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DRAGONMOUNT

A WHEEL OF TIME COMMUNITY
Randommer

Remember how much you used to hate Mat?

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I remember when I was first reading TGH a few years ago, I was on holiday with my friend. And I remember telling her how I was reading the most depressing books ever. Purely because of the way Rand's friends, and Mat in particular, were abandonning him. I mean, Mat had literally been best friends with Rand his whole life, and he seemed to feel no sadness whatsoever when he found out what had happened to his friend. It would be the equivalent of discovering your best friend has turned into a vampire, and kinda going, "Meh. Stay away, if you don't mind." I found it depressing in an uncomfortably realstic sort of way. And of course, this is far from the only example of Mat's douchebaggery at the time, or in the books since.

 

And yet now we all love him, because he is undeniably awesome at the same time. BS gets a lot of stick for writing Mat wrong, but it's totally understandable how getting the nuances of Mat's character right might be difficult. Sometimes they barely seem to make logical sense, and really only RJ understood how they all added up.

 

[/rambling]

 

Thoughts on Mat's transformation, anyone?

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Oh, I was annoyed with him, but as soon as the dagger issues got sorted out, I can't remember that he acted worse than everyone else.

 

I think that Elayne's purpose in the books in dealing with Mat is to give us some insight into his personality. She treats him like he is that annoying boy from the first book and doesn't realize that there is much more to him.

 

 

 

 

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Two things happened.

 

1) We got Mat's point of view. Turns out he's very attentive to some details, and sloppy with others, and that his decision making process makes absolute and total logical sense given what he does and doesn't notice. We lacked that insight before.

 

2) Mat gained instant PTSD from a veteran soldier's perspective. BS can't write it, Jordan could. Mat's drinking, gambling, and wenching is essentially his own "celebrating life", because he's filled with memories of death- including his own- but in his own words, "Gloriously alive today." Not surprisingly, Jordan was a decorated Vietnam vet and BS is a guy from Utah that didn't serve. BS understands, I think, the Mat who colloquially speaking signed up but not the one who came home from the war, having not only seen, but done, things.

 

What's most interesting about Mat is that he's probably the most self-aware character in most respects. He's low-grade hostile to women who "can't take care of themselves"- the noble, the effeminate, the helpless- because he damn well knows he's going to leap out of a hayloft in the middle of the night five on one to save them in his underclothes. Women that'll kick you in the fork of the legs? He likes those women. He'll give'em a pinch and a tickle. And Light-bless the friendly ones, that's nice to come home to between the hurricanes of blood and death that in his bones he knows he'll seek out.

 

His Arthurian parallel, I would argue, is Gawaine, the Knight of Ladies. Damsel in distress? Distress with an ashanderai to the face. And how he resents himself for it and them for "forcing" him into it. Don't they appreciate the sacrifices he makes for them?

 

And they just think he's being dismissive to them. He just wants to know they appreciate the sacrifices, sweet Light the sacrifices . .

Edited by BrainFireBob

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Thoughts on Mat's transformation, anyone?

Mat is easily one of my favorite characters, but I think fans sometimes cut him more slack than he deserves. He wasn't much of a friend to Rand when Rand needed it the most, and even in later volumes have there been times where I wanted to slap Mat upside the head. Like most other characters in the series, he ends up paying for his worst flaw (selfishness) by having to do something very selfless: sacrifice an eye to save Moiraine. That's where Mat proved how far he's come since TEotW.

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Thoughts on Mat's transformation, anyone?

Mat is easily one of my favorite characters, but I think fans sometimes cut him more slack than he deserves. He wasn't much of a friend to Rand when Rand needed it the most, and even in later volumes have there been times where I wanted to slap Mat upside the head. Like most other characters in the series, he ends up paying for his worst flaw (selfishness) by having to do something very selfless: sacrifice an eye to save Moiraine. That's where Mat proved how far he's come since TEotW.

I agree; it's easy to forget that even in the later books, he's done some crummy things. He's great when it comes to being The Knight and stepping in to save people, but in more ordinary ways he can still be an ass. Though I wouldn't say that his flaw is selfishness, exactly. It's more that he has this odd ability to simply...not sympathise with people at all under certain circumstances. Imo he can be quite a cold character, I suppose.

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Mat's the only character in the series that I could ever relate to. Rand is too much the standard relucant hero (and given that being the chosen one in this case means going insane and then dying for a world that would constantly revile you for all time, maybe I can let him go for his emo BS) and Perrin is such a whiner that I activly root for Slayer to take him out. Ewgene, though, I cant not like; I grew up in a small town and I knew too many chicks like her who were just gagging to get out to the big world and make something of herself. I like a woman who isnt willing to settle. I think of her as the female Mat. But Mat, now, he was either going to leave the Two Rivers or he was going to OWN the Two Rivers. Or the Woman's Circle was going to kill him. Either way, it would have been interesting. Mat's growth through the series has been a great read as well. The only time I couldnt like him was when he tossed Rand to the wolves in TGH, but let's face it, thats pretty much what a man who could channel could expect in Randland, from no matter how close a friend. But after got his dagger issues resolved he turned out to be an awesome character. He has a number of great scenes, even before his level-up in Rhuidian, taking out those two a$$holes Gawain and Galad back at the Tower, then breaking INto the Stone's dungon all the while making wizecracks and tickling the pretty girls. I'd read another 15 books just about Mat. As long as no one even MENTIONS Perrin.

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Mat single handedly saved The Dragon Reborn for me, which was a surprise considering I wasn't too impressed with him before then. I was bumming because TDR, didn't Realy have much of Rand POVs, ( I was only 15 or so when it came out and really only cared about Rand then). I had read TEotW and TGH about four times waiting on TDR and when I finally got it it skimmed through curious for the Rand. As I went along, and we finally got to Mat's POV and I was like "who is this Mat?" as he seemed quite different to me. It's a bit hazzy after all the years since, but I probably was skimming TSR for Mat chapters when I first picked it up, as it was pretty quickly that he became my favorite. However, on retreads he always seems like a different character in those first few books and not a very good one. I would say some of it was a writing tool "unreliable narrator" in that we only see Mat through the eyes of others, and their perspective could skew Mat wrongly. Though in later books, people seem to see Mat as not such a jerk that he comes off in the first two books, dagger notwithstanding. I think RJ might have changed Mat's arc somewhat. Perhaps part of it is due to cancelled fourth taveren, IDK.

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I don't get the hate for characters in this series. I like all their different personality characteristics.

 

I read Mat as being a young/immature/practical joker in the early books and then a "save-my-own-bacon-because-the-world-is-going-to-hell-in-a-handbasket-but-blood-and-ashes-have-to-save-the-wondergirls-again" reluctant hero in the middle books and then a "still-reluctant-but-more-accepting-good-grief-I-can't-be-settling-down-to-get-married-but-I-love-her-Light-help-me" hero in the latter books.

 

In terms of him turning his back on Rand, I see that more as a function of Mat's youth at the time than anything. It turns out that Rand happens to be not just a vampire, but THE ONE AND ONLY destined-to-go-mad-and-break-the-world-guy-who-Mat's-parents-scared-him-with-with-bedtime-stories-when-he-was-younger Dragon Reborn. EVERYONE steps a bit sideways from Rand at that point -- including Rand himself! One of my favourite scenes in the series is Rand and Egwene talking after the showdown at the Eye, really gut-wrenching stuff.

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Egwene was still very likable back then...she should have stayed on the path titled 'I will marry Rand'.

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Egwene was still very likable back then...she should have stayed on the path titled 'I will marry Rand'.

 

She is not for you, at least not in the way you both want.

 

It would've been interesting if Egwene had stayed Rand's primary love-interest. However, I really, really enjoy Min and Rand together. I don't see why Rand has three wives when he has rarely spent any time with Elayne and Aviendha, especially Elayne.

 

Egwene and Gawyn has never quite clicked for me. Egwene should've taken more lessons from Moiraine and Gawyn should've had a chance to take some lessons from Lan in terms of how to have a strong AS-warder relationship; of course, Lan and Moiraine don't have the romantic relationship complicating things and Moiraine also wasn't the Amyrlin.

 

I like that Egwene and Rand don't pan out though, because, although gut-wrenching, it severs the connection to their Emond's Field roots for both of them. Egwene and Rand getting married is what would've happened if Rand wasn't destined to be the Dragon Reborn and Egwene wasn't destined to become the Amyrlin Seat during Tarmon Gaidon.

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Purely because of the way Rand's friends, and Mat in particular, were abandonning him. I mean, Mat had literally been best friends with Rand his whole life, and he seemed to feel no sadness whatsoever when he found out what had happened to his friend.

 

 

I completely agree with this. Even in TDR, as Perrin goes through the beginning of his wolf-stuff, he qucikly relises that he and Rand have something in common - an ability that others fear. He seems to have some level of compassion for Rand.

 

Mat, I've never understood. He's some brilliant general, whatever, but he pretty much turned and tried to run away from his best friend because his friend has some ability that is "scary." I would have thought that the general in Mat, like the Domani captain whose name I'm forgetting, would see the military value in being able to evaporate an entire opposing army.

Edited by Tyzack

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The Mat that feared Rand and didn't empathize with him (there wasn't a whole lot of sympathy there, either) wasn't the general. It was the kid who wanted to see the world. And he wasn't afraid enough to tell on Rand, or actually run away from him. And that whole thing was over in one book anyway - by the time they reached Toman Head Mat was as loyal a friend as one can ask for.

 

Would you cut him some slack? This thing, men touching the Source and going mad, destroying everything in their path, has happened in this world for three thousand years. It's the stuff of nightmares, literally. Rand is tainted by the DO. How would you expect him to react?

Perrin and Nynaeve, and definitely Egwene, did take it much better. But that makes them extraordinary, not common. And Mat shouldn't be condemned for not being able to follow their example.

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I always liked Mat and he is still my favorite character.

Perhaps he did abandon Rand in a time of need, BUT, what makes anything think he had much choice in the matter.

 

If Mat would have remained by Rands side as a best friend should he would have never formed The Band, perhaps the finest fighting unit there is right now. It is doubtfull Dragons would have been created, which will certainly play a role in the last battle. And he certainly would not have met and Married the Daughter of the Nine Moons, thus creating an instant tie to the Dragon Reborn.

 

It was necessary for Mat to go out on his own.

 

Mat was the class clown who ran away from responsibility (by running right into it)but there is a big chance that the pattern had alot to do with that.

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I am not a fan of mat simply because he lacks internal conflict that is serious. Perrin has his "will I lose myself to the wolf. Rand has the "I am doomed to go mad and destroy... but what can I do to stop that." Mat has I don't want to lead, I just want to run away and find a dice game!

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Mat's a BAMF. I've always liked him, still do. I like his conflicts with Nyn and Egwene, I love the battles he's in, I especially like him and the Aelfinn and the Eelfinn...yeah, him and Lan are pretty much my favorite characters.

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Mat's a BAMF. I've always liked him, still do. I like his conflicts with Nyn and Egwene, I love the battles he's in, I especially like him and the Aelfinn and the Eelfinn...yeah, him and Lan are pretty much my favorite characters.

 

It is one of the saddest things about being the Dragon Reborn. Just like Cadsuane said: "The lights mercy fades to nothing, for a man who channels."

Abandoned and abandon, yet forced to go on. To die so the world can go on, and at the same time being abandoned by your friends and loved ones.

 

I wonder. If it hadnt been for Min, Elayne, Nynaeve, Aviendha, would Rand have found any reason for fighting, when he stood atop Dragonmount. Both Egwene and Moiraine have said before, that Rand belongs to the pattern, that he can't marry. They truly don't understand, that without love and friendship, Rand could never find the strength to go on.

 

I dont blame Mat too much though. People where truly afraid of men who could channel, and no wonder.

 

“Whoever reads this, if any remain to read it, weep for us who have no more tears. Pray for us who are damned alive.”

—from a manuscript believed to have been written during the Breaking

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Mat is easily the character that you can see the most growing up in throughout the series. Perrin was always quieter and seemed a little more aloof than the other three.

 

The first scene where I truly liked Mat was when thwacked the two princelings. That was priceless.

 

I love how he always blames other people for corrupting Olver when he is every bit as bad.

 

BS did much better writing Mat in Towers of Midnight. Mat just wasn't in Gathering Storm enough.

 

And love him or hate him Mat has some of the BEST lines in the series. Or any other series for that matter. Never kiss a girl whose brothers have knife scars....LOL I caught a badger, wanna let it out on the village green? lol

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I don't understand this, I've never hated Mat, not even a little. He's never had the huge character flaws apart from being immature at the beginning of the series but I think that was understandable due to his age and unlike Egwene and Elayne he didn't try to pretend he wasn't immature.

 

He's never had the arrogance that Egwene and Elayne all still have and Nynaeve used to have and his POVs were some of the funniest of the entire series IMO.

 

He was needed to prick the bubble of Elayne and Nynaeve's arrogance which he managed to sometimes.

 

Just my 2ps worth :)

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I preferred Mat when he didnt have a choice. The times when he was directly involved in Rands plans. From the sounding of the Horn right up to invading Illian I loved reading his storyline and character. After that, well I think the entire relationship with Tuon is fake, the Olver thing was cool but went nowhere forever, and I didnt enjoy his rescuing of Moiraine anywhere near as much as I thought I would.

 

The only thing that bothers me about Mat himself is, as mentioned, how much of a better friend he could be to Rand.

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The Mat that feared Rand and didn't empathize with him (there wasn't a whole lot of sympathy there, either) wasn't the general. It was the kid who wanted to see the world. And he wasn't afraid enough to tell on Rand, or actually run away from him. And that whole thing was over in one book anyway - by the time they reached Toman Head Mat was as loyal a friend as one can ask for.

 

Would you cut him some slack? This thing, men touching the Source and going mad, destroying everything in their path, has happened in this world for three thousand years. It's the stuff of nightmares, literally. Rand is tainted by the DO. How would you expect him to react?

Perrin and Nynaeve, and definitely Egwene, did take it much better. But that makes them extraordinary, not common. And Mat shouldn't be condemned for not being able to follow their example.

I am cutting him slack; he's one of my favourite characters now. I'm just saying he's a strange dichotomy at times, and probably gets forgiven a lot more than other characters. And I'm not saying it's strange Mat turned from Rand, just that it was strange how he didn't seem at all saddened about it, and hasn't really since. He still thinks he's better off a thousand miles away from Rand, and spent an awfully long time blaming him for his own destiny, without showing any gratitude for the many times Rand saved his life, when the same treatment from the girls irked him. And don't even get me started on his treatment of women, marrying the enemy, etc. I do still think he's great, but his flaws do tend to get hand-waved more than those of any other character in the series. Not surprising considering he's the lovable rogue guy, I suppose.

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I have to say that considering that Matt was still suffering from the effects (to one degree or another) of the dagger at the time, it is not at all surprising that he was the one who most abandoned Rand when it turned out that Rand could not only channel, but was the freaking DRAGON REBORN!! Now, I know, the dagger wasn't supposed to be influencing him at that point; however, when Lanfear walks in on him after being healed in the WT, she thinks to herself that he is too suspicious for her to use him without him realizing it, especially because of permanent effect of carrying the dagger. I suppose you could just call that being a Matt apologist, but that was always my take on reading that part of Matt's character.

 

Matt has always been one of my favorite characters, because he is his own best FOIL. To me, it is absolutely hilarious that the LEAST responsible character, at least so far as we're told, is the first one to be a parent, and not only that, but for the most part does a pretty good job of it. There's more that I love about him, but many of those thoughts have been said here or elsewhere, I'm sure, just wanted to add that little bit of irony that made me chuckle while re-reading the series recently.

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