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It is kind of wondrous. Every Ring*Con is different. The flair differs; the mood differs, yet, every time it is great. Thus it was this year again. After beforehand many fans had already sung the good-bye to the Convention because it was dared to invite on short-term note two actors from a different film, it now turns out, much ado about nothing.
In my 42 young spring times I simply have learnt to ban the "what if" question from my vocabulary. Nothing is worse than to argue about crossing the bridges before you come to them which then turn out to be air bubbles in the end. It is simply lost time.
I arrived on Thursday - by car. Actually I had planned to drive into Fulda with fluttering pirate flag stuck to the radio antenna with outer speakers blaring the Pirates of the Caribbean soundtrack (just because). Yet I dismissed this idea. The soundtrack blared inside the car what gave me some irritated views of some drivers at this and that traffic light.
Coming by car was a wise decision, because on Friday the train personnel were on strike. You couldn't overlook it. The fans came in only slowly and according to the organisers about 600 fans didn't arrive at all. Thus the rows at the first panels were extremely empty.
The first stop on Friday was of course, like always, registration and the buying of the ticket for next year. Yes, I admit, I am a Fantasy geek (with massive strolls into the realms of Stargate, Star Trek and Star Wars). I play the computer games, run to the cinema and read the books. I am looking much forward to the opening of the con to other fantasy areas. This can only be good for the convention, brings in new faces, new verve and new fans. Does it take away from Tolkien? No! I had read the books when I was twelve and shall do so again. I do believe the ghost of Tolkien will never vanish as long as the fans don't want it to happen. I think of the workshops and the togetherness and also on the one or other actor panel.
To those who are afraid of the "fanatic" Harry Potter scream-girls, let me tell you this: I was at the Harry Potter film premiere this year at London and met many awfully nice fans, coming from all age groups and from so many countries. You wouldn't believe how many, also very young, Alan Rickman fans are out there. ;-)
Back to Ring*Con. I was curious about Clive Ashburn and Isaac C. Singleton jr., since I do love the Pirates of the Caribbean trilogy and besides I also hoped for some material for my Full Bloom website. Both didn't disappoint. While Clive was prepared with photos from the shoot and presented little anecdotes Isaac surprised with his voice. I have never ever heard such a deep voice in my life before. Total goose-bump feeling.
This was also what the gathered fans thought at the Opening, because when Isaac was called to the stage and he had uttered the very first few words a murmur went through the hall. The aid-searching gaze of Isaac to Marc B. Lee was too funny.
I also liked very much that the actors in general sat among the audience while their colleagues did their panels onstage and this without getting pestered too much.
An also new face was Daniel Falconer of Weta. All of his panels were well visited and now people argue at various forums who is allowed to adopt him first. His presentations were funny, interesting and entertaining. Generally Daniel Falconer is a true sympathetic and open human being and had gathered the fan hearts by storm.
Although Craig Parker had to cancel this year, he was everywhere. Let it be Lori Dungey's or Mark Fergusons panels. They went even so far to prepare a small photo report beforehand, which had us all rolling on the floor laughing. I only say Possum-Wear and Slash-Festival. Mark also insisted to throw Craig out of bed at 7 am via Mobile Phone with a laughing fan crowd while on stage. Sadly the transmission of what Craig had to say didn't work over the microphone.
The entertainment surprise this year was Jed Brophy, who bubbled high spirits. Not only his Lederhosen appearance but generally he was game for any nonsense and teased the fans at any moment he could get.
Kiran Shah, smallest stuntman of the world, actor, poet and photographer was also contributed big time. Since Kiran was in so many films he had a lot to tell. German television viewers know him from being the bear in the Bärenmarke commercials.
Our Ring*Con veterans are a well-working team. Lori Dungey, Mark Ferguson, Thomas Robins, Jonathan Harding and Jed Brophy often come onstage together with shortly and not so shortly invented ideas, tease each other and are only sympathetic.
Many were also looking forward to John Noble. John has a fascinating calm appearance and always has a nice word for every single fan. Questions are answered with loads of patience and thoughtfulness.
Andy Serkis, who came for Karl Urban, could only come on Saturday to fulfil photo- and autograph wishes. I have already met Andy at various film premieres. He was always extremely friendly and open to the fans, for which I could now say my thanks in person. Andy did prepare his panel well with a mixture of information about Lord of the Rings and King Kong and various entertaining interludes inclusively the voice of Gollum. I also thought it nice that Thomas Robins came on stage. After all, Andy did murder him. ;-)
Entertainment was a big thing this year in general. I think of the fire show at the opening ceremony, which gave me a goose bump feeling or the great pirates' stunt, where a certain Jack Sparrow arrived on stage by swinging in over the audience heads to then stand his man in a sword fight. I also think of the wife seeking orc or the vulgar elf at the costume contest und the pirate song performed by the elven choir. I for sure sung along Hoist the Colours very loudly then and there.
Also brilliant was the concert of John Kelly and Maite Itoiz on Saturday night. I already had the CD and of course did know all of the lyrics. The only damage suffered my thumb. A lighter is not a very good idea to ooze mood at the ballads. I also enjoyed that near the end all of the fans gathered stood, sung and danced. Since Maite and John stayed until the Closing on Sunday I think they enjoyed it as much. Maite was clearly delighted about her being allowed to perform a sword fight on stage during the Closing. I think both fit perfectly well into the programme.
I should like to thank all the fans in or out of costume, the organisers and the invited guests for yet another beautiful Ring*Con. I am already looking forward to next year and should like to close this report with the poem Isaac performed at the Closing (maybe he is an Oakland Raiders fan, because the following is their NFL theme song):
The autumn wind is a pirate
Blustering in from sea
With a rollicking song he sweeps along
His face is weather beaten
He wears a hooded sash
With his silver hat about his head
And a bristly black moustache
He growls as he storms the country
A villain big and bold
And the trees all shake and quiver and quake
As he robs them of their gold
The autumn wind is a Raider
Pillaging just for fun
He'll knock you around and upside down
And laugh when he's conquered and won