The Fires of Heaven Read Along Part V

JordanFiresOfHeavenBannerWelcome once again to the WoT Quad and our peanut gallery attempts to dissect this book, wringing every little tidbit of enjoyment out of it. There was definitely some mighty fine action, intrigue, and bare-ass shenanigans this week. I hope everyone enjoyed it as much as I did.

This week we covered Chapters 25-32. Spoilers lurk in every crevice (yes, even that unmentionable one) below. You have been warned.

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?

I can definitely see Moghedien being Nynaeve’s nemesis for several books, if not the rest of series. I would expect Nynaeve to win in their final encounter, but Moghedein may take out people Nynaeve cares about deeply before that happens – so I am more worried about Egwene, or Jullin, or even Thom.

As for Egwene and her advice….hehe. So, she is such a prude sometimes, yet she seems to have a few young men in her dreams and on her mind, so perhaps she needs to not be so judgy of others. Also, she has been telling everyone to be careful in Tel’aran’rhiod and there she is, unescorted, and nearly becomes trapped in a beautiful dream that might have ended in a menage a trio wither her, Gawyn, and Galad.

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?

Yes, I expected the aes sedai to be full of questions and demands for info from Siuan and Leane. I expected them to put Logain under guard at least, and I really expected them to give him a grilling also – so when they didn’t, I have to wonder if they are idiots like Siuan is concerned they are – fussing over their tomato plants instead of planning for an attack.

Also, I wish to say that Siuan proves that even with out the aes sedai powers, the underlying personality is till there – she plotted with Leane a few hours ahead of time, in an effort to steer the aes sedai.

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?

Ha! Of course I think Siuan and Bryne will end up together. That is how it is. Two interesting people who have some connection to one another, maybe even attraction, will have to squabble and argue A LOT before they finally become an item… and then they will continue to squabble and argue.

Gosh, Min’s visions. Do we ever learn what every single one means? Is there some cheat sheet out there that has been made up by WoT fanatics? You know who you are – speak up! OK, so she saw a bull tossing roses off of him? Well… if I use some Freudian psychobabble, that possibly means that Bryne will finally loose his virginity? Oh, and Min saw a raven earlier related to one of the aes sedai, but I forget who. That makes me think of those mysterious bird messages that Aluda (spelling?) sent upon catching Nynaeve & Elayne. At any rate, Min’s visions give me something to contemplate late at night when I can’t sleep.

Big Mac smiling. He's a goofy goat.

Big Mac smiling. He’s a goofy goat.

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?

I think it is always good to have more than one thing you are good at, and more than one way to get what you want out of people. Isendre was one of those people that never bothered to learn another way to deal with people. Her flirtatious nature had served her well up to this point, and when she realized she wasn’t going to get what she wanted, she could not adapt. You can probably tell that I don’t have much sympathy for her. The opposite side of the flirtatious coin is the bully – both use a behavior set to force, trick, or cajole in order to enact some control over another.

OK, I am putting the soap box away. Kadere was using her because he can’t get into Natiel’s or Rand’s bed. He sees Isendre, and probably all women, as tools. I wouldn’t mind seeing him strangled. Oh, and cutting up a corpse that soon after death – there is going to be a significant amount of blood. I butcher goats from start to finish so I have a pretty good idea about how much blood is in humans and how easily it can be spilled.

I think the Aiel women started off making a good point, forcing Isendre to go dressed in only the jewelry she ‘stole’. I am not convinced that shaving her (completely, every hair folks) was truly necessary. I look at my little belly fuzz, and I wouldn’t care to have to be that precise or thorough in forcibly shaving another human. Think about Isendre’s personal bits! There’s a reason there is waxing instead of shaving. Who wants a knife that close? We had enough trouble forcibly shaving are well-behaved dog, I can only imagine the chore it would be to do so to a struggling human. Did those two Aiel ladies really shave every hair? I think they probably let a few be, just because of the awkward nature of the task. Personally, I think the nettle beating is what drove the point home.

As to who left the message – Hmm… Who is Mat bedding again? I think it is her. I don’t like her. I mean, I think it is good that Mat is getting some action, but the continued relationship seems a little too convenient.

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?

I thought this was an interesting section. It really put in perspective the ‘wet landers’ fear of the Aiel and also the Aiel’s complete disdain for the wet landers. Perhaps Edorion was trying to lighten the mood, maybe to set his men at ease, by making that bet. It surprised me a bit.

Up to this point I have liked Rhuarc. But his readiness, even slight eagerness, to forcibly gain information from Estean was a bit disconcerting. I fear that Rand will be forced to be a steel-fisted ruler sooner rather than later with the Aiel – perhaps by hanging a few or publicly killing them in some way. Rand wants to unite the peoples of Rand-land, perhaps the world, against the coming confrontation with the Dark. I don’t think the Aiel understand that means they will have to learn to respect the so called wet landers.

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?

I am glad that Rand finally bedded someone. I expect that Aviendha thoroughly enjoyed being the one to relieve him of his virginity. I thought it a bit silly that Rand felt they should get married, but I was also surprised by Aviendha’s flat refusal to sleep with him ever again. Ha! But we’ll see what her Aiel sisters do about that. I do have to say that I am a little weary of Rand and Aveindha, and indeed all the couples in the series, constantly bickering.

I think Rand just put Rand-land on the Seanchan radar square in the center. They want him, and not in any good way (unlike his harem). He is going to need some protection when they come for him, because they will come in force, will be highly organized, and failure will not be an option for those leading the force.

Other Tidbits:

So we have seen Rand use the portal stones, waygates, and even his personal floating disc in never land to go from point A to point B. Why were none of these options discussed in catching up to Couladin, especially after Edorion and his men show up?

Did I miss something – why is Aveindha opening some sort of gate into a blizzard on the other side of the world? When did she get that ability? She didn’t seem surprised by her actions, so I assume she has done something similar before, perhaps lots of times.

Here in the middle of Book 5, we have seen our Two Rivers kids grow up in so many ways. Even Nynaeve is shifting in her personality a bit with no longer having authority over Egwene. So, with all this maturing going on (Perrin saved Emond’s Field, Rand is He Who Comes With the Dawn, Elayne being so far from family & court, etc.), why do they all seem stunted when it comes to personal relationships with the opposite sex?

15 thoughts on “The Fires of Heaven Read Along Part V

  1. Eivind Fonn says:

    1. She will cause them quite a bit of trouble, if I remember correctly. But also a fair amount of… other things. Intelligence, shall we say? Moghedien is one of the Forsaken with the most screentime in the whole series (which is ironic, considering her Modus Operandi). There are many more chapters to be read in her saga, and they’re not all of them stories of troublemaking.

    Egwene could also use a bit of a wake up call I suppose. She’s disliked by many for being rather arrogant, and I can see where they come from. But for reasons best left for later, I can’t bring myself to hate on her.

    2. I thought they got an unexpectedly chilly welcome. Aes Sedai may be Aes Sedai, but they’re still people, aren’t they? I guess what shines through here is the channeler’s natural disdain of the non-channeler. Human nature and all that? :/

    This is also where the Aes Sedai politics begin spiraling out of control. Here, enter the Salidar Six: Sheriam, Carlinya, Beonin, Morvrin, Myrelle and Anaiya. For the time being, they can be considered the leaders of the rebellion.

    3. I showed you a picture of Siuan with a basket of laundry here the other day, and now you know why :P. I can confirm Liesel’s prediction, Siuan and Bryne will take a VERY LONG TIME to ease up around each other.

    If I remember correctly, the bull tossing the roses is the banner of House Bryne. It’s the chapter icon for all the Bryne chapters (for those of you who are reading the paper versions). So the roses don’t necessarily carry any extra significance.

    Many but far from all of Min’s visions are resolved. Some are just too vague (perhaps intentionally) and others could for all we know refer to events past the end of the book. And yeah, there is a cheat sheet :).

    Things Min have correctly foreseen so far: Mat’s ruby dagger, Mat blowing the Horn of Valere, Rand taking Callandor, Rand making it rain in the Waste, Perrin’s wolfness, Lan’s connection with Nynaeve, Perrin meeting Gaul as a prisoner in that village, Aram the tinker taking up a sword, Perrin’s troubles with Faile and Berelain, and the White Tower coup.

    4. That was a really chilling scene. We can debate whether Isendre deserved it till the cows come home. But the way Kadere kept thinking lovingly of his sister all through the scene, and then right at the end we got to know he had killed her too, exactly the same way. I thought that was really great writing.

    A female Aiel darkfriend? I was about to list the known female Aiel here before I realised I couldn’t possibly name all the Maidens. Anyway, yes, she’s named and she has been on screen. So there are only finitely many choices. :P

    5. I think I know how Edorion felt. Maybe it’s a guy thing, but I understand him perfectly. His country has gone to the dogs and has been ravaged by civil war now for at least a year. The capital is threatened by a sseemingly unbeatable force of hostile Aiel, and he has nowhere to go. All hope is lost, and then he runs into Rand, in command of a large, well-organised army, who can set everything right again. It must be a gigantic FUCK YEAH moment. I expect Edorion is now Rand’s man to the end, and he couldn’t care less about money.

    6. Yeah, Rand finally got some action, in the most unlikely of places. Thank goodness, now the sexual tension will be subdued a bit at least.

    I don’t think we ever get confirmation one way or another if this little visit caused any change in Seanchan invasion policies. But yes, they’re a major threat. Unlike the rest of the rabble in Randland, they seem to know more or less what they’re doing. I’m happy Rand is aware of the issue.

    Other:

    About transportation. What we saw here from Aviendha was Traveling. The floating disc technique is called Skimming. Both of them require gateways to work. I’m mentioning this because it had me confused for quite a while. Traveling is the superior method since you don’t have to hang out in eternal blackness for 15 minutes, but it requires that the traveller knows very well where he’s traveling from (yes, from). And both are of course unknown to the Aes Sedai of the current age.

    Aviendha probably acted in panic without knowing what she was doing. I assume she was too busy escaping from her fate to notice what she had done. :)

    You’re not the only one to suggest that Rand could have skimmed ahead of Couladin, however:

    “Rand: If only there were some way to skim ahead of Couladin. Like a Talent. Like a Skimming Talent that I might have already rediscovered back at The Golden Bowl. That I might use to ******************************, but probably not to rescue Cairhien. Or even some sa’angreal that I might have already used to protect Tear, but probably not Cairhien. Oh, well, I guess thousands must die. In Cairhien.”

    I’m afraid the man-woman thing is just a WoTism that you can’t get away from. Better just suck it up and slough through it.

    • Liesel Hill says:

      Glad you had time to explain all this, because I definitely didn’t this week. Being a writer myself, I think it’s difficult to get completely away from contradictions (like the no-skimming-to-head-of-Couladin thing). Even the greats like Stephen King and J.K.Rowling have a story hole every so often. I don’t know if I turn a blind eye to them or am just more forgiving because I’ve had to deal with them myself, but they don’t bother me as much as they do other people. I didn’t even think of this one. :D

    • suecccp says:

      1. I like the idea of a Forsaken accidentally help the good guys because she is so obsessive! This attention to character is one of my favorite things about Mr Jordan’s writing.

      4. I agree with you about this chapter: the writing was superb. I had a horrible suspicion that he had caused his sister’s death, but the reveal was handled splendidly.

      5. OK, that makes sense to me, because I was rather confused about why he would offer up the bet. Thank you for offering up your male perspective! :D

      6. I think that the Seanchan are so dangerous because they are a regimented people who are taught to blindly follow the Empress. Whether or not Monarchy is a great method of government, it is possibly one of the better ones if you are intent on all-out war. Instead of all that wasteful in-fighting and having to persuade her supporters, she simply tells them what to do. Just think how powerful the Aes Sedai would be if they could get their act together and cooperate!

  2. nrlymrtl says:

    So far, I don’t dislike Egwene. I mean, if you’re going to read this series and enjoy it, you kind of have to have a soft spot for bossy people.

    Yes, this section truly did show the aes sedai disdain for the non-channeler. They are a bit more human for it.

    Kadere is a very cold person. At first, his memories of his sister and childhood home made him almost likeable. But then we see how he treated something he ‘cared’ for so deeply (his sister).

    I like your take on Edorion. Perhaps the bet was a type of male bonding in an extreme moment.

    Thanks for the insight on the traveling and the skimming. Aveindha’s sudden use of the first definitely set up an interesting scene for her and Rand, and later the Seanchan.

    Your final comment made me laugh. OK, WoT Quad, from now on, I will refrain for commenting on the immature nature of couples in this series during the read alongs. Just know, that as you read the next squabble, I am silently rolling my eyes over here in the desert Southwest.

  3. suecccp says:

    Yay! My computer system is still functional this weekend, so here is my link (back tomorrow to do my commenting!):

    http://coffeecookiesandchilipeppers.blogspot.com/2013/09/the-fires-of-heaven-by-robert-jordan_8.html

  4. lynnsbooks says:

    I tend to avoid these posts as I’m not reading the books but I really do admire the commitment this one involves – such a lot of books, but, if you’re loving it then it must feel like a walk in the park!
    Lynn :D

    • suecccp says:

      This might sound counterintuitive, but it is actually much easier to absorb these huge books when reading them slowly. Having read some of them before at a normal speed, it is so easy to skip over the details as you are pulled along by the story. This way it is like savoring a very nice chocolate by letting it dissolve slowly . . . :D

      • lynnsbooks says:

        And now I want some chocolate…. and a lovely slow reading of a book. Actually that’s the really good thing about a readalong and one of the things I enjoy. That it’s more structured and you stop to have discussion during the read rather than rushing pell mell to the end and forgetting half the plot and characters along the way.
        Lynn :D

        • nrlymrtl says:

          I agree with Sue that these books are easier to enjoy as a readalong, but also a group of people. In this series, with so many details, I am also enjoying having 2 in the group who have completed the series and can answer some of my questions about the mechanics of the story.

  5. Liesel Hill says:

    Eivin did a good job of explaining Min’s visions and Travelling. The only thing I would add is that, when you read it a second time (I’m sure you’ll just dive right back in as soon as we finish, right? :D) the meanings of the visions are really obvious.So you read about one and go, Oh, that’s what that was. It’s actually really fun because it’s such a unique and consistent way for this series to foreshadow events. :D

    • nrlymrtl says:

      I expect that once we finish the series, I will indulge in several hours of looking at fan art and also things like Min’s List of Visions & What They Mean. I really don’t want to give myself spoilers as I am quite enjoying discovering this ‘old’ series a bit at a time.

  6. suecccp says:

    1. You are quite right about Moghedien being dangerous to those around Nynaeve, especially those who cannot channel.

    2. The rogue Aes Sedai reminded me of that phrase “rearranging the deck chairs on the deck of the Titanic”. They are terrified to admit the truth of their situation, so they keep themselves occupied with ‘busy work’. I am quite sure that the Warders have all been sat about their campfires wondering when the women would finally stop flapping and start doing something constructive! :D

    3. I think that the bull and roses thing is a reference to his ‘throwing off’ his connection to Morgase (who wears a crown of roses).

    4. Although my initial reaction to Isendre was very similar to yours I found this chapter rather changed my mind about her. She knew that she could not fulfill her task and was begging for Kadere to find an alternative, but he would not listen. You are right though, he sees women as useful tools and he would look so much better without his head still attached.

    5. I didn’t get the same vibe as you from Rhuarc in this section. However, we know that the Aiel are utterly ruthless, so it makes sense that they would have little remorse about torture to get valuable information.

    6. I thought Rand’s reaction was sweet and just a product of his upbringing. At least he treats sex as a serious issue, unlike some young men with medallions that I could mention . . .

    I know what you mean about the traveling issue. I can only assume that even Rand would be unable to transport enough Aiel to make a difference. This might also explain why none of the Forsaken have shown up with a huge army to beat the snot out of him.

    • Eivind Fonn says:

      That *would* explain why nobody has shown up with a huge army (and you’re right, Rand can transport quite a few, but not enough to take on Couladin), but there’s an even simpler reason, which maybe should have been made more explicit in the books. All the mass-produced kinds of shadowspawn die when going through a gateway. This is allegedly because they are artificial beings instead of natural ones. That’s why they’ve been moving about in the Ways and such.

    • nrlymrtl says:

      You’re so much cleverer with the visions. I totally didn’t connect the roses on the bull to Morgase’s roses. That makes a lot of sense and I did a face palm when I read your comment.

      Yes, I too was wondering if Traveling and Skimming could only be done for a few people, or perhaps the gateway could only be so wide & tall, so even if you could transport a lot of people, they could only trickle through the little gate. Perhaps we will hear more on this in later books.

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