Wheel of Time Marathon – Book 5: The Fires of Heaven

Started: 6/3/2015
Finished: 6/28/2015

The Fires of Heaven primarily follows the stories of Rand, Egwene, Avienda, Moriaine and Lan in their pursuit of Couladin and the Shaido and Elayne, Nynaeve, Thom and Juilin attempting to return to the Tower after their exploits in Tanchico.

Rand and his companions begin the story departing Rhuidean in pursuit of Couladin, who has taken the Shaido out of the three-fold-land and into Cairhein. Before departing Rhuidean, Moiraine loads the merchant wagons up with as many of the objects of power as she can fit from Rhuidean. She seemed particularly concerned with the twisted door frame ter’angreal that Matt passed through while in Rhuidean.

During the pursuit of Couladin, Rand and Aviendha grow closer, eventually consummating their relationship, after Aviendha attempted to flee her feelings for Rand through a gateway into Seanchan territory. Aviendha revealed to Rand that she had foreseen that she would fall in love with Rand when she visited the three rings in Rhuidean, which reveal all of the possible branches a person’s life might take, though they remember only a few. However, due to Aviendha’s view that her near-sister Elayne has a pre-exisiting claim on Rand, Aviendha tells Rand that their romantic encounter would be a one time thing and she would deal with discharging her toh with Elayne when she next saw her.

Rand’s relationship with Moiraine also evolved on the journey. In her desperation to get him to listen to her counsel, Moiraine agreed to obey Rand’s commands, which was a source of conflict between Rand and Egwene, who felt Rand was becoming unreasonably arrogant.

Egwene continued her training as a Dreamwalker and learned how to speak to other people in their dreams, though she continued to forge ahead on her own against the wishes of the Wise Ones.

Aviendha also progressed in her training as a Wise One and began studying channeling with Egwene and Moiraine, greatly increasing her ability with the One Power.

Once Rand and his companions caught up to Couladin at Cairhein, he wanted to confront Couladin one on one and kill him with his sword, but the Maidens and his other companions convinced him to remain with Egwene and Aviendha and use the One Power to assist the Aiel warriors in battle.

Matt attempted to leave before the battle began, but found himself in the thick of things and using the battle knowledge he had gained from the memories gifted him in the twisted stone door ter’angreal to lead a band of Cairhein and Tairen soldiers to several key victories and ultimately kill Couladin in single combat. In recognition for his combat prowess, many of the soldiers volunteered to form a company called the Band of the Red Hand under Matt’s command.

During the fight with the Shaido, Sammel attacked Rand and his companions with the One Power, injuring Rand, Egwene and Aviendha and killing a number of Maidens in the process. Rand vowed to try to keep the Maidens out of danger after that fight.

Nynaeve, Elayne, Thom and Juilan encountered Galad, who had joined the Whitecloaks, while attempting to return to the Tower. Galad wanted to haul the pair of them back to Caemlyn, but they managed to forestall him.

After learning that the Siuan had been deposed and the White Tower had split from a number of different sources, Nynaeve and Elayne determined to try to find the group of Blues and other Aes Sedai that Nynaeve had discovered were gathering in Salidar, while she was riffling through Elaida’s papers in Tel’aran’rhiod. Unfortunately, Nynaeve couldn’t quite remember the name of the town.

The girls, along with Thom and Juilin, determined to hide themselves in a traveling menagerie while they searched for Salidar, in the hopes of avoiding entanglements with Galad and the Whitecloaks. After having one of the Tower’s agents attempt to drug them with a herb that prevented channeling and haul them back to the Tower, they also hoped to avoid further problems with Elaida’s supporters.

While in Tel’aran’rhiod, both Nynaeve and Elayne encountered a hero tied to the Wheel named Birgette, who agreed to help them spy on the Forsaken. While listening in on a meeting where several of the Forsaken were plotting to draw Rand into a trap by baiting him into attacking Sammael, Birgette and Nynaeve were discovered and attacked by Moghedian.

Moghedian immobilized, shielded and tortured Nynaeve, until Birgette shot her with an arrow, allowing Nynaeve to escape. However, in the process, Moghedian ripped Birgette out of Tel’aran’rhiod, causing her to appear in the waking world, but in an extremely weakened state. In order to save her life, Elayne bonded Birgette as a Warder.

Panicked by the fact that Moghedian had discovered they were traveling with a menagerie, Nynaeve sought assistance in finding a ship from Masema, who was now calling himself The Prophet and stirring up a lot of trouble, and Galad. Elayne revealed the plot against Rand to Egwene in Tel’aran’rhiod, but kept Birgette’s identity a secret.

Nynaeve finally remembered the name of the town and both Galad and Masema attempted to secure a ship for her, setting off an eruption of deadly riots and the destruction and flight of most of the menageries. With the assistance of Thom, Juilin, Galad and the Shienaran soliders who were not followers of Masema, Nynaeve and Elayne were able to board a ship and travel to Salidar. Along the way they picked up three companions, who were refugees on the ship.

Once in Salidar, Nynaeve and Elayne were tasked with teaching the Aes Sedai how to use the ter’angreal that allowed access to Tel’aran’rhiod that they had taken from the Black Ajah. Nynaeve also began giving Siuan private instruction, in exchange for Siuan’s agreement to allow her to study her, Leane and Logain to determine if stilling could be healed.

Siuan had arrived in Salidar, along with Min and Leane prior to the girl’s arrival and convinced them to allow Siuan to run their eyes and ears network. She also convinced them that the Red Ajah had convinced Logain to become a false dragon, so that they could pull him down, in order to push them into attempting to depose Elaida, instead of hiding out in Salidar. She also convinced them to form their own Hall and raise their own Amyrlin.

Min revealed to Elayne that she had, had a viewing that she would fall in love with Rand and have to share him with two other women, one of which was Elyane. The pair agreed not to let Rand stand in the way of their friendship.

Thom, Juilin, Uno and the other Shienarans offered to assist Elayne and Nynaeve in fleeing Salidar and returning to Rand, but they decided to stay and the men agreed to assist Gareth Bryne, who had been convinced to form and lead an army to assist the Salidar Aes Sedai in retaking the White Tower.

Back in Cairhein, while Rand was attempting to maneuver the Cairhein nobels in preparation to hand the throne over to “someone with a claim,” Rand learned from Matt, who he sent on a scouting mission, that Rahvin had crowned himself king in Andor and Morgase was missing and presumed dead.

Unknown to Rand, Morgase had actually fled Andor, along with a solider named Tallanvor, her old nurse Lini, Basil Gill, and a street tough and his girlfriend. She had intended to seek the aid of her former general Gareth Bryne, but upon discovering he had left Kore Springs in pursuit of Siuan, she headed for Amadicia instead.

Grieved that Elayne’s mother had been killed while he was too busy dealing with Cairhein to do anything about Rahvin, Rand vowed to travel to Camelyn and kill Rahvin. Though he meant to run off alone, he was convinced to take Egwene, Aviendha, Moiraine and as many Aiel warriors as he could transport, but before he could leave, Moiraine insisted he come to the docks to see something.

Once at the docks, a jealous Lanfear, who had learned Rand had slept with Aviendha, attacked the group, capturing and torturing Egwene and Aviendha. When Rand refused to become Lanfear’s lover, Lanfear lashed out at him and nearly killed him, because he could not bring himself to kill Lanfear, because she was a woman. During Rand’s battle with Lanfear, Moiraine pushed her into the stone doorframe ter’angreal, where it was presumed that they both died.

A letter Moiraine had written Rand before her death revealed that she had foreseen the battle with Lanfear in the rings in Rhuidean. According to her, if she had not sacrificed herself to kill Lanfear, Rand would have either died or been consumed by Lews Therin and ended up Lanfear’s devoted lover. She also left a letter for Rand to deliver to Thom, but Rand did not read it.

After Moiraine’s death, Rand was confronted by the Maidens, who were angry that Rand had planned to leave them behind when he confronted Rahvin. Rand agreed to no longer try to protect the Maidens. Lan departed, advising Rand that his bond had been passed to another and asking him to tell Nynaeve that he had found a new love and to forget him and advising Rand to do the same with any woman he loved.

Meanwhile, Matt’s Aiel lover attempted to kill him and revealed herself to be a Darkfriend in the service of Sammael, which prompted Matt to accompany Rand to confront Rahvin, along with Aviendha, Asmodean and a number of Aiel. Egwene stayed behind due to injuries suffered at the hands of Lanfear.

When Rand arrived in Camelyn, he set off wards set by Rahvin and was immediately set upon by lightning which killed Matt, Aviendha and Asmodean. Rand continued on to pursue Rahvin, while the Aiel fought Trollocs in the city.

Back in Salidar, Nynaeve spotted Moghedian  spying on her and Siuan in Tel’aran’rhiod and attempted to flee, but Moghedian  followed and attempted to capture her. Birgitte, using the stone ring ter’angreal, arrived in Tel’aran’rhiod and distracted Moghedian long enough for Nynaeve to capture her with an a’dam she created by manipulating the dream.

Moghedian revealed to Nynaeve that Rand had walked into a trap and Nynaeve determined to use Moghedian’s power, via the a’dam, to assist Rand in battling Rahvin. After traveling to the palace in Andor, Nynaeve discovered that Rand and Rahvin had entered Tel’aran’rhiod in the flesh during their battle. Nynaeve was able to sneak up behind Rahvin while he was pre-occupied with Rand and attack and gravely injure him with fire, when Rahvin turned to confront her, Rand destroyed him with a powerful burst of balefire.

Once Rand returned to the waking world and left the palace, he discovered that due the balefire’s effect of erasing Rahvin’s past actions, Matt, Aviendha and Asmodean were alive and busy fighting Trollocs. Rand helped the Aiel defeat the remaining Trollocs.

Nynaeve revealed to Moghedian that she knew she must have been in Salidar to know the things she knew and drugged the woman with forkroot tea and advised her she would find her soon in the waking world.

The story ended with Rand meeting up with Davram Bashere, general of the Saldaen army, who were in pursuit of Mazram Taim. Rand revealed his plan to offer an amnesty to any man who could channel, including Taim, in order to build an army to fight the new dreadlords in the Last Battle.

Meanwhile, Asmodean stumbled across someone he knew, but who was not revealed to the reader, who killed him.

Wheel of Time Marathon – Book 4: The Shadow Rising

Started: 4/19/2015
Finished: 6/3/2015

The Shadow Rising begins with all of the Emond’s Fielders plus Elayne, Moiraine and Lan, Faile and Loial in the Stone of Tear. By seizing Callandor, Rand has now declared to the world and learned to accept himself, that he is The Dragon Reborn. Now, he must decide what his next move is.

Moiraine wants Rand to use the Tairens to declare war on Illian and root out the Forsaken who rules there. However, Rand has his own ideas and is determined to make a move he thinks no one will suspect.

Matt and Perrin find themselves caught in Rand’s taveren pull and all three boys encounter strange and dangerous enemies that Moiraine refers to as “bubbles of evil.”

Elayne reveals her feelings to Rand, but knows she must leave him to continue her hunt for the Black Ajah. Through their interrogation of the captured Black Sisters from the raid on the stone, Nynaeve, Elayne and Egwene learn of a possible plot against Rand in Tanchico.

As all of the main characters are making their plans, the Stone suffered an attack by Shadowspawn. Lanfear makes another appearance and claims to have helped Rand fend off the attack by sending in Trollocs of her own.

After the attack, Rand and Matt step through a stone doorway ter’angreal and what they learned there set them on the road to Rhuidean in the Aiel waste. Moiraine also went through the doorway, but she keeps what she learned to herself. In addition to being told to go to Rhuidean, Matt was told he was fated to die and live again and to marry the daughter of the Nine Moons.

While trying to learn of the potential danger to Rand in tel’aran’rhiod, Egwene encounters an Aiel dreamwalker who commands her to come to the Aiel waste to learn to control her dream walking ability.

Nynaeve and Elayne determine they should travel to Tanchico to hunt for the remaining 11 Black Ajah and determine what the threat to Rand is. The three boys learn of a Whitecloak threat to the Two Rivers, but Rand and Matt decide they have to journey to Rhuidean. Thinking he can end the Whitecloak threat by turning himself in, Perrin decides to journey to the Two Rivers via The Ways, with the help of Loial. Faile and three Aiel also go with Perrin.

Moiraine, Lan and Egwene decide to accompany Rand to Rhuidean, prompted in part by a letter from the Aiel Wise Ones. Rand uses a portal stone to transport the Aiel who helped him take the Stone and the rest of his party to the Aiel waste.

At Rhuidean, Rand encounters hostility from a group of Aiel called the Shaido and their wannabe clan chief Couladin. Rand and Matt both enter Rhuidean and while there, Matt enters another stone doorway ter’angreal, while Rand views the history of the Aiel through his ancestor’s eyes and learns the Aiel originally followed The Way of the Leaf, before splitting off into three groups that became the Aiel, the Jenn Aiel and the Tuatha’an.

Matt, thinking he gets to ask questions like before, ends up unintentionally requesting a way to protect himself from Aes Sedai, a way to fill the holes in his memory and a way out of the ter’angreal. As a result, Matt received a silver foxhead medallion, a spear-like weapon tipped with a sword blade and fragments of the memories of other men, mostly regarding battle tactics and the old tongue, and was hung from a tree in Rhuidean.

Upon coming out of the crystal columns in Rhuidean, Rand spotted Matt and was able to save him by giving him mouth to mouth.

When Rand left Rhuidean, arriving with the dawn, as prophesied, he discovered his arms had been marked with two dragons, fulling both a portion of the prophecy of the Dragon Reborn and marking him as the Car’a’Carn or “chief of chiefs,” of the Aiel.

Moiraine also journeyed to Rhuidean, after learning one of the Dream Walkers had forseen that if she did not, Rand would die.

On the advice of the Aiel, Rand then set out to an Aiel meeting place called Alcair Dal to declare himself as the Car’a’Carn to all of the clan chiefs. Rand also received a companion to teach him the ways of the Aiel named Aviendha. Aviendha was a Wise One in training, who had formerly been a Maiden of the Spear. Rand assumed she was there to spy on him for the Wise Ones. Aviendha seemed to resent Rand for reasons he did not understand. Along the way, they encountered a caravan of merchants and a Trolloc attack.

Upon arriving at Alcair Dal, Rand discovered that Couladin and the Shaido had arrived ahead of him and called the clan chiefs to a meeting. Rand crashed the meeting and Couladin revealed he also had the two dragons on his arms and claimed he had gone to Rhuidean in the night after Rand came out. In order to prove Couladin a fraud, Rand revealed to the assembled Aiel what he had learned of the Aiel history in Rhuidean. Many of the Aiel were distraught at the news that they had once followed The Way of the Leaf like the hated Tuatha’an, but in the end, all of the clan chiefs and most of the Aiel at the meeting accepted Rand as the true Car’a’Carn, while the Shaido and a fraction of the other Aiel fled.

After the annoucement, Lanfear confronted Rand and was angry at him for disrupting her plans. She had been hiding among the peddler caravan, along with another of the Forsaken, Asmodean, with the intention of convincing Asmodean to become Rand’s teacher. However, Asmodean had gone off on his own, searching for a powerful sa’angreal hidden in Rhuidean and Rand determined he must confront and stop Asmodean, as well as find a way to use Lanfear’s idea to force Asmodean into teaching him more of the One Power. Lanfear also revealed that Coluadin’s counterfeit dragons were Asmodean’s doing and was meant to keep Rand distracted while Asmodean searched for the sa’angreal in Rhuidean.

Rand battled Asmodean in Rhuidean and during their fight they destroyed much of the city, however their battle created a flow of water into the city that would allow it to be inhabitated again. Eventually, Rand won the battle and secured the sa’angreal after cutting Asmodean off from the Dark Lord. After threatening him, Lanfear eventually relented and decided to help Rand by putting a shield on Asmodean that would allow him to teach, but keep him too weak to harm Rand. On the way out of Rhuidean, Rand retrieved the statue that allowed control of the female twin to the powerful sa’angreal he had taken from Asmodean.

Meanwhile, in the Two Rivers Perrin learned his entire family had been killed by Trollocs, though in truth they had actually been killed by a pack of Whitecloaks led by Ordeith. He also learned that two Aes Sedai, Verrin and Alanna, had come to the Two Rivers seeking girls who could channel.

After rescuing some Emond’s Fielders who had been taken prisoner by the Whitecloaks, Perrin, along with a number of young men from the Two Rivers set out to hunt Trollocs.

While in the wolf dream, Perrin encountered a man who looked similar to Lan, who the wolves called “slayer,” who had killed all of the wolves in the area. He also met a hunter for the horn named Luc, who reminded him a bit of Rand, who had been helping organize defenses against the Trollocs. Eventually, Perrin would come to suspect Slayer and Luc were linked somehow and Luc fled the village after Perrin wounded Slayer in the wolf dream.

Perrin was forced to make common cause with the Whitecloaks in order to attempt to protect Emond’s Field from Trolloc attacks and even promised he would turn himself in to be hanged if they would assist in the final battle. However, the Whitecloaks did not hold up their end of the bargain and only reinforcements from Watch Hill and Devin Ride saved the village from being overrun. As a result, Perrin refused to hand himself over and ordered the White Cloaks out of the Two Rivers. In the final battle, the Trollocs chanted the word ISAM, the name of Lan’s lost half-brother, before attacking.

Faile and Perrin were married before the final battle with the Trollocs and the people of the Two Rivers began to refer to them as the Lord and Lady of the Two Rivers and erected a banner with a wolf head symbol. Perrin also encountered the Tinker with a Sword that Min had predicted in the previous novel, when Aram, the grandson of the Tinker Seeker Perrin had previously met, decided to take up the sword and devote his life to Perrin after his parents were killed in a Trolloc attack in the Two Rivers.

Min, who had previously been sent to the White Tower to update Siuan on what was happening with Rand, arrived to discover disturbing visions that foretold some kind of attack on the White Tower.

Min’s vision would come to pass when Elaida, Queen Morgase’s former advisor, orchestrated Siuan being deposed as Amyrlin and stilled, along with her Keeper Lian. Elayne’s brother Gawyn, led a group of students in battle against a group of Warders who meant to free Siuan and helped Min get Siuan and Lian out of Tar Valon, after interrogating them about the whereabouts of his sister.

On their way out, they enlisted the help of the false Dragon Logain in Siuan’s plan to tear down Elaida and get her revenge on those who had taken the tower.

Elayne and Nynaeve traveled to Tanchico on a Sea Folk vessel, accompanied by Thom and Juilin. They discovered that the Seafolk windfinders could channel, which was why Seafolk usually didn’t allow Aes Sedai on their vessels. They learned the Seafolk were looking for their Cora’moor, who they believed to be Rand.

In Tanchico, Elayne and Nynaeve befriended a Seanchan captain named Egeanin, who they eventually learned had been trying to determine why Sul’dam were able to be controlled by the a’dam. They also discovered Bayle Domon, the smuggler who had tried to help them escape Falme and enlisted his help in discovering and defeating the Black Ajah.  Egeanin assisted Elayne and Nynaeve in rescuing the Panarch and obtaining a ter’angreal that could control a man who channels and one of the seals on the Dark One’s prison before the Black Ajah could find them. While in the palace, Nynaeve battled Moghedien, a Forsaken who had used compulsion to learn why Elayne and Nynaeve were in Tanchio and make them forget about it. Nynaeve was able to capture Moghedien and shield her, but Moghedien was able to escape the shield while Nynaeve was battling a black sister, using a ter’angreal that produced balefire.

Once they determined there was no way to destroy the collar and bracelets that could be used to control Rand, Nynaeve charged Bayle Domon with dropping it in a deep part of the sea where no one would find it.

The Shadow Rising found all of the main characters greatly increasing in power. Rand added the armies of the Aiel to his resources, as well as increasing his ability with the One Power, aquiring a powerful sa’angreal and a teacher to assist him in learning to use the One Power.

Matt gained a head full of other men’s knowledge, as well as protection from the One Power. Perrin grudgingly became the Lord of the Two Rivers and learned his wife Faile was the cousin of the Queen of Saldea. Egwene began to learn to use her Dream walking ability from the Aiel Wise Ones. Nynaeve took on one of the Forsaken and won. Elyane increased her channeling ability by learning to control the weather from the Sea Folk windfinder.

The novel also brought about major change, with the White Tower being broken into factions, with Elaida taking over the Tower and most of the Blue and Green Ajahs, as well as portions of the other Ajahs fleeing the tower, while Siuan and Lian found themselves cast out and stilled.

The story also set up all of the pieces of the future love triangle that Min had foreseen in her vision, as being Rand, Min, Aviendha and Elayne. Though Lanfear intended to have Rand all to herself, if it meant she had to destroy her rivals to achieve it.

The character of Birgette was also introduced through encounters in Tel’aran’rhiod and the Wolf Dream. Birgette revealed that the heroes who were bound to the Wheel waited in the world of dreams to either be born again or called by the Horn of Valere. Though the precepts forbid it, Birgette decided to help fight against the Forsaken, who were also present in the dream once again.