Wulf

Oh, Mat.... What have they done to you....?

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I just reached Mat's letter to Elayne in ToM.

 

Ugh.

 

Well, I guess Mat's an illiterate buffoon now.  He must've taken one or two blows too many to the head recently.

 

Also, I wonder if he's a married man now.  Do you think he's a married man now?  He's probably a married man now.

 

Out of all the differences between RJ and BS, Mat's the most disappointing.  The rest he's doing passable with, but poor, poor Mat.

Edited by Wulf

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Yup, unfortunately, Sanderson was not able to properly capture Mat's character, and tries to compensate for that with over the top, out of character, comedy.

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BS even admitted he had a hard time getting Mat right.  I think he did a better job with Perin.

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Perrin's pretty boring lately, but at least it's in-character boring. 

 

I hope this wolf dream stuff goes somewhere soon.

 

Brace yourself for the excitement of Perrin dreaming about making tiny metal men!  You can have the whole seat to read on but you'll only need THE EDGE!

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54 minutes ago, Wulf said:

There's a bit over a book and a half left.

 

Does he keep it up the entire time, or find a balance?

 

The latter half of TOM has a pretty good old Mat, I suspect it was partly written by RJ.

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5 hours ago, Wulf said:

I just reached Mat's letter to Elayne in ToM.

 

Ugh.

 

Well, I guess Mat's an illiterate buffoon now.  He must've taken one or two blows too many to the head recently.

 

Also, I wonder if he's a married man now.  Do you think he's a married man now?  He's probably a married man now.

 

Out of all the differences between RJ and BS, Mat's the most disappointing.  The rest he's doing passable with, but poor, poor Mat.

 

 

I figured the most complete answer regarding Sanderson's "Mat Cauthon" can be found by reading what BS himself wrote about this back on October 17, 2013. 

https://brandonsanderson.com/the-wheel-of-time-retrospective-the-gathering-storm-what-i-learned/

 

Quote

 

"The Gathering Storm: What did I do wrong?


 My take on Mat is very divisive among Wheel of Time fans. A great number feel I did him poorly in The Gathering Storm. I’ve had a similar number approach me and tell me they like my Mat better than they did in previous books. Unfortunately, in doing so, these latter readers prove that the first readers are right. People don’t come to me and say “I like your Perrin” or “I dislike your Perrin.” They don’t do it for Rand, Egwene, or any of the other major characters. While undoubtedly there are some who feel this way about those characters, there isn’t a consensus opinion among a large number of fans as there is that Mat was DIFFERENT in The Gathering Storm. Those who like him better are likely ones who just naturally prefer the way I do a roguish character as opposed to the way Robert Jordan did one. It doesn’t mean Mat is better—just that I wrote him differently, and anytime there’s a difference, some will prefer the changed version.
(There are even people who prefer New Coke!)
                I don’t mean to demean the opinions of those who feel Mat was great in The Gathering Storm. I’m glad you enjoyed him, and I think there is some excellent writing involved in his viewpoints.
However, I feel that I was wrong and the critics are right. Looking at Robert Jordan’s Mat and what I wrote, there are some subtle differences that made Mat read wrong to a sizable portion of the audience. (Jason Denzel, who is a good friend, was the first to point it out to me—not maliciously, but truthfully. His comment was along the lines of, “I think your take on Mat feels like very early books Mat.” This was a nice way of saying that my Mat lacked some of the depth of characterization he’d gained over the course of the latter books of the series.)
                 My Mat wasn’t an attempt to fix or change Mat—the sense that Mat is “off” was created by me trusting my instincts and in this case being wrong. You see, as I say above, I discovery-write characters. I write a viewpoint, and then judge if it has the right feel. I try again, changing the way the character reacts and thinks, until I arrive at the right feel. It’s like casting different actors in a role, and I do this quite deliberately—I feel that there is a danger in outlining as much as I do. It risks leaving your characters feeling wooden, that they are simply filling roles in a plot. (I find that many thrillers, which as a genre focus on tight plotting, have this problem.) To combat this, I let my characters grow more organically. I allow them to violate the plot outline, and then revise the outline to fit the people they are becoming. They often do this, but mostly in very small ways—usually, my casting process finds the right person for the plot, and this doesn’t require major revisions as they grow.
        However, I’ve read The Wheel of Time over and over—and I had never noticed that my picture of Mat was still deeply influenced by his book one/two appearance. The sidekick rogue. While some of my favorite parts of the series are his latter appearances where he gains a great deal of characterization (although this starts in book three), I cast the wrong Mat in these books, and I simply wrote him poorly. It was a version of Mat, and I don’t think it’s a disaster—but he’s much farther from his correct characterization than the other characters are.
            The interesting thing about this is, though it is the biggest mistake I made in my writing of The Gathering Storm, it also is one of the things that taught me the most. My digging into viewpoint for the next book became one of the greatest learning experiences of my career so far."

 

 

Edited by Vambram
correcting the format

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I cut BS some slack on that because it can't be easy to pick up a popular series with devoted fans and try to seamlessly pick up where RJ left.  Plus trying to keep the characters how RJ had them.  Early Mat was a guy who had to get a lot of characterization throughout the series because had Mat of stayed the sidekick prankster the whole series I think he would of gotten really annoying by book six.

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Almost done ToM now.  He seems to be far more restrained with the silliness.

 

I was a little worried when the badger made an appearance, but crisis mostly averted.

 

I can definitely appreciate the difficulties of trying to pick up where somebody left off.  If anything, the fact that Mat's the only one that my brain rejected should be a compliment on how well everything else turned out.

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Did you enjoy the last few chapters of ToM? I am also curious as to how much you like that book after you've finished it and have had at least a little bit of time to digest it. 

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I've still got a few pages left which I expect to finish on the bus home from work in an hour, but I can at least partially answer your question now.

 

I enjoyed it overall.  It had some quirks/growing pains, but it feels very Jordanesque now.

 

Rand's pretty much stopped being interesting as a character for the moment.  Omnipotent messiah, his enemies go mad and destroy themselves just by basking in his presense, yawn.  But the story doesn't really seem to be about him anymore, so life goes on.

 

Mat has returned to being an acceptable character by the end.  He's not "Jordan's Mat", but he's actually enjoyable to read again instead of cringe-worthy.

 

Obviously it's too early to tell what Taim's up to, but it bothers me that he left a "logain resistance" alive at all in his tower.  If he's evil, and converting people to evil (I expect this is that "13 myrdraal can turn a channeler" thing that was never brought up again from the early books) then he should just do it.  What's with the pussyfooting around?  He should have an evil assembly line going, not be cherry picking students.

 

And what's up with the dreamspike?  Does he not expect it to draw just the tiniest smidgen of attention?  A smidgen?

 

"Oh, that.  I thought it was for keeping away mosquitos."

 

Edit:  But those complaints are just standard for any form of entertainment.  Obviously any villain has to be wildly inept in some manner.

Edited by Wulf

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Yes, that scene was well-intended, but missed the mark.  I think that in trying to provide some levity, BS forgot that Mat had the memories of countless noblemen.  He wouldn't misspell words and have poor writing skills.  After all, he issues orders to his men like a true lord and general.

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On 8/26/2018 at 2:22 AM, Orderofolde said:

Yes, that scene was well-intended, but missed the mark.  I think that in trying to provide some levity, BS forgot that Mat had the memories of countless noblemen.  He wouldn't misspell words and have poor writing skills.  After all, he issues orders to his men like a true lord and general.

 

Mat has memories of battles and women.

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Nobody else in the entire series struggles with literacy.  There are books in the Two Rivers inn and it's implied that everybody reads.  Everyone knows the legends of Jain Farstrider, from the books.

 

That's Mat, the village boy.

 

How many times does he explain that he read his battle tactics in a book?  His other lives wrote the books.

 

None come to mind, but I'd expect it wouldn't be difficult to find instances of Mat reading without a struggle.

 

Showing Mat's letter written in such a way immediately makes him the least literate character in an epic tale spanning 14 books, all so we can share a laugh at uneducated little VillageBoy-Mat.

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10 minutes ago, Wulf said:

Nobody else in the entire series struggles with literacy.  There are books in the Two Rivers inn and it's implied that everybody reads.  Everyone knows the legends of Jain Farstrider, from the books.

 

That's Mat, the village boy.

 

How many times does he explain that he read his battle tactics in a book?  His other lives wrote the books.

 

None come to mind, but I'd expect it wouldn't be difficult to find instances of Mat reading without a struggle.

 

Showing Mat's letter written in such a way immediately makes him the least literate character in an epic tale spanning 14 books, all so we can share a laugh at uneducated little VillageBoy-Mat.

 

Oh I agree that Mat would've been perfectly literate by himself. WOT is a world where farmers in the middle of nowhere like to read by the fire.

 

I honestly have no idea why Sanderson would write that particular passage. It's not at all in character, and I'm really surprised it passed editing.

 

I can only justify to myself that Mat was doing this on purpose, for some obscure Daes Dae'mar reason.

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On 8/16/2018 at 6:29 AM, Vambram said:

Those who like him better are likely ones who just naturally prefer the way I do a roguish character as opposed to the way Robert Jordan did one. It doesn’t mean Mat is better—just that I wrote him differently, and anytime there’s a difference, some will prefer the changed version.

 

Even BS's explanation shows why he gets Mat wrong. Mat isn't a "roguish" character. He's Mat. It's the biggest and most noticeable difference in the later books. RJ wrote characters -  and given what we know about his meticulous notes - he was passionate about writing people into his story. Brandon is playing fit the puzzle together with pieces - not people.

 

image.png.77e80ce9ec04f21cf968d381680e04ee.png

 

Lol. Harsh but fair.

Edited by shintemaster

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