Event News

Countdown to Dragon Con 2017

It’s just past the middle of July, but that means that Dragon Con 2017 is fast approaching, with under 45 days to go! I will be covering the con for Middle-earth News once again this year. Be sure to let me know if you’ll be there! I may even have a Middle-earth News button or two to give away!

You may remember from my reporting earlier this year that Dragon Con eliminated the J. R. R. Tolkien’s Middle-earth programming track, a track completely dedicated to J. R. R. Tolkien related panels and events. Tolkien content will now be part of the new High Fantasy track. There will be less Tolkien content now, but I have some “Inside Information” that there will still be some exceptionally good panels and events at the con. High Fantasy Track staff member (and long-time Dragon Con Tolkien Track staff, organizer, and contributor) Jim Wert shared some of the Tolkien-related content at this year’s con with me. Here’s a quick summary to whet your appetite:

Returning favorites

  • An Evening at Bree.” This signature Tolkien event is known throughout Dragon Con. This year’s celebration will be organized and emceed by Kirsten Cairns (“Greendragon” of theonering.net, and Dragon Con seasoned veteran), featuring the traditional Tolkien cosplay contest, music, and lively dancing.
  • The Elven Choir. The choir is directed by Kathleen Dallin and will perform at “An Evening at Bree.” The wandering Lantern Elves will also sing as they stroll about various locations during the con.
  • “Hobbit Drinking Songs” is possibly the most fun you can have outside an actual inn or pub, presented by perennial favorites the Brogdingnagian Bards.

Scholarly panel discussions

The scholar’s panels have been a real hallmark of the Tolkien programming at Dragon Con, helping to bring the literary aspects of Tolkien’s work to a wide con audience. This year’s discussions will present the following topics.

  • “Preciousssss Moments” will offer an examination of Gollum/Smeagol. Tolkien scholar Constance Wagner and Jim Wert will delve into one of Tolkien’s most complex and fascinating characters, exploring themes in the character such as inner turmoil, resilience, repentance, and providence.
  • Beren and Luthien was published as a free-standing volume in May 2017. Edited by Christopher Tolkien, the book features the story that lies at the heart of Tolkien’s world. The panel will discuss the story, its versions, and its connections to themes of high fantasy.
  • The Inklings, an informal group of literary enthusiasts that included J. R. R. Tolkien and C. S. Lewis, had an enormous impact in the founding of what we now call High Fantasy. The panel will discuss the influence of the Inklings on the world of fantasy literature.
    • UPDATE: The Inklings panel has been postponed until next year. But don’t despair! In its place, our friends at TheOneRing.net will present their panel, “Still Tolkien About It 80 Years Later.” Definitely an event not to be missed!

 Art, cosplay, and community

  • Graphic artist David Wenzel, known for his adaptation of The Hobbit, will lead a session discussing the art of The Hobbit.
  • Tolkien Cosplayers Photoshoot will try to gather all the great Tolkien-themed cosplay in one place at one time for an epic photo. If you’re interested in attending, you can join on the Facebook event “Tolkien’s Middle-earth Dragon*Con 2017 Photoshoot.”
  • “Namarie/Farewell” used to be the final session of the Tolkien Track at the con, but because of the track changes, this will be the very first session on Friday morning. The session will give the Tolkien con community a chance to gather to greet old friends, and have an orientation to the Tolkien-related content available at this year’s con.
  • Informal gatherings. Like always, there will be plenty of opportunities to get together with your con buddies in the lulls between events (if such things exist at Dragon Con).

Other events with Tolkien tie-ins

  • Dragon Con Parade. The Saturday morning parade is a staple of Dragon Con, and has a large Tolkien cosplayer contingent. Participation requires a con badge and a special armband. There is a dedicated page for the Tolkien parade marchers, “2017 Dragoncon Parade: Tolkien Cosplayers,” where you may be able to snag an armband for the parade.
  • “Historical Influences in High Fantasy” panel will look at how real-world forces impacted some of our favorite high fantasy writers. The effect of Tolkien’s experiences in World War I on his writing will be included in this discussion.
  • “The American Tolkien” will reveal who that might be (and it may not be the person you’re thinking of).

Will you be at Dragon Con 2017? I will be! Be sure to come find me! Look for a dwarf with red hair. And keep an eye on Middle-earth News for more updates as con time grows nearer!

Special thanks to the Dragon Con High Fantasy track Director, Jennifer Liang, for permission to spill these beans for our readers!

Tags: , , , , ,

Comments are closed.