Sunday, October 6, 2013

The Fires of Heaven Read-Along, Week 9

Welcome to week 9 of The Fires of Heaven Read-Along! This week we read chapters 50-53. Remember that everything up to and including this section is fair game for spoilers, so read at your own peril!

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?

Brigitte's identity is one of those things that will become apparent over time to those who care to look and will believe, but plenty of people will look straight at the signs and never see it. Or just never believe it. I wouldn't want to be in Brigitte's shoes if the Salidar Aes Sedai found out. She'd be grilled, prodded with the power, and possibly experimented on. But I don't think it's a huge worry. They're exactly the kind of people that will look right at her and decide she's some foolish woman who's a Brigitte wannabe. It wouldn't ever occur to most of them that she might actually be the woman of legend.

2) What good, if any, will come out of Siuan's and Nynaeve's agreement? Is Nynaeve smoking leave and reaching for the stars?

Um...I'm gonna go with yes--to the first question--and no to the second. But I totally know what comes next so I'll leave it at that. :D

Elayne and Min had a little heart to heart. How do you think this will affect their relationship in the future?

It was surprisingly non-cat-fight-ish. I think they've both had so long so let the idea percolate and decide whether having Rand was worth sharing him, that the first confrontation went about as smoothly as anyone could hope for. I did have to laugh at the comment about their "other sister" who is "taking care" of Rand for them. Shouldn't that fact alone lead them to a certain conclusion? Just sayin'.

4) What do you think of Rand's latest ways of dealing with the never-ending parade of court ladies?

I thought it was pretty funny. He was really hard on himself, as though he was was despicable for "frightening women." But any woman who just wants to jump in his bed and spy on him for one of the manipulative rulers kind of deserves it, in my opinion.

Elaida and Alviarin
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?

I thought the two letters did an awesome job of showing how divided the Tower is, and not just between Tar Valon and Salidar. The letter from Alviarin makes it pretty obvious that she's pull strings over and under and in all directions around Elaida. That alone would make me not trust either letter. Might as well just turn himself over to Lanfear. Know what I mean? I think receiving the letters will make him more cautious. Beyond that, I guess we'll see. :D

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 something like that will always change a person. But will he become a depressed person now? No. Stop being a trickster, son of battles or ladies man? Not likely. I've never been able to decide whether it was something in that last encounter that triggered it. If she was working for Sammael (as evidenced by the dagger) then she might have had standing orders to gain his trust and then kill him. It always felt to me like she walked into the room planning to do it. If it WAS something he said, likely it was where he was planning to go. It was right after he told her that she suddenly drew the blade.

Okay, terrible picture, I know. It looks like they're BFFs
sailing happily through the doorway, but it's the only pic
I could find of this scene.
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?

Can't say much about this one. Maybe pay attention to the fact that Lan says, "She's gone. I can no longer feel her presence." A good assumption she's dead, then, right? Just think about it a bit. And it might be a good time to review things she and Thom have said to each other, clear back in book 3 I think, and any dreams Perrin or Egwene have had that include Thom. I think we've seen a couple. Anyway, I'm excited to read everyone else's theories. :D

Maidens of the Spear
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?

To a certain extent. I think he's more accepting of the Maidens at least, from here on out, but he doesn't ever lose his struggle with it. I think Sulin did a good job presenting her case, though. She made so many great points, and I loved that they were all waiting for him when he emerged. Such a great scene! As for Moiraine, he did make several comments about how he'd been unwilling to kill one and got the other killed. Let's hope that helps get him over his fear of killing evil people just because they happen to be women. There are plenty more female Forsaken still alive he'll need to get rid of.


Ah the end of book 5. Who'd have thought we'd ever see Lan cry? So stinkin' sad! And Moiraine, of course. I thought Jordan did a really interesting thing with her character. She stopped trying to control Rand and just accepted that she could only guide him--kind of like mastering saidar--and only then did she die. It was almost like she reached some kind of transcendence. The question is whether she reached that point because of what she saw in Rhuidean, or was it time for her to die because she reached the transcendence? Given her life-long quest, I thought it fitting that she went out fighting a powerful (and very annoying) female Forsaken.

Despite how much I loathed Kadere, I did sort of feel some sympathy for him in the end. No one deserves to have their skin removed whole and tossed around by Lanfear.

And it's on to battle Rahvin! Do we really think he's gonna last long against a very pissed-off Rand?

What did everyone else think of this section?


  1. Ha! Yes, Elayne and Min thinking of Aviendha taking care of Rand and not even suspecting that the third might be this 'wild' warrior woman. I guess they each has their own thoughts about what type of woman is suitable for Rand. That pic you posted makes Min look like she is in jogging clothes heading off to the gym. I had to giggle at that.

    I was wondering if something might click with Mat or Rand about what, if anything, triggered Melindrha to attack Mat. I was hoping that would feed into Rand's decisions on what to do next, but I guess it is one of those little mysteries that doesn't really affect the plot and gives the in-depth reader something to contemplate.

    I don't know if Lan would be able to feel her bond if Moiraine ended up in Tel'aran'rhiod. She may no longer have a corporeal existence - kind of like Birgitte before she was tossed out into the world.

    Lan comes from a warrior race like the Aiel, and like them, he probably sees no shame in shedding tears over a fallen warrior. It was interesting that Rand could not let go of his upbringing concerning tears even when this was pointed out to him by Aiel.

  2. 1. Just imagine if Elvis turned up saying "Hi, I'm Elvis!" Everyone would assume he was a fraud, and I'm pretty sure the same is true for Birgitte.

    3. I was also surprised by the lack of hair pulling and the generally sensible attitude on display - perhaps this shows that the three wife arrangement can actually work.

    5. How dumb are the Aes Sedai? they know that Rand has had dealings with Moiraine for a prolonged period and yet they still write these letters and expect him to believe every word they say rather than laughing and throwing them in the fire?