The Fires of Heaven Read Along Part IV

JordanFiresOfHeavenBannerWelcome all! This week Eivind, our ever fearless and insightful commenter, came up with the questions. We’re covering Chapters 17-24 this time around. For the second week in a row, I am a little behind in the reading. We had family from out of state and some other craziness has been going on in my life. On the other hand, my man is having a birthday today and I will be roasting a turkey in his honor. This means quality time in the kitchen cooking and listening to The Fires of Heaven. I expect I will be caught up by this evening.

With that, keep in mind spoilers are free-ranging below, grazing on the unwary.

1. The menagerie reads like a sitcom on wheels. What are your impressions? Will Cerandin play a role? Do you recognize someone else we haven’t seen for a while?

Haha! I really liked this menagerie scene. Elayne as a tightrope walker makes me laugh. Should be interesting to see what kind of outfit they put her in to show off the legs. Perhaps Jullin will get to show off his legs as well – you know, equality in eye candy and all.

I’m listening to the audio, so I have trouble imagining how some of the names are spelled. Cerandin is the Seanchan in hiding, right? At first I didn’t really like the Seanchan and how they swooped in with their collars, but I do find I like these few remnants left behind to spy and/or hide and try to make new lives. I don’t know what role she will play, but I think it is interesting to see that Nynaeve didn’t outright truss her up. She must be softening.

No, I didn’t recognize anyone else that had been missing for a while… but then again, I wasn’t expecting anyone. Perhaps there is more on the Menagerie in a chapter I haven’t gotten to yet and enlightenment will hit me when I get to that chapter/

2. Moghedien recruits the rogue Black Ajah. Speculations on the orders they were given? Just how much danger is Nynaeve and Elayne in, now?

I expect that 1/3 she sent on important missions – either carrying messages or spying. The next 1/3 were given mediocre missions, such as merely gathering info from well established communication networks – you know the kind of work that requires a little intelligence but not too much discretion. The last third were given tasks for the hopelessly vain or useless such as fetching strawberries from far off gardens, tending to the privy, and gathering goose feathers for a king-sized mattress. All were ordered to learn new bawdy songs and be prepared to sing them aloud to the court.

Nynaeve and Elayne are in plenty of trouble, but this is mostly because they keep ending up in easily avoided traps. Still, if Moghedien had me in her sights, I would be worried.

Here's Jake, our Mammoth Donkey.
Here’s Jake, our Mammoth Donkey.

3. Morgase finally escapes Gaebril, with some other old friends returning to the story. Will she ever be back in power? Was Lini as expected?

I loved Lini! She is just the antidote Morgase needed to finally kick the Gaebril habit. She may be the only person who can still treat Morgase like a real person, even give her a bit of well-intended chastisement too.

I was a bit surprised that Morgase had such a high opinion of herself through out this entire scene. I mean, she has managed to alienate, even exile, nearly all her supporters and friends. She is very lucky to have the small following that she does.

4. Rand seems to be having a brewing identity crisis. Is this a manifestation of the madness, genuine memories from a past life surfacing, or maybe both? Do you think his insistence on being himself only will work?

This is where I am in the book. Rand has these memories and insights from his past incarnation as Lews Therrin. I can understand how it would be disruptive to his current life. Still, I keep hoping he will learn to embrace those memories and insights and put them to use, much as he seems to have done with his ability to channel. I don;t think his denial of that part of him will do him good.

But, hey, if I was stuck in the same situation I can’t say that I wouldn’t stubbornly hold onto my current identity and fail to embrace the ancient memories.

5. The Rand-Aviendha plot seems about ready to explode, don’t you think? Is there a resolution in sight?

Haha! I am not exactly sure on this question as I am behind in the reading. But I will tell you that last week I accidentally skipped ahead several chapters. I am listening on Audible, and for whatever reason, my Audible lost my book mark. So, I fired up the book expecting it to pick up where I left off. Nope. I was many chapters ahead, with Rand and Aviendha tucking in for night. I don’t want to say too much because I don’t know what chapter it was from. But I will say, I don’t expect them to have this resolved any time soon.

UPDATE: OK, all caught up. So, yes, they have been sharing a room and trying really hard not to come up with mental images as they listen to one another undress. Haha. Too funny. This book is filled with all sorts of denial. Also, I have to say that Aviednha is not doing a good job of teaching Rand the Aiel ways if he still hasn’t grasped the whole gifting a woman means I am interested in getting married thing. Bad teacher.

6. Our heroes turn back another attack out of nowhere seemingly doomed to fail. Moiraine says not to think the Forsaken simple, but I’m having
a hard time not to. Thoughts?

Sorry to say I have not gotten to this attack yet. I will comment on what I have seen of the Forsaken so far. Once we know which Forsaken we are playing with, then we can guess what they will try. They seem to be like old mountain lions. They long ago found a way to live life that got them what they wanted. Why change? Moghedien has always gotten by on sneakiness. Gaebril what’s his name gets by on pupiteering women of power. Lanfear seems a little more complicated in her scheming, but her desires are simple enough: Power and Rand/Lews naked in her bed.

UPDATE: Sammael and his golden bees. That’s a war cry to make one giggle. I think one could also say not to assume aes sedai are simple, but we notice that most seem driven by one or two things, with a handful able to juggle more than 1 thing at a time.

As I catch up, I will post updates to my answers. Thanks everyone for being so cool about my being behind in the reading for yet a second week.

Other Tidbits:

It’s nice to see that Rand has another heron-marked blade. I can imagine how it has some sentimental value as he lost the heron-marked blade his father had given him.

Mat and his little naked massage going on when the trollocs attack. If trollocs kept popping up in my life as much as his, I might not ever be caught naked & without a weapon.

Aviendha saved Rand’s life and he jumped to some conclusions. The shock of nearly loosing your head one way or another can make you act like an idiot.

9 thoughts on “The Fires of Heaven Read Along Part IV”

  1. I don’t think it’s so bad that you’re behind, since there aren’t really any questions from the last two chapters.

    1. So far, so good. It was entertaining to see Elayne go on about them in front of the Wise Ones in very un-Aes Sedai-like fashion. Cerandin’s role there is small, but with a bigger payout: I believe we get to find out Elayne’s hidden talent soon?

    The person I wanted you to recognize is Aludra, the illuminator. We first saw here in Hunt when Rand, Loial and Lanfear messed up their show in Cairhien, and the last time in book 3, when Mat saved her and she gave him enough fireworks to blow his way into the Stone. I like this story, the gap between the setup in book 2 and the payout in book I-don’t-even-know is soooo long, and we barely get to see her inbetween.

    And yeah, I agree. The Seanchan are a lot less grating now.

    2. Well, there’s no easy way to tell, is there? I wonder how many darkfriends have taken leadership classes. They seem to do it only one way: by severe intimidation.

    3. She seems to be deep in the shitter, having alienated all her friends (never mind her enemies). She’s going to Bryne’s, but he’s not there – he’s off chasing tail down in Murandy or whereever. Where ever should she go?

    4. These Rand-LTT “interactions” are very interesting and worth paying attention to when they occur. My own personal theory is that the memories are real, but because Rand is losing his mind, he’s rationalizing them away as belonging to someone else, a mental intruder, where in fact there is only one person – him. But that’s just mine. πŸ˜›

    5. Judging from the Aviendha/Egwene/Sorilea exchange in chapter 23, Aviendha is really close to giving up. I also find it amusing that Rand probably made her extremely wealthy just by taking the blade and not all the other goodies, which must have been severly underpriced simly by being attached to a sword.

    6. “For Sammael and the golden bees!” Yeah, that doesn’t smell suspicious AT ALL. I suppose Moiraine is right, but I have a hard time seeing the subtle genius in what they’re doing.


    Rand being bossy… let’s hope this doesn’t come back to bite him.

    On second thought, they’re all being bossy… let’s hope this doesn’t come back to bite them.

    1. Ah yes, I had forgotten the name Aludra. It makes sense that she would end up with a group that travels and especially one that performs.

      Morgase might be a bit miffed to learn that Bryne is off chasing tail ;). Haha, probably good for her. I’m not sure where she will end up. I think since I am audiobooking this series, I don’t have a good idea of the world map in my head. I should probably dig out my paperback more often and stare at it.

      I like the Take Charge Rand better than Just Got Off The Farm & Don’t Know WTF Is Going ON Rand.

    2. 4. I think you’re right about Rand’s rationalizations. All the characters seem to be afraid of this sort of thing–Mat of his battle memories, Perrin of the wolf interactions–and I suppose that ups the angst and everything, but I’m not sure why they all think it’s so bad. Considering this book deals with blatant rebirth, it would only seem natural that the memories would show up. And, I think he forgets to apply the concept of Ta’averen to all of this. If he’s destined to do something big, and the Pattern forms itself around him, isn’t it only natural that the Pattern would make sure he has what he needs to accomplish his destiny? I don’t think he gets that. And Mat certainly doesn’t. 6. Yeah, whether or not they’re smart, the Forsaken are definitely not subtle. Too much ego, I think. And come on! I totally want it to come back and bite them all. It’s what makes the story entertaining. πŸ˜€

    3. I think the difference between the earlier Seanchan and those we are meeting now is their rank and ambition. The first ones we met were high-born and leading an invasion or had powerful roles within the army, so they were smug and very self-confident. Since then we have started to meet ‘normal’ Seanchan, who are not massively different from the ‘mainlanders’.

      Yeah, that battle cry was a huge red flag to me that either Sammael is an idiot or some other Forsaken is massively unsubtle. πŸ˜€

  2. No worries. I was behind too. I managed to get it up this morning, just not as early as I usually do. (I usually do it a couple days before and schedule it to post automatically, but not this week. :D) I think you’re right that outright denial won’t help Rand much. Rand and Aviendha will definitely have some interesting times ahead. And yes, I love Lini too. As high and mighty and Elayne and her mother are, can you imagine how they’d be without Lini to bring them down a notch? *winces* Have a great week! πŸ˜€

  3. 2. I get the feeling that Moghedien is the one Forsaken who will learn from her mistake of over-confidence and will now be very cunning in her pursuit of the girls.She always makes me think of those spiders in Australia that nest in toilet seats . . . you don’t see them until it is too late!

    3. I liked the way in which we followed Morgase’ line of thinking, especially as she struggled with her memories and her Compulsion to please Gaebril: I thought it was a very well written chapter and conveyed her clearing confusion very well.

    5. I imagine that Aviendha is being rather selective in her teaching: she thinks that Rand belongs to Elayne, so why would he need to know about asking an Aiel woman to marry him? πŸ˜€

    6. I like the way that Mr Jordan makes all his people very diverse and human, no matter if they can channel or not: both Forsaken and Aes Sedai show a range of personalities and character flaws that keep them interesting and believable.

    1. So , of course, I had to go look for spiders in bathrooms videos:

      Yes, I liked the Morgase chapter too. Her confusion and iron will returning were portrayed very well.

      Yes, the people in these books are very human – flaws and all, good or bad, royalty or not, aes sedai or not.

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