Nazgul Escapes Bree with Sam and Bill the Pony - DragonCon Day One

Report from DragonCon 2002, Atlanta, Georgia. Greenbriar Room, Hyatt Regency, successfully transformed into The Prancing Pony Inn by Tolkien Staff. Complete with burning fireplace, Legolas by the hearth, Aragorn at the podium, Elves, Hobbits, and Men galore...the Tolkien Track had a most successful day one of DragonCon.

Oh, and prizes. Did I mention prizes? Houghton Mifflin, Decipher, Glasshammer, LOTR Official Fan Club, and Sideshow-Weta have donated some FABULOUS prizes. Know what else? We're having prize drawings after EVERY Tolkien Track session. Yep, EVERY one.

The track opened with Houghton Mifflin's Welcome to Middle Earth video, which, I am pleased to report, brought resounding claps and cheers from our packed Tolkien room. I mean...the packed Prancing Pony. Most notably, the loudest claps and cheers came from Sir Ian McKellen's comments on how he defended his various views on scenes and dialogue by consistently saying, "...but that's what it says in the BOOK." Ah, it made me feel all warm and fuzzy to hear Sir Ian say that. It was also quite nice to know that I had quite a few other Tolkien book snobs in the room with me. There is strength in numbers, you know.

Games Workshop was next and we were able to see quite a bit of their Two Towers gameline. Of course, some images were "top secret" and they had been threatened with the wrath of Sauron if they revealed any of these tidbits. Actually, it was the wrath of New Line, but you all knew that. Nevertheless, from what we were told, LOTR has kicked some extra UMPH into the tabletop gaming world of battle and strategy.

Corvar, Calisuri, (both from TheOneRing.net and Dan Govar from www.thereandbackagain.net were next with an interesting panel of how to run a successful Tolkien fan website. We got the techno geek stuff, but we also learned some tips n tricks on how to respect the wishes of the Tolkien Estate and Tolkien Enterprises. The main gist of the panel was that it is our passion for Tolkien that drives us to celebrate Tolkien upon the web; it is that same passion that will add longevity to fan websites.

Steve Babb from Glasshammer, (www.glasshammer.com)entered the Pony just after the website panel and premiered two Middle Earth influenced music videos. Steve was entertaining and accommodating, as he always is, and promised that Glasshammer will be recording more Middle Earth influenced music in the near future.

This is when the trouble started. Did I mention near-riots in Bree? Well, we had near-riots in Bree. You see, The Prancing Pony Inn, (the Greenbriar Room at the Hyatt), is not a large room. It can hold probably 70 or so people before you start breaking the Fire Code. Well, over 200 people showed up for the Evening in Bree Party. We were, of course, delighted at this. We were, unfortunately, not going to be able to have them all within the walls of our Prancing Pony Inn.

Before panic could fully set in, the Bree Constables, (DragonCon Security), came up with a brilliant plan and issued a permit for our party to take place upon the Common of the Town, (the hotel lobby). So, we moved our food, patrons, band, (Emerald Rose, www.emeraldrose.com and prizes out the door and down the hall.

Emerald Rose soon had the crowd dancing and the near-disaster was forgotten. Many prizes later, much food eaten later, much dancing later, the BIG event of the costume contest took place. Steve Babb of Glasshammer, Tehanu of TheOneRing.net, and Joe Piela of The Lonely Mountain Forge had quite a job as our judges; they truly had a tough decision to make. We had some fabulous costumes, (some of our own TORCers among them!), and for the fabulous costumes, we had some fabulous prizes:

Third place went to an Elven maiden named Gilraen who received a Sideshow-WETA statue of Gandalf the Grey.

Second place went to Merry the Hobbit who received a Sideshow-WETA statue of Legolas Greenleaf.

First place went to a skeery, skeery Nazgul WitchKing who received a Sideshow-WETA statue of Sam and Bill the Pony. It was truly eerie when the Nazgul stepped up to the microphone and hissed....Bagginssssss......Yea, sure we clapped and laughed, but did anyone else see the spiders start crawling out of the insulation? I betcha that I have Nazgulnightmares tonight.

We have quite a few TORCers at DragonCon; and so far, we have been having a really great time! If nothing else, the movie has really made us all aware of other Tolkien geeks out there that are just like ourselves. I may be a Tolkien geek and snob, but by golly, I know for SURE that I'm not the only one.

We will have pictures from the convention very soon. Tomorrow, we have the upcoming ballet, The Silmaril, Tom Shippey's first lecture, Elvish 101, Interactive Middle Earth, TheOneRing.net special preview of some Two Towers material, and Joe Piela's Arms and Armor of Middle Earth.

Namarie for now!

UPDATE:  Enjoy the pictures of Evening in Bree at TheOneRing.net!  http://www.theonering.net/events/dragoncon/dcon_d2_torn/index_2.html 
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