[[caption-width-right:272:Anomander Rake, from the ''Gardens of the Moon'' collectors edition.]]
%%A quote by Kruppe seems appropriate here
->''“Now these ashes have grown cold, we open the old book. These oil-stained pages recount the tales of the Fallen, a frayed empire, words without warmth. The hearth has ebbed, its gleam and life's sparks are but memories against dimming eyes - what cast my mind, what hue my thoughts as I open the Book of the Fallen and breathe deep the scent of history? Listen, then, to these words carried on that breath. These tales are the tales of us all, again yet again. We are history relived and that is all, without end that is all.”''

''Malazan Book of the Fallen'' is an epic fantasy series by Canadian author Creator/StevenErikson. The series is famous for its {{Doorstopper}} tendencies, for having LoadsAndLoadsOfCharacters[[note]]the DramatisPersonae usually contains several hundred characters, and even then does not include numerous incidental ones[[/note]], its deliberate use of LostInMediasRes and for introducing an anthropological and geological perspective to the {{Fantasy}} genre. The series' main influence is ''Literature/BlackCompany'' by Creator/GlenCook.

The Malazan Empire is yet in its infancy, and it has already seen its first betrayal. Surly, Master of [[SecretPolice the Claw]], has assassinated Emperor Kellanved and his closest companion, Dancer. She takes the throne as Laseen, continuing the Empire’s policy of ruthless expansionism, though she is continually mistrusted.

On remote Genabackis, Imperial armies struggle to bring the continent to heel, as they face enemies both ancient and internal. The Bridgeburners are decimated, the Old Guard assassinated, and Laseen wants more. On the other end of the Empire, the Seven Cities subcontinent is gathering for a religiously mandated uprising known as the Whirlwind, and undermanned Imperial garrisons prepare for the inevitable bloodbath to come. Throughout it all, rumours of peoples thought extinct or myth returning with armies and allied with a broken god seeking vengeance can be heard.

The [[TheVerse universe]] in which the story takes place is a shared creation of Steven Erikson and Ian Cameron Esslemont, with the ''Malazan Book of the Fallen'' considered to be the main sequence. The following books have been written in the setting:

[[folder:The Malazan Book of the Fallen]]
* ''Literature/GardensOfTheMoon'' (1999)
* ''Literature/DeadhouseGates'' (2000)
* ''Literature/MemoriesOfIce'' (2001)
* ''Literature/HouseOfChains'' (2002)
* ''Literature/MidnightTides'' (2004)
* ''Literature/TheBonehunters'' (2006)
* ''Literature/ReapersGale'' (2007)
* ''Literature/TollTheHounds'' (2008)
* ''Literature/DustOfDreams'' (2009)
* ''Literature/TheCrippledGod'' (2011)

[[folder:The Kharkanas Trilogy]]
* ''Literature/TheKharkanasTrilogy''
** ''Forge of Darkness'' (2012)
** ''Fall of Light'' (2016)
** ''Walk in Shadow'' (TBA)

[[folder:Tales of Bauchelain & Korbal Broach (novellas)]]
* ''Blood Follows'' (2002)
* ''The Healthy Dead'' (2004)
* ''The Lees of Laughter's End'' (2007)
* ''Crack'd Pot Trail'' (2010)
* ''The Wurms of Blearmouth'' (2012)
* ''The Fiends of Nightmaria'' (2016)

[[folder:Novels of the Malazan Empire (by Ian Cameron Esslemont)]]
* ''Literature/NightOfKnives'' (2005)
* ''Literature/ReturnOfTheCrimsonGuard'' (2008)
* ''Literature/{{Stonewielder}}'' (2010)
* ''Literature/OrbSceptreThrone'' (2012)
* ''Literature/BloodAndBone'' (2012)
* ''Literature/{{Assail}}'' (2014)

[[folder:Path to Ascendancy (by Ian Cameron Esslemont)]]
* ''Dancer's Lament'' (2016)

!!This series provides examples of the following tropes:

* AbsurdlySharpBlade:
** It seems that all Hust Swords were like this, but most, if not all of them were lost. [[spoiler:Yedan Derryg wielding one of them in TCG can decapitate A DRAGON in two hits, and just the fact of owning the sword changes him into an One-Man Army.]]
** The Whiteblade is made from chaos and will cut through most things like butter. If you do not know how to properly handle it, just touching the blade will cost you fingers or even a hand.
* AbusivePrecursors: Pretty much everyone at some point or another. The Forkrul Assail get a special mention for their [[spoiler:deliberate slaying of their god.]]
* AcheyScars: Borne by Toc the Younger, whose eye keeps scratching.
* ActionGirl: Apsalar; most of the women, in fact, as the primary focus is on armies and GenderIsNoObject.
* AllAmazonsWantHercules: Played for laughs with Ublala Pung. All the amazonian women want him for his... physical assets, but poor Ublala just can't deal with being used and not getting any emotional support out of it.
* AloofBigBrother: Fear Sengar and Tavore Parran as a GenderFlip
* AmnesiacDissonance: Apsalar is an odd case. She has most of her old memories, but she got some of [[FakeMemories Cotillion's memories and skills]] from when he possessed her.
* AncientConspiracy: The Nameless Ones, whose goal is to [[spoiler:keep Icarium out from destroying civilization while simultaneously using him as a weapon. Much to their chagrin, the conspiracy is wiped out in the prologue of ''Literature/TheBonehunters''.]]
* AndIMustScream: [[spoiler:Both Bidthal and Sirryn get afterlives full of suffering, for crippling young girls and backstabbing Trull, respectively.]]
* AnguishedDeclarationOfLove: Urb professes his love for [[spoiler:Sergeant Hellian]] right before the ultimate end battle in ''Literature/TheCrippledGod''.
* AnimalEyeSpy: Bottle, the mage of Fiddler's squad, was taught how to access all of the various Warrens (schools of magic), but his most important skill is his ability to control animals in his vicinity, something he [[NoExceptYes insists is not actually a form of magic]]. This proves instrumental in keeping his squad alive while they're crossing hostile territory, as he can spread out over a large number of creatures at the same time if all he wants is their sensory input.
* {{Animorphism}}: Soletaken and D'ivers are people with shapeshifting abilities. Soletaken can shift into another form -- typically a dragon, but some shift into bears or other shapes -- while D'ivers split into multiple copies of the same animal, such as a swarm of rats. Each shapeshifter has only one alternative form, and in the case of the D'ivers, the number of copies depends on their power.
* AntiVillain:
** Cotillion at first, [[spoiler:until he regains his humanity.]]
** [[spoiler:Felisin Paran, who in the end is just a mind slave of an insane goddess.]]
** [[spoiler:The Crippled God falls in here too, as all he wants is be made whole and go home.]]
%%* AnyoneCanDie: Someone very important dies in almost every novel. Biggest examples:
%%** ''Literature/GardensOfTheMoon'': [[spoiler:Tattersail and Adjunct Lorn.]]
%%** ''Literature/DeadhouseGates'': [[spoiler:Coltaine, even if he is later reincarnated as a child.]]
%%** ''Literature/MemoriesOfIce'': [[spoiler:Itkovian and Whiskeyjack.]]
%%** ''Literature/HouseOfChains'': [[spoiler:Felisin Paran.]]
%%** ''Literature/ReapersGale'': [[spoiler:Trull Sengar, Toc Anaster... again.]]
%%** ''Literature/TollOfTheHounds'': [[spoiler:Anomander Rake.]]
%%** ''Literature/TheCrippledGod'': [[spoiler:Gruntle, Mappo, Torrent, Kilimandros and Sechul Lath, Gesler and Stormy, not to mention 90% of The Bonehunters.]]
* AscendedFanfic: The setting began as a homebrewed ''TabletopGame/DungeonsAndDragons'' campaign, then switched over to ''TabletopGame/{{GURPS}}'' when the system limitations became too strict. According to WordOfGod, about a fifth of ''Fallen'' was gamed beforehand.
* AscendToAHigherPlaneOfExistence: Pretty much the most important aspect of setting - to keep it short, if you do something extraordinare, you can become an Ascendant, which grants some nice magic powers and immortal life... if no one will kill you, as Ascendants often fight beetwen themselves. Ascendants who have worshipers can then become gods, but some characters in books don't want that to happen, and are actively discouraging others from worshiping them - for example, [[spoiler: Anomander Rake]]. Sometimes, one can Ascend involuntarily, as when Ganoes Paran becomes Master of the Deck of Dragons or the Crippled God makes Karsa Orlong Knight of Chains. One can also ascend temporarily, as when Thordy becomes Mason of Death for a day or two in ''Toll the Hounds''.
%%* ArcWords: When the word "convergence" appears, things are about to... [[ShapedLikeItself converge.]]
* ArmyOfTheDead: When [[spoiler:the Bridgeburners]] Ascend, they rise as undead but are unfettered to Hood's realm--the Warren of Death and the local afterlife. In ''Literature/TollTheHounds'', [[spoiler:everyone who ever died]] is marched out of the Warren of Death, although most of them are too long dead to feel anything but apathy.
* ArtifactOfDoom: Rhulad Sengar's sword, which is a gift of the Crippled God. The person bound to the sword will be tortured and forcibly resurrected each time they die.
%%* AxCrazy: Smiles, Hairlock, [[spoiler:Rhulad]].
%%* BackFromTheDead: A lot. [[spoiler: Hedge, Brys, Toc the Younger, Duiker, Coltaine...]]
* BadassAbnormal:
** Ascendants in a nutshell, who are nearly immortal, get more power than before ascending, and can even become gods, if will get worshipers.
** The Avowed of the Crimson Guard were already formidable fighters and mages but the Vow seems to have turned them into something beyond that. In ''Assail'' it is revealed that [[spoiler: they accidentally recreated the T'lan Imass ritual and became undead as a consequence. They do not posses all the T'lan Imass abilities but are highly resistant to magic.]]
%%* BadassArmy: When the story begins, the Bridgeburners are the most famous army of Malazan Empire, but because of their infamous difficulties with authority and Laseen being afraid of them, they get sent of increasingly dangerous missions, just to get them killed. [[spoiler: in ''MemoriesOfIce'' only few soldiers are alive, and even less at the end of series.]] We see birth of another famous army in ''Literature/HouseOfChains'' -- The Bonehunters, who [[spoiler:are real heroes of the entire story, and under the leadership of Adjunct Tavore survive Raraku, Y'Ghatan, the betrayal at Malaz Island, the invasion of Lether, the ambush of the K'Chain Nah'ruk, crossing the Glass Desert and finally, protect Kaminsod from Forkrul Assail army. Again, only the most badass soldiers get to see the aftermath of campaign.]]
%%* {{Badass}}: Too many to count. It's propably easier to list who isn't Badass in a series, as anyone who isn't extraordinare in some way dies really quickly. The biggest examples are Bridgeburners, Bonehunters, Anomander Rake, Karsa Orlong, Draconus, Hood and Trull Sengar.
* BadassBoast: Kallor has one of the best boasts in the history of boasts:'I walked this land when the T'lan Imass were but children. I have commanded armies a hundred thousand strong. I have spread the fire of my wrath across entire continents, and sat alone upon tall thrones. Do you grasp the meaning of this?' To which Caladan Brood replies. "Yes. You never learn."
* BadassBystander: Corporal Blues, a low-ranking and minor character, comes out of nowhere in ''Gardens of the Moon'' to best Adjunct Lorn in a swordfight. She's utterly bewildered that some random soldier could outfight her, without magic no less. She flees after suffering serious injury. Blues doesn't go on to do all that much in the rest of the series.
* BadassGrandpa: Kallor. Several hundred thousand years old, looks like he's in his eighties, fights as well or better than many of the established Badasses.
* BadassNormal: Notably Kalam. Also, Crokus, Rallick Nom, and probably any (non-Bridgeburner) Malazan soldier.
* BarbarianTribe: Teblors, who are really [[spoiler:Thelomen Tartheno Toblakai]].
%%* BeastAndBeauty: Bellurdan Scullcrusher and Nightchill.
* BelligerentSexualTension: Lostara keeps rejecting Pearl's advances, yet is attracted to him nonetheless. [[spoiler:Eventually she gives in and admits to herself her feelings for him near the end of ''Literature/HouseOfChains''.]]
* BigBad: [[spoiler:The Crippled God,]] although he is not introduced as such until ''Literature/MemoriesOfIce''. In the final novel [[spoiler: his plans are hijacked by the Forkrul Assail, and he becomes the BigGood.]] In the end, [[spoiler:there is no BigBad, but rather BigBadEnsemble: an alliance of K'Chain Nah'Ruk, Tiste Liosan and Forkrul Assail, with support of Errant, Kilimandros, Sechul Lath, and probably more minor gods feeding themselves on Kaminsod's power.]]
%%* BigDamnHeroes: [[spoiler:Hood in Dragnipur.]]
%%* BigGood: Several of them. [[spoiler:K'rul, Mael, Anomander Rake]], maybe [[spoiler:Ganoes Paran. The Crippled God becomes this in the final book]].
* BiggerBad: [[spoiler: The Crippled God is a power behind Pannion Seer and Emperor Rhulad, and is trying to hijack Goddess of Tornado in Seven Cities.]]
** [[spoiler:The Crippled God himself is eventually subjected to this, as described above in the spoiler under BigBad.]]
* BlackAndGrayMorality: Generally, both sides will be at fault in any particular conflict in the series, although the audience is encouraged to take the side of the one with the least destructive goals. Rarely, a straight-up villain will be thrown into the mix, such as the Pannion Domin in ''Literature/MemoriesOfIce''. [[spoiler:Although even the leader of this ends up having a FreudianExcuse and being BrainwashedAndCrazy.]]
%%* BlessedWithSuck: Ganoes Paran, twice over; Toc the Younger three times.
* BloodKnight: Karsa is the barbarian UpToEleven, and likes nothing more than a good fight... [[spoiler: At least before his characterDevelopment.]]
* BornLucky: Oponn, the Twin Jesters of Chance, are two gods whose portfolio has to do with luck. The female Oponn, the Lady, will sometimes give mortals what is referred to as the Lady's Pull, making them lucky. These include:
** Corabb Bhilan Thenu'alas. He has nearly every form of cancer on the planet, yet will never sicken. Multiple Arrows fired into his back all strike the same spear shaft hanging on his back, and such. On the other hand, everything he tries results in a lucky fumble--he will drop his weapon if he swings it, but it will probably trip up his foe. This is exploited at one point when his squad needs to take down an officer but can't get close enough for a clear shot: Corabb is made to fire the crossbow, which predictably causes the shot to go wildly off-mark, but the ricochet causes it to impale the target's neck perfectly.
** Sergeant Hellian, the constantly drunk watchwoman-turned-soldier, is quite formidable a DrunkenMaster without any help, but at the climax of ''Literature/TheBonehunters'', she receives the Lady's Pull when she drunkenly decides to swim through the harbor of Malaz City(which is known to be full of sharks) to hunt for more liquor. Whether this is a permanent investment or not is left unclear.
** Crokus Younghand unwittingly receives the Lady's Pull in ''Literature/GardensOfTheMoon'', which saves his life multiple times. The Twins mostly use him as an unwitting SpannerInTheWorks for the local plans. The luck seemingly wears off at the end of the book, when the Twins decide his role is played out.
* BraidsOfBarbarism: Many of the ProudWarriorRaceGuys (e.g. the Barghast, the Tiste Edur, the Awl) sport variations of BarbarianLonghair, BraidsOfBarbarism and [[DreadlockWarrior dreadlocks]]. Among the Tiste Edur, when a warrior is cast out from their tribe, his head gets shaved completely and treated magically so that the hair will never grow back again.
* BreakHisHeartToSaveHim: Apsalar's status as a super-powered human means that she deliberately distances herself from Cutter so that she can perform what she sees as her duty -- carrying out difficult assassinations and the like.
%%* BoyMeetsGirl: Crokus Younghand and Apsalar.
* BreakTheCutie: Felisin Paran is forced into a life of slavery and prostitution by her own sister, enduring an epic journey across oceans and desert, being possessed and finally [[spoiler:impaled by her own unwitting sister.]]
* BreakTheHaughty: the Queen of Lether is introduced as a powerful, gorgeous woman who's political influence is somewhat greater than her much older husband. After helping start a war with the Tiste Edur for her own amusement, she and her son are defeated, captured and exposed to chaos magic that literally twists her into a hideous snake thing that is kept alive as a demonstration of the King in Chains power. To top it off, due to her near immobility she grows obese.
%%* BrokenBird: Felisin Paran.
* ButtMonkey: Toc the Younger. He loses an eye, is sucked into a magic black hole, [[spoiler:is thrown out a half year later, killed, resurrected in a new body, [[NoodleIncident loses the same eye at least twice more]], is betrayed, dies again, is made to serve Hood, god of Death, and forced to make his best friend his enemy.]]
%%* CelibateHero: [[spoiler:Shield Anvil Itkovian]]
* CentralTheme: Per WordOfGod, the decline and collapse of civilizations is one of the central themes of the books, which at least [[BarbarianHero one character seeks to achieve]] in order to [[KnightTemplar save the world.]]
* CharacterFilibuster: Kruppe and Iskaral Pust are both very long-winded in their speech, and the other characters are usually too flabbergasted to interrupt them when they open their mouths. In some cases, their speeches can go on for several pages.
* ChekhovsArmory: For a series this long, there obviously have to be a few of these. Most come to naught, but then there are obvious ones like Dragnipur in ''Literature/GardensOfTheMoon'', and Stormy and Gesler being casually named [[spoiler:Shield Anvil and Mortal Sword]] in ''Literature/TheBonehunters''.
* ChekhovsGun: The dagger gifted by [[spoiler: Bugg/Mael]] to Tavore Paran in ''Dust of Dreams''.
* ChekhovsGunman: This series is in love with this trope. [[spoiler:First mentions about Icarium and Gothos are in the first novel, but they appear in story in the second.]] Karsa Urlong is introduced as a very minor character in ''Deadhouse Gates''. The most significant is [[spoiler:the crucified dragon]] found in ''House Of Chains.''
%%* TheChessmaster: Shadowthrone.
* CharacterizationMarchesOn: Cotillon appears to be practically a monster while possessing Sorry, but becomes much more sympathetic after ''Gardens of the Moon''.
* ChivalrousPervert: Tehol Beddict
* ChronicBackstabbingDisorder: Seems to be the natural behavior of Eleint (dragons), for both soultaken and true dragons. [[spoiler:Several die as a direct result of said betrayals.]]
* ChuckCunninghamSyndrome: So, so, so many characters get this in the series proper via a NoEnding, LongBusTrip, or PutOnABusToHell, although sometimes they appear in the side stories.
* CloudCuckooLander: Ceda Kuru Quan, who jumpes from thread to thread during every discussion. Tehol also has shades of this.
%%* CreepyChild: Kettle
* ColonyDrop: [[spoiler:Moon's Spawn, a levitating piece of rock described as a small mountain, gets dropped on the Pannon Domin army in ''Memories of Ice''.]]
* ConservationOfNinjitsu: Despite the Claw being played up as elite assassins and mages, [[CrowningMomentofAwesome Kalam manages to tear through the best of them]] in both ''Deadhouse Gates'' and again in ''The Bonehunters''. However, he ends both occasions badly wounded [[spoiler:and is NotQuiteDead at the end of ''Bonehunters''.]]
** Somewhat [[JustifiedTrope justified]] by him being a Clawmaster and a match for the patron god of assassins, pre-ascension.
%%* ConstructedWorld
* CoolSword: Dragnipur, which swallows the souls of those slain by it. Mention also goes out to Karsa's bloodwood swords, made of wood and harder than stone, and Karsa's stone sword, an eight foot length of flint containing the souls of his best friends.
%%* CoolOldGuy: Ceda Kuru Qan, who damn near kills the whole Tiste Edur species on his own.
* CrouchingMoronHiddenBadass: As a general rule, if you meet someone who's weak, unassuming, and/or downright wacky, the appropriate response is to run away screaming, and don't look back. Ceda Kuru Quan is a good example. [[spoiler:He spends most of ''Literature/MidnightTides'' acting out of his mind, but is actually preparing a spell to wipe out an entire invading army -- and nearly succeeds.]]
%%* DarkActionGirl: Apsalar.
%%* DanceBattler: Some Shadow Dancers. You don't want to mess with them.
%%* DarkIsNotEvil: Anomander Rake and the Tiste Andii in general. Also Hood, who is one of more decent gods.
%%* DeadpanSnarker
%%* DeathFromAbove: Moon's Spawn
* DeathIsCheap: Very, though at least there's a healthy dose of CameBackWrong going around to balance things out. Whilst there are a few [[KilledOffForReal permanent demises]] here and there, death is usually not to be feared in this series because of immediate, guaranteed CessationOfExistence, but because it's anyone's guess what's going to emerge from your grave once someone or something inevitably resurrects you.
** List of characters who have come back from the dead in some fashion at least once as of book 4: [[spoiler:Crust, Hawl, Tattersail, Bellurdan, Nightchill, Hairlock, Ganoes Paran, Baudin, Duiker, Coltaine, Toc the Younger, Truth, Trake, Bairoth Gild, Delum Thord, Apsalar's father, two Hounds of Shadow, the T'lan Imass as a race, the K'chain Che'Malle as a race, and all of the Bridgeburners. That's not counting Fiddler, Kalam, Corabb, and others who narrowly escape death on a regular basis.]]
%%* DeathSeeker: Apsalar.
* DeathWorld: It's a wonder there's anybody NOT in the military given how many things can and will try to kill off anything else.
* DeityOfHumanOrigin: Ascendants can become gods if they have worshipers. [[spoiler: Itkovian starts as mere human, but after his HeroicSacrifice becomes A Redeemer, god of, well, redemption and forgiveness. Even Shadowthrone and Cotillon were a humans once.]]
* DeliberateValuesDissonance: Karsa, whose tribal culture considers rape and pillage as a RiteOfPassage.
%%* DemonicPossession: Okay, divine possession. Not much of a difference in most cases.
* DeusExMachina: This is the primary purpose of [[spoiler: the Houses of Azath.]] In addition, the [[spoiler:Trygalle Trading Guild]] in ''Deadhouse Gates'', the [[spoiler:army of Bridgeburner ghosts]] in ''House of Chains''. Justified in that all three of these are discussed at length in the book they're used, and others. There were rules for all three. And there were consequences for them all as well.
%%* DiabolusExMachina
%%* DidIJustSayThatOutLoud: Iskaral Pust.
* DidYouJustPunchOutCthulhu:
%%** Quick Ben does this a ''lot''. Notably subverted with [[spoiler: the Crippled God.]]
** Ganoes Paran kills [[spoiler:Poliel, the goddess of plague,]] without breaking much of a sweat.
** High King Kallor finds himself [[spoiler:cursed by three Elder Gods for his misdeeds. He curses them back -- and it sticks.]]
** In Dust of Dreams, [[spoiler:Ublala Pung cold-cocks The Errant.]]
%%* DidYouJustScamCthulhu: Quick Ben.
* DisproportionateRetribution: A long time ago, an Imass cheated on his wife. Her reaction? [[spoiler:She became a mad goddess of war dedicated to wiping out the human species she saw as descended from his tryst.]].
* TheDogBitesBack: The war between the Imass and the Jaghut is a species-wide example. The Imass rebelled against the Jaghut Tyrant warlocks, and drove the Jaghut to near extinction. To ensure they were thorough, almost the entire species enacted a ritual to turn them into undead, and the T'lan Imass have spent the last 320,000 years hunting the Jaghut.
* {{Doorstopper}}: All the books (aside from Night of Knives and the novellas) are at least 700 pages, and top out at 1200.
* DropTheHammer: Caladan Brood wields a great hammer so {{badass}} that it has the power to awaken the sleeping earth goddess Burn (whose body is apparently the earth itself).
* DualWielding: Knives, swords, cutlasses, flails...
* EarnYourHappyEnding: [[spoiler:A lot of people die, most characters go to hell and back, yet in the end an ancient crime is repaired, a threat to the world is dealt with, and those that survived find a new will to live, and, most importantly, hope.]]
* ElementalPowers: More than the traditional four. Also, the Lost Elementals that are mentioned by Cotillion in ''House of Chains''
* TheEmpire: Averted with the Malazan Empire in that many of the protagonists work for it [[spoiler:and in that maybe it isn't as evil as it seems at first glance]]. Its fairly egalitarian and its subjects enjoy generally competent administration and have religious and economic freedom. Often forcibly. The Lether Empire on the other hand is a straight example, with its extreme class divisions and fixation on wealth and conquest for its own sake.
* EnfantTerrible: Kettle is an undead girl and serial killer feeding a dying Azath tower.
* EmpoweredBadassNormal: Ascendants, for the most part. {{Badass normal}}s one moment, immortal demi-gods the next. Exactly ''what'' an Ascendant is is never explained, nor does anyone seem to quite know, but being badass and being very difficult to kill seems to be at the core of the concept.
* EunuchsAreEvil: Korbal Broach. He actually became a necromancer because as an eunuch he couldn't create life anymore.
* EverybodyKnewAlready: Sgt. Strings[[note]]Fiddler, one of the few (known) surviving Bridgeburners[[/note]] and Traveler[[note]]Daseem Ultor, First Hero of the Malazan Empire[[/note]] don't seem to be fooling anyone who's even heard of them, pre-name change
* EvilAlbino: Silchas Ruin, described as "the most cruel of the three sons of Mother Dark".
%%* EvilChancellor: Triban Gnol.
* FantasticRacism: Humans are racist towards other humans just like in real life, but the Tiste races hate each other. The T'Lann Imass make themselves undead so they can kill off the Jaghut.
* FateWorseThanDeath: Getting killed by Dragnipur equals [[spoiler: spending eternity chained to the gates of the Warren of Darkness.]] In ''Garden of the Moon'', some men who have betrayed Anomander Rake are given the choice between committing suicide and being slain by Dragnipur. They all chose suicide.
* FloatingContinent: Moon's Spawn. And the island of Drift Avalii floats literally in the ocean.
* FunctionalMagic: The Warrens
* GambitPileup: Every god, Ascendant, and major human leader has some sort of long-range plan
* GaiasVengeance: Subverted - it's [[spoiler:Poliel, goddess of Disease, who thinks, that Burn would want that done in her name]].
* GeniusLoci: The Mockra Warren and Azath Houses
* GenocideBackfire: Subverted -- the Jaghut survivors aren't interested in revenge against T'lan Imasses, they just want to be left alone.
* TheGhost: Plenty of characters are namechecked but never appear in the main story -- the most prominent being Admiral Nok and High Fist Greymane.
* GodEmperor: Jaghut Tyrants. Also [[spoiler:Shadowthrone/Kellanved, although he was never both at the same time]]
%%* GoldfishPoopGang: Bauchelain and Korbal Broach.
* GondorCallsForAid: The siege of Capustan in ''Memories of Ice'', although the besieged are strangers to the heroes
* GreyAndGrayMorality: Very few villains in the series are downright evil. Even the most heinous of antagonists do what they do without a thought-out reason. Conversely, the protagonists are not free from blame, either, for the most part. In a few books, the major conflict lacks a side with any kind of moral high ground.
* GutturalGrowler: Count how many times "growled" or "grunted" is used as a dialogue tag.
* HegemonicEmpire: The titular Malazan Empire may have been assembled mostly by military conquest, but the constituent nations are by and large satisfied with being part of it, as the alternative is reverting to constant bickering with neighbours.
* {{Hellhound}}s: The Hounds of Shadow, [[spoiler:and later, the Deragoth (Hounds of Darkness) and Hounds of Light]]. They are roughly horse-sized, terrifyingly quick and strong, and very difficult to kill. [[spoiler:It is later learned that they are D'ivers -- a shapeshifter capable of splitting into multiple animal forms. Whether the Hounds are capable of shifting back, or even want to, is never addressed.]]
* HellishHorse: Karsa's horse, Havok, which is a carnivorous half-breed created by the Jaghut.
* HerHeartWillGoOn: [[spoiler:Seren Pedac]], after the death of [[spoiler:Trull Sengar]] in ''Literature/ReapersGale''. Complete with SomeoneToRememberHimBy.
* HeterosexualLifePartners: Icarium and Mappo; Fiddler and Hedge; Quick Ben and Kalam; Gesler and Stormy; Tehol and Bugg... It seems to be a reccuring trope in this series.
* HiddenDepths: Bugg. Not only a ServileSnarker, but also [[spoiler:The Elder God Mael in disguise, hanging out with Tehol because "he hadn't so much fun for centuries".]]
* HowDoIShotWeb: After becoming the Master of the Deck of Dragons, Ganoes Paran spends quite a while not knowing what his abilities (or responsibilities) actually are, let alone how to use them. By ''The Crippled God'' he has become a full-blown SpaceMaster capable of opening portals between or within dimensions and can go to or summon to himself anyone represented by the Deck. Since he is also commanding a BadassArmy this is terrifyingly effective in terms of logistics and maneuvers.
%%* HugeGuyTinyGirl: Karsa and Samar Dev.
* ImAHumanitarian: The Pannion Domin is an empire completely based on this.
* ImplacableMan: The Forkul Assail and T'lan Imass are races composed of implacable men. Most Jaghut are as well
%%* Jerkass: The Feather Witch, Clip.
* JerkAssGods: Many, though Errastas is probably one of the nastiest.
* JigsawPuzzlePlot: And only half the pieces are available....
%%* KaleidoscopeEyes: Anomander Rake
* KarmicDeath: Most of the antagonists that don't die in direct battle get one of these.
* KillEmAll: 75% of the LoadsAndLoadsOfCharacters will not be breathing by the end of their third book. A good third won't make it to the end of their debut book. It's called ''Book of the Fallen'' for a reason.
%%* KnifeNut: Smiles
* KnightTemplar:
** The Tiste Liosan, near-mythical cousins of the Tiste Andii whose aspect is Light. As a rule, they keep to themselves, but every so often someone will stumble into their realms or they will stumble out.
** The T'lan Imass, the Neanderthals of the setting, who almost to a man underwent a magical ritual 320,000 years ago to ensure the Jaghut were made completely extinct. As a result, they rendered their own species functionally extinct.
* KudzuPlot: Each book typically shifts between dozens -- if not hundreds -- of distinct, and often unimportant, viewpoints. Plot lines are set up on seemingly every page, and only a few are followed through. Per WordOfGod, this is very much deliberate, as the series was conceived as a high-brow work to begin with.
* LighterAndSofter: Not thematically, but Erikson has announced that the Kharkanas Trilogy will have a slightly more traditional and less complex structure.
* LightIsNotGood: The Tiste Liosan, a species of Tiste (elves) whose aspect is Light, but who over the many millennia since the split of the Tiste have become more and more extreme, arrogant and isolationist.
%%* LivingMemory
* LizardFolk: The K'Chain Che'Malle, and their short-tailed creation, the K'Chain Nah'ruk, are very lizard-like in appearance, although their biological structure is closer to that of communal insects, such as ants or bees. Both are extremely ancient -- the history of the K'Chain Che'Malle can be traced at least six million years back -- but are now functionally extinct, and are considered little more than myth.
* LoadsAndLoadsOfCharacters: ''Literature/ReapersGale'' has seventy-two named Malazan soldiers, and that's only a part of the DramatisPersonae.
%%* LoveMartyr: Crokus/Cutter for Apsalar
* MadScientist: Korbal Broach kills and disembowels people so he can do creepy experiments on them. He even collects bottles of blood.
* MaskPower:
** Redmask, a man wearing a mask seemingly made from the hide of a creature with red scales. He is a hero of the Awl.
** The Seguleh are a society who consider martial prowess to be the foremost of religious virtues. Their ruling caste, the warriors, all wear masks with different numbers of stripes indicating their current position, with fewer stripes being desirable.
* TheMasochismTango: Iskaral Pust and Mogora, Karsa Orlong and Samar Dev.
* MasterSwordsman: Aside from the Seguleh, to whom martial prowess is a religious virtue, plenty abound. Brys Beddict, Anomander Rake, High King Kallor and Karsa Orlong are just a few of the more visible ones.
* MauveShirt: Most Malazan soldiers who are even tangentially involved in the story get at least some characterization; it is possible that the Bridgeburners' burgundy uniforms are a LampshadeHanging on the whole RedShirt thing
* MayflyDecemberRomance: [[spoiler:Whiskeyjack (human middle aged) and Korlat (millennia) in ''Memories of Ice'', Spinnock Durav (also millennia) and Salind (teenager) in ''Toll the Hounds'']], Sandalath Drukorlat (also millennia) and Withal (human middle aged).
* MessianicArchetype: [[spoiler:Anomander Rake]] in ''Toll the Hounds''. Don't forget [[spoiler:Coltaine]] in ''Deadhouse Gates'', the guy ends up being [[spoiler:''crucified on a hill top'' then is reborn, not to mention the devotion and worship that surrounds him both before and after his 'death']] the author actually seems to go out of his way to add parallels between him and good old JC.
* MindRape: Cotillion's possession of Sorry, Sha'ik's possession of [[spoiler:Felisin]].
* MindScrew: The series' vague explanations and complex style of plotting tend to cause this for many readers.
* MedievalStasis: Not a pure example. While the world is truly ancient, different civilizations, some of which not even human, have risen and fallen many times. Also, the K'Chain Che'Malle and Nah'Ruk reached higher technological levels. Lether also has magical reasons for being kept in a permanently primitive status.
%%* MotherOfAThousandYoung: Tiam.
* MST3kMantra: Don't try to make sense of the timeline; really, don't.
* MushroomSamba: The hallucinogenic honey in ''The Bonehunters''
* {{Mytharc}}: Although there are three rough story arcs spread between the three books -- commonly called the Genabackis, Seven Cities and Letheras (or Tiste Edur) arcs, after their respective primary geographical settings -- they all interweave and connect to the arc of the Crippled God.
* TheNamesake: ''Literature/MemoriesOfIce'', ''Literature/TheBonehunters'' and ''Literature/TollTheHounds'' all refer to important events; the first example is also used as a TitleDrop and the third as ArcWords.
* NamesToRunAwayFromReallyFast:
** "The Emperor Of A Thousand Deaths" refers to an emperor who, no matter how often he is killed, always returns to life again, allowing him to wear down even the most skilled foe.
** Icarium Lifestealer is a seemingly immortal half-breed whose memory is reset each time he suffers a bad enough injury. Although seemingly harmless, as he is an extremely meek person, riling him up will cause him to enter a nearly unstoppable rage which will cause him to destroy everything around him, and makes him nearly impervious to attack.
** "The Son Of Darkness" is the appellation given to Anomander Rake, the leader of the Tiste Andii. Their native Warren (magical realm which they can access and have a special affinity for) is Kurald Galain, the Realm of Darkness, and his title is closely tied to their vanished matriarch slash goddess, Mother Dark. The title marks him as one of the rulers of the realm, and he is one of the most dangerous beings of the ''Malazan'' universe -- although as a ruler, he is quite benign.
%%* TheNeidermeyer
%%* NighInvulnerability: The Forkrul Assail, and some Ascendants.
* NoBiochemicalBarriers: All kinds of hybrids between different intelligent species
%%* NoOneCouldSurviveThat
* ObfuscatingStupidity: Tehol Beddict and Bugg; possibly also Iskaral Pust, although he might just be genuinely mad. Then there's Kruppe, who uses all the standard ObfuscatingStupidity techniques, but never seems to actually ''fool'' anyone; the other characters all know he's smart, and his acting like an idiot all the time usually ticks them off . . . which may be the real reason why he does it.
* OnlyKnownByTheirNickname: Most professional soldiers, especially the Malazan ones.
%%* OracularUrchin: Kettle, Grub, Sinn.
* OurDemonsAreDifferent: "Demon" is a blanket term for beings from other worlds. This goes both ways; WordOfGod has it that each side in a summoning considers the other to be monstrous, and neither cares to actually investigate how true this is.
* OurDragonsAreDifferent: Dragons, known as Eleint, are very magical in nature, and don't really care about other species as a rule. Mostly they keep to their Warren, the extremely hostile Starvald Demelain. There are numerous [[{{Shapeshifter}} Soletaken]] with a dragon form, however.
* OurElvesAreBetter: Tiste races, especially the Liosan, who are a massive {{deconstruction}} of the elves in other fantasy sagas.
* OurGiantsAreBigger: The Thelomen Toblaki and their almost innumerable related species.
* OurOrcsAreDifferent: The Jaghuts; with the exception of the Tyrants[[note]]powerful warlocks who, despite the specie's natural disinterest for social interaction, have tried their hands at empire-building[[/note]] they are actually peaceful in nature.
* OurZombiesAreDifferent: The T'lan Imass. Shurq Elalle is another example--she is cursed, and even after death by drowning her soul is still connected with body. The setting does have normal zombies, however--necromancers use them as beasts of labour or as scarecrows for civilians, and other mages and magical beings can raise them if sufficiently motivated.
* OvershadowedByAwesome: Crokus is an absolutely lethal assassin and knife fighter, whose skills surpass people who were {{Badass}} in the first book. He just keeps ending up in fights with immortals, demigods and monsters. He finally gets to take on opponents in his weight class in ''Toll The Hounds'', and shines.
* PetTheDog: [[spoiler:Rhulad is a half insane emperor wielding cursed sword, but he really wants to be a good ruler, has sort of friendship with Udinaas, and gives his brother Fear Mayen back]].
%%* PhysicalGod: All the Ascendants and Elder Gods.
* PiecesOfGod: The Warrens are literally the body and blood of the Elder God K'rul.
%%* PowersThatBe: The Azath.
* ProudWarriorRaceGuy: Karsa Orlong. Again. And many others.
* PurpleProse: While most of the text is just right in terms of wordiness, Erikson has a fondness for letting characters reflect at length on philosophy, using a more complex and out-of-place vocabulary. These segments take up quite a bit of room, and are largely responsible for the length of the individual books.
* PutOnABus: Silverfox disappears at the end of ''Literature/MemoriesOfIce'', and only reappears in ''Assail''. Due to the sheer volume of characters, this is not an uncommon occurrence.
%%* RagtagBunchOfMisfits: Seems to be a requirement to join the Malazan army.
* RandomEventsPlot: Viewpoints shift constantly and often show events which have little to do with each other; piecing together the narrative is part of the charm of the series. Nevertheless, many scenes are seemingly unimportant to the overall story, and seem to serve little purpose. WordOfGod has it that the idea is to show just a slice of the events going on in the world; if something seems unrelated to the rest of the story, it's probably there to remind the reader that the world doesn't revolve around the main narrative.
%%* RapeAsDrama: [[spoiler:Seren Pedac.]]
%%* ReligionOfEvil:
%%** The Faith of the Pannion Seer.
%%** The Religion of the Dying God.
%%* {{Retirony}}: [[spoiler:Averted with Fiddler; played straight with Whiskeyjack.]]
* RevengeBeforeReason: [[spoiler:Dassem Ultor starts a fight with Rake because he killed Hood, the god of death, first.]]
* RoaringRampageofRevenge: [[spoiler:Dassem Ultor, also known as Traveller, only goal in life is killing Hood, god of death.]]
* RolePlayingGameVerse: The setting grew out of Steven Erikson and Ian Cameron Esslemont becoming frustrated with the strict rules of ''TabletopGame/DungeonsAndDragons'' and turning to ''{{TabletopGame/GURPS}}'' game mechanics to create their own world, in which they gamed extensively. A big portion of the first volume, ''Literature/GardensOfTheMoon'', as well as other key events, were gamed, [[WordOfGod up to and including]] the series' finale.
* RotatingArcs: The series rotates between the Genabackis arc, which depicts the current Malazan attempt at expansion, the Seven Cities arc, which depicts a rebellion against the Malazan Empire, and the Lether arc, which depicts what is happening in the BigBad's home turf.
%%* SealedBadassInACan
* SealedEvilInACan: Or buried in a barrow. Or chained to a monolith. Or captured by a House of the Azath. Grave robbing and amateur archeology are dangerous indeed in this world. Played straight, but also subverted at least once, in that the big, unstoppable evil gods rose... to be dispatched within ''minutes'' by the new [[{{Badass}} Badasses]] who have arisen to replace them.
* SeriesContinuityError: Some of them seem to be intentional or the result of an UnreliableNarrator, but there are still quite a lot:
** Tattersail's account of the Siege of Pale in ''Gardens of the Moon'' differs quite substantially from the one Tayschrenn gives in ''Memories of Ice''. In particular, Tayschrenn states that Nightchill killed A'Karonys, but in Tattersail's account, Nightchill died first. For storyline purposes, Tayschrenn's account is the correct one.
** In ''Gardens of the Moon'', Tool states that the battle in the Jhag Odhan was the end of the Twenty-Eighth Jaghut War, but in the prologue of ''Memories of Ice'', which takes place thousands of years before ''Gardens'', the T'lan Imass declare the end of the Thirty-Third Jaghut War.
** Orfantal changes genders from female to male between ''Literature/GardensOfTheMoon'' and ''Literature/MemoriesOfIce''.
* ServileSnarker: Bugg, Tehol Beddict's manservant, never really takes his master seriously.
* ShoutOut: The Jaghut are based on the Green Martians from ''Literature/JohnCarterOfMars''.
* SlidingScaleOfIdealismVersusCynicism: [[SarcasmMode Just a little bit cynical]]
* SmugSnake: Triban Gnol, Karos Invictad
* StopWorshippingMe: Anomander Rake actively denies any cults that spring up around him. Same goes for Fiddler, who absolutely does not want to be worshipped by other sappers; not that those care for his opinion. And it's not like Dessembrae asked to become Lord of Tragedy, either.
%%* SoulJar
%%* SpeciesLostAndFound
%%* SteamPunk: A lot of K'Chain Che'Malle technology.
* StupidNeutral: The Forkrul Assail are now functionally extinct, in no small part due to their randomly switching sides during the war between Jaghut and T'lam Imass to ensure balance.
* TeleportersAndTransporters: The Warrens are often used this way.
* ThePowerOfFriendship: What allows the T'Lan Imass Tool and Onrack to start feeling emotions again. This also motivates [[spoiler:the squad mage Beak's]] HeroicSacrifice.
* ThirdPersonPerson: Kruppe is a man whose greatness is only surpassed by Kruppe's humility--a greatness, Kruppe hastens to add lest his good friends misjudge him most grievously, which refers more to his girth than the many skills Kruppe has shown his unmatched talent at--and as such refers to himself in the third person lest Kruppe's presence smother his attentive and handsome audience.
* ThisIsYourBrainOnEvil: About half of the Crippled God's followers get screwed over because they allied with him.
* ThoseTwoBadGuys: Bauchelain and Korbal Broach.
* ThoseTwoGuys: Fiddler and Hedge, Quick Ben and Kalam, Scorch and Leff, Telorast and Curdle, Deadsmell and Throatslitter.
* TitleDrop: At the very end of the series, [[spoiler:Kaminsod resolves in his thoughts to write down the sacrifices the Malazans made to free him, entitling the work ''Malazan Book of the Fallen''.]]
* {{Tykebomb}}: Apsalar and Rud Elalle.
* TheUndead: Although necromancy exists in the setting, it is not necessarily frowned upon, although typical undead are fairly rare. %%We don't need more examples here. Put the additional examples in the trope list of their respective books, please.
** The T'lan Imass, a now-extinct species who nearly one and all enacted a ritual 320,000 years earlier to keep themselves alive in order to ensure that the Jaghut were truly hunted to extinction. The appear as dried, desiccated corpses, and can travel across long distances by turning into dust. They can not reappear or even maintain themselves in large volumes of water, however, and as such individuals sometimes commit what is effectively suicide by jumping into a lake or sea.
** Everyone in Hood's realm--meaning most people who ever died--appears as a half-rotten corpse. Generally, this is a moot point, as they can not leave by themselves, but occasionally Hood will want to attend to matters in the living world, or a mage will want to pass through the realm, and it becomes clear that the dead have actual, physical bodies.
* UnstoppableRage: Icarium, whose rage, if it is not contained in some way, can potentially destroy the world.
* ViewersAreGeniuses: Constantly switching viewpoints, innumerable characters, deliberate use of LostInMediasRes, oblique dialogue, philosophical digressions, PurpleProse... The series is quite infamous for being unfriendly to casual readers.
* WalkingWasteland: Korabas, [[spoiler:the Otataral Dragon]]. Because all life is magic, her aspect causes any area she crosses to become a wasteland. [[spoiler:She was chained to keep this from happening, but never got a say in whether she wanted any of it, so naturally, when she gets the chance to fly free in ''The Crippled God'', she does.]]
* WarIsHell: Erikson, being an anthropologist and archaeologist, does not shy from showing all the various facets of war.
* WithGreatPowerComesGreatInsanity: Icarium, Sinn, Feather Witch, Hannan Mosag and lots of the followers of the Crippled God.
* WhoWantsToLiveForever: The "naturally immortal species are immune to this" angle is subverted with the Tiste Andii; [[spoiler:also, the Emperor of a Thousand Deaths is an example of the BlessedWithSuck variety]].
** LivingForeverIsAwesome: Onrack, a T'lan Imass, doesn't really mind his immortality because "there's always something else to see".
* WoobieDestroyerOfWorlds:
** [[spoiler:Rhulad Sengar. It's hard to not to sympathise with him, after his mind starts to slowly break apart because of his deaths... and deaths of his loved ones. Also Udinaas, his only friend, betrays him -- or so he thinks...]]
** [[spoiler:The Crippled God. He's been driven insane by his long imprisonment and all he really wants to do is go home. Towards the end of the final book he really becomes more of a straight-up Woobie and for that matter switches from being the apparent BigBad to being pretty close to a BigGood.]]
%%** Even more so, Korabas.
* WomensMysteries: Among the Tiste Edur, the women are the keepers of their race's history, the truth of it, while the men tend to get watered-down versions handed to them to keep things simple. The women are also the ones who learn healing magic among the Edur.
%%* WorldOfBadass: Very nearly everyone is a {{badass}} to some degree.
%%* TheWormThatWalks: [[spoiler:Tiam when she incarnates in the final book.]]
* YouShallNotPass:
** At the climax of ''Literature/TheBonehunters'', [[spoiler:Trull Sengar fights Icarium to a standstill to protect the child army of House Shadow.]]
** In ''Literature/TollTheHounds'', [[spoiler:Spinnock Durav holds Kallor at bay for an entire night.]]