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Jeannaisais

[SG Faire: Band of the Red Hand] Why was the Band of the Red Hand created and what kept it from being disbanded?

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Ever since I took over as Social Group Leader of the Band, we have been having a monthly discussion which relates to some aspect of the Band, Mat, or any character that has a direct tie to the Band. (In fact, this month's discussion over on the Band's boards is comparing and contrasting Mat's and Perrin's armies!)

 

So, basically, answer the question and give us your opinion as to why the Band of the Red Hand was created and what kept its formation. 

 

A few quick ground rules:

There are to be absolutely NO AMoL spoilers.

If anyone mentions that they have not read beyond say book 10, please post any information from books 11 and 12 in spoiler tags. (If no one states this we can assume all books 1-12 are safe but again, nothing from AMoL please!)

 

If there are no other questions, please begin discussing!!

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I guess I'll kick it off.

 

The Band formed because of Talmanes recognising that Mat was good at tactics and battle. I suspect there was more than a little luck, taveran and fate thrown in, but the Band seemed to form despite everything Mat could do to prevent it.

 

I'd say that it took until the escape from Ebou Dar when Mat reunited with the Band for him to really accept that he needed the Band as much as they needed him.

 

Anyone else?

Edited by BFG

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I've actually just read the chapter in which Mat mets Talmanes etc for the first time, when he's trying to escape from the battle of Cairhien.

 

It seems to be Mat's competence that first draws their attention. I get the feeling they served under a number of lords who didn't know what they were doing but assumed that because they were in charge they must be right.

 

And then Mat rocks up. He's got a bit of authority as being the friend of the Dragon Reborn, but talks sense, and is successful!

 

He's also got the ability to get on with practically everyone, lords, commanders, common soldiers. I think everyone sees him as 'someone like me'. Combine that with the fact that he is seen to take actions to minimise his losses and protect his men, if you were a soldier and had a choice of which army to march in, he's coming out on top.

 

I think that's key really, the men don't follow him because of where they were born, or which lord is working with which other lord at the moment, they choose him right from the start.

Edited by Elaevia

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Yeah I'll agree with this.  If I had the choice of where/whom I would serve with.  I'd want to serve with someone who would try to not lose anyone under his command.

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I think Mat also gives them as sense of pride, to be the best that they can be not just for their leader but for themselves and each other (I'm thinking of the challenging them to march so many miles in a day as an example of this). It's probably something that all the Great commanders have, but we get to see it up close and personal though Mat's POV.

 

I suppose that Mat is glue that holds the band together, when he was absent and off in Salidar and after (it's been a while since i read that so I'm a trifle hazy), but I bet everyman was thinking of living up to Mats expectations. He sets high standards, but sets higher for himself, and others follow his example.

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One of the things that Mat does is realise the value of the different regiments, at different times he stands with different reactions. The impression I get of most of the nobles is that the only thing they appreciate are the Cavalry, after that it's just numbers to see who has the 'bigger stick'. Mat stands with the pikesmen and clearly values their contribution.

 

He also promotes based on ability not rank, this is similar to the way the Great Captains work and teh Seanchan.

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The Band was formed when Mat was trying to escape Carhain and Couladin. The Pattern needed Mat at the Last Battle, and needed his armies as well; hence his ta'veren was pulled into his confrontation with Couladin. When he fought Couladin (after spending the better part of the day trying to keep the soldiers from getting needlessly slaughtered) he showed them that he was willing to die for them (even if he wasn't, thats what it looked like) they respected him and made him their General. The "Band of the Red Hand" part came about because of Mat's Old Tounge battle cries came from his memories of the original Band in the Trolloc Wars. By the time he tried to escape his new fame it was too late; so he just accepted it.

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Although the Band didn't formally form until after the Battle, I'd argue that it started slightly earlier.  In Mat's reminisce he thought that he tried riding away a couple of times, using the excuse of 'scouting' but members of the group followed him.  So the loyalty the Band shows Mat starts before he fought Couladin...

 

I agree about the rest though, it formed due to Mat's taveran tug and the Patterns need.

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I would say that it formed in the beginning due to the need for leadership the starting members needed in the Battle of Cairhein. It remained at first due to their respect for Mat as a competent and successful battle leader and General. 

 

Not long after it took on a life of its own. Mat's connection to the Dragon Reborn gave the band some authority politically but more importantly I think it was the unity and sense of belonging during desperate times in the world that lead it to grow from a small band of soldiers to a standing army on equal to or superior then many of the armies pre Dragon Reborn. 

 

Not discounting Mat's importance as a leader or figurehead of the Band, It has continued to grow due to good leadership from both Mat and his officers. In a world where all conventional bonds are broken and many people are wandering the land looking for purpose or safety. The Band offers a sense of being part of something that matters. 

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