Malazan Empire: Top 5 Most Disappointing Characters - Malazan Empire

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#1 User is offline   Khellendros 

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Posted 05 November 2010 - 11:06 AM

So you've been waiting whole books to finally see them in their wordy flesh, thousands of pages of expectation before you finally get to read them speaking cool lines and doing cool things...but, hang on, what are they doing? Why are they doing that? Why aren't they doing this? Is that really all they're about?

List your top 5 most disappointing characters - your reasons can be anything from not overcoming the burden of expectation heaped upon them, to not standing out from the crowd when they finally do appear, to just being plain, "well, what was the point of that character?" So, mine:

1. Dassem Ultor.

What?! Malaz's ultimate swordsman is your most disappointing character?! Well, yeah, exactly. From the very first mention of him, rumoured dead in the ruins of Y'Ghatan in GotM, I wanted to see this guy. The third man of the Malazan Empire, standing beside Kellanved and Dancer, but never wholly with them. Not only that, but now an ascendant, the bloody Lord of Tragedy himself! And then very quickly the whole lone wanderer schtick got tiresome. When put in a small group of wanderers, his ever-broody, dour presence struggled to stand out. This is a leader of men? Hmmm. The fight with Anomander was cool, but I really struggled to get over the fact that there was no rational explanation for it taking place. Every character who met him seemed to comment on the presence of power he gave off, but it's not enough to just say that, and I never could relate this character in front of me to the one commented about in awed whispers in earlier books. Let's face it, ultimately, there was never enough point to him coming into the books in the flesh - each book he appears in could have done equally well without his presence.

2. Skinner.

Yeah, for largely the same reasons as Dassem Ultor, really. I do understand that Esslemont was trying to put across that with his new reliance on his power armour of evil, he was not the same fighter of legend, and that Dassem could have easily killed him were it not for the impenetrable armour. But the whole big, hulking, slightly doltish characterisation is again not the kind of leader you'd imagine the Crimson Guard would accept following K'azz's disappearance. Just not fleshed out enough for me. And as the new King in Chains, he's really going to struggle to bring live up to the heights of characterisation of the previous incumbent, Rhulad.

3. The Redeemer/Itkovian Mark II.

This was one character I wish SE could have just let stay dead. His whole arc in MoI was perfect, there was no reason to bring him back and sully that ever so slightly.

4. The speaking K'Chain Che Malle of Dust of Dreams:

Here is one of the most alien sentient beings in the whole Malaz universe: giant lizards, hive minds, and machines. And as soon as they started 'speaking' in the minds of other characters, that alienness that made them so cool and otherworldy, a mystery worth being kept to itself, was lost. And they just became a bit more...typical.

5. Greymane (although Stonewielder may change this opinion):

Oh goody, turns out it's another amazing swordsman who doesn't wish to fight. Haven't seen one of those before. And he's big and hulking, only a good guy this time. This is perhaps more a problem with me (but these kinds of topics always come down to personal preference, don't they?), but I imagined Greymane to be a bit more of a...cerebral leader. Instead I just got an image of a fat old man with a grey mullet who ends up doing very little.
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#2 User is offline   Tapper 

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Posted 05 November 2010 - 11:52 AM

Hmm, this is tough. I mean, there are people I really dislike in the books (Udinaas, Mallick Rel, all the Felisins, Trull during most of MT), but disappointing as not making good their promise of entertainment:

1) Ganoes Paran. Teleporting, god-slaying god-bullying peace bringing ascended Master of the fucking Deck and Master of Awesome, with Dujek's Host at his back just to give him even more of a fist. Remarkably absent in the past few books which are about the most pressing event in milennia, not to mention it being the reason why he even is the fricking Master.

2) Caladan Brood. Warlord of world fame, all around good guy, champion of Burn, who isn't doing too well, now is she? Had this cool schtick of refusing to wake Burn up to reforge the world. And where did he go to, with this pivotal task? A camping trip, showing up too late in Darujhistan to do more than just recover Dragnipur.
OK, doing more would have spoiled the drama and splosions that was the end of TtH and now he can star in the Dharujhistan novel, but it is odd.

3) Fear Sengar. Ehm, yeah. Goes around moaning and emo-ing trying to find a way to redeem his brother when he should have pimp-slapped him, getting tormented by a former family slave and realizing that not only has Silchas Ruin two swords where he has only one, he also has a bigger dick, balls and can crush Fear with a pinky. And yet he continues on and on just to try and backstab Silchas with a knife during a swordfight at a moment that is not crucial to his own mission.

4) The poor Acquitor Seren Pedac. I really, really liked her, but anything touched by Udinaas becomes poison, and I was just glad she didn't appear anymore. For someone going to give birth to the new Master of Shadow, she's far from pivotal and few seem to even give a fuck about her... one would expect she'd become a pawn on the board of several gods, especially the ones nervous of ST - or ST himself.

5) Reserved for a whole host of characters: dead Hedge, The Crippled God, Killy, Kalam if he fails to re-appear, Masan Gilani if that glorious often-described ass isn't going to be pivotal to bringing world peace to Wu, Hellian if she swears off the drink, and my most likely contender to win this spot: K'rul.
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#3 User is offline   Kanubis 

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Posted 05 November 2010 - 12:06 PM

 

View PostTapper, on 05 November 2010 - 11:52 AM, said:


5) Reserved for a whole host of characters: dead Hedge, 


Now we can never be friends  :p
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#4 User is offline   Gothos 

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Posted 05 November 2010 - 12:11 PM

View PostKanubis, on 05 November 2010 - 12:06 PM, said:

 

View PostTapper, on 05 November 2010 - 11:52 AM, said:


5) Reserved for a whole host of characters: dead Hedge, 


Now we can never be friends  :p


I'm afraid I'll have to agree with Tapper on that point.

I'll also agree with the OP on Skinner and The Redeemer. And with Tapper again on Caladan Brood.
It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly; who errs and comes short again and again; because there is not effort without error and shortcomings; but who does actually strive to do the deed; who knows the great enthusiasm, the great devotion, who spends himself in a worthy cause, who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement and who at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly. So that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat.
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#5 User is offline   Tapper 

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Posted 05 November 2010 - 12:12 PM

View PostKanubis, on 05 November 2010 - 12:06 PM, said:

 

View PostTapper, on 05 November 2010 - 11:52 AM, said:


5) Reserved for a whole host of characters: dead Hedge, 


Now we can never be friends  :p

Awwwww. Huggles.

But in all honesty... After starting off with a kick start during his trip with Paran, he now feels like a character that could have done so much more.
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#6 User is offline   Thel Akai 

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Posted 05 November 2010 - 12:19 PM

I'm re-reading books at the moment, and the one part of Toll the Hounds I could've been without is the OP's bullet 3. Most of anything that happened in Black Coral[1] there seemed pointless[2] to me. So yes, I'm with you on 3.

edit: [1] or people on their way to said place. [2] except that about MD, of course.

This post has been edited by Thel Akai: 05 November 2010 - 12:21 PM

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#7 User is offline   Adjutant Stormy~ 

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Posted 05 November 2010 - 12:23 PM

View PostKhellendros, on 05 November 2010 - 11:06 AM, said:

So you've been waiting whole books to finally see them in their wordy flesh, thousands of pages of expectation before you finally get to read them speaking cool lines and doing cool things...but, hang on, what are they doing? Why are they doing that? Why aren't they doing this? Is that really all they're about?

List your top 5 most disappointing characters - your reasons can be anything from not overcoming the burden of expectation heaped upon them, to not standing out from the crowd when they finally do appear, to just being plain, "well, what was the point of that character?" So, mine:

1. Dassem Ultor.

What?! Malaz's ultimate swordsman is your most disappointing character?! Well, yeah, exactly. From the very first mention of him, rumoured dead in the ruins of Y'Ghatan in GotM, I wanted to see this guy. The third man of the Malazan Empire, standing beside Kellanved and Dancer, but never wholly with them. Not only that, but now an ascendant, the bloody Lord of Tragedy himself! And then very quickly the whole lone wanderer schtick got tiresome. When put in a small group of wanderers, his ever-broody, dour presence struggled to stand out. This is a leader of men? Hmmm. The fight with Anomander was cool, but I really struggled to get over the fact that there was no rational explanation for it taking place. Every character who met him seemed to comment on the presence of power he gave off, but it's not enough to just say that, and I never could relate this character in front of me to the one commented about in awed whispers in earlier books. Let's face it, ultimately, there was never enough point to him coming into the books in the flesh - each book he appears in could have done equally well without his presence.


He was First Sword of the Empire, which means he literally took point in all of the Empire's early battles. How could that disappoint. He hit the hardest, most magical opponents and put them in the ground. He faced off against the likes of Rake and Brood until he was betrayed. The man holds a grudge.
Spoiler


Quote

2. Skinner.

Yeah, for largely the same reasons as Dassem Ultor, really. I do understand that Esslemont was trying to put across that with his new reliance on his power armour of evil, he was not the same fighter of legend, and that Dassem could have easily killed him were it not for the impenetrable armour. But the whole big, hulking, slightly doltish characterisation is again not the kind of leader you'd imagine the Crimson Guard would accept following K'azz's disappearance. Just not fleshed out enough for me. And as the new King in Chains, he's really going to struggle to bring live up to the heights of characterisation of the previous incumbent, Rhulad.

Now what you must understand is that he was attempting to seize power. Not necessarily the power you thought he had. And being hit as hard as he was in ROTCG, It's not unreasonable for him and his ilk to be accepted by the CG.
Spoiler


Quote

3. The Redeemer/Itkovian Mark II.
This was one character I wish SE could have just let stay dead. His whole arc in MoI was perfect, there was no reason to bring him back and sully that ever so slightly.

Not going to lie, Itkovian was the one character I thought got the short end of the stick in MoI. Simply because he was introduced, lived, and died in the same text. That doesn't frequently happen for the Empire's allies...
His following arc served very, very well to illuminate the power mechanisms of worship. And the battle of new-demi-gods.

Quote

4. The speaking K'Chain Che Malle of Dust of Dreams:
Here is one of the most alien sentient beings in the whole Malaz universe: giant lizards, hive minds, and machines. And as soon as they started 'speaking' in the minds of other characters, that alienness that made them so cool and otherworldy, a mystery worth being kept to itself, was lost. And they just became a bit more...typical.


We can only assume they will get their just desserts in The Crippled God.

Quote

5. Greymane (although Stonewielder may change this opinion):
Oh goody, turns out it's another amazing swordsman who doesn't wish to fight. Haven't seen one of those before. And he's big and hulking, only a good guy this time. This is perhaps more a problem with me (but these kinds of topics always come down to personal preference, don't they?), but I imagined Greymane to be a bit more of a...cerebral leader. Instead I just got an image of a fat old man with a grey mullet who ends up doing very little.

The man was a quintessential leader, leading from the front, just like Dassem. And that is why he was a threat to the Empire. Along with things I'm sure to be revealed in Stonewielder. But just like Whiskeyjack, Dujek, and even to a lesser extent Tavore, he is a leader of men. He led a campaign that was doomed to failure, to an ultimate stalemate. That's admirable, though the Empire ostracized him for it.

This post has been edited by Adjutant Stormy: 05 November 2010 - 12:27 PM

<!--quoteo(post=462161:date=Nov 1 2008, 06:13 PM:name=Aptorian)--><div class='quotetop'>QUOTE (Aptorian @ Nov 1 2008, 06:13 PM) <a href="index.php?act=findpost&pid=462161"><{POST_SNAPBACK}></a></div><div class='quotemain'><!--quotec-->God damn. Mighty drunk. Must ... what is the english movement movement movement for drunk... with out you seemimg drunk?

bla bla bla

Peopleare harrasing me... grrrrrh.

Also people with big noses aren't jews, they're just french

EDIT: We has editted so mucj that5 we're not quite sure... also, leave britney alone.<!--QuoteEnd--></div><!--QuoteEEnd-->
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#8 User is offline   Kanubis 

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Posted 05 November 2010 - 12:56 PM

View PostTapper, on 05 November 2010 - 12:12 PM, said:

View PostKanubis, on 05 November 2010 - 12:06 PM, said:

 

View PostTapper, on 05 November 2010 - 11:52 AM, said:

5) Reserved for a whole host of characters: dead Hedge, 


Now we can never be friends   :p

Awwwww. Huggles.

But in all honesty... After starting off with a kick start during his trip with Paran, he now feels like a character that could have done so much more.


I thought being just about the only happy and positive character in DoD was a fairly sterling contribution!


Everyone is entitled to their opinion of course. I will be in the corner sulking about the lack of Hedge love if anybody needs me.
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#9 User is offline   Tapper 

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Posted 05 November 2010 - 01:03 PM

View PostKanubis, on 05 November 2010 - 12:56 PM, said:

View PostTapper, on 05 November 2010 - 12:12 PM, said:

View PostKanubis, on 05 November 2010 - 12:06 PM, said:

 

View PostTapper, on 05 November 2010 - 11:52 AM, said:

5) Reserved for a whole host of characters: dead Hedge, 


Now we can never be friends   :p

Awwwww. Huggles.

But in all honesty... After starting off with a kick start during his trip with Paran, he now feels like a character that could have done so much more.


I thought being just about the only happy and positive character in DoD was a fairly sterling contribution!


Everyone is entitled to their opinion of course. I will be in the corner sulking about the lack of Hedge love if anybody needs me.

Hmmm. To me, that was Deadsmell, Hellian and co :)
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#10 User is offline   Gothos 

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Posted 05 November 2010 - 01:23 PM

For me Dead-NotDead Hedge is severely disappointing because of his coming back from the dead. Hedge was great before he died, even as a ghost it was great, but now he's back alive and kicking? Come on.
It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly; who errs and comes short again and again; because there is not effort without error and shortcomings; but who does actually strive to do the deed; who knows the great enthusiasm, the great devotion, who spends himself in a worthy cause, who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement and who at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly. So that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat.
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#11 User is offline   MTS 

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Posted 05 November 2010 - 02:20 PM

View PostAdjutant Stormy, on 05 November 2010 - 12:23 PM, said:

View PostKhellendros, on 05 November 2010 - 11:06 AM, said:

So you've been waiting whole books to finally see them in their wordy flesh, thousands of pages of expectation before you finally get to read them speaking cool lines and doing cool things...but, hang on, what are they doing? Why are they doing that? Why aren't they doing this? Is that really all they're about?

List your top 5 most disappointing characters - your reasons can be anything from not overcoming the burden of expectation heaped upon them, to not standing out from the crowd when they finally do appear, to just being plain, "well, what was the point of that character?" So, mine:

1. Dassem Ultor.

What?! Malaz's ultimate swordsman is your most disappointing character?! Well, yeah, exactly. From the very first mention of him, rumoured dead in the ruins of Y'Ghatan in GotM, I wanted to see this guy. The third man of the Malazan Empire, standing beside Kellanved and Dancer, but never wholly with them. Not only that, but now an ascendant, the bloody Lord of Tragedy himself! And then very quickly the whole lone wanderer schtick got tiresome. When put in a small group of wanderers, his ever-broody, dour presence struggled to stand out. This is a leader of men? Hmmm. The fight with Anomander was cool, but I really struggled to get over the fact that there was no rational explanation for it taking place. Every character who met him seemed to comment on the presence of power he gave off, but it's not enough to just say that, and I never could relate this character in front of me to the one commented about in awed whispers in earlier books. Let's face it, ultimately, there was never enough point to him coming into the books in the flesh - each book he appears in could have done equally well without his presence.


He was First Sword of the Empire, which means he literally took point in all of the Empire's early battles. How could that disappoint. He hit the hardest, most magical opponents and put them in the ground. He faced off against the likes of Rake and Brood until he was betrayed. The man holds a grudge.
Spoiler


Would definitely agree with this. Dassem is badass. The whole scene in NoK with the Sword and his fight against Surgen? So awesome. The guy even kills a fucking bear. He didn't disappoint me. As for the fight with Rake, Rake had gotten in the way of Dassem's vengeance by decapitating Hood, and the only way to get Hood from that was to kill Rake. Rationale? There you have it.
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#12 User is offline   Gothos 

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Posted 05 November 2010 - 02:25 PM

More like to get KILLED by Rake and enter Dragnipur.
It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly; who errs and comes short again and again; because there is not effort without error and shortcomings; but who does actually strive to do the deed; who knows the great enthusiasm, the great devotion, who spends himself in a worthy cause, who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement and who at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly. So that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat.
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#13 User is offline   foolio 

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Posted 05 November 2010 - 02:27 PM

1 Dylan
2 Dylan
3 Dylan
4 Dylan
5 Dylan




on a serious note I thought Orfantal could have been a great character instead of a feather in The High Kings hat. Also the way he went from wanting to kill kallor to gently pick him up and fly him away was very discouraging(also angry about Rakes change from "he has earned dragnipur" to almost handling one of the greatest villains in history with kid gloves.)....Part of Rakes court, saw blind gallain after he puled an oedipus and clawed his own eyes out. The history that could have been told through this character I thought was waisted. I could have sworn at some point he was mentioned as larger than Rake in dragon form. I mean we are talking about a 100,000 year old soletaken dragon with assasin mage skills, that somehow gets killed by the swipe of a sword....
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#14 User is offline   MTS 

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Posted 05 November 2010 - 02:36 PM

View PostGothos, on 05 November 2010 - 02:25 PM, said:

More like to get KILLED by Rake and enter Dragnipur.

Yeah, my bad, that was the deal. Killing Rake worked out in the end though.
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#15 User is offline   D'rek 

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Posted 05 November 2010 - 02:37 PM

View PostGothos, on 05 November 2010 - 01:23 PM, said:

For me Dead-NotDead Hedge is severely disappointing because of his coming back from the dead. Hedge was great before he died, even as a ghost it was great, but now he's back alive and kicking? Come on.


While the return to life is a bit odd, I think his role in taking the Letheri recruits and rebuilding the Bridgeburners was great fun and a big breath of fresh air from the dozen other veterans trying to cope but accepting their new positions. Go re-read the scene where he beats up a heavy infantryman and imagine Fiddler, the Ashoks (post-Y'Ghatan), Gesler, hell even Kalam, doing that.

View Postworrywort, on 14 September 2012 - 08:07 PM, said:

I kinda love it when D'rek unleashes her nerd wrath, as I knew she would here. Sorry innocent bystanders, but someone's gotta be the kindling.
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#16 User is offline   Abyss 

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Posted 05 November 2010 - 03:42 PM

View PostGothos, on 05 November 2010 - 12:11 PM, said:

View PostKanubis, on 05 November 2010 - 12:06 PM, said:

View PostTapper, on 05 November 2010 - 11:52 AM, said:

5) Reserved for a whole host of characters: dead Hedge,


Now we can never be friends :p


I'm afraid I'll have to agree with Tapper on that point.

...



Sixthed. because...

View PostD, on 05 November 2010 - 02:37 PM, said:

... I think his role in taking the Letheri recruits and rebuilding the Bridgeburners was great fun and a big breath of fresh air from the dozen other veterans trying to cope but accepting their new positions. Go re-read the scene where he beats up a heavy infantryman ...



As a whole, there aren't many characters i can actually say i'm dissappointed by in these books. so i'm stretching here, but...


1. HULL BEDDICT - I've posted this elsethread in the MT forum, but Hull never quite crystallizes as a solid element in the otherwise strong book. He's always angsting and every time he almost acts, everyone goes back to what they were doing before he opened his mouth. His death was somewhat random in a weird unexplained sort of way.

2. SKINNER - This is a petty point, but with a name like 'Skinner' i was expecting someone more... elaborate... than the tank we got in RCG. That aside i like the character and it's a minor foible.

3. NEFARIAS BREDD - just kidding, he's awesome.

4. HETAN - only because she went out so... 'weak'... in DoD. This character was a force to be reckoned with in MoI and my view of her from that book would have had her ripping the other women's faces off with her teeth before the hobbling thing went down or even after.

5. HARLLO - not for his character or his actions, which i enjoyed, but for what he represents the timeline is not important the timeline is not important the timeline is not important the wait he's five but Capustan was just a year ago wtf TIMELINE IS NOT NOT NOT IMPORTANT THE TIMELINE IS NOT IMPORTANT THE TIMELINE IS...


- Abyss, ...NOT IMPORTANT THE TIMELINE IS NOT IMPORTANT THE TIMELINE IS...
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#17 User is offline   WhiskeyJackDaniels 

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Posted 05 November 2010 - 04:06 PM

1. Cowl - Seriously? Self-Azathification? (and this is after taking on Osserc in the same book?)

2. Caladan Brood - Scares the shit out of people, but all that we've ever seen is an impotent rage towards Kruppe.

3. Redmask - Toc summed it up nicely "Not what you'd expect out of the Mortal Sword of the K'chain Che Malle" (paraphrased)

4. Taralack Veed - Idk if he volunteered to be Iccy's new guardian, or if it was thrust upon him without proper knowledge of what he was getting into, but running and hiding like a pussy then living in terror of Icarium the rest of the time grants him a spot on the list. Esp after we get Fiddler's awesome portrayal of a Gral warrior in DG.

5. Great Ravens in general - Seriously, do something other than walk into a Kruppe one-liner and get killed by a puppet.

Bonus - Bauchelain & Korbal Broach - They seem to possess some chronic flaw. Understim...

Edit: typo

This post has been edited by WhiskeyJackDaniels: 05 November 2010 - 04:07 PM

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#18 User is offline   Bauchelain the Evil 

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Posted 05 November 2010 - 04:20 PM

About Taralack Veed, even if he had volunteered for the job, which i find unlikely, I really doubt he thought an enraged Icarium was what he saw in TBH which would make, in all likelihood, make most average guys piss theirself.

View PostTapper, on 05 November 2010 - 11:52 AM, said:



3) Fear Sengar. Ehm, yeah. Goes around moaning and emo-ing trying to find a way to redeem his brother when he should have pimp-slapped him, getting tormented by a former family slave and realizing that not only has Silchas Ruin two swords where he has only one, he also has a bigger dick, balls and can crush Fear with a pinky. And yet he continues on and on just to try and backstab Silchas with a knife during a swordfight at a moment that is not crucial to his own mission.




I think that when you see your long lost brother going to fight against what you know to be one of the deadliest fighters in the world, you'd try to help him and give no thought to your mission.

EDIT: Mind I didn't like Fear as a character very much either.

This post has been edited by Bauchelain the Evil: 05 November 2010 - 04:30 PM

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#19 User is offline   Khellendros 

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Posted 05 November 2010 - 04:48 PM

I agree with Hull Beddict, he should be in my list (forgot to think about characters who started off strong but then went nowhere. Speaking of....)




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#20 User is offline   TheSurvivor 

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Posted 05 November 2010 - 05:01 PM

This is a difficulty. Most characters I've put under like, really like, don't care, don't like, despise. However, I can give this a go.

Skinner - the only character I didn't need to think on to accept as disappointing, I know all the reasoning behind him and such as I often defend him but I just wanted more. Just something more.

The rest, in no particular order, are: Brukhalian, Andarist, K'azz and the Grey Helms(though I suppose it was wishful thinking to find a force as united as the Grey Swords).
The world needs hypocrites...unfortunate but true.
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