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DRAGONMOUNT

A WHEEL OF TIME COMMUNITY

Mat's Arc (Full Spoilers)


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Let me try to explain. One of the most frequent criticisms of Brandon is his blunt "tell don't show" style in which every character spells out exactly what is going on with his thoughts and announces his intentions. As the character spells everything out it actually takes up more room when trying to convey information. Brandon also struggles with employing literary devices like ellipsis to advance the action more quickly, something that RJ was very skilled at. RJ never had characters "clearly explain" and he never "clarified every motive". He could convey an extraordinary amount of info in a very concise manner when needed and yet still be very subtle. He showed us the way instead of spelling everything out.

Then he filled all that space he saved with boring pointless drawl or endless repetitive description.

No on argues that things hadn't gotten away from him a bit by CoT, but he turned it around in KoD. People act as if that story arc stretch through WH-CoT  was the norm when that is hardly the case.

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Mat had some moments where he was off but those moments were few overall IMO.

 

RJ did not completely "turn it around" with KoD. What he did was take a big step towards righting the ship. The "Lull" didn't start with WH, most agree(myself included), it started with aPoD. Some feel it started with aCoS.

Either way, prior to the release of KoD, there was a growing negativity surrounding the series. KoD greatly reduced that negativity but it did not dispel it.

 

I agree with Kael Pyralis here. While I enjoyed aMoL greatly, like Mat, the balance was off.

It wasn't however, enough to ruin it for me, far from it.

 

As far as the "bluntness" of BS...it is the end of the story after all. The major subterfuges are at their conclusion, all plots become one. There is no more build up to be written and quite frankly, I personally had more than enough build up and good prose through aPoD-CoT to last a lifetime.

Edited by Finnssss
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In relation to when things lost their way I guess I am prone to give tPoD some leeway on that mark. It has some of the best writing in the entire series such as during the Damona Campaign to use just one example. The LTT/Rand dialog is pure genius. So while yes I concur that this is when things really started slowing down, to me it was almost a precursor of what was to happen in the next few books. The world was expanding, we finally got a feel for many of the other characters and what was going on with them and the story arc was in a very specific set up place. Of course a more heavy handed editor would have gone a long way in making them better books. But the Wheel of Time was always different in that way. The quality, depth and immersion level is what differentiated it from most of what was out there.

 

You are correct in that KoD started to turn things around and that really highlights the evolution of the story arc in term of things being set to wrap up. WH is when it hit me that ok, this is really about the series as opposed to the individual books. It may be why I don't have a problem with tPoD and WH in that the pay off with some of those scenes surpasses in terms of quality writing anything we have gotten since. Interesting to note that this mid-late portion of series has given other great authors like Martin & Erikson trouble as well. It is much easier to wrap things up then keep the story rolling in individual books at that mid-late point after all. I am very interested to see how Brandon handles it in his own Stormlight Archive. That is when we will know if pace is truly a strength for him if he can continue to hit home runs in individual books throughout that entire series. It really doesn't make sense to excuse his "bluntness" with we have reached the end of the story however. There are flat out some cringe worthy scenes and one can be concise and subtle while still using strong prose and avoiding modern language. Brandon rarely puts down the sledgehammer even when a scalpel will do the job. Again the space was not utilized well in these last three books so the whole "no room" topic rings hollow. Actually some of my favorite things Brandon did in AMoL was when he actually used foreshadowing and set up. It was done far better than the first two books.

Edited by Suttree
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The last few posts are heading off topic; although it sounds like it's dying down, if anyone chooses to respond could they take it to the Quality Discussion thread?

 

Cheers

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I was much more satisfied with Mat's character in this book than the previous ones. He fit more into character than before. I think many of us expected him to be a great general in the Last Battle, and while some elements were missing from his character, his role was much better written out than I expected, after reading our last encounters with him in the previous books.

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Mat's ending with Tuon was horrible.  Two frowns and a threat to kill him?  I get that Tuon is the Empress, and she feels that there is no room for love in that role, but c'mon, how about a smile or some sign that she was happy to see him alive?  Even if you argue that she was secretly happy to see him - which is what I choose to believe - there was no reason for her not to show some brief happiness at his returning from the last battle in one piece.  

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Unfortunately for me, by the end of the series the Seanchan were the only interesting part of the story, because they were still largely unexplored. All the rest - Aes Sedai, Aiel, Randland kingdoms, Forsaken, etc. had started becoming kind of ordinary by then.

 

So I was looking forward to Mat's story arc most of all, I was reading the book because of that story arc, and was most interested in the Seanchans and their society and culture.

 

I wonder if there will be any sequel with Mat and the Seanchan?

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Unfortunately for me, by the end of the series the Seanchan were the only interesting part of the story, because they were still largely unexplored. All the rest - Aes Sedai, Aiel, Randland kingdoms, Forsaken, etc. had started becoming kind of ordinary by then.

 

So I was looking forward to Mat's story arc most of all, I was reading the book because of that story arc, and was most interested in the Seanchans and their society and culture.

 

I wonder if there will be any sequel with Mat and the Seanchan?

 

 

My understanding is that RJ had 3 outriggers planned that would cover Mat & Tuon going back to Seanchan, but there are only a couple of sentances on the stories (so (almost) all of it would need to be made up).  Given RJs stated dislike for 'shared worlds' and Harriets reluctance for anyone else to try it's very unlikely that they will be written.

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Honestly, I don't know why so many people like Mat as a character. The guys a man whore and the one woman he falls in love with is a slaver. He needs to be assassinated

 

Yeah, nobody likes a scoundrel.   Just look at the Star Wars franchise; Han Solo is easily the least popular character. 

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well let me answer you in Nynaeve words:

"Yes, he drinks and gambles far too much. But don't speak of him as if you know him, because you don't. His heart is golden, under it all."

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I LOVE Mat! He's the ultimate risk taker.

 

Random thought: I also see Rand, Perrin and Mat as part of a single unit. They all had a part to play individually, but in reality they were so utterly connected that the lines could be sometimes blurred. I could see this when D was calling for LT during the battle and thinking that Mat was being controlled by him. It was often said/remembered by D that LT had always tried to do everything by himself. Thoughts? It's such a tenuous idea, I'm not sure I've thought it all the way through. As Mat would think; there are holes in my memory :)

 

3 girls instead of one ( Avi , Min , Elayne vs Ilyena ) and 3 mans instead of 1 ( Rand , Perrin , Mat vs LTT ) ... don't know what to do about this but i agree with you :)

HOLY trinity? Anyother biblical similarities? Obvious eastern culture influences. Maybe this is not the right thread for these comments.

 

Sorry. GO MAT!

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What I will say about Mat is

 

1. I never felt he was "raped" by Tylin. It was like "o noes she wants me o noes whatever shall I do." Anyone who couldn't see that was trying to see something else. He consented to letting a cougar have her way with him, and he loved it.

 

2. Somewhat similarly, I always saw that Tuon was big time into him and that he was enamored by her. One thing I think Brandon did very well was continue this vibe between them. You could practically see Tuon gush when Mat did something badass.

 

Just throwing those out there for the record. I was disappointed in a lot but I felt he nailed Mat & Tuon's relationship.

 

Mat & Rand's dialogue on the other hand? Don't get me started.

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What I will say about Mat is

 

1. I never felt he was "raped" by Tylin. It was like "o noes she wants me o noes whatever shall I do." Anyone who couldn't see that was trying to see something else. He consented to letting a cougar have her way with him, and he loved it.

 

He consistently rebuffed her advances and made clear he was not happy about it. She literally starved him and then:

 

It was too much. The woman hounded him, tried to starve him; now she locked them in together like... like he did not know what. Lambkin! Those bloody dice were bouncing around in his skull. Besides, he had important business to see to. The dice had never had anything to do with finding something, but... He reached her in two long strides, seized her arm, and began fumbling in her belt for the keys. "I don’t have bloody time for -" His breath froze as the sharp point of her dagger beneath his chin shut his mouth and drove him right up onto his toes.

 

"Remove your hand," she said coldly. He managed to look down his nose at her face. She was not smiling now. He let go of her arm carefully. She did not lessen the pressure of her blade, though. She shook her head. "Tsk, tsk. I do try to make allowances for you being an outlander, gosling, but since you wish to play roughly... Hands at your sides. Move." The knifepoint gave a direction. He shuffled backward on tiptoe rather than have his neck sliced.

It was rape plain and simple. RJ said so himself so I guess he was trying to "see something else" then? She forced him to have sex at knife point. Curious as to how you would feel about the above quote if the genders were reversed? Edited by Suttree
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I'd feel differently not only if the genders were reversed but if it were almost anyone but Mat, who can take down Galad, Gawyn, Aiel, etc in a fight.

 

GRAY MEN don't make it past Mat Cauthon and she gets the drop on him and he's helpless? Something is definitely missing there.

 

If there is an RJ quote that explains it I'd love to read it.

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I'd feel differently not only if the genders were reversed but if it were almost anyone but Mat, who can take down Galad, Gawyn, Aiel, etc in a fight.

 

GRAY MEN don't make it past Mat Cauthon and she gets the drop on him and he's helpless? Something is definitely missing there.

 

If there is an RJ quote that explains it I'd love to read it.

 

A few things.  One, she literally had a knife pressed up against his chin.  It's a hard position to escape from.  Two, she's the Queen of the country where the people he's promised to escort are staying.  Yes, Mat is more than capable of escaping, or hurting her.  What he's not capable of doing is breaking the promise that he gave to escort Elayne to Andor.  If he rocks the boat with Tylin he's going to have to run away to avoid being executed or thrown in prison.  Any of those things will cause him to break his promise.  Thus, he's stuck.  It's simply not a matter of physical capability.

Edited by Aleator77
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I think that the entire situation is difficult to explain due to the unrealistic reactions of the characters. Yes, it seems likely that Mat was raped by her, but then you have the fact that he looks back on the time fondly and did not fight back. At the same time, you literally have a woman forcing a man to have sex at knifepoint, and even if someone does not fight back, if they clearly state they do not want it, it is still rape. That Mat remembers it fondly could be due to the setting, where it may seem that a woman could not possibly rape a man, Mat's personality, as well as his guilt over her death.

 

It would be interesting to know how RJ thought of it, but honestly, I don't think it would have made much difference. It's pretty clear to me, at least, that he viewed the entire situation similarly to other posters that claim a man can't possibly be raped. He'd probably classify it as Mat having been forced by Tylin, but would not count it as 'rape'. Honestly, when I was reading these scenes I was rather confused, because it almost seemed like a lighthearted situation, as most things with Mat are, so it IS difficult to know what the hell was going on. 

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It would be interesting to know how RJ thought of it, but honestly, I don't think it would have made much difference.

We know how he thought about it. RJ called it rape.

Interview: Jun 21st, 1996

ACOS Signing Report - Brian Ritchie

Robert Jordan

RJ wrote the Mat/Tylin scenario as a humorous role-reversal thing. His editor, and wife, thought it was a good discussion of sexual harassment and rape with comic undertones. She liked it because it dealt with very serious issues in a humorous way. She seemed to think it would be a good way to explain to men/boys what this can be like for women/girls, showing the fear, etc.

Edited by Suttree
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So Harriet thought it addressed "rape and harrassment" (quite an amalgamation) with "comic undertones."

 

She's entitled to her opinion, of course. Who knew rape could be so funny!!

 

I still don't see how Tylin can honestly truly theaten his life to the degree you'd have to assume. Honestly, the guy kills Grey Men before they strike. You have to explain how Tylin can do something that they or any of the other incredibly skilled and deadly people he's encountered couldn't.

 

Then, reflect on his amorous past, fond memories of her and general theme of pretending to be reluctant about something he's about to do, and it completely fits his character.

 

I laughed the same way I laugh when he swears he's not going to fight and then rationalizes jumping into the fight.

 

"Oh, she has a knife! Oh... okay, I'll do it for the lads!!!"

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I'd feel differently not only if the genders were reversed but if it were almost anyone but Mat, who can take down Galad, Gawyn, Aiel, etc in a fight.

 

GRAY MEN don't make it past Mat Cauthon and she gets the drop on him and he's helpless? Something is definitely missing there.

 

If there is an RJ quote that explains it I'd love to read it.

A few things. One, she literally had a knife pressed up against his chin. It's a hard position to escape from. Two, she's the Queen of the country where the people he's promised to escort are staying. Yes, Mat is more than capable of escaping, or hurting her. What he's not capable of doing is breaking the promise that he gave to escort Elayne to Andor. If he rocks the boat with Tylin he's going to have to run away to avoid being executed or thrown in prison. Any of those things will cause him to break his promise. Thus, he's stuck. It's simply not a matter of physical capability.

So you agree that he wasn't forced physically because he could obviously escape, but it was rape because he didn't want to offend her and jeopardize his promise???

 

"Oh okay, I'll do it FOR ELAYNE!!!"

 

Imagine Elayne's reaction to that sentiment for a moment. Exactly.

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