Here at DragonCon 18 i Atlanta, the mood is good, the energy is high, and even the orcs are polite. It’s not possible to generate enough air conditioning to keep over 17,000 costumed enthusiasts cool, especially those in velvet, leather, or armor. Day One got off to a great start with Jincy is our TORn MC giving an overview of the Tolkien-related conference events, which include a screening of the trilogy.
The afternoon sessions included a class in Elvish led by Jeff Sherrill. Did you know that Quenya, the language of The Silmarillion, is modelled on and sounds like Finnish, while Sindarin, the language of Lord of the Rings, is modelled on and sounds like Welsh? Like Finnish, Quenya uses case endings (like Latin) in its grammar, while Sindarin uses word modulations (which can be very difficult to remember!).
Jeff explained that Tolkien’s runic Tengwar writing system can be used to write any language from English to Russian and beyond. Not only did “The Professor” create several languages, but he created their writing system as well. The structures of the Tengwar runes have a precise logic related to their phonetics, that is, to the sound that they represent. Each rune also has a name, which is also the meaning of a word in Elvish.
At the end of the class we learned how to count from one to twelve, and how to ask for a refill in our glass, in Elvish, which would prove useful later in Bree.
The evening’s event was An Evening in Bree, hosted by TORn, Sideshow-Weta Collectibles, and Badali jewelry. A costume contest with more than fifty entries began the evening. Winners represented Gimli, Legolas, Eomer, the Balrog, and Arwen, among others. The contest was followed by the music of Emerald Rose. Barliman’s Inn had more than a few visitors not from Middle Earth but residents of other fantasy and sci fi worlds. Outside of Bree, guests mingled freely and exchanged tips on costume construction or practiced role play.
Although there was no conference track on Pirates of the Caribbean, a good many guests were in POTC costumes as Will Turner, Captain Jack Sparrow, and Captain Barbossa. and Celebriel predicts that next year there will be a track on this much-beloved film, especially as two sequels will be going into production next year.
Another observation is the popularity of the costuming programming track, new this year. The room could not accommodate all those who turned up, even with the standing room in the back.
Saturday’s program has a full schedule of Lord of the Rings programming, plus the DragonCon parade in the morning and the awards banquet in the evening.