Saturday, January 2, 2016

The Best Malazan Book of the Fallen Quotes

Steven Erikson’s Best Malazan Book of the Fallen Quotes

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(Spoilers for the ten Malazan Books of the Fallen series may be included, do not read if you want any spoilers).

Steven Erikson provided a lot of memories with the way he wrote his Malazan series.  Innovative character creations, philosophical musings, and even the occasional dash of humor – listed below are some of the most memorable quotes from the ten books that make up the Malazan Books of the Fallen.

If you’ve got a favorite quote or quotes from the series share it with us in the comments section below.


Stories and Language

“All they get around here is stories. Stories don’t make you bleed.  Stories don’t make you go hungry, don’t give you sore feet.  When you’re young smelling of pigshit and convinced there ain’t a weapon in all the damn world that’s going to hurt you, all stories do is make you want to be part of them.” – Gardens of the Moon

“Language was war, vaster than any host of swords, spears and sorcery.” – Midnight Tides

“With words … meanings change.” – Redmask, Reaper’s Gale

“One can listen to words, and see them as the unfolding of a petal or, indeed, the very opposite: each word bent and pushed tighter, smaller, until the very packet of meaning vanishes with a flip of deft fingers.” – Toll The Hounds


Guilt and Forgiveness

“And it seems you’ve no idea of how to forgive – not her, not yourself.  Guilt has become a chasm.” – Ganoes to Silverfox, Memories of Ice


Love and the Soul

“We learn to achieve but one thing: the ability to hide our thoughts, to mask our feelings, to bury our humanity deep in our souls. And that can’t be taught, only shown.” – Ganoes Paran, Memories of Ice

“Glories unending this night in Darujhistan! And now the dawn stirs awake, a light to sweep aside the blue glow of the unsleeping city.  See the revellers stumbling towards their beds or the beds of newfound friends or even a stranger’s bed, what matter the provenance of love? What matter the tangled threads of friendship so stretched and knotted? What matter the burdens of life, when the sun blazes into the sky and the gulls stir from their posts in the bay, when crabs scuttle for deep and dark waters? Not every path is well trod, dearest friends, not every path is set out with even pavestones and unambiguous signs.” – Kruppe, Toll The Hounds

“The soul knows no greater anguish than to take a breath that begins in love and ends with grief.” – Toll The Hounds

“In love, grief is a promise.” – Toll The Hounds

“A man does not marry a girl, nor a woman.  He marries a promise, and it shines with a bright purity that is ageless.”


Life, Advice, and Philosophy

“From a great distance in his mind came old, old words: live quietly.” – Ganoes Paran, Gardens of the Moon

“When you take away everybody else’s humanity you take away your own.” – Fiddler, Gardens of the Moon

Kesen: “Can you teach me how to fight like that, sir?”
Kalam: “I expect your father has a better life in mind for you, lad.  Fighting is for people who fail at everything else.” – Deadhouse Gates
“Armor can hide anything until the moment it falls away.  Even a child.  Especially a child.” – Deadhouse Gates

“To live is to suffer. To exist – even as we do – is to resist.” – Siballe, House of Chains

“But you won’t fall into the trap of cycling through it over and over again.  Release gets addictive, you see.  It becomes a fixed behavior, as destructive as any other.  Keep repeating the exercise of grief and it loses meaning, it becomes rote, false, a game of self-delusion, self-indulgence.  A way of never getting over anything ever.” – Corlo, Midnight Tides

“And if you make a list of those people who worship consistency, you’ll find they’re one and all tyrants or would-be tyrants.  Ruling over thousands, or over a husband or a wife, or some cowering child.  Never fear contradiction … it is the very heart of diversity.” – Scillara, The Bonehunters

“We fight every battle with our imagination: the battles within and the battles in the world beyond.” – Reaper’s Gale

“Our souls might as well be trapped inside a haunted keep.  Sure, we built it – each of us – with our own hands, but we’ve forgotten half the rooms, we get lost in the corridors.” – Udinaas, Reaper’s Gale

“Why, that everything of true value is in fact, free.” –  Reaper’s Gale

“Paradise belonged to the innocent.  Which was why it was and would ever remain … empty. And that is what makes it a paradise.” – Toll the Hounds

“There is no struggle too vast, no odds too overwhelming, for even should we fail – should we fall – we will know that we have lived.” – Anomander Rake, Toll The Hounds

“All life is sorcery. In its very essence, the soul is magical, and each process of chemistry, of obeisance and cooperation, of surrender and struggle – at every scale conceivable – is a consort of sorcery.  Destroy magic and you destroy life.” – Dust of Dreams

“You make worlds, worlds inside your head and worlds outside, but only the one inside couns for anything. It’s where you find, peace, acceptance. Worth.” – Tarr, Dust of Dreams

“In that Malazan Book of the Fallen, the historians will write of our suffering, and they will speak of it as the suffering of those who served the Crippled God.  As something … fitting. And for our seeming fanaticism they will dismiss all that we were, and think only of what we achieved.  Or failed to achieve.  And in so doing, they will miss the whole fucking point.  Fallen One, we are all your children.” – The Crippled God

“We don’t want the future, we want the past.  With a new name. But it’s still the past, that invented the realm of nostalgia, all the jagged edges smoothed away.” – The Crippled God

“We should all live a life of hobbies. Doing only what gives us pleasure, only what rewards us in secret, private ways.” – Banaschar, The Crippled God


Coming of Age and Childhood

“For a man or woman to reach adulthood, they must first kill the child within them.” – Reaper’s Gale

“No purer artist exists or has ever existed than a child freed to imagine.” – Toll The Hounds


Power, Greed, Wealth, and Evil

“Too many regrets. Lost chances – and with each one passing the less human we all became, and the deeper into the nightmare of power we all sank.” – Ganoes Paran, Gardens of the Moon

“Kallor said: ‘I walked this land when the T’lan Imass were but children. I have commanded armies a hundred thousand strong. I have spread the fire of my wrath across entire continents, and sat alone upon tall thrones. Do you grasp the meaning of this?’
‘Yes,’ said Caladan Brood, ‘you never learn.” – Gardens of the Moon

Commanding armies was easy enough – the traditional structures ensured that, as the barely competent Fists of the Malazan Empire clearly showed – but leading was another thing entirely.” – Deadhouse Gates

“Yet the majority of the suffering had descended upon the lowborn, upon the common folk.  What matter the colour of the collar around a man’s neck, if the chains linked to them were identical.” – House of Chains

“Civilization after civilization, it is the same.  The world falls to tyranny with a whisper.  The frightened are ever keen to bow to a perceived necessity, in the belief that necessity forces conformity, and conformity a certain stability.  In a world shaped into conformity, dissidents stand out, are easily branded and dealt with.  There is no multitude of perspectives, no dialogue.  The victim assumes the face of the tyrant, self-righteous and intransigent, and wars breed like vermin.  And people die.” – House of Chains

“The misapprehension is this: that those who do not possess wealth all yearn to, and so seek likeness, and this yearning occludes all feelings of resentment, exploitation, and most relevantly, injustice.  To some extent they are right, but mostly they are woefully wrong.  When wealth ascends to a point where the majority of the poor finally comprehend that it is, for each of them, unattainable, then all civility collapses, and anarchy prevails.” – The Bonehunters

“Evil is nothing but a word, an objectification where no objectification is necessary.  Cast aside this notion of some external agency as the source of inconceivable inhumanity – the sad truth is our possession of an innate proclivity towards indifference, towards deliberate denial of mercy, towards disengaging all that is moral within us.  But if that is too dire, let’s call it evil. And paint it with fire and venom.” – Toll The Hounds

“Control is an illusion, a deceptive one that salves thin-skinned bluster.” – Dust of Dreams

“Beware the leader who has nothing to lose.” – Dust of Dreams

“Yes, it was this notion – of self-delusion – that left him feeling strangely anxious, exposed and vulnerable.  he could see its worth, after all.  When the self was a monster – who wouldn’t hide from such a thing? Who wouldn’t run when it loomed close? Close enough to smell, to taste? Yes, even the lowest beast knew the value of not knowing itself too well.” – Dust of Dreams

“Do you truly believe suicide belongs solely to the one taking his or her own life? All that rot about selfishness and self-hatred?  The lies we tell ourselves to absolve us of all blame, of all the roles that we played in that wretched death?” – The Crippled God


The Horror’s of War

“Felisin saw in their faces a dull sorrow, a passion born of different scars.  She could not understand where it came from and she knew that her ignorance was the difference between her and them.  She also knew, in her bruises, scratches, and helpless nakedness, that her lessons had begun.” – Felisin Paran, Deadhouse Gates

“Why do the survivors remain anonymous – as if cursed – while the dead are revered?  Why do we cling to what we lose while we ignore what we still hold? – Deadhouse Gates

“Deaths that had already withdrawn, far down the endless dusty track; too distant to make their demands heard or felt.” – Felisin Paran, Deadhouse Gates

“Children are dying.” Lull nodded. “That’s a succinct summary of humankind, I’d say. Who needs tomes and volumes of history? Children are dying. The injustices of the world hide in those three words.” – Deadhouse Gates

“Felisin’s hands …ah, they have grasped and touched, they have been slick and they have been soiled and yet have held nothing.  Life slips through them like a ghost.” – Felisin Paran, Deadhouse Gates

“What the soul can house, the flesh cannot fathom.” – Memories of Ice

“We are all pushed into a world of madness, yet it must now fall to each of us to pull back from this Abyss, to drag ourselves free of the descending spiral.  From horror, grief must be fashioned, and from grief, compassion.” – Memories of Ice

“Step by step, we walk the most horrendous paths. Stride tottering along the edge of an unsuspected abyss.  Companions see nothing amiss.  The world seems a normal place.  Step by step, no different from anyone else – not from the outside.  Not even from the inside.  Apart from that tautness, that whisper of panic.  The vague confusion that threatens your balance.” – Sha’ik, House of Chains

“It seemed so easy for so many people to divide war from peace, to confine their definitions to the unambivalent.  Marching soldiers, pitched battles and slaughter.  Locked armories, treaties, fetes and city gates opened wide.  But Fiddler knew that suffering thrived in both realms of existence … and he’d come to a conviction, lodged like an iron nail in his heart, and with its burning, searing realization, he could no longer look upon things the way he used to, he could no longer walk and see what he saw with a neatly partitioned mind, replete with its host of judgments – that critical act of moral relativity – this is less, that is more.  the truth in his heart was this: he no longer believed in peace.” – Fiddler, The Bonehunters


The Humor


Ganoes: “I want to be a soldier. A hero.”
Whiskeyjack: “You’ll grow out of it.”

“Kruppe has uttered every single detail at least a thousand times, Master Baruk,”he complained.

“Will this ordeal never end? Look at yon window.  A whole day in Kruppe’s life has passed!” – Kruppe, Gardens of the Moon

“Master Baruk,” Kruppe tried again, “may your loyal servant leave? He’s not yet recovered from his horrific journey in the eastern wastelands.  Simple fare, of roast mutton, potatoes, fried onions and carrots, mussels in garlic butter, dates, cheese, smoked slipper minnows, and a carafe of wine, now occupying Kruppe’s mind to the exclusion of all else.  Such as he has been reduced, his world contracting apace with his stomach.” – Kruppe, Gardens of the Moon

Murillio: “You’re not coming, Kruppe.”
Kruppe: “Well of course Kruppe will attend! Do you think Lady Simtal would ever show herself if her longtime acquaintance, Kruppe the First, was not in attendance? Why, she’d wither with shame!”
Murillio: “Damnit, you’ve never even met Simtal!”
Kruppe: Not relevant to Kruppe’s argument, friend Murillio.  Kruppe has been acquainted with Simtal’s existence for many years. Such association is made better, nay, pristine, for the fact she has not met Kruppe, nor Kruppe her.  And, in final argument designed to end all discussion, here,” he pulled from his sleeve a parchment scroll tied in blue silk ribbon, “Kruppe’s invitation, signed by the Lady herself.” – Gardens of the Moon

Kruppe’s mule carried him swiftly up the embankment, through a press of marching marines on the road – who scattered from its path – then down the other side and out onto the plain.  Shouts and helpful advice followed him.”Brainless beast! Blind, stubborn, braying creature of the Abyss! Stop Kuppe cries! Stop! No, not that way.” – Kruppe talking to his mule, Memories of Ice

‘Exercise is madness!’ he exclaimed to the children who jogged up alongside. ‘Witness these frightening urchins, already so musclebound as to laugh with stupid delight at Kruppe’s woeful fate! The curse of vigour and strain has addled them.  Dear Kruppe, forgive them as befits your admirable nature, your amiable equanimity, your effortlessly estimable ease among the company of those sadly lacking in years.  Ah, you poor creatures, so short of leg yet self-deluded into expressions witlessly wise. You strut in step with this confounded mule, and so lay bare the tragic truth – your tribe is doomed, Kruppe pronounces! Doomed’ – Kruppe talking to some children, Memories of Ice
Karsa: “Lead us, then, Torvald Nom.”
Silgar: “It could be in the wrong direction! We are safer to wait.”
Karsa: “Then wait.”
Silgar: “I have the fresh water not you – “
Karsa: “A good point.  I shall have to kill you, then, since you have decided to stay here.  We might need that water, after all.  You won’t because you will be dead.”
Torvald: “Teblor logic.” – Karsa Orlong, Silgar, and Torvald Nom, House of Chains
Shadowthrone: “Oh, measure it all out! Acceptable levels of misery and suffering!’ The cane swung down, thumped hard on the ground. ‘Acceptable? Who the fuck says any level is acceptable? What sort of mind thinks that?’
Karsa: “Why, a civilized one.”
Shadowthrone: ‘Indeed!’ Shadowthrone turned to Cotillion. ‘And you doubted this one!” – Toll The Hounds
Shadowthrone: “That’s all you have to say? This is a momentous scene, you fat fool! This is where everything really, truly, finally begins! So squeeze the ale from your brain, mortal, and say something worthy of your kind. You stand before a god! Speak your eloquence for all posterity. Be profound!”
Temper: “Profound … huh.” Temper was silent for a long moment, studying the cobbles of the alley mouth. And then he lifted his helmed head, faced Shadowthrone, and said, “Fuck off.” – The Crippled God



“Knowledge is not enough. It never is.  It’s the capacity to do something with that knowledge.  To do it perfectly.  Absolute Timing.  With devastating consequences.” – Brys Beddict, Midnight Tides


The Gods

“The Gods will take all of your loved ones, one by one, to their death.  And, as you harden, as you become what they seek, the gods smile and nod.  Each company you shun brings you closer to them.” – Ganoes Paran, Gardens of the Moon

“What do the Gods themselves worship, but perfection? The unattainable victory over nature, over nature’s uncertainty.  There are many words for this struggle.  Order against chaos, structure against dissolution, light against dark, life against death.  But they all mean the same thing.” – Siballe, House of Chains

“All that they do in that god’s name is at its core profoundly godless.” – The Bonehunters

“One God, having written nothing down, having left all matters of interpretation of faith and worship to the unguided minds of over-educated mortals, is unequivocally insane.” – Reaper’s Gale

“I never hid my hurts.  I never disguised my dreams. And I never lost my way. And only the fallen can rise again.  He listened to the laughter, and suddenly the weight of those chains was as nothing. Nothing.” – The Crippled God, The Crippled God



“Freedom had been won, at the cost of everything.” – Deadhouse Gates

“We live simply enough, and we see the cruelty of your so called progress. Slaves, children in chains, a thousand lies to make one person better than the next, a thousand lies telling you this is how things should be, and there’s no stopping it.  Madness called sanity, slavery called freedom.  I am done talking now.” – Karsa Orlong, The Bonehunters

“Without followers, civilization would have never been born.” – Toll The Hounds


The Truth

“Every hunter is hunted, every mind that knows itself has stalkers. We drive and are driven.  The unknown pursues the ignorant, he truth assails every scholar wise enough to know his own ignorance, for that is the meaning of unknowable truths.” – Heboric, Deadhouse Gates

Memories and Dreams

“Aye, Icarium.  Such are memories in full flood.  We are not simple creatures.  You dream that with memories will come knowledge, and from knowledge, understanding.  But for every answer you find, a thousand new questions arise.  All that we were has led us to where we are, but tells us little of where we’re going.  Memories are a weight you can never shrug off.” – Apsalar, Deadhouse Gates

“How the time for dreams of the future seemed to slip past unnoticed, until in reviving them a man realized, with a shock, that the privilege was no longer his to entertain, that it belonged to those younger faces he saw on all sides, laughing in the tavern and on the streets, running wild.” – Toll the Hounds

Icarium: “He died defending me.”
Ublala: “Yes.”
Icarium: “But I don’t know who he was!” … Icarium happened to glance at the pottery fragment Ublala had taken out to admire again, and then halted to face one last time the low hill they’d left behind.  Icarium frowned and was silent.  Ublala was read to turn away when Icarium said, “Friend I have remembered something.” – The Crippled God


“Then the story begins, as always with Kruppe …” Murilliio groaned. “Thus spake the Eel.” – Murillio, Gardens of the Moon

“Very well permit me, if you will, on this night.  To  break your hearts once more.  This is the story of the Chain of Dogs.  Of Coltaine of the Crow Clan , newly come fist to the 7th Army …” – Duiker, Memories of Ice

“I am going to beat a God senseless.” – Mael, Midnight Tides

“High above the harbor, the winds were brisk coming in from the sea. They struck and spun the old battered weathervane on its pole, as if the demon knew not where to turn. A sudden gust took it then, wrenched it hard around, and with a solid squeal the weathervane jammed.  The wind buffeted it, but decades of decay and rust seemed proof to its will, and the weathervane but quivered.  Like a thing in chains.” – The Crippled God

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