Malazan Empire: 2020 Malazan Re-read: Midnight Tides - Malazan Empire

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2020 Malazan Re-read: Midnight Tides Starts Friday, May 1st.

#1 User is offline   Aptorian 

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Posted 27 April 2020 - 06:47 PM

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.

Quote

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

2020 Malazan Re-read: House of Chains

May 1st we begin the re-read of Midnight Tides, the fifth 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 Midnight Tides?

Midnight Tides is one of my favorite Malazan Books. It was a shock that Erikson again split the narrative, so that we now had a third storyline completely seperated from characters and setting of the other four books. Except for Trull and a few cameos, the cast is new, the continent is new and weird new revelations about the lore and magic system and much else is revealed.

I remember Midnight Tides being a more challenging book than the others. The new themes of imperialism, capitalism, civilization vs natives, etc. were thrilling and most surprising, this book probably has some of the funniest segments when ever Tehol and Bugg steal the scene. I also remember rereading segments like Iron Bars vs the Toblakai gods, Bugg becoming enraged when he thinks Tehol is killed, the duel between Rhulad and Brys Beddict, etc. over and over. There's a lot of great moments in this one.
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#2 User is offline   Cyphon 

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Posted 27 April 2020 - 08:09 PM

How is it May already?

This book is a bit of blur to me but your preview reel brings some of it back like a warm comforting blanket. I think that's a good place to come into this book.
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Posted 28 April 2020 - 05:41 AM

I've been largely lurking only for HoC, hoping for better w MT in May.

I love this book. The sheer balls of SE to throw readers to a whole new continent, new cast, new magic, new pantheon, and then dole out bits and hints of connections... Trull, Holds, wyvals, Tiste and Jaghut and KChain flashbacks, a Crimson Guard squad, a Teblor subrace, Azath, a ref to Icarium, the frikkin Silanda, the origin of the Nascent... and by the end we know so much more about the world and the story than we did. And also most of the cast is dead or on the run and you KNOW we'll see them again.

Yeah, I'm a fan.
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#4 User is offline   Keysi 

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Posted 29 April 2020 - 12:13 AM

Time for Tehol. My man😀
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Posted 30 April 2020 - 07:55 PM

As excited as I am for Tehol and Bugg, you can't forgot my fav: Ublala.
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Posted 02 May 2020 - 01:31 PM

Starting this today hopefully
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Posted 02 May 2020 - 02:10 PM

It'll take me a few more days to finish HOC. Then I'm jumping right in.
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Posted 02 May 2020 - 10:14 PM

Quote

"Gothos," Mael rasped, "what ritual do you invoke in answer to this?"

The Jaghut scowled. "They've made a mess. I mean to cleanse it."

"Ice," the Elder god snorted. "The Jaghut answer to everything."

"And what would yours be, Mael? Flood, or...flood?"

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Posted 03 May 2020 - 07:06 AM

I also love that Mael appears in the form of a humanoid fish guy.
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Posted 03 May 2020 - 01:49 PM

Started Midnight Tides. Much anticipation!

As always the Dramatis Personae sets the stage for a host of fan favourites and new or unfamiliar faces. I remember with Lether Erikson began a naming scheme where I started to have trouble keeping track of people or remembering their names because it was just a jumble of words.

Forgot how big the Edur cast is.

And the many names of the Lether leadership.

Udinaas was a favourite of mine. His cynical wit is equal to the likes of Tehol and Kruppe I think. Always liked the way Erikson writes smart characters.

Yan Tovis pops out. I'd forgotten about the Twilight/Shake storyline. I didn't like that story thread much, though that last stand by that guy on that beach against those dragons in Crippled God was pretty badass.

Shurq Elalle! I'd forgotten about that weird undead pirate and her vagina symbiote.

Who the hell is The One Within?

Oh and there's Scabandari Bloodeye. What an awesome name.

Let's begin!
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Posted 03 May 2020 - 01:54 PM

P. 19

Quote

The First Days of the Sundering of Emurlahn
The Edur Invasion, the Age of Scabandari Bloodeye
The Time of the Elder Gods


Oh shit just the opening of the prologue is awesome. I'd forgotten how cool the Elder time events are. Skykeeps raining blood, Ascendants fighting Matrons, Dragons, Elder Gods, Oh my.

This post has been edited by Aptorian: 03 May 2020 - 01:55 PM

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Posted 03 May 2020 - 02:10 PM

P. 24

Such as the Soletaken Tiste Andii, Silchas Ruin, third and last of Mother Dark’s three children. Removing from Scabandari Bloodeye’s path his last worthy opponent among the Tiste. Mother Dark’s three children. Three names … Andarist, who long ago surrendered his power in answer to a grief that could never heal. All unknowing that the hand that delivered that grief was mine … Anomandaris Irake, who broke with his mother and with his kind. Who then vanished before I could deal with him. Vanished, probably never to be seen again. And now Silchas Ruin, who in a very short time will know the eternal prison of the Azath. Scabandari Bloodeye was pleased. For his people. For himself. This world he would conquer. Only the first Andii settlers could pose any challenge to his claim. A champion of the Tiste Andii in this realm? I can think of no-one … no-one with the power to stand before me … It did not occur to Scabandari Bloodeye to wonder where, of the three sons of Mother Dark, the one who had vanished might have gone. But even that was not his greatest mistake …

-----

Ah, so much lore and character building in that short passage. And then in Reaper's Gale when Rake and Killimandaros team up to hunt the renegades assailing the fractured warren.
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Posted 04 May 2020 - 03:43 PM

That White Crow. I'm trying to remember. Thee were several animals who had symbolic or direct links to gods in this book.

White Crow was Silchas Ruin, right?

Wasn't there also an owl?
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Posted 04 May 2020 - 05:22 PM

P. 59-61

Feather Witch does her casting of the tiles revealing much about The Holds and the powers or history of Lether.

I honestly understand very little of what she speaks and their relation. I'll post it here and come back afterwards to see if it is a foretelling.

Quote

To witness the rise of the Holds. Udinaas, like all Letherii, knew the sequences and the forms. First would come the three Fulcra known as the Realm Forgers. Fire, the silent scream of light, the very swirl of the stars themselves. Then Dolmen, bleak and rootless, drifting aimless in the void. And into the path of these two forces, the Errant. Bearer of its own unknowable laws, it would draw Fire and Dolmen into fierce wars. Vast fields of destructions, instance upon instance of mutual annihilation. But occasionally, rarely, there would be peace made between the two contestants. And Fire would bathe but not burn, and Dolmen would surrender its wandering ways, and so find root. The Errant would then weave its mysterious skein, forging the Holds themselves. Ice. Eleint. Azath. Beast. And into their midst would emerge the remaining Fulcra. Axe, Knuckles, Blade, the Pack, Shapefinder and White Crow. Then, as the realms took shape, the spiralling light would grow sharper, and the final Hold would be revealed. The Hold that had existed, unseen, at the very beginning. The Empty Hold – heart of Letherii worship – that was at the very centre of the vast spiral of realms. Home to the Throne that knew no King, home to the Wanderer Knight, and to the Mistress who waited still, alone in her bed of dreams. To the Watcher, who witnessed all, and the Walker, who patrolled borders not even he could see. To the Saviour, whose outstretched hand was never grasped. And, finally, to the Betrayer, whose loving embrace destroyed all it touched. ‘Walk with me to the Holds.’ The witnesses sighed as one, unable to resist that sultry, languid invitation. ‘We stand upon Dolmen. Broken rock, pitted by shattered kin, its surface seething with life so small it escapes our eyes. Life locked in eternal wars. Blade and Knuckles. We are among the Beasts. I can see the Bone Perch, slick with blood and layered with the ghost memories of countless usurpers. I see the Elder, still faceless, still blind. And Crone, who measures the cost in the scrawling passage of behemoths. Seer, who speaks to the indifferent. I see Shaman, seeking truths among the dead. And Hunter, who lives in the moment and thinks nothing of the consequences of slaughter. And Tracker, who sees the signs of the unknown, and walks the endless paths of tragedy. The Hold of the Beast, here in this valley that is but a scratch upon Dolmen’s hard skin. ‘There is no-one upon Bone Perch. Chaos hones every weapon, and the killing goes on and on. And from the maelstrom powerful creatures arise, and the slaying reaches beyond measure. ‘Such powers must be answered. The Errant returns, and casts the seed into blood-soaked earth. Thus rises the Hold of the Azath. ‘Deadly shelter for the tyrants, oh they are so easily lured. And so balance is achieved. But it remains a grisly balance, yes? No cessation to the wars, although they are much diminished, so that, finally, their cruel ways come into focus.’ Her voice was like sorcery unbound. Its rough-edged song entranced, devoured, unveiled vistas into the minds of all those who heard it. Feather Witch had walked from the terror of the Beginnings, and there was no fear in her words. ‘But the tread of time is itself a prison. We are shackled with progression. And so the Errant comes once more, and the Ice Hold rises, with its attendant servants who journey through the realms to war against time. Walker, Huntress, Shaper, Bearer, Child and Seed. And upon the Throne of Ice sits Death, cowled and frost-rimed, stealer of caring, to shatter the anxious shackles of mortal life. It is a gift, but a cold one. ‘Then, to achieve balance once more, is born the Eleint, and chaos is given flesh, and that flesh is draconic. Ruled by the Queen, who must be slain again and again by every child she bears. And her Consort, who loves none but himself. Then Liege, servant and guardian and doomed to eternal failure. Knight, the very sword of chaos itself – ’ware his path! And Gate, that which is the Breath. Wyval, spawn of the dragons, and the Lady, the Sister, Blood-Drinker and Path-Shaper. The Fell Dragons. ‘One Hold remains …’ Udinaas spoke with the others as they whispered, ‘The Empty Hold.’ Feather Witch tilted her head suddenly, a frown marring her forehead. ‘Something circles above the Empty Throne. I cannot see it, yet it … circles. A pallid hand, severed and dancing … no, it is—’ She stiffened, then red spurted from wounds on her shoulders, and she was lifted from the ground.

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Posted 04 May 2020 - 06:16 PM

P. 80 Tehol and Bugg appear. There's something thrilling about first seeing them. A financial mastermind and an Elder God, living together in squalor, making a game out of starvation and poverty, and apparently enjoying every minute of it.
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Posted 04 May 2020 - 07:26 PM

P. 100. Then there's the Cedas reading

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Brys studied the glowing tile. It was large, not quite square. Two spans of a spread hand in length, slightly less so in width. The Holds. The Cedance. Kuru Qan’s chamber of divination. Throughout Letheras there were casters of the tiles, readers of the Holds. Of course, their representations were small, like flattened dice. Only the King’s Sorceror possessed tiles such as these. With ever-shifting faces. ‘I see a barrow in a yard.’ ‘Ah, then you see truly. Good. An unhinged mind would reveal itself at this moment, its vision poisoned with fear and malice. Barrow, third from last among the tiles of the Azath Hold. Tell me, what do you sense from it?’ Brys frowned. ‘Restlessness.’ ‘Aye. Disturbing, agreed?’ ‘Agreed.’ ‘But the Barrow is strong, is it not? It will not yield its claim. Yet, consider for a moment. Something is restless, there beneath that earth. And each time I have visited here in the past month, this tile has begun the spiral.’ ‘Or ended it.’ Kuru Qan tilted his head. ‘Possibly. A swordsman’s mind addresses the unexpected. Important? We’ll see, won’t we? Begins, or ends. So. If the Barrow is in no danger of yielding, then why does this tile persist? Perhaps we but witness what is, whilst that restlessness promises what will be. Alarming.’ ‘Ceda, have you visited the site of the Azath?’ ‘I have. Both tower and grounds are unchanged. The Hold’s manifestation remains steadfast and contained. Now, drag your gaze onward, Finadd. Next?’ ‘A gate, formed of a dragon’s gaping jaws.’ ‘Fifth in the Hold of the Dragon. Gate. How does it relate to Barrow of the Azath? Does the Gate precede or follow? In the span of my life, this is the first time I have seen a tile of Dragon Hold in the pattern. We are witness – or shall be witness – to a momentous occasion.’ Brys glanced at the Ceda. ‘We are nearing Seventh Closure. It is momentous. The First Empire shall be reborn. King Diskanar shall be transformed – he shall ascend and assume the ancient title of First Emperor.’ Kuru Qan hugged himself. ‘The popular interpretation, aye. But the true prophecy, Finadd, is somewhat more … obscure.’ Brys was alarmed by the Ceda’s reaction. Nor had he known that the popular interpretation was other than accurate. ‘Obscure? In what way?’ ‘“The king who rules at the Seventh Closure shall be transformed and so shall become the First Emperor reborn.” Thus. Yet, questions arise. Transformed – how? And reborn – in the flesh? The First Emperor was destroyed along with the First Empire, in a distant land. Leaving the colonies here bereft. We have existed in isolation for a very long time, Finadd. Longer than you might believe.’ ‘Almost seven thousand years.’ The Ceda smiled. ‘Language changes over time. Meaning twists. Mistakes compound with each transcribing. Even those stalwart sentinels of perfection – numbers – can, in a single careless moment, be profoundly altered. Shall I tell you my belief, Finadd? What would you say to my notion that some zeroes were dropped? At the beginning of this the Seventh Closure.’ Seventy thousand years? Seven hundred thousand? ‘Describe for me the next four tiles.’ Feeling slightly unbalanced, Brys forced his attention back to the floor. ‘I recognize that one. Betrayer of the Empty Hold. And the tile that follows: White Crow, of the Fulcra. The third is unknown to me. Shards of ice, one of which is upthrust from the ground and grows bright with reflected light.’ Kuru Qan sighed and nodded. ‘Seed, last of the tiles in the Hold of Ice. Another unprecedented appearance. And the fourth?’ Brys shook his head. ‘It is blank.’ ‘Just so. The divination ceases. Is blocked, perhaps, by events yet to occur, by choices as yet unmade. Or, it marks the beginning, the flux that is now, this very moment. Leading to the end, which is the last tile – Barrow. Unique mystery. I am at a loss.’

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Posted 05 May 2020 - 07:14 AM

The white crow, is it not menandore, who then rapes udinaas?
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Posted 05 May 2020 - 07:41 AM

Menandore did rape Udinaas.

The White Crow is Silchas Ruin.

Though I also wonder if the Betrayer/White Crow figure in Edur mythology has, over time, through the power of belief, become an entity separate from Silchas Ruin lying in the Azath.
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Posted 05 May 2020 - 10:32 AM

Around p. 150 Brys meets with Gerun Ebberict. I'd forgotten about him.

As I recall it's revealed that he's not a nice man later on but I find him fascinating as a figure in a society bound by laws. Able to do almost anything with no consequences beyond personal retribution perhaps? What might one get up to if the law did not apply to you?
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Posted 05 May 2020 - 03:42 PM

I had forgotten about gebrun as well, just read that bit today at lunchtime myself.

Regards white crow, I know that's Albino Andii, I don't have the book to hand, but when udinaas is dreaming and talking to feather witch does it not run like "I thought I saw a white crow but it wasn't it was menandore"
Then Trull sees the white crow and then silchas' revenant comes to him when he's standing vigil?

Blegh I'm not going to find my book and track back, I'm too busy
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