Wednesday, 4 April 2012

The Fires of Heaven - Chaptes 33-37

In this section, Nynaeve’s mistakes add to her guilt.
Nynaeve is competent and powerful, so the way to bring her down is by hitting her pride. She always thinks she knows best, and is quite ready to tell every other character how they should act and behave. Steps have been taken to bring her down a notch with Egwene asserting herself against her and the Wise Ones telling her she acts like a child. There was the Forkroot incident in which her impulsive actions led to their near capture.
Now, she has recruited Birgitte into the hunt for Moghedien, and Moghedien has somehow pulled a sting on Birgitte, so that she can lead to Nynaeve. Nynaeve escapes, but Birgitte is ripped out of Tel’aran’rhiod. She nearly dies, and Nynaeve thinks it is all her fault.
Birgitte asserts that any danger she was in, she chose herself. Nynaeve’s attempt to take responsibility removes any attempt by Birgitte to take responsibility herself, and it demeans her. Nynaeve only goes along with that interpretation halfheartedly because she is so desperate to please Birgitte and will do anything to make up to her for what she has lost.
This theme of responsibility turns up often in the series. Each character does their best to be responsible for the people who follow them, or whom they perceive to be under their care. Sometimes they do well, other times not. The characters often feel saddled with duties they cannot ignore, yet continue to fulfill those duties freely.
Birgitte’s point is that people are faced with hard decisions, and they are free to choose as they see fit. There are some parallels with other situations, where some characters choose to serve the Dark One, or choose to break custom or law to accomplish some important goal, or simply in the advice given by the Wise Ones later on: Do what you must, then pay the price.
Nynaeve later berates the people of Samara for putting up with the Prophet’s mobs, all the while acknowledging that it is their own decisions that brought this fate on their heads, and they deserve it for choosing it. I think this philosophy will play a role in the Last Battle. The forces of humanity are being gathered for one stand of their collective will against the will of those who serve the Dark One. People choose a side, and gladly pay a price for that choice. Right now Nynaeve is being tested about the price she is willing to pay.
There are continual references to how men always behave, or how women never act a certain way. Often the supposed fact is untrue but reveals how someone of one sex views itself or the other. A deeper purpose behind this is to set up a later friction between male and female channelers. While there are plot reasons to have such a conflict, it will seem all the more natural by first building up walls between the sexes, regardless of channeling ability. The comparisons also have a more adult tone, with more frequent allusions to sexuality than at any time since Lanfear was around.
Men could not avoid gossiping; it was in them at birth and nothing women could do ever got it out of them.
She was going to kill Thom Merrilin and Valan Luca. And maybe any other man she could get her hands on, on sheer principle.
Burn him too, for a stubborn fool man.
Any man could build a bridge, and leave him to it was what she said.
It was interesting really, having his eyes on her when a woman as pretty as Elayne was there.
For a man like Valan Luca, that coy little flight of yours tonight was only asking him to keep pursuing you.
I know how to take a man out of his miseries. Give him a swift kick, or else get him drunk and find him a pr—
Nynaeve claimed you had to manage men for their own good.
If you are going to wear the dress, why cover up? You are a woman. Why not be proud of it?
Only men and dim-witted girls take blame where there is none, and you are neither.
The number of menageries and other traveling performers in Samara - fourteen! - seems odd given the lack of them seen in other books. In the modern world, there are a number of tours and exhibitions that travel from town to town, so the situation in Samara is plausible, but it stands out as one of the odder coincidences. Plot wise, it incites Luca to take on any advantage he can get by employing the Heroes.
Liandrin makes a choice to attack Moghedien in a moment of weakness, and finds herself shielded and cast away. Satisfying, it also suggests Moghedien will be without mercy when she finds Nynaeve, for Moghedien’s second lessons are exceedingly sharp.
Elayne had many interesting things to teach the reader about links and bonds. The perfect to display such knowledge about links is just before she has to bond Birgitte. That way, the context of bonds and control has been discussed and the reader has information to fall back on when Elayne starts talking about the bond.
Writing Lessons:
Avoid coincidences by giving them solid reasons to occur.

No comments:

Post a Comment