Malazan Empire: About delivering on expectations - Malazan Empire

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

#21 User is offline   Mentalist 

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Posted 18 September 2015 - 05:20 PM

View PostAndorion, on 18 September 2015 - 05:05 PM, said:

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

Oh I agree. It's the "brickwall dillemma" I referred to. TIs did the whole Ritual and sacrificed their race (supposedly) "for the sake of the children" (i.e., humans--see also their "guardianship" of the First Empire). They became a zombie race so that no other race would have to suffer the jaghut oppression the way they did.

Enter Assail... where their "children" (humans) bred with the hated Jhagut...lo and behold, icebloods. Do we kill them for the trickle of Jhagut blood, or do we spare them, b/c they're our children? A dilemma that leads to a schism. Lanas Tog is clearly on the genocide side.
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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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#22 User is offline   Abyss 

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Posted 18 September 2015 - 05:33 PM

View PostMentalist, on 18 September 2015 - 05:20 PM, said:

...TIs did the whole Ritual and sacrificed their race (supposedly) "for the sake of the children" (i.e., humans--see also their "guardianship" of the First Empire). They became a zombie race so that no other race would have to suffer the jaghut oppression the way they did.

Enter Assail... where their "children" (humans) bred with the hated Jhagut...lo and behold, icebloods. Do we kill them for the trickle of Jhagut blood, or do we spare them, b/c they're our children? A dilemma that leads to a schism. Lanas Tog is clearly on the genocide side.


There's another element to it - while we know various TI groups were not part of the Tellann Ritual, as far as those who participated knew or intended, that was the end of their race. They effectively commit suicide as a people for no other reason than to commit pre-emptive wholesale genocide on the Jaghut, all the Jaghut, knowing full well that the entire race wasn't even responsible for the actions of the Tyrants.

Fair to point out that had they not committed the Ritual, as far as they knew they were all going to die anyways from stravation due to the Ice Ages the Jaghut were using to prtect themselves, but at that poiint the Imass still had gods and a belief in an afterlife, and they gave that up as well.


Put that in perspective... an entire race commits itself to death for the opportunity to kill an entire other race.

At that point, stepping back from anything less than utterly wiping out every bit of Jaghut blood is difficult if not impossible, and any notion of redemption unacceptable to most.
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#23 User is offline   Mentalist 

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Posted 18 September 2015 - 06:16 PM

:( makes you wonder just how much the Tyrants scarred them to develop such a collective hate. And how much that clashes with the "idyllic" memory fragments we get from Itkovian's PoV in MoI.
Essentially, to be that driven to exteminate Jhags, while remaining loving, spiritual people among themselves like nothing happened would require some ginormous groupthink cognitive dissonance.

... which eventually hit, hundreds of millenia later. Which, I guess, is where Silverfox came in, with K'rul acting as the TI's collective unconscious.
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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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#24 User is offline   Nerevar 

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Posted 22 September 2015 - 12:12 PM

@Mentalist, good point about how we hear about Himatan less because it really is worse.. very characteristic of SE and ICE to play on how stories get whipped up between different storytellers and lead to mythmaking.

@Andorion, your post really hinted at something I think could be significant with Assail - the readers' perceptions of many of the characters. The best endings are about how characters and what we know about them change as much as they are about exciting or climactic events. Since someone mentioned Star Wars, I'd give the example of Darth Vader - his most famous moment isn't any of the lightsaber duels, but telling Luke he is his father. That moment is huge because it totally transformed the character in the audience's eyes. It's a good way to look at Assail too. Rather than staging a huge set piece with gods warring in the sky and continents sinking beneath the waves ICE spends the book totally overhauling (or at least making me reconsider) what I as a reader thought I knew about the continent of Assail, the Forkrul Assail, the Crimson Guard, the T'lan Imass, Fisher, the Jaghut, Kyle and so on. I am sure that on a reread all this context will really enhance my appreciation of both authors' stories. And I think as the last of sixteen novels it is a refreshing take on the idea of a "finale". Plus it is a great book in itself.
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