Hippoi Athanatoi

WorldCon: Day 1

Linda and I had only a few hours of sleep before we had to go to Säve airport to catch our RyanAir flight to Glasgow. We waited in line to get our tickets, and occasionally looked around for Zollo and Cerys the Patryn, who were taking the same flight. At one point I thought I spotted them far behind us (short blonde Swedish woman - check - tallest man in the room next to her - check), but we decided to wait until we were at the departure lounge to approach ‘em. We were right, and were informed that they had been playing the identification game. Fun. The flight itself was quite uneventful, and we took the same quite-effecient train from Prestwick to Glasgow Central, where we parted company. A bus took us to near-about Cairncross House, where we got a room (on the fourth floor, alas) and settled in briefly before trying to make our way to the SECC.

After registering, we decided to go hunting for the Brotherhood without Banners, first by going to the Moat House, where Parris’s panel (A Fair Ballot) was going to take place. Unfortunately, no one was there, so we wandered back to the main hall, where we stumbled into Zollo. I noticed over the days that he was often found roving the concourse, looking as if he had some vague purpose, but I’m not quite sure what said purpose was—something nefarious, no doubt. We asked him if he had seen an Bros.—and of course he had, as they were congregating in the bar (where else?)

There we met many, many, many people. Ser Ilyn Payne, Pod, Ro, Zakalwe7, Bastard of Godsgrace, Sir Rots, CoC, kalbear, daveax, Maltaran, and I suspect more. They cheered quite loudly when Cerys identified us to them, and pictures were taken in attempt to put together proof that I am, in the end, Not GRRM. After hanging around awhile and getting some pictures taken, we took off en masse to the panel. It was delayed—ceilidh dancers had their groove on—but got started smoothly enough. Panelists were Kevin Standlee, Parris McBride, Paul Dormer, and Fran Dowd. This was basically a discussion and explanation of the Hugo voting method (also known as Instant Runoff Voting or Single Transferable Vote), why it’s used, and what are the potential problems. It seems that, in general, it was agreed that it was the best possible method for voting and had few flaws; only extreme situations could lead to particularly undesirable results. Fran Dowd noted a problem with parliamentary systems through an anecdote regarding a student union election. A very right wing, but personally popular and charismatic, person ran for president with various people of like-mind for various offices. He won, but all the others lost, which meant that the student union ended up packed with Marxists, anarchists, and other leftists with an extremely conservative person in charge. “They didn’t get much done.”

Parris seemed favorably inclined to the IRV, but did manage to aim some acid at the elections of 2000 and 2004 in the U.S. (hee-hee). Another point of amusement was the occasional attempt to get Paul to reveal the Hugo winners. There was also some discussion of the software and methods used to tally up the votes. All in all, a very informative panel, with the audience sharing a number of thoughts.

Met George and Parris after that (someone—Padraig or Iceman, I think—took a picture of myself with George to provide proof that we were separate individuals; but then George slyly pointed out that I could just be an actor he hired for the purpose), chatted with Pod a bit, and then we were trying to decide what the plan was. Eventually everyone decided to pile into cabs for Mr. Singh’s. That worked quite well, except Linda and I felt a need for bracing, slightly wet Glaswegian air and walked. We arrived only somewhat late, but the damage was done—they had to bring out an extra table for us. This was, however, fortuitous, because we were unwittingly seated next to Jamie, the artist who’ll be presenting some of Testor’s miniature products. GRRM introduced us, and we got to talking.

Jamie is very cool, and very much a fan of the series. I mean, a real, honest-to-goodness fan. Between chatting about how he went about getting certain characters to look right, we talked about Tyrion, Cat, Tywin, and more just as characters. Beyond the excellent company and food (we met Jan and Satu Hlinovsky [publisher and translator of the series into Finnish, as well]), we also saw many, many more people, including EHK and mormont (actually, we met them as we were beginning our walk to Mr. Singh’s, along with Lady Mormont). Luzifer’s Right Hand was there, and .... and goodness, too many! Skylark the Red, Filippa Earhart, and ... uh. I can’t remember.

Oh, Jamie showed his portfolio of character designs, which drew quite a bit of attention (Martina Pilcerova was there, and she complimented him; and the kilted waiters kept stopping by and questioning Jamie about them and shaking his hand). EXCELLENT! He worked closely with GRRM and it was just a joy to see some of the things he did. He’s doing the designs on the larger scale resin statues, and they are going to be sweet (personal favorite: the Hound in full armor; woof! And Jon finding Ghost was also excellent. And more goodness to come, if his early concepts for Jamie and Ned were any example). His portfolio was very popular at the party afterwards, as a number of people took time checking them out.

Oh, yeah, the party. Rhelle, Sir Rots, Filippa, and Linda and I hopped into a cab to the Hilton and we found our way to the room thanks to some intrepid stair-finding by CoC and someone I can’t remember. All a blur. In fact, it becomes mostly a blur after this (and that without a drop to drink—oh, yeah, met Frisco at Parris’s panel; I remember him because he noted that there was a secret stash of Red Bull behind the curtain if I needed a pick me up). And ... uh, you know, tons and tons of people. It was great, and we’re only sorry we didn’t last out the whole party, but we were just too tired. It was a wonderful time, and we probably disappointed people by failing to be 8’ tall, Robert Jordan, or scary, and also by seeming a little shellshocked by all the people, but we do hope we got in the swing of things after our one (mostly good) night of sleep.

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