Welcome all to the ninth week of read along goodness of The Fires of Heaven. This week, we covered chapters 50-53. Make sure to check out my cohorts, Eivind’s answers will be below, and then Sue from Coffee, Cookies, and Chili Peppers, and Liesel from Musings on Fantasia!
We’ve got spoilers unclothed and running free below!
1) How long do you think Birgitte will be able to keep her identity mostly secret? What do you think the Salidar Aes Sedai would do with Birgitte if they knew?
Considering the warm reaction Nynaeve and Elayne have received from the Salidar aes sedai, I would not want them to find out about Birgitte. Even though Siuan brought dire tidings, these ladies haven’t really woken up to the fact that there are superior forces out there and also tasks that must be accomplished in order to preserve some part of the world in the coming tide of evil. It’s like the Salidar aes sedai haven’t read the back of the book jacket at all!
As to Birgitte keeping her ID secret…..The longer she is in Salidar, the greater the chance is. However, being bonded to Elayne means that she can’t simply pack a few supplies and hike away. I am hoping that the Wheel will send Nynaeve and Elayne off on more tasks soon and Birgitte will be safe from the prying microscope known as the aes sedai for a while longer. However, there are still plenty of other people who would be fascinated by her true ID, and exceptional abilities. I think Thom and Jullin will have to be brought into this secret sooner or later too, if they haven’t already figured it out.
2) What good, if any, will come out of Siuan’s and Nynaeve’s agreement? Is Nynaeve smoking leaf and reaching for the stars?
Well since these two ladies seem highly incompatible, perhaps Nynaeve will get mad enough to heal a stilling. But will she get the results she wants? Not all cures take you back to your original state. How many folks have completely different hair, or no hair, after cancer treatments? Still, Nynaeve is reaching for the stars on this one. I think part of it is that she is so use to her stubborn manner being unwilling to except another outcome, that she is relying on it still to carry her through.
I can’t see Nynaeve being a particularly good teacher (having a deep set lack of impatience) and I also have equal difficulty seeing Siuan being a good student (inability to follow directions). While these attempts will most assuredly be entertaining for me as the reader, I am sure they will be a huge source of irritation for both ladies! Will Siuan end up walking Tel’aran’rhiod? Perhaps. Will she much about an end up getting someone killed? Distinct possibility.
3) Elayne and Min had a little heart to heart. How do you think this will affect their relationship in the future?
Actually, I felt that Elayne was a little dismissive of Min, caught herself doing it, and curbed it. Still, I can still see her thinking, ‘Why would Rand want plain (in every way) MIn when he has all my charms on offer?’ Hopefully Elayne will continue to keep an open mind and let Rand figure out his own mind about which woman, and how many, he wants to share himself with.
Still, whatever Rand decides, no matter how gentlemanly he acts, I expect there will eventually be some competition between these two ladies. I am still a suspicious of Min’s love for Rand, considering how little time she has spent with him. It could be a super intense crush under stressful times.
4) What do you think of Rand’s latest ways of dealing with the never-ending parade of court ladies?
Wow! Rand, you have come a long way from the sheepherder of Two Rivers and are infinitely more interesting. Part of me cheered his scaring the ladies and part of me was reluctant to cheer openly because it would be impolite. But I did it anyway. He didn’t lie; he just pointed out that he is the bogeyman of all horror stories, and do they really, really want to spend time with such a man? Let alone bed him? Have his children? Have their fate tied to his? Yep, Rand, you cut to the heart of the matter in a few sentences….and then added creepy chuckling. Muuuwaaahahah!
5) Rand received two interesting letters from the White Tower. Should he trust either? How do you think this latest ‘news’ from Tar Valon will affect his actions?
Trust no one. I think he needs that embroidered on his underwear to remind him every day, multiple times a day. While the letters are each interesting, and he should keep their info in his head as background info, trust them? No. I don’t care what assurities Elaida offers, Do NOT Trust!
Still, the two approaches are interesting. One is clipped, decided, yet polite. The other worshipful, even begging for recognition. I guess if Rand ever needs to get inside the White Tower (openly, instead of simply Traveling there), these letters are his in.
6) Do you think Mat will be scarred for life by the death of Melindrha? What about their last encounter triggered her attack?
Yes and no. I think he will regret the necessity, he may even become more cautious about who he beds from now on. Will he get a Rand-complex concerning killing women? No. He’s a little too practical for that, and also very attached to his own skin. I wonder if his tastes will skew towards weaker women, shorter than him, etc. from now on?
I think Melindrha decided that Mat was no longer necessary as a source of info for Samiel’s plans. Perhaps she even intended to leave his dead body in place to sew confusion, sadness, terror (one attacked in the palace, and that one a close confidante’s of The Dragon Reborn!).
7) Moiraine and Lanfear: they have passed through the doorframe ter’angreal. Assumptions have been made that both are dead. If they are, how do you see that affecting the ones left behind? If one or both were to reappear later, how do you think that would happen?
Well, Lan will eventually end up in Nynaeve’s hands, and hopefully not too long from now. She needs a protector because her ornery attitude is making her enemies. I expect Moiraine’s letter to Thom will have a significant, if private, affect on his life and I look forward to that unfolding. Loial will be crushed, such a big sweetie that he is. I think Perrin and Nynaeve will be shocked in different ways – he may feel that yet one more thing he thought stable and permanent for this ongoing conflict has been yanked out from under him; Nynaeve because she put so much angst into teaching Moiraine specifically that she can’t just yank good kids out of Two Rivers without having a reckoning.
Lanfear was one of the most organized and driven of the Forsaken. I expect some of the Forsaken plans will fall apart with her out of the picture, which will be good for most of our characters. However, she was also, in her deranged way, protecting Rand/Lews. Without her protection, I expect we will see an increase in attacks on Rand.
If Moiraine can turn up later, so can Lanfear. Hmm…. should I wish for it or not? I think I have to for multiple reasons. Moiraine has a lot of knowledge and has backed Rand from the beginning. She has also learned her lesson that Rand and the Wheel will not allow the aes sedai to guide or control him. Also, I feel that Rand needs to face Lanfear on his own. While he has acknowledged his shortcoming (his inability to harm a woman, even an evil one in the act of destroying the good), he has not found a solution for this shortcoming.
8) Rand had a very intense discussion with Sulin. Do you think that Rand will be able to overcome his hesitancy to harm women in light of that discussion and Moiraine’s sacrifice?
I can see that Rand is already starting to think of this shortcoming differently. Sulin & crew are warriors. They have chosen this life and Rand cannot deny them their choice. By refusing to harm Lanfear he ended up sacrificing Moiraine and nearly lost Egwene and Aviendha too. While it was probably a virtue for 99% of his life to never, ever harm a woman, here he saw how that ‘virtue’ held him back from protecting good people. Not good women; not good children. Simply good people. I think Robert Jordan will keep this conundrum going for a few more, if not several more, books. But I am hoping to see Rand face and overcome his deeply ingrained hesitancy for the right reasons.
Gosh, the Salidar aes sedai superiority streak has me wanting them to be faced with some horrendous set back or attack or such just to break that superiority complex! For the first time, I am not actively rooting for the aes sedai. Anyone else feeling this?
I wonder what the aes sedai will find upon testing Nicola and the other lady. Since it was made a deal of, I have to think Robert Jordan does something with one or both ladies. If one is a Forsaken in disguise, I wonder if she will be able to shield her abilities from detection…..
About time Rand told Mat straight up that he needs him and his past lives at his side. Mat obviously doesn’t like it, but at least he now knows that Rand, and the Wheel, won’t easily let him walk away.
Robert Jordan used plenty of foreshadowing concerning Moiraine’s sacrifice, going back….1 or 2 books. When she handed over the letters, I thought for sure something would click with the more logical of our party, like Lan or one of the Aiel. The Aiel know about sacrifice, so even if it clicked, perhaps they would keep silent. Still, I wonder why Lan didn’t raise an eyebrow on that one?
Lanfear is insanely jealous. Not healthy. She needs impulse control management therapy and some deep counseling concerning her possessiveness disorder.