On the Fandom Road: A FaB Farewell

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So this is it, the last post in a long journey of posts.

Let me start with the end before I end with the beginning: I am leaving you all, gentle readers. This is my Watchers farewell.

It’s been real, it’s been fun; sometimes it’s even been real fun! But all good things must end. Valar Dohaeris, yes, but ultimately Valar Morghulis. I regret nothing.

Now then. Let’s go back to the start, as Chris Martin once crooned. I’m a huge nerd, which is shocking to most of you, I know! I’m also 50 years old, which places me in the upper tier of GoT fans, longevity wise. (I still quietly curse Pat “The Usurper” Sponagle for his single-year seniority!)

My love for Dungeons & Dragons predates my love for anything that I still currently hold any flame for, short of perhaps chocolate milkshakes. Somewhere in the early 00’s, Dragon Magazine published one of its monthly issues, and this one came with a twist:

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This issue had largely dedicated its content to a series of fantasy novels written by George R. R. Martin. The Red Witch Melisandre was there on the cover, glowing in her usual sultry fashion, and the issue’s contents- from monster stats to intriguing plot points- left me with a distinct thirst for more.

I soon picked up A Game of Thrones, the one with the silver and blue cover, raven-haired Jon Snow riding a proud steed through some northerly hinterlands, a crow over his shoulder and loyal white wolf by his side. Like most of you I was hooked by the end of the first chapter. I then devoured A Clash of Kings, and A Storm of Swords

From there it was on to the Westeros forums, where I met other rabid fans of this gritty, realistic fantasy world. (Nerd points to anyone who recalls my username over at the Worg.) The series pilot was announced by HBO, and Phil “Winter” Bicking put up a post that basically said, (Philadelphia accent implied) “Yo, any of you nerds gonna start a Game of Thrones TV show website?” A week later, after what amounted to crickets chirping as a response, Phil came back with a link to his brand new HBO Game of Thrones fan site! To assist, he asked Marko aka “Hear Me Roar” (because he’s super intelligent) and Myself “FaBio” Me (because… I’m funny?), and the rest is, as they say, history.

And man, the tales I could tell. We got in on all the good early stuff. I’ve been to two premiere parties, three launch parties, and got to see snippets of the first season; I got to meet the David Benioff and Dan Weiss, Peter Dinklage, Sean Bean, and George R.F.R. Martin himself, and that was all before the first episode was up on HBO. (I’ve actually met George on six different occasions; Phil and I both made such an impression on him that he thanked us both on the A Dance With Dragons acknowledgements page. Seriously, I should frame that shit.). I’ve interviewed over half the main cast, and I call a few of them close personal friends.

FaBio-and-Maisie-game-of-thrones-25949386-1900-1285Hell, I’ve hung out with the lovely Kristian Nairn more times than I can count. I was even briefly stared down and loomed over by Charles Dance. (Long story.)

It’s been good. I went from “Curtain Call Guy” to the “Twitter Post Guy,” and through WiC and WotW and Twitter have met some of the most amazing people—people I now regard as the truest of friends.

My time in the fandom isn’t done… but from now on I’m gonna be one with the plebes, satisfied with watching the prequel(s) and reading any future ASoIaF content on the “rabid fan” sideline like everyone else.

Will I still be a loyal Watchers on the Wall reader? OF COURSE, YOU FOOLS! You probably already know this, but this is the best Game of Thrones fan site out there, bar none. We have the best writers. I challenge you to find me a nerd site with better ones!

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I have thanks to give aplenty. I hope Phil Bicking and Marko know how much I appreciated them for their partnership and, most of all, their friendship over the years. I wouldn’t be here without them. I also want to thank all the amazing writers here at Watchers. I go into my GoT twilight knowing there are far better writers than me ready to pick up the slack:

Luka, you salient San Sebastián smartypants, thank you for your help and guidance; if I ever need any help in anything internet-related, I will still contact you, because I’m dumb and you’re not.

Bex, my erstwhile partner in crime (and future karaoke rival), thank you for being you: an utterly unapologetic Cersei stan, and the inventor of the DRUNKALYPSE, the funniest Tumblr that ever was or will be.

Vanessa, thank you for not only your lovely presence, but your art as well. Both are equally inspiring, and I count you as a fine friend.

Samantha, thank you for not only for inviting me onto your most excellent podcast, but for being a like-minded nerd (despite that Steelers-fan thing) as well as the great future mom we both know you will be. Girl, you get me.

Lady Geoffery, thank you for making me laugh so hard I once snotted onto my keyboard. Seriously! Oh, and also for being a newly-minted Los Angeles Ram fan. You’ll thank me… at some point. (And lo! Geoff has a tumblr too, so y’all go check that!)

David, thank you for being the sizzling New York ball of fire we all love. Flame on! (Check out more of Sir Squinty’s writing here!)

Petra, my wee fellow Theon stan and (shockingly!!) axe-chucking superior, thank you for your passionate, thought-provoking prose. (Y’all, Petra has a YouTube channel. She rarely posts there, but when she does the content is brilliant.)

Akash, you fine, dapper man, thank you for speaking out for those who may not have your boldness or talent; I will continue to troll your twitter feed for the shade you throw, and your instagram for the style you bring.

Pat, thank you for being the (ahem) elder statesman I wish I was! You’re Lawful Good, so I must therefore content myself with being Awful Good. (And check it, nerds, he doesn’t just write about GoT, so check out Pat’s site! Yes, it’s filled with GoT stuff, but he occasionally writes about um, dogs!)

Hogan, thank you for being that brilliant artist I wish I could have been. (True story: I was already a gigantic fan of his—and then lo and behold he goes and starts writing for our site?! Kismet! Check out Hogan’s fashion site, y’all!

Joe Magician, thank you for being one of the best YouTubers in the business. (And PEOPLE, Joe Magician has a PATREON! Give him a Careless Whisper and get on it for the early saucy content!)

A special thank-you goes to Tina, our sometimes-shy “Dame Pasty,” for being that shoulder I could lean on; your advice was always timely and greatly appreciated.

My deepest thanks goes to Sue, my furious foil and, honestly, the snarlingly blunt kind of Editor-In-Chief this site needs. She’s a detail-driven demon of a woman with whom I’ve oft clashed (our “artistic differences” are, shall we say, sometimes at odds)… but all the best editors are required to put their writers in their place, and lord, I’ve earned a few thumps. I’ll be buying her a drink or two at Con of Thrones, NEXT MONTH, so she can sock me in the shoulder in person for all the snit fits I’ve thrown. She has a Tumblr! Go tumbl with her, peeps!

My final thanks goes to Oz, the most courteous and caring boss I’ve literally ever had. He invited me to Watchers with open arms, and talked me into sticking through some of the tough personal times. Oz, it was a blast meeting you at Con of Thrones. It was a hard thing to do, finally admitting you had more to offer Kate Dickie than I, but I take defeat graciously and (dare I say) humbly.

(I’m not saying Kate’s final preference pushed me towards retirement, but I also won’t say I wouldn’t still be writing here if Katie had but chosen meeeeeeee….!)

Speaking of which… Yes, I’ll be in Nashville for Con of Thrones next month, as I said. And I expect to see a lot of you there. I’m friendly, and only bite in the early morning hours. Come up and say hi!

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Peace out, nerds. Spread a little love, give your pets a little kiss, and be excellent to one another! BYEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!

35 responses

Jump to (and Always Support) the Bottom

    1. We will buy each other many drinks at the con, and there will be much hollering and as always much love. Here’s for the years and the mammaries. Memories. whatever.

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    2. Thank you Axey! This was a beautiful Fandom Road post! I hope when you say you are 50 you are not thinking anything crazy like “growing up” or doing something “normal.” Please, stay as you are and pursue the things you love…which I think you are going to do… but don’t let a number define you. (I’m 60 and I don’t always act my age!) I’ve enjoyed your enthusiasm and spirit in the things you’ve posted on this site, it has been such a joy to read them. Thank you for including some more insight into your associates and the links to their projects, sites, etc. You are an important part of such a great group of people and you all make this a wonderful community. Thank you all.

      Best of luck to you Axey and continue to enjoy the ride!

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    3. Some of the first GoT-related writing I read was your 2011-era interviews of the actors over on the other site – those interviews played a big part in getting me interested in the series as well as the books. Thanks for all your great work then, and since!

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    4. Mr AxeChucker, Sir: Between the 1st and 2nd seasons (2011-2012), I was stationed far from home for my job. I have to say that you, Phil, Marko and the others on the old WiC site kept me sane. I could check out the newest show tidbits every night, read some of your interviews with cast and interact on the site with other members of the community. Through the long days, I looked forward to checking in every evening. So thank you, thank you and wishing you and yours the very best. Love you all

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    5. Here I sat waiting and waiting for your fandom road to come and now that the inevitable has come, I just wish I were still waiting. It won’t be the same without you my dear friend. Somewhere out there, you, Oz, and I are still sitting on the Scoundrels, Rogues, and Villains panel at Con of Thrones 2017, arguing over whether Bronn is more rogueish or scoundrelish (scoundrelish), whether Ramsay or Joffrey is the better villain (Ramsay), or whatever in seven hells that audience member kept yelling about that one villainish character who no one remembers who was in one sentence of one single paragraph of one of the ASOIAF books. Good lord did you have patience that day…and now I pray that you give me some of your good patience as I sit here waiting for you to reemerge on the other side….watching…waiting….

      Farewell, my good Axey. You have only ever served the realm. And the realm will never be the same.

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    6. Thank you, Kenny, you’ve always been a joy. Essays, tweets, and YT tete-a=tetes with Sandrine. We’ll miss you.

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    7. Thank you so much for being there… ummm… here… there…

      I cannot reliably count the times I’ve read your words and then read them aloud to my very-much-a-fan 72 years young mother. She has so enjoyed your posts. I’m, ummm, over 50, and recall with a (now melancholy) smile all the days I’ve just been casually checking my e-mail and found a notification that you have a new post up! Those very ‘can’t click fast enough’ days.
      I’ll very much miss those.

      I’m afraid these goodbyes and farewells are too much to take.

      Watch endings are rough on the soul.

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    8. I’ll never forget how welcome you made me feel at the first Con of Thrones, when I was new to the WotW crew. It’s been an absolute joy to know you, and I look forward to seeing you again in Nashville in July! This isn’t goodbye – just see you later 🙂

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    9. DAMMIT AXEY, I’m hormonal enough without you writing such a wonderful post and including me in it 😭 Love ya, nerd, and we will DEFINITELY be having you back on The Night’s Cast! ♥️

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    10. Mad love for the Axchucker who is so gosh darn fabulous. He was so supportive of me when I started writing for WiC.net (even trusted me with a twitter post). He’s introduced me to so many great fans! And we’ve found life after thrones with the Washington Capitals as I await the release of Daggers.

      I’m not sure if I know a more honorable fan than the chucker of Axes, father of schnauzers, writer of the best twitter recap post, and now fan of all fans! You are the most # Thoros may <3 Rh’llor but he sure does 🤘🏼To some Axey🤘🏼

      Thanks again for all you have done ser!

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    11. Oh, Axechucker, you fabulous FaB – don’t make me sentimental with your memoires and mentions 🙂 Thank you for you passionate work, but most of all for your friendship and the good times we had together! I’m ridiculously proud to have joined and been part of this big story all these years.

      Cheers, hoping to raise a cup with you at some future occasion soon, K.!

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    12. Thank you Axey for this lovely and emotional post!! I enjoyed your guest appearances on HappyCool and I will miss your Twitter roundups.

      Phil and I both made such an impression on him that he thanked us both on the A Dance With Dragons acknowledgements page. Seriously, I should frame that shit.”

      Say whaaaaaa???!!! You totally should!

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    13. Axey, I made you laugh and you made me get all emotional with your lovely words so that’s a fair exchange 😛

      For anyone wondering, I still don’t know who those rams are! Being British the only sports I understand are queuing and tutting loudly. But goooooo team!

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    14. It’s been fun. Thanks for doing all the things you did. I’ll soon be sidelining myself from all of social media because fandoms, in general, have stopped being fun. So, I think you’re getting out at the right time. Maybe I’ll run into you at one of the cons some day… I really think Iceland should be where all A Song of Ice and Fire cons are held.

      Kisses!

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    15. Axey,

      Thank you for your kind words, and longtime service to Watchers.

      I am legit jealous of your Westeros-themed Dragon magazine! Ah, I remember my subscription to Dragon magazine during High School (to my parent’s concern) and college.

      Best wishes! I look forward to seeing you at Nashville for Con of Thrones, and we can share some heroic anecdotes.

      Warmest regards, and you’ll always have my support. (And we’ll always have Twitter or whatever…)

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    16. It was always a great TitanCon when you showed up. You’ve also delivered some of the best interviews of the cast I’ve read anywhere.
      Would be great to watch an NFL game with you and see the 49ers crush the Rams, while listening to some 80s Queensrÿche.

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    17. LOVED reading this, and am VERY jealous that I came into the fandom so late (three or four years ago) that I missed so much of the early stuff. But I’m here now, I’m sticking around, and I’ll be back at Con this year and can’t wait to meet you!!! Thanks a million for all your posts. You all mean far more to me than I have adequate words for.

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    18. No bloody way are you 50, you look my age! Not my parents’ age.

      That aside, I must say you were the only author on the site(s) that I was quickly able to identify. (Due apologies for all the amazing ontributors.)
      Tis sad there will be no more very special twitter posts etc.
      Farewell, Axey.

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    19. Though we’ve never met, and likely never will (unfortunately, stil can’t make the con this year-will there be more in years to come?), I feel I’m saying goodbye to a friend. You have an uncanny way of injecting your personality in every piece of writing here, and back there, for so many years now.
      Thanks so much for all the humor- it really has been a joy reading your contributions throughout the years.
      Cheers- and best of luck.

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    20. Thank you for making us laugh through some very stressful episodes. Focusing on writing tweets helped me disconnect a little from the horror! Oh and thanks for drawing our attention to some of the funniest people on the internet. It always amazes me how clever and quick people are. Now I’m off to kiss my husky because you said so. 🥰

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    21. Sad to lose you, Axey, though I understand why.

      But there’s a new generation growing.

      Today, I went to my nephew’s high school graduation party. A part of the school orchestra provided some music. When the Game of Thrones theme got played, several of us pricked our ears… Got talking about GoT. It was also my musically talented niece (16 yr old) rendering the theme song. She had told the others what and how to play.

      She hasn’t even seen GoT. Now that she, the youngest, is nearly seven-and-ten, her parents are thinking of a family binge rewatch.

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    22. Axey, my lovely God of Twitter posts! I will miss your wonderfully wacky take on such emotionally moving stuff. Only 50? Oh, you sweet summer child… Thank you from the bottom of my Dornish heart!

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    23. Thanks Axe for your posts over the years and especially your twitter posts!
      I visit WotW this morning feeling pretty sad knowing that GOT’s is over now. It’s Sunday which makes this harder and more real that there are no more episodes and not even a behind the scenes documentary. And there is less I really feel like talking about. Alot of my own comments seem to be about what I wished would have happened, which isn’t a healthy thing to dwell on. I see the aftermath with Kit having to get therapy! YouTube videos are much more bitter than sweet.

      I’m hopeful that the prequel will be great and there will be lots to talk about, but until then it’s becoming harder for me to revisit what happened this season and read more goodbyes. I will probably wait a month before doing a complete re-watch, and perhaps then I will feel re-charged.

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    24. I only went to the cons for the boobs. But now I have another reason. Be well, FaB. You will be missed.

      PS, send me Sues new number. She blocked me from her previous 4. 🙂

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    25. Thanks for all the years of hard work, FaB! I’ve been reading your posts for… 10 years?? Way back in the early days of WiC. What a journey it’s been! Your posts, interviews, and twitter reactions made the whole experience more fun. All the best in your next chapter!

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    26. Axechucker, I’m 55 and have been a rabidly fanatic fan for…quite a long time now. I have enjoyed your writings, your streams, and while I don’t know you or anyone else here (I seldom post) it’s really sad to see the great game winding down as the show wound down.
      Thank you for everything, you’ve made a mark on many people, myself in little old Nova Scotia included.
      Cheers, good Ser.

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    27. Axey, don’t be a stranger. Thank you so much for all the laughs and thoughtful words over the years. You and this site are the finest examples of how warm and funny and loving and brilliant a fandom could and should be. I salute you sir.
      *skitches Hurley the labradog in your honour* (yes I was a big Lost fan, I have NO regrets)

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    28. Thanks Axey, that’s a really interesting read and I’m sure others will echo their gratitude for all you’ve done to build this community over the years. Meeting so many of the cast, crew and GRRM must have been amazing for you!

      Ps. where did HearMarkoRoar disappear too? I remember his articles and contributions but don’t recall any acknowledgement he was moving on.

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    29. Axey – please don’t go???? I loved your twitter roundups. I rarely enjoy anything…

      Thank you for everything!

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