Malazan Empire: Toll The Hounds - Malazan Empire

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Toll The Hounds What?

#1 User is offline   baltimorebull 

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Posted 22 April 2009 - 05:37 PM

As someone who has to admit that this installment in the series was dissapointing, I look for reasons. I am not going to say that he has run out of things to say or that the plot has gotten away from him. I will ask a simple question: What does the title Toll the Hounds mean
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#2 User is offline   Alternative Goose 

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Posted 22 April 2009 - 05:44 PM

Damned if I now.

In RG there was mention of a... Rhivi? saying, I believe it is Toc that mentions it, called "The Hounds Toll". But it is never explained
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#3 User is offline   Grief 

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Posted 22 April 2009 - 05:58 PM

The line also comes up in Toll the Hounds.

Cougar said:

Grief, FFS will you do something with your sig, it's bloody awful
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#4 User is offline   Stalker 

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Posted 22 April 2009 - 06:01 PM

Yeah, I thought it was talking about the death toll of the results to come.


There was a line that led me to believe that, but I don't have my copy with me.
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#5 User is offline   powermad 

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Posted 22 April 2009 - 06:32 PM

could it not be something simple like the hounds of shadow, light, darkness? or would that be very obvious?
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#6 User is offline   Salt-Man Z 

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Posted 22 April 2009 - 08:15 PM

I never interpreted the word "toll" as payment, rather more along the lines of "for whom the bell tolls". Check out this list; I'd put money on number four:

"dictionary.com" said:

toll   /toʊl/ [tohl],
–verb (used with object)
1. to cause (a large bell) to sound with single strokes slowly and regularly repeated, as for summoning a congregation to church, or esp. for announcing a death.
2. to sound or strike (a knell, the hour, etc.) by such strokes: In the distance Big Ben tolled five.
3. to announce by this means; ring a knell for (a dying or dead person).
4. to summon or dismiss by tolling.
5. to lure or decoy (game) by arousing curiosity.
6. to allure; entice: He tolls us on with fine promises.

"Here is light. You will say that it is not a living entity, but you miss the point that it is more, not less. Without occupying space, it fills the universe. It nourishes everything, yet itself feeds upon destruction. We claim to control it, but does it not perhaps cultivate us as a source of food? May it not be that all wood grows so that it can be set ablaze, and that men and women are born to kindle fires?"
―Gene Wolfe, The Citadel of the Autarch
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#7 User is offline   HoosierDaddy 

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Posted 22 April 2009 - 08:18 PM

I like # 3. Consider the discussions between Tulas Shorn and ST & Cots.
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#8 User is offline   Alternative Goose 

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Posted 22 April 2009 - 08:19 PM

View PostSalt-Man Z, on Apr 22 2009, 10:15 PM, said:

I never interpreted the word "toll" as payment, rather more along the lines of "for whom the bell tolls". Check out this list; I'd put money on number four:

"dictionary.com" said:

toll   /toʊl/ [tohl],
–verb (used with object)
1. to cause (a large bell) to sound with single strokes slowly and regularly repeated, as for summoning a congregation to church, or esp. for announcing a death.
2. to sound or strike (a knell, the hour, etc.) by such strokes: In the distance Big Ben tolled five.
3. to announce by this means; ring a knell for (a dying or dead person).
4. to summon or dismiss by tolling.
5. to lure or decoy (game) by arousing curiosity.
6. to allure; entice: He tolls us on with fine promises.



I'll buy it. Nice quote good sir.
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#9 User is offline   Wampyry 

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Posted 23 April 2009 - 02:52 AM

Six ain't bad. Allure the Hounds - to the sword
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#10 User is offline   Salt-Man Z 

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Posted 23 April 2009 - 03:30 AM

I agree that #3 isn't bad, and 5/6 are devilishly intriguing.

But "Summoning the Hounds"... that's pretty much what happens at the end of TtH. Both the Hounds of Shadow and of Light, summoned to Darujhistan by one thing or another.
"Here is light. You will say that it is not a living entity, but you miss the point that it is more, not less. Without occupying space, it fills the universe. It nourishes everything, yet itself feeds upon destruction. We claim to control it, but does it not perhaps cultivate us as a source of food? May it not be that all wood grows so that it can be set ablaze, and that men and women are born to kindle fires?"
―Gene Wolfe, The Citadel of the Autarch
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#11 User is offline   HoosierDaddy 

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Posted 23 April 2009 - 03:34 AM

Oh, I get your point, and I think it is a solid theory. I guess my theory is that it would make sense if that was the interpretation for a chapter title or something. It doesn't strike me as "all encompassing" as a book title does.

Tulas Shorn states that the Hounds are a warning. K'rul states that he is the prize at the end of the road, and he is the Maker of Warrens.

The Hounds of Light as an announcement that the Warrens are in true upheaval makes sense to me. Thus: Toll the Hounds.
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#12 User is offline   Skywalker 

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Posted 23 April 2009 - 08:07 AM

So basically Toll the Hounds is "Announcing the Hounds"?

Couldn't he just have named it "Here Come the Hounds"... wait, no... that would have kinky connotations :lol:
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#13 User is offline   Newbee 

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Posted 23 April 2009 - 01:02 PM

I like 3, relating to a particular someones death. The arrival of the hounds of light in a way annouced his death.
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#14 User is offline   MTS 

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Posted 23 April 2009 - 01:17 PM

It says something about SE's skill that he can even make a book title incredibly ambivalent in its meaning...
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#15 User is offline   baltimorebull 

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Posted 23 April 2009 - 05:19 PM

I don't think ambiguity is a plus for a writer. . . .

That said i think the hounds were tolled . . . the question is were they summoned or dismissed? and to what end, does their appearance or dissapearance signify anything?

Yes, I am sure that it does, but what?
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#16 User is offline   Salt-Man Z 

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Posted 23 April 2009 - 05:57 PM

View Postbaltimorebull, on Apr 23 2009, 12:19 PM, said:

I don't think ambiguity is a plus for a writer. . . .

The sheer volume of discussion on these boards is (to me) clear evidence otherwise.
"Here is light. You will say that it is not a living entity, but you miss the point that it is more, not less. Without occupying space, it fills the universe. It nourishes everything, yet itself feeds upon destruction. We claim to control it, but does it not perhaps cultivate us as a source of food? May it not be that all wood grows so that it can be set ablaze, and that men and women are born to kindle fires?"
―Gene Wolfe, The Citadel of the Autarch
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#17 User is offline   baltimorebull 

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Posted 23 April 2009 - 06:18 PM

View PostSalt-Man Z, on Apr 23 2009, 06:57 PM, said:

View Postbaltimorebull, on Apr 23 2009, 12:19 PM, said:

I don't think ambiguity is a plus for a writer. . . .

The sheer volume of discussion on these boards is (to me) clear evidence otherwise.

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#18 User is offline   Ganymed 

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Posted 23 April 2009 - 08:42 PM

View Postbaltimorebull, on Apr 23 2009, 08:18 PM, said:

View PostSalt-Man Z, on Apr 23 2009, 06:57 PM, said:

View Postbaltimorebull, on Apr 23 2009, 12:19 PM, said:

I don't think ambiguity is a plus for a writer. . . .

The sheer volume of discussion on these boards is (to me) clear evidence otherwise.



Nice reply, good sir! :)
But really, I find this particular discussion an excellent example of how clever the title is. Continue reading further down for explanation!

View PostSalt-Man Z, on Apr 22 2009, 10:15 PM, said:

I never interpreted the word "toll" as payment, rather more along the lines of "for whom the bell tolls". Check out this list; I'd put money on number four:

"dictionary.com" said:

toll   /toʊl/ [tohl],
–verb (used with object)
1. to cause (a large bell) to sound with single strokes slowly and regularly repeated, as for summoning a congregation to church, or esp. for announcing a death.
2. to sound or strike (a knell, the hour, etc.) by such strokes: In the distance Big Ben tolled five.
3. to announce by this means; ring a knell for (a dying or dead person).
4. to summon or dismiss by tolling.
5. to lure or decoy (game) by arousing curiosity.
6. to allure; entice: He tolls us on with fine promises.



I stumbled upon this thread and over this example of clever use of a dictionary and just thought WHOA! Of COURSE!!!!
All the time I thought of "toll" as the payment, but this is just extraordinary: Every meaning (maybe with the exception of No. 2) fits and makes sense in some way or another, and I bet my grandmother that that's the reason why SE called this book the way he did. Fuck me, that was an eye-opener! Huge imaginary rep for everyone involved and even more of it for Salt-Man Z!

Ganymed - can now finally sleep peacefully
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#19 User is offline   Khellendros 

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Posted 23 April 2009 - 09:38 PM

The title Toll the Hounds could have, and in all likelihood does, have more than one meaning behind it.

However, regarding the saying that was mentioned at the beginning of this thread, it does in fact refer to 'toll' as 'payment', rather than 'summoning' or 'announcing'. As in, you pay the Hounds (whatever the hounds are meant to represent in that particular context you're uttering the saying in) in order to either avoid something, have something happen, say thanks for something, or say sorry for something.

The 'toll' or 'payment' is not meant literally, but in a figurative sense. That is, you're admitting that something has happened which requires some sort of significant investment (emotional, physical, monetary or otherwise) from you.

In the book, a lot of characters are having to perform sacrifices of one sort or another, they're 'tolling the hounds.'



Of course, another meaning is the more readily apparent allusion to the role of the Hounds of Light and Shadow in the novel.
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#20 User is offline   Salt-Man Z 

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Posted 24 April 2009 - 02:06 AM

View PostKhellendros, on Apr 23 2009, 04:38 PM, said:

However, regarding the saying that was mentioned at the beginning of this thread, it does in fact refer to 'toll' as 'payment', rather than 'summoning' or 'announcing'. As in, you pay the Hounds (whatever the hounds are meant to represent in that particular context you're uttering the saying in) in order to either avoid something, have something happen, say thanks for something, or say sorry for something.

As far as the saying "the Hounds' toll" that was mentioned in RG, I'll buy that, absolutely. But I don't see any way that can work for the book (and chapter) title "Toll the Hounds", as the object indicated (the Hounds) is the party making payment, not receiving it:

dictionary.com said:

toll   /toʊl/ [tohl]
-verb (used with object)
8. to collect (something) as toll.
9. to impose a tax or toll on (a person).

This post has been edited by Salt-Man Z: 24 April 2009 - 02:07 AM

"Here is light. You will say that it is not a living entity, but you miss the point that it is more, not less. Without occupying space, it fills the universe. It nourishes everything, yet itself feeds upon destruction. We claim to control it, but does it not perhaps cultivate us as a source of food? May it not be that all wood grows so that it can be set ablaze, and that men and women are born to kindle fires?"
―Gene Wolfe, The Citadel of the Autarch
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