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  #1  
Old 12-25-2010, 06:21 PM
boyprangko boyprangko is offline
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Default Acknowledgement of Mat's Battle Prowess

When Elayne receives Mat's letter, she thinks that Mat has a "strangely good eye for tactics and warfare." I was under the impression that while Mat was earning his reputation during the fighting in Cairhien, Elayne was in Salidar. When Mat meets up with Elayne in Salidar, he leaves his entire army in Murandy.

I don't believe that there was anything during their time spent in Ebou Dar for Elayne to have come to that conclusion. Unless ordering around a group of roughly (very roughly) 15 men would give that person that impression. I doubt that Elayne would have accepted his reputation on hearsay either because of her initial opinion of Mat way back in TDR, and TSR. These two opinions would be so incongruous that no one would accept it.

Elayne doesn't believe Brigitte's comments about Mat's luck either.

Can someone explain to me why Elayne thinks Mat has a "strangely good eye for tactics and warfare?" It implies leading large-scale men.
  #2  
Old 12-25-2010, 09:04 PM
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1. He brought the Band with him to Salidar.

2. Egwene knew of his exploits in Cairhien intimately enough that Elayne should have had no problem accepting her word about it.
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  #3  
Old 12-25-2010, 10:43 PM
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The events of "Six Stories" and "Promises to Keep" may have favorably influenced Elayne's opinion of Mat's abilities more than you think, as well.

And it's somewhat odd that Elayne does not credit Birgitte's belief in Mat's luck when she thinks of it herself at least twice between TPOD and KOD, e.g. "Tracing that gold back to Arymilla or Elenia or Naean would require Mat Cauthonís luck." Though admittedly she's doubts it in KOD13, if not so strongly ... and then has it explained to her in KOD33. Oh well.
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  #4  
Old 12-26-2010, 04:41 AM
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Originally Posted by Terez View Post
2. Egwene knew of his exploits in Cairhien intimately enough that Elayne should have had no problem accepting her word about it.
Of course, Egwene herself either did not remember, or denied the validity of what she'd learned in Cairhien about Mat. We do not have evidence at all that Egwene suggests to anyone that Mat is anything other than an irresponsible boy who owes his command to his friendship with Rand.

So while Egwene might have told Elayne about it, I strongly doubt that.

As for how she figured out Mat's prowess: perhaps Elayne simply is a very good judge of character.
  #5  
Old 12-26-2010, 10:06 AM
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Elayne realized she wasn't being fair to Mat and seems to have actually changed her behavior towards him since then. Also, since she got back to Caemlyn she's had opportunities to hear from the Queen's Guard about how they got their asses handed to them when Rahvin sent them against the Band in Carhien.
  #6  
Old 12-26-2010, 11:19 AM
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Maybe Aviendgha finally remembered and told Elayne that she was there when Moiraine was talking about the Band crushing the Andoran forces just before Mat told the rest about the news of Morgase's death. Though back when they were in Ebou Dar she seeemed to have forgotten that.

Guybon came from the Aringill based garrison, so he probably knew quite a few stories about the battles between the Band and the Andoran forces back in TFOH, and he may;ve told Elayne and Birgitte about this.
  #7  
Old 12-26-2010, 02:18 PM
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Quote:
Of course, Egwene herself either did not remember, or denied the validity of what she'd learned in Cairhien about Mat. We do not have evidence at all that Egwene suggests to anyone that Mat is anything other than an irresponsible boy who owes his command to his friendship with Rand.
True and we do have evidence that Egwene is shocked by the very idea that Mat might be a good general. aCOS ch.12, Egwene's PoV:

Quote:
Mat had a reputation as a soldier! Crows swimming did not come close. She had believed he commanded only because of Rand, and that had been hard enough to swallow.
I think we can safely say that Egwene isn't the one who convinced Elayne to change her mind about Mat.
  #8  
Old 12-28-2010, 02:10 PM
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Originally Posted by GonzoTheGreat View Post
Of course, Egwene herself either did not remember, or denied the validity of what she'd learned in Cairhien about Mat. We do not have evidence at all that Egwene suggests to anyone that Mat is anything other than an irresponsible boy who owes his command to his friendship with Rand.

So while Egwene might have told Elayne about it, I strongly doubt that.

As for how she figured out Mat's prowess: perhaps Elayne simply is a very good judge of character.
Completely agree. When I read the topic of this thread, I also instantly was a little confused. While there are certainly "excuses" as to why there are no problems at all with that line, it simply doesn't mesh at all with Mat and Elayne's relationship, and what Elayne may or may not have heard.

In addition, there is that line where Elayne says Mat isn't exactly the most reliable person around. This is after she has personally seen and experienced him save her ass multiple times and in be basically awesome in general. Remember, there is a big difference between reliability and "crudeness." I believe the line about Mat's reliability was brought up in another thread, and the "excuse" that something brought up was that Elayne's opinion of Mat was swayed and influenced (must have been incredibly swayed) by Nynaeve and Egwene talking about him.

Now, if Elayne can essentially ignore her firsthand experience of Mat's insanely good reliability and disregard it, how in the bloody hell can she all of a sudden know all about the great Matrim Cauthon and how he is so great at tactics and warfare, and that the Band is an awesome military force? What did she do? Hear rumors and stories about the Band in Caemlyn and actually start believing them? We have a contradiction here folks, and its a pretty obvious one. At best, we have major consistency issues.

One thing of note: There is zero chance Egwene told Elayne anything good about Mat. It's not possible.
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  #9  
Old 12-29-2010, 03:54 AM
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Originally Posted by Toss the dice View Post
Now, if Elayne can essentially ignore her firsthand experience of Mat's insanely good reliability and disregard it, how in the bloody hell can she all of a sudden know all about the great Matrim Cauthon and how he is so great at tactics and warfare, and that the Band is an awesome military force? What did she do? Hear rumors and stories about the Band in Caemlyn and actually start believing them? We have a contradiction here folks, and its a pretty obvious one. At best, we have major consistency issues.
Well, there were a lot of rumors about the awesomeness of Matrim Cauthon. So Elayne may indeed have started putting two and two together and gotten five, which is close enough for her purposes (and perhaps better than I would have expected of her mathematical skills).

As an aside, the Shadow may be shooting itself in the foot with this "Mat is a brilliant general" rumor campaign. It will make it a lot easier for him to be accepted as commander during TG, thus saving him a lot of time when it really counts.
  #10  
Old 12-29-2010, 01:43 PM
Neilbert Neilbert is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GonzoTheGreat View Post
Well, there were a lot of rumors about the awesomeness of Matrim Cauthon. So Elayne may indeed have started putting two and two together and gotten five, which is close enough for her purposes (and perhaps better than I would have expected of her mathematical skills).
Elyane has also been establishing an Andoran spy network, and has an open ear for news about Cairhein, which is where Mat's reputation was made.
  #11  
Old 12-29-2010, 01:58 PM
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But none of the rumors are really enough to establish that Mat has a "strangely good eye": that's a personal assessment. She could easily learn that he's been phenomenally successful in battle, but that says nothing about his "eye".

I think that, beyond the events of ACOS, the only explanation is Birgitte, who spent enough time in Ebou Dar drinking with Mat to learn his story.
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  #12  
Old 12-29-2010, 03:48 PM
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Originally Posted by Neilbert View Post
Elyane has also been establishing an Andoran spy network, and has an open ear for news about Cairhein, which is where Mat's reputation was made.
Considering the fact that her spy master rather blatantly failed to spot Mat's importance when it came to passing his messages on, I am not entirely sure that he's the source of the glowing reports on his prowess.
  #13  
Old 12-29-2010, 05:25 PM
David Selig David Selig is offline
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I think it's simple as learning from the Queen Guards, a lot of which were involved in the skirmishes in Cairhien, how easily the Band beat them time and time again despite the Andoran's superior numbers. "If he's good enough to beat Andor's forces so easily, he must be a great tactician".

Guybon may well have been invovled in those battles and reported details showing Mat's tactical genius.
  #14  
Old 12-30-2010, 11:52 AM
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Default Mat's eye

Elayne spent some time on the road with Mat, then in Ebou Dar. Back then, she was viewing the events from a 'Mat is a scoundrel, nothing more' perspective, and was trying to teach him how to lead men.

She must have thought those events through again, once they were done. Might have talked with Egwene, Aviendha and Birgitte too.

Egwene already knows better, I suppose. Even in salidar, she thought the other girls might be underestimating Mat and she has met Talmanes since.

Birgitte knows everything. Aviendha, she has been a warrior.

Why underestimate those girls so much? They do have brains. They must know by now there's more to Mat, than they believed.
  #15  
Old 12-31-2010, 01:12 AM
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Also, Elayne should know by now that Mat led a small army of about three thousand (I think) out of Seanchan controlled lands losing only a few hundred men.

Elayne definately knows how efficient the Seanchan are.

And if Mat can get through them with such a small army (and at the same time, such a large group of people) when they haved tried to seal their borders....
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  #16  
Old 12-31-2010, 11:49 AM
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Also, Elayne should know by now that Mat led a small army of about three thousand (I think) out of Seanchan controlled lands losing only a few hundred men.
No... she thinks about his "eye" on the same page she receives his letter, her immediate reaction to which is this:
Quote:
Originally Posted by TOM11
Mat was in Andor, and Thom was alive! They'd escaped Ebou Dar. Had they found Olver? How had they gotten away from the Seanchan?
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Old 01-03-2011, 03:56 PM
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At least to me, the point of all this (and this is what I thought when I originally read that comment from Elayne's pov), ISN'T that there is no explanation for Elayne's thoughts on Mat. There are actually quite a few possible explanations, most of which have been mentioned in this thread.

The problem is that it simply feels off. Taking everything into account up to the point of Elayne's pov in question, there is simply no good reason why she should think what she does - in the reader's perspective. It's as if an Elayne pov was left out, one that happened off-screen, where Elayne somehow was notified of or figured out Mat's "strangely good eye at warfare and tactics." But if that did happen, it certainly did happen off-screen, which is why Elayne's sudden combination of praise and knowledge of Mat Cauthon, after essentially the entire series of the opposite from her, is strange.

Again, you can think of any sort of plausible explanation for Elayne's pov on Mat, and there are quite a few legit possiblities. But that has nothing to do with the strangeness of it. It feels off and it doesn't feel right. That pov was blessedly one of the very few parts of ToM where I read it and instantly was like, "What? Um...alrighty then."
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Old 01-04-2011, 03:50 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Toss the dice
The problem is that it simply feels off. Taking everything into account up to the point of Elayne's pov in question, there is simply no good reason why she should think what she does - in the reader's perspective.
I was convinced she would think of him like that after the events in Crown of Swords.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Toss the dice
It's as if an Elayne pov was left out, one that happened off-screen, where Elayne somehow was notified of or figured out Mat's "strangely good eye at warfare and tactics." But if that did happen, it certainly did happen off-screen, which is why Elayne's sudden combination of praise and knowledge of Mat Cauthon, after essentially the entire series of the opposite from her, is strange.
Off screen, yes, but hardly unexpected.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Crown of Swords
"You and Nynave will have to decide which of you wears this. But I want it back when we leave Ebou Dar. You understand? The moment we leave-"
Suddenly, he realised he was walking alone. Turning, he found Elayne standing stock still zwo paces back...
then the gholam scene

Quote:
Originally Posted by Elayne
Thank you, Mat. I apologize for everything I ever did or thought.
that should be the point when she reassessed him, if not sooner.

After that, it's simple a matter of putting the things of the past back together again. If she was wrong about Mat, if she underestimated, misjudged him, maybe she did so in other ways too?

Was there a reason he was a general, afterall?
Let me quote Tuon (who isn't a fool either):

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tuon
Tuon exchanged glances with Selucia. The affection in those voices was unfeigned. That was rare, and often went with a commander who had a slack hand at discipline. [...] Onle, these men looked no more ragtag than any regiment that crossed a mountain range and ridden several hundred miles.
Now Elayne did spend a lot of time trying to 'teach' Mat how to lead people. At that point, she had several reasons to dismiss the facts pointing to Mat being a great leader, a good general, someone who has a good 'eye' for things like that.

After all that happened, however, her viewpoint must have changed a lot and Elayne thought all that over again.

Doesn't all that make sense?
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Old 01-05-2011, 04:55 AM
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Originally Posted by csarmi View Post
Doesn't all that make sense?
Yes, it does make sense.
But it's Elayne we are dealing with, so what has sense to do with anything?
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Old 01-05-2011, 02:48 PM
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I was convinced she would think of him like that after the events in Crown of Swords.
This issue is half the reason the Elayne pov in ToM feels off. She SHOULD have known about Mat way sooner, but either didn't, or simply didn't think things through and give him his due. Now, ALL OF A SUDDEN, she does...from the reader's perspective out of the blue. SHOULD she know about Mat's "strangely good eye" at the time of her pov in Tom? Certainly. But since she should have known about him much sooner this whole time, it feels off when she suddenly thinks the world of his capabilities as a general when we don't get an on-screen "revelation." Make sense?
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