Matt, the young boy from the Fen who befriends Kira, is thoughtful, alert, and strong-willed. He shows his thoughtfulness throughout the book. Near the beginning of the story, Kira learns that Matt went into her cott before it was burned and rescued a few things that he thought she may have valued. He does a surprisingly good job of choosing what to save, especially in retrieving the pendant that Kira's father gave her mother. When Matt accompanies Kira to her new room in the Council Edifice, he won't enter with Branch because Branch has fleas. Toward the end of the book, Matt leaves on a journey to get a "giftie" for Kira, again showing great wisdom in bringing her just what she needs: the plant for making blue dye.
Matt is also alert and observant. He has heard what the women plan to do to Kira when she returns from the Field of Leaving, so he is able to warn her. During the hunt preparation, he is able to sneak up and snatch a spear that no one else has taken. He has listened to Annabella's discussions with Kira about dyes and gleaned not only that blue dye is unavailable to their village but also that it can be obtained "yonder."
Matt is strong-willed. He shows that by wanting to join the hunt even though he is too young, preparing himself by grabbing a spear and by plastering himself with swamp grass so he'll look older. He determines to make the journey outside the known region of the village, even after being beaten bloody by his mother for stealing food in preparation. Another little boy says of him, "Matt's the strongest of the strong." He refers to Matt's health, but the quote also describes his will and indomitable spirit. Thomas also recognizes that quality when he says that if the guardians ever took Matt and locked him up, he "would find a way to get free."
Matt is one of the most interesting and endearing characters in the book because of his thoughtful, alert, and strong-willed nature.