Sunday, October 13, 2013

The Fires of Heaven by Robert Jordan: Week 10

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 Musings on Fantasia

This week we read through to the end of the book. We will move on to Book 6: Lord of Chaos next week.

1. As soon as they get to Caemlyn, Rahvin lashes out, killing Mat, Aviendha, and Asmodean. Later, after Rand balefires him, the recoil in the Pattern brings them back to life. How did you feel about this roller coaster twist? Did you see it coming?

I suppose we should have predicted something like this because we have been told several times that balefire un-writes a small section of the past. Also, we saw Mat survive the Hellhound attack because their slobber was un-slobbered when they died. However, I would never have thought that we would see three major characters smoked in a single sentence. I think my mouth actually fell open at that point, even though I was fairly certain that there must be some way to bring Aviendha and Mat back at the very least.

In some ways this incident does feel a little manipulative, as it seemed like a long time between their deaths and Rahvin’s, and I really hope that we do not see it repeated when the next important character dies. However, it did a very good of showing how dangerous the Forsaken are, because of their superior knowledge, and how dangerous these battles really are. It is always good to feel that our heroes are in true danger and that they have a very real chance of getting killed by a stray arrow or other unpredictable agent of death. We will now have a much greater sense of fear whenever they wander into a battlefield.

2. Rahvin had a rough afternoon, not that he didn't deserve it. First he got his face--one to rival Galad's apparently--melted off. Then he got disintegrated out of existence. How did you feel about how Rand handled Rahvin's execution?

I think Rand was very, very lucky that Nynaeve turned up to save his sorry behind and that she could keep Rahvin distracted. We see here how Rand’s inexperience is a massive disadvantage because he simply has no idea what the Forsaken can do against him. He has no experience of their battle strategies and the many ways that they can use the One Power to their advantage. In this case, Rand was so angry about Morgase that he allowed emotion to totally overwhelm his sense of self-preservation. This is something that he cannot afford to do again, because he is essential to the possibility of defeating the Dark One in the Last Battle. I hope that he reflects upon his experiences and learns to be much colder in the next confrontation.

I also felt that he was spending too much energy trying to fight off the persona of Lews Therin. He might have been much more successful if he had allowed those memories to surface, because we know that Lews was a very accomplished warrior who was intimately familiar with all of the Forsaken and their abilities and tactics. I hope that Rand can integrate his two personas in a similar way to how Mat has come to accept his multitude of memories, because it will be a great help to him.

3. Nynaeve captured Moghedien. Again. With an a'dam. What do you think about holding one of the Forsaken hostage with the metal device? What's your opinion of Moghedien after seeing her at Nynaeve's mercy in this section?

I thought that this was genius on Nynaeve’s part, especially as it got around her own problem with being able to channel only when she is angry. It also gave us an interesting view into Moghedien’s thoughts as she responded to the situation. I think most of us have a primeval fear of being controlled so completely, so it was the ultimate revenge for Nynaeve to make Moghedien unable to control her own powers and use her to engage in some amazingly dangerous behavior.

It would seem that the assessment on Moghedien as a coward is perfectly correct, although it seems sensible to me to want to avoid to men fighting to the death with much more Power than you can wield. It seems that she is as much of a bully as we had though, and that makes me wonder why she ever swore allegiance to the Dark One in the first place, because that action takes real courage. I can only assume that her hatred for Nynaeve has now reached Epic proportions, so I would expect to see her attacking sooner rather than later now: she might even become incautious in her desire for revenge.

4. Nynaeve has now openly battled two Forsaken, capturing Moghedien and full on attacking Rahvin, even after being told that he was far stronger than she, being in T'A'R in the flesh. Do you think her actions were foolish or wise? What further role do you think she'll play in the story?

Wow! Somehow I think Nynaeve should forget about the Yellows and join the Green Ajah!

Although her actions could have had a very different outcome, she was very courageous in her desire to help Rand so I have to commend her. Rather than simply sitting by and observing, she threw herself headlong into the battle with no thoughts for her own safety or survival. I am sure that Lan will want to give her a good slapping once he hears about this, but I find her attitude admirable.

I am not sure what specific role she will play as we continue through the rest of the series, but I will make a few predictions. I believe that she will find a way to ‘cure’ Stilling and Gentling and so we will see Siuan, Leane and Logain returned to being Channelers. I am quite sure that she and the other girls will become Aes Sedai, and powerful ones at that in the sense that they will wield a great deal of political power because of their links to Rand and his power base. She will also marry Lan and possibly even become a reasonable person at some point under his mellowing influence. However, she will always remain a warrior and I expect her to play a vital role in the Last Battle.

5. Rand relayed Lan's message. Do you think Nynaeve will listen? Do you think Rand will follow his own advice and stay away from Elayne?

Seriously? Does anyone really expect Nynaeve to let Lan go off and live his life without fighting for him? I can imagine a lot of hand-wringing and adolescent depression as she tries to decide what she can do now that he is free of his Link to Moiraine. However, I think we are all fairly certain that his Link will be passed to Nynaeve anyway, so she will be forced to deal with the very real prospect of having him as a part of her everyday life. Poor man, he will be bow-legged for a month at least! :D

I feel as if Rand has very little choice about what happens with his women. I am fairly certain that they will sort it all out between themselves and then tell him what is going to happen, so any promise to avoid Elayne is totally pointless. We have already seen Min and Elayne come to such an agreement and Aviendha is familiar with the concept of Sister-Wives, so she will have little trouble accepting the arrangement as it will relieve her of the debt that she feels that she owes because of her athletic evening with Rand in the snow. 

6. Davrim Bashere (that's Faile's father, for those who missed it) shows up in Caemlyn and offers his services and (practically) an alliance with his country. What do you think his motivations are? Do you trust him?

I think his motivations are entirely what he says they are. We know that Saldaea is one of the Borderlands and so it is constantly under threat from Shadowspawn invasion. I would expect the peoples from these nations to be much more accepting of the Dragon Reborn and the Prophecies surrounding his rise, so I can only assume that they are very similar to the Shienarans in their outlook. We also know that Faile is blunt to the point of rudeness, so I doubt that they are a people given to playing the Game of Houses. If he is anything like Faile then he will be completely trustworthy and a great ally in the War.

7. The murder of Asmodean! This was such a big deal on the forums. It drove fans nuts for many thousands of pages. Who do you think killed him and why?

Well, if we she had not fallen through a certain doorway last week, I would have thought that Lanfear was guilty of this particular murder. Knowing that she is not an option, unless she has recovered / been reborn / escaped very, very quickly, then I am a bit of a loss. I suppose it makes sense that it has to be someone who knows what he has been doing, so that points the finger at the other Forsaken that were plotting with Lanfear and Rahvin, so either Sammael or Graendal. Of course, it could have been someone else, possibly a member of the Black Ajah, but they would be my prime suspects.

8. Morgase is determined to get her throne back, and to not look at Tallanvor with his well-turned calves as a man, apparently. How do you think she'll fare in either battle?

It would seem that she has decided to go to the Whitecloaks for help because we know that she is heading for Amadicia. This seems like staggeringly stupid idea to me, but that is possibly because I do not trust them, although I can see how they represent a neutral force with no ties to the various Houses that will be fighting for position now that she has been deposed. However, I can see Pedron Niall using her against Rand if at all possible, which will most likely mean that he wants to keep her safely ‘dead’. I predict that Morgase will regret her decision very shortly.

As for Tallanvor, I fear that Morgase is destined to fail in that battle as well. Mr Jordan is nothing if not a true Romantic when it comes to presenting us with Unavoidable Love. Tallanvor is obviously in love with her, and she is getting lonely, so it is only a matter of time until the sexytimes begin, although that might depend on how things go with the Whitecloaks . . .

Other Thoughts

I cannot wait to find out what Perrin, Faile and Loial have been doing. I have missed them and want to know how organized the Two Rivers men are in their newly formed army. Will they be marching to Caemlyn behind Davrim Bashere, I wonder?


  1. «and possibly even become a reasonable person at some point»

    Hey calm down now, at least all those other things you mentioned are merely impossible. ;)

    1. I'm sure that Nynaeve could become quite reasonable if someone gave her a personality transplant! :D

  2. "unslobbered." Good word! :D
    And yes, I would forget about the Yellow Ajah too. Green is just cooler. :D As for Morgase and the Whitecloaks being a stupid idea...yeah pretty much. I'm excited to get back to Perrin and Friends too. :D Bring on book 6!

  3. Yes, Rand would be more successful and organized if he could integrate Lews Therin into his Rand persona, instead of the two warring over who can have control of the body now.

    I like the idea of Nynaeve making Lan bow-legged. I think that whatever mutual activity that might lead to this temporary condition would go far to mellowing both of them.

    I don't trust the Whitecloaks either, but I can see your point about Morgase viewing them as a neutral force. They aren't tied to any houses, and really would oppose whole governments if they thought those in power weren't walking within the light. And one of her sons joined their ranks, so why shouldn't she trust them?

    Yes! I too have been missing Perrin and entourage. Nearly 1000 pages without them.


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