For those who have been reading Wheel of Time since its inception in 1989 or people who started late (1999 for me), it has been a very long journey. And for those that call themselves dedicated fans, there is no better place to go than JordanCon in Atlanta, GA. Started by two incredible WoT fans, Jennifer and Jimmy Liang, JordanCon is a celebration of all things Wheel of Time: panels, discussions, costumes, and even a Blade Master Tournament. But it also offers a variety of things for people unfamiliar or just getting into the series, including great talks with other attendees, a Dealer’s Hall, Art Show, Consuite, and more. And if you like parties and having a good time, then stick around after dark, the room parties and the Saturday night dance are lots of fun.
While relatively small, the dealer’s hall offered a variety of vendors, including a Henna artist, book vendor, 2 costuming vendors, and a few artists, sorry if I left anyone out. There was also a big showing from Ta’veren Tees, the official Wheel of Time t-shirt vendor.
This year marked the first year that JordanCon had an Art Show. The Dealer’s Hall was divided in half, half for vendors, half for the Art Show. There were approximately 10 artists participating this year, including Artist Guest of Honor, Sam Weber, who is a very nice and laid back guy. As an artist myself, it is always nice to be able to meet and pick the brains of amazing artists at conventions.
Unfortunately working in the Dealer’s Hall, I am never able to get away to sit in on any panels. But considering how many times the Dealer’s Hall emptied out, there were some really exciting things being discussed. The convention works hard to ensure slots between all the panels, so that people get a chance to grab a bite to eat, check out the other parts of the con, and otherwise rest without fear of missing the next exciting panel. One of the biggest panels this year was a sneak peek at Memory of Light, the final book in the Wheel of Time series coming out next January. It was read by Harriet McDougal, the wife of the late Robert Jordan.
A new addition this year was a great con suite. It reminded me of LibertyCon’s ConSuite. There was always real food available, not the typical salty snacks that you find at most shows. On Friday night they ordered a ton of pizzas, and during the days there was chili, hot dogs, salad, and more. For drinks they had all the soft drinks you could want, and bottled water. Sure they didn’t have beer in the con quite this year… but maybe next year. I’ll do my best to suggest it, though for those that wanted alcohol, that is what the room parties were for.
The late night scene this year was a lot of fun on both Friday and Saturday. Friday night there was a selection of room parties to attend, each with a selection of beverages (i.e. liquor) and food. I apologize to the other parties, but I do remember LibertyCon’s party… and it was good. We also wandered down to a huge Rock Band session in one of the ballrooms. There were plenty of poor choices in songs, that were sang with much gusto.
Saturday was no different, with a few room parties to choose from and the third annual Saturday Dance hosted by Aradani Studios (full disclosure, I am part of Aradani Studios). It always impresses me that even though JordanCon may be smaller than some other shows that we attend, the people here always fills the dance floor and dance til they shut us down. And thankfully after we stopped the music, the room parties were still in full swing upstairs. I didn’t go to sleep until about 5 am on Saturday, a good sign for a convention’s night life.
Do you like Wheel of Time costuming, well this is the place to be. This year’s costumes included a slew of Trollocs, a whitecloak, a legendary hero reborn, and more than I can name. I also was wearing a huge costume with a full mask, so all of the costumes are in a bit of a haze for me. JordanCon awards the top three costumes based on worksmanship, accuracy, and presentation, and the medals they award are quite nice, and worth competing for.
This year JordanCon moved into a new hotel, from the Crowne Plaza in Ravinna up to the Doubletree in Roswell. The hotel has a very nice set-up, with a restaurant and bar, and plenty of large ballrooms for activities. There were some problems with slow service at the restaurant, but that shouldn’t be a big deal since there were some good restaurants a short drive away, plus the well-stocked con suite.
The rooms were very nice, with a fridge and microwave, always a plus at a con. The rooms were spacious, the beds comfortable, and free wi-fi.
The consuite, exciting and interesting panels, great room parties, Dance Party
Tickets are a bit pricey for a smaller convention, but JordanCon does donate a chunk to the Mayo Clinic's Amyloidosis research fund, raising over $7,000 this year. The hotel needs to iron out some kinks in hosting a convention.