Ringer-spy Rosie-with-the-ribbons sent us the following report from this years RingCon.
Last weekend there was another RingCon in Bonn, Germany, the 11th RingCon to be precise.
In the last few years more and more fandoms have been invited to attend. And this year we were very happy to greet a big number of Game of Thrones-stars and their beautifully costumed fans to the event. But I am going to focus on all the LOTR-stuff that happened.
This year representing LOTR were, Mark Ferguson (Gilgalad) again as a wonderful MC. Lori Dungey (Mrs. Bracegirdle) as Mini-Mark (assistant MC to Mark Ferguson), Craig Parker (Haldir), Thomas Robbins (Deagol), Billy Boyd (Pippin) and Sean Astin (Sam).
RingCon started for me on Friday with the panel of Lori and Thomas. Lori has become a part of the RingCon establishment, she is everywhere, gives workshops on improvisation-acting, assists with MC-ing and is just such a joy to have at RingCon. It has been a couple of years since Thomas was last at RingCon (I had never had the pleasure of meeting him before). Their panel was lots of fun. They came on stage wearing Hobbit-ears and had prepared an oath for all fans to act like true Hobbits the entire weekend (not such a hard task: eating, drinking and dancing an entire weekend).
Lori had been very busy during the past year with lots of acting. Thomas showed us some of the projects he had been doing. Telling a very funny anecdote of him trying to travel home with an Emmy he had won: getting stopped by an Australian customs officer who thought it was a weapon instead of an award! And he had some big news to share with us. He is going to be in The Hobbit! He couldn’t tell exactly where or as what, but he can be seen in The Hobbit!
Friday evening and it was off to a photoshoot with Sean Astin for me. Well, my name is Rosie-with-the-Ribbons, of course I had to have a picture with Sam, uh, Sean, and of course I had to wear my Rosie costume. Organisation at RingCon is perfect. Nice cueing lines for the photoshoot, strictly organised and you didn’t even have to wait that long. The only negative part; they planned the photoshoot at the same moment as Billy Boyd’s panel. So I missed out on that one. But he would be on stage Sunday evening, together with Sean.
Sean Astin had a panel later that evening. What a wonderful talk. He had quite a few anecdotes from filming LOTR. But also gave a lot of information on what has been happening in his life since the movies. It is hard to believe that the cute little Hobbitlass running to greet her father at the end of ROTK is now a 16 year old young lady (yes, we are getting older). One of the quotes I dearly remember from this panel: “When you can see the heart in Sam, it means the heart is also in you”. A very inspiring thought.
Saturday gave us, besides some amazing talks from experts on Tolkien and other fandoms, the Kiwi-panel. I don’t think I can properly explain what was happening, even photos won’t help. It was all the kiwis who were attending RingCon doing improvisation on all the fandoms at RingCon and whatever else is going on in the world. It was one big laugh-fest, and even non-LOTR fans show up for the Kiwi-panel. Oh, and a big round of applause for Thomas, who had never before been in a Kiwi-panel (but, when you come from NZ, and appear in LOTR, you are in Kiwi-panel), he bravely joined them and had a great time on stage.
And then the highlight of the weekend, Sunday. In the morning an autograph session, to get Sean Astin’s signature on my photo. After a long time thinking, I decided to let him dedicate it to Rosie-with-the-Ribbons instead of my own name. He followed it swiftly with the “in her hair” and started to quote the rest of the scene for me. And after me suggesting he could write that down as well, he did. Ahhh, a very happy Hobbitlass left the room, I can tell you.
Later on Sunday Billy Boyd and Sean Astin shared the stage for a panel. On one of the questions Sean replied he would quote from the book, if he only had it. Well, he didn’t have to wait too long before he was handed an English copy. First he gave it to Billy, to find something to read to the audience. He quickly came with “The Walking Song” poem. Sean took a while longer to look for his favourite paragraph so he answered a few more questions. In the meantime Billy took a seat on the Game of Thrones-throne, that was a prop on stage. From now on, you can call him King Billy. He was asked if he could sing Pippin’s song, but he wasn’t going to. Sean came to sit with him, it is a large throne, searching some more for his paragraph. And all of a sudden, without any warning, Billy started singing Pippin’s song. The entire hall went deathly quiet. It was so beautiful, tears were running down my cheeks. The hall exploded when he was finished. After the applause quieted down, Sean, who had found his favourite paragraph, read about Frodo and Sam, when the ring is finally destroyed and they are outside on Mt. Doom. Another tearjerker, I have to confess. The panel ended shortly after this. It was truly an amazing panel.
RingCon Closing Ceremony came after Billy and Sean’s panel. Saying farewell to all the lecturers, stars and each other. It is always hard to say goodbye, but Mark and Lori helped us with some inspirational words: “See you next year”.
Next year RingCon will be from 18th till 20th October, as usual in Bonn. And for Hobbitfans. The organisation behind RingCon is organising HobbitCon. During Easter weekend (March 30th till April 1st) in Bonn, 8 of the dwarves have been confirmed attending (and I will be there as well). Hopefully I’ll see you at a Con next year.