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Literature / The Purifying Fire

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The Purifying Fire, by Laura Resnick, is a Magic: The Gathering novel and the second in the Planeswalker novel series (although it's a standalone with no direct connection to the others), focusing on the red-aligned planeswalker Chandra Nalaar.

Chandra lives in Keral Keep on the plane of Regatha, where she studies the art of pyromancy with the other monks. However, the white-aligned Order of Heliud has begun to encroach on the peaceful monastery and the forest surrounding it, and its pursuit of ultimate Order clashes with the monks' ideals of freedom and personal liberty. Walbert, the leader of the Order of Heliud, wants to capture Chandra for his own unknown ends. And when Chandra visits the plane of Kephalai to steal a valuable scroll containing a rare fire spell, she doesn't expect to meet the mysterious Gideon pursuing her—and she certainly doesn't expect to have to fight alongside him for survival.


The first chapter of the book recounts the events of the Fuel For The Fire webcomic, and the rest of the book continues from there.

The Purifying Fire provides examples of the following tropes:

  • Broad Strokes: While it's still canon that Gideon and Chandra met and came into conflict over the Order of Heluid in Regatha, then parted ways (after which Gideon realized he'd been wrong and sought Chandra out to reconcile with her), several aspects of their backstories from this novel are contradicted by later canon entries. For example, here Chandra says she had a "mother who was strict, father who was gentle, two sisters who [she] hated, and an older brother who she adored". Her story in Magic Origins establishes that she was an only child and close to both her parents. As well, in this novel it was the Order of Heluid who burned Chandra's village because she was a pyromancer. In Magic Origins it was Consul soldiers who did it, and their attempt to execute her took place at an arena she was taken to, rather than at the site of the burned village.
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  • Brought Down to Normal: On Diraden, where the flow of non-black mana is blocked and Chandra and Gideon can't access their magic.
  • Bullying a Dragon: Chandra lampshades how stupid it is for a monk at the Keep to be relentlessly hassling her about losing the scroll when it is a widely known fact that she is the most powerful pyromancer on the plane.
  • Canon Foreigner/Canon Immigrant: The character of Gideon was originally created for The Purifying Fire, and the creative team at Wizards of the Coast liked him enough to print a planeswalker card for him in the Rise of the Eldrazi expansion.
  • Card-Carrying Villain: The vampire Prince Velrav of Diraden, who revels in his villainy.
  • Catapult Nightmare: Chandra catapults upright from a nightmare in the second chapter.
  • Early-Bird Cameo: While at Keral Keep Chandra meets with the Monastery's Matriarch, Mother Luti, to tell her the truth about being a planeswalker.
  • Enemy Mine: Chandra and Gideon have to team up to escape from Diraden when they discover that planeswalking away is impossible as long as Prince Velrav's curse is draining the mana from the land.
  • Evil Overlord: Prince Velrav, who tyrannizes Diraden.
  • Female Gaze: Laura Resnick is also a veteran romance author, and she sprinkles in a few sections of Gideon fanservice.
  • Fiery Redhead: Chandra. She has Flaming Hair as well.
  • Flaming Hair: Chandra, a literal Fiery Redhead.
  • "Freaky Friday" Flip: Done temporarily between Gideon and the ex-king of Diraden.
  • Glowing Eyes: Jace's eyes glow blue when he fights Chandra. Chandra's eyes are glowing red on the cover.
  • I Let Gwen Stacy Die: Chandra's backstory. She explains how soldiers burnt down her village after a display of her powers caused them to think the villagers were illegally training pyromancers to fight the empire. The trauma of seeing all her friends and family burn caused her planeswalker spark to ignite, and she's carried the guilt with her ever since.
  • Knight Templar: Walbert and the Order of Heliud, obsessed with order, rule of law, and peace, no matter the cost.
  • Light Is Not Good: This is evil!White at its finest.
  • Murder the Hypotenuse: Falia, jealous of what she assumes to be a romance between Chandra and Gideon, turns Chandra over to Velrav in hopes of keeping Gideon for herself.
  • My Greatest Failure: See I Let Gwen Stacy Die.
  • Neck Lift: Jace does it to the illusion of Brannon.
  • The Night That Never Ends: Diraden has been cursed with eternal night as long as Velrav has held the throne.
  • Only the Pure of Heart: Only those whose souls are clean can survive the eponymous Purifying Fire intact.
  • The Order: Of Heliud.
  • Order vs. Chaos
  • Passion Is Evil: Addressed, as it's stated Gideon was trained to divorce emotions from magic. Otherwise very much averted, however, given that the passionate magic users are the good guys and the Order is evil.
  • Playing with Fire: Chandra and the other pyromancers.
  • Plot Hole: Chandra is suddenly able to use fire magic again in the last scene on Diraden, even though they haven't broken the curse yet. This is never explained or justified in the story. Word of God says this was due to Executive Meddling — Wizards of the Coast rewrote a couple chapters from Resnick's manuscript.
  • Psychic Powers: Jace
  • Unskilled, but Strong: Chandra. She came to Keral Keep to fix it.
  • Whip It Good: Gideon's signature weapon is a sural, a three-tailed whip-blade-thingy.


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