This time I really don’t have a lot to tell, since somehow I missed most panels. I had a gold ticket for the first time and ran from photo session to photo session. Plus, I wore an elaborate costume this time and also participated in the costume contest, so wandering about and getting photos taken and enjoying the attention was a priority for me this time 😉
That doesn’t mean that I didn’t take any photos, so are a few photos from Friday:
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.
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.
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.
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).
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).
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!
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.
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.
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.
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?”
spotting Mark Hadlow in the audience…
… and Jed Brophy backstage. – “Oh dear!”
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.
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.
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!):
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.
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.
Stephen collapses after realizing that “Thranduil” is NOT the answer to “What’s the name of the Gobling King?”
Dean and Mark win (this round)
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 😀 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)
Mark’s tells his story, and the other team falls asleep – Dean’s trying to figure it out as well: true or false?
It’s Stephen’s turn and not easy to figure out. The mind-meld didn’t help maybe because Jed interfered and distracted 😉
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.
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.
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.
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)
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.
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. 😉
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
Adam is pretty sure, he’d enjoy acting a “bad guy”
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)
A fan asked them to speak Khuzdul, Jed told Adam what to say and they said it together.
Jed probes whether Adam doesn’t like green food either
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.
Dori is not amused about the suggestion that he could be a woman.
“Be careful what you say!”
Adam – or Ori? – is clearly enjoying the moment!
A fan asked them to improvise a scene from Ori’s childhood…
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. 😀
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.
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.
John and Peter checking Mark Ferguson’s notes while he answers a question addressed to him
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.
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.
The second one of the next row is actually one of my favourite photos 🙂
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.
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.
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:
Okay, so this is gonna be a looong post, and it’s mainly not about getting autographs – a reason may be that I didn’t plan to get any autographs. In the end, I got one, but that was a spontaneous thing. And I only did one photo session, this post is more like “my RingCon diary” (but I’ll hide my one autograph in this post as a pretence :D)
On my way, in the train, shortly before Cologne, I got a serious RingCon fever… I guess it was connected to this train route, because when I studied in Trier, I went by this railroad line many many times, and there are so many memories that came back (gosh, I’m sounding so old now and as if it had been decades *lol*)… It was kinda nice to think back to my first RingCon and that this RC will always be connected to one song (Sleeping Sun from Nightwish) because on the way back from RC04 I listened this song over and over and over again, and that it is funny, because another unforgettable moment, driving over the road of Amalfi in Italy was also connected to another song of Nightwish… but that would lead too far away now 😀 So I had this thrill of anticipation before I got there. The bus drive from the train station to my hotel and then from my hotel to the Maritim hotel went pretty smoothly, so I arrived there ~1300 hours.
When I wanted to put my things at the cloakroom and was just kneeling down to prepare what I was gonna take with me and what wanted to leave at the cloakroom, I suddenly heard a voice I knew – not talking to me, obviously, but making me like freeze and look up… Daniel Gillies was getting a tour through the hotel and there just a meter away) Gosh, he’s SO gorgeous! Forgive me if I’m gonna repeat myself in that matter, and I probably – definitely – will.
Well, I had “ambitious” plans for the entire RC, and I’m gonna write a short staccato-like list of how many items on my agenda I got to see and how many panels I missed: 1. missed Thomas Robins & Lori Dungey – 2. got: (a glimpse of ) Natalia Tena & Joe Dempsie – 3. missed: Craig Parker – 4. missed (what I planned for the same time) History of Middleearth – 5. missed: Billy Boyd (I don’t know exactly what I did in that time, probably Starkid) – 6. got: Starkid autograph session (which was kind of an unexpected thing to happen, and as such NOT on my list, so it actually doesn’t count)
– 7. got: Starkid panel, 8. – got: a presentation of photos “with Gandalf through New Zealand”, which I thought was so boring that I left after 5 minutes. – 9. got Sean Astin’s panel.
So you see, I wasn’t very successful in following my plans 😀
Now… Starkid are total fun on stage (the time of the panel had changed at the last minute, so to speak, only in the last version of the time table, because before it was partially at the same time as the Opening Ceremony, which would have been terrible!).
What I missed in the Opening Ceremony was the RingCon theme… and my first disappointment, or actually the second one this day, but the first I write here: Haven’t there always been standing ovations at least for the bigger actors, or was that always only on the Closing Ceremony?
Also I was a bit (very!!!) disappointed by the medieval/fantasy market. What happened to this big vending hall with dozens of vendors, with food and everything? L Now it’s only a small market with no food things and just a hand ful of dealers (maybe a few more but compared to how it was a few years ago, it felt like maybe 5 dealers). Okay, one good thing coming out of this: I didn’t buy a single item, which was great for my poor portemonnaie *lol* But still, I would have preferred the big market etc. When did it disappear?
And the third thing: Was a bit disappointed by Natalia Tena… after all these great opinions that I read about her last year (?) I expected more… I mean, she may have been funny but it’s not my kind of humor.
As for the actors: Well I have to admit, I was only interested in one in particular, sexy Daniel Gillies… I don’t know Game of Thrones, which was not that unfortunate because it gave me the opportunity to hear some quite interesting presentations/lectures, which I never did during RCs 2004-06.
And of course, then I met Dani!! *yay* who was kind enough to let me change my clothes in her bathroom in the evening (and Saturday morning and evening and Sunday morning).
One thing, however, hasn’t changed, regarding RC, but that’s my personal fault: I planned to go to the party and stay there longer *every* time… but I just don’t get around to do this. On Friday I was too tired and on Saturday I wasn’t that tired but I realized (again) that I just don’t get excited by parties at all, so went to bed “early” both evenings.
I woke up very early, having a feeling of extreme nausea, and I realized that it wasn’t exactly a bright idea to not eat anything the entire Friday (ate one bretzel on the train in the morning and that was it for the rest of the day… and drank maybe 0,7 liters the whole day). So Saturday morning I ate the other bretzel at 6:30 (which is normally absolutely not the time when I can eat anything) but the feeling only went away after I went to Rewe to buy something (bought enough for the next days as well).
So I missed the first planned thing, a lecture about Nibelorcs, but that wasn’t THAT urgent – what was more urgent (and what I did NOT miss) was the panel of gorgeous Mr. Gillies („Fucker“ – as Nina Dobrev called him in an email *lol*/“sexy Mark“ – fan suggestion, as we already have a Mini-Mark (Lori Dungey), a Maxi-Mark (the original, so to say, Mark Ferguson))
After that I hadn’t planned anything between 11 and 12, so I went to get in line for the photoops with sexy Mr. Gorgeous… uhm… ô.Ô. Well. It was hot – in this case, not his fault but the fault of bad ventilation – (thankfully eventually someone got the idea to open the windows), but it was worth it. Although it all went down really quickly, once the session started. It was like „Three, two, one, now – next! Three two one….“ like every ten seconds. I’d have loved to get a tighter hug *lol* but I understand that there wasn’t much more time, although the waiting line was vanishing quickly and there must have been at least half an hour left. Oh well… I still like the photo (isn’t he gorgeous?! :D) although I have a kinda weird look. Oh, and Dani: no, I wasn’t even very nervous when I got there, it happened way too quick to get nervous 😀
Btw., in this line I finally saw (not yet met) Romie – but our paths crossed later and it was so nice talking to you! 🙂 Too bad we didn’t think about doing a group photo of us three in time. I thought about it at the beginning of the talent show but my phone didn’t get any reception at all at this time, so I waited too long, and when I finally sent Dani the short message it was too late. Maybe next time! 🙂
Weeeelll, then the Kiwi panel. God, these guys are awesome. I can understand the people who say it gets boring to always invite the same faces, but the Kiwi connection is so mindblowingly funny… I laughed so hard at their panel, I had tears in my eyes half the time.
And then the talent show – wasn’t thaaaat convincing but what I really liked was the start, when the Starkid Street Team Germany „presented“ the first minutes of the Very Potter Musical, and one third of the RingConnies in the hall were singing along.
Oh, and then, during the break when the jury was deciding about the winners of the talent show, one of the jury members performed something while his girlfriend (also in the jury) had been held back outside, and then slowly everybody realized that he was gonna propose to her. It was SO funny and SO romantic… and when he finally asked her to marry him and she said yes, the whole hall gave their standing ovations… and everybody was totally amazed when Sean Astin brought the ring. Really touching! 🙂
I improved my time managing skills and got everything I planned, except the first lecture, which I missed because I arrived at 9am, but on the door there was a note that the expert was gonna be there half an hour late due to car problems. So I used the time to get into my costume (thanks to Dani and her husband again for letting me use their bathroom, like the other three times) and when I got back (half an hour later) the door was locked… so I don’t know why and where, but the lecture apparently did take place. Oh well… So next thing on my list was a presentation of photos of New Zealand from places where LotR had been filmed – I got a travel bug!!
After that I had a small break from any planned things, and when I strolled by the Sea Shepherd table, I saw someone familiar there: Natalia Tena. She was just putting on a Sea Shepherd shirt. I decided to stalk… ehem, I mean wait there a bit to see what was happening… and then one by one the entire GoT crew came to this table and they all put on the these shirts and posed for photos.
I thought that was very nice to support such a group… that reminded me that I wanted to see “The Cove”. *writes it on her “must watch” list alongside “Hunt for Gollum”, “Born of Hope” and the movie D.G. directed.)
Then the panel about Love, sex and marriage among the Elves of Tolkien, which was an interesting topic *lol*, but I had to leave after half an hour because then was the second panel of Daniel Gillies. He was in the smaller room with a stage, not the main one… and I had thought about it before I went to bed on Saturday, and when there weren’t as many people, I decided to go ahead and ask something.
I’m really shy, so I’m glad that the hall wasn’t entirely full and that the panel was in the smaller room. So I took my chance when he came in and sat there and nobody went to the microphone to ask something and before the silence could become awkward, I went for it thinking “whatthehell!” – or actually I stood up before I could really think about it, but I guess that was a good idea. So I asked my question (what kind of role he really really would love to act) and – I have not the slightest idea what he answered.
No, really, I don’t remember even a tiny bit, because he was looking at me the whole time while he answered and my mind just went totally blank… he’s soooooo – yes I know you know by now that I adore him. But, not only his look (*melts*) but also his down-to-earth opinion. He emphazised a few times that he doesn’t think that actors to be the real popstars who should be admired, but regular people, like doctors, nurses, teachers, policemen, people who make the systems in our houses work etc. and that he feels that he doesn’t deserve the frantic attention that he gets, etc… and that he thinks that guys become sexy by being and behaving kind-hearted.
Okay, he’s a good actor, so in theory he may have been acting and just saying something like this, but I totally believe him, he seems a really down-to-earth, thoughtful guy with a great personality. (Why the hell are those men always taken? :D)
Okay, but I don’t wanna bore you anymore with my obvious love for D.G., so then we come to the great finale (or almost… but it was freaking amazing): The panel of Billy Boyd and Sean Astin, who are great. Both read a few lines from the LotR book – to hear Sean’s voice, so, Samwise Gamgee reading lines from the “End of all things” scene, was pure beauty… and then (or before, I don’t recall), even better:
They both sat on a prop, a throne in the corner of the stage, with a beautiful light (the photo doesn’t do justice to this scenery), and one RingConnie asked Billy to sing his song from Return of the King. And he answered that he gets asked that every time he does a convention, and every time he says no… but with Sam sitting next to him he would. And then he actually sung it. I got goosebumps, there was dead *dead* silence until he ended, and then loud applause erupted and didn’t end very soon… that was such a great, great, maybe THE greatest RingCon moment! And I’m SO glad I was there to hear it.
Then, the closing ceremony was nice, although, again, I wondered, once again, when people on RC stopped to do standing ovations at least for the last actors called on stage. I expected that starting with Billy Boyd and then of course Sean Astin (they were the last two), but hmm… it was a bit disappointing that the standing ovation only started when the actors were almost about to leave the stage again.
All in all, the weekend was nice. It was great to meet Dani and Romie, great to see Mr. Gorgeous, great to witness the proposal and the Kiwi panel on Saturday and Pippin’s song (and Billy and Sean reading LotR)… but I can’t say I’m that thrilled – or maybe I’m just disappointed right now that it is over. There were a few things that disappointed me, compared with (my memory of) the earlier RingCons. I guess I’m not as easy to impress as I was 8-6 years ago, and that in my memory of these earlier RCs the not so good things faded away and only the perfect RingCon stayed in my mind (darn, I’m glad this post is almost finished, I write RincGon every time *lol*).
So it’s definitely gonna depend on the actors who’ll be invited wheather I’m gonna be there at RC 2013 – especially since I already booked my ticket for the new HobbitCon in March/April next year AND if everything goes as I hope, I’m gonna *have* to go to FedCon as well. So I’ll wait and see who’s gonna be announced for RC before I decide if I’m gonna go there again. But it was good to have been back at least once again. 🙂