Wednesday, July 16, 2014


My dad read my sister and I The Hobbit and other Tolkien short stories when we were young. When I was about 10, I read The Hobbit, again but on my own. For my 12th birthday, my dad got me my own copy of The Lord of the Rings. I read it and fell in love. It is still one of the very best books I have ever read. Several months after I got the book, "The Fellowship of the Ring" came out in theaters. These movies are the closest I have ever come to being a fan girl (and I really was not close---I am not really nor like that).

My middle and high school years are filled with a lot of Lord of the Rings memories, from waiting in line for each of the three movies, to re-reading the books, watching all of the special features and having movie marathons once the movies (extended edition) came out on DVD. My sister, and my friends, Caitlin and Mallory (twins), and I, were all in the same class our 8th grade (Jessica's 7th grade) year (at our middle school classes were still pretty much like grade school, with just one teacher). We all sat next to each other and were in a corner near the back and side wall. I am not sure how it started, but we started a collage on that wall. There were pictures of Aragorn, the hobbits, Legolas, etc. from the movie, there were our own drawings, quotes, etc. It mostly was all of Lord of the Rings stuff. We practiced writing our names in dwarvish runes and Elvish and put those up in the collage.  I think our teacher must have just liked it, because for whatever reason he did not care that we stapled all this stuff all over the wall. I wish I had a picture of it! I have such happy memories from this time and it cemented a love of all things Tolkien in my young heart. I have since reread The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit many times and I love them more with each reread. 

So, when I saw that there was going to be a FantasyCon here in Salt Lake City, and Sean Astin (Samwise Gamgee), Billy Boyd (Pippin), John Rhys-Davies (Gimli), Sylvester McCoy (Radagast the Brown, also Doctor Who) and several of the dwarves from "The Hobbit" movie were going to be there, there was no way I was not going to be there. 

FantasyCon was so perfect (it would be better if the whole fellowship or at least all four hobbits were there, though). They had a Middle-Earth kick off panel--with everyone mentioned above, plus a producer from "The Lord of the Rings" films (you know the balding guy with a dorky voice), an artist from the movies and It was wonderful. There was also a panel of just Billy Boyd and Sean Astin--talking about being in the films. Plus, everyone had a spotlight and the dwarf who played Gloin (Gimli's dad) and John Rhys-Davies had a father-son panel, which was pretty hilarious. Basically, my middle school heart grew two sizes too big.

Now, for some pictures!

I dressed Elanor up as Elanor Gamgee (Sam's daughter)--this is who she is named after. 
Quickly made Hobbit feet.
{but a not so quickly made dress (I made the dress)}
They had a cute princess area where girls could try on these super awesome princess apron/dresses. I want to make one like that! They had a table set up and they could have a tea party with princesses.

The Fairy Godmother let them pick out a dress and put it on them saying, "Bipiddi, boppity, boo!".

On a Hobbit set.
Jabba the Hut--Tyler did come to FantasyCon--but he is not in any pictures!
Elanor was pretty excited to find this girl dressed like Merida!
Elanor was obsessed with this dragon. It was her favorite thing there.
A pretty cool fountain.

We went to Sylvester McCoy's spotlight (Radagast and 7th Doctor) and he was hilarious! He also said a lot of really insightful things. I especially liked when he talked about the Doctor and his abhorrence with violence/weapons and said that we should look on fighting. etc. as man's greatest weakness, not strength.
He had great comedic timing.

Middle Earth kick off!
The Dwarves (who made me like "The Hobbit" movie so much more). They were all so entertaining and kind.
Especially this dwarf--he was so nice to Elanor. In the main area, they had booths set up for every actor and you could go up and talk to them and this guy (Graham McTavish-- Dwalin) was so easy to talk to! He talked to us for about 10 minutes telling Elanor all about riding in the barrels. He quickly became our favorite dwarf.
And there they are.
Billy Boyd!
 Someone requested that Billy Boyd sing the song from "The Return of the King" and he kindly obliged. I did get a video:

 We went up and talked to Sean Astin and Billy Boyd at their booths.  Billy Boyd was so sweet and talked princesses with Elanor. The first thing Sean Astin said was "Hi, Elanor!". He knew who she was based on her costume and that kinda made my day.
A quick picture while we were waiting in line.
We also took a picture with Sean Astin (Tyler could not make it for this--so it looks like an awkward family photo..). This was actually the only day I dressed up as well. It is a pretty lame elf costume and I should not have bothered. I am sort of embarrassed by this picture and did not want Sean Astin to think I was weird. Elanor kindly reassured me saying, "Mom, you look beautiful and Sean Astin liked you. "

 Billy Boyd and Sean Astin together were wonderful!

We also went to their separate spotlights. Sean Astin was just so sweet and good (he even said a Sam speech and some Goonies lines!!). Billy Boyd was hilarious and so entertaining. He loves being in front of an audience and so does John Rhys-Davies--that guy is laugh out loud funny!

It was a wonderful three days. It was a dream come true (for real). 

And in closing a cute video of Elanor dancing to the music from a band at FantasyCon:


  1. How perfect this all was! I'm so glad that you got to go, and that Elanor got to have a nice little connection with her namesake (kind of). And I was happy to see your mention of our 8th grade wall. It was magical indeed. I remember the old truck sketch that Jessica (I think) drew, and the Monty Python pictures, and yes, many Dwarvish Runes. Wonderful times, and I'm glad that you got to add to your wealth of happy Tolkien experiences with fantasycon!

  2. Well if it's any consolation your awkward family photo certainly has me a little jealous. Just reading your account has made my middle school heart grow two sizes too big, though your retelling of our sacred corner helped. Billy! What a guy! What a perfect hobbit he is. What perfect dwarves they all are, and so very good to hear that is was such a smashing success with you guys and Elanor. I love to see that they've all embraced those roles and are more than okay to be thought of as the Doctor and Samwise and Pippin for ever...mmm, fantasy is so much more than just fantasy. Yes! I hope that we can all go to fantasycon together when were 80.