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Why You Hatin' on Me? (asks Egwene, Nynaeve, Faile, etc)


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Usually, when I start a thread, it is only with irreverence in mind. But I have seen one theme arise time and again, and wanted to take a closer look. This theme:

 

Character Hating

 

It's true. The fans of Wheel of Time hate characters. They hate Egwene, Nynaeve, Faile, Gawyn...

 

I confess it. I wished that the Shaido would finish off Faile. I STILL hope that someone gets Gawyn.

 

My reasons and the reasons I read appear different though.

 

The community hates characters that are "dumb" or "dense" or "blind". I've seen some described as bitchy or assholish. I've seen woman characters disliked by woman posters for showing qualities that would be lauded in male characters.

 

You know what drives ME nuts in a character? The same old boring #@^&!

 

Yep. I hate characters that don't change, even when they need to. And I hate the ones that revert to form as much.

 

I can't stand it when they are one-dimensional. I can't hear it when they sing just one note.

 

That's why I could scarcely read Nynaeve until she met Master Aldragoran (sp?). Has anyone noticed since that scene how she has been a catalyst?

 

Faile DID become more interesting as a character when she and Perrin were reunited. The one-note jealousy thing was wearing very thin.

 

As for Perrin, his arc was my favorite through much of books 3&4... and then it started to really, truly, drrrraaaaaaaaggg. Know what I mean? In Towers of Midnight, his arc friggin rocked. It has everything to do with embracing change.

 

For me, Egwene was the best character in the Gathering Storm. I've read her chapters countless times because they are so perfect. And then she gets to Towers of Midnight and that awful relationship with Gawyn recommences and it's like fingernails on the chalkboard.

 

Talk about one-note characters? I swear Gawyn is the most excruciating read in any of these books. Doesn't he ever learn from anything? It would be nice if this character indicated he hears anything but the rusty grind of his own brain gears.

 

I've always found the anti-Moiraine sentiment to be the most puzzling of all. I find Moiraine the most fascinating character in the entire series. Not as fun as Mat, but always interesting. I was one of those that counted the days until Towers of Midnight so I could finally read her again. And I did sort of rush through the book trying to get to Ghenjei and her rescue.

 

She didn't disappoint.

 

The thing I love most about Moiraine's character is how she consistently rolls. With the prophecy, she immediately sets out, even though she is outnumbered and outgunned. She is honest with Lan. Surrenders to Rand. Teaches Rand and Egwene to rule. Loves. Suffers. So on.

 

She even wins Mat over. Now who da thunk dat?

 

So my question to everyone: Which characters really do it for you... and which just kinda suck? Doesn't have to be main characters. Tylee is one of my absolute favs and she's appeared in 2 books!

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Those I dislike I dislike for a number of reasons only one of which is that they don't change.

 

At the top of that list is Mat. He has changed least of all the characters major or minor. The same one-note whine throughout. "Why meeeeeee?"

 

Finally the situation forces him to change and posters here have apoplexy in droves. "Waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa! He's different! Waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa! Sanderson ruined him! Waaaaaaaaaaaa!"

 

No, Brandon Sanderson saved him and made him just the slightest bit different and interesting again.

 

Unfortunately, there is nothing that can be done to salvage Cadsuane. Or Faile.

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Those I dislike I dislike for a number of reasons only one of which is that they don't change.

 

At the top of that list is Mat. He has changed least of all the characters major or minor. The same one-note whine throughout. "Why meeeeeee?"

 

Funny I feel Mat went through a great deal of change from the early books, this post fits Perrin far better. The whole self conscious leader and whining about Faile just goes on forever.

 

Not sure how the changes in Mat from BS can be considered positive. He gets the voice completely wrong and changes his subtle humor into slapstick comedy. Seven Striped Lass, Hinderstrap and the Letter were all pretty bad. I was so stoked that RJ finished the whole ToG sequence to balance out at least slightly the direction he was going.

Edited by Suttree
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Mat went through a lot of changes from book 1 to book 11. BS changed him even more, but avoiding diving into the subject of Brandon's Mat again, I simply can't fathom how can you say that Mat has not changed. Just compare Mat from EotW to Mat in Knife of Dreams. The changes are fundamental. I think that a lot of readers said that Mat became the hero they loved after having been cured from his link with the Shadar Logoth dagger.That's true that "Why me?I'm no bloody hero!"theme is there all the time, but his Mat's actions become more and more responsible. From CoT to ToM, he actually acknowledes his responsibilities and frequently saves and helps other people. In EotW, Mat was an egoist who brought trouble on the others.

 

I find it funny that you say that when the character has some consistent traits which do not change throughout the story, it makes the character unlikable. I dislike something completely different - when the character has no consistent traits and is almost infinitely flexible. Add infinite flexibility to Mary Sue perfectness and you get Egwene, which is my least fauvorite character. A person who is perfect in everything is unable to change by definition, because she has already achieved everything and can't become any better. What's much worse, there is no actual growth in this character - her stats just get better and better, but her personality is as shallow as in book 1. One-dimensional is bad? So what about Ms "I'm the perfect Amyrlin and that's all there is to know about me"?

 

On the other hand, Mat, Nynaeve, Rand, Siuan, Moiraine and Aviendha are my fauvorite characters, who change alongside the story, but in the same time they stay themselves. You can see actual personality in these characters and actual growth - not only more skills, powers and achievements, but also some internal changes and personality development. They are also simply likeable.

 

I also like Berelain, which is funny since she is involved in one of the least interesting arcs in the books (her attempts at seducing Perrin and her conflict with Faile). Maybe it's because she is a very well fleshed out character :wink:

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I can understand the Faile hatorade....she ruined Perrin, and wasted the better part of 3 books. Somehow I still don't actually hate her character. As an aside, despite the pronunciation in the glossary, I still read her name as Fail, probably because she's a waste of what could have been an awesome character.

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Suttree -

 

Perrin has his failingsFaileures and they are legion. However, he doesn't snivel. All Mat does for the first 10 1/2 books IS snivel. It's only in the last half of Knife of Dreams that he begins to let go of the sniveling and put his back into getting things done.

 

A person's identity is not defined by his actions alone, but also by his internal dialogue. Mat's internal dialogue never changes. It's always 14 going-on 12.

 

Perrin is at peace with the person he is internally but has been at war with what he thinks Faile expects of him. Mat just wants to be Peter Pan. Everyday, all the time. But now, Wendy has arrived, and things will never be the same in his internal Never-never-land. At long, long last Mat begins to become interesting.

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Faile. She was an interesting character early on, and I feel like she would've made a great minor character, but she and Perrin just didn't play out very well. Not well at all.

 

As for my favorite? I'd be utterly crushed if anything happened to Min in the last book. Her parts in EOTW always make me smile, and she's always seemed like the most... "down to earth", so to speak, of the characters, besides Moiraine.

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I can understand the Faile hatorade....she ruined Perrin, and wasted the better part of 3 books. Somehow I still don't actually hate her character. As an aside, despite the pronunciation in the glossary, I still read her name as Fail, probably because she's a waste of what could have been an awesome character.

 

Wait. Its NOT pronounced Fail????

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Bob - I've tried to give Cadsuane a chance but I keep arriving at the same conclusion. She sounds the same now as always. To be frank, I wish she would teach the Ashaman what she is supposed to and then die gloriously... early on in A Memory of Light.

 

I did like her with Semhirage however.

 

Piotrek - You may have a point. Except for the battle, Egwene's scenes were not great in Towers of Midnight. Much of the trouble stemmed from stuff that I just couldn't buy about opposition within the Hall of the Tower. I complained about it in a previous thread:

 

I'm trying to understand why the Green Sitters are so very anti-Egwene after the events of the Gathering Storm. Adelorna Bastine respected Egwene enough to nominate her for Amyrlin. Rubinde saw her resist Elaida's torture. You would think she had won the Green Ajah's support.

 

Why are the Green Sitters against Egwene given all of these circumstances?

 

The more I look, the more I think that it's just literary - needing enemies to move plot. I can't see any reason in the books to explain the diametric change of stance.

 

Does anyone see something I've failed to note? Because I must admit, the Egwene parts of Towers of Midnight became a bit frustrating; and this was much of the reason.

 

snowball and goldstar - I felt like Faile's character arc stunk through the entire Shaido captivity. I friggin hated that whole storyline. However, I liked Faile much more in Towers of Midnight. Except for the grudge against Morgase, I thought her character rang true and showed maturity. She was a good leader and catalyst for Perrin.

 

TLHansum - Robert Jordan was recorded giving pronunciation lessons. Many were not intuitive. Faile, he explained, is pronounced Fah-eel.

 

I think you should feel free to stick with Fail. Most do.

 

Funny about Mat. Most people seem to think he is the best character. Some of you clearly do not. I like Mat when his scenes have action. Elayne very correctly described him as "dynamic". When Mat is bogged down, his scenes can bore a fellow. I'm thinking of Gathering Storm for one. For another... how about Crossroads of Twilight, except for his "battle" with Tuon?

 

Speaking of Tuon, I think I've concluded that I like Tuon/Mat more than any other of the relationships in Wheel of Time. Thinking about it, I realize maybe it works because it's a relationship of equals. Both are formidable, both are beginning to understand how formidable the other is. I suspect their mutual discovery will continue in A Memory of Light. Will Tuon discover she loves him as he does her? It might be fun to see how she confronts those feelings when she was taught to put them on the shelf from a very young age. But there's no doubt on this note: Mat has already taken many of her ingrown beliefs and turned them on their ear.

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Suttree -

 

Perrin has his failingsFaileures and they are legion. However, he doesn't snivel. All Mat does for the first 10 1/2 books IS snivel. It's only in the last half of Knife of Dreams that he begins to let go of the sniveling and put his back into getting things done.

 

A person's identity is not defined by his actions alone, but also by his internal dialogue. Mat's internal dialogue never changes. It's always 14 going-on 12.

 

Perrin is at peace with the person he is internally but has been at war with what he thinks Faile expects of him. Mat just wants to be Peter Pan. Everyday, all the time. But now, Wendy has arrived, and things will never be the same in his internal Never-never-land. At long, long last Mat begins to become interesting.

Apparently actions don't speak louder than words.

 

 

snowball and goldstar - I felt like Faile's character arc stunk through the entire Shaido captivity. I friggin hated that whole storyline.
Personally, I liked Faile's character during the Shaido storyline. The storlyine itself was drawn out, but I think that Faile's character worked well during it, not least because it got her away from Berelain and the associated jealousy. She showed then she was capable of being a good leader.
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Suttree -

 

Perrin has his failingsFaileures and they are legion. However, he doesn't snivel. All Mat does for the first 10 1/2 books IS snivel. It's only in the last half of Knife of Dreams that he begins to let go of the sniveling and put his back into getting things done.

 

A person's identity is not defined by his actions alone, but also by his internal dialogue. Mat's internal dialogue never changes. It's always 14 going-on 12.

 

Perrin is at peace with the person he is internally but has been at war with what he thinks Faile expects of him. Mat just wants to be Peter Pan. Everyday, all the time. But now, Wendy has arrived, and things will never be the same in his internal Never-never-land. At long, long last Mat begins to become interesting.

Apparently actions don't speak louder than words.

 

HA beat me to it...good call.

 

Perrin is at peace with the person he is internally but has been at war with what he thinks Faile expects of him. Mat just wants to be Peter Pan. Everyday, all the time. But now, Wendy has arrived, and things will never be the same in his internal Never-never-land. At long, long last Mat begins to become interesting.

 

I don't think that is accurate at all. His inner struggles have been a big part of the series.

 

TGS

And yet, that very single-mindedness in him — ignoring everything but his objective — had been the source of much trouble during his hunt for Faile. He had to find a balance, somehow. He needed to decide for himself if he wanted to lead these people. He needed to make peace with the wolf inside himself, the beast that raged when he went into battle.

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Suttree -

Perrin is at peace with the person he is internally but has been at war with what he thinks Faile expects of him. Mat just wants to be Peter Pan. Everyday, all the time. But now, Wendy has arrived, and things will never be the same in his internal Never-never-land. At long, long last Mat begins to become interesting.

 

I wouldn't say that Perrin has been internally at peace considering his internal battle with the wolf during the entire series up to ToM. Perrin has repeatedly told anyone who would listen that he is "Just a blacksmith" when he is confronted with duty. His confusion with Faile I've always seen as just a normal relationship in the WoT-style of gender conflict. Mat has always complained about his duty, but through the series he becomes more responsible and mature. Some of the books that Mat complained the most he also grew the most, even though Mat himself didn't realize it.

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Do I dislike characters in the books? Yes.

Do I dislike people IRL? Yes.

 

This is good because it means that the books are written with realistic characters; characters that we both love, and hate, laugh with, and laugh at, think are funny, or are annoying, etc, etc.

 

To me this is a sign of an amazingly detailed and complex world; if I liked everyone in the series, then, frankly, it would be pretty boring.

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I have to agree with Tyzack. With pretty much every hated character except Gawyn, it's because of their personality, not their lack of roundness. I think this says something for the writing ability of The Creator.

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Mat went through a lot of changes from book 1 to book 11. BS changed him even more, but avoiding diving into the subject of Brandon's Mat again, I simply can't fathom how can you say that Mat has not changed. Just compare Mat from EotW to Mat in Knife of Dreams. The changes are fundamental. I think that a lot of readers said that Mat became the hero they loved after having been cured from his link with the Shadar Logoth dagger.That's true that "Why me?I'm no bloody hero!"theme is there all the time, but his Mat's actions become more and more responsible. From CoT to ToM, he actually acknowledes his responsibilities and frequently saves and helps other people. In EotW, Mat was an egoist who brought trouble on the others.

 

I find it funny that you say that when the character has some consistent traits which do not change throughout the story, it makes the character unlikable. I dislike something completely different - when the character has no consistent traits and is almost infinitely flexible. Add infinite flexibility to Mary Sue perfectness and you get Egwene, which is my least fauvorite character. A person who is perfect in everything is unable to change by definition, because she has already achieved everything and can't become any better. What's much worse, there is no actual growth in this character - her stats just get better and better, but her personality is as shallow as in book 1. One-dimensional is bad? So what about Ms "I'm the perfect Amyrlin and that's all there is to know about me"?

 

On the other hand, Mat, Nynaeve, Rand, Siuan, Moiraine and Aviendha are my fauvorite characters, who change alongside the story, but in the same time they stay themselves. You can see actual personality in these characters and actual growth - not only more skills, powers and achievements, but also some internal changes and personality development. They are also simply likeable.

 

I also like Berelain, which is funny since she is involved in one of the least interesting arcs in the books (her attempts at seducing Perrin and her conflict with Faile). Maybe it's because she is a very well fleshed out character :wink:

 

But even Egwene points out Mat would always keep his promises no matter what. I mean those are features of him they knew from BEFORE they left the Two Rivers. He complains, but still does what's right, that's never changed. Ahvienda is quite disappointed in Nyn and Elayne for how they treated Mat in the stone of tear. That was early on. The only thing that changed is the number of people who follow him and, as a result of that, the scope of what he can do that he must, grudgingly, do.

 

What is the difference between Siuan and Egwene? Siuan is older so it's OK? Or do you just like boat/fish sayings? It's pretty clear Siuan would have done whatever it took to get her way (as she saw it) the same way Egwene does. And we see no indication she cries about it the way Rand does, which is the reason given for people excusing Rand for "using his friends".

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I cannot believe there exists some poor perrin fans. This degenrate of a loser with worthless abilties no one gives a shit about has spend half the entire time crying like a little sissy about leadership. And the other half crying over his wife who has been kidnapped because this simpleton could not provide an adequate security for her.

 

I really detest this eejit and that is saying something because he was supreme in book 4. What a waste of ink. When i read that part about mojlennir or whatever that retarded hammer name is, i couldn't help but smirk at the whole situation

 

He should meet a quick end in AMOL preferably at the hands of master fain who then will complete the hatrick of finishing off the entire aybara family.

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Guest PiotrekS

Mat went through a lot of changes from book 1 to book 11. BS changed him even more, but avoiding diving into the subject of Brandon's Mat again, I simply can't fathom how can you say that Mat has not changed. Just compare Mat from EotW to Mat in Knife of Dreams. The changes are fundamental. I think that a lot of readers said that Mat became the hero they loved after having been cured from his link with the Shadar Logoth dagger.That's true that "Why me?I'm no bloody hero!"theme is there all the time, but his Mat's actions become more and more responsible. From CoT to ToM, he actually acknowledes his responsibilities and frequently saves and helps other people. In EotW, Mat was an egoist who brought trouble on the others.

 

I find it funny that you say that when the character has some consistent traits which do not change throughout the story, it makes the character unlikable. I dislike something completely different - when the character has no consistent traits and is almost infinitely flexible. Add infinite flexibility to Mary Sue perfectness and you get Egwene, which is my least fauvorite character. A person who is perfect in everything is unable to change by definition, because she has already achieved everything and can't become any better. What's much worse, there is no actual growth in this character - her stats just get better and better, but her personality is as shallow as in book 1. One-dimensional is bad? So what about Ms "I'm the perfect Amyrlin and that's all there is to know about me"?

 

On the other hand, Mat, Nynaeve, Rand, Siuan, Moiraine and Aviendha are my fauvorite characters, who change alongside the story, but in the same time they stay themselves. You can see actual personality in these characters and actual growth - not only more skills, powers and achievements, but also some internal changes and personality development. They are also simply likeable.

 

I also like Berelain, which is funny since she is involved in one of the least interesting arcs in the books (her attempts at seducing Perrin and her conflict with Faile). Maybe it's because she is a very well fleshed out character :wink:

 

But even Egwene points out Mat would always keep his promises no matter what. I mean those are features of him they knew from BEFORE they left the Two Rivers. He complains, but still does what's right, that's never changed. Ahvienda is quite disappointed in Nyn and Elayne for how they treated Mat in the stone of tear. That was early on. The only thing that changed is the number of people who follow him and, as a result of that, the scope of what he can do that he must, grudgingly, do.

 

What is the difference between Siuan and Egwene? Siuan is older so it's OK? Or do you just like boat/fish sayings? It's pretty clear Siuan would have done whatever it took to get her way (as she saw it) the same way Egwene does. And we see no indication she cries about it the way Rand does, which is the reason given for people excusing Rand for "using his friends".

 

You're right about Mat, but still he has changed. His basic backbone is still the same, true, but for example in EotW he talked Rand and Perrin into sneaking out with him in Shadar Logoth. I don't believe he would do that now, he developed a sense of responsibility and a wider understanding that life is not about taking as much as you can for yourself. It goes beyond just sticking to his word.

 

Difference between Siuan and Egwene? That's a topic in itself. Yeah, I prefer that Siuan is older so her accomplishments seem more realistic and yes, I like her fish sayings :smile:

 

I also like that under the Amyrlin/former Amyrlin, we see Siuan the hard working daughter of a poor fisherman, clever enough to teach Old tongue classes as a very young Accepted, but still somebody quite realistic, not an uber-Aes Sedai as Egwene (I don't want to jump into full-blown Egwene discussion again and I'm sure that neither do you :smile: ).

 

I like that Siuan embraces her roots, in Egwene's case we know that she is Bran's and Marin's daughter, but see nothing left from her former life. Mat was and is a prankster, knows a lot about horses (his father's trade), sometimes mentiones "milking his fathers' cows". Perrin was and always is a blacksmith. Even Rand, most generic though he is is as a main hero, sometimes shows traces of his farm upbringing (e.g. when he thinks about plants when among the Aiel or when visiting his school in Cairhien). Egwene could have "future Amyrlin Seat" written on her from day one, apart from that function, who is she? I want her to be a person, not a personified office.

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I also like that under the Amyrlin/former Amyrlin, we see Siuan the hard working daughter of a poor fisherman, clever enough to teach Old tongue classes as a very young Accepted, but still somebody quite realistic, not an uber-Aes Sedai as Egwene (I don't want to jump into full-blown Egwene discussion again and I'm sure that neither do you :smile: ).

 

I like that Siuan embraces her roots, in Egwene's case we know that she is Bran's and Marin's daughter, but see nothing left from her former life. Mat was and is a prankster, knows a lot about horses (his father's trade), sometimes mentiones "milking his fathers' cows". Perrin was and always is a blacksmith. Even Rand, most generic though he is is as a main hero, sometimes shows traces of his farm upbringing (e.g. when he thinks about plants when among the Aiel or when visiting his school in Cairhien). Egwene could have "future Amyrlin Seat" written on her from day one, apart from that function, who is she? I want her to be a person, not a personified office.

 

I still think you're splitting hairs a bit to hate Egwene most, but have Siuan on your favourites list... particularly since a lot of Egwene's uber-aes-sedai-ness is likely Siuan's doing. Since she did swear to make Egwene the best Amyrlin ever.

 

Egwene is the goodie two shoes, suck-up, focused, go-hard. That's pretty cliche just like the three boys. Though yes, often less "likable" (in the sense of wanting to be friends with her). But it makes her less drowsy read than constant complainers, in my opinion. Rand, Mat and Perrin have so many "oh god just shut up" moments. Egwene has many fewer. Even those who hate her rage at what she says/does because she is saying/doing stuff.

 

And if you don't think I want to get into another Egwene discussion, you don't know me as well as I thought you did :sad:.

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Those I dislike I dislike for a number of reasons only one of which is that they don't change.

 

At the top of that list is Mat. He has changed least of all the characters major or minor. The same one-note whine throughout. "Why meeeeeee?"

 

Finally the situation forces him to change and posters here have apoplexy in droves. "Waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa! He's different! Waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa! Sanderson ruined him! Waaaaaaaaaaaa!"

 

No, Brandon Sanderson saved him and made him just the slightest bit different and interesting again.

 

Unfortunately, there is nothing that can be done to salvage Cadsuane. Or Faile.

 

Agree on Mat. Both with his prior lack of growth and finally something.

 

However, to say that Faile dind't change is just silly? Did you even read the last book? She showed a ton of progress.

 

The characters who haven't changed are Cadsuane and Tuon. Cadsuane did a little. I sure didn't see her hiding under a cloak to follow anyone else around. Still, she's a much older character. So it's a bit more understandable for her to be so rigid.

 

As for Tuon. She's just an idiot.

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Do I dislike characters in the books? Yes.

Do I dislike people IRL? Yes.

 

This is good because it means that the books are written with realistic characters; characters that we both love, and hate, laugh with, and laugh at, think are funny, or are annoying, etc, etc.

 

To me this is a sign of an amazingly detailed and complex world; if I liked everyone in the series, then, frankly, it would be pretty boring.

 

 

I have to agree with Tyzack. With pretty much every hated character except Gawyn, it's because of their personality, not their lack of roundness. I think this says something for the writing ability of The Creator.

 

These two posts summarize my feelings on Wheel of Time characters. I feverishly despise Egwene and Gawyn far more than any other characters in the books because if they were real people I'd hate them to. Which like Tyzack and Goldstar say just goes to show how incredible at writing RJ was.

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Least favorite character for sure is Egwene. I find it very annoying that she is somehow the person most invested in the White Tower even though she only saw the place for the first time fairly recently and has been out adventuring most of the time since. The whole "I'm able to ignore pain because what is happening to the tower is soooo much more painful" idea would work for Siuan or many other Aes Sedai, but for one of the newest ones (and one who is only able to even claim the title by some serious Johnny Cochrane-level legal interpretation) to be so overwhelmed by the changes in a place they know nearly nothing about is ridiculous. I also find it absurd that actual Aes Sedai who are much older and more experienced coming to her for advice about things like how to get back in good graces with their Ajah or deal with a down Warder? What in Egwene's life as a country child would ever give her a frame of reference for these things that women who are probably over 100 years old and have lived with Warders and been part of Ajahs for a long time just can't figure out? It seems that to make her fit as the Amyrlin, the rest of the Aes Sedai as a whole had to be repackaged as a group of mostly helpless idiots who can barely tie their own shoes without her there to lead them. How then did they manage to be the most crafty/powerful/manipulative organization in the world, especially since everyone knew they couldn't use the one power as a weapon thus removing them as a physical threat?

 

Other annoying characters include Perrin, with his constant insistence that he is a blacksmith and single minded pursuit of Faile (which would have been much less annoying had it covered many less pages) Perrin has really annoyed me since she entered the books. He is now starting to improve and be readable again, although I'm waiting until after the last book to declare his character redeemed. Gawyn is a ridiculous idiot who is lucky he is miraculously good at fighting (three super assassins with special ter'angreal at one time? please...) or he would be long dead since he can barely put two thoughts together before rushing off to do something crazy. Elayne is probably the most useless of all the main characters, since her plotline became centered around basically shoring up her own power rather than doing anything particularly productive toward the last battle (oh and getting herself captured and taking stupid risks).

 

The character I have had the most improved opinion of is Nynaeve. She started as being pretty much just a bully who always tried to get her way by being so unpleasant that people just gave in, but I think now if I were picking teams she would be my second choice (Rand first obviously, with all his new badass-ness after VoG). Also a big fan of Moiraine, she made the Aes Sedai mysterious and cool before most of the others ruined it. I like Mat, but I agree with whoever above noted that he has become too slapstick (I think that happens when a characters role is humorous. Not exactly the same, but when Han Solo's role was taken by Jar Jar Binks in the new trilogy I felt the same about that). Pretty much most of the other characters I like, surprisingly I started to like Galad once he got a serious plotline.

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Elayne is probably the most useless of all the main characters, since her plotline became centered around basically shoring up her own power rather than doing anything particularly productive toward the last battle (oh and getting herself captured and taking stupid risks).
Elayne's habit of taking "stupid risks" is something grossly overstated by some elements of the fandom. I can't think of any stand out examples of stupidity in the latter half of the series, for example (ToM and KoD both saw reasonable plans undone by bad luck). Also, shoring up her own power is in itself something that is helpful towards the Last Battle - an Andor that is divided against itself is less likely to be giving its all at TG. Thanks to Elayne, Andor will be present in force. Oh, and she's also helping to have cannons built. Given that Mat's useful actions between books 7 and 13 seem to amount to accidentally marrying an Empress, while Perrin's achievements over the same period are 1. rescue wife and 2. actually, that's it, I think it's a little unfair to call Elayne most useless. It was a period in which no-one was getting a hell of a lot done with regards to TG.
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Mat duplicated some of Elayne's accomplishments as well as he and Perrin doing a just a bit more than you credit :)

 

This is not to say that many Perrin chapters aren't godawfully godawful and Elayne ones aren't godawful in those books.

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Although I think the Perrin chasing Faile plotline was the least interesting in the series, he did manage to take care of the Shaido and the Prophet although it was only because it fell in with getting her back. So I give him credit for accomplishing that, even though he was dumb enough to let the Seanchan have around 400 new damane as part of the deal which I think is one of the worst decisions any major character has made in the whole series. He also did save the Whitecloaks who are suddenly worth saving now that most of them are dead and Galad is leading the rest, and brought the dreamspike to the Tower in the wolf dream (which while accidental did allow Egwene to kill Mesaana which is good). I actually agree with Perrin's self-assessment that he is a horrible leader, if he wasn't ta'veren and the crony of the Dragon Reborn he would still be just a blacksmith who can talk to wolves but I'm starting to like him again since he is now gaining some confidence and starting to actually demonstrate leadership potential. Plus I'm sure he's going to kill something nasty with that hammer so that will probably be a good scene.

 

Mat also did a few cool things, like killing the gholam and setting a mass of sea folk channelers free to cause havoc on the Seanchan. Oh and rescuing Moiraine which is pretty much guaranteed to have massive impact in the last book (I'm thinking she might be one of the women who use Callandor with Rand, maybe Nynaeve too). Also, Mat and Aludra definitely get the credit for the dragons, not Elayne. All she had to do was say yes to what was obviously a good idea presented to her by those that actually came up with it. If Dyelin or Ellorien was queen they would have seen the same advantage. And either of them would also have certainly led Andor to fight in the last battle as well, especially now that when people get near Rand they just want to follow him.

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Mat also did a few cool things, like killing the gholam and setting a mass of sea folk channelers free to cause havoc on the Seanchan. Oh and rescuing Moiraine which is pretty much guaranteed to have massive impact in the last book (I'm thinking she might be one of the women who use Callandor with Rand, maybe Nynaeve too). Also, Mat and Aludra definitely get the credit for the dragons, not Elayne. All she had to do was say yes to what was obviously a good idea presented to her by those that actually came up with it. If Dyelin or Ellorien was queen they would have seen the same advantage. And either of them would also have certainly led Andor to fight in the last battle as well, especially now that when people get near Rand they just want to follow him.

Does the freeing of the Sea Folk channelers help with TG at all? It's somewhat double edged - as damane, they would have been used by the Seanchan at TG, and their breakout caused a lot of damage to materiel, materiel that might have been used by the Seanchan in order to help the Light. Killing the gholam and rescuing Moiraine both happened in book 13, which would be after the period of no-one accomplishing a hell of a lot. And Elayne saying yes is still her production facilities turning a dream into a reality (and it was Aludra's dream more than it was Mat's - credit should thus go to her first and foremost. Anyone in Mat's position would have said yes, after all, and if she had spoken to Bryne or Bashere first...) Also, Dyelin or Ellorien does have the slight problem that there was a civil war. Elayne came along and ended it. Had she not been there, there might not have been any one person in control to accept Mat's offer, or to lead Andor's forces. Also, I note you don't try to defend your position of Elayne being reckless and stupid.
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