After a few hours sleep, I am finally coherent enough to share with you our journey to the Blessed Realm. We made the trip in 48 hrs with about 4 hours of sleep, laughing talking and crying the whole way…it was wonderful.. Stef and I are long lost hobbit cousins. We arrived in LA at 2:30 am, and having no where to crash, pretended to be eating at an all night pancake restaraunt. We got in line at around 5 am, being #2 and #3 in line. It was so wonderful to see the fan club members as they arrived and we all got a little carnation so we could recognize each other. We had an absolute blast. The 9 hours in line flew by and there was no lack of fun and conversation and hugs. The Q and A was an absolute once in a lifetime experience. I though if you all as we sat in the front row with our “THANK YOU” from the ‘official’ fan club” sign, (which was designed by our own StefBaggins) only a mere 7 feet from our beloved Sam, PJ Fran and Phillipa. Both ladies were full of class, and all of them were so real and genuine, it felt like sitting with old friends. There were cheers as they came in, and at various times throughout. Stef pointed out Sean to me before we began. People were still filing in as I approached him with his gift, it was one on one with him, myself and deliz. When I told him we were from the fan club, he was a bit taken back and said “You mean the “Official” one?” He was also taken back a bit I think, expecting to be asked for an autograph, instead of being presented a gift. Deliz was so kind to point out I did the art work, muuch to my embarrassment, (my face was beet red) but he was wonderfully gracious and even asked me for “My autograph” LOL!!!! (I told him the painting was already signed,) so in exchange had him sign my item.
We had framed pics with a thank you card in each gift, and Ararrats poem written in the cards along with an official thank you from the “ONLINE” members of the fan club. I was really nervous about giving their gifts, but a sweet girl who stood in line with us said “Hey those girls are from the fan club and they have a gift for you” so before they even began the Q and A there was a moment of gift giving with media and cameras and A statement that is was from the Fan Club. They were wonderful. Opened them on the spot. Held them up for all to see, and they all said Thank you, they are so beautiful. (Phillipa said it 3 or 4 times and I felt she was genuinely touched by the gift.)Peter and Fran recieved “A conspiracy”, 11 by 14 in a gold frame, Sean got the original painting of Samwise and Rosie, and Phillipa got an 8 by 10 of “Parting of Friends.” She put her hand on Sean’s shoulder, leaned over to us “fan club gals” and said in a quiet voice “just wait till you see Sean in this scene. He is soooo good.” Fran kept hers on her lap looking at it for the whole hour.
The Q and A was awesome! I’m sure you’ll read the full report at torn, but this is the emotional review. I’ll write a bit, and Stef will give full detials after her shower…and details on the autograph signing.
They were so genuine. They did not talk down to us, but talked as if we were equal. At one point Fran had a few tears in her eye. We laughed and felt the warmth of their personalities and the depth of love and commitment they have to LOTR. Sean was very specific in his reaction towards the comments about Sam and you got the impression that Sam is very important to him. I believe he is also a new Tolkien fan because he asked one of the audience members if they had read the Silmarillion. They were charming and funny, absolutely delightful. Sitting on the front row, as they spoke we got alot of eye to eye contact and smiles directed at each of us. I think they were very happy to have Fan Club members there….anyway, this is getting long winded…It was one of the highlights of my life. As we were driving from LA I wept silently and said a little prayer for the Lord to bless them. It was absolutely touching. I have a whole new admiration and respect for them. (And feel my heart swell when I look at all of their autographs already framed on my wall.) I hope by some blessing of Elbereth that you all get to have some similar experience in this journey we are all on together.