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Empress Laseen


Name:  Empress Laseen, Ruler of the Malazan Empire - (GotM, Dramatis Personae)

Pseudonyms: Surly

Age: Unknown

Race: Human, (Napan

Appearance: Small, brown hair cut short, military style. Blue skin. Dark calloused bare feet.

Warren: Unknown (Meanas?) 

Further Info: A former barmaid. The former commander of the Claw. Reign begins 1154 BS.

Surly, Laseen's old name when Commander of the Claw-  (GotM, Dramatis Personae)



"Her dusky blue skin marked her as Napan, but she was otherwise plain, wearing a salt-stained grey robe, her mousy hair cut short like a soldier’s, her features thin and unmemorable." - (GotM, UK TPB, p.5, UK mmpb, p.6)


"Laseen had changed little since the only other time he'd been this closer to him; plain and unadorned, her hair short and fair above the blue tint of her unmemorable features. Her brown eyes regarded him narrowly." - (GoTM, US HC, p.51, UK mmpb, p.42)


"She wore her typical shirt, sash, pants, and her feet were bare. The woman's plain face was flat and narrow, tight with concentration. Her hair was cropped short in the fashion common to the many women who served in the Malazan military, and her hands bore dark calluses. She struck Temper as all hard edges." - (NoK, UK mmpb, p.280)


"The woman's brown hair was cut short, military-style. The bluish tinge of her skin marked her as Napan. She wore a green silk shirt, torn and blood-spattered, a wide sash of emerald green, and loose pantaloons gathered snug at the ankles. Her feet were dark and calloused as if always bare." - (NoK, UK mmpb, p.336)



"'You must be feeling confident in the Emperor's absence. He's not the only one who remembers you as nothing more than a serving-wench down in the Old Quarter.'" -Whiskeyjack to Laseen. - (GotM, UK mmpb, p.6)


"Few recall,"  Traveller was saying,  "the chaos of the Malazan Empire in those early days.  The madness only began with Kellanved, the Emperor.  His first cadre of lieutenants were all Napan, each one secretly sworn to a young woman named Surly, who was heiress to the crown of the Nap Isles – in hiding ever since the Untan conquest."  He paused.  "Or so goes the tale.  Was it true?  Was Surly truly the last of the Napan royal line?  Who can say, but it came in handy when she changed her name to Laseen and attained the throne of the empire.  In any case, those lieutenants were crocked, every one of them.  Urko, Crust, Nok, all of them.  Quick to fanaticism, willing to do anything and everything to advance the empire."

 "The empire, or Surly?"  asked Karsa Orlong.  "Does it not seem just as likely that they were simply using Kellanved?"

 "A fair suspicion, except that only Nok remained once Laseen became Empress.  The others each … drowned."


 "Officially.  That cause of death quickly became euphemistic.  Put it this way.  They disappeared."

"There was someone else,"  Samar Dev said. 

"Dancer –"

"Not him, Traveller.  There was the First Sword.  There was Dassem Ultor, commander of all the emperor's armies.  He was not Napan.  He was Dal Honese."

Traveller glanced across at her.  "He fell in Seven Cities, shortly before Laseen took power."

"Surly had him assassinated,"  said Samar Dev. -  (TtH - UK HB, p.431)


The Claw

"Surly had created the Claw, making it a power rivalled only by the Emperor himself." - (GotM, UK mmpb, p.6)


General References

"'She's taking a new name, you know. Laseen.'. 


'Napan word. Means -'

'I know what it means.'

'Hope the Emperor does too.'

Ganoes said, 'It means Thronemaster.'"

- Conversation between Whiskeyjack, Fiddler, and Ganoes Paran - (GotM, UK mmpb, p.6)


"A new voice spoke behind them, a woman's, imperious and cold." - (GotM, UK mmpb, p.6)



"'That was in the days of the Emperor,' the hag Rigga continued. 'Hood roast the bastard's soul on a spit. But look on, lass. Laseen scatters bones with the best of them. Heh, she started with his, didn't she, now?'" - (GotM, UK mmpb p.12)


 Famous Quotes


‘Has a drowned Napan’s body ever surfaced?’
- Empress Laseen to High Mage Tayschrenn following the Disappearances

Life of Empress Laseen

Abelard - (HoC, UK TPB p.163)


Return to Dramatis Personae


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