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:
I’m afraid this time there won’t be a long report this time. My camera crashed right before the first panel on Sunday morning. Actually I think it crashed during the game show on Saturday evening, because at the end the camera suddenly went black; I switched battery when I got back to the hotel, and I managed to switch it on again. I thought everything was okay, and I made a test photo Sunday morning at the con, and it worked, so, no problem… until I switched it on again at the first panel… and it didn’t work.
I think it’s kind of a mechanical error. So, the camera is broken and it was just Sunday morning. The Con weekend wasn’t entirely ruined though, since one live-saving angel, I meant helper, let me borrow her camera on Monday.
Long story short, On Saturday evening I thought I’d rather do it the next day, then my camera crashed and I was too annoyed and got a cold and the day was ruined anyway, and on Monday I had fever and a hellish headache… and now I’m back to my everyday life, so no long report, I’m sorry.
But I have a few photos to share (The photos within the text are just a little teaser… at the bottom of this post are many more) and of course, all in all it was a terrific convention, the HobbitCon still is the best convention out there! And the best thing: There will be a HobbitCon 4! Hell yeah!!
There were so many hilarious and great moments… just to mention some stuff:
– the Sylvester McCoy’s panels, basically one big hilarious, crazy moment! This guy is just incredible. Where does he get the energy from? 😀
- he (still) hates Sebastian who outshone him in that scene where he was “alone with a stuffed animal, thanks to the wizards of WETA”
- hedgehogs may be the only animals, the vegetarian Radagast would roast 😉
- answering the question, who his favourite doctor is: “me”
- what would it be like if Radagast and the Doctor met? Scary and weird, meeting himself.
– John Bell
- Cute kid! I think he really enjoyed the attention and was one entertaining guest I’d like to see again next year!
- demonstrating how Richard Armitage “dances like a dad”.
- in general his many funny faces… hence the many pictures of him (also because I took so many photos of the others on the last two cons)
– Jeffrey Thomas
- Very cool. Although I’m afraid I missed the panel with him and John Bell on Sunday because I was frantically trying to fix my camera -.- I’d love to see him again, too.
- answering a question to what music the dwarves would listen: Thror was a massive ABBA-fan from a very young age.
– Mark Ferguson
- with his “moustache of authority”
– the 9/13 dwarves
- I think I can only repeat what I wrote about the first and second HobbitCon. They really are family and that familiarity extends to the fans to some degree. Such a relaxed and fun bunch of people. It’s a pleasure to watch them interact. Plus…
- Adam Brown literally has made the most incredible experiences. His casting story for that commercial had everybody in the main hall laughing till we cried. Almost as good as his “left testicle” story last year. Oh, and the mailbox story from Dean O’Gorman at the first HC. I’m saying almost… not quite. But it was hilarious! Let’s see if I remember all: Before shooting the Hobbit he had never gone to a gymn, but went to a casting for some commercial, that required him to run on a treadmill. So he did, assuring the casting director that he knew how to run on that machine. When the man said “go”, he just started running – and ran against the handle, because obviously he should have switched it on first. Anyway, then he ran and ran as fast as he could, with a riding helmet on his head. Only to get told, “well that wasn’t very fast”. When he left, with the riding helmet still on (which was needed for the casting/commercial), he was so exhausted that he fainted outside, and only woke up two hours later, getting called by the casting guys that they needed the riding helmet.
- Mark Hadlow shaving Mark Ferguson’s “Pornobalken” (the moustache he had due to a promise to his son, to be seen with a moustache in a very public place) on stage during an impromptu scene they played.
- (and Adam Brown googling on his phone what a “Pornobalken” is… or rather its translation by Mark Ferguson, porno bar. You can imagine his face! :D)
- Adam Brown about Jed Brophy: “I sometimes think Jed is actually CGI“
- Graham McTavish in a kilt… wow. 😀
- Mark Hadlow singing “Nessun Dorma”!
- Grahaim McTavish about the ending: If Dwalin could have changed it, he would have died instead of Thorin, Kili and Fili. Didn’t surprise me at all.
– Luke Evans
- Wowwowwow! What a revelation. This man is so down-to-earth, funny, kind, and boy this man can sing! I was seriously smitten after the first day, and he just kept singing every request (I think five times?) I mean, I really liked his voice before, but I had no idea whatsoever that he was such a talented singer. I will most definitely watch Beauty and the Beast when it comes out! But he absolutely should record an album. Can somebody please start a petition? 😉 (just a little treat: https://www.facebook.com/video.php?v=886176424766689… gives me goosebumbs just listening to that again. I think I was done for after he sang “Music of the night” from Phantom of the Opera).
- about meeting Lee Pace in New York by chance: Lee Pace said: “Bard”. Luke said “Thranduil”. And they walked on by.
- about his new fame: One time he stranded in a small Italian village at 3 a.m. in the night, and an Italian boy whispered to his friend: “Bardo!”
- Luke and John acting the bell tower scene with a dragon in the audience (*deep sigh* and I didn’t have a camera…)
– Costume contest
- wowwowwow! There were many many great costumes, but most impressive were, in my opinion, the costumes that won. Thror, Thrain and Thorin as a group, and Hitzi’s Thorin solo. These armors were truly stunning! I’m really sad that I didn’t have a camera on that day!
- Fili -> “I just can’t wait to be king”! That was hilarious!
Maybe I’ll remember more tidbits later. The photos above are just a little teaser… here are many more:
Oh my god, it’s time again! HobbitCon II! The first one was one of the best weekends I’ve ever had so far, and as soon as they announced (unexpectedly) a second HobbitCon I knew I had to go there. So I lay on lookout for two weeks when it was clear that the ticket shop could open any day, and I managed to get my ticket approximately 15 minutes after the shop opened. I didn’t expect to do better (or similarly good) than/as my ticket number 10 last year, but number 5 of the Silver tickets is pretty awesome. My expectations were astronomically high after I had such a blast last year, but this Con has been equally awesome – I really don’t know how they do it, but it’s really really special.
It’s a pity that both Aidan Turner and James Nesbitt couldn’t make it (the latter being announced at first but then cancelled), but with William Kircher and Ken Stott there were still two more dwarves than last year. Plus, one very amazing icing on the cake: Sir Richard Taylor, founder and head of Weta Workshop!
What a day! As I said, my expectations were astronomical and I was partly worried to be disappointed, because: How could this be as awesome as this wonderful convention last year?
I think I’ll mainly let images speak this time [edit after writing the report: yeah… right…], since everything is a bit blurry and I can’t really remember details of what the panels were about (lol) because there were quite a lot of similar questions as last year – understandably, but that makes it hard to recall the differences 😉
First panel: Mark Hadlow (who was, just like last year, incredible. Such a funny and a bit crazy guy!) and Stephen Hunter.
At some point Mark, acting angry or sulky, went to one of the decoration figures in the background – I guess they’re supposed to be elves – to pout/complain to „her“ and ended up „kissing“ her.
Mark showing the audience how Graham McTavish uses to bully him (the hand up there being Grahams face, obviously ;))
A flash of anger, and Stephen helping him to calm down.
Second panel: Sir Richard Taylor. It was such an honour to finally have him on a LotR/HobbitCon! I really liked that some people (I joined in) gave him standing ovations when he came on stage. He’s really a legend and an inspiration for me.
And a down-to-earth guy who told quite a bit about the history of WETA (for example how he and his wife started out sculpting in margarine… yes, the stuff we put on our bread), and he said some very inspiring stuff, for example, how passion counts more than talent, and that one should never ever give up.
Jed found the person whom Richard transformed into an orc earlier this day.
Third panel: William Kircher, John Callen and Peter Hambleton. I had no idea William Kircher was such a funny person – and that he actually still remembered quite a few Khuzdul sentences. Of course Bifur only speaks Khuzdul, but still, I reckon it’s quite a difficult language to remember after a while (although I still remember Gimli’s curse towards Haldir – no, I can’t write it, I just know how to say it, so I guess it’s possible ;))
John Callen presenting his hearing aid (and his face)
Fourth panel: Adam Brown and Dean O’Gorman (the only one who’s changed a bit, physically, with longer hair than last year). I love to capture their expressions, so this was a great panel to take photos 😉
Adam and Dean got asked how Ori and Fili would propose to their girlfriends and they acted that scene (with Adam beating around the bush shyly for a minute and then suddenly storming up to Dean and „kissing“ him wildly. I’m afraid I didn’t see that coming and my camera didn’t focus fast enough, I only have „aftermath“ photos, this being the first:
Adam and Dean demonstrating their awkwardest hugs, first the one with each other when they first met, then Dean’s with Peter Jackson.
Adam told us how he let out a high pitched scream when he got (accidentally) startled by Orlando Bloom.
Also, he is terribly afraid of fish (and the fish in the Laketown scene were all real, old, stinking fish), and when he did the scene, he was supposed to lift his hand as soon as it was done to show that everything was okay, and Andy Serkis and the crew were really worried when he didn’t react to their calling out to him (simply because he wasn’t able to move a bit)
Dean had to recount his letterbox story (if you don’t know the story, see here).
After that I, for some reason, assumed that I could take a short break before the Opening Ceremony, and totally forgot about the photo sessions. I only realised that later on before the games show, when someone in the row before me had a photo of Ken Stott – whom I, btw. also had totally forgotten… when the dwarves from last year were all standing on the stage during the Opening Ceremony, and Mark Ferguson announced another dwarf, I was seriously puzzled, who that could be. How could I forget my third/second favourite dwarf!? 😀 However, at this point, I was terribly afraid that I missed my only chance to get a photo with Ken and with Richard Taylor… but thankfully I discovered that they would to photo sessions on Sunday also. Phew!
The Opening Ceremony was a great event, as every year, and I liked how much the audience cheered for Richard Taylor (and Ken Stott for whom it was the first convention ever).
The Blunt the Knives song was played and the dwarves sang along and, as you can see, Dean and Jed „danced“ along.
The Game show was – surprisingly – on the first day. It was, just as last year, so much fun!
After Jed and Mark, Dean was announced to come on stage but instead Stephen came out, very active and cheerful, obviously imitating Dean, and afterwards Dean came on stage as Stephen.
I forgot the name of Jed + Mark’s team. Here’s Stephen + Dean (=Filbom(b))
First round: the well known buzzer game
Jed after unsuccessfully trying to cheat (question: how old was Bilbo when he went out on that unexpected journey. Someone in the audience obviously signalled him 55, and in this photo he’s just explaining the difference between five fingers and two)
Next game: both teams are one person and have to say their phrases one word each. Jed and Mark began having an entire dialogue before Mark Ferguson managed to chime in and stop them (because the other team was supposed to play the other part: one person wants to take the other on a date… to Mordor :D).
Third game: they were to audition, each of them posing as an animal. Jed Brophy (1) as an ostrich (which kept putting his head into – or symbolically on – the ground) and Mark Hadlow (2) a kangaroo (which kept slapping his „tail“ at Mark Ferguson’s ass). Stephen Hunter (3) was a (very bored and indifferent) wine-bottle-unicorn.
And then a a funny question from Dean’s panel earlier (or a serious question which turned out funny) led to one of the most hilarious scenes in the Game show. Dean had understood „giraffe“ instead of „dwarf“, so now he got to play a giraffe in the game show (4): Dean was being carried by Jed until the latter went onto his knees, then Stephen took over.
Dean clearly won that round. „His“ giraffe was most hilarious.
And one photo just for fun… I love Dean’s hair in this one 😀
The next game was a (rather slashy) „fanfiction“ that Mark „wrote“ and the actors had to act the parts… and eventually all the dwarves got „strangely aroused“ by one another. I don’t know if Stephen posed as his own role but I think the others did. So here’s Dori, his heart beating for (?) edit: was it Kili?
One totally recognises Fili here, right?
Nori’s drunk – and Fili and Nori clearly attracted to one another
„Thank god!“ (I think it’s exactly the moment and the exact words Dean uttered when Mark Ferguson changed the scene and they did not have to „kiss“:
Here’s Kili shooting or rather hitting at (?) (whatever character Stephen resumed)
In the last round, they had to improvise a scene with Mark shouting an emotion every now and then which they had to act on immediately…
On further notice: I don’t know who told us, but the SEE will probably feature a scene with Beorn and the dwarves introducing themselves one by one. Also I think Graham told us that there were interrogation scenes with Thranduil and the dwarves in his throne room. I really hope that makes the SEE cut.
Plus, I think William Kircher told us something about the third film… and I forgot, what. 😀 Was it that the Laketown dwarves will still manage to join the other dwarves in the next movie? I’m not sure. Maybe someone can help me out.
After I totally forgot the photo sessions on Saturday, I was eager to take the opportunity on Sunday.
Sunday began with a panel of Ken Stott and Graham McTavish.
I think it is incredible how much the image of the actors and the characters can blurr – I only speak of their stage behaviour of course. Even though I’d love to just talk with one of the dwarf actors for an hour or two privately, of course I’ve never done that and don’t know them better than that stage appearance at the two HobbitCons.
But just going with this, I think there’s really a lot of Graham in Dwalin and Ken just needs to open his mouth and say something and I immediately think of Balin. These two are the most extreme cases though. You don’t really recognise Dean in Fili (or the other way round) – except, of course, his attractiveness 😉 , and while William Kircher seems to be a bit crazy as is Bifur, it’s a different way of crazy, so the same goes for him.
For Jed, Mark and Adam, it’s the first extreme again. One can totally see Adam in Ori, Jed in Nori and Mark in Dori. Plus on stage they have this sibling „mode“ (and they have it down to perfection!), which puts a lot of Ori in Adam etc. Most ad“ori“ble! The sibling thing also goes for John Callen’s and Peter Hambleton’s Oin and Gloin. While they’re not as easily recognizable in their characters, one can easily see their roles when they’re on stage together. Plus, I think John Callen would make an awesome wizard… This leaves Stephen Hunter. Since his role is a tiny bit taciturn, I’m not sure how much of Stephen is in Bombur – although it was repeatedly mentioned that they both love food. But, oh how I would have loved to see him and James Nesbitt interact on stage! Hopefully James can make it next time (not to mention that hopefully there will be a next time!).
Okay, back to the panels. The second panel: Jed Brophy and Stephen Hunter.
Jed being his usual self, always in motion…
Here, showing how the chasing-or-rather-being-chased-scene in Erebor was filmed, with Andy (or Peter?) yelling „here’s the dragon, now here’s the dragon, no, here…“ or something like that.
They brought swords but didn’t actually cross them… Jed and his son Sadwyn did.
Stephen had a chat with the background decoration.
Jed and Stephen demonstrating the dwarf training from that video of the dwarves that went viral some time ago (see photo above of Graham’s panel)
Aaaaand scene 88.
The third panel: Royd Tolkien and Sadwyn Brophy. Right now I’m not so sure why I didn’t stay til the end, though it was very interesting… I guess I wanted to be at the photo session with Ken Stott early.
After that the autograph session started, and I think that’s my one negative experience, because it was not really organized. Instead of making two lines for Silver tickets and normal weekend tickets from the start, they let a mixed line form up. Also I would have preferred the Silver tickets to be sorted by number (which I assumed would happen, but it didn’t, so I had to wait quite some time before I got in… and then it took even more time waiting for the autograph. I was to get autographs for friends, so I started with Peter Hambleton, for whom the line was shortest (of the five people I wanted to get autographs of). That was one of the nicest moments of this con for me, even though he probably told that to a lot of the people in costumes, but he asked me if he could take a closer look at my costume and actually got up and walked passed the table to do so. He asked me if I participated in the costume contest. I don’t but he said I should be proud of making this costume anyway. I guess I am, it’s the first time I actually feel a bit proud of a costume I made. Especially after Sir Richard Taylor emphasised in his panel on Monday that individuality was one of the most important traits and my head gear certainly was most individual. Until this panel I always felt a bit uncomfortable about it because it’s a makeshift because I simply don’t see how to do a neat elvish helmet out of leather (at least with the limited tools I use). But I think it’s pretty possible that an elf would wear this. At least my elf character does ;))
Hopefully I get to „pimp“ it a bit til next year (not to mention that there hopefully will be… yeah I know I already wrote that.). I planned to do a much more complicated costume, but I had to give up (after cutting out approximately 2000 leather scales I simply started sewing them too late). Maybe I get to do this til next year.
Then I went to Royd Tolkien. I already had his autograph, too, so I just got two for friends. Such a charming and not to mention good-looking guy! 😉 Afterwards to Dean, for whom the waiting line was the longest. And then I really could have kicked myself, for not bringing one of my WETA books for Richard Taylor to sign. I had to get the only photo instead. I really hope he’ll do another convention (HobbitCon 2015, please?!) and then I’ll have to get another autograph. I really don’t know why I didn’t bring the book, but I’m kinda angry with myself for that. The day after I actually thought about getting the Creatures book, I think the second in the Hobbit Chronicles line, which I don’t have yet, to get another autograph, but of course the two merchandise booths which had any books, didn’t have these books. So hopefully next time!
Back to Sir Richard. The waiting line for him wasn’t the longest at first, but he was certainly the slowest signer I’ve ever seen. Which isn’t a bad thing, because he wrote half a page or even a page full (for the intelligent people who brought a book), and at least a long dedication for the ones with photos. Plus he exchanged a few words with everybody and he took photos of the people in costume, including two photos of my costume, one of the full costume, and one detail photo of the collar (which was actually the part of my costume I’m most proud of). I made a collar similar to the one Legolas wears in DoS, with the leaf-shaped scales. He told me that Weta ended up molding them instead of using leather. I think I had read that, but it was nice of him to tell me that he would have loved to make my costume (which is kinda funny since I based it on the costume they made for the Mirkwood hunters. Except the head gear. That’s a relict from the above mentioned Helm’s Deep elves-helmet-dilemma).
After getting his autograph I got Sadwyn’s for myself and since I had one more Silver ticket autograph spot left, I gave Ken Stott the photo from the earlier photo session to sign – he was giggling while he signed it since I had asked him to look terrified and I „threatened“ him with my sword for the photo. Well, I was grinning quite madly, so it wasn’t that threatening, but he does look scared. 😀
A few photos of the dwarves and Sir Richard during the autograph session. The one of Mark I actually took when Richard Taylor was the last one signing (as I said, he was pretty slow) and the others were finished, and Mark just grinned into my camera in the right moment.
After that the costume contest took place, with a pretty awesome jury, including Royd, Jed, Sadwyn (btw. I really like that name!), William and Sir Richard Taylor!
This here is one of my absolute favourite photos. Richard Taylor was the last juror and they gave him standing ovations and I utterly love how they bow to him. It gives me goosebumps just looking at the photo!
Here photos of most of the contestants – I think I only missed the last two.
I left after the last contestant had shown his costume, since the contest was taking place from 18 to 19:00, followed by the one panel I wouldn’t wanna miss at all: With Jed, Stephen, Dean, Mark and Adam, ergo a panel were fun was guaranteed – but Sir Richard’s photo session was to take place at 1900. So I wanted to be one of the first so that I could go to the panel as quickly as possible. After the photo session I went there and my seating row was completely taken, so I asked the people who were sitting on the outer fringe, but they were in the right place, and then I went to the other side, the inner fringe and actually the person sitting right next to the corridor, i.e. the best position for photographs, was in the wrong row. So I actually should have thanked her for saving my seat – although she wasn’t too happy of course to be sent to her own row in the back (where someone else had taken her seat). Not my problem though. Yes, I am very happy and was very lucky to get such a low ticket number.
One question for Dean was about a nudity scene and that one only sees his butt and the fan said that it is also very nice to look at, so Jed had to go and check it out 😉
Adam recounted his most frightening moment in his career. If I recall it correctly, he was doing a play and wore a speedo and pretended to go swimming, making swimming movements, also in the audience, only to realise one day that his left testicle was hanging out. Needless to say noone will ever forget Adam Brown’s left testicle (it was also mentioned repeatedly on the next day). And needless to say, the audience and the other guys just cracked up about this.
We learned that Adam Brown actually is in a Happy Potter movie. He’s one of the students raising their wands in the 6th movie, when Dumbledore is killed. The other actors didn’t know this either.
You have one guess: Which dwarf actor are these guys imitating?
Yup, that’s right.
More random photos:
John Callen and Peter Hambleton „crashed the party“. I think it speaks volumes if actors, even the ones of an advanced age do something like that. They must have genuinely enjoyed being at this convention, and I love them for giving us such funny moments and generally a wonderful weekend.
Still more random photos:
Poor Adam got asked, if Ori had to choose between saving Nori or Dori and there was no other way, whom would he save. He turned the tables and let the audience decide whom Ori would kill, and Nori lost out (third photo: Fili stabbing Nori).
The last panel of the evening was with John Callen and Peter Hambleton.
As always a pleasure to listen to them. Although I have no idea what the context of this photo was…
I actually only realised what John Callen did there, when I looked at the photos later in the evening on my laptop. 😀 Then I understood why Mark Ferguson reacted so shocked. 😉
What a bittersweet day… I really wanted this convention to last a week at least. It’s so much fun and so sad that it had to end already.
While the main actors were in the second autograph session, Mark Atkin, Thorin’s stunt and scale double, had his panel.
He told us how he was a bit starstruck when in his first scene on set he sat next to Sir Ian McKellen and was directed by Peter Jackson, and he thought to himself, that he oughta quit now, because how could that get any better. Also how he met Richard Armitage and again, was starstruck and didn’t really wanna bug Richard, while the other actors and scale doubles were already chatting merrily, and then I think it was the lady who was responsible for continuity etc., who just took him by the arm, „delivered“ him right to Richard, told him „this is your scale double“ while Richard was just sitting there, and tieing his shoe laces or something, and then left Mark standing there feeling even more awkward.
Also he demonstrated how they trained sword fighting, first with rubber (or other plastic) swords and very slowly, then faster and finally with real swords.
In the end he and the guy from the stunt workshop (Ben, I think?), did a very funny slomo version. Not quite earnest, as you can see 😉
Here are two photos of my favourite costumes this year. Actually the only photos of fans that I took, apart from the costume contestants. Aren’t these Mirkwood guards *breathtaking*?!
Then the second panel: Graham and Ken.
We learned, that Dwalin would never be the same after losing Thorin and that he didn’t want to fight ever again, and for that reason didn’t go to Moria with Balin, which ended in him losing Balin as well. What they said about survivor’s guilt was pretty intense, it gave me goosebumbs.
On a funnier note, the latter told us, how once he and his sweetheart didn’t want to leave Berlin immediately after a premiere but rather spend another day there, so they asked the driver to „take too long“ to the airport, thus „miss the flight“, and how the driver winked and agreed, but then they were told that the plane was actually delayed for them so that they could reach it. So they accepted the fact that they weren’t gonna stay another day after all, and went to the airport only to find out that something with the paper work went wrong and they actually missed the flight so they had to take a flight the next day (such a pity! ;)). And the next day there was fog, so they actually had to spend another day in Berlin. At that point Ken threw his arms up in the air mimicking their joy about this „inconvenient“ delay.
Afterwards, Sir Richard Taylor, who showed the reel again, and the range of movies Weta worked on, and then answered questions again, as in his panel on Saturday.
I couldn’t resist taking a picture of him tugging his shirt. I think it’s an endearing trait, that he’s obviously still nervous when he’s in the limelight, or was nervous for so long that he adopted that quirk.
And the next panel: William Kircher. Actually I have to revise my opinion of him a bit, because I thought it to be pretty cruel to insist that the obviously very shy girl had to come onto the stage. I really didn’t like that. Not all people are entertainers. And she was already trembling at the microphone in the audience, so putting her on stage was just cruel. (If you are her and happen to read this: it was brave of you to do this, instead of just sitting down and hiding. You did great!).
Here’s Mark Ferguson, posing as a timid German, Klaus.
Live advertising of the cosplay contest at the next RingCon, right before the Closing Ceremony.
Well actually right before that they played the music video of I See Fire and quite many people in the audience sang along –> goosebumps.
And then the Closing Ceremony. Graham had to say goodbye in the beginning of the ceremony, because he had to catch an earlier plane.
Here’s him and Mark doing „the McTavish“ dance move.
Then we got to see the winners of the audience costume award and the the art awards, and the 2nd and 1st winner of the handcrafting award was actually a girl of… I don’t know… maybe 4 (yes, four, I didn’t forget another digit) years? Everybody was absolutely bewildered and amazed.
Also the stunt workshop and the Middle Earth choir performed on stage. During the second performance of the choir – they sang the Misty Mountains song (the title song of the first movie, not the song the dwarves sang in Bag End) – I actually got tears in my eyes. It was really beautiful.
And then we had to say goodbye to the actors. One of the funniest moments was when first Royd and Mark Atkin took a selfie on stage and then Sadwyn joined them and they did another selfie – and I had to laugh when we saw one of them gesturing that they ought to extend their selfie with every actor who was to join them on stage. That would have been really funny, but I think they didn’t.
The main actors appeared on stage I think in the same order as in the Opening Ceremony, with Ken being second to last and then Richard Taylor who received standing ovations immediately. It was really beautiful and I get goosebumps every time this happens. I loved how he was celebrated as main celebrity on this convention. I do hope he’ll be back next year!
All photos of the Closing Ceremony until that point:
And then the dwarves came back… and sang “Misty Mountains”.
Goosebumps! Perfect ending of a wonderful convention!
See ya at HobbitCon III (?!!!!!!!?)!
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.