Mattin Stepaneos den Balgar

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Author: Val a'Shain


Mattin Stepaneos den Balgar is the King of Illian. He is a character most noticable through his absence in the story. We learn early on in the series that Sammael rules Illian in all but name but we don't learn how he came to power.

He has been king of Illian for at least 43 years to he must be well into his sixties, probably older. Physically, he is muscular, and seems like though he may have been handsome when younger, the years have not been kind, his hair has retreated from most of scalp and his nose has been broken more than once (KoD, Ch. 2).


  • In 957 NE Mattin Stepaneos den Balgar, the then young King of Illian leads a coalition trying to counter the Whitecloak expansion into Altara in what is now known as the Whitecloak war. Stepaneos lost most battles against the Whitecloak commander Pedron Niall and at the battle of Sormaine he was even taken prisoner. After being ransomed back to Illian by the Whitecloaks Stepaneos managed to force the Whitecloaks, who overplayed their hand, to reaffirm the pre war borders between Altara and Amadicia (TWoRJTWoT, Ch. 14).
  • 978 NE Mattin Stepaneos den Balgar leads twenty-six thousand Illianers in the Battle of the Shining Walls (TWoRJTWoT, Ch. 14).
  • Stepaneos disappears in 1000 NE days before Rand takes Illian (ACoS, Ch. 41). It is later revealed that Elaida had him kidnapped, dragged bound and gagged to Tar Valon (KoD, Ch. 2)
  • He meets Egwene who tells him that it was Rahvin, not Rand that killed Morgase and that much of what the Aes Sedai have led him to believe is false (KoD, Ch. 24).
  • After the Tower is re-unified, Egwene believes neither Mattin nor Gregorin really want Mattin to return (ToM, Ch. 27).


  • Stepaneos banner still decorated the room of the Lord Captain Commander in the Fortress of Light (LoC, Ch. 9).
  • Like all kings of Illian Stepaneos is in a continuous struggle for power with the Council of Nine and the Assemblage (TWoRJTWoT, Ch. 30).
  • According to Pedron Niall Stepaneos has an Aes Sedai advisor (LoC, Ch. 9).


"Perhaps not Illianers at all, but certainly not soldiers. The jumble those Illianers make of things, who can say whether king or Assemblage or Council of Nine has the whip-hand on any given day, yet if they do decide to move, it will be armies striking at Tear under the Golden Bees, not raiders burning merchants wagons and border farms. You can mark me on that."
"If you wish it," Rand replied, as politely as he could. Whatever power the Assemblage, or the Council of Nine, or Mattin Stepaneos den Balgar had, it was what Sammael chose to leave them. (Rand to Weiramon about the situation in Tear; The Fires of Heaven, Chapter 41)

"At least we know our emissaries still have as good a chance as Elaida's," Sheriam said. Of course, Salidar had sent none to Mattin Stepaneos; Lord Brend of the Council of Nine, Sammael, was the true power in Illian. Elayne would have given a pretty to know what Elaida proposed that Sammael was willing to support, or at least let Mattin Stepaneos say that he would support. She was sure the three Aes Sedai would have given as much, but they just went on snatching documents out of the lacquerwork box. (Sheriam and Egwene discussing reports in Salidar; Lord of Chaos, Chapter 7)

"Among the banners and pennants lining the cornices of the chamber, Martin Stepaneos' Three Leopards, silver on black, hung next to a gold-fringed Illianer Royal Standard, nine bees worked in thread-of-gold on green silk. The Illianer king came out on top in the Troubles finally, at least to the point of forcing a treaty that affirmed the border between Amadicia and Altara where it was at the beginning, but Niall doubted the man would ever forget that he had had the advantage of terrain and numbers at Soremaine and still been defeated and captured. If the Illianer Companions had not covered the field for the rest of the army to escape Niall's trap, Altara would be a fief of the Children today, and very likely Murandy and even Illian." (Pedron Niall thinking about Stepaneos; Lord of Chaos, Chapter 9)

"King Mattin did disappear two days ago," Gregorin said. "Some of us do fear... We do fear Lord Brend may have something to with it. Brend does have... " He stopped to swallow. "Brend did have a great deal of influence with the king, some might say too much, but he did be distracted in recent months, and Mattin had begun to reassert himself." (Gregorin to Rand when he offers him the Laurel crown; A Crown of Swords, Chapter 41)