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Old 12-15-2011, 07:50 PM
leylaunknown leylaunknown is offline
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Wink Mat's got some justifying factors...

Originally Posted by yks 6nnetu hing View Post
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:

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.
Hey, this is my first post here, so be easy on me. I have been a loooongtime fan of the WoT (started reading when I was 11, am now 26).

Your comments on Mat make sense, but I think you can boil down his attitude towards channeling to one simple axiom: whenever he gets near channeling, something BAD tends to happen! He gets into the situation with the dagger because he follows Moiraine, a channeler (let's cut him some slack that he doesn't know she's saving his life, but may be using him in some White Tower plot). Also, he's been influenced by his parents, as we all are -- specifically his mother. This is a matriarchal society, so that means it's a greater impact than, say, his father having a huge fear and dislike of channelers/TV.

I think he acknowledges the fact that the AS saved his life... but right when he wakes up, he realizes that there are thousands of holes in his memory, something very strange is happening to him (speaking in the Old Tongue, his luck) and the moment he eats his first meal, Lanfear bursts in on him and tries to use the Power on him in some malicious way -- which he correctly deduces. Then, Siuan and Leane immediately follow her, and Siuan bullies him into taking responsibility for being bound to the Horn when TG arrives. That's pretty heavy stuff!

What you say about the events in the FoH reinforces my main point: whenever channellers are near, something BAD is likely to happen. The Darkhounds are products of the Power, and after both him and Rand. It's great that Rand balefires the DH, but after Moiraine Heals him, she immediately tries to steal away his ter'angreal by attempting to wheedle permission out of Rand -- even though she likely wouldn't be able to study it well. I say this because even Elayne was having trouble studying/replicating it. Then Rahvin kills him (with the Power), and he wakes up to a crowd of people wondering at how he's alive, which freaks him out even more.

And why should he suddenly trust Moiraine when she acts as meek as a kitten? He correctly infers that she's playing a new game now -- which she is. It's funny, but his "paranoia" is never off when it comes to AS - he knows that they are expert manipulators and to assume that one will never stop scheming isn't a bad assumption to make.

I, too, was initially disappointed at Mat's reaction to channelling, but I put myself in the average person's shoes: think of yourself, in that world. A man channelling is considered just as scary as the DO, and in fact the two are always intimately tied together. It's a known fact that male channelers go mad, and when these men go mad isn't even known - it can happen very suddenly, or take years. I don't agree with an above poster who says that the dagger was influencing his reaction to Rand's channeling, for this reason:

Sometimes I think that, from a critical point of view, RJ drew the line between light/dark too strongly. It's like, you're either totally heroic in your reaction to Rand's ability to channel (like Perrin) or you're full of hatred and fear. (If you've read George RR Martin's books, the difference is so marked that when you go back to reading WoT, the characters seem almost like demigods in their deeds and emotions.) But in Mat, we finally have a somewhat grey reaction - fear, disappointment, but also hope. Note that when Rand was taken to a Mirror World, Mat was the most personally upset - he thought that his friend had abandoned them, maybe because of what he said about running to the ends of the earth. He feels guilty, and when he finally meets up with Rand in Cairhien, he says "I knew you wouldn't just leave me!" (paraphrasing). Also, Nynaeve, who is maybe his staunchest supporter in not being afraid of Rand's channelling, reflects to herself that she would never fully be able to become used to a man channelling, even Rand (this is mentioned in a few of the books).

As for Mat having empathy towards Rand b/c of his experience w/the dagger, he prob considers it 2 totally separate things (which it totally is, in fact, altho a different kind of evil). That is, IF he reflects on it much at all, b/c first, he's known to play the Fool character at times, and second, he's not the type to look back much on nasty past experiences like that. He likes to ignore or deny.

Tylin's death WAS caused by the OP, altho indirectly - it was caused by a channeller creating a gholam.

Whew, I know this is getting long, but I wanted to address every point, and here's one more - I think Mat is more distrustful/fearful of CHANNELERS of the OP, than the OP itself, if that makes any sense. That is, he knows all AS to be manipulative as hell, always pushing their own agenda, always wanting to use him in some scheme, and no matter what he does, he keeps collecting females who can channel around him - including his wife. It's like, imagine your biggest pet peeve is someone who constantly interrupts you. Then, over the next two or three years, ALL the people you come to be friends with have the habit of interrupting you all the time

Anyway, I love Mat as a character because he's realistic (somewhat grey), funny, foolish, savvy, loving, and courageous all at once. When I read his point of view, it almost feels like coming home...hard to explain.

Mat himself said that he has always been lucky, and ever since leaving the TR he became luckier. I saw that you had a problem with his gambling -- is that a personal factor for you? Like are you a person who thinks it's a sin? I mean, I personally think gambling is a total waste of money, but if anyone was born to gamble, it was Mat!

P.S. What did you mean about his inability to realize that the OP has nothing to do with Snakes and Foxes?

Last edited by leylaunknown; 12-15-2011 at 08:03 PM.
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