The Fires of Heaven – Part 1

The first quarter of this book is similar to the beginning of the previous couple of books, serving as both a quick rehash of the series to this point as well as setting the stage for further widening the scope in the rest of the book.  The only main character I haven’t seen in the first 230 odd pages is Perrin, but while he hasn’t been in the book, we have gotten some more scenes from Min who is still running away from the White Tower with Siuan and Leane.

This will give me the perfect chance to talk some more about the way that Jordan used the relative power throughout the books.  I talked about Perrin before, this time I’m going to talk about Nynaeve and Moiraine a little bit, and how similar they are to each other – which would largely explain why Nynaeve hates Moiraine.

At the start of the series, both women are in positions of power as Wisdom and Aes Sedai respectively.  But early in the first book, Nynaeve has her power usurped in large part by the arrival of Moiraine.  This really irritates her throughout the entirety of the first book and in large part for the rest of the series to this point.  Nynaeve is constantly struggling with her desire to remain in power over those around her, even when she truly has no authority over those she is traveling with.

Starting in the last book, Moiraine starts having to deal with the same issue with the power Rand is acquiring.  The difference in their two situations is mainly how they deal with it.  Whereas Nynaeve is constantly fighting with everyone she deals with, Moiraine starts to realize what she needs to do and goes as far as to tell Rand she would give him an oath to obey him if he desires it.  The main thing this shows is the maturity difference between the two characters.

As a quick aside, the last chapter I read was Chapter 10: Figs and Mice.  This chapter has one of my favorite lines from the entire series, when they’re talking about Juilin torturing the two women to find out what they know.  He lists a bunch of random household ingredients and gives a cruel looking smile.  When they later ask Juilin what he was going to do, and he says he has no idea.  Juilin tells them that whatever they could imagine would be worse than anything he could do, and tells of a time when he broke a man simply by asking someone to bring him a basket of figs and some mice.  I think it’s a really funny line, and it’s one of my favorite single scenes from the entire series.

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