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The Change of Mat's Personality from Brandon Sanderson


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The biggest problem I have with Sanderson's writing is the fact that he always has the characters explain everything in their heads.

Jordan was much better at giving the readers some credit for figuring out why a character did something they did.

Totally agree with this (and the comments on Mat's personality). Showing without telling was a skill Jordan used very well

 

Jordon chose Sanderson... I think that's extremely important to remember. He's not some guy TOR found to jump in on a whim. I can understand being disappointed if the style is really the issue, because it is certainly different from RJ. However, I highly doubt Sanderson is writing mat "wrong" if that's anyone's critique.

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The biggest problem I have with Sanderson's writing is the fact that he always has the characters explain everything in their heads.

Jordan was much better at giving the readers some credit for figuring out why a character did something they did.

Totally agree with this (and the comments on Mat's personality). Showing without telling was a skill Jordan used very well

 

Jordon chose Sanderson... I think that's extremely important to remember. He's not some guy TOR found to jump in on a whim. I can understand being disappointed if the style is really the issue, because it is certainly different from RJ. However, I highly doubt Sanderson is writing mat "wrong" if that's anyone's critique.

 

Pretty sure Jordan did not pick anyone. His wife did.

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Pretty sure Jordan did not pick anyone. His wife did.

 

You're right. Though I consider her equally qualified.

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The biggest problem I have with Sanderson's writing is the fact that he always has the characters explain everything in their heads.

Jordan was much better at giving the readers some credit for figuring out why a character did something they did.

Totally agree with this (and the comments on Mat's personality). Showing without telling was a skill Jordan used very well

 

Jordon chose Sanderson... I think that's extremely important to remember. He's not some guy TOR found to jump in on a whim. I can understand being disappointed if the style is really the issue, because it is certainly different from RJ. However, I highly doubt Sanderson is writing mat "wrong" if that's anyone's critique.

 

I could grant that he was the best available candidate without also having to admit that he's done everything perfectly. I can also criticize a few things (Mat's voice and a tendency to tell (repeatedly) instead of showing) while admitting that on the whole, he's done a fine job stepping into some big shoes.

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The problem is that Sanderson is generally inferior as a writer and what's worse far more immature. His understanding of human motivation, self-justification and a character's willful or unwillful blindness towards themselves and others does not compare with Jordan's.... but because Jordan based his humour upon this, any attempt that Sanderson can make to immitate this humour, especially with Mat, will fail. Badly. So, he turns to his own brand of "humour" which saw it's conclusion in that ridiculous letter to Elayne. Path of least resistance for one with mediocre talent: can't understand why a character is funny? Make him into a clown.

 

I wouldn't have chosen him for this job, but then again I don't have a clue what the alternatives were. I suppose it's good that the plot will be resolved but equally I sometimes think I would remember this series better in the future if it had not been finished by this writer.

 

I wonder if a few years down the line, Tor will get another writer to have a look at Jordan's notes and do what Sanderson couldn't.

 

I'm not a fan. ;)

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To be honest, if we have to wait for a unanimous fan favorite to write the remainder of the stories I fear we will never see the end of the series. Brandon Sanderson has done a remarkable job in the time alloted. If we gave him maybe 5 years to re-read the series over and over and over maybe he could've gotten a better insight on what most think is the "perfect" mat. After that we should give him maybe 2-3 years each book so that he has time to tweak and edit and fine tune it yet again.

 

Regarding BS explaining everything, all I can say is damn if you do and damn if you don't. We have the revelation of ASMODEAN's killer explicitly written in the book but fans here in the forum still won't take it and If god forbid a major character does something else without it being explicitly written we'll have another 186 page post about it complaining it's too vague :dry:

 

We have BS and I am thankful that I can read the ending because of him. I find Mat a bit off but not by much and everything else has been remarkable and I am enjoying both TGS and TOM.

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The problem is that Sanderson is generally inferior as a writer and what's worse far more immature. His understanding of human motivation, self-justification and a character's willful or unwillful blindness towards themselves and others does not compare with Jordan's.... but because Jordan based his humour upon this, any attempt that Sanderson can make to immitate this humour, especially with Mat, will fail. Badly. So, he turns to his own brand of "humour" which saw it's conclusion in that ridiculous letter to Elayne. Path of least resistance for one with mediocre talent: can't understand why a character is funny? Make him into a clown.

 

I wouldn't have chosen him for this job, but then again I don't have a clue what the alternatives were. I suppose it's good that the plot will be resolved but equally I sometimes think I would remember this series better in the future if it had not been finished by this writer.

 

I wonder if a few years down the line, Tor will get another writer to have a look at Jordan's notes and do what Sanderson couldn't.

 

I'm not a fan. ;)

 

Wow. Well I wasn't going to take this route but that kind of requires a rebuttal... One of the biggest critiques of WOT is the poor characterization. I think because so much is left to the reader to figure out, people just assume what they want from the characters THEY like. Others, who dislike WOT, often feel the characters are lifeless and don't have a lot of substance to them. Compare WOT characters to Robin Hobb's or Patrick Rothfuss' -- it's night and day. I love his story, but Jordan is far from being some paragon of fantasy character writing.

 

Also, you seem to suggest Brandon reads the notes, writes the books, sends it to the editor to fix his spelling, and it's released. Sanderson writes with input from Harriet, the editor of _every_ wot book (and his wife to boot), and Team Jordan, long-time assistants of the man himself. It's a little pompous to suggest they ALL got Mat so wrong that it ruined the story so much you want it rewritten from some other viewpoint (I'll go ahead and assume only your own would suffice).

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Also, you seem to suggest Brandon reads the notes, writes the books, sends it to the editor to fix his spelling, and it's released. Sanderson writes with input from Harriet, the editor of _every_ wot book (and his wife to boot), and Team Jordan, long-time assistants of the man himself. It's a little pompous to suggest they ALL got Mat so wrong that it ruined the story so much you want it rewritten from some other viewpoint (I'll go ahead and assume only your own would suffice).

 

Well we do know that both TGS and ToM were rushed through the editing process FAR too fast. Both of them could have benefited immensely from a more thorough process.

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Brandon's Mat lacks the hilarious subtlety that RJ's Mat had. I've come to terms with it though, and overall I think Brandon is doing a great job.

 

I think the thing that was most painful to me was the letter he wrote to Elayne. Are we really supposed to believe that a guy who knows the Old Tongue ("sifted whole out of those dreams") and has memories from hundreds (?) of brilliant people doesn't know how to spell?

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I think the thing that was most painful to me was the letter he wrote to Elayne. Are we really supposed to believe that a guy who knows the Old Tongue ("sifted whole out of those dreams") and has memories from hundreds (?) of brilliant people doesn't know how to spell?

 

I can believe it. I'm sure if he wanted to spell in the Old Tongue he wouldn't have a problem. He knows tactics. I know plenty of smart people that don't spell very well in the real world.

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Yeah, that letter was truly clumsy on BS part. The spelling errors were completely unnecessary. It's one of the bad parts which sadly for many overshadow the good ones.

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@A. Pseudonym

I absolutely disagree with you, but hey, free speech and all. I think Sanderson is a very, very talented writer.

 

I really like Sanderson's work, and while yes, Mat is different, I attribute this more to his growing (and reacting to the changes he is seeing in his own character) than to Sanderson 'getting him wrong'.

I think the only real mistake was the major spelling mistakes in the letter - a few mistakes would have been subtler, funnier and been more in keeping with Mat (a character who would make mistakes, I'm sure). There were too many, and they were too glaring.

Edited by Erunion
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I wouldn't bet against the concept of trying to get people to buy into Mat's character growth, as being the reason behind his sandertardation - in so far as something that Sanderson has wrapped his head around as a means to rationalize how mailed in & sh*tjobbed his Mat is...Not to mention his Egwene.

 

Eeeeeyup.

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The biggest problem I have with Sanderson's writing is the fact that he always has the characters explain everything in their heads.

Jordan was much better at giving the readers some credit for figuring out why a character did something they did.

All the Sanderson books I've read so far are the same. The characters always spell everything out clearly; he never leaves the reader in the dark on anything.

It really bothers me during his combat scenes where a character has a long inner dialog going on while fighting, it seems very unnatural.

THIS TIMES 100000000000000000000000! This is truly the only thing that I just do not like at all about the past 2 books, way too many instances where this happens. It's really annoying because a lot of the time what they are explaining is pretty obvious so it's just a wasted few lines.

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The thing I most admire about Brandon Sanderson is his immense dedication to the craft of writing. Listen to his podcast ("Writing Excuses"), read the things he's written on his blog and on twitter; he has a great passion for writing, and additionally he has been a fan of the Wheel of Time since Eye of the World. How many of us can say the same? Beside that, any minor quibbles I may have with his style aren't worth fretting over.

 

Ultimately, we have to recognize that Robert Jordan left us before he could finish writing the series, and no one could possibly write the ending as authentically as he would have had he lived. You have to think of TGS, ToM, and aMoL as somehow separate from the books Robert Jordan might have written. That way it hopefully won't bother you so much, and you can enjoy what we do have.

 

Personally, Mat's letter to Elayne made me laugh out loud, and I guess it doesn't really matter to me whether Sanderson or Jordan wrote it.

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Oh for crying out loud..... will you give the flaming letter a bloody rest already? You get pissed off and write a letter and see how well spelled it will turn out to be! You don't sit there, biting your pen, pondering the grammar and spelling rules of Proper English when you're angry. You want to get your message across, NOW! And spelling be damned. The majority of people can't even talk properly when they're really angry, let alone write flawlessly.

 

Brandon, or ANY writer that took up this task, was doomed from before he started. NO ONE was ever going to satisfy everyone. And if you guys think you could have done a better job, then by all means, write a fanfic version of how you would have written it, present it to the thousands of fans for criticism and see how well you fare. It's easy standing on the sidelines and critisize others, innit? (yes, I misspelled that on purpose :tongue:)

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@A. Pseudonym

I absolutely disagree with you, but hey, free speech and all. I think Sanderson is a very, very talented writer.

 

Well I absolutely disagree with that, so there you go. I'd put Sanderson at about the level of Eddings. Not worthless, but certainly not remarkable.

 

I really like Sanderson's work, and while yes, Mat is different, I attribute this more to his growing (and reacting to the changes he is seeing in his own character) than to Sanderson 'getting him wrong'.

 

Well this is the usual excuse, yes.

Mat becomes mature in CoT and KoD. I would go as far as saying that the difference in personality evidenced in the Sanderson books is more indicative of either ignorance or inability on Sanderson's part.

 

I have said this before, but an author brings themselves and only themselves to their work. Sanderson writes American stereotypes and American points of view in a fantasy setting. He could do it in a sci-fi or period setting and the differences would be superficial. That is the extent of his abilities. Jordan had the ability to immerse the reader in the point of view of a character from an alien culture in another world to the extent that one sees the world as they saw it, shares their reaction to it and believes their interpretations of it. The reader is Rand. The reader is Elayne. Or whatever. For this reason I never disliked, became annoyed by or resented any character's behaviour because it was presented in such a way as to be sympathetic and understandable. To the point that I could see myself in their place. With Sanderson, you're given patronising exposition declaring that X is so because Y.

It's this sort of primitive approach that I resent as it implies not only an inability to sell a perspective or a reaction but is a dumbing-down of what once was a very deep and moving story.

 

I'll be the first to admit that I'm impressed with Jordan and respect both him and his work, to the extent that one can respect a fantasy novel. Because of this, I find Sanderson's mishandling of a story that I've been reading for many years to not be something that I can blindly accept or view through a lens of pure positivism.

 

It's good that he's finishing it, but I could wish that it weren't him who's doing it. Then again, who else is there?

 

I think the only real mistake was the major spelling mistakes in the letter - a few mistakes would have been subtler, funnier and been more in keeping with Mat (a character who would make mistakes, I'm sure). There were too many, and they were too glaring.

 

It shouldn't have been a joke at all. That's probably where the problem is. Mat is funny, yes, but he isn't a clown.

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Since no one else has defended him yet, I just want to throw in that I actually prefer BS's new Mat. And new Talmanes is much less cardboard, the pair is quite entertaining.

 

I Agree!

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Since no one else has defended him yet, I just want to throw in that I actually prefer BS's new Mat. And new Talmanes is much less cardboard, the pair is quite entertaining.

 

I Agree!

 

So do I. Brandon injected a whole lot of new life into the series. Some bits of TGS and TOM are clumsy, but I find them vastly more enjoyable than books 7-11. I pay attention to Talmanes now in re-reads because Sanderson's portrayal got me interested in him.

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The biggest problem I have with Sanderson's writing is the fact that he always has the characters explain everything in their heads.

Jordan was much better at giving the readers some credit for figuring out why a character did something they did.

All the Sanderson books I've read so far are the same. The characters always spell everything out clearly; he never leaves the reader in the dark on anything.

It really bothers me during his combat scenes where a character has a long inner dialog going on while fighting, it seems very unnatural.

THIS TIMES 100000000000000000000000! This is truly the only thing that I just do not like at all about the past 2 books, way too many instances where this happens. It's really annoying because a lot of the time what they are explaining is pretty obvious so it's just a wasted few lines.

 

I first noticed it when I was reading the Mistborn series, and had just finished reading all the Song of Ice and Fire books – It was a huge departure from Martin, so it bugged me right off the bat.

When I read Gathering Storm I was really annoyed that Brandon did the same thing throughout the book, because Jordan never did that either.

However, when I read the prologue to Gathering Storm I was immediately reminded that Jordan's series was just better then Sanderson's Mistborn, even though Sanderson was writing it, so I do think he's done a good job.

I remember clearly when i read the prologue that I felt like I was putting on a pair of well worn in shoes that had been lost in a closet somewhere.

They still felt like I remembered; but every now and then a pebble would dig in, to remind me they weren't exactly the same as I remembered.

 

The over explanation he does, and the lack of humor, are really my only criticisms with any of his work.

If I ever reread these latest two books I'll probably highlight one of the unnecessary lines and post it, so people understand what I'm talking about.

Edited by DocBean
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I have said this before, but an author brings themselves and only themselves to their work. Sanderson writes American stereotypes and American points of view in a fantasy setting. He could do it in a sci-fi or period setting and the differences would be superficial. That is the extent of his abilities. Jordan had the ability to immerse the reader in the point of view of a character from an alien culture in another world to the extent that one sees the world as they saw it, shares their reaction to it and believes their interpretations of it. The reader is Rand. The reader is Elayne. Or whatever. For this reason I never disliked, became annoyed by or resented any character's behaviour because it was presented in such a way as to be sympathetic and understandable. To the point that I could see myself in their place. With Sanderson, you're given patronising exposition declaring that X is so because Y.

It's this sort of primitive approach that I resent as it implies not only an inability to sell a perspective or a reaction but is a dumbing-down of what once was a very deep and moving story.

 

I'll be the first to admit that I'm impressed with Jordan and respect both him and his work, to the extent that one can respect a fantasy novel. Because of this, I find Sanderson's mishandling of a story that I've been reading for many years to not be something that I can blindly accept or view through a lens of pure positivism.

 

It's good that he's finishing it, but I could wish that it weren't him who's doing it. Then again, who else is there?

 

Wow that sounds awesome. Wish I had read whatever Robert Jordan series you read, cause you're certainly not talking about WOT. The plethora of hate threads for the _many_ WOT relationships, how he writes women, men's attitudes saving women, or almost all Perrin/Faile chapters for many people, stand in stark contrast to your point. It's completely fine for you to like RJ's style more than Sanderson's. But it's wrong to categorically state one writer is good and one is bad based on your preference.

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The plethora of hate threads for the _many_ WOT relationships, how he writes women, men's attitudes saving women, or almost all Perrin/Faile chapters for many people. . .

 

 

off topic, sorry, but your post reminded me of something i've been thinking about lately.

 

when i find a book, or a movie, that i really love, i read that book or watch that movie over and over and over again.

 

the first dozen or so times, i just enjoy the work more and more.

 

but as i re-read and re-watch, i begin to notice things i didn't notice, and to be bothered by things i wasn't bothered by, and i start to pick it apart at the seams, and ultimately begin to dislike it, or large parts of it.

 

if i go to a forum and read the posts of others who have done the same, and help the threads grow into great world-serpents, analyzing and reanalyzing every syllable, my negativity increases.

 

it's not that the book or the movie isn't still a great piece of work. it's just that i've examined the thing with a proctoscope, dissected it, put its bits and bobs under a microscope, and overthought every word and image until i've lost the concept of the whole work that i fell in love with in the first place.

 

'k, back to your topic. please excuse the interruption.

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Hi, I am a long-time lurker and this is my first post

 

I actually like Brandon's Mat. He was a little off in TGS, but I think the characterization in ToM was on point. I think it makes sence for Mat to be acting less mature at times and more mature at other times. I attribute this to him having sort of an identity crisis, which (in my opinion) has more to do with him becoming a noble than it has to do with him getting married. Mat has never been overly fond of nobles. As for his humor being different, I would just say that is one of the more visible differences in BS's and RJ's writing styles. I happen to like both writer's humor and I think it is all just preference.

 

As for Brandon not being good at writing funny characters, I thought Mistborn had a good amount of humor in it. Mostly from Kelsier and if I remember correctly Sazed had a dry humor.

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I enjoyed both RJ's Mat and BS's Mat

 

With respect to whether BS's Mat is written differently to RJ's the answer is simply yes. Part of what I do at work is writing reports, and I can speak from experience that how we write is a function of how we think and it doesn't matter how detailed the notes are on a particular matter, different people given the exact same notes will write the exact same scene differently (using fantasy/fiction writing as an example).

 

I, like a lot of people, started reading TGS looking for inconsistencies and differences and like a lot of people I found them (or at least I convinced myself that I had). However, I find that once I get used to the writing style of the author I get lost in the story and stop worrying about whether the current character I'm reading is exactly the same as the previous author would have wrote them. This is what happened with the changeover from RJ to BS (in particular with Mat). Yes the characters are written slightly differently (that's a given) but I can accept that these changes have come about due to character growth and development from the events occurring in the books.

 

I like BS's Mat and don't have any problems with him. I believe that he begins a fairly big change from the time he goes to Ebou Dar, he witnesses the threat of the Seanchan and the death of friends and Band members at the hands of the Gholam. He then gets injured, loses Olver for a time and eventually kidnaps and marries Tuon. After that as he is travelling back toward Caemlyn he witnesses the growing power and influence of the DO over the land and realises how close the LB is. I find it very plausible that he has matured and finds it hard to approach life with the same levity that he did prior to Ebou Dar as the impending LB is always in the back of his mind. And lets not forget that he has memories from the Trolloc Wars, so he (better than almost anyone) has some idea of the pain and suffering that will be inflicted on Randland in the LB.

 

The last comments that I want to make is in relation to the letter to Elayne. I agree with Mystica, I also know some smart people who are hopeless at spelling and just because you are able to speak a foreign language doesn't mean that you automatically become a scholar. The other thing to take into consideration is that the letter was likely written with a quill pen and I don't think they had spellcheck or white-out in the Randland Era, I also don't see Mat going "Oops, I misspelled a few words. I better redraft the letter." In my mind Mat would have finished the letter looked at the spelling mistakes and thought "bugger it, I couldn't be stuffed re-drafting this!" and sent it off.

 

In short I son't believe that Mat's base personality has changed between RJ & BS, he has simply matured quite a bit due to the events in Ebou Dar and afterwards and while this new maturity might make him seem like he has a changed personality IMO he is still the same old Mat wih a bit more life experience.

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Completely and totally do I agree with your assessment concerning Mat's personality as written by Robert Jordan and also Brandon Sanderson.

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