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About delivering on expectations Continued from an MoI thread to avoid spoilering

#1 User is offline   Nevyn 

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Posted 16 September 2015 - 03:16 PM

Had a couple of posts under spoiler tag in the MoI forum on a question about the MoI setup of Assail (human tyrants killing tens of thousands of Imass).

I had a brief note that many were disappointed on what the book did with it, and Abyss replied that many though Assail was a fine book, and fine that Esslemont did what he wants instead of what we want.

But want isn't really the right word. I happily will read any books that give a fuller picture of the Malazan world. That could easily include a story like Assail.

The issue isn't about want, it is about expectation. MoI (and many other points of scattered dialogue such as Spinnock talking to Rake) set up one expectation and the book delivered another.

It is like getting a misleading movie trailer. Even if the actual movie is fine, there is a leftover bitterness because it is not the movie you were sold or promised. And its even worse when there is pent up anticipation following such a trailer. The book is fine. And you can arguably blame Erikson for the setup instead of Esslemont for the payoff. But we were promised a different Assail than we got.
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When Venge's turn comes, he will get a yes from Mess, Dolmen, Nevyn and Venge but a no from the 3 fascists and me. **** with my Government, and i'll **** with yours
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Posted 16 September 2015 - 04:32 PM

SE did that with HoC.... he set up a massive engagement between the Malazan army and the Whirlwind rebels, and gave us something else entirely. He did that again with Karsa and Icarium meeting in RG.... after three books anticipating that fight, we got something else entirely.

I get it... based on SE's hints throughout the MBF, people go into ASSAIL expecting a massive insane island of battling fanatic armies in perpetual convergence with humans sticking magic swords into Imass and FA and Jaghut slaughtering each other and Tyrants sitting around chuckling evilly and apocalypse and armageddon and a bag of chips with Led Zepplin's Immigrant Song playing in the background.... i get it.

And the thing is, ICE addressed every point, he just did it in a way that wasn't what anyone coming out of MoI's finale expected. It's quieter, it's more subtle. The stabby slashy kabbom is all there, but it's not in the way people THOUGHT they would get, and some readers can't get past that.

I don't mean 'can't get past that' in a critical way... you read the book your way and i'll read it mine... but there is a solid fantasy doorstopper novel there with some genuinely clever and fun storytelling and it's getting repeatedly slammed because the two
authors actually used the 'tales grow in the telling' device the way it actually works.

Anyhow, i liked it.
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#3 User is offline   Nevyn 

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Posted 16 September 2015 - 05:45 PM

View PostAbyss, on 16 September 2015 - 04:32 PM, said:

SE did that with HoC.... he set up a massive engagement between the Malazan army and the Whirlwind rebels, and gave us something else entirely. He did that again with Karsa and Icarium meeting in RG.... after three books anticipating that fight, we got something else entirely.

I get it... based on SE's hints throughout the MBF, people go into ASSAIL expecting a massive insane island of battling fanatic armies in perpetual convergence with humans sticking magic swords into Imass and FA and Jaghut slaughtering each other and Tyrants sitting around chuckling evilly and apocalypse and armageddon and a bag of chips with Led Zepplin's Immigrant Song playing in the background.... i get it.

And the thing is, ICE addressed every point, he just did it in a way that wasn't what anyone coming out of MoI's finale expected. It's quieter, it's more subtle. The stabby slashy kabbom is all there, but it's not in the way people THOUGHT they would get, and some readers can't get past that.

I don't mean 'can't get past that' in a critical way... you read the book your way and i'll read it mine... but there is a solid fantasy doorstopper novel there with some genuinely clever and fun storytelling and it's getting repeatedly slammed because the two
authors actually used the 'tales grow in the telling' device the way it actually works.

Anyhow, i liked it.



I never felt like I got oversold the Malazan-Whirlwind conflict. Even if we were it wasn't as bad as the OST Deus Ex Moranthina.

Karsa-Icarium would have been fun but the very nature of Icarium to begin with is that he is meant to be the bomb they someone manage to avoid having go off. Plus as I said the anticipation builds as you wait for something. MoI was published in 2001, 3 years before ICE's FIRST novel. We knew ICE was in charge of Assail years ago. The anticipation builds.

And I agree that ICE addressed every point (although some of them feel like George Lucas addressing points at the end of Episode III (C3P0 memory whipe) .... put the answer in so no one bugs you with the question instead of it being an organic part the story)
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Tatts later in SAME game: I'm going to be a corrupt official. I have turned from my liberal ways, and now will vote against the pesky liberals. Viva la Fascism.
When Venge's turn comes, he will get a yes from Mess, Dolmen, Nevyn and Venge but a no from the 3 fascists and me. **** with my Government, and i'll **** with yours
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Posted 16 September 2015 - 06:45 PM

Ok, it's an interesting discussion, let's do this....

View PostNevyn, on 16 September 2015 - 05:45 PM, said:

I never felt like I got oversold the Malazan-Whirlwind conflict.


It's not about overselling, it's about setting expectations one way and delivering something else that leaves the reader surprised but satisfied.

The Malazan army spent the entirety of HoC marching to a massive confrontation, talking about nothing but.... an ambush was set, everyone was expecting a bloodbath... and you weren't the least bit surprised at what did happen?

I know there are readers who despised the way that ended, but more who liked the turnabout, esp after how DG and MoI ended. So there are the readers who were surprised, but not satisfied.

I just think that after three books of massive finale conflicts, it's subjective and fair to say one doesn't like that, but disregards that something pretty awesome still happened... ie, the reader didn't get a massive stabbyfeste, so the ending sucked.


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Even if we were it wasn't as bad as the OST Deus Ex Moranthina.


Deus Ex Machina means a plot device is dropped into the story out of virtually nowhere to resolve something. This wasn't that.

We had multiple books establishing the Moranth were intelligent, militarily inclined, had flying giant dragonflies and explosives. It's hardly Deus Ex that they would use them against the world's bestest swordfighters.

And the Malazans were getting their asses kicked... would it have been less contrived if the usually honorable (also established in the books) Moranth had just waited for the army voluntarily dying while protecting them to be puréed?

I think that most people who hated that hate because the inherently 'cool' Seguleh were so easily and utterly eliminated as a threat. I also think that in their hate they're overlooking exactly what ICE did there. Kind of like many of the reactions to ASSAIL.


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Karsa-Icarium would have been fun but the very nature of Icarium to begin with is that he is meant to be the bomb they someone manage to avoid having go off.


So, put another way, sometimes it's fun to have expectations taken in another logical direction.

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Plus as I said the anticipation builds as you wait for something. MoI was published in 2001, 3 years before ICE's FIRST novel. We knew ICE was in charge of Assail years ago. The anticipation builds.



It does. It totally does. And everyone who has read MBF and Malaz knows that expectation damn well when it comes to ASSAIL.

I just don't think it's fair to slam a good book because it wasn't the book you were expecting, and especially when the authors have a proven and effective history of subverting expectations.

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And I agree that ICE addressed every point (although some of them feel like George Lucas addressing points at the end of Episode III (C3P0 memory whipe) .... put the answer in so no one bugs you with the question instead of it being an organic part the story)


Got to disagree with you there. Almost nothing was exposition and everything was part of the story... the Imass got three swords in her while wiping out a tribe of Iceblood humans, the other Imass were waging a genocide, not a losing war - and she showed up in MoI and lied about it all to bring more Imass to the slaughterparty; the Tyrant Kings were powerful inbred and/or isolationist high mages strong enough to take out Avowed - contradicts nothing Cotillion said in TB; the Iceblood humans were generally tough fighters, given the history of conflict with other tribes and their Jaghut heritage - lines up with what Spin reported to Rake in TtH; the FA and the Jaghut had a long and complex history of conflict on the continent, far more complex than what Brood briefly described to Silann in TtH, mostly to keep Rake's attention away from there and risk him waking up the sleeping FA and starting the purge that was originally avoided by the Founding Races truce... which was renewed at the end of the book.

Everything was part of the larger story and revealed as it progressed, nothing was just dropped in.
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Posted 16 September 2015 - 07:53 PM

Very fascinating conversation, but please allow me to interject the populist take on this debate: anyone disappointed with Assail should be jailed indefinitely, and their children -- be they so lucky to have them -- should be placed in special child jails.
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#6 User is offline   Nevyn 

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Posted 16 September 2015 - 09:09 PM

View PostAbyss, on 16 September 2015 - 06:45 PM, said:

Ok, it's an interesting discussion, let's do this....


The Malazan army spent the entirety of HoC marching to a massive confrontation, talking about nothing but.... an ambush was set, everyone was expecting a bloodbath... and you weren't the least bit surprised at what did happen?


1) I would not say I expected what happened, but I would not say I was surprised. The army of the apocalypse was showing clear fault lines throughout.

2) It is the entirety of one book. When I am reading the story, I am caught up in the story and follow where it goes.

That is different than anticipating something for years.

Still, HoC was not a favourite book or not as memorable to me anyway.

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Deus Ex Machina means a plot device is dropped into the story out of virtually nowhere to resolve something. This wasn't that.

We had multiple books establishing the Moranth were intelligent, militarily inclined, had flying giant dragonflies and explosives. It's hardly Deus Ex that they would use them against the world's bestest swordfighters.

And the Malazans were getting their asses kicked... would it have been less contrived if the usually honorable (also established in the books) Moranth had just waited for the army voluntarily dying while protecting them to be puréed?

I think that most people who hated that hate because the inherently 'cool' Seguleh were so easily and utterly eliminated as a threat. I also think that in their hate they're overlooking exactly what ICE did there. Kind of like many of the reactions to ASSAIL.


Ok, if you don't think it is Deus Ex that is fine (but I mean .... we knew there were giant eagles who were friends of the wizards in LoTR, didn't make them any less 'convenient')

More like Indiana Jones shooting the guy with the sword. Except that here the guy with the sword battle is the turning point of the entire movie. And its a medium machine gun against hundreds of guys with the sword. And the guys with the swords have been built up for several movies. And this is the first one where they are doing anything en masse. And they only ever fight armies that can't touch them, or that obliterate them.

Its also not just that they were so easily eliminated. Its that they got easily eliminated after spending the rest of the book up to then not being seriously tested at all. How about some middle ground. This is the only group seguleh fighting action ever, and you can't have one battle with a real interactive opponent?

I get what ICE was doing plot wise. I even get the Malazans crying, even if it was poorly written and thus rang hollow. But couldn't they do something cool before they die? They really have to just cut through soldiers who can't touch them in scenes with little suspense until they get bombed from the heavens? No real test except for one they can't or don't wish to avoid?

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Karsa-Icarium would have been fun but the very nature of Icarium to begin with is that he is meant to be the bomb they someone manage to avoid having go off.


So, put another way, sometimes it's fun to have expectations taken in another logical direction.


Not really. More that I didn't have that expectation because of the nature of the character. If you keep having Icarium end up in those fights, you need to keep finding ways to not have the continent erased. The tension with that character is in the constant threat that he'll end up in a fight, not in watching the fights happen. Having him go off once against an Imass, a great Edur warrior, and a Quick Ben who is suddenly using close to everything he has for one was more than enough.

Karsa got to kill the unkillable emperor. I witnessed. That was fine.


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It does. It totally does. And everyone who has read MBF and Malaz knows that expectation damn well when it comes to ASSAIL.

I just don't think it's fair to slam a good book because it wasn't the book you were expecting, and especially when the authors have a proven and effective history of subverting expectations.


Fair schmair.

Everything is judged in the context of expectations. And the authors are the ones who set them. And I don't really think SE ever subverted them the way Esslemont has.



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Got to disagree with you there. Almost nothing was exposition and everything was part of the story... the Imass got three swords in her while wiping out a tribe of Iceblood humans, the other Imass were waging a genocide, not a losing war - and she showed up in MoI and lied about it all to bring more Imass to the slaughterparty; the Tyrant Kings were powerful inbred and/or isolationist high mages strong enough to take out Avowed - contradicts nothing Cotillion said in TB; the Iceblood humans were generally tough fighters, given the history of conflict with other tribes and their Jaghut heritage - lines up with what Spin reported to Rake in TtH; the FA and the Jaghut had a long and complex history of conflict on the continent, far more complex than what Brood briefly described to Silann in TtH, mostly to keep Rake's attention away from there and risk him waking up the sleeping FA and starting the purge that was originally avoided by the Founding Races truce... which was renewed at the end of the book.

Everything was part of the larger story and revealed as it progressed, nothing was just dropped in.


Everything is part of the story, yes. But some of that feels shoehorned in to make the story he decided to tell match the known facts. Could be wrong. Maybe Assail was gamed too, way back in the 90's (but I doubt it).

So once he decides to have Imass fighting Imass over whether to slaughter icebloods, you kind of need the MoI quote to be a lie. But does it make sense as a lie? If you are an Imass trying to bring more Imass to a slaughter party do you really say it is humans that whiped out 50k of you? Jaghut being tyrants anew would surely be a better lie, and also what everyone was assuming anyway. And if you were Imass and found out about the redeemer's gift, would you really be principally preoccupied with the slaughter party?

Tyrant King and isolationist is pretty much a contradiction. High mages fighting amongst themselves and attacking strangers, but not ranging wider on the continent, not oppressing MOST of the free peoples happily on Assail, and you are Tyrants? Not to mention he is talking to Imass about their losses of clan after clan. But the High Mage Tyrants aren't even fighting the Imass. Or the Icebloods. Or the FA. They are losing clan after clan to clan after clan after having once lost a bunch to FA.

Spin reported to Rake :

"I lost count of those I killed to reach that desolate strand. Lord, by the time I waded into the deep, enough to vanish beneath the waves, the very bay was crimson".

I don't know how good iceblood fighters in the mountains in tiny clans fighting amongst themselves lines up at all with having to fight a retreat all the way back to the sea and killing so many that the bay turns red. And if Spinnock doesn't want Rake to go he would not exaggerate the conflict.

So now Brood is lying too? And I don't think he undersold the conflict, he oversold it. He implied Jaghut still fighting FA even now. Not 2 Jaghut left on the whole continent doing nothing much, a bunch of icebloods fighting amongst themselves, and FA sleeping for millenia. Sleeping is a war that is still going on? And he brought up the topic of the FA in the first place. If the point is not getting Rake interested, why even mention the war is ongoing?


Again, SE gave ICE a tough set of parameters to deal with, there is no arguing that. But hey, you got me to go and look up those references again, which was fun.

This post has been edited by Nevyn: 16 September 2015 - 09:23 PM

Tatts early in SH game: Hmm, so if I'm liberal I should have voted Nein to make sure I'm president? I'm not that selfish

Tatts later in SAME game: I'm going to be a corrupt official. I have turned from my liberal ways, and now will vote against the pesky liberals. Viva la Fascism.
When Venge's turn comes, he will get a yes from Mess, Dolmen, Nevyn and Venge but a no from the 3 fascists and me. **** with my Government, and i'll **** with yours
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#7 User is offline   Nevyn 

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Posted 16 September 2015 - 09:12 PM

View Postworry, on 16 September 2015 - 07:53 PM, said:

Very fascinating conversation, but please allow me to interject the populist take on this debate: anyone disappointed with Assail should be jailed indefinitely, and their children -- be they so lucky to have them -- should be placed in special child jails.


That already happened. Steven Erikson said that I would be sent to the worst prison imaginable, to be torn asunder by Tyrant Guards that even the gods feared.

Then Ian Esslemont took me there and it turned out it was a McDonalds. But they were out of McNuggets! He also told me that indefinitely meant I could leave whenever I want. The cashiers cried when I left.
Tatts early in SH game: Hmm, so if I'm liberal I should have voted Nein to make sure I'm president? I'm not that selfish

Tatts later in SAME game: I'm going to be a corrupt official. I have turned from my liberal ways, and now will vote against the pesky liberals. Viva la Fascism.
When Venge's turn comes, he will get a yes from Mess, Dolmen, Nevyn and Venge but a no from the 3 fascists and me. **** with my Government, and i'll **** with yours
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#8 User is offline   worry 

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Posted 16 September 2015 - 10:03 PM

You've spoiled Star Wars, LOTR, and Indiana Jones for me =/.
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#9 User is offline   Nevyn 

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Posted 17 September 2015 - 02:03 AM

View Postworry, on 16 September 2015 - 10:03 PM, said:

You've spoiled Star Wars, LOTR, and Indiana Jones for me =/.


While I'm at it, here's your Star Trek original series universal spoiler: the guy in the red shirt dies

Also, the A-team find an acetyline torch in barn they get locked in and build a tank.
Tatts early in SH game: Hmm, so if I'm liberal I should have voted Nein to make sure I'm president? I'm not that selfish

Tatts later in SAME game: I'm going to be a corrupt official. I have turned from my liberal ways, and now will vote against the pesky liberals. Viva la Fascism.
When Venge's turn comes, he will get a yes from Mess, Dolmen, Nevyn and Venge but a no from the 3 fascists and me. **** with my Government, and i'll **** with yours
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Posted 17 September 2015 - 01:29 PM

View PostNevyn, on 16 September 2015 - 09:09 PM, said:

...

That is different than anticipating something for years.

Still, HoC was not a favourite book or not as memorable to me anyway.


Not every reader is waiting years between books.

But i think i see the pattern to your like/dislike levels...


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...
Its also not just that they were so easily eliminated. Its that they got easily eliminated after spending the rest of the book up to then not being seriously tested at all. How about some middle ground. This is the only group seguleh fighting action ever, and you can't have one battle with a real interactive opponent? ....couldn't they do something cool before they die?


There are a couple of points your're missing there about the Seguleh, their culture, progress, and clashes between differing tech levels.

But fundamentally your complaint seems to be that there wasn't enough super uber cool Seguleh slashy stabby action, while i liked the book for that same reason. Fair enough.


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So, put another way, sometimes it's fun to have expectations taken in another logical direction.


Not really.


This is the heart of the debate right here. I want an author to go somewhere i didn't see them going. You want them to go where you thought they were going.

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I just don't think it's fair to slam a good book because it wasn't the book you were expecting, and especially when the authors have a proven and effective history of subverting expectations.


Fair schmair.

Everything is judged in the context of expectations. And the authors are the ones who set them. And I don't really think SE ever subverted them the way Esslemont has.


And again.


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... you kind of need the MoI quote to be a lie. But does it make sense as a lie?


Yes. Yes it does. It's right there in the story. Has a good plot based properly hinted at reason and everything.


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Tyrant King and isolationist is pretty much a contradiction.


North Korea would like a word with you.
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Posted 17 September 2015 - 01:42 PM

View PostAbyss, on 17 September 2015 - 01:29 PM, said:

This is the heart of the debate right here. I want an author to go somewhere i didn't see them going. You want them to go where you thought they were going.


My 'not really' comment this is a reply was in saying that in that instance my expectations were not really taken in another direction


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Yes. Yes it does. It's right there in the story. Has a good plot based properly hinted at reason and everything.


That still doesn't make much sense as I explained

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North Korea would like a word with you.


North Korea is an isolationist nation but its a nation full of people, ruled by a Tyrant.

The crazy High Mages don't really seem to be ruling many people as far as I recall
Tatts early in SH game: Hmm, so if I'm liberal I should have voted Nein to make sure I'm president? I'm not that selfish

Tatts later in SAME game: I'm going to be a corrupt official. I have turned from my liberal ways, and now will vote against the pesky liberals. Viva la Fascism.
When Venge's turn comes, he will get a yes from Mess, Dolmen, Nevyn and Venge but a no from the 3 fascists and me. **** with my Government, and i'll **** with yours
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Posted 17 September 2015 - 03:08 PM

View PostNevyn, on 17 September 2015 - 01:42 PM, said:

View PostAbyss, on 17 September 2015 - 01:29 PM, said:

This is the heart of the debate right here. I want an author to go somewhere i didn't see them going. You want them to go where you thought they were going.


My 'not really' comment this is a reply was in saying that in that instance my expectations were not really taken in another direction


I expected you to say that.

:(


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Yes. Yes it does. It's right there in the story. Has a good plot based properly hinted at reason and everything.


That still doesn't make much sense as I explained


Your explanation:

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So once he decides to have Imass fighting Imass over whether to slaughter icebloods, you kind of need the MoI quote to be a lie. But does it make sense as a lie? If you are an Imass trying to bring more Imass to a slaughter party do you really say it is humans that whiped out 50k of you? Jaghut being tyrants anew would surely be a better lie, and also what everyone was assuming anyway. And if you were Imass and found out about the redeemer's gift, would you really be principally preoccupied with the slaughter party?


She showed up, said three clans were nearly wiped out and they needed help. Tattersail and the other Imass decided that before they could do Redemption, they had to help their kin.
She had to say it was humans because there were no Jaghut, and no one was going to get fussed about what the flavor of baddie was - dying Imass clans was enough.
Makes sense to me. She needed more Tlan Imass to assist in the Genocide and knew they wouldn't come if she just showed up at Black Coral and said 'Hey, everyone! Come with me and kill a bunch of humans because their great great great great great grandfather banged a Jaghut Witch and managed to pop his nut before his dick froze up and snapped off and we hate his mostly human descendants!'.


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North Korea would like a word with you.


North Korea is an isolationist nation but its a nation full of people, ruled by a Tyrant.

The crazy High Mages don't really seem to be ruling many people as far as I recall


So you're only an isolationist tyrant once the local population hits a certain level. Got it.
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Posted 17 September 2015 - 03:26 PM

View PostAbyss, on 17 September 2015 - 03:08 PM, said:

She showed up, said three clans were nearly wiped out and they needed help. Tattersail and the other Imass decided that before they could do Redemption, they had to help their kin.
She had to say it was humans because there were no Jaghut, and no one was going to get fussed about what the flavor of baddie was - dying Imass clans was enough.
Makes sense to me. She needed more Tlan Imass to assist in the Genocide and knew they wouldn't come if she just showed up at Black Coral and said 'Hey, everyone! Come with me and kill a bunch of humans because their great great great great great grandfather banged a Jaghut Witch and managed to pop his nut before his dick froze up and snapped off and we hate his mostly human descendants!'.


There were no humans killing Imass either. The lie is revealed pretty much as soon as the Imass arrive on the continent. Thus a lie about Jaghut would be equally effective, moreso in fact because the Jaghut are target #1.

And again, the Imass already there were at an impasse. The new ones coming in could be at the same one. And since the new ones have fealty to Silverfox, they won't be helping unless you sell her on the slaughter. So why not save some time and tell it like it is. If they agree with you that the humans should be slaughtered, you get a unified army. If they disagree, bringing them won't help.

And again, there is the matter of the gift of the redeemer, which the other aggressors seem to think at the end would have changed their perspective. Why doesn't it change hers?

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So you're only an isolationist tyrant once the local population hits a certain level. Got it.



You are a tyrant if you are oppressing others. Ergo there need to be others. If you are off by yourself, and just attack people who happen by, you are a dickhead hermit, but not a Tyrant.
Tatts early in SH game: Hmm, so if I'm liberal I should have voted Nein to make sure I'm president? I'm not that selfish

Tatts later in SAME game: I'm going to be a corrupt official. I have turned from my liberal ways, and now will vote against the pesky liberals. Viva la Fascism.
When Venge's turn comes, he will get a yes from Mess, Dolmen, Nevyn and Venge but a no from the 3 fascists and me. **** with my Government, and i'll **** with yours
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Posted 17 September 2015 - 04:12 PM

View PostNevyn, on 17 September 2015 - 03:26 PM, said:

There were no humans killing Imass either.


Yes there were. If the Imass were having an easy time of it they wouldn't have needed the help.



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Thus a lie about Jaghut would be equally effective, moreso in fact because the Jaghut are target #1.


No. Because there were no Jaghut but there were humans. With Jaghut bloodlines that made them tougher. Who were fighting the Imass genocide as opposed to just standing around being stabbed a lot.

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...And since the new ones have fealty to Silverfox, they won't be helping unless you sell her on the slaughter.


The fealty didn't amount to any requirement to obey. Hence all the Imass killing each other.

Quote

And again, there is the matter of the gift of the redeemer, which the other aggressors seem to think at the end would have changed their perspective. Why doesn't it change hers?


Because wiping out the Jaghut was more important, since that was all the Imass had to exist for for millenia. This was in the book.


I get that you don't accept the plot point as plausible, but you're being a bit selective about what was in the book vs what you seemed to accept from it as relevant to the point.
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#15 User is offline   Nevyn 

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Posted 17 September 2015 - 05:17 PM

I didn't say not plausible. There is a difference between not plausible and forced.

The C3PO mind whipe was part of the story and was plausible. But it was also duct tape to explain why the prequels went a different way (the droid being built by Anakin and seeing the rest of the action), so felt forced.

As does this. You can write the exact same conflict and chase between Imass factions without Lanas at all, with any other justification for Silverfox going there. But Lanas' statement to Silverfox was already written by Erikson, so it needs to be a lie to graft Assail on to Erikson's work.
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#16 User is offline   Abyss 

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Posted 18 September 2015 - 02:10 AM

I see.
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#17 User is offline   worry 

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Posted 18 September 2015 - 03:08 AM

Personally, I think Lanas Tog's lie (and subsequent action in Assail) added that final death knell to the genocide. I won't say it was vital in the broadest sense, since we all had guesses as to how things could go, but it definitely fit this iteration well in driving home the ruthlessness of the TI, the long-standing hurt they felt (or fixated on, at least, given their undead status), and the ultimate pointlessness of it after all. It was never a remedy, and the reveal of Lanas's lie -- and the fact that the Icebloods were what they turned out to be -- pulled the curtain all the way back. In that way it brought the TI/Jaghut story full circle in ways some crazy battle with human Tyrants probably couldn't have.
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#18 User is offline   blackzoid 

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Posted 18 September 2015 - 02:24 PM

One thing I always liked about Assail, was its restoration of the threat of the Forkrul Assail after TCG.
They seemed more alien and more dangerious and if that faction in the caves got going, could end the world.
Really loved that.

Wasn't a fan of the Malazans crying in OST (and seemed very out of character, seeing how many times the Malazan used cussers and such willy-nilly in the main series), but other than that, I thought OST was fine.
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#19 User is offline   Mentalist 

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Posted 18 September 2015 - 04:30 PM

For the record: I hated the way HoC worked out the first 2 times I read it. After Chain of Dogs, Capustan and Black Coral, I wanted MOAR EPIC BATTLES!

My preconceptions re: Assail were always "there's some crazy humans doing bad shit, with FAs orchestrating things somehow". And I felt it was a cool concept and was hyped accordingly, soaking up all the tidbits about the Just Wars, and anything else about FAs, since they were the "least known race".

Then TCG happened, and suddenly FAs weren't such a total mystery anymore. So I started to think, "you know what, FAs running their own Pannion Domin on Assail would actually be a really boring story". It'd make sense, still (having FA-powered humans wiping out Imass, CriGs, and what have you), but it'd feel so over-done by now.

Then we actually GOT Assail. And it was what it was. And you have the Icebloods taking centre stage, you have the TIs running into a brick wall of a dilemma and tearing themselves apart. You have the FAs actually being cool, mysterious and feared, sleeping away, rather than the moustache-twirling villains of Kolanse.
And then you've got Crust, CriGs, and Kyle all converging, and exploring the (clearly) hostile land. Yeah, I'll agree with the argument some make that Himatan's probably worse. But here's the thing: how many times do Malaz books mention present-day Jakuruku prior to stuff actually happening there? And how many times do we hear about people surviving (barely) Assail? If we take a step back, the fact that NO-ONE really talks about Jakuruku (as opposed to people who toss us snippets about Assail) should make it pretty clear which one's more inhospitable (the one people don't come back from, and, ergo, don't talk about).

Yeah, Assail is hyped. Sure, it doesn't live up to it. But that's normal. Malaz books are a "slice of history". Their "real-ness" is one of their defining features. And thinking back to human history, there's tons of times when a place far away was hyped up, but turned out to be fake (El Dorado, anyone?).

I'm starting to ramble. The point i'm trying to make is, try to see it from a different angle.

Oh, and also, re: Lanas Tog. She didn't knnel before Itkovian. He didn't take her pain. She had no reason to let go of her murderous hatred, as the wasn't truly "awakened". So she'd act the same way she did before. And it couldn't be Jaghut, b/c the Kron and Silverfox had the epiphany earlier (from Kruppe, I believe), that "the T'lan Imass won their war. There could never again be a sole Tyrant who could enslave everyone, b/c there's tons of powers to oppose him". So going back to the Jaghut War wouldn't work. But going back to save "kin" would.
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View PostJump Around, on 23 October 2011 - 11:04 AM, said:

And I want to state that Ment has out-weaseled me by far in this game.
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#20 User is offline   Andorion 

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Posted 18 September 2015 - 05:05 PM

View PostMentalist, on 18 September 2015 - 04:30 PM, said:

For the record: I hated the way HoC worked out the first 2 times I read it. After Chain of Dogs, Capustan and Black Coral, I wanted MOAR EPIC BATTLES!

My preconceptions re: Assail were always "there's some crazy humans doing bad shit, with FAs orchestrating things somehow". And I felt it was a cool concept and was hyped accordingly, soaking up all the tidbits about the Just Wars, and anything else about FAs, since they were the "least known race".

Then TCG happened, and suddenly FAs weren't such a total mystery anymore. So I started to think, "you know what, FAs running their own Pannion Domin on Assail would actually be a really boring story". It'd make sense, still (having FA-powered humans wiping out Imass, CriGs, and what have you), but it'd feel so over-done by now.

Then we actually GOT Assail. And it was what it was. And you have the Icebloods taking centre stage, you have the TIs running into a brick wall of a dilemma and tearing themselves apart. You have the FAs actually being cool, mysterious and feared, sleeping away, rather than the moustache-twirling villains of Kolanse.
And then you've got Crust, CriGs, and Kyle all converging, and exploring the (clearly) hostile land. Yeah, I'll agree with the argument some make that Himatan's probably worse. But here's the thing: how many times do Malaz books mention present-day Jakuruku prior to stuff actually happening there? And how many times do we hear about people surviving (barely) Assail? If we take a step back, the fact that NO-ONE really talks about Jakuruku (as opposed to people who toss us snippets about Assail) should make it pretty clear which one's more inhospitable (the one people don't come back from, and, ergo, don't talk about).

Yeah, Assail is hyped. Sure, it doesn't live up to it. But that's normal. Malaz books are a "slice of history". Their "real-ness" is one of their defining features. And thinking back to human history, there's tons of times when a place far away was hyped up, but turned out to be fake (El Dorado, anyone?).

I'm starting to ramble. The point i'm trying to make is, try to see it from a different angle.

Oh, and also, re: Lanas Tog. She didn't knnel before Itkovian. He didn't take her pain. She had no reason to let go of her murderous hatred, as the wasn't truly "awakened". So she'd act the same way she did before. And it couldn't be Jaghut, b/c the Kron and Silverfox had the epiphany earlier (from Kruppe, I believe), that "the T'lan Imass won their war. There could never again be a sole Tyrant who could enslave everyone, b/c there's tons of powers to oppose him". So going back to the Jaghut War wouldn't work. But going back to save "kin" would.


I think Assail opened up a new angle regarding the TI genocide whcih wa no longer could they kill, but should they kill. There had never been any question regarding full Jaghut, but Jaghutbloods and an entire continent having that ype of people when realisticaly none of them could possibly become a full Tyrant which is the WCS scenario for the TI made some of the TI stop and think. ICE may have approached the whole TI vs Jaghut issue from this angle
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