The Dragon has been sung back into its lair: DragonCon is over for another year. For five remarkable days, geekdom had a chance to gather again and celebrate together – and TORn staffers deej, Madeye Gamgee and greendragon were able to be with them. Read on, for greendragon’s thoughts on the event.
I’m sure the first question on many people’s minds will be, ‘How was the safety of the event?’ My overall impression was very good. At check in, everyone (be they attending fans, professionals, exhibitors, or guests) was required to show either proof of vaccination or of a negative Covid test, before receiving their pass. Masks were required at all venues – and from what I saw, this was carefully enforced. It must be said, I was not at the Con late at night; and some folks reported that ‘DragonCon after dark’, when perhaps drinks had been consumed, saw masks being discarded. But in the High Fantasy Track room, and at An Evening at Bree, I didn’t see anyone unmasked. Masks were even – gasp! – up over noses, as well as covering mouths. Many cosplayers had found fun and creative ways to coordinate their masks with their outfits – and of course masks are an integral part of many costumes anyway.
Numbers were restricted this year – fewer than half the usual attendees were allowed; and it has to be said, it was wonderful to be able to cross the skybridge between hotels, or get in an elevator, without waiting for half an hour. 35,000 is still plenty of people, so the con did not feel empty – and there were still long lines for An Evening at Bree, and full panels at many of the tracks. (Numbers in track rooms were also reduced, to allow more space; and no standing was allowed.) Rooms were carefully cleaned – each track room had an hour of deep cleaning during each day, as well as a deep clean overnight, and between panels mics were given new covers and surfaces sanitized. As Madeye Gamgee put it, ‘…all the pandemic mitigation standards were followed and seemed to work.’
On the downside, the parade seemed strange without the watchers along the street; that is perhaps something which didn’t work so well with reduced crowds. I know lots of folks missed the fan tables – and that’s a good opportunity for me to remind you that there is new TORn merchandise (shirts, socks, bags, masks, waterbottles, etc.) available online!
Do take a look at the various designs available at TORn’s online Spring store – and thanks for supporting the website!
As mentioned above, lines were long and the room (with the limited capacity allowed) full for Friday night’s An Evening at Bree. The Brobdingnagian Bards got us off to a great start, with toe tapping music playing from the very start, as guests arrived. We had wondered if we should try to limit dancing this year – but you just can’t keep the denizens of Middle-earth off their feet, and soon masked folks were swirling and skipping. Others enjoyed sitting in groups at tables, enjoying a drink from the Prancing Pony bar at the back of the room. After the Bards’ rousing set, the costume contest took place. It was a delight to see the usual extraordinary creativity and talent we’ve come to expect from this contest – big thanks to judges Constance and Laura, who had the unenviable task of selecting winners. Best in show was Lacey Santos’ amazing Smaug, Queen under the Mountain – complete with incredible embroidery, and Arkenstone in hand.
Musician Beth Patterson was new to Bree this year, but we hope she’ll be back – her two sets were wonderful, and kept everyone in high spirits. We ended the night with some recorded music, allowing us to bring fan favourites Emerald Rose back to Bree. TORn is always very glad to host An Evening at Bree for DragonCon’s High Fantasy Track; as Madeye Gamgee said, ‘It felt like a joyful reunion of old friends and fellowships.’ We look forward to next year; meanwhile, you can check out DragonCon TV’s coverage of this year’s event in the video below.
For those of you who couldn’t attend this year – or who did attend, and want to keep the geeky fun going – there are all kinds of panels, geeky fun, and special guests, to be found at dragoncontv.com. You’ll need to pay $10 for access; and that will enable you to watch TORn’s panel celebrating the 20th anniversary of the release of Peter Jackson’s Fellowship ofthe Ring. You can find that under Fan Tracks (Saturday), at the 4’59 mark.
All in all, I think a good time was had by all, and I applaud the DragonCon organisers and many volunteers for all their hard work. Going back to that question of safety: I personally stayed away from big crowds, and was on the floor of the con much less than I would usually be, only going to specific events and otherwise staying out of the melee. When I was there, however – at Bree and for panels, as well as catching up with friends – I did not feel unsafe. Of course, when 35,000 people gather in one place, it seems inevitable that some, after the event, will test positive for Covid; but, to quote Madeye Gamgee again, ‘Assuming there aren’t any major super-spreader outbreaks connected to the weekend, DragonCon may have proven that a return to some form of a live convention is possible.’ And that is an encouraging thought.
The Dragon awakens! After a Covid-enforced hiatus last year, DragonCon is back in Atlanta this weekend – and TORn will be there!
The organisers of DragonCon are doing their best to keep everyone safe, requiring attendees to show proof of vaccination or of a negative Covid test, and to wear masks. Numbers will be scaled back (though given how massive DragonCon’s crowds usually are, the venues may not FEEL uncrowded), and there are no fan tables this year. This means TORn staffers deej and greendragon will not be in their usual spot, selling shirts and other merch. BUT – you can find them around the Con, and you can find merchandise online!
TORn’s ‘Hope is Kindled’ design, which was revealed at the end of 2020, seeking to cheer us all in the days of pandemic, can be found at our online Spring store. We’ve also brought back fan favourites ‘Keep Calm and Read Tolkien’ and ‘Coexist’ – which you can order on shirts, mugs, masks, and even socks! Check out all the goodies in the store here; and thanks for supporting the website!
Regular DragonCon attendees will be glad to know that Friday night’s ‘Evening at Bree’ is happening this year. Live music will be provided by The Brobdingnagian Bards and Beth Patterson, and there will of course be a costume contest – sign up for it at the High Fantasy Track Room. An Evening at Bree will be in the Hilton Grand West ballroom, 8.30pm, Friday night.
Tolkien panels in the High Fantasy Track include (of course!) TORn’s panel about Amazon’s Lord of the Rings series. What do we know? What spy reports can we share? Friday 2.30pm is the time to discover those secrets, in the High Fantasy Track Room (Marriott L401-403); when staffers deej, greendragon and Madeye Gamgee will share all they know – and speculate about stuff they don’t know…
On Saturday at 5pm there will be a streamed, pre-recorded panel featuring the above staffers, and a rare sighting for TORn founder Calisuri; this panel is a celebration of the 20th anniversary of the release of Peter Jackson’s Fellowship ofthe Ring. Calisuri spills the beans about a very special invitation he received, to see some amazing footage in Cannes…
At other times during the Con, you can find entertainment such as Madeye Gamgee discussing the Second Age, greendragon talking Arthurian Adaptations, and deej considering Tolkien’s influence on Stephen King’s The Stand. Find full details in the High Fantasy Track’s schedule for the weekend!
We’re excited to see folks at the Con, and to share some Middle-earth fun with you all. We’ll miss those of you who can’t attend; we’ll raise a drink to absent friends! Cheers, Gaffer!
ATLANTA — DragonCon 2011 marks the 11th year of involvement with the Atlanta based convention, where it has grown dramatically and yet remains true to its fan-based roots. (We dug up the earliest reports we could find, well worth a look here and featuring Karl Urban, Corvar and Calisuri.)
And on content partner Stickam.com, TORn was the most watched event for the week and the month. A special thanks to those who supported the trip with personal meetings, donations, texts, phone calls and other help.
Things are moving in the Hobbit world; there are rumors afoot of castings, contracts, scripts and even start dates. It’s all very exciting and if you were at TORn’s panels at DragonCon this year, you were prepared for it!
Yes, TheOneRing.net was present again this year at one of the world’s biggest fan-based convention. Staffers from TORn ran a table over the course of the weekend, where we had the great pleasure of chatting to fans, meeting regular TORn visitors, catching up with old friends and faithful supporters, and introducing newbies to the joys of the website. Over the four days of the convention we gave out freebies, distributed candy to those brave enough to answer Tolkien trivia, sold t-shirts to help keep the website attending conventions and events, and provided the fun of the ‘Don’t you know you’re [sic] Sam?’ photo opportunity! Apologies Samwise fans, but we decapitated Sam in a hobbit standee, so folks could pose with their head in his place; and all kinds of aliens, cartoon characters, heroes and villains stepped up over the weekend to
offer to ‘share the load…’ For images from the weekend click here. Lots more written details after the break! Continue reading “The official ‘DragonCon 2010’ report (and photos!)”
Not only will TheOneRing.net present a panel Thursday at Comic-Con, we will be running a series of games and contests from the Weta booth #2615 (the corner of the Dark Horse pavilion). Prizes have been donated from Weta, Badali Jewelry and author Ethan Gilsdorf. Thursday will kick things off with a digital scavenger hunt (bring those digital cameras!) Instructions and sign-in will be available following the TORn panel back on the dealer’s floor, set to kick off at 12:30 p.m. with some fantastic prizes including items like: LOTR mini Shields, LOTR stone pendants, a map of New Zeland as Middle-earth, Red Eye of Sauron pins, and Weta and TheOneRing.net shirts (styles to be determined), geek tags (including custom TORn tags!). Each day another TORn contest will be held including “Hobbit” auditions and Tolkien Trivia! And, come say hi to staffers Quickbeam, Deej and MrCere hanging out with Weta. And of course, we will update from the greatest popular culture celebration in the world with news, notes and interviews!
We have been spreading unofficial rumors that TheOneRing.net would be presenting a panel at Comic-Con but the official website confirmed it today: At 10:30 a.m. on Thursday, July 22, in room 7AB founder Calisuri, the incomparable Quickbeam and fan advocate MrCere will present the latest unofficial new about ‘The Hobbit’ movies and everything else there is time for. Guests possible but not promised. If you haven’t heard, returned tickets are now available to the general public from the previously sold out Comic-Con. TORn will also be sharing space with Weta at the Dark Horse booth (#2615) and selling really cool shirts! We hope to see you there.