Having recently finished the Malazan Book of the Fallen series, I obviously have many many many questions. But one that I feel I should know the answer to is: what was Laseen planning for the Bridgeburners starting with the siege at Pale?

In the early novels, we get the impression that she is trying to kill off Whiskeyjack and his soldiers. We're told this is because of his loyalty to Kalanvad, plus the increasingly significant reputation the Bridgeburners are gaining with other segments of the army. This eventually leads up to her disowning the entire army as traitors.

However, subsequent events strongly imply that this was all a ruse on Laseen's part to distance herself politically from her army, so they were free to ally with Rake's and Brood's against the Pannion Dominion. This makes is appear that the suspicions from Garden of the Moon were unfounded, something Tayschrenn explicitly claims to be true. And, indeed when

Whiskeyjack is finally killed,

it has nothing to do with Laseen.

Later, stuff happens elsewhere, and when we get back to the Bridgeburners, Kalam is heading off to Malaz City to kill Laseen (though he doesn't), where Laseen again betrays the army, leading to Tavore taking them off on their own and saving the world,

though Laseen is dead before that happens.

So, what was Laseen's plan for her army in the beginning, and at what point did it go off the rails? (I'm interested in what Laseen's plans were -- what Kalanvad's plans were and how much he manipulated Lassen is a totally different quagmire I'm avoiding for now.)

  • Laseen's plans were to improve Laseen's position. What else? :)
    – user8450
    Commented Aug 22, 2012 at 22:34
  • I like how one death is in a spoiler but another isn't Commented Feb 6, 2016 at 20:56
  • i have wrote up an answer to this before i guess ill try agian
    – Himarm
    Commented Feb 11, 2016 at 23:53

2 Answers 2


WhiskeyJack specifically has been a target of Laseen's for years. She demoted one of the highest ranking generals in her army to a mere corporal. assigned his squad the bridge burners to the most dangerous tasks, that would have been suicidal for normal squads, and just resulted in high casualties from the bridgeburners themselves. Also to note the Bridgeburners themselves have a conversation about why Whiskeyjack didnt seize the throne, because he had the popular support to take over if he had wanted.

Through out the series we see her systematically kill all of the high ranking old guard soldiers that she perceives as a threat towards her rule, or feels that should Shadowthrone return, would side with him over her.

Heres were it gets complicated, sometime before the battle of pale, or maybe shortly after, Laseen sees the threat of Pannion and sets her army up to be used by others to solve this crisis without personally implicating herself. This could happen whether or not Whiskeyjack was alive or dead, all she needed was Dujek. Having a whole squad tunneling under walls, when you know your going to let Tayschrenn go ham is a set up no mater how you spin it. The fact that whiskeyjack LIVES is a miracle which requires them to play it off as a mistake.

At this point she sends them again on a suicide mission to infiltrate a city by themselves, and get the city ready for an invasion. A city she is currently planning on releasing a Jaghut upon which may or may not destroy the whole city. again its only by luck that the bridgeburners get out of this alive.

So from my take on the story the Bridgeburners were supposed to die, that was her plan, Independent on the other plans in her story, the plans to have Dujeks army fight the Pannion, the plans to betray Tavore to save her from Mallick Rel are independent from her wish to remove Whiskeyjack from the scene all together.

I believe its in Dassem's backstory that we see whiskeyjack was near the events when laseen "killed" Dassem and Whiskeyjack was always a firm supporter of Dassem and a rival in popularity.


The plan was bigger than just letting the Bridgeburners ally with Rake and Brood to fight the Pannion. I dont remember exactly where it is mentioned in the books but apparently Laseen was sure that Shadowthrone would some day return, and she wanted the Brideburners for that. The betrayal at Malaz City was not so much a betrayal as it was pretty much according to Shadowthrones plan do get Tavore to do what she later does with the Crippled God.

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