Feathers Fall: A Critical Role Story

Warning: This post contains spoilers for Critical Role and extreme emotions. Reader discretion advised.

Warning: This post contains spoilers for Critical Role and extreme emotions. Reader discretion advised.

After

Darkness….an endless sea of stars and bright threads spinning in infinity. Vax came to himself with the last echoes of his final goodbyes fresh on his lips. It was over. Vecna sealed away beyond the divine gate, banished and broken. Exandria, his home, his family. Safe. He was so tired. It was pleasant to float here, among the stars, weightless and unbound.

“You have done well, my champion.” As always, her voice came from everywhere and nowhere. The porcelain face came forward through the darkness, parting the bright threads that flowed through the Matron’s impossibly large fingers.

“I made a vow”, he replied. “Keeping it was always my intention. And I will stay by your side as I promised, but I need something from you, a favor. If it can’t be done, then I will go on, and take my chances on the Astral Sea.”

The porcelain face remained unmoving, but a chuckle echoed out in the starry darkness. Which, if Vax was being honest, was a little unnerving, even now.

“A favor? What is it that you wish, Vax’ildan?”

“My family, they will not understand, they will not believe. They need to know that this is what I chose, that I have kept my promise, and cannot be called back. Or they will stay stuck, stuck in that moment of wishing they could save me, forever, trying to think their way out of it. I would ask that you show them, tell them, make them see that this was my fate, that this was the right price to pay. Help them, and I will stay in your company gladly.”

“It is done, my champion.” As she spoke Vax could see several threads brighten and then dim, as they spun in the hands of the Matron of Ravens. “Come,” she said, “you have earned your rest.”

………..

Vasselheim

The celebrations seemed endless, a continuous, cacophonous outpouring of relief. It was impossible to find so much as an alleyway that was quiet and empty. Scanlan was exhausted. Not even the Hat of Disguise could shield him from the endless wave of cheering commoners, so excited to see another day. He walked and walked through the streets of Vasselheim, desperate. Vox Machina had succeeded, but he had failed. Vax was gone. The others had given themselves over to sleep, aided by wine and ale, but Scanlan could not. He had failed. He was not ready to face that truth, the look on Vex’s face. And so he walked, deeper into the hidden alleys and corners of the ancient city, looking for an absolution he knew he would never find.

He didn’t know how long he’d been walking, but suddenly everything was silent and still. Scanlan was in some blackened, forgotten corner of Vasselheim, or maybe he wasn’t. When was the last time he’d slept? A voice. From everywhere, surrounding him. Low and powerful, with just a hint of laughter behind it. A voice he knew so well.

“Go home to your family and sleep you lucky motherfucker.” The words burned in his skull. “Everything is exactly as it should be, and Kaylie is waiting for you.”

Tears fell to the deserted alley floor, and Scanlan looked down sighing. “I’m sorry friend, I’m so sorry. I wanted….I wan-I-I tried.”

And there, on the ground where his tears had fallen were 7 raven feathers.

 

In the newly destroyed Temple of the Everlight, Pike was praying. Praying for the living, and the dead, and for all those who mourned. For her family and for the strength to help them carry on in hope. Praying for bravery because the aftermath was always harder than the war. For forgiveness for not having done enough. To save him. But most of all, she prayed for Keyleth, who more than any of them, felt so terribly alone. Pike felt more than heard the young acolytes and worshipers coming in and out of the heavily damaged sanctuary. They were clearing and cleaning, focused anew on rebuilding. Pike made sure not to let them see her tears. This had been a victory, and it was not for them to know the cost she bore for that victory.

“Oh, Vax”, she whispered. “I’m sorry, it wasn’t enough.”

The sanctuary was suddenly warm, and filled with the golden beauty of the Everlight. Pike looked up and she was there, reaching out her hand to Pike’s tear-stained face.

“Pike, my daughter, my staunchest warrior. Do not worry. He is at peace, let him rest. I will watch over him.” And she was gone, the light fading, taking the heaviest weight of Pike’s grief with it.

 

Grog’s ale kept disappearing. He didn’t understand it. The other people at the inn weren’t stealing it, who would steal from Grog Strongjaw? But he kept picking up his mug and there was nothing in it. Seemed like magic stuff. He didn’t really understand magic stuff, that was the kind of thing his buddy Pike was so good at. But not always. She said she couldn’t fix Vax, even though she always fixed everyone else before. Grog didn’t understand. Why couldn’t they fix him? Percy had said a whole bunch of long words at him that didn’t make any sense at all, and Grog had stopped listening. If Pike couldn’t fix it, that was that he supposed. So, he went to the inn for ale. But now it kept disappearing. Grog was frustrated! This inn was no good at all if they served vanishing ale. What was the point of that? He had an idea! He knew where he could get non-vanishing ale! Upstairs in his room, he found his fancy jug they’d gotten from the black dragon and he picked it up.

“ALE!” he said into the jug. And waited. This always worked. He looked in the jug for his ale and it wasn’t there! Instead, the jug was full to the top with raven feathers and Grog was sure he heard Vax’s laughter coming from the jug too, which must be more magic stuff because Vax was dead, not in a jug. Grog was pretty sure about that. He shook the jug again and feathers went everywhere on the floor.

“ALE!!” he said again. And it worked! The jug filled with ale, and Grog drank it and for some reason, it was better than it usually was.

…………

Night

Keyleth was falling, tumbling, her wings torn asunder. Wait, did she have wings? She was sure there had been wings, once. But she couldn’t fly. Her fist clenched around the ash and bone that had once been Vax. Falling, falling, falling. Why couldn’t she fly? She commanded herself to think, to focus, to find her way back to the sky. But she was falling. The wind was screaming and she was so lost. This wasn’t right, they had won. She had read that damned book and sent Vecna away beyond the divine gate. Hadn’t everyone cheered and shouted their names? She was sure they had. Why was she falling? Her free hand clawed at the empty sky, desperate for purchase, but catching nothing. She closed her eyes and called on nature to guide her, to help her right herself and find the path. Nothing. She shouted into the wind, calling for Pike, for Vex to help her. But she could not hear them. All she could hear was the wind, and all she could feel was the weight. The weight sending her off-center, pulling her down.

Falling.

Falling.

Falling.

“Kiki.” His voice came from the shrieking winds, low and full of love. “Kiki, you have to fly. Let go and fly.” And then she remembered what she had to do. Her fist opened, ash and bone fell away, and she flew up through a sky filled with raven feathers, bursting through the storm into the sun above. Keyleth’s eyes opened in her borrowed room in Vasselheim, just in time to spy the raven in her window take flight, wheeling high up into the sky, weightless and free.

 

Vex was dreaming.

An endless dream, memories strung together along a never-ending arc towards something she couldn’t see.

The first time she shot a bow. Dragon scales piled around her feet. A tree sprouting from the chest of Vorugal, dead in the snow.

Vax sneaking tarts from the bakery in Byroden. Her father touching her cheek the last time she visited Syngorn, the beginnings of affection. Velora with her stuffed owlbear, blue feathers in her hair. Vax holding those same blue feathers out to her, a little piece of beauty in a moment of utter darkness.

Her mother’s smile, her mother folding linens, her mother braiding her hair. Trinket covered in chocolate and bows. Trinket asleep, Grog using him as a pillow. Vax teaching her to pick a lock, Vax wrapping his cloak around her shoulders in Whitestone, Vax holding her hand as Emon burned.

Keyleth delighting the children of Vesrah, giving them rides on dragon back. Keyleth’s eyes flaming in rage as she battled Raishan. Percy’s face, calm and unflustered at his work table, making beautiful and deadly things. Percy screaming in a lava filled cavern. Pike’s hands, glowing. Pike flying on golden wings, showering everything in light. Over it all, Scanlan singing. Sad songs and silly songs, witty and brilliant. All of them beautiful.

Vex moved through these memories like water, they swirled and layered on each other, comforting, but she was lost in them all the same. Where was she going? What on earth was she doing here? After a long time she found herself climbing a mountain, impossibly tall, yet she eventually reached the summit, high in the clouds. There, laid out on a flat stone, a set of black leather armor chased with silver scrollwork and covered in feathers waited for her.

“My dear sister, I told you before…take these wings and fly.” His voice came from all around her, quiet and calm. “It’s time.” She woke up, tears she didn’t even know were falling already drying on her cheeks.

………….

Whitestone, Years Later

The Lord of Whitestone was dying. Though, truth be told, he’d never been comfortable with that title. He much preferred just being Percy. Percy the builder. Inventor. Cleverest man alive. It was much better than being a killer, consumed by vengeance. On balance, life had been good to him, in spite of the world being so utterly terrible at times. The chance to say goodbye to his friends, his family, was his last wish, and he had gotten it. He felt Vex’s hand on his cheek as he closed his eyes closed one last time.

Darkness….an endless sea of stars and bright threads spinning in infinity. Percy had been here once before, at least this time it hadn’t required bathing in blood. Death was cleaner, if nothing else. As he came to himself, he prepared for another frustratingly vague conversation with a goddess he’d never quite found the time to forgive. He had thoughts for her, though.

“Percival,” came a voice out of the starry blackness. “Brother, I have been waiting for you.”

Vax stepped out of nothingness, his face unchanged by the decades, a cloak of blue-black raven feathers trailing out behind him. Immortality had made him impossibly beautiful, and Percy felt a distant pang in his chest for Vex, left behind. She was his heart and he was going to miss her terribly.

“Well Vax, if I’d known it was you who would be waiting I’d have prepared something indignant and irritated to say. All these clever words for your Lady, wasted. Ah well…” and he trailed off, momentarily overwhelmed as he had always been by unexpected things.

“She’ll be alright Percival,” Vax said. “She has the others, and the children. Your name will never fade from Exandria and the good work you have done will echo down the ages. I promise you, they’ll be alright. Now come, Elysium awaits.” And with that, Vax held out his hand to Percival’s cheek, and touched his face. Percy felt a blazing warmth, and a golden light blinded him as he passed through the realm of the champion of the goddess of death and on to his rest.

Vex let her hand linger on Percy’s cool cheek as his eyes closed one last time. “Darling,” she whispered, “I will miss you so.” In silence she prayed to the Dawnfather to protect him and to the Matron of Ravens to shepherd him from life to death, knowing that a piece of her heart went with him on his last adventure. She could not bear to have him go alone.

“I will see you later darling”, she said feeling his chest still. But for one brief moment, she felt a searing heat blaze through her hand, still held on Percy’s lined face, and then it faded and he was gone. There in her hand, perfect and unburned, was a single raven feather.

“Oh, Vax” came a whisper. “Thank you.”

 

Critical Role airs every Thursday on the Geek & Sundry Twitch channel. You can also find it over on Project Alpha. It’s a beautiful show and if you love intricate characters, great acting and tabletop RPGs you should really be watching it. Seriously. I haven’t come anywhere close to doing it justice in this little love letter.

Game of Thrones Season Finale Predictions Extravaganza!

The man who watches the show should write the post.

The man who watches the show should write the post.

It seems like it was just yesterday that I wrote about how much had changed in the season 7 premiere of Game of Thrones. And now, it’s already time for the finale! Time is flying faster than ravens in Westeros, and so Shannis and I are here with our Season 7 Finale predictions. A lot happened in these 7 short weeks, but there’s miles to go before this story ends next year in a blaze of dragonfire, and one hopes, glory. Thrones finales are typically full of death, death, more death, an exposition scene, possibly a battle, and did we mention all the death? We fully expect to have all of those on Sunday.

(FYI: I’m writing in blue, and Shannis is replying in purple.)

(We both have thoughts. So many thoughts. And feelings. And stuff.)

Predictions:

Things That Will Happen:

Littlefinger is going down. I can’t take one more minute of his stupid smug face and I need him to die. My hope is that Arya and Sansa hatch a plot together to end him and then Arya stabs him with his own dagger while wearing Catelyn’s face and yelling at him for betraying her children. It would satisfy my deep-seated need for revenge against this ALL BEING HIS FAULT, as well as give the impeccable Michele Fairley a final Thrones sendoff. It would also probably spell the end of any sort of grip that Arya has on her sanity, but what can you do. Likelihood: Death: 98%. Arya wearing Catelyn’s face: 2.5%

Littlefinger has to go down! I can’t take one more minute of his stupid smug face either. I predict Littlefinger will go down, and Arya does the honors. Since I love you, I will cross my fingers for Arya wearing Catelyn’s face when she does said honors.

Honestly, Littlefinger dying will bring America together even better than the eclipse. In fact, you might say his death would eclipse the… okay. I’ll stop. I’m so sorry.

You’re not sorry, and you shouldn’t be sorry. In this time of darkness and lunacy, what do we have left but our puns? Our puns and our memories of Tormund waxing poetic about giant babies?

Dammit I want giant Tormund and Brienne babies so badly. Like, there could be an epilogue where they show where all the living characters are after the whole thing is over and they could be living someplace lovely and green with a bunch of gorgeous giant babies running around with swords and Tormund is getting them all riled up and Brienne is making that face she makes when Podrick disappoints her with an obvious parry? 

What, you mean this one?

What, you mean this one?

These scenes just write themselves. HBO should put us on the payroll.

Someone is not leaving the big King’s Landing showdown alive. My money is on Cersei, but I’m willing to admit that’s mostly wishful thinking. The more likely candidate is Brienne. Because let’s be honest, Sansa sent her because Brienne is the one person who truly will never betray her, and honor is worth less than horse shit in Cersei Lannister’s throne room. Also, there’s this little movie franchise called Star Wars  (you may have heard of it) and I hear Gwendoline Christie has kind of a big role in it these days.

Likelihood: Cersei Death: 22% Brienne Death: 64% Someone Else: 12%

Tormund Sobs Upon Hearing Of Brienne Death: 12,000%. 

The World Weeps With Tormund: All the percents.

Look at his beautiful face! Don't make him sad HBO. It's not nice.

Look at his beautiful face! Don’t make him sad HBO. It’s not nice.

The Night King and his new friend will definitely cross The Wall. I mean, he can fly now, so let’s be serious. An undead Viserion is coming over the top of that wall onto someone’s head. Probably some poor peasants or unsuspecting Night’s Watch folk, but seriously. Viserion undoubtedly has new skills to show off, and what better way to do it than finally defeating The Wall? Likelihood: 100%

I think The Wall is coming down. I think Viserion the Wight Dragon is going to breathe whatever horrific zombie fire he has now right onto the Wall, and stuff is going to MELT and CRUMBLE. And then the Army of the Undead will come in with more of those fancy chains and start pulling it to pieces.

The Night's King can't wait to show the southroners his big chains. They don't have chains this big.

The Night’s King can’t wait to show the southroners his big chains. They don’t have chains this big.

I just feel like the chains would be wasted if they don’t put in a further appearance. Since they were such a big character this past week and all.

Well, now I need that to happen. And really, why would the Night King be subtle about this entrance? The fall of The Wall has been foreshadowed since about Chapter 3 of Book One, so….

For real. I feel like almost since I first learned of the existence of The Wall, I also knew that someday The Wall would be coming down.

Daenerys will apologize to Tyrion for being an ass and an idiot. Tyrion will accept, with gratitude and snark. And then tell her that seriously, she needs to name an heir. Likelihood: 95%

Like, of all the things, this is the one that feels least likely to me: Daenerys apologizing. Ever. For anything. She might name an heir though. But whom will it be, Carolyn???  

I should have said apolgize-ish. More like an apology adjacent sort of thing. With significant looks and meaningful nods. Honestly, the sucker for a sappy happy story in me wants her to name Tyrion. So, I guess it will be anyone but Tyrion then.

I can’t even think of a likely candidate, just a vague “It won’t be Tyrion”. 

Oooh. I wonder if she got pissy during that convo because she thinks Tyrion wants it to be him. Poor Tyrion. 

Game of Thrones alternate title: Alas, Poor Tyrion.

The man who deserves to be King.

The man who deserves to be King.

Jorah will gaze moodily as the good ship Jonerys sails off into the Blackwater Rush. Not that I want that ship going anywhere, but alas, no one is listening to me. The creators and fans will have their song of ice and fire. And by song, I mean romance. And by romance, I mean tragically cut short winter fling, because there is an army of frozen undead coming and Jon and Dany have Hero Things(tm) to do. Likelihood: 4000%

Also I think Jonerys might have sexy times on that ship. Metaphorical ship or otherwise. God, it seems like forever since anyone had sex on this show. THINGS I NEVER THOUGHT I’D SAY, EVER.  

Oh sex is happening. These people are too pretty and much of the fandom has waited way too long. Sex is on. I’m hoping for positive, affirming sex with bonus slo-mo shots of Kit’s hair wafting. Did that get weird? I feel like that got weird.

The day needs his saving expertise.

The day needs his saving expertise.

OMG can we PLEASE get his hair out of that wretched pulled back thing it’s been doing all season and get Daenerys’ locks unbraided??? I don’t pay HBO good money to see Jon Snow’s hair go to waste like this, and I bet what’s making Daenerys so cranky is how tight those damn braids are pulled.  

Sam will arrive at Winterfell and Bran will finally spit out a series of sentences that make sense and are moderately less creepy. Sam will realize what Gilly uncovered in the Big Book of Important Information(tm) and then, well then he’ll probably do that thing where Sam gets really giddy and excited and John Bradley lets out that perfectly adorable grin he saves for when Sam has done something terribly clever and he’ll go running off to tell Jon he’s about to bone his aunt. He will not be in time. Likelihood: 80%

He will not be in time at all. Sigh.

Luckily, since Jon and Daenerys are likely not long for this world, they won’t have to live with the (slight) shame for terribly long.  Just one short season worth of episodes!

Also, they will be focused on the Night King and trying to save the world and making bad plans and then also worse plans, and then brooding. No one has time to feel guilty during all that! 

Let’s talk about the scene in the trailer where Grey Worm and the Unsullied are standing in formation outside King’s Landing (I’m assuming) and there’s an army coming at them. Maybe THAT’S Cersei’s betrayal: sending an army to attack them while they’re all supposed to be at a cease-fire during the meeting. MAYBE GREY WORM DIES.

OMG I hate that thought. Poor Missandei.

If Grey Worm dies, we riot. It is known.

He is basically the Daryl Dixon of this show. When Tyrion isn’t the Daryl Dixon of this show. (That’s a Walking Dead reference for those who don’t know.) 

That’s the other show with the zombies, right?

Also: Is Cersei really having a baby? Will the baby be a demon? I assume it will be a demon. But like a real demon, not a Melisandre-style shadow demon of murderiness.

She is either not pregnant or pregnant with a horrible demon. Nothing in between. I hope not pregnant and Jaime busts her for her cruel lies and ends this damn thing already. Because I am over Cersei and her Pixie Cut of Evil.

I’m convinced that Lena Headey is legit the best actress ever. Because remember what a goddamn delight she was at Denver Comic Con last year, and you and I fangirled and did the squeeing and had no chill and sometimes I still giggle in secret over some of the stuff she said, like “I love to be baaaad,” and she is so delightfully British and told us how she grabbed Cary Elwes’ ass and…

No. We are not remotely chill.

Evidence of our lack of chill.

I’m fine. It’s fine. Carry on. 

Good times. Remember how she had on really practical shoes just like you did and how validating that was? She’s awesome.

Things That Won’t Happen That Should:

Jon and Arya will be in the same room. Or hemisphere even. At this point, I’m grateful that they are more or less on the same continent.

I do want Jon and Arya to meet again. But I’m kind of afraid of how it will go. What if he likes Sansa better now???

Jon is the one person who will immediately treat Arya as if she is still, you know, Arya. His scamp of a little sister with dirt on her dress. That could make all the difference for her, you know? I just want someone to see her underneath her super cool stabbing skills and bag of faces and know that somewhere inside there is still the young girl who taught her direwolf to fetch and wanted a sword and ran over and hugged him SO HARD when we gave her Needle because she was really going to miss him and he totally understood her.

*sounds of ugly crying*

*sounds of ugly crying*

BIG BREATH. Look, I have a lot of feelings about Arya.

The Stark sisters will speak to each other directly and clearly about their emotional trauma and stop talking in circles around each other. Preferably over cake.

Will any Stark ever speak directly to any other Stark about anything that makes them uncomfortable? They’re like Connecticut WASPs, the Starks.

As a native-born Connecticut WASP I do not wish to discuss this any further Shannis. Did you see the sunflowers today? They’re lovely this time of year.

See, isn't this nicer than talking about your profound trauma?

See, isn’t this nicer than talking about your profound trauma?

As a native-born Canadian WASP, I love me some sunflowers. And! I will add to this list: Jon Snow will come up with a good strategy for something. Anything.

Well, there was that one time he figured out how to get more dragonglass…

Dragonass? 

DRAGONGLASS!

I will master spelling Daenerys correctly on the first try after 19 years.

No offense, because you know I adore you, but I don’t think you’re ever going to spell Daenerys correctly on the first try. It’s like my mental block against being able to correctly spell Professor McGonagall correctly on the first try (that just took me two attempts and a Google search, in the spirit of full disclosure). But you know — at least you can spell JAIME.

I can also spell Tyrion, Arya and Jon! 

Also you said cake, so now I want cake.

I just searched our entire media catalogue and we have no images of cake. We are failures.

That seems suspect. But I guess mostly I post photos of bread. And Daryl Dixon. 

Things That Won’t Happen That I Wish Everyone Would Stop Going On About:

Arya dying.

Tyrion dying.

Sansa dying.

Jon dying.

More dragons appearing out of nowhere randomly and without warning.

OMG YES to all of these things. What would be the point of any of those characters if they die now? Unless some kind of huge plot twist happens in the season finale, I don’t think we’ve been led down a path this season to any of these characters dying THIS SEASON. Some of them might die in the final season. Hell, all of them might die in the final season. But they are not dying in this finale. And I don’t think we’ve yet reached the reason for Jon Snow coming back to life after being ruthlessly murdered by a band of betrayers. (I still have feelings. A lot of feelings.) 

Girl, we both have those feelings. I can’t even. Those bastards. I hope they’re burning in all Seven Hells.

And look. I like a dragon just as much as the next super nerdy 40-something woman with a boring career and a kid to feed. But as crazy as the world of Game of Thrones is, I just don’t think there are random dormant dragons hiding beneath every large edifice in the realm. That doesn’t seem to be how dragons work in Westeros and beyond. There were eggs and fire and nakedness and things hatched and… it seems pretty simple. Right?  

Buried Dragons and Secret Targaryens are my least favorite tinfoil hat ASoIaF fan theories. Not everything is A Thing people. Just no. For the record, my favorite fan theory is the Grand Unified Tyrell Conspiracy, because it was pithy, well researched and it ended up be startlingly accurate. Those were the days — what we lacked in memes, we made up for in withering takedowns of trolls and malcontents.

My all-time favorite fan theory is the Ron is Dumbledore Time Travel theory. See how I can still turn any conversation ever into one about Harry Potter? 

ANYWAY. 

What do you think will happen on Sunday, readers? Tell us what we missed in the comments, and be sure to join us on Twitter during the show for the best snark in the realm. And bring some cake, we’re hungry!

 

DCC Spotlight: Natural 20 Panel (Full)

Natural 20This year at Denver Comic Con we had the honor of presenting a panel for the first time. Together with our friends Christian and Shayla, Dungeon Masters for ATK, Inc and all around amazing humans, we led a discussion on the role that tabletop RPGs play in making the world a more awesome and accepting place, as well as how to get involved in your own tabletop RPG and find the perfect adventuring party! We had a blast, met some incredible gamers of all ages and we already can’t wait to come next year! Check it out, and make sure to give us your feedback. Thank you Denver Comic Con and Pop Culture Classroom for the opportunity to be a part of this year’s programming. See you in 2018!

Denver Comic Con is an education program of Pop Culture Classroom with more than 600 hours of educational programming and 9,000 sq. ft. of convention floor dedicated to the Pop Culture Laboratory, an area designed to engage kids in S.T.E.A.M. (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math) educational activities, and spotlight the PCC program and its students and graduates. Further, it provides educational, youth-based programming and fun activities for our younger attendees and their families, and allows young creators to work directly with professionals from the comic book and animation industries as well as other creative professions.

PCC Mission: Pop Culture Classroom ignites a love of learning, increases literacy, celebrates diversity and builds community through the tools of popular culture and the power of self-expression.

PCC Vision: Pop Culture Classroom envisions individuals transformed by the educational power of popular culture who create diverse, inclusive and engaged communities.

PCC Values:

  • Quality service to kids and communities
  • Respect, inclusiveness and diversity
  • Equality of opportunity
  • Alternative approaches to education
  • Recognizing each person’s intrinsic dignity and importance
  • Open communication, responsibility and honesty

For more information about Pop Culture Classroom’s role in the community, please visit http://popcultureclassroom.org/ 

Carolyn Reacts: Game of Thrones Grows Up (Season 7, episode 1)

The man who watches the show should write the post.

The man who watches the show should write the post.

In case you didn’t get it from the title and the picture, there are SO MANY SPOILERS in this post. You have been warned.

Oh good, you’re still here. Let’s do this thing! Just the “Previously On….” was enough to get me cheering and bouncing in my chair. Things are moving so fast now, and as much as I don’t want it to end, I am desperate to know how it ends. I’ve wanted to see the culmination of this story since 1999, and we are so close!

Oldtown has a model in the credits! Library hype! Even after 7 years, this opening sequence still makes my little nerd heart so happy.

Oldtown-credits

Libraries are so hot.

Right from the opening moments of the first scene, I had chills. Arya, so cold, so ruthless, so comfortable in Walder Frey’s skin. I’m terrified for her, the path she has chosen is dark and pitiless. As much I cheered to see our lost wolf avenge her mother and brother, I’m worried that she may become lost to the darkness forever. But that speech? That was perfection, and the first hint that Game of Thrones has stepped it up several notches already this season. Full of calm fury and naked contempt, the writing was truly next level. Not to mention the fact that David Bradley just absolutely knocked the delivery out of the park, and onto the street, and maybe right on over into the next town.

Y'all motherf*&%ckers need the Many Faced God.

Y’all motherf*&%ckers need the Many Faced God.

Cool kings of the undead don’t look at explosions. Or whatever it is that is behind them. I love how epic their slow march to the Wall feels. There’s no rush, just calm persistence and absolute belief in their inevitable victory. The Night’s King has been alive forever, he’s got all the time in the world to get where he is going.

And Hell followed with him.

And Hell followed with him.

Lyanna Mormont doesn’t knit. Because knitting is stupid. Knitting doesn’t win wars you idiotic, bleating fools. Any hand that can hold a sword needs to swing one now. I mean, did you see the zombie giants? There are zombie giants coming, your rules about who can and cannot fight are no longer even remotely relevant.

Yeah, I don't knit. Or crochet. Or not stab zombies in the face.

Yeah, I don’t knit. Or crochet. Or not stab zombies in the face.

Sansa is not interested in your nonsense [insert name of person speaking at her here]. Also? She looks FABULOUS.

Do you see this? This is my unimpressed face.

Do you see this? This is my unimpressed face. #TeamSansa

I’m loving this new, mature dynamic between her and Jon. Our little bird is a wolf after all. I think she and Jon are the perfect foils for each other now. Sansa ruthless, driven, focused. Jon forgiving, desperate, still idealistic after all these years. They need each other, and I can only hope they continue to listen to each other. They make one hell of a team, tempering each other’s more destructive tendencies and buffering each other’s formidable strengths.

Fire and Ice. Or is it Ice and Fire? Whatever.

Fire and Ice. Or is it Ice and Fire? Whatever.

Cersei looks fabulous. Crazy, but fabulous. I can’t decide if she’s moved beyond her grief into straight up ruthless queen mode, or if she’s just hiding her despair behind that amazing dress and impassive face. Either way, she’s gone round the bend and I don’t think she’s ever coming back. Whatever loose grip she once had on sanity is long gone, and all she has left is her belief that she either wins, or she dies.

Poor Jaime tries logic on his twin. Surprising precisely no one, logic fails. Gods bless him, he tried, but she’s Mad King Aerys come again and I already feel bad for him. One day soon, he’s going to have to do what he has to do and end this before she burns more than the sept to the ground.

I think she's been taking sartorial lessons from Claire Underwood.

I think she’s been taking sartorial lessons from Claire Underwood.

I could write a whole thing on Euron Greyjoy, but here’s the tl;dr: Game of Thrones: Now with 1000% more snark, guyliner and smirking. There’s no gift in the world that he could bring her to win her heart, except for maybe Tyrion’s head on a platter, but we all know that’s not happening. So good luck to you Euron.

Sam Goes to Monastery was hands down one of my favorite sequences the show has ever done. It justified the large time skip, it was hilarious and it showed Sam’s growing frustration and impatience with being unable to access the information he knows they need to win this war. Combine that with Professor Slughorn dropping some serious philosophy on him, and the delightful Harry Potter homage was complete. Also, as mentioned on Twitter, I need a video of that sequence cut with Pink Floyd’s Money playing underneath it, so if the internet could get on that for me, that would be great. EDIT: Oh look, someone did! Thanks @mpirnat, you win One Internet.

Sam is such a total Hermione.

Sam is such a total Hermione.

Petyr: If you’re lucky, Sansa will murder you in your sleep, with great mercy and no pain. You made a fatal mistake choosing her as your piece in the game. Because she learns, she adapts, and she will soon surpass even your skills. If she hasn’t already. Sansa wants to do more than play the game of thrones, she wants to change it. While I don’t think a crown is what she really wants, if Sansa keeps on like this, she could be the last one standing in the end. With the love she learned from her family, the skills Petyr gave her and just enough of Cersei’s laser focus, Sansa would be an excellent Queen. Assuming, of course, that the zombie giants don’t eat her.

Petyr: She'll love me one day. Sansa: I wonder what the inside of his skull looks like.

Petyr: She’ll love me one day. Sansa: I wonder what the inside of his skull looks like.

I haven’t done an exhaustive study, but I feel like Daenerys gets to button the episodes a lot. It doesn’t always work for me, but this time it really did. I loved seeing her so small, and so alone against the massive fortress of Dragonstone, putting her feet on the sand of her homeland for the very first time in her living memory. It was a powerfully understated scene, especially in comparison to some her other more overwrought moments.

And I didn’t even get into The Hound and how much I love his new arc, and, well, just everything about him. That’ll be a post for another day I suppose. But I’m looking forward to more of him in Season 7, and I especially hope he meets up with Arya again someday. Imagine what words they would have for each other. Over chicken.

And so it begins, the final chapters of this epic tale. If the tone, the text and the delivery shown in this episode continues, we are in for an amazing treat. Welcome to the new Game of Thrones, now with more nuance, depth and zombie giants.

I'm including this photo only because I adore it. Because look at them. They are delightful.

I’m including this photo only because I adore it. Because look at them. They are delightful.

Want to be part of our Game of Thrones experience? Follow us on Twitter, where we live tweet the episodes, share hilarious memes and are otherwise giant dorks.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Casting is Amazing for 13th Doctor

13doctor

The new Doctor was announced Sunday morning. It is Jodie Whittaker!

This is an amazing choice. Doctor Who has always been about change and wonder. Change with each regeneration of the Doctor, change with each companion’s story arc, and change to new companions. Wonder about new planets, crazy aliens, and pure exploration.

The change has become less and less pronounced with each regeneration, though. There have always been obvious attitude shifts between the Doctors, but now, after 13 different white British men have played the Doctor, it feels like too much of the same. For a show based on change, that has absolutely frustrated long-time fans like me. For newer fans, imagine that the show you’ve watched since you were young demands that every few years you lose the main character you love, and a completely new one, with some similarities, takes over. Each regeneration (re-casting of the Doctor) is sad, but you see that real change can also bring a real dramatic payoff. The new Doctor can do things the last Doctor couldn’t. Say things the last one couldn’t. Make even crazier plans. You fall in love all over again, and the show surprises you again.

Doctor Who has hit a rough spot in recent seasons. (Search 2017 viewership if you want to know how rough.) The changes between Doctors are less obvious, making the payoff less rewarding. A show that hinges much of its change and wonder on surprising the audience is having trouble making anything seem new anymore. We know these male Doctors too well. They may say and do some things differently, but we know their reactions too well. How they show their ego and hide their feelings. How they order everyone about.

I agree completely with the cheers of representation. It matters that Doctor Who finally has a female Doctor. It may not matter much to people well-represented in their fandoms, but to those who aren’t, it means a lot. It doesn’t just matter to young girls, either, but to people of all ages who have been waiting for this. It matters for two big reasons. One: dreams. Sometimes it doesn’t even occur to you to believe you can be Doctor Who, or a starship captain, or a spaceship mechanic. I mean you don’t KNOW any women who are those things. Then one day you do, and it occurs to you that there is a possibility. The path exists. Not everyone becomes what they dream of, but the dreaming is important to propel you into future success.

The second reason is even bigger, and it gets into not what you think is possible, but what everyone else as a society thinks you could be capable of. It isn’t just dreamers not dreaming big enough that makes it hard for the first person to do the thing no one else of their race, class, gender, sex, etc. has done before. There is always someone who is thinking of trying things. It is hard because everyone else is unconsciously re-asserting that their idea of the world is how the world is. They don’t even know they are doing it. They see how the world is, through their own experience, plus discussions with other people, and from watching media like TV and the internet. They see it, and they reinforce it. That world they are reinforcing usually leaves a lot of people left out. The exact reason that so many people are raging about a woman becoming the center of this show is the very reason we need it.

Now some are claiming it breaks the rules of the show’s universe. Does this change break the rules set up by the show? Nope, another time lord sometimes regenerates to a woman, and the Doctor has previously said that he has never tried to regenerate into a woman. It has also been made clear that the Doctor does not always get what he wants during regeneration, or he’d be ginger by now. Any and all of these details fully support that this follows the rules of the show’s universe. People can act like they are concerned about the integrity of the show, but in fact they are trying to preserve a world where a woman doesn’t become the center of this show. They really needed to see a great actress as the main character long ago, so they’d feel that having a female lead sometimes is just how the show is, and how the world is.

Above and beyond all of that, this is what is right for the show. This show is dependent on change. This regeneration needed to not be another white man. We’ve seen some amazing actors from our male Doctors, and they’ve really covered a lot of different personalities, attitudes and viewpoints. However, a woman, will bring a completely new point of view that will make even the basics of Doctor Who new and different.

More than that, I’m excited for what Jodie Whittaker specifically can bring to the show. Her prior work shows the emotional depth of her range as an actress. As the grieving mother of a murdered child on Broadchurch, she took her character through every emotion in a very honest way. By casting someone with her range, I’m hoping this is a signal from the producers of Doctor Who that the now-typical “the Doctor hides feelings until great crazy sacrifice is needed” isn’t going to be a weekly plot point anymore. We KNOW that deep down you are a big softie, Doctor. You can stop hiding behind your jokes, your rage, and your awkwardness.

Many of the personality changes between Doctors are drastic swings from one type of personality to another as well. We had ten’s exhaustion at the pain of living with regret and self-loathing, followed by eleven’s excited puppy enthusiasm for everything. Now after a Doctor who had issues dealing with and showing his emotions, the new Doctor will be played by an actress who has proven she can portray deep emotions. So I’m hoping that this new Doctor will finally embrace something none of the previous Doctors ever embraced: displaying emotions beyond rage, disappointment, and humor. The Doctors have shown other feelings, but almost always under extreme circumstances. The depth of most of their feelings they’ve hidden behind a facade. I hope this regeneration is to a Doctor that isn’t afraid to show and deal with their emotions. And before anyone starts complaining about how they don’t want an emotional Doctor, shhhh – you already have an emotional Doctor. I’m just asking for a Doctor who is evolved enough to not feel they need to hide everything away. Some things, sure. The Doctor will always be SECRETIVE. However, that’s very different than being emotionally repressed.

Now at this point you may be thinking I’m suggesting I want a Doctor who cries a lot. Or cannot be a calm badass when necessary. I did not say either of those things, but I used the bad words emotions and feelings and your brain probably thinks I mean let’s make the Doctor a weak blubbering mess. If you have the time, possibly you should think through who you know who doesn’t process their feelings well and if they seem heroic to you, and the people that you know who confront their issues and are honest with themselves, and if they don’t seem almost super human. Also, watch Dr. Horrible. He’s a badass anti-hero, and he has plenty of time to examine his flaws, his mistakes, and his desire to rule the world, all while singing.

This is not to suggest that a Time Lord who has witnessed and lived through so much trauma can with one generation be healed and balanced or anything that radical. I still fully expect a slightly damaged and very egotistical Doctor. But the Doctor has been running from his feelings for far too long. It is time she took some time to reflect on herself and truly become all she’s capable of being.

Here’s the thing. I’m sure the Doctor has a million more psychological problems and oddities. Until we get past the most obvious, we won’t get to explore them all, and after all, this show is about wonder and exploration.

Of course, in case being emotionally repressed is a core trait of the Doctor that even the new show runner, Chris Chibnall, is unwilling to give up, I am still excited to see the role played by someone as talented and soulful as Jodie Whittaker. She can handle all of it. But I’m begging you, let’s have a doctor who is allowed to have emotions. Please.

Do Gargoyles Eat Eclairs? An Interview With Amalie Howard

Amalie Howard HeaderAnother Denver Comic Con is in the books, and once again we had the pleasure of sitting down with one of our favorite Colorado authors, the award-winning Amalie Howard. We chatted about all sorts of things, including her new romance series, diversity in YA literature and, well, pastry. Trust me, it all makes sense if you just stay with me! The following interview has been edited lightly for clarity, grammar and continuity. As always, we are grateful to Amalie for taking the time on such a busy convention weekend. We spoke between signings at her booth.

Carolyn: So, how is the new romance series coming along? When does the third book come out?

Amalie: It’s going great! The third book is out on July 25th, in a few weeks. It’s been really fun to write, and of course getting to write steamy sex scenes is great. The third one is called My Hellion, My Heart, which is just great.

My Hellion, My Heart Cover

I’ll be in my bunk.

Carolyn: OMG, it really is! I drool over the new cover art. I don’t read a lot of traditional romance, but when I do, I like to read it in the bathtub with bubbles and a nice glass of wine.

Amalie: Obviously. That’s the best place to read romance.

We go on a full on tangent about custom bathtub caddies that sadly my recorder did not capture. But rest assured, it was epic. The point is, we like to drink fancy wine. While reading. If you don’t do this, you should.

bathtub caddy with wine

Amalie and Carolyn approve this bath setup.

Carolyn: Besides making for great bathtub reading, what’s different about writing romance versus YA, which is your usual wheelhouse?

Amalie: Well, there’s a lot more…freedom in the romance market. YA has a very specific set of expectations, of what they are looking for. Romance is more varied. And of course, again, writing steamy sex scenes is really fun. But YA will always be my home. I love writing for that audience.

At this point, a young woman and her mom stop at Amalie’s booth. Watching Amalie talk with her is just lovely. She’s engaged and funny, talks directly to the girl, asking questions, and giving honest answers. She doesn’t talk down to her, or over her head and encourages this fan to expand her reading horizons without pressuring her. It’s great to see. She signs a copy of The Almost Girl for her and poses for a picture. I am suffering from full on Con Exhaustion at this point and try very hard not to get all weepy about seeing young girls who love reading. Fortunately for me, Amalie makes a hilarious comment about the potentially awkward photo angle and my emotional moment passes.

Carolyn: So, your process for writing the Lords of Essex series is a bit different because you’re working with a writing partner. How does that work, and what were the challenges?

Amalie: When you are collaborating with someone the key is planning and communication. We had a very thorough outlining process. I’m talking long, dense outlines. 15-20 pages single spaced. You have to map out all the story beats because if one of you changes something on your own, everything can break down. It actually changed my process for writing my own stuff, I didn’t use to outline at all, and now I do. Much less complicated, just a couple of pages of bullet points, but yeah, writing with a partner has helped me evolve my own process too.

Carolyn: Your writing partner, Angie, also writes historical work, right? I don’t know anything about her.

Amalie: Oh she’s awesome. She writes about Paris and gargoyles. In the Gothic style. It’s awesome, and also YA. You should check it out.

Carolyn: I wonder if gargoyles eat eclairs.

Amalie: What?

Carolyn: Gargoyles. Do you think they eat eclairs? I mean, Paris has the best eclairs. If I was in Paris, I’d be eating eclairs.

I wonder if there are any eclairs down there?

I wonder if there are any eclairs down there?

Amalie: You ask the best questions.

Carolyn: Important questions. Deep, philosophical questions. Not but seriously, those sound really fun and I’ll definitely have to check them out.

I think about eclairs and the gargoyles who love them for several minutes while Amalie engages with fans and talks to some other Con guests who stop by her table. While not pondering Parisian pastries, I think again about how much I adore this event. I love the accessibility both every day fans and small media outlets like Sisters in Geek have here. the camaraderie of the guests, how they help each other and support each other. I try to remember the name of the author who helped me find Amalie’s table when I was hopelessly turned around and running late. I fail because I’m thinking about eclairs.

Eclairs

These eclairs have fruit on them. They are totally health food!

Carolyn: What’s it like writing both YA and this new historical fiction series at the same time? How do you switch between the two styles? It sounds like such a different mindset.

Amalie: My secret weapon is playlists.

Carolyn: Really? Tell me more! I am obsessed with playlists.

Amalie: Yeah, so I have different playlists for each thing that I might be working on. For the Lords of Essex books it’s all classical, it just gets me in the right head space for the time period and the vibe. When I’m working on the Alpha Goddess series, it’s a lot of trance and then Nine Inch Nails. And then for Almost Girl it’s dubstep.

Carolyn: Wait, Nine Inch Nails? That’s unexpected. I wouldn’t immediately associate NIN with Alpha Goddess.

Amalie: Really? It’s so perfect for me. The energy of it, and of course…

Carolyn: Identity, NIN is all about identity and the discovery of the self, yeah. Absolutely, can’t believe I didn’t think of that! I would love to listen to those playlists, I love playlists. I use them all the time in my D&D campaigns for my characters.

To her everlasting credit, Amalie does not give me a hard time for making this conversation about me and lets me ramble about D&D, the panel we presented this weekend and other nonsense for at least 3 minutes. She also keeps feeding me chocolate.

Carolyn: I’m going to have to message you for those playlists, I’d really like to listen to them.

Amalie: Oh! They’re on my site, you can listen to them anytime you want.

Carolyn: Excellent! That’s awesome. Well, I think I’ve taken up enough of your time. Any last thoughts, upcoming releases or ideas you’d like to end on?

Amalie: Well, My Hellion My Heart is out on July 25th, the next sequel in Alpha Goddess is out next year. Read more books, and remember that healthy sex is important and women need to be able to ask for it! That’s what I learned from writing Regency Romance.

I collapse into helpless giggling.

Carolyn: Well, that’s the perfect way to button up this interview. Thank you as always Amalie!

Carolyn and Amalie

No, but seriously, what do gargoyles eat?

AMALIE HOWARD is the award-winning author of several young adult novels critically acclaimed by Kirkus, Publishers Weekly, VOYA, School Library Journal, and Booklist, including Waterfell, The Almost Girl, and Alpha Goddess, a Spring 2014 Kid’s INDIE NEXT title. Her debut novel, Bloodspell, was a #1 Amazon bestseller, and the sequel, Bloodcraft, was a national IPPY silver medalist and Children’s Moonbeam Award winner. She is also the co-author of My Rogue, My Ruin in the historical romance series, the Lords of Essex. She currently resides in Colorado with her husband and three children. She is very active on social media and we highly recommend following her for shenanigans and adventure.

Denver Comic Con is an education program of Pop Culture Classroom with more than 600 hours of educational programming and 9,000 sq. ft. of convention floor dedicated to the Pop Culture Laboratory, an area designed to engage kids in S.T.E.A.M. (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math) educational activities, and spotlight the PCC program and its students and graduates. Further, it provides educational, youth-based programming and fun activities for our younger attendees and their families, and allows young creators to work directly with professionals from the comic book and animation industries as well as other creative professions.

Pop Culture Classroom Logo

PCC Mission: Pop Culture Classroom ignites a love of learning, increases literacy, celebrates diversity and builds community through the tools of popular culture and the power of self-expression.

PCC Vision: Pop Culture Classroom envisions individuals transformed by the educational power of popular culture who create diverse, inclusive and engaged communities.

PCC Values:

  • Quality service to kids and communities
  • Respect, inclusiveness and diversity
  • Equality of opportunity
  • Alternative approaches to education
  • Recognizing each person’s intrinsic dignity and importance
  • Open communication, responsibility and honesty

For more information about Pop Culture Classroom’s role in the community, please visit http://popcultureclassroom.org/ 

Shannis Reacts: Denver Comic Con 2017 Diary – Day One

 DCC17 Day One Collage

3:52am Whaaaaat? Why am I awake? Roll over, close eyes.

4:18am Obviously it is time to get up. Since it is Friday, and a vacation day, and I don’t need to be up for another two hours.

4:36am My head hurts. Shower should help.

4:52am Hmm. Head still hurts. Caffeine? Maybe? Dress in comfy yoga pants and a long fancy t-shirt I like because it is super soft. Feel like this outfit is closest thing to wearing pajamas in public so I should be pretty comfy.

5:11am Sip diet Coke, stare at computer screen reading things on Facebook and Twitter. Wonder if I have my passes. Remember I don’t have my pass yet. Is why I am meeting Carolyn and Megan for breakfast. For passes.

5:38am Debate: Should I bring my entire wallet, or just tuck my credit card and ID into a little change purse I have?

5:43am Shove entire wallet into bag. Will regret this later.

5:44am Ready. But don’t need to leave till 6:30 or so. How to kill time? Don’t even have passes to check for. Carolyn is bringing passes to breakfast!

5:45am Stare vacantly out window. It looks super cloudy outside. Like Vancouver on a summer morning. Wonder if I could handle ever living in Vancouver again. I mean, if we weren’t poor. Poor people can’t live in Vancouver. Unless they want to live, like, under a bridge or something.

5:56am Still though. Not everyone I know in Vancouver area makes a ton of money. Maybe we could live in Surrey. Or Burnaby. Or Coquitlam. No. Coquitlam kind of blows. Let’s not live there. I know! We could move back to Britannia Beach. Evil Rob would like it there because no one else lives there.

6:04am I swear that Arrow-Flash-Supergirl crossover episode part with the aliens in the weird building was filmed in the old mine building where my dad worked when I was a tiny child. Honestly I can’t believe that thing is still standing. But I guess it’s nice for when film crews need a weird old building with a lot of glass for a scene with aliens.

6:10am Why is it ALWAYS aliens?

6:12am I wonder why they never made a sequel to Close Encounters of the Third Kind? Man, that mom was a terrible mom. It’s almost like she didn’t even care that her kid got kidnapped by aliens. He’s literally running around in the yard at 3 in the morning and she just stands at the window and goes, “Oh hey, come back.” But not very loudly. Weak, bad mom. Very weak.

6:22am The aliens in Close Encounters don’t even seem that creepy or cool anymore. Like, we’ve all seen so many aliens in pop culture by now, the Close Encounters ones are just quaint and practically cuddly.

6:26am Still. A sequel would have been cool. Like the little boy is all grown up and played by Ryan Gosling and something bad happens up in space and the aliens come back to ask for our help but humans are too stupid and cynical and only Ryan Gosling can save the day along with the aliens. And only the really smart people get to leave and go to space with the aliens.

6:30am Making list of people I would take to space with me.

6:32am Oh shit! I gotta go!

6:33am Black Birkenstocks! Proper con footwear!

6:34am CRAP! I forgot my portable charger. Run back to get it.

6:35am And the iPhone cord! This is going poorly.

Gross weather

Is it Vancouver, or is it Littleton?

6:37am Seriously though, why is the weather so dreadful?

6:45am Stop at convenience store for beef jerky and small bottles of Diet Coke. Convenience store clerk tells me my hair looks really great. She is now my all-time favorite morning person.

6:57am Park at Light Rail. Watch commuters rushing to catch train. Judge them for their fashion choices.

6:58am I mean, for real, this one lady is wearing a shirt as a dress. How do I know it’s a shirt? Because I own the same shirt. And trust me when I tell you, it is not a dress.

6:59am I also don’t get these women who carry two purses, a large tote bag, and a giant Dunkin Donuts box. Why not just put all your stuff into an even larger tote bag and just carry that plus the donuts?

7:00am Or just prioritize the donuts. Really.

Tired on train

Tired. So, so tired.

7:01am On train. Damn, I am SO tired. Better take a selfie!

7:18am Commuters are not morning people.

7:19am Except this old dude across the aisle from me who greets each person who sits near him with a quiet, “Good morning.” Guy in seats in front of me turns around to glare each time this transpires.

7:27am Arrive at convention center. Not much of a line yet. Someone is dressed as Pikachu and train commuters all look puzzled. I would explain but is not yet 10am so I can’t speak to other humans. Especially ones I don’t know.

7:35am Meet Carolyn at Sam’s No. 3 Diner. There is apparently a notary public available in this place.

This'll come in handy if we need something notarized.

This’ll come in handy if we need something notarized.

7:45am Our waiter pours coffee before Carolyn even finishes asking.

7:48am Menu seems confusing. Like, a lot of info for it being so early and my head hurting so badly. Carolyn points out something called the High-Maintenance Dairy Free, Gluten Free Breakfast Skillet. SOLD! To the super tired lady with ten million allergies.

8:05am Megan arrives. She is also confused by menu. I feel less alone now.

8:08am FOOD! OMG. This is the best High-Maintenance Dairy Free, Gluten Free Breakfast Skillet EVER.

8:10am Listen vaguely as Carolyn and Megan discuss the panel they are doing later in the day. Carolyn is super nervous. Reassure her that it will all be fine. Promise I will take video of the whole thing.

8:40am Walk back over to convention center. Line is getting longer now. We have to locate the media entrance. Everything is in different place than years past.

8:41am Ugh. Am not a fan of change. And it is SO humid outside. Why. WHY!

8:42am And they still won’t let the Blue Bear in! Why. WHY!

Let him in!

Let him in!

8:45am Line confusion.

8:46 am Volunteer confusion.

8:47am Convention center staff confusion.

8:48am SURPRISE! No one knows where we are really supposed to go.

8:50am Get sent back to Lobby B entrance. Convention center staff lets us in even though is clearly not the right place.

8:57am Carolyn stands in line for badges for her other panelists. Megan heads upstairs. I watch volunteers try to coordinate other volunteers. Lady comes up and says, “I need two of you.” Three nerdy dudes try to follow her. She says, “Just two. You stay here.” They look super sad to be separated. It reminds me of the two super nerdy kids in Just One of the Guys who speak a fake alien language and get upset when they are separated in gym class.

9:15am We head upstairs to show floor. We find Megan fangirling out over Jody Houser, the writer for the Faith comics and the Rogue One comics. Faith is one of Megan’s favorite comics right now so this is a big moment for her. Jody is super nice and has brought her parents along to help her out. Her parents are also super nice. Go figure.

This is Megan's fangirl face.

This is Megan’s fangirl face.

9:25am Drag Megan away to visit with Ben Byrd, one of our favorite artists who always has a booth at Denver Comic Con. He and his wife are just finishing their set up and take some time to talk to us while we squeee over new things – especially his new Wonder Woman piece! I drop $45 on art and it’s not even noon.

Ben Byrd IS a morning person.

Ben Byrd IS a morning person.

9:38am Stop to talk to a lady who crochets tiny dolls of, like, Baby Groot and Cthulhu and stuff. They are super cute.

9:45am Find Meg McMuffins’ booth but she is not there yet so we wander on to find Monkey Minion Press.

9:47am Find Monkey Minion Press and they are home, so we stop to talk and look at things. I find a print of a sloth. And make this face:

IMG_5428

Cute sloth? I have no chill.

9:50am Have now dropped $50 more on art and it’s not even 10am.

10am Carolyn and Megan both have other places they want to be and I want to go over to Celebrity Summit to see if I can pay onsite for the photo Pook and I want to do with the Weasley twins, and then eventually head down to the Bellco Theatre area to line up for a celebrity panel, so we split up.

10:11am Oh my. It is already getting crowded in here. People are doing the thing where they stretch their group all the way across the aisles so no one else can get through. Why. WHY???

10:18am Celebrity Summit on site purchases are cash only and about $10 more expensive for each photo op listed. I will take my chances and do this online tonight at home!

10:19am I see this good-looking dude in an orange volunteer shirt walking right towards me, smiling. Realize is our friend Todd. THE TODD! We hug and make brief chitchat. He has an hour to kill and wants to wander around and look at stuff.  Wandering already sounds like torture and it’s not even noon. I send him to find Megan and Carolyn back in the artist area.

10:25am Heading out of show floor finally. Bump smack into my friends Ashten and Kyre, who are just arriving for the day. They look so happy. I am already exhausted and have only been here for basically an hour. Maybe THIS is why waking up at 4am is bad, BRAIN. I’m just SAYING.

Happy con-goers. I bet they didn't look like this 9 hours later though.

Happy con-goers. I bet they didn’t look like this 9 hours later though.

10:45am Make my way downstairs and to the area where line entrances begin for the two main stage theatres. This area is a total and complete shit show (spoiler: it will remain thus all weekend long).

For some reason, Denver Comic Con was once again unable to book the entire convention center, and once again, another convention is taking place at the same time as comic con. This other convention has booked the entire front end of the convention center, where the usual main entrances and exits are. So DCC has had to move the entry points all the way to the Speer Street side of the convention center, right next to where lining up has to happen for the theatres where the celebrity panels are held. So over here we’ve got an endless stream of crowds coming in through the main doors, and over here we’ve got giant clumps of people trying to figure out where to get in line for the panels. And in the midst of it all we’ve got a bunch of super overwhelmed volunteers trying to manage all of these crowds. I don’t pretend to have any solutions for any of this, other than it worked way better when the main line to enter con was a literal half mile away, on the other end of the building. But there has to BE a solution, or people are going to stop coming to con.

10:50am I find a chair and sit down to regroup for a few minutes. I have scheduled my day using the Denver Comic Con app but I am suddenly feeling overwhelmed and confused and have to look it over to make sure I’m still on track.

10:53am Plus this way I can see all the cosplayers coming in from the main entrance. Bonus!

10:55am Except so far, there is nothing good. I bet all the really good cosplayers have Apparated straight onto the show floor.

11:00am Anyway. Time to locate the media line for the Khary Payton panel!

11:06am That went smoothly, if incorrectly. This year’s media guidelines say we will be lined up “next to the Speed Pass Holders”, but the volunteers back here send us to the ADA line, as in years past. Spoiler: This will cause a great deal of confusion for both volunteers and media members all weekend long.

11:08am Chat with a couple of other media pass holders while waiting, comparing entry experiences from this morning. Watch a super jerky guy with a Speed Pass berate the clearly disabled man guarding the doors for not allowing him to line up with the ADA line. He keeps insisting it is the SAME THING. We all jump in and point him to the actual Speed Pass line. He tries to insist it is for the other theatre. We point out the actual sign saying it’s for this theatre. He finally marches off in a huff. This happens four more times before the doors finally open.

11:30am Garrett Wang comes out to introduce Khary Payton! I’m very excited about this. Khary Payton plays King Ezekiel in The Walking Dead, which makes him third only to Carol and Daryl as my favorite character. ALSO, he is super good looking in real life. ALSO also, he does a ton of voice acting in various Justice League/Teen Titans cartoons.

11:31am Khary Payton is less than ten feet away from me!

Left: Khary Payton. Right: King Ezekiel. Barely any difference.

Left: Khary Payton. Right: King Ezekiel. Barely any difference.

He is hilarious right off the mark. He is asking if there is a dispensary inside the convention center (I mean, it IS Colorado). Then he tells a funny story about the first time he met Mark Hamill in person (because they both had voice parts on the same show) and how he was just staring, awestruck, as Mark Hamill did his line readings, and everyone laughed at him for staring, and then when he was able to introduce himself, all he could manage to say was “I’m Khary Payton,” and Mark Hamill was like, “How nice for you!”

He also talks about doing all his own stunts, because it’s fun. Someone asks who his favorite Walking Dead castmate is, and he won’t outright say a name but it’s totally obvious that it’s Melissa McBride, who plays Carol. He says she’s a great acting coach. And he also talks a bit about Norman Reedus and how greasy his hair is.

At the end of the panel he jumps down off the stage and high fives the whole front row, which includes ME, and he smells really nice, like cinnamon and clove and other spices. I don’t know. This seems weird now. I made it weird. I’m so sorry.

12:25pm Find room for next panel. It’s a small room and filling up fast, and I’m in the back having trouble committing to a location. Finally I decide on an end seat in the second to last row.

12:29pm Super tall dudes sit right in front of me. I move to the very back row.

12:30pm Panel begins but everyone is still talking and shuffling around because moderator is speaking so quietly. Then a video is playing on a screen situated near the front, but volume is down too low and people are still talking. This is so confusing.

12:32pm Apparently the moderator has pre-taped interview segments with the subject of the panel and is showing those instead of asking him questions in person. Even though he is sitting right here.

12:38pm This… is too quiet. I have no idea what is happening.

12:45pm This is not getting better. I have to escape. Except now the room is super quiet because the panel is super quiet and everyone will notice if I leave.

12:46pm But I can’t stay here and miss something else that might be pretty great for something this dull.

12:47pm Person nearby coughs. OMG. That’s IT! I’ll fake a coughing attack and leave!

12:49pm Honestly I’m still kind of patting myself on the back for that acting job.

12:52pm Take seat in front row of panel room right next door. This has to be better!

12:55pm Megan shows up! Yay!

1:00pm Panel begins. Topic: Can Men Write Women and Women Write Men? It’s a comics panel featuring writers Amy Chu (Red Sonja, KISS, Deadpool, Ant-Man, and ten million others), Kyle Higgins (Nightwing, Batman Eternal, Mighty Morphin Power Rangers, and ten million others), Jeremy Whitley (Princeless, Raven: The Pirate Princess, The Unstoppable Wasp), Ian Flynn (chief writer of the Sonic the Hedgehog series for Archie comics), Crystal Skillman (award-winning playwright and screenwriter whose plays include Geek, Cut, King Kirby, and Rain and Zoe Save the World), and Jody Houser (Faith, Rogue One, Mother Panic, and Megan’s new BFF). Pretty stacked with amazing talent.

Right off the bat, the writers let us know that they think the panel title is kind of bullshit and that the question should really be SHOULD men write women and women write men? The general consensus is sure, but only if they’re going to do it well.

1:18pm I am in my own little heaven of hearing working creative people talk about creative work. This is what I love about con. Sometimes I forget.

1:22pm Amy Chu is kind of hilarious, especially when she talks about writing KISS and meeting Gene Simmons.

1:28pm Kyle Higgins has feelings about fans who send him death threats about the direction he took Power Rangers.

1:35pm Much talk of how often comics get the look of women wrong, and how there are artists out there drawing for hugely popular titles who literally draw the same face on every single woman they have to draw. There is gentle mocking of a male artist who gives every woman the same upturned nose. Megan and I giggle because we know exactly who they are talking about. Hint: check out some X-Men titles.

1:50pm Panel ends and Megan and I check schedules to see where we are going next. Here! We are going here! To this room! Yay! Jeremy Whitley is also on the next panel and doesn’t have to leave his seat either. Honestly, I would love that if I were a panelist. I bet there is a lot of running from one end of the convention center to another for panelists.

1:51pm Ugh. Running.

1:52pm I have spread my crap out across three seats, trying to get organized. Megan is eating a Lara Bar.

1:56pm Megan is eating a banana.

1:57pm We live here now.

1:59pm Seriously I have never see anyone consume a banana slower than Megan.

2:00pm Panel begins. Topic: Not Just Angry Supermen: Comics Young Women Can Identify With. The panelists are artist Erica Henderson (Jughead, Unbeatable Squirrel Girl), artist Carolyn Nowak (Lumberjanes), writer Jeremy Whitley (see above), and writer Sam Sykes (comic series Brave Chef Brianna, fantasy series Aeons’ Gate and Bring Down Heaven, son of Diana Gabaldon… but he doesn’t mention this).

2:06pm Megan: still eating a banana.

2:07pm Sam Sykes makes snarky comment about how he, as a 34-year-old white man, has his finger on the pulse of what young women want to read.

2:19pm Then Sam Sykes makes Megan and I a tiny smidge weepy because he says really all that young girls and young women want out of their reading is to feel like they are recognized – like someone sees them. And he is SO RIGHT.

2:20pm So I guess Sam Sykes really does have his finger on the pulse of what young women want to read after all.

2:26pm Carolyn Nowak is one of the all-time best snarky bitches. I wonder if we can bring her home with us.

2:50pm Panel ends. Somewhere along the way Megan has finally finished her banana.

3:00pm I decide to try and figure out where I go to exchange the tickets for Pook’s Saturday and Sunday passes for actual badges.

3:06pm Entire front of convention center is blocked off so it can’t be here.

3:12pm Wandering.

There must be, like, a line I can join. Somewhere.

There must be, like, a line I can join. Somewhere.

3:20pm Still wandering.

3:25pm Have ended up back where we entered in the morning so I go ask volunteer at the Information desk if she knows where I exchange tickets for badges. She babbles at me but the gist is, “Not here.” I attempt to say, “I know it’s not here, I’m asking if you DO know where.” But her blank face is not encouraging.

3:28pm Helpful convention center staffer is able to point me in correct direction and opens a rope so I can bypass going outdoors and coming back inside. Thank you, helpful convention center staffer.

3:30pm It takes two seconds at the Registration booth to exchange my tickets for badges. Now I have an hour to kill until Carolyn and Megan’s panel.

3:33pm Stop at cafeteria and pay $11 for a soda and a bottle of Gatorade.

3:35pm Honestly this corridor outside the hallway of panel rooms looks pretty comfy. I’m going to charge my phone and take photos of cosplayers if I see anything fun.

3:38pm Take to Facebook to whine about lack of fun cosplay today.

3:46pm Megan appears but immediately abandons me to go talk to some people she sees in line for a panel.

3:54pm See epic Silent Hill – Pyramid Head cosplay.

Silent Hill - Pyramid Head

Silent Hill – Pyramid Head

3:55pm Lady THOR! Things are looking up!

THOR!  Man, THOR! is the best.

THOR!
Man, THOR! is the best.

4:09pm And then I see what will be my favorite cosplay of the entire weekend. Check it out.

Is it Yondu? Or is it Mary Poppins? You decide!

Is it Yondu? Or is it Mary Poppins? You decide!

Get it?

I know. A lot of people don’t get it.

Have you seen Guardians of the Galaxy 2 yet? You won’t get it if you haven’t.

It’s Yondu Mary Poppins!

He’s my fave.

4:18pm Follow Megan and Carolyn and their team into panel room. “I’m with the band,” I tell the volunteer guarding the door. He looks confused.

4:22pm Carolyn’s face is turning red. She is very nervous. “What if it’s just a bunch of fanboys and they hate us?” she asks. I mean, we’ve been to con a few times, so this fear is not entirely unfounded. But I think everything will be fine and tell her this.

4:30pm Panel begins! Topic: Natural 20: How RPGs are Changing the World. The panelists are Carolyn, Megan, and Christian and Shayla Gentry, the Dungeon Master duo for their Dungeons & Dragons group. I sit near the front and take video.

4:38pm Room is actually pretty full. Things are going great. They have made an effort to involve the whole room in the discussion and people are responding.

4:50pm Carolyn’s face finally stops being bright red.

4:52pm I realize this is that one panel that I go to every year that’s on a topic that I don’t really know much about or doesn’t even interest me all that much, but I go to learn something new and maybe have some fun outside my comfort zone. And I’m super excited that it’s my two best friends putting on that panel this time! Because how cool is learning something new from people you actually adore?

5:20pm Panel ends. Everyone has survived and the audience seems pretty happy with how it went down. I’m so proud of my friends!

I'm with the band.

I’m with the band.

 

5:25pm People have followed panelists into hallway to continue discussion.

5:38pm Eventually we make our way back to the Bellco Theatre to get seats for the James and Oliver Phelps panel. Because Weasley twins!

5:50pm Megan and I are saving a seat for Carolyn, who went to grab a beer and a water.

5:52pm I see Carolyn coming down the staircase inside the theatre.

5:54pm Carolyn has disappeared.

5:59pm Carolyn reappears and takes her seat. “They said media can’t bring alcohol into the theatre, so I had to go chug my beer real quick.”

6:00pm WEASLEY TWINS! Er… I mean, James and Oliver Phelps, of Harry Potter film fame.

6:01pm Claire Kramer starts taking audience questions almost straightaway. James and Oliver are both so funny, and play off one another in a fun brotherly way.

Weasley twins! Gred and Forge! OMGSQUEEE!

Weasley twins! Gred and Forge! OMGSQUEEE!

Some highlights:

Someone asks if they ever switched roles on set and Oliver says he tried to play Hagrid once.

James’ favorite movie to film was Goblet of Fire.

(I get distracted here and have one of those fan moments where I realize I am in a room with real Harry Potter people and I don’t hear what Oliver says in response to this same question.)

Oliver tells story of everyone leaving for lunch after filming Fred’s death scene and leaving James strapped to the stretcher.

Kids ask the best questions. “How old are you?” James: “He’s 31 but I won’t tell you how old I am.”

James says he’s a space nerd and collects guitars.

Oliver geeks out over sports.

Someone always asks the famous guests to pick cast member favorites! James is like, “All of them.” Except naming names. And also says “Dame Julie Walters.” And tells a nice story about Michael Gambon helping him prepare for another role.

Everyone wants to hear about behind the scenes pranks!! And James says they can’t tell about their favorite because the person still doesn’t know.

“What was it like doing Quidditch?” Oliver: “It was long, and it was painful for a boy.”

“Did you take the Pottermore Sorting and if so which houses did you get?” Oliver: Gryffindor. James: Hufflepuff.

“What is your favorite memory of Alan Rickman?” James says the scene where he whacked Ron on the head in Goblet of Fire. This is also mine. Twins!!

Someone asks if there is scene from the books that they are disappointed didn’t make it into the films. Oliver says it was disappointing that Peeves wasn’t in the movies so they could say “Give her hell for us, Peeves!” when they left Hogwarts.

Oliver’s favorite book is Goblet of Fire. James’ is Prisoner of Azkaban. Because of how it smelled the first time he opened it. OMG. SAME!

6:50pm The panel ends and the whole audience makes that disappointed “Aww, man” sound, but then stands to cheer. I would be sadder, but they are appearing again on Sunday and doing photo ops.

6:55pm Besides, I am dead tired now and ready to head home. I trudge up the stairs of the theatre behind the crowd, wondering how I will manage to walk all the way back to the Light Rail stop.

7:14pm Somehow I have managed and a train is supposed to arrive in two minutes!

7:15pm Some people next to me spot a kid in Ravenclaw robes on the other side of the train platform and start shouting “Ravenclaw pride!” A bunch of other people join in. It is moments like this that are some of the best parts of con.

7:40pm Aaaaand there is a parking ticket on my car because I accidentally parked in a reserved row. Oops. But they let me off with a warning! Yay!

8:02pm Drive past Chinese restaurant where I was planning to stop for takeout and go straight home to call for delivery. Because I am too tired to get in and out of the car twice.

9:13pm Crash.

Stay tuned for Day Two, in which I take two teenagers to con! Will they be cranky? Will Megan slowly consume another banana? Will I spend more money on art?

 

Pop Culture Classroom Logo

Denver Comic Con is an education program of Pop Culture Classroom with more than 600 hours of educational programming and 9,000 sq. ft. of convention floor dedicated to the Pop Culture Laboratory, an area designed to engage kids in S.T.E.A.M. (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math) educational activities, and spotlight the PCC program and its students and graduates. Further, it provides educational, youth-based programming and fun activities for our younger attendees and their families, and allows young creators to work directly with professionals from the comic book and animation industries as well as other creative professions.

PCC Mission: Pop Culture Classroom ignites a love of learning, increases literacy, celebrates diversity and builds community through the tools of popular culture and the power of self-expression.

PCC Vision: Pop Culture Classroom envisions individuals transformed by the educational power of popular culture who create diverse, inclusive and engaged communities.

PCC Values:

  • Quality service to kids and communities
  • Respect, inclusiveness and diversity
  • Equality of opportunity
  • Alternative approaches to education
  • Recognizing each person’s intrinsic dignity and importance
  • Open communication, responsibility and honesty

For more information about Pop Culture Classroom’s role in the community, please visit http://popcultureclassroom.org/ 

DCC Last Minute SQUEEEEEEing

TWAS THE NIGHT BEFORE DENVER COMIC CON AND AND ALL THROUGH THE HOUSE… SQUEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!!!!!

Alright, I don’t have time for a fancy organized post. So here are some random last minute con prep thoughts!

1. You, fellow nerd-person, are formally invited to attend our Denver Comic Con panel Natural 20: How RPGs are Changing the World on Friday 6/30 (TOMORROW! OMG!) at 4:30PM in room 607. It’ll be D&D story time, and we’d love for you to come and tell your own D&D stories on the positive theme of how D&D helps us all with team building and making friends and joy and story telling and snacks. If you haven’t played pen and paper RPGs, come anyway! We are fun people.

We’ll also be giving out a few things because why not? Critters, we love you. Please come and say hi! OMG can you believe that last episode? EEEK!

2. Jody Houser is coming. JODY HOUSER IS COMING TO DCC! 

She’ll be in Artist Alley at booth O-01. Faith, guys. Not Buffy Faith, but flying super sarcastic superhero faith. If you aren’t reading it you should be. It just won some fancy award. It is hilarious. FAITH! JODY HOUSER!

DCC17_JODY-HOUSER (1)jody houser

3. Carolyn Nowak is also going to be there. LUMBERJANES! It is such an oddly cute and deep comic. Plus they DCC17_CAROLYN-NOWAKhad a crossover with my other favorite cute and deep comic Gotham Academy! So much love. She has some really great comics up on her webpage too. One is about almost astronauts and evil bitches next door. I just started it and want to read it instead of typing this sentence. You can find her in Artist Valley Table N-26! Or at these panels: Creating your own Independent Comics Friday at 12PM 8bit Stage @ Kids’ Lab, Not Just Angry Superman – Comics Young Women Can Identify With Friday at 2PM Room 503, Boom! and Kaboom! Saturday at 1PM room 503 (also includes Sam Sykes, Jim Campbell, and Ian McGinty), Comics Writing Careers for Young Women Saturday at 4PM 8bit Stage @ Kids’ Lab.

 

DCC17_GEORGESJEANTY

 

4.   Georges Jeanty (artist for Buffy Season 8, 9, Firefly comics) is back this year for the 20th Anniversary of Buffy! He’ll be at Artist Valley, Table A-02. He has the party table. Last year there was music, and people were just hanging out talking nerdy stuff. It is a very entertaining place where you can feel free to discuss if that big thing that almost ate fake-buffy at the beginning of season 8 is a dragon or not. He’ll also be on these panels: Diversity in Comics I – Are Things Really Changing? Friday at 1PM DCCP6 Coast City Room, Buffy Comics 20th Anniversary Creator Celebration Sunday at 1:30PM Room 501.

 

5. Snacks and non-alcoholic beverages are allowed at Comic Con. Since it may reach temps that put wookiees in danger, you should think about bringing some. Snack bars! Dried fruit! Undried fruit! Trail mix! Put some snacks and water in your bag right now before you forget!

6. Oh wait, that was it. I’m going to go back to reading this comic about the bitches next door to almost astronauts. It is pretty vital for my con prep right now. HAVE FUN THIS WEEKEND, CON PEOPLE!

DCC 2017 Preview: Authors!

Comic Cons are always a series of difficult nerd choices. Who do I meet? Which panels do I go to? What do I do when I’m not buying more art than I have wall space for. (I’m considering putting art on my ceiling now.) I’ve been studying the Denver Comic Con guest list and panel schedules. Here are the authors I plan to attend at least one panel for. They’ve written some pretty amazing things, and if we all sit very quietly in a room as they talk, maybe we’ll hear something incredible, funny, true, and/or insightful.

(Updated, sadly, to remove Bonnie Burton. She had a last minute emergency and can’t make Denver Comic Con this year.)

Catherynne M. Valente is a New York Times Best Selling and award winning fantasy and scifi author. She’s written a lot of things,DCC17_CATHERYNNE-M-VALENTE-New but my favorite so far is The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making which starts out wonderfully: “Once upon a time, a girl named September grew very tired indeed of her parents’ house, where she washed the same pink-and-yellow teacups and matching gravy boats every day, slept on the same embroidered pillow, and played with the same small and amiable dog. Because she had been born in May, and because she had a mole on her left cheek, and because her feet were very large and ungainly, the Green Wind took pity on her and flew to her window one evening just after her twelfth birthday.”

Catherynne M. Valente’s DCC Schedule:

Mistakes Were Made (Friday 6/30 2:30PM Room 402),               The Writing Process of Best Sellers (Saturday 7/1 12PM Room 407), Millennials Rising -YA Literature Today (Saturday 7/1 3:30PM Room 402), Start Short, Get Good (Saturday 7/1 5PM Room 407), Is This a Kissing Book? (Sunday 7/2 10:30AM Room  402), The Best Writing Advice I Was Ever Given (Sunday 7/2 3PM Room 407).

She also has signings on Friday 6/30 (11AM-1pm Author Signing Booth 2), Saturday 7/1 (1:30-2:30pm Tattered Cover Signing Booth), Sunday 7/2 (12-2PM Author Signing Booth 1).

 

DCC17_CHARLIE-JANE-ANDERS

Charlie Jane Anders is the author of All the Birds in the Sky, which won a Nebula award. She’s also co-founder of i09, and has published a lot of short stories. All the Birds in the Sky is pretty hilarious, but a heart breaking kind of hilarious that most of us nerds understand. Based on her writing she may also know how to program spells. I’m going to all her panels just in case.

Charlie Jane Anders DCC Schedule:

Steampunk vs. Cyberpunk (Friday 6/30 12PM Room 407), Avadakedavra! Magic in Literature (Friday 6/30 1PM Room 407), Fight the Power! Fiction for Political Change (Friday 6/30 4:30PM Room 402), I Wish Someone Had Told Me (Saturday 7/1 4PM DCCP4 Keystone City Room), Representing Gender Non-Conforming People in Fiction (Sunday 7/2 11:30AM Room 402), Writing Strong Women in Fantasy and Scifi (Sunday 7/2 1PM 8bit Stage @ Kids’ Lab).

She also has signings on Saturday from 11AM-1PM at Author Signing Booth 3 and Sunday from 4PM-6PM at Author Signing Booth 3.

 

DCC17_CORY-DOCTOROW

Cory Doctorow is the award winning scifi author of Little Brother and Homeland. Books that delve into protecting our privacy and personal freedoms against a surveillance state. He’s also a co-editor of Boing Boing, a journalist, an activist, and has a mention in Ready Player One by Ernest Cline as a geezer who “had been doing a kick-ass job of protecting user rights for over a decade.”

Cory Doctorow’s DCC Schedule:

The Future is Here (Friday 6/30 1:30PM Room 402), Fight the Power! Fiction for Political Change (Friday 6/30 4:30PM Room 402), The Writing Process of Best Sellers (Saturday 7/1 12PM Room 407), Creating the Anti-Hero (Saturday 7/1 1:30PM  Room 402), Millennials Rising -YA Literature Today (Saturday 7/1 3:30PM Room 402), Economics, Value and Motivating Your Character (Sunday 7/2 11AM Room 407), Urban Science Fiction (Sunday 7/2 3PM DCCP4 Keystone City Room)

He also has signings on Friday 6/30 from 2:30-4:30PM at the Tattered Cover Signing Booth, on Saturday 7/1 from 4:30-6:30PM at the Tattered Cover Signing Booth, and on Sunday 7/2 from 12:30-2:30PM at the Tattered Cover Signing Booth.

 

DCC17_DIANA-GABALDON

Diana Gabaldon is the best selling, award winning author of The Outlander series that is now a TV series on Starz. There time travel. There is action, doctoring of gross wounds caused by the action, and sexy times with kilts. What more do you need?

Diana Gabaldon DCC Schedule:

Young Women – Write Yourself a Novel Career! (Friday 6/30 1pm 8bit Stage @Kids’ Lab), Mistakes Were Made (Friday 6/30 2:30PM Room 402), Outlander – with Diana Gabaldon & Andrew Gower (Saturday 7/1 11:30AM Night Lynx Stage @ Main Events), From Page to Screen (Saturday 7/1 1PM Room 407), The Art of the Complex Villian (Saturday 7/1 4pm Room 407), Is This a Kissing Book? (Sunday 7/2 10:30AM Room 402).

She also has signings on Friday 6/30 from 11AM-12:50PM at Random House / Del Rey Signing Booth, on Saturday 7/1 2pm-3:50PM at The Tattered Cover Signing Booth 2, and on Sunday 7/2 12-2pm at The Tattered Cover Signing Booth 2.

 

DCC17_FELICIADAYFelicia Day is an actress, creator, and writer of the web series of The Guild, and author of You’re Never Weird on the Internet (almost). She’s also a co-host/creator of the web series Vaginal Fantasy Book Club.

Felicia Day’s DCC Schedule:

Felicia Day (Saturday 7/1 4:30PM Night Lynx Stage @ Main Events)

She also has photo ops on Saturday 7/1 from 12-12:30PM and Sunday 7/2 from 12:30-1PM at the Celebrity Summit that require tickets.

 

DCC17_JOHN-SCALZI

John Scalzi is the author of many fun Scifi books with some serious bits. He likes to pull you in with silliness and sarcasm then break everything and get serious. He’s known for his series Old Man’s War and Hugo award winning Red Shirts. He’s also hilarious on twitter and his blog.

John Scalzi’s DCC Schedule:

Laughter in the Face of Disaster (Friday 6/30 11AM Room 407), Military Scifi an Institution (Friday 6/30 3PM DCCP4 – Keystone City Room), Fight the Power! Fiction for Political Change (Friday 6/30 4:30PM Room 402), The Writing Process of Best Sellers (Saturday 7/1 12PM Room 407), The Hardness Scale – Is Fiction Better Squishy or Solid? (Saturday 7/1 3PM Room 407), Economics, Value and Motivating Your Character (Sunday 7/2 11AM Room 407).

He also has signings on Friday 6/30 from 1PM-2:50PM at Tattered Cover Signing Booth 2, and on Saturday 7/1 from  10:30AM-12:30PM at the Tattered Cover Signing Booth, and on Sunday 7/2 from 2PM-4PM at Tattered Cover Signing Booth 2.

 

DCC17_KOWAL

Mary Robinette Kowal is an award winning author of the Glamourist History Series, which is like Jane Austen with cool magic. She’s also an award winning puppeteer, and has cool picks of dragon puppets and weirdo creepy hearts on her webpage.

Mary Robinette Kowal’s DCC Schedule:

Kicking Butts in Corsets (Friday 6/30 2PM Room 407), The Past is Here – Writing Romantic Fiction with an Historical Backdrop (Friday 6/30 5:30PM Room 402), Let the Wookiee Win! It’s Okay to an Uplifting Story (Saturday 7/1 11AM DCCP4 Keystone City Room), I Wish Someone Had Told Me (Saturday 7/1 4PM DCCP4 Keystone City Room), Is This a Kissing Book? (Sunday 7/2 10:30AM Room 402).

She also has signings on Friday 6/30 from 10:30AM-12:30PM at Author Signing Booth 2, and on Sunday 7/2 from 2:30PM-4:30PM at Author Signing Booth 2.

 

DCC17_ROBINHOBB_2

Robin Hobb is an award winning, best selling fantasy author known for her Farseer Trilogy. From her writing, I assume that she possesses all the writing secrets in the world. I’m so glad she’s coming to Denver Comic Con. I can’t wait to hear her talk.

Robin Hobb’s DCC Schedule:

Avadakedavra! Magic in Literature (Friday 6/30 1PM Room 407), Mistakes Were Made (Friday 6/30 2:30PM Room 402), Creating the Anti-Hero (Saturday 7/1 1:30PM  Room 402), The Art of the Complex Villian (Saturday 7/1 4pm Room 407), But is it Epic Enough? (Sunday 7/2 11AM DCCP4 Keystone City Room), The Best Writing Advice I Was Ever Given (Sunday 7/2 3PM Room 407).

She also has signings on Friday 6/30 from 4-5PM at the Random House / Del Rey Signing Booth, on Saturday 7/1 from 11AM-1PM at the Tattered Cover Signing Booth 2 and 2:30-3:30PM at the Random House / Del Rey Signing Booth, and on Sunday 7/2 from 4-6PM at the Tattered Cover Signing Booth 2.

Finally, some of our favorite authors from previous years are returning to Denver Comic Con to impart more of their writing wisdom, including: Amalie Howard, Kristi Helvig, Sherry Ficklin (Booth D12 and D14), Corinne O’Flynn, and Sue Duff. Also, Callie Bates has her debut book The Waking Lands due out tomorrow! Possibly not enough time to read it before DCC, but it has some great early reviews so it might be worth catching some of her panels too!

Download the new 2017 Denver Comic Con app to view the full schedule and add these and other panels to your schedule!

Ermergerd It’s Almost Time for Denver Comic Con

DCC is only a few days away, and we can barely contain our excitement here at SiG headquarters. I want to see everyone and everything and talk to everyone and buy all the art, but I am an adult gods damn it, and I know there are limits in life. Of time, of energy and of money. I’ve got to prioritize. So, I made a list. 

Top Ten Things I am the Super Most Ever Ever Excited About for Denver Comic Con. 

1. Clare Kramer moderating on the main stage again. Clare is a genius host and really elevates the main panels at DCC to the highest levels. She’s witty, open, gracious and generous. She gets great stories and epic laughs. I hope she is having as much fun as she is giving the audience. This year, I am specifically excited for the Buffy Villains Reunion and the Art of the Voice panel.

2. Felicia Day. Felicia is one of my heroes, and the absolute hands down number one reason I am brave enough to have started this site with my friends, among many other things. Her honesty is refreshing, her comedic timing is absurd and her talent blows me away. I can’t wait to hear her speak. It’s gonna be amazing.

3. Art. Artists. So much creative goodness. I’ve already covered the many returning guests we can’t wait to see, but the best part is discovering new artists!

4. The cosplay. DCC is stepping up their game this year with a ton of focus on cosplay. Panels, special photo ops and more await this year’s talented cosplayers!

5. Meeting the #critters. Despite the lack of Critical Role cast members attending, I believe that the critters will be out in force! Look for me in my MegMcMuffins original Life Needs Things to Live shirt and let’s hang out and spread some Team Hooman love. #lessthanthree

6. Nathan Fillion’s solo panel. He is hilarious, he is generous and it seems to me he always brings his A game to Con panels. I hope to hear about what’s next for our favorite captain! 

7. I AM BREWT! Theme beers are fun, Groot is adorable and after a long day of talking, walking and squeeing, a girl needs an ice cold beverage. 

8. Meeting…well….everyone. We have made some great connections at DCC over the years. Being amongst your fellow nerds, while exhausting, is also incredibly fulfilling. The geek community is amazing, and this weekend I am super excited to make more new friends.

9. Hovering somewhere between excited and terrified about #9. This year, we are hosting our first panel at DCC! I will be talking about tabletop RPGs and how they are making the world a better place! We hope to see you there! Even if you’re not a D&D player, just stand in the back and give a thumbs up, would you? I need the moral support. 

10. Just being with my fellow Sisters in Geek and seeing their face splitting grins. The memories are worth every aching joint.

What are you most excited for at Denver Comic Con? See you there! Follow us on FacebookTwitter and Instagram all weekend for live panel coverage, photos and more!