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DRAGONMOUNT

A WHEEL OF TIME COMMUNITY

By Mashiara Sedai, in Books and eBooks,

As announced last month, PBS will be hosting a new series called “The Great American Read.”  Through a national survey, they identified the best 100 books.  PBS states:     This is exciting for us as booklovers, but it’s also exciting for us as Wheel of Time lovers.  The Wheel of Time (the complete series) is one of the 100 nominated.   The two-hour pilot airs tonight (Tuesday, May 22nd, 2018) at 8/7c.  Check your local PBS station for exact time.   Now here’s where devoted fans of Robert Jordan and The Wheel of Time come into play.  When the pilot airs, voting for the best book begins.  From May 22nd until October 18th, viewers can vote DAILY!  On top of that, there are two ways to vote each day.   1. Use the voting app on The Great American Read website.  You’ll need to register first, using an email address or a Facebook login.   2. Post an original post on Facebook or Twitter and include the official hashtag of the book you choose.  The hashtag for The Wheel of Time can be found on its page once voting has opened.   Starting September 11, 2018, there will be two additional ways to vote—bringing the total to four!  More on that when it’s closer.   The Wheel of Time has a great advantage in a show of this format.  We are vast in numbers, and our community is very close-knit.  If we all band together, we can share our beloved series with the rest of the country!

By Mashiara Sedai, in Fantasy Reviews,

It’s time for another author interview!  I’m very pleased to be able to have J.S. Fields with us.  J.S. is the author of the Ardulum Series, with the third book, Third Don, being released June 4, 2018.  J.S. is an author, an artist, and a scientist, with a special interest in wood spalting.   Q: Thank you for taking the time to talk with me, J.S.  Can you tell us a bit about yourself? Thank you for having me! I’m a professor, parent, professional sculptor, and most recently, author. I live in the Pacific Northwest of the USA but am not a dog person, which is sort of a perpetual issue in this region. I love dark chocolate, dark fantasy, and anything with a strong f/f or enby/f romance line (assuming it still has plot). Also I’m queer x10000, but I think that goes without saying.   Q: Your Ardulum Series is praised as a ground-breaking space opera with special emphasis on species with more than two genders, or gender-neutral roles.  How important is it to you to see this representation within the writing community? Being nonbinary myself, I am of course very tired of not seeing myself in fiction. But I think more importantly, in space science fiction, there is really no excuse to not have nonbinary genders. The binary doesn’t even routinely exist on earth, so why in the world would it exist for every species we might meet in space? While representation clearly matters, I think I’m actually more insulted on a science front when I read science fiction that doesn’t include nonbinary genders. How can anyone claim to be a scientist and not understand (or embrace) the natural variability of living systems?   On the representation front, I think in many ways science fiction has not really evolved in terms of gender. Sexuality has always been explored (not always well, or respectfully), but gender seems to be this big hurdle writers can’t get around (exceptions, of course, do exist). We can imagine hyperdrives and wormholes, but not the idea that this person with breasts and a vulva isn’t a woman. And the more space science fiction, especially, pushes the boundaries of sexuality, the more the lack of gender representation stands out. It’s demoralizing and, quite frankly, incredibly ignorant, to imagine worlds where, say, everyone is ‘anatomically female,’ so of course there are lesbians, but no one ever seems to stop and go, oh, hey, just because they have these parts doesn’t mean you still wouldn’t have men, or enbies. It feels like conscious erasure, like nonbinary and trans people are just too much work to put into a narrative. Because calling someone with a penis a woman is so much harder than a two-page treatise on how a civilization evolved on a tidally locked planet inside a wormhole.   Q: Your series introduces several new species.  Can you explain a bit about them, and how they are different/similar to humanity or other alien species we’ve grown accustomed to? ARDULUM has a number of non-human species. In fact, humans, while present, are not POV characters, nor do they drive the narrative.   I did make a conscious effort to make most of my aliens humanoid. This was for a number of reasons, including but not limited to:   1)      reader familiarity: while some readers love a good goopy, phase-shifting being, if you don’t have humans as your main characters, you will lose readers who cannot connect with goopy-protag.   2)      technology: we all work within the ecosystems that support us. It makes sense that bipeds would generally congregate together due to similarities in needs. Hence, while it is made apparent in the series that plenty of variation exists across the galaxy, the bipeds mostly hang out in biped-specific establishments. This means they generally only meet other bipeds. Some exclusions occur, and in fact, it is the interaction of biped/non-biped interactions that drive a lot of the narrative   3)      genetics and reproductive fitness: there are a lot of genetic narratives in play in the ARDULUM  series, and for those to work, I need genetically related species. Genetic relations generally tend to mean you look like the person you’re related to (on a family level or higher), so I didn’t have a lot of leeway to have non-humanoid bipeds in the narrative.   4)      Sex. I like a good tentacle sex scene as much as the next person but I’m not prepared to write one.   To the aliens in ARDULUM specifically:   At the heart of the story is Neek (from a planet of the same name), a young woman outcast from her world for failure to tow the religious line. This species has two distinct phenotypes: the eight-fingered variety that mostly have reddish hair and variable skin melanin content, and the variety that have bone white skin and variable fingers. All secrete empathic mucous from their fingertips. There are three standard genders on Neek: male, female, and gatoi. Gatoi is third gender, and while genitals are never discussed, it is established that this gender is a player in reproduction.   The Ardulans are bipedal humanoids with transparent skin (of varying melanin contents), also all with reddish hair, and also with a male/female/gatoi breakdown (you see now where the genetic through-line is coming in). To describe much more would give spoilers, unfortunately, but generally this species has some unique telekinetic abilities.   Mmnnuggls are the primary non-bipeds of the series. These are ball-shaped beings that hover a few meters off the ground (the mechanics of this are not discussed). They’re generally shades of purple (sometimes so dark as to be almost black). They have four genders (primary male, secondary male, primary female, secondary female), which includes both anatomical changes and social role changes. This species was a lot of fun to write because they choose to interact with bipeds, but there is so much to understand between fundamentally different lifeforms. What are the purpose of hands, afterall, if your species has evolved to have no use for them? They probably just look downright stupid! But really, having characters like the Mmnnuggls points out the real struggle in writing aliens, and why so many books/movies chose to use a standard biped form. If you’re going to have multiple aliens, there’s just too much anatomy and culture to build to even have your species begin to interact. And the more disparate the anatomy, the more likely it is that the species require mutually-exclusive environments. And then you’re into a whole different type of science fiction.   The final species of note are the Risalians, an agender, bipedal, humanoid species with a blend of mammalian and reptilian roots. These are the prerequisite blue-skinned aliens of the series (tropes help ground readers, I’ve found, when you have a lot of new information and ideas to toss at them). While the neopronouns for the Risalians threw some readers, I thought it was really important to not just give nonbinary genders a pass with ‘they,’ especially since there are so many different flavors of nonbinary in the book. Hence, every type of nonbinary gender gets its own pronoun set. The reviews on that are about what you would expect, but as a nonbinary person, it was really important to me to highlight the uniqueness of each gender. ‘They’ just wasn’t going to cut it.   Q: How important is it to add romance within the series?  Do you feel it’s a personal preference or more an obligation to the reader? I think that depends on what type of audience you are trying to capture. A lot of hard science fiction readers aren’t looking for romance. Romance readers, clearly, are. Yet, it’s very hard to market a book as f/f and not have some romance (although it really shouldn’t be. Lesbians are allowed to have autonomous lives without chasing tail constantly). For me personally, I like to see a romance line in a heavier plot, because I just haven’t had the opportunity to see the kinds of relationships I engage in mirrored in fiction. Hence, my books always have a romance line which is integral to the story, although as in the case of ARDULUM, the purpose behind it is so deeply wound in with the plot that you don’t see its purpose until the very end.   Q: Do you have any authors that have influenced your writing? Not particularly. I think a lot of TV shows influenced me though, especially the slew of 9pm sci fi serials that used to play on FOX back in the 80s and 90s. M.AN.T.I.S., VR5, Time Trax, these were the shows that shaped my understanding of science fiction/fantasy and inspired me to write.   Q: Your scientific background is amazing!  How does your academic work influence your fiction writing? Specifically for the ARDULUM series, the science part of the book is entirely informed by my background in wood science. I get to interact with some really neat tech as part of my job, and it was a great opportunity to get to showcase some of that work in fiction. In THIRD DON, I got to play with the other end of my research, fungi, and I think any mycophiles reading it will be pleasantly surprised with the nods to the science of wood decay.   Q: Do you have any other fiction projects in the works? I am currently querying a YA fantasy with a nonbinary protagonist, where the magical system is based on spalting fungi (there’s that academic tie-in again). There will also be a fourth ARDULUM book—a book of shorts that contains origin stories for the main characters.   Q: Is there anything else you’d like readers to know about you, or your series? One of the best ways to support authors, especially indy and small press authors, is to leave reviews, especially on Amazon! If you read any of the ARDULUM books I would love it if you would take a few minutes and leave an Amazon review. It can be something as simple as ‘Boobs!’ or a several page narrative. One start or five, every review matters. And of course if you want to chat, whether to bemoan the very slow-burn romance of Neek and Emn, or to work through the mechanics of cellulose microkinesis, you are always welcome to engage with me on Twitter.     You can check out J.S.’s website, Twitter, or Goodread’s page for more information. First Don and Second Don are currently available, and Third Don is available for preorder from NineStar Press.

By Mashiara Sedai, in Community & Events,

Most Wheel of Time fans know that Robert Jordan, besides being an avid writer, was an avid reader.  On the lastest episode of Wheel of Time Spoilers, Wilson Grooms—Jordan's relative—stated that Jordan was reading one book a day.  This led his personal library to reach over 10,000 books.   And that collection will soon be available for purchase from Mr. K’s Used Books, CDs, DVDs and More:     For those in the areas, the four Mr. K's locations are in Asheville, North Carolina, Charleston and Greenville, South Carolina, and Johnson City, Tennessee.  You can see a map of their locations here.   Don't miss out on the opportunity of owning one of Robert Jordan's personal books!

By Mashiara Sedai, in JordanCon,

Our friends at Wheel of Time Spoilers reached their milestone 100th episode while attending JordanCon 10.  To celebrate this prestigious event, Seth and Patrick sat down with Jason Denzel, Brad Kane, and Wilson Grooms.   To listen to Episode 100, click here!   This episode, recorded live at JordanCon, delved into many topics.  Most importantly being the current status of The Wheel of Time television show.  During the Team Jordan panel at JordanCon, Jason asked Harriet McDougal of the show’s fate.  For those unable to attend that panel, Jason shares the basics here.   Wilson, who has been a big part of The Wheel of Time fandom, including helping Robert Jordan update his blog posts during his treatments, also shares some fond memories.  Wilson talks about Jordan’s love for reading, his days in the military, and the process of publishing The Wheel of Time stories.   For more from Wheel of Time Spoilers, you can check out their recent interview with Dragonmount, their website, or their new spin-off of sorts, Mistborn Spoilers.

By Mashiara Sedai, in JordanCon,

This year marked the 10th anniversary of JordanCon.  It's truly amazing that the dedication and loyalty of so many Wheel of Time lovers has turned this convention with a modest beginning into a yearly pilgrimage for many fans.  The depth of love from all the people involved--from the staff, to the volunteers, to the attendees--is a testament to Robert Jordan and The Wheel of Time series.   To celebrate the milestone of ten amazing years, during the opening ceremonies, a video overview was shown.  It highlighted Robert Jordan, his fight with amyloidosis, and the following years of JordanCon where his life and his life's work were/are celebrated.  After this played for the crowd of con-goers, I can pretty much guarantee there was not a dry eye.   You can view the video here.  Even without being surrounded by hundreds of other fans, this is still beautifully touching.  The song fit the theme of this year's JordanCon, SeanCon: the Return.  But the deeper meaning is there.  If you've ever had the privilege of attending a Wheel of Time related event, you know that meeting fellow fans is like a homecoming.      

By Mashiara Sedai, in JordanCon,

This year’s JordanCon was epic in proportion, first because it was the tenth year of the convention (according to Jennifer Liang, everyone thought the first JordanCon would be the last JordanCon), and second because this year marks the 20th anniversary of Dragonmount.   Arriving Thursday night was like coming home to a group of very good friends.  After checking into my hotel room around midnight, I headed down to the lobby and promptly began deep, philosophical discussions about The Wheel of Time series with none other than Paul Bielaczyc—though there was a moment when he got The Wheel of Time mixed up with HG Wells’ The Time Machine…. That, in a nutshell, is JordanCon.  Approach any person, say hello, and they’re your friend for life.   This year’s lineup of panels and guests was colossal.  If I had to list a negative part of the Con experience this year, it was that too many amazing panels happened simultaneously.  I had many difficult decisions to make, and I feel many other Con-goers had the same dilemma.   This year’s Toastmaster, and Empress—may she live forever—of the Seanchan’s glorious Return was Aubree Pham.  The Seanchan theme continued throughout the event, including a game in which members of the Low Blood were required to eliminate members of the High Blood.  Even the annual Saturday night dance party was the Homecoming: One Night in Falme.      Naturally, the Author Guest of Honor for the year of Dragonmount’s 20th birthday was Jason Denzel.  He attended many panels, hosted a Kaffeeklatsch, read a snippet of the next series he plans after the Mystic trilogy is finished, and talked at length with Matt Hatch of Theoryland about the origins of their respective websites—including an incident that happened at JordanCon 1 involving Brandon Sanderson’s newly finished, and unpublished copy of The Gathering Storm, Brandon’s credit card, and a Kinkos.     The Artist Guest of Honor was Stephanie Law.  Her artwork was spectacularly displayed in the vendor’s hall, and she dazzled attendees with a watercolor demo.  The highlight was the “Women in Illustration” panel, with other artists, Ariel Burgess, Melissa Gay, Amanda Makepeace, and Angela Sasser.  In another panel, Stephanie, Angela, and Ariel also helped explain Patreon—the ins and outs of the subscription service, and how to determine if it’s a worthwhile investment of your time and energy.     For me, personally, one of the best moments was being inducted as an Asha’man into Bill Nesbitt’s Black Tower.  I worked very hard on my Asha’man costume to be ready for the pinning ceremony.  But even better was the Wheel of Time discussion at the party afterward.  For more than an hour, there was a healthy debate over the nature of the Creator and the Dark One, and whether it was possible that Rand was actually the Creator.  The next day, I talked to Matt Hatch, and he solved the debate in less than a minute.  Though his presence at the party would have solved it quickly, as the Knights Radiant are fond of saying: “Journey before destination.”     For the Daes Dae’mar trivia contest, Dragonmount had an official team entry!  It consisted of myself, Verbal32, Keyholder21, Songstress, Hallia, Kathleen, and Leelou, plus four other friends we found along the way: Monica, Jeanine, Anna, and Natalie.  Through our valiant efforts, we tied for second place.  The dreaded Theresa Gray (Terez from Theoryland) determined our answers were subpar, so she awarded the other team, The Salty Wetlanders, second place, and awarded us third.  Naturally, the team Gap of Infinity—consisting of Theorylanders—won first place.  We’ll have to do a rematch next year.  So Dragonmounters, start your re-reads and be prepared!     And though Dragonmount’s birthday isn’t until September—Jenn Liang was very definitive of the month—we still celebrated!  We had as many people as possible crammed into a suite, and while everyone chatted and indulged in merry-making, we also had a Wheel of Time spelling bee.  We were doing okay until we got the word “Ta'maral'ailen.”  Jason couldn’t pronounce it.  Brandon couldn’t pronounce it.  Maria Simons (of Team Jordan fame), wasn’t in the room.  But we did have contestants successfully spell Tel’aran’hriod, Tarmon Gai’don, and Asmodean, to name a few (that last one was me).     I also had several opportunities to talk with Seth and Patrick from Wheel of Time Spoilers.  They even mentioned how they kicked off their newest podcast Mistborn Spoilers.  They’re starting at the very beginning of the first trilogy, so make sure to start while it’s new!     This was my fifth JordanCon, and it was the best of the bunch so far!  The guests were amazingly friendly and accessible.  The game hall had activities going nonstop.  Every corner of the hotel was filled with people who love The Wheel of Time as much as me.  If there’s such a thing as paradise on Earth, it’s JordanCon!   You can already order tickets for JordanCon 11: Shai’Con.  The Guest of Honor will be Brent Weeks, author of The Night Angel trilogy and the Lightbringer series.  The Artist Guest of Honor will be Dan dos Santos, well known in our circle for his ebook cover of the The Fires of Heaven, as well as the cover of Warbreaker.  The Toastmaster will be Paul Bielaczyc—which is self-explanatory since the theme is Shai’Con.    If you missed out on the fun this year, don’t make the same mistake for next year!  I hope to see you all there!   You can see a collection of JordanCon pictures in the Dragonmount Gallery, or browse through the JordanCon Facebook group!    

By Mashiara Sedai, in Books and eBooks,

This summer, PBS is hosting an eight-part series dedicated to discovering America's favorite books.  A list of 100 books have been selected, and the PBS series will focus on narrowing down these top picks to select one winner.   Naturally, The Wheel of Time series is included on this list.   The first episode—which premieres May 22nd—will consist of a two-hour introduction, highlighting each of the 100 books, and what they have contributed to American culture. The show will continue with one-hour episodes in a documentary style with authors, celebrities, and book lovers, discussing the nominated books.  The finale will air in October and the winner will be announced.   Here’s where you come in.  The point of the show is to narrow the results, and to do so, PBS is asking Americans to vote!  We all know The Wheel of Time fandom is the best in the world, so we’re calling on all of you to let everyone know how amazing our beloved series is.   Voting will open on May 22, in conjunction with the two-hour premier, and can be done online and through social media outlets.  Follow “The Great American Read” on their website, Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram.  And always check back to Dragonmount for updates!  

By Mashiara Sedai, in Rotating Features,

It wouldn’t be JordanCon without a new, Wheel of Time related costume.  The convention starts tomorrow, so in preparation, I made myself an Asha’man coat.  I’ve been wanting one forever—some of you might remember when I posted this picture of what I envisioned a female Asha’man coat to be like.      JordanCon 10, plus Dragonmount’s 20-year anniversary, seemed like the best time to make my dream a reality.   First, I started with this pattern, selection D.      The military style seemed to fit my vision, and I loved that it had a high collar.   The pattern is classified as “easy,” but it was the trickiest pattern I’ve sewn to date.  My Aes Sedai and sul’dam dresses were much easier.   Either way, I followed the directions for the jacket, but I skipped the lining.    I used black poplin—an inexpensive and forgiving fabric—for the project, with a few snippets of a white satin for the pockets, and about a yard of interfacing.  I probably spent less than $15 on the fabrics.  A great deal for such an ambition outfit.   The most impressive thing is how much the coat flairs out!  It's got a ton of fabric in the sides giving it an extra fluff.     I gave myself the time frame of a week to complete this.  I finished it in a week.  I took my time, allowing breaks when the sewing grew monotonous.  In all, I’d estimate the number of hours as fifteen, total.  Of course, I still consider myself an apprentice seamstress, so a more skilled worker could probably finish it in much less!   A modification I added to this was using Velcro to fasten the front close instead of installing real buttons and button holes.  I sewed the buttons to the front flap to give the illusion of actual button holes.  This was to prevent puckering of the fabric between the buttons.   My button choice was calculated, though I discovered later that there were yin-yang buttons on Etsy.      I may change out my buttons at some point in the future.  But for now, I selected these.      I bought them from SAS Fabrics, a warehouse chain in the Phoenix area.  These have an industrial feel to them I really love!   For the completed outfit, I paired my jacket with black nylons and black boots.     I must say, I love it!   To celebrate JordanCon, I also indulged and bought myself the Badali Dedicated/Asha’man pin set!  It used up my birthday present for the year, but it’s worth it.  (Picture with those forthcoming after my Black Tower pinning ceremony!)   Be sure to follow the JordanCon Facebook page to keep up to date with the festivities!      

By EbonyAdo, in Community & Events,

Dragonmount’s Ebony Adomanis, who is also the director's assistant/manager of the World of Wheel of Time track at JordanCon, recently had the opportunity to sit down with Seth and Patrick, the voices of the podcast Wheel of Time Spoilers.  This interview shows a lot of the behind the scenes intricacies that make Wheel of Time Spoilers such an enjoyable, and engaging, podcast!   Ebony: Thank you for visiting Dragonmount. Please introduce yourselves for our readers who might not be familiar with your podcast.   Patrick:  The Wheel of Time Spoilers Podcast is a show that's released 3 times a week.  It's a book club in audio format, made by fans of the series for fans like us.  It's a show for people who have already read The Wheel of Time, and may want to read it again, or at least listen to a more in depth understanding and discussion of the series.  We talk about important plot points, character motivations and allegiances, explain the magic use/magical item use and function as they appear during our read-through, and talk about lots and lots of different fan theories.  We felt that there's another layer revealed with each re-read or audio book listen we did, and we wanted to share that with the fan community.  Another thing that makes us a bit unique, I think, is that we always record episodes live in a Discord Server, so our fans can take part in the discussion of each chapter while it's being recorded.  So, Seth and I are blessed with real-time fact checking, and theory discussions in text form in front of us while we have our conversation, while people read through the series with us.   Seth: Patrick and I are friends from Portland, OR. We met in 2013 when we rented rooms in the same house. I immediately noticed Patrick’s “Spear and Buckler” Aiel chapter heading tattoo on his arm and that started a conversation that is still going on today. We talk about minor plot points, character motivations, magic systems, and just how awesome the Wheel of Time is. Our podcast is that conversation, organized chapter by chapter, recorded and edited. We have been making WOT spoilers for nearly a year now.      E: Whose idea was it to begin Wheel of Time Spoilers?   P: It was definitely Seth's idea to try to start recording the conversations we were already having, and put them into some kind of podcast format.   It really started as two friends having a couple beers and talking about our favorite books.  Then we put a laptop and a microphone in between us.  All the social media interaction, the Discord server, live listening and discussion, merch, that all came later, and mostly by listener request. Those requests have been the major driving force in the development of the podcast over time.  We never even expected it to pay for itself until listeners sent us messages offering to help pay for hosting fees, software, equipment, and time.  We expected a hobby, but the awesome, kind-hearted, and dedicated fans of the series have turned us into something more sophisticated than that.  I think it's what they wanted, and we just went with it, because we were just happy that there was so much interest in our geeky projects.   S: I’m a huge fan of podcasts. I found a bunch of tech and political podcasts to listen to, but I wanted more Wheel of Time Content. I’m not sure who first said “We should make this a Podcast”, but the topic started to come up whenever we were hanging out over a few beers. About two years ago Patrick took some time off to Hike the Pacific Crest Trail. A few months after he got back into town I asked him to help me move. I brought up the Podcast again, and convinced Patrick to sit down and record. So with one microphone and my apple earbuds, we recorded Episode 0. I think Patrick was genuinely surprised at how good we sounded, so we invested in a second microphone, and got to work.     E: When recording new episodes, do you have an idea of what you are going to say or does the conversation flow more organically?   S: We prepare independently for each episode, but the conversion is as organic as possible. We each choose quotes we want to talk about, and spend some time thinking about what to say. We actually try and avoid talking about the chapter before we record, to prevent us referencing conversation we had earlier, or forget to bring up a point with recording on. During editing I cut out silences and any speech disfluencies I can find. I also remove any half-finished sentences and logistical chatter. The finished product is often 15 to 30 min shorter than the recording time.   P:  Not really, no.  Although, at the beginning of each recording we have our friend Jessica introduce the show.  Then I read the chapter number, name, and the particular symbol in the chapter heading which always somehow hints at what's about to happen.  Then I read the introductory paragraph, sometimes the first two.    During the meat of the episode we both have the text in the Discord server and the text of the actual chapter in front of us.  Like Seth said, we make highlights and notations in our separate books and don't discuss them before we press the record button.  The podcast is the conversation we have as we compare notes.    There's usually an after-show as well, where we'll include one of our routine irrelevant tangents.  They often don't have anything to do with the series, or sometimes they're roughly inspired by what we just read.  In a recent episode I spent some time talking about my experiences walking across the Anza-Borrego, and Mojave desert during my thru-hike of the Pacific Crest Trail. It was roughly a comparison to what living in the Three Fold Land might be like.  That's the sort of thing the after-show is made up of.     E: What sources, if any, do you use?   S: The Wheel of Time Novels, obviously!  I’m a big fan of the WOT FAQ, and consider it a huge inspiration for what I’m doing in the podcast. Because it has versions for each book it is a great tool for people who don’t want to be spoiled on later books, and it gives me a great snapshot into what was going on in the community at the time the book came out.   Encyclopeadia WOT is a fantastic reference tool. Using it as a reference, and having the ebooks on hand, I can find almost any scene I’m looking for in seconds. The WOT Wiki is a great tool, but as with any Wiki I’m very careful when I use it as a source   And of course as the podcast has grown, the fans are the biggest source of feedback we get. Especially the fans that listen live who are able to correct us in real time. They are also constantly providing a stream of theories, ideas, and headcanon to tap into. Collectively they are some of the smartest, nicest fans out there.   P: The novels, wot.wikia.com, encyclopeadia-wot.org, the famous WOT FAQ, library.tarvalon.net, and our Patrons hanging out on the Discord server, who are often able to look up answers to whatever question we ask aloud to each other before we can ourselves.    “The Chosen” by the way, are what we've taken to calling the group of awesome listeners who show up for our live recording every week, and volunteer their time to help us research and flesh out each chapter.  Timber, Seth's Pit-Bull mix, who is present at every recording as well has been named Nae'Blis by the Chosen themselves as the General of our legion of the Shadow.     E: What influenced your decision to included spoilers in your podcast, instead of making it “new reader friendly?”   S: I’ve read these books so often, I’m not sure I could make the discussions friendly to readers that want to avoid spoilers. I wanted to have an open, honest speculation session about every point of the books, with all the information available. I wanted a place for the fans that simply can’t get enough Wheel of Time, fans like myself.   P:  Not having spoilers in the podcast was never really on the table.  The pod was always meant to be the conversation that so many fans of the Wheel of Time were looking for but couldn't have, unless of course they had a friend who was also willing to read 15 700 +/- page novels – the conversations Seth and I were already having.  WOTSpoilers is for other die-hard fans like ourselves, not first time readers. We love that new people are finding the series every day, and people who have recently finished their first read-through find us all the time.  There are always new people joining the conversation.  It continues to surprise me, just how many fans there are out there.     E: Do you re-read each chapter prior to the podcast?   S: Yes. Usually in the hour before we record.   P:  Yes.  Almost always immediately before we start talking about it.  So, we typically prep for an hour or so before we actually start recording. That's just time spent re-reading the chapters, and usually reading a few character outlines on an obscure Aes Sedai, Darkfriend character or Item of Power for instance.     E: Why did you choose the podcast format for Wheel of Time Spoilers instead of another media outlet?   S:  Podcasts are intimate. We are inviting you into our living room, to join our conversation. Audio can be more casual than the written word, and is more easily produced than video. Plus it was a natural fit for the conversations we were already having.   P:    Couldn't have said it better myself.  We're just recording something that was more or less already happening.      E: Along with doing a podcast, you use Discord to allow your fans to listen and comment in real time. How does this hinder or help your live recordings?   S: The feedback is massively helpful for getting details right. Our Chosen in Discord create a community atmosphere, and help me feel like I’m talking directly to them, rather than a nebulous fan base. They can occasionally be distracting, and it can sound odd when we reply directly to the Discord channel without reading the question, but I wouldn’t want to record without them.  I especially want to thank Aradia Farmer and Kelsey Maxwell who recently hosted two episodes, and have been at the forefront of the fan community.   P: This exactly.  I wouldn't want to make the podcast without the Chosen at this point.  The conversation in Discord gives us real time corrections and fact checking, live debates about theories, questions that we hadn't thought of answering or asking, and that's not to mention that some of these folks have been hanging out with us every Thursday and Sunday night for 6 months or more.  It feels much more like a group of friends meeting up for drinks than a gathering of strangers on the internet.  We've even hung out with a few of the Chosen in real life at this point.     E: Is there anyone in the fandom you’d like to interview?   S:  Well I know Brandon Sanderson is a huge WOT fan! I snagged Leigh Butler’s email from Jason Denzel, but haven’t had a chance to contact her yet. She did The Great Wheel of Time re-read from Tor.com, and I’m hoping she would be willing to join us for an episode.   P:  I'd of course have to second Brandon Sanderson. Everyone we've had on so far has been really delightful, I'd love to have Jason Denzel on again.  It would also be cool to talk to Rafe Judkins about the development of the show.  We're hoping to run into some of these folks at JordanCon, and who knows, maybe we'll even get some short interviews.     E: How long have you been fans of The Wheel of Time?   S: I first picked up The Eye of the World  in 1995 when I was thirteen, and read through to Crown of Swords. After that I had to wait for each book. Robert Jordan’s death was a major shock and I briefly lost interest, but I’m glad that the series was picked up by an avid fan and talented author in Brandon Sanderson.   P:  I was around the same age when I found the series.  So, I've been a fan for about 17 years give or take a few.     E: How many times have you read the series?   S: I would re-read the entire series as each novel was released, and often in between releases. It’s hard to get an exact count because I use the books as a reference, and often read a few chapters here and there. Of course I’ve read The Eye of the World many more time than A Memory of Light   In 2012, I started listening to the audiobooks. They are always on my phone, and I listen to them whenever I get the chance. The audiobooks have gotten me through many long shifts, nights, and commutes.   P: As far as pure re-reads cover to cover, I'd say around 4 times.  But I often go back to particular sections.  For instance, recently I re-read the Rand locked in a box sequence up until Dumai's Wells.  I've read the first three books much more than the rest with the exception of the final book and specifically the Last Battle, which is another sequence I’ve re-read MANY times. I honestly couldn't say how many.    I'll put it this way.  If you're also a fan of Star Trek or The X–Files say, you've probably watched the thing end to end a few times.  But you likely have a few favorite episodes or season finales you've watched more than other parts.  It's just like that.     E: If you could have one character on your show to interview who would it be and what one question would you ask them?   S:  Loial. It wouldn’t matter what I asked, he could just ramble on about his books and I would love it.   P:  Can I pick two?  Ishamael, and Nakomi.  I want to know more about how the mechanics of this universe work.  I know Ishamael is at least partly insane and all, but I would bet he and Nakomi could lend us some very interesting insight into some questions that are really hard to answer.  Who is Nakomi, a Hero? A Dragon? Rand's Mother? One or several of those?  Who is the voice that speaks to Rand in all capital letters at the beginning and end of the series?  How much of certain plots and strategies were designed and orchestrated by Ishmael, and how much by the Dark One?  Ishamael, why don't you ever use the One Power, but always the True Power? How does the Horn work, and why were Ish and Rand fighting in the sky?  Which scenes are dream-shards, who pulled who into who's dream?  I Could go on forever.   But, if you've read this far, you're probably as big of fans of the series as we are, and in that case, the Wheel of Time Spoilers podcast is made for and by fans like yourself.  Join the conversation on Discord and help our little book club pull apart the mysteries of, what we think is the best high-fantasy series ever written.     Thanks to Seth and Patrick for taking the time to answer all our questions! And for those who will be visiting JordanCon 10 in a few days, Seth and Patrick will be in attendance.  Join them Sunday at 11:30AM in the DeKalb room.  Use this opportunity to ask them a few of your own questions.   If you want to check out more from Wheel of Time Spoilers, you can visit their website, Facebook page, Twitter, Discord channel, and support them on Patreon.  

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