Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Recap of JordanCon V: Tar Va’Con

JordanCon... I arrived home yesterday from that whirlwind of a weekend—okay, five days, because let’s face it, when I have the chance to run away from home I’m going to stretch it out as far as humanly possible.

Shut up. You would, too. Especially if it were for this Con.

See, and that’s the thing... I’m sitting here trying to think of how to start this recap, and well... all I can come up with is family.

And it’s repeating others’ sentiments, and perhaps sounds trite or inconceivable to others, but it’s true (inconceivable, heh...).

I said it last year in my article (which I suppose I’ll need to republish on Chez Lannis), and the truth still stands: JordanCon is part celebration of all things pertaining to Wheel of Time, and part family reunion.

The moment our shuttle pulled up on Thursday afternoon, I spotted Maria Simons, Robert Jordan’s assistant, sitting on the bench near the hotel entrance. I waved hard enough to make my hand fall off if it weren’t tied on so well (yay for tendons!), then bolted out of the van as soon as the door opened to give her a giant hug, and received a good squeeze in return.

Team Jordan. Giant hug. Yes. They’re that approachable, and that excited to see us, too.

And every year it gets better. Partly because you meet more people, and partly because attendance is growing, and partly because, well, everyone is family.

(There’s that word again.)

Highlights from this year’s Con? Well, it’s all one big highlight, from beginning to end. Sure, that’s cheeseball to say, but it’s difficult to pick one thing.

A few moments that topped my list:

  • Being able to attend the Rereaders' dinner that my friend Tektonica planned—the group of us who’ve been following Leigh Butler’s WoT Reread finally had a good showing at JordanCon. We managed to go out as a group thanks to Tek's planning, and it was so great to meet everyone in person! (YOU GUYS! The Bunker exists! And it’s at the DoubleTree Hotel! WHO KNEW?!) WoT Rereaders pose with Leigh Butler in the DoubleTree Hotel lobby.
  • Delivering a spanking paddle to Leigh Butler as part of the Opening Ceremonies.
  • Having the honour of being a speaker on Literary Costuming panel with the wonderfully talented (and charming) Pinky Shear.
  • Wilson Grooms (Robert Jordan's close relative) remembering my name, and my admitted geek-out that he did (I’m a total nerd and utterly spastic train wreck. There’s no denying it).
  • Receiving a cupcake from Author Guest of Honour Seanan McGuire... and hell, that girl can SING! So can Leigh! Karaoke rocked!
Clockwise from upper left: A cupcake from Seanan McGuire; being cute with Wilson Grooms; the official panelist placard; flaunting the spanking paddle with Leigh Butler.

  • Meeting friends face to face from around the globe, some I’ve met before (Hi, Linda!) and others for the first time (Hi, Nadine!).
  • Repeatedly saying “sorry” (like the walking Canadian stereotype I am) within Tom O’Hara’s hearing, just to see him crack up. every. time. (Ha!)
  • Speaking with the lovely gentleman at Bargain Basement Books who brought a signed copy of Christopher Moore's A Dirty Job because he remembered I'd asked after it last year. (Seriously—talk about going above and beyond! SOLD!)
  • Helping Artist Guest of Honour Michael Whelan, and seeing the original painting that is the cover of A Memory of Light up close. ::swoon::
  • Meeting author Jana Oliver, gushing over her work, and blurting inanely to her that I’d willingly run away with her character Beck, the backwoods boy—only to be told I’d have to get in line... boo! Haha!
  • Carting home a total of 13 newly signed books. (Yes, I have a problem.)
  • Having author Emilie Bush personalize my copy of Steamduck Learns to Fly by scrawling, “Fly, my Canadian goose.” (She’s so cool, and showed me some preliminary illustrations for her next book!)
Signed booty.
  • Coveting and then managing to snag one of Missy Lindsey’s beautiful handmade mugs from the Art Show sale. Oh, hell, Missy Lindsey in general makes my list—that girl knows how to have a good time!
  • Snagging Maria’s Judge’s Choice award for my Elmindreda costume—nothing like whipping out hidden knives on stage in front of 300+ people (five knives—including one in my cleavage, heh).
Second year in a row with a costuming prize. This year it's Maria's Judge's Choice for Elmindreda.
  • Drinking Sonic Screwdrivers at the LibertyCon room party (those folks throw a really good party! Free booze, ahoy! There’s nothing like waking after 5 hours sleep to down an Advil with a swig of Sonic Screwdriver remaining in my water bottle... oops...)
  • The dance party. Freaking amazing good time. And it was crashed by two wedding parties (we nerds know how to throw a good shindig, what can we say...? heh.)
  • Seeing the amazing costumes and knowing the competition for next year is even more steep (let the brainstorming begin...).
Clockwise from left: Rand al'Thor; Alternate world female ta'veren; Mat losing an eye. WoT Rereaders in costume.
  • Being touched personally by the words and actions of friends (Jeff and Kiley, you broke me! You know it, and I love you for it! Tai’shar Ta’veren Tees!)
  • Meeting a crap load of people (sure, that’s metric), and enjoying every. single. moment.

How do you get to enjoy the fun?

Well, first of all, you need to attend the Con. That’s it, honestly.

Show up, attend a few panels, if you’re shy and by yourself, maybe the WoT Speed Friending panel might be good for you—I didn’t go, but I heard great things about it. (Apparently it's like speed dating, but actually fun.)

If there’s a schedule conflict and you can’t make that, well, walk up to someone and say hi. Because guess what? Everyone at JordanCon is there for the same reason—to revel in all things Wheel of Time, and enjoy themselves.

If you’re a Wheel of Time fan, you’ve already got an icebreaker—ask someone about their favourite character or book. Ask someone what they plan to read next since A Memory of Light came out. See? Easy.

Hell, two years ago I walked up to someone sitting in the front row of a Brandon Sanderson panel, sat down next to him, and blurted, “Hey, you’re my friend now.” True story.

Guess what? He wasn’t freaked out by the crazy Canadian. In fact, he missed last year’s JordanCon, but this year we got a chance to reconnect again (unfortunately for only a millisecond, but still... hi, Stephen!).

People don’t mind a little openness, and everyone is attending JordanCon because they want to interact with others about a subject they love.

If you’re too shy to walk up to someone and need a bit of help breaking the ice, I suggest volunteering. It’s excellent!

Kristy Lussier heads up the volunteers and she’s not afraid to put you to work—you’ll have the excuse of job performance to push you out of your shyness. Registration means you meet a ton of people really fast. The Art Show means you get to meet artists (like Michael Whelan, and Sam Weber).

Any area means you make friends.

Plus you get cool swag.

Swag ahoy! Shirts, bags, bumper stickers, iPhone cases... what's not to love?

If you need more photo proof of the fun, my Flickr album of pics can be found here.

You don’t need to go with anyone. You don’t need to have a costume. You don’t need to attend the entire weekend (though I recommend it, or at least the Saturday night party). You don’t even need to have read all the books (though it’s helpful).

All you have to do is love the series.

The rest falls into place.

And then you’ll come back the next year to an enthusiastic reception and see... it’s family.


  1. Excellent recap. We love you too! Stay strong. Tai'shar Lannis!

  2. Deborah Kay-MorganApril 24, 2013 at 2:20 PM

    My first JordanCon and not a moment of regret or hesitation. 100% welcomed, included and encouraged. Like a family reunion only better without the raised eyebrows or whispers.
    My first visit? was a homecoming! Home where the love of a story and characters binds us together with bonds stronger than blood. A wonderful homecoming...see you next year! Love you!

  3. Aw, Leslie, you make me wish I did more! It was lovely meeting you and all the other Re-readers. :D

  4. More than ONE family member remembers you quite It was wonderful to see you again!

  5. Haha! Yes, I suppose that's true. I was told on the weekend I happen to be, um, memorable...

    I missed giving you a hug goodbye, Melanie! Will see you next year for SURE! :D

  6. If you come back next year, you can do PLENTY more, Insectoid! So great to finally meet you, and your Asha'man coat was beautiful! Great job! :)

  7. Aw, Deb! So glad you felt that way! I hope you join us again next year! It was wonderful to hang out with you! :)

  8. IF I can come back. That's the real hitch—this parent-funded trip was a one-time deal, I'm afraid. Next time *I* have to be able to afford the flight and room.

  9. Is that a ping pong paddle that you re-purposed to be the spanking paddle?

    - Alreadymad

  10. Ok seriously I need to make it out there next year.

  11. The entire reason I went the first time was because I love my husband! Had never read the first word of WoT, but I started book one that weekend. The next year my hubs was in Afghanistan (he's a soldier ::swoon::!). We went to JordanConV and it was like long lost family! I'm only just finishing book six, I know, ugh, but no "spoilers" I hear will ever ruin it for me. It's so much more than a story, JordanCon makes it a family and I LOVE it!