Member Spotlight: Lireina Dormerus t'al`Bearach
Author: Taelinn Dolivras, May 2013
For this month's Membership Spotlight, I had the pleasure of interviewing our Keeper-In-Training, Lireina Dormerus t'al`Bearach of the Green Ajah. Perhaps, like me, you had only crossed paths with her briefly until now, but after reading this interview, I hope that you too will have a better understanding of the amazing woman who will soon step into Leora Oldessroth's shoes (or stole, whichever you prefer!)
When I asked her to tell me a bit about herself, she was only too happy to oblige, both about her real life and about her online self. She is 33 years old and married Jaim al'Bearach, who is Dai M'Hael as well as a member of the Board of Directors. She has four children, with the youngest two being twins that she and Jaim welcomed on Jaim’s birthday last year. "By day," she told me, "I’m a Desktop/Network Administrator with Domino’s Pizza, and have been there for just over four years. I love music (most kinds), dancing, reading, gaming, and being out in the sunshine with my kids." Her online life is just as interesting. She has been a member of TarValon.net for almost eight and a half years, and a Green sister for nearly eight years. "I currently have two Warders, Doneavan and Azi, who are both SDS, although my first two Warders were both DM. (I guess I have a thing for pairs…)" she confided in me. As for other relationships on the site, aside from her husband and her Warders, Lireina has a First Sister, Melisande, the current Head of Ajah for Green. "We’ve been sisters FOREVER, even if we only found each other a few years ago." I think many of us feel the same way about our own First Siblings!
Moving onward, I asked her how she first found out about The Wheel of Time. "It was right after [Knife of Dreams] had been released," she told me. "The local Borders store had a center shelf with all of the current books out for folks to peruse, and my husband (at the time) decided I needed more reading material and got me the first 5 books. It wasn’t long before I’d finished those and was back buying the rest." Though she admitted to not having given it much thought, she would pick Winter's Heart as her favorite book from the series. "It’s a funny one to pick," she acknowledged, "because the only reason it stands out in my head is because it’s when Elayne and Aviendha become first sisters, and that entire scene just resonates with me and how I feel about my own first-sister." Her response about her favorite character was another controversial choice. "I like Cadsuane because of her very dry sense of humor and, despite all of her rough edges, is truly trying to do the right thing to help Rand, even if at times she’s a bit high-handed about it. She’s no-nonsense and to the point, and I can appreciate that." Her favorite nation is Ebou Dar (something we have in common), since "the whole 'lean back on your knife' mentality appeals to me, and really, although she’s not my all-time favorite, Tylin was someone whose personality I could appreciate- both in her ‘handling’ of Mat and the way she so delicately walked the line of what she wanted to do and what she had to do in order to protect her country."
I then asked Lireina how she feels now that the final book in the Wheel of Time series has been released, and her response will ring true for many of the members of TarValon.net. "There’s a lot of conflicting feelings," she confessed. "On one side, it’s kind of nice to not be waiting and waiting for the next book to find out where the story’s going, and it’s nice to see how the Last Battle played out and how some of the visions Min had had along the way played out. However, losing some of my favorite characters along the way was definitely sad, although I absolutely understand the reasons why things happened the way they did. And there’s that little bit of 'Wait, what about this? And what happens to those people? And how could he leave that storyline just hanging like that?!' that is totally intentional and frustrating and amusing all at the same time."
From the Wheel of Time series, our conversation turned to TarValon.net itself. I inquired as to how she found the site, and she told me that she had been looking for information about when Knife of Dreams would be released in paperback and ended up on TarValon.net. "After perusing a couple of the forums and threads that I could see without actually having joined up, I decided it looked like a fun way to meet people that shared some common interests. I stuck around because I found my family here," she explained. I then asked about her Tower name, and her reply was very clear. "There’s no real method to it- I've read so many fantasy books that I just kind of let my mind wander and pull syllables together until I like the flow of them. My original name, Lireina Dormerus, just seemed to fit in a way I couldn't really explain, though I think at the time the last name was partially a reference to the World of Dreams with the 'Dormer' lead in. So, no magic, no special meaning, no 'It’s just like my real name, except I added a letter or three' - it just came to me and I ran with it."
I continued by asking a question that many of our Novices and Accepted may be interested in as they make their way through the Tower. When asked how she knew she was Green, Lireina referred to the book Greens as her starting point. "[They] always appealed to me in a very 'Live life today, because who knows what tomorrow will bring?' sort of way, especially at a time where I was very unsure of myself and in need of personal direction," she revealed. "The more I thought about it, the more I realized that what they stood for is what I felt I stood for, and it appealed in ways that my other ‘stripes’ didn't quite. It didn't take me long after meeting my fellow site Greens to realize that Green was going to be my home."
When I inquired about her favorite thing about TarValon.net, her response touched me deeply: "The way our community pulls together, in good times and bad both. In my time here, I’ve seen so many things happen to us from one end of the spectrum to the other, and we always find a way to band together and keep things whole. With so much of the world just an absolute train wreck at times, it’s nice to have someplace that restores my faith in humanity a bit." It's something that makes us special, and I know I am not alone in saying that it's what gives me a warm fuzzy feeling when I come online.
In our last Members' Choice Awards, Lireina won an impressive two awards. When I asked her how that felt, she told me, "It’s pretty amazing- Jaim and I have been married for just over 6 years now and actually met on the site, so it was a sweet sort of thing to have folks recognize us just for being us. The Bonded Couple award is kind of funny, and I huffed about it a little in both Green and SDS because I actually have two Warders, and the other has been super busy with school and not as active as Azi. It just felt kind of incomplete because the three of us get along really well together and I don’t feel that one Bond is better than the other- they’re both super special to me." I think we all stand corrected there!
I then asked her about her favorite memory on TarValon.net and her favorite Real Life Function that she has attended. She admitted that both of those questions were difficult to answer, as she has so many good memories. "If I absolutely had to choose one, it would be the spontaneous wedding proposal from my now husband at the 5th Anni party in Corpus Christi, TX," she admitted.
But Lireina is our Keeper Elect, and I wanted to know how she feels about knowing that she will soon be wearing the Keeper's stole. "It’s exciting and intimidating and nerve-wracking, to be honest," she confessed. "I’m following a line of very strong and efficient ladies, so the pressure there is pretty intense sometimes, even though they are very different in many ways. I’m looking forward to being a part of where we go next and how the site will continue to evolve and grow now that the last book is out and we can progress- it’s exciting!" Since she mentioned the future, I also asked what she envisions for the future of TarValon.net. "Ah ah ah… spoilers," she said with a smile. "But I certainly hope that we’ll continue to grow and evolve in a way that keeps the spirit of community we have right now, and allows us all to continue to love this place that has become a second home and family to so many of us."
And, in honor of our themed edition of the Tar Valon Times, I asked her if she was a Star Wars fan and what was her favorite film. "I am a fan, actually, though not as rabidly as one of my Warders is," she told me. "I’m actually officiating a Star Wars themed wedding in a few short weeks for one of our site members, and I’m really looking forward to hanging out with some Stormtroopers soon. I’d have to say my favorite of all the movies is probably Episode 6, though it’s been quite a while since I’ve had the time to sit and watch them, sadly. I think I’ll add it to my list of things to do soon, though!"
Well, that's it! I hope you enjoyed getting to know Lireina as much as I did. Wishing her all the best as she learns the ropes and eventually becomes our new Keeper!