Sunday, October 13, 2013

Fires of Heaven Read-Along, Week 10 (Final Week)


Welcome to the final week of the Fires of Heaven Read-Along. We've come to the end of book 5. Next week we will begin book 6, Lord of Chaos. If you'd like to join, check out this post for schedule. Today we read the final four chapters of book 5. Remember that everything in this section and leading up to it is fair game for spoilers, so read at your own risk!

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1. As soon as they get to Caemlyn, Rahvin lashes out, killing Mat, Aviendha, and Asmodean. Later, after Rand balefires him, the recoil in the Pattern brings them back to life. How did you feel about this roller coaster twist? Did you see it coming?

I remember being really shocked the first time I read it in high school. In fact, I don't think I totally got it. I read about Aviendha being still and Mat's boots smoking, but I just thought they were hurt. It wasn't until several paragraphs later when Rand specifically thinks about them being dead that I actually realized what had happened. I had to go back and read it again. But, at that point, I sort of figured something would happen to bring them back. They're both two important to kill off mid-series. I read as fast as I could to figure out what that thing was, but still. :D

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2. Rahvin had a rough afternoon, not that he didn't deserve it. First he got his face--one to rival Galad's apparently--melted off. Then he got disintegrated out of existence. How did you feel about how Rand handled Rahvin's execution?

I had no problems with the way he handled it. Yes, he needs to be careful with balefire, but making it so the Forsaken never existed can only be positive, in my opinion. Plus, using balefire brought Mat and Aviendha back. Yeah, I'm okay with that. :D




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3. Nynaeve captured Moghedien. Again. With an a'dam. What do you think about holding one of the Forsaken hostage with the metal device? What's your opinion of Moghedien after seeing her at Nynaeve's mercy in this section?

I think Moghedien deserved a taste of her own medicine. We finally got to see just how human she is and that she can weep and squeal with the best of them when she doesn't have saidar to do her bidding. This is the least thing justice calls for. And we can see that Nynaeve has further plans for her captive. Which is awesome. Just sayin'.

4. Nynaeve has now openly battled two Forsaken, capturing Moghedien and full on attacking Rahvin, even after being told that he was far stronger than she, being in T'A'R in the flesh. Do you think her actions were foolish or wise? What further role do you think she'll play in the story?

Logistically, probably foolish. But that's exactly why I love Nynaeve. She's ridiculously brave. And yes, at times it borders on foolish, but her fearlessness might have saved Rand in this case, and somehow she always comes out on top. This is why she's pretty much the only woman who can marry Lan. She's the only who, like him, is fearless/foolish enough to rush the oncoming Shadow even if there's no chance of survival. 

As for her role, let's just say Nynaeve's not going anywhere. We're already getting the feeling that she may just be Rand's equal counterpart in the power. He's going to need her a lot going forward. Besides, we'll need lots more of her comic relief before the end. 

5. Rand relayed Lan's message. Do you think Nynaeve will listen? Do you think Rand will follow his own advice and stay away from Elayne?

I'd say no on both counts. When has Nynaeve any done what anyone advised her to do if it was against her own desires? And as for Rand, we've already seen three women in his future. Not two. So...

Davram Bashere (and wife)
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6. Davrim Bashere (that's Faile's father, for those who missed it) shows up in Caemlyn and offers his services and (practically) an alliance with his country. What do you think his motivations are? Do you trust him?

I won't say much about Bashere, having already read it. I do seem to remember not trusting him much the first time I read it. He conveniently appears out of nowhere and is one of the first people to seems keen on offering Rand his services without ulterior motives. At least, none that we've seen so far.

On the other hand, the fact that he's a Borderlander gets him brownie points in my book. Saldea isn't a land we've spent much time in yet, but even so. Borderlanders seem to have more honor and common sense concerning the Shadow than most. We've seen far less manipulation and jockeying for power in these lands, and almost no Game of Houses.

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7. The murder of Asmodean! This was such a big deal on the forums. It drove fans nuts for many thousands of pages. Who do you think killed him and why?

You know, I'm not even sure I remember. Hehe. I know it's revealed eventually, and I think I remember who. I just can't remember the details. What are everyone else's guesses?

Morgase and Tallanvor (her sigil is 3
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8. Morgase is determined to get her throne back, and to not look at Tallanvor with his well-turned calves as a man, apparently. How do you think she'll fare in either battle?

Whether she'll win back her throne remains to be seen. (Not telling.) But it's already not looking hopeful for her keeping Tallanvor at arm's length. Not when she admires his body like that and has to convince herself of her own motivations. We see this a lot with many of Jordan's characters, especially the women: them trying to convince themselves of something when it's obvious that that's exactly what's happening. Besides, with Gareth Bryne's attentions on Siuan and "Gaebril" no longer in existence, Morgase needs a new paramour, right?


Extras:
Rand al'Thor
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I loved that Nynaeve was shrewd enough to figure out who Moghedien was posing as. She's one of the women who found Nynaeve and Elayne on the boat and followed them to Salidar, which is why Eivind and I made such a big deal about that. The image of Moghedien winking out of T'A'R looking terrified is priceless.

I love what Rand says about Mat: that even if he accepts his fate, he'll probably never stop complaining about it. Rand knows his friend very well. :D

We also get an idea of how much Rand has changed at the end of this book. Even for us as readers, the change has been somewhat gradual, if definitely noticeable. Nynaeve, though, hasn't seen him in months. She describes him as very different than the boy she followed out of the Two Rivers, which a hard face and cold eyes. Interesting to see the changes in him from the eyes of another who was with him in Emmond's Field. 

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What did everyone else think of the end of Book 5?

9 comments :

  1. 1. Full disclosure here, when I first read this part this flew right over my head. Hey, Moiraine had just DIED, and I was very eager to get to the end. I didn't even notice that they had fallen. I only found that out later when I read some discussion on a forum somewhere. So, uh, no… I didn't see it coming, and I also didn't see it going.

    (WoT is very difficult in this way, for me at least. Especially around books 8-10 the first 70-80% of each book is deceptively skimmable, but Robert Jordan isn't in the business of loudly trumpeting every important thing that happens. I guess it's easier for you audio people.)

    I guess it feels a bit like cheapening death scenes, and Moiraine just told us of the time-reversing effects of balefire in the beginning of the book. But I don't mind that much. It was very riveting to watch Rand in maniac mode. And, let's just say, something happened here that has unexpected ramifications down the road.

    2. I guess Rand might not have made it if Nynaeve weren't there. He was clearly out of his mind at seeing friend and girlfriend dead (though I guess Aviendha is more of an «it's complicated»), and while Rand's a dangerous foe, I don't think he was in control of the situation. When Nynaeve intervened he was possibly losing, or at the very least not winning. I suppose the moral to take away from this is that Rand needs to better control his emotions, which in some sense is both right and wrong.

    3. So I guess Moghedien is just a coward at heart. Though… maybe I'm being too hard on her. Certainly wandering into a melee between two of the most powerful channelers in the world, one of which is a homicidal maniac, and the other one of which is a… well… homicidal maniac (albeit hopefully temporarily) sounds risky even for normal people. And of the two, only Nynaeve had any incentive to join in.

    4. There's the idea that the novice is more likely than the expert to do the impossible, because the novice doesn't know what's impossible. I think Nynaeve is one of those rare people with blatant disregard for what's supposed to be possible or not, and I can respect that. Foolish, perhaps. Necessary, very likely. Effective, no doubt.

    I can't really say anything about her further role without revealing very much. If, indeed, she manages to capture Moghedien she's still stuck in Salidar doing her chores, studying healing, teaching Aes Sedai and Siuan about T'A'R and trying to heal Siuan, Leane and Logain. Lan will presumably make his way to her somehow, somewhen. And, of course, something will have to happen in Salidar to get those people in motion instead of just sitting around. We'll know more about that soon enough.

    Ask about Nynaeve's future role again around book 9 maybe. :D

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    1. My comment was too long, LOL.

      5. If you think Nynaeve will listen you must have not read any Nynaeve chapters, ever. Rand and Elayne is a bit more difficult, perhaps. Though I doubt Elayne will listen any more than Nynaeve will, I expect Rand is more capable of shutting himself away than Lan is (for better or worse).

      6. For some reason I never doubted that Bashere was totally loyal (at least not until the thing at the place *cough*). I suppose that just happening to be in Caemlyn with a decently sized army, his quest now over thanks to Rand, he was just ta'veren'd into service. Let's hope Perrin gets off his ass and gets back into the story soon… this will be a very interesting meeting.

      Bashere, for those who don't know, is one of the five «great captains», pretty much the most brilliant military minds in Randland, excepting places like Seanchan, Shara, or the Shadow's side, and also excepting Mat, who is not yet common knowledge. The others are Agelmar, Lord of Fal Dara, whom you met in book one, Gareth Bryne, now in charge of the rebel Aes Sedai army, Pedron Niall, the Lord Captain Commander of the Whitecloaks, and last but definitely not least (trust me on this one) there's Rodel Ituralde, the Little Wolf of Arad Doman, whom we have not yet met. They will all have their roles to play.

      7. I've been waiting for this one for a while now. You can't really have claimed to have read WoT without fretting over this, probably the most discussed and overanalyzed mystery in the series. Which is funny, because Robert Jordan never intended it to be a «thing». Apparently all the theories about it were amusing him so much he just refused to say who did it. He even claimed the answer to be «intuitively obvious», but seeing this from the reader's point of view was not one of his virtues.

      List of people who have been accused of murdering Asmodean: all the forsaken (including the dead ones), Moiraine (somehow reincarnated or brought back temporarily, whichever one you believe), any PoV character who does not explicitly wonder (in his or her thoughts) later on where Asmo/Natael could be, Lews Therin (having taken control of Rand's body so that Rand doesn't remember it later on), any kind of minion (trolloc, myddraal, draghkar, gray man, darkhound, darkfriend, Slayer himself), Padan Fain, the Creator or the Dark One, Bela, Mazrim Taim, the Green Man (wow), and of course all the characters who are introduced later in the story just to make things extra difficult.

      Though I should point out that Asmodean instantly recognised his killer as someone who was both able to kill him and who had the motive to do so, and RJ also said at some point that the killer has both appeared in the books prior to the murder, and has been explicitly given a name. This narrows down the suspect list by quite a bit. There are some clues later on, too, and I will try to point them out as they appear. :)

      In particular I'd like to hear Sue's theory, since she's been right so many times. If she can get this one before even starting book 6 I'd be positively amazed. I don't care if she doesn't know, I just want a guess… haha.

      8. Seems like she's losing both for the moment. :( :) :( :)

      So let's do another forsaken roll call! Alive are: Mesaana, Demandred and Semirhage, unmet and whereabouts/aliases unknown. Sammael hanging out in Illian and Graendal who is allegedly in Arad Doman are also alive, the only remaining members of the clique. In addition to this, Moghedien is presumably captured (though we didn't see it happen), and Lanfear is if not dead at least incapacitated.

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    2. I totally agree with you about Nynaeve not caring about what "should" be. It's one o the things I love about her. I think you have a point about being too harsh with Moghedien--anyone would be afraid in that situation, unless they're awesome like Nynaeve--but I think it's satisfying because she's always such a douche to everyone. It's nice to see that she's human and can be made to feel fear as much as the next woman (uh, again, excepting Nynaeve sometimes.)

      LOL. Bashere--the thing at the place. Gotcha.

      It would be so great if Bela just decided she'd had enough and killed Asmodean. Some fans list Bela as their favorite character, so I'm sure they were rooting for that possibility. But then, I doubt Asmodean would have known who she was, or spoken to her as he would a person. "You?" "Neigh!"

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    3. 1. Skimming is one thing I find very difficult to do no matter what the book, but with ones as complex as this I would be terrified of missing something important. The fact that I probably miss the important bits anyway is beside the point! I find that one interesting side-effect of doing a read along is that I read the text in much more detail and absorb a lot more. I am not sure if this is because of the questions and needing to think about what I have read or the simple process of reading so much more slowly.

      3. I love the way that Moghedien is so 'normal' and is always making mistakes - I don't really feel very sorry for her, but it does make her more interesting.

      4. Nynaeve is so thoughtless and instinctive that she never considers failure as a possible outcome . . . I wonder if she will have a panic attack after she gets out of Tel'aran'rhiod and runs around Salidar to find the disguised Moghedien?

      6. Knowing that Bashere is from the Borderlands I assumed that he would be somewhat similar to Agelmar in his outlook. I'm intrigued by the concept of the Great Captains, but I hope that the others are slightly less annoying than Pedron Niall, who is definitely not helping the fight against the Dark One very much.

      7. Well now you have me thinking . . . I had decided that it had to be Sammael or Graedal, but now that you mention Bela I will have to go away and give this some serious thought!!!! :D

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    4. The audiobooks definitely force me to read at the narrators's pace. No skimming for me. But still, I miss stuff. In fact Liesel made a comment and I was like, huh? How did I miss THAT?

      In some ways, I have to say Moghedien was the only one counseling the use of common sense in that fight - namely, 'get the hell out of their way!'.

      Personally, I like the idea of Bela taking out Asmodean. I am totally going to back that theory up until proven wrong.

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  2. Here we go, my linkity link:

    http://coffeecookiesandchilipeppers.blogspot.com/2013/10/the-fires-of-heaven-by-robert-jordan_13.html

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  3. 1. I agree that the thought of Mat and Aviendha being truly dead was unimaginable, and so I couldn't take it seriously.

    4. I hadn't really thought of Nynaeve as an equivalent to Rand, but now that you mention it I can see what you mean. They are both very powerful and yet act mostly on instinct, which has served them well so far, but for how long?

    Because of Tel'aran'rhiod, it is difficult to remember that Nynaeve and Rand have not actually seen each other in a long time, so her shock was somewhat of a surprise even though it was totally understandable.

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  4. I absolutely love Bella! She is the ultimate supporting cast member. She is always around to support someone and almost everyone has ridden here (Siuan being the only to have a negative experience there). I think it would be great if Asmodean opens the closet door to find Bella there waiting for him. She obviously would be the only animal capable of wielding saidar. There is more to Bella than meets the eye! POTENTIAL SPOILER! Bella is the only character that I got emotional about when in the last book she makes her "contribution" to the war effort.

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  5. I hadn't really thought of Nynaeve as being equal to Rand in power until you pointed it out. They both have handicaps, and both have done things beyond what was expected of them.....Hmmm... should be interesting to see how that plays out.

    Another good point about Bashere and the borderlands - more common sense, seen more of the Shadows and their spawn, and hence, a stronger sense of honor. I hope those things hold true, because if they don't Faile is going to want to be first in line to kick her dad's arse.

    I can't see Morgase going too long without a man to help warm her bed. She has needs and I think that is healthy in a slightly older woman.

    Sorry it took me several days to get over here. Crazy weekend and week.

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