Member Spotlight: Azi al'Thone

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Author: Jeffan Caliarthan
1 February 2012

As with every Member Spotlight, we want to know about what made someone join the Tower, and beyond that, how they found it in the first place. Azi says that he "first heard about TarValon.Net from the naming rights charity auction back in... ‘09? I had joined the site after my triumph, but didn’t go much farther than a few posts." He then tells us that at JordanCon II in 2010, he and Laura "didn't know anyone, except that Marty & Randah had offered to have dinner with us on the JordanCon forums. So I’m sitting at the bar waiting for Laura and this woman walks up and starts asking me how I was enjoying myself etc. etc. She says “my name’s Melissa I am Amyrlin of TarValon.Net” and I go “oh, hey, I know you, we exchanged emails about that auction thing!” So we ended up chatting and having some beers with her and Padra, and talking it up in general." Well, if that's not a fantastic introduction to the Amyrlin of TarValon.Net, then I don't know what is.

Azi has been a fan of the Wheel of Time series for going on a decade. His introduction to the series is pretty interesting in itself! "My mother and brother had gone to a yard sale and picked up a two giant boxes of books. We were required to read something every day at school, so for some reason I picked up The Eye of the World. I remember thinking the prologue was really confusing and boring, but I powered through it and I’m glad. Those boxes had the first 9 books in it, and after I had read a few I went and bought Crossroads of Twilight. Nowadays Dragonmount is one of my favourite chapters."

If you didn't already know (which would be quite a shock, seeing as he likes to tell absolutely everyone about it), Azi al'Thone is the name of a character from the Two Rivers, first introduced in Towers of Midnight. As mentioned, Azi won the naming rights auction back in 2009 and that's where his Tower name came from. To quote him on his reaction, "I can’t swear, right? So let’s just say my reaction was #@^#(*#$^&@!!!! *squeal like a little fanboy* I was on a high for a good couple weeks. At the time the only community I was involved in was the Dragonmount mailgroup on Yahoo! Groups, and I bragged quite thoroughly. It might be a bit smug of me, but I was glad that someone with as much fan devotion as myself won :D"

Azi's mentor is none other than the fabulous D'Ran (Mike) of Mahdi'in d'ma Dieb. They have a special connection that very few others have. They call it a "Rad Bromance" - and that's pretty much what it is. When I asked Azi about his relationship with D'Ran, he had very little to say on the subject: "I am a gentleman, and a gentleman never tells. Mikey and I clawed and hissed at each other for the first while when I joined, but he deemed me amusing enough (I suppose) that we got along smashingly from there."

D'Ran has something similar to say on the subject. "When I first met him he was the most annoying f*ck. But thank god that changed. Anyway, Anthony became one of my favorite people really quickly, and when he came up for Recruit, I needed him. So I took him." D'Ran would also like to mention that "the first time I met Anthony, I managed to sleep with him and his fiance all night long." Oh, Mikey.

As everyone who has ever met Azi knows, he's a rather popular guy. He's just one of those people that you absoultely adore right after meeting him. He just has that personality, that supreme awesomeness that makes you want to be his friend. Alright, I'll admit, he paid me to say that! But I asked him what it was that made him choose SDS as his home at the Tower. "DS to me was were I felt most myself. When it comes down to it, the laid back attitude was really me on the outside, and how I live most of my life, but the solid honour and values of our company are really what made me want to be a bear." He also mentions that he dislikes drama and bullsh*t in any form, and that's something that the rest of the guys in SDS share.

Another thing that you absolutely should already know about Azi sis that he's currently engaged to a Miss Lauraine Berryn of the Green Ajah. I decided to delve a bit into their relationship, asking her how they first met. As a warning, this is incredibly sappy! "I met Anthony when we were 15 years old. He had ended up on my msn (he was friends with some of my friends) and we started chatting that way. We had been talking on msn regularly for about a month or so before we began talking on the phone and finally meeting in person. We met up at the theaters in the town we grew up in- I found him playing in the arcade (typical!). We hit it off really well- I still don't really remember a thing that happened in that movie- and we got yelled at for talking too much by a bald man sitting in front of us!

I was attracted to the same traits then that make up a dominant part of his personality today- being genuinely loving and kind, but most of all he's fun with a great sense of humour." Say it with me now: "Awwwwwwww." Who knew that Azi was so cute?!

Normally, when a Tower member's significant other joins the site, there's a fair bit of bullying involved, or at least a few very strong suggestions. However, this doesn't seem to be the case with Laura! "Anthony had a been a member since April of 2010. He was becoming more and more active within the site, and some of our friends we had met at Jordan Con were also members within the site. He didnt convince me to join at all, actually, I surprised him by joining. I didnt tell him I had joined, either, just sent him a private message to his Tar Valon inbox. No bullying was necessary to make me stay as a member of the community - meeting people at RL events was what kept me coming back to the website."

Having only been to two official events, I asked him about his time at local events in Michigan and Ohio that he's attended. He says that "those are where the best memories have been made. My very first event ever (and only a citizen) was a blast. Somewhere between Lireina & I starting the trend of fistbumping that has spread throughout the Tower, the epic five-way fistbump, and a group singing of Bohemian Rhapsody, I knew... these were my peeps. That continued into a year and a half of white-boy dance offs, balefire toasting, ass grabbing, and man loving. I can honestly say that I’ve met some of my greatest friends and that’s the fondest memory of all. Oh, and witnessing the effects of too much balefire."

Lireina is one of Azi's closest friends at the Tower, and he suggested that I get in contact with her to find out more about him. I asked her about her favorite Tower-related memory of hers relating to Azi, and she had this to say: "He and Lauraine had been over visiting just before 10th Anni, and when they went back home, he accidentally left his Tai'shar Manetheren hoodie at my house. I decided that since they couldn't come to Anni, Hoodie was going to make the trip and hang out with all the cool people! He got pictures with Harriet, Brandon and Maria, and was spotted several times along the journey before going home to Canadia."

So, there you have it. The life of Azi al'Thone in article form. I hope you enjoyed learning more about him, because I sure did!