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 Dragonmount.com. 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).
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 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 http://RichardFife.com. You can also follow him on Twitter and Facebook.