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, 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.
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:
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:
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!
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!
Well, two of them are illustrious, anyway. :P
Next, the finalists!
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.
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:
But that’s not even the WHOLE costume! Lookit:
And then there was the winner of the contest:
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:
ROLLER DERBY AES SEDAI. Ha!
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.
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.
The Mirrorworld Ta’veren, back from last year! Still one of my absolute favorites.
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:
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.
Wait, how did that get in there? There was none of that!
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:
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!
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.