Search the most comprehensive database of interviews and book signings from Robert Jordan, Brandon Sanderson and the rest of Team Jordan.
2012-04-30: I had the great pleasure of speaking with Harriet McDougal Rigney about her life. She's an amazing talent and person and it will take you less than an hour to agree.
2012-04-24: Some thoughts I had during JordanCon4 and the upcoming conclusion of "The Wheel of Time."
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Any chance of giving us another #wotgh clue? There are a few codes left that people seem to have gotten stuck on...
Go ahead and tweet at Peter, my assistant, and prod him. He can give you some hints.
So, Jason is on Tor.com again, talking trash and showing off the huge numbers of cards he's been lent to build the perfect deck to kill me.
If you're not aware of what's going on, tomorrow after my San Jose signing, I'll be having an epic set of Magic: The Gathering games against Jason Denzel (who runs Dragonmount, a Wheel of Time fan website). Read what he's said here and here.
I haven't posted a lot about this because . . . well, I just haven't had time. I've been running, city to city, signing books. In fact, I can only do this update because my plane is delayed in Portland for half an hour.
Now, reading those articles, Jason would have you believe that he's the underdog in this competition. He's been trying very hard to get your sympathy. And, well, some of the things he says may be true. Yes, I have more experience in the game than he does. But remember, I've put a severe limitation on myself in the form of requiring myself to use only cards I've been given by fans on the tour, so I can't reach into my extensive back stock of cards to build the perfect deck.
What are my thoughts? Well, I think it will be fun. But I am also so exhausted from the tour I can barely think most of the time. And the match will happen after the last day of the tour, following two signings on the same day, with me having gotten very little sleep on average across the last four weeks.
In other words, this is going to be by no means an easy win. Jason has been lent thousands of cards to augment his card stable. He's going to have very good decks, and I'm going to be so tired I won't be able to remember what day it is, let alone how many lands to put in my deck.
But I'm still confident. Confident, at least, that this will be a fun time. We'll set up a streaming video of the match, so watch the updates on my Facebook and Twitter accounts to get the url. Also, I feel it's my duty to let you know that Jason has been trying to CHEAT LIKE A DOG (asking Storm Leaders to steal or hide my cards, maybe give him clues as to what I'll be playing).
So I figure I'll just tell him. Here are the decks I'll be running:
1. A WoT-themed deck given me by a fan. I'll play it as-is. It's white, with lots of cards that they've written on and named after characters. Quite amusing.
2. A deck built from the Zendikar and other packs given me by the wonderful WoT fans. I've built this one out of the cards you've given me, and it's got 95% cards from Zendikar. Multicolor.
3. A deck sponsored by Joseph-Beth Booksellers using only cards given me by Brian, the Joseph-Beth sci-fi guy. Multicolor.
4. If there's time, a deck built from several other complete decks given me by fans on the tour.
I actually don't have these completely put together yet. I was hoping to do that today at the hotel . . . though this delay is going to make that harder. Either way, tune in tomorrow night to see what happens.
First off, I hope many of you are planning to attend JordanCon in Atlanta this weekend. (Details here—you can still pick up a badge at the door.) This is a great convention, perhaps my favorite of those I attended last year. It's warm and inviting, not too big but not too small, full of relaxed times and good fun. You'll be able to meet Harriet and Wilson, which is a real treat. Red Eagle entertainment will be there too, so you will get some answers to your Wheel of Time video game and movie questions.
Even if you're not a super huge WoT fan, there will be plenty of good times. For the aspiring writers, I will be doing two full lectures on writing topics (a pair of my favorites from the class I teach.) (Full schedule is here; click the tabs at the bottom to go look at the different tracks.)
And, of course, there will be some gaming with Brandon. That's actually the main point of this post, so if you're not interested in me turning into an ultra-nerd, this would be a time to click away. . . .
MAGIC WITH BRANDON
The main "Play Magic with Brandon" time is Friday night at 8:30 until whenever we decide to be done. I want to emphasize that you DO NOT have to be an expert Magic player to come have fun with us. I tend to play casually, and I stay away from overpowered decks and focus on quirky ideas and oddness. If you don't have cards, it's not a big deal. So show up and play.
For anyone wondering on more specifics, I'll be bringing a Highlander deck (sixty cards, no repeated cards.) I like playing Highlander or Elder Dragon Highlander, so if you're making decks, bring one of those. I'll also have something wacky (not sure what yet) along with Standard deck made with only Worldwake cards (the ones I bought at Minicon) and my old faithful zombie deck. (That is fun to play but never wins.)
CAN WE DO A DRAFT?
Now, that said, my favorite Magic format is limited. I'm sure I'll have time to play people's constructed decks. But I would, really, really LOVE to do a draft with Rise of the Eldrazi. (The set looks awesome.) How many of you out there, going to Jordancon, would be interested in this? I figure if we can get eight people or so wanting to do a draft, we could each pitch in $15 or $20, send someone to buy us a box of cards. We'd have enough for a draft with a few left over packs to give away as prizes.
To do this, I'd need at least seven other willing people. (Once again, you don't have to be an expert Magic player to join in the fun. We'd probably run two brackets for the prizes—the "I play Magic all the time" bracket and the "I owned a deck once when I was 18" bracket.) Drafts are fun since they level the playing field a little. Everyone plays just with the cards from this limited pool, and nobody has terribly overpowered decks.
If you're interested, email me. Again, this one would cost money, but you'd be taking home cards in exchange for it. Email me tonight or tomorrow so I know we have enough interest.
DOES ANYONE IN ATLANTA AREA RUN A GAME STORE?
The absolute best case, if we could somehow manage it, would be to have someone who owns a game store show up and sell us the cards to use and run the draft. Maybe you could bring some of those nifty foil cards that Wizards gives out as prizes. (I missed the pre-release on this one because I was at a con. Hint hint.) So, if you run or work at a game store, and you would be willing to come sell us cards on Friday night, I'll get you into the con for the day for free. You'll be able to bring flyers about your store, I'll sign your books and write nice things about you, and will post about your awesome store on my website. I might also buy a box of cards from you (in addition to the ones people buy for the draft) to make it worth your time.
And even if you can't come run the draft and bring us prizes (Snif snif) I'd like to buy some cards from you instead of sending someone around randomly to find some. So if you want to drive over to the convention during the day and bring some Eldrazi boxes to sell me, I'd be happy to meet you and buy them. (If it's close, I could probably send someone from the convention to pick them up, if I had to.) Con is located here, in case you are wondering.
Heck, I'd even be willing to trade you books for booster packs, if that's something you'd be in to. (You'd have to email me early so I can know what to bring. I have some cool foreign editions of some of my books, and some rare advance copies of some of them too. No The Way of Kings copies left, I'm afraid.)
Assuming I have responses to this from people wanting to play, I'd probably be willing to buy two boxes worth. I would be looking for a good price point on them. I'm used to buying my boxes on-line at $80 a pop, but don't expect game stores to compete with the internet for pricing. But I'll be spending my per diem money from Jordancon and from Constellation on these, so I'd be hoping to avoid full price. . . . ;)
Anyway, if you run/work at/own a game store and are interested in meeting me, selling me cards, running a draft, or the like please drop me an email. (Or if you know someone who owns one, send them this link.) Best if you contact me before tomorrow at noon, but anytime before Friday afternoon would probably be okay.
In other news, I really need to get some sort of contact going over at Wizards so I can get them to give me prizes to give away at "celebrity magic drafts" at conventions like this. Anyone know if Maro reads Wheel of Time? ;)
Also, forgive spelling errors. My 3-month-old is on my lap and currently attacking the keyboard.
So, after setup, I took part of the above photo, ran around and got the ball running on a few things for later, and then settled in for the opening ceremony. While doing this, I noticed in our program a "not finalized" cover for Towers of Midnight. I'm afraid I had no easy way to get it up so that you could see the detail, but I'm sure you're all clever enough to go hunt one down. Jason Denzel of Dragonmount.com soon walked up to the lectern and started us off with a story. I am sure we all remember Jason's trash-talk here on Tor.com over the Magic: The Gathering game he was going to have at the end of the The Gathering Storm signing tour, and then the subsequent beat-down Brandon gave him. Well, seems the truth of the matter was that Jason let Brandon win in exchange for the first chapters of Towers of Midnight, and that while he had promised to keep it secret, he was going to read them to us. Just as he was about to start, though, Alan Romanczuk, one of Robert Jordan's assistants, led a squad of Theoryland.com brutes out to arrest Denzel for crimes against the fandom and dragged him, and the pages, away. I'm not going to even speculate on what they did to him or the pages, but, well . . . here's a before and after shot. And yes, he might very well have been a zombie in the before.
Anyway, Matt Hatch took over the opening ceremony, where he and his loyal minion Frenzy introduced us to the guests and gave us an overview of what is to come, including the new Writers' Track with Jana Oliver and David Wong, in addition to Brandon Sanderson, and Paul Stevens from Tor and Harriet McDougal (editor of The Wheel of Time, in case you've been living under a rock).
I'll post about what I'm doing, when I'm doing it. I'll also be taking some time to read, play some video games, and build Magic decks. I do want to give a special thank you to those who sent me cards during the last few weeks. I tried to thank everyone, and there are still a few I intend to post about, but some of the items that arrived from my wishlist didn't include a name telling me who originally bought them for me.
I'm intending to bring these cards specifically to Dragon*Con and do some fun things with them. I'll post later in the week about it, but if you like Magic and are going to Dragon*Con, we should be able to find some time to play. (I'm thinking of bringing an Archenemy deck and trying to take on multiple fans at once in epic, large-scale games.)
You're an avowed Magic: The Gathering lover. What is your color combo deck of choice? Also, preferred edition? I've always leaned towards Revised/Fourth as later editions focused on counters too much for my liking.
I would say Black/Blue/White is what you find me playing most often, and usually Blue/White. Favorite editions? I’m going to disagree about the focus on counters. They’ve actually taken counterspells down a notch or two in recent years, which is nice. Besides, I play casual games, where I don’t run into a lot of counterspell decks, land destruction decks, or card discard decks—you know, the “un-fun” decks. My favorites recently—I really like Eldrazi, the set they released this year, which I’ve had a blast with. Other than that, probably Ravnica and Time Spiral were my favorite of the recent sets.
I haven't bought any new decks in a few years so I just may have to check out Eldrazi.
At or around 3:30am we were packing up all my equipment, and leaving. Spencer and I were the last two Tower Guards remaining. The bookstore employees had mostly disappeared as well. Just as we were getting ready to leave we noticed that there was a very small group of fans (from the 17thshard.com—Brandon's official fan site) that were waiting patiently outside in the cold for Brandon to play a game of Magic: The Gathering with them.
Even at 3:30am, Brandon was kind and alert, and he agreed to play "just one" game with them. I've never played, but I could tell that it was five on one. Brandon creamed them all. Muahahahahaha!! It was cool to see that. At about 4am, he said his good-byes, and walked away.
JordanCon III, Atlanta
Place: JordanCon III: Consaken
Address: Crowne Plaza Hotel Atlanta Perimeter at Ravinia
4355 Ashford Dunwoody
Atlanta, GA 30346
1:00 p.m., Oakwood AB
4:00 p.m., Camellia
Signing, Brandon Sanderson & Harriet McDougal
9:00 p.m., Azalea
Magic the Gathering Draft with Brandon Sanderson
Preregistration is required. Email Brandon if you want to get on the list. There will be a small buy-in of around $10 or $15. Also, if someone wants to come judge the match, you would be welcome.
12:00 noon, Azalea
Fantasy Writing (Brandon Sanderson)
A 90-minute crash course in writing fantasy novels.
2:30 p.m., Dogwood
Kaffeeklatsch: An hour with Team Jordan (Brandon Sanderson, Alan Romanczuk, Maria Simons)
Limited to 10 pre-selected participants. Slots are already full; sorry about that.
4:00 p.m., Oakwood AB
A Memory of Light: Status Report (Harriet McDougal, Brandon Sanderson, Maria Simons, Alan Romanczuk, Richard Fife)
5:30 p.m., Oakwood AB
Costume Contest (Brandon Sanderson, Harriet McDougal, Linda Taglieri, Richard Fife)
Show off your tailoring skills or just come to watch the parade of Seanchan, Aes Sedai, Asha'man, and more!
10:00 p.m., Azalea
Magic with Brandon
Can you muster a successful Magic the Gathering deck and defeat the Brandon Sanderson? Bring your deck and find out.
11:30 a.m., Camellia
Signing, Brandon Sanderson
1:00 p.m., Azalea
JordanCon's Got Talent (Brandon Sanderson)
Come give your 30-second book pitch to our experts!
Sadly, no one dressed up. Sanderson did get a few gifts. A fan from Wales had brought along a Dalek keyring. One fan had written his name down on a piece of paper, gave it to his sister who gave it to Sanderson to hopefully use in a future book. One had written a letter to Sanderson, which he would read later.
Once all fans had been and gone, a few hung back. While getting his books signed, one fan, Matt, had brought his Magic: The Gathering cards along with him and mentioned this to Brandon Sanderson, who admitted that they might play at the end of the signing if time allowed. Matt returned, and both Sanderson and Matt played a quick game in the store. From what I gathered (as I don't know much about the game), Matt seemed to make a good start, then Sanderson pulled out an ace card and Matt lost in three moves! Matt didn't seem to mind—I think the experience of playing a game with Sanderson was far more important!
Cuthbert gave Brandon packs of Magic cards in Italian and Brandon had him sign one of the cards, which was neat.
Other things we discussed included the Mistborn movie (Brandon has seen a screenplay and it was pretty good, but the project is not for sure going to be made). Dreamworks Animation has the rights to Alcatraz and Red Eagle has the rights to Wheel of Time.
There was an April Fools joke at one point that Lindsay Lohan was going to play Vin in the movie by Brandon's friend Dan Wells who does the Writing Excuses podcast for aspiring writers with Brandon. If you haven't listened to their podcast yet you should, its quite entertaining even for people who have no desire to become writers. Brandon mentioned that maybe about 50% of the audience is listening just for fun and may not have an actual desire to become professional authors.
Finally, Brandon told us that he is likely coming back to Europe next year. He wants to get to the UK very much and will likely go to the Imaginales d'epinal convention which is in March. He said that he generally has more time at conventions to do things like play Magic than at signings as there are events over multiple days, parties, etc...
Ha. I can't see into Mr. Jordan's mind, though I can say that he was fond of using the writer's device of character-identifying traits. You'll find that if you hang out with certain people, and listen to their linguistic patterns, often they will repeat individual words and phrases all the time. (I know one guy who uses the word "Brilliant!" every other sentence.)
This may be the case where life is more annoying than fiction should be, however. I'll keep the comment in mind. You can pay me in heaps of Magic cards, preferably from the alpha/beta era.
That's a done deal. I have a ridiculous amount of cards remaining from the alpha/beta era that have been sitting and collecting dust since I ran out of money in the 8th grade. I know that they would absolutely love a new home.
Ha. I was really joking. Please. Don't give me any really expensive cards. I'd feel too guilty. If you do have some, I'd at least insist on giving you fair-market value in trades for books.
Ya I also feel like the the word adroit/maladroit were used a shit ton in the Mistborn series. Maybe I just noticed it so much because I had never heard those words before reading those books.
Nah. I overused them. Didn't notice it until they were in print, and I added them (and some other words) to my "Be careful; you overuse these."
Every author does this, but some are better at keeping an eye on it than I am. Hence my 'kill list.'
I signed some books in the Salt Lake airport just a few weeks ago, and will do so again when I fly out to Comicon. So there's a good chance! If you call the bookstore and have them order you in a The Gathering Storm, I could sign that. Last time I was there, they were out.
We <3 you, Brandon Sanderson! Now hurry and publish more books, lol!
Send him a pack of magic cards. That seems to be inspirational!
I'll send him my Black Lotus if it'll help!
My lotuses (or is lotus singular and plural?) got stolen when I was in high school. I brought decks with me to Vroman's last fall for the Gathering Storm signing, but there wasn't exactly an opportunity to play.
Lol. Dana, I'm REALLY trying to publish as many as possible. Magic cards do help, though... In a more serious tone, I do offer to let people read my older books. So if you're starved for something, you can shoot and email through the website and ask for White Sand or Aether of Night. They're not up to my current standards, but they're okay. And if you're really interested in the larger story happening behind the scenes in my books, those two novels are important. Watch for the Wells of Power in Aether of Night, for example. There will be an Elantris sequel some day. Hopefully. Wait, someone if offering a BLACK LOTUS. Drool. (But I probably wouldn't take it, in all honesty. That's a little TOO much.) The Amazon wish list alone makes me feel uncomfortable. Really, reading my books is enough.
I hope we can get some game on at DragonCon, I'll bring some cards and see.
I WILL play Magic at DragonCon. Planning to have plenty of time. I wish I could figure out a way to do a draft with fans while out for Comicon. That would be great. Remind me, Magical Man, about this chat when you see me. You too, Hamm.
Well, sometimes I have to just close the browser (and the like fifty tabs worth of material I've found on reddit) and turn off the internet for a little while... Sometimes it's done by setting daily goals for myself (wordcount wise) and not letting myself go do fun things—video games, etc.—until I've hit my wordcount.
Motivation isn't a huge problem for me. I keep coming back to the idea that writing, and telling stories, is what I like to do most in the world. Yes, it can be tough at times. It is work. But unless I'm writing each day and creating something, I feel like I just haven't accomplished anything.
What games do you play, xbox or PS3?
Both, but usually not online. I do it to unwind, and so getting yelled at by team-mates is not really high on my list, nor is the stress of being forced to compete against other players who have a LOT more time for such things.
Right now, playing the new Magic The Gathering game on Xbox and really liking it. Big improvement over the last one, which was okay.
Power Nine Magic Cards. I've always wanted them, and so I finally said, "You know, I had the #1 selling epic fantasy book in the world last year. I can probably afford these now..."
I'm not much of a spender, though, so it actually was kind of tough to get myself to do it. I love having them, though. (And yes, I'm a nerd. That chick from Gizmodo would TOTALLY have written something snide about me.)
Okay, A Memory of Light is going fine..the book is awesome, but it feels like I've been working on it FOREVER. I need some motivation, so...
I'm going to start doing what I did last year. If I hit my wordcounts, I will open a pack of Magic cards as a reward. Yes, I'm a nerd.
People are asking how close the draft is to being done. Close, but I keep realizing there are points that need expanding.
Current length of A Memory of Light: 313,000 words. Towers of Midnight—the longest of the two I've done so far—was 335k. A Memory of Light will be at least that long.
It WILL come out next year, and will not be split again. I'm close to the end, but still have several weeks worth of hard work to do.
Is there a word-count length that you are encouraged not to exceed?
Over 400k would really be pushing it.
And, as 5:00 rolls around, I have managed (barely) to hit my 2k wordcount goal so far today. Time for a Magic pack!
This one was sent to be by a fan, via my Amazon wishlist. (No name was included.) Whoever you are, thanks! The rare is: http://gatherer.wizards.com/pages/Card/Details.aspx?multiverseid=246954
Is the infamous last scene Robert Jordan left behind already part of the 313,000 words?
No, it is not. So the 'finished' length is actually longer. I haven't put that chunk in yet.
Is your average word count goal/day usually 2k?
On a WoT novel, which is much harder, that is a fair count. On something simpler, 3-4k is average.
I'm just wondering why you have a daily wordcount—surely the quality is more important than the length?
I believe that daily goals are important, as crafting a great book requires work as much as it does inspiration.
Laying down a rough first draft, then polishing over and over, is the path I've found to creating excellent work.
Have you written through the ending for all the main characters? If so, is the rest just "expanding" scenes out?
Not all of them yet. Just a few.
You are working on the final book in an epic series that people have been reading for decades and you need a game for motivation?
Even when you love what you do, it can be hard to work 12 hour days to finish a book after an exhausting tour.
Back at work on A Memory of Light. May be the day to reveal a side-character's long-hidden motivations .
Do we get a clue as to whom this character is?
If I told you that, you'd be expecting it. I'm afraid it is a RAFO. This character HAS been a little suspicious.
Mr. @BrandSanderson please stop teasing A Memory of Light.
Sorry. Some people really want to watch the progress, and so I try to keep the posts as spoiler-free as possible.
This afternoon's "Brandon opens Magic cards as he writes" comes sponsored by Sarah Bartram, who sent the cards off my wishlist. Thanks!
The rare was this card (which is sweet, since I like zombie cards): http://gatherer.wizards.com/pages/Card/Details.aspx?multiverseid=230786
Just wrote a scene with Bela in it.
This scene is one that RJ left instruction for in his notes; it gave me shivers when reading.
Okay, that scene's done, and it is beyond awesome. Over 3k done; opening another pack sent by Sarah B. ...Mythic rare! http://gatherer.wizards.com/pages/Card/Details.aspx?multiverseid=247236
What do you do to keep yourself from burning out? What do you do to decompress?
I play with my Magic Cards. (Laughter) I go and sort them, I go build a deck.
Roll around in them.
No! I can’t do that! Then they get bent. (More Laughter) That’s basically what I do.
The evening also included Brandon kicking ass at Magic, which was quite spectacular to see. I have never seen anyone play 3 Hypnotic Specters and then lose so definitely... All in all, a great evening and some new ideas to dissect.
The leatherbound Wheel of Time charity auction for Worldbuilders is currently at $1,725.00. Wow!
I believe there are still slots available for the Magic the Gathering: Dark Ascension prerelease in West Valley this Friday. They don't count a slot as filled until you prepay, so give them a call.
For those who enjoy hanging out and playing Magic, it looks like I'll be able to swing going to the prerelease of the new core set this weekend. I'll be doing it at Epic Puzzles & Games in SLC, like previous prereleases, at midnight on Friday night.
No need to sign up this time if you want to come. Just drop by at midnight and we'll figure out what we're doing. Look forward to seeing some of you there.
Epic Puzzles & Games
3612 W 4700 S #4
West Valley City UT 84129
If you could play Magic:The Gathering with one person, dead or alive, who would it be and why?
That’s an easy one. Richard Garfield, who created and designed Magic. I want him to sign some of my cards.
From your tweets I gather you’re a Magic player.
Is this one of the things that you do to de-role?
It is. I have found it is also a wonderful thing to do with readers. I don’t want all of my interaction with my readers to just be: they hand me a book, I sign it and I hand it back, thank you, have a nice day. I want there to be something I can actually do with them, so that they can relax and so that I can relax. Magic is something I’ve played since about the same time I got into fantasy books. It’s something I’ve allowed to be my hobby, because you need hobbies, you can’t just spend all the time writing. So it’s my hobby and I let myself spend time with my fans doing it, and I have a blast doing so.
Are you going to be playing Magic in Melbourne?
I don’t know what the format at Supanova is. I want to try to find a time that I can, but I have to go and see what Supanova is like. I think there are breaks and things between signings—I don’t know. I am going to bring my cards. I’ll send out a tweet if I think there’s going to be time to play, but I don’t know if there are tables—never having done it before—I don’t want to make any promises. I don’t want to step on any toes or throw a crinkle into any plans. Probably I’ll go tomorrow (Saturday) and see how it is, and then if there is time on Sunday, I’ll try to find the time to play.
If you've been following me on Twitter or Facebook, over the weekend you saw me post about trading books for Magic cards to fill out my cube. I've now received a bunch of cards and am getting ready to send out a bunch of books. Only super rare cards are left on my list, but you can see it here. My assistant Peter also uploaded another Twitter posts archive.
I'd be laying in a gutter somewhere, unable to produce anything valuable for society. [laughter] I don't know. I mean, I was always [?] My mom sent me to school to become a doctor, but that was never gonna happen. [laughter] I don't know. I mean, I went through my grad program—all the other grad students were doing all this work to go get PhDs and stuff, and I didn't do any of that. I was writing books, only. And if I hadn't sold a novel, then, I don't know. Maybe I'd be still working at the hotel, the graveyard shift I worked at for years, writing books overnight. I wanted to be a writer, and I put pretty much everything into it. I'd probably be teaching English at a community college somewhere, and still writing two books a year without anyone ever reading them.
And playing a lot of Magic the Gathering. [laughter, cheers]
Brandon was the embodiment of humility. For each thank you he got for finishing the series, he gave a thank you in return to the fan for reading—and it was genuine thanks. He told several people they were his boss, so if they didn't buy his books he wouldn't be able to write them. He fist bumped one long time WOT fan saying that he was right there with him as a long-time fan himself. He has an avid fan base outside the Wheel of Time series, many had gotten into those books because of Brandon's other works. There were also several writers given encouraging words (including at least one Memory Keeper)—he really does support those trying to learn the craft.
Beyond that, he's just about as close as you can get to being a rock star and still play Magic the Gathering. He signed at least one deck box, one homemade Magic card and one of the Memory Keepers Fireball cards, making it a Bale-fireball. Memory Keeper Mat gave him a framed and signed “Hyrdroblast” #40 of 500 art print by the artist Kaja Foglio from the Magic the Gathering card game. Brandon was very excited that he knew artist but hadn't seen that specific piece.
When Brandon left it felt to us Memory Keepers like saying goodbye to someone we'd known for some time, not a well-known author we'd just met a few hours before.
Of the events that happened, though, none was more personally important than this—I asked Brandon if he'd like to play Magic on Sunday, perhaps catch dinner first. And he said sure. While timing prevented dinner, we were able to draft in his hotel, in the lobby of the San Francisco Ritz, and it was just wonderful.
As a Memory Keeper, I'd have sat and volunteered for free, just for the joy of watching others be so happy. But the memories made will be kept, and the joy will be shared forever.
I was at the signing and I asked him,(and I'm paraphrasing now because I didn't get much sleep before or since) "If Hoid would be printed as an Magic: The Gathering card, what would be his color and converted mana cost?"
Brandon said he would be a "Straight Blue Planeswalker" and "expensive" "probably 7 to 9 mana 4-6 colorless UUU".
I should have pressured him for a sample loyalty ability or something... but the line was NUTZ.
For thoes who don't understand the magic color pie/philosophy of each color, there are plenty of essays online, but without me explaining all the info; to me it means he has real power in craftiness and trickery (like we didn't know that before) ;) But that tells us he's not Blue-White or Blue-Black just "Straight Blue", which is important. And as planeswalkers go it puts him up in at least Nicol Bolas' level. Jace is a small fry to a Blue planeswalker with Hoid's level of expertise.
When asked how often he plays Magic: the Gathering, Brandon says about once a month and that he doesn't play online because Magic is a reason for him to get out of the house. He was also pretty excited that he'd gotten a tour of Wizards of the West Coast while in Seattle, where they gave him some special cards, etc. I wish I had more time to ask him more about Magic and how it's affected his writing and what he likes about it, etc.
My favorite way to unwind is to gather together seven friends, and draft some Magic the Gathering. My personal nerd obsession.
Favorite set to draft?
Lately, Innistrad. Historically...original Ravnica block, I think. Hard to say.
Also love cubing.
My friends have built a cube with really high power density. It's just a blast to draft fresh and build a new singleton deck each time your play, isn't it?
It's awesome. I don't know why it took me so long to come around to trying it.
It was about 11 when everyone who had stuck around got their books signed and left. Those of us who were still there, and a few who had showed up only a little while ago for what was to happen next, went with Brandon to a (sorta) nearby Denny's to play Magic! People there were myself, fRR, Rubix, Nehex, Swift, and a few others who may or may not be members here. (if you were there and I missed you, let me know!)
Brandon treated us to a late night snack, which was nice, though appetizers are a little greasy when playing card games. Things went along very nicely, fun conversation, pleasant company, etc, until Cthulu showed up. Or rather, Brandon owned us with his "Cthulu to the face" Archenemy deck. Twice.
Here's the group that challenged Brandon. From the left: Adam, Brandon!, Me!, Logan (the leader of the rebellion against Brandon's oppression, who fought nobly), Josh, and Jessica.
And then we left! Ta-dah!
If Nightblood were a Magic card, what would its abilities/stats be?
Equipment. When equipped creature does combat damage, destroy all other creatures. During your upkeep, pay WUBRG or you lose the game. (Note, I have no development chops, so I have no idea how to properly cost the artifact or the equip.)
What are some of your favorite activities outside of writing?
Most of my free time right now is consumed by playing with my three little boys, ages five, three, and less than a year. They are a handful, but also a delight. When I have a spare moment, my nerd obsession is the card game Magic: The Gathering.
Your fan interaction through Magic: The Gathering and airport book signings: planned, or more like luck?
It's a little of both. The signing in airport thing, I lucked into. I just started doing this, and then the Twitter response was so amazing. I'm like, "Well, I've got to get things to hide in these." People were buying tickets and going through and buying books, and then getting their tickets refunded to go in and get these books. And so, I'm like, "My goodness, I've gotta do stuff with this." And so now I hide little goodies in there—nothing amazing, though. But they're fun, they're just little things.
And I started doing the Great Hunt, which I did for the Wheel of Time, which if you aren't familiar, this is where I hide something in the books in the airport that has a code on it. We're going to do this for Steelheart, actually—my next book. There are going to be these cool things that we printed off just for Steelheart—I'm not going to tell you what they are, but they're awesome goodies. I'm going to hide them in books–not just in airports but around—and then they'll have a code on the back. And the code will take you to a password-protected part of my web site, where you get a free story. And the more codes that get inputted, the more content will unlock on that page. Then on your little code it'll say, "You can share this with your friends, don't post it online, but you can direct message people." So, just keep the fun going. And so anyone who finds this can then share it with all their friends, and they can go read the story. And when you find yours, you'll be able to post a message on the board the first time you put in the code, and then everyone else who puts in the code can just see the stuff. More of them will unlock, and it's going to be this fun thing that we can do together. And this is just completely accidental.
Magic: The Gathering actually came about because of Jim Butcher. Jim Butcher LARPs with his fans. And he was telling me once that this LARPing thing–it was wonderful because when you go to a signing, it's all so kind of formal, and people get like a couple seconds to talk to you. And everyone's like . . . awkward–you're awkward, they're awkward. He said, "I found that doing something that was just my nerd hobby allowed for a natural interaction." I thought, "That is awesome. I want to do something like that." And I've always been a Magic: The Gathering addict, and so I just started playing Magic at cons, but because of Butcher's advice. And it's been great because even people who don't play Magic know that during that time, you can come talk to me. And it's not going to be me across the table. It's going to be me shuffling my cards and geeking out because I drew a mythic or something like that.
I play draft the most right now, particularly cube draft, but any sort of draft I can be a part of I love. [...] And you know, any time I can play I enjoy it, but if there's a set that I can draft some sort of screwy combo deck like spider spawning or swarm or something, then that's the sort of set I love. Or some sort of screwy five color deck.
I play a lot of commander.
Every time I play commander I get stomped. I haven't quite figured out how to make a commander deck that doesn't get stomped. But of course I think that the format's all about everyone getting stomped so, it makes sense.
3. And finally... I know you're a fan of 'Magic: The Gathering'; would you like to see the 'Stormlight Archives' become a card game along the same lines? Do you think it will happen?
In my fondest dreams I can imagine an actual Magic set being done. It's never going to happen. Wizards doesn't do that. I respect them for not doing it. Magic is its own property. It probably wouldn't even make sense. But if I had that chance, then yes. An actual card game would be fun, and you may see us playing with these kinds of ideas. It would be pretty awesome. But my fondest dream would be an actual Magic set, because Magic is kind of my addiction. There are people who are gamers who play a lot of games and appreciate games. I am less one of those, and it's more that I love this one game that I enjoy a lot.