The Dragon Reborn - Chapter 40 [#105]

Character Development: Mat Cauthon

    Mat and Thom arrive in Aringill, where Cairhienin civil war is pushing refugees in searching for food and shelter just as it's driving prices for those same amenities skywards. 

    The two girls sobbed into their mother's skirts while the boy fought his tears.  The woman's deep-set eyes rested on Mat for a moment, studying his face, before drifting on; they looked as if she wished she could weep too.  On impulse he dug a fistful of loose coins out of his pocket without looking to see what they were and pressed them into her hand.  She gave a start of surprise, stared at the gold and silver in her hand with incomprehension that quickly turned to a smile, and opened her mouth, tears of gratitude filling her eyes.

    "Buy them something to eat," he said quickly, and hurried on before she could speak. 

Mat, The Dragon Reborn, p. 390 - 391

    It was even further to Lugard than to Caemlyn, and Mat suddenly remembered that hard end of bread.  And [Aludra] had said she had no money.  The fireworks would buy no meals until she found someone who could afford them.  She had never even looked at the gold and silver that had spilled from his pockets when he fell; it glittered and sparkled among the straw in the lantern light.  Ah, Light, I cannot let her go hungry, I suppose.  He scooped up as much as he could reach quickly.

    "Uh ... Aludra?  I have plenty, you can see.  I thought perhaps ... ?"  He held out the coins toward her.  "I can always win more."

Mat, The Dragon Reborn, p. 398 - 399

    Mat's inclination for his own self-interest is slowly receding.  It's not simply his generosity with his coin, but his trust in himself that he can do without it, can earn more if needed, or even survive and thrive if need be.  He puts up a hardened exterior to stave of Thom's questions and his own embarrassment at his brash actions, but it's also obvious that Thom respects the decisions Mat makes, and the man he's becoming.  As for Mat, well, change requires an adjustment period to appreciate the new normal.

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