Robercon 2015: A Convention with Small Town Charm

Superheroes, space warriors, and wizards all came out at Robercon 2015, and MuggleNet was there in the midst of it all. Robercon, an annual sci-fi and fantasy convention in Binghamton, New York, advertises itself as a place to “let your geek flag fly.” Hundreds of people turned out to take Robercon up on that offer. Author Tamora Pierce served as the guest of honor for the weekend, speaking on panels, answering questions from eager fans, and doing book signings. Of course, there were plenty of panels and activities for fans of J.K. Rowling’s magical world to attend as well.

The Potter presence began on the first day of the convention and didn’t let up steam until the end. On Saturday, members of the Oneonta Harry Potter Club (an award-winning college Potter club) and myself served on a panel discussion about the future of the fandom. We delved into topics such as the Fantastic Beasts film and what we might be able to expect from the Cursed Child stage play.

Day 2 of Robercon kicked off bright and early with a lively and passionate game of MuggleNet’s Family Feud, hosted by Keith Hawk. Harry Potter-themed teams battled it out to get to the championship round. As always with a room full of Harry Potter fans, there were a lot of laughs and just an all-around great time.

The afternoon brought a very special panel discussion from Professor Patrick McCauley about the violence against women in the Harry Potter series. Professor McCauley is the author of Into the Pensieve, a book about the philosophy and mythology of Harry Potter. Having presented this topic at other conventions this year with excellent results, Professor McCauley was more than willing to make the trip to Binghamton to have a discussion with the Robercon audience. The professor was joined by MuggleNet Managing Editor Keith Hawk, Creative Team staff member Amy Hogan, and Creative Team intern Stephanie Bailey for a round table discussion in which we engaged in conversation with the audience while exploring different instances of implied domestic violence against women in Rowling’s work. McCauley was a guest on the most recent episode of MuggleNet Academia, where he discussed this very topic, so if it’s of interest to you, check it out for yourself!

Overall, this little convention has grown a lot in its three years of existence, and it seems to have a bright future. The Potter presence was strong this year (as it should be), and I’m looking forward to seeing how much more wizard programming will be scheduled for next year.