In English: A drow once went into a fair… (Cosplay at the Turku Book Fair)


The new Doctor is ready!

After Worldcon, I felt more inspired about cosplay than in years. And look and behold, Turku Book Fair offered free entry for cosplayers this year! It’s the biggest local literary event held every October, and I’ve been faithfully attending for ages – to the point where it started to feel a little bit stale. This year was certainly something new!

For starters, I promised to speak at a panel. Which I don’t do. Ever. Horrid stage fright and all that. But the topic had to do with fanworks and cosplay and literary burlesque, all things that are exactly my cup of tea. Besides, I couldn’t pass a chance to preach the merits of fan fiction, which I’m really passionate about.


I’m told the panel was a success, though we were one panelist short. Where was our lost crow? We may never know.

Though this would have granted me free entry to the event, and I really didn’t have enough time and resources to put together a costume, was I sensible like that? Never!

Enter Luafay Kilndar’sek, my drow bard original character for the Forgotten Realms fantasy world. It all started with a small yellow ukulele. I considered the D&D character classes and decided a female drow bard would be just the thing. I couldn’t very well cosplay a bard without an instrument, and this was the only thing I could borrow.

I needed a costume to go with my ukulele, so I scrounged my wardrobe, a few flea markets and friends’ costume reserves. I already had the makeup, ears, contact lenses and the works, which actually made this a very rational choice. (So I tell myself.) I also had Drizzt’s wig from Worldcon, a friends’ Halloween spider cloak, my upper secondary school graduation skirt, utterly uncomfortable but cool boots from Turku Book Café’s  ”give stuff for free” corner, Jarlaxle’s trousers (shh!), and an assortment of vaguely warlike fashion items from flea markets. I think all this resulted in something quite stylish.

1. Note the improvised ukulele shoulder strap.
2. When did my bedroom turn into a drow bazaar?
3. That’s the hairstyle I went with. Curse that wig. Curse it.

I… may have got a bit geeky about this, studied drow naming patterns (there’s quite a few sources about it, but I went with this), filled out a character sheet and made up a backstory. Luafay is a combination of ”bright, crystal and light” and ”eyes (of the seeress)”. The house name Kilndar’sek translated into something like ”People of the adamantite black heart”. Because drow are nice like that. I wanted her to be a commoner who runs off to the Lands of Light in search of her fortune. I imagine she would flaunt her drowness as something exotic to get her bard gigs, hence the gaudy spider cloak. Assassinations might also be involved.

Of course, when it came time to put all of this together (knowing now that it would take me 3 hours to get my face in order), it rained all day. The makeup was supposed to be waterproof. I knew it was not. I dare not imagine what rain would have done to the wig. After a rather intensive makeup and cursing session, walking with a failing umbrella, two buses, lots of staring and frightened old ladies, I was finally at the book fair, in one piece.

1. Hating everything. Like a drow. The red contacts don’t really show up in photos, but they do freak people out.
2. Tis a transformation!

I had to rush to sign up for the cosplay competition (yes, I have been infected, and I blame the folks at Worldcon!) and to find out where the panel was held. I still had some time to chat at the Turku Science Fiction Society’s booth and take some pics with the Tardis they had once again valiantly brought. I didn’t have much free time to spend at the actual fair, which was a shame, since a lot of the programme had to do with speculative or weird fiction.


Would you trust this drow to save the universe?


Note the book I’m posing with. Quite by accident, I swear. (”Fruits of Paradise”)


The photo’s wobbly, but there’s a bit of a side view.

The day was a blast! Being able to overcome stage fright was a really positive experience. I didn’t place at the costume competition, not that I expected to, but I quite liked the newbie-friendly way it was set up (no one had to go on stage alone). I also heard a lot of positive comments from random strangers who had no idea what cosplay was. One lady in particular made my day. She was really excited about my outfit and asked me what kind of a fairy I was. I told her I was a dark one. It feels like I’ve come home, she said. I think we brought a bit of con atmosphere to the book fair. I really hope they do this again next year!


New acquisitions: books from the fair and comics I got as birthday presents.

Somehow I still managed to end up with a bunch of books…

– Insurrection by Thomas M. Reid (War of the Spider Queen 2). Yet another Forgotten Realms novel, but not by Salvatore! I really like the first book in the series with all the plotting and a Menzoberranzan which actually feels like a real city, so I have some hopes for this series.
Dragons of the Hourglass Mage by W & H (Lost Chronicles 3). I’ve actually given up on Dragonlance. I did own the first part of this trilogy, but it was so incredibly boring I ended up selling it. This was the book I was actually interested in. Now I’ve decided to wikipedia the first two books and give this one a try. At least it’s got the best name! And I may always have been slightly invested in the mage in question.
Robin Hood by John Finnemore. The adventures of my childhood! Why didn’t anyone tell me there was a shiny new Finnish edition?
– Selected poems of W.B. Yeats, because I want to see how they work in Finnish.
Kielletty hedelmä (”Kunskapens frukt”) by Liv Strömquist. All I know about this is that it’s a satirical, feminist comic about genitals. My friend and I clearly think alike, because in turn I gifted her with improbable erotica…
Empty Zone by Jason Shawn Alexander. Another birthday present: a cyberpunky, dark, dystopian comic with incredible art. I’m really stoked about this one!

I believe that ends the tale of Luafay among human book-worshippers. There are ambitious costuming plans for next summer, though, in another universe entirely.


Book fair photos by Sonja Vilmi


2 thoughts on “In English: A drow once went into a fair… (Cosplay at the Turku Book Fair)

  1. Olit upea! Ja silmäsi olivat häiritsevät. Ja paneeli meni tosi hyvin. Ja arvasin noista kuvista, et niitten täytyy olla Sonjan ottamia. Jostain syystä niistä aisti kamerantakaisen sonjamaisuuden.

  2. Awws, kiitos! Olen häiritsevän kiintynyt noihin piilareihin. Kiva että paneeli ei ollut katastrofi. Oli vähän tasapainoilemista sen kanssa, että kuinka syvälle fandomien suohon tässä uskaltaudutaan. Mutta toisaalta ei kenelläkään ole hauskaa, jos kaikki esittävät olevansa superasiallisia…


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