The Road goes ever on and on... - The Parting of the Fellowship of DragonCon
'The Road goes ever on and on
Down from the door where it began...'
I sit here tonight in what is almost complete contentment, mellyn. DragonCon 2002 has come to a close with an estimated Tolkien Track attendance of over a thousand Tolkien fans. That's my own math, by the way, and it's not always completely reliable, (hey, I was a Medieval Literature major!). but with an average of 50 attendees for each Tolkien session, it's pretty darn close. If you count the two TheOneRing.net presentations, (which were a part of our track but took place in much larger rooms), the total comes to over 5,000 fans. And I wonder why I'm tired...
Today's sessions were perhaps bittersweet in that we knew that it was the final day and our Fellowship would soon be parting. Yes, DragonCon for the Tolkien Track, at least for me, was truly a Fellowship of Tolkien fans this year. We laughed; we clapped; we debated; and we delighted. The Tolkien room, our own Prancing Pony, was truly a gathering place where one felt safe and that one belonged.
The first three sessions today were repeats although I must say that, again, I was so impressed with each of them. Games Workshop is doing a fabulous job for tabletop strategy gamers with their new Two Towers game and accessories. Dan Govar's artwork and website, ThereandBackAgain.net, is no less than spectacular. If you have not been to Dan's website, then you really MUST take a look. You WILL feel like you are reading an illustrated book in the library of Minas Tirith. Universal Interactive came back and, again, we had to mop the floor from all of the console and PC gamers who were frothing at the mouth. The detail and dedication behind these games makes them most definitely worthy of being a part of Tolkien's Middle Earth. The Barrow Wights that we saw today along with the tantalizing hints about what is to come were enough to make my heart skip a few beats. What were the hints, you ask? Hint: In The Two Towers game, even though Boromir is no longer a part of the Fellowship of Nine, there will be a ninth available "Fellowship" member that you can play. Can't guess? My guess of Gollum could not be confirmed, but I got a few nods and winks from the artistic director. Want to play Eowyn and kill the Witch King in the Return of the King game? No confirmation or promises, but more, 'we can't say anything about that yet but you will be pleasantly surprised with MANY aspects of the upcoming games.' Drool.
Your very own Elbren hosted the Tolkien Trivia game next; and, I must say, someone has GOT to come out with a Tolkien Trivial Pursuit module. I admit, the questions were tough. In fact, I had a difficult time finding a question from my rather large list that would not cause a week long discussion in the Books forum. Well, they weren't that bad; but, they would definitely make for a wonderful Tolkien 101 final exam. When all was said and done, Paul Dunne walked away with the title of DragonCon Tolkien Geek of the Year; which, (disliking that title myself), I have redubbed the Steward of the Library of Minas Tirith. Just sounds more scholarly, ya know?
The last session was saying Namarie to our Tolkien friends and fellow fans and finding out what you liked and disliked about the track and especially what you would like to see next year. I'm already thinking along the lines of a session on Dwarven Runes, a writing contest (Carnimiriel's idea) and a few other goodies. If you have ideas, please email me at ElbrenGaladrim@tolkienonline.com
Before saying Namarie for this night, let me give some very special thanks to the TORCers who came down to DragonCon. It was magical to have met all of you; I truly felt like a Fellowship has been formed in the same spirit as our beloved Fellowship of the Nine Walkers. The Evening in Bree party would not have been a success, at least for me, if we hadn't all been there together. I am VERY much looking forward to the Gathering of the Fellowship in 2003 and future meetings that we will have.
I have to say that my weekend was spent completely immersed within the comfortable haven of Middle Earth. I so enjoyed the discussions and debates about Middle Earth and learning more about Tolkien's world from the interaction and track sessions. My personal highlights from the convention:
*Learning the correct pronounciation, from the audience, in fact, for almost every Elvish word that I read during the Tolkien Trivia session.
*Learning that Rosie Cotton's dress was blue and had four layers of cloth
*Learning that seeing a Nazgul walking down a darkened hallway in the bowels of a very tall building definitely causes sudden visits to the bathroom.
*Learning that seeing multiple Nazgul walking down a darkened hallway towards you makes you reach into your pocket and try to find something...anything that will make you disappear.
I had a wonderful convention! Thanks to everyone!
'Now far ahead the Road has gone,
And I must follow, if I can,
Pursuing it with eager feet,
until it joins some larger way
Where many paths and errands meet.
And whither then? I cannot say.'