Revisiting the Wheel of Time: The Fires of Heaven

I’ve picked up quite a few new blog readers since the last post in this series, so to recap: I’m going back through the Wheel of Time, partly as a reader (so I can read the ending and know what the heck is going on), but partly as a writer, to look at it with a professional eye and see what works and what doesn’t. This has particularly meant looking at the structure, to see what really happened to the narrative pacing as the books went along, but there are some content-level bits of analysis going on as well. I stopped reading after Crossroads of Twilight, so please, no spoilers for Knife of Dreams or The Gathering Storm. If you’d like to see and/or comment on previous posts, just follow the Wheel of Time tag.

So, The Fires of Heaven. In which we begin our journey into the swamp.

By that I mean, this is the book where I see the pacing consequences of Jordan’s decisions in TDR and TSR coming home to roost. Once TFoH gets going, I enjoy it just fine . . . but it takes a while to get going. We’re skirting the fringes of the swamp, bogging down occasionally, and if memory serves that problem will get worse before it gets better.

Let’s step in a bit closer than usual, to show what I mean by this.

In the first hundred pages, we go through eight points of view: Elaida, Padan Fain, Rahvin, Min, Gareth Bryne, Alteima, Morgase, and then finally Rand, who shows up on page seventy-five in the paperback I was reading.

This is, in my opinion, too many. Or maybe just the wrong ones.

If the eight were Rand, Mat, Perrin, Egwene, Elayne, Nynaeve, Moiraine and Min, I would probably have no objection. They’re all major characters, centrally positioned for the plot. By contrast, of the eight we actually get, fully four (by my count) are new additions, those being Rahvin, Gareth Bryne, Alteima, and Morgase. It creates the impression that by this point in the series, shifting perspective has become the easy solution for Jordan: if he wants to convey a piece of information, he grabs the most convenient pov, rather than finding a way to weave that information into the structure he’s already built. Unfortunately, this habit tends to produce one of two results: tissue paper or kudzu.

“Tissue paper” is my shorthand for a scene that isn’t substantial enough to justify its own existence. One of the lessons you learn while improving as a writer is that any given scene should, ideally, not just be doing something, but be doing more than one thing. Not just forwarding the plot, but also developing character. Not just communicating exposition, but also elaborating the theme. Whatever. Tissue-paper scenes serve only one purpose, or serve a bunch of little tiny ones that really aren’t all that important. Kudzu, on the other hand, is what happens when you try to avoid tissue paper: you want the scene to be pulling actual weight, so you invent some new weight for it to pull. A plot complication, or a bit of character background, or something that wasn’t there before — but now it’s in the story, and you’ve made this pov character important, and suddenly you have a new thread you’re weaving into your tapestry, which just got a bit bigger as a result.

Overall, I think the series’ issue is a whole crap-ton of kudzu. But in these first hundred pages of TFoH, tissue paper seems to be the more serious problem. Because fundamentally, in all these povs and all these scenes, only one of them accomplishes anything of real significance.

The scene in question is Min’s, at the beginning of the first actual chapter. For those who haven’t just re-read the book, it picks up with her and Siuan and Leane locked up and awaiting trial for some events Jordan covers in exposition, namely a scuffle in Kore Springs that ended with Logain vanishing. Their judge turns out to be Gareth Bryne, who sentences them to work off the debt of their crimes; they swear oaths to do so, but it turns out Siuan intends to fulfill that oath at a later date, and so the three women rejoin Logain and escape.

Here’s how I define that as significant: it changes the direction of the story. Because of this, Gareth Bryne decides to leave Kore Springs and chase after them, which results in him becoming commander of the Salidar forces. It also means he isn’t there when Morgase comes looking, later in the book. Siuan et al continue on to Salidar, which they were doing anyway, but their situation there is likewise altered by his presence. Cut these events from the narrative, and you have a markedly different story. Cut the scene out, but leave the events in, and the story falls apart; having him show up randomly in Salidar, talking about some oath we never saw happen, would not be a workable approach.

Contrast that with Gareth Bryne’s own scene, following on the women’s escape. In this instance, I think you could easily cut the scene but leave the events, and the story would not only survive but be stronger. Jordan spends more than six pages on him, and the only important part of it is that he decides to chase Siuan. The rest is just characterization and recapping of backstory, half of which gets repeated when we next return to his pov in Lugard. Why not just reveal his pursuit then? You could still do your characterization, and get the benefit of surprising the reader just a little bit, when they thought Siuan might get away with her decision for the time being.

Contrast also with Alteima’s scene, riding into Caemlyn and meeting Morgase and Gaebril/Rahvin. In this instance, I’m pretty sure you could cut not just the scene but everything it represents, and nobody would miss it. All this does is remind us of the situation in Caemlyn, in ways that could equally well have been covered (and mostly are covered) by Morgase’s chapter later on. Alteima’s pov never returns in this book — neither does Rahvin’s, nor Elaida’s, which I think is a telling point as to their relative necessity — nor does Alteima do anything; the sum total of her impact on the plot of TFoH is that she tells Rahvin what she knows about Rand (not much), and is one of several women he’s sleeping with later. For this, she merits eight pages? I don’t recall whether Alteima’s presence in Caemlyn ends up being important in later books, but if so, I suspect it’s a post facto decision on Jordan’s part; there’s zero indication in this book that she’s being positioned for anything of later significance.

In short — okay, not so short; I’ve ranted for several paragraphs — almost the entirety of this first hundred pages is spent telling us stuff. Recapping plot, or updating us on various situations, or at best outlining what the characters plan to do. The second two hundred pages aren’t much better, either. The Darkhound attack is significant mostly because it demonstrates the operation of balefire and gives Moiraine a reason to warn Rand about it — which, I will grant, is useful, given how vital that is to the finale of the book. But it doesn’t accomplish much, in terms of changing the direction of the story. I don’t feel like things really get moving until Ronde Macura grabs Elayne and Nynaeve, a little bit after the two-hundred-page mark.

Which is a scene that annoys me just a little. Why, exactly, did Jordan have to set things up such that the women required rescuing by Thom and Juilin? It vaguely sets up some later character stuff, but not in a way I like. It might not bother me so much if the subsequent material with Elayne and Nynaeve didn’t annoy me a lot more; their menagerie interlude goes on a good deal longer than I feel it needs to, though at least it has some worthwhile twists along the way (Masema, Galad, and Birgitte, to name three). The rest of it, though . . . well, I got a lot of material for my post about the women in the Wheel of Time, which is mostly outlined now, so expect that before too much longer.

I will say, however, that I do like the development of the Moghedien plot. What she does to Birgitte is suitably epic and horrifying; plus, it brings Birgitte into the story as a proper character, and I like her a great deal. She goes into the “tomboy” column with Min and Faile, without turning into either one of them, or having her teeth pulled like Aviendha. (The later friendship between Mat and Birgitte is one of the few cross-gender relationships in this series I genuinely enjoy.) Moreover, the Moghedien plot actually has stuff happening, and it creates both plot and character dynamics, in the sense of rise and fall. Nynaeve fails, and becomes terrfied of further failure, but then owns up to and overcomes her fear and again kicks ass. But this time, it isn’t simply the raw power showdown of TSR; in fact, Jordan engineers a situation (Nynaeve only halfway in Tel’aran’rhiod) that specifically rules out her channeling strength as a deciding factor. Her success hinges on three things: Elayne’s research into the a’dam, their experimentation with altering stuff in T’A’R, and her own quick thinking in dreaming the collar into existence around Moghedien’s neck. Furthermore, Jordan tosses in an additional twist at the end, that hinges on Nynaeve being smart: she figures out, based on Moghedien’s careless words, that the other woman is in Salidar, and she takes steps to neutralize and find her. The consequences of that won’t show up until the next book, but being the Nynaeve partisan that I am, it makes me very happy that she wins this fight by being quick-witted, perceptive, and determined.

Speaking of good plots with the women, I like Salidar — at least so far– and what Siuan and Leane do there. I was annoyed that Siuan has the usual Robert Jordan Female pride toward Duranda Tharne in Lugard, being all offended that guys are whistling at her and she can’t just order people around — and pleased that Morgase lacked that pride, while escaping the palace in Caemlyn — but by the time Siuan gets to Salidar, she’s started acting smart again. The plan she and Leane execute is good, clever politics, from the initial good cop/bad cop dynamic (or rather, humble minion/angry minion), to the lie about Logain and the Reds, to the pretense of a rift between the two of them. (Which Nynaeve spots for the pretense it is. Again, smart thinking, and in keeping with her experiences as Wisdom.) I could do without the insistence via Min that Siuan has to stick close to Gareth Bryne, but that’s largely because I don’t recall the foreshadowing having yet paid off as of Crossroads of Twilight. If I’m wrong about that, don’t correct me; I’ll get to it in due time.

I find myself with less to say about the boys’ side of the story, heading from Rhuidean to Cairhien and then over to Caemlyn. There seems to be more of it than the actual events require, but I didn’t find it too draggy, except insofar as I know I’m going to get really tired of watching Rand insist that he has to be hard as stone. Also, the strand of narrative about the Maidens is not terribly compelling to me; the notion that Rand can’t accept or be responsible for the deaths of women falls into the category of ideas that Jordan probably found to be both powerful and easily sympathetic, but I find to be neither. I believe there are men who think that way, but it isn’t how I think, so if you want me to get angst out of it, you’ve got to sell me on the notion. Jordan doesn’t really try, and I suspect it’s because he didn’t understand the degree to which it needed selling. But my emotional investment is totally with Sulin when she starts breaking her spears, not with Rand.

Jordan does do a good job with battles, though. Mat partisan that I am, I quite like his transformation into a general, particularly the scene where Lan wanders in and casually prods Mat into laying out an entire battle plan. (I am also a Lan partisan.) Props to that being a deliberate scheme of Rand’s, too. Then when the battle for Cairhien starts, Mat tripping and falling his way into saving the entire column of horse and pike is quite well-done, with the sort of concrete tactical detail that makes me believe in him as a military commander. And for all I would have liked to see a fully-written scene of the fight between him and Couladin, casually referencing it after the fact does add some bad-ass points.

Oddly, I didn’t find the actual climactic fights as exciting. For one thing, I still hate Lanfear, and not in that good “love to hate her” kind of way, so Rand’s confrontation with her loses some of its impact. The struggle for him not to walk away as Lews Therin is compelling material, but I would have liked more of it, and then Moiraine’s big swan dive just . . . didn’t do it for me. I think it was more exciting the first time I read it, but this time around I was all wound up with anticipation, and then felt disappointed. The detonation of the ter’angreal doorway just wasn’t as cool as I’d remembered, and I really wanted a bigger moment with Lan when he says she’s gone. Maybe the problem is that Moiraine got so thoroughly sidelined in this book and the previous one? (Also, I don’t remember what clued me in the first time as to her not being dead — Amys’ heavy-handed “you’re a fool” comment to Rand, or just that they never found the body. But I knew it immediately, and that does take some of the punch away from a re-read.) Furthermore, I think the subsequent strike against Rahvin near-fatally loses momentum when Jordan steps away to show us Nynaeve and Siuan, and then Moghedien and Birgitte, in Tel’aran’rhiod. In his shoes, I might have left Siuan out of it, and definitely would have put that scene before the one where Rand Skims the Aiel boot party to Caemlyn. Having Moggy describe Rahvin’s trap before we see it get sprung would heighten tension rather than defusing it, I think, and allow the narrative to stay in the excitement of battle after everybody gets nuked by lightning. That isn’t a good time for a “meanwhile, back at the ranch” shift.

It’s getting to the point, though, where the narrative sprawls far enough that I have trouble talking usefully about plot events as such. So the one other interesting development I want to discuss in the boys’ half of this book is more about character — by which I mean they start having sex.

I was going to put this in the post on women, but I think some of the points I was going to make there belong here, instead. Up until this book, the series has been resoundingly PG, at least where sex is concerned. The primary guys are all twenty years old, and many of the female povs not far removed from that number, but man are they lacking in hormones. Rand and Elayne may have been sneaking off all over the Stone of Tear at the beginning of TSR, but there’s no indication they did anything more than kiss. Mat may be painted as a ladies’ man, but his behavior comes across as pinching pretty women on the rump rather than actually getting into their skirts, until this book puts him blatantly into bed with Melindhra. Hell, Perrin got married last book and I don’t recall any hint of anything happening with Faile. Sure, he was busy killing Trollocs, but still — you’d expect something.

Except that this series’ target demographic is probably teenaged boys, and they don’t want to read about the squishy stuff. Or maybe Jordan’s just bad at writing the squishy stuff; god knows even his attempts to write something approaching physical attraction come across as oddly bloodless. Galad is “gorgeous” — but what does that mean? There’s little in the way of concrete description as to what about him takes women’s breath away. Okay, Jordan was a straight man, we can understand him being vague about Galad . . . but even when he’s describing attractive women, he falls short of convincing detail. Mostly the focus ends up on their clothes, specifically the necklines of their dresses, or how closely the fabric drapes their bodies. Occasionally something about a smile. Nothing that carries the slightest bit of visceral power. For the love of god — Rand gets naked and wraps himself around Aviendha, and the sole physical cue we get is a bit of cliched description about her skin being like satin or silk. I don’t expect a gear-shift into erotica, but when Rand mentally admonishes himself to get his mind out of the pigsty, I see little evidence that it’s there in the first place. Even small cues, like changes in his breathing or heartbeat, would go a long way toward convincing me he’s a flesh-and-blood young man pressed full-length against a naked woman. Absence of such cues goes a surprisingly long way toward undermining my investment in the characters. When Aviendha wakes up and decides to do something with their situation, it feels more like plot machinery in motion, rather than a natural consequence of anyone’s feelings.

(Credit where credit is due, though: both Aviendha and Melindhra are proactive in their respective relationships, and I didn’t see any sign that the narrative disapproves of their sexual aggressiveness. Which would have been hypocritical, given what we’ve heard about the Aiel — but Jordan wouldn’t have been the first author to talk out of both sides of his mouth on that front. So at least these are books where women can pull men into bed, without being depicted as sirens or sluts.)

Glancing at Leigh Butler’s recaps on, I’m reminded of one other thing I wanted to say, which is that I find myself really wishing we didn’t get so much villain pov. Almost inevitably, villains are scarier and more interesting if we don’t know what they’re doing all the time, and letting us eavesdrop on their summit meetings, especially when we don’t do so through the device of a protagonist spying on them, takes a lot of the shine off it for me. On the one hand, there’s something to be said for reducing them from Scary Monsters to kind of bitchy human beings, but on the other hand, I start rolling my eyes when they show up, and that probably isn’t the reaction Jordan was going for. And this applies not just to the Forsaken, but also to people like Liandrin and Elaida — Elaida most especially. The more I see of her invincible stupidity, the less I care about her as a character. If Jordan had hacked off her entire scene of the Prologue and conveyed the few bits of necessary information through the girls’ reading of her papers in T’A’R, I would have been a lot happier.

Oh, and: we should enjoy our last few moments of blissful ignorance, as I believe this is the last book before we discover the only good Forsaken is a balefired Forsaken. It’s LoC where Aginor and Balthamel come back, yes? While I see the virtue of creating enemies that are really hard to kill (or rather, to keep dead), that is, again, a decision with consequences for the length and pacing of the series. We’ve got seven “dead” at this point, right? Aginor, Balthamel, Be’lal, Ishamael, Lanfear, Rahvin, and Asmodean — but of those, only Be’lal and Rahvin are definitely not coming back, plus presumably Asmodean. (Ah, Asmodean. Focus of the biggest unsolved-as-of-CoT mystery in the entire series, with the possible exception of Verin. I still don’t know who killed him, but I’m looking forward to finding out in due course. Don’t spoil it for me.)

Aaaaand that’s it for now. I’ve made it through a third of the series — go me! Pretty soon I’ll have to stop looking at Leigh Butler’s recaps, because they’ll have spoilers for The Gathering Storm. (They already have spoilers for KoD, which I also haven’t read, but I try to go through carefully and avoid anything that looks like I don’t want to hear about it. I’ve only gotten burned once, on a relatively small matter.) I’m vaguely tempted to hop ahead and read both of those books, just to simplify my life, but that would defeat the purpose of refreshing my memory before I get to them, so I probably won’t. Easier to just avoid reading the posts. Anyway, look for my LoC analysis next month, probably, at which point I will have completed a full year of this project.

0 Responses to “Revisiting the Wheel of Time: The Fires of Heaven”

  1. Anonymous

    I read this entire post at work. But once I started I couldn’t stop.

    Mostly everything you said just made angry bells chime in my head, but let me add some specific things I agree with! For me, FoH is definitely where the series starts to deteriorate. Its flaws aren’t quite as easily diagnosable as in Lord of Chaos (although you have done a spittin’ FINE job of it here) and the book is far more enjoyable (in my opinion) than any of the five that follow, but after the beautiful beautiful tapestry of Shadow Rising, my heart aches with melodramatic disappointment, etc etc.

    Seriously, you’ve hit so many nails here… I just want to add my thoughts on what is a big problem for me: character devolution.

    Lanfear–I hate what she becomes in books 4 and 5. At first, we are set up to see her as an ambitious and powerful woman with a plan of her own. But by her plummet into the ter’angreal, she is nothing but a stupid sociopath whose actions don’t quite make sense. Bummer.

    Nynaeve–as an ambitious and power-hungry woman myself (sigh, at least we can admit it), when I first read the series (I think I was 11 or 12) I worshiped Nynaeve. She had unfathomable power and the potential to rule the world. Also, in the early books, she is set up (quite literally) in a position of wisdom, reason, rationality (albeit occasionally hot-tempered rationality). But in FoH, she degenerates into a braid-tugging, man-hating, often hypocritical and narrow-minded burden on the menfolk around her (thanks for pointing to the early rescue scene, and what it might symbolize). Bummer. Jordan starts to resuscitate her character in later books, but the wait is a long one.

    Moiraine–rereading the series as an adult (I did one of these rereads last year in prep for Gathering Storm), I realized what I had missed fifteen years ago, when I was just too young: this series is about Moiraine. She is the hero, the energy, the impetus. I believe this is part of the reason why things fall apart when she is missing, why we keep going back to reread Eye of the World, why Jordan chose to devote his dying months to writing a prequel to her story instead of finishing his last volume of the series (proof Moiraine was more interesting to him than everyone else put together?), and why we’re all so desperate to know about Aelfinn and Eelfinn. So yeah, her melting? Bummer.

    Ok, this got way longer than I meant it to be. Thanks for posting this, and for letting me take up a huge chunk of your real estate 🙂 Can’t wait to follow you along the next books.

    • Marie Brennan

      I noticed you were a WoT geek! Feel free to look back at the old posts, if you’re interested; I don’t mind belated comments on them.

      I think TSR was definitely the high point of Jordan being able to keep all the narrative balls in the air. The multiple points of view tended to reinforce one another, rather than spreading the focus too thin, as starts to happen in this book. It has a much stronger opening (the “bubbles of evil,” which have already been forgotten by TFoH), and none of the plotlines feel like they’re marking time until their Big Event happens.

      re: Lanfear — I don’t hate what she becomes here, but only because I never really liked her. She seemed kind of like a hosebeast from the beginning — not at all what I hoped for from the “Daughter of Night,” the most powerful female Forsaken. She definitely gets worse the more she clings to Rand, and the fact that she goes out in a bonfire of shrill jealousy is even less appealing than usual, but I don’t regret the fall so much because I don’t feel she had climbed very high to begin with.

      Nynaeve — so Leigh Brackett, in the Tor posts, argues for Nynaeve’s behavior here as comedy, akin to Mat’s whole “I’m not a soldier” schtick. If Jordan intended it that way, though, I don’t find it funny. I’ll save the details for my actual “women in WoT” post, but the bitchy hypocrisy that starts to infect Elayne and Egwene as well as Nynaeve really bugs me. I am a fan of hers, but the next few books aren’t going to be fun. Not until Winter’s Heart does she turn back into the character I liked.

      Moiraine — this one, I think I’d disagree on. I see her clearly as the series’ Gandalf equivalent: the knowledgeable magic-user mentor who, yes, provides the impetus to get the story rolling, but isn’t the central focus. That’s why the mentor always gets bumped off partway through, so his/her greater knowledge and experience don’t trump the actions of the hero. (Personally, I would guess Jordan backtracked to write New Spring because he already knew what would happen in the story, and it didn’t require him to do all the juggling and decision-making of his by then incredibly complex series. It was like a vacation for him.)

      • Anonymous

        re: Moiraine: weirdly, it was my baby sister who pegged Moiraine as favorite character, and who made me feel bad for not appreciating her more when I was younger. But yeah, good draw to Gandalf. Slash Dumbledore.

        • Marie Brennan

          I like Moiraine TEotW-TDR; I get less fond of her in TSR and TFoH, where Rand starts treating her like something unpleasant stuck to his boot. I may like her again when and if she shows back up, but it hadn’t happened yet as of where I stopped reading.

  2. hawkwing_lb

    You remind me why I have not yet read The Gathering Storm. (Well, I read Egwene’s bits, standing in the bookshop. She gets potentially the best Crowning Moment of Awesome in the series.) Having made it through every book since Lord of Chaos on a steadily decreasing enthusiasm:endurance ratio, TGS just seemed like far too much work.

    I look forward to reading your post on women in the WOT, because once I got old enough to notice Jordan’s choices regards them as choices – I didn’t notice them so much when I first discovered the books, aged twelve – they started to seem in some respects troubling, and in general, very irritating.

    • Marie Brennan

      I expect the payoff in TGS will be relatively large, as Sanderson was brought in to finish the damn thing, and even if he couldn’t manage to do it in one book — nobody could, frankly — it’s got to have a pretty high density of Stuff Happening.

      The women-in-WoT thing will probably happen in the next week or two, though don’t quote me on that.

      • hawkwing_lb

        I imagine I’ll change my mind when (if!) I have time to read very long books again.

        Oh, I want to mention – I read A Star Shall Fall at the weekend, and enjoyed it mightily. Especially the extrapolations from phlogiston. That was cool indeed.

        • Marie Brennan

          That’s why I’m doing this so slowly, one book every two months; aside from the very real risk of overdosing, I don’t have the time to do them any more rapidly than that.

          Glad to hear you enjoyed Star!

  3. alecaustin

    Wow, Jordan deconstruction! I should really go back and read your older posts, because my feeling is that things had already gone badly awry before Jordan got to The Fires of Heaven (though the head-hopping, as you note, really got out of hand in this one).

    I kept reading through The Path of Daggers, mostly out of inertia, but I picked up a copy of A Game of Thrones from Powell’s in 1999, and I found it kind of hard to got back to reading Jordan after that.

    • Marie Brennan

      Structure geek that you are, you might find the posts on TDR and TSR interesting. The problems don’t really appear until this book, in my opinion, but their roots lie in the two preceding volumes. From here on out, Jordan seems to have been relying in instinct and luck to make things hang together on a structural level.

      I started the series about when A Crown of Swords came out, so inertia got me as far as Crossroads of Twilight. That book was such a resounding disappointment, though — and I, too, had started reading Martin — that I quit until the series was done. (I’ve only started this re-read so early because I need time to get through the whole series, and I trust Sanderson to meet his deadlines.)

  4. Anonymous

    TFoH definitely is the beginning of some… painful parts of the series. I’m a fan of Jordan’s sprawlingness, while still admitting he could have reined it in a little and cut to the chase. Can’t wait for you to tackle The Neverending Plotline of DOOM! That’ll be “fun.” I will say, to be encouraging, Knife of Dreams and The Gathering Storm both get things jumping again, and it sounds like Towers of Midnight is really going to get things going.

    • Marie Brennan

      I actually can’t figure out which bit you mean when you reference The Neverending Plotline of DOOM! And I’m not sure whether that’s because it’s been a long time since I read the series, or because there are so many candidates to choose from . . . . <g>

      • Anonymous

        It’s generally applied to Perrin and Faile and Berelain and the Shaido and UGH. There really isn’t another plotline that just DRAGS ON like that one does.

        • Marie Brennan

          Oh god, that one.

          Yeah, that one is pretty much the king of dragging plotlines. It isn’t helped by the fact that Perrin disappears for a whole book (this one), but as I said in the comments to my post on TSR, I pretty much have zero recollection of what happens with Perrin from here on out. Aside from knowing that eventually Faile gets captured by the Shaido, my memory of it consists entirely of “Perrin is Lord of the Two Rivers and has problems with women.”

          I’m not looking forward to it.

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  10. Anonymous

    Re: Oh yeah.

    Good points, all. Especially your breakdown of how Hans fits into Die Hard — you’re dead-on about the tricks that allow him to be a character we want to watch, rather than one who needs to have died, like, eight scenes ago. (My only quibble would be in the phrasing that he only kills people who “deserve it” — rather that he only kills people who played some part in their own deaths. Takagi didn’t deserve to die; he just chose honor/loyalty over living. And even whathisface the cokehead doesn’t deserve death; he just chose to risk his life, and it ended badly for him.)

    Where torture is concerned . . . I dunno. I’ve hit a point where I’m not very willing to let the hero get away with it, either. Taken, with Liam Neeson, was the movie that made it clear to me how much my tolerance for that had dropped.

  11. Anonymous

    Heh. My brain has always been enamored of the notion of a nine-book series…

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