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Ganoes Paran: "I want to be a soldier. A hero."
Whiskeyjack: "You'll grow out of it."
―Whiskeyjack's first meeting with a 12-year-old Ganoes Paran[src]
Whiskeyjack by Yapattack

Interpretation of Whiskeyjack by Yapattack

Whiskeyjack was Sergeant of the 9th squad of the Bridgeburners and had been a commander of the 2nd Army, one of the Old Guard, in the past.[2][3]

He commanded utter loyalty from his soldiers and respect from his enemies. The Moranth for example, pledged that they would always assist 'Bird That Steals' as he 'treaded the enemy's shadow'.[1] He displayed "an immeasurable strength of will".[4] Whiskeyjack and Dujek Onearm were close friends.[5]

Whiskeyjack was a solidly built man with a close-trimmed greying beard, hard grey eyes, and the strong scarred hands of a mason turned veteran soldier.[4][6] He wore a visored helm with a chain camail and a battered calf-length chain hauberk that was ribboned with leather stitches.[7]

His skill at swordsmanship was such that Dassem Ultor had to work hard to get past his guard when the two practice sparred.[8]

In Gardens of the MoonEdit

Whiskeyjack 01 by Toraneko

Whiskeyjack during the prologue of Gardens of the Moon, Interpretation (by Toraneko)

PrologueEdit

In the 1154th year of Burn's Sleep, the 12-year-old Ganoes Paran met a Commander of the Malazan Army, later identified as Whiskeyjack, whom he recognised by his regimental accoutrements as a Commander in the Third and a Bridgeburner.[9] Whiskeyjack was overseeing the deployment of unseasoned troops to quell riots in the Mouse Quarter of Malaz City. His encounter with Surly indicated a certain amount of antagonism between them.[10]

Whiskeyjack was described as looking young for a Commander. He had a scarred face and grey eyes. He was wearing armour which included vambraced forearms and a scabbarded longsword. On his dark grey shoulder cloak was a Bridgeburner silver brooch: a bridge of stone, lit by ruby flames.[11]

After putting down the riots, Whiskeyjack and his new recruits left Malaz on transports for an unspecified location.[12]

Main StoryEdit

Whiskeyjack by dejan delic

Interpretation of Whiskeyjack by dejan-delic

Whiskeyjack was Sergeant of the 9th Squad of the Bridgeburners.[2] When the tunnels which they were digging collapsed, during the final battle of the Siege of Pale, killing over 1350 Bridgeburners, eight of the fifteen members of Whiskeyjack's squad perished as well.[13] Whiskeyjack's corporal, Kalam Mekhar, pulled some strings and discovered that some unknown persons high up in the Malazan Imperial order had marked the Bridgeburners for death.[14]

Whiskeyjack was present when Quick Ben transferred Hairlock's soul into a puppet.[15]

Toc the Younger remarked to Captain Paran that Whiskeyjack had a lot of followers (i.e. in the armies involved in the Genabackis Campaign) but that the Sergeant acted as if he was not aware of this. He also told Paran that there were still veterans around who remembered that Whiskeyjack had once been a company commander. Paran's reaction indicated that either he had not known this or that he was astonished that Toc knew. Whiskeyjack's previous rank had been thoroughly stripped from the Imperial annals.[16]

During a meeting with Tattersail, Whiskeyjack commented that he knew how it was when Gods got involved.[17]

Whiskeyjack and the remainder of his squad were due to leave for Darujhistan on a covert mission.[18] He did not pass on all the information about the assignment to his squad.[19] Dujek told Whiskeyjack that there was pressure to disband the Bridgeburners. He gave them permission 'to walk' should they survive the mission alive. Whiskeyjack however, who held no grudge that the command structure between himself and Dujek had been reversed, wanted to be at his friend's side should he decide to rebel against the Empire and refused the offer.[20]

When Whiskeyjack was questioned by Dujek as to the whereabouts of the missing Captain Paran, the Sergeant did not share his knowledge about Paran with the Commander.[21]

Whiskeyjack and the squad were dropped by Quorl of the Black Moranth on the north side of Lake Azur. He was told by one of the Moranth that he was well known amongst them and that for 'Bird That Steals' assistance would never be scarce. Whiskeyjack arranged for a Moranth patrol to be in the area two weeks hence. He announced to his squad that he had changed the original plan of mining the city gates as that would have got them all killed.[22] He told them that they had two objectives and would divide into two teams, one led by Kalam and one by himself.[23]

Whiskeyjack had no idea where Hedge and Fiddler acquired a wagon full of cobbles within an hour of the squads midnight landing at a Lakefront dock but it was ideally suited to their plans. Whilst Kalam and Quick Ben went off to make contact with the local Assassins' Guild, Whiskeyjack and his team proceeded to mine the city streets with explosives, enough to level large portions of the city.[24] The sergeant had been persuaded by Quick Ben and Kalam to keep Sorry on his own team. He was deeply troubled by the girls apparent youthfulness and her contrasting cold blooded killer behaviour.[25]

Whiskeyjack by Grimhilde

Interpretation of Whiskeyjack by Grimhilde aka Tattersail

The Bridgeburners then began to await their cue. In the distance, a Jaghut Tyrant was unleashed by Adjunct Lorn and Tool. During the ensuing encounters, Whiskeyjack's leg got badly broken when part of a pillar fell on top of it.[26]

Dujek recalled Whiskeyjack to be his second-in-command at the end of Gardens of the Moon.

In Memories of IceEdit

Whiskeyjack 04 by Toraneko

Whiskeyjack, Interpretation by Toraneko

Whiskeyjack was now Second-in-Command of Dujek Onearm's Rebel Army at Pale and reinstated as a Commander. Upon leaving Darujhistan, Quick Ben had been assigned to his staff.[27][28] His leg, which had been injured at the Fête, continuously gave him pain and made riding awkward, but he continually put off having it seen to by Mallet as he was too busy with his new duties.[29][30]

Paran took up Whiskeyjack's offer of becoming Captain of the Bridgeburners.[31] Mallet commented that Paran was as stubborn as Whiskeyjack himself and that surely, the two of them must be related, upon which Whiskeyjack told him that the average street dog's blood was purer than his own. Worried over the surviving Bridgeburners' overt antagonism towards their new captain, Whiskeyjack ordered Mallet to watch Paran's back.[32]

Along with Onearm, Whiskeyjack met with Caladan Brood to secure an alliance in the fight against the Pannion Domin.[33] During their conference, Whiskeyjack recognised the table in Brood's command tent as one that had been made by Fiddler and Hedge in Mott Wood but declined Brood's offer of having it returned.[34]

Whiskeyjack and Korlat by tsabo6

Interpretation of Whiskeyjack and Korlat by Tsabo6

Korlat admired Whiskeyjack from their first meeting and the child Silverfox told the Tiste Andii that "Uncle Whiskeyjack" was someone to be trusted.[35] When Brood's second in command, Kallor, demanded that the soul-shifted Silverfox be destroyed as an abomination, Whiskeyjack took to her defence. The High King laughed in contempt, so Whiskeyjack struck him,[36] something no one had done in centuries. The Bridgeburner even stared down Anomander Rake when the Son of Darkness' position on the issue wavered.[37] After learning the child's origins, he arranged for Ganoes Paran to meet her, partly out of compassion for the man and partly in hopes of bringing Tattersail to the child's forefront.[38] Aware that Quick Ben was pursuing some investigation of his own and alarmed by the implications, he allowed the mage a loose leash to continue as long as he eventually reported back his findings.[39]

Korlat was drawn to Whiskeyjack's unshakeable integrity and the two eventually became lovers.[40][41] To Korlat's disbelief, Whiskeyjack also forged a friendship with the Son of Darkness over the course of several evenings of conversation. At their first meeting, Whiskeyjack shared the story of the founding of the Bridgeburners. In Korlat's memory, it was the only such friendship Rake had kindled since he had bonded with Caladan Brood thousands of years before. It was mentioned in passing how the two men were both were more alike than different.[42][43] Whiskeyjack and Korlat's relationship was difficult at times as the Malazan's position meant he had to keep secrets from her, such as the truth of his renegade status. But Rake helped Korlat understand Whiskeyjack's motivations.[44]

After successfully lifting the Siege of Capustan, Whiskeyjack saw the Pannion Seer's cannibal Tenescowri hordes as victims and would hear no call for their slaughter.[45] Rake attempted to take the Tenescowri leader Anaster into custody triggering a sorcerous attack by the Women of the Dead Seed who guarded him. As they were resistant to his magic, the Son of Darkness was forced to begin slaying the women with his soul-stealing sword Dragnipur. Whiskeyjack intervened out of a sense of compassion for both Rake and the women and single-handedly executed the remaining women by more conventional methods. He was ashamed that his soldiers had seen him commit an act of seeming murder, but Korlat chastised her lover for underestimating their understanding and sympathy.[46] Whiskeyjack continued to be too busy to seek healing for his wounded leg, even turning down Rake's offer to have Brood repair it with High Denul.[47]

The alliance determined to take the war to the Pannion Seer at Coral. On the campaign trail, Dujek tried to put Empress Laseen's recent actions into context for Whiskeyjack. He explained how the Empress had inverted the command structure not as punishment, but to prepare for the eventual return of Shadowthrone and Cotillion by placing competent men like Whiskeyjack in the front lines to counter them.[48] The decimation of the Bridgeburners at Pale had been a tragic accident. Tayschrenn had placed them in the tunnels to keep them protected in the battle, and had not anticipated their collapse. The events at Darujhistan had been the result of a miscommunication between the Empress and her agents.[49]

After the success of the current campaign, the Empress planned to place Onearm's Host in Whiskeyjack's hands and send him to Seven Cities to help put down the rebellion. But Whiskeyjack decided that he would retire after this last battle whether the Empress approved or not. Korlat planned to go with him, suggesting they settle in a "log cabin in some frontier kingdom, a long way away from the Empire" or a "remote, wind-battered keep in some mountain fastness."[50][51]

Dujek devised a plan to secretly send the bulk of the Malazan army ahead to Coral without alerting their allies. Whiskeyjack was left behind to break the news at Maurik, earning Brood and Kallor's scorn. Korlat joined Whiskeyjack's small army in their attempt to force march to Coral where Dujek was already engaged in the Battle of Black Coral. But Brood and his soldiers lingered behind.[52]

Spoiler warning: The following section contains significant plot details about Whiskeyjack.

They were followed to Coral by Kallor who launched a traitorous attack on Korlat and Silverfox. Whiskeyjack defended the Bonecaster, but in the ensuing duel the leg wound from Darujhistan, which Mallet had offered to heal time and again, caused Whiskeyjack's leg to buckle, giving Kallor the opportunity to kill him. Korlat and Whiskeyjack's eyes met as he died. Kallor then killed the two marines who had been guarding Silverfox before making his escape by Warren.[53] The army was devastated and Mallet collapsed under the weight of the responsibility he felt. Korlat lied to a disbelieving Dujek, saying Whiskeyjack's leg had broken only after the fatal blow. She and her brother Orfantal vowed to pursue Kallor and bring him to Rake's justice.[54]

After the Seer was defeated, Anomander Rake offered the crippled Moon's Spawn as a worthy sarcophagus for Whiskeyjack, the two slain guards, and the fallen Bridgeburners.[55] Moon's Spawn then drifted off, eastwards over the Rust Ocean where it would eventually sink beneath the waves. Paran and Quick Ben had missed the interment but were able to pay their respects with the help of Paran's abilities as Master of the Deck. They saw three black-wood sarcophagi flanked by two others, presumably Whiskeyjack and the dead guards, on the dais of the throne room of Moon's Spawn. Other sarcophagi were lining the approach, displaying signs of sorcery present. Just before leaving, Paran thanked and blessed the dead. After they had left, a mysterious new glow was evident in the chamber.[56]

Dujek gathered the surviving Bridgeburners and allowed them to secretly retire with their full back pay as had been Whiskeyjack's wish. As far as the rest of the Empire was aware, they had died with their comrades-in-arms.[57]

Significant plot details end here.

In The BonehuntersEdit

Whiskeyjack2

Whiskeyjack, an interpretation by Corporal Nobbs

While travelling in the Jhag Odhan, Samar Dev along with Karsa Orlong, met Boatfinder, a tribal leader, who told them a legend of his people. A man the Anibar call the Iron Prophet, warned the Ugari and Anibar tibes of a time of great slaying, and told them that in that time of great peril, wielders of birth-stones would come to defend them. On being questioned by Samar Dev, he elaborated that "King" Iskar Jarak's kingdom was of the 'unfound time' meaning the future and that he was a Mezla. He also confirmed when questioned by her, that from the past to the present there was a bridge which they could not cross and that it was burning.[58]

The Queen of Dreams revealed that Hood had never forgiven Whiskeyjack for stealing his little sister from Hood's temple when she was a baby and that his death had been 'encouraged' by the Lord of Death in little ways, preventing healers seeing to Whiskeyjack's bad leg for example. She also made a point of saying that Hood now regretted his decision.[59]

In Toll the HoundsEdit

Whiskeyjack concept by slaine69

Interpretation of Whiskeyjack by slaine69

The Bridgeburners once slain, had ascended due to the Tanno Spiritwalker Kimloc's song combined with the Master of the Deck's blessing of the Bridgeburners' corpses interred in the ruins of Moon's Spawn. The ascended Bridgeburners were led to battle the growing chaos inside Dragnipur by Whiskeyjack, though he now went by the name Iskar Jarak.[60] Toc the Younger identified that name as being of Seven Cities origin.[61]

In Dust of DreamsEdit

Whiskeyjack and his Bridgeburners returned as guardians and arbiters of Hood's Gate.

In The Crippled GodEdit

Whiskeyjack led his fellow Bridgeburners to aid the forces of the Bonehunters against the armies of the Forkrul Assail. After the battle Whiskeyjack was granted one final moment with Korlat. It was remarked that he had eternity to wait for her, and that he would.

HistoryEdit

Family and early yearsEdit

Whiskeyjack by luztheren

Whiskeyjack by Luztheren

Whiskeyjack bristled at insinuations that he came from a noble family, saying the "average camp dog has purer blood than what's in my family line."[62] In fact, he had been a stone-cutter apprenticed to a mason before becoming a soldier.[63][64] During his first battle, he had still had the chalk of his father's quarry on his boots. It was there amidst the dead that he found the plain longsword he carried for his entire life.[65]

Whiskeyjack had a sister, Dunsparrow, who was last seen escaping from Y'Ghatan with Leoman of the Flails in The Bonehunters. In a conversation about siblings, Whiskeyjack made the observation that a scar on his forearm was caused by having been bitten by a five year old girl when he was sixteen. He described it as the first fight he ever lost. The context seemed to infer that he was referring to a sister, possibly Dunsparrow.[66]

Under the EmperorEdit

Whiskeyjack took part in the conquest of Seven Cities, fought through the breach at Aren, and saw action in the Holy Desert Raraku, and Pan'potsun.[3]

At some point, Whiskeyjack's 7th Company, of either the 2nd or 3rd Army (seeTalk:Whiskeyjack), chased down a cabal of rebel mages across the Pan'potsun Waste and the Holy Desert, Raraku.[67] This action led to the forging of the Bridgeburners[68] and, some claimed, the end of the war itself.[69]

During the Siege of Y'Ghatan, Dassem Ultor turned over the battle to the sub-commanders of the 3rd Army, Whiskeyjack amongst them.[70]

Kalam Mekhar remembered that Korbolo Dom had replaced Whiskeyjack after Raraku and in turn was replaced by Dujek Onearm.[71]

After Dassem's fall at Y'Ghatan, Whiskeyjack was sent to Malaz City to put down the riots in the Mouse Quarter. The Bridgeburners then went on to participate in the conquest of Genabackis where Whiskeyjack fought at Nathilog,[3] and Blackdog Forest.

Under the EmpressEdit

At some point after taking the Imperial Throne, Laseen inverted the command structure. Commander Whiskeyjack was demoted and ended up as Sergeant of the ninth squad of the Bridgeburners. Although wounded by this dishonour, Whiskeyjack did not talk about it and soldiered on. Dujek later revealed to Whiskeyjack that Laseen had taken this course of action to ensure the right people would be at ground level when Shadowthrone and Cotillion made their move.[72]

Author's commentsEdit

Whiskeyjack Sculpt by Corporal Nobbs

Whiskeyjack by Corporal Nobbs

Steven Erikson named Whiskeyjack after the Grey Jay, a bird native to Canada that is often called a whiskey jack. See his comments in a Tor Q&A session[73]

SpeculationsEdit

  • The Native American god Wisakedjak may also have influenced Whiskeyjack's name.
  • There is a debate as to whether Iskar Jarak was Whiskeyjack's original birth-name. There is no conclusive evidence for either argument. For speculations about the name 'Iskar Jarak', see the following forum thread: Does Whiskeyjack have an alter ego
  • Like Whiskeyjack, the name Iskar Jarak has a bird connotation as well. A Jarak was a type of grey-hooded starling-sized bird found in Letheras.[74]

Notes and referencesEdit

  1. 1.0 1.1 Gardens of the Moon, Chapter 8, UK MMPB p.256
  2. 2.0 2.1 Gardens of the Moon, Dramatis Personae, UK MMPB p.xii
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 Gardens of the Moon, Chapter 3, UK MMPB p.95
  4. 4.0 4.1 Memories of Ice, Chapter 3, US SFBC p.92-93
  5. Gardens of the Moon, Chapter 4, UK MMPB p.151
  6. Memories of Ice, Chapter 13, US SFBC p.429
  7. Memories of Ice, Chapter 3, US SFBC p.92
  8. Memories of Ice, Chapter 25, US SFBC p.978
  9. Gardens of the Moon, Prologue, UK MMPB p.4
  10. Gardens of the Moon, Prologue, UK MMPB p.6-8
  11. Gardens of the Moon, Prologue, UK MMPB p.4/5
  12. Gardens of the Moon, Prologue, UK MMPB p.8
  13. Gardens of the Moon, Chapter 2, UK MMPB p.56-59
  14. Gardens of the Moon, Chapter 3, UK MMPB p.103
  15. Gardens of the Moon, Chapter 2, UK MMPB p.79-82
  16. Gardens of the Moon, Chapter 3, UK MMPB p.114
  17. Gardens of the Moon, Chapter 4, UK MMPB p.133
  18. Gardens of the Moon, Chapter 4, UK MMPB p.129
  19. Gardens of the Moon, Chapter 3, UK MMPB p.107
  20. Gardens of the Moon, Chapter 4, UK MMPB p.151
  21. Gardens of the Moon, Chapter 4, UK MMPB p.148-149/158
  22. Gardens of the Moon, Chapter 8, UK MMPB p.256-259
  23. Gardens of the Moon,Chapter 8, UK MMPB p.258
  24. Gardens of the Moon,Chapter 11, UK MMPB p.360-365
  25. Gardens of the Moon,Chapter 11, UK MMPB p.363
  26. Gardens of the Moon, Chapter 22, UK MMPB p.653
  27. Memories of Ice, Dramatis Personae
  28. Memories of Ice, Chapter 2, UK MMPB p.86
  29. Memories of Ice, Chapter 2, UK MMPB p.97/101
  30. Memories of Ice, Chapter 3 UK MMPB p.110
  31. Memories of Ice, Chapter 2, UK MMPB p.97-100
  32. Memories of Ice, Chapter 2, UK MMPB p.102
  33. Memories of Ice, Chapter 3
  34. Memories of Ice, Chapter 3, UK MMPB p.118
  35. Memories of Ice, Chapter 3, UK MMPB p.110/111
  36. Memories of Ice, Chapter 3, US SFBC p.106
  37. Memories of Ice, Chapter 5, US SFBC p.166/187
  38. Memories of Ice, Chapter 4
  39. Memories of Ice, Chapter 5, US SFBC p.206-207
  40. Memories of Ice, Chapter 5, UK MMPB p.201
  41. Memories of Ice, Chapter 13, UK MMPB p.522-525
  42. Memories of Ice, Chapter 8, UK MMPB p.355-362
  43. Memories of Ice, Chapter 22, US SFBC p.790
  44. Memories of Ice, Chapter 18, US SFBC p.617/625
  45. Memories of Ice, Chapter 18, US SFBC p.615-616
  46. Memories of Ice, Chapter 19, US SFBC p.680-690
  47. Memories of Ice, Chapter 18, US SFBC p.629
  48. Memories of Ice, Chapter 21, UK MMPB p.910
  49. Memories of Ice, Chapter 21, US SFBC p.770-772
  50. Memories of Ice, Chapter 21, US SFBC p.773
  51. Memories of Ice, Chapter 23, US SFBC p.813-814
  52. Memories of Ice, Chapter 23, US SFBC p.841-843
  53. Memories of Ice, Chapter 24, UK MMPB p.1058
  54. Memories of Ice, Chapter 25, US SFBC p.975-977
  55. Memories of Ice, Chapter 25, UK MMPB p.1155
  56. Memories of Ice, Chapter 25, UK MMPB p.1162-1166
  57. Memories of Ice, Chapter 25, US SFBC p.991-992
  58. The Bonehunters, Chapter 12, UK HB p. 590-595
  59. The Bonehunters, Chapter 14, UK HB p.684
  60. Toll the Hounds, Chapter 22, UK HB p.837
  61. Toll the Hounds, Chapter 24, UK HB p.876
  62. Memories of Ice, Chapter 2, US SFBC p.85
  63. Gardens of the Moon, Chapter 4, UK MMPB p.147
  64. Memories of Ice, Chapter 23, US SFBC p.848
  65. Gardens of the Moon, Chapter 13, US HC p.302
  66. Memories of Ice, Chapter 13, UK MMPB p.514
  67. Gardens of the Moon, Chapter 3, UK MMPB p.114
  68. Memories of Ice, Chapter 8, US SFBC p.300-306
  69. Gardens of the Moon, Chapter 3, US HC p.96
  70. Night of Knives, Chapter 4, UK HB p.152
  71. Deadhouse Gates, Chapter 9, UK MMPB p.371/372
  72. Memories of Ice, Chapter 21, UK MMPB p.910
  73. Steven Erikson (2014) Ask Steven Erikson Your Crippled God Questions!, Tor Blogs, Macmillan, Accessed: 16-12-2014, Available: <http://www.tor.com/blogs/2014/11/steven-erikson-the-crippled-god-q-and-a>, see Steven Erikson's answer to question 50
  74. Dust of Dreams, Chapter 1
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