MCM Comic Con, Manchester (2013)

Rupert attended this convention, along with fellow knights Tom Hopper and Eoin Macken.

Julie’s report

I attended MCM Comic Con in Manchester today. And I’m going to cut right to the chase, because it’s been a very very long day, and the con was madly crowded – but then at least it wasn’t as unbearably hot as I feared it would be, given that Britain seems to be very efficiently packing a full summer into a couple of weeks!

After almost two hours of queuing to get in and then queuing some more for the Knights’ autographs, I finally caught a glimpse of Rupert, and suddenly things seemed a little brighter. Strange how that works, huh? Tom Hopper, Rupert Young and Eoin Macken were all in attendance. They were all their own lovely selves. Tom was first on the table. I asked him how he’d enjoyed Australia, and he replied very enthusiastically. He was looking very fit and tanned, but when I asked he said it was a British tan! Not surprising, really, but a little ironic.

Rupert was next, and again we talked about Australia; he asked me where I’d lived there (Canberra), and said he’d visited Perth before and enjoyed it very much this time as well. Eoin leaned in when the fan before me moved on, and after a beat said to me rather pointedly, ‘I enjoyed Australia, too, you know.’ LOL! I asked him about when he was doing the poetry recordings for the Cold crowdfunding perks, and he said in the next couple of weeks. He remembered that I’d sent him my choice already. They are lovely fellows, though unfortunately both Rupert and Eoin were hiding away under baseball caps and seemed a little quieter than usual – but no doubt they had their reasons!

Well, you’d think I’d be used to all this by now, but I was all a-flutter…

I went to grab a quick sandwich, and then sat in the ‘theatre’ to try to be sure of a good seat for the Merlin panel. This meant I got to be part of panels I wouldn’t otherwise have seen, and I was glad about that! Michael Mando seemed a really cool and thoughtful and happy dude. He provided the voice, facial expressions and body language for bad guy Vaas Montenegro in the Far Cry 3 game. Kind of like John Hurt recording Kilgarrah, except with body actions as well. I was impressed by how seriously he took the work, and how well he related to the fans. He got heaps of questions!

Then it was the turn of Kai Owen, who played Rhys Williams in Torchwood. He was a lot of fun – very bouncy! Unfortunately I didn’t get to ask my question, but then I suppose he ended up answering it via a few other questions. I really enjoyed his portrayal of Rhys, and I actually think it’s rare to have a decent man and a good husband played in such a charming and steadfast way. However, he seemed a bit dismissive of roles such as ‘the Welsh bloke, the husband… the Welsh husband’, which he feels could be played by any one of a number of his friends and colleagues. He seemed happier about the later developments in Torchwood where Rhys became a more intrinsic and active part of the Torchwood team. I think that’s a pity, really, as I think truly heartwarming, attractive and honest portrayals of the kind of guy many of us would actually like to be married to are few and far between – and I am sorry that Kai undervalues his own part in creating such a one.

Kai, I wish you might actually read this at some point, boyo!

Next up was the wonderful Warwick Davis, who played Grettir in episode 308 The Eye of the Phoenix as well as taking roles in many other films and series beloved of fans. I’m sure we all know by now what a bright and charming man he is! He conducted the panel in a very friendly and professional way. He made a point of acknowledging each question with his thanks. When he was asked about the highlight of his career so far, he promptly replied that it was sitting there in Manchester at Comic Con, talking with all of us. Which may sound horribly self-serving, but he actually meant it, and went on to talk about what it means to him personally to be so kindly received, and that our enthusiasm has made his career possible. He really was utterly convincing, with a perfect low-key yet sincere manner through all this.

My favourite part of the panel, though, was when a young girl asked ‘Professor Flitwick’ to conduct a charms lesson – and after a bit of clearing his throat to find the right (rather high) voice, Warwick promptly launched into a lesson, having us all practice the movement with our wands and then intone the ‘wingardium leviosa’ spell. It was charming and amusing and I loved it!

Warwick Davis
The awesome Warwick Davis.

And then it was time for the Merlin panel. Tom, Eoin and Rupert all took their places on stage. One of the first questions was which one of them would win if they were playing in the Hunger Games. Eoin answered that when Tom is hungry he just gets grumpy, so he wouldn’t be any use. Then Eoin said that Rupert was too chilled out, so someone would just come along and kill him. So Eoin would win. Then he apologised to Rupert and said he meant it as a compliment; Rupert declared he had taken it as such. ♥

When asked who their favourite Merlin characters were, other than their own, Tom answered the Dragon – and the others ribbed him for always answering that. Eoin said he thought the Euchdag was cool, though there was some discussion about her looking like the aliens in the Argos ads. Rupert answered Arthur, and said that he thought he’d have played the role very well. :-)

They were asked what the modern day equivalents of their characters would be doing now. Tom said that Percival would be a fitness instructor – while Eoin suggested he’d be a bin man due to all the carrying necessary.

They were asked about their favourite fight scenes, and Rupert said when he fought a skeleton – which of course had existed for Leon but not for Rupert. He’d been afraid he looked foolish, but thought the final CGI’d results were cool. Eoin said his favourite was when he fought Arthur – but I didn’t catch the rest. Tom said his was when they fought off the wyverns (at Raglan Castle), though as with Rupert’s scene he’d had nothing to actually fight against.

They were asked what super power they would want, and Eoin said ‘world peace’ – and the others ribbed him for always saying this, and anyway it’s not even a super power. Eoin insisted that with his super power, he could bring about world peace. Bless him! Tom accused Eoin of trying out for Miss World, and went on to say that Tom would be a Jedi. At which point Eoin said that’s not a super power either, so Tom asked for a show of hands of who thought it counted; the majority voted ‘aye’.

They were asked what similarities and differences there were between themselves and their characters. Rupert said they all speak more than their characters ever did! He added that Gwaine makes more sense than Eoin, and that Tom is actually a hilarious guy compared to Percival.

Tom was asked about the effect on him of filming the scene with Gwaine’s death. ‘Three months of therapy,’ Tom intoned quite solemnly. Eoin said that Tom had actually cried, though Tom tried to shrug this off. (Awww…)

Rupert seemed quite keen on the idea of a follow-up series titled Leon, in which he takes over Arthur’s great work.

The lovely Tom Hopper (Sir Percival).
The lovely Tom Hopper (Sir Percival).
Eoin Macken (Sir Gwaine).
Eoin Macken (Sir Gwaine).
And lovely Rupert...
And lovely Rupert…

And that was pretty much that!

I didn’t get many good photos, but I’ve included some here, and the rest are on Flickr. I hope you enjoy them!

And tomorrow… I’m lucky enough to be seeing Alex Vlahos in Macbeth… which means I’ll have seen all five knights within a week! I am one lucky little vegemite indeed.

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