Back in April, one of my friends sent me an email: there was a rumor that a little convention in Wellington, New Zealand, was going to somehow get most of the cast of The Hobbit movies, and they already had some other super awesome guests, and did I want to go? Well, I’d just gotten back from Australia and New Zealand in February, but… yeah, I did.
That conversation turned into a two week trip to Auckland and Wellington, NZ, as well as Melbourne, Australia. New Zealand is one of my favorite countries in the world to visit, although I’d only previously been on the South Island. This would be a trip to the North Island for the first time, and also a chance to see one of my best friends who lives in Melbourne.
And the “little convention” that my friend mentioned? That’s Armageddon Expo, and it isn’t such a “little” event! The amazing staff at Armageddon Expo host events in Australia and New Zealand for fans of comics, sci-fi/fantasy, gaming, and anime, and the Wellington show was a pretty big one; thousands and thousands of fans descended on Westpac Stadium for three exciting days.
The event started Friday night with a cocktail party, which I was fortunate enough to get an invitation to. It was an intimate event where fans and guests of the convention could mingle without the chaos and noise of the convention center. I mostly stuck with my friend, but did get to meet a couple of really cool people.
Me with Jason Momoa (Game of Thrones and Stargate: Atlantis)
Saturday was the first day of the Expo, and I spent it wandering and meeting some very cool people. One of my favorites was Janet Varney, the voice of Korra from Avatar: The legend of Korra. She was beyond lovely, and took the time to have a conversation with every single fan who came up. I saw her at a panel at San Diego Comic Con last year, and told her how much I’d enjoyed the panel, and she confirmed that she’d be back at SDCC this year!
I also met Dean Rankine (a Simpsons comic artist), who I actually met at the Cocktail Party on Friday night. Not only did he remember my name for the entire weekend, but he was hilarious and genuinely such a nice person.
And of course, I caught a couple of panels.
The first panel was Sylvestor McCoy, from Doctor Who and The Hobbit. He moved around the room with such energy, going up to anyone who had a question and meeting them face to face, which I’ve never seen done at a convention before. He was so lively that I could barely grab a photo!
The second panel was Jason Momoa, who was Khal Drogo in Game of Thrones and Ronon in Stargate: Atlantis. I’ll admit, I didn’t enjoy this panel very much; Momoa doesn’t have the charisma with an audience that Sylvester McCoy does, that’s for sure!
After the Jason Momoa panel, I wandered around and checked out the exhibitors, and also some of the amazing cosplayers. I wish I’d taken more pictures of the fans… the costumes were unbelievable!
A lovely Thranduil cosplayer. The detail on this costume was beautiful!
Some Homestuck ladies; I don’t follow the comic, but I was impressed by their costumes!
But it was Sunday that was the Big Day at the Expo. Because that aforementioned rumor of a bunch of Hobbit actors appearing? Yeah, that was true.
Somehow, through some kind of convention magic, Armageddon Expo managed to get (take a deep breath): Sylvester McCoy (Radagast the Brown), Luke Evans (Bard the Bowman), Adam Brown (Ori), Aidan Turner (Kili), Dean O’Gorman (Fili), Graham McTavish (Dwalin), James Nesbitt (Bofur), Jed Brophy (Nori), John Callen (Oin), Mark Hadlow (Dori), Peter Hambleton (Gloin), Stephen Hunter (Bombur) and William Kircher (Bifur).
That’s– count it– eleven dwarves, one wizard, and one human. Yeah. Yeah.
The rest of Sunday was pretty hectic: autograph queues, more autograph queues, and, oh wait, a photo queue! I got a photo with me and my friend with the entire cast, and an autograph as well, which was pretty awesome.
And Sunday ended pretty fabulously: I got to meet Yeardley Smith, the voice of Lisa Simpson! I grew up watching The Simpsons, but my dad was the big fan, so I was thrilled to be able to meet Yeardley and get an autograph for my dad. And Yeardley was amazing! She wrote a hilarious note to my dad, and took a minute to chat with me, even though the line was pretty long.
Unfortunately, I didn’t get to spend much time at the con on Monday… my flight was early (due to a screw-up with the airline, long story), so I had enough time to dash up and say goodbye to some of the amazing people that I met that weekend, and then head off to the airport.
Voila! That was Armageddon Expo for me! Wellington was lovely, and I can’t wait to go back, but I got to spend three exciting days there, and then it was off for a week in Melbourne!