Malazan Wiki
Malazan Wiki

Oponn [Ō-pon][1] were the twin Jesters of Chance,[2] Ascendants, and an Unaligned card in the Deck of Dragons. The twins were male and female. When he pushed bad luck followed, while when she pulled, good fortune smiled.[3][4] Interfering in the lives of mortals was a game they conducted for their own entertainment and a way to disrupt the plans of other Gods.[5] At the same time the tension of their dual nature was part of a never-ending personal game between themselves.[6]

The male twin was described as a young man with a thin, pale, expressionless face. He was clothed in loose, white and gold, foppish silk clothing. His slim female counterpart had blonde hair with a reddish tint and wore gaudy silks and a shimmering purple cape.[7][8]

Oponn's card in the Deck of Dragons[]

The card consisted of two persons one on one half of the card, and the other inverted on the other half the card. The Lady and Lord were twins. The Lady's expression was soft, almost tender.

He pushed forward and she pulled back — that is when the Lord was dealt up then the luck was bad and when the Lady was dealt at the top of the card then the luck was good.[9]

Unlike, for example, the Virgin of High House Death, the faces of Oponn's card did not change.[10]

Oponn's coin[]

"An item, that passes without provenance, pursued by many who thirst for its cold kiss, on which life and all that lay within life is often gambled. Alone, a beggar’s crown. In great numbers, a king’s folly. Weighted with ruin, yet blood washes from it beneath the lightest rain, and to the next no hint of its cost. It is as it is, says Kruppe, worthless but for those who insist otherwise."

A coin, deemed to be Oponn's, which came into Crokus Younghand's possession was described as being old, quite heavy and of metal, streaked here and there with raw copper and pitted around the faces with rough tin, looking unlike other coins.[11]

One side showed the profile of a young man with an amused expression on his face and wearing a type of floppy hat. Around the edge of that side, the coin had tiny rune like lettering in a language unknown to Crokus and very different from the cursive Daru script. The opposite side displayed a young woman’s head with similar features but facing the other way. Her expression seemed cold and unyielding. The etched script here was a kind of left-slanting hatchwork, different from that on the other side.[12]

Kruppe deemed the coin to be 'of black copper, cheap tin, temperatures all too cool', poorly cast and stamped crookedly.[13]

When Kruppe showed a wax imprint of the coin to Baruk, the alchemist used a simple cantrip to raise the coin before his eyes. The wax coin started spinning and a whirring sound filled the back of Baruk's head. His Warren was unable to withstand this manifestation of Oponn's breath as Kruppe called it. The coin spun faster and melted, flicking wax droplets everywhere.[14]

In Gardens of the Moon[]

The push and pull - Interpretation by slaine69

The sound of a spinning coin, or the symbol of a coin often indicated Oponn's presence/involvement in human affairs. Not everyone would hear it. The coin first appeared on Oponn's card during a reading of the Deck by Tattersail.[15] During this and a subsequent reading she held for Tayschrenn,[16] it became clear that Oponn was taking an active interest in events. The Lady regarded Tayschrenn with disgust and blocked his efforts.[17]

It bothered Oponn that there was a connection between the Virgin of High House Death and the Assassin of High House Shadow.[18]

The name of Captain Paran's sword, "Chance", led to him being noticed and used by the Twins, who delighted in uncertainty and manipulating events.[19] [20] The twins had an agreement with each other that they would not let it come to a personal, potentially messy, confrontation. The brother stated that he disliked discomfiting scenes. Oponn regarded Paran as fair game as he had been murdered at the hand of a God.[21]

In return for letting Paran live, the sister agreed with the Gatekeeper to Hood's Realm that she would look for someone close to Paran who would die a premature, even meaningless death.[22]

According to Quick Ben, those who interfered (he was not aware at that point that they were dealing with Oponn) were now in direct opposition with the Realm of Shadow.[23]

After Paran had managed to wound the Hound Gear, Hairlock recognized Oponn's hand in the event. Tattersail again heard the sound of the spinning coin even as she succumbed to a fever immediately after the attack.[24]

Kruppe discussed the spinning coin in one of his dreams and told his listener that he hears the coin singing in his head. He also prophesized it's fall that very night.[25]

Crokus Younghand in Darujhistan became the bearer of Oponn's coin and from that moment on seemed to have an unnaturally high amount of luck. From the point when he picked up the coin, his good luck saved his life several times. As he ducked to pick up the coin, a crossbow bolt fired at him, missed its target. He was then followed on a rooftop chase by highly trained assassins, but managed to evade them against all odds, finally finding refuge in the Phoenix Inn.[26]

Crone heard the spinning of a coin in the distance on the night she visited Baruk for the first time. This was likely the exact time Rallick Nom's head was suddenly filled with a whirring, spinning sound which caused a shift in his perception, resulting in him killing Councilman Lim instead of Lady Simtal.[27]

Circle Breaker heard the sad sound of a spinning coin in his head after he ripped up a plea for help he had written to his master, The Eel.[28]

Oponn by Pettynun

Baruk was unhappy that Oponn had decided to take an interest in the affairs concerning the city as they had a way of ruining the best plans. He despised chance operating in his affairs. He also knew that to powers of that magnitude the life of a city and those within meant nothing.[29]

When Tattersail regained consciousness after her fever, the first thing she said to Paran was that she had heard the coin drop. Paran answered with a question: "A spinning coin?" and had momentary visions of things that seemed to relate to his encounter with Oponn. Tattersail than said that the coin was no longer spinning.[30]

Captain Paran succeeded in summoning the male twin to tell him how to release the chains keeping the two Hounds of Shadow whom Anomander Rake had killed, in the sword Dragnipur.[31]

Upon request, Paran later gave the sword 'Chance' to Cotillion when he felt his luck turn at the end of the events in the gardens of the Simtal/Coll Estate.[32]

Crokus, being the Coin bearer, was made a target by some entities, including the Tiste Andii, whose Lord Anomander Rake wanted no godly influences to play a part in Darujhistan. On the other hand, Caladan Brood and the Crimson Guard wanted to protect him, and unbeknownst to him, he was being looked after by Sixth Blade of the Crimson Guard. He was asked by Fingers, an Avowed, to ditch the coin as soon as he felt his luck turn.[33] In the end, Crokus threw Oponn's coin into Lake Azur.[34]

In Memories of Ice[]

Quick Ben's furtive probing of Ganoes Paran confirmed that Oponn really had abandoned the Bridgeburner captain. Although the mage was disturbed to discover that something savage seemed to have taken the God's place.[35]

At the Siege of Coral, Oponn's coin spun lazily over a period of a half-dozen heartbeats in which Korlat had the opportunity to make an observation that would have changed the course of the battle. The coin slowly turned from Lady to Lord and the opportunity was lost.[36]

In The Bonehunters[]

The Queen of Dreams revealed that Corabb Bhilan Thenu'alas, the soldier of the Whirlwind with the improbable luck, was the Chosen of Oponn and the Beloved of the Lady.[37]

The Twins appeared in Malaz City on the night Adjunct Tavore Paran arrived with the Malaz 14th Army. They took position on top of Obo's Tower, which looked over the city, and gleefully looked forward to a night of push and pull. The male twin was angered by Fiddler's reading of the Deck of Dragons earlier that day, claiming it had stolen from their power and usurped their own game. Demanding Fiddler's blood, he cast his knuckle bones to determine his fate. The results left them confused and later terrified.[38]

Hours later, Shadowthrone visited Obo in his tower, informing him of the intruders. The furious Obo slammed the door shut, and after a while, Shadowthrone heard the top of Obo's tower erupt with a fireball and the outraged screams of the Twins.[39]

In Reaper's Gale[]

Inflamed by lust and ambition from exposure to the Demon spirit-god trapped in Settle Lake, the Errant rashly sought to reclaim his lost power by initiating a war between the Holds and the Warrens. He stabbed Feather Witch and added her blood sacrifice to the Tiles of the Holds in the Cedance, but not before she gouged out one of his eyes. As her blood filled the spaces between the Tiles, she consumed the Errant's eye and gained knowledge of the Warrens. Among the many new gods she learned of was Oponn, who she identified as upstarts standing in the Errant's stead. She taunted the Errant by claiming they played his game.[40]

In Dust of Dreams[]

The twins were revealed to be the children/heirs of Sechul Lath, called Knuckles, who was the son of Kilmandaros, the original Elder Goddess of luck and chance.

In Blood and Bone[]

The twins met T'riss on her ship during her travel to Jacuruku. The Lad warned her that her journey could end in her death, and the Lady taunted her about her love for someone who was now gone, presumably Anomander Rake. They then both told T'riss that Ardata would destroy her and had tried to kill her already. After T'riss told them she had had enough of them, they mockingly responded that they had enough from her, and departed.[41]



  • Oponn could be likened to the Joker of a modern standard deck of cards.
  • Although it was indicated in Erikson's books that the twins were children/heirs of Sechul Lath, T'riss referred to them as "get of the Errant" in Blood and Bone.[44]
Spoiler warning: The following section contains significant plot details about Oponn.

Author's comments[]

  • In a 2020 interview, Erikson revealed that Oponn chose Felisin Paran to die in Ganoes' place after the assassination attempt at Pale in Gardens of the Moon. At the time Oponn had told the Gatekeeper to Hood's Realm they would look for another in Ganoes' shadow to suffer a premature and meaningless death in his place.[45]
Significant plot details end here.


Notes and references[]

  1. Gardens of the Moon - Chatting with Steven Erikson, part 2 - As pronounced by Steven Erikson at 19:13
  2. Gardens of the Moon, Glossary, UK MMPB p.706
  3. Gardens of the Moon, Chapter 4, UK MMPB p.143
  4. Gardens of the Moon, Chapter 9, UK MMPB p.282
  5. Gardens of the Moon - Chatting with Steven Erikson, part 2 - See 18:38
  6. Gardens of the Moon - Chatting with Steven Erikson, part 2 - See 28:10
  7. Gardens of the Moon, Chapter 4, UK MMPB p.136
  8. The Bonehunters, Chapter 22, US SFBC p.853
  9. Gardens of the Moon, Chapter 2, UK MMPB p.90
  10. Gardens of the Moon, Chapter 3, UK MMPB p.110
  11. Gardens of the Moon, Chapter 7, UK MMPB p.237
  12. Gardens of the Moon, Chapter 7, UK MMPB p.237
  13. Gardens of the Moon, Chapter 7, UK MMPB p.240/241
  14. Gardens of the Moon, Chapter 7, UK MMPB p.250/251
  15. Gardens of the Moon, Chapter 2, UK MMPB p.90-92
  16. Gardens of the Moon, Chapter 2, UK MMPB p.108-111
  17. Gardens of the Moon, Chapter 3, UK MMPB p.110
  18. Gardens of the Moon, Chapter 3, UK MMPB p.111
  19. Gardens of the Moon, Chapter 3, UK MMPB p.124/125
  20. Gardens of the Moon, Chapter 4, UK MMPB p.136-138
  21. Gardens of the Moon, Chapter 4, UK MMPB p.137
  22. Gardens of the Moon, Chapter 4, UK MMPB p.138
  23. Gardens of the Moon, Chapter 4, UK MMPB p.155
  24. Gardens of the Moon, Chapter 4, UK MMPB p.167/168
  25. Gardens of the Moon, Chapter 5, UK MMPB p.175/176
  26. Gardens of the Moon, Chapter 5, UK MMPB p.186/192
  27. Gardens of the Moon, Chapter 6, UK MMPB p.205/206
  28. Gardens of the Moon, Chapter 7, UK MMPB p.225
  29. Gardens of the Moon, Chapter 7, UK MMPB p.251/252
  30. Gardens of the Moon, Chapter 9, UK MMPB p.280
  31. Gardens of the Moon, Chapter 15, UK MMPB p.480-482
  32. Gardens of the Moon, Chapter 23, UK MMPB p.664
  33. Gardens of the Moon, Chapter 23
  34. Gardens of the Moon, Chapter 24, UK MMPB p.702
  35. Memories of Ice, Chapter 4, US SFBC p.137
  36. Memories of Ice, Chapter 24, US SFBC p.880
  37. The Bonehunters, Chapter 14, US SFBC p.563
  38. The Bonehunters, Chapter 22, US SFBC p.853-854
  39. The Bonehunters, Chapter 23, US SFBC p.945
  40. Reaper's Gale, Chapter 11, US HC p.282-288
  41. Blood and Bone, Chapter 5, UK MMPB p.300-302
  42. Gardens of the Moon, Chapter 1, UK MMPB p.12
  43. Memories of Ice, Chapter 25, UK MMPB p.1085
  44. Blood and Bone, Chapter 5, UK MMPB p.301
  45. Gardens of the Moon - Chatting with Steven Erikson, part 2 - See 37:45
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