The annual fantasy literature convention, JordanCon, has finally reached double-digit attendees. Fans from all over the world converged on the Crowne Plaza here in Atlanta. The tenth celebration was just as cheesy as the first convention back in 2008, recalls Aubree Pham, mistress of ceremonies for the weekend. In fact, the directors and volunteers reenacted the opening ceremony from the first-ever JordanCon. There was no rehearsal for this unusual introduction. Usually, that would indicate a lack of passion, but it only invigorated the crowd and the performers.
Harriet McDougal, Robert Jordan’s widow and editor, read my favorite and the most profound, defining passage from The Wheel of Time series.
“The Wheel of Time turns, and Ages come and pass, leaving memories that become legend. Legend fades to myth, and even myth is long forgotten when the Age that gave it birth comes again.” —Robert Jordan (The Wheel of Time, 1990).
The directors, Jennifer and James Liang, were bestowed with gifts and tokens for starting the convention, as were the volunteers who have been with JordanCon for the entirety of its ten years. There was also a particularly rousing Blademaster ceremony with an honoree receiving his badge while he battled his own disease.
Guests of honor for this year’s con were author Jason Denzel and artist Stephanie Law. Denzel is the founder of Dragonmount.com, one of many online communities for The Wheel of Time series. Law’s paintings are filled with dream-like imagery and her own personal symbolism derived from mythical worlds.
After the opening ceremonies, I found myself back at The Wheel of Time for Beginners panel. We discussed the series and what to expect once you commit to reading all 15 books. Trust me, it is a commitment. The series has brought so many together in the pursuit of knowledge and they absorb even the tiniest of details in the character descriptions. One thing I found interesting is that everyone who has read the series has read it more than once. That’s true commitment.
Later, I roamed the halls and picked up some memorabilia in the form of Mystic. This is book one in the Mystic series by Jason Denzel. It features a young woman named Pomella, who must overcome great odds to become part of the ranks of the High Mystics.
During the evening I was witness to a lost baby and the one ring… wedding ring that is. I trekked from my room to the ballroom for the newly developed karaoke contest. A group of random strangers gathered to find the missing mom of a toddler bookworm. The tiny tot was eventually reunited with her mother, but not before dazzling passersby with her calm and beautiful smile.
Once in the karaoke room, I embarked on another quest; to find the ring that would rule them all. Imagine a room full of semi-drunk book nerds looking for a golden ring, a replica of the one ring from the Lord of the Rings franchise. It is exactly as you’d imagine. We found the ring and the singing commenced. Did I mention the semi-drunk book nerds? Now imagine us singing. Again, it is exactly what you’d imagine.
Props to Chris, who kicked things off with his rendition of Weird Al Yancovic’s “White & Nerdy,” along with numerous Disney covers. I didn’t cry during the Moana covers (You weren’t there. You can’t judge me). I really enjoyed the splendid rendition of “Out There” from The Hunchback of Notre Dame, sang by Matt, who took second place in the competition.
As the competition moved along, I found myself reveling in the glory of every offkey high note and the sheer joy of every singer who got through a verse without losing their nerve. JordanCon is not just a celebration of fantasy books, authors, and artists. It is a cohesive parade of fans, in pursuit of literary ecstasy, who have found their own voice. As a writer, I can attest to how difficult that is.
I hope this post has strengthened your resolve to delve into a fantasy book and find the same passion so many others have. I’m going back next year.
Also, on May 22nd, PBS will premiere The Great American Read. The series will focus on books by American authors who have touched the lives of many. The show will have live voting for America’s favorite book. How wonderful would it be for The Wheel of Time to win that competition? Check your local listings. I know I’ll be watching.
JordanCon 2019 will take place in Atlanta, GA on April 26th – 28th.