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Lucky number five! When I first attempted reading the series, book five was where I abandoned The Wheel of Time for a year or so. But at the time of writing this, I just finished book number eight, The Path of Daggers. So it’s taking a bit of racking around in my brain to formulate my thoughts on this book.
The Fires of Heaven by Robert Jordan is the book where we see a drastic change in the dynamics between the characters. I enjoyed reading how each of them had to grow up, no longer being the simple country folk from Emond Fields. Instead, the emergence of the Dragon Reborn has been creating rifts in the White Tower and across the nation. This does not allow them to remain removed from the situation even if they want to because their connection to Rand puts them at risk.
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THE FIRES OF HEAVEN BY ROBERT JORDAN
BOOK FIVE OF THE WHEEL OF TIME
The bonds and wards that hold the Great Lord of the Dark are slowly failing, but still his fragile prison holds. The Forsaken, immortal servants of the shadow, weave their snares and tighten their grip upon the realms of men, sure in the knowledge that their master will soon break free…
Rand al’ Thor, the Dragon Reborn, knows that he must strike at the Enemy, but his forces are divided by treachery and by ambition. Even the Aes Sedai, ancient guardians of the Light, are riven by civil war. Betrayed by his allies, pursued by his enemies and beset by the madness that comes to the male wielders of the One Power, Rand rides out to meet the foe.
GOODREADS // STORYGRAPH // AMAZON // BLACKWELL’S
This entire book is just upsetting. In The Fires of Heaven, each of our Two Rivers babies are setting off on their own quests, each with their own agenda and role to play. Rand, Mat, Moiraine and Egwene are traveling with the Aiel while Nynaeve, Elayne, Thom and Juilin are trying to return to Tar Valon.
RAND AL’THOR, THE LEADER
In the previous, Rhuidean’s barrier was destroyed during Rand’s battle. Due to this, an underground lake has risen in the once empty city. Rand eventually helped by channeling the fountains to flow again and has moved people into the city. Moiraine is eager to take the ter’angreal from Rhuidean for studying in the White Tower. Rand has plans to take the Aiel out of the Waste. until they hear of Couladain, the self-professed Dragon, marching to invade Cairhien. They cannot let Couladin and his Shaido get away, so Rand and his Aiel take the battle to him.
What do I think of Rand in this book? Honestly, it seems like Rand is really trying to carve out his own path. Despite the prophecy that will see him go mad first then dead, Rand pushes himself to rid the world of the Dark One. But Rand’s role as the Dragon Reborn is than just wielding saidin. He has to learn to command men older than him, to send people out knowing they might never leave the battlefield, to stay five steps ahead of every Forsaken and to prove himself to his people. It’s easy to forget that he is only a boy. Eventually paranoia sets in. He believes everyone is scheming and looking to use him as a puppet for their gain. I also didn’t like how everyone were either forcing him with Aviendha or talking about how he belongs to Elayne. It makes it all feel so forced. Argh.
A SHIFT IN POWER DYNAMICS
Following our other Two Rivers resident, durig Egwene’s study under the Wise Ones, she finds out that she had a Talent for Dreamwalking. This means she’s able to enter Tel’aran’rhiod without the need of a Ter’angreal and look into people’s dreams. You really see Egwene come into her own here, behaving more like a Wise One than Aes Sedai. Eventually Egwene and Nynaeve learn that Elaida is the new Amrylin Seat. It’s during their trips to Tel’aran’rhiod that the power dynamics between Nynaeve and Egwene shifts. I think it’s because Egwene is more powerful in Tel’aran’rhiod and she uses it to her advantage, knocking Nynaeve down a peg.
Nynaeve is bratty, whingy and very rude and having her humbled can be satisfying to readers. But I do also think her behaviour is justified to a point. Like Rand’s depressive states, these kids have been through so much and being ta’veren leaves them no choice in the role they will play in The Last Battle.
I’m especially fond of Moiraine – her steady presence, her maturity and you know what Sir Jordan does? He kills her off. Although, to be honest, I’m not sure she’s truly dead. Maybe it’s wishful thinking. I really don’t want her to be dead. But then we have scenes where Lan acknowledges their bond being broken. Sir, that hurt so much. So, so much. I should preface it by saying that Lanfear initially went after Egwene and Aviendha, because Aviendha slept with Rand. She tortured the two girls and it was during this that Moiraine confronted her. I was just staring at the pages at the end of the chapter. No way could Moiraine or Lanfear be gone.
Moving on, I was glad to see an important change in Elayne and Nynaeve’s channeling. When Brigitte was hurt and cast out of Dream, Elayne saves her by bonding Brigitte as a warder. What impressed me was that Elayne had only seen another channel the bond and was able to recreate the weaves without prior practice! How amazing is she? On top of that, Nynaeve actually captures Moghedien by enslaving her using an a’dam in the Dream!
Oh, and Mat! Baby boy led an army by himself! Despite being tagged as reckless and immature by many, Mat is calculative and compassionate. It might have been his previous memories that kept him alive on the battlefield but it was because he chose to stay and protect the men. Mat not only blew the Horn of Valere but he is the one who killed Couladin. Was I shocked? Very much. Was I proud? Yes. It’s also in this book that Mat experiences his first heartbreak which, coincidentally, lands him in a life or death situation.
MY THOUGHTS ON THE FIRES OF HEAVEN BY ROBERT JORDAN
What I didn’t like about The Fires of Heaven is the relation and interaction between many male and female characters. Robert Jordan had an opportunity to explore and even provide commentaries on the gender dynamics, especially with the inclusion of the Shield Maidens, but instead, we are subjected to tantrum fights and a literal game of who can be the most stubborn. These interactions get very repetitive, tiring almost, which can be a real put-off for many. However, if you can get past that, you will see that The Fires of Heaven is a book about developments. Each of the characters are so very different from the beginning of the book. If they were pulling at the strings that threatened to make puppets of them, they had now broken free of them.
🌸 Which sequel are you looking forward to reading this year?
🌸 Which fantasy book do you find does a very good job of tackling a patriarchial system?
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