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House of Chains (Malazan Book of the Fallen, #4)
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Group Read - House of Chains > HoC - Chapter Twenty - NO SPOILERS

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message 1: by Lee, High Priest of Shadow (new) - rated it 5 stars

Lee (kiwifirst) | 1508 comments Mod
Chapter Twenty Discussion Thread

message 2: by David Sven, Mortal Sword..Meow (new) - rated it 5 stars

David Sven (gorro) | 2042 comments Mod
Cutter And Apsalar ship out on their mission. They have no clue where they’re supposed to go but that seems rather irrelevant as they get transported from Drift Avali via warren straight into a chamber in Iskarel Pust’s Temple of Shadow – boat and all. It appears this is a popular place for boats to berth seeing’s this is where Apsalar’s father’s boat ended up when he was taken by Shadowthrone.

Before they get there though they check out the Edur ships and Cutter/Crokus again takes up his role as a sounding board for some of the questions we have already been discussing .

Firstly we get this

‘The sorcery here is ... strange.’
His head snapped up. ‘What do you mean?’
..., ‘if this is Kurald Emurlahn, then it is tainted in some way. Necromantically. Life and death magicks, carved directly into the wood of this ship...
(like the sort of magic that gives you the headless oarsman on the Silanda)
... Perhaps even warrens can sink into barbarity.’
‘Meaning the wielders of a warren can affect its nature...
... Not desecration, then, but denigration.’
She slowly glanced around. ‘Rashan. Meanas. Thyr.’
He comprehended the thought. ‘You think all warrens accessible to humans are in fact denigrations of Elder Warrens.’
She raised her hands then. ‘Even blood decays.’
(Specifically K’rul’s blood)

This seems to be along the same line’s as Lori’s earlier comments in the Ch17 thread – about power of the warrens becoming more distilled.

We then get some interesting questions raised as to the events surrounding the Emperor’s so-called assassination. – all through the imperfect retention of memories from Apsalar’s possession

‘You should know, Crokus,’ Apsalar continued, ‘that they knew that Surly was waiting for them. They knew what she had planned. Yet they returned none the less.’


The question then becomes: what did that entire mess achieve?’
‘... It stripped from Kellanved his secular seat of power.
...What if Kellanved and Dancer had returned and successfully reclaimed the imperial throne? But, at the same time, they had taken over the Shadow Realm. Thus, there would be an empire spanning two warrens, an empire of Shadow.’ He paused, then slowly nodded. ‘They wouldn’t have stood for that – the gods, that is. Ascendants of all kinds would have converged on the Malazan Empire. They would have pounded the empire and the two men ruling it into dust.’
‘Probably. And neither Kellanved nor Dancer was in any position to mount a successful resistance to such a protracted assault. They’d yet to consolidate their claim on the Shadow Realm.’

If this is the case – then it means the purpose of Kellanved and Dancer pretending to be assassinated was to publicly renounce their mortal throne so that when it was eventually discovered they had usurped the shadow throne they would not raise the ire of the ascendants AS MUCH. Perhaps this is also why Kellanved chose not to make as much use of the First Throne as he could have and perhaps why even now he is reluctant to sit on the true throne of Shadow.

Cutter reasons

This way, he negates the chance of anyone else finding and taking that throne, while his avoidance of using it himself ensures that no-one takes notice he has it in the first place – gods, I’m starting to sound like Kruppe! In any case, that seems clever, not cowardly....’

‘...Unveiling power invites convergence, after all. It seems Shadowthrone has absorbed well his early residence in the Deadhouse.

This then starts becoming more interesting when Onrack suspects that the renegade T’lan Imass (and thereby the Crippled god) intend to usurpThe First Throne

‘Monok Ochem. The renegades would lead their new master to the First Throne. They travel the paths of chaos. It is their intent, I believe, to place a mortal Tiste Edur upon that throne. Such a new ruler of the T’lan Imass would, in turn, command the new mortal bonecaster – the one who has voiced the summons.

So Onrack earns himself and Trull a stay of execution as they team up with the bonecasters to try and stop the Renegades taking the First Throne.

And Pearl and Lostara finally get it on in the whirlwind of love. I imagine that would be a rather gritty affair.

We also learn that Pearl is ¼ Tiste Andi!!! No wonder he is a powerful mage

I, on the other hand, am one-fourth Tiste Andii—’

I like how he sneaks in using Lostara’s shadow. Anyway, it seems Pearl suspects Felisin is now Sha’ik reborn. And he somehow concludes that the Talon are involved and he is still on target with his original mission. He seems to have come to the same conclusion as Cotillion in that regard. I just wish I knew what that was exactly. I’m sure all will be revealed soon.

‘And what of your hunt for the leader of the Talons?’
‘Oh, I think I will find satisfaction in that area soon, as well. All things are converging nicely, in fact.’

And then we come to Kalam who is hiding within the shadows within the whirlwind. He ends up in some sort of weird time warp where he sees the ghosts of the past – who also see him and assume he is the ghost. There he comes across Tanno, the original spirit walker who sees him as a ghost of the future

‘Listen to them now, spirit from the future,’ it rasped, cocking its head.

We get some info re the first empire. It seems there was a rebellion against the first emperor of the First Empire Dessimbelackis.

‘Aye, Dessimbelackis throws endless legions at us, and no matter how many we slaughter, the First Emperor finds more.’

The rebellion was inspired by the Nameless ones

I am Tanno, the Eleventh and last Seneschal of Yaraghatan, banished by the First Emperor for my treasonous alliance with the Nameless Ones.

And then Kalam comes across our two ex hounds of Shadow – now Hounds of Darkness – released by Onrack and now summoned by some rather unfortunate Pardu desert mages. I wonder if this is the Pardu ghost hunter who was the owner of Bellurdan’s knife before Kalam. In ch9

‘Last owned by a Pardu ghost-slayer!’
And Kalam ponders after he buys the knife

Oh, damn, I forgot to ask what happened to that Pardu ghost-slayer ...

After killing the summoners the Hounds zero in on Kalam – I guess he gets no pass for working for Shadow –maybe especially because he works for Shadow?
Kalams response is to let go of most his shadow demons and blow his whistle hard – soft blow summons one – hard blow summons them all – even the ones he used to pay for his knife back on the coast. Ooops. Azalan demon horde incoming.

A couple of Hounds of Darkness who thanks to their reunited Shadow counterparts now know where Shadowthrown lives - And this apparently was not part of Shadowthrone’s plan

And in the realm known as Shadow, a certain god sat motionless on his insubstantial throne. Already recovered from his shock, his mind was racing.

Silvio Curtis | 403 comments It'll be interesting to find out what those Protectors are that the First Empire rebels were making such a big deal about fighting off. Since there were seven I was thinking they might be connected with Hounds, but since the original Hounds of Darkness were supposed to be Dessimbelackis, this doesn't sound like them. But I'm still going to be looking for a connection somewhere.

message 4: by David Sven, Mortal Sword..Meow (new) - rated it 5 stars

David Sven (gorro) | 2042 comments Mod
Well in Seven Cities there are(funnily enough) seven holy cities so I would think each Protector would represent one of those cities - Ehrlitan seems to have been the capital

From DG CH2 we get

The Holy City of Ehrlitan was a city of white stone, rising from the harbour to surround and engulf a vast, flat-topped hill known as Jen’rahb. It was believed that one of the world’s first cities was buried within Jen’rahb, and that in the compacted rubble waited the Throne of the Seven Protectors which legend held was not a throne at all, but a chamber housing a ring of seven raised daises, each sanctified by one of the Ascendants who set out to found Seven Cities

So this indicates that there were either seven ascendants or maybe that there was one ascendant(Dessimbalickis?) who sanctified seven thrones?

Then in HOC

Five of the Seven Protectors are no more. Does that mean nothing? And the sixth will not recover, now that we have banished the black beast itself.’
‘I wonder, did we indeed drive it from this realm?’

This leaves one neutralized but not dead - plus one.

Dassem killed one of the protectors in Aren -

Dassem struck down the Holy Protector – Dassem and his band of followers he called his First Sword

Quick Ben and the souls he later absorbed were that Protector's mage cadre


‘Quick Ben. Adaephon Delat, a middling wizard in the employ of one of the Seven Holy Protectors during an abortive rebellion that originated in Aren. Delat and eleven other mages made up the Protector’s cadre.

But that still leaves one Protector unaccounted for - ie the one that was driven from the realm

Lori Dessimbelackis became the 7 hounds?

7 ascendants found 7 cities, 7 protectors, 7 hounds, must be connected. Hmmm

I forgot all about Ben being a Mage for the protector!

What black beast was banished? Can't wait to find out more.

message 6: by Rob, Quick Ben (new) - rated it 4 stars

Rob (robzak) | 1054 comments Mod
David Sven wrote: "Kalams response is to let go of most his shadow demons "

So it sounded like before handing over the lot of shadow demons, he palmed some for his own use. Which he then let go here.

But he still has the ones Pust gave him? I'm curious why those don't get activated if the ones he spent on his weapons did (which I missed by the way).

message 7: by David Sven, Mortal Sword..Meow (new) - rated it 5 stars

David Sven (gorro) | 2042 comments Mod
Maybe its all in the packaging? Perhaps they need to be taken out of the bag and exposed?

Silvio Curtis | 403 comments David Sven, thanks for gathering the Protector references. It isn't something I'd been paying attention to before this chapter.

Lori, it was Onrack in chapter 9 who thought the Hounds of Darkness were Dessimbelackis' D'ivers form. I'm not sure how well that adds up with everything we've read since then, so maybe the real story's more complicated.

Lori Ah I missed that, no surprise, thanks! Yet another thing to follow. We don't know much about him and I wonder if so how they became Dark.

message 10: by Lee, High Priest of Shadow (new) - rated it 5 stars

Lee (kiwifirst) | 1508 comments Mod
Just read your summary of the Protectors David. Great research. I hadn't put all that together before, so it was good reading it all in one spot.

Of course what this means, is that I have now added to my list of future series I want to see from Erikson; The founding of the Seven.

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

David Sven (gorro) | 2042 comments Mod
Thanks Lee. But again its more questions than answers at this stage :)

Sumant | 272 comments Wow i completely missed this part of 7 protectors who found the seven cities.Will have to follow this closely when reading the next books which will give us more clues regarding the founding of seven cities i guess.

A couple of Hounds of Darkness who thanks to their reunited Shadow counterparts now know where Shadowthrown lives - And this apparently was not part of Shadowthrone’s plan

Why is shadow throne distressed due to 2 new hounds ?, I think he can't control them but still he has 5 with him.Will the remaining 5 of shadow will not challenge these 2 ?

message 13: by David Sven, Mortal Sword..Meow (new) - rated it 5 stars

David Sven (gorro) | 2042 comments Mod
I'm not sure Shadowthrone knows about the two hounds yet - but I don't think he controls them in their current form.

message 14: by Lori (new) - rated it 4 stars

Lori It becomes clearer and it's great stuff.

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