Nerding out at DragonCon 2014: The Chant covers all aspects

Underneath the cosplay, convention food, and endless nerdiness, DragonCon holds an interesting history, dating all the way back to the 1980s.

The first DragonCon took place in 1987 after the inaugural flyers debuted at the 1986 Atlanta World, and by the following year, the convention’s Board of Directors became overwhelmed with the convention’s success. For the next 13 years, the location moved around several different hotels in Atlanta. As the venue changed, the activities and very nature of Dragoncon also started to change dramatically.

The Board of Directors altered the overall management and structure of the convention, and the original in-hotel structure that the convention began with returned. With the Hyatt Regency and the Marriott Marquis as headquarters, convention goers were able to stay at the host hotels for a lower rate for a longer time.

Finally in 2000, DragonCon standardized the convention dates to Labor Day weekend. The dates have remained the same since this decision. In 2002, con-goers (as we now call them) witnessed the introduction of the first DragonCon parade. This tradition continues to this day.

Over the next several years, the DragonCon lineup only grew. The convention now hosts different events and panels for everything from Robotics, Independent Film, Young Adult Literature, and Cosplaying. Slowly, more hotels, including the Atlanta Sheraton and the Hilton, joined the group of host hotels.

In 2011, DragonCon celebrated its 25th anniversary. Atlanta’s downtown district displayed colorful banners welcoming DragonCon to the city, and the Atlanta City Council gave a proclamation in recognition of the convention. Attendance reached a record breaking 46,000 that year, and since 2011, increasing hordes of con-goers continue to find there way to delightfully nerdy DragonCon.

shouldyougotodragonconMorgan White

While DragonCon remains notorious for nerdy and quirky entertainment, few people realize how a simple convention can bring a smile to a young boy’s face.

Allow me to paint a mental picture. My friends and I sat in the corner of a large, busy area of DragonCon’s convention hotel, and out of the corner of my eye, I see a little boy in a wheel chair. My first thought started with, “I’m glad his mother understands the weird things her son enjoys.” As I saw the superhero Deadpool walk over to him, I thought, “This boy is going to get everything he ever wished for!”

The quiet moment between the boy and Deadpool slowly brought along more people in cosplay. More superheros and beloved characters, including Iron Man, Misty, and Jon Snow, started coming over, all attempting to bring a smile to his face. They succeeded.

By the time I finally went over to take photos, a crowd of 20 or more people surrounded the boy, and his beaming grin was impossible to miss. He never seemed overwhelmed or flustered by the amount of people around him. He simply sat there holding his Captain America shield looking like the happiest boy in the world.

Most people have crazy assumptions about DragonCon. While the convention remains a place for overly-obsessed fans and slightly insane teenage girls, DragonCon takes on an entirely new light when I see moments like this occur.



The Sherlock season three discussion panel at DragonCon on August 31 pales in comparison to the more entertaining “Women of Harry Potter” panel, an opportunity for fans of Harry Potter to ask Evanna Lynch (Luna Lovegood) and Scarlett Byrne (Pansy Parkinson) about their experiences on set.

When walking into the Women of Harry Potter Panel, the DragonCon goers were greeted by an abundance of empty chairs. The wait for the start of the panel was short and sweet, and while the guests waited, they enjoyed the videos playing on the projector. The process of entering the Sherlock discussion, however, was not as pleasant. One of the many DragonCon volunteers waved the excited Sherlock fans into a room where they sat on the cold floor and waited for the panel doors to open. After the doors finally opened, a different volunteer ushered the guests into a room with a small stage in the front. After all of this, the fans sat back into the cozy chairs, ready for the discussion to begin. Bewildered, they realized not all of the panel members have arrived; more waiting ensued.

After the “Women of Harry Potter” panel began, and the stars were introduced, the fans immediately launched into their questions. The questions led the conversation as the two stars talked about their experiences on the set of Harry Potter, their thoughts on the cast and characters, and their overall thoughts about the movies and books. Lynch even mentioned that she endorses a Dumbledore and Luna Lovegood relationship, saying, “I don’t think Luna would be prejudiced against age.”

While the “Women of Harry Potter” panel wowed its audience, the Sherlock discussion panel disappointed. The members on stage did not seem qualified to lead a Sherlock panel. If a random audience member took their place on stage, people may not have even noticed a difference. In the first ten minutes, people started to get up and leave the room. The panel members gave no new information to its audience; instead, they only shared their opinions on what already happened in the show.

Compared to “Women of Harry Potter” the Sherlock panel definitely lacked in entertainment. DragonCon panels exist to entertain and inform their audiences, so the discussion seemed like an unfortunate time investment.  DragonCon only lasts four days, and very few fans appreciated the long, uninteresting event.

Cosplayers at DragonCon went all out this year, with the majority of attendees wearing extravagant costumes from television shows, movies, podcasts, and comics.

Cosplay (costume play) requires a large amount of creativity and patience and has become an integral part of DragonCon. A variety of cosplays are featured in the parade every year. The convention also hold contests to see who wore the best costume.

Notable costumes spotted were Captain America, Wonder Woman, Cecil and Carlos from the popular podcast Welcome to Night Vale, Harley Quinn from Batman, Olaf from Frozen, among others.

This year at DragonCon seemed like a popular year to dress as Marvel characters. Walking through the hotels, guests could see multiple versions of Wolverine, Spiderman, Hawkeye, Iron Man, Nick Fury. Deadpool doppelgangers were particularly abundant.

The guests at DragonCon do not normally mind if someone takes their picture, as long as they ask permission. Attendees also have fun admiring and enjoying all of the different cosplayers that roam the halls of the host hotels. Whether one cosplays or not, it can still be exciting and fun for everyone.

DragonconreactionsMorgan White