Sunday, September 15, 2013

The Fires of Heaven Read-Along, Week 6

Welcome to week 6 of our Fires of Heaven Read-Along. Remember that everything up until and including this section is fair game for spoilers, so read at your own risk! 

Nynaeve al'Meara

1) The first thing we see in this section indirectly, more cat fights between Nynaeve and Cerandin. Nynaeve ends up with a black eye. So, Wheel of Time death match! Who wins?

In a death match, I gotta say Nynaeve. You know she'll get pissy eventually, and then the One Power gloves will come off. Cerandin's gonna be toast. :D

2) Elayne believes she can make a'dam and other objects of the One Power. Do you think this is a good idea? What do you think she'll do with this ability?

This is another thing that shows how closed-minded the women of the Tower has been for so long. Elayne's smart--all our main characters are--but she's not a genius or anything. Obviously she just used a combination of brain powers, the One Power, and outside-the-box thinking, and figured it out. How many thousands of years since anyone knew how? All I gotta say Granted, maybe we should cut the Tower Aes Sedai some slack because there hasn't been anyone as strong as Elayne or Egwene, much less Nynaeve, is a long time, but still. They never said, "There's no one strong enough to make angreal." They always said. "No one knows how. The knowledge has been lost." There's this thing called scientific curiosity, ladies. Maybe you should try it out sometime.

All the Forsaken
3) Nynaeve and Brigitte eavesdrop on a meeting of Forsaken, where they hear talk of linking. What do you think these arrogant baddies are planning?

If men and women want to link, chances are they need a great deal of the Power--more than any of them has alone. I can't remember exactly what this particular plot leads to, but the most obvious answer is that they want to overpower Rand. If that's the case, it means they're obviously very threatened by him and he's probably more powerful than most of them are individually, which makes them nervous. Losers.

4) Brigitte is ripped from T'A'R and into the human world. What do you think of her as a mortal? Do you think she'll find Gaidal Kane, even though she wasn't spun out as she ought to have been? What did you think of Elayne's solution to save Brigitte's life?

I totally love Brigitte! I love her personality. Best line in this section: "Can I have a red dress, too?" (585). She's not afraid to be herself or flaunt what she's got, and she's always hilarious about it. Brigitte was all cool and mysterious in T'A'R. As a human, she's just got so much flavor and personality. I love the pages about her.

Brigitte Silverbow
I'm not gonna say much about Gaidal Kane. I totally know things. And I always thought it was interesting that Elayne bonded her. It just put an interesting spin on the whole warder thing. I actually thought it was interesting that Elayne hadn't really known before this what ajah she would choose. As soon as she bonded Brigitte, she knew she'd have to choose green. It sort of decided things for her. I'd forgotten that. And the fact that it will be immensely frowned on by the Tower Aes Sedai makes it even better in my book. :D

Nynaeve, Elayne, Brigitte
5) Nynaeve is not acting much like herself. What do you think of her reaction to Brigitte's plight? How about being talked into being a human target and wearing revealing clothes?

Okay, you know I always defend Nynaeve, right? Yes, her reactions lately have been less than graceful. In terms of Brigitte, I think it shows that she has a heart and some humility. Don't get me wrong, I think Brigitte has the right of it: no one forced her to help Nynaeve and Elayne or violate the precepts of T'A'R, but the fact that Nynaeve feels so guilty shows that she's not arrogant (about that) or presumptuous. I am glad Brigitte put a stop to Nynaeve's simpering sooner, rather than later, though. As for the clothing, I think she's making it worse with her larger-than-life reactions. If she just accepted it as a costume, and the price of hiding in plain sight, she wouldn't have so much drama all the time.

'Nuff said.
6) Liandrin is not having such a great day. Are you surprised about where she's ended up? Where do you think she'll go from here?

No, not surprised. Ambition isn't a bad thing, but ambition to do evil stuff to good people always leaves you in the ditch eventually. Then there's the fact that she's just not very smart. From the beginning, she plotted to overthrow one of the Forsaken--not to fight evil and make the world a better place--but so she could take Moghedien's place in power. Now, Nynaeve is strong enough to take on one of the Forsaken. But we've never heard anything that says Liandrin is particularly strong in the power. At least, not anything out of the common way. But yet she thinks she can overpower one of the Forsaken? I think someone was absent the day they taught physics in the One Power Benchpressing class.

Masema, the Prophet
7) We finally learn the identity of the Prophet, and he's someone we've seen before. Were you surprised? What do you think of his new-found faith?

Ah, Masema. You're so weird. You started off being crabby and sullen. Sometimes downright nasty. The only borderlander in all of Randland with a chip on your shoulder. Now you've graduated to all-out stupidity. He's like a cult leader or something. Men and women shouldn't be distracted by one another or dress becomingly? Everyone should slog around in the crap rather than bathe, eat well, or do anything enlightened? Really? 'Cause that'll be a big help the Dark One shows up. Filthy, rioting peasants with medieval mindsets will make great soldiers in the Last Battle, don't you think?


How hysterical was it to watch Uno count his sentences in trying to make Nynaeve happy about the cursing? You gotta give him kudos for even attempting it. This sequence was always one of my faves.

And how about Valan Luca chasing Nynaeve around the campfire. Obviously he doesn't remotely stack up to Lan, so there's little chance of him winning Nynaeve, but I always sort of wanted Lan to show up and just look at Valan. The guy would totally wet himself if Lan even glanced his way.

And kudos for Thom and Juilin. Elayne finally told them everything and neither even considered leaving. Gotta love courage and loyalty like that. I also really liked Thom's remark about teaching Elayne to play the great Game of Houses: "I mean to see you mistress of Daes Dae'mar..." Gotta love Thom.

P.S. I participate in the Follow Friday meme every week. This past week the subject was casting your favorite book for a kickstarter campaign. Of course, I had to cast WoT. I never find actor/actresses that I think totally do the characters justice, but I took a stab at it. If you want to see what I came up with, the post is HERE.

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  1. I like how you point out that Elayne simply gave the a'dam a good think - she's not a genius or some savant when it comes to esoteric magical items, she just doesn't have all the inhibitions that permeate the White Tower.

    Too true about Nynaeve and her reactions to the dress pulling more attention to it and her than otherwise. It's just a costume - chill and blend in.

    I am totally not enjoying Masema - tho he does add another dangerous element to the story. Nynaeve is lucky she wasn't mutilated, hanged, or forcibly married off to someone of Masema's choosing.

  2. A bit late today! :s

    1. Death match? I'm just not betting against Nynaeve. Ever.

    2. Well, it's on the list of things to rediscover, so someone has to do it. I guess an a'dam wouldn't be my first choice, but if that's all she has, then... well... all in the name of science. (And actually, that's NOT all she has. There are dreaming ter'angreal about, too.)

    3. They're clearly trying to entice Rand into attacking Sammael, duping him into a circle ambush. Oh, if they had any idea how little effect they were having...

    4. I love Birgitte too :D. I'm glad she could join us, we'll see more of her this way, although the potential ramifications are pretty huge. Birgitte and Gaidal Cain are soulmates on a whole different level than anyone else, and now... what?

    5. Nynaeve's mission is life is to help others, and this might be the first time she caused someone else harm. Not directly or intended of course... but still. I do like seeing the non-bitchy side of her, rare as it is. She's a great character.

    (Oh, I like those sleeves. Very elegant.)

    6. I think and hope we might have witnessed Liandrin's last chapter as a relevant baddie, or a relevant character in any capacity. Unfortunately Moghedien, having taken her place, is about ten times more capable.

    7. I once read a nice theory about the trio of big good guys (Rand, Mat and Perrin) and how they fit the trio of bad guys (****, Fain and Slayer). (We'll meet **** later.) Rand and **** are neutral good and evil, Mat and Fain are chaotic good and evil, and Perrin and Slayer are both lawful. Sometimes I like to imagine that there's a third layer: the people who are fantastically out of touch with reality, so much that they might as well be darkfriends. In this category we find Elaida, Sevanna and, now, Masema. Unfortunately they don't fit the others very well, so I had to give that one up. :(

    But anyway, yeah, he's of that ilk.

    1. I agree that it's nice to see Nynaeve's less than know-it-all side sometimes, even if I do prefer her confident side. Cool theory. I love hearing stuff like that. So interesting! :D

    2. I like your idea of linking the main characters with neutral, chaotic, and lawful. For the ladies, I would have to say that Nynaeve strikes me as lawful, Elayne (with her latest foray into scientific study of the a'dam) as neutral. I'm not sure we have really met a chaotic good female character. Faile might be the closest. Perhaps whatever lady Mat eventually hooks up with long term might be. Interesting D&D way to look at things.

  3. 2. I agree with you that it is very odd that Elayne is the first Aes Sedai to unravel the weaving. I always imagined that the various things that could be done with the One Power were a combination of doing the correct weave and having the power to pour into the various strands, so I find it odd that nobody has worked out how they were made, even if they were not powerful enough to actually do it themselves. I imagine it is a little like changing a tire: I know how to do it but am not physically strong enough.

    3. LOL Losers! :D

    4. Birgitte is one of my favorite characters because she is so blunt and direct, with a dirty sense of humor and no illusions about how to relate to men. I also loved the red dress comment - I always imagine her terrifying men with her directness about sex and attraction.

    5. Nynaeve is so far outside her comfort zone at the moment that I am not surprised that she has finally cracked. I hope she will bounce back though, because she is so much more fun when she's grumpy.

    6. Liandrin is so dumb that it is funny. She is also blinkered about her weaknesses and totally unable to understand that she is no longer in charge of her life. Unlike the other Black Sisters, who are at least playing nice with Moghedien, she is stupid enough to work openly against a far more powerful opponent. I bet the others have laughed themselves sick about her attempts to take down one of the Forsaken . . . it is like a tiny kitten taking on a fully grown Siberian tiger in a bad mood!

    7. Yep - everyone starving to death and dying of cholera will be a great way to defeat the Dark One!

    I find Uno very endearing in his attempts to be less offensive around civilized people. It reminds me of my own efforts to say the letter 'h' at the beginning of words and getting it wrong because of my accent! :D

    To be honest, I think that Valen might wet himself if Nynaeve ever decides to let him catch her - he certainly doesn't know how to handle Birgitte and her repeated comments about him being a 'pretty man' . . .