This subsection contains information on and discussion of questions relating to Rand, Mat, and Perrin.
In [ACOS: 14, White Plumes, 280] Mat acquires a signet ring, by pure "luck." The ring is gold with a dark oval carved stone, and is in the "long style"; the stone is as long as the joint of Mat's finger [ACOS: 14, White Plumes, 279]. Here is a description of the carving: "Inside a border of large crescents, a running fox seemed to have startled two birds into flight." [ACOS: 16, A Touch on the Cheek, 300] We get a more specific description in WH: "...a running fox and two ravens in flight, all surrounded by crescent moons..." [WH: 17, Pink Ribbons, 371].
The fact that Mat was "forced" into buying the ring by his luck made us suspect that the ring would play some important role in his future. Most people thought that this role would have something to do with the Seanchan (and the DotNM) even before we knew for sure that the birds were ravens and the crescents were moons. (Ravens are an Imperial sigil to the Seanchan [WH: 18, An Offer, 387].) Jason Kraftcheck observes, "Ravens for Seanchan, moons for The Daughter of the Nine Moons, and Tylin later refers to Mat as a fox [WH: 31, What the Aelfinn Said, 582]."
When Tuon and Mat meet for the first time in WH, she inspects him closely and seems to pay special attention to his ring [WH: 17, Pink Ribbons, 371]. It is immediately after examining the signet that Tuon offers to buy Mat from Tylin, and later she demands to know why he isn't wearing it [COT: 3, A Fan of Colors, 140]. Coincidence?
We discover in KoD that Tuon's damane, Lidya Foretold the following: "Beware the fox that makes the ravens fly, for he will marry you and carry you away. Beware the man who remembers Hawkwing's face, for he will marry you and set you free. Beware the man of the red hand, for him you will marry and none other." [KOD 36: Under an Oak] Tuon recognized the ring as marking her future husband, which explains why she was so willing to be kidnapped and never tried to escape Mat's custody.
Could Mat's phenomenal luck come from the dice ter'angreal described in [TDR: 25, Questions, 237-238]? Not bloody likely. Here's why:
Note, though, that the dice ter'angreal could probably be used to counteract the probability-twisting effect of ta'veren, e.g. Mat's luck.
In [TDR: 12, The Amyrlin Seat, 118], Verin and SS are discussing Mat and the Horn of Valere. Verin says, "So long as Mat lives, the Horn of Valere is no more than a horn to anyone else. If he dies, of course, another can sound and forge a new link between man and Horn." Later, SS tells Mat, "For anyone else, it is only a horn - so long as you live" [TDR: 20, Visitations, 182].
From [TSR: 15, Into the Doorway, 177]:
[Snaky Answers to "What fate?"]:
"To die, and live again, and live once more a part of what was!"
There are two possible incidents in which Mat could be said to have "died and lived again." The first is in Rhuidean [TSR: 26, The Dedicated, 306-307], when the Foxes hang him from the Tree of Life and Rand resuscitates him. The second time is at the end of TFOH, when Mat gets blasted by Rahvin's lightning in Rand's attack on Caemlyn. He is "brought back to life" when Rand BFs Rahvin [TFOH: 55, The Threads Burn, 676]. So, given that Mat did die, is he still linked to the Horn?
If the Caemlyn incident is the only time Mat Died and Lived Again, then he is probably still linked to the Horn, due to the way BF works: Mat gets toasted, the link to the Horn breaks. Rand BFs Rahvin, making Mat not-having-died, and thereby unmaking the destruction of the link to the Horn. If the Rhuidean incident counts as Mat having died and lived again, then the question of his being linked to the Horn is still up in the air-- does restoring him to life restore the link?
It turns out, though, that the latter question is a moot point, because RJ has clarified the matter.
Bill Garrett's report of RJ's appearance at Balticon 30 (April 1996) mentions: "(Jordan noted that Mat's death by lightning and subsequent undoing of his death when Rand balefired Rahvin, fulfills a prophecy about living, dying, and then living again.)" Tim Kington reports that, when asked how long Mat had hung from the Tree of Life in Rhuidean, RJ replied, "Long enough to be almost dead" (emphasis mine) [post-COT signing, Dayton, OH, January 16, 2004].
So, it is the Caemlyn incident and not the Rhuidean one that fulfills the prophecy. Given that and the reasoning above, it seems that yes, Mat is still linked to the Horn.
[Don Harlow, Joe Shaw, Pam Korda, Leigh Butler, Jennifer Liang]
When Mat went into the Red Door of Rhuidean, he asked for the holes in his memory to be filled [TSR: 24, Rhuidean, 281]. He ended up with more than he bargained for. The holes were filled with "historical" memories, memories from people who lived between the time of the Trolloc Wars and the time of Hawkwing. In every memory, he is a military man, and most of his memories are of fighting and battles:
"Slices of other men's lives packed his head now, thousands of them, sometimes only a few hours, sometimes years altogether though in patches, memories of courts and combats stretching for well over a thousand years, from long before the Trolloc Wars to the final battle of Artur Hawkwing's rise. All his now, or they might as well be." [LOC: 5, A Different Dance, 113]
There were essentially two theories offered for this:
Johannes Rydh reports that RJ answered this question in a post-WH Dromen & Demonen chat:
RJ: Mat's memories are NOT from his ancestors. He said [he wanted] to have the holes in his head filled but he did not specify exactly what he wanted them filled with and so he received scraps and bits and pieces of memories stolen from other men.
He explained the idea more fully in the interview included in the online version of COT's Prologue:
Q: Are all of Mat's memories from his past lives?
RJ: No, Mat's "old" memories are not from his past lives at all. The "sickness" he got from the Shadar Logoth dagger resulted in holes in his memory. He found whole stretches of his life that seemed to be missing. When he passed through the "doorframe" ter'angreal in Rhuidean, one of the things he said - not knowing that the rules here were different than in the other ter'angreal he had used - was that he wanted the holes in his memory filled up, meaning that he wanted to recover his own memories. In this place, however, it was not a matter of asking questions and receiving answers, but of striking bargains for what you want. What he received for that particular demand was memories gathered by the people on that side of the ter'angreal, memories from many men, all long dead, from many cultures. And since not everyone passing by has the nerve to journey through a ter'angreal to some other world, the memories he receieved were those of adventurers and soldiers and men of daring.
This corresponds with Cyndane's thought in WH about being held by the Aelfinn AND the Eelfinn, which implied that there must be some sort of connection between the Snaky place and the Foxy place. According to Moiraine in TSR, the AS who studied the Snake door in Tear said that the Snakes (the Aelfinn) feed on experiences and emotions - memories, in other words [TSR: 15, Into the Doorway, 179].
The Fox doorway may have been stuck in Rhuidean since the Breaking, but the Snake doorway was easily accessible and in regular use in Mayene and elsewhere during most of that time until the Tairens squirreled it away three hundred years ago [TSR: 6, Doorways, 95-96]. It's not unreasonable to suppose (and in fact it may even have been stated somewhere) that the Firsts of Mayene would let anyone who wanted to risk it go through the doorway.
Thus, the Foxes probably got the memories they gave Mat from the Snakes, who got them from the kind of guys willing to step through a mysterious doorway to another dimension just for the hell of it.
So that makes sense, at least as far as it goes. However, it does not explain why Mat had historical flashbacks of a military nature before he went to Rhuidean. (Consider the scene in TDR where he is Healed in the Tower [TDR: 19, Awakening, 167-168].) The COT interview also seems to contradict a statement RJ made to John Hamby at a post-TPOD signing: "Gender/soul rebirth, he said, is best illustrated by Mat and Birgitte."
The easiest (and most charitable) way to explain this discrepancy is to assume that it is not a discrepancy at all - that in fact, both theories are correct. In other words, Mat got most of his memories from the Foxes, who got them from the Snakes, who got them from other men, but Mat's pre-Rhuidean historical memories came from memories of earlier lives.
This is supported by the fact that Mat's pre-Rhuidean memories seem to concern Manetheren exclusively, while his later memories are from all over the place. Also recall Moiraine's talk of the "Old Blood" coming through in the descendants of Manetheren in TEOTW. Mat's Old Blood/racial memory tendencies could explain why the Snakes addressed him so ("Go to Rhuidean, son of battles!"). The Snakes' sending him to Rhuidean - where they may very well have known exactly what their Foxy buddies would smush into Mat's head - may simply have been a recognition of that archetype, maybe their way of fulfilling it or bringing it to its full potential.
There has been a lot of speculation that Mat is the reincarnation of an ancient king of Manetheren. However, there is nothing that really supports this theory. Though he does form the Band of the Red Hand near the end of TFOH, which was supposedly a band of heroes who went down defending Aemon himself, this suggests more that he was a guardian or advisor to the king than a king himself.
This was emphasized earlier on, in TSR. When Jasin Natael is singing a song about a battle at a river and how the enemy of Manetheren had mercy on the defeated Manetherenites, because they were so brave, etc. Mat remembers himself, as the king's advisor, being killed by that foe's treachery; and then he remembers himself, somebody else, seeing that foe, older and grayer, being killed in another battle somewhere else. [TSR: 37, Imre Stand, 424-425].
So it's very doubtful that Mat was Aemon, or any other king of Manetheren.
How did the Foxes get memories of people dying?
Mat comments in [COT: 3, A Fan of Colors, 141] that he hates remembering dying, and some people have wondered how the Foxes/Snakes got a memory from someone that clearly had to date from after that person had gone through the doorway ter'angreal.
As Jamie Bowden explains, however, time cannot be linear for the Finn, because otherwise they wouldn't be able to answer questions about your future. So clearly they get to rummage through your whole life, past and future, in one visit.
During a ride with Tuon, Mat becomes overwhelmed with the memories of another time and begins to speculate on how these memories were collected in the first place. [KOD 8: Dragon Eggs]
Maybe they created some sort of link to any human that visited them, a link that allowed them to copy all of a man's memories after that right up to the moment he died. In some of those memories from other men, he was white-haired, in some only a few years older than he really was, and everything in between, but there were none of childhood or growing up.
Later on his comments make it seem as if he believes the Finns might be seeing events through his eyes as he experiences them.
Does Mat have memories of being two people at once?
There is no mention of Mat having memories of being two different people at the same time. A common misconception is that the sequence of memories described above in [TSR: 37, Imre Stand, 424-425] indicates that Mat has memories of being two different people in the same battle.
This is not the case!
What is actually going on is that these are two different guys, at different times. In the earlier memory, Mat is an advisor to a king, and is killed through the treachery of the enemy. In the later memory, Mat recalls seeing that same enemy, then older and grayer , die in another battle someplace else. There is enough time between the two incidents for the enemy to age considerably, and thus obviously could not have taken place in the same battle.
[Carolyn Fusinato, Pam Korda, Leigh Butler, Matt Hatch, Jennifer Liang]
So, Rand is hearing voices. Is Lews Therin a real entity, or is he a product of Rand's taint-maddened imagination?
One idea is that two minds inhabit Rand's body: Rand and LTT. This seems to be supported by Min's vision of [ACOS: 33, A Bath, 526] in which Rand and another man touched and merged into one another. Rand certainly takes it that way (which should alert the cynical reader to the distinct possibility that this is probably the wrong interpretation :). This theory implies that Rand is relatively sane still and his problems can be attributed to stress, paranoia, fear and another mind trying to take him over and that Lews is completely insane.
However, it doesn't make much sense for LTT to be talking to Rand. If we look at the other people who have lived past lives, we don't see this happening. Mat's memories, whether from other people or of his past life/lives (his pre-Rhuidean memories) are integrated into his own personality. Same with Birgitte - she doesn't talk to "Maerion," she says she was once called Maerion. Furthermore, Birgitte specifically mentions the fact that in all her incarnations prior to the current one, she never knew she was Birgitte reborn - or anyone reborn - until after she'd died. Clearly, then, none of her previous incarnations were in the habit of talking to later ones [Karl-Johan Norén].
Rebirth happens often to important souls. That is the way the Pattern works. If everybody who was reborn had the voice of their last incarnation nattering at them, reborn people would be widely known, but not as heroes-- as deranged lunatics. As Rand's case shows, it's hard to be sane when there's a dead person in your head claiming he owns your body! So, LTT's presence cannot be a simple consequence of Rand being a reborn person.
If LTT is a separate entity, it could imply that Rand is just some poor sod who happened to be born into the same body that LTT was reborn into, and that not Rand, but LTT is the actual Dragon Reborn. OTOH, it was Rand who pulled the Sword that Ain't, not LTT; he hadn't even shown up then.
We have two cases in which we definitely know that two entities coexist in one body: the Slayer combination of Luc and Isam, and the Fain-Mordeth combo. Fain and Mordeth are melding into a single entity over time. We don't know what the hell is up with Luc and Isam. Neither of these two cases, though, have anything to do with rebirth.
The "LTT is real" theory also neglects to explain the fact that there is no manifestation of LTT prior to Rand channeling, and that the "LTT problem" has gotten worse over time. Furthermore, LTT wasn't crazy when he died. Ishamael had healed him with the TP, in order to torment him. However, the LTT in Rand's head is definitely loony.
Another argument against this, proposed by Joseph Rosenfeld, is that, if the Dragon has been reborn over and over through all time (as claimed by Ish and others), there must have been other "dragons" before LTT. Why, then, is only Lews Therin Telamon Kinslayer, the Age of Legends version of the Dragon, inhabiting Rand's head? Why not a whole committee? Counter to this, also suggested by Mr. Rosenfeld: maybe LTT is the easiest to access because he was the most recent. If Rand tried really hard, he could maybe contact the 1st Age Dragon, and the previous 7th Age one, etc. Though, RJ's recent comments seem to suggest against this (see below).
Another alternative is that the LTT personality is the manifestation of Rand's encroaching insanity. "...everybody has been telling him he is Lews Therin reborn, so he starts perceiving Lews Therin is in his head. Not only that, but he finds the voice responds to him. Now he's trying to carry on conversations with this voice. It all seems logical to us, but then it seems logical (sort of) to Rand, as well. I found myself thinking he should tell somebody he was hearing a voice in his head. When I thought how absurd this sounded, it struck me that I had been fooled into thinking Rand was still completely sane." [James Beavens] Then, there is also, "He raised the point that Rand's creeping insanity may manifest in much more subtle ways than the people of Randland expect..." [from Emmet O'Brien's account of Jordan's talk at Trinity College in Dublin in 1993].
This theory is supported by Cadsuane's statement that "some men who can channel begin to hear voices....It is part of the madness. Voices conversing with them, telling them what to do" [ACOS: 18, As the Plow Breaks the Earth, 331]. On the other hand, this doesn't take into account that "LTT" knows things that Rand could never have known on his own-stuff about the AOL, the Forsaken, channeling, etc. In WH, we discover that Rand is getting more than memories and mannerisms from LTT: "Suddenly [Rand] knew he did not have to describe Kisman and the others. He could draw them so well that anyone would recognize the faces. Except, he had never been able to draw in his life. Lews Therin could, though" [WH: 22, Out of Thin Air, 447].
Semirhage corroborates this (though she was trying to unnerve Team Rand at this point, so take it with a grain of salt): "He's insane...Graendal could explain it better than I. Madness was her specialty. I will try, however. You know of people who hear voices in their heads? Sometimes, very rarely, the voices they hear are of past lives. Lanfear claimed he knew things of out own Age, things only Lews Therin Telamon could know. Clearly, he is hearing Lews Therin's voice. It makes no difference that the voice is real, however. In fact, that makes his situation worse. Even Graendal usually failed to acheive reintergration with someone who heard a real voice. I understand the descent into terminal madness can be...abrupt." [KOD 27: A Plain Wooden Box]
Both the "rebirth" explanation and the "taint" explanation have points in their favor. Both theories have problems, too. The rebirth theory explains why Rand knows things, via LTT, which he couldn't possibly have known on his own--things about channeling techniques, about the Forsaken, and about life in the AOL. However, the voice cannot be solely due to rebirth, because other reborn people don't have the problem, and Rand has presumably been LTT Reborn all his life, and he's only started hearing voices recently. The Taint theory, on the other hand, explains how Rand's LTT problem correlates with Rand's channeling, and has gotten worse as Rand has channeled more and more. Not to mention, hearing voices is generally considered a sign of mental illness, and Rand channels so much that he should be affected by the Taint in some way.
It seems likely that the LTT voice is due partially to the Taint, and partially to the fact that Rand is LTT reborn. The big question is, how are the two factors combining to produce the LTT effect? One possibility is that the memories and knowledge expressed by LTT are some sort of past-life leakage, real effects of being somebody Reborn, but the actual LTT personality is not a separate entity, but something Rand's subconscious constructed, in an effort to push away his own encroaching insanity.
Jean Dufresne expands on this theory, postulating that Rand uses the LTT personality as an outlet for his suppressed emotions: "LTT's voice constantly expresses sadness, laughter, fear, anger - precisely the emotions that Rand tries to avoid making contact with and needs to relearn." Consider the following passage from [WH: 25, Bonds, 481]:
"In his room at The Counsel's Head, Rand sat on the bed with his legs folded and his back against the wall, playing the silver-mounted flute Thom Merrilin had given him so long ago. ... The tune was called 'Lament for the Long Night', and he had never heard it before in his life. Lews Therin had, though. It was like the skill at drawing. Rand thought that should frighten him, or make him angry, but he simply sat and played, while Lews Therin wept."
Another possibility is that the Taint has a special effect on some reborn people. Perhaps the Taint breaks down barriers in one's mind between the present life and past lives/a past life, and causes the past to intrude upon the present's mind, until the past personality actually takes over.
RJ's recent comments seem to support the "half-and-half" theory. From the New York Barnes and Noble signing on January 7, 2003:
Q:The question is, with Rand and LTT, do they have 1 soul or 2 souls in the body?
A: They have 1 soul with 2 personalities. The reincarnation of souls does not mean reincarnation of personalities. The personality develops with each reincarnation of the soul. This is the cosmology that I [cobbled] together.
Though this statement can be interpreted in a couple of different ways, it does appear to put paid to the "LTT is a real, separate soul in Rand's head" theory, at least.
It has been suggested that LTT and Rand are actually talking to each other across time. This is fueled by the fact that LTT sometimes seems to regard Rand as being a voice in his head and not the other way around.
However, this is pretty clearly wrong. First, let's not forget that LTT is insane, and any observations he makes are automatically highly suspect. Second, if the real life LTT were talking to Rand across time it would have to be before the Kinslaying incident, since LTT dies very soon afterward, but the LTT in Rand's head moans and groans about killing Ilyena and the rest of his family constantly. Third, and most importantly, the LTT voice is aware of what's going on around Rand (like being stuffed in a box, for example), while Rand has no awareness of anything happening separately to LTT. It's pretty obvious that Rand is the "real" one [Binh Vo].
(This is way out in left field, IMO, but some people do believe it, so I'll mention it.) There IS a voice in Rand's head, but it is NOT LTT, or Rand being crazy. Rather, it is the result of some skullduggery on the part of the Shadow to infiltrate Rand's brain. Variations on this theme have been Mesaana (disproved by her actual appearance in LOC), Ishamael, and maybe others.
"...Rand opened his eyes for the first time in a very long while. He knew - somehow- that he would never again hear Lews Therin's voice in his head. For they were not two men and had never been." [TGS 50: Veins of Gold]
Assuming that Rand is correct and the voice of Lews Therin is gone, which of the above theories is correct? All of them. None of them. Brandon Sanderson has been quite clear under repeated questioning that Jordan prefered the exact nature of Lews Therin to remain a mystery. So in respect to the original author's wishes, we'll leave it at that.
Question - As a followup question, are the notes about Lews Therin the same notes about the voice of Lews Therin’s?
2 Answer - You know I think that’s enough of a spoiler because there is still confusion or not confusion, wondering from people whether or not Lews Therin is the voice, I mean, of course Semirhage said that it is… Robert Jordan never really made that explicit himself. What I think and what you think may be different and so we’ll just leave it. There are things about this in the book.
The Gathering Storm Book Tour, Borders Dallas 14 November 2009 - Matoyak reporting
Mato: There have been rumors that you have said that Mr. Jordan did not have anything in his notes about the voice of Lews Therin, whether it was a construct or not. That or that you had sai--[cut off]
Sanderson: I would like to clarify this, thanks for asking. I will NOT say that it was not in the notes. However, Mr. Jordan did NOT want to reveal this information, and therefore I shall not ever either. Mr. Jordan did not want to reveal it.
Harriet: What Brandon said.
As soon as Cadsuane mentions hearing voices, in [ACOS: 18, As the Plow Breaks the Earth, 331] "LTT" stops talking to Rand. One thing to note is that Cadsuane channeled while making that statement. The obvious thing she did was fetching the teapot to her, but it is possible that she used the channeling of the teapot to disguise something else she did. Furthermore, the voice reappeared in TPOD. So, we're left with the questions of why did LTT go away? Was it something Cadsuane did? Did he go away of his own volition (was he in hiding)? Did Rand subconsciously suppress him? Why did he come back? Also, what do his disappearance and reappearance signify?
It is interesting to note that this scene marks one of the few times since LTT appeared that Rand truly loses his temper. If Jean's theory is correct, and the LTT personality is an outlet for Rand's emotions, Rand's outburst could have been the cause of LTT's disappearance, rather than anything Cadsuane did. Once he started expressing his own feelings, rather than feeding them into LTT, the LTT personality retreated. However, after that episode Rand went back to suppressing everything, and LTT eventually reappeared.
Perhaps now that Cadsuane has taught Rand "laughter and tears" again, the LTT personality, having lost its purpose, will disappear entirely.
[Leigh Butler, Shawn Hurley, Jennifer Liang]
From [TPOD: 21, Answering the Summons, 408]:
"Since his reappearance inside Rand's head, Lews Therin seldom went silent unless forced. The man seemed madder than ever most of the time, and usually angrier as well. Stronger sometimes, too. That voice invaded Rand's dreams, and when he saw himself in a dream, it was not always himself at all that he saw. It was not always Lews Therin, either, the face he had come to recognize as Lews Therin's. Sometimes it was blurred, yet vaguely familiar, and Lews Therin seemed startled by it, too. That was an indication how far the man's madness went. Or maybe his own."
Then, in [WH: Prologue, Snow, 80]:
"I thought I could build, Lews Therin murmured in his head. I was wrong. We are not builders, not you, or I, or the other one. We are destroyers. Destroyers."
And in [WH: 22, Out of Thin Air, 436-437]:
"You destroyed them already, Lews Therin whispered in his head. Now you have someone else to destroy, and not beforetime. How many will we three kill before the end, I wonder."
So what's this all about? Who is this "other one"?
It's probably Moridin.
"We are connected," Moridin finally said. "That is how you came here, I suspect, though I do not understand our bond myself." [TGS 15: A Place to Begin]
Ishamael/Moridin/Elan certainly fits the idea of a "destroyer". And a connection between Rand and Moridin does explain why Moridin forbids Graendal from killing Rand, he's worried about the consequences to himself. [TGS prologue: What the Storm Means] It even goes so far as to explain why Rand has adopted Moridin's fashion sense and wears black and red throughout TGS.
But how did they get linked? And what does it mean for Rand?
The link probably occurred when they met at Shadar Logoth in A Crown of Swords when both men channel to create balefire at the same time as a defense against Mashadar.
Without a thought, [Rand's] free hand rose, and balefire shot upward, a bar of liquid white fire slicing across the wave sinking toward them. Dimly, he was aware of another bar of pale solid fire rising from the other man's hand that was not clasping his, a bar slashing the opposite way from his. The two touched.
Head ringing like a struck gong, Rand convulsed, saidin and the Void shattering. Everything was double in his eyes, the balconies, the chunks of stone lying about the floor. There seemed to be a pair of the other man overlapping each other, each clutching his head between two hands.
[ACoS 41: A Crown of Swords]
We know from Rand's POV later in this chapter that Moridin must have been channeling the True Power and not the One Power, because Rand realizes he never sensed the other man's channeling. We also know that Moridin prefers the True Power and uses it almost exclusively. It seems likely that this mysterious link is the resulting side effect of the One Power and the True Power combining.
The taint of the True Power in his system would go a long ways towards explaining why Rand becomes dizzy and ill every time he touches the Source. It doesn't begin until after his encounter witrh Moridin [TPoD 13: floating like Snow]. If the conduit goes both ways, it might also explain why Moridin skipped the Cleansing. There's a good chance he feels the same effects.
Further evidence of their link comes when Rand and Moridin meet in the Dream World in TGS. "'I feel so tired.' Moridin continued, closing his eyes. 'Is that you, or is it me? I could throttle Semirhage for what she did.'" It seems clear from this scene that:
A) Moridin isn't thrilled with this with this connection.
B) Moridin felt what Rand did when Semirhage destroyed his hand.
C) It was not something Moridin intended to happen.
Unfortunately, we don't know much more than that.
[Leigh Butler, Jennifer Liang]
[WH: 15, In Need of a Bellfounder, 333]:
"'I will set you the puzzle, since you are so clever, no?' [Aludra] said... 'You tell me what use I might have for a bellfounder, and I will tell you all of my secrets.'"
So what does Aludra want Mat to find a bellfounder for?
To make cannon, though he doesn't know that yet.
Gabriel Wright explains: "Early cannon used a very short barrel, kind of like a bell (although not flared). Basically it was a large chunk of bronze with a bore to put your cannon ball and a small hole at the rear to set the powder charge off. The bellmaker is the person who can cast such an item."
Later, while on his shopping trip with Tuon and Selucia, Mat spots Aludra talking to a salt merchant, and wonders what on earth she would need with salt [COT: 29, Something Flickers]
Saltpeter (potassium nitrate) is the primary ingredient of gunpowder, along with charcoal and sulphur. This may constitute something of a misstep on RJ's part, though, because saltpeter is not the same thing as true salt (sodium chloride); they do not form under similar geological conditions, nor are they usually mined together [Basil Halhed].
Mat finally makes the connection in KoD while observing Aludra’s fireworks set up. “"Lofting tubes," he said quickly, gesturing to the small metal-bound wooden tube, a tall as he was and near enough a foot accross, sitting upright in front of her on a broad wooden base. "That's why you want a bellfounder. To make lofting tubes from bronze." [KOD: 9, Dragon’s Eggs]. Aludra further elaborates by saying, “A lofting charge big enough to send it further would burst the tube. With a bronze tube, I could use a charge that would send something a little smaller than this close to two miles. Making the slow-match slower, to let it travel that far, is easy enough. Smaller, but heavier, made of iron, and there would be nothing for pretty colors, only the bursting charge.”