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Betrayal among the top ranks of the Malazan Empire

#1 User is offline   Toc_theyounger 

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Posted 11 January 2017 - 06:46 PM

Been re-reading some of ICE's works, and this one contains major Night of Knives spoilers.

In NoK, Ash, Corinn and his squad are all BBs who have decided to side with Kellanved.
Now of course Laseen is power hungry and wants the throne for herself and therefore when she hears the Kellanved and Dancer are returning after their long sojourn, she's going to try and stop them and hence assassinate the two.
But Ash and his squad move out and oppose Laseen, even though Kell and Dancer's moves are simply to sow confusion and 'end' their mortal lives as it were. This says that they (Ash et al) don't know about the ascension plan. Also the fact that Ash and his squad attack Laseen in Mock's tower points to that.
Then there are the Shadow Cultists who do seem to know the ascension plans, because they organize Temper's misdirection and keep the Claws away from the Deadhouse. In fact their leader seems to know about it pretty well.
I find it confusing about whether Ash and his people did know of the ascension plans and were simply playing along when they attacked Mock's tower just to reinforce the idea that Kellanved and Dancer were assassinated.

Now for my big question (sorry for the long background info). Did Laseen's attitude towards BBs in GotM come from her unease about the BBs role during the events of NoK? Is that possibly why she ordered the decimation of the BBs at the hands of Tayschrenn? In other words, were Tay's actions a result of his own interpretation of the BBs actions at NoK (the fact that they were retired BBs may have been lost on him), or Laseen's interpretation? And why kill so many of the mage cadre?
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#2 User is online   Aptorian 

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Posted 11 January 2017 - 06:52 PM

You should have posted this in the Night of Knives forum, not GotM. Rule of thumb, never post about events or information from a later book in an early book forum.

As for Lasseens attitude, it's all pure speculation. You have to take into account that GotM's plot is slightly off from the rest of the series, because Erikson wrote it before he had the rest of the series planned out. Hence a retcon occurs between GotM and DG/MOI.

I wont say more before a mod moves the thread.

This post has been edited by Apt: 11 January 2017 - 06:52 PM

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#3 User is offline   Vengeance 

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Posted 11 January 2017 - 07:06 PM

I have moved this topic and changed the title.

- Venge
How many fucking people do I have to hammer in order to get that across.
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#4 User is offline   Itwęs Nom 

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Posted 11 January 2017 - 07:21 PM

I'd say RAFO as in MoI there are some very interesting PoVs on this that I even have saved and could quote but we're in a wrong forum...
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#5 User is online   Aptorian 

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Posted 11 January 2017 - 07:25 PM

Okay now we can get down to the dirty speculation.

When you mention the mage cadre, I assume you mean the mages that died at Pale, yes? That event is separate from the culling of the Bridge Burners, but I'm trying to wring my brain to remember if the truth about the mage battle is told before or after NoK. I think we hear about it already in MoI.

So, here on the forum we typically talk about a term called GotM'isms. That's things we're told or shown in GOTM that don't fit with what we see or hear in later books. The reason why these GOTM'isms exist is because GOTM was written much earlier than DG and MOI and wasn't originally planned to be a series I think. So, when Erikson turned the book into a series, some concepts got skewed quite a bit.

Lasseen and Tayschren are less of an evil ruler type of characters in DG and MOI. Shadowthrone and Cots are less of the maniacal, cruel gods, etc.

The retcon that happens or the story we're told later by Tayschren, Dancer, etc. is that the Empire was aware of the coming of the threat from the Panion Seer. For some (pretty dumb) reason they thought it was smart to invert the command structure and demote Whiskeyjack. This was to ensure that when the BBs as a spearhead collided with the Panion Domin, the Empires best veterans and commanders would be there to crush the enemy. Laseen didn't want to kill Whiskeyjack if she didn't have to, she wanted to use him. Him and the BB's.

That's the reason why the BB's were in the mines digging under Pale. They were sent down there to be protected from the Mage fight that would take place outside Pale. What killed them in the end was not sabotage but rather the impact of the sorcery making the tunnels collapse on them.

As for the death of most of the Mage Cadre, there was a betrayal, yes. But the betrayal was committed by Nightchill. Nightchill wanted Rake's sword. Rake did not think that was a good idea and neither did Tayschren. As far as I remember, Tay is the one that killed Nightchill, to prevent her from attempting to get Dragnipur. Nightchill killed Akoronys. And Tay accidentally blasted Hairlock in halfdeflecting the sorcery Rake was pummelling the hill with.

This post has been edited by Apt: 11 January 2017 - 07:27 PM

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#6 User is offline   Itwęs Nom 

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Posted 11 January 2017 - 07:47 PM

View PostApt, on 11 January 2017 - 07:25 PM, said:

Okay now we can get down to the dirty speculation.

When you mention the mage cadre, I assume you mean the mages that died at Pale, yes? That event is separate from the culling of the Bridge Burners, but I'm trying to wring my brain to remember if the truth about the mage battle is told before or after NoK. I think we hear about it already in MoI.

So, here on the forum we typically talk about a term called GotM'isms. That's things we're told or shown in GOTM that don't fit with what we see or hear in later books. The reason why these GOTM'isms exist is because GOTM was written much earlier than DG and MOI and wasn't originally planned to be a series I think. So, when Erikson turned the book into a series, some concepts got skewed quite a bit.

Lasseen and Tayschren are less of an evil ruler type of characters in DG and MOI. Shadowthrone and Cots are less of the maniacal, cruel gods, etc.

The retcon that happens or the story we're told later by Tayschren, Dancer, etc. is that the Empire was aware of the coming of the threat from the Panion Seer. For some (pretty dumb) reason they thought it was smart to invert the command structure and demote Whiskeyjack. This was to ensure that when the BBs as a spearhead collided with the Panion Domin, the Empires best veterans and commanders would be there to crush the enemy. Laseen didn't want to kill Whiskeyjack if she didn't have to, she wanted to use him. Him and the BB's.

That's the reason why the BB's were in the mines digging under Pale. They were sent down there to be protected from the Mage fight that would take place outside Pale. What killed them in the end was not sabotage but rather the impact of the sorcery making the tunnels collapse on them.

As for the death of most of the Mage Cadre, there was a betrayal, yes. But the betrayal was committed by Nightchill. Nightchill wanted Rake's sword. Rake did not think that was a good idea and neither did Tayschren. As far as I remember, Tay is the one that killed Nightchill, to prevent her from attempting to get Dragnipur. Nightchill killed Akoronys. And Tay accidentally blasted Hairlock in halfdeflecting the sorcery Rake was pummelling the hill with.



Yeah this pretty much includes what all the MoI PoVs are about... perhaps use spoiler tags at least?
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#7 User is offline   Toc_theyounger 

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Posted 11 January 2017 - 07:51 PM

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I see your point regarding GOTM isms, and the fact that at GotM's time, the story might not have been developed. And to be sure, Kell and Dancer are less evil/maniacal in the later books. Actually I don't know about Kell, that guy's off his hat, kinda like Joker.
Anyhow, I seem to recall rather distinctly that thousands of BBs died during the sorcery, and there was discussion between WJ and Tattersail of a possibility of the Empress trying to remove the BBs (i.e. the Second army) entirely as a force to be reckoned with. Moreover, I remember Spindle or one of the others talking to Tattersail telling her it was extremely suspicious of Tay deflecting Rake's sorceries right onto the BBs. In fact later on, Rake said one of the reasons why he disengaged was to avoid the losses that the soldiers were taking, apart from the fact that Moon's Spawn was also taking lots of damage.
What I'm trying to say is, I do believe Laseen was trying to destroy the BBs. The mage cadre (as you mentioned) might've been a different matter entirely, but the BBs were IMO targeted by Tay. And whether this was because of Ash and his squad of ex-BBs was the question I had.
Also, Fid and the others were down mining, of course, but you have to remember this is the entire 2nd army we're talking about, not just the sappers. The collapse of the mines may have been on impact of the sorceries (to my cynical mind, even that is suspicious, but I digress), but there were thousands of BBs outside who were killed by deflected sorcery, and that was one of the prime motivations of WJ and his squad trying to figure out what it was that had Laseen trying to kill them.
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#8 User is offline   Vengeance 

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Posted 11 January 2017 - 08:06 PM

View PostToc_theyounger, on 11 January 2017 - 07:51 PM, said:

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I see your point regarding GOTM isms, and the fact that at GotM's time, the story might not have been developed. And to be sure, Kell and Dancer are less evil/maniacal in the later books. Actually I don't know about Kell, that guy's off his hat, kinda like Joker.
Anyhow, I seem to recall rather distinctly that thousands of BBs died during the sorcery, and there was discussion between WJ and Tattersail of a possibility of the Empress trying to remove the BBs (i.e. the Second army) entirely as a force to be reckoned with. Moreover, I remember Spindle or one of the others talking to Tattersail telling her it was extremely suspicious of Tay deflecting Rake's sorceries right onto the BBs. In fact later on, Rake said one of the reasons why he disengaged was to avoid the losses that the soldiers were taking, apart from the fact that Moon's Spawn was also taking lots of damage.
What I'm trying to say is, I do believe Laseen was trying to destroy the BBs. The mage cadre (as you mentioned) might've been a different matter entirely, but the BBs were IMO targeted by Tay. And whether this was because of Ash and his squad of ex-BBs was the question I had.
Also, Fid and the others were down mining, of course, but you have to remember this is the entire 2nd army we're talking about, not just the sappers. The collapse of the mines may have been on impact of the sorceries (to my cynical mind, even that is suspicious, but I digress), but there were thousands of BBs outside who were killed by deflected sorcery, and that was one of the prime motivations of WJ and his squad trying to figure out what it was that had Laseen trying to kill them.


I don't believe that it was actually part of Laseen plan to destroy the BB in that battle. If she wanted them to be destroyed she would have just had them straight up assault the walls and then arrest any officers who survived. Now Tays might have been personally inclined to attempt to remove some of the BB's due to something between him and them. Or more likely as Tays was in the middle of battle between two insanely powerful wizards (Rake and Nightchill) he wasn't able to direct the attacks into places that weren't going to do damage and instead elected to try to kill Nightchill as quickly as possible. He also may have wanted to kill Hairlock who was with the BB's at the time.

I think that you may be attributing to much control to Laseen. Once the battle's start all kinds of personal rivalries are attempted to be resolved. Most of those are not approved by the empire....
How many fucking people do I have to hammer in order to get that across.
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#9 User is offline   Toc_theyounger 

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Posted 11 January 2017 - 08:20 PM

True about the Laseen thing. I may be attributing too much to her with respect to what happened at Pale.
But isn't there a sort of a string of campaigns where the BBs were thrown into the most desperate of situations? I mean, Seven Cities, Mott Wood, Blackdog, Genabackis Campaign, Pale...all seems to be exactly the kind of thing a ruler would do to get rid of her enemies.
Its also what gave the BBs the legendary status they achieved, surviving through entire campaigns with (and I remember this from MoI) the minimum support from the throne, less resources, manpower, more difficulties due to logistics, whether due to purposeful ineptitude or distance (I tend to think the former).
Still, you may be right...this is all conjecture and I might be giving Laseen too much (dis)credit for the BBs misfortunes...
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#10 User is offline   D'rek 

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Posted 11 January 2017 - 09:28 PM

View PostToc_theyounger, on 11 January 2017 - 07:51 PM, said:

Posted Image MultiQuote

I see your point regarding GOTM isms, and the fact that at GotM's time, the story might not have been developed. And to be sure, Kell and Dancer are less evil/maniacal in the later books. Actually I don't know about Kell, that guy's off his hat, kinda like Joker.
Anyhow, I seem to recall rather distinctly that thousands of BBs died during the sorcery, and there was discussion between WJ and Tattersail of a possibility of the Empress trying to remove the BBs (i.e. the Second army) entirely as a force to be reckoned with. Moreover, I remember Spindle or one of the others talking to Tattersail telling her it was extremely suspicious of Tay deflecting Rake's sorceries right onto the BBs. In fact later on, Rake said one of the reasons why he disengaged was to avoid the losses that the soldiers were taking, apart from the fact that Moon's Spawn was also taking lots of damage.
What I'm trying to say is, I do believe Laseen was trying to destroy the BBs. The mage cadre (as you mentioned) might've been a different matter entirely, but the BBs were IMO targeted by Tay. And whether this was because of Ash and his squad of ex-BBs was the question I had.
Also, Fid and the others were down mining, of course, but you have to remember this is the entire 2nd army we're talking about, not just the sappers. The collapse of the mines may have been on impact of the sorceries (to my cynical mind, even that is suspicious, but I digress), but there were thousands of BBs outside who were killed by deflected sorcery, and that was one of the prime motivations of WJ and his squad trying to figure out what it was that had Laseen trying to kill them.


The 2nd army and the Bridgeburners are not the same thing. The Bridgeburners are just one company within the 2nd Army. All the Bridgesburners were in the tunnels underground (4 out of 5 of which collapsed entirely, so less than 20% of the Bridgeburners made it out). The ones who died outside were from other 2nd Army companies, but yes a lot of them did get killed by the sorcerous exchange. If you believe Tayschrenn or Dujek's speculation, they expected Rake to retreat a lot sooner and the loss of life would have been a lot lower if they were right.

 worrywort, 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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#11 User is offline   Abyss 

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Posted 12 January 2017 - 03:58 PM

My take... (spoilers only for Nok and pre-NoK books)...

When Laseen took over 'officially' (i assume after Kel and Dancer's 'deaths' in NoK), people expected Whiskeyjack to oppose her. He didn't, apparently to avoid tearing the Empire apart. At that time WJ was a general. Dassem was already on the run.

The inversion of the command structure, putting WJ on the ground and Dujek in charge of the Host, to deal with the threat of the Pannion Domin and the CG, came after that. Explained in MoI.

Laseen did order the BBs into vicious campaign after campaign to whittle them down and keep them from becoming a threat. The fact that Ash and co allied with Kel and Dancer in NoK, probably prompted this.

In theory, sending the BB's into shitstorms and demoting WJ would have been part of the plan to make it look as tho Laseen was trying to wipe them out without creating martyrs. Overthink this part of the plan too much and it gets a bit fuzzy tho, especially if WJ and the BBs were loyal and Laseen accepted that such that she was prepared to trust them to ally with Rake against the Domin and not come after her next. Counterpoint would be that Laseen, being Laseen, worked both interests and wanted WJ weakened and ideally, the WJ/Rake alliance further weakened by the conflict with the Domin so they couldn't come after her once the threat was dealt with. Which, if you think about it, is more or less how that worked out.

That said, Laseen, Tays, Dujek and WJ were all in on 'the Plan'. Kalam was not, hence his revenge run in DG. QB and Fid were not but seem to figure it out.
Tays ordered the BB's into the tunnels expecting to keep them safe and preserve them as a resource for dealing with the Domin. He didn't know that the collapse would happen.
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#12 User is offline   Toc_theyounger 

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Posted 12 January 2017 - 07:00 PM

View PostAbyss, on 12 January 2017 - 03:58 PM, said:

My take... (spoilers only for Nok and pre-NoK books)...

When Laseen took over 'officially' (i assume after Kel and Dancer's 'deaths' in NoK), people expected Whiskeyjack to oppose her. He didn't, apparently to avoid tearing the Empire apart. At that time WJ was a general. Dassem was already on the run.

The inversion of the command structure, putting WJ on the ground and Dujek in charge of the Host, to deal with the threat of the Pannion Domin and the CG, came after that. Explained in MoI.

Laseen did order the BBs into vicious campaign after campaign to whittle them down and keep them from becoming a threat. The fact that Ash and co allied with Kel and Dancer in NoK, probably prompted this.

In theory, sending the BB's into shitstorms and demoting WJ would have been part of the plan to make it look as tho Laseen was trying to wipe them out without creating martyrs. Overthink this part of the plan too much and it gets a bit fuzzy tho, especially if WJ and the BBs were loyal and Laseen accepted that such that she was prepared to trust them to ally with Rake against the Domin and not come after her next. Counterpoint would be that Laseen, being Laseen, worked both interests and wanted WJ weakened and ideally, the WJ/Rake alliance further weakened by the conflict with the Domin so they couldn't come after her once the threat was dealt with. Which, if you think about it, is more or less how that worked out.

That said, Laseen, Tays, Dujek and WJ were all in on 'the Plan'. Kalam was not, hence his revenge run in DG. QB and Fid were not but seem to figure it out.
Tays ordered the BB's into the tunnels expecting to keep them safe and preserve them as a resource for dealing with the Domin. He didn't know that the collapse would happen.


Nice. I think your take on her trying to weaken both these factions so that they wouldn;t come after her is as good a guess as it gets. Laseen is always a character that grated at me, and hence I tend to view her with an extra dosage suspicion. Also Tay is another character I have little faith in. If ICE did not take him down the path he took in NoK and OST, I would've put him alongside Mallick and co.

This post has been edited by Toc_theyounger: 12 January 2017 - 07:04 PM

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#13 User is offline   Vengeance 

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Posted 12 January 2017 - 09:28 PM

View PostToc_theyounger, on 12 January 2017 - 07:00 PM, said:

View PostAbyss, on 12 January 2017 - 03:58 PM, said:

My take... (spoilers only for Nok and pre-NoK books)...

When Laseen took over 'officially' (i assume after Kel and Dancer's 'deaths' in NoK), people expected Whiskeyjack to oppose her. He didn't, apparently to avoid tearing the Empire apart. At that time WJ was a general. Dassem was already on the run.

The inversion of the command structure, putting WJ on the ground and Dujek in charge of the Host, to deal with the threat of the Pannion Domin and the CG, came after that. Explained in MoI.

Laseen did order the BBs into vicious campaign after campaign to whittle them down and keep them from becoming a threat. The fact that Ash and co allied with Kel and Dancer in NoK, probably prompted this.

In theory, sending the BB's into shitstorms and demoting WJ would have been part of the plan to make it look as tho Laseen was trying to wipe them out without creating martyrs. Overthink this part of the plan too much and it gets a bit fuzzy tho, especially if WJ and the BBs were loyal and Laseen accepted that such that she was prepared to trust them to ally with Rake against the Domin and not come after her next. Counterpoint would be that Laseen, being Laseen, worked both interests and wanted WJ weakened and ideally, the WJ/Rake alliance further weakened by the conflict with the Domin so they couldn't come after her once the threat was dealt with. Which, if you think about it, is more or less how that worked out.

That said, Laseen, Tays, Dujek and WJ were all in on 'the Plan'. Kalam was not, hence his revenge run in DG. QB and Fid were not but seem to figure it out.
Tays ordered the BB's into the tunnels expecting to keep them safe and preserve them as a resource for dealing with the Domin. He didn't know that the collapse would happen.


Nice. I think your take on her trying to weaken both these factions so that they wouldn;t come after her is as good a guess as it gets. Laseen is always a character that grated at me, and hence I tend to view her with an extra dosage suspicion. Also Tay is another character I have little faith in. If ICE did not take him down the path he took in NoK and OST, I would've put him alongside Mallick and co.


Tays is Soooo much more then Mallick. Tays could have been emperor at almost any point if he had wanted too. He was playing a game as long as ST and Dancer.
How many fucking people do I have to hammer in order to get that across.
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Posted 13 January 2017 - 03:30 AM

View PostVengeance, on 12 January 2017 - 09:28 PM, said:

View PostToc_theyounger, on 12 January 2017 - 07:00 PM, said:

View PostAbyss, on 12 January 2017 - 03:58 PM, said:

My take... (spoilers only for Nok and pre-NoK books)...

When Laseen took over 'officially' (i assume after Kel and Dancer's 'deaths' in NoK), people expected Whiskeyjack to oppose her. He didn't, apparently to avoid tearing the Empire apart. At that time WJ was a general. Dassem was already on the run.

The inversion of the command structure, putting WJ on the ground and Dujek in charge of the Host, to deal with the threat of the Pannion Domin and the CG, came after that. Explained in MoI.

Laseen did order the BBs into vicious campaign after campaign to whittle them down and keep them from becoming a threat. The fact that Ash and co allied with Kel and Dancer in NoK, probably prompted this.

In theory, sending the BB's into shitstorms and demoting WJ would have been part of the plan to make it look as tho Laseen was trying to wipe them out without creating martyrs. Overthink this part of the plan too much and it gets a bit fuzzy tho, especially if WJ and the BBs were loyal and Laseen accepted that such that she was prepared to trust them to ally with Rake against the Domin and not come after her next. Counterpoint would be that Laseen, being Laseen, worked both interests and wanted WJ weakened and ideally, the WJ/Rake alliance further weakened by the conflict with the Domin so they couldn't come after her once the threat was dealt with. Which, if you think about it, is more or less how that worked out.

That said, Laseen, Tays, Dujek and WJ were all in on 'the Plan'. Kalam was not, hence his revenge run in DG. QB and Fid were not but seem to figure it out.
Tays ordered the BB's into the tunnels expecting to keep them safe and preserve them as a resource for dealing with the Domin. He didn't know that the collapse would happen.


Nice. I think your take on her trying to weaken both these factions so that they wouldn;t come after her is as good a guess as it gets. Laseen is always a character that grated at me, and hence I tend to view her with an extra dosage suspicion. Also Tay is another character I have little faith in. If ICE did not take him down the path he took in NoK and OST, I would've put him alongside Mallick and co.


Tays is Soooo much more then Mallick. Tays could have been emperor at almost any point if he had wanted too. He was playing a game as long as ST and Dancer.


There are hints to that effect in NoK, but that's as far as it goes.
PUST: Go forth, Hounds of Life! Go forth and do my bidding!
CHASE: (quietly) I dunno pups... he seems to be bidding us to hurt a bunch of people.
MARSHALL: So? I mauled Mayor Humdinger's face and set him on fire that one time and he was totally fine the next week.
CHASE: Good point. (louder) OK pups, Paw Patrol is on a roll!
PUST: WHAT DOES THAT EVEN MEAN???
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#15 User is offline   Egwene 

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Posted 16 January 2017 - 08:37 PM

Toc, BBs are the best fighters so they get send to the worst fight. Only because they are suspicious already do they think that means that is just because someone wants to get rid of them. Truth is, they are a mean bunch, think of what they themselves say about each other, and people are happier to keep them at a distance and fully occupied.

Lassen thinks Tay came for the convergence - he is there to fight the Stormriders. The dying man told Temper, that 'he' promised them glory etc... and everyone thinks Kellanved but who is to say that 'he' isn't Ash? Ash, whose choice of final weapon is acid - given his own scars this raises the question of whether it wasn't a personal vendetta.

A lot of people in the books get the wrong impression about who is doing what for which reason. I reckon that there is quite a bit of deliberate misleading not only of the characters but the readers as well.

Don't forget, we are not only dealing with Kellanved and Dancer but also SE and ICE - devious the lot of them :p

Edit: forget the bit about Ash - he is the one saying it - so I guess, yes, 'he' likely refers to either Kellanved or Dancer.

This post has been edited by Egwene: 17 January 2017 - 06:44 PM

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