ATLANTA – Dragon Con is in full swing now and and the gaggle of J.R.R. Tolkien fans in attendance quickly made a mark. This is a hard-core geek-fest at its finest and genre fans attacked the event with all the passion of a Hobbit in a buffet line.

The TORn booth is nestled near the dealer room in the bowels of the Marriott in downtown Atlanta. Two of the four site founders – Calisuri and Corvar – along with a solid backing of staff were on hand to greet fans, distribute free buttons, sell TORn shirts and let people know about its upcoming, unofficial preview of “Return Of The King,” scheduled for Saturday and Sunday.

Dragon Con, grown from a group of 1,400 fans in 1987, and expanded to a crowd expected to exceed 20,000 this year, fills to bursting the two hotels in downtown where various branches of the “fantasy tree” cross twigs and interests. TORn’s downtown offices, perched high above the beautiful city and the “hollow” interior of the hotel, will be bringing full daily reports along with live web cam shots all weekend long. Check the TORn Dragon Con scrapbook for a collection of images of the colorful conglomeration of fans devoted to the darkest and seemingly most forgotten corners of the genre house.

Houghton-Mifflin, who publishes the Tolkien works, had a special treat for fans who were willing to take time to fill out a reader survey at the TORn booth. Just a few minutes of writing earned old veterans and newbies alike with a Elijah Wood photo cover of “The Fellowship Of The RIng.” If you haven’t been paying attention, HM just released its final movie tie in book for “Lord Of The Rings.” The soft back all-in-one is a the beautiful edition with fold out maps and the movie photo of the One Ring on Sauron’s mailed fist.

Friday’s brightest star in the Tolkien universe, John Rhys-Davis, couldn’t make the show, although at posting time the reasons were unknown. Fans still had plenty to keep them busy Friday with lessons in Elvish, serious Tolkien discussions and impromptu entertainment by Quickbeam and other convention assistants. Discussion of the proposed big-stage Tolkien musical led into nostalgic and amusing renditions of the Rankin/Bass tune “Where There Is a Whip.”

While mixing with fans, professionals and exhibitors, TORn uncovered a few precious rumours and secrets – all of which we will share – concerning the upcoming ROTK releases and the Tolkien Universe. Read other Dragon Con reports for details. Wish you were here…