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Deadhouse Gates (Malazan Book of the Fallen, #2)
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Group Read - Deadhouse Gates > DG- Chapter Twenty One - NO SPOILERS

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message 1: by Lee, High Priest of Shadow (last edited Mar 17, 2013 02:07AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Lee (kiwifirst) | 1508 comments Mod
Every throne is an arrow-butt.
Kellanved


Juniper (juniperx) | 237 comments I just finished this chapter. It was a horrible read.

How could Pormqual just watch and do nothing? I don't like him.


Chaz | 297 comments I was less than a page into the Aren section and I'm literally sobbing from there to the end of the chapter. It isn't any easier the second time around. It is so hard to read but out of respect for Coltaine and the Seventh I must read.


Chaz | 297 comments From before that though, Heboric and Sha-ik Reborn have a conversation about fate. Heboric wants to know since when has the goddess Dryjhna been guiding Felisin towards taking on the mantle of Sha'ik. Shockingly, Felisin says that she hasn't, that the goddess did not foresee the death of Sah'ik former nor the possibility of using Felisin to take up the cause of the Apocalypse.

Heboric: "Even if the goddess did not guide you, someone or something did. Else Sha'ik would never have been given those visions."

"Now you speak of fate. Argue that with your fellow scholars, Heboric. Not every mystery can be unravelled, as much s you believe otherwise. Sorry if that pains you..."

"Not half as sorry as I am. But it occurs to me that even as mortals are but pieces on a gameboard, so too are the gods."

" "Elemental forces in opposition," " she said, smiling.


Perhaps this isn't a game of gods. Perhaps even the gods themselves are at the whim of fate. Or perhaps not.


Duffy Pratt | 354 comments Pormqual has become nothing more than a pawn of Rel, who is betraying the Malazans. It's not clear whether Rels influence is bolstered by his powers as a Jhistal, but I suspect it is. It appears that Pormqual was always a bit hesitant about acting rashly, and that those hesitations and a native cowardice have been amplified.


Aildiin | 39 comments A Fist dies, a legend is born...
But at what price...
The saddest thing is that everyone will remember Coltaine but few will remember the sappers...


Lori *sniff*


message 8: by Rob, Quick Ben (new) - rated it 4 stars

Rob (robzak) | 1054 comments Mod
What is Jhistal? I looked in the front and back of the book and couldn't seem to find it.

Is it a religion? An ascendant?

And I'm with Kat, this chapter pissed me off.


Lori A Jhistal is a priest of an elder god who uses blood sacrifices.


message 10: by Rob, Quick Ben (new) - rated it 4 stars

Rob (robzak) | 1054 comments Mod
Thanks Lori!


message 11: by David Sven, Mortal Sword..Meow (new) - rated it 5 stars

David Sven (gorro) | 2042 comments Mod
A short chapter. Mostly devoted to Coltaine's death which is fitting. It's ironic that Corporal List gets to die for real this time - making his practice/fake deaths back in Hissar a terrible foreshadowing.

A blade neatly decapitated him, sending his head toppling back to join the bloody jumble at the standard’s base, and thus did Corporal List die, having experienced countless mock deaths all those months ago at Hissar.

It was terrible with the sight of Coltaine's body being peppered with the gore from his own men as he's hanging.

Korbolo Dom is a bastard - but Kemist Reloe is worse. He understands the Crows will bear Coltaine's soul away to be resurrected, and uses his magic to try to prevent that from happening. And Squint is left to carry the burden of being the one to end Coltaine's life - even though he will probably be regarded as a hero for doing so.

‘Before the day’s through, you bastard,’ he hissed, ‘ten thousand soldiers will be voicing your name.’ The words shook. ‘Like a prayer, Squint, like a Hood-damned prayer.’


Pormqual is a bastard. He could easily have sallied out and brought Coltaine and his remaining men home. And this from Mallick made me want to puke

Mallick Rel stepped close, said softly, ‘My heart weeps, Historian. The High Fist cannot be swayed—’

This chapter is just full of bastards who just need to die!


On a lighter note - which wouldn't be hard, Sha'ik/Felisin gears up to march on Aren - Via warren. It appears that the whirlwind is the goddesses' warren and it topples sideways to provide a wormhole of sorts - straight to their destination.

‘By the gods, it’s toppling!’
‘Dryjhna’s Warren, Heboric, our whirling road to the south.’
‘Will it take us there in time, Fel— Sha’ik? In time to stop Korbolo Dom’s madness?’
She did not answer, for it was already too late.



message 12: by Lori (new) - rated it 4 stars

Lori Loved that wormhole effect!


message 13: by Lee, High Priest of Shadow (new) - rated it 5 stars

Lee (kiwifirst) | 1508 comments Mod
Besides,' she added with a shrug, 'strategy and tactics are anathema to the Apocalypse.'

I found this little innocuous statement quite interesting. The implications are rather large.


message 14: by Lee, High Priest of Shadow (new) - rated it 5 stars

Lee (kiwifirst) | 1508 comments Mod
The scene with Squint taking that shot and straight after, awesome, now that is some powerful writing.


Aildiin | 39 comments This chapter is just full of bastards who just need to die!

Some of these guys just don't need to die, they need to die horribly...


Roberta | 13 comments This chapter was inevitable given that Pormqual never bothered to send help but it was still shocking to read. Erikson is such a good writer.


message 17: by Ctgt (new) - rated it 4 stars

Ctgt | 46 comments There are lots of heartbreaking moments in this series but I think the death of Coltaine is the biggest one for me.


~Thena~ (athena-nadine) | 39 comments This chapter is what kept slowing me down while reading this book. I had forgotten almost all of the details and a good deal of the story since a few years have passed since I last read it, but this chapter was seared in my memory. And I wept just as much this time.


message 19: by Chaz (new) - rated it 5 stars

Chaz | 297 comments Me too.


Mikeiwo | 57 comments Yeah, not a chapter to be reading on the bus...


Hanne (hanne2) | 228 comments this chapter.... sob sob sob.
awful!

what erikson does so well (and i've only had this with abercrombie before) is that i don't know what side to cheer for. i know which people to cheer for but they're not all on the same side.
in the seventh/coltaine side of the story, i'm pro-malazan. in most of the other storylines so far, (bridgeburners/felisin) i'm against the malazans.
tough one.

sad to see coltaine gone. i wonder what would have happened if he kept Quick Ben's gift?


message 22: by Chaz (new) - rated it 5 stars

Chaz | 297 comments As with real life, most people work towards what they perceive as good for themselves, their families and comrades and their people group. This ends up pitting good people against each other when many such people form into large, impersonal bureaucracies and/or unreasonable masses. SE is so good at this aspect of conflict.


Hanne (hanne2) | 228 comments indeed, i really like that, it does make things so much more real.
and sometimes it takes just one sentence and my "loyalty" (for lack of a better word) is swayed again. really nicely done!


message 24: by Lori (new) - rated it 4 stars

Lori It's because all these hundreds of characters become PEOPLE, isn't that amazing? People like you and me, who are basically good at heart, just caught up in things they (and we!) don't understand. So while I dislike Laseen, Rell, all the evils, in their midst are people that are trying to do what is right.


message 25: by Duffy (last edited Apr 02, 2013 05:07PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Duffy Pratt | 354 comments Hanne wrote: "this chapter.... sob sob sob.
awful!

what erikson does so well (and i've only had this with abercrombie before) is that i don't know what side to cheer for. i know which people to cheer for but th..."


(view spoiler)


message 26: by Rob, Quick Ben (new) - rated it 4 stars

Rob (robzak) | 1054 comments Mod
@Duffy

Please put your comments about QB's pendant in spoiler tags. What it does hasn't been revealed by this chapter.

Thanks.


message 27: by Chaz (new) - rated it 5 stars

Chaz | 297 comments @Duffy I agree with Rob re spoilers for this chapter


message 28: by Sumant (new) - added it

Sumant I really loved the part of the dog who rushed to save colataine and although it was hosted on a spike how in its dying moments it killed the man who hosted him awesome!!


Pepster50 so sad... but I have hope that Coltaine will be resurrected ! Because of Squints arrow, the crows were finally able to get to him. I hope that means they have his soul. I also like how it was mention that Sormo needed 12 crows for resurrection(I think it was 12?) but an entire flock came for Coltaine.

COME BACK TO ME COLTAINE !


Pepster50 Also I want more information about how Coltaine was able to punch Gesler, who is apparently half ascended !

COME BACK TO ME COLTAINE ! haha


Mpauli | 245 comments Pepster50 wrote: " I also like how it was mention that Sormo needed 12 crows for resurrection(I think it was 12?) but an entire flock came for Coltaine. "

Twelve wouldn't surprise me at all, cause this is one of Erikson's magic numbers, along with 5 and 7, which pops up everywhere.

Regarding the punch, it's impressive, isn't it. I bet someone, who is able to punch someone who's half-ascended would need a lot of ravens to take his soul in the event of his death.^^

I actually haven't reread this one, so I'm not sure, if there are sentences in there that might hint on Coltaine being more than just a powerful and clever mortal.


message 32: by Lori (new) - rated it 4 stars

Lori I don't think so, in fact I think of him as a shining example of what a mortal can be.


Mpauli | 245 comments Lori (Hellian) wrote: "I don't think so, in fact I think of him as a shining example of what a mortal can be."

If you leave out the part, where he is a military tyrant suppressing civil rights out of the necessity to save lives, then you're orrect.^^

I'm personally not that big a fan of regime Coltaine and his enabling fan-boy historian Duiker, but I know that I'm weird that way and it's okay.^^


message 34: by Lori (new) - rated it 4 stars

Lori What civil rights? Just the noble's demands or have I already forgotten...

I wasn't a huge fan of him first read either. But now I think he cuts thru to what is necessary for the survival of.....the chain.


message 35: by Mpauli (last edited Aug 07, 2013 08:13PM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Mpauli | 245 comments Yes exactly the demands of the civil leaders. I can't remember if they are nobles, I was always under the impression that they were appointed civil leaders somehow.

And if I'm not mistaken most of their early demands are not that unreasonable. They want to take part in the decision process, as I would expect of civil leaders.
We only get the bad impression of them, because there is the one, who is always going on about his slaves. But I think he's just one out of them, not all are like that.

And you have to keep in mind that the propaganda story is brought to you by the worst historian ever, Duiker.
I actually think that he is an awful historian. Instead of sticking to facts and distancing himself, he revels in the glory of camaraderie and soldier nostalgia, longing to be a part of it.
His fan-boy behaviour towards Coltain is embarrasing, like a teenager throwing his panties on stage at a boy group concert.
I for one, believe nothing, what this unreliable narrator tells me.

Now imagine this scene today. A General, who would exclude civil leaders on a track like this, due to the necessity of the survival of the whole group. It would be a scandal.
Cause the really interesting question about the Chain of Dogs, in my eyes, is, if the ends justify the means.
Is the fact that Coltaine "gets the job done" and saves everyone enough to justify his militaristic dictatorship over a civilian trek.
For me, personally, it's the same question, if acts of terror in the modern world justify the sacrifice of freedom and civil rights to be safe.

And this always leads to the question, if those sacrifices aren't a surrender to those acts of terror.
So, Coltaine's glorified way of taking charge, doing everything that is necessary is, in my eyes, nothing other than the surrender of the Malazan civil rights and freedoms. So, the rebels did win in the end.

I had very controversial discussions about this on my old forum, cause I know that I'm in the minority with my beliefs, but that's okay.
I thik for Coltaine, it's a matter of perspective, but I'm very passionate in my outright despise for Duiker. I know propaganda, when I see it.


message 36: by Lori (new) - rated it 4 stars

Lori Wow! I never thought of Duiker like that! Have to think about that but I do see how he could be a fan boy.

I hope others pipe in about the nobles, I don't think they are civil leaders, they only assume they are because of false birth rights. I think the others are even embarrassed by the demands of that one asshole. Coltaine basically frees the slaves and that guy is enraged because he has to wipe his own ass now. He wants to continue being spoiled and pampered instead of the servants having equal rights. And Coltaine is not acting from ego but listening closely to his spirit walkers. I don't consider myself a Coltaine fangirl and was even indifferent at first.

Hello anyone else, please join in!

But you bring up some excellent points about necessity, and leadership in the face of terror. The US govt, especially the GOP, want the population to live in fear so they can attain complete power and chip away at individual civil rights in the pursuit of "necessity".


message 37: by David Sven, Mortal Sword..Meow (new) - rated it 5 stars

David Sven (gorro) | 2042 comments Mod
I think the idea of nobility was generally considered anti-Empire by Kellanved and then Laseen and now Coltaine. The Malazan Empire encompassed a conglomerate of conquered nations and peoples - and nobility is a left over from the pre-empire history of those nations. It was tolerated, but every now and then there would be a cull to quell any ideas of shaking off the empire.
Coltaine is a convert to the idea of Empire. He saw it as a way to unify the competing(and dying) Wickan tribes under a single banner. As such he shows contempt for any class system that doesn't stem from Empire. As such, the nobles have no official rank within the Empire that places them higher than the average john doe.


message 38: by Paul (new) - rated it 5 stars

Paul (brocklaser) | 55 comments I would say that a lot of history is biased as it is written by the victors of major conflicts. In order for duiker to remain neutral in the face of what is happening on the chain of dogs he would have to have no emotions which I would think would be pretty difficult in that situation.

From what I remember the so called civil leaders were self appointed with no consensus from the average or lower class citizens and were not concerned with the welfare of the lower class citizens or even the wounded and were trying to look after their own personal concerns.


Mpauli | 245 comments Paul wrote: "In order for duiker to remain neutral in the face of what is happening on the chain of dogs he would have to have no emotions which I would think would be pretty difficult in that situation."

I totally agree, but that makes him an understandable human, but he's still a bad historian.
If you watch reporters from war zones or tragic catastrophes, they are able to detach themselves. It's not that we have a crying correspondent from Bagdad or a hysterically screaming reporter from Fukushima.
But Duiker gets totally swept away by militaristic glory. Maybe that's even a characteristic of him and that's why the empire hired him, cause they knew that he would be a great propaganda writer for their cause.


Mikeiwo | 57 comments Mpauli wrote: "Paul wrote: "In order for duiker to remain neutral in the face of what is happening on the chain of dogs he would have to have no emotions which I would think would be pretty difficult in that situ..."

It should be remembered (atleast I hope I am remembering correctly)that first and foremost Duiker is and was a soldier in the Malazan army with the old guard who was then afforded the role of historian as a way of removing him from active military service but providing him with continued access.

I believe he fully admits at one point that he is not a good historian. His being a fan-boy is a product of wanting to return to the ranks and re-establish the connections lost.

side note: on 12 being one of the "numbers" along with 5 and 7... Er 5+7...


Mpauli | 245 comments Mikeiwo wrote: It should be remembered (atleast I hope I am remembering correctly)that first and foremost Duiker is and was a soldier in the Malazan army with the old guard who was then afforded the role of historian as a way of removing him from active military service but providing him with continued access.

Yes, this is what makes him such an excellent propaganda writer. Clever Laseen ploy, if you ask me.

And regarding the number...I don't know how far you are, but I have a whole part about this 5+7=12 stuff in my Bonehunters prologue post.
It's crazy, what Erikson does with this numbers. I'm still trying to figure out, if there is a reliable pattern to it, or if it's just more or less random fun using the same numbers over and over again.


Mikeiwo | 57 comments Mpauli wrote: "...I don't know how far you are..."

reread #3. Ahead of the group.


message 43: by Lori (new) - rated it 4 stars

Lori M, I have to admit what you say makes sense. Way to screw with my mind....conceived notions become shaky....


Silvio Curtis | 403 comments On Coltaine - maybe we should remember the whole Malazan Empire is a militaristic dictatorship. I don't think we've gotten a clear picture of where the nobility came from so far, but given the worldview of the series I'm guessing they're the leftovers of an older generation of militaristic dictatorships. There's really barely a character in this series whose ethics I'd admire by real-world standards. I admire Coltaine for his capability and determination, and because I feel the emotional power of the hero archetype even though I don't endorse it.

I can't think of how a situation exactly analogous to the Chain of Dogs could happen in the real modern world, though, with a small group of soldiers and civilians cut off from their home political structure for so long. I'd think that with modern transportation and weaponry they would be either dead, captured, or home much sooner.

Wasn't really thinking about Duiker's role as a propagandist vs. detached historian. If I can find a copy of this book again I'll really want to check back through it with that in mind.


Pepster50 I never thought Duiker was a fan-boy. Throughout the beginning to middle of the novel he second guesses Coltaines actions time after time. It's only later that he begins to believe in Coltaine.


message 46: by Conor (last edited Aug 03, 2014 04:06PM) (new) - added it

Conor | 78 comments Christ, that last scene though. One of the most intense I've ever read. I thought the messianic overtones (Coltaine's crucifixion and torture) were a bit heavyhanded but that was still a brutal, gripping, brilliant scene.

On kind of a related note, in response to Mpauli's interesting and well-written post about the moral implications of Coltaine's decisions during the Chain of Dogs I wrote a response I like to call...

Why Coltaine is awesome and all the haters (esp. Pormqual) can suck it

Those are some really interesting points about 'ends justify the means' politics and the role of the military vs. the civilians they're supposed to protect, points which are very relevant to the world today (I'm not going to discuss modern politics here because..y'know it doesn't really have anything to do with this Malazan forum). Anyway as you may have gathered from the title I'm pretty strongly in support of Coltaine. And here's why:

The very idea of 'civil rights' for all citizens is a modern, western one. While civilisations throughout history had concepts that had some degrees of similarity to it the vast majority of civilisations' beliefs and morality were very different. It really isn't fair to hold Coltaine to moral standards based on systems of belief (democracy, civil rights) that don't exist in the world he lives in.

It's also not accurate to classify the power struggle as being between the military and civilians. The nobles were the only powerful, organised civilian group present and they weren't an elected body and were in fact a long way from representing the civilian presence as a whole (see the nobles shitty treatment of their servants for an example). The noble contingent had less justification for their claims to power (their 'noble lineages' and their wealth vs. the militaries abilities to offer protection to the civilians at the cost of risk and hardship to themselves) and while their desire to control the civilians was the same as the military faction's they were motivated by greed and self importance rather than the desire to protect people that Coltaine demonstrated. The nobles actions at Vathar Crossing revealed their selfishness and lack of ability to use power as wisely and effectively as Coltaine.

It's also worth noting that Coltaine's 'conflict' with his greatest political rivals was extremely passive, especially by the standards of 'military dictators'. All Coltaine did was refuse to listen to the demands of an interest party that represented a small section of the populace at the expense of the masses. He easily could have ordered the nobles (the greatest and only threat to his power) killed but he chose not to. Even after the Vathar crossing when the nobles directly disobeyed his orders and betrayed him he still didn't mete out any punishments (I'm obviously #teamcoltaine but I thought that was a really bad and somewhat unrealistic decision tbf).

Good point about Duiker not being an impartial historian. That being said while he would be a 'bad' historian by modern standards by the standards of most societies he would be pretty good. The idea of impartial historians has only come into being in recent times, that's why the accounts of ancient historians have to be double checked and cross-referenced by modern ones. For example historians in ancient Greece were some of the most well-regarded throughout history but we now know a lot of their writings were exaggeration to serve their countries purposes (such as claims that the invading Persian army featured in the film '300' had 2 million men when in reality they likely had... 50,000). And tbf while Duiker might be a Coltaine fanboy he was only balancing out all the haters and trolls (Reloe, Dom, Pormqual, Mallick).

End of rant. Collapses on keyboard in exhaustion*. Anyway while I mostly disagree, there were still some good points made about this storyline that got me to look at things in a different light, which is pretty cool.


message 47: by Sumant (new) - added it

Sumant Conor wrote: "Christ, that last scene though. One of the most intense I've ever read. I thought the messianic overtones (Coltaine's crucifixion and torture) were a bit heavyhanded but that was still a brutal, gr..."

Looks like you have really loved this book seeing by the thought you have given for each of these chapters.


DangerBin | 64 comments @Mpauli Get outta here... No one is unbiased and to be disappointed by that fact is unreasonable.

So is that why they are called "crow clan"? Never thought of that before.

The Squint stuff was powerful.


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