The Sword and Laser discussion

*spoliers* for those who finished Towers of MIdnight

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message 1: by Aeryn98 (new)

Aeryn98 | 175 comments Okay, just finished the book this morning and something is needling me.

My favorite character has always been Mat. I've been looking forward to the part where he saves Moiraine for what seems like forever. And it was a really exciting part. However, it was ruined for me by what seems the blaring hypocrisy that has overcome Mat's character. I just don't get it. He loves Tuon (UGH) and knows she's a noble in Seanchan (and now of course Empress). The thought of her conquering part of his land actually makes him smile. Yet he actively opposes giving the dragons he built to the Seanchan, wants to keep them out of their hands. Aludra is with him and all she wants is revenge against the Seanchan. He knows Tuon can channel, and knows what she does to other women who can. He doesn't seem to care. But he will go out of his way to help the Aes Sedai even though he doesn't like them.
I guess I'm confused about what's happened to his character. It doesn't fit.
The whole time he was in the Tower of Ghenjei I kept thinking that he'd get Moiraine out and then offer her up as some weird wedding gift to Tuon.

Does anyone else see the inconsistencies?

message 2: by Kate (new)

Kate O'Hanlon (kateohanlon) | 778 comments I think Mat's deal is that he hates institutions but he only judges people as individuals. So yes, he does hate nobles and the Seanchan but he loves Tuon as herself, the part of her that is more than just the ruler of these terrible people who are hell bent on conquering his homeland. I don't remember the part about him being proud of her extending her Seanchan rule but I would imagine it's pride in the faculties of her character that allow her to achieve this rather than pride in the actual outcome. He's compartmentalised his love for her and his opposition to her people.

Similarly he hates Aes Sedai but he feels that he has to go rescue Moiraine because he owes her and he cares about her. And he'd never give Moiraine up to the Seanchan, no way. Basically Mat's gotten away with keeping his personal feelings separate from his politics so far but this can't possibly last, eventually his loyalty to Rand and Randland is going to come into conflict with his love for Tuon and I'm sure that Matt's going to do the right thing, though I can't imagine yet what it'll be. (Actually right as I typed that I remembered what Mat said to Rand in TGH right after they travelled though the Portal Stones and saw all those alternative lives, Mat, clearly having seen something that disturbs him, tells Rand that he'd never betray him, so it's possible that my faith in Mat is misplaced and he's actually being set up as a Judas figure... damn).

message 3: by Aeryn98 (last edited Nov 25, 2010 07:42AM) (new)

Aeryn98 | 175 comments Now I have to go back and find that part in TGH. I can see him betraying Rand if it is for Tuon's sake. But that was when he was infected by the knife so maybe the evil that he was dealing with skewed the vision he had at the portal stones.

Not being able to differentiate between Tuon and the people attacking his homeland makes sense. But it is disappointing since I always thought his character was supposed to be more savvy than that disjointed way of thinking. Half-blind even before he lost the eye.

Then there was the fool of mourning line on the last page of the book, in the Shadow prophesy. I'd say it was Mat mourning Tuon, but I know there is supposed to be a sequel with Mat and Tuon reclaiming Seanchan.

I'm just so glad the end is in sight.

**Just read the TGH part again. I believe Mat was talking about the parallel realities that they were shown, not about the future. So, we're safe from a willing betrayal anyway**

message 4: by Skip (new)

Skip | 517 comments The one-eyed Fool is Mat, the Halls of Mourning are yet unknown. The Lord of the Evening is a counter reference to LTT's title "The Lord of the Morning" and Rand's Aiel name "He who comes with the Dawn" and most likely means the DO.

Mat pretty clearly laid out his feeling about Tuon and the Seanchan when he let her go with Karede. He said he loved her but her empire is his enemy. Tuon clearly accepts this state of things and would not force him to join her if she could.

Matt is being invested with many of the identifiers of the Norse god Odin - the one-eyed god that was hung from the tree of life for knowledge. Matt's two ravens on his ashandarei are like Odin's two ravens, Memory and Thought. I wouldn't completely count out the possibility of Mat betraying Rand, just because he didn't do it already, but I don't think so. Most likely he and Perrin will serve as the lynch-pin on any deal done between the Seanchan and the Rand-landers.

message 5: by Derek (new)

Derek Knox (snokat) | 274 comments Everyone keeps going on about Matt betraying Rand, those were only possible futures people, not what is coming. Remember Rand was shown all the futures in which he either rejected being the Dragon or never learned of it. The traveling stone allow a person to move through both time and space, including possible times. The many symbols allow for controlled directions. I suspect that the Symbol Rand accidentally focused on showed futures in which wrong decisions were made, showing the consequences. I think we have moved beyond the point where those choices have been made, so those futures are no longer viable.

message 6: by Kate (new)

Kate O'Hanlon (kateohanlon) | 778 comments The law of conservation of detail would suggest that Jordan soul wouldn't mention Mat betraying Rand if it was not going to be important to the story (there again, whether Jordan had any concept of ' conservation of detail is an open question). Doesn't mean that Mat will betray Rand, but I do expect betrayal to come up between them.

message 7: by Derek (new)

Derek Knox (snokat) | 274 comments Don't know, main point of that sequence seemed to be showing Rand what could happen if he refuse to take up the mantle of the Dragon. Remember Matt was still under the influence of the dagger, which would've affected the futures he saw. Once he was released from that curse it would've negated those futures.

message 8: by Kate (new)

Kate O'Hanlon (kateohanlon) | 778 comments I don't see how possession of the dagger necessarily has any impact on the possible lives seen in the stones.

message 9: by Derek (new)

Derek Knox (snokat) | 274 comments Guess we'll have wait and see.

message 10: by Derek (new)

Derek Knox (snokat) | 274 comments Ok, lets see if I have this right:
Rand = Arthur
Matt = Odin
Perrin = ?Who - Kevin Costner? (Dances with Wolves) :-D

message 11: by Kate (last edited Dec 01, 2010 11:49AM) (new)

Kate O'Hanlon (kateohanlon) | 778 comments It's not that simple, the characters have multiple historical and mythological parallels, that what makes Jordan so awesome (if you're a litcrit geek)

The Thirteenth Depository has some great analysis of character parallels for Perrin, Mat, and Rand

message 12: by Derek (last edited Dec 01, 2010 12:59PM) (new)

Derek Knox (snokat) | 274 comments Interesting info there, never been to that site before. It's always interesting to see how much scholarship some people invest in a story like this. Always makes me wonder how close their ideas are to what the author was thinking when creating the story. Is it something he set out in the beginning, an unconscious melding of ideas picked up over the years, or are these tropes and memes so deeply ingrained in our collective consciousness that they are nearly automatic? Has every story been told, and all we have are variations?
I read most stories for entertainment, rarely considering how they compare to myth and legend. Maybe that marks me as a shallow thinker, but I do have to wonder if the people writing these essays project more meaning into something than the author meant.
Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar, after all. ;-)

message 13: by Kate (new)

Kate O'Hanlon (kateohanlon) | 778 comments Well Jordan is fairly explicit about the fact that he's reworking existing myths and legends in the Wheel of Time, so some of the parallels are definitely intentional, and it's pretty clear that he was phenomenally well read. As to whether a particular thing was an actual source and what is a mere coincidence, I guess we'll never know, beyond the things that are incredibly obvious, like King Arthur, Odin, etc.

message 14: by Derek (new)

Derek Knox (snokat) | 274 comments Some of the source they use are fairly widespread and obscure. Don't know if anyone is THAT wide-read. Though I guess you wouldn't need to be, human fears and dreams are fairly universal, as are gods and theor realms. Heroes and their stories explore the same ideas.

message 15: by Kate (new)

Kate O'Hanlon (kateohanlon) | 778 comments Thirteenth Depository has a collected Jordan's on the record comments about his sources, they're fairly darn broad

message 16: by Michael (last edited Dec 02, 2010 11:14AM) (new)

Michael (Archer898) | 3 comments Mat doesn't hate Aes Sedai, he simply dislikes how they go about things. He is has and apparently always will be a sucker for a woman in peril. The power frightens him, which leads to his uncomfortableness with those who channel. But he is loyal, to a fault at times. But the biggest thing it seems you get caught up on is this: Mat is a classic complainer. He says a whole lot of stuff that you can't take seriously. This is part of his personality. Jordan infused every single character that merits more than 10 sentences with a very detailed personality. It is part of what made his middle novels drag on so much, the exploration of this. Mat may bitch and moan, but he does it anyway. And that can make him look a bit hypocritical. Probably my favorite part of ToM was Mat's explanation to Setalle, about the boots. He hates having as many pairs as he has, but since he has them......
As far as Tuon, I think Kate had a good point. And to add, remember as reluctantly as it is, Mat can't help but be impressed by a good move when it comes to battle.

message 17: by Trent (new)

Trent (ezelek) Snokat wrote: "Ok, lets see if I have this right:
Rand = Arthur
Matt = Odin
Perrin = ?Who - Kevin Costner? (Dances with Wolves) :-D"

Rand = Tyr
Perrin = Thor

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