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A LOTR Fans Explains Her Excitement for SDCC

Editor’s Note: This is a guest post by Shannon O’Toole, a life long fan of The Lord of the Rings. In it, she details why any Tolkein head should be super excited for this year’s con (yes, it’s more than just the big Hobbit panel).

After subjecting my family to years of longing sighs and sad, drawn out groans every July as I scrolled through news and photographs, I can finally say that I am going to be in on the madness and magic that is Comic-Con. My love of geek culture is all over the map. I grew up reading Harry Potter, devoured The Hunger Games series, and love super heroes (with a special fondness for Iron Man). I read and watch “Game of Thrones,” avidly view “The Legend of Korra,” have seen the hilarious TV series “Community” through multiple times, and I’ve even dressed up for several midnight premieres.

The stories that have most defined my life, however, have been those about Middle-earth, namely “The Hobbit” and “The Lord of the Rings.” I’ve traveled up and down the East coast to meet several of the actors, seen an exhibition of props from the films, and witnessed a live orchestra play the score of “The Two Towers” while the film played at Radio City Music Hall, bumping into Howard Shore himself during intermission. I’ve met wonderful, lifelong friends as a direct result of this fandom. My room has been described by many as a shrine to the trilogy, and on more than one occasion, my passion for these stories has preceded me. Nothing confirms your adoration of a fandom quite like hearing, “Oh! Shannon O’Toole! You’re that girl who loves ‘Lord of the Rings’!”

The LOTR movie panel in 2002.

With all that in mind, one thing is clear: I chose a fantastic year to come to Comic Con.

As the release of “The Hobbit” approaches and Middle-earth once again lights up movie screens across the globe, “The Lord of the Rings,” the film trilogy that introduced many to Tolkien’s world for the first time, has received a revitalization of sorts. Some companies, such as Sideshow Collectibles and Weta Workshop, have been producing breathtaking pieces (and thereby emptying my bank account and dominating my holidays and birthdays) inspired by Middle-earth steadily since the original film trilogy was released. Sideshow Collectibles recently teased their Witch-king statue as well as their one of the Dark Lord Sauron, and Weta Workshop not only announced new products to come based on “The Hobbit” in late 2012, but announced Barad-dûr as their next environment and have the first set of 3 of Fellowship statues available for pre-order as well.

A multitude of new products from other companies have been released, with plenty more on the horizon. “The Lord of the Rings” Lego sets have recently begun to appear in stores; just when you think hobbits can’t get any cuter, they become Legos. The WB has begun to put new Middle-earth related clothing on their website in anticipation of “The Hobbit,” and the new MOBA/RP game “Guardians of Middle-earth” is set for release for Fall 2012. Seeing Gandalf duking it out with Gollum in the teaser was enough to make this fangirl shriek in a manner that rivaled one of the Nazgûl in pitch. With “The Hobbit” less than six months away (I mean, it’s not like I’m counting down the days…), Middle-earth is expected to have a strong presence in San Diego this July. Both Sideshow Collectibles and Weta Workshop are returning this year. I, like many fans out there I am sure, cannot wait to throw my money at them and hopefully get a sneak peek at some products to come., a fansite “forged by and for fans” of Tolkien, recently announced that they will once again be appearing at the convention. Their panel is set for 10:15 on Thursday in room 6DE. Several staffers will be on hand, including some who have been lucky enough to visit the set of “The Hobbit” in New Zealand. Special guests have also been invited, and, as Billy Connolly, who plays Dain in the upcoming “Hobbit” films said in an interview, the wrap party for the two films is July 7. Interesting…

In addition to the panel, is hoping to get Tolkien Cosplay fans together following the panel at roughly 11:45 in the Salis Terrace area for a group photo of Minas Tirith proportions.

Multiple sources have also reported that the WB is expected to present “The Hobbit” at Comic Con this year during their three-hour block of time in Hall H on Saturday. Regardless of what exactly the convention brings, I look forward to seeing the presentations and products that Tolkien’s world created and being surrounded by like-minded people whose love for Middle-earth matches my own. While specifics remain somewhat unclear and unconfirmed, one thing is sure: 2012 is the year to go There and Back Again to Comic Con for Tolkien fans.

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