The Gathering Storm Book Tour, Powell's, Portland, OR 19 November 2009Edit
Report by forkroot
Hi all - Gotta make this brief as I'm supposed to be working here at the customer site.
Before I get to the signing - just a note that for the second straight day I am consuming a Bacon Maple bar from Voodoo Doughnuts here in Portland and they are totally AWESOME. I vote we stock the cuendillar bunker with these. I'm going to take some home to my wife - we'll see how they travel.
Yesterday was quite a day. I was delighted when things worked out that I could go to the signing. I managed to negotiate Portland public transit and got there just as Brandon was finishing his remarks to the assembled crowd. As I was trying to figure out how to contact Samadai (who had no idea I was going to be there), I was approached by a bookstore employee who asked if I needed a ticket.
I got my ticket from her and explained my dilemma. Well she was nice enough to make an announcement, asking if there was anyone there with a "screen name" of Samadai - because forkroot (she pointed at me) was looking for him. A younger man on the opposite side of the room looked quite surprised, so I waved at him and made my way over there.
We had a blast talking about WoT stuff and soon had a little crowd of WoT fans talking and exchanging ideas. No one else identified themselves as participating in the re-reads, but we talked it up to the dedicated fans. Hopefully we'll see some of them join us. (lbrown - what a shame you didn't identify yourself to us! We would have loved to talk with you.)
Samadai had an early number so he went up and got his books signed. Due to my late arrival, my number was near the end. I made a huge mistake though: Obviously I didn't have my copy of TGS with me, but I was planning to buy Warbreaker and have BWS sign that. Should have snagged and held a copy; instead I waited until my turn in line only to realize that all the copies were gone. So I picked up a couple of the Alcatraz books and Brandon signed those.
By now you should have expected that Brandon would be polite, patient, witty, engaging and an all-around good guy. And he was all of that. I guess what really stands out about him is his consideration for other people.
As was the case in San Diego, Brandon agreed to stay late to address the questions but asked that we do it outside the bookstore since they would like to close up. Samadai had gathered the list of questions that you all had requested, and Brandon answered them patiently and thoughtfully.
I won't steal Samadai's thunder on those answers, but I will give you the answers to the two questions that I asked. My first question pertained to whether there was a mistake in the text when Joline is negotiating horse counts with Mat - did she overlook her warders? BWS looked surprised and said that if indeed the text didn't account for them that it was a mistake as Joline would not have forgotten them.
My second question was if any of the major Aiel characters was an unexposed Darkfriend. This got RAFO'd right away, so draw your own conclusions.
Lastly I want to mention that in general conversation at the end, Brandon was very careful to state that we cannot assume that Rand drew the TP through the link with Moridin; nor may we assume the opposite. (In other words, we're not supposed to have enough evidence yet to draw a conclusion.) Furthermore it seemed that he wanted to make it clear that we cannot discount the idea that the DO did indeed "set up" Semirhage (pretty much per Isilel's scenario). I'm not saying he's telling us that that is what happened, but he was almost insistent that we did not close the door on that line of speculation. Take it for what you will.
OK, It's been said before, but I have to say it again. We WoT fans are fantastically lucky that Brandon was chosen to complete the series. This guy has obvious reverence for WoT, the necessary skills as a writer, and an almost fanatic devotion to "keeping it RJ's story". Plus he's just a great guy.
Given that he's been so generous with his time to us the fans, I'd like to make a quick shout out now for one of his cause celebres that he mentioned at the end of his group address: He made a plea for us to support independent booksellers (brick and mortar places). He pointed out that things like the signing certainly can't happen if all of the books are sold on-line.
So if you can't meet him at one of his signings but want to say "Thank You" in your own way, then go buy one of his books at your local independent bookseller!
Oops - so much for being brief. I'll follow up after Samadai if there are any loose ends to chase.
Oh yeah - one more thing ... Portland needs to run their Red Line trains a little later. Cab fare was expensive!