Apr 12 2013 12:00pm

Malazan Re-read of the Fallen: Toll the Hounds, Chapter One

Malazan Re-read of the Fallen Toll The Hounds Steven EriksonWelcome 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 One of Toll the Hounds (TtH).

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 spoiler thread has been set up for outright Malazan spoiler discussion.




Lady Vidikas, once Challice D’Arle and now wife to Councilor Gorlas Vidikas, stands on the balcony of her home watching the crowds celebrating the New Year. She thinks of the fad lately among Daru men of wearing Malazan-like torcs (but gold and gemmed) and also of her husband’s contempt for much of the nobility. She believes she has seen what her life is now going to be like, and she mourns the past.


Picker is returning from the market on her way back to K’rul’s Bar, cursing Blend’s inconvenient “sprained” ankle and annoyed as well at Mallet’s misery since retirement.


Dester Thrin, a member of the Assassin’s Guild, is tailing Picker as part of a contract on at least several of the retired Malazans. He thinks back on the succession wars after Vorcan’s disappearance, his relative contentment with the new Grand Master. He recalls Rallick Nom’s use of poison over the then-preferred magic and how a cult has grown up around Nom since his disappearance, though the current Grand Master had outlawed it and killed several of its alleged leaders.


Baruk’s demon Chillbais, perched atop a wall watching over the Azath House, sees something emerge from the house and go over the wall. Chillbais flies off to tell Baruk.


Zechan Throw and Giddyn the Quick, two other Guild assassins, wait to ambush Antsy and Bluepearl, who are returning from the market with wine and who seem a bit drunk as they stumble toward K’rul’s.


Dester makes his move on Picker, but she kills him instead, having long ago picked him out tailing her. Realizing Dester was an assassin and not a common thief, she hurries back to the bar.


Zechan and Giddyn make their move, but Bluepearl had been casting an illusion to make it seem that he and Antsy were ten feet ahead of where they actually were and the Malazans kill their attackers easily, realizing afterward, as did Picker, that they weren’t muggers but paid assassins.


Picker spots what seems to be another assassin near K’rul’s. She kills him just before Antsy and Bluepearl catch up to her and the three enter the bar. Picker calls a meeting, telling Blend to find Mallet and Duiker. Blend notes it’s too bad Spindle has taken off on a pilgrimage. As they head to the meeting, a bard is singing Anomandaris, though no one is listening.


Challice observers the three councilors in her home: Shardan Lim, who seems to regard her with a predatory eye; Hanut Orr, an arrogant playboy; and her husband, contemptuous and seemingly indifferent to how Lim looks at Challice. Challice goes to her room and tells her maid to pull out her old jeweler. Looking at the pieces, she decides to see them tomorrow.


Murillio’s latest woman, the widow Sepharia, has passed out and her daughter makes a move on Murillio, which he knows he should ignore but doesn’t. At the close of their amorous adventure, the girl’s current suitor stabs Murillio, wounding him badly. Murillio leaves the house, blood streaming from the wound.


In the Phoenix, Scorch and Leff bemoan having taken on the job of taking on a debtor’s list. And acting as collectors/enforcers. They lose a game to Kruppe and he tells them he’ll defray their debt if they cut him in on the list for a percentage. Their conversation is broken up by the arrival of the badly wounded Murillio. Kruppe sends Meese for Coll.


At K’rul’s the Malazans discuss the contract put out on them. Coll bursts in requesting Mallet’s immediate help. Mallet goes with Bluepearl.


Baruk is reading a seemingly not-so-credible account of the old Tiste days, involving the alliance between Anomander Rake and Osserick against Draconus. The scroll was a gift from Rake, delivered by Crone, who watches as Baruk reads. Baruk and Crone discuss the White Face Barghast and Grey Sword taking ship and Rake’s delay in accepting Darujhistan’s offer to set up diplomatic relations with Black Coral. Crone says Rake wants to know “when will it begin,” and if Baruk needs assistance, adding Rake can make said assistance hidden if necessary. Chillbais enters and tells Baruk “Out! Out! Out!” after which Baruk tells Crone “it has begun.”


Amanda’s Reaction

This Frail Age poem is by Fisher kel Tath, and echoes what we heard in the prologue. Does this mean that the grey-haired gentleman who joins K’rul and Kruppe is Fisher, or is it merely that he sings the same song that Fisher did?

Look at the lead through that poem: “Oh frail city! ... Oh blue city! ... Uncrowned city! ... Doomed city!” Anyone feeling a little tense at what might happen to Darujhistan in this novel?

The spiders mentioned in that poem—anything to do with Ardata? Or are we merely talking about webs and hidden things?

It feels both strange and nice to be back in a city where there is wealth and no war or deprivation (as of yet). This is definitely highlighted by the start of this chapter: “Tables laden with exotic foods, ladies wrapped in silks, men and women in preposterous uniforms all glittering gilt....”

There is so much in these first few chapters. For a start, those “soldiers” are shown to be those acting a part, those who have not seen war. It all makes you feel uneasy, linked to the poem about this doomed city of Darujhistan. Makes you feel that these fake soldiers may have to become real soldiers before the book is done.

Also, we see a real shift in attitude towards the Malazans—from a chilling threat to an empire that provides inspiration for jewellry now sported by nobles. And that switch did not happen slowly. This breeds a perspective, rightly or wrongly, that the people of Darujhistan are rather like willow trees—swaying in the direction that the wind blows, but mostly just continuing their lives uninterrupted.

“Flaying of Fander”—something to do with Fanderay?

Hello Challice, welcome back! So she did marry Gorlas, did she? Seems as though that marriage is not quite working out for her—wonder if she ever thinks about Crokus?

Quick glimpse at the ex-Bridgeburners, via Picker and her quest for Blend’s flatbread—it does make you wonder how they’ve taken to retirement. In my experience, a lot of soldiers find it incredibly hard to adjust to civilian life. Perhaps Mallet is struggling in this respect? Or maybe it’s the residue of what he’s had to cope with during his time with the Bridgeburners.

This is immediately picked up as we realise that Picker is being trailed by Dester Thrin, and he reflects on the fact that the soldiers haven’t remained in shape on leaving the army: “They were old, sagging, rarely sober, and this one, well, she wore that huge, thick woollen cloak because she was getting heavy and it clearly made her self-conscious.” This is so overt, though, that it does make me think that Dester is about to be proved wrong in a bad way!

Why has the clan-master targeted these ex-Bridgeburners? On whose orders? I mean, I know that the ex-Bridgeburners probably have many enemies made over the course of their lives in the military, but I wonder what this is about.

Ah, I see we have a mysterious Grand Master “who was both vicious and clever”—I wonder if we should be guessing who this is yet? Also, let’s pose this question. How often when a character is put on the page but not referenced as male or female do you automatically assume they are male? I do this WAY too often, and it frustrates me.

Although here it turns out the Grand Master IS male: one Seba Krafar.

Chillbais sort of reminds me of a gargoyle, because of his stoniness and his observation of the Azath House. SO MANY QUESTIONS, just from this tiny brief section. Who came out of the House? Or was it someone who went to the House and then returned? Why is Chillbais watching the House? What sort of demon is he? Who is his master? Haha, this feels like a familiar place: overwhelming confusion as I head into a new Erikson book. By this point, though, I feel affection and trust rather than annoyance. I’m fine with trying to put these dots together, and totally willing to be wrong while guessing!

Aww, Dester, it’s like we never knew you. And I do enjoy being proven right there, in that the Bridgeburners will never really be ex. They do take down these assassins with ease. Are the assassins just not very good, or are the Bridgeburners too experienced in spotting these things?

So Shardan Lim is a bad guy, right? From this description he might as well be wearing a black hat and a t-shirt that says “I heart monologues”: “He met Challice’s eyes like a man about to ask her husband if his own turn with her was imminent, and she felt that regard like the cold hand of possession round her throat.” If he is an example of the new breed on the Council, then I don’t like who is in charge of Darujhistan.

I do feel for Challice as she thinks: “Oh, there had been so many possibilities then.” Sure, she is being more vain about things, but I think most of us look back to our childhoods and think that the world truly was completely open to us then. As we get older, more and more doors are closed.

Oh, Erikson is so clever with his language. With phrasing like: “...this stroking of his vaguely creped and nearly flaccid ego...” and “...Tripping over his sword all night...” he has quite clearly laid out the amorous path intended in this scene. That was if the reader hadn’t already clocked the half-naked girl.

Murillio has died here?! That can’t be the way we return to a character, surely? Although, as Bill often points out, we haven’t actually seen the word corpse. And even that isn’t always the end of a person!

Encounters with Kruppe make me smile. I remember being vaguely annoyed with him when we first met him, but now I just drink in sentences like: “Kruppe, of course, felt magnanimous towards them all, as suited his naturally magnanimous nature.”

See? See Murillio not being dead? (I should not really make comments as I go along, because I am so often proved immediately wrong, but I do like to give you my instant reaction on events!)

Although there has been some question raised so far in this opening, I am finding the first chapter to have started at a neat sprint. Considering the slower way some of the Malazan novels have unwound, this feels very different.

Annnnnnnd, having just said that, the scene with Baruk and Crone unwinds both slowly and mysteriously. Why exactly did Anomander offer up Dillat’s book to Baruk? Just for entertainment value? We get a real sense of the Tiste Andii’s ennui and long lives, as we realise that Anomander could quite feasibly consider Baruk’s request for alliance and embassy until Baruk is dead and gone. Yet it seems as though Anomander has, in fact, been holding back for a reason—he is thinking that Baruk might require more covert assistance. But assistance for what?


Bill’s Reaction

Either of your guesses about that opening poem make sense Amanda, but I don’t think it much of a spoiler to say your first is right and here indeed that clue I was talking about re our mysterious third guest around the fire with Kruppe and K’rul.

I like how Challice’s name is withheld until the end, a case where the delayed information has greater impact. As for if she thinks about Cutter Amanda, I think her focus on the moon and the past is telling us that yes, she does indeed.

I also like that section on the torcs and this idea being portrayed of how when there is not war, the artifacts of war can become like playthings, delinked from their actual meaning and horror (as well as their good linkages—valor, self-sacrifice).

We’ve seen far too much Bridgeburner competence to have much suspense over the assassins I’d say. I’m not saying these were bad scenes, but I think the tension is more over how the Malazans would escape death rather than if. Anyone feel differently?

As for Chillbais’ scene. While it isn’t laid out, if we can spin our heads waaaayyyy back to our last time in this city, we can call up who was employing demons (Baruk) and who was inside the Azath House (Vorcan and Rallick). I’d also say that relatively lengthy aside on the cult of Rallick Nom is a pretty good indicator that back in Darujhistan as we are, and knowing as we do that he is not dead, that we’ll probably be seeing him at some point. The same holds true for the reminder re Vorcan.

And like Amanda, it is good to see these folks (the Malazans) back in their usual no-nonsense, competent fashion. And with the Bridgeburners comes that dark humor as well—loved the “Served ‘im right, standing there like that,” line, along with Picker bemoaning turning down her best proposal in decades.

Note that throwaway line—where exactly is Spindle off pilgrimaging to?

And that other throwaway line about the bard singing Anomandaris, and nobody listening.

Yes, Shardan does appear on stage in near-full moustache-twirling form, doesn’t he? We’ll have to see how that plays out.

“He should never have lingered in the garden” followed closely by “Turning, he found himself looking upon the widow’s daughter” is like an easy-to-solve algebra equation: 2 + 2 = X. Oh, Murillio, we all saw this coming after the first paragraph or two.

And yes, the language is a good time indeed. As is the way in which Murillio slips into his “usual detachment [so as to ensure] impressive endurance,” pulling himself out (so to speak) just in time before getting lost in a malaise that would have not helped his, um, “ego.”

As we read about Kruppe’s “naturally magnanimous nature,” let us not forget just who is telling this tale....

I can’t recall if this continues throughout the novel, but I just want to stop a moment to point out we’re getting lots of echoes here already. We had Challice thinking back to her past and feeling a sense of regret and now we’ve got Murillio doing the same. We’ve got mention of the moon in both those scenes. We’ve got two bars: the Phoenix and K’rul’s. We’ve got two groups in each. We’ve got assassins on the streets (though admittedly not for long) and assassins perhaps about to hit the streets (from the House). Here we’ve got a game being played with Skirmishers and Mercenaries, etc. Soon we’ll see another, similar game being played elsewhere. As I said, I can’t recall if this continues, but it may just be something to keep an eye on. In any case, I always like how these sorts of connections lend a sense of unity to a work.

And speaking of the past and regrets, we’ve also got Duiker here, who has yet to recover seemingly from his experiences. And while we’re with him, let’s note that tapestry he’s looking at, an armada of dragons approaching a place that looks just like this bar, which if you recall, was once a temple sacred to K’rul. Reminding us of that connection between the Elder God and the dragons.

I like how matter-of-factly these guys talk about the ghosts below. A little thing, but it does tell us something about this group.

Speaking of echoes, we’ve had a bard singing obscure lines from the poem Anomandaris, a reference to Duiker the historian, and now we’ve got Baruk reading an alleged history of Anomandaris, though it’s pretty clear there is not a lot of actual “history” in it (and here perhaps might be a good place to mention for a few of you who have asked that yes, we are planning on doing the prequel books. And yes, for those who have read Forge of Darkness, it’s going to be hard at times to stay quiet when we get references to those days here and the rest of this series. Prepare to gird thyself to silence.)

By the way, I’m wondering if maybe E.R. Edison wrote this version of Anomandaris With Blood On His Face. It sounds a bit like the Worm Ouroboros if I recall that book right (a book I absolutely loved when I read it long long ago in a teenhood far far away).

It’s interesting that soon after getting a scornful account of historians, we get Baruk referring to Fisher’s Anomandaris (a long poem) as seemingly more authoritative. Interesting in what it says about both Fisher and about poetry/creative writing vs. history.

The Barghast and Grey Swords off to the seas. We know where they are by now....

What indeed is the “it” which has begun? What might Baruk need assistance with? What could be so large that it would be beyond Baruk and require not just assistance but help on the scale of Rake? How is whoever escaped from the Azath House connected?

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
@Bill:I wasn't very concerned over Picker, but I must admit that Bluepearl & Antsy's scene had me a little worried as they seemed to get killed.
Chalice does seem to be all about regret here.
The plot is thickening up rapidly and just what has begun is a very good question.
Chris Hawks
2. SaltManZ
@Bill: You're right, Dillat does sound a bit like Eddison. :) It also reminded me of Dunsany's (over)use of the phrase "the fields we know" in The King of Elfland's Daughter.

I freaked out a little bit at Murillio, Antsy, and Bluepearl's "deaths" even though I know they're all around later in the book.*

It's funny, Rallick Nom is mentioned, and it's like hearing the name of an old friend...and yet, Rallick only appeard in GotM, which was seven books ago. Nine if you count ICE's! Now that I think about it, Picker and Blend were really only in MoI, Duiker in DG, and Kruppe himself's only been seen once since GotM. Talk about memorable characters!

*Speaking of later in the book, after finishing Chapter One last night, I spent way too long flipping around and reading passages from nearer the book's end. I had forgotten (or perhaps never realized) just how amazing this book gets.
Sydo Zandstra
3. Fiddler
Glad to meet old friends again: Picker, Blend, Antsy, Bluepearl, Mallet and Duiker. :)

To me, in this book Antsy gets to show some of the badass-ness he clearly must have been having all the time. You don't get to be a surviving and retired BB without that...

@Amanda, re: Mallet..
The reason why Mallet is feeling miserable is anchored in the end of MoI, when he realizes WhiskeyJack lost to Kallor because of the injured leg betraying him. Mallet wanted to heal that leg, but WJ always held off or postponed (we will learn in a later book there was a reason for that).

Basically it's guilt eating at Mallet...
4. HathsinSurvivor
It's nice to get back to Erikson. However, this book represents a tone shift even for him. It's even more lyrical and flowing. This can make it go a little slow, but there is such a collossal payoff.
Kartik Nagar
5. BloodRaven
Dillat's writings were really amusing, with characters repeatedly kneeling to the thousand gods and all.

So Rake and Osserc did fight Draconus together, their alliance broke apart when Osserc was seduced by Sister Spite, and then Rake presumably fought Draconus alone and obtained Dragnipur. Meanwhile he was also being seduced by Lady Envy, but supposedly he was aware of it. What was the outcome of that relationship that Crone is talking about?
Brian R
6. Mayhem
So chilbais works for Baruk.
And last we saw, Baruk and Derudan had a right old showdown with Vorcan, who took a contract from Laseen to eliminate the T'orrud Cabal.

Any wonder he's been keeping a close watch on the azath?

Actually, that contract brings up interesting questions following Taya's killing of Laseen.
Did the empire try and welsh on paying perhaps?
Paul Boyd
7. GoodOldSatan
Hmmm, re: the Grey Swords ... I seem to recall references to the Barghast appearing on the southern shores of the Bluerose Sea, but the Grey Swords? {The Grey Helms, I think, are with (or recently departed from) the Bonehunters on the other side of that continent.}

And also now "Black" Coral. Have we yet seen a reason for the name change?

I overlooked the hints regarding Draconus's daughters first time through. (But, then again, despite the constant references to Osserc throughout the series so far, we have only seen him -- except in prologues -- in a brief scene with his son L'oric.)
Tai Tastigon
8. Taitastigon
GOS @7

Hmmm, re: the Grey Swords ... I seem to recall references to the Barghast appearing on the southern shores of the Bluerose Sea, but the Grey Swords?

Reapers Gale => the battle field that Redmask finds early in the book => the bodies of the Grey Swords. Only Toc survived.
Sydo Zandstra
9. Fiddler
GoS, re: Grey Swords

The Grey Swords followed the Barghast there but were massacred after being betrayed by the Awl. Check RG's Prologue. :)
10. HathsinSurvivor
The Grey Swords landed on Lether, where they allied with the Awl. When the Letherii attacked, the Awl fled, leaving the Grey Swords to die (minus Toc, that comes later). The Barghast landed a little later, built wolf cairns for the Swords, and ended up wiping out the survivors of the Letherii/Awl battle.
Chris Hawks
11. SaltManZ
@GOS: "And also now "Black" Coral. Have we yet seen a reason for the name change?"

Coral saw a full unveiling of Kurald Galain back in MoI, and it was referred to as "Black Coral" back at the end of that book.
Tricia Irish
12. Tektonica
Bloodraven@5; Re: Rake....Meanwhile he was also being seduced by Lady Envy, but supposedly he was aware of it. What was the outcome of that relationship that Crone is talking about?

Haven't we already met the out come of " that"?

13. worrywort
@Amanda: I kinda love the play-by-play approach. You generally switch it up pretty good, as the mood takes you I assume, but I think for re-readers -- at least this one -- it evokes a kind of nostalgia for that first read.
Cody Burkholder
14. jaybird7
Can someone remind me how Challice played into GotM? I also can't remember how Rallick ended up in the Azath. For all of the characters I remember, these are not two of them. Thanks.
Steven Halter
15. stevenhalter
jaybird7@14:Challice was the girl that Crokus had a crush upon and for whom he thought to better himself.
Rallick carried Vorcan into the new Azath after she was wounded. We saw them lying just within the door in MoI.
Nadine L.
17. travyl
@ 3. Fiddler
The reason why Mallet is feeling miserable ...
Mallet wanted to heal that leg, but WJ always held off ...
(we will learn in a later book there was a reason for that).
At least part of the reason (?) was already revealed (I'm a first-time reader and am currently in sync with the reread, so it has to be an earlier book, even if I don't recall in which book the scene was with Hood regretting some parts of what he'd done)
Edit: it was Bonehunters, chapter 14:
Hood never forgave him for that, and took in the end a most satisfying vengeance, ever turning away a healer’s touch
18. SSSimon
What a great first chapter! It really whets the appetite for what's to come. Plus it's so good to be back in the Blue City, probably one of the best settings in the Malazan world.
Sydo Zandstra
19. Fiddler

Thanks, I had forgotten about that one. :)

There will be more though (not much, but it could be seen as a light spoiler by some)
20. Jordanes
Toll the Hounds has by far the most unique 'voice' of the Malazan books, and you can already see that in this chapter. It is the darkest (in terms of tone), most nostalgic, maybe slowest-moving, quietest, most subtle, sometimes dreariest (I mean that in a positive, atmospheric way, if that's possible), and probably the most introspective and self-reflective work. I think a lot of this tone was perhaps influenced by Erikson's father dying whilst he was writing it (although I would say the Kruppe narrative voice is part of Erikson's attempt to consciously try and do something different in every novel).

More specifically to this chapter, I agree with @12 Tektonica: I think the reason we had that scene with Baruk and the Anomander history book is so we're reminded of Rake's liaison with Envy - the consequences of which are walking into our reading imminently :)
karl oswald
21. Toster
im interested to see what peoples reactions are to scorch and leff. as a duo, they are definitely not in the same league as kalam/QB or tehol/bugg regarding potency, but i always thought they were pretty hilarious. curious if anyone else thinks so, because opinions i've seen so far seem a little luke-warm toward them.
Eric Desjardins
22. SirExo
Glad to be back after taking a little break during RotCG. I have to say that the first time I read this book, I did not like it very much. On my second read a couple of months ago, so that i could read OST, it was allot better now that I had realised that it was narrated by Kruppe (wich i had not realised the first time).
Philipp Frank
23. KillTheMule
Rake's liaison with Envy - the consequences of which are walking into our reading imminently :)
Could you remind me of those?

I did not enjoy Leff&Scorch :( Also, I did not enjoy Kruppe narrating. Funny, because I really love Kruppe's dialogs... monologues, I mean ^^

Although, I have to say, it's the same for me as with Karsa's long debut in House of Chains. I did not like that particularly, either, but I did kinda enjoy the change in style. Just like with Kruppe "dancing" our story now, it just gives the whole series a feeling of diversity.
Bill Capossere
24. Billcap
Re Envy, here is a potentially relevant (possibly, not all that folks say is golden) quote from Bonehunters:

His name is Nimander Golit. And that pretty woman beside him, that's Phaed, his first daughter. All seven of 'em are cousins, sisters, brothers, but it's Nimander who leads, since he's the oldest. Nimander says he is the first son of the Son.'
'The what?'
'The Son of Darkness, Banaschar . . . That's Anomander Rake. Look at 'em, they're all Rake's brood – grandchildren mostly . . .
'So, if Anomander Rake is Nimander's father, who was the mother?'
'Ah, you're not completely blind, then. You can see, can't you?
Different mothers, for some of 'em. And one of those mothers wasn't no Tiste Andii, was she? Look at Phaed-' . . .
'Lady Envy, who used to know Anomander Rake himself, and got her revenge taking his son as a lover. Messy, eh? But if she was anything like that Phaed there, with that smile, well, envy's the only word – for every other woman in the world.
Bill Capossere
25. Billcap
Saltman--nice to see someone else knows Eddison. And Dunsany is another good comparison there

I don't mind Scorch and Leff though they rank down on the funny characters in the series list for me

As for Kruppe's narration, we'll see much more of it, but generally I'm a fan, both for the style and the underlying humor sometimes of something being funny not in itself but in recalling who is saying it (if that's clear enough)
26. Jordanes
@ 24 BillCap:

Yep, and in Reaper's Gale Nimander and Phaed turn into siblings, rather than father and daughter. I guess you can explain it away as unreliable narrator, but my suspicion is that it was slightly more palatable for a brother to try and and do away with his evil psycho sister, than a father his daughter, so Erikson changed it :P

As a result, Envy turns into mother for both of them, rather than Nimander's lover - I think, at least.
Iris Creemers
27. SamarDev
@ 26 Jordanes
Isn't it possible that Bill's quote is refering to Phaed as Rakes daughter in stead of Nimanders? I see how you can easily come to your interpretation, but 'mine' isnt't very farfetched creative, and prevents a need to correction. Although I don't know right now without reading back if there are more references in Bonehunters to a father-daughter-relationship between Nimander and Phaed...
His name is Nimander Golit. And that pretty woman beside him, that's Phaed, his (Rakes) first daughter. All seven of 'em are cousins, sisters, brothers, but it's Nimander who leads, since he's his (Rakes) oldest. Nimander says he is the first son of the Son.'
--> so: oldest son and oldest daughter.
28. Jordanes
@27 Samar:

But the line...

'His name is Nimander Golit. And that pretty woman beside him, that's Phaed, his first daughter.'

...comes before ANY mention of Anomander Rake in the conversation, so it can only be referring to Nimander as the father (as he is the only other person being talked about at that point). That they're NOT referring to Rake is made all the clearer by Banaschar's confusion over who "the Son" is, i.e. the other speaker has to introduce him properly into the conversation.

Your interpretation would certainly make it neater (and indeed, in RG it does appear they do become eldest son and eldest daughter of Rake), but that's simply not what the paragraph says.
Paul Boyd
29. GoodOldSatan
Well, we have already seen instances where the oral (and written) history has been warped by time. Baruk's Draconian Family Tree from GotM (maybe MOI) has some significant errors, as does Dillat's Dark and Light as explained in this very chapter. Perhaps the interpretation of family ties in BH suffers the same type of misapprehension.
30. Jordanes
@ 29:

Yep, and that's what I originally said we could put it down to - unreliable narrator - but let's face it, sometimes Erikson just changes stuff to make the narrative fit into how he envisions it at that present moment ;)

Perhaps we could say that sometimes, it's not the characters who make unreliable/confused witnesses, but Erikson himself :)
Paul Boyd
31. GoodOldSatan
It just seems that we have a different interpretation of SE's intent. Does he confuse (or present characters who misreport) intentionally. or is it a minor inconsistency that can be altered at a future date to make a more intersting story. I think there may be evidence of both; for examples, Orfantal's gender and legend of Iskar Jarak.

Given SE's prior training, I tend to fall into the "the confusion was planned and intentional" camp.
32. Jordanes
@ 31:

I don't think we do have a different interpretation, really.

Of course I agree that a lot of the time SE does intentionally provide confused/wrong observers - that's a fact, and not something I dispute. But in many/majority of those cases, there's a plot-driven reason for doing so.

I'm just saying that sometimes - as with any person who would embark upon composing a 10-book epic - SE either forgets minor details or changes things for the simple sake of the story as he writes it. He is human, after all (I think!) :)

My only point is that we don't ALWAYS have to try, as readers, to find a story-based explanation behind inconsistencies: sometimes we should be willing to accept that the author is not infallible :)
33. Jordanes
To bring it back to the Nimander/Phaed point, what I'm saying is that there is no eventual reveal along the lines of: "Gasp! They're not father and daughter after all, but brother and sister!" It's simply stated in RG that they're brother and sister without any controversy behind that statement, i.e. there turns out to be no plot point behind calling them father and daughter originally. Which is what makes me think that SE simply changed his mind about what he wanted their relationship to be - perhaps even forgetting what he had stated previously.

Whereas on the other hand, something like Whiskeyjack becoming the legend of the Iron King Iskar Jarak, there's a definite reason to screw with that history and provide a narrator who doesn't actually know the real facts behind the events. An even better example is probably the Tiste Edur and Tiste history as seen through their eyes.

Of course, it can be fun to try and work round inconsistencies in the text and work out explanations for them, but that doesn't mean we should become unconscious of what we are doing :)
Paul Boyd
34. GoodOldSatan
I agree, yet am bound by Bill's parenthetical remarks to close his fifth to last paragraph in his 'Reaction' from commenting further. ;-}
35. Tufty
I think the Nimander and Phaed relation could go numerous ways, but it doesn't matter too much in tBH and RG shows pretty clearly that SE wants to go forth with brother-sister from there, so that's fine.

On the other hand, the Envy as Nimander's mother *and* lover thing is a bit odd. In RG, Nimander does a lot of inner-speaking to and thinking about a lost, loved woman. After a couple re-reads, it seems most to me that this woman was another Andii who has now died, with some hints that she was killed by Edur - possibly at Drift Avalii. The whole thing is very vague though, and sometimes it seemed to me more like Nimander saw this woman as a mother and not a lover, but other times not.
Not a very important point so far, really, but it seems to me like Nimander definitely had an important woman in his life other than Phaed and Envy, who was Andii and who's death has disturbed Nimander a lot (not that there aren't other things disurbing him).
Kartik Nagar
36. BloodRaven
I remember when I first read that passage about Nimander and company in tBH, I thought it meant Nimander being Rake's first son, and Phaed Rake's first daughter, mainly because it doesn't make sense to call Phaed Nimander's first daughter, it's not like we have met numerous daughters of Nimander. Also, Nimander is described as being fairly young for a Andii. On the other hand, it would make sense for Rake to have numerous children.

Anyway, there was another major reveal (at least for me) in this chapter, again in Dillat's writings, about K'rul and dragons bowing to his bargain, and also a possible relationship between dragons and soletaken, and realms closing the gate to Starvald Demelain. I remember a scene in RG which showed numerous corpses of dragons who died seemingly waiting for a gate to open (forgot which realm it was).
37. Tufty
Anyway, there was another major reveal (at least for me) in this chapter, again in Dillat's writings, about K'rul and dragons bowing to his bargain, and also a possible relationship between dragons and soletaken, and realms closing the gate to Starvald Demelain. I remember a scene in RG which showed numerous corpses of dragons who died seemingly waiting for a gate to open (forgot which realm it was).
The dead dragons in RG were in Starvald Demelain itself, and indeed died waiting for the gate to open. We've also heard of feral dragons wreaking havoc throughout the warrens (ie: the anti-dragon mountain city in RG) and we've had a reference in MoI to the "Last flight of dragons into Starvald Demelain" - so presumably the dragons (or at least most of them, since we've seen a few in the series) all flew into Starvald Demelain, and then the gates to SD were sealed closed locking them in. I can't recall if we know yet why they were so motivated to fly into SD, so I won't spoil just in case.

Cotillion's discussion with Ampelas, Kalse and Eloth in BH brings up details of the Blood Shapers: dragons who did not go to SD and instead made a pact with K'rul to become embodiments of the Paths he had created. They also speak of the Soletaken, who mostly fought and died until only a few remained as champions of their respective races or factions.

So we've learned lots about the dragons! But of course there's still the relationship of Soletaken and pure Eleint to consider, the consequences of killing a Blood Shaper (we saw Sorrit killed in tBH) and that mysterious Otataral Dragon in the Imperial Warren...
Chris Hawks
38. SaltManZ
GOS @31: Orfantal's gender is never a good argument, though, because it was actually retroactively changed in the text, at least for the US editions.

Re Sorch and Leff: Eh. I could definitely take or leave 'em. I picture them as the two doofy soldiers from the Pirates of the Carribean movies, though, which amuses me. :)
Nadine L.
39. travyl
This would actually be a question for next week, but since we're discussing Nimander's familiy-tree: Nimander calls Skintick "cousin", but I don't think he is son to one of Rake's brothers (Andarist / Silchas Ruin) - I guess they call close kin "cousin", no matter the relationship, because if you live thousonds of years it might be impratical to call one great-great-great uncle...
Edit: Andarist was on Drift Avalii, so it could be a true cousin after all.
Paul Boyd
40. GoodOldSatan

Well that's the point. It was changed. Why?

A typo in the original? Or necessary for future plot developments?
Steven Halter
41. stevenhalter
I rather like that we see the various inconsistencies in history. What actually happened at any given time is rife with uncertainty in the best of circumstances. Even for recent events with eye-witnesses, the description of a given event can vary wildly.
Chris Hawks
42. SaltManZ
@40: It's just that, when it comes to inconsistencies in the text, Orfantal's gender is the only one that's been retroactively corrected in later editions. (As an aside, male Orfantal appeared in MoI in 2001; GotM—with the corrected gender—didn't appear in the US until 2004.)

My point is, Orfantal is an exception in that it was actually altered after the fact, so discussing whether that particular bit was intentional misdirection or unreliable narration or whatever is a bit of a non-starter, and also probably confusing to those who haven't read/are unaware of the Bantam editions. That's all.
43. aaronthere
Just finished MOI and loved how all the comments were people wishing they could skip to this book. Lucky me. Although I will be hastily rereading books 5 6 and 7, so please forgive any lapses in that regard.

Just a quick clarification. Saltmanz mentions kruppe only appearing one time since GotM. Yet he's in many many scenes in MOI. Not sure what he meant by that.

So far I'm enjoying this book very much on its reread. I don't remember much from the first time through except for the jaw dropping ending, so I'm suprised how almost every scene comes back to me so quickly.
Nancy Hills
44. Grieve
(I took out comment that was based on Lady Envy being Nimander's mother as well as Phaed's. Don't know how I started thinking that but I realized "ooops, no")

In Greek myths, Phaedra was the wife of Theseus. She fell in love with Theseus' son, Hippolytus, and tragedy ensued.

Btw, I thought it was pretty clear that the Tiste woman that died in Nimander's arms was like a wife or girlfriend, someone he loved in a non-plantonic manner and had planned to spend his life with. Could be wrong, though.

Just caught up with the reread but had to skip Return of the Crimson Guard to do so. Is that a big mistake? I will go back and read it. I would have preferred reading it in the order you all did but really wanted to participate in this read/reread.
Chris Hawks
45. SaltManZ
@44: There's a major event at the end of RotCG that gets spoiled in a throwaway mention in DoD. And of course, Stonewielder follows up on a number of RotCG's plot points. As long as you read it before either of those, you should be fine. (In other words: TtH is safe.)
George A
46. Kulp
One thing I noticed about this first chapter is that we get a lot of different povs in a short amount of time. It felt like as soon as I got used to the pov we were on we were transitioned on to someone else. Not sure if I like this structure, ICE used it throughout RotCG as well. It'll be interesting to see if this continues on in the rest of the book.

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