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Gardens of the Moon
- In Gardens of the Moon when the freed Jaghut tyrant is trapped inside Kruppe's dream and despite his immense power can't do anything about this, he asks "What kind of game is it?". Answer: "Why, of course, Kruppe's game." is awesome.
- Before that Raest, the Jaghut tyrant in question, fights against five dragons on his way to the city of Darujistan, including an Elder Dragon. The battle is interrupted by Kruppe, though it's clear Raest would have won regardless.
- Ganoes Paran summoning, manhandling, then using a freaking God as bait to free two Hounds of Shadow from within Anomander Rake's sword. Doubly awesome since said God had been using him as a pawn throughout the book.
- Anomander Rake not fighting the Jaghut tyrant was very much a letdown, considering how much their confrontation had been built up. His subsequent curb stomping of a greater demon during the citywide battle at the end of the book almost made up for it.
- Roach, just Roach. This is the pampered Noble LAP DOG first seen in Dead House gates that not only survived Coltaine's march and became the Alpha dog of the starving mutts on said march, but the little rat JUST WON'T DIE.
- The demon Apt rescuing 1,300 crucified Malazan children in the space of a single night without anyone noticing they were gone until morning. Okay, so Shadowthrone plans to turn them all into Tyke Bombs, but still...
- Coltaine's shepherding of 30,000 Malazan refugees across the Holy Desert Raraku is one long string of CMOA's for everyone involved. However, one particular example springs to mind.
- The refugee's path is blocked by a river and an enemy army is closing in on them swiftly from behind. Eventually they find a place to ford it but the water is so deep it'll slow them down enough for the enemy to catch up. In addition, another enemy army is approaching on the other side of the river to cut them off. What do Coltaine's sappers do? They build an underwater road, allowing the refugees to pass over quickly enough to escape certain death.
- And when the enemy army tries to cross over after them, it turns out the sappers rigged the road with explosives. Cue massive explosion destroying a large amount of enemy fighters.
- One of the most badass lines in the series comes in the first chapter. When Fiddler, Kalam, Crokus and Apsalar are crossing the Kansu Sea, they run into a Soletaken dhenrabi...
- Soletaken: Another fishing boat lost at sea. Alas.*Fiddler blows it up with a cusser*Fiddler: You picked the wrong fisherman.
Memories of Ice
- The opening of the book. Three gods show up to curse Kallor, for being the kind of monster who destroyed an entire continent. And what does our all-too human psychopath do? He curses them back. And it works! And that's following his survival of a continent catching on fire. Why did it catch on fire? Because he was so evil his people summoned a foreign god and dropped it on the continent in an attempt to kill him. They ended up killing everyone but him. Kallor is a monster, there's no doubt about that, but damn.
- Gruntle ascending to the position of Trake's Mortal Sword, gathering together a ramshackle militia, then proceeding to absolutely serve the elite Pannion infantry invading Capustan. When forced to retreat into a nearby building, they kill so many invaders whilst retreating floor-by-floor that from the outside it looks as if the building itself is bleeding.
- To put in proper perspective, Trake's Legion kills so many Pannion soldiers that the building is approaching collapse because the bodies are starting to bloat and the pressure from them is weakening the brickwork.
- The siege of Coral. Pannion's soldiers, Bridgeburners, undead K'chain Che'malle, Lady Envy and her Seguleh, Tiste Andii and their awesome flying fortress, The First Sword of Imass, Shield Anvil Itkovian... Probably the most awesome chapters of the entire series.
- One of the greatest moments was the revelation of where Anomander Rake had hidden Moon's Spawn, his flying fortress. When the battle seems lost, the massive basalt construction rises out of the sea, then crushes the Pannion Seer's keep by literally bulldozing its way through Coral.
- The death of Itkovian deserves mention as well. Moment of Awesome and Tear Jerker combined.
"You are in pain. I will embrace you."
- Quick Ben breaking into Korbal Broach and Bauchelain's estate and sharing a cup of tea with the latter. Despite the encounter quickly turning hostile, common courtesy stays present the whole time. The snappy dialogue stands as one of the most entertaining yet kick-ass exchanges in the series.
Bauchelain: I find myself appreciating your company, Quick Ben. I am not easily entertained, but you have indeed proved a worthy diversion this night, and for that I thank you.Quick: You're quite welcome.Bauchelain: My companion, Korbal Broach, alas, would like to kill you.Quick: Can't please everyone.
House of Chains
- Karsa Orlong (a giant Boisterous Bruiser/ Blood Knight) beats a Hound of Darkness (bear-sized Hounds that were the precursors to the Hounds of Shadow) to death with his bare-hands. He then chases a second one down and attacks and kills the other one, getting mad when Leoman of the Flails helps kill the Hound. For reference, two Hounds of Darkness were able to easily fight off and possibly kill five demons capable of killing hundreds of humans in a matter of minutes.
- Karsa gets a second one for his Pay Evil unto Evil moment against Bidithal, one of the series' rare utter villains, and the incredibly karmic way in which he does so. This effectively solidifies Karsa's transition from a Villain Protagonist to an Anti-Villain/dark Anti-Hero. Note that when we first met him, Karsa was an unrepentant serial rapist and it appears that he does not rape anyone ever again in the series after this point. Hood follows this up with one of his own, thanks to what he does to Bidithal after his death.
- Towards the end, when the Edur have mostly won, their emperor meets the king's magician:
- The Edur in the centre of the row spoke. 'Ceda Kuru Qan. The kingdom you serve has fallen. Step aside. The emperor wishes to claim his throne.''Fallen?' The Ceda's voice was thin in comparison, almost quavering. 'Relevant? Not in the least.'
- Numerous earlier actions of the Ceda are also impressive, including but not limited to when we meet him for the first time and he works out who Brys has been talking to and what about with no prior knowledge the conversation using only his sense of smell, to the moment when the (kind of) Emperor of Lether himself is forced to step round him during a regal procession on pain of being blasted to ashes.
- Brys vs. Rhulad. Seriously, it wasn't sword duel - it was surgical operation.
- The Last Dance at the climax in which Iron Bars faces off against five Toblakai gods in a fight strangely reminiscent of a Hong Kong kung fu movie.
- The very end of the book, where Bugg, shown to be Mael, god of the Sea, stomps up the beach, breaks apart the Crippled God's moody tent, and drags him out into the sun, beating him like a railroad guard bucking a hobo.
- Bottle gets a major one for helping to navigate several dozen survivors through an underground lair of tunnels with nothing more than magical assistance from a rat for guidance, all while the city above them is burning and they are in a race against time to escape death from several different possible causes. Sinn also gets one for insisting that Captain Faradan Sort stay with her, enabling the two of them to rescue the survivors. Finally, Corabb Bhilan Thenu'alas, who had previously hated Malazans, gets one for overcoming this and helping assist Fiddler in the escape, without which the latter would probably have died. On a meta level, this segment includes some of the best fight scenes in the series to date, although later in the book Erikson would top it.
- Ganoes Paran also gets one for engineering the death of Poliel, the goddess of plague, with a sliver of Otataral and the assistance of a few Hounds of Shadow and Darkness, and thereby potentially preventing an entire continent from being wiped out with disease.
- Kalam, Tavore and T'amber fighting their way out of the Malaz City with SIX HUNDRED Claws on their tail the whole time. Probably some of the best fight scenes Erikson has ever written. And Kalam and Tavore survive.
- Trull Sengar manages to single-handedly hold off a berserk Icarium, who had just slaughtered every Tiste Edur in the courtyard, and is only driven back when his spear is broken.
- Udinaas somehow fending off Attempted Rapes from Menandore, Feather Witch, and Seren Pedac in the midst of a few pages. Note that the former of the three was a goddess who had already raped him once and he had previously been hopelessly in love with the second. His What the Hell, Hero? moment to Seren in the moment afterwards very likely kept her from crossing the Moral Event Horizon, as well.
- Janath's revenge on Tanal. After he repeatedly sexually assaults her, she convinces him she has developed Stockholm Syndrome towards him. In reality, she has been using his constant sexual assaults of her to learn his behaviour patterns. Then, having lowered his defences, she kills him in the midst of another assault when he is most vulnerable. This is one of the most satisfying Karmic Deaths in the series.
- Beak's Heroic Sacrifice saving the lives of hundreds of Malazan soldiers while resulting in the deaths of all of Lether's most powerful mages. While the fall of the empire would likely have happened anyway, Beak's actions enabled it to happen with much less Malazan bloodshed. Some of the soldiers do comment that the loss of a mage of Beak's power will very likely be a huge blow in the future, though.
- Tehol managing to engineer the fall of the entire exploitative Letherii economy, then being effectively appointed emperor by popular acclaim. He may be the first democratically elected leader in the history of the setting. To be fair, he had help from Rucket, Bugg, and several others.
Toll the Hounds
- The two duels at the climax of Toll the Hounds. Annomander Rake vs Dassem Ultor is awesome enough although diluted somewhat by Rake letting himself lose, but the truly impressive match is the sideshow: Kallor vs Spinnock Durav, one of Rake's Tiste Andii. Rake has ordered Durav to prevent Kallor from entering the city no matter what the cost, and Durav, with nothing but his stubborness and sense of obligation to his master manages to hold Kallor back for an entire night, despite getting cut to pieces in the process. He doesn't even manage to scratch Kallor, yet his sheer determination is awe-inspiring. Kallor himself gets his shortly afterwards, when Orfantal, a freakin' dragon, swoops in and carries him off in revenge for the death of his sister's lover. Kallor's response? He stabs Orfantal in the head, causing them both to crash. And survives. That chain of events alone made Toll the Hounds worth buying for me.
- A third duel in the book included Spite dropping a gargantuan ball of lava onto Envy's dwelling.
- Rake sacrificing himself to force his mother, an Elder God, to stop ignoring her people, and in the process also saves the entire world. At the same time he asks his mortal enemy for forgiveness for trapping him in his sword for thousands of years:
- "'You ask my forgiveness? When you unravel what I have done, what I did so long ago? When you heal what I wounded, when you mend what I broke?' He raised his voice to a shout. 'Rake! There is no forgiveness you must seek - not from me, gods below, not from any of us'"
Dust of Dreams
- Draconus' return to the world right in the middle of the Barghast battlefield, shock freezing them and killing everyone present instantly —with a reaction that amoutns to 'Oops'. If the reader ignored all implications beforehand, this is the moment to notice that he means business.
The Crippled God
- Hood showing up out of nowhere and taking a bite out of a Forkrul Assail's face.
- Black humour from the Malazans:
- "Who are we fighting for again?""Everyone.""No wonder we're losing."
- Fener's death, resulting in a blood rain over the fighting Kolansii, Bonehunters, undead Jaghut, T'lan Imass, Forkrul Assail, K'Chain Che'Malle, etc.
- Hood killing Sister Reverence by smashing her around like the Hulk with Loki.
- Olar Ethil delivers a set of BreakingSpeeches to the Trygalle Trade Guild group and is gloating about her prowess —until Gruntle just walks up to her and delivers a suckerpunch to her face with her too shocked about it to even react.