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Karsa Orlong

Page history last edited by PBworks 17 years, 8 months ago

Karsa Orlong


Steven Erikson: 'how powerful Karsa Orlong is compared to everyone else, and that's a harder question to answer. When it comes to attitude, he's a freight train. Sometimes that counts for more than raw power. It was sheer stubbornness that let him kill the Deragoth, or that's what I had hoped to portray in those scenes.'(Q and A with malazanempire No 1 (2003))

Steven Erikson:I think one tends to view the quintessential barbarian as someone with little more than strength and blind courage as assets, in the Conan style. I suppose in many ways Karsa was modelled on that, so that, outwardly, he comes across as big, mean and somewhat unwitting. Alas, lots of characters who encounter him think the same way, and pay for it later. I loved Howard's Conan, and Kull, and Bran, but at the same time a lot has changed in the genre, and with Karsa I wanted to riff on the original archetype, while at the same time keeping him appropriately non-verbal, often inarticulate. Which makes him easily under-estimated, whereas someone like Anomander Rake, with all his intellect and mystery, can be over-estimated (in comparison). Karsa killed the Deragoth because he was meaner, and far mroe stubborn than they were. It was a battle of wills, both bestial, perhaps, but the intent was for something primal, where the reader could witness (as did Kalam and QB) the sheer relentlessness of Karsa Orlong.(Q and A with malazanempire No 2 (2003))


Karsa's First Appearance (as Toblakai, bodyguard to Sha'ik):


'A giant of a man...his face tattooed like shattered glass. A long single braid hung down the left side of his chest. The man wore a cloak of bhederin hide over a vest of armour made of clam shells. The wooden handle and stone pommel of a bladed weapon of some kind jutted from just under his left arm. The broad belt over the man's loincloth was oddly decorated with what looked...like dried mushroom caps of various sizes. He was over seven foot tall, yet muscled enough to seem wide, and his flat, broad face gazed down without expression...


Leoman to Kalam: You fancy no mortal could get that close to you without you hearing him. You tell yourself it must have involved magic. You are wrong. My companion is Toblakai, an escaped slave from the Laederon Plateau of Genabackis. He's seen seventeen summers and has personally killed forty-one enemies. Those are their ears on his belt.' (DG, UK MMPB, p.200)


Karsa's age before leaving his tribe: 'Newly arrived to my eightieth year of life, finally a warrior in truth...'(HoC, UK MMPB, p.35)


'Impossibly lithe for one of such bulk...' (DG, UK MMPB, p.205)


'The giant savage sneered, revealing filed teeth.'I collect tokens of the people I kill. Tied here on my belt.''(DG, UK MMPB, p.636)


Leoman: 'His (Karsa's) tribe made few distinctions...There was kin and those who were not kin were the enemy.'(DG, UK MMPB, p.637)


Leoman:'Sha'ik saw far into his (Karsa's) future'...Felisin:'And what did she see?'...Leoman:'She would not say. Yet it...appalled her.'(DG, UK MMPB, p.642)


'He sat on his tall, lean horse, the blood-spattered, stitched white fur cloak sweeping down from his broad shoulders. Bare-headed, with a lone, thick braid hanging down from the right side of his chest, the dark hair knotted with fetishes: finger bones; strips of gold-threaded silk, bestial canines. A row of withered human ears was sewn onto his belt. The huge flint sword was straped diagonally across his back. Two bone-handled daggers, each as long and broad-bladed as a short sword, were sheathed in the high moccasins that reached to just below his knees.' (BH UKTpb, p. 179)



Heboric on Karsa's 'ghosts':


'Tortured spirits writhe in this bastard's shadow - every man, woman and child that he's killed.'(DG, UK MMPB, p.636)


Before Karsa left his Tribe: 'Karsa Orlong lived and breathed his grandfather's tales. They stood like a legion, defiant and fierce, before the pallid, empty legacy of Synyg - Pahlk's son and Karsa's father. Synyg, who had done nothing in his life, who tended his horses in his valley and had not once ventured into hostile lands. Synyg, who was both his father's and his son's greatest shame.'(HoC, UK MMPB, p.32)


'Karsa's skill with the bloodwood blade far surpassed his years. He was counted among the finest warriors of the clan. While the Uryd disdained the use of the bow, they excelled with spear and atlatl, with the toothed-disc and the black rope, and Synyg had taught his son an impressive efficiency with these weapons as well.'(HoC, UK MMPB, p.33)