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Are the memories Mat has from past lives ever explicitly known to be his own lives, not his own, or a mix thereof?

There are many battles from the Trolloc Wars, and his inherited knowledge as a general, for example. He also has some knowledge from past lives of other topics such as dancing.

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  • I think I know what you are going on about, but think you may need to clarify a little. Aug 12 '16 at 22:45
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    I was under the impression that all the memories he experienced were his own 'past' memories. For instance he remembered Jain Farstrider, but did not experience Jain's memories. The same with the Arthur Hawkwing. He never remembered them from their perspective only as from his own self's 'past' perspective. But I'm not 100% certain, so I won't put this as an answer. Aug 12 '16 at 22:57
  • +1 (and an answer) from me; I'd missed this question before. It's an interesting one, and the answer isn't altogether obvious from the text: the question is easy to ask but relatively hard to answer.
    – Rand al'Thor
    Aug 26 '16 at 22:42
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From an interview with Robert Jordan himself (item 13 in the linked list; emphasis mine):

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 received were those of adventurers and soldiers and men of daring.

Footnote: RJ is obviously talking about the memories Mat received from the Eelfinn, so this quote does not rule out past life memories as an explanation for the Aemon memories in The Dragon Reborn Chapter 19 (before Mat ever visited the Aelfinn or the Eelfinn), nor does the Dromen and Demonen chat rule out the Old Blood as an explanation. Also, RJ meant to say that most of the men who provided the memories went through the Tower of Ghenjei; he corrected himself later in the TOR Questions of the Week.

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    BOOM! Awesome find! So none of them are his, correct? Aug 26 '16 at 22:53
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    @MatCauthon Well, who knows. Some few of the memories he gets might be due to the "Old Blood resurfacing" thing that Moiraine (?) referred to in book 1. But for the most part at least, no: they're nothing to do with his past lives and just those of random blokes who visited the Finns.
    – Rand al'Thor
    Aug 26 '16 at 22:58
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Mat's memories come from other people who have entered the world of the Aelfinn and Eelfinn (the snakes and foxes). When he requested them to fill the holes in his memory he failed to specify whose memories he was to receive.

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    Nice answer! Do you have a quote from the book to back this up?
    – Adamant
    Aug 15 '16 at 2:13
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    I don't think the memories have much, if anything, to do with the snakes and foxes as the first major one is shown to be during the "exorcism" of the link of Shadar Logoth and the ruby hilted dagger from him at the white tower.
    – Theyna
    Aug 15 '16 at 2:31
  • No quote from the books, but Robert Jordan said as much in an interview. theoryland.com/intvmain.php?i=5. Question 13. Aug 22 '16 at 2:39
  • @MercMealsey The footnote points that it may be true for some of the memories. Not sure if it answers it completely though.
    – Arcane
    Aug 25 '16 at 8:30
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    Footnote RJ is obviously talking about the memories Mat received from the Eelfinn, so this quote does not rule out past life memories as an explanation for the Aemon memories in The Dragon Reborn Chapter 19 (before Mat ever visited the Aelfinn or the Eelfinn), nor does the Dromen and Demonen chat rule out the Old Blood as an explanation. Also, RJ meant to say that most of the men who provided the memories went through the Tower of Ghenjei; he corrected himself later in the TOR Questions of the Week.
    – Arcane
    Aug 25 '16 at 8:30

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