Sunday, September 8, 2013

The Fires of Heaven by Robert Jordan: Week 5

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 32.

1) Egwene nearly becomes trapped in a dream of Emond's Field. Once she manages to untangle herself, we, the readers, see that Moghedien was lurking. How much trouble do you think Moghedien will cause Egwene & Nynaeve? Do you think Egwene needs to take some of her own advice?

Moghedien is obviously determined to exact a terrible price from Nynaeve and I doubt that she has any qualms about using Elayne and Egwene in the process. However, we know that Nynaeve was powerful enough to defeat the Spider, so I would not be surprised if Egwene could do the same, especially in Tel’aran’rhiod. Although Moghedien is very skillful and knowledgeable, I believe that her emotions and ego will prove to be her downfall . . . which seems to be a bit of a recurring theme in this series.

I love the way that Mr Jordan makes all his characters imperfect, and yet gives so many of them the belief that they know better than everyone else: it is just so human! As with many of the others, (cough, Nynaeve, cough), Egwene is blind to her own faults, and yet she can see everyone else’s in perfect detail. Of course she needs to take some of her own advice, but she does not realize that! :D

2) Siuan & crew finally make it to Salidar. Did you expect Siuan & Leane to be grilled so by the aes sedai? Was Logain's reception as you expected?

I was actually surprised that the Aes Sedai could even bring themselves to question the two stilled women. I had expected them to show much more disgust and discomfort as Siuan and Leane are a terrible reminder of what they could all become. However, these are Aes Sedai and so they are ultimately pragmatic about how to regain control of their situation. There is no doubt in their minds that these women hold a huge wealth of useful information that can be exploited and so they will try to winkle every last juicy nugget out of their minds, so the grilling was to be expected.

I was pleasantly surprised that Siuan managed to retain some control over the situation and the moment when she pointed out that the Tower still had control of the eyes and ears networks was priceless. One thing that worries me about this alternative Tower is that it could easily degenerate into a muddle as individuals try to gain personal power. I have always thought that being Amyrlin must be something like trying to herd cats, but this could be even worse as we see when Siuan mentions appointing an alternative to Elaida.

I was not really sure what to expect when they realized who Logain was but I was interested to hear Siuan’s plans for him. I imagine that most of the Sisters have no particular feelings towards him, much as if he were a dangerous lion with his teeth and claws removed. He would be a curiosity at best, but I am sure that most of the women see no reason why they should bother with him at all.

3) Gareth Bryne, his laundry, Siuan's temper, and Min's visions; what a mix! Having seen several examples of how Robert Jordan builds couples, do you have expectations for Siuan & Bryne? What do you make of Min's visions?

Somehow I cannot imagine a rose-tinted, riding off into the sunset ‘Happy Ever After’ for these two, but I think that they will finally come to some kind of grudging agreement. Of course, this may be dependent on how vile his underwear is . . .

We know that Min’s visions are never wrong, so I would hope that Siuan and Bryne listen to her advice and stick close to one another. However, Siuan in particular is very willful, so it may be difficult to persuade her to take this seemingly simple precaution.

4) Kadere manages to eliminate one of his allies (Isendre) and is hoping to locate another among the Aiel all in one short chapter. In retrospect, how do you feel about the treatment of Isendre by Kadere, Rand, & the Aiel women? Who do you think left the note for Kadere?

Part of me wants to say that Isendre gat what she deserved for being a Darkfriend and completely wanton in her behavior towards Rand. However, I am not sure that I can really judge her actions because I know so little of her background. It seems as if she has been trained to get information by using sex and then simply tried to follow her order to seduce Rand. She failed because of Rand’s moral attitudes rather than because of any fault on her part and yet she has been brutalized for her apparent ‘sins’. Ultimately, the fault belongs with the person who misjudged Rand and assumed that he would be an easy target for a pretty woman.

I am pretty sure that it is Melindrha. We know that the person is an Aiel and she is the only one that we have met so far in Rand’s camp that gives me a bad vibe.

5) What do you think motivated Edorion to make his bet with Rand on the Aiel arriving at Cairhein in time? Rand makes it clear that Rhuarc & crew are not to use rough methods to gain information from Estean. Should we be concerned for Estean's safety?

He seems to be a compulsive gambler, so perhaps he is the kind of guy who will bet on anything and everything. I would think that his experiences in Tear would make him believe Rand’s determination to get things done, but it does seem like a very difficult task so I cannot blame him for being cynical. He obviously thinks that Cairhien is doomed and that Rand is unlikely to reach it in time to save the people.

I am pretty certain that Rhuarc will do what he is told, although I would doubt that much encouragement would be needed anyway because the Aiel’s reputation is so terrifying. In fact, this reminded me a little of Juilin and his story about scaring people by asking for figs and mice: Estean’s anticipation of what the Aiel could do would probably be more than enough to get him talking freely.

6) Rand & Aviendha find themselves in the land of the Seanchan. All sorts of things (both physical and metaphorical) are laid bare. How do you think Rand & Aviendha's relationship will change? Will the Seanchan become a bigger problem sooner rather than later due to this little visit?


Right, now that I have got that out of my system I can get on with answering the questions! :D

It seems like Aviendha wants to pretty much forget that it ever happened whilst Rand thinks that he is now obliged to make an ‘honest woman’ out of her. What could possibly go wrong with that difference of opinion? I predict a great deal of arguing and misunderstandings until Elayne shows up and tells Aviendha that she will agree to share.

I doubt that Rand’s encounter will hasten the Seanchan plans, which will no doubt be massive and take a long time to organize. It does seem as though the surprising defeat at Falme created quite an impact on the Seanchan psyche and there are now internal weaknesses caused by some of the secrets that were uncovered at that time.


  1. The aes sedai can barely speak of stilling, and yet when faced with two that have been stilled, they didn't show compassion. Perhaps the shock was still upon them?

    Haha! Yes, the state of a man's underclothes when you are the main clothes washer could definitely have an influence on the relationship.

    I totally agree with you about the Aiel reputation being more terrifying than what they will actually do to Estean. Still, I wonder if he would prefer Jullin's figs & mice over a questioning by the Aiel?

    Your shout out, SEXY TIMES, made me laugh. Yes, thank the Wheel that is out of the way.

    1. Somehow I find it hard to believe that anything can really shock an Aes Sedai, but I guess that Stilling could be it.

      My man does the most amazingly awful things to his pants . . . I would not want to hand wash them! :D

      The sexytimes was long overdue and I am quite relieved that we have got over that hurdle, although I doubt that it will make life any less complicated or interesting.

  2. Like you, even though I think Isendre dug her own grave, I have a hard time being harsh with anyone who gets strangled by someone more evil than them. And yes, it felt like the Sexy Times were a long time in coming. (P.S. Good call on Melindhra. :D)

    1. I found it interesting that we got to find out just how evil Kadere is, but her motivations are never explained. This, for me, makes it rather difficult to feel that she got her 'just deserts' - somehow I can't help feeling that she was not really a bad person, just manipulated.


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