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yks 6nnetu hing 09-21-2011 05:15 AM

Musings on Mat - FoH and earlier
 
Ok, so as most of you know, I have a certain dislike for Mat. As I'm rereading the series I am consciously trying to put some of my prejudices aside and just read the story but... now other things are cropping up. I finished FoH yesterday and I've got to say: the guy is even more horrible than I remembered the first time around :(

What annoys me most right now is his attitude towards the One Power. It's mentioned several times, and it's only becoming more pronounced as the series continues: Mat thinks that the One Power has done some huge disservice to him.

But let's examine the facts:
When Moiraine shows up in Two Rivers, Mat is most distrusting of the boys, because of what his mother thinks:
Quote:

TITLE: Eye of the World
CHAPTER: 10 - Leavetaking
"We left notes," Mat said. "For our families. They'll find them in the morning. Rand, my mother thinks Tar Valon is the next thing to Shayol Ghul." He gave a little laugh to show he did not share her opinion. It was not very convincing. "She'd try to lock me in the cellar if she believed I was even thinking of going there."
As we know, he then gets tangled up with the dagger, which inflates this initial distrust even more. What I find interesting is that while Mat's efforts to leave Tar Valon as soon as possible after his Healing are completely understandable, he later does not revise his opinion, he considers every single person even remotely able to channel to be "out to get him". He doesn't ever acknowledge that the Aes Sedai saved his life. He's continuously suspicious towards Moiraine even though she's meek as a kitten in FoH and (I think) because of his misplaced distrust he's taken completely off guard when danger appears from a different source.

Speaking of the One Power and its effects on Mat's life, up to the end of FoH, he's been saved by the One Power 3 times (once in the Tower and twice by Rand balefiring Darkhounds/Moiraine Healing him right after and 2nd time by Rand balefiring Rahvin) and only one time was he seriously damaged by the One Power - that would be when Rahvin's lightnings killed him. That's by the end of FoH, there's more to come, obviously, although technically even Tylin's death wasn't caused by the One Power.

Part of the problem seems to be that he absolutely refuses to understand that the Snakes and Foxes have nothing at all to do with the Power.

Mat is also the most vocally suspicious of Rand's channeling throughout the first 5 books, which, frankly, is highly hypocritical considering his own paranoid behaviour regarding the dagger. One would think that having experienced a madness like that, he would have a bit of empathy towards Rand but nooooo!

From this aspect Mat's affinity with Tuon is... well, let's just say they complement each other. One thinks all channelers should be leashed, the other... agrees.

The fact is, the One Power has not caused more harm to Mat than any other non-channeler in the series. in fact, it's caused less harm and more good than several other characters. Min can't channel, Perrin can't channel, Tam can't channel, Gawyn and Galad can't channel... And if we consider the characters that can channel: Rand of course has taken the most damage but the other characters have had their share also. Mat however seems to think that the One Power exists just to torment him and he's attributing things that have nothing to do with the Power but are instead manifestations of the Shadow or even completely different dimensions from Randland as something the One Power has done specifically to him. Although, he is sort of right to attribute the gholam's actions to the Power, seeing as the gholam were made by the Power. Then again, if we consider Dark One's creatures made by the One Power, again, Mat is not the martyr here, the Borderlanders are.

GonzoTheGreat 09-21-2011 05:30 AM

All right, so Mat has dynamophobia, and you blame him for that.

Loial has gynophobia, do you think he's unlikable because of that too? (If you do, that would probably bother him a lot, what with you being a woman and all.)

yks 6nnetu hing 09-21-2011 06:36 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by GonzoTheGreat (Post 163500)
All right, so Mat has dynamophobia, and you blame him for that.

Loial has gynophobia, do you think he's unlikable because of that too? (If you do, that would probably bother him a lot, what with you being a woman and all.)

no, it's not a phobia. A phobia is being afraid of something. Mat is not afraid of change, exactly (at least, that's what I think you mean by dynamophobia, although the actual name for a fear of change is kainotophobia or metathesiophobia depending on which site you believe. Or did you mean a fear of moving things? in which case your whole argument makes no sense at all). He is more... irrationally convinced in a Harm Done to Him and apparently unable to reconcile the reality to his prejudices.

Kind of like Felix is absolutely convinced that Terez's only reason for existing is to torture him. Sure, she sometimes pokes him but not nearly as much as he thinks she does. And, you know, a lot of Terez's energy is spent elsewhere as well, on annoying Younglings and a few particular Heroes and ... well, you get the point. And sometimes Felix only gets caught in the crossfire.

it's a case of... despite overflowing evidence to the contrary, every time the One Power is used in a way that makes Mat uncomfortable, he goes "see? see??? I was right all along!" Even though most of the time the One Power is not doing anything at all to him. Not even trying to do anything to him.

GonzoTheGreat 09-21-2011 07:02 AM

What I meant (it's all Greek to me, I'll admit) was Fear of Power. Yes, it is not entirely rational in Mat's case, but then, not all* phobias are always entirely rational.

Edited to add: Moiraine even calls it:
Quote:

Originally Posted by ToM, Chapter 57, A Rabbit for Supper
"Still afraid of the One Power, I see."
He bristled. "Afraid?"
"I should think you have good reason for that wariness." She looked away from him. "But take care. The most displeasing of events in our lives are sometimes for our good."

* Arachnophobia is, of course.

yks 6nnetu hing 09-21-2011 07:11 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by GonzoTheGreat (Post 163508)
What I meant (it's all Greek to me, I'll admit) was Fear of Power. Yes, it is not entirely rational in Mat's case, but then, not all* phobias are always entirely rational.

* Arachnophobia is, of course.

ah, that was my next thought. I got confused when "dynamo" was only used in the context of an electricity generator :rolleyes:

I can see that being an actual fear of his. But then the question is: is he aware of the fear or is it something in his subconscious? Also, you know what's the best way of getting rid of a debilitating fear? facing it.

also, Loial is not afraid of women, he's got the sweets for one, and he gets on very amicably with several more, although those he gets along with are of a different species from him so I'm not sure if they "count. should though, seeing as the ogier women in WoT are portrayed overall quite similarly to the human women.

Davian93 09-21-2011 08:47 AM

Perhaps, and this is way out there, its just a lasting after effect of carrying the dagger for as long as he did. It wasn't enough to make him hate AS and the OP but it was enough to amplify his already skeptical nature towards a constant level of distrust toward them.

I think one of the least explored topics of WoT is the lasting effects that the exposure to Shadar Logoth's evil had on the main characters. You could use it to explain your annoyance with Mat and my utter hatred and disgust towards Egwene (thanks to her daily communes with Fain in the dungeons of Fal Dara).

yks 6nnetu hing 09-21-2011 09:01 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Davian93 (Post 163514)
Perhaps, and this is way out there, its just a lasting after effect of carrying the dagger for as long as he did. It wasn't enough to make him hate AS and the OP but it was enough to amplify his already skeptical nature towards a constant level of distrust toward them.

I think one of the least explored topics of WoT is the lasting effects that the exposure to Shadar Logoth's evil had on the main characters. You could use it to explain your annoyance with Mat and my utter hatred and disgust towards Egwene (thanks to her daily communes with Fain in the dungeons of Fal Dara).

Perhaps. as I said, I find it interesting that it keeps getting worse as the story advances rather than remaining on the same level or even (too much to hope for, I guess) diminishing over time. Considering that the Dagger's physical closeness was removed in tGH already!

GonzoTheGreat 09-21-2011 09:33 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Davian93 (Post 163514)
I think one of the least explored topics of WoT is the lasting effects that the exposure to Shadar Logoth's evil had on the main characters. You could use it to explain your annoyance with Mat and my utter hatred and disgust towards Egwene (thanks to her daily communes with Fain in the dungeons of Fal Dara).

In Egwene's defense: she was that way before, already. It is already apparent in Ravens.

I think that one of their problems is that paranoia is actually justified: assuming that literally everyone is out to get them is by far the sanest approach to the situation they find themselves in.

Actually, come to think of it, it is surprising that Perrin hasn't drawn a lot more AS interest.

yks 6nnetu hing 09-21-2011 09:42 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by GonzoTheGreat (Post 163516)
In Egwene's defense: she was that way before, already. It is already apparent in Ravens.

oh stuff it, both of you. Egwene is wonderful, kind, smart, honest, brave and amazing and you know it.

As for Mat... well, it's just one more aspect of moronic idiocy. c'mon, man up alrady! look at Lan - there's your non-channeler heavily abused by the DO and the One Power, mingling with Aes Sedai and holding his own, gorramit!

Davian93 09-21-2011 09:57 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by yks 6nnetu hing (Post 163517)
oh stuff it, both of you. Egwene is wonderful, kind, smart, honest, brave and amazing and you know it.

As for Mat... well, it's just one more aspect of moronic idiocy. c'mon, man up alrady! look at Lan - there's your non-channeler heavily abused by the DO and the One Power, mingling with Aes Sedai and holding his own, gorramit!

Egwene=Possibly more evil than Moridin, Demandred, Graendal and Taim combined and dumber than Elaida (if that's possible).

GonzoTheGreat 09-21-2011 10:17 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Davian93 (Post 163519)
Egwene=Possibly more evil than Moridin, Demandred, Graendal and Taim combined and dumber than Elaida (if that's possible).

Elaida does give her a very good run for her money.

As for Mat: on the plus side, there's the fact that while he dislikes the OP, he does not seem to hold it seriously against the channelers.
He could've become a Whitecloak, but he didn't.
He could've gone with the "marath'damane need to be collared" approach, but he didn't.

It's like whatshisname (former US president) and broccoli: he did not like the stuff at all, but was willing to let broccoli growers vote for him anyway. That's real nobility, that is.

the_collective 09-21-2011 12:03 PM

Mordeth's dirty taint.
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Davian93 (Post 163514)
Perhaps, and this is way out there, its just a lasting after effect of carrying the dagger for as long as he did. It wasn't enough to make him hate AS and the OP but it was enough to amplify his already skeptical nature towards a constant level of distrust toward them.

I think one of the least explored topics of WoT is the lasting effects that the exposure to Shadar Logoth's evil had on the main characters. You could use it to explain your annoyance with Mat and my utter hatred and disgust towards Egwene (thanks to her daily communes with Fain in the dungeons of Fal Dara).

I agree with all of this, most especially the bit about a lack of real exploration into the long-term effects of exposure to the taint of the Dagger/Mordeth/Mashadar/Shadar Logoth (nor is it entirely clear which of the 4 the effect emanates from in the first place). Even to understand the nature of Mordeth's (obviously very special) relationship with the Dagger or the nature of his prior imprisonment within the walls of Shadar Logoth would go a long way, I believe, toward answering these questions.

Yet, to date, most of what we have to go on came from the new guy (Sanderson) when he tiptoed around the topic of the origins of Mordeth's queerness when discussing it with Tamyrlin in one of those Terez-transcribed resources. It's not really even worth reprinting here, since the paltry information provided isn't worth the effort of looking it up. And this is not even counting the random "abilities" Fain has exhibited.

Obviously, RJ was playing his Fain cards close to the vest. I dearly hope we learn what the deal is with Fain eventually. In my opinion, there will be some good reveals re: Fain come AMoL and the Encyclopaedia WoT.

confused at birth 09-21-2011 01:37 PM

Quote:

c'mon, man up alrady! look at Lan
Lan, a man? since when? the guy is pathetic he has spent most of his life running from responsibility which is worse than Mat doing it because he is a farm boy not a king or lord.

he ignored his duty to his people until the end and now is risking the complete destruction of the few who remain. He has never really had to think for himself just did what he wanted until he got bonded then followed Moiraine around like a pet dog.

just being a good fighter doesnt make you a man. keeping the dragon alive is important but he abandoned his responsibilities to follow a stranger who just covered up a major threat to the whole world to protect Tar Valons reputation. Every time he told Rand to act like a man or to grow up i laughed.

he is a joke

the_collective 09-21-2011 03:25 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by confused at birth (Post 163532)
Lan, a man? since when? the guy is pathetic he has spent most of his life running from responsibility which is worse than Mat doing it because he is a farm boy not a king or lord.

he ignored his duty to his people until the end and now is risking the complete destruction of the few who remain. He has never really had to think for himself just did what he wanted until he got bonded then followed Moiraine around like a pet dog.

just being a good fighter doesnt make you a man. keeping the dragon alive is important but he abandoned his responsibilities to follow a stranger who just covered up a major threat to the whole world to protect Tar Valons reputation. Every time he told Rand to act like a man or to grow up i laughed.

he is a joke

Wow. Umm...

That's kind of a good point.

And that's not even counting all of his refusal to man up to a committed heterosexual relationship with a suitably available lady-friend (one that he doesn't even deserve, in my estimation; she's way too good for the likes of he). He runs from her just as readily and hastily as he does from everything else that he'd rather die than face.

Very good point indeed. What's up with some youngling rep for C@B, here? Seems to me like that list you two (ZS & UR) keep in your sigs never changes...

confused at birth 09-21-2011 03:28 PM

Ha and here i thought i was going to get banned by the first person to read this

the_collective 09-21-2011 03:45 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by confused at birth (Post 163541)
Ha and here i thought i was going to get banned by the first person to read this

To be honest, I understand your distaste for Lan much more readily than what the OPer has to say about Mat (though she has a good point, too, I suppose).

I love both of these characters. In fact, I don't think I've ever had any negative feelings toward any one character throughout, the way that a lot of you seem to do with the likes of Egwene, Faile, Fain, Bryne, etc; I love 'em all.

This does not preclude me from enjoying the realization of a character flaw being pointed out to me. Thanks for that, C@B. I'd never really thought of Lan as the emotional pussy that he is.

Sarevok 09-21-2011 03:47 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by the_collective (Post 163540)
What's up with some youngling rep for C@B, here?

I gave him some real rep for you. He really does have a point. :eek:

confused at birth 09-21-2011 03:55 PM

gave him the benefit of being a nobody hero when i started reading cant do it since i got new spring cannot stand him anymore he is a prick.

liked faile hated her now like her again but i cant do the same for Lan because we almost never get to see what he is thinking and if he has moved on from his prick stage to being a man or if he is just going along to get what he wants again.

he is dying for pride and taking his whole nation with him

yks 6nnetu hing

so you are basically doing the same thing as Egwene haters you are reading again and making your hate worse. if you hated something he did the first time you will hate it more now as you have had all of his future actions to back your opinion right or Wrong.

Great Lord of the Dark 09-21-2011 08:35 PM

Mat is typical of most farmer folk
 
Most common folk mistrust the One Power, and Mat might be the only character representing that point of view among the main characters, especially given that so many of them channel. Whether the dagger accentuated it doesn't matter, it's a very legitimate (if wrong) bias, that he keeps confirming by ignoring contradictory information. I think that makes him more realistic, as I know quite a few folk who like to keep their prejudices intact...

yks 6nnetu hing 09-22-2011 02:13 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by confused at birth (Post 163548)

yks 6nnetu hing

so you are basically doing the same thing as Egwene haters you are reading again and making your hate worse. if you hated something he did the first time you will hate it more now as you have had all of his future actions to back your opinion right or Wrong.

not entirely - I have a dislike of Mat due to his gambling habits, and that's still something I'm extremely uncomfortable with when it comes to him. Which, as I said, have consciously tried to put aside this time. To be honest, I didn't even notice the OP and crazy-hypocricy the first few times around (I suppose I just read the story and when Mat said he'd been wronged by the OP, I believed him. gullible, gullible me), but ever since EotW, the guys' treating Rand, one of his best friends - someone who's gone through thick and thin with him, as if he's going to explode right then and there. Obviously he has a point, seeing as Rand IS going crazy and most likely will destroy the world. But he's leaving his best friend out for the darkspawn to play with rather than try and help him. Willingly try and help him, that is. Just look at Perrin or Nynaeve and the way they're handling the whole Rand situation: of course they're wary of his insanity but they're trying to help as best as they can. Mat's just running away. And why? because of something that he believes is happening but isn't actually happening...


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