Everyone, 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.
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.