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The following is a chronology of events for Mat Cauthon organised by book.

The Eye of the World

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The oldest of three, Mat was something of a black sheep in Emond's Field. Though he, Rand al'Thor, and Perrin Aybara got into trouble quite a bit, Mat was generally the force behind it. He seemed to compete with Dav Ayellin to see who could get into the most trouble. He never understood how his mother always seemed to know what he was up to; it never occurred to him that his sisters kept her informed.

A joker and prankster, he can be very charming with women and people in authority when he wants to be, and is fond of drinking and gambling; he also swears a lot. He was led away on Winternight by Moiraine Damodred with his friends, and it was revealed that he, Rand, and Perrin were all ta'veren, the focal points around which the Wheel of Time weaves.[1]

On their journey, they stopped in Shadar Logoth to lose the Trollocs chasing them. Mat takes Perrin and Rand to explore the city looking for treasure. While exploring, they met a man calling himself Mordeth, claiming to be a treasure hunter in need of help to carry a large amount of treasure.[2] Heedless of the danger, Mat followed Mordeth immediately, and Perrin and Rand, unwilling to leave him behind, were forced to follow after him. After Mordeth led them to a room full of various treasures, Rand realized that Mordeth lacked a shadow. Upon announcing this, Mordeth quickly reverted to his true form and vanished through a wall. Unnoticed by Perrin or Rand, Mat picked up a ruby-hilted dagger which he carried with him on the flight from Shadar Logoth, not knowing that everything in the damned city was cursed, even the pebbles on the ground.[3]

Mat

As time went on, the dagger made Mat increasingly sick, as well as inflaming his paranoia and hostility. On this journey the others also notice that he is able to speak the Old Tongue at a certain level, but assume that it is due to his Manetheren blood. This explains why he used a Manetheren battle cry before taking the dagger.[3][4]

The Great Hunt

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Later in Fal Dara, Padan Fain, a darkfriend that was chasing the group (and was possessed by Mordeth in Shadar Logoth during the chase), stole Mat's dagger and the prized Horn of Valere.[5] Mat needed the dagger to sustain himself long enough to have the Aes Sedai break the curse. He journeyed with Rand, Perrin, Verin, Loial, and Ingtar first to Cairhien, where Rand had secured the Horn until Darkfriends stole it back. The journey then led them to Lord Barthanes' manor where Loial found a Waygate, and it became clear that Padan Fain had gone to Falme.[6][7][8] In the beginning of the journey, Mat discovered that Rand was the Dragon Reborn, and felt even more estranged from his old friend.[9]

In Falme, which had been overrun by the Seanchan, Mat blew the Horn of Valere, summoning heroes from beyond the grave to fight for him so he and his companions could escape.[10] He became bound to the horn: it will work only as a regular horn for anyone else, so long as Mat lives; he is destined to blow it at Tarmon Gai'don.

The Dragon Reborn

He journeyed to Tar Valon with Verin, Nynaeve al'Meara, Egwene al'Vere, and Elayne Trakand.[11] Upon reaching the White Tower he was almost dead from the dagger's blight, but the Aes Sedai broke the bond between him and the knife, almost killing him in the process of Healing.[12] When he awoke, he found that, for a moment, he could recall the Battle of the Tarendrelle River though it quickly slipped away to join several other holes in his memory. Also, Lanfear payed him a visit while he was recovering[13]

He left Tar Valon soon after his healing to take a letter from Elayne to her mother, Queen Morgase in Caemlyn.[14] Thom Merrilin, whom Mat found in an inn, decided to join Mat for no other apparent reason other than that it fit his mood.[15] In Caemlyn, Mat overheard Rahvin, disguised as Lord Gaebril, plotting to kill Elayne, Egwene, and Nynaeve in Tear—most notably Elayne, in order to aid his plot to secure the throne of Andor.[16]

Mat, from a Japanese translation book cover

After delivering Elayne's letter to Morgase, he and Thom left for Tear.[17] There, they found the girls taken captive inside the Stone of Tear by the Black Ajah. Mat inadvertently blew a hole in a wall of the Stone when trying to cause a diversion with fireworks Aludra had given him as thanks for her rescue. He and Juilin then mounted their rescue of the girls through this hole. Unintentionally, they aided Rand in taking the Stone of Tear, while saving the three girls from the Black Ajah (for which he didn't receive a proper thanks for some time to come).[18][19][20] After Rand secured Tear, Mat had intended to leave as soon as possible, but kept being pulled by his ta'veren link with Rand.[21]

The Shadow Rising

Having taken to gambling with young Tairen nobles, Mat was caught in a Bubble of evil in which his playing cards came to life and tried to kill him.[22] During the Trolloc attack on the Stone, Mat killed a Gray Man that had come after him, and then was saved from a Myrddraal by a group of Trollocs.[21][23]

Mat wandered through the Stone's collection of angreal and ter'angreal, and later decided to enter the Twisted redstone doorframe which Egwene had told him about. The ter'angreal doorway took him to the land of the Aelfinn, snakelike creatures with oracular powers. After answering Mat's questions, and possibly in a panic about multiple ta'veren inside their world (Rand - as well as Moiraine - passed through the doorframe during this same time period), they prophesied that:

  • He would go to Rhuidean.[24]
  • If he does not go to Rhuidean he will die.[24]
  • He would die, because he will have sidestepped fate and would be killed by "those who do not want that fate fulfilled."[24]

Mat spars with Gawyn and Galad on the White Tower Grounds, by Ariel Burgess Official Wheel of Time Artist

He then refuses to leave when told, and while he is fighting is given more answers for asking what fate they were talking about before being thrown out.

  • To marry the Daughter of the Nine Moons.[24]
  • To die and live again, and live once more as part of what was.[24]
  • To give up half the light of the world to save the world.[24]

He thereafter learned that Rand required an interpreter in the world of the Aelfinn. Mat, however, was able to understand the dialect of the Old Tongue the Aelfinn were speaking.[24] A bit unnerved, he followed Rand to Rhuidean, in the Aiel Waste, along with Egwene, Moiraine, and Lan. When Rand was granted permission to enter Rhuidean, Mat also asked to enter.[25] Only after Rand told the Wise Ones that if he were to enter, then Mat could enter as well, did they consent.

In the city Rhuidean, while Rand discovered his Aiel heritage, Mat found another red stone doorway. Still feeling cheated concerning the answers he received from the Aelfinn, he decided to enter. However, this redstone ter'angreal brought him instead to the land of the Eelfinn, who resemble foxes instead of snakes. He was expecting to get answers to more questions from Aelfinn, so when the Eelfinn offered him wishes instead, Mat glared at them, feeling cheated. His wishes were:

  • To have the holes in his memories filled,[26]
  • To be free from the One Power and Aes Sedai,[26]
  • To be away from the Eelfinn and return to Rhuidean if they would not answer his questions.[26]

Mat in front of Avendesora

Since Mat did not set the price, the Eelfinn set a price for him, apparently taking delight while calling him a fool. As granted, Mat now has the memories of countless historical military leaders, thus privy to over a thousand years of cultural and military knowledge; he has a foxhead medallion that causes flows of the One Power to simply dissolve when applied to him; and Mat was found by Rand hanging by the neck in Rhuidean, suspended from a black-hafted spear set across two tree branches.[26] Rand managed to revive Mat; however, Mat still has a scar around his neck, which he constantly covers with a scarf when not alone. He also decided to keep the spear, actually a naginata-like weapon called an ashandarei, which has become his signature weapon.[27]

The Fires of Heaven

A side effect of his filled-in memories is that he is now completely fluent in the Old Tongue (whereas before he would only occasionally shout a few phrases in the language in the heat of battle), although often with varying accents.[28] Mat is poisoned somewhere after Rhuidean from being slobbered on by a Darkhound, which Rand kills with balefire (undoing the actual poisoning to a degree and preventing Mat's death).[29] Mat faces death once more during Rand's invasion of Caemlyn; he was killed, along with Aviendha and Asmodean, by Rahvin's channeling.[30] However, shortly afterward, Rand killed Rahvin with enough balefire to undo those deaths and permanently kill Rahvin. This fulfills the first Aelfinn prophecy; therefore releasing Mat as the current Hornsounder and breaking his link with the Horn of Valere.[31]

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Speaking to Rand about his claim to great age as the reincarnation of Lews Therin, Moiraine says, "You may have the memories of a man four centuries old, Rand al’Thor, but that does not make you ancient. Otherwise, Matrim Cauthon would be the patriarch of us all.” [32]

"I'm a gambler, a farmboy, and I'm here to take command of your bloody army!"
   —Mat[33]
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Despite having a substantial aversion to being a warrior, Mat is now a Marshal-General to the Band of the Red Hand as a result of his memories from dead men. He remembers battles and strategies which have been lost for centuries. He is also extremely lucky at (especially games of) random chance.

"Dovie'andi se tovya sagain (It's time to toss the dice)"
   —Mat[34]

At games like dice or cards, he wins almost all of the time. However, the situation or game must be random chance; in games of skill and order, such as Stones, he must rely on his memories and own wit for help. It should be noted however, in certain cases, Mat can lose if it is the best outcome. Rand and Perrin are also known to alter chance as ta'veren, but the effect is not so consistently beneficial specifically in their favor; a man near Rand may fall out a fourth-story window and land without a scratch, but another may trip on a tuft of grass and break his neck.

"A beautiful battle is one you don't have to fight."
   —Mat[35]

Mat's memories raise questions as to the nature of reincarnation through the Wheel; Mat remembers dying, "more times than he could count," but whether his memories are from many individual lives, or are the memories of a single person who has been re-woven into the Pattern many times, most recently as Mat Cauthon, has not been established. It's also possible that the memories are those who previously received wishes from the Eelfinn, as they rummage through the sensations of their visitors.

Mat leading the Band of the Red Hand

"Always leave a way out, unless you really want to find out how hard a man can fight when he's nothing to lose."
   —Mat

Just before the Battle of Cairhien against the Shaido, Mat attempted to leave Rand's company permanently; but luck, chance and, alarmingly, a sense of responsibility drew him increasingly and unwittingly into the fight; in the end, his luck, battle lore, and sense of duty to those in danger took him to the forefront of the conflict, where he personally slew Couladin, the Shaido leader, and helped bring victory for the Dragon Reborn. He also gained the allegiance of a number of soldiers who would follow him into the Pit of Doom if he so led them. This new army is known as Shen an Calhar, the Band of the Red Hand, and is personally loyal to Mat, believing that with his luck at their head, they cannot be beaten.

Band of the Red Hand flag

The original Band of the Red Hand dates back to Manetheren, and was a unit of legendary heroes during the Trolloc Wars. They were the last to fall, guarding King Aemon when Manetheren died. The huge battles during the Trolloc Wars, accompanied by armies of 300,000 men or more, required a detailed command structure to keep everyone and everything from falling apart.

Lord of Chaos

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After doing a lot of organizing and plotting for Rand, Mat traveled to Salidar to "save" Egwene if she wanted it and hand a letter to Thom which Rand had given to him (the letter from Moiraine), but more importantly to see Elayne safely to Caemlyn so she could take up the throne of Andor. Aviendha accompanied him to Salidar as she had toh to Elayne and desired to see it ended. However, once he arrived to Salidar, he found Egwene to be the Amrylin Seat of the rebel Aes Sedai, and Elayne adamant about not going to Caemlyn as she had other business she felt was more important than the throne. Since Mat promised to see her safely to Caemlyn, he had nothing to do but follow her to Ebou Dar and keep her alive. Right before leaving, Mat recognized that the other Aes Sedai were not treating Egwene with the respect she was due, and so gave her every honor deserving of her title--something Egwene greatly appreciated.

A Crown of Swords

Mat then traveled to Ebou Dar with Elayne, Nynaeve, and Aviendha, and aided them in recovering the Bowl of the Winds before they were forced to flee by the invasion of the Seanchan. However, Mat, along with his soldiers, remained behind in Ebou Dar to find Olver who had separated from their group to explore the city and couldn't be abandoned by them, and Mat was then injured during the Seanchan incursion badly enough to not be able to travel.

Mat portrait by Jeremy Saliba

The Path of Daggers

Mat does not appear in this book, mainly because he is recovering from his injuries.

Winter's Heart

Queen Tylin quite enjoyed Mat's "company," although the feeling was not exactly mutual, as Mat was used to being the chaser and not the chased. She repeatedly tied him to the bed, and engaged in non-consensual sexual activities with him. He escaped Ebou Dar after it was conquered by the Seanchan, with Thom, Egeanin, and Bayle Domon, and managed to rescue two Aes Sedai from captivity. However, before they were able to make a clean escape, Tuon, a Seanchan High Lady, encountered Mat, and they had a tussle. At first, Mat was simply going to tie her up and leave her in the stables. However, when Egeanin entered and named her Daughter of the Nine Moons, the woman he knew he was fated to marry, he could not leave her behind. He named her his wife three times, unknowingly completing half of the Seanchan marriage ceremony. Tuon simply smiled and let herself be taken. Mat and his coterie escape Seanchan territory by means of Valan Luca's Grand Traveling Show and Magnificent Display of Marvels and Wonders.

Crossroads of Twilight and Knife of Dreams

During their journey Mat began to court Tuon in earnest, seeming to finally accept his fate. Her responses were never anything less than opaque, though, and when they finally did marry, just before her return to Ebou Dar, it seemed almost entirely a political match on her behalf, despite the fact that it was clear that Mat had sincere feelings for her. Mat aided her escape by distracting the armies sent against her using some of the Deathwatch Guards as disguise. As the prince-consort of the heir to the Crystal Throne of Seanchan, Mat is now known amongst the Seanchan as the Prince of the Ravens.

Mat, from a Japanese translation book cover

The Gathering Storm

After winning the battle with the Seanchan and sending his newlywed wife Daughter of the Nine Moons back to Ebou Dar to solidify her rule of the Seanchan, Mat continues on his journey to leave Altara and travel to Caemlyn. He expects assistance in Caemlyn to develop new weapons, resupply, and prepare a rescue mission for Moiraine at the Tower of Ghenjei. After finally entering Andor, with the threat of Seanchan pursuers more or less past, Mat is acting strangely to his new status of "husband" and the accompanying "nobility" title as the Prince of the Ravens. His band has a smooth journey save for one near-fatal night in the cursed village of Hinderstap.

After escaping the horrors of Hinderstap, Mat's band is visited by Verin Mathwin, much to his amazement at being found in the mountains of Andor. Verin explains that she had been pulled by Mat's ta'veren ability. Verin hands Mat one of the sealed letters, from among several she has, and offers to open a gateway to Caemlyn. Mat is suspiciously aware that Aes Sedai usually have strings and conditions attached for their help, and on cue Verin states her conditions. He must either read the sealed letter in exactly ten days or burn it and wait for her in Caemlyn for thirty days. Mat accepts, not intending to read the letter, and his band instantly travels to, or near Caemlyn.

Matrim Cauthon from the CCG

Towers of Midnight

Mat remains in Caemlyn, deciding not to open Verin's letter. Instead he begins to wonder about the Tower of Ghenjei. He tries a few times to see Elayne, but is never accepted, because master Norry thought he was just a normal mercenary captain. Mat decides to go under cover in Caemlyn's taverns and inns to figure out who is handing out pictures of Perrin and himself, by hiding his face and going under the alias Master Crimson. Instead, Mat overhears of murders happening throughout the city; recognizing the killer as the gholam, Mat writes a hasty letter to Elayne.

That night, the gholam comes for Mat in his tent, but is forced to flee as help arrives. Mat finally gets to meet with Elayne. He strikes a deal with her: she gets her city's bell founders to get to work on his Dragons, and he is conscripted into fighting for Caemlyn under a renewable contract. They also agree that only his troops are allowed to use the Dragons. In return, Elayne receives Mat's medallion for three days to study, and a fraction of the Dragons.

Mat then plans out how to deal with the gholam, who is threatening the lives of those close to him. Elayne manages to use her talent to create copies of the foxhead medallion, though they work to a much lesser extent. Nonetheless, Mat takes the first two copies, along with the original, and he goes out to confront the gholam. He has his Redarms block off the city street as he and the gholam begin to fight. Using his medallion that is tied to his blade, and his hidden copies that are hiding on him, he fights the gholam, forcing it into a building that Talmanes had set on fire when he dropped a lantern in it. He forces it to a room containing a hidden Skimming gateway created by Sumeko and Mat kicks it into the abyss of the portal, defeating it once and for all.

When Teslyn with others prepare to depart for Tar Valon, Mat asks her to tell the Amyrlin that the White Tower has something of his (the Horn of Valere) and that he will soon return to reclaim it. After being months apart, Mat finally catches up with Perrin again in The Happy Throng in Caemlyn. There they discuss the feats they have carried out and the respective wives they have married. Mat tells Perrin about possible assassination attempts and to try not to sleep in the same tent every night. Mat then discusses his plan to rescue Moiraine from the Tower of Ghenjei.

Mat (in the green) with Jain Farstrider

Mat, Thom, and Noal Travel to the Tower's base. Using a bronze knife, they carve the symbol of Snakes and Foxes into the tower, creating an opening, and venture within. Once inside, they begin to walk through the tower. They quickly find that logic and physics are indeed completely different, and that they would never be able to find their way by normal means. Mat decides to test his luck and roll dice to make his way through the tower. They follow the dice, having to fend off Eelfinn attacks. They eventually reach the Chamber of Bonds, where they find Moiraine trapped and suspended in mist. Thom frees Moiraine and Mat is forced to bargain with the Eelfinn to leave with Moiraine and receive unbarred passage out of the world. Realizing the meaning of the Aelfinn's predictions, he gives up half the light of the world in order to save the world, which means giving up his left eye in order to save Moiraine. (Interestingly, Mat's loss of an eye correlates to a number of famous one-eyed generals from antiquity, including Hannibal and Philip II, father of Alexander the Great.)

After this, they begin to make their way through the tower, Mat having bargained a straight way out. However, the Aelfinn were not part of the bargain and begin chasing the group. Knowing they have to double back between corridors in order to escape, but with the Aelfinn too hot on their trail, Noal, revealing himself as Jain Farstrider, sacrifices himself in order to allow the others enough leeway to get away.

Mat and Thom decide to attempt escaping using the Aelfinn's red archway to escape, but when they reach its location, they discover that it had been destroyed. As the Aelfinn close in on them, Mat remembers the requests that he was granted by the Eelfinn so long ago. He had asked for his memories to be filled, and so they had been and he wanted to be free of the One Power, so he was granted the foxhead medallion. Lastly, he demanded a way out, so they had given him his ashandarei. Realizing that the spear is in fact a way out, he uses it to draw the same symbol that they had used to enter on the wall, creating a new exit out of the tower, and escaping the Finn once and for all. Outside the Tower he is stunned to see the affection held between Thom and Moiraine as they begin to discuss marriage with each other.

Mat the Gambler

A Memory of Light

Mat & Tuon, by Manderson

Mat sneaks into Ebou Dar.[36] He tries to get a pulse of the city while sorting through his feelings for Tuon. Upon learning that her highest ranking general is trying to assassinate her, he decides to do something about it- in a way that only Mat can pull off- by scaling up four [37] floors along the outside of the Tarasin Palace in order to rescue his wife. As he sneaks into his wife's room, an arrow shaft just misses him. Selucia waits in the Empresses chambers, having killed two assassins already. She grudgingly guides Mat to her current whereabouts, which are in the Tarasin gardens. Mat makes his way there and watches Tuon, as she practices combat forms, surrounded by the Deathwatch guards. His sight keeps slipping off a gardener there. By instinct he throws a knife at the gardener, who is actually a Gray Man. The Deathwatch Guard charge forward and pin Mat to the ground, having not even noticed the would-be assassin. Tuon tells them to let Mat go. She then disrobes and the two passionately kiss. Mat asks if Tuon will ever love him. She replies that an Empress never loves, but she admits that it is good to see Mat. They then spend the night together.

Rand appears before Tuon, unarmed and shielded, and admits that he used Mat to track her down. While staring at possible execution, Rand and Mat begin comparing exploits, trying to one-up the other. After Rand concludes that the Cleansing of saidin trumps all Mat's accomplishments, he begins to rip apart Tuon's logic behind her right to rule; forcing her to admit that he is Dragon Reborn and that he held dominion over these lands well before Artur Hawkwing began the Consolidation, as Lews Therin Telamon. He gives her a powerful omen to support his Peace, by singing a song that causes the garden to grow right before their eyes; a song that Mat thinks sounds like an old tavern song. After disputing the borders of Almoth Plain and the Marath'damane captured in the main land, Rand and the Empress agree to sign the Dragon's Peace, and the Seanchan decide to enter the Last Battle by helping the overwhelmed forces of the White Tower. Before Mat leaves, he tells Rand that he saved Moiraine, thereby beating the cleansing of the source. Rand laughs. [38]

Matrim Cauthon - The Son of Battles

Tuon promotes Mat to rodholder which means that if the surviving leaders of the army shall die he will become the leader of the army, making him third in line to command the Seanchan forces. She also renames him Knotai. A messenger arrives stating that the Aes Sedai army has suffered a grievous loss. Mat can sense that Fortuona is deliberating on whether to help or not and pleads with her, reminding her of the Dragon's treaty she signed. Fortuona places her faith in Mat and allows him to takes charge of the army, and prepare them to defend the White Tower forces.

Mat is given command of all the Light's forces after Hessalam uses compulsion on the Great captains. He organizes a final stand at the Fields of Merrilor, where he defeats Demandred's forces made of the combined might of the Shadow and Shara. In particular, during the Last Battle, the Light's forces are positioned primarily on the East side of a river while a Trolloc army approaches from the North and a combined Trolloc/Sharan army approaches from the West. Mat's strategy during the Last Battle is to occupy (and then deliberately give up) the Heights, while focusing on annihilating the Northern Trolloc army first. Mat allocates only token resistance to Demandred damming the river, and coordinates with Tuon to feign a Seanchan retreat, which prompts Demandred to move the Western Sharan/Trolloc army to leave the Heights and begin to crush the Light's forces (specifically, the Andorans) and move further East over where the river used to flow prior to the damming. At this point, Mat moves various armies (Borderlanders / Two Rivers archers, etc.) back to the Heights to surround the Western Sharan/Trolloc army. A quick series of actions including (i) Lan killing Demandred, (ii) the Horn of Valere being blown, (iii) un-damming of the river by Hinderstap volunteers, (iv) Egwene killing Mazrim Taim and wiping out the Sharan channelers and (v) the return of the Dragons shooting out of gateways from a remote location, and (vi) the return of the Seanchan army that earlier feigned retreat cause the Sharan/Trolloc army to be totally destroyed.

Matrim Cauthon by Ariel Burgess, Official Wheel of Time Artist

During the Last Battle, the Horn of Valere was sounded by Olver. Allegedly, Mat's death and subsequent revival in Caemlyn during the fight against Rahvin broke his bond with the Horn, allowing another to sound it. This is later clarified by the Heroes of the Horn at the Last Battle; Rahvin originally killed Mat during the invasion of Caemlyn, but was revived when Rand used balefire to erase Rahvin from existence before he had killed Mat.

After the battle at the Fields of Merrilor, Mat travels with Olver to Shayol Ghul via to'raken which he claims is the second worst idea he's ever had (kidnapping Tuon was the worst). There he finds Rand's forces overrun and nearly beaten, and all sides under attack by Mashadar. While Mat is talking to Perrin Mashadar touches Mat, who feigns his death as he discovers that he is immune to its effects on account of having suffered them previously. Padan Fain, who is calling himself Shaisam, finds Mat lying on the ground, pretending to be dead. Mat rises up, surprising him, steals the dagger and rams it between Shaisam's ribs in to the heart. Mat kills Mashadar's host, Padan Fain, and Mashadar is destroyed. Mat then walks away leaving the dagger to melt away along with Fain.

Mat return to Merrilor and the Seanchan camp where he meets up with Tuon. Mat raises his hand and Aludra launches fireworks above the camp. Tuon informs Mat that she is pregnant with his child. Now that she has an heir she could kill Mat if she wants. Mat grins and asks her 'Tell me, do you ever play dice?'.

References

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