Fri
Nov 12 2010 1:01pm

The Wheel of Time: Towers of Midnight NYC Signing Report

Team Jordan and Tower Guards at the Towers of Midnight NYC signing

So my life is officially surreal, y’all.

Not that I didn’t already know this, but every once in a while the truth of this is brought home to me even more forcefully than usual. Like, for instance, this past Monday evening, where I spent several hours in a Barnes and Noble across from Lincoln Center in New York City, signing books. That I didn’t write.

See?

Wheel of Time harp chapter image

I would like to state for the record that this was totally not my idea, by the way. The blame for this can be laid squarely at the feet of one Harriet McDougal, who is diabolical and sneaky, and apparently made anyone to whom Towers of Midnight is dedicated who was also foolish enough to show up at one of the signings on the tour, sit down and sign books along with Brandon, Maria, Alan, and Harriet herself. This was not embarrassing at all.

I’d also like to thank my other dedicatees for totally failing to warn me this was going to happen. Y’all’re pals, really.

So, yes, embarrassment galore. But, it was also a great deal of fun.

The event started a bit early for me and the lovely folks who were the Tower Guards for the NYC signing, as we met up at Tor’s offices downtown beforehand for coffee, cookies, and hobnobbing with Team Jordan. I enjoyed this part particularly because this time I actually made it to this part, instead of, you know, completely forgetting the date like last time and thus being almost two hours late. Phear my new and improved calendar-reading skillz, y’all!

Lots of discussion occurred betwixt Brandon and the TGs about the new book, natch, much of which I unfortunately missed because I was busy being obnoxious and making everyone there sign my book (which, by the way, officially makes ToM the first book I’ve ever gotten signed. Seriously) and also chatting with Harriet and Alan and Maria and the wonderful Tom Doherty at length about… er, random stuff, really. Because they are awesome to chat with about anything.

I did manage to give Brandon crap about his Glossary-entry skills, which only made him grin in unrepentant glee, and apparently there was some kind of ToM-related joke made at my expense but no one would tell me what it was. Brandon and Maria both told me they had read and enjoyed my review of the book (warning for spoilers), which of course was immensely flattering; Maria had especially liked the part where I told Team Jordan I hated them, heh. Anything else specifically book-related has, sadly, flown from my head, so I am no help there, but you can take my word that it was all quite delightful.

Then everyone broke for dinner, before heading to the Barnes and Noble across from Lincoln Center, which is sadly closing before too much longer. I hate when bookstores close. The turnout there was somewhere in the arena of four hundred or so people, which is very nice for a Monday evening in New York from what I can gather.

Harriet began by reading an excerpt from the book (Lan’s POV from the Prologue; everyone chuckled at the bits about Nynaeve), and then Brandon spoke for a bit, first conducting a Q&A in which the “RAFO” was liberally employed because people were trying to be sneaky, heh, and then mostly to humbly thank everyone who had helped him with the book (and to point out the unexpected presence of Charlaine Harris in the audience, who Brandon jokingly described as “having written some obscure series about vampires no one’s ever heard of”).

He then embarrassed the hell out of me by pointing me out as one of those to whom the book is dedicated, and announcing that I would be signing books along with himself, Harriet, Maria, and Alan. I’m pretty sure I went beet-red at the time; hell, I’m pretty sure I’m blushing again now just thinking about it.

(Understand, of course, that I in NO WAY mean to imply that I am not completely tickled and honored by the appreciation Brandon and Team Jordan have shown me, because I totally am. I’m just also, well, embarrassed by it. There’s a whole essay in here about the strangeness of the Big Name Fan phenomenon (because I don’t think there’s any point in pretending that that’s not what’s going on here) that is not appropriate to get into at the moment but which I’ll probably have to ruminate on at some point.)

Anyway, the actual signing portion of the signing went off without a hitch as far as I could tell, thanks in large part to the Tower Guards, who kept the lines moving efficiently and capably, while at the same time providing entertainment to the folks in line with giveaways and trivia contests. (I think at least one question of which stumped both Maria and Alan, heh). I’d say at least half the people there clearly had absolutely no idea who I was or why this random chick was signing their book, but they were all very nice about it regardless, and there were also more than a couple of people who told me they enjoyed the Re-read and/or the WOTFAQ (which was my first foray into letting WOT fandom eat my life), which is always awesome to hear.

Brandon received (with great pleasure) a whole slew of Magic: The Gathering cards from various fans, which I understand is something of an ongoing tradition for him, and he was also especially delighted when Tower Guard Joseph Armao brought out his collection of handmade Wheel of Time action figures, which were amazing and wonderful in their attention to detail. Mat and Rand in particular were very well done, and Nynaeve as well. There are probably pictures of them floating about somewhere on the internet, from Brandon himself if nowhere else. One couple brought a beautiful poster-sized version of the Randland map which Jordan himself had signed, and they had Brandon and Harriet and Maria and Alan sign it too. That was really neat.

I do regret a bit that I was so thoroughly distracted by the surreality of the “me signing books” thing that I managed to not retain a single question or answer from the evening that actually, you know, concerns the Wheel of Time, because sometimes I really fail at this whole Fan thing, I swear. (I’m sure I’ll remember a whole bunch of things the moment this post goes up, heh.) I console myself, though, that there were many other people there who were paying much better attention, and who perhaps may surface in the comments to point y’all toward places these tidbits of info may be listed.

Anyway, all told the whole thing went on for about four hours before the line wound down, and if I was tired after doing this just one time I can’t even imagine how Team Jordan felt after doing it eight times in a row, but you’d never have known it from their energy and graciousness to everyone who came up to them.

It was, in sum, a completely lovely evening, I think for everyone involved but certainly for me, and I am deeply grateful to Tor for putting it together and to Team Jordan for being, well, Team Jordan. Cheers, guys; you did good.

The End!

Wheel of Time Aes Sedai chapter image


Leigh Butler is a writer and blogger for Tor.com, where she conducts the Wheel of Time Re-read, which is currently complete through Winter’s Heart, and which is due to start up again as soon as her hand uncramps from such unexpected pen use. Ow. She currently lives in New York City.

22 comments
Sam Mickel
1. Samadai
Great job Leigh. It was great to see you honored in the book. You have brought together a great group of people, many of whom have become great friends.
trench
2. trench
That definetly would be sureal signing cpoies of ToM, and awesome too. Dont be embarassed though, heck, a couple of months ago a guy flaged me down in a parking lot after he saw my "I killed Asmo" sticker. We talked for about 20 minutes or so and probably about half the time we talked about you and the Re-read.

So, for 10 minutes, 2 people who dont know you and didnt know each other, stood in a parking lot talking about you and your WOT-fu.
trench
3. Rick C. 1313
Leigh,
Just wanted to take the opportunity to say Thanks! for the re-read. I've re-read the series quite a few times, but you've opened my eyes to several things I had missed. You deserved the accolade at the front of ToM. I'm sure your re-read has renewed WoT to the existing fan base, and has brought it to more than a few new initiates. Huzzah!!
trench
4. someGuy47
To second Trench's comments, I was directed to your re-read probably a year ago by an online aquaintance from South Africa, and I'm in Ohio. We were on a computer technical support site, but your awesomeness surpassed our normal conversation.

Small world, and thanks so much for making it better!
Matthew B
5. MatthewB
You deserve the honor and i would be happy to have your signature in my copy.

I was feeling completely burned out on the whole series until i started reading your analyses, so you and Brandon share equal credit for getting me excited about WoT again.
Billy Abbey
6. felix
Leigh, I was hoping the jacket of ToM would have your concise two word review of TGS.


Leigh Butler says "HOLY SHIT"


It woulda been awesome
Debbie Solomon
7. dsolo
Leigh, I love your rereads, and they have really enhanced my understanding of the books. My nephew introduced them to me back in 1997 or 1998, and despite reading the entire series again every 2 years or whenever a new book came out, I missed several things until I started your rereads. You're funny and insightful, and the first thing I did after finishing the book was go to your spoiler review. Keep up the good work!
Nick Rogers
8. BookGoblin
I would cherish your signature in my copy of ToM. It would have given me a chance to tell you in person how much I've appreciated your participation on the old newsgroup, your wonderful work on the FAQ for YEARS, and the utterly epic value of the re-reads.

WoT has become more than just a series or a fandom, it's become a true community, and you have had an immense role in that.

As someone who means so much to so many of us who are fans, having you sit at the table is a truly deserved moment of recognition. It makes me appreciate Brandon Sanderson that much more as the new co-caretaker of the WoT.
Joseph Armao
9. joeyesq
So I'm going through my day minding my own business when I get a text telling me my picture is on the Tor homepage! (this is Tower Guard Joey, by the way). This is truly made of awesome.

Leigh, I'd like to chime in here by saying that meeting you was probably every bit as thrilling as meeting Brandon, Harriet, Maria and Alan... I think I told you that night, the re-read definitely contributes to me maintaining my sanity in the office.

Also, I'll be posting detailed pics of all the figures on my blog at somepoint soon for anyone who's interested.
Thomas Keith
10. insectoid
Silly Leigh... you have your eyes closed in the picture! ;) Great report! It was definitely cool to see your name at the beginning of the book.

Bzzz™.
Leigh Butler
11. leighdb
Aw, thanks, you guys.

joeyesq @ 9: Put up a link here once you get the pictures up!

insectoid @ 10: I think I'm actually looking to the side, but regardless, your point that I suck at picture-taking is totally, totally true. Heh.
Tina Pierce
12. scissorrunner
Leigh don't blush! your WoT-fu is great and the rereads have added so much to my rereads! I really feel that you've been amazing & very deserving of the "glory". There are a lot of new friendships built from comments on comments on comments on your rereads!
Keep up the great work!!
janet vaughn
13. geochic1
You shoul cherish this monent!!!! not everyone gets public aknowledgement.
Ilove the re-read and the signing reports.
I would go a book signing if they were in Seattle (hint hint)!!!
Theresa Gray
14. Terez27
LOL - don't worry about the Q&A, Leigh - NYC was the most detailed report we got from anybody. There were Tower Guards recording questions at the table, even.
trench
15. evinfuilt
Don't be too embarassed, we all try to live
vicariously through your fandom. Seeing your name and Jasons on the dedication page made the book even more special, since it was to all those people who have worked hard to keep the fan community going, and with a series as daunting as this, it helps to have a community (and doubly so to have such a complete FAQ.)
j p
16. sps49
I would've liked you to sign mine, Leigh. If you'd been in Sacramento.

I was going to ask Ms. McDougal to sign my Conan hardback, but she wasn't in sight at 0005 hours. That's what I get for having to work. :( I missed any Q&A session that may have transpired, and was half asleep by then. Not that Brandon was likely doing better with his signing all that time, I'm sure.
Jay Dauro
17. J.Dauro
Leigh,

You totally deserve this. I hope you can make JordanCon this year, as I would love to meet you, and have you sign my copy also. I always look forward to your summaries and comments, they really add to our understanding of the books, as well as being entertaining. 

Thanks,
Jay
Joel Salomon
18. jcsalomon
?They wouldn’t let me in without a copy of the book for Brandon to sign (Amazon delivered my book the next fershlugener day!), so I watched from outside the room. I don’t recall all the RAFOs, but one of the questions that did get answered was—Do I still need to be careful of spoilers, or can I post the Q&A? It relates to Olver’s minor CMOA.
?Another question was about working from the inherited notes; Brandon said that Jordan’s outline-then-write style, and the form the outlines take, is very similar to his own.
?Does anyone remember any others?
Sean Banawnie
19. Seanie
Leigh, MOA.

Felix @6
YES THAT WOULDA been HILARIOUS.

Good for you Leigh. You have spread a lotta joy. And a lotta other stuff too..... ** snickers **
Keep up the good work. Ice that hand , you have mucho writing to do yet!
David Scotton
20. Kaxon
@sps49 - Sadly there was no reading or Q&A at the Sacramento signing, just Brandon and Harriet talking very briefly before the signing started.

@felix - That would indeed be awesome. Maybe they're saving it for AMOL. :)
Joseph Armao
21. joeyesq
Here's the link to my blog with part 1 of my custom Wheel of Time Action Figures pics, for anyone who's interested.

http://joeyesq.blogspot.com/2010/11/wheel-of-time-action-figures-part-1.html

I hope SOMEONE'S interested! lol
Tomas Gerst
22. IamnotSpam
Some one beat me to it but yes a well deserved MOA for you.

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