Spoilers for books 1-5 | More info and previous posts |Please no spoilers for future books/events
In my plan to read The Wheel of Time, and post about my experience, I’m now on book 5, The Fires of Heaven. This post covers chapter 51-56.
News Comes to Cairhien
Rand is trying to relax a bit, but some lady or the other is trying and failing to charm him with her wiles and her firm bosom, and succeeding in irritating him. A swift reminder about who and what he is sends her scurrying back though. Rand returns inside to a meeting with a bunch of lords. Rand has started sending the Aiel away, to Tear, in preparation for fighting Sammael, but the Lords want them still, to fight bandits and the Andormen who have claimed half of Cairhien. Gaebril’s doing, no doubt. Some harsh words to ensure they follow his orders, and Rand dismisses them.
Egwene, Moiraine and Aviendha come next. Rand is angry that they don’t fully share the news and the sources they get it from, ie, Tel’aran’rhiod, but the women are unperturbed by his irritation. Nynaeve gives him a couple of letter – one from Elaida, informing him that a bunch of Aes Sedai will be coming to escort him to the Tower (as if!), and one from Alviarin of the Black Ajah, telling him that she’s totally on her side. I don’t think Rand will fall for it.
Mat comes next. Apparently he’s been in more battles – this time with Andoran soldiers, and his fame continues to grow. The big shocker is the news that Morgase is dead. I’m sure this is because Morgase actually ran away from Caemlyn, and so Rahvin has just declared her dead and crowned himself than bother finding her. Rand doesn’t know all this though. As he sees it, his decision to ignore Rahvin in favor of attacking Sammael has led to Elayne’s mother being killed. He’s really angry now, both at himself and Rahvin; and decides on the spot to go and kill him. Moiraine, Egwene and Aviendha decide to accompany him, overriding his objections. Rand gives himself the night to cool off and regain his calm before going on the offensive. Mat tries to walk away, but Rand is in no mood to hear no, and basically orders him to do… stuff, which we don’t know because the scene shifts.
Back in his rooms, Mat is fuming. It seems Rand has ordered him to take command of the forces in Tear. He’s blathering about not being a hero as usual, but I’m sure he’ll end up doing exactly what Rand tells him to. Melindhra comes in, and she’s not pleased that he’s taking orders from Rand. He tells her that he’s going to Tear, and she attack him. Is this how Aiel women show anger? But no, something is wrong, this is much more serious. She takes out a knife, but Mat is faster, and she falls with a dagger to the heart. He crawls to her, asking “Why?”. Darkfriend. Howerver unbelievable that sounds for an Aiel, I’m sure that’s what she is. Even dying, she tries to stab him, but the knife strikes the foxhead medallion, and shatters. The dagger has bees on it. The Golden Bees of Illian. She was working for Sammael? Did she already have orders to kill him, or did she decide to do it only on learning Mat was going to Tear?
The next morning, Rand is getting ready and chatting with Aviendha about this and that, when Asmodean enters and asks to be included in the party – to show his loyalty. Or find a chance to switch his loyalty at the right moment? He departs, and Aviendha magically pinches Rand’s bum, to keep his head from swelling too much. What is up with all this childish stuff, spankings and pinched bottoms? Are you a grown woman or not? Anyway, Rand returns the jab and then Mat puts a serious face on things by telling his story, and that he intends to accompany him. Also, Rand’s Maiden guards are missing. They would never do that on their own. What’s going on?
But for now, Moiraine and Egwene meet them. Moiraine hands Rand two letters – one for him, and one to be delivered to Thom. And then she asks him to accompany her to the docks. Okay, something is definitely off. The maidens gone, then this.
On the docks, we see the party arrive from Kadere’s POV, and then Keille appears, as if by magic. Which she probably did, because she’s bloody Lanfear. What does she plan now? So far, nothing more than to interrogate Kadere on Rand’s doings inside the wagon.
Rand is still asking what Moiraine wants to show him, and getting no answer, when Kadere’s wagon explodes. Lanfear – back in her normal form – steps out, and she is very angry. It seems Kadere told her about Rand and Aviendha. Shit, shit, shit! Oh my god, I am so scared right now, I’ve got goosebumps. Time slows, Moiraine and Lan try to attack Lanfear, but she jsut swats them like so many flies. I always knew this jealous love of Lanfear would cause trouble, but this… Lanfear proceeds to kill the Aiel and anyone else caught near her. Rand channels, he tries to save them, he erects some sort of dome enclosing him and Lanfear, and tries to attack her. Egwene and Aviendha are with him, together they try to attack Lanfear, but she’s too strong. She too strong! She tortures Egwene and Aviendha, and suddenly Rand severes her flows – Lew Therin’s memories, maybe? Okay, this is better. Rand goes on the offensive, attacking again and again only to have his attempts foiled, but moving ever closer in the hope of a physical blow.
But that doesn’t work, Lanfear realises his plan, and she goes on the offensive, trying to shield him from saidin itself, and though Rand beats off her attacks, each time she’s coming ever closer to shielding him completely. This is not going well at all. More torture. Rand is unwilling, even now, to kill her, because she’s a woman. DO IT DAMN YOU!! DO IT!
Moiraine gains consciousness. Yes, a surprise attack could work. Rand is laughing and crying now. Moiraine has apparently been dreaming about Lanfear since Rhuidean. But she seems to have a plan, she’s left something for Lanfear to find, an angreal or ter’angreal, something. And then she jumps, and then she and Lanfear go through the door ter’angreal.
What? What just happened? And why is Rand telling Lan that he can’t go after Moiraine? Of course they can! She’s only gone into the other world! But something is wrong, the doorframe is glowing, shooting lightning, melting… Nononono, this can’t be it. Moiraine will be back. Lan can’t feel her, but surely that is only because she went into another dimension. She’ll be back, she has to be alive! She’ll find a way. The Tower of Ghenjei! Yes, Birgitte told Perrin it was some sort of gateway to the world of those fox people. Moiraine has a way back. She cannot be dead, damnit! Okay, timeout for a while.
The Wise Ones tell Rand that Egwene, though alive, is not in a fit state to go with Rand. Rand tells them that Moiriaine is dead (nonono), and Amys tells her that Rand is a fool. Yes, maybe she knows about Moiraine’s plan. She had to have a plan. But why is Lan feeling the bond shift to Nynaeve (though she doesn’t know it’s her yet)? Rand goes into a hut and opens Moiraine’s letter. Yes, she foresaw all this, back in the arches in Rhuidean. But why doesn’t she say anything about returning? This can’t be it. I’m so sorry I talked about things happening and action and excitement in the last post. I’ll happily read all the rambling and flashbacks and braid tugging, just let Moiraine not be dead. Oh man.
The second letter, of course, Must be to Thom, because Moiraine promised to help him avenge his dead nephew. Rand is blaming himself for her death – as well he should. Damnit man, you’re fighting to save the world, you can’t afford to have this not killing women nonsense! Sulin arrives, and at least explains the missing maidens. Apparently they’re pissed that Rand has been trying to keep them from harm, and thus dishonoring them. Rand finally agrees to let them take risks and fight, and that makes her happy.
Rand returns to the palace. A flashback to the Wise Ones telling Aviendha that much would be easier if she had succeeded by now. But she has, hasn’t she? Rand has totally fallen for her. Or is her actual mission something else? Something to ponder.
For now, Rand opens up a huge portal, and he and all the hundreds of Aiel ride through some sort of void to Caemlyn on a platform that he conjures. One poor guy falls off along the way. Seriously? How careless do you have to be to fall off a platform that you know is flying through bloody endless blackness? They arrive, yet again at the palace wall that both he and Mat have used to enter the palace.
But something is wrong here too. It’s a trap! Trollocs and Fades attack, and lightning starts flashing. Rand weaves some sort of shield, but it is too late. Mat is dead. Aviendha. No, no, no! You cannot be doing this to me Mr. Jordan! Not after Moiraine! Aaaaahhh!!!
Rand, sharing my anger and frustration, opens a portal inside the palace, and rushes to kill Rahvin.
…and we cut to Nynaeve and Siuan derping around in Tel’aran’rhiod. Seriously? Must.. not.. skip.. pages. Nynaeve has been trying to teach Siuan, but they get into an argument and a fight – actual pummeling with fists sort of fight – before they realise the stupidity of it, and then Nynaeve spots a face for a moment, which spooks her. She tells Siuan to go back, but when she doesn’t, she yanks off the ring from her, which somehow breaks Siuan’s connection to Tel’aran’rhiod and she disappears, while Nynaeve herself travels to the village of Jurene.
With the way things have been going for the protagonists, I wouldn’t be surprised if Moghedien found Nynaeve now. And she does. Fuck! Moghedien is toying with Nynaeve, when Birgitte appears, but forewarned by her shout, Moghedien evades the arrow and somehow turns Birgitte into a little child. Nynaeve crawls to Moghedien on her knees, begging for mercy, and then she conjures an a’dam around Moghedien, and restores Birgitte. Yes! I don’t know how Nynaeve did it, but she’s got Moghedien into a damane like control. But why are they standing around bloody chatting to her, instead of killing her ASAP? Didn’t you learn your lesson Nynaeve? The woman is too dangerous! Anyway, Nynaeve finds out about Rahvin’s trap for Rand, and while Birgitte wakes up, she takes Moghedien to Caemlyn, though still in Tel’aran’rhiod, so I don’t know how she expects to help Rand, unless she hopes to catch Rahvin sleeping or something.
Balefire = Awesome
Rand is stalking around in the palace, searching for Rahvin, who’s apparently playing it stealthy – taking potshots at Rand then running off. Rand’s memories of Lews Therin are bubbling up again, and I’m honestly a bit afraid for his sanity. He dispatches some soldiers, and then Rahvin attacks again, this time with Balefire. Rand returns fire, but Rahvin has already disappeared.
Into Tel’aran’rhiod, which is what Ishamael also tried, back in Tear, except now Rand doesn’t have Callandor. Rand follows, and finds himself growing misty and insubstantial. At first he thinks it’s Lews Therin tying to take over, but soon realises it’s Rahvin trying to exploit the mind-over-matter nature of dream world. Also, Rahvin doesn’t realise but he’s made a mistake, because Nynaeve will arrive here too now, and can help Rand. She can’t channel much herself, because of the low grade ter’angreal, but she does have Moghedien on a leash.
Rand draws on saidin, calling lightning strikes all over the place. Nynaeve and Moghedien arrive on the scene. Moghedien is unwilling to venture forth though, because Rahvin is stronger than her, and even more now that he’s here in the flesh. But Nynaeve holds her leash now, and she is not one to back up. A spot of torture to persuade Moghedien, and they’re off again.
Rand is losing the fight. Rahving attacks him, turning air to water and conjuring fish to wound him, and though Rand fends off that attack, he is wounded. And walks into another trap. Rahvin is now trying to change him into some sort of animal to prevent him from channeling. Rand struggles against it, but he’s losing. That time, he had Callandor to help him, but now, his inexperience with Tel’aran’rhiod is showing. But finally, Nynaeve finds Rahvin, and attacks him. She doesn’t manage to kill him, but Rand, finally freed and finally aware of Rahvin’s location thanks to the fire Nynaeve conjured, balefires him out of existence. Phew, that was close.
Rand goes to meet Nynaeve, who heals him and confirms Rahvin’s death, and tells him to return to the normal world ASAP, which he does. And then, instead of killing or stilling Moghedien as any sane person would do, Nynaeve decides to let her go! She does feed her forkroot, and plans to find her wherever she’s hiding in Salidar on waking (maybe one of the three women following her?). A good plan, but I would much rather she just kill her right then and there.
Rand returns to find the battle with the Trollocs still raging, and he tears into them with balefire. YES! Balefire can undo stuff! It works, Aviendha, and Mat and Asmodean are back to life again. Oh thank god. But Moiraine… Rand’s thoughts seem to be directed at me:
Take what you can have. Rejoice in what you can save, and do not mourn your losses too long.
I officially love Balefire.
To wrap up, Davram Bashere (who I just remembered is Faile’s dad) comes and when Rand tells him of his plan to unify the world, he tells Rand that he’s read the Prophecies of the Dragon, and Saldaea will support him. Rand also declares that he will support and teach any men who can channel so they may help in the struggles to come. That won’t give you any points with Elaida though dude.
Asmodean is killed by some unknown person, who he does recognise. One of the Forsaken hiding around maybe?
Morgase is out looking for an army still after find Gareth Bryne gone from Kore Springs, unaware that Rand has already taken care of it for her.
And that concludes book five. I hope these back to back posts make up for the infrequent updates over the last few days. Oh my god, I was complaining about it being boring last time, but the final part was almost too intense. I literally could not stop reading. Also, I still can’t believe that Moiraine is dead. She was one of my favorite characters. No, I refuse to believe it. That thing that she had Lanfear wearing, there had to have been some reason for it. She wouldn’t just suicide instead of planning something, right? RIght?