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WoTCon Top 10

The Best Moments and Most Unique Aspects of the Wheel of Time's Newest Fan-driven Convention

This article is spoiler-free.

view from the back of a gray haired woman posing on a stage in front of an audience, wearing a red gown and holding her arms out to display a white shawl with gold embroidery and the black and white Aes Sedai symbol on the back.

Guinevere of the Red Ajah on the costume contest catwalk (Photo by @AndrolSedai)

WoTCon, a Wheel of Time convention created by fans, kicked off its inaugural event this past July 8-10 at the Marriott Columbus Northwest in Dublin, OH.

If there's a proper state of mind to be in for a new Wheel of Time convention, I certainly wasn't in it. I had just moved into a new apartment and was living out of boxes. I was only successful in packing for WoTCon because I had the foresight to designate a suitcase for all my Wheel of Time swag before I moved. (Yes, my swag fills an entire suitcase—don't judge me).

As I grappled with the upheaval of my life and my stuff, things got even more surreal when Lezbi Nerdy came to my city and crashed at my place the night before WoTCon. Jenny was the first content creator I sponsored on Patreon—I had watched her videos religiously—and there she was, on my couch, with my cat in her lap.

The next day, we met my buddy, Anas, at the airport and were swept away into the sky. As we traveled together, Jenny and Anas gave me a lot of shit about some other personal changes in my life that would be glaringly relevant at WoTCon. (For more about that, and my overall experience of the Con, see my #WoTCon2022 Twitter thread.)

A selfie of Anas, Bain & Chiad, and Lezbi Nerdy on an airplane. Jenny's face is covered with her memoji head.

Photo by @anasmanutd

This is all to say that my brain was already in whirlwind mode when I arrived at WoTCon on July 7. Recalling the overstimulating chaos that was JordanCon, I assumed that going to a Wheel of Time convention would make me feel even more out of sorts, especially given the unpredictability of a brand new Con.

To my surprise, WoTCon grounded me—not only because the Con went smoothly, but because I got to be around all my friends again. I had forgotten an important principle of the fandom: it doesn't matter how long it’s been since you’ve seen your Wheel of Time friends, or whether you've even met them in person before. It always feels like picking up exactly where you left off.

The laughter started as soon as I helped Lezbi Nerdy walk into the lobby holding her big cardboard cut-out memoji head on a stick. Then came all the warm and fuzzy feelings of trust, respect, and mutual appreciation that appear naturally out of having the shared language of the Wheel of Time.

Three fans in black t-shirts, from left to right, Daraus Sedai, Lezbi Nerdy (holding up her memoji head on stick to cover her real face), and Camille.

Photo by hobbitskald

As I hugged my friends by the lobby couches and chairs, I felt immediately at home—a feeling that was much needed, as I floated in uncertainty between the old home I had just left and the new one I hadn't yet settled into.

I'm grateful for the yank back down to earth; otherwise, I wouldn't have been able to truly absorb everything there was to enjoy about WoTCon, let alone pinpoint the top ten—and it's a really good top ten.

If you didn't make it to WoTCon this year, I hope that, by the time you finish reading this list, you'll be convinced to attend next year's con. And if you were there last month, enjoy the memories...

10. Inclusivity

Matt Hatch the Innkeeper gesturing at a podium between two tables of contests in a game of Family Feud.

Family Feud at the Sunday morning main session

WoTCon set itself apart from other conventions by prioritizing a sense of community and inclusivity via large group sessions and shared meals, bringing all 202 attendees together for four main programs, two lunches, and one dinner.

Guests also had the option to upgrade their ticket for admission to an additional "VIP" dinner on Friday night. While the idea of "VIP" might not feel very inclusive, most guests purchased the VIP pass, and those that didn't (myself included) were not lacking in other opportunities to connect.

At the VIP dinner, WoTCon Operations Director Nae’Blis discussed the reasoning behind the community events at WoTCon: as it has been said countless times, the best part of attending a Wheel of Time convention is spending time with the people you meet there. WoTCon, then, was designed to maximize interactions with as many people as possible, in a way that got everyone involved.

Nae'Blis mentioned that, at JordanCon, people generally split up into smaller groups around meal times, which left some people feeling lost or left out if they missed the opportunity to connect with a friendly and hungry group.

For this reason, the lunches and dinners at WoTCon were particularly successful: they eliminated both the anxiety of making meal plans and the associated separation into clusters that can leave people feeling excluded.

Three cosplayers at WoTCon, from left to right Kritter XD in a blue outfit, Elizabeth as Birgitte, and a third person dressed as Mat.

Photo by Kritter XD

The date and location of WoTCon also supported greater inclusivity. Teachers and others who are not able to take time off in April for JordanCon were now able to attend; and for many others, including a fair amount who drove to WoTCon, the midwestern location was more convenient.

Size matters, too. With just over 200 tickets sold, WoTCon had a smaller, more intimate vibe that broke down barriers and made it less intimidating to approach new people. It also allowed fans to connect more casually and organically with the guests of honor, Daniel Greene, Michael Kramer, and Kate Reading.

Talmayonnaise, a man in a black t-shirt and baseball cap, stands in a hotel hallway next to Daniel Greene, a blonde man wearing a Hawaiian shirt.

Photo by @Talmayonnaise

A lot of WoTCon attendees said that interacting with the special guests felt more like connecting with them as fellow fans than as celebrities. Kramer and Reading, in particular, did some hardcore mingling. But more on them later.

It’s easy to get so caught up in the social aspects that you forget about the meat and potatoes of the Con—the panels. For those who tried not to spend all their time socializing in the lobby, a total of twenty-one panels were held between Friday and Saturday. They were broken down into three panels per one-hour time slot, and honestly it was pretty rude they made us choose.

What was most impressive about the WoTCon panels is that every single one of them was successfully livestreamed for virtual ticket holders, allowing fans in Chat to interact with each other and the panelists in real time. Inclusivity!