Sunday, August 11, 2013

The Fires of Heaven by Robert Jordan: Week 1

If you haven't read the book, or the whole series, why not join in and read along with the rest of us? This week the links to the other posts can be found at Dab of Darkness.

This week we read through to the end of Chapter 3.

1) Elaida doesn't seem to have as strong a hold on the White Tower as she would like. Do you think her tactics to demand obedience and courtesy will work with all? How would you go about defying Elaida if you were stuck in the White Tower with her?

I doubt that anything at all will go as Elaida plans. In fact, I was very surprised that she managed to brow beat the other Aes Sedai at all – I imagine that Alviarin’s attitude will spread to the others. I think that Elaida is very stupid to keep someone as openly defiant as Alviarin as her Keeper because the woman is obviously untrustworthy and working to her own agenda. But when was Elaida ever sensible?

As for how I would defy her: that is a difficult question. I doubt that I would stick around to display any defiance because this White Tower is highly likely to be stuffed full of Black Ajah. I imagine that all the Sisters that do not support Elaida, or her coup, will gather together to form an opposing force, so I would be most likely to seek them out. I am not sure if they will ever attempt to remove Elaida, but it does seem like a very good idea.

2) A few of the Forsaken get together at the end of the Prologue for plotting and sniping at each other. Will any of their plans come to fruition? If you were Rand, who would you neutralize first?

As Lanfear points out, the Forsaken are always at a disadvantage because they do not trust each other. It is difficult to comment on their plans succeeding, as we know so few details. However, I doubt that Lanfear’s plan to rule through Rand is doomed to failure even though he is reluctant to hurt women. As for Rahvin, he is doing rather well with Morgase in Caemlyn, but I am not sure what his ultimate goal might be. Plus, Morgase has an awful lot of very patriotic supporters to overcome, and I cannot imagine that Gareth Bryne’s return to the story will bode well for Mr Darkly Handsome. Sammael is doing quite nicely in Illian, but we still do not know how he plans to attack Rand.

We know that Rand is going to have the most difficulty against the women because he has this mental block about hurting them. (As a side note: I can only assume that this is a manifestation of Lews Therin’s horror at killing his wife.) This makes me think that he will move against the males that are working in the open first. I suspect that Rahvin’s maneuvers against Morgase will make him a prime target because of Rand’s attachment to Elayne.

3) Leane, Siuan, & Min nearly get hanged for some burnt hay and stolen coin. Each woman chose a different approach to appealing to the judge; whose did you appreciate the most? What do you think of Siuan's reaction to Lord Gareth Bryn?

I guess that Min had the most ‘normal’ reaction, while I found the other two really funny in their own different ways. I have a personal aversion to women who manipulate men by using their sexuality, so I found Leane’s behavior somewhat less palatable than Siuan’s.

I thought it was hilarious watching Siuan’s attempts to avoid Byrne’s notice. I am sure that he was not at all surprised by her challenging stare and modest words! Although I understand her worry about him recognizing her, I cannot work out how the staring would help her with that problem. Of course, she might have been staring at him for another reason altogether, but I do not what that could be!

4) Couladin still has not entered Rhuidean, even though it is now open to all. Rand plans to use the Aiel to quell the other nations before he tackles the last battle. Do you think Couladin & the Shaido could jeopardize that plan?

I imagine that Couladin, Sevanna and the Shaido are going to make a giant mess of his plans by running around like a pack of wild animals. I predict that Rand will have as much trouble cleaning up after them as he does with the Forsaken. They will also reinforce the stereotype that the Aiel are vicious and not to be trusted, which will make his attempts to unify all the nations much, much harder.

5) Rand continues to pluck info from Asmodean about use of the Power and also details about the Forsaken. How much do you think Asmodean is holding back? What little tricks would you play on Rand if you were his 'guest'?

I would imagine that Asmodean is holding back small but important details whilst appearing to reveal everything. However, he seems to be genuinely convinced that he can no longer be one of the Forsaken, so he might have decided that he has nothing to lose by imparting his knowledge to the new power base. I am not even sure that he is capable of giving Rand misinformation about wielding saidin, no matter how much of a lousy teacher he claims to be.

6) At the end of Chapter 3, Melindrha hints at things she would like to do by moonlight with Mat. Hehe. What are some of the craziest moonlit excursions you have ever been a part of?

Nothing even vaguely risqué, I am afraid, but mostly to do with retrieving missing animals that refuse to come home when they should! Oh, and star gazing . . . what an exciting life I lead!

Was it my imagination, or did she come across as suspiciously pushy to everyone else? She is obviously destined to have some sort of role further on, but there was just something about her that set off my radar.


  1. I love your idea that Rand's reluctance to hurt women is a manifestation of Lews Therin's guilt. I never thought of it that way before. Very interesting insight. I agree that Melindhra was very pushy. After everything that's happened, you'd think Mat would be more suspicious of any stranger that seeks him out. But then again, Mat doesn't often do much thinking with his upstairs brain. You know? :D

    1. Thank you - I am normally totally non-insightful, so it makes a nice change! :D

      Mat, thinking with his 'other' brain? Surely not!

  2. I definitely look forward to seeing how the Rahvin-Morgase situation turns out. It would be an interesting scene for Rand to finally commit to Elayne, learn of Rahvin, and go after his head to protect not only Elayne but also her mother. Such a nice young man.

    I too found it odd that Siuan stared openly at Gareth, yet she was definitely concerned he would recognize her. Perhaps she did a high and mighty ignoring of him in the past, so staring at him would be the complete opposite of her past demeanor?

    I thought perhaps Melindrha wanted to play a bit of an embarrassing trick on Mat, possibly for some slight he gave an Aiel woman (unbeknownst to him). Or she simply wants to see how well he wields his spear.

    1. I suspect that Rahvin will have enough trouble with Lini, let alone Rand!

      I hadn't thought of that possibility, so perhaps you are right. There was certainly something odd going on that I didn't understand. It was mentioned several times though, so it must be significant . . .

      "how well he wields his spear" - you are so rude!! :D


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