What we saw at Dragon Con 2015

Mad Max, crowded tunnels, Power Wheels cars, and good deeds
Dragon Con 2015
Photograph by Matt Walljasper

This year’s Dragon Con drew an estimated 70,000 worshipers of geek culture to downtown Atlanta, accompanied by a plethora of impressive costumes, celebrity guests, and of course, street-jamming crowds. So what were the hottest cosplay characters, coolest Easter eggs, and most-welcome surprises? A convention breakdown:

(All numbers are approximated, and costume statistics exclude the parade)

What we saw
59 characters from Mad Max: Fury Road. The dominant costume: Nux. Only a handful were actually Max.

63 characters from Game of Thrones, including a “naked” Cersei followed by a Shame Nun.

31 characters from Guardians of the Galaxy. Most popular: Star-Lord and Rocket.

17 Stormtroopers, either in the service of the Galactic Empire or the First Order.

Speaking of which, 9 characters from the forthcoming The Force Awakens.

23 costumes from Rick and Morty

11 dogs (including service animals)

18 giant mallets

10 (heavily modified) Power Wheels cars

40 babies

1 Big Hug Mug (Matthew McConaughey-style nihilism not included)

2 (terrifying) McDonald’s Happy Meal boxes

7 Squid hats

2 public shamings of motorists who attempted to run red lights before pedestrians crossed Peachtree Street.

Other popular trends: Batman’s Harley Quinn, dressed in her Suicide Squad getup; Inside Out emotions, the least popular of which was Fear; people riding dragons.

Photos: Check out our costume gallery from Dragon Con 2015.

What we did
40: Number of hours we spent at the convention over the course of 4 days, most of which were spent at the Marriott Marquis.

0: Number of minutes we spent at the Sheraton.

5: Number of events we attended

0: Number of events turned away from! Compared to previous years, we spent very little time spent waiting on line, too.

36: Number of miles walked during the convention.

Dragon Con 2015 Superlatives
Best use of low tech
: The volunteers who held up “10 minute warning” signs during large moderated panels.

Biggest time suck: Getting trapped in overcrowded tunnels. The con’s growth has led to extreme pedestrian gridlock, which was much worse than last year.

Longest time spent waiting for a Marriott Marquis elevator: 14 minutes, after which we gave up and took a down elevator to guarantee a spot for the ride up.

Biggest improvement: Moving the vendor hall to the super-spacious AmericasMart building 2.

Best gender-bending costumes: The cast of Mad Max: Fury Road, including Furiosa, Immortan Joe, Max, Nux, and the wives, in which the men were dressed as women and visa-versa.

Most effective way to clear Peachtree Street after the parade: A phalanx of Atlanta Police motorcycles taking up the entire width of the street succeeded in foiling jaywalkers where multiple ambulances and loudspeakers failed.

Biggest letdown: Despite being an accomplished DJ, Dragon Con attendee Kristain Nairn (Hodor, from Game of Thrones) did not play a set at any of the official parties.

Coolest collectible Easter egg: If you were somehow able to snag all three hotel keycards (for the Hyatt, Marriott, and Hilton, respectively) designed by artist Dave Cook, they make a pretty awesome set.

Best good deed: Dragon Con attendees are a generous bunch. In addition to the daily blood drive, the con also collects thousands of charity donations—this year, money raised went to the Lymphoma Research Foundation. In one panel alone, a pass-around bucket collected $600.

Best people-watching from the Marriott Skyline floor: The multiple spontaneous Lightsaber fights that broke out on the atrium level. Those high-end sabers look like giant glow sticks from 10 floors up.