Cosplay is a major part of Dragon*Con, but it's not the only part. There are the panels, the vendors, the actors, the insanity, and so much more!
So first off, did I meet all of my Dragon*Con goals? Mostly, yes. I got Richard Dean Anderson's autograph and Connor Trinneer's autograph. I got a fabulous pocket watch that was absolutely perfect for me and my steampunk cosplay. I did get a geeky t-shirt, a geeky WoT Mat Cauthon t-shirt. (I also got the Siswai'aman Bandanna, because it was five dollars extra and I can't help that I really really really love the Wheel of Time.) We did eat at the restaurant, which is called Durango's. However, though the hostess copslayed as a fairy, our waiter did not. He was middle aged and probably thought he was too old for all that sort of stuff. However, I did not get a copy of Brandon's new novella Legion. I couldn't find the booth and things were just crazy. But considering that's one out of six goals I didn't meet, I think I did pretty well overall.
How was staying in the Hyatt? Crazy. Absolutely crazy. This was my family's first year staying in one of the host hotels for Dragon*Con and I was really excited. And really it was fantastic. It was so nice to know that my room was right there...eighteen floors up. And the elevator situation at the Hyatt is truly terrible. At one point we were heading up to bed for the night and the elevators were so crowded that there was a group of like six people who use wheel chairs or scooters stuck in the elevator well, unable to move from floor to floor because they couldn't get on the overcrowded elevator. I really think D*C needs to look into that and reserve one of the elevators for people who need it only, because that's just crazy. Some of them had been waiting for over a half an hour. And that should never be the case.
The Hyatt was also really loud at night and I found I had a hard time sleeping. The same wasn't true of the other four people in my room, but such is the case. However, I loved staying onsite. Having dc*tv was wonderful (we were able to watch the Supergate panel from the comfort of our own room instead of dealing with the insane line) and just the sheer convenience was second to none. So my family and I definitely want to stay on site again next year, but maybe not the Hyatt since it seems to be the nexus of the insanity. I'm thinking the Westin, which every time I was in there, no matter what the hour, had a much less insane line for the elevator.
How was Richard Dean Anderson? Honestly? Disappointing. I went to the Richard Dean Anderson panel on Friday and to start off with, the volunteers really screwed up the whole line situation. Luckily, we made some friends with other people in the line (you should always make friends!) so we didn't end up getting screwed over in the process. But a lot of people were angry at the line situation, and it was one of the more terrible line screw-ups I've seen happen in a while. But that has nothing to do with RDA himself. I think it was a mistake to have RDA's first panel be him only, since this was his first Dragon*Con. It would have been better to have the Supergate panel first so he could learn the drill from the other Stargate actors who come all the time (like Joe Flanagan and Jason Momoa). Anyway, he basically seemed to have little patience for fan questions that were meant in fun. The moderator was already severely moderating the questions (you had to write your question down and it had to get approved before it even got to her and then she chose which ones to ask), and he still had little patience for the ones asked! Like the first question she asked (which seems perfectly legitimate) was a joking, "What's in your pocket and can you build a bomb out of it?" RDA was like, "Really guys? Really? That was a million years ago and it wasn't real."
You never say stuff like that to the fans! We know it's not real. But it's all meant in fun. Have a sense of humor. Sheesh.
Anyway, I could deal with that, because it was his first Dragon*Con, but then he took advantage of the fact that we were all there hanging on his every word and he went political. Apparently, the Republican Convention had been the night before....but no one in the audience watched it because we were at Dragon*Con. And RDA took advantage of his time on the stage to rant about his political thoughts. And you know, I lean fairly liberal and will probably be voting in that manner come November, but it made me physically uncomfortable to hear him say from up there, "Vote for Obama" and essentially, "Republicans are crazy." You're an actor. I don't come to you for political advice. I come to you for you to tell funny stories of the shenanigans that happen on the Stargate set.
At the Supergate panel he tried to go political, when someone asked what other actor would the stargate actors like to work with, RDA answered Clint Eastwood. Because I was at the Friday panel, I knew RDA was joking and was about to use that to launch into a political tirade. Luckily, the other actors just started answering the question and didn't let him talk anymore.
Anyway, I'm glad I got his autograph to add to my collection, but overall it highly disappointing. This is the first time I've ever been disappointed meeting a Stargate actor. Most of them are awesome. Alas, it's sad to say, but I kind of wish I hadn't gone to the Friday RDA panel at all, and had kept my illusions intact.
How was the Wheel of Time track? Amazing. First off, on Friday my parents and I are doing are first go around of the vendors rooms and when we hit the Ta'veren Tees booth, the vendors immediatly noticed my mom was wearing one of their shirts so they gave us free Redarm ribbons for our badges. And then they asked if we had been to the Wheel of Time track yet. When we said that we hadn't, they said we needed to go there immediately, because the track was giving away A Memory of Light backpacks to the first 400 people to arrive there. So we booked it to the Westin and got free backpacks! I was super excited, because I'd been wanting the backpack ever since I first saw tor.com mention them, but had yet to win one. So yay!
Sunday evening, I ended up spending most of my time in the Wheel of Time track, and it was wonderful. I love Wheel of Time fans. Anyway, Brandon Sanderson did a reading from the new (the last!) book coming in January, and it was from Mat's first appearance in the book! When Brandon was like, "I'm going to read about Mat," I could barely contain my excitement. Because he's totally my favorite character.
Also the panel entitled "Robert Jordan's Legacy" was really awesome and moving. Robert Jordan was a great man who brought us something wonderful. And as awesome as I think Brandon Sanderson is, I miss Robert Jordan.
Miscellaneous. Dragon*Con was crazy, as usual this year, but overall my experience went really well. I got to hang out with many of my Atlanta friends. I got to be a ridiculous fan who could just be me without being judged (even when me was actually Loki or a Victorian time traveler). I got to meet new cool people. And it was tons of fun.
I already miss it and can't wait until next year.
So anyone out there go to D*C? Any great stories you want to share?