Malazan Empire: First read thoughts/questions - Malazan Empire

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First read thoughts/questions

#1 User is offline   Raz4starr 

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Posted 15 May 2019 - 07:39 PM

So, I finished the book some time ago. It was really great, although I don't really like Erikson's tendency to overcomplicate things towards the finale of the books.

To start, I think this is the best book up until House of Chains (I finished that as well) by barely edging Deadhouse Gates. The main thing it has going for it, is the almost flawless pacing (in contrast with the hiccups of the first two books, as well as HoC) and the more interesting (to me) central plot. On the other hand, DG has slightly beter prose, character development and is tighter thematically than MoI in my opinion.

I loved Itkovian's storyline, such an amazing arc, while the siege of Capustan is one of the most amazing stuff I have ever read, really really fascinating. I also loved Paran, the Paran siblings and their relationship is an amazing theme, despite not interacting with one another.

I also have a few questions, things I didn't catch on during my read.

First, what exactly is up with death in the series? I mean, when someone dies, they go through Hood's gate and then they stay in Hood's realm, right? But if that is so, then how come the Barghast (and other) spirits wonder? And why are there questions throughout the book about where an individual will go after death? Is there a difference between soul and spirit (this is a more general question, I always thought they were kind of like the same thing)?

Also, how did Togg end up in that cage in the Beast Hold? And why did Toc have to go to the Seer (K'rul specifically said that in a vision)? Did he need to be at Coral for Togg to take the Beast Throne and if so, why did he have to suffer in the hands of the Seer and not go straight there and not get captured in the first place (in the company of Envy perhaps)?
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#2 User is offline   worry 

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Posted 15 May 2019 - 08:05 PM

Regarding death, I don't want to say RAFO exactly because 'FO' is a little too static. But the nature of death/the afterlife/the relationship between worshipers and gods/etc. is an ongoing concern explored throughout the series, up to and including the final book and the prequels.
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#3 User is offline   Raz4starr 

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Posted 16 May 2019 - 06:19 AM

View Postworry, on 15 May 2019 - 08:05 PM, said:

Regarding death, I don't want to say RAFO exactly because 'FO' is a little too static. But the nature of death/the afterlife/the relationship between worshipers and gods/etc. is an ongoing concern explored throughout the series, up to and including the final book and the prequels.



Yeah, figured as much, I was mostly referring to the whole Hood's gate thing, and how is it possible for spirits to exist in the world if their souls are gathered by Hood, but I guess I just have to be patient.
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#4 User is offline   John II 

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Posted 16 May 2019 - 06:37 AM

I haven't read all the prequels yet, but I am more of the opinion that death is supposed to be a theme the reader is meant to think about, rather than a concrete thing that's resolved. I can't help but refer to Pratchett, as it appears that a similar thing is going on here (if you don't understand where the Pratchett link is, shame on you, and go and read Small Gods right now).
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#5 User is offline   Gorefest 

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Posted 16 May 2019 - 07:02 AM

It is difficult talking about this here because death, soul and afterlife are such fundamental themes in the series. But more broadly speaking, compare it to our real world setting where you have lots of different religions which all have their own concept of soul and death and all have their own version of an afterlife. Hood is more sort of like our 'grim reaper'. His role is to collect and shepherd the dead, but what happens after is nor for mortals to know.
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#6 User is offline   Raz4starr 

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Posted 16 May 2019 - 07:37 AM

View PostGorefest, on 16 May 2019 - 07:02 AM, said:

It is difficult talking about this here because death, soul and afterlife are such fundamental themes in the series. But more broadly speaking, compare it to our real world setting where you have lots of different religions which all have their own concept of soul and death and all have their own version of an afterlife. Hood is more sort of like our 'grim reaper'. His role is to collect and shepherd the dead, but what happens after is nor for mortals to know.


Hmmmm, I thought of that too. But the word 'gate' was what confused me. Because I thought if there is a gate, then there must be something on the other side of that gate, and the souls don't just return to where they want or go to their gods' realms. But in any case, this does make sense to me. I guess I'll find out more later (or not :p).



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