The Matchmakers' office is described by Sophie to be a "shimmering crystal tower that straddled one of the widest, most bustling canals. Half of the structure stood on one side of the dark water and half on the other, angling toward each other and merging to form a massive twisted spire. It wasn't the tallest building on the street or the fanciest. But it was definitely the most intimidating- probably because of a medallion set into the center of the arch, embossed with a very specific symbol: a giant M shaped from two strands of DNA."
The matchmakers work to make sure elves with different Talents and physical features are matched, as well as complimentary personalities; they do take the individuals' tastes into account. Additionally, names will not appear on the matchmaking list if they happen to be a distant relative. Matchmakers must go through centuries of training to create the lists.
The matchmaker's goals are progress, prosperity, permanence, and proliferation.
When It May Be Received
An elf can receive their matchmaking packet during their Level 5 year at Foxfire, right after midterms. They're supposed to finish them by the end of the school year, but one can also get them when you turn 15, making it so if you are 15 in Level 4, like Sophie Elizabeth Foster, you can get your packet.
A very extensive questionnaire is filled out by the elf receiving the matches. After all of the factors are taken into consideration, the matchmakers release a list of 100 names. A numbered scroll from 1 to 100 is delivered. There are up to five different lists containing 100 names and you can get only one list a month, so you have to wait a month for the next one. You can also choose not to get it immediately and wait for more people to register. However, most elves find their match on the first list. You are not allowed to receive lists until one year after handing in your questionnaire.
In order of delivery, the lists are:
- Top Tier
- Second Contenders
- Third Considerations
- Fourth Runners-Up
- Final Alternatives
Edaline mentions how a Winnowing Gala is a ball, and Fitz goes into further detail about the Winnowing Gala in Flashback. This is to get to know your contenders better and start narrowing down the choices. This made Sophie feel rather squeamish.
It is unknown what the precise definition of "unmatchable" is, but at the end of Flashback, Sophie goes to the matchmakers only to be told that she is unmatchable. Sophie later on learns in Legacy that she is unmatchable due to the fact that she doesn't know who her birth parents are. It is also possible that Sophie is unmatchable because she is so different from other elves. It is also told in Legacy that she is the first in the Lost Cities to be unmatchable. It is unknown if this means that Sophie will be a bad match with everyone. After figuring out her biological mother was Councillor Oralie, she does not want to risk exposing her. She also fears to find out about her biological father because realizing Councillor Oralie's relationship to her endangered their relationship. Sophie pushes anything to do with matchmaking out of her mind because she is in a position where she has no idea what to do.
If an elf associates themselves romantically or marries another elf without being matched, they are deemed a bad match. This is usually caused by one of the Elves not having an ability. In most cases, being a bad match causes scorn from other Elves in the Lost Cities and being viewed as "not normal". The scorn and hostility towards bad matches and their children is immense, with bad matches being either expelled or excluded from the Nobility.
Known Bad Matches:
- Juline and Kesler Dizznee
- Jolie and Brant (this led to Brant joining the Neverseen and killing Jolie.)
- Timkin and Vika Heks (supposedly bribed the matchmakers to make them a good match. It is also said that one of them had family in the matchmaking order who changed the match making results)
“Wow, is that what you elves call romance? 'Don't worry, my love, a bunch of snooty intellectuals are totally going to put your name on a piece of paper and give us permission to date each other'?”