Dragon Con adds guests from Dark Matter, DC TV universe and others

New Dragon Con logoLast month Dragon Con picked up the pace on guest announcements, including some from shows/movies that are either on my “currently watching” or “need to watch/catch up” lists.

From the SyFy show Dark Matter, guest announcements include Anthony Lemke, Jodelle Ferland, Roger Cross, and Zoie Palmer; who are known on the show as “Three”, “Five”, “Six”, and “The Android”, respectively. The show follows a group of amnesiacs who try to piece together who they are and why there were in stasis on an abandoned spaceship. The show is set to premiere its second season on July 1.

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Credit: SyFy

From the DC TV universe, we have Carlos Valdes (Cisco, The Flash), Caity Lotz (Sara Lance/White Canary, Arrow and Legends of Tomorrow) and Ciara Renee (Kendra Saunders/Hawkgirl, Arrow, The Flash and Legends of Tomorrow).

Jack Gleeson, who is best known for portraying Joffrey Baratheon (the king we all loved to hate) on Game of Thrones, will be appearing at Dragon Con on Sunday only.

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Credit: HBO

Karl Urban, known for a variety of shows and films in the fantasy genre, will return to Dragon Con. Urban was last here in 2014, and I have to say that his panel was one of the best ones I’ve attended in the 8 (eight!) years that I’ve been going to Dragon Con. Looking forward to seeing what he has to say now.

HU_15-Karl-Urban-Grey_1000.rccopy

And last but certainly not least Jason Isaacs, most recently known for portraying Lucius Malfoy – another love-to-hate-him character in the Harry Potter world – has also been announced to appear at Dragon Con. I am hoping that he will not be the only wizard to appear this year.

Jason Isaacs as Lucius Malfoy Harry Potter

Jason Isaacs as Lucius Malfoy Harry Potter. Credit: Warner Brothers

 

Dragon Con is the largest multi-media, popular culture convention focusing on science fiction and fantasy, gaming, comics, literature, art, music, and film. Every Labor Day weekend, about 40,000 people crowd the streets and take over the hotels of downtown Atlanta to meet friends, celebrities, cosplay and totally geek out. This year’s event will take place September 2-5. Ticket information can be found on the official website.

You can read more about my experiences at Dragon Cons past at this link.

Goodbye 2014, Hello 2015 – The Grown Up Fangirl’s Year in Review

Goodbye 2014 Hello 2015 HD Wallpaper Images PicturesGoodbye, good riddance 2014!!! 2014 was the year I really could have used a clone, because I did not get to do nearly as much as I wanted to do, fandomwise. Not enough cons, not enough podcasting, not enough TV/movie watching, and not enough blogging. Even so, there were a few highlights to my fangirlish year, and it’s enough to motivate me to make more effort in the coming year. So…let’s cover a few things, shall we?

BOOKS – Trying to work full-time and go to school has gotten harder for me to juggle in the past two years, so I haven’t gotten to read quite as much as I wanted to this year (my reading goal on Goodreads was 25 books – I fell waaaaayyyy short of that goal). In anticipation of the reboot (which I still have yet to see), I re-read V.C. Andrews’ Flowers in the Attic for the millionth time (and am still adequately fascinated/disturbed at the story). I finally sat down and read/listened to the first novel in the A Song of Ice and Fire series (or, for those of you who aren’t familiar with the books, the series that HBO’s Game of Thrones is based on). I found some sense of closure with The Mortal Instruments: A City of Heavenly Fire, but was reluctant to give up on the Shadowhunter world, so I picked up The Bane Chronicles in an effort to get into the head of one of the more mysterious and interesting characters in the series, warlock Magnus Bane. As of right now, the jury is still out on this one; whereas most of the books I’ve read lately have been of the can’t-put-it-down variety, sadly this book doesn’t fall into that category, and I am finding it harder and harder to remember why I liked Magnus Bane in the first place. But the book series that has really had a grab-me-and-don’t-let-me-go effect is the Divergent Series by Veronica Roth.

divergent1Until June 2014, I had worked the past two years in the public library system, and the Divergent books were always in the hard-to-find category, especially with to the March release of the first film in the series, Divergent. For awhile I had given up on trying to read the books, deciding that I would just wait until I bought them to read them. However, once I sat down to finally watch the film, I was drawn in by the chemistry of the lead characters Tris and Four (portrayed onscreen by Shailene Woodley and Theo James, respectively). So, Halloween weekend consisted of me reading Divergent (Friday), Insurgent (Saturday), and Allegiant (Sunday). I followed up with Four a couple of weeks later. Even though I’m late to the faction party, I’ll probably end up doing a re-read and then blogging about the books at some point, because those books were a doozy to read. But I haven’t fangirled about books/movies as much in the past few years as I have in the past few months with these characters, so that’s a good thing. (BTW, I will totally spaz out if I ever get to meet Theo James in person. Just warning y’all in advance). Oh, and if someone could find a way to convince Veronica Roth to write more books about Four, I’d appreciate it.

TV – Television was kind of huge for me in 2014. I enjoyed some of my newer favorites (Game of Thrones, Sleepy Hollow, Walking Dead, The Originals, Orphan Black), fell back in love with an older one (now that’s the Supernatural I know and love), said goodbye to an old friend (rest in peace, True Blood) and got sucked in to a couple of others (How to Get Away with Murder, Teen Wolf).  Scandal consistently kept my jaw on the floor, and The Vampire Diaries is getting interesting again now that Delena isn’t so much the focus of the show. I am currently catching up on Season 4 of Lost Girl, but am apprehensive because I already know one of my favorite characters dies. Oh yeah, speaking of beloved characters dying…

WTF, Walking Dead and Sleepy Hollow? (Spoilers be ahead, for those of you not caught up).

I know that in the reality of the zombie apocalypse, it’s unrealistic to think that all of our favorite characters will escape unscathed. Episode 1 of Season 5 nearly gave us a heart attack thinking that Glenn was going to be head-bashed with a bat not once, but twice, Carl was almost raped by a rather ogre-ish looking biker dude, and even little baby Judith was threatened with a knife to the throat (RIP Martin…not). But we knew someone from the group was gonna have to die, and unfortunately the first casualty was Bob Stuckey. After what happened to him (being bitten by a walker, and then taken hostage and partially turned into Bob-B-Q by some survivors of Terminus), I expected him to not make it. No, the death that got me was Beth. Beth’s death for me equaled the WTF? incredulity I had when Hedwig was killed by Death Eaters in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. It was just one of those deaths I really feel was unnecessary to the whole of the story; it really serves no purpose except to solidify the fact that the group needs to pay attention to Rick when he tells them that being nice isn’t getting them anywhere. And poor Maggie’s face…

Moving along to Sleepy Hollow – I will admit that I am still pissed about the killing off of Captain Frank Irving. That was another WTF? for me. Orlando Jones is a talented actor and his character brought a sense of balance to the group of Ichabod, Abbie, Katrina and Jenny. It was bad enough that the character was grossly underused in the first part of season 2 (bring him back and send that damn Sheriff Reyes away, okay? She irks the hell out of me and serves no purpose), but then to kill him? (Although the manner of death was heroically glorious). However, I do realize that dead does not always mean dead in Sleepy Hollow and hope that there’s some great way the writers will bring back Irving’s character.

In the meantime, check out this HILARIOUS video from the Captain himself, giving us a recap of his character’s journey through Sleepy Hollow:

MOVIES – I totally suck in the movie department for 2014 – aside from Divergent, I saw Guardians of the Galaxy (last week), X-Men: Days of Future Past (two weeks ago), and Maleficent (opening weekend). Pathetic, I know, and I will hopefully get a chance to change that in 2015.

PODCASTS – Due to scheduling conflicts and other real-life BS, I only recorded a few episodes on Sci-Fi Party Line this year. They are as follows:

20140830_215700CONVENTIONS – I only got to attend one convention this year: Dragon Con. The experience wasn’t as great as previous years, mainly because I spent most of the week prior sick as a dog and literally had no energy, but it wasn’t a total flop. After podcasting together for 5 years, I got to meet Cat (@fancyfembot) in person!

I also got to meet Evanna Lynch (Luna Lovegood, Harry Potter) and Osric Chau (Kevin Tran, Supernatural – he was there as an attendee but was nice enough to pose for a photo when I recognized him outside of Starbucks). I got to ask Karl Urban (The Chronicles of Riddick, Almost Human) a question during his panel, and I was a panelist on the “Growing Up to Save the World” panel on the Whedonverse track.

All in all, not such a bad year, but I plan to do so much more in 2015. To those of you who follow and have stuck with me, thanks again for another great year! Happy New Year 2015!!

Dragon Con is almost here!!!

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5 MORE DAYS!!!!!

 

It’s finally here, time for the streets of downtown Atlanta to be taken over by cosplayers, celebrities and fans en masse! Dragon Con – the largest multimedia, popular culture convention focusing on science fiction and fantasy, gaming, comics, literature, art, music, and film – will take place in Atlanta next weekend, August 29th – September 1st, and the guest list contains something for everyone: a little bit of 70s/80s nostalgia, some sci-fi/fantasy, big names, new names – Dragon Con will have it all.

 

Here’s a look at some of my favorite shows/movies/book fandoms that will be well represented:

Harry Potter – You guys know it just would be a post worth mentioning if I didn’t talk about the HP guests first! 🙂 Two actresses from the series will appear for the first time at Dragon Con: Evanna Lynch, who plays the faithful and loyal (if a little quirky and eccentric) Luna Lovegood; and Scarlett Byrne, who is known as that annoying girl from Slytherin/Draco’s girlfriend, Pansy Parkinson. Byrne is more recently seen on television as Lexi in Falling Skies.

It’s the 80s baby!! – Enthusiasts of the 1980s period of television and film will be well represented this year, with guests from popular cult classics such as The Princess Bride, The Karate Kid and The Outsiders. Recently, Ralph Macchio, C. Thomas Howell, Martin Kove, Cary Elwes have all been added to the guest list. Actors Nancy Allen (Carrie, Robocop), Lou Ferrigno (The Incredible Hulk), Gil Gerard and Erin Gray (Buck Rogers), and John Ratzenberger (Cheers, various Pixar films) are just a few of the “blast from the past” names that will appear.

Sci-Fi/Fantasy TV – So much to choose from! We have actors from returning favorites (Star Trek, Battlestar Galactica, Buffy, the Stargate universes), as well as a few of the newer shows (Defiance, Once Upon a Time, Arrow, Lost Girl). Cast members from popular shows Warehouse 13, Being Human and True Blood will appear; all three shows will have ended by the time Dragon Con begins (the last episode of True Blood will air this Sunday at 9EST on HBO).

Sci-Fi/Fantasy Film – Dragon Con will have mutants (Patrick Stewart and Shawn Ashmore of the X-Men films), futuristic cops (Peter Weller and Nancy Allen from the original Robocop film), and pirates (Kevin McNally and Lee Arenburg from the Pirates of the Caribbean films); Karl Urban (Star Trek, The Bourne Ultimatum, The Chronicles of Riddick, RED) will make his first Dragon Con appearance.

Personally speaking, I – along with a few of my fellow co-hosts from the Sci-Fi Party Line Podcast – will be at Dragon Con the whole weekend. We will be recording shows, blogging, and generally having a grand old time, considering this weekend will be the first time most of us will have ever met in person, although we’ve been recording the show for years. You can find all of our combined posts on our Dragon Con portal at http://www.dragoncon.scifipartyline.com.

I will be speaking on two panels related to Harry Potter during Dragon Con. The first is Shipping Wars in Harry Potter!, which will discuss one of the largest shipping debates ever, Ron/Hermione or Harry/Hermione (I am of course on Team Ron!). This panel will be held on Saturday, August 30 at 10 pm. The second panel is Growing Up to Save the World, which will discuss the roles of teens from several different fandoms (Harry Potter, Hunger Games, Buffy, Teen Wolf, etc) and their roles in “saving the world”. That panel will take place on Sunday, August 31 at 1 pm.

Dragon Con adds “Harry Potter” actresses to guest list

10308072_10152305926823806_6126995956316945809_nIt’s about damn time.

After feeling a little bit of despair at the lack of Potter-related guests for this year’s Dragon Con, Potterheads received notice that not one, but two actresses from the series would be appearing at the popular convention held every Labor Day weekend.

The official Dragon Con Facebook page announced today that Evanna Lynch and Scarlett Byrne, known to Harry Potter fans as Luna Lovegood and Pansy Parkinson, respectively, would make first-time appearances.

Lynch first appeared in the fifth film of the series, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, as the eccentric but fiercely loyal Luna Lovegood. For all of Luna’s…erm, differences, she proves herself to be one of Harry’s staunchest supporters and one of the few people whose opinion he respects. She stands by Harry, Ron and Hermione in their greatest times of need and has the heart of a Gryffindor, even though she belongs to the witty Ravenclaw House. Harry and Ginny even honor her by naming their only daughter, Lily Luna, after her (Lily is the name of Harry’s mother).

10561698_10152305993778806_2102370234562264782_nByrne makes her first appearance in the sixth installment, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. She portrays the character of Pansy Parkinson, who is mostly known throughout the films as the girlfriend of Draco Malfoy. Her character famously offered to give Harry up to Lord Voldemort in an effort to keep him from killing more wizards in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2. It was her outburst that caused the Slytherin students to be locked in the dungeons while the Battle of Hogwarts brewed on.

Byrne is more recently known for her role as Lexi in the sci-fi TV show, Falling Skies.

Dragon Con is the largest multi-media, popular culture convention focusing on science fiction and fantasy, gaming, comics, literature, art, music, and film. It is held every Labor Day weekend in the downtown Atlanta area. For more information regarding daily and weekend memberships, photo ops, and other events, check out the official website.

Side note: I will be speaking on two panels related to Harry Potter during Dragon Con. The first is Shipping Wars in Harry Potter!, which will discuss one of the largest shipping debates ever, Ron/Hermione or Harry/Hermione (I am of course on Team Ron!). This panel will be held on Saturday, August 30 at 10 pm. The second panel is Growing Up to Save the World, which will discuss the roles of teens from several different fandoms (Harry Potter, Hunger Games, Buffy, Teen Wolf, etc) and their roles in “saving the world”. That panel will take place on Sunday, August 31 at 1 pm. You can keep up with my Dragon Con adventures here or at my other site with the Sci-Fi Party Line Podcast (who will also be in attendance at Dragon Con).

‘Deathly Hallows 2’ back in theaters this weekend

Did you miss your chance to see the end of the Harry Potter saga in theaters? Are you one of the megafans who would love to see it again on the big screen before its DVD release on November 11? Or did you see the film in 2D, and want another chance to see the film in 3D?

Well, you will get your chance this weekend. In support of the Will Rogers Institute, select AMC Theaters across the country will have encore showtimes for the final film in the series, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2. Ticket prices for all events are only $5, and fans will receive a special collectible lithograph with their purchase (while supplies last).  Tickets can be purchased at this link; just make sure you change the zip code and select the correct date to find showtimes in your area.

Will Rogers was a popular actor, comedian and radio personality in the 1920s-1930s. The purpose of the Will Rogers Institute is “To perpetuate the memory of Will Rogers by promoting and engaging in medical research pertaining to cardio-pulmonary diseases and educating the general public on topics of health and fitness.”

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2 is the final installment in the Harry Potter series. It is scheduled to be released on DVD/Blu-Ray Combo on November 11.

“Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2”: Mischief Managed

All was well.

That’s really the only appropriate beginning to any review about Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2, isn’t it?

The final, climactic chapter of the tale of the boy wizard finally hit theaters last Friday, and it did not fail to deliver: the series went out with a HUGE bang. Beginning with a first day total of $92.1 million (domestically), the films has already broken records and is now officially the top-grossing film franchise ever, beating out previous record holder Star Wars.

I was at the theater fairly early on Thursday night (in costume), with about 30 of my fellow Potterheads to share in what was most certainly expected to be an emotional end for those of us who have been following Harry – if not from the beginning – for the past few years. It was an experience I wanted to make sure I shared with the right fans: not just the ones who “like” or ‘love” the series, but those who eat, breathe, dream, and live their lives with Harry as a major part of their being.

That being said, I also wanted to wait to post my thoughts on the film – knowing that I would never be able to say everything I felt after just one viewing, especially since I spent the majority of the film in tears and amidst all of the sniffling and cheering in the theater, missed some things the first go-round. Now that I’ve seen the film again, I think I can “properly” voice my thoughts on the end.

(Just in case you may not have realized, this post will be very detailed and very spoilery, so if you haven’t seen the film by now, you may want to wait before reading this post). Now that I’ve given my warning, let’s get down to it, shall we?

Overall: Overall, I think the film was brilliantly done. I think my first impression of the film was “perfect”, but there are a few minor tweaks I would have liked to have seen. That being said, I still think Deathly Hallows – Part 2 was probably as close to perfect as we could have asked for within the constraints of filming all eight installments. Here are just a few of my likes and dislikes on the film.

The Good: One of the things that I loved about DH2 was that all of the key scenes (translate: fan favorites)  from the novel were included. Unlike Half-Blood Prince, where major plot points were completely disregarded, DH2 filled in a majority of the gaps created by the previous seven films. Snape, Molly Weasley, Neville, Gringott’s – it was all there.

“The Prince’s Tale” – where Harry gets to look at Snape’s memories and find out where his loyalties truly were – was probably the best sequence I’ve seen in any of the films, aside from “The Tale of the Three Brothers” animated sequence from DH1. If Alan Rickman doesn’t receive some type of award nomination for his performance in this film, I will be no less than disgusted. To see him go from seemingly cold and callous to an emotional, distraught wreck whenever Lily Potter’s name was even mentioned literally broke my heart. His death played out more viciously than I ever imagined it in my head, and his final scene with Harry was poignant and well-played. Anyone who didn’t cry during Snape’s final moments onscreen just didn’t get it, in my opinion.

Credit: Movies.comThe Weasleys – whether it was just seeing Arthur cast a spell to hold off a Death Eater, or hearing Ron’s anguished cry over the body of his dead brother, I am SO very glad that the Weasleys finally got their due. In previous films, one of my main complaints was that the Weasleys were never shown to their full potential: Arthur was mainly shown as a silly wizard who only had interest in Muggle artifacts, and Molly was often presented as overbearing and weak (who would really believe that Molly would stand by and let her home burn down? Really?). In DH2, we see that Molly was as powerful as any other prominently showcased witch in the series (NOT MY DAUGHTER, YOU BITCH!) but in a very realistic way. Bellatrix was one of the most powerful witches in the entire series, mostly because the cruel and sadistic nature of her personality enhanced whatever evil she was involved in. She cursed and killed for pleasure, not necessity, and that was one of the things that made her the most feared of all Death Eaters, and most respected by Voldemort. When Molly first attacked, you could see her fear on her face as Bellatrix retaliated. For me, that brief glimpse of fear is what made the scene real for me, made me believe that Molly really had what it took to defeat Bellatrix for good. And her triumphant smirk at the end was perfect.

My only complaint for the Weasley family is that we did not get the full emotional impact of Percy’s “Prodigal Son” return that we did in the books. I’m sure that most film-only fans probably don’t even know of what I’m referring to, but I think that it would have been a great addition to the films if that part of the story had been kept intact.

Ron & Hermione’s kiss: FINALLY!!! We get to see what a proper kiss in the Harry Potter film world looks like! Did anyone not cheer when it happened? Granted, the scene was different than it should have been (I really wanted to hear Harry’s “Oi! We’re in the middle of a war here!”), but it was still a great kiss nonetheless. The fact that they went from such an adult kiss and then erupted in teenage giggles made the scene even more enduring.

Harry’s death: I think this is one of the best scenes in the film. Very simple with just a white room, Dumbledore and Harry, the scene showed how clever a man – even if just a tad bit deceptive – Albus Percival Wulfric Brian Dumbledore really was. I’m very glad they kept the majority of the dialogue from the book to explain everything (especially since I felt they royally screwed up in Order of the Phoenix when they left out the major details regarding the prophecy and why it was so important.)

I also feel the need to say this: in the end, Michael Gambon turned out to be a fantastic Dumbledore. As I’ve spent the past few weeks re-watching all of the films, I see him more and more as Dumbledore than I ever have. As much as I hated his portrayal of Dumbledore in Goblet of Fire, I think he has really channeled the spirit and character of our beloved Headmaster with increasing accuracy – especially in the final three films.

“The Forest Again” scene where Harry gets to speak with the spirits of his loved ones was very well-done, very emotional. I love that Harry was able to find peace towards the end of what he thinks is his walk towards death by receiving comfort from those who died to protect him. My only gripe with this scene was mentioning Teddy Lupin: since his birth was never mentioned (at all) in the films, and his part in the epilogue scene was cut from the film entirely, I felt like it was just empty words on a screen, especially to film fans who would have no idea who he is anyway. Nice try, but it really could have been left out and no one would have known the difference.

Of course, I could go on and on (and on) about this film, but I’ll end my ramblings with just this: it was a fantastic end to a magical series, and one that I’m sure will be a favorite for generations to come. Thank you, Jo Rowling, for bringing such a wonderful world to the imaginations of us all. Thank you, Christopher Columbus, Alfonso Cuaron, Mike Newell and David Yates, for bringing our beloved wizarding world and Hogwarts to life in such spectacular ways, and thank you to all of the cast who have loved these characters and given them to us – the fans – in such respectful, loving and faithful interpretations. Harry, his tale, and what his story has brought into my life will continue to live on, and I’ll be forever thankful for how much this series and its fandom has enriched my life.

Mischief managed.

New clip from “Deathly Hallows – Part 2” re-visits the Chamber of Secrets

Ron and Hermione fans, rejoice!!! Fandango has released an exclusive clip from the highly anticipated Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2.

In the clip, Ron and Hermione journey down to the Chamber of Secrets to collect a basilisk fang in order to destroy one of Voldemort’s horcruxes. As Hermione had explained to Harry in Deathly Hallows – Part 1, basilisk venom can destroy horcruxes, so the duo decide to go straight to the source. The scene was only implied in the novel from which the movie is based, and its addition into the movie is sure to please longtime Ron/Hermione fans.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2 will be in theaters July 15.