It’s hard to believe it’s almost two weeks since staffers deej, Thorongil and greendragon gathered at LI Geek Con (Islip, May 2nd and 3rd). A new convention, taking place for the first time, LI Geek was small but lots of fun, with a great atmosphere.
Perhaps the biggest draw at the convention was actor Graham McTavish, there both for his role as Dwalin and for his lead role in the popular television show Outlander. He spoke at four Q&A sessions – two focusing on Outlander and two, lead by greendragon, centering on The Hobbit. Many fans had made the trip to Long Island just to see McTavish, and even at such a small convention, there were some fabulous Hobbit costumes to be seen! McTavish himself commented on the quality of many of the costumes, remarking that one particular Dwalin costume was up there amongst the very best he had seen.
For fans who hope to meet an idol, such small conventions are the best opportunity; McTavish’s supporters were able to spend a little time actually chatting with him, rather than just being rushed through the autograph line. He was as charming, erudite and amusing as ever, sharing in his panels tales from the sets of The Hobbit, Rambo and Outlander, as well as from his start acting and the journey which led him to Middle-earth. (He mentioned that he read The Hobbit to his older daughter, and each time Dwalin was mentioned in the book, she cheered; her classmates all know him not as ‘Mr. McTavish’ or ‘Honor’s Dad’ but as Dwalin!)
The convention was also attended by celebrities such as David Warner (Star Trek, Doctor Who, Tron and more), actor Finn Jones (Loras Tyrell in Game of Thrones) and actor Nina Toussaint-White (Doctor Who). Panels and discussion groups were held, covering many topics. TORn presented a look forward to what we might see in The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies Extended Edition, what’s next for fans of Middle-earth, and a discussion group entitled ‘Kick the Hobbit!’ – chatting (with much affection) about the things which we loved and some we didn’t love so much in Peter Jackson’s second trilogy.
LI Geek Con had the unusual distinction of being the only convention any of us had ever attended which was actually held in an airport! Our table, where we met with convention goers, sold shirts, buttons and lanyards, and gave out prizes, was directly opposite the baggage claim! Some folks arriving on flights into Islip airport seemed bemused to see all the costumes and displays, but the experience turned out to be rather charming. One gentleman, arriving at the airport to catch a flight, caught sight of our table as he entered. His face lit up. He hurried over, and eagerly purchased a ‘Keep Calm and Read Tolkien’ t-shirt. He told us he has read The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings and The Silmarillion seventy-five times each! He had read that a convention was taking place on Long Island, and was disappointed that he didn’t have time to attend – and yet, here we were, in the airport! We asked where he was flying to, and he revealed that he was returning home after flying up for his mother’s funeral. We all of course offered our condolences – and he said that seeing the convention and getting his TORn t-shirt had cheered him up no end! Serendipity bringing a smile all round at MacArthur airport…
An intimate, fledgling convention, LI Geek Con was warm, friendly, and lively – and TORn was delighted to play a part in it. Now we’re looking forward to seeing fans at more conventions through the summer and into the Fall – San Diego ComicCon, DragonCon or New York Comic Con, anyone?