Monday, August 19, 2013

The Fires of Heaven by Robert Jordan: Week 2

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 Chapter 9.

1. The Wise Ones want Aviendha to sleep in Rand's chambers. Do you see this leading to any kind of change in her and Rand's relationship? If so, what?

It seems that Aviendha is the third of Rand’s Women, but that she is trying to fight the attraction she feels towards him because that would go against her promise to keep him for Elayne. She is just about controlling herself at the moment, but being placed in very close proximity to Rand’s hotness might weaken her resolve and then she will be jumping all over him until he can hardly walk, poor lad! Just imagine being locked in Johnny Depp’s bedroom* - it would be pure torture trying to keep your hands off him . . . sorry, got lost in the imaging there for a moment . . . oops, sorry, Johnny, I accidentally tripped and spilt this whipped cream all down your naked chest . . .

* You can replace Johnny with another irresistible hot bod if you must!

2. Our buddies the Darkhounds make an appearance in Rhuidean. Lanfear claims they were sent by Rahvin and reveals to Rand that the Forsaken is Morgase's manipulative lover. Do you think she's being truthful?

Well, we were shown someone who matches his description very closely being all Forsaken to Morgase, so I believe that Rahvin is certainly in Caemlyn. However, the Darkhound attack seems a little too open for him as he is obviously trying to gain power through political means in Andor. He seems to favor a careful and calculated approach to victory, so this is far too clumsy for him. I wonder if the attack was actually aimed at Asmodean, in which case, Lanfear herself might be behind it. This could very easily be a case of Mr Jordan, and Lanfear, using truth to hide a lie.

3. Moiraine cautions Rand about balefire and promises not to try and manipulate him. What do you think of balefire? Is it worth its consequences? Should Rand use it to take out the Forsaken? What do you think of Moiraine's promises? Will they work out the way she hopes?

Balefire seems to be the ultimate weapon, and yet it does have the massive problem of accidentally slicing through buildings whilst you are busy fighting. I keep expecting someone to get buried under a roof every time it comes into play. However, it does seem to be remarkably effective, especially when the target can reform itself after ‘death’ and keep on attacking. Although I would advise Rand to be wary of what is behind his target when using it, he should definitely use it against the Forsaken if nothing else is working. I am particularly intrigued by its ability to reverse time in a manner of speaking – I wonder if this means that you can ‘unkill’ people with it by taking out their killer?

I was surprised by Moiraine’s promise, but so was everyone else, including Lan. She seems increasingly desperate and so I think that she will try to keep her word, especially as she has seen the possible outcomes of many of her decisions. I was much more shocked by the idea that she might seduce Rand in order to try and control him: I did not see that possibility coming! It looks like she has finally decided that Rand will only respond to total honesty, and so she will try to make that work even though it makes her grind her teeth. I am not sure what futures events she is trying to avoid, so it is difficult to predict how successful she will be, but I hope that she can gain Rand’s trust, if only a little.  

4. Rand's making lots of changes--his new arrangement with Moiraine, sending for Ogier to help rebuild Rhuidean, making the fountains flow again in the city. What do you think of all these changes?

I love the fact that he has sent to the Ogier, asking them to rebuild Rhuidean and insisting that they get a free hand to do what they like. I was rather surprised that he did not do the fountains sooner, as it has such great power and meaning for the Aiel to see him ‘create’ abundant water in the desert, but it will certainly return life to the city and will make the Ogier very happy.

Rand seems to be finally getting to grips with his fate and making mature, sensible decisions, which is very encouraging. I really hope that he can trust Moiraine a little and accept her advice rather than simply ignoring her: she does have the world’s best interest at heart and is trying to help, if he will let her. I thought that their agreement was a massive step forward and I hope that it will stop us shouting at them to “Talk to each other FFS!”

5. Egwene is "rummaging" around in lots of people's dreams and finding disturbing things there. Do you think this is a good idea? Would you do it, in her position? Do you think it could backfire, and if so, how?

I think this is probably a pretty bad idea, although I can understand her temptation to do it. I think that she will come across things that she really does not want to know and then she has to deal with that knowledge. Rhuarc imagining her as a young girl is probably the least of her worries.

6. Moiraine muses on Lan and Nynaeve's relationship. She says she's already "taken care" of certain things. What do you think she means by that? On the other side of the world, Nynaeve and Elayne are drugged by Mistress Macura. What do you think this woman's intentions are?

I think that Moiraine has made arrangements for her bond to Lan to be passed to another Sister if she dies. I would assume that she has explained his situation to this other Sister and expects the bond to be transferred to Nynaeve ASAP. We know that she has told him that he must not try to seek revenge for her death, and I imagine that she would like to see him happy with Nynaeve if it is at all possible. It seems very obvious that she foresaw her death as an almost inevitable event in the ter’angreal in Rhuidean, which is why she is frustrated by her inability to advise Rand and why she is concerned about Lan’s future.

I was very disappointed with Nynaeve’s gullibility in this chapter. It was so blindingly obvious that the special tea was more than just tasty that it was rank stupidity for them both to drink it. Yet again they prove to be far too stupid to live a long life in this world! I have to assume that Mistress Macura is either a supporter of Elaida or simply does what she is told by the White Tower and has recognized the girls from the description that has no doubt been circulated by the new administration. We know that Elaida is very concerned with retrieving Elayne, so it makes sense that she would set everyone looking for her. I expect them to be hog tied and stuffed in sacks with a large label marked ‘Tar Valon’ before they wake up.

7. Fun bonus! Now that Rand, according to Lan, is practically a blademaster in his own right, he moves quite naturally through the sword forms. There are whole online communities dedicated to these sword forms that love to come up with new, interesting, often comical ones. (i.e. cat and bird in a nap sack, sparrow blinks uncertainly, cheetah runs and trips, etc. You get the drift.) Come up with one or two sword forms you'd love to see Rand perform! Just 'cause. 

I have to confess that I watched Kung Fu Panda 2 a few nights ago, so I will suggest:

Panda eating noodles from a runaway bucket

Blind, aged bunny playing guitar


  1. LOL. Nice sword forms! And I love the image of Nynaeve and Elayne being stuffed into bags. I picture mail bags with "Priority Shipping to Tar Valon" and "Fragile" stamped all over them. :D

  2. So sorry I am like a week behind in playing!

    Haha! Yes, if say I was stuck in a room with, hmmm...., Craig Daniel I might accidentally drop some honey on his chest or other body part. Total accident, I swear.

    Anyway, back to WoT land - yes, Aviendha might be in trouble being in such close proximity to Rand.

    I kind of think of Moiraine as a mother hen to the Two Rivers folks, so the idea of her contemplating seduction of Rand in order to seduce him just seems wrong on so many levels. On the other hand, she is trying to keep the world from total destruction.

    Yes, Nynaeve & Elayne were pretty easy to trap in this section. You would think that Nynaeve's cynicism would kick into gear here and help keep her alive. And I would like to think that part of Elayne's training as heir to Andor would be lies, deception, drugs, poisons, and other ways to end up trapped or dead. Where was her common sense caution?

    I love your sword forms. Runaway bucket of noodles indeed!


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