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Fiddler was a member of the 9th Squad of the Bridgeburners under Sergeant Whiskeyjack.[2] He and Hedge were the squad's sappers.[3]

He was described as a wiry little man[4] with bandied legs,[5] lank red hair[6] and beard, with massive wrists and blue eyes.[7] He usually wore a mismatched uniform with a leather helmet[6] or cap.

Ganoes Paran considered Fiddler to be only a few years older than himself (see Speculations for more on Fiddler's age). Pockmarks from explosive detonations covered Fiddler's hands and face. His armour was a mixture of foreign accoutrements over a threadbare stained uniform. He carried a shortsword in a cracked wooden scabbard and a broken, scorched fiddle was strapped to his back, hence his name.[8]

On one occasion, unbelting his sword, Fiddler told Whiskeyjack that he hated the thing and was told 'not to forget it like last time'. A short while later Dujek noticed the sword... lying in a puddle. As Fiddler ran to retrieve it, the High Fist commented that 'the man's a 'hopeless legend'.[9]

He was an adept at reading the Deck of Dragons. Mostly he used the Deck in drinking games or in card games were money was on the table. He created new rules for the game every time he dealt the Deck, which guaranteed his winning. Each game started with no rules, and with every card dropped, a new rule would be made.

He proved himself knowledgeable about the old-style magic which Bottle used.[10]

Numerous times, Fiddler had 'bad feelings' which forewarned him and others that something was about to happen.[11]

In Gardens of the Moon Edit


Interpretation of Fiddler, by Toraneko

In 1154 BS, Fiddler and his Commander Whiskeyjack encountered a young Ganoes Paran on the walls of the Old Keep on Malaz Island during the Mouse Quarter riots. It was mentioned that Fiddler leaned beside Whiskeyjack with the ease of long familiarity.[12]

Nine years later in 1163 BS, some of the Bridgeburners survived the cave-in of the tunnels at the end of the Siege of Pale due to Fiddler having one of his bad feelings.[4] He had another bad feeling about the time of Ganoes Paran being stabbed by Sorry which prompted Tattersail to call him a natural Talent, something very rare.[4]

Fiddler and his squad mates were assigned a covert mission to Darujhistan to pave the way for Dujek's forces. Just prior to departing, Fiddler told now-Sergeant Whiskeyjack that something was going to be unleashed that night and that it would be messy, an apparent foreshadowing of the Hound of Shadow's deadly visit later that night.[13] 

Having been dropped on the northern shore of Lake Azur by Black Moranth Quorl, Fiddler and Hedge took delivery of a consignment of Moranth munitions, delivered by Green Moranth, making them 'two happy sappers' according to Kalam.[14]

Before crossing the Lake via fishing boat also supplied by the Moranth, Whiskeyjack told them that he had changed the official plan as that would get them all killed. He divided the squad into two teams, one to be led by Kalam, the other one by the Sergeant himself. Fiddler would be in Whiskeyjack's team. Kalam told Whiskeyjack that he was concerned for Fiddler, Hedge, and Trotts, who had all shifted a lot of earth in the tunnels at Pale. Trotts was trying to get the boat into the water and getting no help from the others. Seeing this, Whiskeyjack told him to sit in the boat and ordered the others to push it into the water. He also said that it was the kind of thing he would expect from Fiddler and Hedge. Fiddler and Sorry were sent out to cut wood for a mast in the meantime.[15]

Sappers by slaine69

Fiddler in his role as sapper, interpretation by slaine69

Disguised as road maintenance workers, Hedge and Fiddler mined the streets of Darujhistan as part of their mission to help conquer the city.[16]

On the night of the Gedderone Fête, Fiddler and the other Bridgeburners posed as guards at Lady Simtal's estate. When the gathering was attacked by the Jaghut Tyrant Raest, Fiddler pulled Whiskeyjack to safety from the rubble.[17] Afterwards, he and Hedge raced away to set off their charges, but were stopped in their tracks by the appearance of the demon Lord of Galayn. The delay saved the city as it gave time for Kalam to stop the plan that would have unknowingly touched off the city's enormous gas reserves.[18][19]

When the Bridgeburners broke off from the Malazan Empire to join High Fist Dujek Onearm's mutinous forces, Fiddler did not go with them. Instead, he and Kalam felt they owed Apsalar an escort back to her home in Itko Kan. He swore he would return, if he could.[20]

In Deadhouse GatesEdit

Fiddler and Kalam left the Bridgeburners to take Apsalar home to Itko Kan along with Crokus. In reality, the two former soldiers plotted with Quick Ben to assassinate the Empress as revenge for her attacks on the Bridgeburners. They traveled to Seven Cities to seek the Azath House Tremorlor and use its gate to travel instantaneously and undetected to the Deadhouse in Malaz City.[21] From there it was a short trip to the Imperial Palace at Unta. Quick Ben would serve as their Shaved Knuckle in the Hole through an ensorcelled rock that Kalam could use to summon the mage once they were in the halls of the palace.[22][23]

Arriving in Ehrlitan, Fiddler, disguised as a Gral tribesman, saved two granddaughters of the Tanno Spiritwalker Kimloc from the clutches of a Hunchbacked pimp. When he returned them to their home, the captain of the house guard asked Fiddler for his trader name so they might honour him in their prayers and Fiddler gave him his true name, the one he was born with. As a reward, Kimloc gave Fiddler a conch shell imbued with powers of protection.[24] Kalam quickly broke from the original plan, traveling into the Raraku desert with the holy Book of Dryjhna to touch off the Whirlwind rebellion.

Fiddler was not pleased with Kalam's decision, but continued on with Apsalar and Crokus disguised as a Gral tribesman and two young pilgrims.[25] They traveled south through the Pan'potsun Odhan dodging angry tribesmen and Whirlwind rebels until they became caught up in the battles between the Soletaken and D'ivers of the Path of Hands. Even the sapper's supply of munitions was not enough, but they were rescued and brought to Tesem by Icarium and Mappo.[26]

Fiddler quickly grew to enjoy the company of the Jhag and Trell. When High Priest of Shadow Iskaral Pust manipulated Apsalar into following her father to Tremorlor, Fiddler, Crokus, Icarium, and Mappo followed. Along with Pust and the Hounds of Shadow, they fought their way through the maze surrounding the Azath house. About to be overwhelmed by the horde of rats comprising the Di'vers Gryllen, Fiddler fired his final munition. But what he took for an explosive was actually Kimloc's conch shell. The shell's magic activated and destroyed the D'ivers.[27]

The group entered Tremorlor and passed into the Azath Warren. Pust, Icarium, and Mappo soon disappeared. Fiddler, Apsalar, Crokus, and Rellock found themselves in the Deadhouse where they met Gothos, its guardian. Exiting the house into Malaz City they were reunited with Kalam by the shadow demon Apt. To Fiddler's surprise Kalam informed him that he had spoken with the Empress and their feud was over. Given the choice of returning to the Bridgeburners, Fiddler instead opted to enlist with Adjunct Tavore's Malaz 14th Army.[28]

In Memories of IceEdit

When Whiskeyjack entered Caladan Brood's command tent to cement their alliance against the Pannion Domin he was surprised by the sight of Brood's map table. He recognised the warped and misshapen table as one built by Fiddler and Hedge while serving in Mott Wood. It had been the scene of many heated Bridgeburner card games until their camp had been overrun and it had been stolen by the Mott Irregulars.[29]

In House of ChainsEdit

Fiddler re-enlisted as "Sergeant Strings" in Adjunct Tavore's Army, the 14th, to aid in the attempted retaking of Seven Cities. There he headed the 4th squad, which included Tarr as his corporal, as well as Cuttle, Koryk, Smiles, and Bottle.

His, Borduke's, and Gesler's squads had competing desert scorpions on which they wagered. Strings' squad named their Birdshit scorpion "Joyful Union".

In The BonehuntersEdit

Fiddler by artsed-d8ust25

Interpretation of Fiddler by Artsed

Fiddler continued his service in the Bonehunters army and took part in the disastrous Last Siege of Y'Ghatan. He and a bunch of others managed to escape the firestorm that went through the city by digging their way through underground ruins.[30] Upon rejoining the Bonehunters, the Adjunct told him to stop the pretense, 'that his name was Fiddler was the worst kept secret in the 14th.'

In Malaz City, Fiddler visited the armourer Tak who supplied him with a new crossbow model.[31] Fiddler also bought a fiddle of Tac and later played a song for all the fallen that echoed like a dirge throughout the city.[32][33]

In Reaper's GaleEdit

Invasion of letheras by slaine69

Invasion of Letheras by slaine69 left to right: Bottle, Corabb, Fiddler

He led the 4th squad of marines in the invasion of the Letherii Empire. His was one of the first squads to reach the capital and among the only ones to come through unscathed.

Fiddler was present at the death of Trull Sengar. After Trull's murderer was banished to a place of eternal torment, Quick Ben forbade Fiddler to pity the killer.[34]

In Dust of Dreams Edit

Fiddler reluctantly conducted a reading of the Deck of Dragons that unleashed mass chaos on Letheras and the Warrens. He accompanied the Bonehunter army east and survived the battle with the K'Chain Nah'ruk.

Noted in this book was the fact that Fiddler as a figure held the entire army together.

In The Crippled God Edit

Hedge and Fidd by slaine69

Interpretation of Hedge and Fiddler by slaine69

Fiddler was made Captain[35] of the surviving marines and heavies of the Bonehunters and was answerable only to the Adjunct.[36] He lived through the trek across the Glass Desert. Before the final battle for the body of the Crippled God, Fiddler reconciled with Hedge. They both survived the final battle. He played one of Fisher's songs on a fiddle given to him by Whiskeyjack, Mallet and Trotts, summoned Whiskeyjack's spirit so that Korlat could see him again.

In the book's epilogue, Fiddler went fishing off the docks of Malaz City (about a year later[37]) and talked with a young boy there who dreamt of becoming a soldier. Rather than discouraging the lad, Fiddler wished him luck and revealed the details of his life in retirement: Fiddler had taken up playing music for the surviving veterans at a magically hidden bar across from the Deadhouse. He fished not for food, but to converse with the demon beneath Malaz Harbor.[38]


Fiddler 2-1

Interpretation of Fiddler by Corporal Nobbs

Fiddler said he had been born in an alley in Malaz City and had learned the stone-cutting trade breaking into barrows up on the plain behind Mock's Hold.[39]

At a young age, before joining the army, Fiddler and Whiskeyjack abducted the latter's half-sister, Dunsparrow from Hood's Temple. Quick Ben thought of Fiddler as having been practically "her uncle".[40]

Fiddler claimed to have named Braven Tooth after a brawl in which the Master Sergeant left a tooth in the young soldier's shoulder.

The sapper had spent fifteen years fighting Imperial Wars by the time of Deadhouse Gates. He had seen service at Li Heng when Emperor Kellanved fought both Treach and Ryllandaras.[41] During the Malazan campaign to conquer Seven Cities he had often ridden with the Wickan scouts and was familiar with the continent's different tribes and their customs.[42]

Readings of the DeckEdit

In one game where Adjunct Lorn was present, he predicted her demise. She did not know about his powers until he predicted her death, (apparently an Obelisk turned upside down meant she would die very soon). As Fiddler grew older he became reluctant in using the Deck of Dragons.


Fidd by slaine69

Interpretation of Fiddler by Slaine69

Fiddler's age was difficult to determine and descriptions like that given by Paran seemed to contradict the timeline of events like the forging of the Bridgeburners. In House of Chains Fiddler thought to himself that for an old man he neither looked nor felt old and put this down to Raraku having destroyed him then renewed him and that this renewal continued for himself as well as the other Bridgeburners, as if Raraku took something of their mortality and replaced it with something else.[43]

For a more in-depth discussion on the topic visit:Malazan Empire Forum


"The glory of battle, Koryk, dwells only in the bard’s voice, in the teller’s woven words. Glory belongs to ghosts and poets. What you hear and dream isn't the same as what you live— blur the distinction at your own peril, lad."

Fiddler: "Well, the idea is to aim and shoot, then bite a mouthful of dirt."
Cuttle: "I can see the wisdom in that, Fid. Now, you let us all know when you’re firing, right?"
Fiddler: "Nice and loud, aye."
Cuttle: "And what word should we listen for?"
Fiddler: "Duck. Or sometimes what Hedge used to use."
Cuttle: "Which was?"
Fiddler: "A scream of terror."
―Fiddler instructing his squad on using a crossbow to fire a cusser[src]

Fan art galleryEdit

Notes and ReferencesEdit

  1. The Crippled God, Chapter 4, UK HB p. 107
  2. Gardens of the Moon, Dramatis Personae, UK MMPB p. xii
  3. Gardens of the Moon, Chapter 8, UK MMPB p.256
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 Gardens of the Moon, Chapter 4, UK HB p.134
  5. Gardens of the Moon, Chapter 4, UK HB p.129
  6. 6.0 6.1 Gardens of the Moon, Chapter 4, UK HB p.130
  7. The Crippled God, Chapter 4, UK HB p.107
  8. Gardens of the Moon, Prologue, UK MMPB p.5
  9. Gardens of the Moon, Chapter 4, UK MMPB p.147-149
  10. House of Chains, Chapter 22, UK MMPB p.850/851
  11. Gardens of the Moon, Chapter 4, UK MMPB p.134/148 for example
  12. Gardens of the Moon, Prologue, UK MMPB p.5-8
  13. Gardens of the Moon, Chapter 4, UK MMPB p.129/148
  14. Gardens of the Moon, Chapter 8, UK MMPB p.256
  15. Gardens of the Moon, Chapter 8, UK MMPB p.258,264-266
  16. Gardens of the Moon, Chapter 11, US HC p.258
  17. Gardens of the Moon, Chapter 22, US HC p.454
  18. Gardens of the Moon, Chapter 22, US HC p.459
  19. Gardens of the Moon, Chapter 23, US HC p.468
  20. Gardens of the Moon, Chapter 24, US HC p.481
  21. Deadhouse Gates, Chapter 8, US HC p.225
  22. Deadhouse Gates, Chapter 1, US HC p.46
  23. Deadhouse Gates, Chapter 11, US HC p.301
  24. Deadhouse Gates, Chapter 2, US HC p.61-65
  25. Deadhouse Gates, Chapter 3, US HC p.92/94
  26. Deadhouse Gates, Chapter 7, US HC p.192-196
  27. Deadhouse Gates, Chapter 18, US HC p.482
  28. Deadhouse Gates, Chapter 23, US HC p.573-576/581-584
  29. Memories of Ice, Chapter 3
  30. The Bonehunters, Chapter 7, UK MMPB p.393-447
  31. The Bonehunters, Chapter 22, UK MMPB p.1067-1071
  32. The Bonehunters, Chapter 22, UK MMPB p.1071/1072
  33. The Bonehunters, Chapter 23, UK MMPB p.1123-1125
  34. Reaper's Gale, Chapter 24
  35. The Crippled God, Chapter 4, UK HB p.99
  36. The Crippled God, Chapter 4, UK HB p.110
  37. See Tor article Steven Erikson (2014) Ask Steven Erikson Your Crippled God Questions!, Tor Blogs, Macmillan, Accessed: 16-12-2014, Available: <>, see Steven Erikson's answer to question 45
  38. The Crippled God, Epilogue 2, US HC p.907/908
  39. Gardens of the Moon, Chapter 1, UK MMPB p.147
  40. The Bonehunters, Chapter 13, UK MMPB p.640
  41. Deadhouse Gates, Chapter 2, US HC p.64
  42. Deadhouse Gates, Chapter 5, US HC p.124
  43. House of Chains, Chapter 11, UK MMPB p.493
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