
"This rain. It shall make the seas rise, yes?"

SE really knows how to close a chapter :) That line, said by Rel in his sibilant hiss, sends shivers up my spine every single time.

I got the feeling that Amanda didn't remember Banaschar - not surprising seeing as we last saw him all the way back in the prologue (as an aside, I can't believe this is chapter 17 already, this book just doesn't let up!). I remember the first time I read tBH, I didn't remember Banaschar until much later.

Someone commented earlier that Laseen struck them as pretty stupid. Not in the least. But severely constrained by developments which have been hinted at, but not fully revealed yet. And that suspicion of Pearl's about Rel and the Claw has a lot to do with it.

As for the next book - it should be Reaper's Gale, AND THEN Crimson Guard :P
Julian Augustus
24. Alisonwonderland

OT: are you by any chance related to the great ex-Man U keeper?
Tricia Irish
25. Tektonica

Way back up at #7, I said I thought "Laseen was more of a fool than I thought", mainly because she let Rel and Dom live. I'm sure they showed up with their twisted story in order to save their necks, but Laseen has Pearl as eye witness. If she compared the stories, she would see that one of them is lying. Pearl, as her chosen eyes and ears, would be a more likely truth teller. So why does she believe Rel? He's infiltrated the Claw, true, but what would happen if she just killed Rel and Dom? She's got Pearl and Tayschrenn beside her. She's certainly been ruthless before. What am I missing? Help me out! I've never figured her actions.
Chris Hawks
26. SaltManZ
@Tek: Pearl wasn't witness to the Chain of Dogs, though. He was caught up in Kalam's sideplot the entire time, much of which was spent en route to Malaz City.

@Jordanes: At this point, I don't think the SE/ICE ordering matters much, as long as RotCG comes before TtH, and OST comes after TtH. I've become a fan of the idea of alternating SE and ICE books, starting with MT, and then going NoK-TB-RotCG-RG-SW-TtH-OST-DoD/TCG.
a a
27. duhr
I think Reaper's Gale should be read before Return of the Crimson Guard because Vague Spoiler: The end of RotCG has a certain someone taking a role of a character that dies in RG. Reading RotCG spoiled me on that person dying.

End Vague Spoiler

If there's a worse spoiler reading RG first, I can't remember.
Brian R
28. Mayhem
@SMZ I like that ordering.
NoK is definitely better read later once we have an understanding of the characters, and a desire to fill in the history. It also fits well following the 'backstory fireside tale' feeling of MT.

RotCG fits better before RG - it gives us a better sense of time passing following the ending of BH, plus explains what happens to a few side characters from MT who kind of drop off the radar before we pick up the other threads.

It also nicely fits in SW & OST, and OST before the DoD/TCG crescendo makes a good ending.

I think the new ICE novel Blood & Bone will slot in parallel to TCG, so your order will still work.
Tricia Irish
29. Tektonica

Pearl wasn't with the Chain of Dogs, true....he was off with Lostara Yil tracking down Sha'ik, iirc. He saw Tavore kill Sha'ik ,and took the body away to save Tavore the pain of recognition. So he definitely knows the truth of that, and he was there when the ghost army killed Dom's men, the night before Tavore and Sha'ik meet.

Then he hung with the 14th army, off and on, for a long time as they crossed Raraku, and was there for Y'Gatan. He must've heard many of the stories of the Chain, and was eye witness to much.

I just don't understand why either he isn't telling Laseen the truth, or she isn't talking to him? I just can't figure this plot hole out. Isn't that why Pearl with with the 14th? To be Laseen's eyes and ears and report back?
Steven Halter
30. stevenhalter
Tek@29:There are a few answers to what's going on. Some of them are spoilers.
At the end of this chapter Pearl says:
‘I assure you,’ Pearl said, ‘the nature of my report to the Empress will upend this tidy cart of yours. I was there, I saw—
So, he hasn't reported to the Empress yet and he seems to intend to tell her the truth as he knows it.
Mieneke van der Salm
31. Mieneke
Alison @24: I think you're thinking of Edwin van der Sar. Different last name! And nope, no famous relations in my family :-D
Chris Hawks
32. SaltManZ
Tek @29: Ah, true. I had forgotten to take HoC into account. So Pearl knows Dom's story, even if he doesn't know Rel's.

duhr @27: Yeah, that position in the Deck changes, you're right. It's a fairly subtle spoiler, but a sharp reader could put two and two together...

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