Sunday, September 29, 2013

The Fires of Heaven Read-Along, Week 8

Welcome to week 8 of the Fires of Heaven Read-Along. This week, we covered chapters 44-49. Remember that everything up to and including those chapters is fair game for spoilers, so read at your own risk!

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?

Gotta love Mat's army. I think he's already coming to terms with it, in his own way. He definitely doesn't WANT to, but the fact that he just kind of shakes his head and walks away shows that, on some level at least, he's got some inkling that there's no running from it. He will accept it more consciously as the series goes on, but not for a long time, and he'll always fight against it at least somewhat. 


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?

I think he's doing just fine handling the nobles, better than most people would. I totally know who he wants to put on the throne, so I won't say. I did think it was interesting to see Colavere mentioned. Keep an eye on her, as she'll figure in more heavily as the story moves forward. 

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

Hmm. Can't remember for sure. Eventually we'll move into Illian, but I don't think that's until book 7. I think for now he's going to try and juggle what he has, and deal with what Forsaken show up, what Aes Sedai show their faces, etc. 

 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…

LOL. It's a little of everything, I think. Being cooped up, and the fear/pressure of having to hide is definitely part of it. They're climbing the walls, even if they're outside all the time. It's the psychological equivalent of being forced to stay in a small hotel room for weeks at a time. The world starts to close in and you feel helpless to stop it, so you just lash out. I know for me, when one thing is really weighing on me, I tend to get snappish about other things, especially with other women. Suddenly everything they do is annoying, things that normally wouldn't be a big deal are, etc. I think Jordan does a good job with this part. Nynaeve rages in her mind against everything and everyone, including Lan who is hundreds of miles away and who she hasn't seen in weeks (or months?). I thought this was hilarious, but also very true of stressed out and/or menstral women. Jordan doesn't mention moon cycles (what man would?), but I'm thinking that probably played a role here too.

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

Perhaps, but I don't think there was any way to know that before hand. She wanted two different groups searching for a ship for her, which makes a certain amount of sense, especially considering that Masema acted as though he'd forgotten the request the moment she left his presence. There was no way to know that they'd both fight for the same ship and come to blows over it. If she'd known that both would be so diligent in their searches, she could have avoided the situation by just assigning one of them, but again, there really wasn't any way to foresee that. Besides which, we have angry, starving people who pretty much hate one another's guts. they were going to riot over something eventually. The "situation" may have been inevitable at some point, whether Nynaeve was involved or not.

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

Right now? Not many. Lan could. Maybe a few of the great generals like Agelmar of the borderlands, Gareth Bryne, perhaps, and I'd venture to guess Davram Bashere, though we haven't officially met him yet. One of the Forsaken perhaps? As time goes on, other characters (I won't name names because that would be indescreet *coughs* Rand) will become blademasters in their own rights, but the list is pretty small right now. I'll admit that I did enjoy seeing Galad kick some butt with his sword and earn the respect of the Borderlanders, even if I don't agree with his political ideas.

"To Dance with Jack O' the Shadows

Totally loved the Aiel celebration after the battle. Thought that was awesome! This quote: "A Celebration of still being alive. One more time they had walked under the Dark One's nose and survived to tell the tale. One more dance along the razor's edge finished. Almost dead yesterday, maybe dead tomorrow, but alive, gloriously alive today." (pg. 717)

Anybody else loving the Jack o' the Shadows songs? They always make me smile. 

I really liked that Nynaeve stood up for the refugees, forcing the captain of the ship to take them to safety. The three who decided to follow her and Elayne were interesting. Keep an eye on those names for the future. And they're finally heading toward Salidar, which I'm excited about. There's bound to be some braid-yanking in the future, don't you think? :D

How did everyone else like this section?


  1. When TOR put out their Facebook banners before the AMOL release they had great pictures but pretty lame quotes in my opinion. Don't click this link if you don't want spoilers:

    Especially Egwene's and Rand's ("I am the dragon reborn!"—such timeless wisdom) need improvement. I wish they had gone with the "alive, gloriously alive" for Mat, but I guess the dice is his signature saying after all.

    1. I can totally see Mat carrying that as his banner! :D

  2. 1. Oh no, Mat's spear has a bit of a bend in it! Sorry, but I couldn't help myself!!! :D

    2. I ran out of eyes to keep on secondary characters a very long time ago, but I will try to remember the name as we go forward with Cairhien politics.

    3. True, settling Tear and Cairhien into a relatively peaceful autumn is going to be a lot of work, and making sure that everyone gets fed, clothed, etc. This concern for the practicalities of life is one of the things that I really appreciate in any Fantasy title, because it adds to the realism and keeps me believing in the world.

    4. I've always wondered how on Earth nunneries ever function because all those women locked up together must be like a box full of cats! :D

    5. I certainly don't blame Nynaeve, she was trying to find a way out, and it was probably inevitable anyway. However, I still feel like Galad could have handled the situation in a far less inflammatory way. It seems to sum up the Whitecloak attitude at the moment: they are right, everyone else is wrong and the Light help those who get caught in the middle. Sadly, so many religions end up being twisted into allowing armies ignore the common man and trample him underfoot.

    I agree with you about the post-battle celebrations. They seemed very authentic to me and showed how soldiers have to live in the moment and take what enjoyment they can from the present. I guess this is one reason why condoms are always a significant part of soldiers rations - and not just because they are good as water carriers and for keeping your matches dry!