This last weekend saw Brisbane, Australia overrun with cosplaying Khaleesis, anime asskickers and dalek-fighting Doctors for Supanova Pop Culture Expo. The event is now in its 14th year and visits six Australian cities with celebrities, exhibitors and speakers from a wide variety of fandoms.
This year's Game of Thrones-heavy Brisbane line up underwent an eleventh hour shuffle with matriarchs of houses Lannister and Stark (Lena Headey and Michelle Fairley) replacing Peter Dinklage (Tyrion Lannister) who was unable to attend. They joined series author George R.R. Martin, Mark Addy (the late King Robert Baratheon) and Jerome Flynn (Tyrion's mercenary Bronn) as the show's representatives. A host of other television, film and voice actors, authors and illustrators ensured a full weekend for fans to fly their geek flag, show off their costuming skills and meet some of their heroes.
George R.R. Martin took some time out from a hectic book-signing schedule for three question and answer panels throughout the weekend. The panels drew large crowds as he discussed topics ranging from his dislike of internet piracy-- without it they could afford more dragons--and fanfiction – “it's lazy” -- to the nature of evil and its embodiment by Breaking Bad’s Walter White. His passion for interesting characters and worlds showed through even in his impressively intellectual answer to Sunday's opening question, “What's with all the incest?” which touched on examples from history and science to explain both acceptable and taboo familial relations within the series.
A joint panel with Lena Headey and Michelle Fairley was another highlight of the weekend with the pair demonstrating their own love of the series and their characters. Headey discussed Cersei's upcoming character arc admitting, “I love building a character up and tearing them down again.” Meanwhile, Fairley put ample consideration into which of the Stark children was her favorite before opting to love them all equally. A disturbingly accurate Joffrey cosplayer asked both actresses if there was an actor they wish they had never had to work with on the show, prompting Headey to declare, “you don't have to actually be Joffrey,” before they jokingly settled on each other.
Lost Girl's Zoie Palmer, who plays lesbian love interest and doctor to the fey Lauren Lewis, had a question and answer session that led to her asking a baffled moderator if other panels had discussed threesomes as much. The host appeared to have not seen the show prior to this and was unsure whether to catch up immediately or head straight for a cold shower. Discussion turned to a recent promo that was released for the upcoming season featuring Anna Silk's Bo washing a car with Palmer's Lauren watching on.
Palmer assured the audience that the scene occurs during an episode and is not the gratuitous piece some critics have suggested. She did suggest traffic may have stopped on the open street where they filmed as more than a few heads were turned. Palmer also teased changes ahead for Lauren, promising less active pining (but don't worry Doccubus fans - “Lauren will never not be pining for Bo”) and more involvement in the action side of the series.
On Sunday Palmer tweeted this link -- melting hearts of Lost Girl and 2005 film Imagine Me and You, in which Lena Headey played a lesbian florist, fans and perhaps giving birth to a whole new ship.
— Zoie palmer (@ZoiePalmer) November 10, 2013
Continuing the theme of science fiction physicians was out actor Sean Maher, best known as Dr Simon Tam in Joss Whedon's Firefly and soon to recur on The CW's Arrow. Maher was intended to be sharing a panel with screen sister Summer Glau but her schedule forced her last minute cancellation, or as Maher described it, “I got on a plane and she didn't.” He jokingly declared “Sweet Summer, she's dead to me” while revealing that they had not yet shared the screen in the one episode of Arrow he has shot but remaining resolutely tight-lipped about the secretive show otherwise. Maher discussed his joy over reuniting with Whedon for last year's Much Ado About Nothing, despite starting rehearsals the day his series The Playboy Club was cancelled and his fear about performing Shakespeare for the first time. When asked about coming out in 2011 Maher initially quipped, “That was a huge misunderstanding, it made things very awkward for my wife and I,” before describing the support he received not just from fans and co-workers but casting directors and studio executives who claimed they would “fight even harder for [him].”
Along with the celebrity guests the convention offered an opportunity for costumes from minimal to epic and featured the Madman National Cosplay Championship Finals because, as I learned this weekend, cosplay is a very competitive sport.
Supanova Pop Culture Expo heads to Adelaide this weekend with the same line up as Brisbane (minus Lena Headey) and also visits Melbourne, Sydney, Perth and the Gold Coast with different guests annually.
Game of Thrones returns to HBO in (northern hemisphere) spring 2014 and Lost Girl returned for Canadian audiences on November 10. Both shows are in their fourth seasons. Arrow is currently in its second season on The CW.
Check out some of the wildly inventive and cosplay looks from the event on the following pages!