So, I attended my very first Comic Con (though as we call it in New Zealand: Armageddon). Even having watched these things on-line for so many years, I wasn't entirely sure what to expect, but having wandered Horncastle Arena for the day, I think the best way to describe the whole thing is as a huge indoor marketplace that sells very specialized geek merchandise.
So I wandered around happily, just taking in all the sights: a life-sized E.T., Lego sculptures, Laser Tag, about a gazillion Funko Pop dolls, walls covered in novelty T-shirts, and of course – plenty of cosplayers. Some of them were incredible, particularly a woman in the big yellow dress and hat of Disney's Jane Porter, a little girl dressed as Kiki, complete with red bow, broom and cat, and of course, the inevitable heavy-breathing Darth Vader.
Unfortunately I was a bit too shy to ask for photos, and I didn't want to take them secretly, so you'll just have to take my word for how great they were.
But here were some of the day's highlights:
First of all, I finally did the Pottermore Sorting Quiz to see what Hogwarts House I belonged to. Beforehand, I would have laid vast amounts of money on being a Ravenclaw. I mean, it was so obvious. I'm Ravenclaw.
But no, it turns out... I'm Slytherin. I can honestly say I've never been so shocked in all my life. I actually jumped back when I saw the results come up on the monitor.
Once I'd come to terms with this, I figured – hey, why not embrace the evil? So here's my Slytherin school pin (along with a Blueray copy of Belle et la Bete with decent subtitles for only fifteen bucks and a supercute tiny box of TicTacs).
After this, I headed to the stage area for the celebrity guest interviews, listening to Keiynan Lonsdale and Paul Blackthorne share some stories and answer some questions. And honestly, I don't know how they manage! Keiynan in particular was faced with several variations of: "I'm having an existential crisis, can you solve it for me right now?"
Okay, I'm exaggerating a little, but people do tend to get very personal; treating celebrities like impromptu therapists rather than actors in a television show. But to his credit, Keiynan handled it all well, and the moderator said something really lovely before he left the stage: that there were all sorts of horror stories coming out of Hollywood, but that the future was bright in the hands of actors like Keiynan.
And then of course, it was time for the reason I came: Katie McGrath!
After assuming it would be a weird experience to see someone I've been watching on television for so many years in person ... it wasn't that strange after all. There she was, answering questions and chatting with the moderator, and whatever I thought was going to happen; however I thought I was going to react... it didn't happen. So I suppose it's a relief to realize I don't get star-struck?
But here's the thing about Katie – she really is just oozing with charisma, and though I'm aware that panels involve a certain degree of performance on the part of any actor, she's so good at it. One girl got up to ask a question, and she and Katie must have met earlier, because Katie called her by name. And of course, the girl was overjoyed.
Katie also finished her answer to each question by thanking the audience member ("thanks darlin'") and was enthusiastic about every project she was asked about, from Merlin to Supergirl – even Slasher got a mention! It’s easy to see why she's so popular.
Here she is, answering a couple of questions about Morgana (people are still interested over five years later!)
But my favourite part would have to be the four girls sitting directly behind me. I never actually saw them, but they were cooing and squeeing with excitement over nearly everything Katie said. ("New Zealand is amazing." "Meeeep!" "Lena is in season four." "Oh thank God, she lives!")
It was adorable, and it reminded me of what fandom is supposed to be: friends enjoying things together. It sounds insane, doesn't it. But after the news about what Kelly Marie Tran has been going through, especially after being such an enthusiastic fan-girl herself, it was so nice to see fandom in its purest form – people simply getting excited over a show and an actress.
So it was a pretty fun day in all... I guess I'll be back next year!