Anniversary Party 2011
|Anniversary Party 2011|
|Location||Charleston, South Carolina, USA|
|Date||March 4-6, 2011|
|Local Liaison||Eleyan al'Landerin|
This year's location is Charleston, South Carolina. The North American Anniversary is one the Tower's largest official events. Those in attendance include members from around the world including family and friends. It's a celebration of TarValon.Net and helps set the pace for what is to come. Anni was created to give members an opportunity to meet online friends for the first time. As it has grown, so have traditions such as the toasting rounds, special recognition awards, fundraisers, and competitions for prizes. There is no official date as to when the Tower was created. Its inception was a culmination of events made possible by the Amyrlin Seat, Eleyan Sedai, and other members. (For a quick look into our Amyrlin’s journey, click here.) What we do know is that Anni has reached its 10th year and with that there is a lot more to celebrate.
What makes this year's Anni so special? We can start by pointing out that this year's location was the home of the creator himself, Robert Jordan, who penned the Wheel of Time series. Without Jordan's work we would not be here. If that was not enough, Harriet Rigney, wife of Robert Jordan, has provided us with the opportunity to actually visit her home for a private tour where the Wheel of Time series was conceived. Harriet will be a part of our event and will also participate in a panel regarding the series. Joining her in the panel will be Brandon Sanderson, who has also agreed to be a part of our event. Brandon will be there to party, speak, host a book signing, and maybe even play a game or two of Magic the Gathering. The rest of Team Jordan will also be there, continuity editors of the Wheel of Time Series Maria Simons and Alan Romanczuk. Gracing us with his presence will be Michael Livingston who will give a lecture entitled "Robert Jordan's Redefinition of Tolkien's Fantasy." Michael Livingston is professor at the Citadel Military College of South Carolina, Robert Jordan's alma mater. Aside from the special guests, there will be plenty of Wheel of Time themed games and even a History of the TarValon.Net presentation. Included for the second time in TarValon.Net history will be the installation of the new Keeper of the Chronicles.
Our very own administrative team and lots of dedicated members have been working hard and planning this year's Anni for a considerable amount of time. The event is forecasted to have over 150 in attendance. With all that is being offered there is only one word to describe this event...EPIC.
Going to any Tower event, I look forward to seeing my old friends. There is also the opportunity to make new friends and even reconnecting with those who we don't hear from too often. That means you too, lurkers. When I first arrived I was just in time for orientation that included a history of TarValon.Net. Seeing Mother speak and hearing from the different administrative teams put me in the right mood after hours of long travel. Following that I was able to meet up with my Company, SDS, and enjoy the various toasts that helped kick off the festivities. It was also good to see Brandon Sanderson and Harriet Rigney in attendance for most of the weekend. Following that it was up to my room where I got into my PJs to prepare for the slumber party. While on the way, there was a special Company toast. For me, this was a very special and personal gathering that helped me to get closer to the men and women of whom I have aspired. When all was said and done, we ventured to a large slumber party where most of us were in our jammies. As with many of these events, we were up all night sharing stories and having fun.
The next day started with an adventure for me as I lost my room key the night before, so I was strolling around in my PJs for some time trying to find a way back inside my room. While getting weird looks from Tower buddies and the other hotel guests, I was able to get in and begin my day. I made it down to still catch some of the Q&A with Brandon Sanderson. I love hearing him speak because he is very personable and brings an aura of understanding that lets everyone know he belongs. When he finished he ventured off to a book signing for us before he had to go to another book signing off site. I then headed to watch the Sumo Wrestling where Tower folks got into these inflatable suits and bounced around. Two matches into the event, it had to be rescheduled due to a building power outage. As more time passed I attended a lecture by Dr. Michael Livingston that was very informative. He compared the similarities of J.R.R. Tolkien and Robert Jordan while also providing a back story of Robert Jordan and possible origin stories of several Wheel of Time characters. He has taught a course in J.R.R. Tolkien at Citadel College and is planning on teaching a course on Robert Jordan which makes me want to move to South Carolina and actually attend. Dr. Livingston was along with Brandon and Harriet with us during most of the weekend, just hanging out. Next was our dinner. Everyone was looking spiffy either in their costumes or their formal attire. People were bidding on really cool items from Robert Jordan's collection and other secret Wheel of Time paraphernalia for the Silent Auction. There were recognitions and Merit Badge announcements. Once dinner was complete there was dancing that led to the installation of the new Keeper. I am a bit angry with myself for I believe when that happened, I may have been back at my room getting an aspirin for a headache I was dealing with. I did come back to more dancing though. The Silent Auction was fun and it was cool to see the support the flow in. Speaking of support of the Tower, there was the da Covale auction that I happened to be a part of. It was a great deal of fun strutting around and helping the site earn money. I can't get into specifics but I channeled the Old Spice Man to help get me into character. Another late night hanging out and being with friends persisted til the wee hours of the morning.
The next day we had the opportunity to tour Robert Jordan's home. First I was introduced to the Garden -- a spacious, beautiful landscape that was home to various flowers, and fruits. Various pieces of outdoor art and stone work dotted the area. One could only imagine how the entire garden would look in the height of Spring once everything has bloomed and/or bears fruit. There were different paths and peaceful areas that can help one meditate for hours on end. A reflective pool, small pond with koi and goldfish, and a modern styled lap pool, provided a luxury that didn't clash with the serenity that lay around. The house was built in the 1790s and we were informed of some of the additions that took place as time passed. Moving into the house there was Harriet waiting for us bouncing up and down on what appeared to be a Medieval trampoline of some sorts. As we continued on she have us a brief rundown of the vast pieces of art and how Robert Jordan lived. Meeting Harriet and speaking with her was surreal. There were objects from around the world in all shapes and sizes. Portraits and paintings and Wheel of Time inspired items of course were everywhere. One of my favorite things to see was the collection of Wheel of Time books in different languages all in sequential order from Eye of the World to The Towers of Midnight. Being inside the house was inspiring, a place where you not only noticed yourself but others around you geeking out over this thing or that thing. There was so much history in there and so many stories. It was also interesting to see/hear about several items and situations that were made into the Wheel of Time. As I watched a friend next to me with tears in her eyes of joy at being there, I was almost ready to join her while still being in disbelief that I was actually there. Did I mention there was a Dragon Throne? I don't know if that alone was amazing or the fact that the chair had a tail behind it. Intricate carvings in figurines and statutes of all materials; could they be angreal, sa'angreal, or ter'angreal? Upstairs we found a wide assortment of weapons, books, videos, and strange signs in different languages. But mostly books. I don't have an actual number but I would say there were around 15,000 books in shelves everywhere and desks. You can also find the offices of Team Jordan there. Very similar was Robert Jordan's office that was located in another part of the house with his collection of weapons and books of all sorts, from all parts of the world. Skulls, helmets, die-cast cars could also be found there. Then there it was, Robert Jordan's desk, where the Wheel of Time began. His chair where he documented the stories and characters we have come to love and admire. If you didn't think it would get better, you could actually sit in his chair. There was an energy, an aura that was more than humbling in and out of the house. One word that was floating in my head was "nerdgasm". It was truly an experience.
As we left we shared the stories of what we loved about the house, reliving everything seen and even not seen. The business of Anni continued with Wheel of Time Trivia that was not for the faint of heart. Brilliant members of the Tower matched wits with each other for bragging rights. I didn’t play but it was fun to watch. Those questions were crazy tough. There would be more dramatic competition that followed. There was the Amyrlin's Tournament Sword Fighting Competition. These fierce battles were not only intense to watch but also to participate in. I myself faced great fighters of different styles and with luck on my side was able to win that portion of the Tournament. There was then a Q&A with Maria Simons and Alan Romanczuk of Team Jordan. A good time was had by all as questions regarding Robert Jordan and the Wheel of Time were fielded. A pool party followed, but I decided to stick around for the other portion of the rescheduled Tournament Sumo Wrestling. Men and women of the Tower were throwing their weight around for supremacy and a couple of laughs. As this progressed there was karaoke all in the same area that called up brave souls to sing their hearts out and provide a soundtrack to these dramatic battles. As the night wound down, this years Anni awards were presented. More frivolity and good times were had until the day ended and all prepared to leave.
The following day came with many hugs, tears, and goodbyes. As I said before, I will repeat again. This year's North American Anniversary party was indeed, EPIC.
The party started with Aldus posting in the Fair Ground forum that he was going to be able to live stream some of the events. Many of us started at the 10th Anni logo waiting for some glimpse of what was happening. Some of us were also utilizing TarValon.net's live chat to keep in touch with each other and discuss the video feed. Once the feed was up and running, several of us discovered that the site Aldus was using to stream the video had a chat of its own. No more switching between windows! That first night, approximately eleven of the non-attendees watched and chatted as random attendees walked by the camera. Sometimes we would get a wave or shout out. Mostly, people forgot the camera was rolling. It was similar to being a fly on the wall.
Those of us watching the stream saw the toasts given, and some of the raisings completed. We cheered when we recognized our friends, our family, on the screen. Collective screams of "Oh no!" lit up the chat window when we received the "black window of doom." For two nights, those of us unable to attend felt as if we were a part of the festivities. We shed a tear as Dralyn Sedai stepped down as Keeper of the Chronicles, and cheered as Leora Sedai was raised into this position. We watched our family have fun, and, although we were not physically there, we participated in our own little way.
Download the Packet.
Download the Program.
- Main article: Anniversary Party 2011 Schedule
- Committee Heads
- Awards – Adina al'Mari (Did not attend)
- Decorating – Yelenia Hylraren
- Entertainment – Tree al'Rotture
- Safety – Riley Maconnar
- Welcome – Tian el'Nvidia
- Main article: Anniversary Party 2011 Raisings
- Main article: Anniversary Party 2011 Bondings
At least four couples were bonded.
First Sibling Ceremonies
For the event a Memory Book was produced.
- Main article: Amyrlin's Tournament 2011
- Main article: Anniversary Party 2011 Trivia
- Main article: Anniversary Party 2011 Attendance List
Approximately 140 people attended the 10th Anniversary party.
- Main article: Anniversary Party 2011 Picture Gallery