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Cauthon and Tylin arc/Morgase comparison (!Caution! Sensitive Topic - Read at Your Own Risk)


Fano'Lan Redux
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On 9/30/2021 at 8:25 PM, SingleMort said:

I never personally saw this as rape but it definitely seemed dodgey. The reason I didn't see it as rape was it didn't appear there was any trauma involved. Mat seemed uncomfortable and confused by the situation but he never seemed to be suffering or in any genuine distress. You could argue there was sexual harrassment but I don't think Mat was raped and it seemed clear he had geuine feelings for Tylin

It is arguments like this that set back justice for men and women 30 years. Now legally Mat was not raped as the act of Rape must involve the act of penetration, but there is no doubt mat was forced, against his will, to engage in a sexual act. This was not a Consensual non Consensual BDSM scene being played out, it was a women, in a position of power taking advantage of a man with the threat of stabbing. 

 

Saying that one persons sexual assault is worse or better then another immediately devalues all sexual assaults, it is a slippery slope from that statement to going back to the bad old days of claiming that it can't be rape if the women says yes to start with, to then it can't be rape if she makes the man think she said yes to, if she wears a short skirt then she is asking for it. Victims, male and female, don't sit at support groups trying to out do each other as to the level of trauma they deserve to feel. 

 

To my mind this whole debate and argument is the wrong argument, who was more raped should not matter.

Was what happened to both of them wrong, yes,

would it have impacted them later in life, yes, 

 

The thing no one seems to bring up in this are the Forsaken who use Compulsion to get others to perform sexual acts many times over. These would include Rahvin who used Compulsion on Morgase to make her perform who knows what sexual acts with him. Off screen it is clear much worse things happen so by the argument made in this thread you could argue Morgase's "rape" as discussed in this thread wasn't really that bad as at least she was aware of it. 

 

Rape is Rape, there is no grading, no comparing that one is worse than another, you don't go to a rape victim and say, there there get over it it can't have been that bad I mean, he wasn't violent. 

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  • 4 months later...

The way Tylin treated Mat sickens me. I've been reading the books since 1992. I read a comment on the archived site that said in the time Jordan wrote this, Male Rape wasn't a thing. That is wrong. I was an adult. I don't think how Jordan was trying to be humorous. It was dark and disturbing. I don't believe half the readers think it's funny. I reread the series yearly and it upset me more and more. And the fact that Elayne thinks, "he probably deserved it", really upsets me too. Mat didn't pursue woman like that. In one book it clearly states he only responds when they like it. He is flirtatious, but never forces himself on a female.

 

On 8/30/2021 at 10:55 AM, Fano'Lan Redux said:

Starting this thread after mistakenly sidetracking a thread in the show forum

 

Trying to comprehend the seemingly universal acceptance here that the Cauthon/Tylin arc supports the conclusion Mat was raped by Tylin and that the interactions between them are comparable to what Morgase suffered at the hands of Valda

 

The origin and discussion of this contention eluded me in the moment, and I have to educate myself on the arguments in favor of the position. Other than the interview with Harriet mentioned in the other thread, would greatly appreciate anyone pointing me to supporting contentions

..........................

In short, I disagree with "rape" conclusion and the minimization of Morgase's trauma in comparison so would like to evaluate the underlying arguments for that conclusion

Valda didn't use a knife on Morgase's clothing. She didn't have 6 serving woman catch her, and bodily bring her into the room. The queens room. An authority figure, which makes him even more helpless. Morgase was asked the question and agreed. They were both raped. What happened to him was more violent.

 

On 8/30/2021 at 8:42 PM, king of nowhere said:

Regarding mat being free to leave, I seem to remember scenes of him being captured and brought back by servants, but maybe i remember wrong? It's been a while since my last reread. But even if I remember that detail wrong, mat spent most of his time in the palace either honor-bound to stay by hiw promises to elayne and nynaeve, or recuperating from his wounds in the seanchan assault

 

You're remembering right. Besides the threats with the knife, on the morning of the Rahad, Mat is remembering the night before when 6 serving woman accosted him, and dragged him to Tylin. Not only was there violence committed against Mat, but also she was an authority figure, like a boss, but much worse. She was the Queen.

 

On 8/31/2021 at 11:10 AM, Thrasymachus said:

.  Morgase submitted because the alternative was her death and the death of those following her.  But there was no prior possibility that she would have chosen a sexual relationship with Valda.  And he forced that relationship without any kind of regard for her as a person.

 

 

You're drawing conclusions that were never specified in the books. Morgase wasn't necessarily going to be put to death. The threat of questioning by the questioner exists. But Valda would want her alive to control Andor. So there would have been limits to the questioning. If you can draw an unwritten conclusion, I can to.

 

On 10/10/2021 at 3:50 PM, DojoToad said:

Not following your logic.  If you're comparing Mat to Berelain, I don't see the equivalency.  Mat pursued women, but seemed to have a knack for pursuing those that wanted to get caught.  I don't recall an incident of Mat being rebuffed and continuing the pursuit.  Maybe it can be implied, but don't believe it was shown outright like it was with Berelain - she was explicitly rebuffed numerous times and still continued the hunt; the definition of a sexual predator.

You're right Mat only pursued those that liked to be caught. They said that in the Stone of Tear.

 

On 10/11/2021 at 2:07 PM, Elendir said:

 

Aludra, Isendre and tavern girl south of Cairhien. We do not know the details and all cases are different. The only thing that they have in comon is the fact that Mat do not take NO as an answer.

He bought them gifts and flirted endlessly. He didn't try to remove their clothes. (Berelain)

 

On 10/17/2021 at 4:57 AM, Elendir said:

Mat pursued Isender actively, although she was not interested in him. Sure, as a darkfriend, it was a game on her part, but it was clear in the book through Rand's eyes that she was running from Mat. Sexual predators often consider such resistance to be feigned, regardless of whether or not it is.
Mat changed his interest because he got involved with another female darkfriend and Isendra became a convict of Far Dareis Mai.

 

The pub girl south of Cairhien enjoyed Mat's company, ,ut she thought it was purely a social matter. Mat, on the other hand, took it as a seducing with sex as ending and mentally commented that she was talking too much if it was worth it.
Innkeeper did not act as a protector. The girl got free of the work in the inn so she could keep Mat company. Rich customers need to be satisfied.
So I'm not sure how much room for CONSENT she would have between Mat the rich customer and the innkeeper the boss.

 

Aludra knew steps better then Mat so she keep things the way she wanted. It wasn't because Mat respected her boundaries, but because she could set and enforce them.

What I'm writing here is not for tarn on Mat. I just want to point out one Elayne quote "Taste your own medicine".

Mat flirted with Isender and gave her gifts. He didn't hold knives on her, or have serving woman accost him and drag her to him. He didn't steal her key, so she had no privacy or escape. Plus Isender did flirt back, she just also wasn't going there with him.

 

Your presuming Mat had sex on his mind - as if that's a crime? But he only flirted and dance. They say in the Stone of Tear that Mat only pursues those who want to be pursued.

 

Aludra kissed Mat, so he kept up the flirting. Had she not wanted it, he would have stopped.

*SD here, I merged all your posts into one*

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Once upon a time, you could have playboys characters with ''an uncanny knack for picking women who wanted to be chased'. This was the gimmick for Starbuck in the old Battlestar Galactica , the same actor in the A-team, for example. I feel Mat is clearly under this trope, and it's why having him setup in another culture where women do the chasing was also light-hearted. Because Mat may say (internally) that he is the chaser, but he also likes being chased - to his surprise.

 

And this used to be a good trope - because it was against a conservative society where no one was supposed to have sex before marriage, or denied women any sexual freedom. Something which is not true in Randland AFAIK.

 

I feel like we are also supposed to know that Mat is clearly an unreliable narrator : what he says and what he does are not the same. With his skill with knives, who can think Tylin would be able to best him... or that a mere queen would be able to make a ta'veren a powerless prisoner.

 

Nowadays ? We are a lot more attuned to consent and power issues, and it's why we can see Tylin as a predator - but with our own cultural lenses, and Mat as an unreliable narrator. 

 

I don't think Jordan could have expected society to shift this way in twenty years - or he would have written Tylin more subtly I guess. I feel Tylin was supposed to be a female counterpart to Mat, not a rapist.

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1 hour ago, JyP said:

Once upon a time, you could have playboys characters with ''an uncanny knack for picking women who wanted to be chased'. This was the gimmick for Starbuck in the old Battlestar Galactica , the same actor in the A-team, for example. I feel Mat is clearly under this trope, and it's why having him setup in another culture where women do the chasing was also light-hearted. Because Mat may say (internally) that he is the chaser, but he also likes being chased - to his surprise.

 

And this used to be a good trope - because it was against a conservative society where no one was supposed to have sex before marriage, or denied women any sexual freedom. Something which is not true in Randland AFAIK.

 

I feel like we are also supposed to know that Mat is clearly an unreliable narrator : what he says and what he does are not the same. With his skill with knives, who can think Tylin would be able to best him... or that a mere queen would be able to make a ta'veren a powerless prisoner.

 

Nowadays ? We are a lot more attuned to consent and power issues, and it's why we can see Tylin as a predator - but with our own cultural lenses, and Mat as an unreliable narrator. 

 

I don't think Jordan could have expected society to shift this way in twenty years - or he would have written Tylin more subtly I guess. I feel Tylin was supposed to be a female counterpart to Mat, not a rapist.

Time changes all things. And experiences can change your lenses as easily as time. That’s why some movies, books, TV shows, art don’t hold up. So regardless of intentions at the time, this arc did not hold up for some of us.

 

I still love the books and won’t have a problem reading these scenes, just will look at them differently than I once did. 

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On 4/19/2022 at 3:30 PM, JyP said:

 

I feel like we are also supposed to know that Mat is clearly an unreliable narrator : what he says and what he does are not the same. With his skill with knives, who can think Tylin would be able to best him... or that a mere queen would be able to make a ta'veren a powerless prisoner.

 

I'm curious as to why you think we should clearly see him as an unreliable narrator. 

 

The knife scene is the culmination of Tylin's pursuit of Mat which he has tried to avoid at every turn. 

 

For example, he moves Olver into the anteroom to his chambers so Tylin, who has stolen or made a copy of the key to his room, will refrain from sneaking in on him when he's asleep.

 

Are you suggesting that Mat's an unreliable narrator so this didn't happen or that secretly Mat wanted Tylin to pursue and catch him?  You also seem to be saying Mat didn't do enough to struggle or fight back, which I think gets dangerously close to victim blaming.

 

The "you wanted it really" line is used to justify overcoming someone's refusals to participate and is really an attempt at self-justification. Tylin uses it as do those who extort from others what they don't give willingly.

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16 hours ago, Stedding Tofu said:

I'm curious as to why you think we should clearly see him as an unreliable narrator. 

With Jordan, I feel that most inner dialogues from WoT's main protagonists are clearly written somewhat tongue-in-cheek, to show that how they perceive themselves and how what are effectively doing are two different things. 

 

Nynaeve obviously wears the same clothes than in Emond's Field somewhat and has never changed, Perrin is no lord, Mat is no hero, Elayne is not a glutton nor reckless. And during the girls' adventures, they don't enjoy clothes and are obviously wearing the same clothes than others.

 

Quote

For example, he moves Olver into the anteroom to his chambers so Tylin, who has stolen or made a copy of the key to his room, will refrain from sneaking in on him when he's asleep.

And he stays in the palace because he has to protect Nynaeve, Elayne and Aviendha, as he promised to do so to Rand. And he would not displease Tylin by being impolite. And the Pattern conspires so he doesn't find any room outside.

 

...remember he doesn't see the 3 girls for days, even weeks in the Palace ? And he even says they should have an escort whenever they go outside, but they are safe enough inside.

 

He would not displease Tylin... since when Mat is polite ? It's because she has a son, Beslan, which could attack him afterwards, and Mat typically doesn't like dangerous situations.

 

He doesn't find any room outside... well he could anyway (Mat is more than resourceful), but the palace feels more comfy, even with Tylin's shenanigans.

 

so it's why I see Mat as an unreliable narrator, his justifications don't hold sway. And there's more afterwards, whenever Mat doesn't like Tylin's Toy clothes. Not even a little lace.

 

Quote

Are you suggesting that Mat's an unreliable narrator so this didn't happen or that secretly Mat wanted Tylin to pursue and catch him? 

 

Nor the first nor the other, I feel that a lot of things are left unsaid. Mat's behavior around Tylin for example, as we know he is very prone to leering, even if he thinks he is ogling girls "safely and properly".

 

If we say that Tylin is a female counterpart to Mat, her too should have an uncanny knack for picking women who wanted to be chased. 

 

And obviously Mat didn't want to be chased : it's something he didn't even conceive. He was definitely attracted by Tylin nonetheless. 

 

Quote

You also seem to be saying Mat didn't do enough to struggle or fight back, which I think gets dangerously close to victim blaming.

 

As I said before : nowadays we are a lot more attuned to consent and power issues. Things must be clearly said so there's no misunderstandings. But it was not the case whenever the book was written.

 

We don't have any chapter with Tylin's POV, and it's clearly missing here.

 

So yes, obviously we can see Tylin as a rapist because she forces herself on Mat, and we have no consent described in the book. Which can also means that Mat is as much a rapist than Tylin, what with all the girls he chased at home and since... I prefer to think that there was an unsaid consent, the same way I feel that Starbuck in Battlestar Galactica or Templeton Peck in the A-team were not written as rapists.

 

If the aim of this arc was to generate more awareness about consent and power issues for boys, I agree that the other side of the coin was to generate uneasiness for victims.

 

Quote

The "you wanted it really" line is used to justify overcoming someone's refusals to participate and is really an attempt at self-justification. Tylin uses it as do those who extort from others what they don't give willingly.

The trope of having an uncanny knack for picking those who wanted to be chased, the idea of a chase even, needs to die in a fire. It could work positively in the 80s, nowadays not so much.

 

Having Tylin chasing and boxing Mat into a corner, menacing Mat with a dagger with no consent is definitely wrong. With today's sensibilities, this arc should be rewritten to take into account victim sensibilities, I concur. And I think having Tylin's POV would have sufficed to show disconnects between Mat's behavior and his inner thoughts.

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4 hours ago, JyP said:

With Jordan, I feel that most inner dialogues from WoT's main protagonists are clearly written somewhat tongue-in-cheek, to show that how they perceive themselves and how what are effectively doing are two different things. 

 

Nynaeve obviously wears the same clothes than in Emond's Field somewhat and has never changed, Perrin is no lord, Mat is no hero, Elayne is not a glutton nor reckless. And during the girls' adventures, they don't enjoy clothes and are obviously wearing the same clothes than others.

 

I agree with this mostly.  There is a great deal of humour wrapped up in characters insisting in their own internal voice why they are doing something, or that they are doing something because of x and most definitely not because of y, when we are given to understand instinctively or because it's splashed around for us that it's really y even if they don't want to admit to themselves.

 

But the danger in that is never accepting that the character's internal voice or reasoning is valid.  E.G. Perrin does not want to become a lord but the Pattern / Fate / Duty (and Faile) combine to force him that way.  Mat does not want to have an affair with Tylin and his actions bear this out far more than any doubts as to his internal reasoning.

 

4 hours ago, JyP said:

And he stays in the palace because he has to protect Nynaeve, Elayne and Aviendha, as he promised to do so to Rand. And he would not displease Tylin by being impolite. And the Pattern conspires so he doesn't find any room outside.

 

...remember he doesn't see the 3 girls for days, even weeks in the Palace ? And he even says they should have an escort whenever they go outside, but they are safe enough inside.

 

He would not displease Tylin... since when Mat is polite ? It's because she has a son, Beslan, which could attack him afterwards, and Mat typically doesn't like dangerous situations.

 

He doesn't find any room outside... well he could anyway (Mat is more than resourceful), but the palace feels more comfy, even with Tylin's shenanigans.

 

This just serves to highlight the difficulty of the situation he finds himself in.  My money is on him as ta'veren being caught by the Pattern: he has to remain in The Palace in Ebou Dar until Tuon arrives and he has to be close to Tylin to meet her to fulfill the Aelfinn's prophecy.  After all that is the reason he is stuck in Ebou dar from the end of LoC to CoT.  Your remarks might seem to put a different gloss on his actions but I think we can take him at face value:

 

He does intend to protect Elayne (and Nynaeve) and saves Elayne's life from the gholam in The Rahad and goes so far as to offer her his foxhead medallion once he learns Moghedien balefired two of his men.  Moving into the palace is part of the bargain he makes with Elayne and Nynaeve in turn for allowing him to protect them and when he agrees, the dice start (stop?) spinning in his head, an indication something important will follow from this.  Bear in mind Mat had already been to the palace and left a note for Elayne and Nynaeve: Tylin makes her first approach to him and he escapes as fast as he decently can and is extremely reluctant to go back.  He does listen to the dice though.

 

Elayne and Nynaeve go out of there way to avoid him, wearing the mirror of mists so neither he, his men, nor Thom and Juilin, can follow their movements.  Mat has men watching for them leaving so he can follow and "protect" them.  He's not staying here because he secretly wants Tylin to catch him.

 

Yes, he worries about offending Tylin and Beslan.  The man fights duels at the drop of a hat and in one scene Beslan returns from a duel and announces the man he fought slipped so he killed him by accident rather than wounding him.  Mat is a foreigner who is incredibly vulnerable to the displeasure of the royal family.  He can't afford to offend these people.  Sure he could run but he can't while Elayne and Nynaeve are being hunted by a gholam and Moghedien.  He's trapped by his promises, sense of duty and The Pattern.

 

But the remarks you made don't for me overcome Mat avoiding the palace after their initial meeting, locking his room, barricading his door with a chair when Tylin takes the key, moving Olver into his rooms to deter her, trying to creep into and out of the palace at early/late times by side entrances, trying to grab food from the kitchens to avoid having to dine alone with Tylin, trying not to be noticed by servants so Tylin will know he is back in the palace.

 

When he finally loses his patience with her attentions she pulls a knife on him, holds it to his throat and cuts his clothes off.  He certainly isn't encouraging her.

 

4 hours ago, JyP said:

 

Nor the first nor the other, I feel that a lot of things are left unsaid. Mat's behavior around Tylin for example, as we know he is very prone to leering, even if he thinks he is ogling girls "safely and properly".

 

If we say that Tylin is a female counterpart to Mat, her too should have an uncanny knack for picking women who wanted to be chased. 

 

Again, any idea that Mat is unwittingly giving Tylin signals to chase him that she is correctly interpreting  seems off, at least to me.  If she thought he wanted to be chased why would she need to forbid the kitchens to feed him to try and force him to come to her?

 

I would bounce this around.  We see in FoH that Valan Luca pursues Nynaeve.  We know she wants no part of him but he interprets her rejection as an invitation to persist.  There's a scene where he sits next to her and she keeps moving her stool further away and he keeps following her.  Either 1) Luca misreads Nynaeve or, 2) Nynaeve does not understand herself what she is doing but is secretly flattered by Luca's attentions.  I'm with 1) for both Nynaeve and Mat. 

 

Equally, either Tylin is 1) Luca and is misreading Mat or 2) she doesn't care either way.  I'm with 2) for Tylin.

 

5 hours ago, JyP said:

And obviously Mat didn't want to be chased : it's something he didn't even conceive. He was definitely attracted by Tylin nonetheless. 

 

This seems to me the heart of what RJ was trying to get at with the role reversal.  What must it be like for someone to be pursued against their will and, once caught (however caught), how confusing the emotions must be: some level of admiration / affection for the other party, definitely some level of attraction and sexual satisfaction due to the looks, skill and experience of the older lover, but embarrassment and shame that everyone knows they are a plaything or conquest of the powerful alpha.  Mat is Tylin's Toy and he resents that because it's common knowledge: every palace servant and every woman, barring Nynaeve but including Elayne, chortle at his predicament which is humiliating for him. 

 

It's a role reversal for the stereotypical male alpha and Mat is really just a vehicle for us to see these ideas expounded on page.  I don't think we should read anything too much into Mat's own character or sexual behaviour from this (it doesn't fit him at all) as it's intended to show that it could happen to anyone if the circumstances were right.  He chooses Mat because Perrin and Rand are both far more straight-laced and already in love (though Perrin has his own unwanted pursuit by Berelain to deal with).  At least that's my take on it.

 

5 hours ago, JyP said:

As I said before : nowadays we are a lot more attuned to consent and power issues. Things must be clearly said so there's no misunderstandings. But it was not the case whenever the book was written.

 

I first read the then-published books of WOT in 1997, so I probably first read the Mat-Tylin arc in 1997-2000.  We may talk about these issues with different language or different common reference points as you say but my underlying view from my 2022 re-read hasn't changed since then.  Tylin is a cougar who pursues Mat and makes him her plaything.  When he finally escapes from her it is only when she and Suroth leave to inspect Seanchan forces to the north.  Unless you want to propose the unreliable narrator again he is awfully keen on getting away from her.  The fact that he regards her fondly to some extent and is hit hard by her death is entirely realistic as intimacy leads to tangled emotions and leaves a mark on a person whether the relationship was healthy or entered into voluntarily.

 

5 hours ago, JyP said:

 

So yes, obviously we can see Tylin as a rapist because she forces herself on Mat, and we have no consent described in the book. Which can also means that Mat is as much a rapist than Tylin, what with all the girls he chased at home and since...

 

This is the one comment I strongly disagree with.  There is no indication that Mat has ever forced someone into a sexual encounter against their will.  His actions and thoughts on page, how his friends and acquaintances regard him all point the other way.  When he is rebuffed he moves on with a "there are plenty more fish in the sea" attitude.  He may talk of chasing girls but it's all about a drink, a dance and a kiss with a willing girl.  IIRC The only sexual liaison he has in the series before Tylin is with Melindhra, the Aiel maiden who approaches him. 

 

Tylin forcing Mat at knifepoint is where RJ abandons the intended humour and the point of his role reversal as it moves from what an unwanted pursuit or a hunter stalking a quarry looks and feels like to the other party (see how Perrin feels and how Berelain smells to him during her pursuit of him) to straight up forcing someone under duress.  There's no reason to tar Mat with the same brush and the burden of proof is quite the other way around.

 

5 hours ago, JyP said:

Having Tylin chasing and boxing Mat into a corner, menacing Mat with a dagger with no consent is definitely wrong. With today's sensibilities, this arc should be rewritten to take into account victim sensibilities, I concur. And I think having Tylin's POV would have sufficed to show disconnects between Mat's behavior and his inner thoughts.

 

All good points.  Given RJ was aiming for a humorous take on this to avoid it becoming too heavy or fraught he might decide to leave it alone now.  Mat can still try and protect Elayne and Nynaeve, still get trapped in Ebou Dar with a broken leg and still meet Tuon without the moral on good emotional and sexual behaviour.

 

Sorry this got so long ?

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1 hour ago, Stedding Tofu said:

Equally, either Tylin is 1) Luca and is misreading Mat or 2) she doesn't care either way.  I'm with 2) for Tylin.

 

I guess my position was more that they are both misreading each other, with Mat being an unreliable narrator (Tylin thinking that Mat is such a slut to always stare at her bosom and grinning, clearly he's showing interest - not knowing that Mat does so with everyone, unlike Ebou Dar males)

 

Your position makes more sense than mine as I think about it :

 

- the aim of this relationship was to somehow show that boys chasing women without seeing no as a valid answer is definitely wrong

- to do so, RJ does a role reversal, where Mat is pursued by Tylin

- so whenever the (male) reader empathizes with Mat's galores, he can reflect that he would not like being pursued to such an extent. Wait - is it how girls see overbearing boys in the real world ?

 

So Tylin being overbearing and forcing herself on Mat is more serious and compares easily to the real world : the moral being don't be overbearing jerks and ask.

 

Whereas both of them in a quid pro quo is simply humorous : the moral here would be to not limit yourselves to appearances and behavior, damn ask the other one to avoid cultural misunderstandings.

 

Or both positions can be seen as valid, as both morals are great in fact ?

 

1 hour ago, Stedding Tofu said:

IIRC The only sexual liaison he has in the series before Tylin is with Melindhra, the Aiel maiden who approaches him.

There's a quote above about Mat's pursuing a lot of girls in Emond's Field and having a knack to pursue even the more improbable ones, as remarked by Egwene. On the other hand, still in EF, we have Nynaeve forcefully punishing and marrying an unwed couple caught in the act... And once out of EF, who knows what Mat has done to grin to all passing maids afterwards.

 

Anyway : I agree that Mat is never described as a rapist, but as Elayne said, he got a taste of his own medicine. I guess Mat's reputation was already sour with her, as told by Egwene and Nynaeve before - especially Nynaeve. There may have been some broken hearts in EF after all, to explain Nynaeve's distaste. Or we can suppose that Nynaeve's views were too conservative, as she was EF's moral compass.

 

1 hour ago, Stedding Tofu said:

Sorry this got so long ?

 

I am enjoying the conversation nonetheless ?

Edited by JyP
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