May 25 2012 1:00pm

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

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 Twenty 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 Twenty


Paran wonders if releasing the Deragoth was a mistake as Ganath had told him. Noto Boll tells Paran of how he used to break dogs’ legs for the D’rek festival before the Malazans forbade it, then joined the Malazan army and served in Korel, apprenticing under Ipshank (adding both Ipshank and Manask “stayed loyal to Greymane to the last”), before being sent to Genabackis. Hurlochel interrupts to say that a troop of 500-1000 rides have joined the migration ahead.


Captain Sweetcreek complains about Paran and Rythe Bude warns her not to. They’re conversation is halted when someone points up and they see a “string of suns, a dozen in all, each small but bright enough to burn blinding holes in the blue sky,” with the moon above them.


Boto tells Paran the sky is falling, saying he’s heard the stories in Korel of what happened and seen the effects. Paran orders a halt and hopes Ormulogun has finished the Deck he ordered. He wonders if this is an attack as part of the war among the gods.


Pust, looking up, thinks they’re going to die. As Spite agrees, she suddenly senses something from the southwest. Looking up, Mappo sees “a string of incandescent pearls, their flames wreathed in haloes of jade.” Spite veers into dragon form and begins pulling the ship toward something she sees.


Fiddler and Bottle see the sky falling. As the Nemil stop the resupplying of the fleet and run for home, Fiddler thinks quick Ben should flee and whomever he can.


Hellian, drunk, gets some good liquor from Nok (though she doesn’t know who he is) who sends her belowdecks to get drunk.


Tavore tells Apsalar the falling sky is humbling, and says it isn’t the work of the gods as neither side is that desperate. Apsalar says Tavore lacks confidence in their “resilience” though she herself feels her own confidence failing, and she pins her hope to faith that even this had been anticipated by those with vision (Cotillion, Shadowthrone, Paran spring to mind).


Ormulgun appears with an unfinished Deck. Paran hopes Mael is listening and then Ormulgun thrusts a card at him and Paran ends up before Hood’s gate. Hood appears and tells him he’s sought out the wrong god. Paran admits he was hoping for Mael, which gives a thought to Hood. Hood wants a bargain and when Paran asks what Hood wants more than anything else, Hood tells him (but not us readers) and Paran agrees. Hood tells him to leave, as he’s about to open the gate from his side.


Cutter’s craft is pelted by stones from the sky and they start to sink. Heboric’s body falls into the water. Chaur, grabbing it, falls in too. Barathol dives in after him, then a dragon appears overhead. Cutter hears shouts and then he and Scillara are in the water.


Heboric wakes to the sound of “a million voices screaming.” They are the people inside the Jade giants. Heboric wonders if was ever Treach’s Destriant or something else, wonders if he needed to be killed first as Treach had before ascending. He thinks Hood has “flung [him] back” and realizes that he is Shield Anvil. He tells the people to reach for his hands.


Barathol finds Chaur by following a glowing green light. Scillara points to Otataral Island which seems to be on fire with jade green light, “a glowing dome . . . and rising up through it hands. Of jade . . . Arms — huge — dozens of them — rising . . . green light spiraling out . . . slashing into the heavens . . . as the fires filling the sky seemed to flinch, tremble, then began to converge.” The falling pieces hit the dome one after the other. Scillara and Cutter are grabbed by the dragon.


Heboric calls them to him in the darkness, thinks as Shield Anvil he can take their pain


Spite drops Scillara and Cutter onto the deck of her ship, which has apparently been protected by Pust’s mule. Barathol climbs aboard with Chaur and resuscitates him. Spite lands and veers and when Mappo asks how she can push away the pain he senses from her, she says she will not pay attention to it in the face of such joy. Barathol tells Cutter of how Heboric’s body was glowing green and that Cutter had gotten Heboric close enough for his task, for what saved them all came from Heboric. Cutter asks where Icarium is and Mappo says he lost him. Cutter tells him he is sorry and Mappo weeps, saying it was his fault.


Spite, watching, thinks it is too bad Mappo blames himself, though that had been their, the Nameless Ones, intent. She hopes Icarium runs into her sister Envy.


Paran returns to his group, who ask if he’s just saved the world. He says if so, he’s already regretting it.


Keneb thinks how the inevitable death coming at them had made him surprisingly calm. He thinks of the past history between the Nethil and the Trell. The Nethil gave Tavore the name of the people past the Catal Sea — the Perish — and also news of a damaged Edur fleet limping away. They wouldn’t say anything more about the Perish and Keneb speculates the Nethil were defeated by them.


Quick Ben tells Kalam Paran saved them all by having a conversation with Hood (which he overheard — he was the face in the gate that reacted to the bargain). He also thinks Tavore knows and says while Paran and Hood started the process someone else finished it. He adds the falling jade stones were filled with millions of souls. He also says he’s trying to set a trap for whatever presence is wandering through the fleet tonight.


Tene Baralta feels betrayed by Tavore and thinks he will reveal all will lead people and cults will worship him. Gethol (Herald of House of Chains) arrives and tells him he too was betrayed and broken, that Tavore has discarded him, but he can come through to wholeness. Gethol takes away some pain and promises Tene a new eye as reward for something to be explained later. He tells Tene the Empress awaits him and that Tene should be ready for her, and that he’ll need his Red Blades.


Lostara could hear Tene talking to someone, and thinks how all that is left of him is malice. She thinks Cotillion knew this moment would come and left the choice of what to do to her, a cursed freedom.


The Malazan fleet are meeting the Perish, who have huge ships with wolf-head prows, wolf banners, wolf-pommeled swords. The welcoming contingent consists of Destriant Run’Thurvian, Mortal Sword Krughava, and Shield Anvil Tanakalian. The Perish says they fought with the Edur fleet mentioned earlier by the Nethil, losing four ships to the twenty lost by the Edur. Run’Thurvian says they have been waiting for “the Mezla” and then Krughava draws her sword and pledges the Perish army (13000 soldiers and 31 warships) to Tavore, saying the “end of the world” waits and the Perish will fight in the name of Togg and Fanderay.


Quick seems to make a connection between the Perish and the Grey Swords from earlier in Capustan. He says he needs to talk to Tavore. Run’Thurvian makes eye contact with Quick Ben and bows.


Amanda’s Reaction to Chapter Twenty

It must be something dreadful — to go from being a regular noble’s son who just wants to be a soldier to Master of the Deck, someone who has to make all these decisions and take a part in proceedings. I really don’t begrudge Paran thinking: “Let someone else clean up the mess I made, just for a change.”

A gigglesome exchange between Paran and Noto Boil, although I’m not sure I can stomach the idea of deliberately breaking the legs of dogs just for a festival! I definitely am laughing at the idea of Paran being disappointed by the actual visitation of Soliel after fancying her after seeing her statues as a young lad!

I’m not sure whether I agree with Sweetcreek here, but I actually think I do... I mean, Paran might not be wanting to take command and might be intending to put his own stamp on things, but armies do best with continuity and discipline.

I think this is a crucial point: “This land breeds cults like maggots in a corpse, Captain.”

Now what the hell is happening with the sky?! The moon, again, and things falling from the sky... “The damned moon — I should have paid attention. I should have quested, found out what has happened up there, to that forlorn world [...] War among the gods. Is this an attack? A salvo in truth?”

Jade statues falling from the sky! These were the jade statues that Heboric found himself falling alongside when he first touched the jade statue, yes? It really is not too promising that such varied characters as Iskaral, Paran, Spite and Bottle are all indicating that they are now out of time.

Worst of all, hearing the pragmatic Fiddler fall apart with the terror brings it home that this is a Big Thing: “Quick Ben? Best make your escape now, and take whoever you can with you. Against what’s coming...there is no illusion that will dissuade it. As for those Tiste Edur, well, they’re as finished as we are.”

Awwww, Hellian...

Hmm, I suspect that Cotillion has had his suspicions that this was going to occur. As Apsalar thinks, someone must have expected this catatrosphe.

And now Hood really enters the fray, through Ormulogun passing the “wrong” card to Paran. One wonders whether it was the wrong card for Ormulogun — did he want Hood to be involved? Or was Hood influencing Ormulogun so that he could be in place to meet Paran and make this bargain. WHAT bargain??

Awwww, Chaur. I feel so sad for him. And suspicious that Heboric might now not be as dead as he was before... “I had to die, Treach, didn’t you? Before ascendancy, before true godhood. You had to die first. [...] Not Destriant. Shield Anvil.”

The jade statues are searching for their god — as in, I presume, the Crippled God.

Huh! The mule has managed to shield the ship? MULE!

Well, it turns out that Chaur isn’t as dead as he seemed to be (how often do we end up saying this about characters? Sometimes I wish we could just be certain that people were dead!) And what is the business about burying the horses? It’s certainly a touching moment between Chaur and Barathol in the midst of all this madness.

Another fantastic exchange between Quick and Kalam — I especially like the business where Kalam wonders if they are both insane!

Ouch, Tene Baralta is convinced that the Adjunct deliberately sent the Red Blades and the marines into the slaughter at Y’Ghatan to be rid of them. No real surprise, then, that he becomes a new recruit for the Crippled God. Also, how about this: “Know this, the empress awaits you.” Is this an indication of which side of the conflict Laseen has fallen on?

Oh, this is fantastic — nice to see the Grey Helms, those sworn to Togg and Fanderay. But, on the other hand, the fact that the Gods of War have given their troops to the 14th and the Adjunct, it begs the question what they’re about to face.


Bill’s Reaction to Chapter Twenty

This is another one of those smooth moves we get a lot from Erikson. Fresh off of a discussion of the means to an end via Fiddler rejecting the Edur’s type of sorcery as a weapon to the words of Brukhalian (and no accident we get his voice in this chapter, what with the connections to the Grey Swords, the wolves, and even Hood, who if you recall came for Brukhalian himself) on the idea that without discipline and judgment your weapon “delivers . . . naught but murder” and then on to Paran thinking he might have been out of line in releasing a weapon he couldn’t control.

And here as well we get a nod to the complain some of us have had about how disappointingly unimpressive the T’rolbarahl were (some of us only, I know). Though while I’ll give Paran the “I didn’t have confidence enough in the new ascendants,” I’m not sure Masan qualifies as an ascendant.

That line, however, “sometimes that which was primal found itself assailed by a world that no longer permitted its unmitigated freedom” is a bit interesting in the context of all the focus on the Eres’al, who would seem to be pretty “primal” as well.

And while part of me responds well to Paran’s “let someone else clean up the mess I made,” it was a little jarring. We know that attitude won’t last long though.

Then another tie — the discussion about D’rek. And we see as well what has been a common refrain — the seeming “civilizing” influence of the Malazan Empire. For instance, we know they outlawed slavery in new territories, and here we see they banned what sounds like an utterly horrific festival — children breaking legs of dogs so children could stone them to death. Lovely. (I’m not a big believer in the idea that one cannot judge any aspects of a foreign culture — sorry).

I do like the little humor with Soliel.

Oh, and just you wait for Manask, Amanda!

I like the structural aspect of this section as we skip from place to place under the jade giant storm. It gives us a variety of responses — terrified, drunken, calm resignation, competence, etc. It does a nice job of increasing tension — the jade spears get closer as we move, by taking us away just before they strike we’re always on the edge of our seat. And the sense of being whisked around adds to the sense of chaos in the actual moment.

Note Tavore’s line to Apsalar: “All of our plans . . . our conceits . . . as if the sheer force of our will, each of us can somehow ensure that all else remains unchanged around us.” It doesn’t give us any details, but I think it does clue us in that Tavore is not simply reacting; she does have some information about what is happening, she does have plans, she does have allies.

I also like how it’s Apsalar who has faith, Apsalar whom we’ve seen as struggling so much. This gives us a sense that she can be pulled back from her personal abyss. Especially as I imagine she has certain people in mind when she thinks, “someone saw this coming” — Cotillion, Paran, even Shadowthrone. And if you’re going to place your faith in some folks, those aren’t bad choices.

I wonder what Paran’s original plan had been (“swallow” the falling pieces?). I love the wordplay of “Oh, Hood” when he arrives at the gate. Pronounce it with the stress on the comma it’s simple recognition, pronounce it without the comma and it’s an appropriate curse.

Well, isn’t that the mother of all teases — that bargain with Hood? File away so we can theorize as we get possibilities. I love that dry wit of Hood’s by the way: “Death is always serious.”

So yes, there is a connection between the CG and the statues. But we’re not done with them and it might be best to discuss fully once we get more information, but I’ll follow along with comments. But a few points:

  • We know they are filled with souls from Heboric’s earlier trip into them. Here we see it again as he faces the voices (Heboric kicked out of death’s realm by Hood).
  • The line, “Oh, they had traveled the dark span for so long . . . seeing before them that vast emptiness. Unmindful of their arguing, their discussions, their fierce debates, it swallowed them. Utterly” is interesting to me as it could be read as the souls having passed from life to death — into the great “dark” or great “emptiness.” And can be read as well with a sense that the great void a) isn’t all that void and b) is beyond their ken with regard to their debates and discussions regarding an “afterlife.” I’m not necessarily saying this is the case (as mentioned, we’re not done with these statues) but I’m trying to work my way cautiously through what could be read into them at this point (if that makes sense)
  • We’re told they did in fact strike the moon: “A world beneath — so many lost then — and beyond it, another, this one larger.”
  • “beast world” is an interesting appellation for the Malazan world. Especially in a chapter with some focus on Togg and Fanderay, and even the Eres’al.
  • “Oh, hear us” seems to speak to a prayer, an intent to someone in particular.
  • “have we come home” could be seen as a literal home or the ideal “home” of an edenic afterlife.
  • “This is not salvation” could be read as implying these are dead souls.
  • “Where is he? Where is our god?” answered by “I tell you, the search ends!” can be read as confirmation that these our adherents of the CG who have sought and now found him (or at least his prison). But one should also ask is it necessarily the CG they sought, since “our god” is pretty vague.
  • What could be more a sign of that “empathy” and “compassion” we’ve discussed then “See my hands! See them! They’re reaching — reaching out for you. They are reaching.”
  • Or Heboric’s lines” “I cannot be forgiven. But maybe you can, maybe I can do that.”

How can you not like Spite in this moment: “Chaur, his fear is gone. He believes Barathol . . . You are looking upon joy, Mappo Runt. In the face of this, I will not obsess on my own pain, my own suffering. Do you understand? I will not.” And again, the epitome of empathy — putting aside one’s feelings to feel another’s

After the tense back and forth with the jade storm, near end of the world and all that, we can breathe a collective sigh of happiness and relief with the saving of the world, Chaur’s return, the humor of Pust and Paran’s return, etc. But let’s not get too happy, right? We’ve still got Mappo to harsh our buzz....

Love this line from Keneb regarding Tavore: And thus ends her momentary loquaciousness.”

Well, certainly this whole Tene thing doesn’t bode well. And what will Lostara do? A nice set-up for future ongoing tension. As is the question of what will be asked of Tene by the CG. And why he’ll need his Red Blades.

“Cotillion, you never play fair.” How many times have we heard this line about Cotillion and Shadowthrone? Keep it in mind; they really don’t.

Ahh, good old Quick Ben. Quick, indeed.

After all the tension of this chapter, of the book, all the concerns over this army, over what they have faced, over how brittle they were, over what they are returning home to — that is one great moment when the Perish offer their sword to Tavore. And note it is to Tavore’ service, not the Empire’s. I also like the ambiguity of that line, “Before us, Adjunct Tavore, awaits the end of the world.” On the one hand, it can be read as pure prediction. On the other, it could be read as more personal — Tavore awaits the end of the world.

If you had any sense or not as to whether these first books, despite the epic clashes, were setting us up for something bigger, well, there ya go....

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
Man, SE just keeps knocking out incredible scenes in this book. We had Y'ghatan, rampaging hounds and goddess' slain, QB facing the Edur, and now, a 'meteor' swarm that has just broken the moon and is about to do a dinosaur ender on the world. Any one of these could be the climatic scene for a whole series, let alone 1 book.
So, yes these are the Jade statues that have traversed the 'void' to arrive at the world. They seem to be filled with the souls from the CG's world, seeking the god that had been bereft from them; only to meet what seems to be an annihilation as the collide with a planet (love the justaposition of science/magic).
Then Heboric is cast from Hood's realm (quick bargain) and does the "Shield Anvil Embrace" of not just the souls from a town, but from a whole world--he takes the pain of millions and becomes ...
Darren Kuik
2. djk1978
So, the what's the deal with Heboric. I'm not going to comment too much on the jade statues, who is in them and who they belong to, I think Bill has covered that well enough for now.

But as for how things played out here. First of all, Heboric was really dead. He was beyond Hood's Gate and out of the story. He was killed by the Unbound, not, I think, as a strike against Treach, but more because as Treach's Destriant he was the greatest protection that Felisin had. Second, Paran obviously was going after Mael to help him. It's interesting that Mael isn't really part of the Deck. Paran seemingly can make an Unaligned card for whatever he wants, we've seen him do that several times. Then Ormulogun throws Hood's card in his face and so he ends up with Hood instead of Mael. Exactly what Hood asked I think becomes less of a mystery (although still a mystery) in later books. In exchange Hood releases Heboric's soul and Heboric awakens to a task to act in a new role. He becomes a Shield Anvil and embraces the jade statues, voila the world is saved and everyone carries on their original plan.

People question whether Heboric was really Treach's Destriant based on Heboric's confused thoughts. Personally I think he was. He was on course for becoming Destriant of Fener at one point. Under Treach he shows Destriant behaviour in his healings. Healing isn't really a Shield Anvil role. When Hood sends him back I don't think it's to be Destriant of Treach again. In fact I wonder if he even belongs to Treach at all at that point. Obviously he is Shield Anvil, but to whom? Treach? Hood? The jade statues' god? I think that part is a bit ambiguous. As is where the darkness is that Heboric embraces them to. The rest makes sense to me at least.
Bill Capossere
3. Billcap
I tend to have the same reading as you (though I'll admit I could be forgetting some key info still to come). I take it as Heboric was Treach's Destriant based on his abilities. It makes sense to me that death might sever that connection and so my own view is he isn't actually acting as Shield Anvil to Treach when he accepts the Jade Statue souls into the darkness with him.

As to whose SA he might be, it is ambigious. It could be the Crippled God's. It could be Hood's. Part of me wonders if it could be his own. Not that Heboric is a "god"per se, but that this is a nod to the idea of if we all could just accept each other's pain and suffering into ourselves, a sort of small "a" ascendance if you will. Could be my own idealistic sense coming out there.

I meant but forgot to point out the whole "waiting" bit too, which I think is key. He says "we can all wait here" which sets us up that perhaps this isn't the last we see of Heboric. And maybe as well that he is only taking in the souls temporarily; that somethign (someone) will come for them later, and thus they "wait"
Chris Hawks
4. SaltManZ
@shalter: I was going to post the exact same thing re: big climactic scenes in this book. And we've still got two or three more to come! This might be the book in the series where the most stuff happens.

@djk: I agree, Heboric isn't Treach's Shield Anvil. I want to call him the Shield Anvil of Jade, but really you might as well just say he's the CG's SA, but that just feels wrong. Then again (thinking as I type this) maybe later events actually bear that out...

I don't think I've ever read another four words that so unexpectedly send a thrill up my spine as: "Not Destriant. Shield Anvil." I remember that first time I read that and I was just HOLY CRAP. It's a game-changing revelation, and you know it as soon as you read it, even if its meaning isn't 100% clear.

As for Paran and Hood's deal: Obviously, Hood's side of the bargain is to bring Heboric back to life (apparently he was aware of Heboric's sinking into the sea—Mael's realm—and Paran's mention of Mael made him think of the idea.) Could Paran's side be the arrangement of what goes down at the end of TtH? I have a feeling I know exactly what Hood's request was, but I don't even want to put in it spoiler tags, because seriously holy crap massive spoilers. I'll feel better if I ROT13 it: "V qba'g jnag gb or gur tbq bs qrngu nalzber."
Tricia Irish
5. Tektonica
It took several rereads of the Heboric section for it to make sense to me, but I think you have ther right of it, djk1978. What an interesting question though......just who is he Shield anvil to? ummmmmm.......And where do those souls go?

I really loved the humor in this chapter too. Paran and Noto Boil was classic. (How ironic that Boil becomes a healer!) Kalam and Quick....Pust and his mule. (I still dont' get the mule!!) The Keneb and Tavore exchange was good too.

Spite is very kick ass. It's nice to have a few more of the players together again too.

And why the acknowlegement of Quick by the Perish there at the end and Quick's fear of it. I don't recall a resolution to that further on. But then, maybe a 3rd or 4th read is in order ;-)
Tricia Irish
6. Tektonica
That Rot13 thing was great! I've never seen it before....and I agree, fwiw.
Steven Halter
7. stevenhalter
SaltManZ@4:I agree with you, Bill and djk that Heboric isn't Treach's Shield Anvil. Whose he is at that point remains to be seen.

I agree that it was somethingalong the lines of your Rot13.
Brian R
8. Mayhem
I always saw it as Heboric was repurposed as the Shield Anvil by Hood, mostly because of Hood's statement about his gate "not from this side".
Which meant he knew what was coming, and was preparing to deal with it in his own way, but needed a mortal to take the pain from the incoming hordes.

That being said, the situation is never really explained until TCG, and I don't think we ever learn who he belongs to.

Although I will leave one thought ... what happened to his body?

@SMZ Yep, I'm with you. Hood's deal is heavily related to the ending of TTH. No more on that till later.
Steven Halter
9. stevenhalter
Tek@6: If you are interested, Rot13 "rotates" each letter with one 13 letters from it. A->N... Since there are 26 letters in English, doing it again brings you back to where you started.
10. Tufty
re: Heboric - I agree there's no reason for him to be SA of Treach: his actions don't reflect anything Treach-related. He's had the Jade power destroying his Otataral infection and taking over him since DG, I don't think he needs to be the SA of anything, really, just *a* SA by himself, one that can take the pain of the souls in the Jade Giants into himself.

re: the Hood-Paran deal, I'll use Salt-Man's cypher thingy, too:

V qba'g guvax Ubbq arrqrq Cnena gb fgbc orvat gur Tbq bs Qrngu, ur fubhyq or noyr gb qb gung ba uvf bja. Ohg V qb guvax ur arrqrq Cnena gb znxr n arj Tbq bs Qrngu (gur Thneqvnaf bs gur Qrnq pbhyq'ir orra Ubbq'f pubvpr, ohg vg nyfb znxrf frafr gung Cnena jbhyq pubbfr gurz sbe vg). V thrff Ubbq jnagrq gb znxr fher gung gur ebyr jbhyq cnff vagb tbbq unaqf, abg whfg fbzr nzovgvbhf cevrfg/zntr/nfpraqnag bs Qrngu gung pbhyq gnxr vg.
11. parabola
@5 Tektonica, don't forget that one of QB's souls we have been told was: Narkal, the warrior-mage, sworn to Fener and aspirant to the god's Mortal Sword.
Chris Hawks
12. SaltManZ
@Tufty: I like your take on the Hood/Paran thing. Yes.
Tricia Irish
14. Tektonica
Tufty: I like your reasoning about Hood.

parabola: Interesting. Is there a list somewhere (some site?) of all of QB's souls? Interesting that the Perish would recognize it within him. They are rather intuitive though, aren't they. And they know QB's full name....have they met, perhaps?
Kristoff Bergenholm
15. Magentawolf
I have to say, this is one of the spots where Erikson lost me... the jade statues and all this nonsense just made me go: 'Wait, what?'..
Rob Munnelly
16. RobMRobM
@15 - took the words right out of my mouth. Sorry Tek and Shalter, etc, but I just can't keep up.

Steven Halter
17. stevenhalter
For the Jade Statues to make sense, you have to remember that Heboric was "infected" with both the Jade and the otataral. Then, you have to recall what Shield Anvils do and that Heboric had talked to the people within the Jade statues.
Then, Heboric being dead allows Hood to release him back into the world (possibly ascended) and Cutter has brought him within reach of where the statues are heading.
This does come into paly a couple of times later, so we will get chances to revisit as the need for it becomes revealed.
Tricia Irish
18. Tektonica
RobM: I totally sympathize. The first time I read this it made NO sense. So, I read it a couple more times after the first full read, and then asked a lot of questions. There are some tenuous connections here, me thinks.
Steven Halter
19. stevenhalter
Tek@18 & RobM:O yeah, this part of things is not in the obvious category the first time through.
20. Spaghetti Emurlahn
My own comment on Hood/Paran, taking a more direct approach to what Hood said (for translation after reading TtH):

Fb Cnena nfxf Ubbq jung ur jnagf, Ubbq gryyf uvz, Cnena fnlf "Lbh pna'g or frevbhf" naq Ubbq fnlf "Qrngu vf nyjnlf frevbhf." Zl snibherq thrff vf gung gur yvar jr nera'g tvira vf Ubbq fnlvat "V jnag gb qvr" nf gura jura vzzrqvngryl nsgrejneqf ur hfrf gur jbeq "qrngu" ur cevznevyl zrnaf vg yvgrenyyl naq va n Wntuhgl wbxr vf bayl boyvdhryl ersreevat gb uvzfrys nf vgf tbq. Vg jbhyq or n irel avpr cvrpr bs zvfqverpgvba ba Revxfba'f cneg vs guvf vf jung ur vagraqrq...
Darren Kuik
21. djk1978
There is a lot of connecting of dots from previous books required here. Deadhouse Gates, Memories of Ice and House of Chains. Shalter sums it up pretty well. It's all been set up but it's definitely confusing the first and second time through.
Amir Noam
22. Amir
I like how the Jade Statue Meteor Shower of Doom(tm) help position the various groups geographically:
- The 14th see the meteors far away on the east horizon.
- Paran's Host see it somewhat to the east.
- Cutter's group (and Pust/Mappo/Spite) are practically at ground zero.
- And in the next chapter we'll see people in Malaz City refer to the brightness seen far on the northern horizon.
karl oswald
23. Toster
my opinion on heboric's status is that he forged an initial connection with the jade, and right away became a shield anvil for that power. he may have moonlighted as treach's destriant for a time, but the jade was faaar more potent, and stayed with him beyond death and back. the reason i think this is because of a quote from tCG. i don't think it will be too spoilerish, but new readers should probably avoid it anyway. the characters involved will reveal too much.

at one point in the tCG, faint and precious thimble accidentally summon up a jade statue from underneath the wastelands. draconus notes this, and flies over to give it his personal kiss of death. he then marches toward faint, angrily telling her "where he comes from, every god is a shield anvil." basically meaning that every god in the CG's home world takes the pain of their worshippers from them on death. this is what the souls in the jade statues are expecting, this is what they project onto heboric when he first comes into contact with them, and this is why heboric had no idea he was a shield anvil of the jade until he was (metaphorically) standing in front of them with his arms wide open.
karl oswald
24. Toster
also, i think hood's bargain had more to it than what is made obvious in the resolution of TtH. his and paran's actions in the final book are my evidence for this.
Tricia Irish
25. Tektonica

Another thread pulls tight! Thank you...excellent. I totally missed that the first time through and will look forward to it this time.

This whole jade statue business, and Heboric and his hands, had me comletely flummoxed the first read through. I knew it was connected to the main story...haha...main story....but until the end, it was very fuzzy.
Darren Kuik
26. djk1978
@Toster: Totally agree with you both about the jade statues and about Hood's bargain with Paran.
Mieneke van der Salm
27. Mieneke
Well, now I'm really confused and the comments didn't really help! Then again, this time I decided to not read all the spoilers, so that didn't help ;-D

I'm having a real hard time with Heboric and the statues, but as this is my first read of this book, I'll have to go back after we finish The Crippled God and read it again. But as I interpreted it, Heboric did an Itkovian to the nth degree, right?

And the deal between Hood and Paran, I guess I'll just be patient.

And yay! Grey Helms/Swords :-) I was really excited to recognise these. However, I did wonder: this isn't the band we saw in DG, is it?
Brian R
28. Mayhem
Yep, Heboric was definitely outdoing Itkovian at this stage, though it appears here the act succeeded in killing him.

The Perish Grey Helms here are a different bunch to the Grey Swords from Capustan, although sworn to the same gods.
We meet the Grey Swords again in the next book.
Steven Halter
29. stevenhalter
Don't worry too much about confusion here. Your basic interpretation is correct--Itkovian to the nth and recall that Itkovian met his pain with compassion.
Some more things to keep in mind are the conversations that are ongoing between worshippers and gods and who is betraying whom. Also, note that this is the Malazan Book of the Fallen and that title resonates through many levels. Note that the Crippled God fell and so destroyed a continent--but also note that he was pulled as well as fell. Note that the jade statues and those they contained also fell. Now were they pushed or pulled or motivated through their own desires? We'll have to wait to see how these things all intermesh.
Note that many others have fallen and will fall and that in falling you can be picked back up if someone has enough compassion to lend a hand. Does everyone deserve compassion?--we'll have to see about that also.
30. Jordanes
No one else get all emotional over Barathol and Chaur?

For me, this is the standout tug-at-your-heartstrings-and-make-you-well-up moment in the entire series. Gets me every single time. Amazing when you think how 'minor' it is in the grand scheme.
karl oswald
31. Toster
oh i get misty-eyed every time too, and mappo's is the perfect viewpoint to see it through. SE makes some very good pov choices.
32. Jordanes
To add to that, these aren't even characters that we've had a lot of time to get to know - they were only introduced to us in this book!
Iris Creemers
33. SamarDev
Good conversation re Hood / Heboric / Jade statues etc. Love it, and it's helpful to make implicit understanding more explicit :-)

Amir @ 22
I liked the way we see how the different groups are positioned geographically as well.

Mieneke @ 27
'Heboric did an Itkovian to the nth degree': lol! That's a way to state it!

Shalter @ 29
'Also, note that this is the Malazan Book of the Fallen and that title resonates through many levels.': Yes, it does. For me, the penny about that aspect dropped just in TCG. And I think the Dutch translators don't like their own choice anymore: just in 2008 they started again to translate the complete series and they choose as series-name: 'Het spel der goden' = 'The game of the gods'. I didn't like that title then, but after TCG it's really stupid...
Sydo Zandstra
34. Fiddler
Interesting discussion guys!

About the Heboric Shield Anvil thing, that struck me hard the first time too.

I still have no clue about how and why Paran knew to get him back.

As for whose Shield Anvil Heboric showed to be in the end, I agree with those saying it is not Treach. I have a problem with the idea of him being the CG's SA though, statue stuff or not.

Hood brought his soul back, and Hood cannot affect roles in other God structures. Therefore I think Heboric returned as Hood's Shield Anvil. Hood did claim a Mortal Sword back in MoI :)

just my 2 cents.

Also, I loved the comment from Hood to Paran asking if he wanted to beat the rush heading towards his gate. I seem to recall a similar comment from kalam towards QB...
Darren Kuik
35. djk1978
Fiddler, Heboric was definitely not Paran's idea. He was Hood's.

"'Pointless...' Yet, even as Hood spoke that word, Paran detected a certain... hesitation.
Ah, you've had a thought.
'I have. Very well, Ganoes Paran, bargain."
Sydo Zandstra
36. Fiddler
Exactly my point, djk1978 :)

edit: read your message and mine again. I see what you say, and thanks. :)
Darren Kuik
37. djk1978
Yeah I wasn't too clear. But I meant that Paran didn't know what to do. Sending Heboric's soul back was Hood's idea, but to get Hood to explain the idea and send Heboric back Paran had to bargain. I think from your edit that you got what I meant though.
karl oswald
38. Toster
"And over on the Silanda, Fiddler will be heaving his guts out."
"That makes me feel better."
"Me too."

Gotta love Quick and Kalam :-)
Steven Halter
39. stevenhalter
"But I will say nothing. I am, after all, empty."


Mieneke van der Salm
40. Mieneke
@ Shalter and Mayhem: Thanks for the reassurance!
Stefan Sczuka
41. moeb1us
'(...) A Mezla killing a Mezla - oh how the gods must have laughed...'


'Then why does he weep at your words?'


'I don't even know who they are and I hate them already.'
Keneb grunted. Some High Mage.


'You're starting to not make sense, Quick.'
'So what?'


(...) 'there's seals!'
42. aaronthere
*possible spoilers*

I was harboring a theory during my reread that heboric has some relationship to Kurald Liosan based on mostly superficial reasoning...

1) his name is literally 'light touch' until he touches the Jade statue expelling treach from his body.

2) the similarities of heboric to L'oric and Osserc. SE does sometimes create groups of similar sounding names within certain houses etc.

3) in DG there are a number of conversations between Heboric and L'oric where L'oric intimates that he knows where Heboric's power comes from, although those conversations remained behind closed doors.

In Bonehunters there really isn't anything to corroborate this theory, since the scenes with L'oric refrence Heboric at all, although that could be because he doesn't want to reveal too much to those he is talking to (I believe it is a conversation with Leoman.)

I remember a scene involving Heboric in CG, but honestly I didn't really know what to make of it at the time, so I imagine most of this will become clear then.
43. TedThePenguin
In general, but also specifically @4 SaltManZ
Paran wanted Mael because he was worried about them hitting oceans, and the subsequent tsunamis, Mael could mitigate this destruction.

@42 aaronthere
Herboric was a follower of Fener, touched the statues, and then Baudin used the Jade hands to call upon Fener. Treach hadn't ascended yet.
His nickname "Light Touch" was because he was an accomplished thief, presumably because people couldnt detect his theft.

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