House of Chains -- is the first 150 pages worth reading?


Smeerp of Wonder
Staff member
Oct 13, 2008
West Sussex, UK
I've just started House of Chains, and after reading 40 pages or so, I've flicked ahead to find that the first 150 pages are all about this fairly one-note Karsa Olong chap. I've also found out who he becomes, a character from Deadhouse Gates I didn't find at all interesting then either. So my motivation for skipping this section is pretty high. Will I miss much, either in terms of this part of the story, or info that will be crucial to deciphering the rest?
Well, Karsa Orlong for what it's worth was not a part of Deadhouse Gates. He gets his introduction along with his companions in House of Chains. You might be confusing Karsa with Toblaki (sp?). I'd say press on, because Karsa Orlong turns out to be one of the more fascinating characters in Malazan Book of the Fallen.
Aren't they the same?

Yes, they are.

It's a shame you're not enjoying the opening part of HoC - it's one of my favourite parts of the whole series, mainly because it was so focused and a real onslaught. Admittedly, he's not a very pleasant character at that stage. There are a handful of things that occur during it that have resonance further on in the series.
OK, thanks, I'll try to keep on with it. It's a bit of a struggle because he's not the sort of character I prefer to read about -- that's been true of some others in earlier books too, but it's never long before their POV changes to someone else, and they also tend to have more obvious big-picture significance.
Yes, it's unique to the series in that regard, in that it's just the one character's POV for that whole part. Karsa does have a major role to play, though, so have no fears :)
Last edited:
That part of the book with Karsa is easily the best part of House of Chains or earlier Malazan books in terms of action (other than some sections of a few pages). So good! Ok it is not deep, but it is entertaining. Erikson is a master of describing action and fights, but usually doesn't write such long sections like this without a pause to consider some characters dire thoughts.
Yes, it's turned out to be well up to the standard of the other stuff, and he has become an interesting character. They've just left Keeper (whose previous identity I feel I should know because of what he said about sacking the Aren treasury and faking a drowning, but maybe I'm getting that confused with something else).

I enjoyed encountering the Tiste Edur ship again (or for the first time, depending on how you look at it).

Similar threads