Hello, and welcome back to "WoT If?", Dragonmount's weekly theory blog. Today's topic is the state of ta'veren-ness within Rand, Mat, and Perrin at the close of the story. Please remember:
SPOILER WARNING. This will include content from A Memory of Light. Please DO NOT read this if you have not completed the book.
At the end of the series, all our ta'veren have had a transformation of some sort. Perrin realizes that there is no longer a tug pulling on him.
A Memory of Light
Epilogue, "To See the Answer"
What of Rand?
No colors swirled in his vision. No image of Rand. Perrin felt no more tugging, pulling him in any direction.
He knelt down, resting a hand on Rand’s shoulder.
I couldn’t feel your tugging, or see the visions, Perrin thought. You’re no longer ta’veren. I suspect neither am I.
Perrin thinks he is no longer ta'veren. And he assumes Rand is not either. But Rand's powers seem to transcend those of a ta'veren anyway. He is able to manipulate the Pattern by his will alone. This seems quite logical to me since, during the battle with the Dark One, Rand learned how to weave Weaves of the Pattern. I think an apt comparison is from The Matrix film where Neo finally learns how to see the numbers. Rand is able to see the world as it naturally is, weaves woven by the Wheel. Therefore, Rand no longer has a need to be ta'veren.
Perrin, as well, no longer has a need. He accepted his responsibilities while he had to, and now that the trial has passed, he will be able to move on. He will be a King, and help lead the world into the new Age.
So, Rand and Perrin have moved past needing their ta'veren abilities. But what about Mat? Brandon Sanderson answered this—kind of—at a recent signing.
Question: Perrin felt his ta'veren-ness melting away. If Mat lost it too, does he lose his luck?
Brandon Sanderson: I don't believe that he does. Being a ta'veren has a distinct effect on him, but I think there is an innate luckiness to Mat, partially drawn from the fact that the Heroes [of the Horn] call him Gambler. And so in other lives where he would not have been ta'veren he was still a gambler and still lucky. However, I do think being a ta'veren meant that the luck was greatly magnified, and I think it grew stronger and stronger through the series. That's my read on it from the notes, and I'm pretty sure on that one. I have to give the caveat that there could be something out there that contradicts me.
Notice that Brandon doesn't state that Mat is no longer ta'veren. He says in past lives, Mat was still a lucky person, so some of his lucky nature is innate. But what if Mat will keep his luck after the Last Battle because he is still ta'veren?
We never get a scene where Mat thinks about the swirls, or his luck, or anything. I'm sure the swirls will be gone, since his connection to Rand has been severed. But I think Mat is still ta'veren.
My reasoning for this might seem a bit thin, but I'll explain my logic.
1. Mat without his luck would be weird. We've become so use to Mat's luck, that it would just seem strange seeing him without it. Albeit, Brandon said Mat would keep some of his luck, but I don't think that would satisfy us. Ever since his gambling spree at the beginning of The Dragon Reborn, one of the only things in the series we could count on 100% has been Mat's luck! If he lost that, he'd stop being Mat.
2. He resisted when the others gave in. To me, this could be a sense of irony. As stated earlier, Perrin hated being ta'veren, but he did what he had to. He shouldered the heavy burden and fulfilled his part in the responsibility. Mat did not. He spent most of his time hiding from his responsibilities and trying to weasel out of what was expected of him. So it would seem fitting, in a twisted way, that Mat would have to put up with being a ta'veren longer than the others. He's paying for his attitude towards his ta'veren abilities and towards Rand—Mat's flippant treatment of Rand even got him scolded by the heroes of the Horn: "Remember him,” Amaresu snapped. “I have seen you murmur that you fear his madness, but all the while you forget that every breath you breathe—every step you take—comes at his forbearance. Your life is a gift from the Dragon Reborn, Gambler. Twice over" (A Memory of Light, Chapter 39, "Those Who Fight").
3. The outrigger novels were going to be based on Mat's journey to Seanchan. Since more of the story centered on Mat, I think the Wheel and the Pattern weren't done with him yet.
My conclusion, Mat is still ta'veren. I don't see any reason why Rand and Perrin can finally step out of the Pattern's influence, but Mat remains. The Wheel weaves as the Wheel wills, after all. And I think the Wheel likes messing with Mat.
That's all for this edition. For next week, we'll look at who or what Nakomi might be. Thanks for reading!