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.