Sep 13 2010 3:01pm

Dragon*Con Report: The Wheel Weaves

So, it is probably no stretch of the imagination that there was quite a bit of Wheel of Time stuff going on at Dragon*Con. Aside from the full up fan track run by the charming Jennifer Liang and her swarm of minions, Brandon Sanderson himself was there and hanging out with the fans. And I’ll take this moment to just continue to propagate the “rumor” that Brandon is an amazing, down-to-earth guy. Whether it is at a signing or over a game of Magic: The Gathering, you always get the sense that he was totally a fanboy before he was the author, a geek just like one of us. And, of course, that he still is.

The highlight of Dragon*Con’s Wheel of Time programming was the reading. On Saturday at 1:00 PM, Brandon and the Wheel of Time track took over one of the ballrooms in the Hyatt. True to form, Brandon was a bit late, but only because he was chatting people up even as he walking into the room, and he even shrugged off our amicable teasing from the front of the room. We then were treated to the world premier of the Towers of Midnight trailer, directed by Jason Denzel of If you haven’t seen it yet, go do so. It blows any book trailer I’ve ever seen away. In fact, it gave (and still gives) me gooseflesh to watch it, and I saw it before the premier! Heck, go watch it again, I can wait. I think I’ll go watch it again myself (in high def from the DVD they gave out at the “Winespring Inn” party, nyah!).

Now then. After the crowd nearly asphyxiated itself from the sheer awesome of the trailer, Brandon pulled out his little netbook and started to decide on what to read us. It started with the opening of the prologue, from Lan’s point of view. That’s right: we finally have a Lan point of view in the main book sequence. Boo-yah. For the sake of being mean, all I’ll say about the scene is Lan has to deal with the first of the soldiers flocking to the Golden Crane. Brandon also found himself trying to pronounce a city he’d never pronounced before (and sadly I can’t remember exactly which one it was). Good to know I’m not the only one who does that when talking about some of those fourteen-character-long names.

Brandon then skipped past several scenes because they were “spoilery.” Honestly, I think they were just too long to read, because, really, how can a scene in the prologue be “spoilery”? He settled on a scene from Galad’s point of view, of which all I will say is that it makes you wonder what is going to go down with the Children of the Light to make Galad mesh up with what we saw of him in The Gathering Storm.

After the reading, Brandon took some questions, which required a queue and the panel-moderator-from-Shayol-Ghul Jake Ro. Fortunately, he knew I was coming (I was the second question), so he spared me the humiliation of being told to “get on with it.” See, I had a particular question to ask Brandon that was a bit of a clue bomb. This comes from a discussion I had with Wilson back at JordanCon and off the recorder. I double checked with him via email if it was alright to divulge. He said yes, so here is what Wilson told me, and what I asked Brandon to elaborate on:

It was late Saturday evening and [Robert Jordan and I] were talking about this and that, whatever he wanted to. He stopped short, got very serious and quiet. He leaned toward me and whispered these words that will be forever are etched in my mind, “There’s a (Blank) in the Blight.” His revelation took me completely by surprise so I asked, “There’s a what in the Blight?” He repeated, “There’s a (Blank) in the Blight and no one knows about it, not even Harriet.” He then explained the (Blank) in extreme detail and the significance it would play in things yet to come. For the next two hours the book flew off his tongue at a staggering pace. Wow! I’ve spent countless hours with [him]. None were better than that magical night.

So yeah, I asked Brandon to elaborate on what the (Blank) was. He smiled and chuckled, but he did not RAFO me. Instead, he commented about how Wilson has much more liberty in talking about these sorts of things than Brandon does, due to Brandon’s contract, and said that he’d heard that story four times, from Harriet, Wilson, Alan, and Maria, usually with the tack on of how they had to run out and buy a tape recorder at midnight. BUT, he did say that while the (Blank) would not be revealed this book, it would be alluded to much more. Of course, all of those goofballs at Theoryland are probably frothing right now, so I’ll say this. Remember that theory I put up a bit ago, about how I think the Dark One is the Great Serpent, and there was a footnote that was deleted by Tamyrlin? Yeah, he knew about this all the way back then and kept his yap shut, first trying to get me to write a theory, then letting me pop it like this at my leisure. (Sorry Matt, I just drive the bus.)

Anyway, the questions went on and were mostly RAFO’d. I know that the Theoryland people present have collated the questions already, but I sadly am anti-voice recorder right now and did not collect the questions myself. Afterwards, I rushed down to the Wheel of Time room where Irene Gallo did a panel going over the eBook covers and revealed The Gathering Storm’s cover. That was actually a really awesome panel, especially since Irene brought temp tattoos of Stubby and the H.M.S. Stubbington. Those ended up all over the place (on people).

The Dark One’s Cheerleaders!

Anyway, what other Wheel of Time stuff did you miss? A whole ton, honestly. Go over to Dragon*Con’s website and look at the pocket program. We were in the costume parade, although this year our costumes were... well, non-canonical? The Dark One’s cheerleaders? Richard Sedai? At least we had a few Aes Sedai and Warders. We also had a wonderful costume contest judged by Brandon himself (and MC’d by yours truly, with the help of sleep deprivation and “MC juice.”) A signed-by-all-of-Team-Jordan The Gathering Storm hardcover was the prize. Very nice, eh?

And Brandon played a lot of Magic: The Gathering. He ran a draft (that he was eliminated from fairly early on, HAHA!), then played Archenemy with several people (myself included). Yes, my team did beat him, although semi-unfairly. We told him we weren’t playing tournament class decks (which in my opinion we weren’t), so he played four of us with his weaker deck, which apparently does not do too well against four control decks (more or less). He got revenge when we did a 3-on-6. Yes, he got two minions, but we had more people. He toyed with us quite a bit, though, saving his minions when he could have let them fall and then just annihilated us. It was great fun. If you play, you definitely should find some time to play with Brandon. And the table-talk is great too. As I said, he’s just a dude that writes. Very easy to talk to.

And that is more or less the Wheel of Time stuff at Dragon*Con. Keep an eye out, because that is hardly all there was that was blog-worthy at the convention. More Dragon*Con reports are forthcoming.

Richard Fife is proud to be different. He also likes to just confuse people.

Richard Fife is a writer, blogger, and proud bearer of the “I only slept 16 hours during Dragon*Con” badge. You can read more of his ramblings and some of his short stories at You can also follow him on Twitter and Facebook.

1. Tenesmsus
There is a "Stedding" in the Blight. Right? What else could it really be? A "city" in the Blight? A "nation" in the Blight? A "McDonald's" in the Blight? Nahhh. I'll go on record saying there is Stedding in the Blight
David Holden
2. davidholden
It can't be a "stedding," since we've already known that there are abandoned ones in the Blight (with the Ogier coming south to non-Blighted steddings).
Tess Laird
3. thewindrose
Hi Richard Sedai ::waves:: Some day I hope to meet you in person:) (Not like a stalker.) Sounds like you had a great time. Thanks for writing about it. Hopefully the cheerleaders didn't have a R.A.F.O. cheer?

I wonder what the Blank is. Will have to see what those Theorylanders are coming up with.

Theresa Gray
4. Terez27
It was Aesdaishar that he had special trouble pronouncing. Which, incidentally, is a palace rather than a city (and he did pronounce it just threw him for a loop). I really could have done without his speech on pronunciation, though...he could have read another POV!

As to the one that was too spoilerish to read...don't dismiss the idea so quickly. It could have been Moiraine. There are 6 POVs in the prologue, but Macmillan's promotional blurb only covers 5 of them, because apparently one of them is too spoilerish to even mention. It could have also been Fain creeping through the Blight...which has the potential to spoil the fact that Fain has been the one stealing Shadowspawn. It could have been Graendal, the final resolution of her death, and maybe even something about Asmodean.

I had no idea that was you that brought up the ____ at the Q&A, but my important-people-recognition-device is often on the fritz. That's why it took me two days to hunt you down to track the code that was won at Magic. I have only met Wilson once, and he told that story when I met him (at this past JordanCon). So, when I posted about the ______ at Theoryland, I asked Matt, 'Don't you remember when Wilson told us that story? I've only met him once, and I know you were standing right next to me.' But he doesn't remember it at all. I think he was macking on Wilson's wife.
James Jones
5. jamesedjones
He leaned toward me and whispered these words that will be forever are etched in my mind, “There’s a (Blank) in the Blight.” His revelation took me completely by surprise so I asked, “There’s a what in the Blight?” He repeated, “There’s a (Blank) in the Blight and no one knows about it, not even Harriet.” He then explained the (Blank) in extreme detail and the significance it would play in things yet to come.

It's an outsourced customer service call center. We figured it out in Winter's Heart #14 re-read.
Rob Munnelly
6. RobMRobM
And I thought it was a Comedy Club (or, more accurately, A COMEDY CLUB).

7. Ghenjei
Way to go Richard. I'm continuously impressed by how much better your blogging/posting/etc. is getting. Keep up the good work. I'm also horribly jealous of all the cool events you get to go to.

Based on R. Fife's Theoryland post, I'm going to say that it's a "Female Eye of the World" a pool of pure Saidar (see two eyes on snake). Really curious as to what this is.
8. Tenesmus
How about a "seal" in the Blight? are they all accounted for? How about a "City of Male Aiel" channelers in the Blight. How about a "casino" in the Blight where Mat can dice with the Dark One?
Rob Munnelly
9. RobMRobM
@7 - actually a real suggestion. Not sure I buy it but interesting....
Daniel Hanley
10. dmhman749
All seven seals are accounted for, yes(rand, or his people, anyway, has all three remaining). I really can't think of anything that makes sense though...Several of the most likely, such as 'stedding' or 'waygate' were already stated to be in the blight in the books, so they wouldn't get any shock from anyone, much less require hours discussing the importance.

'Portal Stone', while an interesting posibility, and one that as far as I know has not been actually stated to be in the still seems unlikely that this would give an automatic sense of shock displayed here. I guess a portal stone could be quite important in the last battle, but i would respond with a shrug if RJ told me there was one in the blight. If an interesting use of one is going to be made in the last battle, i could become interested with explaination, but it wouldn't be an automatic response just from hearing about it.

Other ideas i have read are another eye of the world(saidin or saidar), but whats the point? both are clean atm. A Sa'Angreal(possibly the #2 strength one?), but rand already destroyed the Choden Kal, so whats the point in that?

I don't know...My guess is that it is something that we just don't have enough information to guess yet. I'm sure it will make sense when we get to it, but for now...*shrug* Still interested in other people's ideas though.
Bill Siegel
11. ubxs113
It's probably the Statue of Liberty...
Rob Munnelly
12. RobMRobM
@11. Planet of the Apes FTW!

On a semi-serious note, perhaps a second tower entrance to Finnland....
13. Ghenjei
@11 & 12 "Ooops I was wrong, it was Earth all along. Well you've finally made a monkey, yes we've finally made a monkey..."
-Planet of the Apes Musical, Starring Troy McLure
(RIP Phil Hartman)

As for the utility of a female "Eye", imagine if it is used in some way to seal the bore or eliminate the one power from the world all together.

Another theory I've been banging around is that it's the real "Black Tower" where the shadow has been training dreadlords and generally running its show.
F Shelley
14. FSS
A Dragon? I mean the literal beast, a Dragon.

That's my vote...

Or, a spaceship?
A Jabberwocky?
A shrubbery?
Two rows of shrubbery creating a two level effect with a pass running down the middle?
Luke M
15. lmelior
Hmm, I'm thinking its a city, by process of elimination. A portal stone, waygate, or (sa')angreal wouldn't need to be explained in detail, after all. Doesn't sound like it could be some type of creature (human/ogier/Nym/etc.) unless it's one we've never heard about, and that doesn't seem like it could be "alluded to."

The city idea is interesting because it gives a place where all sorts of crazy stuff previously alluded to happens. Aiel men who can channel head for the blight; perhaps some of them survived. As #13 says perhaps that's where the dreadlords are, and there is a sizable population since they are protected by the DO. In New Spring we learn that thunderstorms often come out of the Blight. Maybe they are made with saidin? Maybe that's where Luc and Isam were merged into one being.

A ter'angreal could be anything, so that's kind of a catch all. I don't like this idea as much because once again, Brandon saying it would be alluded to much more in ToM doesn't make a lot of sense in this context. I guess if it was something very complex it might work. Perhaps it could be the cause of the weather in the Blight. More specific things like another doorway to the Finn world or a female Eye of the World wouldn't need explanation (and in my opinion the latter wouldn't make sense since the EotW was created specifically in response to the taint).
16. alreadymadwiththeblank
I don't think it's a city. Harriet isn't supposed to know about it, and she's the editor. Which means it can't be that obvious. Possibly something only alluded to in clues that a writer(or fact-handler) would be able to put together.

It could be an empty patch of ground. You know, a blank space.
17. TehBane
Ohhhh got a shiver there. A blank in the blight? I was thinking a spaceship too. A huge mothership that crashed, where we will find the answers to everything, plus the universe and life. Or an alien frozen in stasis. Or...

Fun to speculate. Personally I think that at the end of the series everyone will wake up and find themselves in a matrix-like computer system, where they have been studied and experimented on.
Richard Fife
18. R.Fife
My personal pet is that there is a second eye to the world. It was alluded by RJ that the first Eye was not used for it's intended purpose, and remember that the reason the DO got to taint Saidin was because the male channelers had to touch him with the power. Thus, they might have made massive wells of each type of power in order to reseal the bore when the time came without actually touching the DO to the True Source, eliminating his ability to taint it.

It is, of course as I said, a pet theory.
Irene Gallo
19. Irene
Richard, it was great to meet you in person! I snuck a shot of you playing Magic with Brandon.

aaaannnd, the links aren't working. Oy. Well, it's on the Facebook page for
J Lip
20. Cadsuwallop
An army perhaps? Demandred could be up there with an army and that's why no one can figure out where he and his army are hiding. He could bring in recruits by gateway and the isolation of the Blight prevents rumors from spreading.
Claire de Trafford
21. ClairedeT
I think it's a hot stud for Bela, and together they'll save the day come the LB
Jonathan Levy
22. JonathanLevy
Well, there's a castle in the blight, right? Where Moridin is hanging out. We only found out about it in TGS. Maybe that's why we didn't get a RAFO - because we were supposed to have already found out about it, but just hadn't realized its significance.

FSS @ 14

.... a herring!

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