Malazan Empire: 2020 Malazan Re-read: House of Chains - Malazan Empire

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2020 Malazan Re-read: House of Chains Starts April 1st

#1 User is offline   Aptorian 

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Posted 22 March 2020 - 07:53 AM

January 1st we began the re-read of the main series of the Malazan books. The plan being to read one book a month. We've now added additional Erikson and Esslemont publications to the schedule, to be read roughly according to the publication order.

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2020
January: Gardens of the Moon
February: Deadhouse Gates
March: Memories of Ice
April: House of Chains
May: Midnight Tides
June Night of Knives & The Bonehunters
July: Return of the Crimson Guard
August: Reaper's Gale
September: Stonewielder
October: Toll the Hounds
November: Orb Sceptre Throne
December: Dust of Dreams

2021
January: The Crippled God
February: Blood and Bone
March: Assail
April: Forge of Darkness
May: Fall of Light


You can read our thoughts from earlier months in these threads:

2020 Malazan Re-read: Gardens of the Moon

2020 Malazan Re-read: Deadhouse Gates

2020 Malazan Re-read: Memories of Ice

April 1st we begin the re-read of House of Chains, the fourth book of the Malazan Book of the Fallen series.

There will be spoilers for all published books. So beware. Spoiler blocks are not mandatory but if people want to use boxes for the latest Kharkanas books or the Path to Ascendance books for example, I'd personally appreciate it.

Are you ready? What do you remember about House of Chains?

House of Chains has faded in my memory. I remember Karsa's first quarter well but not much about the rest of the book, though there are some faint whispers. Onrack finding Trull and releasing the Deragoth, Tavore and Felisin's showdown, Bidithal the child molester getting his dick ripped off.

Rereading Karsa's segments again is going to interesting. Will I have a different opinion on this segment 15 years later? Will Karsa's crimes have a stronger impact? Will his redemption be as easily earned?
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#2 User is online   Cyphon 

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Posted 26 March 2020 - 10:49 PM

Like you I cant remember much beyond Karsa's section... as you say will be interesting to reread them with older eyes and see how I perceive his journey.

Bithidal getting his cummopence will definitely be a highlight to look for.

This book generally gets me confused on the timelines, sitting between the bridge burners arc and Letheras which are the bits I seem to remember most.
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#3 User is offline   Whisperzzzzzzz 

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Posted 27 March 2020 - 01:51 AM

It's weird that I too only really recall the first 1/3 of the book. Berenstein Bears???
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#4 User is offline   Keysi 

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Posted 28 March 2020 - 02:10 AM

There was also..... Yeah I'm struggling too.


As much of a mind fuck as it was, I'm just buzzin to get back to Lether with my man Tehol.
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#5 User is offline   Keysi 

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Posted 28 March 2020 - 02:12 AM

It worked. He's gonna read malazan. Now I just need to work out how to convince hi to stay with it through GotM. Another stumbling block.


Oops this was for my selling malazan thread. No idea how that happened.

This post has been edited by Keysi: 30 March 2020 - 01:47 AM

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#6 User is offline   Macros 

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Posted 28 March 2020 - 09:12 AM

Looking forward to it, but not so much the early Karsa section.

Whilst he redeems himself later in the series he is an utter bastard at the start.
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#7 User is offline   Aptorian 

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Posted 30 March 2020 - 05:56 PM

Starting early because what else am I supposed to do with all this free time?

Interesting to read the Dramatis Personae. Lots of minor characters you forget about who became important later. Sin, Corabb Bhilan Thenu’alas, Calm.

Read the prologue. A short section compared to many of the other books. I forgot about the broken circle on Trull's forehead. Maybe there's no real relation, it's just another cultures symbolism, but having recently read GOTM, and recalling the significance of the Circle or Orb in Darujistan, Trull being so marked seems like a brilliant kind of foreshadowing/call back.

Is Rhulad as the Tyrant and Trull as the Circle breaker a thing that repeats itself again and again over the ages?
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#8 User is offline   Aptorian 

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Posted 30 March 2020 - 06:51 PM

The introduction of the Teblor gods, the unbound, or what ever they're called is interesting.

I didn't recall Karsa's raid being so thoroughly designed and prepared by the broken Imass and the Crippled God.

Also interesting to see the Imass also recognizing the long lives of The Teblor. Implying that it's not a time dilation thing and Karsa really is more than 80 years old. Seems like we've been discussing that age topic for 15 years or more.

I didn't recall the Unbound doing some kind of bad Silverfox mojo on Dayliss:

P. 38.

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‘And mine on his,’ Urual murmured. ‘Night is almost upon us. We must return to our tomb.’ The ancient warrior turned. ‘Fanged Skeleton, remain close to the child in Dayliss’s womb.’ ‘She feeds from my breast even now,’ Emroth asserted. ‘A girl-child?’ ‘In flesh only. What I make within is neither a girl, nor a child.’ ‘Good.’ The seven figures returned to the earth as the first stars of night blinked awake in the sky overhead. Blinked awake, and looked down upon a glade where no gods dwelt. Where no gods had ever dwelt.


Is this ever referenced again or will this demon child perhaps pop up in the next Erikson book?
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#9 User is offline   Aptorian 

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Posted 30 March 2020 - 07:10 PM

P. 41

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Four blood-posts, each marking one of Karsa’s sacrificed siblings, lined the path leading to the village. Unlike others, Synyg had left the carved posts unadorned; he had only gone so far as to cut the glyphs naming his three sons and one daughter given to the Faces in the Rock, followed by a splash of kin blood which had not lasted much beyond the first rain. Instead of braids winding up the man-high posts to a feathered and gut-knotted headdress at the peak, only vines entwined the weathered wood, and the blunted top was smeared with bird droppings.


Gods, the Teblor culture is grim. I don't imagine they actually ritually sacrificed their children but still. I'm surprised the Unbound aren't/weren't more powerful.
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#10 User is offline   Aptorian 

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Posted 30 March 2020 - 07:20 PM

P. 41

Quote

Four blood-posts, each marking one of Karsa’s sacrificed siblings, lined the path leading to the village. Unlike others, Synyg had left the carved posts unadorned; he had only gone so far as to cut the glyphs naming his three sons and one daughter given to the Faces in the Rock, followed by a splash of kin blood which had not lasted much beyond the first rain. Instead of braids winding up the man-high posts to a feathered and gut-knotted headdress at the peak, only vines entwined the weathered wood, and the blunted top was smeared with bird droppings.


Gods, the Teblor culture is grim. I don't imagine they actually ritually sacrificed their children but still. I'm surprised the Unbound aren't/weren't more powerful.

Edit:

Oh never mind that:

P. 44-45

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Uryd born. Uryd sacrificed, they were blood-kin to Karsa, Bairoth and Delum. In their fourth month of life they had each been given to the Faces in the Rock, laid down by their mothers in the glade at sunset. Offered to the Seven’s embrace, vanishing before the sun’s rise. Given, one and all, to a new mother. ’Siballe’s children, then and now. ’Siballe, the Unfound, the lone goddess among the Seven without a tribe of her own. And so, she had created one, a secret tribe drawn from the six others, had taught them of their individual blood ties — in order to link them with their unsacrificed kin. Taught them, as well, of their own special purpose, the destiny that would belong to them and them alone. She called them her Found, and this was the name by which they knew themselves, the name of their own hidden tribe. Dwelling unseen in the midst of their kin, their very existence unimagined by anyone in any of the six tribes. There were some, they knew, who might suspect, but suspicion was all they possessed. Men such as Synyg, Karsa’s father, who treated the memorial blood-posts with indifference, if not contempt. Such men usually posed no real threat, although on occasion more extreme measures proved necessary when true risk was perceived. Such as with Karsa’s mother. The twenty-three Found who stood witness to the beginning of the warriors’ journey, hidden among the trees of the valley side, were by blood the brothers and sisters of Karsa, Bairoth and Delum, yet they were strangers as well, though at that moment that detail seemed to matter little. ‘One shall make it.’ This from Bairoth’s eldest brother. Delum’s twin sister shrugged in reply and said, ‘We shall be here, then, upon that one’s return.’ ‘So we shall.’ Another trait was shared by all of the Found. ’Siballe had marked her children with a savage scar, a stripping away of flesh and muscle on the left side — from temple down to jawline — of each face, and with that destruction the capacity for expression had been severely diminished. Features on the left were fixed in a downturned grimace, as if in permanent dismay. In some strange manner, the physical scarring had also stripped inflection from their voices — or perhaps ’Siballe’s own toneless voice had proved an overwhelming influence. Thus bereft of intonation, words of hope had a way of ringing false to their own ears, sufficient to silence those who had spoken. One would make it. Perhaps.



Okay that's another element for The God is not Willing. That Found tribe probably still exists and a miserable lot they must be.
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Posted 31 March 2020 - 08:33 AM

P. 57

After attacking an Rathyd hunting party.

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Delum had joined them, and now eyed Karsa without expression. Karsa said, ‘Delum Thord would speak.’ ‘I would, Warleader. The youth, you have placed an image in his mind. It will harden there, its colours will not fade, but sharpen. The echo of screams will become louder in his skull. Familiar faces, frozen eternal in expressions of pain. This youth, Karsa Orlong, will become an adult. And he will not be content to follow, he will lead. He must lead; and none shall challenge his fierceness, the gleaming wood of his will, the oil of his desire. Karsa Orlong, you have made an enemy for the Uryd, an enemy to pale all we have known in the past.’ ‘One day,’ Karsa said, ‘that Rathyd warleader shall kneel before me. This, I vow, here, on the blood of his kin, I so vow.’ The air was suddenly chill. Silence hung in the glade except for the muted buzz of flies. Delum’s eyes were wide, his expression one of fear. Bairoth turned away. ‘That vow shall destroy you, Karsa Orlong. No Rathyd kneels before an Uryd. Unless you prop his lifeless corpse against a tree stump. You now seek the impossible, and that is a path to madness.’ ‘One vow among many I have made,’ Karsa said. ‘And each shall be kept. Witness, if you dare.’


More elements to the next book.

This post has been edited by Aptorian: 31 March 2020 - 08:34 AM

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#12 User is offline   Aptorian 

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Posted 31 March 2020 - 12:06 PM

Just read the section where Karsa and co. meet Calm, p. 89-98. Such an awesome introduction for the Forkrul Assail, mirrored when Rhulad and Co. meet another in Midnight Tides. Such a difference from the fallen red shirt Assail we met in book 9-10.

This intro also held such promise for when Karsa would meet Calm again and then it never happens. I'm getting frustrated just thinking about it.
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