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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 Three - 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 Three discussion thread.


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

David Sven (gorro) | 2042 comments Mod
And finally we get the first hint (I think) that there was more than one "chaining" event for the Crippled god

From the Epigraph

Consider the last chaining, in which Hood, Fener, the Queen of Dreams, Osserc and Oponn all participated, in addition to Anomander Rake, Caladan Brood and a host of other ascendants.

A quote from "The Chainings"

I'm curious as to who the quote is referring to when it says...

It is not so surprising, then, that the Crippled God could not have anticipated that his deadliest enemy was not found among those mentioned . . .

Is it the T'lan Imass? Ganoes Paran, the Master of the Deck? Karsa? Maybe it's hinting at the Eres woman we encounter this chapter?


Crokus and Apasalar are still hanging out at Shadow Base, surviving on Mogora's cooking - where the best bits are cockroach and bloodfly - stuff spiders like

Those damned bhok’arala get into my hoard and steal all the yummy bits – every single cockroach and bloodfly! Haven’t you noticed? There’s no vermin in this ruin anywhere! Not a mouse, not a bug – what’s a thousand spiders to do?’

I love Pust's horrified opinion of their diet

‘She’s been ... cooking!’ His eyes then lit on the bowls on the table. ‘And you’ve been eating it! Are you mad? Why do you think I’ve been hiding all these months?


Apsalar ponders her relationship with Cutter. She feels like two people - one the innocent fisher girl, the other the Assassin. She feels that Cutter is in love with the Assassin and so mirrors that - but she loves Crokus the thief, not Cutter the Assassin.

His love was for the wrong woman, the wrong Apsalar. And hers was for Crokus, not Cutter. And so they were together, yet apart, intimate yet strangers, and it seemed there was nothing they could do about it.

She feels she is turning Crokus into Cutter by her very presence and so her solution is to leave. But she can't just leave - that would just mean that Cutter will continue into danger as an Assassin of Shadow. Rather she sells her soul to Shadow to spare Crokus - She assumes Cutter's mission from Shadow. At least that's what I think is going on

‘I don’t want him to die!...’
...Cotillion persisted, ‘Do you know, then, what you must do?’
Once again, Apsalar nodded
‘I am ... pleased....’
....‘Pleased,’ she whispered, studying him. ‘Why?’
‘Because,’ he answered with a faint smile, ‘I like the lad, too.’


Meanwhile we have another unlikely couple - Pearl and Lostara. It appears they each share a different view on their new found relationship...


Their moment of wild passion had passed, as far as she was concerned. The loosening of long pent-up energies...
...It seemed, however, that Pearl saw it differently. He’d even tried to take her hand this morning, a gesture that she decisively rebuffed despite its pathos.


Aaawwwwww!!! Pearl's in love.


Pearl reveals that he thinks the Talon have compromised the rebellion - he had already hinted at this but now he spells it out

The Talons. The master of that revived cult...
"...I have come to believe that the rebellion was compromised long ago, perhaps from the very start. That the aim of winning independence for Seven Cities was not quite as central to some as it should have been..."


Lostara finds an object on the ground which she then tries to hide from Pearl. When he insists she show him she sucker punches him. Cotillion shows up with a bit of Tsk tsk. Pearl doesn't follow shadow but he is an assassin and Cottilion is the Patron of assassins - and it appears he feels Pearl may come in handy.

I wonder what the object was the Lostara picked up

‘I assumed that was yours,’ she said.
‘No, but I know to whom it belongs. And am pleased. May I keep it?’


Ok, what is it - and who does it belong to?

Perhaps it is an acorn - one of Quick Ben's unassuming "objects" that are in fact portable portals that he and Kalam use to keep in touch

While Kalam is hiding in the Shadows

Something struck the ground beside him, bouncing with a pinging sound off a fragment of tree trunk...
...‘Let it not be said I don’t appreciate the humour of the gesture.’ He sat up and reached down to collect the acorn. Then leaned back once more. ‘Just like old times ... glad, as always, that we don’t do this sort of thing any more ...’



Meanwhile Onrack and Trull and co are travelling through Tellan in a race against the renegade Imass who are travelling through Chaos - Onrack's crew anticipate they will reach the First Throne quicker, in time to defend it from being taken by the renegades. Chaos is twistier than Tellan apparently.

On the way they meet an Eres woman a race that predates the Imass

Before the Imass, there was another people, older, wilder. They dwelt where it was warm, and they were tall, their dark skins covered in fine hair. These we knew as the Eres.

The Eres were all bonecasters

‘All Eres were bonecasters, Trull Sengar. For they were the first to carry the spark of awareness, the first so gifted by the spirits.’

They predate Hood. They didn't worship death but rather embraced oblivion

the recognition of oblivion, of an end ... to life, to love...
...To know and to understand that we must all die, Trull Sengar, is not to worship death...


There sorcery was more powerful than Tellan

‘Eres holy sites burned through the barriers of Tellann. They are too old to be resisted.’



The Eres woman rapes(?) Trull and creates some sort of blood bond. Taking his seed and his blood.

‘The Eres witch has stolen his seed,’ Monok Ochem said from two paces away.
‘Why?’ Onrack asked.
‘I do not know, Onrack the Broken. The Eres have the minds of beasts—’
‘Not to the exclusion of all else,’ Onrack replied, ‘as you well know.’
‘Perhaps.’
‘Clearly, this one had intent.’



What does it all mean?


Lori You'd think towards the end of a book we'd get sme answers not more questions!

I think TCG's deadliest enemy here is Shadowthrone who is subverting his quest to take over pieces of the shattered realm, by gaining the desert first. And the renegades are after the first throne too. Shadowthrone keeps getting in the way.

I'm not so sure that Apsalar is selling her soul but instead comes to accept an integration of her 2 seemingly separate selves.accepting the assassin and the responsibilities that entails. She gets a good look at Cotillion and sees he's a pretty good guy so there's no need to run from herself. She's better than Cutter at this so agrees to do whatever Cotillion has in mind - Cutter may not have succeeded and died.

This business with the Talons is confusing - Cotillion is after them yet you'd think he'd be excited since they're his. So they must not only be fake but their plans are not his.


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

David Sven (gorro) | 2042 comments Mod
Lori (Hellian) wrote: "And the renegades are after the first throne too. Shadowthrone keeps getting in the way."

And it looks like Panek and Aptorian have shown up care of Shadowthrone to back up Onrack and co's defence of The First Throne as well.


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

David Sven (gorro) | 2042 comments Mod
I wonder what happens to hot Otataral when you throw magic at it? Can't wait to find out. I can't remember.

Otataral, it seemed, did not go well with Moranth munitions, particularly burners and flamers. Or, to put it another way, it doesn’t like getting hot...
...But even that was not the whole secret. It’s what happens to hot otataral. . . when you throw magic at it."



Lori Yea that was curious.


message 7: by Lee, High Priest of Shadow (new) - rated it 5 stars

Lee (kiwifirst) | 1508 comments Mod
I am still working my way through this chapter. But what I am really looking forward to, is Trull's explanation of why the Edur kneel before the Crippled God or at least his interpretation of this.

Those of us who have read the next book Midnight Tides should find this discussion interesting in retrospect.


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

Rob (robzak) | 1055 comments Mod
I'm still having trouble getting into the story with Meanwhile Onrack and Trull, which has me concerned because it looks like Midnight Tides is nothing but Tiste Edur or something..

I was wondering what the hell was going on with that acron Kalam was talking to. I thought maybe it had something to do with the song. I guess I don't remember the portable portals.


message 9: by Lee, High Priest of Shadow (new) - rated it 5 stars

Lee (kiwifirst) | 1508 comments Mod
Yep, we get to learn all about the Edur and it is a fascinating story.


message 10: by Lori (new) - rated it 4 stars

Lori Rob, MT is so much more than the Tiste Edur, and altho it's the usual SE gloom and doom it is also his funniest book. The Tiste Edur story is also wonderful, doncha worry.


message 11: by Silvio (last edited Jun 13, 2013 09:52AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Silvio Curtis | 403 comments David Sven wrote: "I wonder what happens to hot Otataral when you throw magic at it? Can't wait to find out. I can't remember.

Otataral, it seemed, did not go well with Moranth munitions, particularly burners and fl..."


I have some theories. We'll see.

So now we have another layer to the prehistory. At first I thought the Eres were the same as the proto-humans L'oric saw, but thinking it over it sounds like they're a descendant species. It doesn't seem clear yet whether the Eres are the direct ancestors of the Imass or any other people we know about.

It's so true that Cotillion "doesn't seem much like a god at all." What other god would have the kind of heart-to-heart discussion with one of their ex-tools that he has with Apsalar?


Duffy Pratt | 354 comments We've only had limited exposure to the gods so far, but based on what we saw in Memories of Ice, I wouldn't put this sort of discussion past K'rul either. The Crippled God? Probably not so much.


Silvio Curtis | 403 comments Duffy wrote: "We've only had limited exposure to the gods so far, but based on what we saw in Memories of Ice, I wouldn't put this sort of discussion past K'rul either. The Crippled God? Probably not so much."

Good point about K'rul. I'll have to watch him. The best comparison I can think of so far is Heboric - I take it he never got much in the way of explanation from Fener.


Duffy Pratt | 354 comments I'm not entirely sure about this, but if Fener is really a pig, how much explaining would you expect him to do?


message 15: by David Sven, Mortal Sword..Meow (new) - rated it 5 stars

David Sven (gorro) | 2042 comments Mod
Duffy wrote: "I'm not entirely sure about this, but if Fener is really a pig, how much explaining would you expect him to do?"

Ha Ha!


message 16: by Lori (new) - rated it 4 stars

Lori Hee


Silvio Curtis | 403 comments For now I'm going with Karsa as the Crippled God's most dangerous enemy, though the epigraph might make a little more sense if it's someone who was alive at the last chaining and so could have participated if they wanted.


message 18: by Lori (new) - rated it 4 stars

Lori Hmmm. I still think that omni narration about who is his greatest threat was about Shadowthrone - is was said before Karsa uttered his renouncement. And TCG is after this shadow fragment but finds Shadowthrone manipulating as many pieces as he is. And then there's that other line about a god suddenly very nervous who has to rethink his moves -I'm picturing a chess game between the 2.


message 19: by Chaz (last edited Sep 23, 2013 03:11PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Chaz | 297 comments (view spoiler)

Edit: Fixed? That was long-winded.


message 20: by Rob, Quick Ben (new) - rated it 4 stars

Rob (robzak) | 1055 comments Mod
Wrong brackets for your spoiler tags. You used [ ] instead of < >


message 21: by Chaz (new) - rated it 5 stars

Chaz | 297 comments I'm on holiday and can only access on my phone for a few days. Can one of the moderators fix my spoiler tags above?

I am making some good headway on MT though. I'm loving it!


message 22: by Rob, Quick Ben (new) - rated it 4 stars

Rob (robzak) | 1055 comments Mod
No. I can only delete it.


message 23: by David Sven, Mortal Sword..Meow (new) - rated it 5 stars

David Sven (gorro) | 2042 comments Mod
I believe the object Lostara picked up is one of those Shadow Diamonds Kalam was carrying around.

Apsalar makes a choice regarding both Cotillion and Cutter but it doesn't become clear what that is exactly till The Bonehunters.


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