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Old 09-21-2011, 06:15 AM
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Default 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:
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.
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