Jade giants were colossal green statues of unknown origin found buried in the sands of Otataral Island (and occasionally in other locations - such as the Wastelands of Lether). They were too large and deeply buried to ever be seen in their entirety, only exposing portions such as a finger or a face. A single finger could measure thirteen man lengths high and more than fifty arm spans around. The statues were so highly detailed that whorls could be made out on their fingertips. They were associated with high concentrations of otataral.
In Deadhouse Gates
During their escape from Skullcup, Heboric, Felisin Paran, and Baudin stumbled upon what they assumed to be a massive pillar in the Otataral Desert. Closer inspection revealed it to be a massive jade finger reaching from the ground. Heboric touched the surface of the statue with the stump of his hand and afterwards it appeared red, puckered, and swollen and his tattoos began to thicken. When the mage Kulp viewed Heboric through his Warren he noted that the "burned" hand "was shot through with veins of green and Otataral red."
In Memories of Ice
While standing amidst the destruction of Capustan, Ganoes Paran had a vision of a green stone monolith towering above the desert sand. Without realizing it, he observed his sister Felisin, Baudin, and Heboric at the moment the historian touched the jade statue in Seven Cities. The result was a tear in the sky as Fener was dragged unwillingly into the mortal realm. He feared the god was as good as dead now that he was vulnerable to the same dangers as other mortals.
Anomander Rake claimed the object Heboric touched brought him into contact with the Warren of Chaos, and had possibly been forged there. Heboric's contact with the stump of his hand had sent an uncontrolled surge of power to where the hands were safely sealed away in Fener's realm. The hands had then pushed Fener out of his realm to his inevitable doom.
In House of Chains
Heboric's dreams were overwhelmed with visions of a jade face imprisoned beneath the sands of the Otataral Desert. A face that was trying to speak. The historian believed the giant was an intruder from another world sent to this one one for some unknown purpose. He also believed the giant could now reach out to the world beyond its prison through his ghostly hands. Sha'ik gave him Hen'bara tea, a narcotic intended to quiet his sleep.
Felisin Younger believed the entire island of otataral had been created to imprison the statue, and Heboric's hands were the key to releasing it. She implored the historian to return to it, and despite his denials, offered to accompany him.
The Tiste Liosan High Mage, L'oric, provided Heboric with more information regarding the nature of the statue. He revealed that there were actually several of the statues found within the veins of otataral mined by the Malazans. Those miners who ventured too close to the statues disappeared without a trace. L'oric theorised that the otataral had been set as a trap by someone anticipating their arrival.
Heboric disagreed, saying the otaral was likely created as a byproduct of the giants' arrival in this world. He cited a scholar who believed otataral was created through sorcery unleashed at a magnitude that devoured all of the energy it fed on. Such a power could have been released through the ritual that brought down the Crippled God.
Sha'ik later admitted that the hen'bara tea she gave Heboric to quiet his dreams actually had the opposite effect. The giant of jade had the power to overcome and destroy otataral. As Sha'ik's Malazan enemies approached Raraku bearing an otataral sword to counteract the magic of her High Mages, Sha'ik desperately needed a counter. She entreated Heboric to use the tea to discover the answer.
Heboric begrudgingly complied, ingesting a high dose of the drug. The historian soon found himself amidst a sea of stars in The Abyss observing scores of the giants tumbling towards an enormous wound in space. Each was unique in posture and expression, naked, sexless, and perfect in construction, though many had pieces of their bodies broken off and floating alongside them. Their bodies were mere specks in size to the world-spanning wound through which they passed into the Malazan world and elsewhere.
Drawn to the nearest giant, Heboric found himself inside it, surrounded by thousands upon thousands of writhing, howling figures speaking in tongues he could not comprehend. Then the words of a few, including Leandris and Cassa, began to make sense as they asked the historian what lay beyond the wound and as they argued amongst themselves about the nature of gods. Heboric soon awoke certain that the Crippled God had been drawn through the same wound and followed by the army of statues, either under his command or in his pursuit.
In The Bonehunters
Heboric's dreams were beset by the whispers of the jade strangers. He had been the only person ever to reach them through their green prison and they prayed to him begging for his return. The historian set out for Otataral Island, along with Cutter, Felisin Younger, Scillara, and Greyfrog determined determined to return their "cursed gift of jade".
The Destriant was killed by the Crippled God's servants, The Unbound, before he reached the island, but Cutter was determined to complete the trip with Heboric's body. As they crossed the Otataral Sea aboard Sanal's Grief, the sky above lit up as a dozen enormous pieces of jade plunged toward the earth with the fire of a dozen suns that could be seen from over a thousand leagues away. A hail of smaller firestones sank the carrack, turning rust red as they made contact. Heboric's corpse sank into the depths.
Many miles away with Paran's Host, Noto Boil saw the falling sky and recalled the devastation left by the fall of the Crippled God on Korel. Realising the world was on the brink of annihilation, Ganoes Paran hastily attempted to summon Mael for aid, but instead found himself before Hood. Hood returned Heboric back to life and the Destriant immediately heard the voices of the millions entrapped within the falling stone. These were the same souls he had once encountered in the Abyss and they recognised him as their brother. Before falling onto the "beast world" of the Malazans, they had crashed through the world's Moon annihilating many of them.
Heboric reached toward them with his hands and realised he was not a Destriant, but a Shield Anvil, and accepted the pain of those imprisoned within the jade statues. Dozens of jade hands reached up from a glowing dome above Otataral Island to stop the falling suns and save the world. The sound of the jade stones striking the dome was on a scale to deafen the gods.
In Dust of Dreams
In The Crippled God
A band of Trygalle Trade Guild shareholders, including Precious Thimble, Faint, Sweetest Sufferance, and Amby Bole, found themselves stranded in the Wastelands of Lether. As the witch, Precious Thimble, attempted to use her magical powers to 'summon' water in the extremely arid location, a Jade giant unexpectedly started to surface from the earth where it had been completely buried. The Jade giant unfortunately killed Sweetest Sufferance as it rose higher and higher into the air. The eruption came to the attention of Draconus, travelling with Ublala Pung and Ralata nearby, who was close enough to sense the giant's appearance. He veered into his Eleint form, flew to the Jade giant, and destroyed it. Afterwards, Draconus warned Faint not to try anything magical like that again in the Wastelands.
- "Where he [the Jade giant] came from, every god is a Shield Anvil. Woman, have you lost your mind?"
- ―Draconus addressing Faint (who he mistakenly thought was responsible) on why the Jade giant had answered Precious Thimble's 'summoning'
The imprisoned mages of The Pit, one of the Malazan Otataral mines on Otataral Island, uncovered the mouth of a colossal jade statue deep within the mine. The jade giant became a focus of their research for a period of thirty years. The mouth of the statue seemed to sigh and whisper in what the prisoners interpreted as screams of the insane or inconsolable weeping. At times, the statue could be made to exhale bursts of air capable of knocking a man off his feet.
In Blood and Bone
- "There were Others [i.e., Jade giants], once – they fell as I did, and so much was damaged, so much was lost. I see them still, trapped in jade, shaped to make a message to these mortal creatures – but that message was never understood, and the voices stayed for ever trapped within."
- ―Some inward thoughts of The Crippled God
As previously noted, the hands or fingers of Jade giants were sometimes visible pointing towards the sky. Therefore, it would seem that the meaning of Jade giants is actually clearer than might be thought from information given elsewhere. The main thing that seems to remain unclear is what, exactly, The Crippled God had intended that the content of the "message to these mortal creatures" was meant to be.
Notes and references
- The Crippled God, Chapter 6, US HC p.161
- Deadhouse Gates, Chapter 7, US HC p.178-179
- Deadhouse Gates, Chapter 7, US HC p.178-182
- Deadhouse Gates, Chapter 8, US HC p.205
- Memories of Ice, Chapter 17, US SFBC p.578
- Memories of Ice, Chapter 18, US SFBC p.632
- House of Chains, Chapter 7, US SFBC p.280/302-303
- House of Chains, Chapter 13, US SFBC p.484
- House of Chains, Chapter 10, US SFBC p.391
- House of Chains, Chapter 10, US SFBC p.402
- House of Chains, Chapter 10, US SFBC p.402-403
- House of Chains, Chapter 13, US SFBC p.483-484
- House of Chains, Chapter 13, US SFBC p.491-496
- House of Chains, Chapter 13, US SFBC p.494-496
- The Bonehunters, Chapter 9, US SFBC p.402
- The Bonehunters, Chapter 20, US SFBC p.774-776/778/782-784/797
- The Bonehunters, Chapter 20, US SFBC p.774-776/781-782/784-785
- The Bonehunters, Chapter 20, US SFBC p.785-787
- The Crippled God, Chapter 6, US HC p.159-161
- Return of the Crimson Guard, Book 2 Chapter 4