Welcome back to my re-read, recap, and reaction to Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time series. This post will only have spoilers through the current chapter.
You can find my previous chapter recaps HERE.
NOTE: The following chapter summary comes from wot.fandom.com:
Elaida do Avriny a’Roihan has a meeting with Alviarin, Danelle, Teslyn, Joline, Shemerin, Javindhra, Andaya, and some other sisters in the offices of the Amyrlin Seat. They discuss the current world affairs, but without actually asking Elaida for advice or let her make any decisions.
- Davram Bashere is moving an army away from the Blight.
- War and civil war in Tarabon and Arad Doman has escalated, Amathera (the Panarch of Tarabon) has disappeared, and an Aes Sedai may have been involved
- Elayne, the Daughter-heir of Andor, is still missing, as well as her half-brother, Galad
- Morgase, the Queen of Andor, may make a claim to the throne of Cairhien
- Gawyn and his Younglings are clashing with Whitecloaks and not under close White Tower control
- Pedron Niall is trying to broker a deal with Illian, Murandy, and Altara to prevent a war between them
Elaida becomes angered that the sisters do not acknowledge her as their leader and lashes out at them towards the end of the meeting. This frightens them all. Alviarin is unimpressed but doesn’t say anything. The nonverbal communication between her and Elaida is interrupted by an unnamed Accepted informing Elaida that Padan Fain has arrived and has asked to meet her.
Point of view: Padan Fain
Briefly considering killing the Accepted for lunch, Fain walks into Elaida’s study as she sends away Alviarin. He looks around her office and is apprehensive about her picture of Rand al’Thor. He also thinks about how he can feel the ruby-hilted dagger pulling at him and that the Horn of Valere is being kept in the Tower. He begins to talk to Elaida about Rand and how he is extremely uncontrollable…
Rahvin is sitting in his chambers surrounded by an unnamed Aes Sedai of the Red Ajah and Elegar. He uses the Compulsion on her so she doesn’t report Rahvin. He contemplates what he will do with Morgase when he no longer needs her to rule as the Queen of Andor. When they both leave, Rahvin is visited by Lanfear. She informs him that she has scheduled a meeting with Sammael and Graendal at his palace. They arrive shortly after. The four of them discuss the situations of the rest of the Forsaken and Rand and what they are going to do. Rahvin thinks about how the situation can benefit him and him only.
Here we go Book Number Five!
So, we’re reading “The Fires of Heaven” and we get three different baddie POVs – Elaida (who maybe doesn’t realize she’s a baddie), Fain (who is insane, with multiple personalities, and who also hates the Dark One, too), and Rahvin (with a slew of other Forsaken.) I guess we can assume that “The Fires of Heaven” are bad-guy shenanigans. Usually though, if you’ve got fires from heaven, it’s more of a good God judging bad people thing (see: Sodom and Gomorrah.) Here we have an evil entity (the Dark One) raining down fire on people who mostly don’t seem to deserve it (or do they?) Jordan loves his inversions. Reminder: the good guy in this story is “The Dragon” who was named Lews (Lucifer) in his prior life.
I’ll be honest. I just don’t care much about what’s going on in the White Tower. There were some politics that went into deposing Siuan (Reds uniting with the Whites) but I’m just not invested in those politics. Maybe I’ll get there.
The main takeaway I had from Fain’s appearance is that he guarantees Elaida’s brain is toast, even if she’s not a Darkfriend. He’s a corrosive influence and already has her giving him private audiences. Now that I think about it, he’s sought out influence among the Light three times (Seanchan, Whitecloaks, and Elaida.) I liked the explanation for why he wants the dagger, though. It pulls at him in the same way he previously described Rand as pulling at him. That makes sense. I also liked his discomfort with Alviarin. Since Elaida is giving off the impression of being a dupe, but a dupe who supports the Light, that discomfort indicates Alviarin is Black Ajah. The Forsaken would probably know who Fain is (Ishy definitely did and he previously ran the Black Ajah.)
The Forsaken meet ‘n greet was a series turning point. Four books in, we had really only spent notable time with Ishy (who was insane) and Lanfear. Here we meet three others and spend time getting to know them – with plenty of indications given that we will get to know them more going forward. Since Rahvin was the POV character in that group, I’m guessing he’s going to be this book’s focus.
You lose something in humanizing the Forsaken. There’s always some dread to be found in the unknown. These people think of themselves as something more than human, but they all come across as exceedingly human – jut wildly powerful, with wild personality disorders. I kind of appreciated Graendal’s introduction. She taunted Lanfear to her face. That’s a bold strategy and certainly not something that someone like Moghedien would have done.
“You were so obsessed with him you’d have stretched out at his feet at the word rug.”
Speaking of Moghedien… she wasn’t at this meeting. Neither was Demandred, Semirhage, or Mesaana. Asmodean is with Rand. Be’lal died via Moiraine’s balefire. Ishy seems dead. Aginor and Balthamel died at The Eye of the World.
Of the thirteen, four are dead, one has defected, and eight remain. For the moment, here are the two Forsaken camps:
Lanfear, Graendal, Rahvin, Sammael v. Mesaana, Moghedien, Demandred, Semirhage
The Daughter of the Night obviously has a plan. Keep in mind that setting Rand up with Asmodean was part of it. Now she says she wants to remove four of the other Chosen from the playing board… allegedly to benefit herself and the other three at this meeting. She also encourages the other members of her group to stay clear of Rand, to avoid detection of them by Rand. Does that perhaps also benefit Rand? Of course. “Rug” indeed.