Malazan Empire: 2020 Malazan Re-read: Gardens of the Moon - Malazan Empire

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2020 Malazan Re-read: Gardens of the Moon Starts January 1st

#41 User is offline   Abyss 

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Posted 06 January 2020 - 04:35 PM

After ICE's PtA trilo, the Dramatis Personae entries for Tattersail, Hairlock, and Calot are amusingly understated.

Also says a lot about why Hairlock at least was so convinced there was an effort to kill off the Old Guard. We saw their loyalty to Kel and where it came from.

It's also all the more interesting that those three should find themselves 'mere' cadre mages at an interminable seige after being part of the group that actually helped form the Empire.


Also funny in the Dramatis Personae is that Kel and Dancer's entries read 'assassinated by Laseen'... or Dassem's 'killed outside Y'ghatan'... while Toc (the Elder)'s reads 'disappeared in Laseen's purges of the Old Guard'.


SE was conning the reader even then. :)




Korlat's entry reads 'blood-kin to Serrat'... Orfantal's doesn't mention any kin.




...and finally, it's funny that Icarium and Mappo are there at all when they do not even appear until DG. The Pannion Seer is there as well.
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#42 User is offline   Zerv 

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Posted 07 January 2020 - 02:16 AM

Some musings about Shadowthrone and Cotillion’s plan.



I think it’s pretty clear that the intent is to depose Laseen as Empress (and then gleefully kill her, presumably), as opposed to simply assassinating her right away. After all, getting recruited into the Bridgeburners, who are deployed several continents away and Laseen clearly has little to no trust for, seems like a crazy strategy if the goal is to get close to her, as is fairly often pointed out.



Presumably the idea was that since Whiskeyjack is one of the primary figures a rebellion against Laseen could rally behind and the Empress seems quite likely to want to get rid of the Bridgeburners as a part of purging the Old Guard, Cotillion could simply get in a position where he could prevent Whiskeyjack himself from being killed in an attempted purge and wait for Laseen to make her move. An attempt (or repeated attempts) by Laseen to kill Whiskeyjack and the Bridgeburners would hopefully outrage the 2nd Army and the rest of the Genabackan armies enough for them to rebel and push a reluctant Whiskeyjack to lead the rebellion. Cotillion didn’t let the Bridgeburners in on the plan because A: he didn’t quite trust them (as stated directly by Apsalar in DG), and B: Whiskeyjack has a strong aversion to the meddling of ascendants and would no doubt push back even harder against the idea of leading a rebellion if he caught on to the fact that he was being a piece in some god’s game. Sorry’s sadistic behaviour could be explained/rationalized as a way to keep the Bridgeburners from prying too much into who she is (but in truth it’s probably a bit of a GotM-ism).



One might go further and speculate that Shadowthrone and Cotillion didn’t just count on Laseen wanting to purge the Bridgeburners but rather deliberately did a less-than-stellar job of covering their tracks in Itko Kan (the somewhat cliché “let’s cover our tracks well enough that they won’t suspect a trap, but not so well that they don’t find the tracks”) so that Laseen would figure out what was going on and eventually track Sorry to the Bridgeburners. This would goad her to try to take out Sorry while (probably quite gladly) accepting the Bridgeburners as collateral damage (this lines up with what Laseen tells Kalam in DG, i.e., that she was trying to kill Sorry and not the Bridgeburners per se, though she obviously has every reason to lie in that scene). Since this would look much like she was purging the Bridgeburners, the plan would then proceed as above.



This second account has the rather devastating and obvious problem that it is pretty much directly contradicted by Shadowthrone’s remarks about Sorry in Ch.1: “She’s ideal. The Empress could never track her down, could never even so much as guess.” (Besides, having Shadowthrone smugly say something like this only to have both Lorn and the Bridgeburners figure it out with relative ease is very like SE, while the idea that they actually intended her to track Sorry feels a bit cliché, as mentioned). However, under the first account it’s a bit hard to make sense of Cotillion’s comment in the same scene that “the timing is perfect”: if the plan is to wait for Laseen to move against the Bridgeburners, they have no control over the timing at all. Besides, it seems a bit insane to wait no less than 7 years after Laseen’s ascension if they think that she might purge the Bridgeburners at any time without further provocation.



So it seems to me that none of these accounts are entirely satisfying, but I don’t quite see what else the plan could be.


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Posted 07 January 2020 - 07:15 AM

The plan to get to Laseen by both Shadow/Sorry, and Kalam via his trip across 7Cities in DG could both do with a good explanation.
So that's the story. And what was the real lesson? Don't leave things in the fridge.
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Posted 07 January 2020 - 02:33 PM

And also how in the heck is any of this supposed to connect with Shadowthrone's *supposed* master-plan-all-along of opposing (some of) the Elder Gods and setting free Kaminsod.

Only way I can see it is if ST&C really did just want to assassinate Laseen at first and direct the Empire's resources towards the Seer/Tiste Edur/Kaminsod themselves, but sometime after the Itko Kan massacre they mellowed/changed the plan to leaving Laseen alone and pushing things from behind the scenes instead.

View Postworrywort, 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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#45 User is offline   Abyss 

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Posted 07 January 2020 - 03:17 PM

Or if the whole thing were a feint to distract to Chained God from their real agenda, which was to ensure forces stopped his plan with the Pannion Seer and prompted a Malazan Force to move to Leth and from there to Kolanse and the Spire.

I know, i know, but think about it... we open with the Shadow Gods moving near openly against Laseen and the Malazan Empire. They go so far as to wipe out an entire coastline to make it seem as tho they are trying to conceal their agent. Lorn and Paran figure that out in about an hour. That leads more or less directly to Darujhistan being the fulcrum where Dujek breaks from Laseen, joins with Rake and marches at the Domin.

As a result of Dujek's break, Tavore, a very well hidden agent of Cotillion, is given an army. They likely didn't foresee events on 7C would draw the army there instead of directly to Leth, but if you think about it that meant Tavore's forces were on hand when the CG made a grab for the Whirlwind, tho other forces fucked that up for him. From Raraku Tavore's army is drawn back to Malaz Island as a result of other schemes, but along the way they pick up the Perish and the Burned Tears, have a necessary break from Laseen, and head for Leth.

I acknowledge parts of this theory may be a stretch, i acknowledge that SE and ICE may have changed their plans along the way as the story developed. but if we're trying to make sense of the whole thing, the notion that two extremely clever gods with some prescience, moved their agents to a goal. Along the way other people and gods' plans fucked with ST/Cots' plans, but they/their agents managed to keep things on track to the ultimate goal of removing the Crippled God from the world and denying the other gods/ascendants/players access to his power.

Keep in mind their plan doesn't have to cover ALL the events in the story. QUite the opposite, things like the revolution on 7C, Rake saving Mommy Dark from Chaos, Rel subverting Laseen, Hood leaving his role as gatekeeper of Death, the Shake's return to Kharkanas... these are OTHER major events that impact ST/Cots' master plan and at times require adjustments. Hell, they're even involved at times... in DG and HoC Cot's sends Pearl and Lostara on missions to assist Malazan forces, in TtH they step in to ensure Karsa has Dassem's back at the convergence, and it appears Cotillion is responsible for the three chained dragons being available to assist Silch and Tulas when they fly to help Korabas... there is more going on than just the plot to release the CG and they manage to stick their shadowy noses into most of it.

Given the complexity of ALL of that, i can live with the notion that events early in GotM are part of a very intricate set up.




...wait, Harllo was how old...?
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#46 User is offline   Traveller 

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Posted 07 January 2020 - 05:11 PM

View PostD, on 07 January 2020 - 02:33 PM, said:

Only way I can see it is if ST&C really did just want to assassinate Laseen at first and direct the Empire's resources towards the Seer/Tiste Edur/Kaminsod themselves, but sometime after the Itko Kan massacre they mellowed/changed the plan to leaving Laseen alone and pushing things from behind the scenes instead.


Yeah maybe the plan changed the moment Rake intervened, killing the Hounds and withdrawing Sorry. They followed it up with a series of more subtle manoeuvres.
So that's the story. And what was the real lesson? Don't leave things in the fridge.
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#47 User is offline   Abyss 

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Posted 07 January 2020 - 05:42 PM

Or they needed the CG to think that Sorry was a serious shot at Laseen, and therefore that Shadow was obsessed with revenge and not actually engaged in a complex plan designed to cut off all of the CG's plans and liberate him.
The sheer length of time it took Sorry to not get anywhere near Laseen, the ease with which she was tracked, and how she was taken out of play practically as an aside to Rake's activities at Darujhistan would suggest they never really expected her to take the shot at Laseen and were confident it wouldn't work in any event.

We're not there in the reread yet, but look at the scene where Sorry is initially possessed ... ST is acting over the top crazy even for himself... FFS he tells Cots to go become a teenage girl for an undetermined amount of time... that's whacky even for him.


..which brings to mind....

View PostAbyss, on 26 October 2009 - 07:02 PM, said:

SORRY: *retches violently due to stench of Hound pee*
SHADOWTHRONE: Ah, what have we here? Cotillion, it would appear that a decision has been made for you.
ROPE: What are you babbling about? Can we go now? I'm dying here...
ST: The girl has seen us. She cannot be allowed to...
ROPE: The girl is like twelve years old and presently aspected to puke. And apparently she had fish for lunch which really isn't helping.
ST: You must possess her and use her to get close to the Empress...
ROPE: ...
ST: What... why are you looking at me like that? What, it's a great plan...!
ROPE: ...
ST: Oh, c'mon, you've never wanted to be a teenaged girl for a while...?
ROPE: ...
ST: STOP JUDGING MEEEEE!!! *vanishes*

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#48 User is offline   D'rek 

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Posted 07 January 2020 - 06:02 PM

I don't know about needing to deceive the Crippled God... how much could he really know or care what they were up to at that point? And for that matter, didn't Shadowthrone pretty much talk to Kaminsod directly later on?

But okay I can see the general gist of your idea: ST&C need one or more "mortal" armies as well as mages/assassins/other forces they can send against the Crippled God's forces (Pannion, Edur Empire, etc) and the other "mortal" forces of the Elders that will defend the Crippled God (or just get in the way). Easiest way for ST&C to get those is to cut some free from the Malazan Empire, but they don't want it to look like they're directing those forces.

So they enact what looks like a revenge plot on Laseen using Sorry, which goads Laseen into acting suspiciously towards everyone around Sorry and Laseen's suspicions/malicious acts towards them would lead to The Host rebelling under Whiskeyjack - boom, freelance compassionate army full of Bridgeburners and other veterans that, now free of the Empire, can team up with other forces like Brood and be (subtly?) directed by ST towards Lether and Kolanse.

The making it look like revenge against Laseen thing is to mask the intention not so much from Kaminsod, but from players like the Errant or the FA, who hopefully won't piece it together until too late that it's an intentional setup to cut these forces loose and push them all towards Lether and Kolanse.

Backup option or maybe just "two armies are better than one" mentality, Tavore is already working for them and working her way up to becoming a general in Unta (becoming Adjunct was probably a sudden opportunity jumped upon, but even if that never happened Tavore seems to have had the credentials, connections, and determination to have become a Fist pretty quickly anyways).

Rake forces Cotillion out of Sorry "early" and The Host doesn't properly detach from the Empire as perhaps was planned, but they wind up teaming up with Brood/Rake against the Pannion Domain anyways, so that works out. The Host does eventually go rogue, too, though I would say basically all of Ganoes/MasterOfTheDeck happening was unforeseen by ST.

So from the perspective of a status-quo-aligned Ascendant it looks like the Itko Kan massacre is a (sloppyish) decoy to disguise Cotillion possessing Sorry for revenge against Laseen, while in actuality Itko Kan is the decoy to Sorry's possession and revenge being itself a decoy to cutting loose forces to go up against the CG.

It works, I suppose, though I question how much the difference really matters between a rebelling Malaz army attacking Lether and Kolanse versus a loyal one. What would have happened differently if the opposing forces were not deceived and knew already Tavore was doing it at ST's behest, and so on? I guess attack Shadowthrone directly? Or is it just a matter of needing to act out the Sorry affair because it was the only way to get Laseen to piss off The Host and make the soldiers/WJ/Dujek want to rebel?

View Postworrywort, 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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#49 User is offline   JPK 

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Posted 07 January 2020 - 06:33 PM

I finished up book 1 yesterday and started in on the first of the Darujhistan chapters.

Oh Kruppe, I can't believe I'm saying this, but I missed you you fat little bastard.
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Posted 07 January 2020 - 06:51 PM

View PostD, on 07 January 2020 - 06:02 PM, said:

...
It works, I suppose, though I question how much the difference really matters between a rebelling Malaz army attacking Lether and Kolanse versus a loyal one. What would have happened differently if the opposing forces were not deceived and knew already Tavore was doing it at ST's behest, and so on? I guess attack Shadowthrone directly? Or is it just a matter of needing to act out the Sorry affair because it was the only way to get Laseen to piss off The Host and make the soldiers/WJ/Dujek want to rebel?


The point is made a bit further on in GotM, i think, and again elsewhere in the series, that a mortal empire with a direct patronage from a god would be a target for other godly and mortal forces, so to strike at one is a means to strike at the other.

It's suggested in MoI, but never quite stated clearly, that ST and Cots are actually working with Laseen as well as Tays, Dujek, and Whiskeyjack. If that arrangement were overt, the Malazan Empire would for all purposes appear to be the mortal empire of the Shadow Warren's rulers, If the CG were on the alert for ST moving against him, that would draw is attention right down on any active Malazan army.

Without that link, even after the break in TB, Tavore appears to be taking her army to strike at Leth in reprisal for attacks on Malazan cities as opposed to liberating the Edur and Letherii from the CG on her way to Kolanse.
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#51 User is offline   QuickTidal 

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Posted 07 January 2020 - 06:52 PM

It may take me a while to get onto this re-read, but I'll catch up eventually.
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#52 User is offline   Zerv 

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Posted 07 January 2020 - 08:37 PM

View PostD, on 07 January 2020 - 06:02 PM, said:

I don't know about needing to deceive the Crippled God... how much could he really know or care what they were up to at that point? And for that matter, didn't Shadowthrone pretty much talk to Kaminsod directly later on?

But okay I can see the general gist of your idea: ST&C need one or more "mortal" armies as well as mages/assassins/other forces they can send against the Crippled God's forces (Pannion, Edur Empire, etc) and the other "mortal" forces of the Elders that will defend the Crippled God (or just get in the way). Easiest way for ST&C to get those is to cut some free from the Malazan Empire, but they don't want it to look like they're directing those forces.

So they enact what looks like a revenge plot on Laseen using Sorry, which goads Laseen into acting suspiciously towards everyone around Sorry and Laseen's suspicions/malicious acts towards them would lead to The Host rebelling under Whiskeyjack - boom, freelance compassionate army full of Bridgeburners and other veterans that, now free of the Empire, can team up with other forces like Brood and be (subtly?) directed by ST towards Lether and Kolanse.

The making it look like revenge against Laseen thing is to mask the intention not so much from Kaminsod, but from players like the Errant or the FA, who hopefully won't piece it together until too late that it's an intentional setup to cut these forces loose and push them all towards Lether and Kolanse.

Backup option or maybe just "two armies are better than one" mentality, Tavore is already working for them and working her way up to becoming a general in Unta (becoming Adjunct was probably a sudden opportunity jumped upon, but even if that never happened Tavore seems to have had the credentials, connections, and determination to have become a Fist pretty quickly anyways).

Rake forces Cotillion out of Sorry "early" and The Host doesn't properly detach from the Empire as perhaps was planned, but they wind up teaming up with Brood/Rake against the Pannion Domain anyways, so that works out. The Host does eventually go rogue, too, though I would say basically all of Ganoes/MasterOfTheDeck happening was unforeseen by ST.

So from the perspective of a status-quo-aligned Ascendant it looks like the Itko Kan massacre is a (sloppyish) decoy to disguise Cotillion possessing Sorry for revenge against Laseen, while in actuality Itko Kan is the decoy to Sorry's possession and revenge being itself a decoy to cutting loose forces to go up against the CG.

It works, I suppose, though I question how much the difference really matters between a rebelling Malaz army attacking Lether and Kolanse versus a loyal one. What would have happened differently if the opposing forces were not deceived and knew already Tavore was doing it at ST's behest, and so on? I guess attack Shadowthrone directly? Or is it just a matter of needing to act out the Sorry affair because it was the only way to get Laseen to piss off The Host and make the soldiers/WJ/Dujek want to rebel?


As much as I like this, it still doesn't explain why Shadowthrone would be remarking that Laseen will never be able to track Sorry down if he is in fact counting on her to do just that. Cotillion and soon-to-be-possessed Sorry are the only ones there, so he has no obvious reason to lie.
Although, a rather bewildering detail in GotM is that it becomes clear in a Sorry PoV quite late in the book that Cotillion is unaware of Paran having been brought back, despite Shadowthrone finding Paran at Hood's Gates and being talked out of stopping the resurrection (i.e., Shadowthrone obviously knows but didn't tell Cotillion for some reason). Apsalar also states in DG that Dancer trusted Kellanved, but Cotillion doesn't necessarily trust Shadowthrone. So I suppose one might go further down the rabbit hole and wonder to what extent Shadowthrone and Cotillion withhold information from each other and/or have separate schemes in some cases etc. (Though they obviously have the same major goals).
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Posted 07 January 2020 - 08:44 PM

About 85 pages in.

One thing I've noticed in all my rereads and it always bugs me.

When Tatt's is surveying her quarters just after taking Hairlock, she think not much to have gathered up in 219 years of life.

It's year 9 of Lassens reign, the prologue is not long before her assumption of the throne. So the in the riots she's 210.
She was part of a rookie cadre that lost control?
Rookie at 200+ years old.

Minor bugaboo, but it's always caught me
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#54 User is offline   Slow Ben 

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Posted 07 January 2020 - 10:38 PM

I did a re read late last year so I’m not doing this one.

But I’m enjoying the hell out of this thread.


As you were.
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#55 User is online   champ 

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Posted 07 January 2020 - 10:43 PM

My biggest question for the beginning of ST/Cots scheme is why now?


They've had plenty of time to take "revenge" but now is the time they decide to start the plot... I know it's said that it is perfect timing due to circumstances with Rake but this is ST/Cots and I think there is more to it, they are all about misdirection, the plot against Laseen is far from being a master plan, it gets busted in an afternoon. It feels too simple to be their main objective as we are led to believe here. Kill Laseen and then what? They're done? And just leave the Empire to it after that and they can move on... I think it is more let people look over there whilst they begin their true master plan over here...


IIRC they've attended a Chaining by now so they know the CG and there is no way they don't know about the shit hitting the fan in the Pannion Domin... look at the timing, GotM 1161st Year of Burn's Sleep, Pannion Domin (according to Wiki) formed 1160th Year of Burn's Sleep. There has got to be something there...


Or I might just be too mellowed and over thinking it.


On a different note, Cots is one of my all time favourite characters, I love his battle to "feel" human and we see it early here when we finally hear Sorry's name, it's a powerful moment on a reread...

This post has been edited by champ: 07 January 2020 - 10:43 PM

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#56 User is offline   TheRetiredBridgeburner 

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Posted 08 January 2020 - 09:44 AM

I've got a pile of borrowed books to read/get back to people this month, so I'll join you for Deadhouse next month I think. Have fun all! :)
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Posted 08 January 2020 - 07:11 PM

I've always taken Shadowthrone discussing plans re: Sorry as sarcastic. That is, any implication that Laseen won't be able to figure it out is meant to be flat out wrong or a joke. Shadowthrone and Cotillion have known each other a long time, so it's possible they speak casually. The reason I think so is the method. If taken directly, the plan is hilariously bad. If you can go around possessing people, why do you need to draw so much attention to a tiny fishing village by murdering everyone there? It's a goddamn fishing village. Why on earth would Laseen care about a missing girl in a tiny village in Itko Kan? But a carpet of gore draws attention, and sure enough, the bait was taken. At least it feels like bait. To what ends, precisely, I don't know.
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#58 User is offline   Aptorian 

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Posted 08 January 2020 - 07:45 PM

Seeing the kind of discussion just the start of the book has already instigated makes me happy. It takes you back to the incessant debates we had when the series was young. So many crazy theories.
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#59 User is offline   D'rek 

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Posted 08 January 2020 - 08:01 PM

View PostAptorian, on 08 January 2020 - 07:45 PM, said:

Seeing the kind of discussion just the start of the book has already instigated makes me happy. It takes you back to the incessant debates we had when the series was young. So many crazy theories.


I can't wait to get to Kruppe's hanging corpse-sacks fever dream

View Postworrywort, 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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Posted 08 January 2020 - 08:05 PM

I agree completely about the opening.
It's farcical as a subterfuge, just have the ship vanish in a storm and then she can rock up to a recruiter further down the coast.

Either it's a scene he always wanted to show the raw power of the hounds, logic be damned, or it's a deliberate bait by ST and cots
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