Thu
Apr 17 2014 9:30am

JordanCon 2014: The Return of the Con Report, Part 2

Hello, Tor.com! I’m back again. I’m sorry.

Because, JordanCon! Whoo!

As you may or may not have cared seen, I posted Part 1 of my JordanCon 6 Report earlier this week, and promised to come back with the rest of the ridiculousness ASAP. And lo, I totally have returned, with much more ridiculousness. Go me!

So without further ado, mind the excessive photo gap, and click on for the rest!

In case you’re joining our program already in progress, in Part 1 of the report I talked about Thursday and Friday of the con, and now we are up to SATURDAY. Which absolutely needs the all-caps treatment, because, yeah.

SATURDAY

Saturday, for me, began with the first of the three panels I was actually on, and the one I was most looking forward to: “Exploring Gender Inequality Through Worldbuilding”. Because that might be a topic in which I have a slight amount of interest. You know, just a little. Tiny bit.

*looks innocent*

I was joined on the panel by the inestimable Aubree Pham, one of JordanCon’s vice chairs and whose idea the panel had been in the first place, Kristy Lussier, Master Wrangler of Volunteers and Team Moiraine member, and former World of the Wheel track director Jakob Remick, who insisted on calling himself “the token male” even though there is nothing token about him, silly.

It was a really good discussion, I felt. Aubree made sure that the audience participated as well as the panelists, and many good points and counterpoints were made, and I felt like the guys in the audience participated just as well (and as respectfully) as the women did, which pleased me very much.

(Aubree brought up, in fact, that she loves that the existence of so many rich and fully-realized female characters in WOT is one of the reasons the WOT fandom is so much more balanced between men and women participants than many other sf fandoms, and that that fact makes the experience as a whole more awesome for everyone, and I wholeheartedly agree with her. Gender diversity is certainly not the only reason WOT fandom is, in my experience, so welcoming and inclusive and generally wonderful to be a part of, but it is definitely one of the major reasons it is that way, if you ask me. Go us!)

We discussed, among other things, the pros and cons of WOT’s magic system, specifically in the context of making gender dichotomy inherent by having sex-differentiated Power sources. There were many points made both in favor of this and against it, but the one I wanted especially to bring up (and did) is the existence of intersex people, and what that implies about the viability of a magic system that is assigned by gender, which (in my opinion) is much more of a social construct than most people are prepared to admit.

We also talked about many of the usual suspects (chivalry, women in combat), as well as what I’ve always said was one of the central themes of WOT, namely the gender-flipped social hierarchy (i.e. Jordan’s conceit that the tainting of saidin led to women rather than men being the dominant gender in Randland), and how well he did or did not explore the ramifications of that premise throughout the series.

It was good stuff. I wish I had written more specific notes on what we talked about, but I was actually so into the discussion that I, um, kind of forgot to do so. Aubree helpfully reminds me that there was something in there about pregnant rabbits, which… I have no response to. Except to laugh, which makes it worth mentioning in any case. Heh.

After that, I was on the “Black Tower” panel, along with Bill Nesbitt, Asha’man extraordinaire, and Thom DeSimone, whose panel-fu continues strong through the years. I was not originally supposed to be on this panel, but was filling in as a last minute replacement, because apparently at the time this was also happening:

 

JordanCon 2014

And apparently people with Asha’man-like proclivities are also into swordfighting. Who knew.

(FYI, there is a “name that sword form” contest going on re: this picture over on the JordanCon Facebook page, which I invite y’all to continue here if you so desire. Favorites so far: “Bitchslapping the Sparrow”, “Split the Pants”, and “Ahh There’s A Bee On Me”. LOL.)

ANYWAY, the Black Tower panel was also great fun, with lots of speculation about the future role of the Asha’man post-Last Battle, as well as whether the Black Tower will eventually merge with the White Tower (my opinion: no), and whether the Asha’man will ever consent to be bound by the Oath Rod (my opinion: hell to the no). We also talked about whether those Aes Sedai and Asha’man Turned to the dark side can ever be unTurned (or as one audience member put it, “unDarkfriended”, which I giggled about for a good minute, because LOL Internet jokes). Good times.

I feel I should mention at this point that this report is going to be sadly lacking in reportage on the shit-ton of panels, workshops, and other things going on at JordanCon that I missed, because (a) I unfortunately have never worked out how to be in sixteen different places at once, and (b) some of them I was actively avoiding.

In particular, actually, I was avoiding the panels devoted to our Author Guest of Honor, Patrick Rothfuss, who I hear has written a few books a few people have read:

JordanCon 2014

Not because I don’t like him! No, not at all, because I understand that he is in fact awesome in every way, but because I shamefully have not yet had a chance to read any of his novels, and I am determined to avoid spoilers until I have a chance to correct what I am assured is an egregious oversight on my part. I’m gonna read him, you guys, I totally swear.

Until then, in lieu of me having any useful input on him, have some pictures of Mr. Rothfuss at the con cheerfully stolen from other people!

JordanCon 2014

JordanCon 2014

JordanCon 2014

I also, unfortunately, managed to miss most of the things involving our Artist Guest of Honor, Larry Elmore, but Art Show Director Paul Bielaczyc assured us that he is in fact the nicest human on the planet, and I also perused his booth at the Art Show (which I can’t show you, since photography was not allowed), which featured many of his classic fantasy artworks. I also got to watch Jason Denzel completely geek out over how he got Mr. Elmore to sign his original Dungeons & Dragons rule books, Dragon Magazine #200 (collector’s issue, Jason assures me), and Dragonlance Chronicles hardcover, all much-abused beloved from his childhood (Jason’s, not Mr. Elmore’s). So, I’m pretty sure having Mr. Elmore at the con was seriously awesome for many people, and we’re really glad he could be there.

And then there was THE COSTUME CONTEST. All-caps treatment also mandatory.

I don’t think I am crazy to think that the quality of the costumes each year continues to improve and amaze, by the way. Cosplay is not a thing I have ever done at all myself, but I am always thrilled to see the results of other fans’ incredible hard work, ingenuity, and cleverness on display, and I got that in spades this year.

First, our illustrious judges!

JordanCon 2014

Well, two of them are illustrious, anyway. :P

Next, the finalists!

JordanCon 2014

3rd place winner was Art Show director April Moore as Tylin, who apparently is running through every one of the female characters I have issues with, heh.

JordanCon 2014

JordanCon 2014

Uh-huh. *mock-glare*

And then there was Leslie Annis, who I thought surely couldn’t top her Ebou Dari widow from last year, and was proved resoundingly wrong when she snagged 2nd place as none other than Elaida Sedai:

JordanCon 2014

But that’s not even the WHOLE costume! Lookit:

JordanCon 2014

 

And then there was the winner of the contest:

JordanCon 2014

This is the same young lady who won last year’s contest, in fact, playing an Eelfinn, but for some reason I still don’t know what her name is. If anyone can tell me who she is I would be much obliged. (ETA: Ross Newberry tells me that her name is Catherine Turley. Thanks, Ross!)

These were far from the only costumes on display this year, of course. Here are some of my favorites:

JordanCon 2014

ROLLER DERBY AES SEDAI. Ha!

JordanCon 2014

Tinker! Who dances a mean sa’sara, by the way. I also did not catch this lady’s name, but I thought she looked amazing.

JordanCon 2014

This dog was so incredible, you guys, I can’t even tell you. So gorgeous. Plus, everyone and their grandma wanted to pet him and coo over him and he was so chill about it. I want ten of him immediately.

JordanCon 2014

JordanCon 2014

JordanCon 2014

The Mirrorworld Ta’veren, back from last year! Still one of my absolute favorites.

JordanCon 2014

JordanCon 2014

I… don’t really know what’s happening here, but it’s clearly awesome.

And this isn’t a costume per se, but I loved it so much I had to include it:

JordanCon 2014

Our own Maria Simons, avec her dragon sweater. DRAGON SWEATER. Seriously. Seriously. Ms. Simons was alllll decked out, y’all. And with reason, since this year’s dance was the M’Hael Masquerade. MASKS, y’all.

JordanCon 2014

Wait, how did that get in there? There was none of that!

…What?

Okay, fine. There was, in fact, a ton of that. AS IS RIGHT AND PROPER.

But also, masks. Which is how a trip to Goodwill and certain Darkfriends’ twisted minds (and hot glue guns) resulted in this:

JordanCon 2014

Yes, those are in fact bejazzled Darth Vader masks. And yes, Darkfriend John Dilick was in fact playing the Empire Strikes Back theme on his phone as we marched through the lobby. Because WHY NOT.

(Best story about this picture: Leslie saw us and immediately wanted to take the photo, but only after she took it did she realize who I was: “LEIGH???” Hahaha. No one expects Darth Leigh!)

As a side note, everyone’s outfits in this photo except mine were also acquired at Goodwill, and I am by far the least awesomely dressed person in it. Total cost: $40. I continue to find this hilarious.

And the dance was on!

JordanCon 2014

And there was dancing, and drinking, and some more drinking, and dancing, and much hilarity, sometimes at my expense, which I will not be sharing with you because some things that happen at JordanCon are gonna stay at JordanCon, so thbbbt. At least unless someone else rats me out, but at least I’m not going to provide my own rope for public humiliation.

But seriously, a marvelously good time was had, and also a marvelous amount of money was raised at the concurrent silent auction for Eugie Foster (as I mentioned in Part 1), and probably the only part of me that disagrees on the awesomeness of Saturday night is my liver. And who cares what she thinks, really. Party pooper.

 

SUNDAY

The only thing I’m going to say about Sunday morning is: thank GOD Alka Seltzer exists, y’all. Ugh.

Fortunately I didn’t have to be anywhere specific until the afternoon, when it was time for my last panel at the con, namely the “Loose Threads” panel, where I, Aubree Pham, Billy Todd, and Jeff Daniel discussed the things that were not tied up as neatly as we obsessive fans might have liked by the end of the last novel.

Prominently featured, of course, were the issues of Nakomi and Rand’s pipe trick at the very end of AMOL. Because just because Brandon has said he’s never going to clear up those two questions doesn’t mean we can’t speculate about them anyway, right? I was introduced to the intriguing but ultimately (in my opinion) farfetched theory from (where else) Theoryland that Nakomi was in fact Tigraine, and then the best explanation ever for the pipe trick was proposed, which can be summed up as: “now Rand can see the Matrix”. HAHAHA awesome.

We also discussed Shadar Haran, Birgitte and Gaidal Cain, Elaida and Traveling, and got into a fairly intense debate on the Mat/Padan Fain confrontation in AMOL, which I will not explicate on here because I intend to talk about it at length in the Reread Real Soon Now, so neener. There was also a lot of discussion about which character deaths affected and/or annoyed everyone the most, and what’s most interesting about that is that almost no one agreed on which was which.

And then the con was officially over! And we all had a sad, or we would have if we hadn’t all been so exhausted by that point. Fortunately there is the post-con tradition of CouchCon, which is exactly what it sounds like: everyone sitting around eating greasy food and relaxing and hanging out, winding down from the madness.

JordanCon 2014

JordanCon 2014

And then me and my hangover went home and spent two days writing about it! Because it was just that wonderful, guys, seriously. JordanCon is one of the highlights of my year. And because I’m not yet ready to let go, have some more random photos!

JordanCon 2014

JordanCon 2014

JordanCon 2014

JordanCon 2014

JordanCon 2014

JordanCon 2014

JordanCon 2014

JordanCon 2014

JordanCon 2014

JordanCon 2014

JordanCon 2014

JordanCon 2014

JordanCon 2014

JordanCon 2014

JordanCon 2014

JordanCon 2014

JordanCon 2014

JordanCon 2014

And then there’s Rand on the Run™, who now has his own Facebook page. There is a whole story here that I’m not entirely clear on (ETA: but April has now provided us with a full history in comment #14!), but I gather that Rand was stolen, but by whom no one knows and/or will admit, and now he is returned, and Kristy, Jennifer and Sarah Nakamura literally all squeed and shrieked with delight when he appeared, and then everyone and their dog took pictures with him, and it was a Thing.

JordanCon 2014

JordanCon 2014

JordanCon 2014

JordanCon 2014

JordanCon 2014

Look, I don’t even know. But it seems to be a pretty good image to go out with. The Wheel of Time and silly fun: that’s this con.

And thus ends my Report for JordanCon 6! I had, to my total lack of shock, a stupidly good time, because I always do, and I love you all, and I look forward with great pleasure to doing it again next year, and hopefully for many years to come. Cheers!


Leigh Butler is a writer, blogger, and dilettante Sith Lord, who runs The Wheel of Time Re-read and The Read of Ice and Fire on Tor.com. She lives in New Orleans, and thinks her hangover should be gone any day now, but insists that nevertheless it was all worth it.

30 comments
Rob Munnelly
1. RobMRobM
Nicely done, Leigh - and curse you Lannis for changing from blue to red ajahs....
Deana Whitney
2. Braid_Tug
tWoT Cast had a running joke about comparing Rothfuss' work to the Harry Potter books. He was great about laughing at it.

He even coined the phrase "Colonize Yourself" in the middle of the panel that became a running joke. Yet doesn't translate well in the memory.

Edit to fix. Thanks Ross!
Jennifer Smith
3. vampirate
Man, it sounds like a wonderfully great time was had by all. I so hope to get there next year. Thanks Leigh and everyone for all the updates!
Anthony Pero
4. anthonypero
I hadn't heard of Rand on the Run. I always called that pic Rock'em Sock'em Rand.
Ross Newberry
5. rossnewberry
Braid_Tug @2: I'm pretty sure it was "Colonize Yourself."

And Leigh, I believe Syl was played by Catherine Turley.

OH, and another favorite moment of mine was in the first panel with Rothfuss. He was introduced, and everyone clapped, and then he said it would be great not to attract so much attention. So he had the tWoTCast guys introduce him again, and had the whole audience respond to his introduction with, "Meh." It was a good moment I wish I had on video.
Deana Whitney
6. Braid_Tug
@4, He's "Rand on the Run" now because of the FB page called that, where he's going everywhere. Much like a Flat Stanly, because you have kids and should get that reference. :-)

If he was called this before the FB page, my bad. I've only been to 2 JC and this year marked his reappearance.
Jordan Hibbits
7. rhandric
@5 And the whole "meh" introduction became A Thing for the entire con.

JordanCon was excellent, and I'm glad I actually convinced myself to come. It was wonderful meeting all you amazing rereaders...and everyone else, too :D
Shani Gamble
8. ShaniBri
One day, when I have a passport and can leave Canada, I am coming to this Con. It looks so awesome. :)
Ron Garrison
9. Man-0-Manetheran
“the existence of so many rich and fully-realized female characters in WOT “
After having met the awesome Harriet, I can't help but think that their relationship was the inspiration.
Leigh Butler
10. leighdb
rossnewberry @5: Awesome, thanks! Article edited.
Lannis .
11. Lannis
Re: CouchCon... oy... that's one tired Lannis in that pic... wow. O.o

@RobMRobM: First, where were you, sir?! Why have you not joined us to play?! And for the record, my #1 requirement for costume concepts: has anyone done it before? If so, then move on to the next idea--I was pretty sure no one would choose to cosplay our favourite Amyrlin to hate. ;)

Re: Rand on the Run. I believe the reference is that since volunteer coordinator Kristy Lussier (great girl!) was so clingy as a girlfriend, Rand has been on the run the last couple years, and will continue to do so--you know, because he can't be weighed down by another woman...

Leigh, you managed to snag some of my most favourite shots of the Con here... oh, how I wish I were still there! Miss you already!
Tricia Irish
12. Tektonica
Great recap, Leigh. As I read this, I realize that there are many JCons, but so little time! I missed a ton of things!

I did get to talk at length with Larry Elmore while setting up/hanging his work in the Art Show, and he could not have been nicer! His work was amazing! He's also a good dancer/partyer ;-)

Catherine Turley was Syl, btw. That lady sure is creative! Her Eelfinn last year was amazing as well.

And you would've been completely safe from any Rothfuss spoilers on his panels. He was funny and interesting, but absolutely REFUSED to discuss the Books AT ALL. Color me frustrated!
Alice Arneson
13. Wetlandernw
Good times! Thanks for sharing the memories! One day, I hope....
April Moore
14. aprildmoore
Re: Rand on the Run, gather 'round kiddies, and allow me to enlighten you.

Lannis has the "Rand OntheRun" part right, but this story originates with JordanCon 3: ForsaCon.

(and for those keeping score, and because someone will ask --

JordanCon 1, 2009: Rand'al Con
JordanCon 2, 2010: SeanCon
JordanCon 3, 2011: ForsaCon
JordanCon 4, 2012: Car'a'Con
JordanCon 5, 2013: Tar VaCon
JordanCon 6, 2014: Ash'a'Con
JordanCon 7, 2015: Con of the Red Hand.
Yes, we have a long list and we do plan ahead. )

Cardboard Rand was always the subject of many photos and we had had hours of entertainment in prior years - some, more than others (Kristy, Sarah) - making photos that included him with us. Anyways. that year Fife hosted a series of party games before the dance/auction. One of those games was "Binding the Dragon Reborn" or something like - Fife can correct - and there was another for trashtalking the Dragon, which was also supposed to be just blessing out the Cardboard Rand. It was Paul Bielaczyc's second year at JordanCon and he'd just gotten his epic red coat done. When they started wrapping up Cardboard Rand in toilet paper, Paul decided that just wasn't challenging enough and told them they should do it to him. And so Paul ended up being Rand and Cardboard Rand got shoved to the side. (Some people speculated he got his feelings hurt and that's why he ran away. heh) But we had a blast with Paul, who is a tremendous sport, and it made trashtalking the Dragon much more challenging. :-) (Poor Kelcey. But that's another story. There's video somewhere.)

Anyway, the next morning Cardboard Rand had disappeared - and was never seen at JordanCon again until this year. A lot of people searched high and low for him, and numerous people assumed that TWoTcast was to blame - mainly because they were drunk and up all night (it wasn't yet widely known that that was a normal condition for them). Kristy was heartbroken. Jennifer had everyone out looking for him. It was a big deal.

And here's the part that no one else but me knew until recently. About six months later a fellow WoT fan was chatting with me and fessed up that they had stolen Rand. I won't go into all the details, but it was one of those things you do, then think better of and want to correct, but by then everyone was out looking for him. So it became difficult to sneak Rand back to us.

I'd kept tabs on Cardboard Rand since, a bit, but recently - as Paul and I plotted Shenanigans - it became apparent that this would be a great time to bring Rand back to JordanCon. The video of said Shenanigans is out on the Internet - so you can find it if you want to see what I'm referring to. I contacted my friend and they had been thinking of how to get him back to us. So the timing was fortuitous.

And THAT, my friends, is why, when Cardboard Rand got back to JordanCon that he had a gift tag that said this:

To JordanCon
"If you want to gentle a man or kill a man, go find a Red. But if you want to bring a man back alive, it takes a Green."
With love,
Cadsuane
P.S. You're welcome.

As far as his recent departure, he'll be back. He just need a little space. He wants to explore the world, you know? And that box was really constricting. Besides, Cadsuane knows how to find him. :-)
Alice Arneson
15. Wetlandernw
Dear TorDotCom: Please create a "Like" button for the comments. That is all.
April Moore
16. aprildmoore
Dang it, wetlandernw, then I tried to hit "like" for your comment. lol
Yes, I completely agree!
Alice Arneson
17. Wetlandernw
April - Good thing I'd just swallowed the coffee... :D
Kristy (kantoka)
18. Kristy (kantoka)
I was so happy when Boyfriend returned. :0) Then, he said he needed space, but wouldn't tell me where he was going. Until Cadsuane just said "she knows where to find him" .... so, my suspicions of his whereabouts have now been affirmed. ;) At least I know he is safe.
Bridget McGovern
19. BMcGovern
Wetlandernw@15: that's at the top of our current wishlist :) One day in the near future, hopefully!
April Moore
20. aprildmoore
@18, I wouldn't be so sure, Kristy..... he just doesn't want to be fenced in. :-)
Lannis .
21. Lannis
Finally got my own recap finished, if anyone's interested in checking it out it's here. :)
Gary Singer
22. AhoyMatey
Rand has a year to run around. Who knows where he'll turn up? But my money is on Kristy reeling him in...

And Lannis puts teeth on the darnedest things!
Glen V
23. Ways
It was GREAT seeing youze guys in the flesh again! Ms. Ways enjoyed the Con too, especially the costume contest, irreverent tWoTcast afterward, and general shenanigans Saturday evening. Not to mention the fantastic dinner Friday at Newberry's. Oh, and meeting all my nerd friends (as she is fond of calling us since she knows it bugs me) that I routinely chuckle about after a sessions on Tor_com or the facebook group. I was a bit concerned that she would be bored to tears since she is into F/SF on TV and the big screen, but doesn't read RJ, BS or PR. Not a problem.

I departed Roswell thinking I probably wouldn't attend next year, but I'm not so sure now. I'd miss the cameraderie and maybe I'll finally pull the Noal costume together. Besides, IIRC, Harriet said The Encyclopedia will be coming out later this year and that should give us plenty more WoT stuff to talk about.

Thanks all!

ETA
@22 - Agreed.
Ross Newberry
24. rossnewberry
Ways @23: Con of the Red Hand would be a perfect time for a Noal costume!
Ron Garrison
25. Man-0-Manetheran
I agree with Ross, Ways. You can't skip if I come back. I'm sorry I missed this year! Learn from the error of my ways. ;)
Tricia Irish
26. Tektonica
Glen...you have to come back! Ron is coming back too!
And it's Con of the Red Hand!!

I also would like a LIKE button, please!!!

Somewhere I have an old picture of some of us Rereaders with Rand at our first Con, which was Rand's last Con before his reappearance. I'll search the files. It would be Mis, Lannis, Scissorunner and myself.
Thomas Keith
27. insectoid
Commenting belatedly like usual.
Great report, Leigh!

Sounds like you had a good time doing those panels...
Favorites so far: “Bitchslapping the Sparrow”, “Split the Pants”, and “Ahh There’s A Bee On Me”.
LMAO at that last one. XD
I unfortunately have never worked out how to be in sixteen different places at once...
I think Lannis has. *runs for bunker*
Not because I don’t like him! No, not at all, because I understand that he is in fact awesome in every way, but because I shamefully have not yet had a chance to read any of his novels, and I am determined to avoid spoilers until I have a chance to correct what I am assured is an egregious oversight on my part. I’m gonna read him, you guys, I totally swear.
That sounds just like the excuse I have for avoiding BwS's signings lately.
Well, two of them are illustrious, anyway. :P
I'm pretty sure I don't need to guess which ones. :P

April and Leslie look lovely as always, and I've no idea what a Syl is, but don't tell me la la la la not listening!

The Perrin/Hopper cosplay is very cool. And those Asha'man outfits put mine to shame.

I spy Snake on a Unicycle!!

Apparently I didn't expect Darth Leigh either, because I glossed right over that photo in Leslie's album without realizing who was in it. Doh!

Haters Gonna Hate. XD

Thanks April @14, for the history of Rand OntheRun!

Wet @15/April @16:
Clearly Tor.com is behind the times. To reappropriate the above, "Likers Wanna Like"!

Bzzz™.
Alice Arneson
28. Wetlandernw
Bridget @19 - You are the very bestestestestest and I love you all to pieces. :D
Tricia Irish
29. Tektonica
Let it be known......
Ross Newberry, being a Roswell resident, and loyal WoT fan and JCon attendee, is now in sole possession of, and has the responsibility for the illustrious "Bunker Banner".

He has accepted responsibility for henceforth performing all duties related to the unfurling of "Said Banner" in various locations, suites, rooms, and corners of JordanCon for the next year at the least, and perhaps in perpetuity, unless circumstances dictate that a new Keeper of the Banner needs be selected.

Our thanks to Ways for his excellent care and positioning of The Banner in this past year. Amen.
Captain Hammer
30. Randalator
Clearly the sword forms are "The Angry Waiter" meets "Whacky Hijinks".

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