I've been working through Deadhouse Gates, having finished Gardens of the Moon about 2 months ago and recently realized I have no idea what a Warren is. I remember something in the first book about mages being able to open a rift to a Warren from which magic/energy came out, and then shaping the energy to do what they wanted...

...but that still doesn't really help. What exactly are Warrens and how do they give mages their powers? Were they made very clear in the 1st book and I just totally missed it?

  • I was going to ask this exact question, but as I have just finished Gardens, I thought I'd wait to see if it revealed more in later books – johnc Mar 16 '11 at 2:14

A Warren (also Holds in earlier times that you'll get to in later books) are places (worlds/dimensions). They have distinct geographies, may be inhabited, have occupants (i.e. creatures that live in them), and are generally ruled by a god (or sometimes something else).

Mages draw power from Warrens (by opening a mental doorway/window to them), but they are also able to physically enter them, travel through them (interacting with any inhabitants), and exit somewhere else. Mages can take non-mages on these travels, and occasionally a non-mage will enter a Warren for some reason.

In Memories of Ice, you'll find out that:

Warrens were created in some way from the flesh and blood of the Elder God K'rul, and have a strong connection (possibly sourcing power from) dragons (Eleint). Dragons typically inhabit Warrens.

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  • Ahh, this makes sense. I originally thought they were something like another dimension, until I read about mages drawing power from them. Then I got confused :) Are Warrens also the realm of the Ascendants? – bedwyr Mar 16 '11 at 14:35
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    Note that not all warrens are created equal; in the later novels you will often encounter the "elder" warrens, but even in GotM note that the warren (Kurald Galain) that Anomander Rake uses is "elder" and much more powerful than the ones that the human mages use. You get a lot more details on the elder warrens in the latter half of the series. – KutuluMike Aug 18 '12 at 1:08

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