Monday, May 14, 2012
WARNING: CONTAINS SPOILERS FOR TOWERS OF MIDNIGHT
The gholam told Mat that he is its priority. This probably stems from Moridin’s order to the Forsaken in Knife of Dreams to kill Mat and Perrin ASAP. Of course, Moridin could be the direct commander of the gholam, but more likely it is one of the Forsaken working in Ebou Dar – Moghedien, Graendal, or Semirhage, although Semirhage had recently been balefired at this time. The gholam said it was instructed to kill those close to Mat to lure him out and perhaps it didn’t lie. This is a recent “order”, since it knew Mat loved Tuon. Mat deduces it learned this by spying on or interrogating people in the camp and not from its controller. That would mean the order was a general instruction to kill those close to Mat, and it filled in the blanks as to who those were. It may not have had recent contact with its controller (which makes it possible that its controller was Semirhage).
The foxhead medallion is more than a symbol of Mat’s luck since it literally prevented the gholam from killing him. Ironically it makes Mat immune from the One Power and protects him from someone also immune to the One Power. When pushed or hunted too far, Mat overcomes his risk aversion and stubbornly retaliates. For the gholam, Mat reached this point finally because of the threat to Tuon.
Mat fighting the gholam in the dark parallels Gawyn fighting the bloodknives in the dark. Both their assailants were very fast and very good at hiding and avoiding notice. Gawyn managed better against his three than Mat did against one. This is not meant to indicate their respective fighting skills, but that of their foes.
Teslyn is clever in quickly using indirect weaves on the gholam. It helped that she saw Mat’s medallion at work back in the menagerie.
The contrast between Joline and Teslyn shows how appearances mislead. Teslyn is physically unattractive, and used to being rejected, yet she is better hearted than most Aes Sedai (most women in the series?), as it turns out. Joline is pretty but spoiled, and is still as immature as Teslyn said back in A Crown of Swords. Mat used to set more store on how women look in his judgment of women. Joline is in a white dress here, but she is not likely to wear white since it is the mourning colour. She brings herself to ask Mat for horses, though it was an effort, and then couldn’t resist advising him not to swear, which spurs him to swear more than ever, especially to Elayne. His letter is so outrageous that Norry finally shows it to her and this leads to her finally granting Mat and co an audience. This is a nice example of the compounding of circumstances.