Malazan Empire: The Barghast storyline - Malazan Empire

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#1 User is offline   QuickTidal 

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Posted 11 February 2011 - 07:28 PM

Both times I've read this storyline in DoD I find myself at first (and for a number of pages) ho-ing and humming during all the side stuff that has to do with various clans claims for power, and arguing and posturing and all that stuff and then....

... all of the sudden, Tool's death, Hetan's hobbling, Stavi and Storii and the kid are saved by Toc and Cafal goes on the hunt for vengeance and all those side stories, plotting and the like with all these extraneous Barghast are the basis for the emotional impact of those three things.

I totally forgot the second time even that those parts that seemed bloated to me are actually a tight weave of emotion so that when Imass Tool dies and everything starts to go to shit Hetan is hobbled and stuff....my god. It's totally amazing but also just completely emotionally draining.

Did anyone else find this to be the case?

I only mention it because it did EXACTLY the same thing to me upon this re-read.
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#2 User is offline   HiddenOne 

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Posted 11 February 2011 - 07:44 PM

Pretty much. That's some tough reading there, but you described it well. I didn't care much for the End of Hetan, but I guess it served a purpose.
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#3 User is offline   QuickTidal 

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Posted 11 February 2011 - 08:04 PM

Yeah, reading about what happened to Hetan was getting gut punched.
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#4 User is offline   Ulrik 

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Posted 11 February 2011 - 11:08 PM

Yep...first time read - it was cruelly painfull. Reread...same.
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#5 User is offline   ThinkingMalaz 

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Posted 11 February 2011 - 11:24 PM

I find it very emotionally draining, yes.... Dust of dreams has more of these storylines. The Snake is another one imo, not in the same way but equally draining you with the bleakness of the whole scenario. I really love that Erikson does that, but it can be hard to read at times. I've re-read DG 6 times now, and I am still left with drustrated rage... it's compelling stuff
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Posted 11 February 2011 - 11:25 PM

I suspect it will get worse when Tool unleashes Holy High House Vengeance without knowing about Toc and kids.
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#7 User is offline   nacht 

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Posted 12 February 2011 - 12:09 AM

What happened to Hetan is probably the most painful I have felt reading fiction. Wheenver I see "Hetan", my brain recoils.
Unfortunately, this is probably something that could really have happened in many barbaric cultures. I think S.E. wanted to point out there is no real "noble savage" idyll.
The same point is made when Karsa abuses the non-Uryd teblor tribes, but civilization is no less brutal, though maybe it is probably little better.

And that is why S.E. punishes the Barghast, and that is no less painful. Savegery at a small scale leads to Savagery/Destruction at a large scale.

stenveerikson.com has an article on this topic (noble hunter/gatherer), in which he mentions the movie Apocalypto. I think the movie "Black Robe" is also a good example where this notion is disabused.
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Posted 12 February 2011 - 11:27 AM

View PostQuickTidal, on 11 February 2011 - 07:28 PM, said:

Both times I've read this storyline in DoD I find myself at first (and for a number of pages) ho-ing and humming during all the side stuff that has to do with various clans claims for power, and arguing and posturing and all that stuff and then....

... all of the sudden, Tool's death, Hetan's hobbling, Stavi and Storii and the kid are saved by Toc and Cafal goes on the hunt for vengeance and all those side stories, plotting and the like with all these extraneous Barghast are the basis for the emotional impact of those three things.

I totally forgot the second time even that those parts that seemed bloated to me are actually a tight weave of emotion so that when Imass Tool dies and everything starts to go to shit Hetan is hobbled and stuff....my god. It's totally amazing but also just completely emotionally draining.

Did anyone else find this to be the case?

I only mention it because it did EXACTLY the same thing to me upon this re-read.


I found that story-line emotionally draining as well. A good and powerful story, but difficult to digest.

**SPOILERS**



Looking back, DOD is a very sombre book, probably more so than any other Malazan tale. Does anyone (good) come out of it well? Tool goes nuts, the Barghast self-destruct, Hetan is tortured and executed, the Bone Hunters and their allies get walloped, Iccy sacrafices himself, the Shake await their doom, then there is all the crap the kids in the Snake go through...
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#9 User is offline   Tattersail_ 

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Posted 14 February 2011 - 09:24 AM

View PostBombur, on 12 February 2011 - 11:27 AM, said:

View PostQuickTidal, on 11 February 2011 - 07:28 PM, said:

Both times I've read this storyline in DoD I find myself at first (and for a number of pages) ho-ing and humming during all the side stuff that has to do with various clans claims for power, and arguing and posturing and all that stuff and then....

... all of the sudden, Tool's death, Hetan's hobbling, Stavi and Storii and the kid are saved by Toc and Cafal goes on the hunt for vengeance and all those side stories, plotting and the like with all these extraneous Barghast are the basis for the emotional impact of those three things.

I totally forgot the second time even that those parts that seemed bloated to me are actually a tight weave of emotion so that when Imass Tool dies and everything starts to go to shit Hetan is hobbled and stuff....my god. It's totally amazing but also just completely emotionally draining.

Did anyone else find this to be the case?

I only mention it because it did EXACTLY the same thing to me upon this re-read.


I found that story-line emotionally draining as well. A good and powerful story, but difficult to digest.

**SPOILERS**



Looking back, DOD is a very sombre book, probably more so than any other Malazan tale. Does anyone (good) come out of it well? Tool goes nuts, the Barghast self-destruct, Hetan is tortured and executed, the Bone Hunters and their allies get walloped, Iccy sacrafices himself, the Shake await their doom, then there is all the crap the kids in the Snake go through...


Well the Che'Malle get their Mortal Sword and Shield Anvil. That storyline was hopefull.

I think the book does set up The Crippled God well though.

Regarding Hetan, it was so horrible, not nice at all. It makes me feel sick when I read this part. I also think that Tool knew what would happen to Hetan and if he did a couple of thousand of Maral Eb's clan lying dead could have prevented it. I know he wanted to run away because of the fate in which he sees the Barghast happening.I know he didn't want to see more deaths but he loved Hetan and his kids, so why would he risk such a monstrosity?
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#10 User is offline   HedgeWalker 

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Posted 14 February 2011 - 03:22 PM

View PostQuickTidal, on 11 February 2011 - 08:04 PM, said:

Yeah, reading about what happened to Hetan was getting gut punched.



Absolutely - the consistency of the abuse just kept on punching, right down to the children trying to feed her faeces. It made my face screw up whilst reading, and left a nasty taste in my brain.

Compelling stuff indeed.
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#11 User is offline   Sinisdar Toste 

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Posted 14 February 2011 - 05:56 PM

View PostTattersail, on 14 February 2011 - 09:24 AM, said:

I know he didn't want to see more deaths but he loved Hetan and his kids, so why would he risk such a monstrosity?

maral eb had in the neighbourhood of 4,000 barahn with him, to tools 100. even with tool killing like whirlwind, eventually the barahn would have killed them all and hetan is hobbled anyway
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#12 User is offline   worry 

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Posted 15 February 2011 - 12:47 AM

Tool may have had some (misguided) faith left in the Senan, and of course he knows the KCNR are coming and everyone is doomed anyway, but primarily I think he was relying on Cafal to protect Henan and the kids. He could not have predicted the death of Talamandas or the betrayal of Cafal by the Barghast gods. I'm presuming the less petty gods were the ones who sacrificed themselves earlier in the series and those left were the monsters.
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#13 User is offline   Tattersail_ 

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Posted 15 February 2011 - 09:14 AM

I think Tool could have taken out Maral Eb or challenged him to win the Barghast allegiance. I don't think he needed to die the way he did imo.

Another question relating to this, how did Olar Ethil have the power/strength to compel Toc the Younger?
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#14 User is offline   ShadowRaven 

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Posted 15 February 2011 - 03:20 PM

View PostTattersail, on 15 February 2011 - 09:14 AM, said:


Another question relating to this, how did Olar Ethil have the power/strength to compel Toc the Younger?


Even if her Elder God powers have diminished over time, she is still a (pretty damn powerful) Bonecaster, so I'd assume she has plenty of power to compel Toc.
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#15 User is offline   Tattersail_ 

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Posted 15 February 2011 - 03:29 PM

View PostShadowRaven, on 15 February 2011 - 03:20 PM, said:

View PostTattersail, on 15 February 2011 - 09:14 AM, said:

Another question relating to this, how did Olar Ethil have the power/strength to compel Toc the Younger?


Even if her Elder God powers have diminished over time, she is still a (pretty damn powerful) Bonecaster, so I'd assume she has plenty of power to compel Toc.


in the passage between them it was suggested that she was more powerful than Hood himself. I haven't got the book with me right now.
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#16 User is offline   Sinisdar Toste 

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Posted 15 February 2011 - 04:39 PM

it could be that because toc has so many gods plucking at his soul, that it's just easier to do than if he was 100% hoods herald or 100% of the wolves. keep in mind she also had two 'ins' so to speak, with toc - torrent and tool
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#17 User is offline   Tattersail_ 

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Posted 15 February 2011 - 04:42 PM

View PostSinisdar Toste, on 15 February 2011 - 04:39 PM, said:

it could be that because toc has so many gods plucking at his soul, that it's just easier to do than if he was 100% hoods herald or 100% of the wolves. keep in mind she also had two 'ins' so to speak, with toc - torrent and tool


yeah this is a good point, she did have access through Torrent and Tool.

Was she lying when she said who she was? Is she still elder?
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#18 User is offline   Sinisdar Toste 

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Posted 15 February 2011 - 04:48 PM

olar ethil? i'm pretty sure there's no doubt that she's elder. she is part of their little club meet-up in DoD
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#19 User is offline   Tattersail_ 

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Posted 15 February 2011 - 04:51 PM

View PostSinisdar Toste, on 15 February 2011 - 04:48 PM, said:

olar ethil? i'm pretty sure there's no doubt that she's elder. she is part of their little club meet-up in DoD


I have almost finished a re read, and they mention that she is no longer elder because she embraced the ritual of tellan, or something to this effect. I knew she was once elder but something about that passage made me belive otherwise. Then Torrent mentions that she no longer has the power she once did and she ends up striking him for this comment.. I haven't read much past this and it is fresh in my mind
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#20 User is offline   Sinisdar Toste 

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Posted 15 February 2011 - 06:30 PM

well, i don't think you can take away an elders status that easily. just because she is now t'lan doesn't mean she isn't one of the oldest entities in existence. becoming a t'lan certainly changed her, but it doesn't mean that she is no longer an elder goddess. imo, it just means that she's left behind some aspects that used to be hers and are now burns, or the QoD's, or others.

taking this further we begin to get into the debate on just what the hell we can believe about olar ethil.
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