In the reality in which the books take place, she's the first adult woman he meets, is a mentor and protector, doesn't bed him, and is an appropriate mother figure. As was nynaeve. It would be a while before he met the aiel. Nothing wrong with a lot of badass women watching out for you.
In regards to the Darkhound attack, Mat WOULD have died if Rand had not balefired the darkhound. He had not died yet, but he would have. He was still alive and mostly well by the time Rand did that. If you are talking about his hanging, I think he was near death but still able to be resuscitated, just like Rand did. Death by being hit by lightening is more final
Dragonmount.com is a fan-maintained website dedicated to Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time fantasy series. It is an online community of people from all over the world who have come here to experience the series to the fullest.