This is a huge sword that I think was given to Peter (Brandon’s assistant) as a gift right before the release. A guy from 17th Shard who was dressed as Wit from tWoK was holding it and let me take a snapshot of it. It says “The Way of Kings 8-31-10.” Freaking awesome.
This is obviously way overdue, so I’ll get right to it… WARNING: I don’t know the meaning of the word “brief.”
Monday, Aug 30, 7AM – I wake up and get ready, super excited to get my work day over with so that I can get to the party and have a good time.
This is me and my red self wearing the Stormblessed shirt at the party.
7:30AM – I put my Stormblessed shirt on (thanks Steve!) and head to work. On the way there I notice what looks like a huge storm (a Highstorm?) brewing over Utah Valley (the location of the midnight release party). I’m both excited that it’s a stormy day because of the fact that the Stormlight Archive was set to begin for thousands of fans within less than 24 hours, but I’m also bummed because I figure I’ll be waiting in line in the rain. Luckily, it turns out that the storm was passing, and it was clear for the rest of the day (and into the night).
This picture doesn’t do the storm justice (took it with my cell phone on the way to work). It was one of the biggest storms I’ve seen in a long time. I thought it was rolling towards Provo (on the right) but it turns out it had just passed Provo and was heading away from the party location.
8AM – I get to work and call the BYU bookstore to find out what numbered copies are currently available of tWoK. I absolutely wanted a numbered copy before number 100, and I heard there were some people waiting in line earlier the night before, but I figured I would have a few hours to work before I had to go pick up my number, so I went into work before going down to Provo (about a 45 minute drive) to pre-order. They were already on number 48 at 8am! The bookstore opened at 8, so I was afraid if I didn’t hurry, I would lose a number before 100 (the next number after 100 was 301 because Brandon had numbers 101-300 at other bookstores). Anyway, I decided work didn’t matter and I jumped in my car and sped my way down to the bookstore.
9AM – I run into the bookstore, and I ask if I can get a number for tWoK before 100. They tell me I just missed number 50, and that I could have 52 (there was a guy just ahead of me waiting in line, I told him I think he didn’t actually have to wait in line, but that he just needed to get a number assigned to him after pre-ordering inside the bookstore–he was grateful and was also bummed to learn that he wasn’t actually in the front of the line, but that the first 50 people had already come and went). I should note here that there was a tent with 17th Sharders in it, right at the head of the “line.” Apparently they got numbers 1-4 and had been there in line since the Friday before.
17th Sharder dressed as Wit.
Anyway, I decided number 52 was not very cool, so I asked if I could get number 100 and they said I could. I thought it would be cool to get number 100 for every book from now on (assuming Brandon continues having his release parties in Utah and I still live here). (Side note: Nobody steal my number 100 of Towers of Midnight!!!) I got my 100 written on my hand, met some other cool fans in line, including Mi’chelle from 17th Shard (Hi Mi’chelle!), then headed back to work with the intention of getting back to the actual party later in the evening. Needless to say, I didn’t get much work done that day.
Fast forward to 6PM - My wife is at class, I’ve found a babysitter for the kids, I’ve sped back down to Provo during rush hour and… I’m there! I’m so excited to be there (even though there really aren’t many people there yet–the requirement was that once you were given your number, you didn’t need to be in line until 9PM) that I just start talking to everyone I can about The Way of Kings, The Wheel of Time, Brandon Sanderson, and pretty much anything else they want to talk about. I figured it was a good icebreaker to ask people, “Were you a Brandon Sanderson fan first or a Wheel of Time fan first?” That always got people talking, and I was surprised at just how many people were there who weren’t WoT fans. Still, most of the people there were WoT fans first. We talked about a lot of different theories and generally just had a really good time getting to know each other. One guy flew in from pretty far away (Philadelphia, I think?) and another guy drove from southern California (a very long drive).
This guy (I think his name was Joel) was a big BWS and WoT fan. He was super nice and friendly to everybody too. We had a good time talking about Wheel of Time, and he seemed to remember everyone’s names in line. He flew down from Philly… I think.
There was a woman there who was a flight attendant. She said she was totally turned off to reading for years and years, but after she found a copy of Mistborn on a plane that nobody claimed, she fell in love with reading again. She was very excited to meet Brandon (he posted a picture of her on Twitter that night here.)
8PM – By this time a bunch of people had show up and there were some “Shardbearers” (like “Storm Leaders” from the WoT signing last year) who were there helping keep things organized and engaging people in conversation. Many of them were 17th Shard members (Brandon’s official fan site). Some of them were in costume, including one guy who had created Shardplate out of paper plates. It was awesome. Unfortunately, I didn’t get a picture; however, he dressed as Szeth later:
I think this was the guy with the paper-plate armor from earlier that day.
At about 8:30PM – Brandon showed up and went into the building to begin signing and numbering books. I handed out about 200 or so flyers up and down the line advertising for Stormblessed.com (I hope some of you are here because of that). The 17th Shard members were really good about letting us be there representing another fan site. They were totally cool, (which is why I’m trying to also promote them in this blog.)
9PM – This was when they actually made us get in line according to our numbers. The Shardbearers started handing out various games and tickets for drawings for cool prizes and stuff. I hoped that my luck would stick since just a few weeks before I had won two different contests for tWoK ARCs! Out of the 200 or so people there, I did win one of the drawings! I was super surprised that my luck was that good. I got a cool decal sticker thingy with the shard symbol from the front of the hardback (not on the dust jacket, but on the actual book). It was nifty.
Also, they had a “Wittiest Insult” contest, where the top 5 wittiest insults won prizes. My friend actually won one of the prizes with this one, “Brandon Sanderson may think he’s the King like Elvis, but really he’s just King of the Elves.” At least, it was something like that. He won an audiobook of the first Alcatraz book.
My witty friend.
10PM – They let us into the store and had us line up throughout the bookshelves. This was were we ended up:
We had a geektastic time talking about all kinds of stuff and trying to answer a very difficult trivia quiz thing about various BWS books.
They told us we were free to mingle until midnight and to remember our spots in line. I decided to go see if I could find where Brandon would be actually signing further up the line. To my surprise, he was already finished signing the books, and was just happily chatting with a small group of fans in a corner of the bookstore!
He is so cool with fans.
I took this opportunity to sneak around to the side where I basically just sat there in awe and watched Brandon be totally awesome to his fans. He was very open about pretty much anything non-spoiler related to anyone and everyone who asked him questions. I recorded a bunch of what he said on video (with my little digital camera) and will hopefully post it soon.
I was awestruck and amazed that hardly anybody was there listening to the master. I just walked right up and started recording whatever he said.
Eventually the crowd got bigger, and soon he moved out into a better spot in the bookstore where more people could gather around. He was totally comfortable and open, and he soon had everyone laughing and comfortable there as well.
People asked all kinds of questions (I recorded as much as my little memory card would let me), but most were about his writing process and what other books of his would be coming out soon. One cool thing was that he said “Scribbler” would be published next year! I’ve heard really good things about it.
I got a chance to ask him a couple of questions. I asked him, “Can you give us one or ten teasers for the up-and-coming Towers of Midnight?” He thought for a second and said, “The Hunt begins later this week…” or something. I was bummed, but also excited (in retrospect, wasn’t that Great Hunt AWESOME?!!!) I got the 10+ teasers that I wanted, so I’m good.
Anyway, at 11:55PM – We all got back in line and then there was a countdown at 11:59PM.
Aug 31, 2010, 12AM – I got to lay my hands on the actual, fully finished, totally beautiful, 100th numbered “The Way of Kings” book. It is truly a breathtaking book. The most beautifully published book I’ve seen. The artwork and maps and colors are all just gorgeous. Of course, since this post is so late, you all know that by now (it was personalized by Brandon later that night).
This book is literally a work of art.
Isaac, one of the artists who worked on interior illustrations and artwork and maps, was also there signing these really cool bookmarks that Tor provided. The bookmarks had the map of Roshar on them (how convenient for reading!)
I was as giddy as a school girl.
Much, much later (after continuing to wait in line as Brandon personalized the signed books) we eventually arrived to the front of the line where Brandon graciously let us take a photo with him. Even though we were only #100 in line, it was about 2AM I think when we finally got to the front of the line.
Do I look a bit crazed to you? That’s because I was/am.
3AM – I got home and finally got a chance to start looking through the book.
3:15AM – I fell asleep.
I still haven’t finished the book! I’ve been super busy at work for the last few weeks, but that finally ended (hence the post) so I’ll be on the forums soon!!