Spoilers for Gardens of The Moon to Chapter 16| More info and previous posts |Please no spoilers for future books/events
In my plan to read The Malazan Book of The Fallen, I’m now on book 1, Gardens of The Moon. This post covers chapters 14-16.
This book’s verse is very definitely about Tattersail, reborn as a child. Though the card she’s looking at, Obelisk, is totally new to me. (Edit: Just realised this, maybe it’s the stone at the Tyrant’s barrow?)
Also, this chapter is dated in no less than three different systems.
As Lorn and Tool arrive at the Gadrobi Hills, Tool takes it upon himself to give a little lesson in the History of Magic. Somehow Warrens are located not only in a different place, but also time. A different “flavor” of time. (I’ll take mine in butterscotch, thanks.) And the barrow is in a lost warren. He goes on to explain to Lorn exactly how risky it is to free the Tyrant.
Lorn is worried that in that case, how will they control it? Now you’re worrying about this, Adjunct? Anyway, it feels weird that Tool is telling Lorn, and not otherwise. She’s the Adjunct after all. Anyway, Tool tells her that the plan is that Rake will take out the Tyrant, and in so doing weaken himself. A devious plan.
In related news, remember how I was ambivalent about which side I was on? Well I’m definitely not on the Empire’s side.
Tool also tells us about the Tiste Andii. Apparently they lived in the Warren of Darkness, but their mom got bored and made light. This made the Andii unhappy and they left/were kicked out of the Warren. Some have even changed their warren to Starvald Demelain. So you can change your Warren? Just like that? Why doesn’t everyone keep doing it then? Maybe they do. Maybe it was a one-off thing.
Oh, and Starval Demelain was the Warren of Dragons. Stop teasing me Erikson and show me a fire breathing giant monster already!
Also in the area are Murillio, Coll, Crokus and Kruppe. There’s friendly banter and slight back story, all around a nice change from Lorn/Tool. Poor guys are traveling on mules because Kruppe was too cheap to get horses, instead pocketing that money. Following them is Sorry – who someone informed me in the last post’s comments is controlled by Cotillion. She’s planning to kill Crokus soon, thinking that the rest won’t be a big deal. I’m afraid I agree.
Lorn and Tool arrive at the barrow’s location, and Tool tells her to chill until the dawn, which is when he’ll open it up. Lorn wanders around the countryside, getting all melancholy and teary eyed thinking about her mission and the Tyrant.
“Oh, Laseen,” she murmured, tears welling in her eyes, “I know why we fear this Jaghut Tyrant. Because he became human”
No Adjunct, it’s because he’s powerful enough to enslave the whole place given half a chance.
Also in the area are Toc and Paran, following Hairlock’s trail of roasted ravens. Something seems to be going on with Toc, he’s seeing flashes of light and stuff, about which all he says is “Damn Seven Cities’ superstitions”. He’s also worrying about Paran’s plan, which is to run headlong into Lorn and a T’Lan Imass. Yeah, not the best plan.
Suddenly a vision flashes in his head, of tear opening. From this he deduces that they’re walking into an ambush, and inform Paran. Paran’s all “let’s go in”.
Ah, this attitude takes me back. The WoT supergirls – Elayne, Egwene and Nynaeve – had a lot of this too, knowingly walking into traps all over the place, thinking themselves too clever to get caught, then getting caught and having to be rescued by Mat, and then not even having the grace to thank him. Those were the days… Ahem, back to Malazan. Let’s see if Paran fares any better.
Paran is all fired up for the fight. He does take a moment to think if Toc though, and for that earns major points from me. And then all of a sudden the promised ambush comes in the form of Hairlock, and in short order poor Toc vanishes through a crack in the air, presumably into some Warren. I have a feel though that this is not the last we’ll see of him, if for no other reason than because I don’t see someone having a username after him if he lasted half a book. (Looking at you, /u/TocYounger).
Hairlock then proceeds to give Paran a standard painful death speech. Paran prepares to fight, and suddenly the howling of hounds is heard. Tunrs out Quick Ben is responsible for this, contacting Sorry/Cotillion and giving him Hairlock’s location.
Meanwhile, Lorn runs into Crokus Co. To my surprise, the two groups engage in Mortal Kombat without so much as a word exchanged. Kruppe’s magic is useless against Otataral, and Lorn soon manages to take down Coll and Murillio. At this point, Crokus is all “chill woman, we come in peace” so she lets them be and gets back. Watching all this is Sorry, who moves in to kill Crokus once Lorn is gone.
Back to Paran, Hairlock prepares to escape through his warren, but Quick Ben is ready, and he cuts the puppet’s strings. Hounds of Shadow, in case you’re reading this in your down time, it helps, when chasing a slippery target, to not howl from miles away.
Anyway, his escape cut off, the Hounds dispatch Hairlock in short order. Nice. Then they turn to Paran. Not nice. But then suddenly Anomander Rake hits the floor. He tells the Hounds to sod off, because Darujhistan is none of Shadowthrone’s business. The Hounds attack. It’s all over in a flash, and two Hounds are dead.
This draws out Shadowthrones himself. Rake reiterates his demand, and Ammanas agrees, though it takes a bit of threatening.
“One last point,” Shadowthrone said, a giggle escaping him, “I am not responsible for whatever actions the Rope might take against you.”
A smile entered Rake’s tone. “Convince him of the wise course, Shadowthrone. I have no patience for your games. If I am pushed, by either you, your Hounds, or by the Rope, I’ll make no distinction. I will assail the Shadow Realm, and you are invited to try to stop me.”
Fucking ice-cold badass. I am now officially rooting for Rake. Also, WTF is with Shadowthrone and giggling?
Once everyone is gone, Paran goes into shock all the crazy stuff he just saw, and thinks over the news that Oponn apparently once controlled him, though no more. And then for some reason touches the Hound’s corpses, nad bam! he’s in what appears to be Dragnipur, or wherever the sword imprisons people.
He chats with some unknown guy, and decides to try and free the Hounds. His first attempt is to look for a way to open their collars. Worth a shot, but dude, if escaping were so easy, the place would be empty right now. He follows the chains, which seem to vanish into super cold darkness under the massive wagon. And then he summons Oponn, the Lord.
OK WTF? Paran can just summon them like that? Anyway, the guy is fucking terrified to be there, and it only gets worse when Paran tells him the Hounds are coming for him. He tries to flee, but Paran manages to stop him by holding on real tight. He asks for help freeing the Hounds, and long story short, the Hounds end up jumping into the portal from which the chains emerge, into the Warren of Darkness. And then Paran is back, and the Hound’s bodies have vanished.
What the hell just happened? How did Paran get in there? Why’d he do what he did in there? How’d he get back? I don’t understand anything but I’m loving this chapter.
Meanwhile, Crokus spots Sorry and justifiably panics. Fortunately for him though, Cotillion has apparently left her alone, and she’s just a very confused fisher girl.
Realization flooded her eyes. “Where’s my father? What happened to the nets? I bought the twine, and there was that Seer—Riggalai the Seer, the wax-witch. I remember her—she died!” The girl fell to her knees. “She died. And then—”
Coll’s expression was severe, thoughtful. “And then?”
“I don’t remember,” the girl whispered, looking down at her hands. “I don’t remember anything more.” She began to cry.
Aw, poor girl. At Coll’s insistence, Crokus leaves the rest behind and rides off with Sorry to Mammot.
Lorn returns to Tool. They patch up her wound, and then it’s time to enter the barrow. There are appropriate special effects, and then they’re in. Tool recognises the one who’s buried here, and is ever more reluctant to free it. But not enough to not do it, I see. He does tell her that once it’s done he’ll be free to roam the world and she’s welcome to join him. I so want Tool/Lorn to be a buddy cop style duo, roaming the world and getting in all sorts of adventures.
And then in a rather jarring shift of tone, we discuss Crokus’ embarrassment and/or arousal as he rides with Sorry hugging him from the behind. They get to talking, and I really enjoy their conversation:
He pulled the reins over the horse’s head. “I want to walk,” he said.
“Yes,” she said. “I would like to, too.”
“Well, maybe I want to run!”
She stepped round to face him, her expression troubled. “Run? From me, Crokus?”
Eventually Crokus ends up picking a name for her (we never did find out her actual name). (BTW, if you have a full stop at the end of a sentence, like the previous one, does it go inside the brackets or out?) Apsalar, the Lady of Thieves.
By the way, though I’m enjoying their banter, if this develops into some sort of love triangle with Challice/Crokus/Sorry, I’ll be totally pissed. I hate love triangles as a plot point.
Turns out Murillio and Kruppe are on their way to Darujhistan as well, because they have to look out for Crokus. So, that leaves poor Coll wounded and without a horse, and stuck in the Gadrobi Hill where all sorts of crazy stuff is happening. I hope he’s OK.
Paran, in the aftermath of the last chapter, is thinking about Life, The Universe and Everything. He’s decided that he’s done with the Empire and is willing to die so save Whiskeyjack and co. That seems a bit extreme, but can’t blame the guy after the things he’s been through. I think Erikson needs to lighten up on these harcore navel gazing scenes. They’re way too melodramatic and heavy handed IMO.
And then suddenly he finds himself in the midst of a huge herd of Bhederin, which in my mind are giant shaggy buffalo. He’s assaulted by a bunch of Rhivi warriors, but they’re no match for his lucky sword. And then arrives a child, who I deduce is Tattersail 2.0. They recognise each other, Tattersail promises to meet him again, and then the Rhivi and the Bhederin are off.
Paran eventually runs into Coll. The two of them share dinner, swap life stories, and eventually Paran offers to help Coll get back to Darujhistan, in return for his help getting his footing in the city.
And that’s book five. I expect the Tyrant to be unleashed in this one, but apparently we’ll have to wait for that. Still, it was a pretty action packed three chapters. Plus I’m glad that Sorry’s free. It’ll be very interesting to see what path she takes now.
In any case, this was the portion that really got me into the book, so to speak. In fact, I’ve actually read up to chapter seventeen since I was enjoying so much – I was thinking of covering it in this one too, but it ends on a cliffhanger so I left it for the next one.
Oh, and in the last one I mistook Pran Chole for a T’lan when actually he’s Imass, and will become T’lan Imass later, as a lot of people pointed out in the comments. I would just like to point out that he introduced himself as one of the Kron Tlan, so in my defense, it was a mistake anyone could’ve made.
We’re moving towards the end of book one, but I can’t even fathom what shape the climax will take. I was thinking the dispatching of the Tyrant would be it, but I’m no longer sure – it seems too big a thing to be done in the remaining time. Hopefully I’ll have a better idea by the next post.