Ashandarei are polearm weapons with a short sword blade on top. They can be used as for either stabbing or slashing. A two handed weapon, an ashandarei is best used with open space and is ineffective without room to move it.
In Rhuidean Mat obtained an ashandarei from the Eelfinn in an unusual way. When he asked to be free from their territory they left him to hang, rope attached to the ashandarei suspended between two branches of Avendesora. After being cut down by Rand, Mat decided to keep the unique weapon.
Mat's power-wrought ashandarei is a long, black-hafted spear with a foot-long "sword blade in place of a spear point, slightly curved and single-edged". The blade is adorned with two ravens, and the shaft has an inscription, written in the Old Tongue, in which Mat is now completely fluent. The inscription, translated, reads:
Thought is the arrow of time; memory never fades.
What was asked is given. The price is paid."
Since obtaining the weapon Mat has demonstrated that he is proficient in its usage, in part from his own familiarity with quarterstaves and more critically the familiarity contained in the memories granted by the Eelfinn.
In the Tower of Ghenjei Mat figures out that he was given everything he asked for. When he asked for a way out, he figured that was why he was hanged. He realizes that the hanging was a price and the weapon is a key. He rams it into the wall and creates a way out of the tower.
- Mat thinks about how Lan Mandragoran told him the spear is an Ashandarei in TFOH 3.
- Birgitte tells Mat the proper name for his spear sometime before ACOS 37.
- Tuon, likely due to the ravens inscribed on Mat's weapon, expresses interest in buying it from him, offering ten times what he paid. He responds by saying that the price wasn't gold, and that only a fool would pay it one time, let alone ten (regarding his near death experience when the Eelfinn left him hanging from Avendesora).
Popular Culture and Parallels
- Contributing to Mat's connection to Odin are two ravens featured on the blade, mirroring Huginn (thought) and Muninn (memory), Odin's ravens. This connection is made even stronger by the spear's inscription which includes the line, "Thought is the arrow of time; memory never fades." And, even further reinforcing the resemblance, he lost his left eye at one point, the same as Odin did.
- The closest real-life examples of an "ashandarei" are pole-arms such as the Japanese naginata, the Russian sovnya, the Chinese guan dao and the European glaive and voulge.