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Rudd Threetrees. Rock of Uffrith, they called him. No bigger name in all the North. Great fighter. Great leader. Great friend. Lifetime o’ battles. Stood face to face with the Bloody-Nine, then shoulder to shoulder with him. Never took an easy path, if he thought it was the wrong one. Never stepped back from a fight, if he thought it had to be done. I stood with him, walked with him, fought with him, ten years, all over the North. I’ve no complaints.

Harding Grim

Back to the Mud is the fiftieth chapter in Before They Are Hanged.

Chapter Summary Edit

Dogman and Dow, Tul and Grim, West and Pike, stand around the graves of Cathil and Threetrees. For the Dogman the graves represent two failures: one for the future and one from the past; Cathil the hope for happiness, and Threetrees the hope he could be a better man. Through the trees Shivers and his Carls mourn their own dead too, twelve in the earth already and three wounded and likely to die.

With Pike unwilling to speak the words for Cathil, Dogman remembers her as a girl none of them knew well, but who was tough and strong and someone he wished he had the chance to know better. Overcome with emotion, Dogman cannot speak for Threetrees. Nor can Tul or Dow who seem lessened with their chief’s death. To the surprise of all, Grim steps forward to speak the words.1

With the funerals complete, Shivers approaches and asks who will be the new chief. Dow reacts angrily, but Shivers forestalls him; they need a leader now more than ever. Dogman looks to Tul and Dow, two big men with hard Names; he’d follow either. Tul and Dow glare at each other, and start that each can’t follow the other, so Dogman must be chief. Dogman isn’t the hardest killer, but he’s smart and the best scout alive. Waiting for the laughter to start, to Dogman’s shock, Grim agrees and Shivers seems pleased. Dogman kneels and touches the graves. He wishes them farewell and promises to do the best he can.

Characters Edit

Introduced Appeared Mentioned
The Dogman Black Dow Cathil
Tul Duru Thunderhead Harding Grim Rudd Threetrees
Collem West Pike
Caul Shivers

Locations and Terms Edit

Angland The Union First Northern War

References Edit

  1. Rudd Threetrees is the embodyment of all that’s good in the North, the honour code the Old Ways. He’s hard, and stand toe to toe with Dow and compel his obedience. He's genuinely invested in his men. He has actual honest to goodness integrity and is willing to sacrifice himself to do what he believes is right.
  2. There some interesting analysis of the book by Abercrombie himself, here.


Chapters in The First Law
The Blade Itself

Part 1

Prologue: The End ▪ 1. The Survivors ▪ 2. Questions ▪ 3. No Choice at All ▪ 4. Playing With Knives ▪ 5. Teeth and Fingers ▪ 6. The Wide and Barren North ▪ 7. Fencing Practice ▪ 8. The Morning Ritual ▪ 9. First of the Magi ▪ 10. The Good Man ▪ 11. On the List ▪ 12. An Offer and a Gift ▪ 13. The King of the Northmen ▪ 14. A Road Between Two Dentists ▪ 15. Flatheads ▪ 16. The Course of True Love ▪ 15. How Dogs are Trained ▪ 16. Tea and Vengeance
The Blade Itself

Part 2

▪ 17. What Freedom Looks Like ▪ 18. The King’s Justice ▪ 19. Means of Escape ▪ 20. Three Signs ▪ 21. The Theatrical Outfitter’s ▪ 22. Barbarians at the Gate ▪ 23. Next ▪ 24. Better than Death ▪ 25. Sore Thumb ▪ 26. Questions ▪ 27. Nobility ▪ 28. Dark Work ▪ 29. Words and Dust ▪ 30. The Remarkable Talents of Brother Longfoot ▪ 31. Her Kind Fight Everything ▪ 32. She Loves Me ... Not ▪ 33. The Seed ▪ 34. Never Bet Against a Magus ▪ 35. The Ideal Audience ▪ 36. The House of the Maker ▪ 37. Nobody’s Dog ▪ 38. Each Man Worships Himself ▪ 39. Old Friends ▪ 40. Back to the Mud ▪ 41. Misery ▪ 42. The Bloody-Nine ▪ 43. The Tools we Have
Before They Are Hanged

Part 1

▪ 1. The Great Leveler ▪ 2. Best Laid Plans ▪ 3. Questions ▪ 4. The Wounds of the Past ▪ 5. The Condition of the Defences ▪ 6. The Thing About Trust ▪ 7. Allies ▪ 8. Campfire Politics ▪ 9. Small Crimes ▪ 10. Rain ▪ 11. Bloody Company ▪ 12. Long Shadows ▪ 13. And next… My Gold ▪ 14. Fear ▪ 15. One Hundred Words ▪ 16. The Blind Lead the Blind ▪ 17. Prince Ladisla’s Stratagem ▪ 18. Until Sunset ▪ 19. Long Odds ▪ 20. The Road to Victory ▪ 21. Necessary Evils ▪ 22. Among the Stones ▪ 23. The Fruits of Boldness ▪ 24. One for Dinner ▪ 25. One of Them
Before They Are Hanged

Part 2

▪ 26. Heading North ▪ 27. Scant Mercy ▪ 28. So This is Pain ▪ 29. One Step at a Time ▪ 30. The Rest is Wasted Breath ▪ 31. A Matter of Time ▪ 32. Scars ▪ 33. Furious ▪ 34. To the Last Man ▪ 35. Jewel of Cities ▪ 36. Luck ▪ 37. Beneath the Ruins ▪ 38. No Good for Each Other ▪ 39. The Hero’s Welcome ▪ 40. Cold Comfort ▪ 41. The High Places ▪ 42. Coming Over ▪ 43. Cheap at the Price ▪ 44. To the Edge of the World ▪ 45. Before the Storm ▪ 46. Questions ▪ 47. Holding the Line ▪ 48. A Fitting Punishment ▪ 49. The Abode of Stones ▪ 50. Back to the Mud
Last Argument of Kings

Part 1

▪ 1. The Poison Trade ▪ 2. Being Chief ▪ 3. This Noble Business ▪ 4. The New Man ▪ 5. Feeding Time ▪ 6. So Much In Common ▪ 7. Honesty ▪ 8. Ghosts ▪ 9. Bad Debts ▪ 10. A Ragged Multitude ▪ 11. Beloved Of The Moon ▪ 12. Flowers And Plaudits ▪ 13. Too Many Knives ▪ 14. Best Of Enemies ▪ 15. Fortunes Of War ▪ 16. The Kingmaker ▪ 17. The Trap ▪ 18. Horrible Old Men ▪ 19. Prepared For The Worst ▪ 20. The Habit Of Command ▪ 21. The First Day ▪ 22. Such Sweet Sorrow ▪ 23. Picked Up A Shadow ▪ 24. Questions ▪ 25. The Fourth Day ▪ 26. The Perfect Couple ▪ 27. The Seventh Day ▪ 28. Too Many Masters ▪ 29. Sweet Victory ▪ 30. Rude Awakenings
Last Argument of Kings

Part 2

▪ 31. The Number Of The Dead ▪ 32. Leaves On The Water ▪ 33. Authority ▪ 34. The Circle ▪ 35. Greater Good ▪ 36. Skarling’s Chair ▪ 37. Leadership ▪ 38. A Rock And A Hard Place ▪ 39. Charity ▪ 40. Better Left Buried ▪ 41. Tomorrow’s Hero ▪ 42. Nightfall ▪ 43. Questions ▪ 44. The Day Of Judgement ▪ 45. Sacrifices ▪ 46. Open The Box ▪ 47. Dark Paths ▪ 48. Reckoning ▪ 49. After The Rains ▪ 50. Answers ▪ 51. The Wounded ▪ 52. Patriotic Duties ▪ 53. The First Law ▪ 54. Tea And Threats ▪ 55. Behind The Throne ▪ 56. Good Men, Evil Men ▪ 57. Not What You Wanted ▪ 58. Loose Ends ▪ 59. The Beginning
Best Served Cold ▪ 1. Benna Murcatto Saves a Life ▪ 2. PART I: TALINS ▪ 3. Talins Chapters 1 ▪ 4. Talins Chapters 2 ▪ 5. Talins Chapters 3 ▪ 6. PART II: WESTPORT ▪ 7. Westport Chapters 1 ▪ 8. Westport Chapters 2 ▪ 9. Westport Chapters 3 ▪ 10. Westport Chapters 4 ▪ 11. PART III: SIPANI ▪ 12. Sipani Chapters 1 ▪ 13. Sipani Chapters 2 ▪ 14. Sipani Chapters 3 ▪ 15. Sipani Chapters 4 ▪ 16. PART IV: VISSERINE ▪ 17. Visserine Chapters 1 ▪ 18. Visserine Chapters 2 ▪ 19. Visserine Chapters 3 ▪ 20. Visserine Chapters 4 ▪ 21. Visserine Chapters 5 ▪ 22. Visserine Chapters 6 ▪ 23. PART V: PURANTI ▪ 24. Puranti Chapters 1 ▪ 25. Puranti Chapters 2 ▪ 26. Puranti Chapters 3 ▪ 27. Puranti Chapters 4 ▪ 28. Puranti Chapters 5 ▪ 29. PART VI: OSPRIA ▪ 30. Ospria Chapters 1 ▪ 31. Ospria Chapters 2 ▪ 32. Ospria Chapters 3 ▪ 33. Ospria Chapters 4 ▪ 34. PART VII: TALINS ▪ 35. Talins Again Chapters 1 ▪ 36. Talins Again Chapters 2 ▪ 37. Talins Again Chapters 3 ▪ 38. Talins Again Chapters 4 ▪ 39. Talins Again Chapters 5

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