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Category Archives: The Hobbit

Hobbit: Desolation of Smaug – European premiere, Berlin

…or should I say world premiere-like event? Because it actually seemed bigger than the world premiere in LA. I was so excited when the premiere was announced because I had hoped for something like this, but I never imagined so many actors to come. The date was announced before there were any hints about the guest list. The next step was a short lineup – short, but certainly high quality, since it included Peter Jackson, Martin Freeman, Richard Armitage, Evangeline Lilly, Luke Evans and Benedict Cumberbatch. Even only Benedict Cumberbatch had been on this list, I would have come to Berlin, so it was a „must-do“ for me any way.
But eventually there were announced: Peter Jackson, Martin Freeman, Richard Armitage, Benedict Cumberbatch, Evangeline Lilly, Luke Evans, Sylvester McCoy, Mikael Persbrandt, Aidan Turner, Ken Stott, James Nesbitt, Adam Brown, Graham McTavish, Dean O’Gorman, Ryan Gage, John Bell and Ed Sheeran. Which was already great, but I learned of two more cast members to join the premiere, the day before (while we were trying to catch Benedict at the „12 years a slave“ film presentation): Orlando Bloom (my reaction: :-O :-O :-O) and (while we were standing at the red carpet, at some point during the 10 hours): Andy Serkis.
Wow!

So my goal was to get Benedict’s autograph (of course), and Peter’s and Orlando’s. They were the three most important because via mail more or less impossible to get. And I wanted to get Ryan Gage’s autograph, he was the fourth actor missing in my collection, and my two letters to him seem to have been lost on their way.

But I take two steps back: I had some vacations days left this year, so everything seemed to work out, when I got ill last Monday, with fever for three days, which made me worry about my plan to go to Berlin. But I was determined to not let this damn cold ruin this one-time-opportunity. And thankfully the cold retreated. Not fully, but enough for me to go.

So I booked my train ticket for Sunday and a few hours after that, Nicole told me that on Sunday evening Benedict would present his movie „12 years a slave“. Obviously, I was thrilled – two chances to get Ben’s autograph… many of you know how I felt that my trying to get Benedict’s autograph was cursed, because neither all of my VV attempts, nor all my tries to get his autograph with help of nice people who were to meet him IP.
And I was relieved because I had booked an early train on Sunday, so I would be able to bring all my stuff to my aunt’s and get there to the film lounge in time.

It was a bit chaotic and I don’t really wanna write a lot about this disappointment, but after approx. 9 hours (which we spent partly in front of a hotel and partly in front of the film lounge) in the cold and for some time also rain, Benedict arrived to this presentation through the back door – and left through the back door. So this was a complete failure.

Well, I like to think positive and thought back to the STiD premiere where we spent hours in front of the hotel without any success one day, and the next day at the premiere was super successful. So I took the failure with Benedict for a good omen (or tried to ;)).

I arrived first (of the 6 or eventually 7 people – Nicole, Katrin and their friends), at 7.40, and the entire first row was already taken. But right then when Andrea and the others came, the barrier had been prolonged towards the street, so we got ourselves places in the first row in a potentially great position, since the actors had to leave the cars on the street and walk all the way to the cinema over this long red carpet, instead of leaving the cars right in front of the „stage“. Those of you who have watched the livestream, you probably saw that the actors walked a short distance, 10 or 15 meters maybe, from the street to the curve after which followed the 100-something meter straight carpet. We were standing right in/behind this interior angle at the beginning of the straight line.

And then we waited and waited and waited… and it rained and rained some more, and it didn’t stop for more than a couple of minutes. We feared that the actors would „run“ straight to the part of the Red carpet with a roof over it. But it was such a big premiere, that it was likely that the actors couldn’t ignore all of these people waiting in the rain for hours.
It was a very drizzly rain, eventually a bit stronger, eventually a bit fainter. It wasn’t as cold as the days before, but I was glad that I was wearing 6 layers of clothing :D and I was even more thankful for the big fleece blanket that I had brought (after feeling really cold during the Hunger Games: Catching Fire premiere). So I basically wrapped myself in this blanket, sat on the backpack in which I had brought the blanket, and stayed there for most of the time. And most of the time a) I didn’t really get wet because the blanket prevented it, and b) I wasn’t cold. And I even manage to sleep for a few minutes :D

When it was getting closer to the show time, we got nervous because it kept raining… and there wasn’t any wizard, at least not greater than the Brown, to stop this „deluge“ :) But of course, we were mistaken. It only rained until the raining stopped: We had forgotten that Peter Jackson was the greatest wizard! Okay, maybe the raining didn’t fully stop, when he arrived (first, with Martin Freeman), but from that point on, it was so faint that it wasn’t gonna ruin our photos and autographs, until the last actors reached the press area. :)

„Funny“ enough, I totally missed Martin Freeman who was one of the first. Why? Because I only saw James Nesbitt and a few steps behind him his daughters (who play Bard’s daughters in the movie), and not at all Martin, who apparently was just between them.
They were more or less running towards the press area and didn’t give any autographs, promised to come back later but of course they only went back half way, so we didn’t get any of these four. I would have loved to get the autographs of Peggy and Mary Nesbitt, so it really is a pity. But there wasn’t much time to be annoyed (and then we still had hope that they would actually come back).
I don’t know in what order the rest of the actors came, so just a few „episodes“ that stood out (almost random order):

  • When Dean O’Gorman came to my spot, for some reason he didn’t have any pen. Andy Serkis was standing right next to him and had just signed my photo, and when Dean asked if anybody had a pen, I just said „Andy!“ (and because noone else had a pen in that moment, Andy gave him his pen to sign.
  • When Adam Brown signed my photo (of him, Jed and Mark at HobbitCon), I asked him if he remembered and he laughed, affirmed that and asked me if I would come to HobbitCon next year :) Of course I will ;)
  • When Richard Armitage came around the corner onto the long straight, he was, for one moment, stunned by the length of the carpet and all these fans waiting there. I don’t know anymore whether I could hear him or just read his lips, and if he said „wow!“ or „oh my god!“, but he did, pausing for a moment, before taking on the masses :)
  • I think it’s weird how many people didn’t know the actors. Why go to a premiere if you don’t even bother looking them up? One time it was really „funny“, when some guy behind me held out a photo to sign for Ryan Gage… but it was a photo of Aidan Turner! I hadn’t seen it before, otherwise I maybe would have told him that that wasn’t Aidan, but only heard when Ryan told him „That’s not me.“
    And a few moments later he saw my photo and told me: „This is me. You should show it to that guy.“ And he signed it (which was great because he was the 3rd of the Hobbit people missing in my collection til then, whose autograph I got at this premiere. After that, he even took a photo of us :) Such a nice guy! And very handsome ;)
  • Aidan Turner reached for my photo to hold it while signing it and since I was holding it too (beneath the photo, so he didn’t see it), he actually grabbed my fingers and with a pitying tone he told me that my fingers were freezing cold. Yup, that happens ;D
  • It was pretty chaotic to figure out who would come next because as I explained, we were standing in/behind that bend, and some actors first signed on „our“ side of the red carpet and then changed to the shorter other side, and then back to our side to continue their way on the red carpet, and others came from the shorter other side and then changed to our side. So it was a bit tricky to figure out who was next. And at some point, Ken Stott was coming our way pretty slowly, and right behind him Benedict Cumberbatch (who had already signed for a while on the short other side and then changed back but started in the beginning on our side so we had lost sight of him for several minutes). Now, Ken Stott was slowly signing and Benedict was catching up… and Ken Stott first looked at every photo and commented now and then, so he just started signing for me and Benedict already was signing next to him…. I was SO afraid that Ben would skip a few to continue ahead, and it was so close that I actually wanted to pull back my photo while Ken was signing *lol*
  • but luckily he finished just in time and Benedict signed for me. And not just the usual „BC 2013 x“, but I had somewhat of an unusual photo (of him doing mocap of Smaug), so he wrote more on the photo. My heart was pouncing and I was stunned. Still am. I’m so happy that the curse was finally broken and I finally got his autograph :)
    If I decipher it correctly, it says „Don’t try this at home!“ :D

So, a resume:
I did not get: Ed Sheeran (who apparently only signed Hobbit posters and not the photo of him, and I didn’t react quick enough to hold out the Hobbit poster I had. Sylvester McCoy (whom I didn’t even see), Martin Freeman (see above), James Nesbitt and his daughters (:(), and Katie Jackson (I wasn’t sure if the girl following Peter was Katie… although I had prepared a collage for her, and for the Nesbitt girls, because I had thought that they would maybe accompany their dads). Such a pity, especially regarding the three girls. BUT

I got – and this is the most wonderful result for me:

(I uploaded the full scans to the Hobbit page (LotR -> Hobbit) – I’ll gladly send you the password if you ask for it ;))

Benedict Cumberbatch

Benedict Cumberbatch

Orlando Bloom

Orlando Bloom

Peter Jackson

Peter Jackson

Richard Armitage (2x, one on my favourite Thorin poster and one on my favourite North & South pic)

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Adam Brown

Adam Brown2

Evangeline Lilly

Evangeline Lilly4

Luke Evans

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Dean O’Gorman

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Aidan Turner (on the same pic)

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John Bell (2x. He’s a funny and very kind kid – and he was wearing a kilt :D)

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Ryan Gage

Ryan Gage

Andy Serkis

Andy Serkis3

Ken Stott

Ken Stott4

Graham McTavish

Graham McTavish4

Mikael Persbrandt

Mikael Persbrandt3

 

It was so worth the trip and the wait!

Oh, PS: Again, I managed to grab one of those banners (the ones on the barriers, I’m afraid not the nicer ones on the poles). ;)
PPS: A general note: It was a very „quiet“ premiere, which I thought was great. Of course people can scream and yell the actors’ names, but at the Catching Fire premiere some girls really screeched like crazy… that was not at all nice for the ears, almost unbearable (without putting ones fingers in ones ears) but literally cringeworthy. This one was different and I think this is also much nicer for the actors. At least we didn’t hear that much shrieking.

 

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John Bell

22.05.13 – 23.07.13

John Bell (Bain / Hobbit)

John Bell

1/1 photo signed

This is actually a new one. His autograph I didn’t have before and really wanted it (since there aren’t many signatures missing in my Hobbit collection). I’m looking forward to seeing him as Bard’s son Bain in the second Hobbit film! He did a great job in Wrath of the Titans and I’m curious how he’ll do in such a blockbuster as the Hobbit!

Added this autograph to the Hobbit section

 

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Jed Brophy

14.05.12 & 30.09.11 (!) – 20.07.13

Jed Brophy (Nori / Hobbit & Snaga+Elf+Rohir / LotR)

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6 / 2*3 photos signed and personalized

Wow, now these were unexpected successes. Jed Brophy never signed during the main shooting of the Hobbit, and after sending my first letter in 2011, and having forgotten I did so, I sent another one in 2012. Earlier this year I sent a letter via his agency after there was a success posted via that. Then I got his autograph at the HobbitCon and was content with that… and on Saturday suddenly two letters from New Zealand arrived – both with 3 signed and personalized photos (which means it must have been the two letters from 2011 and 2012 that I sent via the Hobbit set). Now apparently I have a whole bunch of his autographs :D Including one exactly like the HobbitCon autograph. I’m more than content now :) (although I assume that it’s possible that I’ll still get another success from him… I’m wondering what photos I sent there. :D)

Added 4 pics to the Hobbit section and two (of Snaga and one combined of him as Elf and Rohir) to the LotR section.

 

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Luke Evans

01.06.13 – 17.07.13

Luke Evans (Bard / Hobbit)

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1/1 photo signed

Yay, another one I already had, but another one I eagerly wanted on a Hobbit photo. When I first sent my requests, there wasn’t any photo of Bard, but now for the re-shoots there was and I decided to send it hoping to get his sig on a Hobbit pic. He kindly signed it – although apparently he wrote something else on the photo first. But that makes it allthemore funny :D Very happy about this success.

Weirdly, that is the second of four Hobbit successes after another, but no autographs from the US or Canada… I’m wondering if something keeps autographs from the US from arriving here… but maybe I’m just paranoid.

Added this photo to the Hobbit section

 

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Evangeline Lilly

06.06.13 – 11.07.13

Evangeline Lilly (Tauriel / The Hobbit)

Evangeline Lilly3

1/1 photo signed and personalized

Hurraaay! I definitively do not belong to the people who dislike characters in movie adaptations of books, which aren’t in the book. Many people seem to not like her in advance just because of that, without even giving her a chance. Considering how old the book is, I daresay it is likely that Tolkien would have created more (important) female characters in his books, if he had written them in different times. So I think there’s nothing wrong with giving a people more background and making viewers bond with them by creating additional characters. It would not have been necessary to give Tauriel some love story, but I don’t mind either. I wouldn’t even mind if it would be a dwarf (Kili, as rumor has it) who is smitten by this deadly elven warrioress. I certainly like her in the trailer, where she seems to be able to influence Legolas, and I’m looking forward to seeing this story line, and her in general!

I already had gotten her autograph via the main shooting of the movie, but as soon as the first promo pic came – which is, in my opinion, beautiful! – I knew I had to try to get her autograph on this pic too. I wish this photo would have been published then also, because I love that too… oh well… who knows what opportunities will be there in the future. For now I’m totally happy to have her signature on this nice Tauriel pic!

Added the full scan to the Hobbit page.

 

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HobbitCon

You may recall that I was a bit disenchanted by the RingCon last year, after having had a break since 2007 (attended the RingCons 2004-2006). The day before the RingCon 2012 the HobbitCon was announced for this year and 15 minutes after the announcement post I decided that I needed to go there and got weekend ticket number 10. It was one of the best decisions ever because I had SUCH a blast, that I’ll barely be able to use other words than amazing, awesome, stunning, hilarious etc.

Many other people complained about the date, but for me it was pretty perfect, because I didn’t even to take a day off. Okay I did, actually two, but that was just me allowing myself the luxury so I wouldn’t have to arrive late on the first day – or get up crazily early – and wouldn’t have to rush out after the closing and arrive at home very late. So that date worked for me, since easter for me was never more than searching for eggs (when I was younger, obviously, not anymore).
The line-up was breathtaking (here we go, the first could-be-but-isn’t-overstatement). Do look at it. 10 of the 13 main dwarves! Well, two of them cancelled, and sadly enough the first to cancel was Aidan ‚Kili’ Turner. The second, what was even sadder because he utterly convinced me in the movie, was James ‚Bofur’ Nesbitt. But it didn’t leave me that disappointed as I know from experience that the Con’s almost certainly gonna be great anyways.

Forgive me if I got some details wrong, I didn’t take any notes but wrote it up from memory.

Saturday
I arrived pretty early because they had said in the FedCon forum that the Workshop offered by WETA was limited for 20 people and one had to register… since the first workshop was about to start at 10 o’clock I didn’t wanna miss it. But it turned out that one could just go there and they admitted way more than 20 people. so I put my HobbitCon (from hereon HC) bag on one chair and left to put on my costume, because I have to say I was curious whether the WETA guys would say something about it, especially the leather headband I made, that I didn’t wear at the RC because at the time I thought it to be a bit too evil for my elven guard costume. But after rethinking the concept I decided, it might not look too bad and I was pretty comfortable wearing it.
So I sat there in their workshop (designing weapons and armour) and drew a few weapon designs. The task was to do dagger or a war hammer, but after doing a few rough sketches I rather drew an elvish axe. Daniel Falconer came to everyone see our drawings and talked with each person personally… of course one mustn’t overrate the nice words about the drawings because he obviously had to praise all results ;) but then he addressed my costume especially asking about the headband (ha!!) and he seemed to like it and commend that I should make my elvish axe design into a LARP weapon until the next convention because he’d imagine that it’d fit very well to my costume. I guess I have to reconsider my choice of weapon now ;) Funny enough I love swords but seem to lack the eye-hand-brain coordination to wield it properly (but then I never really tried to learn it), but I did choose a staff in a playfight once and didn’t do badly, so I’d really reconsider if I’d have the possibility to actually make a LARP weapon myself.

Back to the convention.
So it was a really nice start and/but au contraire to the RingCon 2012 where I barely went to the main hall because I wasn’t interested in the panels, this time I spent almost the whole time in the main hall.

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Obviously, because I was there mainly because of the actors and there weren’t any parallel panels. Thankfully the time table had changed from the last version in the internet and I didn’t miss the panel of Mark ‘Dori’ Hadlow and Stephen ‘Bombur’ Hunter which earlier was supposed to be at the same time as the workshop.
But now it began at 13 o’clock and, my first and since then lasting impression of the dwarves: they’re utterly, utterly brilliant! I really didn’t know what to expect, maybe rather uncertain actors, because most of them hadn’t done a con. But you literally felt that many of them came from the theatre and have much much experience. So, first impression. Stephen Hunter and Mark Hadlow. It’s really hard to say I liked one of them better because they’re both so great in their own ways, but Mark just blew everyone away. Very soon in the panel Jed ‘Nori’ Brophy and his jitteriness and his energy (even at 4 o’clock in the morning, as they told… repeatedly) became the running gag of the con, same as the very convincing imitation of Jed by Mark Hadlow.
I’ll probably repeat myself, but these actors are simply brilliant! They are SO much fun to watch, so enjoyable to listen to, so down to earth and I love how they support each other while making fun of each other. There was barely a panel of the dwarf actors where there wasn’t at least one other dwarf actor sitting in the front row in the audience, sometimes just sitting there, sometimes interacting, teasing, asking questions or fooling around.

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Not once in these four conventions I had done til then, was the support and deep friendship between (more than two) actors almost tangible. I think they really became a family and it was wonderful that we in the audience could actually feel this.

After this first panel I stayed there (for the rest of the day actually). The next one was a presentation from Daniel Falconer and Paul Tobin from Weta again, who told a bit about the history of Weta. Then followed John ‘Oin’ Callen, who was really a nice guy* (*annotation: I’m actually writing this chapter on Sunday, so atm I’m still totally flashed and have a emotional and mental overload, so maybe I recall more with a bit of distance and/or after reading other reports).

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And then: Dean ‘Fili’ O’Gorman. Well, after Aidan cancelled he was the only of the three royal “Hot Dwarves”, as Kili, Fili and Thorin are widely known. And yes, hot he is! Mark’s comment, that it was “fili-ing [feeling] hotter” in the hall when he was about to announce Dean, was more than true. What a charming, down-to-earth, goodlooking fella!! (And I actually laughed about the shirt he wore then, because since I didn’t even on Friday know if I was gonna put on my costume or if I should go in plain clothes, I packed two blouses and one… well I don’t dare to say it looks exactly like Dean’s shirt, but very very close, regarding colour and pattern. But since I wore my costume, I only giggled to myself).

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Then again Weta, another presentation about the Designing of the Dwarves. There weren’t many new information for me because most of it was in this very beautiful book of Weta: http://www.amazon.de/The-Hobbit-Unexpected-Journey-Chronicles/dp/0062200909/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1364762882&sr=8-1 but it still was nice to hear. And they showed us Dwalin’s arm!

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And then, after a short break, the Opening Ceremony. During which there was a phantastic atmosphere, and there were three things that were especially interesting:
1. Mark Ferguson mentioned (several times during the ceremony) that it might be possible that David Wenham will come to the next RingCon (so I guess it’ll be announced soon).
2. He also announced the cancellations of Aidan Turner and James Nesbitt and said that they had been sorry and would try to make it to the next RingCon (but that sounded much more uncertain, so I wouldn’t hold my breath about it, just wanted to keep you updated)
3. That was interesting for me: There would be a photosession with all the actors on Sunday! I didn’t plan to make photos at all, but this made me seriously reconsider, because it wouldn’t cost, what I would have imagined, 200 Euros or so, but 100. So that’s actually 11,11 Euros for each actor on the photo. I pondered about that the entire evening but although 100 Euros is painfully much: when is there ever gonna be an opportunity like this? So in my heart I had decided the minute I heard it, only my head needed a bit longer to be convinced.

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After the Opening Ceremony followed something that apparently very very few people (including Mark Ferguson) expected. Sylvester ‘Radagast’ McCoy seemed already pretty funny in the short time he was in the Opening Ceremony, but… his panel was simply insane! In the best sense this word can ever have. I had thought Mark Hadlow was hilarious (and he was, totally!!), but Sylvester McCoy? Wow. I only know, that me, the people around me, I guess pretty much everyone in the hall, and Mark on the stage (whose worst nightmare must have come true, when his –slightly exaggerated– expressions were any indication), were totally flabbergasted about this *performance* Sylvester gave.

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Yes, he actually partly seemed to performe, like in an improvisation theatre, but while running around through the hall (I don’t think he paused for longer than half a minute), going to the people who had questions, absolutely lively and energerticly flying through the room, sometimes leading a tail of people who had questions and whom he told to follow him while he was continuing to run not only through the aisles, but also between the seating rows. He had no fear of contact whatsoever. None at all. Actually I haven’t seen any actor who actually went for it, for being in the crowd with such a confidence. In German I’d use the word “souverän”, but of the words the dictionary tells me, I guess “masterfully” would fit the most, but I’m not certain if it fits 100%. Anyways. Really, I haven’t seen anything like this before. So I use this my favourite english word again: I was totally flabbergasted and absolutely enjoyed it. So much that I would have considered doing a photo session with him if there hadn’t been this so very tempting “all actors” offer.

And that was the first day. Actually I was so awake then, that I could take in much more of the feeling later in the evening. Usually I never went to the party at the previous cons. This time I stayed there til 1 a.m. which is pretty late for me (at a party), and just enjoyed every minute of this incredibly wonderful day.
I had expected quite a bit from the HobbitCon but if this day was any indication, it would surpass this expectations by far… very far.

Sunday

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By then my heart had convinced my head that they weren’t allowed to miss this once in a lifetime opportunity of a photo, so it was decided then. I had first planned to go to the presentation of Weta early in the morning, about Designing Armour and Weapons for Middle Earth, but since Adam ‘Ori’ Brown was incredibly cute in the Opening Ceremony and I figured, most of the drawings shown in the presentation would also be in the book that I already have, I went to the panel instead. A good choice, because Adam is the most adorable person I’ve ever seen! He was, of course, supported by his older “brother” Mark Hadlow, who was sitting in the audience, which lead to one of many terrific interactions, when someone asked him, who was Ori’s and who was his favourite brother, and Mark scrutinized him from the audience and Jed Brophy from the stage door, and they both came on stage, so he didn’t “dare” to choose, and rather said that they should these two should work it out (by fighting).

Fan question: “Who’s Ori’s (and your) favourite brother?”

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spotting Mark Hadlow in the audience…

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… and Jed Brophy backstage. – “Oh dear!”

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Although he eventually admitted that Ori rather tried to escape from Dori’s constant mothering, so Ori probably wanted to be more like the mischievous Nori.
During the entire convention I adored how the actors spoke about their roles as if they were real. One really can see how much work and thoughts went into things that never made it into the films but helped the actors to dive into their roles. All sorts of background information, like Nori, Ori, Dori having the same mother but different fathers, Dwalin having a woman back at home who had to be very patient especially with his temper, Bombur and Gloin being the only ones married (Bombur having a lot of kids), Dwalin having a soft core underneath his hard skin, Dwalin actually admiring Ori for his innocence and trueness of heart etc.
Which makes me having to mention two mini-spoilers: 1. we will see a glimpse of young Gimli in one of the next movies, 2. we will see Gloins wife.
Back to the convention. After Adam Brown there was Peter Hambleton’s panel.

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Which was very nice. But I had to leave earlier because of the photo session with Dean O’Gorman that had started then and I had to go there (not so much spontaneously – I planned to go there when I saw his panel the day before, before I learned about the group photo, and I wasn’t sure if I should do both but I decided to do so)
So I went there; sadly many other people had the same idea ;) so they rather rushed us, so I couldn’t even ask Dean to look a certain way, so he looks rather :-| Which is okay, considering I pointed my (LARP!)knife at him, but not as perfect as I would have hoped. Then there was a short break for me and after having lunch very quickly I went there again for the group photo session. Luckily I got there pretty early so I was number 10 or something after the Gold tickets, and we already heard the actors yelling and bawling, so that sounded as if they would pose in a certain way. And I had hoped that because from the moment I decided to do that, I wanted them to pose like dwarves meeting an elven warrior. So this time I was thoughtful enough to turn my back to the photographer and address the actors (who were – as all times – in a phantastic mood), and I asked them to pose that way. They agreed so cheerfully and when I turned around I heard someone, I think it was Graham ‘Dwalin’ McTavish, say with a grumpy voice, totally in character, “We do not like you!”
Which made me grin, so instead of looking grim on the photo (or fearful, since someone, I later saw on the photo it was Stephen Hunter, had laid their hands around my throat), I grinned. Which was perfectly fine of course. I just LOVE how all the actors looked menacing (naturally except Sylvester ‘Radagast’ McCoy whose role indeed should not have a grudge against elves). At the same time I was pretty anxious, if it would be a good photo (because I often look weird on posed photos).
Well, when I went out of the room I had a broad grin on my face and couldn’t stop for quite a while.
Then, at 14 o’clock began the autograph session. Since I already got all actors’ autographs I just wanted to get Jed Brophy’s because I had his signature on a LotR orc photo but not on a Nori photo. So I got two autographs from him, one for Alex, one for me.

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I realized only then that that went SO fast (not only mine, I was one of the first to enter, but for all people), that I could have easily gotten a few more for you CA guys, which I’m really really sorry about. I thought it would take much more time and that there would be long waiting lines (especially considering I didn’t know if I would get in there at my turn at the beginning of the session, or would have to wait later). Again, I’m really sorry about not offering the convention autograph service! If I had anticipated how quickly this would go, I would have, but I screwed this up. I hope those of you who would have wanted this opportunity, aren’t too mad with me now!

Afterwards I went to the next Weta panel – these guys are so likeable and I just love to listed to them telling stories from this great company. This time about the Weta publishing, ergo their books etc. It’s a shame that their next book of the Hobbit chronicles will only be released next week. I would have loved to buy it and get it signed (although I missed their signing sessions anyways because of way too funny parallel panels). But then that was good for my portemonnaie, since it had just “lost” 100 Euros ;) – no, I don’t regret that, especially not after seeing the photo later in the evening.
After that I saw some pretty desperate dwarves (love this idea!):

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And then there was another panel with the incredible Rrrrrradagast the Brrrrown. There aren’t simply any words to describe him properly, I guess one just have to witness that.

1. pic: He suggested that he’d have made a fine Pope…
2. pic: ..if he had gotten the phone call.

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And then the game show. Everybody who has been at a RingCon knows, how hilarious these are, but this one was a pretty new experience because on all RingCons (at least all that I attended), the Kiwis who were mostly well aware what awaited them, who had played it before, played these games (Craig Parker, Mark Ferguson, Lori Dungey, Thomas ‘ohooohoo!’ Robins). Now noone could know how it would go with the Con newbies – but after seeing Mark Hadlow and Jed Brophy in action in the panels, there was no doubt at all that “toss the dwarf” would be awesome. And it was. I really really hope the entire show will be on the Con DVD. Tears were running down my cheek half the time, because it was soooo hilarious. It’s even harder to describe because obviously there was a lot of situational humour, but for example: the first task (I think) was a Hobbit quiz and Dean and Stephen were competing (they had to use Mark and Jed as “buzzers”) and one of the first questions was “what’s the name of the Goblin King” which Stephen immediately and in all seriousness answered with “Thranduil”, which of course caused everybody to burst out laughing and when he realized what had actually been asked, he fell over laughing.

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Getting ready: Team Noribombur and Team “Hot dwarf and friend” (I think that was Jed’s suggestion)

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Stephen collapses after realizing that “Thranduil” is NOT the answer to “What’s the name of the Gobling King?”

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Dean and Mark win (this round)

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Another example of how hilarious it was, was the next task, when “True or false” when each of them had to tell a story and the other team had to figure out whether it was true or false. Mark Hadlow told how he threw up after drinking way too much on empty stomach during his first date ever (false, Jed and Stephen had said ‘true’), Jed Brophy, how he kissed a (male) Prime Minister of New Zealand once (false, Mark and Dean had guessed that). Stephen Hunter’s story I don’t recall but it was false and Mark and Dean had said ‘true’.

But the first and without a doubt best story came from Dean O’Gorman, who acted this so brilliantly. He described how he, when he was younger, got stuck in the letterbox – a box that was integrated in the outer wall of the house, where one could put letters or milk etc from the outside and one didn’t have to leave the house but could just take them from the inside. So it was big enough… well, not big enough for him. I don’t remember whether he had forgotten the key and because of that tried to reach through this box to reach the door handle, but he did exactly that. When he was half lying in thix box, he realized he didn’t reach the door handle, so he wanted to slide back, but his arms were in a weird angle in front of him, so he couldn’t pull them back, and there was nothing for him to push against, so he was stuck.
Then he imitated how he yelled for his (half deaf and half drunk neighbour, an older woman, who then came to his help but wasn’t strong enough to pull him out on his legs, so he described how she got a chair and just sat there, pondering, until she finally decided to call the fire brigade. When they arrived, the people living in the same house gathered because they thought there’d be a fire and of course all saw his feet hanging out of this box and thought that somebody had disposed of a body there :D After a while the firemen cut a hole in the wall to get him out of this situation.
He displayed this very very vividly and it was just too hilarious, and it actually did happen (I believe that’s what Jed and Stephen had guessed, saying that noone could make something like this up). This act was SO funny, that everybody was hanging in their chairs laughing themselves silly. I definitively laughed tears during half of this game show.

photos 1-4: Dean’s story.
1. Jed and Stephen trying to figure out if Dean’s telling the truth
2+3. Dean demonstrating this awkward situation
4. It’s all true (I love how both Marks are laughing themselves silly in the background)

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Mark’s tells his story, and the other team falls asleep – Dean’s trying to figure it out as well: true or false?

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It’s Stephen’s turn and not easy to figure out. The mind-meld didn’t help maybe because Jed interfered and distracted ;)

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The next task was to make faces at Mark Ferguson behind his back while he was asking a member of the other team questions, and he would suddenly turn and if they wouldn’t find an excuse for their grimace, they’d have to leave. Mark Hadlow was certainly the most successful, finding excuses three times before he on purpose overdid it.

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Then followed an improvisation play, where the actors should act a sad scene, and when the audience would laugh, they’d have to leave. Of course noone was really successful with that, the whole session just being too funny (although the scene was meant to be a funeral ;)), but every single try, however serious the actors did it, prompted the audience to laugh.

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I think the record was 10- almost 20 seconds when Mark Hadlow sang a sad song in a really strong, opera-like tone and the audience listened in awe.
In the next task Mark Ferguson told a story and the teams were to move his body accordingly. Which was also eye-watering funny.

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Again, it is so inconvenient not to be able to just show you a video… but I hope you can see, it was  unparalleledly hilarious. I would even say it was the best game show that I witnessed on all cons, but that may also be because they’re new faces. But still, I guess you get how much I enjoyed it.

The last panel this evening was Graham ‘Dwalin’ McTavish’s, who, much like Dwalin himself, seems like a soft-core kind of guy, totally modest and (as all other dwarf actors), completely humbled by this attention, admiration and feeling of a warm welcome they got on the con. At this point I have to say, with one very small exception (people asking for hugs in Sylvester McCoy’s first panel, although he genuinely seemed to enjoy it), all fans were extremely well-mannered and supportive and I think it made a very good impression on the actors for most of whom this convention was the first ever.
But yes, Graham was great. For example he old us, that Dwalin pretty much was a Scottish man and he told us a story about a man who was drinking in the pub (I think after being left by his girlfriend) and wept and poured his heart out in front of a Scot, and after 20 minutes of doing that (Graham used Mark Ferguson for demonstrating this scene)

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the Scot asked the man to show him his hand and after inspecting it shortly, he just said (Graham imitated this with his Dwalin voice, which is, btw. not his natural accent) “You’re weak!”
Graham was the one who told the most about this mysterious calendar – THE calendar – that the dwarves made as a gift for Peter Jackson’s birthday. I don’t know if I get all details together, but there was:
1. all dressed (more or less) only in their dwarven fat-suits
2. Adam Brown with rollerblades cleaning Peter’s original Chitty Chitty Bang Bang
3. Graham himself posing like on a famous poster of a man holding a baby, and the baby is Adam Brown (shrunk in the size of a baby)
4. Richard Armitage sitting on a chair (the chair is backwards, so one sees Richard’s front side and a certain body zone is covered by the back of the chair, and somehow Orcrist is also involved in this photo
5. Stephen Hunter wearing a bra – I think it was him who posed like Marilyn Monroe
6. William Kircher sitting in a padded cell and he holds his prosthetic dwarf face in front of his… well… yup, exactly what you imagine right now.
I think Mark Hadlow described his pic, but I can’t remember now. Maybe it’ll come back later, I’ll certainly add it then.
Well, that was the second day. And although I had planned otherwise, I left before the concert started, because I was somewhat tired and used this opportunity to write the report for Saturday.

Monday
This day began slowly and I practically had nothing to do until… yes, you can guess, the Weta panel about the Hobbit and LotR collectibles. Why can’t I win the lottery? Oh right, I don’t play… okay. They really do have many great things in their shop. One day… maybe. ;)

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After that I wanted to quickly get Daniel Falconers and Paul Tobin’s autographs in their book signing, but it began at the same time as Adam Brown’s and Jed Brophy’s panel and I stood there five minutes and the line didn’t move at all because they took their time to speak with everybody. Which was of course great but not if one was on position 20 and not wanted to miss the panel. So I left after these five minutes, and I’m thankful that I did.

Adam and Jed presenting their best dance move

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Adam is pretty sure, he’d enjoy acting a “bad guy”

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Jed slowly demonstrates a stunt he did before – andMark gives the signal to start the dwarf challenge (“who can list the names of the 13 dwarves faster?” – Jed won)

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A fan asked them to speak Khuzdul, Jed told Adam what to say and they said it together.

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Jed probes whether Adam doesn’t like green food either

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Brotherly love

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Adam and Jed were expectably hilarious together. Mark Hadlow, unexpectedly, didn’t sit in the audience – but of course he came onto the stage when the youngest brother got too carried away. For example when the mischievous Nori and the voluntarily-dragged-along Ori after a fan question started implying that Dori maybe wasn’t their brother after all, but, considering his hair-do, his slightly longer dress, and his mothering behaviour, might be in fact a female dwarf. Which they of course would not at all be attracted to.
He made his second appearance in that panel when a fan asked Jed and Adam to improvise a scene from Ori’s childhood. Which resulted in Dori dragging Ori along on his ear and (again) scolding Nori. As the panels before, it was simply brilliant.

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Dori is not amused about the suggestion that he could be a woman.

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“Be careful what you say!”

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Adam – or Ori? – is clearly enjoying the moment!

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A fan asked them to improvise a scene from Ori’s childhood…

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I really liked, how they spoke about Richard Armitage. In particular in answer to one question, that these two and Mark and Graham later got asked: if in this (our) world Richard would ask them to follow him on a dangerous “quest”, that they’d without any hesitation do that, because of his beautiful, admirable character, genuine kindness, honesty, trueness… it sounds like a total cliché just like this “cast = family” thing, but in both cases they really really conveyed the impression that they meant it with all their hearts.

Another tidbit Adam Brown gave us, became the… let’s say galloping – or rather trotting – gag of this last day, when he told us, that Graham McTavish was a man of many talents, who managed to do everything, except horse riding. That in that scene, where Bilbo came running after them and all gracefully stopped and partly turned their horses, Graham was wobbling and panicking on his pony. And he did imitate that… a lot throughout the day. :D

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Of course Graham – in the next panel (with Mark Hadlow) wasn’t amused about Adam giving away his secret – no, he wasn’t really angry, he just “acted” disappointed in this young dwarf who was supposedly admiring Dwalin and whom he had taken under his wings, and who now stabbed a knife in his back. I think it was in this moment, when Adam dared to come onto the stage again to imitate Graham riding a horse, again. A bit later, Jed and Adam, now sitting in the audience, actually went to the microphones, and I think (not quite sure about this though), they once more rubbed it in a bit deeper.

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Another absolutely great panel, which (like the first panel of Graham) ended with him presenting his rubber arm, I mean Dwalin’s obviously… this time he wasn’t alone on the stage, so naturally Mark Hadlow had his fun with that arm… as you can see in the last pic.

The last panel was with John Callen and Peter Hambleton, which I – almost forgot to mention – had met in the morning at the way to the hotel. They were going for a walk on a sunny morning, so I didn’t actually stop, but simply smiled and greeted them. Funny enough one of them said “good morning” and one “Guten Tag”.
Back to the panel: It was, again, interesting. We learned though that while they actually enjoy the message that lies beneath Gimli’s and Legolas’ developing friendship in LotR, Gloin and Oin don’t approve at all of this relationship unheard of! Btw., Oin helped Gloin’s wife deliver and he thinks that this friendship of his nephew with that elf is the result of a too lax parenting. Gloin thinks himself to be a good dad though.

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John and Peter checking Mark Ferguson’s notes while he answers a question addressed to him

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Then the hall filled, the Closing Ceremony lying ahead.
There was a nice small choreography the members of a stunt & dancing workshop had studied, which involved an Azog (which looked much more realistic than in the film *ahem*) and a funny plot. Then of course the lottery and the audience award, which also were significantly shorter than on the RingCon, but that’s no surprise, since the Con was much smaller. And I have to say, I enjoyed this fact very much.

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Now to the best part of the evening. There was a thundering applause for the actors – Graham’s appearance on stage was accompanied by all the other dwarves, who were already on stage, imitating his riding… weakness –, an applause well earned, because they’re incredibly sweet, down to earth, humble guys. All of them seemed to genuinely have enjoyed their (in many cases) first convention very much and said they’d love to be back. I really hope so, although I guess they’re gonna get incredibly expensive with time. But maybe they’d grant the FedCon organization an affordable price, after enjoying this weekend so much. I really hope so. Although it will be very very VERY hard to top this Con with this feeling of familiarity.

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The second one of the next row is actually one of my favourite photos :)

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And then… after Mark Ferguson had almost rudely interrupted two questions in earlier panels if they could sing one of the dwarf songs, and after Peter Hambleton almost let it slip (he started “we’ll” [complete: ‘sing for you in a bit’] … before being elegantly cut off somehow by Mark Ferguson), the moment finally came. The audience sure went crazy when two microphone tripods were brought on the stage, because everybody anticipated the “surprise” Mark then announced.

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It was so stunning… similarly touching as Billy Boyd singing on the last RingCon, although Richard Armitage’s voice definitely should have been there…. something was missing, but I really really do not complain, because it was still so beautifully sung and a truly magical moment, with the lights dimmed and everything. After they finished, there was silence for one, two seconds and then thundering applause, standing ovations (of course!) and the applause and cheering didn’t end… went on while all actors waved goodbye, left the stage, came back, waved and bowed again and Mark Ferguson wasn’t even able to made himself heard, and it only died down when he left as well.

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So yes, this was an absolutely amazing experience, a by all means wonderful convention. The best I have been on and I daresay the best convention ever.
Two small downsides: 1. it’s over. 2. if I should visit another Con, I’ll probably be disappointed. But I won’t worry about this now, but rather forever cherish this beautiful experience.

Here are all photos again in a slideshow:

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6 Comments

Posted by on April 2, 2013 in Movies, The Hobbit

 

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Shane Boulton

28.01.13 – 15.03.13

Shane Boulton (Rivendell Elf, extra / Hobbit)

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1/1 photos signed, answered my questionnaire

I decided to also collect autographs of a few extras of the Hobbit movies, as I did when I mainly collected LotR autographs. Shane was the first and (so far) only extra I wrote to and also sent a questionnaire, and I’m very pleased that he responded and answered my questions. I especially love the answer to the last question :D

He also added a nice note telling me that he also was an elf in the Mirkwood army, a goblin, a body double for Lindir and a stand-in for Orlando Bloom (for one day). Sounds like fun!

I added the full scans to the Hobbit section (LotR -> Hobbit)

 

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Barry Humphries

16.01.13 – 25.02.13

Barry Humphries (Great Goblin / The Hobbit)

Barry Humphries

1/1 photo signed and personalized

Wow, I didn’t think I’d get this one back, considering that he was at this venue only for a few days and left shortly after my letter must have arrived. I guess it helped in that case, that I didn’t provide a SASE but an IRC – so that he could take the request with him to the UK and send it from there. The funny thing is, that there was no stamp at all on the return envelope. He just didn’t use the IRC but sent off the return envelope with the autograph without any stamp. So it’s my guess that he did that from the UK, but I can’t be sure.However, this makes a great addition to my Hobbit collection, and considering how hard his autograph seems to get, I’m extra happy about this. I have to admit, when I watched the Hobbit for the first time, the Great Goblin surprised me, and not in a positive way. But not negative either, just… surprising. I didn’t expect him to have humour, to be somewhat intelligent and to start singing :D Watching the movie for a second time, I began to enjoy this unexpectedly un-goblinish goblin role. He won’t be my favourite role in that movie (although he had a better presence on screen than Azog), but that’s acceptable.

Added the full scan to the Hobbit page (LotR -> Hobbit).

 

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Sir Christopher Lee

11.02.13 – 16.02.13

Sir Christopher Lee (Saruman / LotR & Hobbit)

Christopher Lee

1/1 photo signed and personalized

And now the officially best autograph of the week and probably the month, and probably among the top 3 for 2013! I am sooooooooooooooooo stunned about this autograph. I mean, he really does not sign very often, and I was so disappointed when I read that the premiere of Night Train to Lisbon would be during this week. Since I had a meeting at work today I wasn’t able to take a day (or a few days) off during the week. Good for me, I guess, after this not entirely nice last weekend at the Berlinale. So I decided to write to him – thank you SO much Nicole for dropping me the clue where he would be staying. I almost forgot it (not that I wanted to write, but that the letter should arrive til Tuesday!) until I was at work on Monday. So I had to write and put in the letter after work. So I got home, thinking that the mailbox would be cleared at 17.15 o’clock… Wrote my letter and at 16.55 I drove to the mail box (on the bike, wo the nearest mail box just a few hundred meters – for the record, without scarf and gloves) – only to read that it had been emptied at 16.15. So I went to the next mail box – 16.30 – and to the next 16.30 as well… To make it shorter, I went 3 1/2  kilometres (7 in total, without helmet and scarf and gloves, because I had thought that I’d just go round the corner) and it was pretty freezing.

I really really hoped that I’d get his autograph, but what were the chances…! I’m sooooo happy now! I mean, this acting legend signed my photo, even personalized!!! Woooooooooooohoooo!!! :) He’s soooo awesome in LotR and the Hobbit, and Star Wars, and I guess I have to see a few other of his movies now! :)

I so love his voice, and I don’t think I know any actor with a similarly strong voice. Ian McKellan is good, and there are some younger actors whose voices I adore and love and totally have a crush on (for the record: Benedict Cumberbatch, Richard Armitage, Zachary Quinto – alphabetical order), but such a strong voice? No, I don’t think I could come up with another actor. That’s why one of my favourite scenes of LotR is when Saruman brings down the Caradhras onto the Fellowship and he’s shouting these fine quenya words into the air. Wonderful! I wish he’d get such an ensnaring scene in the Hobbit too. Aren’t we supposed to see the White Council in action? Like in, defeating the necromancer? (hell yeah. Christopher Lee and Benedict Cumberbatch shouting at each other, that would be nice *lol*)

Anyways. I’m soooooooo excited about this autograph! *still dancing*

Added the full scan to the LotR section.

 

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William Kircher

27.11.12 – 15.02.13

William Kircher (Bifur & Tom / The Hobbit)

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2/2 photos signed + added 3 more signed photos!

Wow! I mean, this is a long expected and hoped for success, but it’s wow, because I “only” send my usual two photos and got back 5 and a short and nice note! He added one of Bifur close-ups, the pic of himself, and the one of him as troll Tom. Which I find totally amusing. Now I at least know who of the trolls is who (or at least, that the other two aren’t Tom :D.

He didn’t have such a big role in the first movie, but of course he’s one of THE dwarves, and I hope that we get to know the others a bit better in the next movies.

Still smiling about this very nice note and his kindness to add more pics!

Added the full scans to the Hobbit section

 

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Jeffrey Thomas

15.01.13 – 01.02.13

Jeffrey Thomas (Thror / Hobbit)

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2/2 photos signed, both personalized (with a note on one of the backsides), and he added a promo card for a play of his, also signed and personalized

Today I got such a lovely success, and very quick too. He was only on screen in the Hobbit for a few seconds, or all in all a minute, but he looked great as Thror, the great dwarf king of Erebor. I’m curious if we’ll get to see him in another flashback, maybe in the third movie when… well when a certain dwarf prince meets his fate.
This is certainly a better start of the month than for the last one.

Added the full scans to the Hobbit page (LotR -> Hobbit)

 

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Lee Pace

04.12.12 – 19.01.13

Lee Pace (Thranduil / The Hobbit & Garrett / Breaking Dawn)

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2/2 photos signed, one of them personalized

Wooooooohoooo!! When I saw this envelope stamped from New York I hoped, really hoped that it would be this autograph (because I don’t recall many other letters I sent to NY in the last months), but at the same time I didn’t dare to hope. So I ripped open the envelope very nervously, and then danced for joy. Lee Pace somehow already made it to my urgent “must have” list even before I saw him in any movie, because – well, because he would be Thranduil in the Hobbit, and the first photo of him as the elven king is pretty amazing in my opinion (I know others think the crown is ridiculous, but I like it ;)). So I already wrote him via the Hobbit set in June 2011, without success. Then in early November via the same play I got this answer now. But that was pretty early and also there was this big storm exactly in NY just a few days before, so I imagine the letter could have been lost. And I didn’t want to risk missing this opportunity, so I wrote him again a week before the Hobbit aired – at least by then I had already seen Breaking Dawn and his character was my favourite, so one more reason to write him. Of course then I also loved his short appearance as Thranduil and I really can’t wait to see more of him in the next movie!

Since the Hobbit cast’s autographs are more or less my main objective to obtain, Lee Pace shot up in my most wanted list for 2013, so after a very disappointing beginning of January, concerning autographs, this now is certainly one the best compensations possible.

I added one full scan to the Hobbit page (LotR -> Hobbit) and one to the Twilight page (Other Movies -> Twilight)

 

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Dean O’Gorman

08.08.11 – 17.01.13

Dean O’Gorman (Fili / The Hobbit)

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2/2 signed, one of them personalized

Hell yeah! Dean O’Gorman proved to be a difficult case til now, but when a friend got his autograph yesterday I hoped that he’d answer my letter as well, although I had already sent it over 1 1/3 years ago. I’m very happy when I got his autograph now. Although I’ll probably send another letter anyways because I already printed out a few newer photos a few weeks ago, which I’d love to have signed. But for now I’m more than glad to have another Hobbit dwarf in my collection – now I’m only lacking William Kircher and Jed Brophy (though I already have the latter on an LotR orc pic, but of course I wanna have his signature on a dwarf photo as well!)

As for Dean O’Gorman / Fili: I love him in the first Hobbit movie. I have two lists of favourite dwarves, one for the Top 3 characters, and one for the “hotness factor”. Fili makes #3 on the latter (after Thorin and Kili ;)). And I guess he’d make #4 or #5 on the character list, but Bofur and Balin were too awesome so they are #2 and #3. Thorin leads on both lists, obviously XD But 3 and 4 respectively of 13 dwarves is pretty good, isn’t it ;) Can’t wait to see him (and the other dwarves) in the second movie. And in the first movie on BluRay, for that matter *waits impatiently*

Added the full scans to the Hobbit page (Lord of the Rings -> Hobbit)

 

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Stephen Hunter

29.08.11 – 28.09.12

Stephen Hunter (Bombur / The Hobbit)

2/2 photos signed, and a short, kind letter

Aaaand the other dwarf autograph; this one took quite a while. What you can tell from the trailers, it looks like a few of Bombur’s scenes will be totally hilarious. My mental cinema vividly shows very horrified elves who fear for their furniture and their food supplies. Can’t wait to see him in Imladris (and of course in general)! :D

Full scans added to the Hobbit section (Lord of the Rings -> Hobbit).

 

 

 

 
 

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Peter Hambleton

30.01.12 – 28.09.12

Peter Hambleton (Gloin / The Hobbit)

2/2 photos signed, one personalized

Hurraaay! Got a double dosis of dwarf autographs yesterday :D I can’t wait to see Gloin on the screen, and I’m very curious if his character is similar to Gimli’s. I think it’s already fascinating how similar they look.

Btw, did you see the new Hobbit trailer? <3 Can’t wait for the movie! :)

Full scan added to the Hobbit section (Lord of the Rings -> Hobbit).

 

 

 

 

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