The Fires of Heaven Read Along Part VIII

JordanFiresOfHeavenBannerEveryone, please be welcome to the 8th week of The Fires of Heaven read along. This week, our awesome commenter Eivind came up with the questions (see his thoughts on them below in the comments). We covered Chapters 45-49 this week and a few things changed, didn’t they? Interesting stuff happening all around in Rand Land. As usual, Musings on Fantasia and Coffee, Cookies, and Chili Peppers have joined us.

Spoilers reside below, fully ensconced in each and every sentence.

1. Seems like Mat has made himself the unwilling hero of the day, now with his personal army. What’s in the future for him? Will he ever come to terms with his fate?

I think Mat will need to see something he deeply cares about seriously threatened or destroyed before he embraces his role in this epic fantasy. We saw that with Perrin and his losses at Two Rivers. As to what that thing, place, or person might turn out to be, I am not sure. If Mat had incurred the same losses Perrin has, I could see him getting serious and pulling out the Emond’s Field version of Whoop Ass. However, I don’t think Robert Jordan will play that particular card twice with the Two Rivers’ folks. Perhaps Mat will fall head over heels for a formidable and sensible woman, who is then lost in a flood of trollocs or such. At any rate, it will be interesting to find out.

2. Three books later, and we’re back in Cairhien. How did Rand handle the nobles? Who do you think he means to put on the Sun Throne?

Since Rand is nothing like the Cairhien nobles and not seeking power or glory, he inherently keeps those idiot nobles off balance. Yay Rand! I like that he gave a variety of greetings, glances, and stares just to keep them all guessing who is on his good side and who he is thinking about decorating the city walls with.

As to who will be set on the Sun Throne….well, perhaps Rand will form a Round Table and force the nobles to work together to some extent, needing a majority vote to do major actions. Of course, then they might not do anything, constantly blocking one another, so Rand would have to leave a forceful person there to out vote the entire Round Table when necessary. Hmm…. Ruarc? Moiraine?

3. With two nations and the Aiel behind him, Rand should be more than a match for anyone. Who is next?

Perhaps Tar Valon. It is close and could rear it’s ugly Elaida head any day. The White Tower is probably the biggest organized threat (except for the motley Forsaken) this side of the world. If he gains control of the White Tower, he would have at least broken up both the Black Ajah strong hold and the Red Ajah and their man hate daily tea time discussions. Perhaps I am merely hoping as I wouldn’t mind seeing Rand knock Elaida down a few notches.

4. This moodiness and snapping from Elayne and Nynaeve, is it from the pressure of hiding or something else? Maybe some of the female audience can chime in…

Poor Nynaeve is having a melt down in so many ways. First Egwene and Elayne are acting her equals, and she keeps leading people into traps, then Moghedien spanks her ass in front of Birgitte which results in a major career change for Birgitte, then she is ‘forced’ to wear ‘lurid’ clothing, and lastly, she has to face the fact she is terrified to go toe to toe with Moghedien again. And somewhere in there, she probably had a period or two, and with no chocolate or cool baths. Yes, life does suck for Nynaeve right now as her core Two Rivers Wisdom identity is challenged on all fronts.

As for Elayne, she has the worst of it because she has to share close quarters with the sharp tongued beast known as Nynaeve. So I can totally understand why she is a bit snappish too. Plus, travel seems to unsettle some folks no matter how nice the weather or comfy the accommodations. I expect that Elayne is used to much more comfy, perhaps even pampered, traveling accommodations.

All that aside, this question may be hinting that a certain item, the whosiewhatsit, that reeks of ill-intent may be causing the all around bitchiness, kind of like Samwise Gamgee and Frodo with the One Ring on the their last few weeks heading into Mordor.

5. Looks like Nynaeve sparked quite the mess by having both Galad and Masema look for a boat. Was this at all avoidable?

Masema has been killing people left and right for months now. The White Cloaks have been killing people left and right for years, if not decades. I think it was inevitable that Masema and his followers and the White Cloaks butt heads at some point. Could Nynaeve have staved it off for a time? Not without her full attention and efforts on it. Alas, she was busy working the arrow show in the Menagerie.

6. Who do you think could take Galad on in a swordfight?

Well, Rand, especially if he is channeling. I would also put money on Lan. Also Conan from the R. E. Howard books, Brienne of Tarth from A Song of Ice and Fire series by George R. R. Martin, Joscelin from Kushiel’s Dart by Jacqueline Carey, and Owen Deathstalker in the Deathstalker series by Simon Green and Vin from the Mistborn series by Brandon Sanderson.

Big Mac smiling. He's a goofy goat.
Big Mac smiling. He’s a goofy goat.

Other Stuff:

I like how Melindrha greeted Mat with a proprietorial gleam in her eye. Mat hasn’t gotten use to looking up at a woman yet, either. And I found it interesting that Mat did not glory in Couladin’s head either.

What do you think the timezones are across Rand Land? 6 hour difference from edge to edge? 10 hours? I wonder how that works in Tel’aran’rhiod. Perhaps that could be why sometimes people miss each other – because they are off by a few hours due to the distance between them.

Galad sure did give the ladies sad looks when they seemed so surprised he kept his word. Part of me wants to think that he is sad that he was doubted when he has ever been true in his heart to his oath to Morgase. Part of me suspects that he is sad that his sister and Nynaeve are foolish, lost souls and he regrets having to turn them over to his superiors……in some sneaky fashion that they don’t know about yet.

Nynaeve got a marriage proposal, or at least a proposal for a long term relationship that would involve kids. I have to say that she must be smoking hot to keep attracting these men when she has such a harsh attitude towards everyone, but especially men.

10 thoughts on “The Fires of Heaven Read Along Part VIII”

  1. This is the second time I’m typing this up, and I’m fuming right now. Anyway.

    I thought this week was a bit tame actually, but maybe that’s just because I know what’s about to go down. I was a bit miffed when I read the schedule and saw that everyone got an action-packed last week except for me. But… since it looks like I might get the LoC finale, that is JUST FINE.

    1. Interesting take on that. I don’t think Mat ever gets a significant turnaround like Perrin did, but of course things change slowly, too. I don’t think he ever stops wanting to be away from it all, either, but he’s not the kind of guy to turn down plea for help (and there will be a few of those coming up). And we’ll have to wait and see if his wife (whoever that will be) can pin him down a bit.

    2. Rand sure was boss here. Just walked into the city when nobody was looking, upended the precariously placed Tairen hierarchy with a glance or two (dude must be careful with his glances from now on), and is now effectively a triple king.

    Moiraine would be a great choice, but I doubt she would accept. And Rhuarc would be a potential disaster. An Aiel leading a nation of treekillers? I can only assume Rand means Elayne. He can trust her, and she has a reasonable claim as well, being the daughter of Taringail.

    3. Rand marching on Tar Valon would be a sight to see, for sure.

    Nations nearby Rand’s current holdings include Illian and Andor, both ruled by forsaken, Tar Valon, ruled by a nasty lady, Mayene, ruled by… sex?, and Far Madding, of which we know next to nothing.

    Time to roll the dice, as Mat would say.

    4. Well, I wasn’t trying to hint anything here. As far as I’m aware, the girls’ mood is entirely their own problem. I was just wondering since I assume you all are done with your late teenage years, and I know teenagers can be particularly viscious at times. I just thought Nynaeve was above that, but your list of things bothering her is long indeed. Let’s add Lan-angst on top of all that.

    Oh, and I’m happy you mentioned periods, so I didn’t have to…

    5. I can only assume the powder keg was ready to explode in any case, but I’m sure Nynaeve and Elayne would rather have been away before it happened, and not after.

    6. Galad is one of those singularly gifted people. Gawyn is really good, but Galad is miles ahead, and he showed some of that here. Lan is probably the only one we know who could take him in a one-on-one fair fight. He’s one of those once-in-a-century level of masters.

    I’m not too familiar with many of those other people you mentioned there.


    Oh dear, the Valan Luca and Nynaeve scene was so cringeworthy, because I know I can act like that too with the right (or wrong) girl. :s

    Geez, that story of Pevin, the bannerman…

    Did anyone else catch Nicola’s profession? She’s a «weaver». Oh Jordan, you sly dog you. (Actually, I caught another thing back in book four, in the first scene in Tanchico when Egeanin met Gelb, the guy who was helping her find sul’dam, she mentioned having abducted by mistake an innocent Tanchican noblewoman called… Leilwin! I guess only Liesel can appreciate that one yet, though. But, just remember the name if you can.)

    1. Its sucks when WordPress drops your comment. I feel your pain.

      Let me know if you need a schedule change. This is for fun and if there is a certain section you’d like to be the host for, I’m all cool with that.

      I like the idea of Elayne on the Sun Throne. Of course, we have to get her there, which might be a bit challenging…..and fun for us to read about.

      I totally forgot to add Nynaeve’s longing for Lan. And I bet Elayne is pining for Rand and Birgitte is concerned she will miss her beau entirely this lifespan. So, yes, all those things can make people a bit sharp-tongued.

      So Nicola is a weaver. And that hints to….? Perhaps a weaver like a spider? Like a Moghedien spider? Or a weaver like an aes sedai in hiding weaving the flows of energy….and she might be black ajah. Hmm… the Super Girls might have invited a trap in this time instead of walking into one.

    2. Yeah, having the final week on book 6 will definitely make up for a boring week of book 5! 😀 I thought Susan’s thoughts on #1 were interesting too. He never really does the ah-I-found-love-and-want-to-settle-down-and-be-committed-now, does he? It’s actually surprising that he doesn’t because he came from a very nuclear family, with a father he obviously respected. Not that I’m at all upset with how Mat’s story ends up. It’s very fitting. 😀 I really loved Rand’s sophmore attempt at Daes Dae’mar. Very entertaining. I gotta say, trying to read double and triple levels of deceit in ever glance just sounds exhausting. I put the same thing for #6–that Lan’s really the only one in Randland that could match Galad right now. And yes, I did catch the significance of the women Nynaeve and Elayne met on the ship. I love reading stuff like that. I totally didn’t remember that they met these ladies this early.

    3. 1. I expect the Daughter of the Nine Moons to lead Mat on a merry dance before she agrees to marry him – he will be doing all the chasing there!

      2. Moiraine seems to think that she will die soon, so I doubt that she would accept. Plus, I am sure that she thinks that she would be most useful at Rand’s side, nit stuck trying to administer a kingdom.

      4. Bless you for thinking that I might be anywhere near my late teenage years! 😀

      I guess that is a subtle hint that Nicola can wield the One Power . . . so many names, so many details . . . my head hurts! 😀

  2. I really liked Rand’s contribution to Daes Dae’mar myself. Very entertaining. I agree that there was definitely some PMS going on in the Nynaeve/Elayne/Brigitte chapters. And I didn’t think of anyone outside of randland who could take on Galad, but Galad vs. Brienne would be AWESOME! 😀

    You know, even though Nynaeve is described as being uncommonly pretty more than once, I don’t think it’s her looks that prompted Luca’s proposal. Like Juilin, if looks were enough, he’d have given up once he got to know her. I think it has more to do with how exciting he finds her. Luca is all about show and adventure and I think he likes the idea of a lioness of a woman. Obviously his love is nothing compared to Lan’s, but even if she felt the same, in my experience, relationships of that sort seldom last. There needs to be a certain amount of contentment to sustain a relationship and one of these two (I think we all know which) would eat the other one alive eventually.

    1. Good thought there about Nyaneve’s exciting friends being part of the allure. She definitely travels with interesting company. But, yeah, that relationship, if it ever got off the ground, would not last long.

  3. 1. You might be right about Mat, though I can only imagine him running away from a woman that he falls in love with! 😀

    2. The idea of a Round Table is interesting, and I can see that working once he has all the nations following him, but I doubt that the Cairhien nobles could rule the nation that way because there would be so much time wasted on political in-fighting.

    3. Although I agree that seeing Elaida plastered all over a wall by Rand, I am quite sure that he will leave Tar Valon until he has rallied every other nation. Not only does he hate the idea of hurting women, but all those Aes Sedai together would be a formidable force to overcome. Plus, it would place him a position to be Shielded and Gentled if he was unlucky.

    4. Wow! I had forgotten all about the evil-feeling thingamabob! You might be right and it is influencing them, just like the One Ring causing all that strife in Rivendell at the Council of Elrond . . . OK, can we all just agree that we are nerds?? 😀

    5. Good point – it was just a giant pile of kindling waiting for a spark, I suppose. Somehow I can’t help but blame Galad though . . . probably because I don’t like the man and he has no interest in the common good.

    6. That is cheating, taking people from other books and series! Oh and Jaime Lannister could have done it when he had both hands (but, ‘Yay!’ for Brienne) and probably Aragorn as well and what about Elric of Melnibone?

    I imagine that Galad is sad because the girls do not share his beliefs and insist on being mixed up with the Aes Sedai. Such an attitude could get very, very irritating very quickly and I am sure that Elayne is quite used to it.

    All the fanart images of Nynaeve depict her as pretty smoking hot, so I am not really surprised. Plus, I think some men go for that spiky, unattainable type of woman for some reason. 🙂

    1. You’re probably right about Tar Valon. I guess I am just eager for Elaida to see her own down fall.

      Yes, we are all nerds. That is why we signed up to do one of the more epic read alongs in history, if not THE more epic read along :).

      Haha! Well, i couldn’t resist bringing in other characters from other books. I like that you mention Aragorn and Elric. I am sure we could dig up a few more fictional people who are handy with a blade if we sat for beer and nachos ;).

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