There and Back Again at DragonCon - DragonCon 2002

The news from Bree has it that larger and larger crowds continue to flock to the Tolkien Track at DragonCon. Yes, it's true, Elbren the Mallorn Nut and Tolkien snob can vouch for the rumours: Day Three of DragonCon saw us scheduling yet another Elvish 101 track session and even handing out tickets to guarantee seats to the nearly 200 people who had waited so patiently in the hallway.

But, I get ahead of the tale...Joe Piela kicked off Day Three with yet another presentation on Arms and Armor in Middle Earth. I do not jest: People were lining up outside the Tolkien Track door at 8 AM, (the session started at 10), in order to ensure that they got inside for the presentation. Swords and Spears once again became the stars of the Tolkien Track room during this session. If you've been to Joe's web page, The Lonely Mountain Forge, (, you've seen pictures of a few of the arms and armor that he brought to DragonCon. But, after seeing them in person, the pictures do not do them justice. Anduril in particular is an absolutely gorgeous sword while Anglachel is exquisite. I was thrilled when Joe allowed me to handle the swords; I only hope that he didn't see me having to clean the drool off of the blades.

Ellen and Stephan, (TORCers Carnimiriel and Alkarion), again presented their proposed production of The Tale of Beren and Luthien which will be, Tolkien Estate permitting, a ballet entitled The Silmaril. Hearing the sneak preview, (prehear?), of some of the ballet's score again had me seeing the images of Luthien dancing before image that I am greatly anticipating! I wonder if any Elves in the audience will try to capture a Silmaril when the curtain closes, or if they would even wait for the curtain to close! Hmm, for that matter, I wonder if I could get my hands on one of the Silmarils while no one is looking....I'm sure to get close...

Dan Govar of was next with his phenomenal Tolkien-inspired art. If you haven't been to, then all I can say is TO THE DUNGEONS OF BARAD-DUR WITH YOU! This website is like stepping inside of Middle Earth. Don't believe me? Then click on the link and allow yourself to experience REAL Elven magic on the web. If you don't agree with me, then I'll eat cram for a year. Dan's art is breathtaking. Period. Beyond that, he is one of the nicest Mortals that I've ever met; are you still here? Go and check out his site!

Elvish 101. WOW. It should be in the running now for official language of DragonCon. Not only was the session on Sunday COMPLETELY packed with standing room only, we had to add a THIRD session to accommodate all of the folks who had waited in line so patiently only to be turned away. The 5:30 additional session was full as well. Personally, I think it makes perfect sense that we had to do THREE Elvish sessions; think about it. THREE Elven Rings. THREE Elvish 101 sessions. Okay, maybe I'm reaching....but it sounds cool, huh?

Professor Tom Shippey once again came to speak to us; this time on The Tolkien Phenomenon - Why Does It Go On? The room, of course, was packed again. Professor Shippey is a wonderful speaker and soon had us completely under his spell as he began to weave his theories on why Tolkien continues to be such a phenomenon in the 21st century. It was especially a thrill to hear Professor Shippey describe various conversations that he had had with Professor Tolkien; I could listen to those anecdotes all day long, (and probably all night long, too!). It's just magical to hear! Professor Shippey spoke of metaphor and allegory; applying those to not only Tolkien's writings, but to the writings of some of his contemporaries as well. Bottom line: Those who attended now have ample ammunition, (in the form of the English language), to adequately SQUASH any argument that LOTR is an allegory for WWII; and the popular belief that Sauron is a metaphor for Hitler will also soon disappear faster than one can put on the One Ring. Wanna know what my "thrill for the day" was on Sunday? Accompanying Professor Shippey's over to the Marriott (while carrying a box of his Author of the Century books for him) and engaging him in private conversation. It is almost....almost like being able to commune with Tolkien himself. Magical! Two Towers preview was moved to a larger room, (our room DEFINITELY will not hold 2000 people!), so after the encore Elvish 101 session at 5:30, Carnimiriel, Alkarion, and I made our way wearily to my humble abode. Like many Tolkien fans that were at DragonCon, we chose last night to watch the LOTR DVD together. Unlike many Tolkien fans that were at DragonCon, we only made it as far as Bree before the pints settled in and we had to crawl to our beds for the night...

Monday sees repeats of several of our Track sessions, (Games Workshop, Dan Govar, and Universal Interactive), but at 2:30 PM, TORC's own Elbren, (that's me!), will be hosting a Tolkien Trivia game where we will test your knowledge of Middle Earth! Prizes galore AND the title of Steward of the Minas Tirith Library will be at stake...come join us!


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