Meet Our 2023 Toastmaster!
Halito! Hello! When Jennifer Liang asked me to be Toastmaster for 2023 I said yes almost instantly. Attending JordanCon caused many new beginnings for me. I can’t imagine the last decade of my life without the connections and opportunities stirred by the winds in Dunwoody, GA.
This will be the 15th year for JordanCon. The 10th anniversary of A Memory of Light and the first season of the Wheel of Time show were two pivotal moments in the WoT fandom. How will the next few turnings of the wheel change the fandom and JordanCon?
JordanCon’s 5th year was a turning point for many fans and attendees, including myself. A Memory of Light was newly published. An ending had occurred. All of Team Jordan and Brandon Sanderson were attending. Leigh Butler, leader of the Tor Wheel of Time Reread, was the Toastmaster. A large number of the Leigh’s Loonies, my online fandom group, were attending for the first time. I told my spouse I had to go, for “It might be my only chance to ever meet them all!”
How I laugh at my “only chance” comment now. JordanCon friends became a new family. Since 2013, I’ve attended all but one year. The weekend energizes me in ways hard to put into words. The friends I have online every other week are next to me and we can just talk, or hug, or chill together in person. This joy is shared by all who post using #IsItAprilYet.
Since the 5th year of JordanCon, the community has grown in multiple ways. I thank the community for enabling my growth as well. The confidence I gained in becoming the (former) Workshop Director and a panelist filtered into other aspects of my life. From sharing my fan art food creations, to sharing my opinions and writings. I went from reading Tor.com blog posts to writing articles for them. I went from entering the costume contest to judging the contest. I went from a book lover to a beta reader for multiple best-selling authors. My younger shy dyslexic self could never have imagined being an active part of creating a novel, let alone over a dozen. Parts of the last ten years boggle my mind, while also bringing me great joy.
Now I get to share a part of this joy as Toastmaster of JordanCon. The Toastmaster is the master of ceremonies. They help kick off the fun and welcome everyone to the convention. I remember feeling thrilled while watching Leigh Butler give her welcoming speech. It was the start of an amazing weekend. I hope to start the 15th JordanCon on a similar entertaining footing. JordanCon has found a wonderful recipe for success, and I plan to highlight several flavor notes as Toastmaster.
JordanCon is about welcoming people to the buffet table. This includes our amazing Guests of Honor. As this year’s Toastmaster, I consider it an honor and privilege to be able to interview this year’s author Guest of Honor, Wesley Chu. I’ve been a fan of his for years, since reading his Tao novels and his season 12 co-host role on Writing Excuses. His newest novel, The Art of Prophecy, is his “love letter to the wuxia genera.” It is the start of a very promising journey.
Equally impressive is our artist Guest of Honor Omar Ryyan. His art is full of whimsy, grace, and fantasy creatures. His work reminds me of the best of Romantic era paintings. My costumer’s heart delights in the fine detail he pours into clothing, accessories, and finer details. What a delightful addition his work will be to the Art Show!
Welcome home to JordanCon everyone. I look forward to sharing the community table and ribbons with everyone in 2023. Come talk to me about your favorite flavors, cuisine or literature, your choice.
By Deana Whitney
New Member Monday: The Schedule is Live! Now What?!
Well, JordanConers, the schedule is out and it is time to start making plans! But, if you are new to Conventions, the schedule can be a lot!! So, here are some quick terms and notes about all the information that you can find on the schedule.
- TRACKS – Track is the name given to a specific room or rooms generally being used for similarly themed panels.
- PANELS – A panel is a staff or guest-led discussion about a particular topic.
- MODERATOR – This is a volunteer who helps guide the conversation on panels, makes sure the panelists don’t get too off-topic, and keeps an eye on the time. The moderator often has some additional knowledge of the panel topic.
- PANELIST – The panelists are who you came to see! They will be the ones discussing the topic of the panel.
JordanCon 2022 Tracks
Main Programming – From Opening Ceremonies to Closing Ceremonies, JordanCon’s Main Programming is the centerpiece of the convention. It is home to such activities as the Costume Contest, Karaoke, JordanCon Dance Party, Author Signings, and Q&As
Art Track – Our goal for our track is to expand appreciation of art and artists among the general JordanCon membership and also to provide a great mentoring and networking environment for artists, whether they are just starting out or are seasoned professionals.
Fantasy Track – JordanCon’s Fantasy Track offers programming spanning a wide range of stories and worlds. From traditional fantasy like Lord of the Rings to more modern fantasy like Harry Potter to Young Adult stories and even Urban Fantasy like The Dresden Files. And they cover TV and movies too.
Gaming Track – The Gaming Track Room is constantly bustling with gamers of all sorts. You can always find something to do here! It houses many demo games available to be played on one of the many banquet size tables available for open gaming. Want to bring your own game to play? No problem! If there’s an open table, you are more than welcome to come on in and play.
Science Fiction Track – JordanCon’s Science Fiction track is dedicated to opening new worlds to you, our members, and letting you get lost in the multiverse. Our guests lead the conversations in a myriad of panel discussions on everything from the earliest days of SciFi, to the modern masters and everyone in between. We have a passion for SciFi and we always seek to spread that passion around!
Writer’s Track – The JordanCon Writers track is a place to come learn about the art, craft, and business of writing. We have topics that range from traditional to self-publishing, editing and other aspects of writing, and workshops
Wheel of Time Track – The World of Wheel of Time Track covers all the things Wheel of Time from the books to the Amazon Prime TV show
Brandon Sanderson Track – In this track all things Sanderson are discussed.
Workshops – Do you like to learn new skills or how to make items? Visit the JordanCon Workshops Track to unleash your crafty side or your unquenchable thirst for knowledge. Here, participants acquire different skills. Sign-ups are located at registration at the beginning of the convention.
Many workshops focus on learning a craft, such as: costuming, dancing, metalworking, painting, woodworking, or even 3-D printing. Some workshops focus on learning more intangible skills, such as calligraphy, copyright rules, running a fan store, or even laying out an eBook. Workshops are announced in advance of JordanCon so anyone can join in the Workshop Track fun!
Speaking of Workshops…
Jordancon is more than just panels; it is also a chance for some hands-on activities. Every year the Workshop staff looks far and wide to come up with amazing workshops for con-goers to attend. The best part about the workshops is that you don’t have to be familiar with The Wheel of Time to enjoy them. It is perfect for those of you that are attending with a fan but haven’t read the books.
While some of the workshops require preregistration before the con, you can register for most at the Con. The signup sheets for workshops can be found near the registration desk. Be sure to ask when you check in where to go to register for workshops. If there is a cost to a workshops, the fee should be paid directly to the workshop instructor. Exact change is appreciated.
Workshops for Jordancon 2022
- Alcohol Ink Pour Painting with Alexandra Klimek ($15) – Create a painting on wood with alcohol ink using pouring and blending techniques. Class limit 15.
- Braid Tugging with Melisa Grooms – Learn some great hair up-do styles perfect for the JordanCon Dance. Limit: 12, over 12+
- Crocheting Doomslug with Karen Ahlstrom ($5) – Learn to crochet Doomslug from the Skyward series. Class limit 15.
- Braiding on a Loom: Kumihimo with Deana Whitney ($6) – Learn the basics of 4 & 8 strand braiding. Can create hundreds of cord styles. Class Limit: 8
- Tarot Reading with Katharine Reid – An introduction to the basics of tarot reading.
- Make your own Hero of the Horn with Karen Ahlstrom ($5) – As seen on TV! Make a ragdoll Birgitte. Class limit 15
- Cross Stitching with Maureen Carr ($5) – Cross-stitch Wheel of Time Characters. Fee $5.00 Class limit: 15.
Any questions can be sent to workshops Director Amelie Downing at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Now that you know a little more about the technical aspects of the schedule, here are your next steps:
- Take a look at the JordanCon 2022 Schedule
- Decide what Panels and/or Activities you want to participate in
- Check out the Volunteer Sign-Up Page to see where you can help.
- Get ready to meet the family you didn’t know you needed!
Costuming in the Wheel of Time Television Show: Intro
By Kathryn Paterwic
The Wheel of Time series by Robert Jordan (and finished by Brandon Sanderson) has been a high fantasy staple for years, and in 2017 Amazon Prime announced the start of production on a multi-million dollar, multi-year and multi-country streaming live action adaptation. Amazon seems to have high hopes for the fourteen-book series, reportedly spending an average of $10 million an episode—and from what I have seen it is worth it.
I was given a chance to preview the first three episodes for this article, and while I am not a costume designer for this series, I have worked as a costume instructor for years. This gives me a unique perspective when it comes to theatrical adaptations of the written works, especially from a costuming standpoint, and the costume choices and execution will be the focus of this article.
The series The Wheel of Time is full of descriptive worldbuilding, encompassing fourteen distinct nations (not to mention cultural groups), which all get visited at least once by at least one of the seven main characters. Breaking this down will be an intimidating task. So let’s look at some of the ideas designers think about when turning books into visual media.
Let’s take the first two episodes. The story starts in the backwoods of nowhere, (eventually we will get an interesting contrast between our humble main five and the richer denizens of this world, but later). Who are the characters at their core, and what are they trying to accomplish? In this article we will look at three distinct groups. Our main five characters, just trying to live in a small town, a powerful visitor and a group that wants you to think they are something they are not.
The characters from Emond’s Field (specifically Rand, Mat, Perrin, Egwene and Nyneave) are just living their lives where things like fashion might be YEARS behind other areas of the world. People in Emond’s Field make things from scratch, they will alter them, redye them, re-style them, until the garment falls apart (we see this in our own history with clothing from “the peasant and working class”). Effectively, who cares if it exactly matches something you already own, it took someone three days to make it after working all day on something else.
Garments might be gifts or have more sentimental or utilitarian appeal than wearing clothes. Emond’s Field is known for their wool production, so any garment you see made from wool or that is woven is more valuable outside the town’s home region of Two Rivers. So clothes for new garments in a place like Emond’s Field is harder to come by. This doesn’t mean they are not interesting—as a costumer you can put in little easter eggs like the color of Nynaeve’s (Zoë Robins) coat for example juxtaposed to the color of the inside lining (foreshadowing future important aspects of her character), or Rand’s (Josha Stradowski) coat, the fact that Perrin (Marcus Rutherford) is the only one actually wearing fur (also foreshadowing) but that is for another article.
On the opposite side of the spectrum we have Moiraine (Rosamund Pike) who is trying not to make a stir when she first appears in Emond’s Field. Not only does everyone know everyone in a town this small but she visually doesn’t fit, even her protector Lan (Daniel Henney) doesn’t (though he fits better). First, she is openly wearing pants, and the fabric doesn’t have any kind of pattern, even the fact that her garments don’t tie or button make her stand out. Her clothes might be made of wool but the clothes themselves are much finer than the townspeople. Her overall silhouette is tall, narrow and streamlined. From a costumer’s perspective, Moiraine needs to be utilitarian — she is traveling a long way through inhospitable terrain, trying not to draw attention to herself but she was raised in comfort (to say the least). From what I’ve seen, she’s sticking out like a sore thumb. Her colors are too rich, her clothes fit well, her silhouette is too sophisticated, someone born to nobility in a city they’ve never seen.
An interesting example of costume theory is the look of The Children of Light, which plays a much more subtle and psychological game than with Moiraine. Commonly referred to as the White Cloaks, these are the group dressed completely in white. I think the costume designers are showing the White Cloaks as THEY WISH to be seen, not how the world actually sees them. They are religious zealots first and foremost, and they need to be warriors out of necessity because they see The Shadow is everywhere. But, they don’t have armor. No one would attack them, and they believe, so deeply, that the Light will protect them, that they don’t need it. They want to give off an authoritative air, but not a threatening one. If they scare the people they are “protecting,” it will make their job harder. This non-threatening appearance is in stark contrast with their actions when we, the audience, are introduced to them, which are brutal and reprehensible.
While I know that this isn’t how they are described in the book, it should end up being more nuanced and more realistic than a heavily armed group of soldiers stomping around the woods for no reason. This way the designer is letting the actions speak and leaning in on the jarring contrast.
This article only covered costumes, but I hope it gives you some sense of the wheels turning behind the scenes. While there are fans of the books who have loved them for years, who may be hesitant that the story will be done well, we will need more new fans to love them if we are going to see the Last Battle come to life. On that front, I can tell you that those who cherished the books will love this adaptation, if they go in with an open mind and remember that no one can make everyone happy all the time. Those who have never read the books should be able to follow with no trouble. For those who like to binge watch and rewatch, there is more to discover with each viewing. I was driving after watching the first three episodes and found myself slapping the steering wheel yelling “Blood and bloody ashes, how did I miss that! That was amazing!” Overall, I’m very excited for the direction that this show is taking, and look forward to breaking down even more costume theory as the show progresses through the story!