As you might have realized, I'm a big fan of LOTR - since about 13 years - and The Hobbit. This isn't much about art, but is really inspiring to me.
As I read, that there will be a convention in Bonn, Germany, from March 30th to April 1st 2013 with 9 of the main actors from The Hobbit as quests – Sylvester McCoy (Radagast), Dean O'Gorman (Fili), Graham McTavish (Dwalin), Mark Hadlow (Dori), Jed Brophy (Nori), Adam Brown (Ori), John Callen (Oin), Peter Hambleton (Gloin) and Stephen Hunter (Bombur) - I just needed to go there. I went with my sister and it was our first convention ever. So I'm going to tell you some of our highlights.
Of course we were really excited! There were so many people and I'm actually quite shy. It was the first time that I saw cosplayers in real life. Their costumes and weapons were amazing!
As we got our tickets the first unexpected thing happened: Graham McTavish and Dean O'Gorman walked past us! I was so surprised and almost shocked, that I just stood there and stared after them. My second reaction was a way too fangirlish, suppressed squeak of joy. I hope they didn't hear it – normally I'm not like that! I was just so excited and couldn't believe that they were really there walking around like "normal people"!
Then we walked around the place – it was in a hotel – and took a look at everything. There were people selling Hobbit/LOTR/other Fantasy products: Posters, jewelry, books, collectibles and a lot more of amazing stuff. A good place to spend all your money!
Merchandise Hobbit/LOTR stuff
Every now and then we saw some of the actors: Just walking around, eating or talking to each other. They weren't bothered by hundreds of fans, which was really nice. They seemed to have a lot of fun. I was smiling absent minded at Graham McTavish and as he noticed me, he smiled back! And at the elevators I almost ran into Stephen Hunter – the doors were really opening far too slow!
We also went to a photoshooting with all the actors. I almost got a heart attack! So many people - a big queue of fans, people from the staff and of course the stars! As it was my turn I couldn't look at them and talked really quietly to the ground. Of course they realized that and Dean O'Gorman said, that I don't have to be afraid, because they're not biting. Someone - I think it was Graham McTavish - added „Most of us." It was so funny and they all were so nice to me. The photo turned out quite good, with everyone smiling.
Later on my sister and I went to the autograph session. She got an autograph of Adam Brown and Sylvester McCoy, I got the ones of Graham McTavish and Jed Brophy – and we both got one of Dean O'Gorman. They all were really friendly, asking the fans how they feel and about their names. Actually Jed Brophys mother has got the same name as I do - now I don't hate it anymore! They said also „nice to meet you" and really meant it! That was amazing, because we are nobodies and they are famous. So actually it's nice to meet THEM! And they also thanked everyone so kindly while they were signing stuff the whole day and still had fun. They even allowed us to take pictures. I think we ended up with about 800 pictures of the hotel, the cosplayers, the merchants and their stuff and of course mostly of the actors.
autograph room photo and autographs
And of course there were the panels, were the actors answered questions. It was really a lot of fun, because these men know how to do their job. They even said some sentences in German, which is a really hard language to learn!
We learned a lot new and interesting things about the Hobbit movie and the cast. Only to mention some:
Since about 1/3 of the dwarfish race are females, there should be about 4 females in Thorins group – statistically. And so Jed Brophy and Adam Brown said, that Mark Hadlow is maybe not their brother but their mother, since he's always mothering Ori. So he came on stage in their panel to scold his "younger brothers". Also other panels were crashed by several cast members. That was hilarious!
The Ri brothers being silly
Sylvester McCoy (called himself "Rrrrrrrradagast the Brrrrrrrrrrrown") was also really nice. He didn't stay one stage but walked through the ranks, with people following him all around. As the MC said "There's a question up the balcony.", Sylvester McCoy shouted "Jump!". He did some amazing bird whistling, hugged about 20 fans, danced with one and even encouraged the whole hall to sing „Happy Birthday" for a fan. He also talked about the anti-aging effect of the bird „scheisse" on Radagasts face - obviously his favourite German word – and how much he hates Sebastian – the hedgehog, who is named after Peter Jacksons personal assistant – for getting all the attention.
Rrrrrradagast the Brrrrown
Adam Brown was picking on Graham McTavishs horse riding skills and constantly imitating him. As the very said in his panel that he would like to be in a western movie, Jed Brophy and Adam Brown turned up in the audience and asked at a microphone, how he's going to manage the horse thing. He answered: „I'll shoot them." As a result at the closing ceremony all actors gallopped around the stage which was really funny.
horse riding skills
Graham McTavish also lend a prosthetic arm of Dwalin from the WETA guys - who were also at the convention and held some really interesting talks – and two fans could put it on. It seems to be really heavy and feels like a jellyfish.
Daniel Falconer with Dwalin's arm
Another big delight was Jed Brophy: He is so full of energy, he just can't sit still for a second. So he was running, jumping and dancing around the stage, did a onehanded cartwheel and the splits, „surfed" on a chair (and even explained, how that stunt works), did a handstand (Dean O'Gorman too) and even walked on his hands around the stage. Unbelievable that this man is turning 50 this year! And as if this wasn't enough he also knows like about everything about Tolkiens work. So he was always the center of attention. Adam Browns comment on this was just „18 months...", because he had to spend them with his movie-brother, who is like this the whole day, even early in the morning.
Mr. Hyper active
A fan asked Adam Brown if he is ever taken serious, since he looks so cute and friendly. Graham McTavishs comment on that was, that he is actually a bastard, but nobody believes it. Adam Brown said "I can be f*cking angry too!" and that he'd like to be a villain, while Jed Brophy mimed digging a grave. The two also had a "name the Dwarves" competition which Jed Brophy won. Adam Brown finished his list with "...aaaand Glamdring!" - a hint to the famous interview where he called Gandalfs sword Galadriel. He was really embarrassed when someone asked him about this interview, hid his face in his hands and said "I'm never going to live this down!".
Nori and Ori
The MC, Mark Ferguson who played Gil-Galad in LOTR, was quite funny too. He made a running gag out of the „hungry Hungarians", since they didn't answer as he was listing all the nationalities at the convention and so he said, that they must be still eating. It was amazing from how many countries the about 1'000 fans actually came! Another running gag of the MC were the words „feeling" and "adorable". I think I won't be able to spell them right anymore, because now it's FILIng and adORIable.
At the opening ceremony "Bernd das Brot" - a famous German puppet which was invented by one of the lecturers - came on stage. All the actors looked very confused and Sylvester McCoy tried to stick the microphone in the puppets mouth.
MC Mark Ferguson Bernd das Brot
As they were asked, which character they'd like to play Stephen Hunter said, that he'd like to be Galadriel, Mark Hadlow said he'd like to be Jed Brophy (and imitated him constantly) and John Callen said, that he would like to be lady Galadriels lover - but not if she's played by Stephen Hunter!
Also all the actors complimented Richard Armitage for being such a nice man and they would follow him on a quest - even to death - in real life without hesitation. They even followed him around on set after the filming, so I wonder if he's a bit paranoid now.
They were generally like a family. Even tough they were constantly picking on each other, they meant no harm. And they were all very humble and friendly to the fans. It was nice to see that these impressions I had from Peter Jacksons videoblogs and the interviews were entirely true.
They also made a gameshow with the team Dean O'Gorman and Mark Hadlow (named „Hot Dwarf and friend") versus the team Stephen Hunter and Jed Brophy (which the audience wanted to name Team Bombur, but after a heartbreaking look of Jed Brophy changed it into Team Bombur/Nori). They had to do several rounds: In round one, Mark Hadlow and Jed Brophy had to play buzzers and Dean O'Gorman and Stephen Hunter had to answer various questions - mostly about Middle-Earth themes. Of course Jed Brophy knew everything, but the MC said „Have you ever seen a buzzer answering questions?". To the question "What is the name of the Goblin King?" Stephen Hunter confidently answered "Thranduil!" and everyone in the hall bursted out laughing. Dean O'Gormans answers were quite funny too: "Name the three trolls" - "Bill, Bert and… Megan", Mark Hadlow whispering something to him, "Oh yeah, yeah, that was it! Bill, Bert and *mumbles something*." "What's the name of the river flowing through Rivendell?" - "The Rhine!" "Name a country beginning with "C"." - "Czechoslovakia!" "Bonus question: What's the opposite of light?" - "Dark." - "No, sorry, it's heavy."
In another round they had to talk about something sad – a funeral - without making the audience laugh, which turned out to be almost impossible. Only while Mark Hadlow was singing nobody laughed.
Then they had to name Tolkien characters that died. While Jed Brophy said names like Gil-Galad (picking on the MC), Snaga (one of the orcs he played) and Eldarion (Aragorn and Arwens son, played by Sadwyn, Jed Brophys son), the only characters Dean O'Gorman came up with were Fili, Kili and Thorin. But Jed Brophy was too clever and named Thorin before Dean O'Gorman could, so the audience had to help him with Boromir.
In the next round they had to move the MC to poses which fitted what he is talking about – a quest to find himself a girlfriend. That was hilarious, as almost everything in the gameshow!
the quest to find a girlfriend
They also had to make grimaces behind the back of the MC while he was interviewing one of the stars and they had to explain it when the MC turned around and saw it. The explamations were really funny, like Mark Hadlow who said that he's an old man with a hurting back.
Then they had to tell stories and the others had to find out if it's true or not. Sadly only Dean O'Gormans story - he got stuck in a letterbox when he was 19 years old and the fire brigade had to cut him free - was true. The other stories were: Mark Hadlow throwing up on his first date, Jed Brophy kissing the (male) prime minister of Australia and Stephen Hunter being caught only in pants in a hostel.
the silly gameshow the mailbox story
In the last round the MC said a number and they had to make a sentence with this number of words – about a toilet. Jed Brophy totally owned this challenge by counting down a 26 words sentence with his fingers, turning to the audience and finishing with a sassy "...now!" - great actor!
The ones in the crowd who should count the points, couldn't do that right and so it ended with a draw.
The weekend went by much too fast. The Closing Ceremony was again a big show with the highlights of a workshop performing a dance and fight between Azog and the good people (Hobbits, Dwarves, Elves), some of the lecturers singing and mainly the Dwarf cast singing Misty Mountains! It was so silent as never before and never after in the hall. It was amazingly beautiful and they got standing ovations for it – which they really deserved!
Azog the Closing Ceremony
My opinion about the actors:
Sylvester McCoy: Radagast
He is a really funny, loveable man and the only one to hold his panels in the audience and not on stage. Although he's almost 70 years old he's still very energetic.
Best quote: "I once was a cycler, now I'm a recycler."
Dean O'Gorman: Fili
Well, he was obviously the favorite of the mostly female audience and he really is a very handsome and friendly man. But he doesn't seem to know too much as he proved in the gameshow – or he's just great in acting!
Best quote: "Name a country beginning with "C"." - "Czechoslovakia!" (Czechoslovakia parted in 1993 in the Czech Republic and Slovakia! Canada or China seemed to be too exotic.)
Graham McTavish: Dwalin
The best Dwalin I could imagine! He looks tough and a bit scary, but has a heart of gold. He is a calm and friendly man.
Best quote: A man is weeping in a bar because his girlfriend left him. After 20 minutes a Scottish Dwalin answers: "I see WEAKNESS!"
Mark Hadlow: Dori
He watched almost all panels and crashed them often. He's also very funny and a delight together with his movie-brothers. All three "Ris" made a big impression on me.
Best quote: "Jed Brophy is half a chicken."
Jed Brophy: Nori
The one who impressed me the most! He was so funny, charming and energetic – it's impossible to not like him! On tumblr I read a description, that fits him really well: Pure Awesomeness on hyperactive legs! In Peter Jacksons Middle-Earth he already belongs to the inventory. No great movies without Jed Brophy.
Best quote: "Name a Tolkien character that died." - "Gil-Galad." (to the guy who played Gil-Galad!)
Adam Brown: Ori
He was really cute! A bit shy, easily embarrassed and very polite. As female you really get mother feelings for him. But he's got the skill to act besides guys like Mark Hadlow and Jed Brophy.
Best quote: "I can be f*cking angry too!"
John Callen: Oin
He is the oldest of the Dwarf actors, but not less funny or active as the rest of them. I was quite surprised that he is so witty!
Best quote: "Oin and Gloin from the loins of Groin."
Peter Hambleton: Gloin
Compared to the others, he was quite calm and more in the background. But thanks to his explanations about "Team Ginger" I know now, why only Gloin and Bombur are married!
Best quote: "Everyone needs some ginger in their life."
Stephen Hunter: Bombur
He is rater shy and I pitied him in the gameshow. It was possibly quite hard to be on stage with this hyperactive guys and don't disappear completely. But he proved, that he has some good humor too!
Best quote: "What's the name of the Goblin King?" - "Thranduil!"
I can honestly say, that this was the best weekend of my entire life so far. It was so much fun! I was always walking around with a big smile on my face. I really liked the cast before I met them, but now I totally fell in love with all of them! They are awesome!
So thanks very much to the staff, who organized this fantastic convention, to the really friendly fans and of course especially to the actors, who came deliberately the long way to Germany. It's such an honour to have met them!
A short video report of RTL in German (with Jed Brophys cartwheel and Sylvester McCoys "Rrrrrrrradagast the Brrrrown"): video report
Impressions (featuring Jed Brophy being silly and a cuddly Nazgûl): Impressions
I don't own any of the videos and only some of the photos! Most of it is from the internet.