- "[He] knows naught but pain, and yearns only to share it, to visit it upon all that lives, all that exists."
- ―Description of the Crippled God
The Crippled God, the Chained One, The Shattered God, Fallen God, or Fallen One, was a majorly disfigured Ascendant who frequently came into conflict with the other gods and goddesses of the world. He could be considered the main antagonist of the Malazan Book of the Fallen.
The Crippled God often appeared as a bent figure wrapped and hooded in rags or blankets, inhabiting a dilapidated, sunbleached tent along a sandy beach. He was usually found huddled over a smoking brazier, and spoke in raspy voice intermingled with hacking coughs and laboured breathing. He had long, tangled hair and his thin mangled hand appeared to have every one of its bones broken. His features were hidden in darkness beneath his hood. He was in constant agony and cast seeds into the brazier's coals to thicken the heady smoke.
The symbol of the Fallen God was a broken circle.
- 1 In Gardens of the Moon
- 2 In Memories of Ice
- 3 In House of Chains
- 4 In Midnight Tides
- 5 In The Bonehunters
- 6 In Reaper's Gale
- 7 In Dust of Dreams
- 8 In The Crippled God
- 9 In Return of the Crimson Guard
- 10 In Stonewielder
- 11 In Blood and Bone
- 12 In Kellanved's Reach
- 13 History
- 14 Speculations
- 15 Trivia
- 16 Notes and references
Kruppe read an ancient tome in the study of the scholar Mammot that mentioned the Crippled God. The book detailed how the God was called to earth, crippled, and chained. In the process lands were sundered and things were born and released. A list of those gathered at the God's imprisonment included Hood and Dessembrae. The list was so absurdly long Kruppe "half expected to see his grandmother's name among those listed."
In Memories of Ice[edit | edit source]
The Crippled God launched several assaults during this book.
He allied himself with the Pannion Seer to cause as much suffering as possible to the world and all its inhabitants.
Furthermore, he presented a dilemma to Caladan Brood. The Crippled God was kept bound to Burn's flesh by the Gods and other great powers of the Malazan world in events known as Chainings. But through these chains, the god infected her, poisoning her body like a virulent cancer and preventing her from awakening. Burn had long ago foreseen this attack and entered her sleeping state to focus her power into a hammer which she gave to Brood. Using the hammer to break the chains that bound them would stop the disease, but would unleash the Chained God's vengeance upon the world. At the same time, using the hammer would awaken the goddess and her resulting movements would trigger earthquakes and eruptions that would destroy every civilisation on the planet. Afterwards, the indifferent goddess would simply begin again and life would start over. On the other hand, if the Crippled God's infection was left unchecked and allowed to spread, Burn would die, and all life that dwelt upon her would die with her. Brood bided his time to make a decision.
The Chained One also sponsored the creation of High House Chains within the pantheon and the Deck of Dragons. This altered the Warrens making them poison to those not of the new House. He had been struck down by sorcery and so sought to destroy that weapon of his enemies. He first attempted to secure the services of Quick Ben, but was rebuffed. He then recruited Gethol as the Herald and Kallor as the High King of the new House.
In response to the formation of the new House, Ganoes Paran found himself chosen as the Master of the Deck. His role was to bless or deny the addition of the House of Chains to the Deck of Dragons. Many were pushing for denial, including Anomander Rake, Trake, and Hood, but a voice inside Paran demanded the opposite. Gruntle pointed out that the new House currently operated as it pleased outside the rules, but a sanctioned House would be bounded to the same rules as everyone else.
In exchange for accepting the position as High King, the Crippled God created an opportunity for Kallor to slay Silverfox. The attempt was thwarted by Whiskeyjack, and Kallor was extracted from the situation into the Crippled God's Warren.
In House of Chains[edit | edit source]
The Crippled God had a number of schemes running simultaneously. Over four hundred years before the events of the main series, he approached the broken T'lan Imass known as The Seven Faces in the Rock. In return for their fealty and the breaking of their Vow, he offered them enough of his power to grant them limited freedom to leave their tomb. Afterwards, they were known as The Unbound.
Trull Sengar described how some unknown power had corrupted his people, the Tiste Edur, and directed them to gather the disparate fragments of Kurald Emurlahn in order to make the shattered warren whole once more. Part of this scheme required taking control of the Throne of Shadow to become master of that realm and control the Hounds of Shadow.
Within Shadow, Cotillion noted that the Hounds were agitated, and there were signs that his and Shadowthrone's claim to the warren was threatened by an unknown enemy. He enlisted Cutter, Apsalar, and Kalam Mekhar to run a number of errands to help protect his claim and identify their opponent.
The Tiste Edur, indirectly commanded by the Crippled God, attacked Drift Avalii where the Throne of Shadow was hidden. Their attacks were held back by the island's guardian, Darist, as well as a group of stray Malazans (amongst whom was Hawl) as well as Cutter, Apsalar, and Traveller. Cotillion himself battled the Edur to prevent the Throne's defenders from being overrun.
In an attempt to better understand the Jade giants, Heboric made an important discovery regarding the origin of the Crippled God. Using Hen'bara tea, the historian found himself amidst a sea of stars in The Abyss observing scores of the giants tumbling towards an enormous wound in space. Heboric soon awoke, certain that the Crippled God had been drawn through the same wound into the Malazan world and followed by the army of statues, either under his command or in his pursuit.
The Crippled God chose Karsa Orlong as his Knight of Chains, or Mortal Sword, within the House of Chains. The Teblor denied the position, despite the knowledge that the Seven had shaped him for the role for his whole life. It was unclear if this was his choice to make. A number of characters, including Silgar, 'Siballe the Unfound, and L'oric, referred to his title as fact even after his denial. Karsa offered to break the god's own chains and then kill him.
Denied the Throne of Shadow, the Crippled God sought instead the First Throne and control of the T'lann Imass. The Throne's location on Quon Tali was known by his servants, the Unbound, and Onrack the Broken deduced that the renegades would lead the god to it. Importantly, the Throne could only be held by a mortal, a position ideally suited for the god's Tiste Edur servants. Control of the Throne also meant control of the mortal Bonecaster, Silverfox, dashing the T'lan Imass' hopes to be delivered from their existence. Onrack, Trull, Monok Ochem, and Ibra Gholan travelled to the Throne to serve as its guardians only to find Shadowthrone's servant Minala and her Company of Shadow already protecting it.
The Crippled God sought control of the fragment of the Kurald Emurlahn warren that formed Raraku, which was controlled by the Whirlwind Goddess. He seduced Sha'ik Reborn's High Mage, Bidithal, to his side to help seize the warren and make it the heart of the new House of Chains. Bidithal admitted all of this to Kalam, as well as his hope to call the Deragoth into his new patron's service. This allowed Kalam to confirm the source of the threat to Shadow.
In Midnight Tides[edit | edit source]
The Crippled God's tent could be found on the plain of a small island on an empty sea, barren but for occasional tufts of long, razor-sharp grass. The sky was a milky white and the island was populated by Lizard-rats and Lizard gulls. The island never saw a sunrise or sunset. It was a fragment prone to wander and conjured from memories of the god's home.
The god destroyed the Third Meckros city and rescued only the weaponsmith, Withal, to serve as his slave. Giving the man three Nacht servants, Mape, Pule, and Rind, he ordered him to create a particular sword of the god's own devising.
Two years later, it was revealed that the Crippled God was behind Hannan Mosag's rise to power within the Tiste Edur. The Warlock King had discovered the Edur's god, Father Shadow, was long dead and sought another source of power to make his people unassailable. Their pact gave the Warlock King access to Chaos magic, and he brought the six Edur tribes under his rule during the War of Unification. The Crippled God also gave Mosag the service of an enslaved Demon spirit-god and sent him a dream with the location of a gift in the ice fields of Lether. Some of the Edur, including Uruth Sengar, were suspicious of the source of Mosag's new power, which did not resemble Kurald Emurlahn.
Hannan sent the four brothers of House Sengar to retrieve the gift from the ice with a warning that none should touch it. The four discovered the gift was a sword before they were ambushed by a large force of Jheck. Rhulad Sengar, the youngest of the four, took the sword in order to defend himself, but was slain and the sword refused to leave his hands. Rhulad's spirit awoke on the island where the Crippled God offered to restore him to a life of immortality with ever increasing power in return for his service. Rhulad accepted and awoke back in his village where he declared himself emperor of the Tiste Edur in Hannan Mosag's stead. He accused the Warlock King of weakness and treachery for refusing to seek out conquest as their mutual patron had demanded. Rhulad forced the Warlock King to kneel and serve him and then declared war on the Kingdom of Lether.
The Crippled God reneged on his promise to release Withal after the sword was completed, instead pressuring the Meckros to worship him. During this time, the god became concerned for Withal's loneliness. To combat this, he resurrected the Tiste Andii, Sandalath Drukorlat, as a female companion. Withal was angered by the god's presumption and the god was disappointed in Withal's lack of gratitude. Despite his hatred for the gods in general, Withal began to pray to Mael, Elder God of the sea.
The Crippled God continued to whisper advice into Rhulad's ear as he led his armies to victory in Lether. After Rhulad and his Edur conquered Letheras and Rhulad proclaimed himself emperor of Lether, a storm appeared off the coast of the Crippled God's island. Withal had an epiphany regarding the daily performances of the Nachts, realising they had been trying to send him a message. He toppled the Crippled God's tent, the centre of the god's power, upon its shrieking occupant and a boat bearing Mael arrived on shore. The god offered the boat for Withal, Sandalath, and the Nachts to escape. Then Mael went to beat the Crippled God senseless.
In The Bonehunters[edit | edit source]
Cotillion sought information about the Crippled God from Ampelas, Eloth, and Kalse, three Eleint chained within Shadow. He asked the Eleint whether the God was an Elder God and how such a being could be killed, but the Eleint refused to answer. Cotillion noted that the God's fall had shattered the balance with his power torn apart into miniscule, virtually lifeless Warrens. Now the Crippled God was poisoning the Warrens and Cotillion sought allies amongst the Eleint and Edgewalker for the war to come.
The Crippled God made an attempt to take the First Throne, which would give him command over the T'lan Imass. Since only a mortal might take the Throne, the Tiste Edur were sent to attack together with their Letherii soldiers and the champion Icarium, who had yet to prove himself worthy of their Emperor. Their attacks were stopped by several allies, amongst them Quick Ben, Trull and the Eres'al.
In Reaper's Gale[edit | edit source]
In Dust of Dreams[edit | edit source]
Quick Ben explained to Adjunct Tavore Paran and others during a high command meeting that the Crippled God fell in pieces from the sky, and that most of it fell on Korel, although other pieces were scattered throughout the world, fired from his body, the heart of the Crippled God fell in Kolanse.
In The Crippled God[edit | edit source]
The heart of the Crippled God lay in Kolanse inside the Spire atop the Altar of Judgement, where it dripped rivers of blood. It was described as a "blackened, rotted abomination" in mottled form, on the outside it did not show any sign of life, but if it was touched it conveyed a certain sense of life within. It was unclear if the heart was inside of a rock or just hardened like rock.
As the Bonehunters made their stand against the northern Assail army on a hill guarded by D'rek, the Great Ravens arrived and sacrificed themselves to manifest the body of the Crippled God. Not long after, the Shi'Gal Assassin of Acyl nest returned his recently freed heart to his body. Though still chained to the world and powerless, Kaminsod seemed to be no longer capricious and vengeful, astounded as he was by the willingness of the mortal soldiers to defy their rulers and gods to protect him. As the Assail legion closed in battle with his defenders, Kaminsod worried that the sacrifice of his defenders would be forgotten by history. If by some happenstance they should protect him long enough, he pledged to write a Book of the Fallen, truthfully recording all of their deeds and his own throughout the long and bloody conflict.
After the battle ended, Kaminsod gave up his chains in order to bind the Otataral Dragon, saving magic and stopping the Eleint from running loose in the Malazan world. He was subsequently stabbed in the back by Cotillion. It is unclear whether this act freed him to return to his own world, or slew him on the spot, but most probably the former as Kaminsod's new body was described as unsuitable for his journey home.
The Crippled God appeared in the dreams of the Crimson Guard deserter Kyle. He offered to save the life of Kyle's companion Traveller in return for Kyle's sword Tcharka, which, unknown to Kyle, contained the spirit of his god, Father Wind. Before Kyle could complete the agreement, a great blast of wind flattened the Crippled God's tent and the Queen of Dreams guided Kyle back to consciousness.
At a climactic moment of the Battle of the Plains, the Crippled God rescued the sorely wounded Crimson Guard traitor Skinner before Dassem Ultor could finish him. The god informed the now healed Skinner that he had been assisting him from behind the scenes. Skinner then claimed his position as King of High House Chains, offering up the service of his forty Disavowed, to the god's grudging approval.
In Stonewielder[edit | edit source]
The night the Crippled God fell from the sky was experienced by Uli, a fisherman of the Many Isles, near the modern day Lands of Fist. It began with a blue-green smudge lighting up the eastern sky just before dawn which quickly grew as the morning went on. When it filled the sky it split into pieces, causing deafening sound and blinding light. One piece crashed onto the big island in the east while the others fell to the west. The impact of the shards caused an enormous tidal wave which likely killed Uli and everyone in his village.
Three fragments manifested themselves as the goddess that came to be known as the Lady.
Two of these fragments were ultimately destroyed, but the last was claimed by the Crippled God's servant Skinner.
In Blood and Bone[edit | edit source]
Spite and a group of Malazan mercenaries retrieved a fragment of the Crippled God from the Dolmens of Tien entrapping Spite in the process. In the hands of the mages Murken Warrow and Sour the fragment took on the persona of a young girl named Celeste.
In Kellanved's Reach[edit | edit source]
After confronting Jadeen for control of the First Throne, Kellanved and Dancer prepared to return to Malaz City via warren. But as the pair attempted to step through Shadow they were instead violently pulled away by grey Chaos magic. A sickened Dancer awoke on an ocean beach where Kellanved pointed to a nearby tent as the source of their predicament.
Within the tent a ragged shape hunched over burning coals apologised for their unexpected arrival citing his inability to travel beyond his sanctuary. He told Kellanved he had watched him for some time and thought the mage had much in common with himself--both sought power and dominion. The Crippled God offered to partner with the mage, making Kellanved his worldly representative while secretly supplying him with magical might. Kellanved rejected the offer claiming he was doing well enough on his own. The god warned that only his power could shield Kellanved from the world's greater powers, but Kellanved closed the negotiation by feigning clumsiness and toppling the god's brazier. As his tent caught fire, the screaming god called Kellanved an idiot and promised to cast the mage and Dancer away to a place where he claimed they would never be seen again.
Dancer pulled Kellanved from the tent as it was consumed by fire with the wailing god inside. Then Kellanved made the difficult attempt to return them home as Chaos magic swirled around them. It did not go well.
History[edit | edit source]
In 119,739 before Burn's Sleep, the being that came to be known as the Crippled God was lured into the Malazan world by a group of eight rebel mages seeking to oppose High King Kallor, tyrant of Jacuruku. He was pulled from his own world where he was already locked in a war with rival gods. In the process he was torn to pieces while still somehow remaining alive. As he fell from the sky, the pieces scattered over seven continents, shattering the continents of Korel (Korelri) and Jacuruku. Many of the torn pieces that fell to the earth birthed the Great Ravens. Other pieces manifested themselves as the deity known as the Lady and the child Celeste. The process left him a twisted being, knowing only suffering and wanting to make everyone else feel the same.
To prevent him from achieving his goal, numerous gods, goddesses, and other Ascendants rallied together to chain him, thus forestalling the implementation of his plans. In the process, the Tiste Andii had destroyed his nascent realm and left it "a lifeless fragment of a long-dead warren". Afterwards, the only manifestation of his realm he was capable of achieving was the tent he lived in. The location of the tent was not tied to any one place and both the tent and the gates that led to it were known to wander. These Chainings were repeated at numerous points throughout history by the ever changing pantheon in order to ensure the Crippled God did not escape.
Speculations[edit | edit source]
It has been suggested that the Crippled God came to the Malazan world from our world and may in fact be a real life historical or religious figure. When asked, author Steven Erikson would only say that "there are pretty strong hints in the series and you're welcome to go find them." But commenting on a later fan-made analysis video, Erikson said, "One could even say that the Crippled God is our stand-in (certainly MY stand-in), also foreign, also a stranger in a strange world, who is ultimately driven to feel (see with the heart)." Perhaps the real life Crippled God is Erikson himself. (See also Trivia below).
Trivia[edit | edit source]
- Per Steven Erikson, Kaminsod's name is a wink by the authors and refers to Erikson and Ian C. Esslemont (Cam) as the authors of the Malazan books. "Kam-in-sod" is "Cam-and-Steve".
Notes and references[edit | edit source]
- The Bonehunters, Chapter 18
- Gardens of the Moon, Glossary, UK MMPB p.706
- Memories of Ice, Dramatis Personae, UK MMPB
- Blood and Bone, Chapter 15, UK MMPB p.822
- Stonewielder, Glossary
- Return of the Crimson Guard, Epilogue, UK PB p.688
- Midnight Tides, Chapter 9, US SFBC p.272
- Memories of Ice, Chapter 2
- Midnight Tides, Prologue, US SFBC p.26-28
- Stonewielder, Prologue, US HC p.24
- Gardens of the Moon, Chapter 12, US HC p.274
- Memories of Ice, Chapter 2, US SFBC p.72-76
- Memories of Ice, Chapter 5, US SFBC p.166/195-196
- Memories of Ice, Chapter 4, US SFBC p.125-126
- Memories of Ice, Chapter 20, US SFBC p.718-719
- Memories of Ice, Chapter 13, UK MMPB p.520
- Memories of Ice, Chapter 2
- Memories of Ice, Chapter 13
- Memories of Ice, Chapter 11
- Memories of Ice, Chapter 8
- Memories of Ice, Chapter 18, US SFBC p.631/655/658-662
- Memories of Ice, Chapter 24, UK MMPB p.1059
- House of Chains, Chapter 1, US SFBC p.31-35
- House of Chains, Chapter 9, US SFBC p.371-372
- House of Chains, Chapter 6, US SFBC p.262-268
- House of Chains, Chapter 12
- House of Chains, Chapter 13, US SFBC p.491-496
- House of Chains, Chapter 21, US SFBC p.708
- House of Chains, Chapter 25, US SFBC p.786
- House of Chains, Chapter 25, US SFBC p.811
- House of Chains, Chapter 9, US SFBC p.656-658
- House of Chains, Chapter 9, US SFBC p.656-658
- House of Chains, Chapter 23, US SFBC p.748-749
- House of Chains, Epilogue, US SFBC p.851
- House of Chains, Chapter 25, US SFBC p.783
- House of Chains, Chapter 25, US SFBC p.784/787
- House of Chains, Chapter 25, US SFBC p.811
- Midnight Tides, Chapter 16, US SFBC p.506
- Midnight Tides, Chapter 19, US SFBC p.586
- Midnight Tides, Chapter 16, US SFBC p.507
- Midnight Tides, Chapter 19, US SFBC p.586
- Midnight Tides, Chapter 18, US SFBC p.563-564
- Midnight Tides, Chapter 9, US SFBC p.274
- Midnight Tides, Chapter 1, US SFBC p.54-55
- Midnight Tides, Chapter 3, US SFBC p.94-97
- Midnight Tides, Chapter 3, US SFBC p.101/117-119
- Midnight Tides, Chapter 1, US SFBC p.55
- Midnight Tides, Chapter 8
- Midnight Tides, Chapter 9, US SFBC p.270-275/290
- Midnight Tides, Chapter 11, US SFBC p.342-346
- Midnight Tides, Chapter 16, US SFBC p.506-507
- Midnight Tides, Chapter 16, US SFBC p.519-520
- Midnight Tides, Chapter 13, US SFBC p.421
- Midnight Tides, Epilogue, US SFBC p.769-771
- Steven Erikson Answers your Midnight Tides Questions (see questions 18 and 20)
- The Bonehunters, Chapter 2, US SFBC p.79-80
- Dust of Dreams, Chapter 6
- Dust of Dreams, Chapter 19
- The Crippled God, Chapter 5
- The Crippled God, Chapter 1
- Return of the Crimson Guard, Book 2 Chapter 5, UK PB p.430-432
- Return of the Crimson Guard, Book 2 Chapter 5, UK PB p.440
- Return of the Crimson Guard, Epilogue, UK PB p.688-689
- Stonewielder, Prologue, UK TPB p.17-22
- Stonewielder, Chapter 12, US HC p.617-619
- Blood and Bone, Chapter 3
- Blood and Bone, Chapter 4
- Kellanved's Reach, Chapter 15, US HC p.229-230
- Kellanved's Reach, Chapter 15, US HC p.230-231
- Kellanved's Reach, Chapter 15, US HC p.231-232
- Memories of Ice, Chapter 13, UK MMPB p.519
- Midnight Tides, Chapter 12, US SFBC p.382
- Dust of Dreams, Chapter 16
- Memories of Ice, Prologue
- Dust of Dreams, Chapter 5
- Not A TSACast: Fireside Conversations with Steven Erikson Ep#3 podcast - See 1:30:00
- Historicity, metafiction and the Malazan Book of the Fallen - Niflrog's Folly - See Steven Erikson's response (as Steve Lundin) in the comments
- Narrators and The Malazan Book of the Fallen (Spoilers for Whole Series) - A Critical Dragon - See Steven Erikson's response (as Steve Lundin) in the comments