It is hard to believe that in a short 3 weeks, the epic book series, The Wheel of Time, will come to an end. Now the book will say that there are neither beginnings or endings to the turning of the Great Wheel, but for those that started reading The Eye of the World in 1989, this has been an ending 24 years in the making. For me, I started the series when Book 8 had just been released, so it has only been a 15 year journey for me. To celebrate, I have decided to update my Rand Al’Thor article with my most recent Rand costumes. Yes, that word is plural.

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I decided to first dress as Rand for Halloween back in 2003. That costume, Young Rand, was rather plain and simple. I didn’t have access to an amazing seamstress at the time, so I had to make do with what I could purchase. I did find some cool accessories though: the Seanchan spear, the dragon belt buckle, and of course the licensed Heron Mark blade. I dyed my hair for the first time in my life, and then my favorite part, drawing the dragons up both my arms with metallic body paint.

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Every time I dressed up as Rand again, I always worked on making the tattoos flashier and better. For Dragon*Con one year, fellow artist Sarah Frary helped me apply the tattoos all the way up my arm.

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My obsession with dressing as Rand happened thanks to a gentleman at Dragon*Con. A young man was walking through the Art Show dressed as an Aiel. When I applauded his excellent costume, he bowed low, and said,”Thank you, Car’a’carn.” And then proceeded to tell me that my Rand costume was so inspiring, that when he read the books, he pictured me as he read about Rand. And well, I saw that as a sign.

When Laura joined us as our in-house seamstress, I decided that it was time to make the red coat that Rand wears on the cover of Crown of Swords. The main benefit of this particular costume? The torn sleeve allowed me to show off the entire tattoo up the one arm, which are normally covered down to the wrist. The problem with this coat? In order to make a burned and tattered coat, you must start with a pristine jacket. And once it was complete, adorned with gold embroidery, I couldn’t bear to shred the coat. So I decided to cosplay as Rand from book 5, Fires of Heaven.

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After wearing this costume for a year, it was time to make the Crown of Swords coat. My original plan was to enjoy the beautiful coat for one year, and then destroy it. But even after a year, I couldn’t bear to do it. So Laura made a second coat. I applied embroidery to it yet again. And then I proceeded to sand it with sand paper, shred it with a wire brush, roll around in the dirt, cut it with a knife, and even burn it with a blow torch. Oh, and spray paint dirt and burns over it. The result, Rand after his epic struggle in Shadar Logoth with Sammael.

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Most of these photos were part of a shoot that my friend Cliff put together with Dim Horizon Studio. Those guys, Matt and Nicole, were responsible for the amazing photos of the equally amazing costumes based on Bioshock’s Big Daddy and Little Sister. Just awesome. Missy and I drove down to Atlanta to be a part of this opportunity. In the end, we had 2 Mat Cauthons, a Perrin Aybara, an Aiel Maiden of the Spear, and myself as Rand Al’Thor. We were featured on Dragonmount back in May, and even made the frontpage of TOR books blog. Thank you, Matt and Nicole for all the wonderful photos!

I plan on returning this spring to do another session with them, for my Trolloc costume, which won first place in the Dragon*Con Wheel of Time track costume contest. The highlight of the night, Brandon Sanderson asked me to cut off his head with my 4 foot battle axe. Mwahaha!

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Here are some more photos from the shoot. Enjoy!

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Peaceful and serene.

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Why so serious?

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John and Cliff, as Perrin and Matrim, looking awesome.

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Off in the distance.

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Escape across the river.

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Let the battle commence.

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What a great location.

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Lost in thought.

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Thanks so much. And hope to see you at JordanCon V 2013!

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