Tue
Jan 20 2009 2:42pm
Wheel of Time Charity Auction

Let Bob Smith ride on the winds of time!

TarValon.net, home of Robert Jordan on the web,  announced on Saturday that it will be holding an auction to benefit Heifer International.  The prize? Your name in the Wheel of Time canon.  Known as “tuckerization,” this is a pretty popular auction item or prize for writers to offer, but holy frak, you guys.  This is the Wheel of Time we’re talking about.

There are two parts to the event: there’s the Silent Auction, where the highest bidder gets immortalized as  a character who shares his or her name and physical description. For those who don’t really have the $5,001 to spare—high bid as of noon today—there’s also the General Fundraiser, where for a minimum donation of $20, you are entered in a drawing. At least two people will be drawn from that pool to represent officers of a special combat unit in the Last Battle. Sanderson is writing this combat unit to “represent all fans who donated to this cause to fight poverty in our own world. When you read about them in the final book, you will know they represent you!” There’s also a poll where people can vote on the type of combat unit it will be: Aiel under Rand’s banner, Aes Sedai/Warders from the White Tower, Guardsmen/Guardswomen fighting for Andor Cha’Faile, or Two Rivers archers fighting for Perrin. The Aiel are currently winning, because they’re just so frakkin’ cool.

This auction makes my geeky little heart leap. Not only does bopping around TarValon.net remind me of how much I love Robert Jordan, but Heifer International is an incredible organization. Also the focus of Name of the Wind author Patrick Rothfuss’s recent charity drive, Heifer provides livestock to people in areas of need. It’s so much more than livestock, though: chickens lay eggs, which a family can feed its children to get them vitamins and protein, then sell the extras as another source of income. Sheep provide wool, milk, meat and fertilizer, and the list goes on. Heifer focuses on education and sustainability, with a special eye to gender equity and HIV/AIDS prevention.

Rand al’Thor raised sheep before he went off to be the Dragon Reborn—hope I didn’t spoil anybody there—and I can’t imagine a better way to get fans even more exited about the end of the Wheel of Time.

(via Tor/Forge’s blog.)

4 comments
Alan_1574
1. Alan_1574
Is this what its come to? Jordan's work being pimped out to the highest bidder?
Megan Messinger
2. thumbelinablues
Alan, I don't think of it as Jordan's work being pimped out; creative decisions are still being made in accordance with Jordan's outlines and wishes, by his widow Harriet and by Brandon Sanderson. What's in a name, really? Three character names in a ten-thousand page epic, when they're using it as a chance to do some good in the world?
Alice Arneson
4. Wetlandernw
Alan_1574 @1 - FWIW, Robert Jordan started it. From his blog:
I already put up naming rights in an auction for a British organization that works with victims of torture. The woman who won asked that a character be named after her husband. Thus, after some checking back and forth, Charles Guybon Hudson became Charlz Guybon in KoD. The description used in the book is based on the description of the real man.
So if you want to call that "pimping out his work," well, the first amendment doesn't set requirements for either accuracy or sense in your free speech. This will be at least the third charity auction to serve this purpose for the Wheel of Time, and Mr. Sanderson has additionally drawn from the second fundraiser "pool" to name a large number of characters - as well as a card game - in Towers of Midnight. He regards it as a great source of name-ideas, which are not always easy to come up with.

How cool is it for the fans to donate to a worthwhile charity and have the possibility of having their name (suitably altered to fit the WoT) appear in the next book? If you don't like the idea, by all means don't contribute. For fans who actually want to give some of their (comparative) wealth to help people who simply need food and livelihood, why not have some fun with an "auction" at the same time?

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