Member Spotlight: Ryu Shadowborn

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Author: Zandera Sommers, January 2015

We just finished up our administrative spotlight series ending with a focus on our Mistress of Novices, Nymala Sedai. We are taking a short right turn in the Member Spotlight and focusing on a new member--in fact, a citizen.

During my time as Mayor, I have met many amazing people. Despite how hard I try to keep track of everyone, new and fascinating people seem to pop up regardless. Such is the case with Ryu Shadowborn.

Ryu has been a member since April 23rd, 2014. Despite his new arrival, he is an active and pensive member. Though I do not frequent the Current Events forum, I popped in for one reason or another and was surprised to see a citizen. Not just any citizen--one I did not recognize. He does not visit City Hall much, choosing instead to check out the General Forum, Introductions, and the Book Discussion Forum. “Even if I do not post [in all the general subject forums]” Ryu said, “I read topics that look interesting.” So Ryu prefers to avoid spamming and reads what he can before he posts. Naturally curious, I decided to ask him more about himself and sent a few PMs. Two boards changeovers and a Member Spotlight later, I might finally learn what brought him to the site and what makes him such a mindful man.

Perhaps being a bit of a busybody, I also questioned another Current Events member about what they thought of Ryu, to which they replied something along the lines of, “What do you mean what do I think of him? Well, his statements are typically well-thought-out, and I have never seen him inflame or provoke anyone--which is admirable. And of course, I like him because he sometimes agrees with me.” Very funny. It goes to show that Ryu has an exceptional standard of behavior that everyone can admire. Does Ryu find Senior Members intimidating? I wondered, but waited to ask. Some number of PMs later, I found out the answer was quite simply, “Not particularly.”

Though Ryu is surprisingly conscientious for a new member, he does not have an over-inflated view of himself. For a living, he is a merchandise replenishment expert, also known as a shelf stocker for a Local Walmart store. “My primary dream would be to start my own video game/movie/tv/book review website. I have been working to that end, but over two years of unemployment means that funds for that are a bit short as of yet.” Upon asking if he has any pets, he confessed that, “Responsibility for another living thing is something I should never, ever have.” I didn’t inquire further at that point, but Ryu seems like a lot cooler of a guy than he gives himself credit for!

It may have been a while since many members of our readership joined, but Ryu only joined the site 8 months ago. How did he find us out there in the wild expanse of the jungle-like internet? “I found TarValon.Net initially through the website TVTropes, which explained about Al'Landerin Sedai's inclusion as a shout out in one of the books, and being a curious person, I decided to visit [the site] myself.” Should we be shocked that we are on TVTropes or just saddened?

What was it like joining TarValon.Net, Ryu? “It was interesting... I think I first arrived during last year’s Bel Tine celebrations, and posted a good bit in the Faire Grounds, and joined as a citizen at the suggestion of a few of the Senior Members.”

What do you like best about the site? “I like that the site as a whole is dedicated to the principles of the Aes Sedai from the books. I think that is something on the internet is rare, especially principles as lofty as charity. Internet culture is a bit too steeped in cynicism even if it is one of the more charitable groups of people in the world. However when a large community forms on the internet, it usually tends to focus more cynical and negative aspects. Tar Valon doesn't do that; this place says, ‘Aes Sedai are good people. It is not the channeling that makes an Aes Sedai--it is what they do,’ and I think we need more of that, both offline and online.”

Are you a huge fan of theWheel of Time series, Ryu? “I have read it through three or four times by this point. I have a habit of running Audio books while I sleep and cycle through them. I am actually on A Memory of Light for the rotation now.”

What do you do in your spare time (or the theoretical spare time you would have if you weren’t working all the time)? “I play video games, read books, watch TV, watch movies, listen to podcasts, as well as play Magic the Gathering. I love to cook, even if I do not get much chance any more, and I love going out to new restaurants to see if they are any good. I am an avid World of Warcraft player... and a refugee of the MMO City of Heroes, which I considered to be my first real home on the internet.”

I’m actually a huge fan of City of Heroes too, Ryu! We shall further discuss… but at the present time, our readers are probably wondering about your future on the site. Do you plan to apply to the Tower? You value community service, are appropriately geeky, and highly conscientious as the best of our folk are. “Not at this time, as I do not have too much spare time or energy for proper charity... working overnights and having an hour bus trip back and forth does not leave a person with a great deal of energy.” That’s unfortunate, but who knows what the future holds? The great thing about being a new member is that there are still many places to go, things to consider, and places to explore as you grow both in life and in membership.

If I may ask, if you could tell everyone on the website one thing, what would it be? “Uhh, nothing much aside from ‘You should join the Brown Ajah, ‘cause Verin was the second best character in the entire series after Ingtar.’ Also I am not a Darkfriend, despite [SPOILERS].”

Since I’d struck up a conversation about Ryu, I finally got to ask him about how he found himself in Current Events in the first place and satisfy my curiosity as to why this Citizen chose such a controversial place as one of his homes.

Ryu said, “Oh, well it is the most active. On forums I am usually attracted to the forums that are a combination of my interests and are active, and I have a good interest in Current Events/Political stuff. It is very nice to have an area to discuss Politics where people are polite, especially as a Conservative Libertarian. I am basically considered The Dark One in most Online Communities in terms of politics. I don't have much advice for anyone viewing it for the first time, you mostly get what you see in the topics, and I think the other members who are participants are great. They are respectful of other's viewpoints, and I wish I had more time to dedicate to reading and replying there.”

Count yourself among the respectful folk there, Ryu. You’re great and gentlemanly to boot! Thank you for taking the time to share a bit about yourself so that others may meet a fellow member. If you see Ryu around, be sure to say 'hello' and feel free to engage with him in the most intellectual of topics. He will surely be polite and appreciate you when you do the same.