Oct 28 2009 4:59pm

The Gathering Storm Launch Party (with pictures!)

A storm gathered over Charleston, knowing, waiting, expecting. On October 27th, the storm broke. What so many of us have been waiting for finally came: a new Wheel of Time book. And I, being the determined fan I am, set forth from my cave in North Carolina to not-so-distant Charleston to experience some of the first rumbles.

Now, much to my pleasure, this past Monday, I received an email from the most wonderful Maria Simons inviting me to the pre-party at Harriet’s house, and my RSVP was a resounding YES—as soon as my heart returned to its normal position instead of my throat. Thus, I left somewhat earlier than initially planned, had an uneventful drive down (save for getting lost three miles from my house). After settling into my hotel, I made my way to a gate that many of us probably recognize from when Jason of Dragonmount attended RJ’s funeral.

I only have one word for that house: gorgeous. I love colonial architecture, and I can see how just being there can be inspiring. I then was taken back by Alan and Maria to the carriage house, where I got the office tour. Even with the collection mostly dispersed amongst the heirs and charity auctions and the like, it was still impressive. Not to mention the roughly fifteen thousand books that populated the place. It smelled like an old, close library—one of my truly favorite smells.

Oh, I also saw The Chair. Yes, the very place where RJ wrote the books. Yes, I sat in it.

As an aside, there really was a pretty heavy rain storm going on, at this time that trapped some goodly number of people in the carriage house for a while. It did subside, though, and after some refreshments and teasing from Wilson (who had been unaware that I had not read the book yet), we made our way to Barnes and Noble. I was actually the first Storm Leader there, never mind that I wasn’t really a Storm Leader, but I voluntarily harangued myself into the spot. Everyone else showed up rather quickly thereafter, including Brandon, who apparently just made it after missing his connecting flight due to snow in Salt Lake City. Note, in Charleston it was a balmy 70ish degrees, so we kind of had a good snigger—Mat Cauthon style—over that. Still, things got moving, and we had quite the crowd.


In the whole process, I was actually a book stuffer. Brandon signed and numbered the books first, then handed it to Harriet who signed, who handed it to me, who stuffed the books with promos that a wonderful lady named Elise had folded for me, then handed it to Maria, who signed then handed it to Alan for the final signature. Henry Ford would have been proud.

Elise is in the red at the corner; I normally stood next to her.

The other Storm Leaders also stayed busy managing the crowd, handing out promos to the poor souls in the backs of the line that had many hours more to wait, unlike a certain person who showed up at 11:30am (after driving from Atlanta (pictured below).

Over three hours later, we finally came to a close, and the Storm Leaders got our signed copies with reserved fairly low numbers (mine is 299), and special personalization from Team Jordan. We then had some photo ops, and I have no clue who this strange man is standing between Brandon and Harriet:

He kept fingering the shawl and muttering “Harriet said I could,” though. Odd fellow. Changing the topic, and this is special for my WoT re-read buddies: I asked Maria very specifically about Faile’s age, and the canonical answer is “Faile is about the same age as Perrin. She is not jailbait.” A correction has been submitted to Lord of Chaos where the confusion of her placing herself of the same age as Ewin that now “he is only a few years younger than her.” So there!

Anyway, the night was a great success. I think I heard that the total number of people in line was around 270, with many, many, many of them carrying three books a piece. It was amazing, but I tell you, it was these four people that truly made it happen.

Brandon, Harriet, Alan, and Maria. Thank you all. Now, I need to go read a book.

Richard Fife is the Betrayer of Hope, Rick-Roller of the WoT Obsessed, and Bane of the Light. He also killed Asmodean.

Sean Arthur
1. wsean
“Faile is about the same age as Perrin. She is not jailbait.”


Nice write-up, dude. A little disappointed you didn't get a Rickroll in there somewhere.
Rob Munnelly
2. RobMRobM
Richard - Print off the following from website and hang it from your office wall - congrats!:

" bloggers

Richard Fife
GD Falksen
Jo Walton
Jaymee Goh
Jeff VanderMeer
Mark Graham
Torie Atkinson
Jason Henninger
Cory Doctorow
Ying Compestine
Megan Messinger"
Evan Langlinais
3. Skwid
Oh, man, that is awesome news on the Faile age ret-con! I found that to be a definite hindrance to my suspension of disbelief...
Alice Arneson
4. Wetlandernw
Way cool to be there! Some of us can only dream... Glad you could do it on all our behalf, though. (You know, don't you, that rickrollers owe a part of themselves to the rickrollees. So what you do, you do for us...) Very, very fun times. Thanks for sharing it with us.
Roger Powell
5. forkroot
R. Fife - color me 100% jealous! As I write this I'm about 1/3 of the way through TGS. If I'd been there, I would have high-fived Brandon and said "Awesome job, dude!"
Brian Roloff
6. Ronin-alTyr
DUDE! You got to sit in THE chair!!! Great write up and well done with Faile’s age. Glad you had such a great time, it must have been like living in a dream! WOW.
7. Lily of the Valley
Now THAT is a yellow shawl.

Also: Envy. I has it.

Also Also: I would have LOVED to hear the conversation between the guy with the WoT tattoo and the tattoo artist.

Artist: So what's this mean to you? *needle buzz*

Guy: Well, it's the symbol of this series I read. The great serpent means eternity, but so does the Wheel, only the Wheel is the embodiment of Seven Ages that keep repeating themselves through eternity, and each time this dude called the Dragon has to...

Artist at the end: @_@ That's pretty complicated.

Guy: Yeah, you should really read the book. It explains everything way better.
Sam Mickel
8. Samadai

sounds like a lot of fun, wish I could have been there.
Rob Trotter
9. shadar
Is there a ret-con to Davram/Deira stating she was too young to marry in LoC? Or is that just Saldean crazyness?
Richard Fife
10. R.Fife
@9 Maria did not mention, but she did say she had like 55 pages of total corrections for the series, some implemented, some not. The problem with corrections is that sometimes it can get pushed off due to constraints within the publishing industry and cost. It can be rather costly, it seems, for even minor corrections.

Personally, I'll just chalk it up to Saldaean craziness. Note, it wasn't that she was too young to Marry, only too young to marry without her mother's permission.
Aye Aye Sedai
11. Aye Aye Sedai
@9 Shadar - no retcon needed for that - every momma thinks her baby is too young to marry!!!

R Fife - damn i'm jealous - fist the yellow shawl and now this. Wish I could get the addt'l autographs but no-ones coming to upstate NY and NYC is a haul.
stefan warsink
12. grubber
R.Fife is officialy the man :D

nice work, and thanks for sharing!
please keep this kind of posts coming, I need my spoiler-free fix!

@ shadar: isn't that what most parents tell the prospective son-in-law?
Aye Aye Sedai
13. aye Aye Sedai
Would they ever consider an online Errata page for us to use - particularly with the online rereads - would be a great opportunity.

How many of us are ever going to repurchase and reread just for the singular correction ( what and spoil our discussions with facts :)

I'm just saying - would be nice list even at the end of the 14th book .
Thomas Keith
14. insectoid
Great write-up, Richard. Love the pictures!

Am also incredibly jealous. Alas, I am on the wrong coast. ;)
Aye Aye Sedai
15. Planeswalker
@R Fife

The Chair. So how does it feel like sitting on it? I mean, it would've been nothing if not an ordinary chair. But damn, knowing RJ sat on it too, creating his legacy... I envy rickrollers. =)
Richard Fife
16. R.Fife
The chair is actually incredibly uncomfortable, although apparently it was perfect for RJ. Then again, RJ was about 6 inches taller than me, so that might explain some of it. The curve of the chair just did not fit my back at all.

But... sitting in the chair, I did feel awe inspired. I was able to look around and see what he saw. It was something else.
Heather Johnson
17. HeatherJ
Totally and completely jealous. BUT I am meeting Brandon and Harriet in Baltimore tonight so that makes up for it ... a little. :)

I'm so happy for you that you got this wonderful opportunity - congrats!
John Massey
18. subwoofer
Hmmmmm... so this is what you have been doing with your time when you are not rickrolling the innocent and unsuspecting. Goes to show, it is all about location, location, location. Good on you:) Now maybe you can rejoin us Novices on the blogs- But wait, you can't. You have your shawl already;)

Good times!

Alan Perry
19. stepper
WOW! Jealous as hell here as well, but great job on the story and pics (and I really want that shawl!). Thanks much....about 1/3 the book as well (alas couldnt afford to take vacation time like I wanted to read it) and loving it! WHO HOO!
Maria Simons
20. sulamein
@ Aye Aye Sedai: There is a list of errors, both corrected and uncorrected, at Encyclopaedia-Wot. Look for "Errata and Corrigenda" on the left. A lot of the ones that I have are simply typos (e.g."abound" instead of "around,") that anyone reading can figure out. Some day I'd like to have a complete list of errata available somewhere, but it's really still a work in progress.

Kate Nepveu
21. katenepveu
Elise is an awesome person and an artist in jewelry and is also this Elise, who we should all be very grateful to.
Samantha Brandt
22. Talia
I really need to catch up on this series so I can get to this volume. I'm still two books behind.

Forgotten so much wondering if I shouldn't go re-read the whole thing again though.

Aye Aye Sedai
23. kab1
@21 wow, that Elise has done us all a great service. Please tell her thanks from me!

color me jealous! the shawl, the CHAIR, and of course the signing. thanks so much for sharing the pics and your thoughts. Like AyyAyeSedai I also like in upstate NY, and with two little ones, NYC is too far away. I thought about flying to MN where my dad lives to go to the signing there tomorrow and bring the kids along to see grandpa, but too $$. He is the one who introduced me to WoT and he's going to the signing for me!! (hopefully he won't be completely deterred by the length of the line....)
Aye Aye Sedai
24. Anita Twitchell
Wow....Wow...and WOW!!!

I've been debating finishing the series for a bit now, but after this wonderful review and the fantastic comments posted, I may have to make my way to the bookstore. :)

Thank you for sharing. That was an amazing experience!
Lannis .
25. Lannis
Okay, R.Fife. Terribly jealous here... first the shawl, then The Chair, and also another blog post? Dude!

Hopefully your adventures will cool down soon so you can join us for post tGS digestion? Been a while since we've seen you participate in the crazy regularly... you've been missed!

I love that you asked Maria about Faile's age... and her response. Ha!

Excellent blog post, btw. Congratulations! :)
Maggie M
26. Eswana
Richard, this is wonderful! Thanks so much for sharing about your adventures--- and for remembering your re-read friends with the Faile question :-)

You're so lucky! And I greatly admire your shawl. Even though I'm blue ajah myself, it's pretty kickin'

I'm also thrilled I get to read this thread and not be spoiled because I haven't gotten my hands on the book yet.

Congrats man!
27. Freelancer
So, Richard Sedai...

Nice post. I just wish Harriet was joining Brandon for the event in two weeks in San Diego. He is going to be one weary author by the end of November. I know this isn't his first such tour, but I'm sure it's the most extensive.

About Faile's age, I always fell back to three key facts. 1)The Emond's Field Women's Circle wouldn't have approved if she truly was too young. 2)Davram tells Perrin that she's too young to marry "without her mother's permission", implicitly saying that she is not too young if she has that permission. 3)Bashere tells Deira to stand down, and doesn't try to kill Perrin.

Everybody's seen the new Team Jordan interview, right?
Aye Aye Sedai
28. josepph
im pretty sure thats a carboard cutout of brandon sanderson... hes in the exact same pose from pic to pic
S Diller
29. CuenDiller
I've just been rickroll'd! and you know what...I kinda enjoyed it. Is it wrong that I know all the lyrics to that song?

Thanks for the post R.Fife!
Aye Aye Sedai
30. songbird
Just finished The Storm. Wonderful mix of styles. Can't wait for the next book... any predictions for its release?

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