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Caemlyn in the Epilogue. Poll.


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  1. 1. Whose Fault Is Caemlyn



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So there's an argument that just having the letter and knowing that it is of some passing importance to an Aes Sedai is enough reason to put blame on Mat for Caemlyn. Mat did everything he was asked to do. He held up his part of the bargain, he didn't know just how important that letter was. If we're going to be laying blame about for such fickle reasons then all blame must go to the White Tower for its complete isolation over the years. Because of that nobody trusts the Aes Sedai. Mat doesn't want to get caught up in Aes Sedai schemes and that's all they do. He doesn't care about them and their politics. What it comes down to is Mat had to choose between being led around in some random petty Aes Sedai scheme and his promise to Thom to help rescue Moiraine.

 

So, Mat's to blame. What did he do? Verin came to him in his camp and made a deal with him. He was to open the letter and follow its instructions or else wait for 30 days in Caemlyn. He has to do one or the other, Verin made sure to get a promise out of him because she knew he would hold to it. She did not leave it to chance that Mat's curiosity would make him open the letter early. She didn't have to because she made sure Mat was going to be in Caemlyn during the invasion anyway. Or so she thought. As the Aiel say, the best laid plans last until the battle starts. Verin did what she could and cannot be blamed for things not going right. She couldn't do more because of her Black Ajah oaths, but she didn't need to do more because she believed the city was saved by Mat's presence there. The invasion just happened to come a bit later than planned.

 

Back to Mat. He gets sent off to Caemlyn, waits the whole time like he agreed to do and then sets out with Thom and Noal. He did everything that Verin expected of him. By waiting the letter was of no importance - or at least Verin thought that. The letter was just the means she used to place Mat in the right place to save the city. If he opened it early then all's the better, but she wasn't really expecting him to. The promise to wait was the big thing, and he waited. The invasion just didn't happen during that 30 days. Remember that this whole time he was also waiting for Verin to return, he didn't know she was dead. As far as he knew the letter was a simple order to deliver flowers of a specific color to some minor lord at x day, or to ride to the White Tower and request to be a Warder. So he's being blamed because if he happened to break his word then Caemlyn would have been saved. Well if Fain struck a little deeper in the rebel camp, Rand would be dead. Is Fain to blame for the Dark One's coming failure? The "If" game can be played all day by both sides but the facts don't support any real blame for Mat. Mat did what he was sent to Caemlyn to do - wait. He and Verin both did the best that they could under the circumstances and there's no blame to be had by either of them.

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Ive said this before, in other posts. And many have touched on it here. Its "the will of the pattern" or even Mat's Taveren luck that made him NOT open that letter. Recall that each time he was even THINKING of opening it, he was distracted from it in some fashion. So, its best for Mat and the Pattern that Caemlyn be pillaged by hordes of Trollocs. Maybe it WILL result in ALL the mercenary forces outside Camelyn allying and joining with Talmanes...and so by extention the Band. Maybe ALL the armies in the Field of Merilor will get word of Caemlyn under attack and all form an alliance, creating unity between the nations. I am curious to see how it plays out; but I am convinced had Mat BEEN in Camelyn, it would have been a disaster for the Light.

 

But this thread is about assigning blame. Take the Pattern and Taveren out of the equation; they exert an undue amount of unfair influence. I'd say Verin was mostly at fault. She truly did NOT stress how important that letter was, in fact, she told Mat he could even BURN IT if he didnt wish to open it (then hed be stuck in Caemlyn 50 days).Its on page 557 of my book, hardcover The Gathering Storm.

 

Elayne, however, also shares much of the blame as I wrote in the Elaye's Arc thread. And thats for all the reasons the various posters have written: warned of an impending attack, she assumes the rulership of another nation. And its easy to surmise that there was a waygate in Caemlyn, even if she didnt SEE that one for herself; she knew there was one in Tar Valon and she also knew the Ways had gates in many places and cities, from her own studies. And, as ruler, ultimately, she is responsible for her nation and her people: as FDR or Truman said "The Buck Stops Here"...and they presided over a democratic republic, not a monarchy. As monarch, that goes tripple for Elayne.

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So there's an argument that just having the letter and knowing that it is of some passing importance to an Aes Sedai is enough reason to put blame on Mat for Caemlyn. Mat did everything he was asked to do. He held up his part of the bargain, he didn't know just how important that letter was. If we're going to be laying blame about for such fickle reasons then all blame must go to the White Tower for its complete isolation over the years. Because of that nobody trusts the Aes Sedai. Mat doesn't want to get caught up in Aes Sedai schemes and that's all they do. He doesn't care about them and their politics. What it comes down to is Mat had to choose between being led around in some random petty Aes Sedai scheme and his promise to Thom to help rescue Moiraine.

 

So, Mat's to blame. What did he do? Verin came to him in his camp and made a deal with him. He was to open the letter and follow its instructions or else wait for 30 days in Caemlyn. He has to do one or the other, Verin made sure to get a promise out of him because she knew he would hold to it. She did not leave it to chance that Mat's curiosity would make him open the letter early. She didn't have to because she made sure Mat was going to be in Caemlyn during the invasion anyway. Or so she thought. As the Aiel say, the best laid plans last until the battle starts. Verin did what she could and cannot be blamed for things not going right. She couldn't do more because of her Black Ajah oaths, but she didn't need to do more because she believed the city was saved by Mat's presence there. The invasion just happened to come a bit later than planned.

 

Back to Mat. He gets sent off to Caemlyn, waits the whole time like he agreed to do and then sets out with Thom and Noal. He did everything that Verin expected of him. By waiting the letter was of no importance - or at least Verin thought that. The letter was just the means she used to place Mat in the right place to save the city. If he opened it early then all's the better, but she wasn't really expecting him to. The promise to wait was the big thing, and he waited. The invasion just didn't happen during that 30 days. Remember that this whole time he was also waiting for Verin to return, he didn't know she was dead. As far as he knew the letter was a simple order to deliver flowers of a specific color to some minor lord at x day, or to ride to the White Tower and request to be a Warder. So he's being blamed because if he happened to break his word then Caemlyn would have been saved. Well if Fain struck a little deeper in the rebel camp, Rand would be dead. Is Fain to blame for the Dark One's coming failure? The "If" game can be played all day by both sides but the facts don't support any real blame for Mat. Mat did what he was sent to Caemlyn to do - wait. He and Verin both did the best that they could under the circumstances and there's no blame to be had by either of them.

Mat did not have to choose between "being led around in some random petty Aes Sedai scheme" and helping Moiraine, because he didn't know that the instructions contained within the letter would in any way impact upon his rescue mission. It might have delayed his rescue mission, it might not, he can't know unless he makes some effort to learn what is in the letter. Mat did not do everything that was expected of him. He stuck to his bargain, but he was expected to open the letter. Waiting until the attack came would be a contingency plan - she only gave him the option of waiting when he flat out refused to go with her to Caemlyn unless he knew what was in the letter, and this was the agreed upon compromise. The letter came first, the wait after. While Mat didn't know what was in the letter, Verin did say that if she wasn't back to take it off his hands she would need him to go through with the contents - and as he was supposed to wait ten days, if she isn't back by day ten she isn't coming. If he waits ten days, as agreed, and she hasn't shown up then she won't be coming, and she needs him to follow the instructions in the letter. While nobody trusts AS, there are still plenty of people out there who would have opened the letter, so blaming the WT is ridiculous. It is Mat's particular distrust that led him to not open the letter, not that of the general population. Mat was sent to Caemlyn to save it, and he failed. Had he opened the letter, he wouldn't have done so. That he chose not to open the letter is his choice alone.

 

 

I'd say Verin was mostly at fault. She truly did NOT stress how important that letter was, in fact, she told Mat he could even BURN IT if he didnt wish to open it (then hed be stuck in Caemlyn 50 days).Its on page 557 of my book, hardcover The Gathering Storm.
She didn't have a lot of choice - if he is burning it, he has decided not to open it, and is waiting. That says nothing about how important the letter is, only about Mat's paranoia with regards to AS strings. She gave him the letter, told him it was instructions for him to follow. He refused to take it. What can she do at that stage? Opening the letter was never something she could force him to do, it is always something that had to be Mat's choice and his alone, and while she could have done more to stress the importance, or more to pique his curiosity, ultimately she cannot control Mat's actions. If he chose not to open it, to just throw it away, there is nothing she can do. What she did was provide the circumstances under which Mat would take the letter despite not knowing what's in it (she can't tell him due to her Oaths), and what she had to do to get that was give him an out - he can leave the letter unopened. If she didn't say he could leave it unopened, or burn it, he wouldn't take it.

 

Elayne, however, also shares much of the blame as I wrote in the Elaye's Arc thread. And thats for all the reasons the various posters have written: warned of an impending attack, she assumes the rulership of another nation.
The explanation is still lacking, though: how does taking Cairhien negatively impact on the defence of Caemlyn, or Andor? Warned of an invasion, she warns her advisors, and one of them increases border guards as a result. Taking Cairhien did not spring from the invasion threat. What difference does it make? Actually, I can see two positives to it: she protects Andor's eastern border (with Cairhien), and she greatly increases the number of troops she can call on in an emergency. If she only has Andor, she can only use Andor's resources. If she has Andor and Cairhien, she can use both their resources. While that won't help prevent the invasion (it would be politically inadvisable to station troops from either country on foreign soil permanently), it can help stop it.
And its easy to surmise that there was a waygate in Caemlyn, even if she didnt SEE that one for herself
The Waygate in Caemlyn is guarded. Per Verin's letter, "It is guarded, barricaded, and thought secure. It is not." If Elayne knows about the Waygate, she knows she doesn't have to worry. Elayne took reasonable steps to protect her country, and her people. What more could be asked of her?
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The real answer is both Mat and Verin. They each had a hand in the attack on Caemlyn occurring.

 

However, how many of us thought Mat was never going to open Verin's letter prior to the book coming out? Very few imo. Verin's assumption that he couldn't resist was a fairly good one, matured Mat or not almost all of us thought he was going to open it or have it opened in some way for him. She didn't know he had a dire reason to want to leave Caemlyn. I'm not saying we should have expected Mat to tell her, but if there was nothing forcing Mat to leave Caemlyn (which is what Verin thought)...he certainly would have opened the letter in the 30 days.

 

Sorry, I gotta disagree. Verin couldn't tell anyone from the light about the attack until the hour of her death. She needed a way to ensure that Mat would actually read it, but not until after she died. The Mat she'd dealt with before hadn't had the irrational fear of Aes Sedai, so her expectation that his curiosity would save the day was wrong. When he first refused the deal, she had to think of a way to thwart the attack on short notice, and so came up with him staying in Caemlyn for 50 days. He bargained her down to 30, which was a few days too short, but by that time she was a drowning woman struggling for a lifeline. She might not have known the exact day of the attack and expected that the pattern would see to things since it had put her there in the first place.

 

She told him it was something he wouldn't find harsh, and also that she planned to relieve him of the letter before even the 10 days passed. There are many ways a guy can get around a deal like that without breaking his word; there was no reason for him to not open it other than sheer bullheadedness.

 

In the end, though, since the pattern put Verin in Mat's path and then let things transpire the way it did, the attack on Caemlyn was obviously supposed to happen. Mat had to get to Caemlyn in time to build the dragons but his presence wasn't necessary to stop the attack.

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Mat did not have to choose between "being led around in some random petty Aes Sedai scheme" and helping Moiraine, because he didn't know that the instructions contained within the letter would in any way impact upon his rescue mission. It might have delayed his rescue mission, it might not, he can't know unless he makes some effort to learn what is in the letter. Mat did not do everything that was expected of him. He stuck to his bargain, but he was expected to open the letter. Waiting until the attack came would be a contingency plan - she only gave him the option of waiting when he flat out refused to go with her to Caemlyn unless he knew what was in the letter, and this was the agreed upon compromise. The letter came first, the wait after. While Mat didn't know what was in the letter, Verin did say that if she wasn't back to take it off his hands she would need him to go through with the contents - and as he was supposed to wait ten days, if she isn't back by day ten she isn't coming. If he waits ten days, as agreed, and she hasn't shown up then she won't be coming, and she needs him to follow the instructions in the letter. While nobody trusts AS, there are still plenty of people out there who would have opened the letter, so blaming the WT is ridiculous. It is Mat's particular distrust that led him to not open the letter, not that of the general population. Mat was sent to Caemlyn to save it, and he failed. Had he opened the letter, he wouldn't have done so. That he chose not to open the letter is his choice alone.

 

You are right that Mat didn't know if the instructions would impact his rescue mission. For this reason he would not open the letter because it would risk him having to break his own promise to Thom, who he cares more about than Verin. You're underestimating Verin here, she wouldn't have left Caemlyn's survival to a hunch that Mat was curious. You also have the details of the agreement wrong. Mat was to do one of two things:

1. Open the letter after 10 days and follow the instructions.

2. Don't open the letter (he could even burn it) but wait 30 days just in case Verin returns.

 

The 10 day wait was only so that it would be possible for Verin to hand the letter over to Mat. She knew in that time she would be free of her Black Ajah oath or else dead. She did imply that after 10 days she would come claim the letter herself but that she might be late and that was the reason for the wait. This was more for Mat's possible question of why he had to wait at all. Such an odd requirement would need an explanation. She knew she was probably going to die (based on her talk with Egwene) and wouldn't be back and she knew Mat wasn't likely to open the letter because he doesn't trust Aes Sedai.

 

Verin knew by waiting 30 days Mat would be in Caemlyn around the time of the invasion. The letter became the tool used to put him in Caemlyn, as I said. She wasn't counting on Mat opening the letter once it became apparent he would sooner walk the whole way to Caemlyn than take an Aes Sedai order. Verin adapted to the situation. The letter itself didn't matter anymore so long as Mat waited and that's why she agreed to the compromise. Mat didn't know what the letter was about. He did know that if he opened it he would have to carry out its instructions. Petty Aes Sedai schemes are most likely to be in such a letter and he already promised Thom he'd rescue Moiraine. Mat did everything he could do by waiting, he did everything Verin expected him to do. Verin just had the timing off for the invasion which she couldn't have known.

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Mat did not have to choose between "being led around in some random petty Aes Sedai scheme" and helping Moiraine, because he didn't know that the instructions contained within the letter would in any way impact upon his rescue mission. It might have delayed his rescue mission, it might not, he can't know unless he makes some effort to learn what is in the letter. Mat did not do everything that was expected of him. He stuck to his bargain, but he was expected to open the letter. Waiting until the attack came would be a contingency plan - she only gave him the option of waiting when he flat out refused to go with her to Caemlyn unless he knew what was in the letter, and this was the agreed upon compromise. The letter came first, the wait after. While Mat didn't know what was in the letter, Verin did say that if she wasn't back to take it off his hands she would need him to go through with the contents - and as he was supposed to wait ten days, if she isn't back by day ten she isn't coming. If he waits ten days, as agreed, and she hasn't shown up then she won't be coming, and she needs him to follow the instructions in the letter. While nobody trusts AS, there are still plenty of people out there who would have opened the letter, so blaming the WT is ridiculous. It is Mat's particular distrust that led him to not open the letter, not that of the general population. Mat was sent to Caemlyn to save it, and he failed. Had he opened the letter, he wouldn't have done so. That he chose not to open the letter is his choice alone.

 

You are right that Mat didn't know if the instructions would impact his rescue mission. For this reason he would not open the letter because it would risk him having to break his own promise to Thom, who he cares more about than Verin.

Not so. Opening the letter might allow him to embark on his mission earlier, later, or with no difference. But at worst he is looking at a delay rather than a cancellation of his rescue mission. His refusal to open the letter isn't really related to rescuing Moiraine, it has to do with his irrational paranoia about AS.
You're underestimating Verin here, she wouldn't have left Caemlyn's survival to a hunch that Mat was curious. You also have the details of the agreement wrong.
No, I don't.

 

The 10 day wait was only so that it would be possible for Verin to hand the letter over to Mat. She knew in that time she would be free of her Black Ajah oath or else dead. She did imply that after 10 days she would come claim the letter herself but that she might be late and that was the reason for the wait.
No, actually. "I might not need you to go through with the contents. I hope to be able to return to you and relieve you of the letter and send you on your way. But if I cannot..." If he is to carry out the instructions on the tenth day, then if she is to relieve him of them she needs to be back before the tenth day - if she comes afterwards, he will already have done it, so there is no point to coming back.

 

she knew Mat wasn't likely to open the letter because he doesn't trust Aes Sedai.
How well does she know Mat? She hasn't met him since early in TDR, when he was under the influence of the SL dagger.

 

Verin knew by waiting 30 days Mat would be in Caemlyn around the time of the invasion.
No, she didn't. She hoped he would be, but she didn't know. That's why she initially asked for 50 days.
The letter became the tool used to put him in Caemlyn, as I said.
And you were wrong. The Gateway she wove was the tool to put him in Caemlyn. The letter was the tool to save Caemlyn. The wait was a contingency plan, in case he didn't open it, but she was still aiming for him to open it.
The letter itself didn't matter anymore so long as Mat waited and that's why she agreed to the compromise.
Of course the letter mattered. Prevention is better than cure, as the saying goes - if Mat destroys the Waygate, the invasion is prevented from going ahead. If it isn't, then Mat is there (hopefully) to stop it once it is already underway. Open the letter and there is no attack, don't open it and he cuts the attack short. The letter is still very important, it's simply that there is a backup plan in case he doesn't open it.
Mat didn't know what the letter was about. He did know that if he opened it he would have to carry out its instructions. Petty Aes Sedai schemes are most likely to be in such a letter and he already promised Thom he'd rescue Moiraine.
The letter wasn't stopping him rescuing Moiraine, so the promise is irrelevant. He doesn't know what is in the letter, besides instructions that he has to carry out. It is not most likely "petty AS schemes", it is most likely something important, given that he was told it was important. For all he knows, he could carry out these instructions in a morning, and then be free to go to Moiraine twenty days earlier, if he wanted - and in fact, that was precisely the case.
Mat did everything he could do by waiting, he did everything Verin expected him to do.
No, on both counts - he could easily do more by opening the letter, there was absolutely nothing stopping him doing that besides himself, and she expected him to open the letter.
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Not opening the letter had everything to do with Mat's promise to Thom. Yeah, it probably would have worked out for the best if he opened the letter and it'd have saved him time. Consider that he doesn't know this and the letter could become a binding promise that takes up a good deal more of his time. That it probably wouldn't doesn't matter because he wasn't going to risk having Thom go on the rescue attempt alone, which is what would have happened if more time was lost. What it amounted to was choosing between some unknown instructions from an Aes Sedai and his friend's life. The risk simply being there - no matter how low - meant he would not open the letter.

 

The only thing Mat is to blame for is not opening the letter and then going on his rescue attempt after 10 days. If he did that then the gholam probably would have entered Caemlyn tracking him and killed Elayne for us because she was close. He did everything that was expected of him, by leaving. That was the bargain. The only thing that went wrong was that he was able to leave because the invasion did not happen in that time frame. Verin put Mat in place to either flat out prevent the invasion or at least save the city by being present with the Band and his ta'veren nature. Lives would be lost if he didn't open the letter but the city would still be saved if he was there. Even those lives are not to be blamed on him as they are an unfair "What if" scenario that he had no way to see coming. He made a deal with Verin that said to open the letter after 10 days or else wait 30 days before leaving Caemlyn. He honored it. Things just didn't work out the way Verin had planned because the invasion came late.

 

What it comes down to is Mat might have a guilty conscience because he held onto a letter that would reveal the invasion plot and didn't open it, but it would be the same feeling as a person who sells his building only to find the next owner dug up a pot of gold in the backyard. It's just a what if scenario. He never had to open the letter and had no way of knowing the letter was of such importance, Verin didn't let on because she didn't need to (since she believed 30 days would be enough with a ta'veren). By the bargain he had every right to leave Caemlyn after 30 days so he can't be blamed for doing just that.

 

Verin believed 30 days would be enough because she was convinced she had to be the one to find Mat and provide his gateway. So she believed the pattern was forcing the two of them together and the only reason that could be (given Mat's requested destination) was because of her news of the invasion. To her that meant Mat heading to Caemlyn was the Wheel's will to prevent the invasion so it wasn't going to go wrong. She made a big deal about this thought while Mat kept saying "coincidence" over and over. It went wrong. Mat had to be in Caemlyn because the gholam was likely right behind him where he currently was and the wait made it possible for him to deal with it in a city setting (where he could learn of it before it struck) when it finally caught up again. It also put the band outside Caemlyn to block the invasion from spreading throughout Andor even though Mat had already left by this time. I like the idea that some other posters made that the Pattern itself was to blame for Caemlyn but I still think Elayne has a big share of it.

 

Elayne's share of the blame comes from her lack of true preparations. She might have strengthened the borders but she does not know trollocs can't enter through gateways. She should have reinforced her city rather than take forces to the Field of Merrilor. And there is also no excuse for her to not have the waygate destroyed in light of the news of invasion. So what, was she planning to use it for a nice weekend getaway in the Ways? Talk about a security disaster waiting to happen, destroy it and be done. She believed it was under guard, sure, but she also believed the Black Ajah prisoners were under guard. That went real well for her. "Hey, there's a hole in the city that takes you to a system of pathways that trollocs happen to use. We can't use it though because of the Black Wind, but let's leave it here under guard rather than destroy it. There's an invasion coming from somewhere and I have to watch for that instead."

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Ive said this before, in other posts. And many have touched on it here. Its "the will of the pattern" or even Mat's Taveren luck that made him NOT open that letter. Recall that each time he was even THINKING of opening it, he was distracted from it in some fashion. So, its best for Mat and the Pattern that Caemlyn be pillaged by hordes of Trollocs. Maybe it WILL result in ALL the mercenary forces outside Camelyn allying and joining with Talmanes...and so by extention the Band. Maybe ALL the armies in the Field of Merilor will get word of Caemlyn under attack and all form an alliance, creating unity between the nations. I am curious to see how it plays out; but I am convinced had Mat BEEN in Camelyn, it would have been a disaster for the Light.

Egwene has to be brought around to, if not supporting then not actively opposing, Rands plans with the Seals. I expect it will be a message of an attack that - be that Caemlyn, the Seanchan attacking the White Tower, one involving the Black Tower or clear messages that at least one borderland country has fallen - that makes her realise there is no time to come up with another plan (and the Latra P. route of keep blocking this time isn't a viable option).

 

Much as having watched Rand, Mat, Perrin, Nynaeve, Moraine all having acknowledged past mistakes and grown, whilst Egwene hasn't ever admitted major personality flaws to herself, would make seeing her publicly brought to heel by Rand in front of everyone enjoyable, I don't see 13 books of her handed everything on a platter changing in AMOL. So a get out of jail free card has to be dealt to allow her to climb down without appearing like she's just been proven wrong in front of the world's rulers and her AS. An attack (or attacks as I expect at least the Seanchan and Caemlyn to be going simultaneously) will be that card.

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Verin believed 30 days would be enough because she was convinced she had to be the one to find Mat and provide his gateway. So she believed the pattern was forcing the two of them together and the only reason that could be (given Mat's requested destination) was because of her news of the invasion.
Since there is absolutely no way Verin reached Mat within the timeframe she claimed, she may have been lying about that. Or perhaps TGS36 will be edited in the next edition so she left somewhere else instead of Tear, as other parts are going to have to change (most notably Rand's ta'veren technicolor telepathy vision in Bandar Eban).
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Not opening the letter had everything to do with Mat's promise to Thom.

I disagree. Mat didn't know if this would in any way impact on his rescue mission. Even if it does, a delay is not a cancellation - Thom has read the letter, he knows he needs Mat, himself and one other guy to have any hope of success. So if Mat says "sorry, Thom, have to delay for a couple of weeks longer than expected to do what Verin wants", well, he'd just have to wait. It was not a choice between friend's life and AS instructions, it was a choice between possible delay and certain wait of at least 30 days. That's it. It was Mat's desire to avoid AS strings that caused him to not open the letter. It was his paranoia, nothing more.

 

What it comes down to is Mat might have a guilty conscience because he held onto a letter that would reveal the invasion plot and didn't open it, but it would be the same feeling as a person who sells his building only to find the next owner dug up a pot of gold in the backyard. It's just a what if scenario. He never had to open the letter and had no way of knowing the letter was of such importance, Verin didn't let on because she didn't need to (since she believed 30 days would be enough with a ta'veren).
The feeling would not be the same as someone who failed to find a pot of gold under their house, because the person in your what if scenario has no reason to believe there is a pot of gold - Verin told Mat the instructions in her letter needed to be carried out if she wasn't back to relieve him of it. So she tells him they're important. If someone told you to do something and that it was important, if you didn't do it it would only be reasonable to expect some sort of negative consequences as a result. Mat doesn't know what the negative consequences will be, but he does have a damn good reason to expect there to be some. Sure, he had every right to do as he did, he honoured the bargain, that much is not in doubt. But if he looks back and asks himself "could I have done something more? Could I have prevented this?" the answer is YES. He was told he needed to do something, he didn't do it, the consequences of that choice are on his head.

 

Verin believed 30 days would be enough because she was convinced she had to be the one to find Mat and provide his gateway.
Verin initially asked for 50 days. Mat told her where she could stick her 50 days, and her letter along with it. 30 was a compromise, she bent as far as she was willing to. She just crossed her fingers and hoped for the best. She would have got more than 30 days if she could, but she couldn't.

 

Elayne's share of the blame comes from her lack of true preparations. She might have strengthened the borders but she does not know trollocs can't enter through gateways.
A Gateway can be opened anywhere - pretty difficult to guard against. What if the attack doesn't come at Caemlyn?
And there is also no excuse for her to not have the waygate destroyed in light of the news of invasion.
Waygates are difficult to destroy. It was felt secure, dragging together 13 channelers and some sa'angreal and angreal is overkill.
"Hey, there's a hole in the city that takes you to a system of pathways that trollocs happen to use. We can't use it though because of the Black Wind, but let's leave it here under guard rather than destroy it. There's an invasion coming from somewhere and I have to watch for that instead."
Nice that you mention the Black Wind. Because that has been known to feast on Trollocs as well. So if Elayne can't use it for that reason, neither can the Shadow. To get any significant number of Trollocs through the Waygate would take time. A long time. Lots of Trollocs backed up in the Ways. Even if Elayne's guards can't hold that bottleneck, MS can still feed on them. Your invasion is defeated before it ever gets to Andor.

 

 

there is no time to come up with another plan.
Another? While it might be true that one must clear the rubble before one can rebuild, the only plan on the table at the moment is to clear the rubble - none has been put forward to rebuild.
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Nice that you mention the Black Wind. Because that has been known to feast on Trollocs as well. So if Elayne can't use it for that reason, neither can the Shadow. To get any significant number of Trollocs through the Waygate would take time. A long time. Lots of Trollocs backed up in the Ways. Even if Elayne's guards can't hold that bottleneck, MS can still feed on them. Your invasion is defeated before it ever gets to Andor.
To be fair, Elayne was with Liandrin when she very strongly suggested that Darkfriend channelers can deal with the Black Wind. Also to be fair, that was more than a year ago and an offhand comment immediately before a rather harrowing experience.
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