HobbitHearted writes: Back from the Boston LoTR Exhibit and Sean Astin book signing! What fun! What hysteria! What fatigue!! Got to the museum shortly after the 9am opening time and the line for the Sean’s signing was already out the door and down the sidewalk, running the entire length of the museum. Our timed entry into the exhibit wasn’t until 11:15am, so we toured the Museum of BostonR17;s other amazing exhibits until then. The LoTR Exhibit reviews have already been shared by others, so I won’t go into that except to add that it was totally incredible to see up close the detail of the costumes and weaponry! Did you know there are tiny skulls on the Haradrim’s costume??! Amazing detail! I thought maybe it could’ve been bigger and shown more of the props like Bilbo’s desk or Theoden’s chair or a variety of Aragorn’s costumes (they had only one). Overall, it was quite enjoyable. My unexpected favorites were the sketches by Alan Lee and others. Makes you appreciate the genius involved in this undertaking.

After visiting the Exhibit, my husband took the kids to the planetarium and I went downstairs to take my place on line, only to find out that they had stopped allowing people to line up at 10:30am. My best efforts to convince the security guard to let me wait were met with a smile and an “I’m sorry…he simply won’t be able to sign this many.” *sigh*

I spoke with a few fans in line who said that people were offering money for them to carry their book to Sean for signing. Many brought their artwork to either give or have signed and Sean met each one with a smile and a handshake or a photo and a hug. His handlers were patient and didn’t seem to rush anyone through. At one point, a museum representative came over to a group of young fans camped on the floor (going on their fifth hour of waiting!) and were instructed on “How to greet Sean.” I laughed when I heard her and listened in!

What we found in the AM session was that many people were so awestruck when they got close that they couldn’t talk (sounds oddly familiar). So what we’re suggesting is that you practice what you want to say to each other so when you get there, you have it! The handlers will take the book from you so all you have to do is talk to him and shake his hand if you want. Don’t rush, look him in the eye and enjoy it!” Kudos to all the Boston MoS staff for being so personable and professional in the face of what must have been a very stressful two days. I talked with a volunteer assigned to crowd control how she scored this gig and she said, “Much begging, but it was worth it and crowd has been great!”

The fans were amazingly wonderful! Some played cards, some read Sean’s book or their LoTR books. Some even brought their LoTR Trivial Pursuit game to play while waiting (I so wanted to join, but there were laser shows to be seen! Did I mention I love the Boston MoS??) You could easily spot the fans who had just met Sean, their broad smiles and the bounce in their step gave it away. I even spotted one Flat Stanley (not Frodo) who got signed and had a picture taken with Sean. Oh, that I were cardboard! I met some “Eowyn Challenge” walkers (they said to say “Hi” to ToRN’s Walk to Rivendell leader, Miradan) and a few random hobbits and elves.

In an attempt to distract myself from my disappointment at not having the opportunity to greet Sean, I decided to conduct a quick crowd study. (Rough estimates here) I counted approximately two fangirl screams from the balcony per five minutes…over six hours of signing…that’s a lot of screaming! They shouted “Rudy” and “Sam” but the majority of cheers raining down were of the “Sean, we love you” type. He was kind and animated and waved back every time someone shouted. Mothers and daughters, young and old swooned and shouted to him to get his attention and take a picture from only place the Museum would let you linger, in the 2nd floor kid’s hands-on science exhibit. That was terrific planning, I thought. It kept the crowd out of the main hallways and it let the big people become kids again, playing with their kids, other people’s kids and with all the toys they had up there! “A great day to be a geek,” the young exhibit volunteer said to me.

I spoke with one of the men helping with the signing while he took a break (I think he was from the publishing house). I asked how many books he signed today and was it a record day for the museum. He said that by 3:30pm (Sean was leaving promptly at 5pm to make the Red Sox/Yankee game), Sean had signed over 1300 books! He said that the only other signing he’d seen with more participation was the Al Franken book signing. He admired the crowds and their enthusiasm and had great things to say about Sean.

On the lunch break, some teenage fans and I staked out the elevator where Sean was expected to return from shortly. I encouraged them to visit ToRN and join in the fun and we shared emails to share the photos we were about to take. I had scribbled down a limerick I wrote on Friday for ToRN message board’s “Friday Fiesta” about Sean’s Boston visit. I said that ToRN loved him and thanks, etc. As he walked by I placed it in his hand and he smiled and said, “What’s this?” I said, “It’s for you, thanks!” And he walked on and read it! The teenagers with me let out a scream, “You TOUCHED him!!” And we did that jumping up and down thing that you do when you’ve lost your mind. [Images]