Character Development: Mat
Finally, after nearly 1100 pages of being a prankster who doesn't take anything seriously, we see a tremendous amount of development in Mat. In the space of a sentence:
"Mat, Verin must take you and that dagger to Tar Valon, so you can finally be free of it. You don't have any time to waste."
"Saving Egwene isn't wasting time!" But Mat's hand tightened on the dagger till it shook.
Rand and Mat, The Great Hunt, p. 556
Mat's always seemed like the kind of guy to cut and run, saving his own skin, whatever the circumstance. Now, even given a completely logical way out, he chooses to stay and work to rescue Egwene. Previously, Mat's always been the first one to dash off. Even accompanying Ingtar and Rand, he was focused on finding the dagger so he could get the link to it broken and be free. He never gave any indication otherwise of future plans. I must admit, I didn't think he had it in him to make the difficult, selfless choice.