Sep 26 2012 1:00pm

Spoiler Thread for the Malazan Reread of the Fallen

As of today, our official spoiler thread for the Malazan Reread of the Fallen has a new home here on the main site. We’ve decided to consolidate the conversation and move the ongoing discussion from the forums to the main page of, so please join us below for our ongoing, spoiler-filled dissection of Steven Erikson's epic series.

(Please note that while the forums are closed for comments, you can still access them here if you'd like to read up on previous conversations in the the thread).

Spoilers for the entire series ahead, naturally.

Steven Halter
1. stevenhalter
Since this is the spoiler thread, I'll expand on Fiddler and Hedge in the current chapters. I really like how SE is showing us the depth of the bonds that existed between Hedge and Fiddler. We had glimpsed it when they were together, but here as they are apart, SE is emphasizing it.
Then, when they actually meet again we get to see the pain that goes with Fiddler's continual turning away from "Dead Hedge". This tears them both up in different fashions.
Dustin George-Miller
2. dustingm
So do we ever in fact find out just who the hell Redmask actually was? I don't recall it ever becoming clear during my first read (and re-read) but I've missed WAY more obvious stuff in this series. We know he's Letherii and that he's Mortal Sword of the K'Chain Che'Malle, but I'm not sure his identity was ever establishd, or even hinted...
4. Malazan44
No, we never learn Redmask's true identity. In the grand scope of things, I don't think it really matters.
Steven Halter
5. stevenhalter
There seem to be at least as many paths to Godhood as there are to Ascendancy.
We have various people who ascend and achieve Godhood via the death path (Dancer and Kell).
We have Ascendants who ignore godhood--Rake and Icarium.
We have Elder gods who, it seems arise out of the sea (QoD).
We have mortals who exist as gods, ascendants and ? Dassem, Traveller, Dessembrae (and Dessembrae is off in the God penalty box most of the time).
6. Malazan44
My first read-through, I never really got a handle on the differences between ascendancy and godhood. Now that I'm on my second run, my thoughts are that mortals can be come ascendants by performing great feats, or having power bestowed on them (Ganoes Paran). I think ascendants can 'level up' to become gods if they gather enough worshippers? I think Erikson has purposely left it ambiguous.
karl oswald
7. Toster
it is true that ascendants who gain worshippers become gods, but that is by no means a fixed definition. to those in the andara, rake is a god, but to most, he's simlpy an ascendant. either way, his power is godlike.

dassem seems to have two distinct aspects. he is traveller, the ascendant seeking vengeance against hood with a sword of the same name, but he is also worshipped as dessembrae and these two personalities can be seperate or present in one form. i think the pressure from worshippers, and the push-back from their chosen god is what produces this seperation, which we see in tCG can also split away parts of a gods personality.
10. chris777
Rake is an ascendant because he refuses to be a god. That doesn't really mean he's not a god. Itkovian didn't choose to be a god, many of them didn't. Once you are worshipped, your worshippers in a sense control you. Gives you power, but can also take it away. FYI I am running a Malazan only Group Bracket(Much like Suvudu's Cage Matches) Please check out the bracket here: In order to vote on the winner of each matchup you must register. But there is no email verification if you just want to vote. So plug in any email, and hurry and vote for your winners! So instead of the standard 1v1 cage match. Since we all know the end would probably be Rake vs Icarium. Let's mix it up, since I am eager to do one and see how it turns out. I have grouped up various players and will insert them into a bracket and we can see who comes out on top. It's very hard to get groups together with people who are connected somehow. Also hard to get 64 groups that are somewhat similar in strength. There are stronger and weaker groups for sure, but after much time spent editing the groups I think this is pretty good. I will probably have each round take roughly a week. I added in the "Discussion" on that website a quick description of each character in the group. Most should know everyone listed, but just in case someone doesn't.
383. KallorAndAshes
We see a being that assaults Skinner and Cowl in Kurald Thyrllan. I remember Draconus's Soletaken form being referred to as "winged darkness". This being too could be taken as "winged light".

What could that being be?
750. Abyss
Reaper's Gale and Dust of Dreams SPOILERS re Redmask...


SPOILERS white text for additional protection hilite to read SPOILERS

Redmask was a failed experiment by the KChain Matron to create a Mortal Sword capable of linking her KChain to humans.

She took an exiled Awl (adopted Letherii), did all kinds of wacky stuff to him oncluding power-up and false memories, then set him loose with a Kell and an immature Matron as bodyguard/observers to see what happened.

It didn't work out so well. Redmask broke. Went on a vengeance spree that wiped out his own people and a fair chunk of Letherii. The observers cut their losses (pun intended) and reported back to the Matron, who tried again to much much better results in DoD.

This is explained in DoD, but it's not obvious.
Kathie La Rocque
764. WhereIsRake?
Need to get this out somewhere ... Regarding Rake being dead and gone ... Unless he went into the Chaos (off stage, as it were) he HAS to be 'alive' and around somewhere. After all, after the destruction of Dragnipur, Hood and Draconus are out and about. As are the Bridgeburners. It stands to reason, since I'm sure we all agree Rake is at the least on a par with those guys, that he too got out when Dragnipur was broken. Whether he joined Mother Dark or had some other task remains to be seen, but I wouldn't count him out just yet. Even if we had seen a body. *grins*
Brian R
765. Mayhem
Rake is gone. Dead. Kaput. Shuffled off this mortal coil. He is an ex-dragon.
Basically as he casts his spell, the Gate of Darkness rises up to meet him, an unstoppable force of cold and . He is literally dissolved into Darkness, using his own willpower to force Kurald Galain to do what he wants. Briefly. Unlike Mother Dark, who has some form of primal control over the power as gifted by Draconus, Rake is forced to sacrifice his own life to achieve the same goal. His whole character is the epitome of the ideal of self-sacrifice.
"Whatever Anomander Rake now attempts to do, he does not do it for himself".
Given Warrens have a variety of sentience, as shown by Mockra et al, I suspect the holds may have a more primitive sentience, or possibly only embodiment in the Elder Gods. By dissolving into and merging with the warren, if the will is strong enough, he would be able to commune with the essence of the warren and bend it to his desires, which in this case were to break the captive power free of Dragnipur, and forcibly return the rejected/stolen power back to Mother Dark, currently occupying the body of Aranatha.
766. WhereIsRake?
As you wish. Personally, I believe he survived and is lying on a beach somewhere working on his tan and trying to get the kink out of his back from carrying the sheer WEIGHT of the big knife he has carried for millenia. *shrug* Besides, he and Draconus have been conniving together for goodness knows how long. Is it not possible he gave Our Hero an out? Call me a hopeless optimist, if you wish.
- -
767. hex
@765 - I thought Mockra's voice was due to one of the dragons Cotillion negotiated with in tCG. I'm not sure how that fits with the conversation Mockra had in Seren Pedac's head in RG (I think). Something about how the warrens were a conversation between Mockra and K'rul.
Brian R
768. Mayhem
Nope, Mockra is in and of itself sentient, although whether that is because it is the Warren of Illusions and the Mind is hard to say.
Brian R
780. Mayhem
On Dragnipur & the Crippled God Wild Speculation

I am however leaning strongly towards the idea that the Crippled God was first bound in the forging of the sword, else why capitalise "Bind the Fallen".
Sure, it might just be the souls of those who Fall to the
blade, but why a capital? Although he does shortly after refer to his
Bound companions, so hey, maybe wild goose chase.

But I really like the idea because it explains why the heck the breaking of the sword was so important to Shadowthrone & Cotillion, since otherwise it seems kind of a side issue to the main plot threads of the series.
By breaking the sword, it releases the oldest trapped parts of the god, and possibly restores some of what was Crippled. The remaining Chains are on the God himself, and so can only be broken directly.
It also explains why Rake and the Great Ravens stay close together - after taking over from Draconus he would be essentially the Warden of the Crippled God's prison, and they are the custodians of his Power.
Steven Halter
781. stevenhalter
Mayhem--I rather like that also. Not sure about it being "true", but I like it. We should ask it in the Q&A.
782. Kjtherock
As to Dragnipur breaking being a side story, it is of major importance in ICEs Orb, Septor, Throne.
Paul Boyd
787. GoodOldSatan
Speaking of OST, I am reading it for the first time and have a timeline question. {I know, Iknow ... timelines don't matter, timelines don't matter.}

Edit: Never mind, my error.


Darren Kuik
872. djk1978
@stevenhalter: I think the "incident" being referred to in the DoD prologue comments is Hetan's hobbling.
Tabby Alleman
873. Tabbyfl55
Hetan's hobbling... wow, I had totally forgotten about that.
Joseph Ash
874. TedThePenguin
AHH, yeah, I thought that might be it. I literally just read that for the first time last night and while distrubing, it had been pretty well foreshadowed by all of the other barghast that were out to get her. maybe I havent seen some of the worst parts of it yet.
The barghast sure look like they are being made out to be no more endearing than the letheri or tiste endur in midnight tides, and I think this was a big way that this is brought home.

tragic, yes, brutal, yes, but is it worse than Karsa in the beginning of HoC? we just know the victim better.
at least Toc saves the kids, for now...
Tai Tastigon
875. Taitastigon
Yeah, the incident/arc definitely involves Hetan.

It´s a tough one, because it is over the top, to put it mildly.

What makes it tougher is that the anthropologist in SE seems to know the world we live in - e.g. the news story of the gang rape in India ordered by village elders, as you can find on the CNN site today..
Tai Tastigon
876. Taitastigon
OK, djk, main issue I have: To do depth of previous 8 volumes justice, DoD/tCG would have fared better as a trilogy. For the plot decisions SE makes, 1800 pags are not enough. He wraps it up fine enough, but even after 3-4 rereads I cannot find myself to care overly for the *villains*. IMO he should have created some POVs within Kolanse society,as he did with Lether. Simply The Snake as the focal point for all the evil perpetrated feels a bit...detached. The Liosan finally get their POV in tCG, but it´s too know what drives them, but the why is brushed over, at best. Tiam vs. the OD...interesting build-up as a side-arc, but except for the OD and some good drags, no inkling on what makes Tiam´s brood tick...or not tick.

I wouldn´t use the word *rushed* for the wrap-up, but it feels like a house was delivered that has a wing that looks weirdly skeletal. Here, I don´t mean some of the arcs he purposely leaves open -> Errant, Draconus, the new warrens, etc.. This is about the arcs he definitely closes.

I believe having another 900 pages available would have fixed that, but alas, the contract was for 10 volumes, not 11.

As I said, the reread will help me revise or confirm my opinion. SE did a damn fine job wrapping this monster up - especially at a rate of one volume per year. That is eons better than the gentleman that has that hit show on HBO.
Darren Kuik
877. djk1978
I agree. I am not a fan of all the rape/torture scenes in the books, although this one is the worst. There are others which are bad too though, both in characters like Karsa and in memories of other characters. Some of it seems very needless.

It's tough for me because I understand he's trying convey a brutal savagery in some cases, and a terrible emptiness in others etc etc. And I understand that we see no better in our own world, even worse in some cases, but I still don't enjoy reading it. On the other hand, without the descriptiveness can you fully feel the outrage you feel about it now? And maybe that's the point. It's still a huge struggle for me.

To your issues Tait:

I'm not sure which villains you don't "care" for. The Assail are well described. I agree the Kolanse are not given a POV. I wonder though if that is not the point. They no longer have a POV. They are either the children of the Snake, the cannibal outlaws we read about in the prologue, or those assimilated into the FA way of life, for which the FA are an adequate POV. It's clear in these 2 books that those Kolanse who didn't fall in line were made to conform, and we know what that entails for FA.

The Liosan, well yes sort of, but on the other hand the Kharkanas triology is the answer to that I think. Besides, the whole Shake part of that story is brilliant IMO.

I do agree about the dragons I guess, so hopefully reader insight will help there.
Steven Halter
878. stevenhalter
djk1978@872:OK, thanks, yep, that is a very tough storyline. I'll have to revisit that sooner rather than later and keep it in mind. All of the Tool storyline is pretty tough.
Tai Tastigon
879. Taitastigon
djk@877: -> Hetan arc -> that one will be an interesting discussion. SE will certainly chime in during the reread, betcha.

Re villains:
-> FA: You are absolutely right. But all of that makes them somewhat...flat, one-tone. I dunno. That is the one that I am really trying to get a grip on with the reread.

-> Kharkanas certainly will flesh out the Liosan. But damn...after the fact / climax ? This is almost like trying to explain a joke after telling it...

-> Dragons: D´accord. We may get something in the Kharkanas trilogy, as with the Liosan. Again, see previous comment.
Darren Kuik
880. djk1978

FA - I dunno, the machinations between the FA is interesting. They aren't all robots. Calm has plans that don't match the others etc. But again, I think they are meant to be viewed that way. Certainty is the major failing of the FA right?

Liosan - The thing is, is that the goal of all the Liosan or is it just the goal of Kadagar Fant. His army doesn't appear to be the same as the one in Stonewielder.

Dragons - while Kharkanas will almost certainly help I feel like the answer is contained within DoD/tCG and the previous books. It's just harder to tease out. The dragon issue is being played by the longest viewed players in the books, the dragons themselves, the elder Gods, Shadowthrone and Cotillion, Rake (previously) etc.
881. worrywort
For now, before the reread gets to it, I'll say this: "Over the top" is just about the last way I'd describe the hobbling. Accurate, commonplace, mundane, ordinary, etc. would be some ways I'd term it. Take "children are dying" -- replace "children" with "women" and think of "dying" as one fairly low placeholder on the Top 100 list of the worst ways people treat other people (namely women) in might-makes-right cultures -- and you have much of patriarchal human history in a nutshell. These scenes are important, they are the polar opposite of gratuitous, and I could not have been more appreciative that they were included.
George A
882. Kulp

Couldn't agree with you more. It's hard to read but it's real. This is happening today in our world. This past week in India, a woman's village ordered her to be gang raped for the crime of "fallin in love with a man from a different village." I applaud SE for taking a look at our world and showing us a realistic fantasy reflection that includes the dark evils that we are capable of. A lot of people are already villifying what they call that storyline in the DoD prologue, but I appreciate the fact that SE shows honesty and bravery in his writing.
Darren Kuik
883. djk1978
Yes, I mentioned that in my post too. There's no doubt that we see that in our world. There's no doubt that it instills in us the emotions that SE undoubtedly wants us to feel. Despite that, I could still do without having to read it. :)
Tai Tastigon
886. Taitastigon
Kulp @882: Gee, if I didn´t know better, I would almost think yer trying to patronize me. Thx for lecturing me on the gang rape in India. I kinda forgot I mentioned it explicitly at @875, before you do. Time-line
I´ll try to be more direct next time...;0)
George A
887. Kulp

Wow, totally missed that post, that's exactly the incident I was referring to. Not trying to be hostile towards you or patronize you at all, just trying to present my point of view. Timeline issues indeed :)

Maybe the discussion on Hetan's hobbling would be better left for when we actual get to that chapter. It seems like a lot of people here feel strongly about it and I would hate to leave out the discussions from all the first time readers.
Paul Boyd
889. GoodOldSatan
As it turns out, I am reading FoD at the same time as the reread of DoD is going on and I have some questions about family trees. I guess my most basic question here is about the extent to which I should believe the implications in FoD. For example Baruke's "Draconian Family Tree" is clearly in error from MoI (GotM?).

But we have previously been led to believe (RG?), for example, that Tiam and Osserc were the parents of Sukul Ankhadu and Menandore (mother of Rud, accounting for his Draconian/Soultaken blood). That Sukul is a genetic daughter of Osserc is clearly impossible in FoD. Of course, this leaves as a possibility that they are spiritual daughters, similar to the Son(s) of Darkness.

I'm assuming that later in the KT we'll actually see who "drinks the blood" of Tiam (or whatever), since clearly (at least at the time of FoD) there are no soultaken Elient.

So, back to DoD, ... Rud is 2nd, possible 3rd, generation Soultaken Elient?
Chris Lough
890. TorChris
Hi everyone, we've closed this spoiler thread and opened a new one so it's easier for everyone to load. The discussion continues here.
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