A lot of people have mailed in their thoughts about Ring*Con 2003. I’ll try and post all of them so here’s the second batch.

To start of with TheKnight (who managed to get the Ringers crew drunk on mead which is quite an achievement!)

How do you talk about as special an event as this was in a short space of time. Leo is doing a report marvelous in all its detail. I just wanted to give another impression for you all.

RingCon 2003. Bonn. Germany. Middle-earth. It was all there. Three days as full as a new barrel of beer in a hobbit’s cellar. Seemed as though it lasted about that long.here today and gone tomorrow. Time flies but the memories linger and the pageant of fans decked out in costumes and colours, jewels resplendent in the light, armor shining bright, blazons of Gondor, Rohan, the White Hand, curly haired hobbits with bare feet, black orcs and Uruks, walking Ents and even an Ent-wife. Elves. Yes, Sam, there were elves as fair as could be, their long hair plaited and entwined with gold and silver.

And the actors were there. They came as themselves, sharing verbal out-takes from the films, stories, answering questions during the panel discussions and giving us all a wonderful taste of Kiwi hospitality and wit. I don’t think they ever really slept but they gave us all 200% for the whole three days.

They let us into their realm for a while and we loved (and appreciated) every single minute of it all. Most of the fans questions revolved around the movies but there were less (much less) serious moments when Craig Parker (Haldir) and Mark Ferguson (Gil-Galad) slipped into a brilliant comedic duet of words even involving the RinCon emcee, Marc Lee, in their infectous humor. Bruce Hopkins (Gamling) and John Leigh (Hama) gave us all a new look at life in Rohan that had us rolling in the aisle. Nathaniel Lee of the exquisitely modulated voice turning and thundering out “looks like meat’s back on the menu boys”, Sala Baker with a smile as wonderful and warm as sunlight (hard to imagine him as Sauron but that was him behind all that beautifully and intricately etched armor.yes, please go see the LOTR Exhibit at the Science Museum in London!), Lawrence Makoare who fills up a stage with his presence just by walking across it, Jorn Benson (Rumil) who has a beautiful smile (when he chooses to show it) and a haunting air of James Dean about him. My heart is out to all of them. Then there was John Rhys-Davies. Gimli truly held court and we were hypnotized not only by his voice but also by his verbal acumen as we learned more about life and Middle-earth by way of Galileo and Copernicus.

They all graciously smiled and talked their way through hours of photos, autograph signing, and talking to fans without ever skipping a beat and made us all feel a part of that larger Peter Jackson family. Thank you. Thank you all.

The depth of curiosity, amazement, and wonder ran like a current beneath the presentations, the photos sessions, the autograph signing, workshops (the Perry boys were absolutely fantastic and you would not believe the detail on the tiny figures they produce), rolled together with the honor of being present when Rogier Samuels and Carola Brockoff worked their WETA magic over two volunteers who were turned into orcs, made us all feel like we had some wonderful project in common. A grouping of people from 21 countries. Language made no difference. Background made no difference. Politics, race, creed, colour, actor or fan it made no difference. Many of us found new friends and new perspectives on life in the three days we spent there. We formed a Fellowship of our own. The magic continued.

I think one of the moments I will personally remember for a long time was perhaps one of the smaller ones. A young lady was the first WETA ‘victim’. She was slowly but surely transformed into a rather ugly and mis-shapen orc. Took hours. Nathaniel Lee (Ugluk) said he had spoken to her the evening before her transformation took place. She was excited and happy as could be. He said that would all change quickly on the morrow. The next day she was visibly wilting under all the layers of plastic, foam, paint and various glues holding it all together. I saw her again at the photo session at the end of the day, posturing like an orc for the camera. Underneath all the make up and prosthetics you could tell she was smiling. You could really tell she was smiling.