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  1. Finished the book for the first time-general thoughts/impressions

    03 March 2019 - 07:52 PM

    Hi guys. So about a month after finishing GotM, I am back with some thoughts and questions about DG. If you care to comment and shed some light into some of my questions and plot points I haven't entirely got, please do. I would beg for no spoilers and if the answer is RAFO or if a potential theory is wrong/correct, please answer with yes or no. Fair warning, this is going to be a long post, so please support a fellow fledgling Malazan noobie if you have the patience.

    I'll start with some general thoughts about the first two books. After putting some time between me and GotM, I can say that that book has some pacing problems. It is also known that it was originally intended as a movie script and it shows in some ways.

    Let me explain these thoughts. The book starts off really interesting and does a hell of a job of establishing the setting and put a shroud of mystery over the world. Then, the worldbuilding continues, albeit in much slower pace, but the book remains extremely enjoyable. Until we get to the last part. I don't know, but the, let's say, third act of GotM seems, to my eyes, a total mess. The pace picks up really quickly for some inexplicable reason and we seem to get action for the sake of action. While the second act is a subtle and really satisfying bricklaying, the last 200 pages or so is a series of battles between really powerful entities (which are dealt with really quickly by the way), half of them not being essential to the plot. And that is what indicates to me that this was intended as a movie script (of course this movie would have left the audience completely baffled). There are some other issues with GotM, but I think the pacing and the badly structured finale are the most important for me. Oh, I almost forgot the enjoyable but totally unnecessary Three Musketeers inspired storyline (the Simtal affair). If it was done to develop the characters fine, but it seems kind of out of place and awkward. If Simtal was more involved in the central plotline, it would be more organically absorbed.

    Now, Deadhouse Gates. This book is a vast step forward, there is no denying it. There are still some quite obvious flaws to this book (Erikson seems to have not comletely matured as an author yet), but the pacing is vastly improved (although some slight hiccups remain and the book could have done with like 200 less pages I think) and the last 3-4 chapters are just so incredibly good. To the point that I wish the whole book was written as well. Also, the characters in Deadhouse Gates are way better developed and fleshed out in comparison to GotM (which had already done quite a fine job). Favourite character would have to be Felisin, in terms of depth and development of course. As for likeability, I would really like to strangle her with my bare hands, so the credit goes to Erikson I suppose, because this was obviously his intention (although you could say he took it a little too far). I can't wait to see her development and her clash with Tavore in HoC. Also, Mappo and Iacrium are not exactly an original concept, but they are incredibly well done. As to parts I enjoyed the most, I know most people would go with the chain, and yes, these parts were the most action packed and thrilling. But personally I liked more the worldbuilding and the character interactions of the Felisin/Heboric/Baudin and Mappo/Icarium storylines. Even the short Kalam parts had some interesting bits.

    So, on to questions/general thoughts. My question as to Dujek's knowledge of Lorn's plans in GotM was answered and I am really satisfied. Kudos to Erikson.

    I want to also comment a bit on Laseen. She seems really intelligent, efficient and with a knack for plotting and conspiring. She is really inventive and knows very well how to manipulate. She also seems to possess integrity and honour. However right now we see glimpses of incompetence, poor choosing of her officials (the whole Pormqual/Seven Cities situation is totally her fault until we learn otherwise) and, as ironic as it sounds, softness. Yes, we see Laseen conduct cullings and get rid of the Old Guard etc. But she seems too slow to take control of things. She shows a kind of indecisiveness that only makes things worse. This is evident by the Seven Cities situation, as commented by Duiker, and by the fact that she seeks to reason with Kalam (something that any ruler that would put the stability of the Empire and their personal safety first would not really consider, as Laseen herself says, by referencing Dassem Ultor). Juxtaposing Laseen with Dancer is especially interesting. Both possess a kind of utilitarian worldview. Both seem quite honorable and see assassination as a means towards a noble goal. But Laseen seems way less decisive and sure than Dancer from what I have seen so far. She is quite similar to Kalam in that sense (I'm thinking on how he didn't act on his suspicions of Pearl/Salk Elan).

    BUT, from Laseen's conversation with Kalam we have a very interesting situation. Either there is a large inconsistency between GotM and DG, or she is lying her teeth out for some of the events of the first book. If what Laseen says is true, then Lorn's and Tool's whole story arc does not make any sense. If they want to make Rake and Darujhistan allies against the Seer, then why does Lorn try to level the city twice and weaken and possibly kill Rake (Raest and the demon)? Even if they became aware of the threat after Lorn had set off from Pale, they would certainly be able to communicate with her and stop her. I can understand assassinating Darujhistan's leaders and Dujek's army conquering the city, but I can't understand destorying the city and/or killing Rake. If it's RAFO please say so.

    Some other minor questions that are left open. Who started the convergence? Was it really planned to coincide with the Whirlwind or was it just a coincidence? What was the Warren that the Shilanda went through and some of the passengers almost ascended (maybe Telann, since it is the Warren of Fire?) and does everybody that come in contact with this fire ascend? Also, I would like your thoughts on Mallick Rel. Do you believe he was a traitor from the start or did he side with Dom due to Coltaine humiliating him? We have indications for both. Pormqual is acting weird from the start, but Rel warns Coltaine that he would see to his destruction after he is humiliated by him in Hissar. I tend to believe he only cared about himself and that he decided to side with Dom after his clash with Coltaine.

    Anyway, in a few words I really enjoyed the book and I am really looking forward to the next two books so I can see how the storylines in both continents continue.
  2. Dujek/Tyrant question

    31 January 2019 - 07:04 AM

    Hello everyone. So, I am new to this forum and to the series. I am currently in the last 150 pages or so and this book, although it comes with some obvious flaws, is very good and I think prepares you for what is to follow (or at least what I expect to follow). It is confusing and not confusing at the same time. I find that if you pay attention you will have little problem understanding what is going on (unless Erikson doesn't want you to of course). Most of the plotlines are either resolved, left for later books or provide the reader with enough information to either figure out things for himself or construct a plausible interpretation.

    That said, there is a part close to where I am right now that does not make a lot of sense. How does Dujek know about the Tyrant? As far as I know, only Lorn, Tool, Tayschrenn, Bellurdan, Tattersail (who finds out shortly before her confrontation with Bellurdan) and of course Laseen know about the Tyrant (at least in the Empire). None of them was likely to inform Dujek of Lorn's plan. So how does Dujek know and inform Whiskeyjack in their conversation through the K'Chain Che'Malle artifact? If this is answered later, please just say so and don't give any spoilers. Perhaps I am getting impatient, but I expected this to be resolved prior to the conversation scene or immediately after as is usually the pattern after such a big revelation. Instead, it seems it is kind of just brushed off. Have I missed something?

    By the way, the Coll/Simtal thing, does it go anywhere? Because right now it seems like a completely disconnected sideplot. Has it some significance to the overarching plot or it's just a subplot to build up the Darujhistan characters? Because it really seems strangely disconnected.

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