TitanCon Belfast 2015

titancon_2015

Friday 25th – Sunday 27th September

Celebrate a love of Game of Thrones and all things fantasy in Northern Ireland.

The brilliant not-for-profit science fiction and fantasy convention will be held at the Wellington Park Hotel in Belfast. Pick up your membership from 3pm, then pop along to the Literature Night at the Wellington hotel bar on Friday 25th from 7:30pm.

The convention itself kicks off on Saturday morning. Water dance with Syrio Forel, get your books and other memorabilia signed, and get snapped with the cast of one of the most popular shows on TV right now. More Game of Thrones guests will be announced in the coming weeks, so keep an eye on TitanCon’s social media. Take a look at their website for more on what to expect on the day.

Special guests also include Lord Grimdark himself Joe Abercrombie, Sarah Pinborough, Pat Cadigan, Peadar Ó Guilín, Zoe Sumra, and many more. Make sure you have enough room to take more books home than you brought with you!228988_427738670595239_1359758206_n

On Sunday 27th, the TitanCon coach tour takes you all around Northern Ireland, visiting some of the most beautiful filming locations for Game of Thrones. First up is Portstewart Strand, where some Dornish scenes were shot, then on to Ballintoy Harbour, or Pyke, home to Theon Greyjoy. Also included in the tour is Larrybane Quay, which served as Renly’s camp, and Clandeboye Estate, where you can join in with a medieval feast, complete with a hog roast.

From midday on Monday 28th, you can join the stragglers at the Wellington Park hotel bar for the Dead Dog Party.

I spoke to programming director Phillip Lowles about why everyone should attend TitanCon 2015 (and every year after that!).

What is TitanCon?

TitanCon is a not-for-profit fan convention focused on showcasing literary and artistic accomplishments in Northern Ireland within the field of speculative fiction and works of the imagination. Our primary subject is Game of Thrones and the local film making talent that has been such a vital component of the TV show’s success.

Why did you decide to start such a convention?

I blame George RR Martin and his wife Parris for this entirely! I’d been going to WorldCon for a few years and started getting involved with organising charity raffles as part of the Brotherhood Without Banners parties at WorldCon. This lead to me organising the second Belfast Moot in 2010 when George was there for the shooting of season one. It was around that time that I floated the idea of running our own convention, something that would be run in the true fannish traditions that George and Parris have been a part of since the 1970s, and because we knew that every other event out there would follow the traditional media comic con format, which is just a massive money making machine in reality, with little in the way of heart and soul, and no time to properly focus on the stuff that really matters.

Marrying the format of a literary style convention with a media event is no easy task and we’ve had many people doubt our ability to pull it off, but thanks to a lot of hard work and a huge amount of good fortune we have been lucky enough to have some awesome guests over the last four years. Including: Maisie Williams (Arya Stark), Sophie Turner (Sansa Stark), Isaac Hempstead Wright (Bran Stark), Art Parkinson (Rickon Stark), Kristian Nairn (Hodor), Ron Donachie (Rodrik Cassel), Ian McElhinney (Barristan Selmy), Thomas Brodie-Sangster (Jojen Reed), Ian Beattie (Meryn Trant), Eugene Simon (Lancel Lannister), Kerry Ingram (Shireen Baratheon), Miltos Yerolemou (Syrio Forel) and many others.

You may want to read the full history of TitanCon on our website for more details.

How is it run?

Mostly it involves me spending a lot of my time writing emails. A huge number of emails.

How many people usually attend?

We usually have around 200 paying attendees and between 70-100 guests, artists and staff on the day. But we have room for plenty more people and tickets are still available!

What’s your favourite part of the con?

It’s hard for me to answer that question because sadly I get to see so little of the panels and events, I’ve always got to rush off and set up the next thing that’s going to happen. But the discussion panels are always great fun and everyone says that they get better every year. I suppose the part I enjoy most is the Coach Tour on the Sunday, because I always get to see all of that and while I am still responsible for making sure we get everywhere on time and we’re not late for dinner, I can relax and simply enjoy seeing the filming locations with all the other fans.

Do you still need volunteers?

We always need more volunteers, being a fan run event TitanCon simply cannot exist without the support and help of volunteers willing to give up an hour or two of their day to help run the event. But that doesn’t mean volunteers miss out on the cool stuff and in fact it can be a lot of fun and a great way to make new friends.

A full membership costs just £25, and the coach tour is another £38. The coach tour is optional of course, but who wouldn’t love a chance to visit so many incredible places? You can also buy T-shirts to commemorate your visit, which cost £15, and were designed by the incredibly talented Heidi Lee Sperring. Unfortunately the shirts can’t be posted, so you’ll have to attend to pick yours up (or, if you ask nicely, an attending friend can collect and post it for you).

The Wellington Park Hotel was running a deal for attendees, but now that’s ended, there are several other hotels in the area, and taxis are reasonably priced for those travelling back to their accommodation late at night. (In 2012, we stayed at Lagan Backpackers hostel, which was fairly cheap and a short walk from the venue, which was the Europa Hotel.) For more information, click here.

Full memberships are still available! TitanCon is run by volunteers, and relies heavily on the money they receive. If you can’t make it to Belfast this year, grab a supporting membership for just £5, and help ensure TitanCon will be around to enjoy for many more years to come.

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TitanCon | @TitanConBelfast 

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