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Malazan Wiki

Kruppe [kruhp][1][2] was a regular at the Phoenix Inn in Darujhistan.[3] Kruppe was described as a man of false modesty and he often called himself foolish, however, those who knew him were aware that Kruppe was many things but not foolish.[4]

He was described as a small, round (obese, according to Rallick Nom)[5] man with short, oily, curly hair. He had pencil-thin eyebrows[6] and a round, shiny face.[7] Kruppe was also described as being squat, rotund and so short he could barely see over Baruk's high table and his eyes were depicted as watery, bulging and frog-like, blinking innocently.[8] Kruppe himself thought that a description of 'fat with sloth and neglect, inclined to excess, somewhat clumsy' did apply to him.[9]

Kruppe habitually indulged in long, often rambling, monologues where he would refer to himself in the third person. On one occasion Kruppe told a refugee from Pale how he stole a crown and a sceptre from a king's sarcophagus.[10] Kruppe refused to ride a horse, preferring his mule. He had an abiding love for pastries.[11]

Crokus Younghand, who was Kruppe's former apprentice in the art of thievery, described him as always wearing a mask of idiocy which never dropped.[12] Kruppe served as his fence for stolen goods.[13]

He wore a faded red waistcoat with tattered tails, which his girth prevented him from entirely clasping all of its buttons. His wide, flopping, stained sleeves were gathered at the cuffs and lined inside with pockets of all sizes. His baggy shimmering pantaloons were dyed pink and his small feet were shod in black leather boots.[14] Kruppe always carried a silk handkerchief, normally in his sleeve, which he often used to wipe the sweat off his brow.[15] When he visited Baruk, he was described as being gaudily dressed.[16]


Interpretation of Kruppe by Yapattack

Kruppe was described as a mage and although he boasted of using magic, he was rarely seen using it overtly. He did brag of saving Rallick Nom's life by burning six attackers to ash.[17] He alluded to being an Adept in a conversation with Baruk.[18] The assassin Sorry once observed Kruppe pass through a crowded market place using his magic to surreptitiously snatch edible delicacies of all kinds from the vendors' stalls. It was her opinion that he was an Adept.[19]

Unlike most talents who used knucklebones, read heat fractures in scapulae or used the Fatid of the Deck of Dragons, Kruppe did not need any such props, he had the power of divination in his head. Prophecy came to him unbidden and he could not deny it.[20]   Kruppe was able to steer his dreams and use them to influence events in his 'real' world.[21]

In Gardens of the Moon[]

Kruppe by Corporal Nobbs

Kruppe played the part of a simpleton, but was actually a master manipulator and strategist tuned into all of the events occurring in Darujhistan. In one of his dreams, Kruppe met several aspects of himself with whom he discussed the sound of a spinning coin singing in his head. He prophesied its fall that very night and spoke of challenging the arrogant gods with his skilled sleights of hand and mind.[22]

Kruppe was supposed to sell the goods which Crokus had stolen from Challice D'Arle, however, Crokus changed his mind and asked for their return. He showed Kruppe the odd coin which he had picked up and Kruppe took the opportunity to divert the young thieves attention and take a wax print of the coin.[23]

Kruppe served as an agent of Baruk the alchemist feeding information to him and the T'orrud Cabal for his own purposes. He informed Baruk of the war against the city's Assassins' Guild and alerted him to Oponn's presence in city affairs, even giving Baruk the wax impression of the God's coin.[24] But he was not completely forthcoming, keeping Crokus Younghand's identity as the coinbearer secret, and failing to notify Baruk of the Bridgeburners masquerading as street repairers. Kruppe also sensed the involvement of High House Shadow and The Rope.[25][26] He was well aware of Rallick Nom and Murillio's plans for their friend Coll and provided assistance from behind the scenes.[27]

Kruppe by Jirí Dvorský

In another dream, Kruppe met the Elder God K'rul who told him to seek a T'lan Imass and a woman, those two being "the Awakeners".[28] In return Kruppe would receive "an ancient fire" that would give him "warmth in times of need". Later, K'rul brought Pran Chole, Tattersail, Nightchill, and the pregnant Mhybe into one of Kruppe's dreams. Kruppe assisted in the process that led to the birth of the Rhivi child Silverfox. As recompense for the use of his dream, K'rul gave Kruppe more insight into the events occurring in Darujhistan.[29]

Kruppe led Crokus, Murillio, and Coll on an expedition into the Gadrobi Hills to gather information for Baruk and to protect Crokus from Oponn's schemes. There they encountered Malazan Adjunct Lorn clarifying K'rul's information regarding the Empire's plans to release the Jaghut Tyrant Raest.[30][31]

Kruppe attended Lady Simtal's Gedderone Fête where much of the climax of the book took place. He dressed as a cherub and, hands stuffed with pastries, brazenly introduced himself to the disguised Anomander Rake.[32] Later in the night, he fell asleep in a chair and confronted the Jaghut Tyrant Raest within an Elder vision along with Tool and K'rul. Kruppe toyed with Raest, refusing to bow before him, and the Tyrant's sorcery was powerless to destroy him.[33]

Spoiler warning: The following section contains significant plot details about Kruppe.

Kruppe's alter ego was "The Eel", a mysterious person with several agents in his employment such as Circle Breaker, but this was only known or even suspected, by very few, if any. Kruppe carefully guarded his alter ego, however some of those close to him eventually guessed the truth[34] Murillio confronted him with his suspicions, but Kruppe played with the man's memory, temporarily wiping out that suspicion.[35][36]

Significant plot details end here.

In Memories of Ice[]

Kruppe and Hetan by Shadaan

Kruppe manipulated his way into accompanying the renegade Onearm's Host and the allied force of Caladan Brood and Anomander Rake on the way to wage war on the Pannion Domin.[37] Kruppe also arranged for the army to hire the Trygalle Trade Guild, a company in which he had invested, to deliver supplies.[38]

Along the way, he met Hetan who began a vigorous affair with Kruppe, stealing his voice for two days. But eventually the besotted Kruppe turned the tables, outpacing even Hetan's appetite. By the time they arrived at Maurik by raft, Hetan's father, Humbrall Taur, suspected Hetan's seasickness was actually a sign of pregnancy.[39]

Kruppe also showed some of his true power. He angered the Ascendant, Caladan Brood, to the point that Brood tried to strike him down with his powerful hammer. Kruppe was left unscathed, though the land surrounding the event was altered by the damage unleashed by Brood and all other witnesses were thrown to the ground.[40]

In The Bonehunters[]

Kruppe by HemlockMilk

Ganoes Paran, travelling on horseback in Seven Cities, had a vivid recollection of an encounter he had had with Kruppe some seven months before inside the Finnest House of Darujhistan. The little round man had knocked on the door of the Azath House early one morning, pushed past Raest (its undead Jaghut guardian), and invited himself to breakfast with the newly made Master of the Deck. Kruppe's subsequent rambling remarks about a war between the gods with Hood at its centre, as well pointed suggestions to Paran's responsibilities, resulted in Paran now riding across a plague-ridden sub-continent.[41][42]

"Most terrible crimes are in the offing off in Seven Cities. Eggs have been laid and schemes have hatched! One particularly large shell is about to be broken, and will have been broken by the time you arrive, which means it is as good as broken right now so what are you waiting for? In fact, foolish man, you are already too late, or will be, by then, and if not then, then soon, in the imminent sense of the must walk the singular shadow—between, dare Kruppe utter such dread words—between life and death..."
―Kruppe telling Ganoes Paran that he was needed in Seven Cities.[src]

His message delivered, Kruppe thanked Paran for the meal and left.[43]

In Toll the Hounds[]

'Mule sees mule...' by Corporal Nobbs

In Darujhistan, Kruppe and Iskaral Pust participated in a mounted mule charge in a fight against one another. Kruppe inadvertently punched Pust in the nose and the masses of Kruppe, Pust, Mogora (as spiders) and the bhokarala ended up in a writhing mess on the street, a mess from which Kruppe somehow disappeared.[44][45]

At the close of Kruppe's tale at the end of the book, Kruppe danced — he danced by limb and he danced by word — with K'rul and Fisher Kel Tath as witnesses. The two elders were humbled by Kruppe, with Fisher bowing his head in respect and the Elder God in tears.[46]

In Dust of Dreams[]

Kruppe's romantic encounters with Hetan eventually led to the birth of twins, Stavi and Storii. The White Face Barghast having travelled to the central plains of the continent of Lether, Stavi and Storii were born there. The twins, as they grew older and more like Kruppe, became real handfuls to their mother and to their step-father, Onos Toolan.[47]

In The Crippled God[]

Kruppe by Dejan Delic

Kruppe made a brief appearance as Torrent traveled through a Warren with Olar Ethil and Hetan's children. While asleep, the Awl warrior found Kruppe sitting at his characteristic campsite within his dreams, gorging on sweets and wine. In order for Torrent to protect his children - Stavi and Storii - Kruppe gave the Awl a Rhivi bow and arrows,[48] which the warrior ultimately used to slay Olar Ethil.[49]

In Orb Sceptre Throne[]

Kruppe engaged in his usual clandestine maneuvers throughout the events of the return of the Tyrant to Darujhistan. He manipulated Scorch and Leff into getting their position guarding the Legate[50] and also helped Barathol Mekhar, even rewarding him for his assistance with a villa.[51]


"I am named Kruppe, sir. Kruppe the First."
―Kruppe, introducing himself to Anomander Rake[src]
"That small, round man hides obsidian edges beneath his surfeit of flesh. Who would have thought?"
―On Kruppe, from a dream of the Mhybe[src]


  • An image of Kruppe painted by author Steven Erikson can be found here. A larger version of this painting hangs on a wall of Erikson's home and can be seen in the background of many of his video interviews. See here as an example.
  • Erikson says Kruppe in some ways represents himself as the author of the Malazan books, especially in Toll the Hounds, which he narrates. Kruppe "has always had this multiple purpose throughout the books as my stand-in, but as the storyteller's stand-in, as the narrator's stand-in, and the inventor's stand-in. That's all implicit in storytelling, in creating a narrative out of a chaotic history...he has to be omnipotent and omnipresent because the story is. The narration itself structurally is delivered in tones of certitude. That certitude is not only illusional, it's potentially delusional. It's where the author has to live. And so I always want to be self-conscious of that and remind myself of that. And Kruppe was my means by which I could do so."[52]
  • When Ian C. Esslemont included Kruppe as one of the characters in Orb Sceptre Throne he admitted to some difficulty. "I took a shot at him and that's a very tough character. I was very trepidatious about tackling Kruppe and I spoke to Steve quite a bit about it and he said, 'You know, just whatever. He's yours now, do what you will.'...While I knew he wasn't going to be Steve's Kruppe, I wanted him to be true to the character as revealed to that point."[53]

Notes and references[]

  1. Geek's Guide to the Galaxy podcast as pronounced by Steven Erikson at 04:25
  2. Toll the Hounds Q&A (See answer to question 8)
  3. Gardens of the Moon, Dramatis Personae
  4. Gardens of the Moon, Chapter 7, UK MMPB p.250
  5. Gardens of the Moon, Chapter 6, UK MMPB p.218
  6. Gardens of the Moon, Chapter 5, UK MMPB p.171-176
  7. Gardens of the Moon, Chapter 7, UK MMPB p.239
  8. Orb Sceptre Throne, Prologue, US TPB p.22
  9. Gardens of the Moon, Chapter 5, UK MMPB p.173
  10. Gardens of the Moon, Chapter 7, UK MMPB p.239
  11. Gardens of the Moon, Chapter 21, UK MMPB p.612
  12. Gardens of the Moon, Chapter 6, UK MMPB p.218
  13. Gardens of the Moon, Chapter 7, US HC p.177-178
  14. Gardens of the Moon, Chapter 22, US HC p.442
  15. Gardens of the Moon, Chapter 5, US HC p.134-135
  16. Gardens of the Moon, Chapter 7, UK MMPB p.248
  17. Gardens of the Moon, Chapter 6, UK MMPB p.215-219
  18. Gardens of the Moon, Chapter 7, UK MMPB p.249
  19. Gardens of the Moon, Chapter 11, US HC p.265
  20. Gardens of the Moon, Chapter 5, UK MMPB p.172
  21. Gardens of the Moon, Chapter 11, UK MMPB p.352-359
  22. Gardens of the Moon, Chapter 5, UK MMPB p.175/176
  23. Gardens of the Moon, Chapter 7, UK MMPB p.240/241
  24. Gardens of the Moon, Chapter 7, UK MMPB p.248-252
  25. Gardens of the Moon, Chapter 7, US HC p.183-184
  26. Gardens of the Moon, Chapter 11, US HC p.257
  27. Gardens of the Moon, Chapter 11, US HC p.255
  28. Gardens of the Moon, Chapter 7, UK MMPB p.220
  29. Gardens of the Moon, Chapter 11, UK MMPB p.352-359
  30. Gardens of the Moon, Chapter 14, US HC p.316-318
  31. Gardens of the Moon, Chapter 14, US HC p.347-348
  32. Gardens of the Moon, Chapter 21, US HC p.427-428
  33. Gardens of the Moon, Chapter 22, US HC p.442-443
  34. Gardens of the Moon, Chapter 7, UK MMPB p.246
  35. Gardens of the Moon, Chapter 20, UK MMPB p.574/575
  36. Gardens of the Moon, Chapter 21, UK MMPB p.602
  37. Memories of Ice, Chapter 5, US TPB p.133-134
  38. Memories of Ice, Chapter 5, US TPB p.138-139
  39. Memories of Ice, Chapter 23, US SFBC p.810/825-826/836-837
  40. Memories of Ice, Chapter 15, US TPB p.390-392
  41. The Bonehunters, Chapter 8, US HC p.302-304
  42. The Bonehunters, Chapter 5, US SFBC p.213
  43. The Bonehunters, Chapter 8, US SFBC 0.376
  44. Toll the Hounds, Chapter 23, UK HB p.860-862
  45. Toll the Hounds, Chapter 24, UK HB p.888
  46. Toll the Hounds, Epilogue, US TPB p.828-829
  47. Dust of Dreams, Chapter 4, US HC p.140-141/144
  48. The Crippled God, Chapter 16, US HC p.452-453
  49. The Crippled God, Chapter 23, US HC p.769-770
  50. Orb Sceptre Throne, Chapter 8, US TPB p.240-241
  51. Orb Sceptre Throne, Epilogue, US TPB p.600
  52. Gardens of the Moon - Chatting with Steven Erikson, part 2 - As pronounced by Steven Erikson at 52:15
  53. Spoiler Chat: Orb Sceptre Throne with Ian C. Esslemont - A Critical Dragon - See 1:06:00
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