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Mat's Plotline (Spoilers for the whole book)


JenniferL
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The thing that troubled me the most about the chapter with the back stories is not the back stories themselves, but the fact that Mat, a gambler who leaves everything up to chance, spent so much time in planning how he was going to enter the city.  Mat just acts and when he does plan its usually minimal or he is on auto pilot with his memories, he has never spent time to create such an elaborate plan.

 

I agree about the back stories, the old Mat, whose writing is like a child's if I recall correctly, didn't like to write and avoided it when possible.  I don't think he even left a note for his family when he left Emonds Field.  He would have given it to them verbally.

 

In any case re the changes in his personality.  Mat is Ta'veren, maybe the patter is forcing him to change before TG?  ;D

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LOL dflinn, your post made me smile. And I co-sign everything you said. My books always fell open to Mat's chapters. He is (was?) easily my favorite ta'veren.

 

jemron, although I hear what you're saying, I think in this topic it's just as valid to discuss how Mat was written as what he actually did in this book. I definitely don't want to get in some heated argument.

 

But the fact is, a lot of people noticed the way Mat was written as being really different. And Mat didn't really do much worth discussing. Or at least anything that really prompts a lot of speculation about where he's headed. There's Verin's letter. But everything else (Moiraine's rescue, Aludra's dragons, Tuon and the Seanchan) we've been discussing for the last couple of books.

 

So without much to talk about in that respects, there's not much else to fall back on. Fortunately, the discussion about RJ's Mat vs. BS's Mat has remained pretty civil on both sides.

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it was funny. and some people do take their view of Mat a little too seriously (or way too seriously).

 

Like i said he is growing up because he is married now. im not sure how others can't see that. BS practically beat us over the head with it.

 

That's the problem. Some people don't like to be beaten over the head with ANYTHING, least of all humor.

 

If you have to beat someone over the head with something, chances are it isn't funny.

 

If the back story sequence were at least funny, maybe I would give it a pass. It wasn't. It wasn't even necessary. It was pretty pointless and obtuse as a manufactured comic relief moment, and to many people it came off as disturbing.

 

one problem with your retort is that i was saying nothing about the humor. there was absolutely no word in my post that was talking about the humor at all. i was talking about him maturing. and maybe you should notice the "practically" word before "beating over the head". that means that he didn't beat us over the head but he was close.

 

 

My bad Declan. I kind of spring-boarded from your maturity point to what really disturbed me about Mat in this book.

But you can see how jarring this is. One moment Sanderson is trying his best to squeeze a laugh out of Mat and his cohorts, and the next he's "beating us over the head" with how serious he is about his marriage.

 

It almost made me forgot about how funny his and Tuon's courtship really was.

They both knew that they were destined to marry each other, but both were unsure how they really felt about one another. When they finally did get married I had a sense that they were really sure about it being right, but unsure how it would fit into their futures. It was complex, but love is just that at times, at the same time it's very simple. You grow attached to someone and find that you need them in your life to be secure and happy. The circumstances always seem to get in the way, but you're supposed to make it work.

 

With RJ, the situation was almost always funnier than what a person actually did or said.

 

I think Sanderson tried to hard to make the dialogue funny and that was where he failed to some, like myself.

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dflinn:

 

I get ya.

You hit on a point that really bothers me. mat's men in the Band...they near worship him. Only person who really treats him that casually is probably Vanin, but he treats just about everyone the same. We had banter between Mat and his followers...Okay.

While Mat is insistent that his men treat him as the same gambler Mat they knew from before, they always treated what he said with an air of mystical awe. No matter what he did, it always turned to victory on the battlefield. Whatever he said about anything off-handedly there could be something gleaned from it, a plan or some kind of crazy genius at work.

 

With the banter, especially with Talmanes, I lost that feeling, that intense relationship Mat had with his men. It became too casual in this book in too short a time span.

 

For RJ, the joke was that when Mat was joking, his men took him seriously. When Mat was serious, it usually sounded crazy, so they still took him seriously, although the big reason they agree to his craziness is because of his tremendous luck and uncanny skill in battle.

Mat realizes this and seems that all of his men must be nuts to trust half the stuff let alone everything Mat comes up with. Mat knows he's seen as a clown sometimes, and is surprised that people follow him, but because of this he feels a deep sense of responsibility to and for his people. And responsibility is a bad word to Mat. The less he thinks on it, the better.

There is no gag that can replace this concept. And we had Sanderson resorting to gags to try to illustrate this. It was almost insulting.

 

There was a lot Sanderson did right, more than right with, but this was just so wrong. What little plot there was for Mat was overshadowed by how clumsily his character and those in his thread were handled.

 

If you want to talk about Mat's plotline with any seriousness, this is the subject that warrants the most discussion. It's not always about content, there's also delivery. 

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The thing that troubled me the most about the chapter with the back stories is not the back stories themselves, but the fact that Mat, a gambler who leaves everything up to chance, spent so much time in planning how he was going to enter the city.

 

That was the whole point of the story.  He was going to plan EVERYTHING before entering this city, because he didn't want to have to deal with another ground hog day.

 

On the topic of the way Mat was written, the reality of it is this.  Those of you who adamantly that Mat 'voice' is too different (and Thom's as well) are never going to be convinced otherwise.  I would encourage you to try not to let it distract you from enjoying the series; after all, we've got at least two more books to go.  What can't be cured, must be endured.

 

Personally, I was laughing so hard I had to put the book down for a few minutes when I was reading the banter between Mat & Mandevwin regarding Mandevwin's 'aged great aunt.'  That was hilarious.  If you were so focused on how un-Mat-like Mat's character was that you didn't find this scene funny, I seriously think you missed something.

 

My two coppers.  I could be wrong.   ;)

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The thing that troubled me the most about the chapter with the back stories is not the back stories themselves, but the fact that Mat, a gambler who leaves everything up to chance, spent so much time in planning how he was going to enter the city.

 

On the topic of the way Mat was written, the reality of it is this.  Those of you who adamantly that Mat 'voice' is too different (and Thom's as well) are never going to be convinced otherwise.  I would encourage you to try not to let it distract you from enjoying the series; after all, we've got at least two more books to go.  What can't be cured, must be endured.

 

 

I think it was just so prominent with Mat, is what the problem is here.

 

and differences in "voice" as we say weren't that glaring in Egwene or Rand or Nynaeve. There were a few problems here and there, that were a little off-putting, but none that really got close to the sequences with Mat.

Perrin stayed about level.

 

Gawyn would almost be as annoying, but it's just that we really haven't gotten far enough into the character beyond the fact that he for some reason has an irrational hatred towards...well, everyone.

 

He whines more than Rand Mat and Perrin combined, and feels more self-entitled than all the Aes Sedai and the main characters, yet he's suffered the barest fraction of what even one of the Ta'veren or even Egwene or even Morgase his mother has for that matter...What a TW@+!

 

But you know, I really can't lay the blame on Sanderson for that.

 

I do get the feeling that a lot of the problem is the format. I can feel at some point in this book that there is filler being put in to balance the fact that this was originally transcribed from a single volume concept.

 

The sparseness of Perrin and Mat's plotlines speak to this. Verin's participation seemed rushed and cut, but it sort of worked in her case.

 

I think what Sanderson has done is commendable, but certainly not without flaws, some of them quite major in some minds.

 

I would have dropped Hinderstap, spent half a chapter referring to all of the travel and set up just prior to storming the town where Verin appears. A brief moment to check camp and talk to Aludra Egeanin and Domon, then off the Caemlyn, set well on his way to the Tower of Ghenjei. Would have actually loved a brief encounter with a pregnant Elayne as a cameo, and viola, that's all we'd need of Mat for the book.

 

I would have rather loved for Perrin to have run into Galad already at this point, but if not possible, probably would have been better to leave him out of the book entirely. Yet if you had eliminated the two chapters or so that were wasted on Hinderstap and Mat being funny, you could well have done more with Perrin and Galad.

 

I want Moiraine to get rescued already, an mat dilly-dallying isn't making me feel any better about it.

I want Perrin to come back to being a hero again, but instead we get this denouement for the Brotherless with Faile. That felt kind of forced too. Although I found it acceptable in the end, just not strictly necessary.

 

I was just so surprised how well and decently Egwene's reunification thread was sewn up, only to have other characters like Mat really seem to go not much towards anywhere.

 

Rand had some major things happen, but even those felt a little long to me.

 

I did like Aviendha a lot though as usual. You really can;t go wrong with her, because she's just pure awesomeness.

 

I guess we'll see how it goes in the next book.

Don;t get me wrong, I am grateful to be able to continue the series. I just would passionately entreat Sanderson and Co. to continue to work on it and get it right, not fast.

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I didn't have a problem with Mat's portrayal. It felt to me that he was rebelling against his prophecy induced marriage by reverting a bit to his younger jokester personality. He'll settle back down once things get serious

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Mat is a planner... His plans just rarely, if ever, go the way he wants.  This was another classic example of that.

 

BTW, thanks all for replying to my plea to talk more about the storyline and less about why Mat is "wrong" or "different."

 

I do agree that not a lot happened to Mat in this book, and I agree that it is okay to discuss how he is different, but I don't know how much of that we can "blame" on BS.  In the most recent book signing summary by one of the Lexington, KY Storm Leaders, BS  said that RJs notes specifically said, "Mat is adamant about not being too husbandly."

 

That's what makes his character in this book so funny to me.  He tries (plans) so hard to not be husbandly, but he's totally flustered and, well, husbandly.

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I do agree that not a lot happened to Mat in this book, and I agree that it is okay to discuss how he is different, but I don't know how much of that we can "blame" on BS.  In the most recent book signing summary by one of the Lexington, KY Storm Leaders, BS  said that RJs notes specifically said, "Mat is adamant about not being too husbandly."

 

That's what makes his character in this book so funny to me.  He tries (plans) so hard to not be husbandly, but he's totally flustered and, well, husbandly.

 

My suspicion is that BS really didn't have much in the notes to go on re: Mat for this book. My guess is that RJ was putting more work into fleshing out the Genjei sequence than getting Mat to it, so BS just had to get him to Caemlyn in this book without much guidance. I expect we'll see a more familiar Mat in the next book.

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I do agree that not a lot happened to Mat in this book, and I agree that it is okay to discuss how he is different, but I don't know how much of that we can "blame" on BS.  In the most recent book signing summary by one of the Lexington, KY Storm Leaders, BS  said that RJs notes specifically said, "Mat is adamant about not being too husbandly."

 

That's what makes his character in this book so funny to me.  He tries (plans) so hard to not be husbandly, but he's totally flustered and, well, husbandly.

 

My suspicion is that BS really didn't have much in the notes to go on re: Mat for this book. My guess is that RJ was putting more work into fleshing out the Genjei sequence than getting Mat to it, so BS just had to get him to Caemlyn in this book without much guidance. I expect we'll see a more familiar Mat in the next book.

 

I agree.  I didn't mind Mat in this book though. 

 

Where on the map is the Tower of Ghenjei anyway?  I assume it's in Andor, but why is it so important that Mat got to Caemlyn exactly?  I mean, I guess he needs Aludra to start mass producing the Dragons, but was there another reason that I forgot about that requires Mat to go to Caemylyn?

 

Why couldn't he, Thom, and 3rd person (probably Noal/Jain Farstrider) go straight to the tower after KoD?

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Hinderstap was so, so wrong. It was the only part of the book where I felt I was no longer reading the Wheel of Time. It was jarring, and it really, truly served no purpose. We didn't need a pseudo-zombie story to show us the pattern was starting to go a little haywire. I would have preferred Mat be absent altogether than having that left in, even if it was RJ's creation.

 

For a character who's supposed to be an important part of the final battle, we got more plot movement from Rand's ta'veren swirlies than from Mat's actual storyline.

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Where on the map is the Tower of Ghenjei anyway?  I assume it's in Andor, but why is it so important that Mat got to Caemlyn exactly?  I mean, I guess he needs Aludra to start mass producing the Dragons, but was there another reason that I forgot about that requires Mat to go to Caemylyn?

 

Why couldn't he, Thom, and 3rd person (probably Noal/Jain Farstrider) go straight to the tower after KoD?

 

It is ten days north of Whitebride (which is directly to the west of Caemlyn and Four Kings. It is also fairly close to Shadar Logoth (to the east). His reason for heading there is to meet up with the Band, secure provisions for them in Caemlyn, and find out more about the Tower of Ghenjei from Birgitte or Aes Sedai (If he could get one of the Aes Sedai to teach Joline, Edesina or Teslin to channel would be helpful.

 

The three Aes Sedai with them do not know the weaves for Traveling.

 

Hinderstap was so, so wrong. It was the only part of the book where I felt I was no longer reading the Wheel of Time. It was jarring, and it really, truly served no purpose. We didn't need a pseudo-zombie story to show us the pattern was starting to go a little haywire. I would have preferred Mat be absent altogether than having that left in, even if it was RJ's creation.

 

For a character who's supposed to be an important part of the final battle, we got more plot movement from Rand's ta'veren swirlies than from Mat's actual storyline.

 

Actually, I liked it. It was interesting to see the Dark One affecting the world in a different way than just "miasmas" and singular events. It also shows that you can never know where his touch is greatest. This and the rooms switching in the White Tower helped bring that point across.

 

From the get-go, we knew this book was going to be about Rand and Egwene and the others would play minor parts. Why would you expect a lot of plot progression from Mat, Elayne or Perrin?

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It is ten days north of Whitebride (which is directly to the west of Caemlyn and Four Kings. It is also fairly close to Shadar Logoth (to the east). His reason for heading there is to meet up with the Band, secure provisions for them in Caemlyn, and find out more about the Tower of Ghenjei from Birgitte or Aes Sedai (If he could get one of the Aes Sedai to teach Joline, Edesina or Teslin to channel would be helpful.

 

The three Aes Sedai with them do not know the weaves for Traveling.

 

Thanks!

 

So, will Birgitte remember everything that she told Perrin back in book 4 since her memories have been fading?  I hope so.  Actually, I hope she reveals even more about it then what she told Perrin in TSR.

 

Can't wait for this part of the story!

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Actually, I liked it. It was interesting to see the Dark One affecting the world in a different way than just "miasmas" and singular events. It also shows that you can never know where his touch is greatest. This and the rooms switching in the White Tower helped bring that point across.

 

From the get-go, we knew this book was going to be about Rand and Egwene and the others would play minor parts. Why would you expect a lot of plot progression from Mat, Elayne or Perrin?

 

Oh, I didn't mean that I expected plot movement. What I meant was that Mat had enough time to actually do something, but instead we see more of where he's going from Rand than Mat's chapters (which are pretty much fluff) and that was kind of an odd way to go about it. It didn't seem like a very economical use of the space.

 

That didn't bother me nearly as much with Perrin, because he had even less time than Mat, and it didn't feel like random fluff as much as a very slow buildup toward the next book.

 

(Also, completely unrelated, but I thoroughly enjoyed the lack of Elayne)

 

I too enjoyed the rooms switching, but for some reason Hinderstap just felt like it was a chapter pulled from another story. The more I think about it, the less I like it.

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I loved all of Mat's parts. I cracked up every time I read them. The detailed plans, the member of the band's "old aged aunt", and the part where Mat says "There's good drama in those pages." all made me put the book down and laugh until I nearly blacked out. I noticed some small differences with Mat's personality, but I honestly was enjoying it too much to truly focus on differences. Hinderstap for me was good, only part I didn't like was Mat's seeming uncaring towards the people when they tell him their story. Though it might be understandable since they did sort of almost kill him...

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My favorite lines from Mat in TGS was when he was telling the story and illustrating to Talmanes just how impossible it is to argue with a woman. To me, that was the very funniest part of the entire book!!

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I loved all of Mat's parts. I cracked up every time I read them. The detailed plans, the member of the band's "old aged aunt", and the part where Mat says "There's good drama in those pages." all made me put the book down and laugh until I nearly blacked out. I noticed some small differences with Mat's personality, but I honestly was enjoying it too much to truly focus on differences. Hinderstap for me was good, only part I didn't like was Mat's seeming uncaring towards the people when they tell him their story. Though it might be understandable since they did sort of almost kill him...

 

lol agreed. I was laughing really hard to myself for most of Mat's parts. I've always enjoyed Mat but hardly ever laughed out loud. This time I was chuckling a lot. From his first lines about women to the back stories for their trip into the town.. very solidly written. I don't want to be negative and I respect people's opinions about characters they care about but quite a few people did like Mat. Your opinions are opinions, not fact. For some of us, Mat was awesome in TGS. Talmanes was awesome, for me, as well.

 

+1 QFT

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Hmm, I thought the conversation about arguing with women was old, overwrought and not funny.

 

The thing with the backstories actually made me wonder out loud: "What the h#/7 is going on? Why is this rambling on like this?"

 

I think Sanderson's mistake was thinking that the book actually needed a comedic interlude. It didn't. The series was never really about that.

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What happened to Mat is no real issue, the more Mat the better really. The issue is that this was not our Mat, he was writing stories all night long? Ok, that is acceptable and probable, but spending half a chapter on this? That's simply not Mat, it's Mat being transformed into some stand up comic. Also, who was this guy that calls himself Talmanes. I mean, what's up with the joking and the twinkle in his eye. I could almost say he was Demandred in disguise except that Demandred wouldn't have a twinkle in his eye.

 

And Mandevwin, really? He is not Mat's friend, he is not supposed to behave as Mat's friend and within the hierarchy, he is certainly not going to call Mat anything but Lord Mat like the rest of the Band(noblemen excepted) does.

 

I hope that how Mat was written was a consequence of needing filler to make it up to a certain length. Although if that was the case, we might as well get more Perrin or for that matter even a little Elayne.

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What happened to Mat is no real issue, the more Mat the better really. The issue is that this was not our Mat, he was writing stories all night long? Ok, that is acceptable and probable, but spending half a chapter on this? That's simply not Mat, it's Mat being transformed into some stand up comic. Also, who was this guy that calls himself Talmanes. I mean, what's up with the joking and the twinkle in his eye. I could almost say he was Demandred in disguise except that Demandred wouldn't have a twinkle in his eye.

I found it a relief. I know Mat was always a popular character but I never liked the tedious little man one bit. The battle sequences were okay, but the rest of the time he was just boring as hell, stuck in Ebou Dar, and then Valan Luca's show, doing nothing, and all his dialogue could be summed up as "All I want to do is drink, gamble, and fuck tavern wenches" and "Gosh I sure don't like Aes Sedai one bit!" If he's supposed to be a lovable rogue and trickster kind of guy, he ought to actually be funny at times.

 

The dialogue was not always spot on but showing Mat actually be funny rather than just whiny and useless was a nice change. I think this is what RJ was going for anyway -- he just never quite managed to achieve it.

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I strongly suspect that tGS Mat is something of a transitional stage. 

 

He knew for a very long time that he was going to end up married to the Daughter of the Nine Moons, and obviously, from the minute he knew who Tuon was he knew he'd end up married to her.  He didn't know that he'd actually fall in love with her, and he didn't know that after they were married and he'd only half admitted to himself that he was falling in love with her that they'd be separated.  That's screwed up with his psyche a bit.  His initial rant about women his Mattish way of expressing some of that.  He doesn't want to be in that situation, so he sort-of complains about it.  The constant "I won't give up drinking and gambling" is the same thing.  He realizes that he's changing as a person, and he's not really thrilled with it.  He likes being the carousing, fun loving gambler, and he doesn't want to admit to himself that he's evolving into a responsible married man who loves his wife.  The result is that since he knows he doesn't really want to go out wenching any more, he's going to try all the harder to hold on to the drinking and gambling... at least he thinks he wants to and is going to keep arguing for it.  Personally, from a character development perspective, it makes perfect sense to me. 

 

That leaves the back-stories.  For eleven books, Mat's internal dialog has been that he's wanted to run away from his destiny and responsibility.  For eleven books, every time he's tried to do that, he's failed miserably and the pattern has dragged him to where it wanted him to be.  It's finally gotten through to him that attempting to avoid his fate doesn't work.  So, what does he do, he goes overboard in the other direction.  When he leaves things to chance, or tries to run away, the pattern weaves him where ever it wants and he has no control.  So, he thinks maybe the way to beat that is to completely over plan and leave nothing to chance.  If he rigidly plans every detail, maybe he can actually control something in his life for once.  So, he decides to try it, in a relatively controlled situation where he's pretty sure that any problems that result will be something that he can handle.  He goes a bit overboard, and it becomes kind of funny, and then it all still turns out in a way that was completely out of his control. 

 

I think this was a step stone along the way to a Mat in the final two books who is much more accepting of his fate and willing to "go with the flow", and I think it's actually going to make that transition easier. 

 

So, I guess my summation would be, yeah, Mat's different in this book, but I'm willing to accept that it's a stage in character development rather than just BS not getting the character.

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I strongly suspect that tGS Mat is something of a transitional stage. 

 

 

I think you are right. Here is what Luckers posted in the thread about what Brandon Sanderson has revealed at signings.

 

3. Question -  Is Mat’s humor changing?

 

3. Answer -  His world turned upside down. Usually, he’s the guy who leaves, he doesn’t know how to handle someone he loves leaving him.

 

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Hmm, I thought the conversation about arguing with women was old, overwrought and not funny.

 

I thought that the conversation was very, very funny. .. mostly because there is often a lot of truth to what Mat was saying there. {{ducks from stones thrown by dragonmount.com's women}}

 

 

The thing with the backstories actually made me wonder out loud: "What the h#/7 is going on? Why is this rambling on like this?"

 

I did not think that scene was doing any rambling at all. I thought that it was very funny and I also liked how Mat was trying to plan things out rather than just rely solely upon his Ta`verness or on that rattling of dice inside his mind.

 

I think Sanderson's mistake was thinking that the book actually needed a comedic interlude. It didn't. The series was never really about that.

 

TGS did not NEED a comedic interlude, but I still appreciated it, and I liked how it got my emotions set up one way and then the following scenes in Hinterstrap ... especially with what happened after sunset ... went and took my emotions and enjoyment along for a thrilling ride of some action with a bit of dark horror as well.

 

Oh, and just another observation. I have always enjoyed the comedy (often dialogue and thoughts that were not meant to be a comedy routine) that I read when the men and women were to speak to each other about the opposite sex. Its usually some of my favorite parts within each one of the 12 WOT books.

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