Malazan Empire: 2020 Malazan Re-read: Bonehunters - Malazan Empire

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2020 Malazan Re-read: Bonehunters Starts Monday, June 1st

#81 User is offline   Cyphon 

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Posted 18 June 2020 - 07:56 AM

The bit before the convergence was a slog, but once it starts it clips along nicely.

T'Amber is such a Dues Ex Machina to force character decisions.

Also, how incompetent is Laseen to let Rel get into such a position of power?
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#82 User is offline   Aptorian 

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Posted 18 June 2020 - 03:28 PM

This bit on p. 625 where Helian walks up to Admiral Nok thinking he's a sailor and trades her mostly empty bottle for his personal flask is fantastic.
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#83 User is offline   Abyss 

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Posted 19 June 2020 - 01:51 AM

View PostCyphon, on 18 June 2020 - 07:56 AM, said:

The bit before the convergence was a slog, but once it starts it clips along nicely.

T'Amber is such a Dues Ex Machina to force character decisions.

Also, how incompetent is Laseen to let Rel get into such a position of power?





How is Tamber deus ex... that Tavore had a 'source' was hinted all the way back to HoC.

It's explained that Laseen wasn't paying attention to the Claw and took them for granted, and that gave Rel an in. Seems entirely consistent with those involved to me. Laseen was never a perfect empress, she was just the best available person for the job Kel and Dancer bailed on.
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#84 User is offline   Traveller 

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Posted 19 June 2020 - 08:40 AM

I'm just finishing up. I'm still not quite sure about the whole turn against the 14th - why its deemed better/easier to instigate a pogrom against the Wickans and Khundryl, change the truth to paint heroes as traitors, and raise up those who were obviously responsible and put them in charge.

Rather than say, just kill those responsible? They could use the resources from the Wickan plains without destroying their culture; theyre already allies/subjects of the empire. Is it because Rel has the Claw, and between him and KD they've persuaded Laseen that this is what they should do because of their own personal vendettas with the Wickans after the Chain? Is she only doing this to keep herself in power? What's stopping her from killing them both, she is/was an assassin?

I get how Kalam has to choose between the 14th and the Empire, but not so much how Laseen is suddenly scared and powerless; surely her commands override Mallick even if he has infiltrated the Claw.

Fiddler's music as a backdrop to all this is a great touch. I love everything with Hellian. Especially the point at which Touchy and Brethless become one person to her, and she stares between them because she assumes shes seeing double.
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#85 User is offline   Cyphon 

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Posted 19 June 2020 - 08:52 AM

Aye you're right Abyss. I will claim tired and lazy reading.

I had forgotten the Eres'al, and Laseen's position. I vaguely recall the forum debating at some point whether Rel was actually a good emperor or not.

Do we ever find out how Grub is as Grub is?

Finished. I had it in my head that Trull and Onrack died in this book, obviously wrong there. It's really clear that I completely forgot the second half of this book. Which I hope bodes well for enjoying the rest of the reread as long as I dont get lazy.
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#86 User is offline   Aptorian 

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Posted 19 June 2020 - 09:02 AM

View PostTraveller, on 19 June 2020 - 08:40 AM, said:

Rather than say, just kill those responsible? They could use the resources from the Wickan plains without destroying their culture; theyre already allies/subjects of the empire. Is it because Rel has the Claw, and between him and KD they've persuaded Laseen that this is what they should do because of their own personal vendettas with the Wickans after the Chain? Is she only doing this to keep herself in power? What's stopping her from killing them both, she is/was an assassin?


I still have 150 pages to go but I don't think Erikson explains this well enough either. Just like the fuck up at Pale wasnt explained properly or the fact that Pormqual wasn't removed from Aren long before or the Aristocracy was allowed to buy their way into the administration and army. Laseen is shown as being a ruthless and cunning leader. Why would she allow things to get this fucked up? I can understand perhaps losing some grasp of the extent of things when her most trusted advisors left her but surely she wouldn't just hire "yes men", she has a whole core of Claws that rose up with her.

I think Erikson should have included a POV at some point that was close to matters in the Malazan administration. Like Possum or Topper or some Secretary to the Empress. I get that keeping distance between the characters and the ruler of the Empire helps create tension and mystery but it sort of backfires in this case.

Same thing with Tavore. By having her keep everything to herself she leaves the reader with this contradictory image of her. Supposedly she's actually brilliant and knows a lot through T'amber. Like she's following some destiny. But on the other hand her actions are shown to be cold, hesitant, uncertain. It would be easier if Erikson outright told us she was incompetent it would be easier to figure out.
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#87 User is offline   Aptorian 

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Posted 19 June 2020 - 09:04 AM

Grub is mentioned in an opening text as one day becoming the First Sword of the Malazan Empire in the "Late period".

I believe there is some mention that Grub is a kind of physical manifestation of the death of Coltain's Host and an avatar of the Bonehunters.
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Posted 19 June 2020 - 09:20 AM

Its hard to read as it changes the perspective on the Empire itself. From the start, the Empire is seen as a well organised expansionist force, with a great military but also the ability to bring stability and economic improvements after the initial takeovers. Laseen is seen as an effective ruler, with fuckups like Aren being attributed to the likes of Pormqual.

This treatment of Rel and KD doesn't quite ring true with how she's been seen to operate previously. How they got that far is all a bit of a mystery. Changing the truth to turn on the Wickans, putting Rel and KB in charge, and the 14th leaving, effectively turns the Empire into the bad guy, when generally up until now it's been seen favourably.

This post has been edited by Traveller: 19 June 2020 - 09:24 AM

So that's the story. And what was the real lesson? Don't leave things in the fridge.
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#89 User is offline   Aptorian 

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Posted 19 June 2020 - 12:24 PM

P. 663

I'd forgotten that Envy is apparently the mother of some of Andii kids that came off Drift Avalii. And their father is Nimander Golit who is Rake's son. That's a lot of power those kids share. No wonder they were carving their way through cultists in TTH with ease.

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‘So, if Anomander Rake is Nimander’s father, who was the mother?’ ‘Ah, you’re not completely blind, then. You can see, can’t you? Different mothers, for some of ’em. And one of those mothers wasn’t no Tiste Andii, was she? Look at Phaed—’ ‘I can only see the back of her head.’ ‘Whatever. I looked at her, and I asked her that very same question you just asked me.’ ‘What?’ ‘“Who was your mother?”’ ‘Mine?’ ‘And she smiled – and I nearly died, Banaschar, and I mean it. Nearly died. Bursting blood vessels in my brain, toppling over nearly died. Anyway, she told me, and it wasn’t no Tiste Andii kind of name, and from the looks of her I’d say the other half was human, but then again, can you really tell with these things? Not really.’ ‘No, really, what was the name?’ ‘Lady Envy, who used to know Anomander Rake himself, and got her revenge taking his son as a lover. Messy, eh? But if she was anything like that Phaed there, with that smile, well, envy’s the only word – for every other woman in the world.

This post has been edited by Aptorian: 19 June 2020 - 12:26 PM

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#90 User is offline   Traveller 

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Posted 19 June 2020 - 12:32 PM

I'm finding lots of passages like this satisfyingly pertinent these days..

"Have you not yet observed, Tavore, that in the minds of the people in this empire, truth is without relevance? It has lost its power. It no longer effects change and indeed, the very will of the people – born of fear and ignorance, granted – the very will, as I said, can in turn revise those truths, can transform, if you like, the lies of convenience into faith, and that faith in turn is not open to challenge.’
So that's the story. And what was the real lesson? Don't leave things in the fridge.
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#91 User is offline   Traveller 

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Posted 19 June 2020 - 12:51 PM

(Are we reading rotcg next or Reapers Gale?)
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#92 User is offline   Aptorian 

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Posted 19 June 2020 - 12:56 PM

Return. You can always check the first page for the reading order.
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Posted 19 June 2020 - 01:06 PM

Ah, that segment around p. 670 where the Bonehunters are displaying the living heads and waving to the Untan navy, then Stormy takes a shit over the railing and the two heavies on Kindly and Pores ship start defecating as well. I love Erikson's humor.
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Posted 19 June 2020 - 02:11 PM

Yep, Crump waving and getting thumped for it. Then a whole line of marines shitting over the rail...

Also Legana Breed just for got his flint sword back from Stormy, and says 'its scratched..'

This post has been edited by Traveller: 19 June 2020 - 02:12 PM

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#95 User is offline   Abyss 

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Posted 19 June 2020 - 03:32 PM

I loved that bit with the heads so much.
THEY WERE SMILING!
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Posted 19 June 2020 - 06:48 PM

Okay, I did NOT remember that a Kenrylah demon was a bartender at Smileys.
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Posted 19 June 2020 - 07:50 PM

It doesn't serve regular ale either..


I just started RotCG and already I'm kind of wishing I didnt have to read it.
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#98 User is offline   Aptorian 

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Posted 19 June 2020 - 07:54 PM

Cheater! There's 11 days till July!

I'll make you a re-read thread on Monday if you want.
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Posted 19 June 2020 - 09:24 PM

I saw a list earlier with 15th june for rotcg - wrong thread now I realise, but I skipped NoK and I've got a bit ahead somehow after reading BH in 2 weeks, so I'm getting into it a bit early.

Going from books with such colourful names such as Unnutal Hebaz, Torrudal Brizard, Ublala Pung to name but a few, to... Kyle.
Gods I hate that name choice, it throws me out of the story every time I see it.

I didnt like this the first time round but I just paid for it on kindle so I'd better get into it. Also I'll get out of the wrong book thread until you make a new one for me to whine in.

This post has been edited by Traveller: 19 June 2020 - 09:25 PM

So that's the story. And what was the real lesson? Don't leave things in the fridge.
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#100 User is offline   Aptorian 

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Posted 20 June 2020 - 06:01 AM

This passage from P. 722-731 where Tavore, T'amber and Kalam meet Laseen, Rel and Dom annoys me. All this unspoken, hidden meaning bullshit Erikson is caking on doesn't pass.

No Kalam can't go into the room and kill Rel and Dom because then he can't escort Tavore and T'amber. What? Erikson sets it up as though it's a binary choice. Just fucking murder them and give Laseen a salute and walk out. He also sets it up so even though Kalam takes over the Claw then he can't use them because they are infiltrated. Again that's not a binary situation. Order the claw officers to stand down and then he'll know the ones who want to intercept are traitors.

And what the hell is Laseen so afraid of? We know from Esslemonts books that Laseen is a Crimson Guard avowed killing machine. She could murder Rel and Dom any time she wants with her bare hands. If she's afraid of Rel's wards have Tayschren melt the piece of shit.

I just don't buy any of this.

And furthermore how inept are the claw that they can't take out Kalam and co? Just throw a bunch of sharpers and burners at them in the courtyard or on the rampart. Done. Fuck your Otataral sword.

This post has been edited by Aptorian: 20 June 2020 - 06:19 AM

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