Sun
Sep 2 2012 4:00pm

A Memory of Light: Chapter 11 (Excerpt)

A Memory of Light by Robert Jordan and Brandon Sanderson: Chapter 11 (Excerpt)Enjoy this excerpt from Chapter 11 of A Memory of Light, by Robert Jordan and Brandon Sanderson. The final volume in the epic Wheel of Time fantasy series will be released on January 8, 2013.

In this chapter from the highly anticipated conclusion, Mat Cauthon returns to some old stomping grounds.

You can stay up to date on all A Memory of Light news, excerpts, and sweepstakes in Tor.com's Memory of Light index.

 

Mat had not remembered so many Tinkers around Ebou Dar. Brilliantly colored wagons grew like vibrant mushrooms on an otherwise dun field. There were enough of them to make a bloody city. A city of Tinkers? That would be like...like a city of Aiel. It was just wrong.

Mat trotted Pips along the roadway. Of course, there was an Aiel city. Maybe there would be a Tinker city someday, too. They would buy up all of the colored dye, and everyone else in the world would have to wear brown. There would be no fighting in the city, so it would be downright boring, but there also would not be a single bloody pot with a hole in the bottom for thirty leagues!

Mat smiled, patting Pips. He had covered over his ashandarei as best he could to make it look like a walking pole strapped to the side of the horse. His hat lay inside the pack he had hung from the saddlebags, along with all of his nice coats. He had ripped the lace off the one he wore. It was a shame, but he did not want to be recognized.

He wore a crude bandage wrapped around the side of his head, covering his missing eye. As he approached the Dal Eira gate, he fell into line behind the others awaiting permission to enter. He should look just like another wounded sell-sword riding into the city, seeking refuge or perhaps work.

He made certain to slump in the saddle. Keep your head down: good advice on the battlefield and when entering a city where people knew you. He could not be Matrim Cauthon here. Matrim Cauthon had left the queen of this city tied up to be murdered. Many would suspect him of the murder. Light, he would have suspected himself. Beslan would hate him now, and there was no telling how Tuon would feel about him, now that they had had some time apart.

Yes, best to keep his head down and stay quiet. He would feel the place out. If, that was, he ever reached the front of this bloody line. Who ever heard of a line to enter a city?

Eventually, he reached the gate. The bored soldier there had a face like an old shovel—it was half-covered in dirt and would be better off locked in a shed somewhere. He looked Mat up and down.

“You have sworn the oaths, traveler?” the guard asked in a lazy Seanchan drawl. On the other side of the gate, a different soldier waved over the next person in line.

“Yes, I have indeed,” Mat said. “The oaths to the great Seanchan Empire, and the Empress herself, may she live forever. I’m just a poor, traveling sell-sword, once attendant to House Haak, a noble family in Murandy. I lost my eye to some bandits in the Tween Forest two years back while protecting a young child I discovered in the woods. I raised her as my own, but—”

The soldier waved him on. The fellow did not look as if he had been listening. Mat considered staying put out of principle. Why would the soldiers force people to wait in such a long line and give them time to think of a cover story, only to not hear it out? That could offend a man. Not Matrim Cauthon, who was always lighthearted and never offended. But someone else, surely.

He rode on, containing his annoyance. Now, he just needed to make his way to the right tavern. Pity Setalle's place was not an option any longer. That had—

Mat stiffened in the saddle, though Pips continued his leisurely pace forward. Mat had just taken a moment to look at the other guard at the gate. It was Petra, the strongman from Valan Luca’s menagerie!

Mat looked the other way and slumped again in his saddle, then shot another glance over his shoulder. That was Petra, all right. There was no mistaking those log arms and that tree-stump neck. Petra was not a tall man, but he was so wide, an entire army could have taken shade in his shadow. What was he doing back in Ebou Dar? Why was he wearing a Seanchan uniform? Mat almost went over to talk to him, as they had always been amiable, but that Seanchan uniform made him reconsider.

Well, at least his luck was with him. If he had been sent to Petra instead of the guard he had ended up talking to, he would have been recognized for sure. Mat breathed out, then climbed down to lead Pips. The city was crowded, and he did not want the horse pushing someone over. Besides, Pips was laden down enough to look like a packhorse—if the looker knew nothing of horses—and walking might make Mat less memorable.

Perhaps he should have started his search for a tavern in the Rahad. Rumors were always easy to find in the Rahad, as was a game of dice. It was also the easiest place to find a knife in your gut, and that was saying something in Ebou Dar. In the Rahad people were as likely to take out their knives and begin killing as they were to say hello in the morning.

He did not go into the Rahad. The place looked different, now. There were soldiers camped outside it. Generations of successive rulers in Ebou Dar had allowed the Rahad to fester unchecked, but the Seanchan were not so inclined.

Mat wished them luck. The Rahad had fought off every invasion so far. Light. Rand should have just hidden there, instead of going up to fight the Last Battle. The Trollocs and Darkfriends would have come for him, and the Rahad would have left them all unconscious in an alleyway, their pockets turned inside out and their shoes sold for soup money.

Mat shouldered his way over a crowded canal bridge, keeping a close eye on his saddlebags, but so far, not a single cutpurse had tried for them. With a Seanchan patrol on every other corner, he could see why. As he passed a man yelling out the day’s news, with hints that he had good gossip for a little coin, Mat found himself smiling. He was surprised at how familiar, even comfortable, this city felt. He had liked it here. Though he could vaguely remember grumbling about wanting to be away—probably just after the wall fell on him, as Matrim Cauthon was not often one for grumbling—he now realized that his time in Ebou Dar had been among the best of his life. Plenty of friends for card playing and dice games to be had in the Rahad.

Tylin. Bloody ashes, but that had been a fun game. She had had the better of him time and again. Light send him plenty of women who could do that, though not in rapid succession, and always when he knew how to find the back door. Tuon was one. Come to think of it, he would probably never need another. She was enough of a handful for any man. Mat smiled, patting Pips on the neck. The horse blew down Mat’s neck in return.

Strangely, this place felt more like home to him than the Two Rivers did. Yes, the Ebou Dari were prickly, but all peoples had their quirks. In fact, as Mat thought about it, he had never met a people who were not prickly about one thing or another. The Borderlanders were baffling, and so were the Aiel—that went without saying. The Cairhienin and their strange games, the Tairens and their ridiculous hierarchies, the Seanchan and their...Seanchan-ness.

That was the truth of it. Everyone outside the Two Rivers, and to a lesser extent Andor, was bloody insane. A man just had to be ready for that.

He strolled along, careful to be polite, lest he find a knife in his gut. The air smelled of a hundred sweetmeats, the chattering crowd a low roar in his ears. The Ebou Dari still wore their colorful outfits—maybe that was why the Tinkers had come here, drawn to the bright colors like soldiers drawn to dinner—anyway, the Ebou Dari women wore dresses with tight laced tops that showed plenty of bosom, not that Mat looked. Their skirts had colorful petticoats underneath and they pinned up the side or front to show them off. That never had made sense to him. Why put the colorful parts underneath? And if you did, why take such pains to cover them over, then go around with the outside pinned up?

The men wore long vests that were equally colorful, perhaps to hide the bloodstains when they were stabbed. No point in throwing away a good vest just because the fellow wearing it was murdered for inquiring after the weather. Though...as Mat walked along, he found fewer duels than he had expected. They never had been as common in this part of the city as in the Rahad, but some days, he had hardly been able to take two steps without passing a pair of men with knives out. This day, he saw not a single one.

Some of the Ebou Dari—you could often tell them by their olive skin—were parading around in Seanchan dress. Everyone was very polite. As polite as a six-year-old boy who had just heard that you had a fresh apple pie back in the kitchen.

The city was the same, but different. The feel was off a shade or two. And it was not just that there were no Sea Folk ships in the harbor any longer. It was the Seanchan, obviously. They’d made rules since he’d left. What kind?

Mat took Pips to a stable that seemed reputable enough. A quick glance at their stock told him that; they were caring well for the animals, and many were very fine. It was best to trust a stable with fine horses, though it cost you a little more.

He left Pips, took his bundle, and used the still-wrapped ashandarei as a walking staff. Choosing the right tavern was as tough as choosing a good wine. You wanted one that was old, but not broken down. Clean, but not too clean—a spotless tavern was one that never saw any real use. Mat could not stand the types of places where people sat around quietly and drank tea, coming there primarily to be seen.

No, a good tavern was worn and used, like good boots. It was also sturdy, again like good boots. So long as the ale did not taste like good boots, you would have a winner. The best places for information were over in the Rahad, but his clothing was too nice to visit, and he did not want to run into whatever the Seanchan were doing there.

He stuck his head into an inn named The Winter Blossom, and immediately turned around and stalked away. Deathwatch Guards in uniform. He did not want to take any slight chance of running into Furyk Karede. The next inn was too well lit, and the next too dark. After about an hour of hunting—and not a duel to be seen—he began to despair of ever finding the right place. Then he heard dice tumbling in a cup.

At first, he jumped, thinking that it was those blasted dice in his head. Fortunately, it was just ordinary dice. Blessed, wonderful dice. The sound was gone in a moment, carried on the wind through the throng of people in the streets. Hand on his coin purse, pack over his shoulder, he pushed through the crowd, muttering a few apologies. In a nearby alleyway, he saw a sign hanging from a wall.

He stepped up to it, reading the words “The Yearly Brawl” in copper on its face. It had a picture of clapping people, and the sounds of dice mixed with the smells of wine and ale. Mat stepped inside. A round-faced Seanchan stood just inside the door, leaning casually against the wall, a sword on his belt. He gave Mat a distrustful stare. Well, Mat had never met a shoulderthumper who did not give that look to every man who entered. Mat reached up to tip his hat to the man, but of course he was not wearing it. Bloody ashes. He felt naked without it, sometimes.

“Jame!” a woman called from beside the bar. “You aren’t glaring at customers again, are you?”

“Only the ones that deserve it, Kathana,” the man called back with a Seanchan slur. “I’m sure this one does.”

“I’m just a humble traveler,” Mat said, “looking for some dicing and some wine. Nothing more. Certainly not trouble.”

“And that’s why you’re carrying a polearm?” Jame asked. “Wrapped up like that?”

“Oh, stop it,” the woman, Kathana, said. She had crossed the common room and took Mat by the sleeve of his coat, dragging him toward the bar. She was a short thing, dark-haired and fair-skinned. She was not that much older than he was, but she had an unmistakable motherly air. “Don’t mind him. Just don’t make trouble, and he won’t be forced to stab you, kill you, or anything in between.”

She plunked Mat down on a bar stool and started busying herself behind the bar. The common room was dim, but in a friendly way. People diced at one side, the good kind of dicing. The kind that had people laughing or clapping their friends on the back at a good-natured loss. No haunted eyes of men gambling their last coin, here.

“You need food,” Kathana declared. “You have the look of a man who hasn’t eaten anything hearty in a week. How’d you lose that eye?”

“I was a lord’s guard in Murandy,” Mat said. “Lost it in an ambush.”

“That’s a great lie,” Kathana said, slapping a plate down in front of him, full of slices of pork and gravy. “Better than most. You said it really straight, too. I almost believe you. Jame, you want food?”

“I have to guard the door!” he called back.

“Light, man. You expect someone to walk off with it? Get over here.”

Jame grumbled but made his way over to the bar beside Mat, settling down on a stool. Kathana set a mug of ale down, and he took it up to his lips, staring straight ahead. “I’m watching you,” he muttered to Mat.

Mat was not certain this was the right inn for him, but he also was not certain he would be able to escape with his head unless he ate the woman’s food as instructed. He took a taste; it was pretty good. She had moved over and was wagging a finger while lecturing a man at one of the tables. She seemed the type who would lecture a tree for growing in the wrong spot.

This woman, Mat thought, must never be allowed to enter the same room as Nynaeve. At least not when I’m within shouting distance.

Kathana came bustling back. She wore a marriage knife at her neck, though Mat did not stare for more than a few seconds on account of him being a married man. She had her skirt pinned up on the side after the fashion of Ebou Dari commoners. As she came back to the bar and readied a plate of food for Jame, Mat noticed him watching her fondly, and made a guess. “You two been married long?” Mat asked.

Jame eyed him. “No,” he finally said. “Haven’t been on this side of the ocean for long.”

“I suppose that would make sense,” Mat said, taking a drink of the ale she set before him. It was not bad, considering how awful most things tasted these days. This was only a little awful.

Kathana walked over to the dicing men and demanded they eat more food, as they were looking pale. It was a wonder this Jame fellow did not weigh as much as two horses. She did talk some, though, so perhaps he could wiggle the information he needed out of her.

“There don’t seem to be as many duels as there used to be,” Mat said to her as she passed.

“That’s because of a Seanchan rule,” Kathana said, “from the new Empress, may she live forever. She didn’t forbid duels entirely, and a bloody good thing she didn’t. The Ebou Dari won’t riot at something as unimportant as being conquered, but take away our duels...then you’ll see something. Anyway, duels now have to be witnessed by an official of the government. You can’t duel without answering a hundred different questions and paying a fee. It’s drained the whole life out of it all.”

“It has saved lives,” Jame said. “Men can still die by each other’s knives if they are determined. They simply have to give themselves time to cool down and think.”

“Duels aren’t about thinking,” Kathana said. “But I suppose it does mean that I don’t have to worry about your pretty face being cut up on the street.”

Jame snorted, resting his hand on his sword. The hilt, Mat noticed for the first time, was marked with herons—though he could not see if the blade was or not. Before Mat could ask another question, Kathana marched away and began squawking at some men who had spilled ale on their table. She did not seem the type to stand in one place for very long.

“How’s the weather, to the north?” Jame asked, eyes still straight ahead.

“Dreary,” Mat replied, honestly. “As everywhere.”

“Men say it’s the Last Battle,” Jame said.

“It is.”

Jame grunted. “If it is, it would be a bad time for interfering with politics, wouldn’t you think?”

“Bloody right it would be,” Mat said. “People need to stop playing games and have a look at the sky.”

Jame eyed him. “That’s the truth. You should listen to what you are saying.”

Light, Mat thought. He must think I’m a spy of some sort. “It’s not my choice,” Mat said. “Sometimes, people will only listen to what they want to hear.” He took another bite of his meat, which tasted as good as could be expected. Eating a meal these days was like going to a dance where there were only ugly girls. This, however, was among the better of the bad that he had had the misfortune of eating, lately.

“A wise man might just learn the truth,” Jame said.

“You have to find the truth first,” Mat said. “It’s harder than most men think.”

From behind, Kathana snorted, bustling past. “The ‘truth’ is something men debate in bars when they’re too drunk to remember their names. That means it’s not in good company. I wouldn’t put too much stock in it, traveler.”

“The name’s Mandevwin,” Mat said.

“I’m sure it is,” Kathana said. She looked him over then. “Has anyone ever told you that you should wear a hat? It would fit the missing eye quite well.”

“Is that so,” Mat said dryly. “You give fashion advice as well as force-feeding men?”

She swatted him on the back of the head with her cleaning rag. “Eat your food.”

“Look, friend,” Jame said, turning toward him. “I know what you are and why you are here. The fake eye bandage is not fooling me. You have throwing knives tucked into your sleeves and six more on your belt that I can count. I’ve never met a man with one eye who could throw worth a dried bean. She’s not as easy a target as you foreigners think. You’ll never make it into the palace, let alone through her bodyguards. Go find some honest work instead.”

Mat gaped at the man. He thought Mat was an assassin? Mat reached up and took off the bandage, exposing the hole where his eye had been.

Jame started at that.

“There are assassins,” Mat said calmly, “after Tuon?”

“Don’t use her name like that,” Kathana said, beginning to snap her cleaning rag at him again.

Mat reached up beside his head without looking, catching the tip of the rag. He held Jame’s eyes with his single one, not flinching.

“There are assassins,” Mat repeated calmly, “after Tuon?”

Jame nodded. “Mostly foreigners who don’t know the right way of things. Several have moved through the inn. Only one admitted the reason he was here. I saw that his blood fed the dusty earth of the dueling grounds.”

“Then I count you a friend,” Mat said, standing. He reached into his bundle and took out his hat and put it upon his head. “Who is behind it? Who has brought them in, put the bounty on her head?”

Nearby, Kathana inspected his hat and nodded in satisfaction. Then she hesitated and squinted at his face.

“This isn’t what you think,” Jame said. “He isn’t hiring the best assassins. They’re foreigners, so they aren’t meant to succeed.”

“I don’t care how bloody likely their chances are,” Mat said. “Who is hiring them?”

“He’s too important for you to—”

Who?” Mat said softly.

“General Lunal Galgan,” Jame said. “Head of the Seanchan armies. I can’t make you out, friend. Are you an assassin, or are you here hunting assassins?”

“I’m no bloody assassin,” Mat said, pulling the brim of his hat down and picking up his bundle. “I never kill a man unless he demands it—demands it with screams and thunder so loudly, I figure it would be impolite not to agree to the request. If I stab you, friend, you’ll know that it is coming, and you will know why. I promise you that.”

“Jame,” Kathana hissed. “It’s him.”

“What now?” Jame asked as Mat brushed past, raising his covered ashandarei to his shoulder.

“The one the guards have been looking for!” Kathana said. She looked to Mat. “Light! Every soldier in Ebou Dar has been told to watch for your face. How did you make it through the city gates?”

“By luck,” Mat said, then stepped out into the alleyway.

 

A Memory of Light copyright © 2012 The Bandersnatch Group, Inc.

This story is part of A Memory of Light: ‹ previous | index | next ›
153 comments
Håkan Eriksson
1. h_a_eriksson
Fantastic read - can't wait to get my hands on the whole book :)
Mike Fulton
2. Mike Fulton
If it's not available for my Kindle, it's not "Released" on January 8, 2013.
Mike Fulton
3. T-Rail
Just another tidbit to feed my addiction till it comes out! I can not wait!!
Mike Fulton
4. Bob K
Hi Jenn & Jimmy!
Jeremy Vanneman
5. Jeribai
I love it! It's got that perfect mixture of feeling brand new, and like coming home all at the same time. I can't wait to finally be able to read the entire story.
Mike Fulton
6. Jayne Gray
I can't wait! I've been reading these books for eons. I can't believe the story is coming to a close. Glad you chose a Mat chapter to post. He's always been my favorite character. Poor sod just wants to gamble and chase pretty girls around. Why can't the end of the world just leave him alone? :)
Sanctume Spiritstone
7. Sanctume
Wait, what, when did Mat lose his eye? I need a major re-read!
Sanctume Spiritstone
8. Sanctume
doh- bol post
Mike Fulton
9. Raryn
Mat gave up half the light of the world to save the world in ToM

(The eye was the price to rescue Moiraine)
Mike Fulton
10. SerDragonReborn
Check out this awesome AMoL fan trailer!
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3Gwter_0-wM
Lee VanDyke
11. Cloric
Can't wait... need book now...
*sigh*
Nadine L.
12. travyl
Tor, thanks for the tidbit -
... it raises sooo many questions.
Mike Fulton
13. Erwin
Waaaah, Its so good, cant wait till the whole book comes out, only 4 months to go... :(
Mike Fulton
14. Jayne T.
:::sigh:::

January seems forever away.
Tricia Irish
15. Tektonica
So nice to see Mat again! And to see he's come to see Tuon! The plot thickens! OMG. I can't waaaaaaaaaait!!

Thank you Tor, you tease.
Mike Fulton
16. Berimon
Mat: “I never kill a man unless he demands it—demands it with screams and thunder so loudly, I figure it would be impolite not to agree to the request. If I stab you, friend, you’ll know that it is coming, and you will know why. I promise you that.”

Mal: "You don't know me, son, so let me explain this to you once: If I ever kill you, you'll be awake. You'll be facing me, and you'll be armed."

I'm wondering if that's an intentional homage, or just coincidence. Probably coincidence.
Mike Fulton
17. Brainstrain91
@Berimon - it sounded very intentional to me. I didn't like it, honestly. Brandon has always struggled with Mat, so I guess he's just piling in all the B.A.ness he knows of to try and at least keep the character cool, since he can't keep him consistent. And since when does Mat refer to himself in the third person? That was just freaking weird. The presentation of Ebou Dar culture was really strange as well. They're not all a bunch of murderers, bloody hell.
Simon Southey-Davis
18. Glyph
Ohhh, now I'm impatient.

Defintely hamming up the 'Mat is an unreliable narrator' shtick, but hey. Also, hah: love that bit at the end of the first paragraph. ;-)
Mike Fulton
19. Tarcalion
I totally thought of Mal Reynolds during that part too. Also Szeth in white as an assassin. I guess Brandon doesn't care for sneaky little murderers :-)
Ali Galip Emecan
20. Gryphus
I don't know how to wait, re-reading the series now, but January seems so far away...
Mike Fulton
21. MichaelJ
Nooo I knew I shouldn't have read this! When I got near the end of the page I started cursing and wishing I had the book now!
Mike Fulton
22. David Rios
Shouldn't Mat see a picture of Rand in his head when he thinks of him? Other than that, LOVE it!
T C
23. Freelancer
Good old arrogant Mat. Assumes nobody around him is observant. Just when he figures he's fully prepared and hidden, he's found out.

Nice morsel, Brandon and Tor.
Brigitte Reed
24. brigittereed
Am I the only one who is kind of annoyed by this? This chapter is WAY too jumpy for my tastes. Mat sees Petra, then he's sent to another guard, then he starts talking like he is already at the Rahad, but decides not to go in; where is the FLOW? Where is the seamless transition?

Also: "Bloody ashes." What the heck is that? I am currently on LoC in my re-read and to date that phrase has never been used in the series. This appears to be something Brandon came up with and it just sounds . . . wrong. I hope there is still time to change it to the proper "blood and ashes" or "blood and bloody ashes".

Normally I can kind of ignore some of the things in tGS, ToM, and aMoL that annoy me, but this was just painful. I'm sorry Brandon. Hopefully there is still time to change it.
Brigitte Reed
25. brigittereed
@Brainstrain91: I completely agree. Brandon has his own character named Kelsier and after reading this write-up by Brandon: http://sf-fantasy.suvudu.com/2012/03/cage-match-2012-round-4-moiraine-damodred-versus-kelsier.html

I realized what has happened to Mat. There are times in the series where Kelsier takes posession of Mat and starts talking through his mouth. I agree with you in that it seems that Brandon has always struggled to get Mat's flippant attitude towards everyone and everything right. He doesn't seem to know how much is too much flippantry and so he puts as much as he can fit into his chapters and it makes Mat appear to be childish and petulant, when he isn't. It's a shame because Mat is my favorite of the three Ta'veren and so it is downright painful to read sometimes.

If this is what the book it going to be like, I may have to skip to the part that RJ wrote at the very end and just read that to save myself endless amounts of frustration and screaming at the book. : (

This whole thing just makes me quite sad. And don't get me wrong, I do like Brandon, I think he is awesome, but there are just some parts that get to me, and Mat's scenes are one of those. >
Erik Amundsen
26. Bigerich
Agreed. Sanderson really can't do Mat.

Also, that remark about Tylin: Is BS an actual idiot?
T C
27. Freelancer
Yes, the Mal Reynolds line flashed in my head while reading that paragraph, but there's no way it was intentional. There's only so many ways to say, "I'm not looking for trouble, but if you want it, I'm your huckleberry".
Mike Fulton
28. fallenine
Now this whets my appetite. This is the sort of thing that I've been waiting for. Mat has always been kickass, but I've been waiting for that goofiness to take more of a backseat and for his "don't f@#k with me" attitude to come out.

Thanks so much for giving us this preview!
Mike Fulton
29. RFS
Ladies and Gents... some of you are being awfully critical over just a small piece of a chapter.

I will admit that Mat is the character that has "changed" the most between RJ and BS, but not to the point where it is unreadable. Every author has his/her own method and flavor of writing and a certain editor of this series has no problem with the way Mat is being written now. As for the Tylin comments above, I remember Mat expressing some regret at leaving in Book 9 and definitely thoughts of great loss later when he heard Tylin was dead. For all of his protests, he genuinely misses his time in Ebou Dar.
Mike Fulton
30. Arie Davion
Kathana cracks me up. her and Jame in their voice. Love it!!
Sanctume Spiritstone
31. Sanctume
@9 Raryn, thanks for the reminder.

As for BS version of Mat, it's all good. Can't wait for this last book.
Michael McCarthy
32. KilMichaelMcC
Man, Mat thinking of his "relationship" with Tylin as having been a fun game turned my stomach a bit.
Mike Fulton
33. Brainstrain91
@RFS Don't get me wrong, I'm painfully excited for AMoL.

But I'm crossing my fingers that this is the weakest chapter in the book.

It's evident that Mr. Sanderson just doesn't like Mat, and it seems like he's stopped trying to fight that bias and just made Mat into an unpleasant person.
Mike Fulton
34. cuendillar
"That was the truth of it. Everyone outside the Two Rivers, and to a lesser extent Andor, was bloody insane. A man just had to be ready for that."

guess that includes all here

furthermore, I trust the editor's judgement in these matters.
Mike Fulton
35. Gambit
Can't wait much longer... Mat chapters have always been my favorite, and this is one I'm sure many people have waited to see. Presumably, the reunion with Tuon/Fortuona is imminent. Love it.
Rich Bennett
36. Neuralnet
this is torture... reading these little bits. cant wait for january
Mike Fulton
37. AndrewB
The intro for the excerpt says that this is Chapter 11. I wonder how Mat got to this point? Did he make it to Camelyn to help save (in whatever manner of the word one can imagine )? Did Mat make it to Tar Valon to get the Horn (I doubt it -- but that is purely a guess)? Is the Band several leagues from Ebu Dar and Mat just wnet on alone (Doubtfall as I cannot image the Band able to enter Eb Dar without starting a major war)? Did the Band get wiped-out in the attack on Camelyn (I hope not -- somehow it would be a disappointment if Mat is not able to lead te Band in at least one major battle as part of the Last Battle)?

Needless to say, the above musings are the definition of RAFO. As much as I want to see a reunion of Mat and Tuon, I would rather Mat be with the Band.

Would not the following situation be ironic. Mat comes to Ebu Dar to reunite with Tuon; however, Tuon has left to invade Tar Valon via gateway. The above excerpt does not state that Tuonis in the City; only that attempting to kill Tuon is not likely to succeed and that every guard has been told to look out for Mat. Mat must then use his authority as the Prince of Ravens to get a damane to create a gateway for Mat to Travel (it would be nice if the Band was able to accompany Mat to Tar Valon under this scenario. However, given my musing about the Band in Altara above, it is unlikely). Under this scenario, maybe Musenge did not leave with the attack force (yes, that would be weak -- but there has to be somebody left who can identifyy Mat as the Prince of Ravens, as well as Mat's military prowess) and will identify Mat.

Thanks for reading my musings,
AndrewB
Lisamarie LiGreci-Newton
38. Lisamarie
Thanks for the morsel :) I am definitely looking forward to the Tuon/Mat reunion ;)

I have to agree that Mat thinking so fondly of Tylin just jars with me, since I have a very different interpretation of that relationship...

Anyway, I hope I get a chance to read the book somewhat soon! I placed a hold on it at the library, but I'm 29th in line. Which means (assuming each person has it for only a week) it will still be more than half a year until I get it :(
Mike Fulton
39. manzalone
Well... I thought in Towers that Demandred was the one who sacked Seanchan... and this little excerpt makes me think I was right. I will put it out there to be proven true or false... Galgan is demandred.
Mike Fulton
40. Ben W
10/10 would read again.

"Please sir, may I have some more?"
Mike Fulton
41. banjo4000
This was so great! Brandon did a great job, don't listen to these haters on here, they're gonna cry about it no matter what happens. this was awesome!
T C
42. Freelancer
Galgan is not Demandred. Brandon has stated straight out that Demandred's hidden persona has not been "on-screen" in any previous book. Galgan has, including the KoD Epilogue, where he is considering the chance of becoming the first Emperor of Seanchan in 900 years. Not an aspiration which could belong to Demandred.

As for the disorder on Seanchan, and Seandar specifically, with the deadly politics of that people it would be that bloody and chaotic by nature after Semirhage destroyed the Imperial family. It would actually be more orderly has another forsaken grabbed control. But the question is, why bother? What is left there is going to have very little bearing on the outcome of the Last Battle, as things stand.

As for Mat, I'm guessing that Rand will have met with him at least once before this point, and suggested to him, as Prince of the Ravens, to seek the truce at which Rand previously failed. Remember that Mat would have been wanting to deliver Moiraine to Rand before attending to any other business. Mat could have been sent to Ebou Dar by any number of Aes Sedai, Kin, Asha'man, Wise One, , and it isn't unreasonable to imagine that a contingent of his is camped somewhere outside the city, ready to return to Caemlyn, or Merrilor, or wherever he was last.

Finally...Were I in the habit of responding to something unexpected with the exclamation, "Well I'll be darn!", and then for some unknown reason one day I began to say simply "Well I'll be!", would you tell me that I wasn't being myself, that I was wrong? People change, habits change, thought patterns change. Brandon has made it quite clear that Mat IS different now, being resigned to his status as married and responsible to aid in the Last Battle. What's funny to me is those who think that Mat is pure perfect awesome, while practically hating Perrin, when Perrin has always been more the Samwise Gamgee, and Mat more the Pippin.
Mike Fulton
43. visalus ambassador
Thank you it fantastic to read ..... I have to agree that Mat thinking so fondly of Tywin just jars with me, since I have a very different interpretation of that relationship...
Mike Fulton
44. Repartee
Wow awesome!!! The start of the excerpt felt a little bit off but then picked up well. Great job!
Mike Fulton
45. Malorium
GDIT! I told myself NOT to read this.....must...have...MORE!!!~
Amanda Perez
46. ViciousCircle
Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!
Please feel free to share any further exerpts from AMoL!
Mike Fulton
47. SiamKor
Mat confirmed liking Tylin during the escape from Ebou Dar. Mat was missing Tylin on the day after they escaped Ebou Dar. Mat was devastated by the news of Tylin's death.
Mike Fulton
48. lakesidey
Can't wait. January, wherefore art thou?

~lakesidey
Rob Munnelly
49. RobMRobM
Andrew - per Dragoncon summary posts, this is the first Mat chapter in AMOL. Apparently, this is a really long chapter as well so don't know whether there is some backstory mentioned somewhere in here re what Mat did post-Moiraine/Thom and pre-Ebou Dar.
Lindy Brown
50. lbrown
4 more months. I am relistening to all the books on audiobook. I'm now on KOD.

@43- I think you have your fantasy series mixed up. I didn't know Mat knew Lord Tywin Lannister :).
Karan J
51. karanj
@24 brigittereed - what? 'Bloody ashes' and 'blood and bloody ashes' are amongst Mat's favourite curses. Go read again!
Jay Dauro
52. J.Dauro
RobMRobM.

I believe it is the first Mat POV in the book (from 13th Depository.) So we may see Mat before this, but not be in his head.
Mike Fulton
53. Tessy
How did mat end up with his hat on his head at the end of this excerpt?
Glen V
54. Ways
Tessy @53 - Several paragraphs before:
“Then I count you a friend,” Mat said, standing. He reached into his bundle and took out his hat and put it upon his head.
Thanks, Team Tor!
Douglas Coulter
55. Browniesbane
All of Mat's secrecy in this excerpt baffles me. If he is going to meet Tuon for one reason or another, he is going to come out into the open eventually. So here's the loony theory--he is not going to Ebou Dar to meet Tuon; he's there for some other purpose. The only thing I can think of is the seemingly unlikely possibility that the Seanchan got their hands on the horn in the raid(s) on the White Tower.
Mike Fulton
56. IrishAlzheimers
@55
Mat apparently didn't want anyone identifying him as
The Prince of Ravens too early.
He is checking out the area of potential conflict.
Checking the lay of the land.

As soon as he heard that there were assassins going
after his wife he dropped the pretense,
"locked and loaded, "heated 'em up" and "saddled up"
to do some asskicking.
The Lion is Loose in the High Plains again.
Or ,
"There is a Lion in the Streets."
Mat is also "The Fox that makes the Ravens fly."
.
For the OnePostCritics of Sanderson and Jordan

As to Mat's remiscences about Tylin:
Even Elayne understood the situation with Mat and Tylin.
She laughed at him and kidded him about it. She knew that
Mat's complaint was that Tylin had outplayed him at the game.

Does anyone think that Mat's luck would fail with Tylin
or that he couldn't just get the hell out of the castle if he
really wanted to?
.
Thank you Tor and Team Jordan.
And Branson "Miracle Max" Sanderson for finishing the
book and for giving me this glimpse early.

Having read one too many complaints about the writing
I am shipping a gift to Brandon. An onager carrying a
basket full of mistletoe on his rump for those who
don't like his writing of Mat or WoT.
Rob Munnelly
57. RobMRobM
Am I misremembering but hasn't Galgan previously sent assassins after Tuon? He signed up some and then had them executed for treason, right? Tuon viewed him as a sophisticated player of the Seanchan Game of Thrones. Sounds like he is still sending incompetent assassins against her - perhaps up to the point in which he sends an excellent one in and pierces her overtaxed bodyguards.
Rob Munnelly
58. RobMRobM
JD - good point (and, yes, I got my info from 13th Dep as well - have to love Linda).
Jay Dauro
59. J.Dauro
Rob

Spent time at DragonCon on Saturday talking to Linda. She is one of the most gracious and knowledgable ladies you could ever meet. She is working on a set of dolls for WOT, and had Avienda with her. Red hair and eyebrows, wool skirt, cotton blouse, etc. Linda had just acquired the yarn to knit the stockings. She looked wonderful. Apparently Linda has dolls for most of the other main characters, and is now starting on the costumes. Can't wait to see more.

Unfortuneatly I couldn't be there Sunday. So I has to read this here instead of hearing it live.
Alice Arneson
60. Wetlandernw
Eeeeeexcellent!! The anticipation builds. I love Mat's reaction to the notion of assassins going after his wife.
Mike Fulton
61. Manzalone
@Freelancer
RJ said that his on-screen alias did not appear prior to KoD. Sanderson said that his presence was seen prior, and that he not in Crossroads of Twilight (which Galgan was not seen in). I just reread all the passages, and cross-referenced them with what is known of Demandred- and the only hesitation I have left is that he MAY have been in attendance when Rand met Tuon prior to the transformation of both characters (therefore not recognized by LT) Galgan is leading the armies of the front-runners, reporting directly to Fortuona. The physical description fits. So does the ambition. His presence is disquieting to other Seanchan (KoD prologue). He does not seem overly fazed by Trollocs when Tylee reports to him. He directed the attacks of both the forerunners and the the attack on the White Tower- both of which are devastating blows to the world. He was allied with Suroth (thus, Semirhage) until she was found out... but never in agreement with her. She was in charge of the Return... he in charge of the armies that conquered prior to resettlement. He is an extremely skilled general. Most interestingly, he is seen talking to assassins in Ebou Dar about the price on Tuon's head... and then executing the ones who quote him a price. As for your comment of who cares... I have found that I learned much through the series by paying attention to seemingly random events. The ships with red and black sails are mentioned in AMoL because they ARE important.
R B
62. MasterAlThor
Are you serious? Tor this is what you do to us? Keep it up cause you know I am going to by the book anyway. A little snippet every couple of months would be great. Please.

Dragon

I agree with Freelancer about Mat's speech. I have just always seen it as geating your point across quicker. I remember that when I was younger and learning to curse properly I used the long form of GD. I no longer swear as I just think it is laziness on my part, but when I got older I just dropped the G part. I even shortened the D part when it suited me.
Alice Arneson
63. Wetlandernw
Manzalone @61 - "I have found that I learned much through the series by paying attention to seemingly random events. The ships with red and black sails are mentioned in AMoL because they ARE important."

Where were there ships with red and black sails? That would make me think of Moridin in a heartbeat.

The only ones I read about were "enormous greatships with sails painted blood red." That doesn't make me think of anyone in particular. Then again, that was in ToM, not AMoL. But maybe it doesn't matter; it's just one of those details.
Walker White
64. Walker
This is much better written Mat than the previous two books. I think people are letting the poorly written Mat in TGS (particularly after he was such a strong character in KoD) get the better of them.
Deana Whitney
65. Braid_Tug
Such a Tease!!!!
So Tuon's having everyone keep an eye out for Mat. But with Sanderson's style of jumping around every chapter at the end of his works, I wonder how many chapters we'll have to wait for the payoff once the book is out.

And why is he there totally by himself?


You know, when I first saw the post there were 2 comments. But I know it will explode soon. Darn not being able to log on from my phone!!
Mike Fulton
66. JamesEdJones
Oh good Gawd! that was terrible. Jeeze, it's like all the progress BS made on Mat in the last book got taken away from us again. I couldn't finish it. :( And whoever said that Mat is just Kelsier is absolutely correct. He's also Lightsong from Warbreaker. BS only has one funny, cool character that he can write, and he fits very well with his own books. But he (Kelsier and Lightsong) absolutley sucks in anyone else's world. I just want to scrub my eyes after reading that garbage! Mat is, by far, my favorite character. And THAT is no Mat. Clearly, and of the good parts of Mat from Towers of Midnight were given to us from Jordan.

Brandon is an awesome guy, and an incredible writer, but this is just the worst possible selection for a preview. I might actually wait for the book to get released in paperback after that overwhelmingly rancid taste. The internet will have spoilers and a decent synopsis after a few days, anyway. Bah!
Eric Hughes
67. CireNaes
There are better ways to express one's disappointment. Compliments thrown in at the last minute have a name: Backhanded.

And those who enjoy Mat so much could stand to branch out a bit.

For me, BWS fully disclosed that he wouldn't be replicating RJ's written voice. That alone should be enough to call and cancel the whambulence before it arrives for no reason. Does the character possess the personality traits that allow for the proper decision making path in light of their developmental arc so far? Do I get to read about said characters in a narrative format on pages bound together with nice cover art? Mission accomplished! And a story finished that I thought wouldn't be upon hearing of RJ's passing.

Thanks to Tor and even more to Team Jordan. Enjoyed the excerpt immensely. Hat off to you all. Great work.
Mike Fulton
69. CorDarei
i'm just glad i don't read any of sanderon's other stuff.... gives me a good laugh when people bitch about Mat being someone else.
Mike Fulton
70. RandAlThor
Hmmm,this excerpt is kinda strange.I think BS needed to give us the reason Mat was in town again and to tone Mat down a bit.I laughed at the mention of Rand hiding in the Rahad,funny stuff.I'm also wondering why the food in Ebou Dar is still decent and why the Seanchen are obviously ignoring the final battle looming?Can't wait for the book though!!
Mike Fulton
71. Mark W.
FYI - Brandon is not Robert Jordan nor should he try to be. Otherwise he will come off as sounding as a parody. No one will be able to write the characters JUST asYOU expect them to be. That was lost to us when RJ died. But Brandon has been able to give us a glimpse of the rest of the story, for that I for one am grateful.

This clip was awesome and I thin kGlagan has a world of hurt coming to him really soon.

PS>> Nice shoutout to Kathana (Jennifer) and possibliy James Luckman?
Mike Fulton
72. Michael Hawk
Loved it, esp Mat jumping to Tuon's guard. It was actually very emotional to me. Loved Mat, I enjoy Brandon's writing of him more so this pure gold for me. I was just touched with a moment of sadness thinking there will not be more after this book.
Nadine L.
73. travyl
The way I read this teaser, Mat probed for specific information and once he learns what he came to find out, he reveals himself as who he is (putting on his hat, knowing that he will be recognized).
Therefore I would claim that Mat knew beforehand that Tuon was threatend and that this was the reason he came to Ebou Dar as opposed to merely learning it "by accident".

@15. Tek, 35. Gambit and others:
Though I hope that Mat will soon be reunited with Tuon, I don't see it yet as "imminent": Mat "thinks to himself" that he intends do avoid her (for fear of a new career as her cup-bearer) and he is good at hiding.

As for Mat's thoughts about Tuon: in addition to what RFS @29 and
SiamKor@47 said: it is natural that people "idealize" the past and deceased people, only remebering the good memories. I certainly understand why he would forget some of what happend between him and Tylin and view it positive, even if he didn't feel that way at the time.

And since we have so many complainers here -
I agree with the one's who think "this" Mat still fitts with the character.
I am very grateful that Mr. Sanderson agreed to complete WOT and so far he and Team Jordan did a wonderful job.
(Thanks to WOT I did read his other books as well and I dearly like his work).
Steve Hussey
74. deihbhussey
After reading this I really only have three things to say:

1.) I can't wait til 2013
2.) I'll be in my bunk.
3.) Can someone lend me a new pair of pants, stat!
Mike Fulton
75. Evan1313
I just got chills from the end of that, ahgggg so many years only a couple more months to wait.... its nearly unbearable.
John Massey
76. subwoofer
Is it me or do the folks of the Rahad remind anyone of certain European countries where folks are really... passionate and fight first, think later?

This is a good little bit to gnaw on, bloody ashes and all.

Anyone care to speculate on what is going on with the Tinkers? We know from previous books there was a pilgrimage to Ebou Dar but there has to be something more when such a large body of nomads are gathered in one spot. Are they there to teach the Seanchan a lesson? Are they there to make a city as Mat speculated? Are they bound and determined to fix every pot in Ebou Dar?

The other thing I'm extrapolating from the text is that Caemlyn is okay, or at least dealt with on some level. Why would Mat come alone, yes Tuon is his wife, but perhaps a couple of soldiers or even Mat's new man servant at his side.

I like the way we see Mat here too in regards to some of his personal thoughts. We see Mat reflecting on Tylin, but he looks back with fondness and not the regret that Rand has with any woman that has ever come to harm. This is a good way to show how Mat has, in a way, matured through his journey.

Some things change, some things stay the same.

Woof™.
John Massey
77. subwoofer
Oh yeah, thank you Tordot and Brandon, much appreciated.

Dogs rule.

Woof™.
Mike Fulton
78. Charizzard34
While I'm grateful and excited to finally be able to read the last book, this excerpt was pretty dissapointing. I understand that BS isn't RJ, and I never really expected him to be able to get everything right, but Mat's character is so off that my excitement for AMOL is dwindling. Mat thinking in the third person is grating, his thoughts of Tylin make no sense, and Mat constantly reminding the reader of his carefree attitude is cringeworthy.
I understand Jame is fanservice but he's SERIOUSLY out of place...
@76 the Tinkers are camping outside Ebou Dar because its safer for them there than anywhere else in randland, because of how the Seanchan regulate crime.
Mike Fulton
79. wafflez
I just want to direct this to the people who have expressed such hatred towards this excerpt and the way Brandon has portrayed Mat.

1. As someone else stated, Brandon said up front that he would not be trying to replicate RJ's voice. It will be expected for some things to feel different.

2. Mat has had perhaps the most overwhelming character arc, aside from Rand. He is a playboy who has been forced by fate - literally - to accept responsibility and fight, something he always fled as a younger person. What you are seeing is that development come to fruition. Get over yourselves; Mat is a married man and a general, something he didn't want but has accepted. If the character you love so much can accept it, why can't you?

3. For crying out loud, be grateful that The Wheel of Time didn't end abruptly with Knife of Dreams. If Harriet approves of Brandon, I certainly approve. Again:

GET OVER YOURSELVES.
Jay Dauro
80. J.Dauro
Sub

I think it is made clear that for the first time Tinkers feel that they are safe from being harassed, blamed for things they did not do, and driven away. The Seanchen apply the law equally to everyone. There are many things the Seanchen do that are repugnant, but they do run their Empire by rule of law.

Travyl

I don't know that Mat expected to find assassins. I think he came first to check on Tuon, and then to negotiate for Rand. But when he finds someone posing a threat to his wife, he decides he has to take a hand. And Captain-General Lunal Galgan is probably balancing on the edge of an Ashandarei blade.
Mike Fulton
81. wafflez
Also, I don't think Mat was actually 'thinking' in the third person. Where it says "He could not be Matrim Cauthon here. Matrim Cauthon had left the queen of this city tied up to be murdered", it's the writer making a point. Where he says "That could offend a man. Not Matrim Cauthon, who was always lighthearted and never offended. But someone else, surely", I see it as being sarcasm. Whether it's BS or MC being sarcastic, I'm not sure, but who really cares? People refer to themselves that way in sarcasm all the time. You guys are being way too hard on Brandon, who has been given this monumental task and has thousands of fans to try and please. He can't please everyone - some people would see a Mat who is the same as he has always been, and say "i don't understand how he hasn't grown as a character", or something like that. So yeah, once again:

get over yourselves.
Mike Fulton
82. Charizzard34
@wafflez Ummm everyone who was voicing their dislike of the excerpt was just giving their opinion much like you did. It doesn't seem like anyone has a problem with you voicing your opinion, but you seem to have one with other people voicing theirs if they genuinely didn't enjoy the excerpt, so I'm gonna ask you to take your own advice and "get over yourself".

Obviously no one expected BS to write exactly like RJ. All some people are asking for is that he tries to keep Mat's character consistent, which going from this excerpt IN MY OPINION he isn't.

His character was clearly going to grow and change after his marriage and I was expecting and waiting for it fully esepecially after KOD, but to say that everything BS has done with the character has been because of this change is not fact, and as far as Mat accepting it...how can a fictional character argue against the author -_-

Re-read those quotes you just posted...that's thinking in third person. Whether it's BS or MC- it's still BS. Who's Mat being sarcastic to, if it's his thoughts? Why did he even need to think in the third person if it adds nothing to the story or Mat's POV? and since I'm commenting on it I care. I'm glad we're getting to read the ending of the series and i'm sure everyone understands the task he has trying to please thousands of fans, but at the end of the day he's the author and his bias DOES affect the ,book whether it's him liking Perrin or him disliking Cadsuane. This is just MY opinion and it has nothing to do with you or yours...
Bill Stusser
83. billiam
Thanks for the preview, I can't wait til January. It's hard to believe that it is almost over.

Right or wrong, I like the Galgan as Demondred theory. I think this is the first time I have seen that one.

And I can't resist saying that i am a big Pippin fan, much more fun than Sam. In all seriousness, Samwise is probably my least favorite character in LotR.
Jay Dauro
84. J.Dauro
Charizzard34

Yes, you are entitled to your opinion. However, we have watched way too many people state that a specific section was poorly done by Brandon, when the section was written by RJ (there are some sections we know the source of.) I have yet to be convinced that anyone outside of Team Jordan can tell for sure who wrote what.

When it comes to Mat thinking in 3rd person, he has done it consistently throughout the series. See WH-30 for one example,
No, Mat Cauthon did not like being out in this weather. Mat Cauthon would be staying somewhere warm and dry until the skies cleared, yes, he would.
and there are more.
T C
85. Freelancer
Manzalone @61

I never wrote anything remotely like "who cares". That's the last thing I'd say about this story, or any part of it. I know how much detail Jordan embedded in every aspect of his work. What I did write, concerning the theory that another forsaken besides Semirhage has taken over in Seanchan, is "Why bother?" That is a far different question, and it still stands. There is no value for a forsaken spending additional energy there. And, if it were true, the current chaos there would have ended under the tyrannical hand of a forsaken. Evil dictators create chaos in other lands, but keep their own as firmly under their thumb as possible. This is not what we see, so I don't accept it as a plausible theory.

Beside all of that, there is very little to suggest that Galgan could be anybody but himself. The last scene in which he appears, after Fortuona has assumed authority in Ebou Dar, he is both receiving and issuing orders. There is no precedent of a forsaken putting themselves in a position of subservience. Semirhage became Anath to be Tuon's soe'feia, a position from which she could neither be ordered nor punished, but had special influence over the Daughter of the Nine Moons, even to issuing penance. Galgan's responses to events in that scene are authentic to a Seanchan military member. Finally...
Interview: Nov 7th, 2010 TOM Signing Report - Zaela Sedai (Paraphrased)
Question: Was Demandred or his proxy in Towers of Midnight?
Brandon Sanderson: No, he was not; he will be in A Memory of Light.
Galgan appears in ToM. Galgan is not Demandred.
Mike Fulton
86. Charizzard34
@ J. Dauro
Fair enough, the last book I read in the series was TOM, in which I really started to notice the whole third person thing. That being said reading the quote you provided still made me cringe (I'm sure those other quotes would as well) and I honestly don't think it was a good decision on RJ's part. (but that might just be Charizzard34's dislike of people talking in the third person)

And while I can concede that point, this...

"However, we have watched way too many people state that a specific
section was poorly done by Brandon, when the section was written by RJ
(there are some sections we know the source of.) I have yet to be
convinced that anyone outside of Team Jordan can tell for sure who wrote
what."

...while very true, isn't the case with this excerpt

I don't like people talking in the third person regardless of who writes it BS or RJ, and as far as this passage goes we can assume it was BS who wrote it considering how he wanted to give people a preview of this specific chapter directly after talking about how he felt he got "as close to Mat's character as he felt he could get". I COMPLETELY understand that BS gets a lot of heat for things he may not have written, and if there's something I didn't like that turned out to be RJ I have no problem laying it at RJ's feet. With that said some people here (not you) take it way to personally when you say you didn't like something BS wrote (when you know he wrote it).
Mike Fulton
87. Nobody
@the people complaining about Mat being a bit off here, remember that the book is still being heavily edited by Harriet at this time. Things are going to be changed. Don't flip out.
Mike Fulton
88. Brand
"@the people complaining about Mat being a bit off here, remember that the book is still being heavily edited by Harriet at this time. Things
are going to be changed. Don't flip out."

This

And also, you do realize that RJ is dead, right? You do realize that no matter how much work goes into it, it's never going to be the book that he would have written, yes? IMO BS is doing the best he can with a nearly impossible task. Cut the dude a little slack. Sure, he and the rest of Team Jordan make mistakes. They're human. Like you and me. So stop whining about it. They're doing the best that they can to give you the best book possible, but it's not going to be perfect, and you'll just have to deal with it. They'll do their best to make it as close to perfect as they can, but RJ is gone, and he's not coming back. Some mistakes are going to be missed because of that fact. I, for one, feel lucky that we're even getting these books at all, flawed though they might be.
Terry McNamee
89. macster
...This is so very wonderful. As far as I'm concerned, vintage Mat. Irreverent, funny, snarky, and all of it covered with feigned innocence no one would ever believe, especially not from him. With the added badassery, clever insights, and knowledge gleaned from his memories to show how he has grown as a character and explain how he got into Ebou Dar so readily. I particularly enjoyed his thoughts on what a Tinker city would be like, Rand hiding in the Rahad (and what would happen to Darkfriends and Trollocs there), and his constant references to what people would expect of Mat or things Mat would never do. Hah!

I also appreciated the numerous callbacks--Beslan and his friendship with Mat, Mat's fond feelings for Tylin (and yes, whatever readers thought of their interactions, he did end up enjoying them and missed her deeply in the end, not to mention being upset over her death), the reappearance of Petra as a Seanchan guard (a bit unexpected, but after harboring Tuon for so long and having entertained near Ebou Dar to begin with, I can see Luca going back there for Seanchan protection and rewards), the wall that fell on Mat, and his eye for horses courtesy of his father.

Jame and Kathana were fun characters to meet as well. Mat's thought that she would "lecture a tree for growing in the wrong spot" and should never meet Nynaeve were hilarious, as was her seeing right through his lies, but both of them thinking they knew who/what Mat was and then being proven wrong was awesome.

Favorite quotes:

"No, a good tavern was worn and used, like good boots. It was also sturdy, again like good boots. So long as the ale did not taste like good boots, you would have a winner."

"The Ebou Dari won’t riot at something as unimportant as being conquered, but take away our duels..."

And obviously of course this is just an excerpt from a longer chapter, so we'll learn how Mat got there, why he went there, what happened with Moiraine and Caemlyn, and so on when we see the full chapter.

Can't wait until January!
Alice Arneson
90. Wetlandernw
JamesEdJones @66 - What?? JEJ in the ranks of the RLWs? My illusions are shattered! All hope is gone...

::sighs dejectedly, shuffles slowly away, head hanging::

So, okay (@many), I get that this doesn’t read the way it might have eight years ago. I would argue, though, that Mat under BWS neither says, nor thinks, nor does anything that Mat under RJ wouldn’t say, think or do. He might not say or think it in quite the same words, and the narrative style of how he does it is different, but it’s all in character. I disagree that Mat = Kelsier = Lightsong; there are similarities, of course, but those similarities were there all along. (One might say that in many ways Kelsier and Lightsong reflect Mat, since we know Brandon “knew” Mat long before he wrote Warbreaker or Mistborn.) However, there are distinct differences in all three characters, and I believe those differences are still there in these last three books. The problem is (IMO) that the characters have always been similar enough that with the same narrative style in place, it’s easy to see nothing but that similarity.

I won’t add further to the battle between “is” and “isn’t” beyond saying that IMO, this (and everything in TGS and ToM) is still totally in Mat’s character, even though the voicing is different. There are a couple of things that might be slightly arguable, but only a couple, and this isn't really one of them.
Nadine L.
91. travyl
@85. Freelancer - Correction to your post:
There is no precedent of a forsaken putting themselves in a position of subservience.
Moghedien deliberately set herself up as a servant to the initial 13 BlackAjah (in the shadow rising i think). Of course she later heavily punished them, but initially she was subservient.
And since Mesanaa posed as an "ordinary" AesSedai alter ego I'd asume she sometimes had to follow orders as well.
Mike Fulton
92. Ryanus
Mesanna put up with quite a bit from Elaida, she was originally part of Elaida's council and is there for several meetings putting up with Elaida's tirades, pretending fear, etc.

As for Moghedien, she didn't even punish them for the servant behavior. She taught them all a lesson as a method of establishing dominance, but she outright states that she doesn't mind them giving punishments to her alter ego since she never actually took them and didn't expect them to act any different.

Also, we had Dashiva/Aginor acting subserviant to Rand, albeit with a few more slips.
Mike Fulton
93. daveo
BAH! NEED TO KEEP READING!!!!!
Mike Fulton
96. beingmused
Sanderson can't write Mat, Rand, Perrin, or Egwene (her shouting "IT WILL BE LEGENDARY!!!" at the end of Gathering Storm is just about the worst thing I've ever read). Other characters he seems to do alright with. The problem with Mat is that he was (most) peoples' favourite to read, and now it is an abomination. I'll try and hypnotize myself into thinking that he died saving Moiraine and just skip over his chapters.
juanita heath
97. nanajade
I enjoyed this excerpt esp the scenes in the tavern and his realization that Tuon was in danger. The only problem I have is Mat's fondness for back stories (I don't recall them prior to TGS after Hinderstap) It is possible that that experience caused him to be more cautious and less reckless so can be tolerated.
I want Mat and Tuon to meet each other again. Brandon said that he had more trouble (as expected) with Tuon. This makes me fear the reunion. His comments about difficulty with Aviendha also concerns me as she is my favorite of Rand's wives (to be)
Mike Fulton
98. Kroki357
I can't believe everyone is so critical of BS not being able to portray Mat consistently! I guess people have no imagination. Just enjoy the book!!!! You don't have to analyze every word on every page. Details are important but don't be anal about it. I love every single character in WoT and am just grateful that we will get to learn what happens at the end.
Mike Fulton
99. ozimandias
I have no problem with this representation of Mat. I find it very consistent with his character, he's always been one of my favorites and this chapter was great for me.
People who think Mat doesn't remember his times with Tylin and in Ebou Dar fondly - you really think he would have kept going back if on some level he didn't really enjoy it? He's a rogue who loves a good complicated game, battle or woman. Sure he pretends he likes it easy and complains when things get rough, but he will throw himself in those situations every time. I've had plenty of crazy times in my life that seemed pretty terrible at timest crazy and maybe bad but looking back thought that really was a great time in my life... seems to be the sentiment here.
Mike Fulton
100. Invictus
I'm unhappy that there was no mention of Mat's hanging scar.

Pretty sure that's the only thing I'm unhappy about.
Mike Fulton
101. t2350
OMG OMG OMG is 2012 over yet?? cmon cmon cmon!!!!!
Mike Fulton
102. Matt The Rogue
At Dragon*Con, Sanderson read this chapter. He said that writing for Mat is interesting because he is "an untrustworthy narrator." That's just one of my favorite lines and things to think about through the entire excerpt.
Mike Fulton
103. Dwynell
I believe TOR needs to release a teaser once a month from this piont on since we are so close to the release date. It would further build upond the anxioty so many have awaiting the last book. I started reading this series when i was 25 and feel like a kid in a candy store everytime a new book comes out. and this teaser about Mat fits in from the last 2 books where Mat is still Mat but grows more into the role faith has played him while still being himself. People remember in all reality he is still a an wanting only to have fun!
Mike Fulton
104. TDS
The Thinkers are in Ebu Dar because they are needed in the Last Battle, they have to sing the Song (to make the greens grow back). If I recall correctly when Rand passed through the Columnsand s of the hiden city, there was a scene in his past generation about the pepole who were singing together with Ogier. Now, as you know the Ogier Gardeners are the Deathwatch of Toun so they might know the Song that Thinkers are looking for.
Mike Fulton
105. Pansy
Love it, makes the wait even harder!!
Nathan Love
106. n8love
I should have waited until I had started a new book or series to read this. As it turns out, I finished something last night and now I'm not sure that I'll be able to resist a reread. Maybe I can just scroll through the reread here on tor again and get it out of my system without losing a few months.
Mike Fulton
107. Kartikeya GS
Well, another teaser that leaves us wanting more. First thoughts: This is Chapter 11 of AMoL, what should be a quarter into the book, and the pace seems very gradual. I'd have expected that by this time there would a frenetic spate of activity, the LB well on its way and people finally getting their sh*t in order. But, that said, I am still keeping my fingers crossed (I thought ToM was the best book since Crown of Swords).

Mat's presence (alone) so far south means that Thom and Moiraine have been deposited safely(?) at whichever place they wished to go. This also means that the preceding chapters should have some really great reunions (we've already been given a hint of the Rand-Perrin one in Chapter 1).

And finally...the sands of time are slowly running out! The time of awesomeness is almost nigh!
Mike Fulton
108. pazzomerda
Stop Whinging about the possible inconsistencies with Mat, be bloody thankfull this great story is finishing
Rob Munnelly
109. RobMRobM
@107 "(I thought ToM was the best book since Crown of Swords)."

Surely, KoD was the best of the later books, no?
Gerd K
110. Kah-thurak
@RobMRobM
In my opinion TGS was... but you know what they say about opinions ;-)
Mike Fulton
111. SF
I have to say that Mat was definitely... off, at least at the end of the excerpt. As to those who cannot stand the criticism, however mild or well-meaning of Sanderson's work on the series: the fans are an integral part of any epic fantasy, and especially this one. I'm sure that everyone who has read the series is grateful to Sanderson for his work and efforts, but that does not mean that the fans do not have opinions on his work. I have, overall, been quite pleased with it and have not noticed too many discrepancies that were large enough to note (although there have been a few where I thought the differences were a bit much), but we're all entitled to our own opinions and any authors of epic fantasy, especially in this day and age, will run into fans that seriously disagree with them.

We all thank Sanderson for his work on the series (while wishing it were not necessary, as we will never know what we have missed), but comments by those who have been reading the series for well over a decade (I would suspect most of us have been) prior to publication are an acceptable way to urge the writer and editors to carefully complete the final product. We will all be grateful when the book is released, we just hope that it lives up to the promise of the prior volumes.
T C
112. Freelancer
Wetlandernw @90

I almost reacted as you to the comment @66, until I realized that the nick was in red. I would be highly surprised if that was actually our JEJ, and not an imposter.
Marty Beck
113. martytargaryen
Tylin. Bloody ashes, but that had been a fun game. She had had the better of him time and again. Light send him plent y of women who could do that, though not in rapid succession, and always when he knew how to find the back door. Tuon was one.
Now, overall I really loved the excerpt and am a million times appreciative of the job Brandon Sanderson has done. But see what Sanderson did there? He (BS) has lessened the crime Tylin committed by having Mat think of it this way, as a "game".

Editted for clarity
Mike Fulton
114. RegCPA
Whether BS is struggling with the voice of Mat or not (My Fav character of the series by the way). As I think about for a moment this seemingly new voice (more fierce, dryer wit, etc.) could be just the final evolution of the last of the ta'veren. Perrin's and Rand's characters have already evolved into more self assured and serious personalities. I know was said to be and seemed incorrigible but any individual that has seen and done the things he has (his ride through the series could have been its own series and I don't think readers would be disappointed) would have to become more serious at some point. Also, whether he likes it or not he is now part of the plotting and scheming of the Seanchan Empire he married into. Just a thought.
Cynthia Ahmar
115. tenkuu
Seeing Mat is very fine and all, but I'm more curious about what happened with Moiraine and Rand.
Mike Fulton
117. bigmitch_sa
Can't even sleep now. How do people not know about the greatness of Robert Jordan?!!!!
Mike Fulton
118. Shiael Rahl
Not only am elated to see an excerpt of my favorite character, the foreshadowing that has been provided has made my imagination leap irationally. The second the book comes out, I will definately have my hands, and eyes, glued to it. In my opinion, there are very few books or authors that could stand up to this combination (my remembrance to the late Mr. Jordan.) Knowing that this will be the last time I see a new Wheel Of Time book coming out, I am both exited and sad, as I am sure many others feel the same. I thank Mr. Sanderson for continuing to give life to the story I have always admired, and the rest of the people who made this possible. Thank you very much!
Joel
119. leetj
When you're reading TGS or ToM, there are places scattered throughout the books that take you out of the immersion of reading the tale Robert Jordan penned. This or that character says, does, or thinks something that just doesn't quite follow with what we the readers know about them and world they live in (some instances more obvious than others). These occurances jar a reader out of the comfortable place that reading the Wheel of Time takes them.

Unfortunately, that is very much to be expected with a new author taking on a challenge as large as finishing a sprawling epic such as this. It's a fact that there's basically no realistic way around it since it would likely take another author at least twice as much time as RJ did to end up with something near comparable in quality and detail. As we all know, RJ did not write his books quickly, and he was unwilling to comprimise quality for speed of publication. We as fans want our fix now, so any new author would be strained by time constraints if nothing else. Plus, said author would be basing his decisions on the notes RJ left, which were tools to augment the foundation RJ had in his head and not foundations themselves. It has the possible dangers of the proverbial house built on sand.

So you can see why I'd be prepared for a drop in quality in the prose, details, and all the other little things Jordan did well. But even after reading the previous two volumes, I was not prepared for this. Mat is definitely among the toughest of Jordan's many viewpoint characters to find a proper voice for, and the previous two books often had him sounding like a caricature of himself (there are some chapters or portions of chapters that are exceptions to this), or sometimes a different person entirely. Yet this exerpt has taken him beyond even that, almost a caricature of a caricature. But it's not just Mat's "voice" alone that raises eyebrows and leaves you scratching your head, either. The way he remembers Ebou Dar and being there in this chapter simply doesn't jive with what the previous books actually say. I don't have a problem with giving influential people in the fandom a nod in appreciation for their hard work and dedication, but if you're going to make someone a Seanchan blademaster, I say make them act at least something like a Seanchan blademaster might act. It wouldn't be too difficult to make him sound a just little like Seanchan people have in previous books. If the two books before this jarred you out of the story occasionally like a bump on a road, this chapter is like continually driving over speed bumps.

I really don't know what to think of this. Did they release this chapter as an example of what they think is a stronger part of this book, or did they release it to lower expectations and make the rest of the book look better in comparison? One thing they did achieve is that I'm now going to check it out from the library before I buy it in hardcover, and I might just wait for the paperback if it's like this all the way through.
Mike Fulton
120. Dominus
@119:

I think that what you are saying is that you didn't expect Mat to act like he did. That your expectations were broken. You see, when a character grows, he or she changes. Their own uderstanding of the world changes.
Everyone thinks they know how the world works. Some are more correct than others. No one understands everything, however.
Mat's confidance was broken when he lost his eye, but when he stabbed that poor bunny, it soared to far greater level than it was before. I don't know what is off with him. To be honest, I don't dare to predict what my own mother would do in every situation, much less Mat who is a very complex person.
Most people aren't defined by being a blademaster. Jame is a man, who happens to be born in Seanchan and who is a blademaster. He has an unique personallty, like every man.

I have the humility to know I understand nothing. When you will come to understand that, when you will not whine and threaten that you will not buy the book just because things aren't the way you want them to be, then I promise I will listen to what you say.

I liked this part. The only comment I might say against it, is that they were too friendly for knowing each other only such a short time.
Still, I think I will very much enjoy the next part of Mat. I wonder if galgan will end up dead or alive.

Oh well, I shall wait and see.
Mike Fulton
121. Interesting
I have to chuckle at the sheer paranoia and over analyzing of Brandon’s writing regarding Mat. I simply don’t see it that egregiously off. Some difference was expected. To say that Mat is so far off that it is unreadable is, to me anyway, plain silly. I agree with those who take the view of the characters evolving and maturing some as a mechanism to account/cope with some differences. I think the expectations of 20 years of build up is so high that even Jordan would be challenged to deliver on them in this final volume. Over all, I think the last two books are amongst the best of the series. Well done Sanderson. Looking forward to the final book. Hope it rocks!
Mike Fulton
122. Reinx_1
I hate to say it kids, but BS just hasn't managed to pick Matt's voice up the way he has Rand and Perrin. I don't ever find myself re-reading whole paragraphs for their sections like I do with Matt.
Jordan managed a certain raw, dry humor for Matt that was very subtle, and Sanderson has done an admiral job with the character, but falls short of the mark in this department. Matt just isn't the type for one liners and cliches. They make him feel awkward and a little dorky.
Everything I have read from Sanderson so far (several of his own books and all of his work on WoT) confirm my belief that he was the right choice for the job. But when the master hands his craft over to the journeyman, their are bound to be a few flaws....it's inevitable....
Mike Fulton
123. Skyler
I agree with Freelancer and Intersting. Complaining over unmet expecations seems a limiting way of living life......we're talking fiction/fantasy novels here, not real life. Breathe y'all. The last book's going to be awesome! It will be an seemless blend of BS and RJ, as we have found out the last two books were.

My take: Matt has been cartoonsihly flippant since the begginging of the series. So, that flawed caracter has matured, somewhat. It seems he will always cartoonishly complain, when not being forced to be an increible bad ass. What he just went through in the Tower of Genji was a harrowing life and death adventure. He barrely made it, but it was a huge victory! Not even Birgitte pulled it off! He's also lost his fear of Aes Sedai, and embraced his military leadership abilities and the power of his luck. He's may even embrace or at least realize that he has more to do that must be done, something huge and important that could save the world. As the Finn said: "The Gambler becomes the center of all!"

I'm in the tired of being teased camp! I'm so looking forward January!

Other Takes:

-Demandred is in Murandy, or in some way connected/resposible for the problems at the Black Tower. He was bested by a linked Asha'man (Damer Flinn) during the cleansing of Saidin. Perhaps twisting and harnessing the Black Tower is revenge as well as serving chaos/prepping for TG/LB.

-Rand will be brough back from the dead somehow, likely though the Love between him and M, E, and A. He will transmigrate and inhabit the body of Logain. Logain will volunteer his body to bring Rand back.

-The Seanchan will play a huge and benevolent roll as peacekeepers in the return to the Golden Age/AoL. First, the flaws in their culture need to be corrected. During TG/LB the Seanchan will see the error of their ways. Rand and Matt will be instrumental in forcing/manipulating/persuading/enlightening/enabling this change. Remeber Rand's vision in Rhuidean, he saw a soldier wearing an insect shaped helmet protecting the seed singing ceremony. And in Ebou Dar, Rand observed that other than their views on the OP, the Seanchan ruled well.

-Cadsuane will lead an assault of both male and female channelers on the BT. Who else can better deal with men who can channel? (And in this case have really gone bad.) This will be an awesome confrontation!

-Graendal will wear black and red and be the third midtraped servant of Moridin.

-Mierin Sedai will give her life to reseal the bore. Somehow, someway, she will come back to the light. She will see hope, where Elan cannot. He will embrace nothingness and be destroyed.
john mullen
124. johntheirishmongol
I thought this was very good, fit Mat well and for those whining about it, and who can't stand it, just give it up. It isn't going to change, enjoy what you get or don't bother getting the book. It's really easy to be a critic, but most of you just sound petulant about it. Too bad.
Mike Fulton
125. DakotaV
@ 100 Invictus

Thats true.
And you can't expect someone to be the same after doing the impossible AND getting married in a matter of days.
Mike Fulton
126. Doorman
I Cant believe that people are complaining about some character flaws!

Come on gang; With out Mr. Sanderson we would all be lost and wondering what really happened to the WOT! I for one am just thrilled that I will be enjoying the end to this great story! Something like this does not happen often. I thought for sure when R.J. passed away that was game over.
Thanks so much Brandon and Team Jordan for finishing the gratest fantasy ever told!!!

In Jan. I will be able to take the WOT off my Bucket List!

Cheers
TW L
127. Shadow_Jak
Yay! an excerpt! Wahoo!
Great stuff. Really enjoyed it. Thanks Tor and Brandon.

So. Where's Mat been?
Well, he's riding Pips which means he must have come from Caemyln. Pretty sure he left Pips there when he trraveled to the Tower. He doesn't seem to broke up about anything, so doesn't sound like he's heard any terrible news. So I'm thinking Caemlyn survived.

Why is he alone? I'm thinking he's not. Suspect he has a few friends about. maybe already in the city. Not Thom, and not Juilin. Certainly no Aes Sedai.

I'm thinking Vanin should be around somewhere. And maybe a few other soldiers from the Band. Are any of the original Redarms still alive? Harnan maybe?
David Burgreen
128. drayburg
Okay, I knew I would hate myself for reading the excerpts...but I did it anyway...NOW....I am going to go insane waiting for the book. AARGGHH!!!
Craig Jarvis
129. hawkido
@123 Skyler

I don't think you will be 100% correct on 100% of those predictions... Maybe 80% and 80%. You will be fairly close...

I think Logain will be the first Lightsider to rule the Black Tower. I don't think his body will be sacrificed... Maybe Demandred's body. If it even plays out that way.
Mike Fulton
130. Shadow
I can't wait for the book! :D ^_________^
Mike Fulton
131. Chris W.
Everything is a game, for Mat. They didn't recognize him until he, deliberately, put on the hat, on purpose, duh. Elayne Co-opted The Band at the end of the previous book. Galgan is hiring inept assassins because he is expected to (as he himself said).

While I don't agree that Mat has changed as much as some of the nay-sayers here believe, I personally wouldn't care if Brandon turned him into a Trolloc! (Well, okay, maybe not That..) Without Brandon (and Team Jordan's approval of his writing) we'd be stuck with no book 12, no book 13, and certainly no closure coming in AMoL. Brandon is certainly a qualified and accomplished writer on his own merits, and having to take up where Mr. Jordan left off and re-imagine everything from admittedly extensive notes is a huge undertaking. Give the man a break, turn off your prejudices and enjoy the freakin' book, already!
Deepali
132. Deepali
Very excited to have this book be out - the ending to a series I began reading in high school :)
Great job, Mr. Sanderson!
Mike Fulton
133. Blood_Drunk
OMG that was so good, it just had to be fattening! One small question. Shouldn't the Seanchan guard have been more pissed about the use of Tuon's name. And, shouldn't he have said, "dont use that name" instead of 'dont use her name.' The reason being, that Tuon is dead and now there only exists Fortuona (not that everyone should commonly know that name)? Also, Karede was really pissed in KoD when Mat used Tuon's name. I would think this guy hearing some commoner speak her name would totally start a fight over it. Or I can shut up and say, "please sir, may I have some more?"
Mike Fulton
134. Blood_Drunk
"Eating a meal these days was like going to a dance where there were only ugly girls."

HA! I busted up at that one. Prediction anyone? I feel like Mat is going to have to fight a blood knife or the Gholam (I know it is technically gone, but I dont think it is really gone). The Gholam is falling in an endless void, but if a skimming platform were opened in just the right place, and going to just the right place, shouldnt you be able to exit? Now what if Moridin or maybe the Dark One could sense where that would be? I think it is possible that we haven't seen the last of Gholam.
Alice Arneson
135. Wetlandernw
Blood_Drunk @134 - The following is apparently paraphrased by the questioner, but still seems applicable:
JONATHAN B: We discussed the gholam; if someone had pushed it through a gateway, would it have just died?BRANDON SANDERSON: Brandon said that gholam CAN go THROUGH gateways (from one place to another). Gholam are Shadowspawn of a more perfected kind. It would have been way too easy to kill if you just needed to shove it through a gateway (to another place). However, falling through the skimming gateway for a few minutes did kill the gholam and it is really dead and it's not going to show up again. This makes me wonder now if one of Rand/Logain's Deathgates would have killed it but I didn't think to ask at the time.
So I'm pretty sure we won't see this gholam again... but there were 6 made in the first place, so it's not implausible that a second one was stored in a stasis box as well...
Mike Fulton
136. Michal Kuchari?
why Rand hiding?
Mike Fulton
137. erick a
every one is saying thats not mat thats not mat let me share a bit with everyone i was a soldier for 12 years i was deployed when i returned home i seen the world slightly askew. everyone else saw me in a different light they all told me you have changed and you know what they are right ......mabey after fleeing for his life from a horde of trollics being infected with an evil taint being hanged killed and broght back to life leading everything from a small band of horse thieves to a proper army into countless battles being lost in an alternate world and losing an eye matt to has changed im sure it would have changed all of you
Mike Fulton
138. cotillion
I find the criticism of Mat's dialogue somewhat petty. It's to be expected though in these times. My advice would be to embrace his character's journey as a whole and do not sweat the minutiae.
Mike Fulton
139. trkm
@cotillion It appears to be a thing with the more hardcore fans that they feel the need to nitpick at everything Mr. Sanderson does.

I believe they are ungrateful; BS has supplied us with an ending to this epic series which may have lain otherwise unfinished.

We could have ended up with a book full of bulletpointed notes. Or worse still, no book at all.

Of course Mat sounds different, he is being put to page by a different author - As differs from Frank to Brian Herbert's Dune, from Pre-Galfridian to Geoffery's Arthur. King James to Roman Catholic Bible.

Mat sounds different. Has now for going on three years. We know some people have a problem with it. Let it be your problem and leave it within you.
Mike Fulton
140. colinnaughtin
Isn't it obvious that Mat is the character that brings the Seanchan to the final battle? If Mat becomes commander of the of the Seanchan forces (through defeating Galgan, via politics or battle or both) and has the backing of the empress - there you go. The book is going to be mostly one big battle with ebbs and flows - forces will arrive just in time, betrayals will occur, clever ruses will be employed, heros will fall, and heros will rise. Each of the main characters will have a role, and Mat's will be to lead a great battle, just in time, with a clever ruse (or 2).
Mike Fulton
141. 6 re-reads
ALL of the characters have changed over the course of the series. Try reading a "Mat" section from ANY of the first couple (especially Eye of the World) and then read one from Knife of Dreams. Hardly seems to be the same guy writing the story. People change. Characters change. Over nearly 20 years...actually over 20 years since EotW was actually finished sometime in the early '80's I think...writing styles change. I have re-read the series every time a new book came out since Path of Daggers came out and whenever I would go back and start again I would invariable think, "Wow, I forgot he or she was like that in the beginning". Everyone is entitled to their opinion but I don't know how anyone could think Matt didn't enjoy his "game" with Tylin. Even if they didn't as it was going on, it was plainly obvious in his reaction to her death. The only thing that made me go "Hmmm..." was the lack of any reference to Mat's scar or at the very least, the scarf covering it. I take off my wide brimmed black hat to all of Team Jordan.
Mike Fulton
143. Lonny
Throughout all of the books, Matrim Cauthon was known by everyone who knew him, or even met him for a few moments, as being a largely unreliable and- dare I say?- inconsistent individual. Whenever the boys got into trouble, the girls (and Lan) always looked accusingly to Mat first. If anyone needs serious, or even not so serious, assistance, they look to Perrin or Rand. The only thing the other characters can usually count on in their dealings with Mat is that he will almost certainly be partaking in some form of mischief or another, and that he will always keep his promises....... Assuming one can weasel an actual promise out of him. In fact, I seem to recall one point where a full-fledged Aes Sedai asks Nynaeve if Mat can be trusted to keep a promise, to which she responded that he could, though she was quite reluctant to give the miscreant any praise, whatsoever. I don't remember where, precisely. That being said, I would argue that the perceived inconsistencies in Mat's character throughout the books is paradoxically very consistent, indeed.*

*Disclaimer: In my opinion (IMO)
Mike Fulton
144. srizzo00
@37 - Mat has returned to Ebou Dar to give Tuon/Fortuona one of the foxhead medallion copies that Elayne made (see Tom 31, after he kills the gholam).
Mike Fulton
145. Ibkay
January can't come quickly enough!!! I need to calm my racing heart, after all these years!!! Take deep breaths, calm down, I'm grinning like a lunatic right now!!!

As for the change in Mat, I do agree he is definitely quite off in his voice - I percieve him as somewhat forced, as if he is trying too hard to be Mat - but I feel focusing too much on that aspect of his character would reduce the enjoyment of the overall story. Let's not throw the baby out with the bath water here! People, we are talking about the WOT!!! In some earlier post, the poster commented he would hold off purchasing the book because it doesn't flow with his perception of Mat or something like that... Well, the fact is every WoT reader probably perceives the change in Mat, but can any reader honestly say he did not enjoy ToM or TGS on account of this change in the 'voice' of Mat? In as much as he might not 'sound' exactly as you would expect, he does 'act' as RJ's Mat would. Furthermore, BS and the rest of the team have done exceptionally well with practically every other chracter, and the overall rendering of the story that I feel it would be quite unfortunate to measure the entire quality based on Mat's delivery alone... (which I might add is not a 'caricature of a caricature' as I read earlier... geez!!!)

Maybe my standards are low (I just love good stories!), but the last two books far exceeded what I even hoped for (Mat and all). After the passing of RJ, I thought the game was over... and even after the announcement that BS would complete the series, I was skeptical, but I would say I'm really impressed, all factors considered (I really enjoyed ToM wow!)

So, I would suggest that we try not to let the 'voice shifts' affect our appreciation of the story, even if it might be a little difficult to let go of favourite character styles and such... BS is a different author and human being from RJ, it is only natural that this difference reflects in his works too...

Let's enjoy AMoL...

Onward to the last battle!
Alice Arneson
146. Wetlandernw
Hmm. That's a good point - the vocals might not sound like Mat (depending on your own perceptions), but his actions are completely consistent. Thank you, Ibkay, for bringing out something that's been niggling around in the back of my mind for the last three years!
Mike Fulton
147. gwilherm
why does anybody speak of Mat's ability and its effects on his psyche?
do you really think he would stay the same with thousands of lives slowly invading his own mind?
would you be able to keep your own identity and not see it instead as some old friend?
Mat died (or rather started to die) at Rhuidean. You just witnessed the end of his journey to the (wise)man he's become.
Now all the Ta'veren are ready for battle.

So let's enjoy it!
Mike Fulton
148. Ray Rob.
Omg cant w8! finaly a solid release date, but so painfull that its still months away........digging for any scraps i can find!
Mike Fulton
149. Norin
Need to release this before the Mayan doomsday beliefs, just in case!!! Stop the editing and release it already!
Julian Augustus
150. Alisonwonderland
@122:
Yeah, you such an expert on Mat and know exactly how he should sound, yet you can't even get his name right, calling him Matt every time.

At least your comment is not as disrespectful to Sanderson as quite a few others earlier in the thread. I am tempted to think that all the so-called experts who are lining up to complain about how terrible Mat is written and how they can't stand to read such "garbage" must be wind-up merchants. Sadly, I think the more likely reason is that bashing Sanderson is a kind of ego trip for them...they want to appear to be sooo knowledgeable they would have done a better job writing Mat than Sanderson is doing. Sheesh.
Mike Fulton
151. Morpheus
Problem with the portrayal of Mat is this. BS - Mat is a lucky fool. RJ - Mat is a serious person who acts the fool.

The RJ Mat would never have let random person X see how many knives he carried while not noticing that random person X had some giant herons marked on his sword.

The RJ Mat would have talked about his backstory but would have no particular attachment to it. The RJ Mat would not keep his hat off and then put it back on for no reason.
Alice Arneson
152. Wetlandernw
Problem with people who complain about the Mat chapters is that they generally have no idea which parts were written by RJ and which by Brandon.
T C
153. Freelancer
Alisonwonderland @150

While I have no idea of the location of the commentor @122, there are foreign versions of the story which spell various names differently, and I believe the Norwegian uses Matt instead of Mat. I'll never figure out how they reconcile that with when his full name of Matrim is used, but there it is, so they may, perhaps, not be misspelling the name as they read it.

Don't get me wrong, I'm no cheerleader for those who bash Brandon over "the voice of Mat", especially since he's going through several shades of life change during the segment of the story taken over by Brandon. There's just no way to know the extent of what shifts in character Jordan planned for him, compared to any amount differently that Brandon wrote him. I prefer to simply enjoy the story.
Mike Fulton
154. Mezquic
I need to stop reading theses things, it's making the wait even harder to bear.
Mike Fulton
155. Majm
To all the negativity that comes from the classic "Sanderson doesn't write like RJ comments" or "Sanderson doesn't get Mat right"- I say, shut up, pull your head out of you know what and stop being flaming darkfriends. Sick and bloody tired of hearing these comments. Enjoy the story for what it is and let RJ rest in peace knowing that Sanderson was the right choice for finishing WoT and that Harriet has realised her husbands dream of finishing the tale.

We the fans know that WoT is the best bloody fantasy series ever- so let it be the best by shutting up your opinionsabout what RJ had set up for characters like Mat- you don't know what he was thinking but I bet his wife knew and I think we need to give her the credit as knowing thecins and outs of one of the most complex and fantasy series ever. If you guys want to go through the books with a magnifying glass looking for mistakes or differences between Sanderson's writing style and RJ's...then go ahead. I will be enjoying the long awaited finality to a masterpiece if fantasy writing. Just remember that for he small things the forsaken were born.

If you think you could do a better job than Sanderson and Harriet...go for it. While you are still scratching your ass trying to figure out where the comma goes or how to write in third person...the rest of us will have finished the series and re read 100 times before you work it out.
Alice Arneson
156. Wetlandernw
Majm - I've often thought it would be worth taking some scene, probably the first section of "Legends" where Mat is preparing for the Trustair venture, and challenging the naysayers to write that scene, getting in all the necessary points, and "getting Mat right." Then the rest of us could evaluate their efforts and see if, in a general consensus, any of them could come even close. :)

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