That nunc dimittis feeling, or: Be careful what you ask for, you just might get it

[An explanation of the title reference. No offense intended to devout Christian readers, for despite the extensive discussion of this particular metaphor, I do hope it still goes without saying that I do not think Mr. Armitage is the Messiah. Indeed, I might be trying to argue for the disutility of thinking of him as if he is one. More on the cultural usage of this expression and the sense in which I mean it below.]

[As always, when you are in need of instruction, and if you have not already, you should read pi. I had drafted this before I read her, but I felt in the back of my mind that this was the kind of thing she’d want to comment on and sure enough, there she was; I echo some of her feelings and –how could it be otherwise?– write in contrast to others. I’ve integrated a riff on her remarks into the post, though not on the comments to her post, which I’ve not read as I publish this.]

Photo: One of the breathtakingly beautiful photographs of Richard Armitage by David Venni that was used in the Strike Back publicity in Spring, 2010. Source: Русскоязычный Cайт Pичардa Армитиджa.

Along with all the joy I felt yesterday after learning the news that Mr. Armitage was cast in The Hobbit, I felt a little odd. Pi describes this as an ache. I find that accurate. Since it wasn’t what I was expecting, I had to stop today to think about the twinges I was feeling. Since a lot of stuff was going on in my life yesterday, I’m still overwhelmed, and it was helpful for me to exploit the comments of “me + richard armitage” readers as a means of exploring my own reactions. As usual you all were thinking some things that were on my mind as well. So you may find some of your own reactions recycled or referenced here.

I think we all agree that, after North & South, the role of Thorin Oakenshield in The Hobbit is going to be seen as THE big break in his career — the part that’s likely to be described as separating “early Armitage” from “mature Armitage” when biographers start writing books about his career. Given the success of the LOTR trilogy, this movie seems fated to do extremely well at the box office, and nothing we’ve seen of Mr. Armitage’s work in the past suggests that he will deliver anything less than a strong performance. Lots of people who’ve never heard of him before are going to see him. Now: adaptations of literary classics are notoriously more controversial than projects originally scripted for the big screen, and playing a non-human is always a career challenge, of course, one that carries with it the risk of typecasting, and we don’t know if this role will constitute the sort of signature performance that Mr. Thornton in North & South did, but from right here, right now, everything looks good. And, as pi notes, given what we know about him, this role seems as close as he’ll get in the short term to the sort of thing he was looking for, the “Elephant Man” role that is going to allow him to practice what he understands to be his craft, to act without being written off as “only” a pretty face. (Phylly3 posts one possible permutation of Armitage as Thorin, and even if Armitage does sex the character up in spite of himself, all this facial hair is not the stuff of which conventional feminine dreams are made. Though in an odd twist of fate, it may be just what Servetus has been fantasizing about.) Even if it doesn’t end up being a definitive role for him, though, one hopes that it will be well paid, and that if he’s as frugal as he says he is, he’ll be able to bank or invest some of his earnings and thus enjoy the luxury of waiting for roles he likes to come to him. He can spoil his parents some more (how adorable!) or put some money in his beloved nephew‘s college fund (probably necessary given the disturbing recent news from UK higher education.) It should guarantee him work when he wants it and leisure should he prefer it. Or maybe it will provide the seed money for developing the Richard III project that Mr. Armitage has been referencing at every opportunity for years.

In sum: It’s hard not to be moved by this news and by what we guess that it must mean to him and his loved ones. When we finally see, within our field of vision, the thing we think he, and we, have been waiting for, it’s hard not to be overwhelmed with emotion.

***

[Photo: An image from an important illuminated fifteenth-century manuscript of the Book of Hours, the so-called Très Riches Heures du Duc du Berry. The text of the canticle of Simeon begins right under the miniature at right. Source: wikipedia.]

And yet, I had the distinct feeling yesterday afternoon that I was now going to be singing “nunc dimittis.” It seems like an automatic response to being overwhelmed by a sudden, unanticipated gift, perhaps one that no longer seemed anything like imminent: “now, we can die happy.”

In the religious tradition of my childhood, “nunc dimittis” is the liturgical piece sung after the Eucharist, expressing the sentiment that the congregation has now witnessed again the testament to the miracle of human salvation at the hands of a G-d who cared enough to give his only-begotten son to accomplish it. Its text is drawn from the Gospel of Luke, where the evangelist puts it in the mouth of Simeon, an ancient man who’s been promised he’ll live to see the Messiah. Simeon’s been waiting in the Temple for a very long time when Joseph and Mary bring Jesus to be circumcised. If we were interpreting typologically, we might see Moses, who waits for a very long time to see the Promised Land but cannot enter it, as a type for Simeon, whose eyes see a deliverance that he will — in contrast to Moses — be able to experience. I’m not equating Richard Armitage with Jesus Christ, but this expression “we’re singing the nunc dimittis” to mean “we’ve been hanging on a long time to see this result, but it’s here and we’re done now” was one I heard a lot as a child, and I found out when I was doing my doctoral work that it was an extremely common phrase for exactly the same sentiment in the sixteenth-century sources I read for my dissertation. The modern secular equivalent is probably the statement, usually attributed to the Lone Ranger, but perhaps even older (I found a reference to it in the Prisoner of Zenda): “My work here is done.”

Armitage fans have been waiting for what feels like a long time, some of them six years, for the virtues of their object to be more generally appreciated. I say “they” and not “we” in that sentence because I’ve only been a fan for the last year, and only “out” since the end of February. My own reactions to this event are based on an emotional investment much smaller than that of the core members of his fandom, the people who’ve been maintaining websites, aggregating news and creating an archival documentation of his entire career, voting in online polls, commenting on discussion boards, continuing to provide an internet buzz about him during periods where nothing of his was being broadcast, and defending him in the comments sections of blogs when reviews of his work have been critical. So the question is why I’d potentially have a bittersweet feeling, or other fans would, just at the point at which our fondest dreams are being realized — and, I assume, these dreams are of much longer duration and greater intensity among fans of longer standing than myself, so that aches and twinges may be more severe among those fans than they are for me. (Pi writes that she doesn’t know if she’s sticking around the fandom, and while I’m not planning a departure, I feel something like the ache that she describes.) I think the answer to the question has to do with the reasons why and how we’re moved by the news. The question for me, as always, is about me and not about him. And so, I think, we have to ask ourselves what exactly it is what we’re getting from participating in the Armitage fandom and how and whether that would change now. Is the nunc dimittis feeling a reasonable reaction?

***

“Look how our partner’s rapt,” Banquo (Ken Bones) comments to Angus (Richard Armitage) and Ross (Paul Webster) on Macbeth’s reaction to his assumption of the title of Thane of Cawdor in Macbeth (RSC 2001), Act I, scene iii, l. 151. My cap. An early appearance in leather and a smirk that foresages the expressional repertoire of Guy of Gisborne.

In essence, of course, no feeling is susceptible to rational analysis. But feelings do have trajectories that relate to our experiences and they can be analyzed with reference to our broader, more rationally accessible concerns and interests. Maybe a better question is: is it fair?

The long-term argument for following Armitage through projects of occasionally dubious artistic merit has been his amazing range and power as a thespian, his unbelievable ability to draw the audience’s gaze not by posturing but by withdrawing, his ability, proven time and time again, to catch the attention of and move the viewer toward his purpose with the slightest gesture or the briefest glance of an eye. This argument asserts that he’s a great actor of underexploited talent, and that it was only a matter of time until someone, somewhere recognized the shocking lack of appreciation for his acting and cast him in a meaty classical or modern dramatic role that would display his skills at their best. Seen from that light, from the perspective of a fandom that’s never been privy to his backroom contract negotiations, the last year has been tough — a sort of famine in the midst of a feast, since on the surface his career on British television, and the prospects for its continuation, have been stronger in the last year than ever, but the scripts have been so questionable. Particularly since Strike Back aired, a sort of vague concern’s been abroad that Mr. Armitage was at risk of failing to fulfill what fans saw as his dramatic destiny, that he might spend his career on television and other roles that were “inferior.” We’ve been waiting the requisite amount of time for the new season of Spooks, but like me, most Armitage fans appear to have been strongly dissatisfied by the way that the series 8 scripts treated Lucas North, and after a brief respite, Spooks 9.4 and 9.5 took Lucas North down a rather alarming path from which viewers who do not consume spoilers –OF WHOM I AM ONE, I REMIND YOU!– have not yet been liberated. An appearance in “The Rover” would have satisfied many of the diehard fans of “art,” but news about the scheduling of that role was always limited to Armitage’s own vague statements about how badly he wanted to do it.

Peter Macduff (Richard Armitage) responds to the news that his wife and daughters have been murdered in Shakespeare Retold. Source: Richard Armitage Central Gallery

Without question, The Hobbit will propel Mr. Armitage to international attention. At the same time, no matter the prominence and significance of this production, no matter how much we love and appreciate J.R.R. Tolkien’s storytelling, Thorin Oakenshield is not Lear or Richard III. (Bilbo Baggins wouldn’t have been, either.) I do not mean to discredit children’s literature or fantasy as vehicles for great performances, but this role will not satisfy anyone who espouses arguments about the higher value of the great, unforgettable, canonical dramatic pieces. It will definitely make Armitage a face recognized around the world. All by itself, however, it seems unlikely to engrave his name in the rolls of the stellar adepts of Melpomene, next to the likes of Marlon Brando or Richard Burton, and even less likely to push him into the ranks of players like Lawrence Olivier or Alec Guinness. It may be a path on such a journey, but this choice seems just as possible to foreclose that path in the end, changing Armitage’s reputation from “sexy television star” to “prominent film actor” rather than “classic dramatic lead.” Now, he’s never said what he wanted in any sort of self-limiting language beyond seeking to surprise his viewers and to diversify his repertoire as much as possible. Even if this attitude doesn’t represent what I hope it does –a desire for the greatest growth and depth possible in his art– it would have been professionally foolish given his career progress so far for him to have done so. So he’s all over the place in discussing his desires. I’m not the first to have noted his apparent willingness to get something out of any role he lands. Though quoted on his love for the thrill of live theater, he’s also stated that television offers the appealing chance to repeat it until one gets it right. He’s been quoted repeatedly as having formed the desire to become an actor during a visit to Stratford while at school, but he’s also said that at approximately the same age, he wanted to be in movies. I want to stress that this is only a hypothesis, BUT I do have my own heretical reading of his career. He’s no fool; he undoubtedly knows what actors have to do to obtain the kinds of roles they seek. So I suspect that he knew that if he wanted a career treading the boards of the important stages of London, Stratford, and elsewhere, his best path to that end lay where he already was at a very early point in his career after leaving LAMDA: the Royal Shakespeare Company. That he did not stay on that road and ended up doing television work suggests to me that for whatever reason he concluded that the traditional path to canonical dramatic leads was not desirable or available to him.

So yes: I read him as being willing to take a number of alternative paths — often more willing than we might have been initially to go with him. It’s striking how often I find myself thinking — and reading — about how Armitage takes his fans where they never would have gone before. But even in my own experience, this hasn’t always reflected my own eagerness, but rather a concession I’m willing to make for his sake. In January, my current feelings about this notwithstanding, I was hesitant to watch his roles other than North & South and I wanted something “better” than I understood either Guy of Gisborne or Lucas North to be. In short, if what we get from the fandom is a mood akin to the emotional tenor of Jewish messianic belief — in which the desired goal of a plum dramatic role is always yearned for, always receding just slightly beyond the horizon, but no less devoutly to be wished or dearly beloved for all of that — if, in the narrative of the nunc dimittis, we never want to occupy the role of Simeon, if we prefer on some level to wander the wilderness because we appear to be barred from actually realizing our goal, then thinking about The Hobbit may make Armitage’s artistic future appear quite suddenly to be alarmingly concrete. I hope that this role expands his opportunities. But it will also give him a much clearer identity as an actor in the minds of a much larger group of viewers and fans than he has ever had before. There’s a level on which that kind of decision has to be frightening — maybe as much or more for us as it is for him. Once he appears in this role, it’s going to become more difficult for us to make him over into our favorite roles, albeit only in the theater of the mind’s eye. If his recent responses to his fans, which have been less effusively grateful and more openly assertive of his own stance, are any index, his own sense of his artistic identity is solidifying as well. Once you have chosen to be someone, you exclude the possibility of being someone different — and every decision has consequences.

I want to express some sympathy for this stance, since it’s easy to ask — well, if this role doesn’t make you happy, Servetus, other fans, what will? And it’s not that the role isn’t making people happy — far from it. I am overjoyed and I think most people are overjoyed and even people who are only marginally less than overjoyed are happier than they are sad. But great gifts are also tinged with lost alternatives. And what’s often forgotten in the nunc dimittis story, because his final words are left out of the liturgical canticle, is that after he thanks G-d for having seen the Messiah, Simeon gives Mary and Joseph a warning, that their child will be important — and that a sword will pierce their own souls, too. Leaving out the devastating soteriological consequences — which is, as I said above, where this metaphor breaks down — it would have been much easier for everyone in that story in terms of their own emotional lives if Jesus had stayed a sweet little baby upon whom they all could have written their own narratives, indefinitely. Children who never grow up also never have to be made responsible as adults for the disappointments they may cause. And the adults they disappoint never have to take responsibility for interrogating their own expectations.

***

[Photo: Sky publicity photo for Strike Back that tries to make John Porter (Richard Armitage) look like Achilles.]

I’m mostly hypothesizing above, as it’s already clear that that is not my position, at least not most of the time. In principle, one might conclude, to shred this metaphor even more aggressively, I’m happy to be Simeon and just sit back and be grateful for any and all human deliverance that materializes on my horizon as long as it’s not immoral. Indeed, I said just last week in rather prolix terms that I really don’t care if he ever plays Lear. Prospero, maybe. Hear that, Mr Armitage? If you get offered Prospero somewhere I can afford to fly to, you better take it or risk the wrath of Servetus! Some week I’ll only write a few hundred words about you instead of a few thousand! Or I’ll stop commenting on how gorgeous you are! I bet that would hit you where you live! Take that, you flimsy poltroon!

While thinking about how I felt about a potential career for him in which Strike Back and Captain America were more typical than Hamlet and Macbeth, I spent a lot of time justifying why I’d be happy to keep watching Armitage no matter what he did, even if he never moved beyond television, BBC Radio 4 productions, and audiobooks, and even if we kept seeing him in roles that exploited his body as much as his acting. I founded my stance on grounds that had to do with him: his right to follow his art for his own reasons and in the direction he thought his career was taking him, the doubtful stability of the art vs. entertainment distinction, his clear ability to transcend by miles the limitations of the vast majority of the roles in which he’s been cast, and the unfairness of blaming him for our reactions to his physical beauty.

Of course, you know if you’ve been reading this blog for any amount of time that I repeatedly point out that no argument is ever disinterested. I have my own reasons for liking to see him on television. That was the actual followup post to the career maundering I published last week, and a post about what I see as more broadly significant about the emotional level of my response to him as a tv actor was in the works on Thursday afternoon before I left to go to the art museum with my student organization members — and then sidelined by the news about The Hobbit. I will get back there, no doubt, because when I met him he was a television actor, the roles he played were important to me in fairly specific ways, discussion of certain themes that underlie this blog are becoming increasingly pressing in my life, and this news changes none of that history or those sentiments in any significant way.

But back to the question of twinges in the background of my euphoria over this new evidence of Armitage’s success, I’m asking myself if all of that reflection about why tv and radio drama are just fine is now immaterial. If he’s really as good an actor as I believe him to be, it seems unlikely that television will continue to tempt him. If offers for film roles pour in (and since I do subscribe at least facetiously to the Armitageworld dogma that Richard Armitage is the best actor in the whole wide world, how could it be otherwise?) it’s hard to see on the face of it why he would continue to work in television. Now I’m not saying there could be no reason for him to do so — he could potentially be offered a role in the sort of television he enjoys very much himself; or he could find any number of personal reasons to want to stay in the UK and thus seek work in British television; or he could discover that he hates working in films; or this role could indeed eventually generate for him the kind of offers he wants in live theater — I could spin out a number of scenarios. It’s just that if he in fact does seek greater room to test his own artistic skills and more respect in conventional terms for his achievements, given the reward system in his world as it currently stands, and considering sentiments about the art vs entertainment distinction that are more broadly held than mine, on balance, he is more likely to find the opportunities he seeks in film. It’s obvious to me that given all the crazy script writing that he’s endured since 2006, one reason to be happy to take on a film role is simply that one’s performance won’t have to be rewritten or redeveloped as a group of scriptwriters employed on a temporary basis and who care more for thrills than for an actor’s efforts at consistent characterization and leaving a signature performance in place take gleeful aim at everything one thinks one’s accomplished.

When I was a kid, I had this story book about the nunc dimittis and the tale never bothered me. In the last twenty years or so, though, I’ve learned a little bit more about how people actually react when they get what they want. In light of this problem, I’ve wondered what happens to Simeon after the promise of the Holy Spirit is fulfilled and he finally sees Jesus. Does he drop dead as soon as he gets home, because he is, after all, very old, and he’s just seen what he’s waiting for? Does G-d grant him the grace of an immediate departure? Or does he have to hang around awhile waiting to die? And if the latter, does he immediately realize that the Scriptures have been fulfilled and that he doesn’t have to observe the rules of the temple cult any more? And if he does stop observing the law, does he miss doing it? It turns out, I think, that I’m much more temperamentally akin to people who aren’t able to leave behind their presuppositions about Armitage’s career than I initially would have thought — I just have slightly different presuppositions. (It’s a common problem of academic life: discovering your work is way less original than you initially thought it might be.) The point of this rather strange discussion from my perspective is this: though Simeon did not wonder about the gift of seeing the Messiah, he did warn Mary and Joseph that there would be problems, and indeed, it seems like there are good reasons to wonder whether Armitage in film will really give us what we want, if it will not be just as challenging to our desires as it will be fulfilling. For instance: one immediate consequences for viewers who wish they could see more of him is that we’ll actually be likely to see less of him, as it will take quite some time to film two full-length feature films, and we won’t be able to count on the regularity of series television, as his fans have been able to do for the last four years. And it’s not just regularity, it’s the question of what that regularity means in terms of one’s own attitudes, and in terms of the constitution of community. A lot of new people — WE HOPE! — will be joining our ranks, and yet it may be difficult to accommodate them at first — we will have to be patient. As kaprekar asks, what will happen to his fandom under these circumstances? Musa notes that there are ways to keep it going, and I remain committed to providing my own little bizarre contribution here as long as life permits.

But I do think this new role raises questions for me about the whole point of my bizarre little contribution. Just in the sense that a crucial piece of information we discover in Spooks 9.1 in one of the early scenes carries significant power to change how we understand all of Spooks 8, a successful career for Armitage in film casts a different light on all of his early roles. I may not be the only one having these feelings, given the amount of interpretive attention that fans have been devoting to his every gesture for years. If Mr. Armitage becomes a big film star, does that make everything that I’ve been writing about him all this time, all of the investment I’ve put into thinking about Lucas North, and John Porter, and Guy of Gisborne, and Mr. Thornton, invalid? Certainly not. Those roles were still important to his career, and I think people will continue to be interested in watching Lucas, Guy and Mr. Thornton for some time. (Yes: despite my love for John Porter, I think the role will be seen as less important for him, based on what we’ve seen so far, and if he is able to leave his obligation before filming series 2, that will definitely be the case. But maybe he will still play the second series of Strike Back, and maybe the scripts will get better.) Perhaps the news of The Hobbit will even draw some viewers to those roles. I hope so. But even so, I can’t avoid at least the initial reaction that all of this effort will have focused on his “early career,” not the “important” mature career. And seeing his choices on the big screen is certainly going to affect how I view his earlier choices on the little one. I’m even wrestling with the possibility that I have some secret fear that I won’t like him as much as a film actor as I do on television.

To go back to the nunc dimittis story, which I’ve been interpreting throughout as an allegory about how people are likely to deal with change: from the Christian perspective, the change that’s just entered the world is good. But it can’t have been easy. And it may not end up being good for everyone in ways that are immediately apparent; not everyone may accept it; it may not even end up being good for me in the open-ended sense I thought I could embrace with pleasure. I’m happy for Mr. Armitage, and I’m happy for me, and I’m happy for everyone else who is happy. But I am more sympathetic to the twinges than I thought, a little surprised by my own resistance, and I am going to have to learn more about the nature of the happiness on offer, too.

Getting back to where I started asking the questions: What is it I’m getting from this fandom? In part, a renewed confidence in my capacity to employ my interpretive gaze. Knowledge, authority, gratification, pleasure that comes from the ability to think and write creatively. And then the subject of the analysis turns the tables on me and insists on actually exercising the right to artistic growth that I’ve sketched out and tried to defend for him — and I am just a little bit shocked. I insisted on his rights as an artist to develop in the directions he thought best and now I am going to have to put my money where my mouth was. If it’s fair for him to be changing, as I have insisted repeatedly, of course, it’s certainly fair for me to have twinges and what I’ve termed here “that nunc dimittis feeling.” The question is maybe why I underestimated Armitage so much as to think that I wouldn’t have that feeling. But I’m asking myself as well why I didn’t realize ahead of time what I was bargaining for in attempting to speak as an interpreter. In sum, I think this is the problem: the Armitage I “know,” the elusive figure on whom I’ve been trying to put my rhetorical imprint on for over six months now, is going to be changing. As should have been apparent all along, he’s going to turn into much more of a challenge than I realized in February, when I thought that a few months of blogging about a bizarre obsession I seemed to be developing would serve as a way to figure out what was bugging me, and as a sidelight, as an entertaining diversion from my burgeoning personal problems. If he’s going to grow and take risks, I will have to do that, too — with all of the same hypothetical consequences. If he turns into a different interpretive object than I bargained for, I also run the risk of becoming a different interpreter than I realized I would be.

The story of The Hobbit seems on point here. It’s about a creature of comfort who sets out on a journey partly out of curiosity and partly out of feeling that he can’t avoid going along. I think we’re all going to find out — or at least all of us who remain signed on for the ride — a lot more about our commonalities with Bilbo Baggins in the next two years than we would have initially have thought possible.

***

There’s one more piece to this that relates to fandom and our own participation in it, but I have to stop now. This is almost 5,000 words now, anyway, so if you made it this far you’re probably exhausted. It doesn’t really relate all that well to the nunc dimittis issue, either, so it makes sense to discuss it separately. Thanks, as always, for your tolerance of my verbal diarrhea. I’ll try to put that piece down tomorrow afternoon some time.

~ by Servetus on October 24, 2010.

113 Responses to “That nunc dimittis feeling, or: Be careful what you ask for, you just might get it”

  1. Food for thought as always,Servetus. You raise many interesting issues about Richard’s career.

    I think that, as Richard has proved to be an actor who loves work and the challenges it creates for it own sake as opposed to regarding it purely as steps on a creer ladder, his movie career might be a whole lot more diverse than other actors’ who have sought and found success in the film world. I think that he will enjoy the specific challenge of bringing to film his talent and hard work for a time, but that he’ll still be interested in flexing his acting muscles in manuy different types of projects.

    Somehow I can’t help thinking that British actors do seem to be quite flexible in their approach to being actors. They choose to work in theatre, not because they have failed to make it as movie stars, but because it offers them something of intrinsic value. They seem to like to ring the changes, exploring different aspects of acting. I hope that Richard will have the opportunity for this in the future. I would like to see him on stage, in films, on television and using his voice in radio productions and audio books. Of course, success will mean that he’ll have a wider choice of production. Most of all, I hope that he finds plenty of time to relax and enjoy the fruits of his labours with loved ones!

    Just as I’ve enjoyed the diversity of his work up to now and have allowed my fascination to lead me into avenues otherwise not explored, so I see myself continuing to follow the career of this amazing actor. I’ve already started rereading The Hobbit, a childhood favourite! 🙂

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    • MillyMe I’m with you on what you say about British actors. I greatly admire the fact that British actors are not placed in the straight-jacket that American actors seem to be (and American audiences) that the goal is to be in films, and that once you arrive, it’s somehow unseemly to do Television, or Theater, or anything else. I much admire the fact that British actors can be the star in a movie and next time you see them they have a small supporting role as a guest in a TV series, or star in a situation comedy, or go back to the theater for a while, or even do a radio play on occasion. An actor I much admire is a great example of this, Judi Dench. I agree with the quote that “there are no small parts, only small actors.” My hope for Richard Armitage is that he continue this tradition. The Hobbit, oh yes, how marvelous for him…but I hope he doesn’t stop exploring his craft on stage and the big and small screen.

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      • Even now in America we are seeing people like Laura Linney who has mainly worked in film and stage projects doing a TV series for cable, “The Big C.” There is so much really quality television now being produced by not just Showtime and HBO, but also AMC and even USA, which once was the home of the shlockiest stuff imaginable (Silk Stalkings, anyone?) Why shouldn’t good actors be able to move between quality TV projects and film and stage, if they choose?

        My hope is Richard will find continue to find enjoyment and satisfaction in a variety of projects, big screen, small screen, in the audio booth, on the stage. Because he is so tremendously versatile, bless his modest heart (“a small talent” indeed. Pish-tosh!) Number 1–I just want this “friend I’ve never met” as Ann Marie might say, to be really, truly–happy.

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    • My impression is that in general actors in the UK are better trained than in the US, so perhaps casting directors are less worried about casting against type since they assume that the artists are capable of more?

      Thinking of Alan Rickman again, it would be nice if this step allowed him to have that kind of career, i.e., he’s got a big role that gets him money and publicity and it allows him to take smaller more daring roles according to his own tastes.

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      • Yeah, a nice mix of blockbusters and smaller, perhaps independent films that intrigue him and help him further flex his creative muscles–an acting version of danger sports. Some stage stuff.

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  2. Thank you very much for this wonderful analysis about “nunc dimittis”. I really have to do something for my old Latin skills. I completely dismissed them after university.
    But your sentiments match mine so well that your arguments left me speechless. I wish RA all the best and still am not completely happy with him doing this role in the “Hobbit”. With your article I now found out that this is, because I think he and his way of acting will change – and I do in advance not know if I will like that.
    I also must add that I have a most ambivalent attitude towards Tolkien’s “LotR” and “Hobbit”. I both heard them as audio books and “LotR” was the most boring audio book I ever heard. I only kept it up for 12 CDs (German audio book version) as I was doing a knitted scarf during that time. My parents I borrowed the CDs as well only got to 1 1/2 CDs and only because they tried hard to like it.
    But the one thing I am looking forward to is RA making the most of any role he gets. If he is bearded or not, if he is recognizable or not (that is my main fear for the “Hobbit”), that I am still sure of, so I will follow him to as much films, movies as I can get hold of.

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    • Thanks for your kind words. I was worried after I pushed published that this was too far out of the mainstream and either a bit too Christian or a bit sacrilegious. I could probably have just said “change is hard for everyone” and been done with it.

      On LOTR — I was realizing the other night when I was looking for my copy of The Hobbit that the last time I read LOTR was the last time I had really bad flu: January of 2001, when I was flat on my back for a week and had run out of new stuff to read. It’s not easy to appreciate and it demands the kind of sustained attention that you can only give to it when you’re knitting or trapped in bed, I think. On the plus side, the LOTR films really made it into an epic story for me. However, I saw The Two Towers for the first time with German Synchronisierung and it negatively impacted it for me. I’ve never thought this quasi-chivalric fantasy translated especially well into German, where the cultural assumptions around reading that stuff are somewhat different.

      This is mostly just rambling. I’m sure he’ll be great. My reservations are all about me, not about him.

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      • I think you are right. The German translations of the names are very strange. The mentioning of the English names seems much more interesting and mysterious.
        I wonder why that is the case, as the German translations are mostly that, just exact translations. But I think German and mysterious annotations work in another way. To be mysterious, interesting and draw colourful images you would weave in foreign languages, at least Latin and not use just German words. So it is probably that why the exact translations do not work for me.

        I saw only the first part of the films in German and this did not win me over either.
        Before RA appearing in the “Hobbit” I will read the book in English and will try to compare. I am not sure if I can stand to try the LOTR also after that boring audiobook.
        As a Christian, I found your comparison to Simeon’s ambivalent predictions very interesting. I did not immediately remember this part of his meeting Jesus, but found your analysis very fitting and not in any kind sacrilegious. Thank you for it!

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        • Thanks again. 🙂

          Yes, absolutely, the literal translations don’t work. My exBF’s mother told me that she had to put Der kleine Hobbit away because she just couldn’t stand reading the word “Haarfuessler.” It does sound kind of icky in German, I have to admit! Also agree that the characters would probably be given more Latinesque names. “Frodo” sounds intriguing to English ears, but in a country where you can have friends named “Onno” and “Focke” it seems less mysterious. 🙂

          I’d also argue that medievalist fantasy is a genre with a less credible cultural status in Germany since 1945 than it enjoys in the anglo-Saxon world. The heavy cooptation of medieval Germanic sagas (which is one of the things that Tolkien imitates) by the political regimes of the first half of the twentieth century in Germany led to a relative backing off from those things in the German education system of the post-45 years. I’m not saying nobody my age in Germany knows about the Nibelungenlied, but that the general familiarity with that stuff (and other traditional texts like it) is less mainstream precisely because its association with unsavory politics in the first half of the century led to people becoming more suspicious of it than they are in the English _Sprachraum_. So the language of epic saga and chivalric romance is just perceived differently by German readers than by English ones. Tolkien draws a lot on Nordic myths and pseudo-Nordic myths that he constructs, and discussing that sort of thing was taboo in many circles in Germany in the last few decades.

          There’s also a school of interpretation of LOTR that claims that the whole thing is an allegory about the situation in Europe in the latter interwar years of the twentieth century — that the Fellowship of the Ring is an allegory about the “forces of civilization” in their fight against totalitarianism. The Hobbit was published in 1937 for the first time. I don’t buy this idea completely, but it may also affect how readers of different cultural backgrounds within Europe perceive the books. I know that while they were popular in Germany, they never achieved the cult status that they have in the US or England. Most of my academic friends in the US have read them all at least once, whereas very few of my academic friends in Germany have done more than glance at them or try to read them and give up.

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          • Your depiction of Germany is absolutely correct. During my time at school everyone was looked at suspiciously who read the old medieval sagas. One of my friends had the name of one main female character in the Nibelungenlied. She had to shorten it unnoticeably to avoid odd comments.
            I only read the Nibelungenlied, because I studied German and had to translate it from the medieval original version.
            Both my parents (both war generation) know the sagas much better than I do. When I need to locate one character I just have to ask them and they can tell me immediately.
            Though, I know quite a lot of Tolkien fans here in Germany as well, one of them my sister. She just could not get me fascinated. And the German audio book was not helpful as well.
            But I think the translation is a bit like the one for “Harry Potter”. I read the books in English and broke out in a fit of laughter when I heard the German translations of the names.
            I heard about the political interpretation of LOTR you mention as well. I think it might not be so far off the mark, as the political situation tended to extremes all the beginning years of the 20th and already ending years of the 19th century. Tolkien might not have had a clear view concerning the later German development, but might have intended general references to the political tendencies of the time. I read a book of the year 1907 you would say could only be written around 1941. It surprised me greatly, that all the propaganda and set of ideas was around so early on.

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          • I’m your age and we did do medieval sagas and poetry at school.

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            • We did poetry, but nothing beyond Gryphius. Medieval sagas were avoided at all costs and if I had not seen and read books about them, at school I would not have heard about them at all.
              That is interesting, that you made a completely different experience.
              Thank you for your comment. I had the fear that I rambled too much about German here. It is not my intention to exclude other readers with my comment and I feared I did just that.

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            • I have this sort of litmus test that I do: I ask people if they know who Ute of Naumburg was. People who are younger than 60 can almost tell me nothing more than that they know there’s an important statue of her somewhere in den neuen Bundeslaender; people older than that actually know who she was. Obviously, any statement any of us makes is contingent on our own sample and experiences.

              I’m happy to read more about Germany. 🙂 As is probably obvious.

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              • I like learning about other places, CDoart. Always have. I really don’t think the world revolves around the US. *grin*

                As my sister-in-law is full-blooded German (adopted as a small child by an American serviceman and his wife) who discovered her birth family and is now studying German and has visited her brother several times in Germany–I feel like I am learning more about her own heritage. So thanks for that.

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                • Thank you for your comment. You really make me feel welcome here with my comments. Please let me know if you need information on Germany. I like to be of help.

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                  • I appreciate that, CDoart.
                    And if you ever have questions about the southern US, as someone borne and bred here, I will be happy to help.
                    *grin*

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                    • Thank you very much. I would love to hear more! As a child, the hardest shock I can remember was, when I recognized, that I would not be able to see the whole world during my lifetime, however hard I might try.

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              • That is very kind of you to say! Please feel free to contact me if you need anything from or about Germany. I like to help as far as I can.

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  3. As always you write with such eloquence regarding your feelings on the topic of Mr. Armitage, and in doing so you often manage to clarify the feelings I have to me. I am also quite happy with the news of his role in this film, but at the same time I also feel a kind of loss. I have wondered why that is, and reading both your blog, and the blog that you referred, Pi, made me understand my feelings better. I will definitely follow him and his career in the future, but in a way I think it will feel more remote now for me. I can´t put it more clear, unfortunately, since my way with words is not as versatile, but in a way I read something of an echo of that in your post. Thank you for making things clearer for me, and for your very interesting blog, which always brinsg new insights and thoughts to me.

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    • Thanks, Elisabet. You put your finger on something I wanted to address at the end of the post and postponed for later, that is, that as his career takes off, he will seem “further away.” That process has been underway for some time, but this seems like a clear sign that it will accelerate. There was a sense in which, based on his messages to his fans, that we could believe he was speaking just to each of us. It seems unlikely that that will continue.

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      • While I was reading I remembered the messages too, the way he wrote felt so familiar, close. Of course now at this day, he’s not as close but there’s this trepidation about how things will change.

        Oh well, let’s just go with the flow.

        OML 🙂

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  4. I doubt that you are alone, servetus, in slightly conflicting reactions regarding the TV (early career) transition to the big screen. I’m aware of two reprehensible reactions. And I speak only for myself, not trying to read into the comments of others, exactly the same reactions.

    One is the unworthy feeling of a step toward having to share the actor with a wider world, when it’s been such a pleasure within the blog world. Only WE have had the perception to appreciate him. Which conflicts with the desire for a bigger career for him, and a broader audience; and the increased autonomy and choice that should offer.

    The other conflict is equally ridiculous. Mr. Armitage is an extraordinarily attractive actor. The performances of Thornton, Gisborne and Lucas have emphasized this aspect. And soon, we see him as a Hobbit – a Dwarf!! No, no-one has to point out that this is really, really good! Truly: I know it, and also am thrilled that he is to be associated with a film-maker of Peter Jackson’s imagination and stature. I’ll grow out of my immature feelings. A changing perception of an actor’s career is no bad thing. “Dum spiro,” can’t remember the Latin for I learn – help! :O

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    • learn=disco, discere. 🙂

      I particularly resonate with the first of your concerns, fitzg, and as I think the comment by Musa just below this one points out, that is an issue of no little tension in Armitageworld.

      I’m less worried about the attractiveness issue, as I REALLY LIKE facial hair. It would be more of a problem for me if he were going to play a bald dwarf. 🙂

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      • Pi has posted a link to the official casting call in her blog: http://www.stuff.co.nz/business/industries/4268994/Thousands-expected-at-Hobbit-rallies

        Apparently the dwarfs may or may not get “minor prosthetics make-up, like a nose or forehead”. As much as I’m for “uglifying” I hope they refrain from that as RA’s nose and forehead are already impressive enough and his features more strong than pretty and I would want his face to remain expressive. He wasn’t pretty in The Impressionists with that funny beard but the facial hair did not bother me either because the character was so loveable. A long beard would do, a short beard on the other hand would be much too flattering and make him look too heroic. With a short beard he could easily challenge Aragorn.

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        • I’m sorry, this is the right link: http://www.movies.spoilertv.com/2010/01/hobbit-casting-call.html

          (but the other link is interesting nonetheless!)

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          • They might have to age him a little, if they want him to look 50! I don’t even think he looks 40 in most of the stuff we see him in. Obviously Spooks is smoothing out wrinkles, etc.

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          • I may be wrong, but I don’t think that casting call is genuine – I vaguely remember reading about it back in the early part of this year.

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        • I was thinking about this, Jane–Richard’s forehead and jaw are quite prominent anyway (that’s one reason I’ve always thought he would make a grand Sherlock Holmes, one of my favorite fictional characters) that I wouldn’t think an excess of prosthetic makeup would be needed to make his face “work” for the role.

          And as you say, he’s a not a pretty boy type; he’s beautiful to me, but in a very, very masculine, grown-up way.

          I guess I am envisioning him as Thorin with some added wrinkles to age him appropriately, as he really does look very youthful for his age (he has really lovely skin, I think) and lots of long grey hair (perhaps some in braids) and a long grey beard.

          Speaking of Aragorn, I always thought he would have done that part very well. But this will be more of a challenge, I think, that he will truly enjoy.

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          • I actually meant to say “forehead and nose,” I don’t know why the jaw got in there, other than the pain meds. Although I quite like his jaw as well.

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          • There has been some speculation if Thorin will be made more Aragorn-like (not that Aragorn was pretty, but he has a certain something!) and won’t be as ugly as we imagine now. There has even been talk about “the hot dwarves” as the young actors cast to play Thorin’s nephews are very attractive as well, in a more pretty and conventional way than Richard. They are in their twenties, as the casting call asks for but Richard is slightly younger than demanded, if he is to be a convincing uncle, they will have to age him a little.

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            • I actually saw someone’s Photoshopped depiction of the new cast as hobbits and dwarfs. I will have to see if I can find it and provide a link. Richard seemed appropriately aged and with plenty of silver hair so he certainly looked old enough to be their uncle. But the piercing eyes and the mouth were recognizable as his. Oh, and the magnificent NOSE.

              And I must agree. Aragorn definitely had a certain something!

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  5. Very interesting and much food for thought as always. I want to ask a question of all of you, and of the fans that were there at the beginning. Are you going to accept these new fans in your fold? Are you going to accept that some of these new fans will love him because he’ll portray the Thorin they’ve imagined and loved from the books, and some of them will care mostly about that and not what else he’s done, or what future work he will do? The reason I ask is because I’m a latecomer myself to Armitage fandom (though I first watched him in N&S back in 2005 and followed him to RH and etc.), and only started really reading about him as a person and visiting the fan forums and blogs and websites about 6 months ago. I’ve often felt in the last six months like an INTRUDER myself in some sites, somewhat like a sinner trying in vain to enter the gates of heaven.

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    • Thanks for this Musa — I can’t answer the question you ask since I am a new fan myself — but I want to affirm your question. I’ve never wanted to slam the forums and sites, because they have played such an important role in their career. Nonetheless as my remarks about “Armitageworld dogmas” have made clear, I’ve been troubled by them in various ways, and one indeed is the feeling that there was no way “in” to an insular group of people whose opinions were already fully formed.

      I hope that the only barrier to participation in “me + richard armitage” is the one of common courtesy — I don’t want people here who attack me or other commentators. But I know that communities do develop their own formal and informal rules, and that that is unavoidable to some extent.

      I’m really eager to hear answers to Musa’s question.

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    • Musa,

      I have felt that way at some other sites as well, and I’ve been actively following him for a couple of years now. Some places are very cliquey and very restrictive in feel, as if to say, “if you don’t view him exactly as we view him, you don’t belong here.”

      That being said, I admit I own a private site devoted to a particular type of RA fan that is st by invitation only, simply because I don’t want anyone to come on board I do not fully believe will feel comfortable and at home there.

      We are very welcoming and friendly and informal and let our hair down quite a bit more than most other sites because it flies very much under the radar. However, if I run across someone who comes to his fandom through The Hobbit and whom I feel would be a good fit for our board, I would not hesitate to invite them. We may be private, but I can say without a doubt we aren’t snobs, either.

      I am sorry to hear you’ve had some unpleasant experiences in the fandom. I really don’t think RA would be pleased with some of the behavior.

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      • I’ve actually not had any unpleasant experiences, maybe in part because after the first time or two I have avoided posting. I also think sometimes people can be awfully polite and still make clear one does not belong. In some cases it’s quite clear that, as servetus says more eloquently than I, this is an insular group of people even if nothing directly is said. I want to make clear though that no one has been unpleasant to me in any way. Many people obviously enjoy all the forums and sites and I’m sure there are new members in all that don’t feel the way I do and feel welcomed. In my short time in the Armitage fandom I have found the blogs to me more open. Maybe because of my own background I often chafe at following the “party line” or sensing others are following it.

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        • I am a rather new fan (about 1 1/2 years) as well. I hesitated with the forums and explored them rather late. Mostly because I found the forums so well maintained and topics so well ordered, that I did not find my way around as a newbee. But I must add that I am not a real fan of forums in general. So I mostly think it is me having problems with the way forums work and not with the RA forums.
          As you say, I also found myself more welcome at the blogs. I only follow very few. But my start in RA fandom was with videos at YouTube. Here I learned so much about videos, that I wanted to give something back and did some of my own. I was so grateful for the help and advice I got there, after years of not being able to use my video software properly. This helped me getting the courage to post my comments on blogs also. And possible RA’s comment that he does not like to read about himself online. It would embarrasse me exceedingly otherwise.

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        • Well, Musa, I am glad to hear you’ve not gotten hassled. You did the right thing, I think, in simply not posting if you didn’t feel really comfortable. There’s no need to get into flame wars.

          I’ve unfortunately had someone who shall remain nameless attack my fanfic on another site (not owned or administered by her, just a forum she seems to have more or less commandeered as her own).

          It’s not a forum I post on or even visit on anything like a regular basis. I think I have maybe visited there three or four times in two years.

          So I was quite shocked to hear she was trashing my work. And I wrote a response at my journal at LJ about how reading her very venomous comments really hurt and bewildered me.

          Now, my fanfic is very much in the adult mode and I clearly mark it as so.

          It is not for everyone and not ever would I presume to think everyone is going to like it or appreciate it. I don’t like everyone else’s fan fic, either. But if it doesn’t appeal to me, I simply move on.

          I thought the whole thing was behind me, when she recently posted two entries to my journal and accused me of, well, unpleasant things. I’ll leave it at that.
          I’ve decided to pretend this person doesn’t even exist and, as Servetus advised, keep writing and doing what makes me happy.

          And I am happy to note this particular person is finally having some other posters stand up to her bullying and intimidation tactics and speak up for themselves. As for me, I simply do not go there (someone else shared this news with me). I’m not going to argue online with her.

          She is the only person who has treated me in this manner, and hopefully she will remain so. Most people in the fandom are really nice and considerate and do have manners.

          I have to confess that even though I am a well-brought-up southern girl, there is a touch of the rebel in me as well, and I, too, chafe at following that party line you mentioned. ( :

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          • Ah, flame wars. Every fandom I’ve come across has them, some more epic than others. There will always be hipsters of the “You think YOU’RE punk? Dude, I’m so punk I have Joey Ramone’s umbilical cord” variety. I find it tedious, frankly. Insular is a really good word for it. I do not understand the mindset that makes a fan think they’re somehow better because they had information first but it happens across the board. Sorry you had to go through that, angie. Some people’s kids 😉

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            • Thanks, JB. Some kids don’t know how to play nice.
              I suspected as much, that such wars crop up at other places; love the Joey Ramone’s umbilical cord reference, by the way. Gave me a great giggle.

              It seems some people have an almost pathological need to set themselves up as THE expert in a fandom (in spite of the fact she’s only been in RA’s for six months). And one course in creative writing does not make you the Guru of All Fan Fic, sorry.

              Actually, she did me a bit of a favor. She actually got me several new readers as a result of her diatribe against me. So I think I’ve gotten the last laugh, jazzbaby.

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              • You have to wonder sometimes how old the people are that you’re dealing with, you know? Especially online. Back in the late 90’s there was a flame war about a band that I was into started by the bass player’s 19 year old wife and her 20something best friend. It was vicious and ugly and got really personal for no good reason. The fans told them they were glorified groupies; they hit back that at least they weren’t sad old 30 year olds (the horror!) who couldn’t find a man. It may be just a computer screen in front of you but there’s another human being with a heart and soul at the other end of it.

                As for me, I’ve deleted my accounts from the two RA forums I was registered with. There was an objectification of him on those sites that I found disturbing. Like I’ve said before I don’t begrudge other people their squee I just can’t in good conscience squee along with them.

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                • While many people do come across as immature teenagers, I know from being a newspaper writer and our own news website there are people posting and flaming who are definitely old enough to know better.
                  We had one individual–30ish, I believe–who harangued about my editor, about me, about our total lack of talent and credibility and ethics and morals (I was expecting him to describe us as the spawn of Satan at some point). Never mind that we are General Excellence winners twice in a row from the APA.

                  He was also constantly getting into arguments with other posters and accusing them of being idiots because they didn’t agree with his political beliefs.
                  We warned him. And then we banned him. Twice.

                  My husband described him as someone who “lived in the basement of his parents’ trailer.” He really didn’t seem to have a life beyond trolling our (and I assume other) website.

                  When he did an abrupt about-face and decided he wanted me to be the mother of his children, I was even more disturbed, frankly.

                  As you say, there are human beings at the other end of that internet, and we all have hearts and souls. Think before you speak and before you hit “submit.”

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                • As you know this is an issue for me. I like to squee. It’s hard to know exactly when it goes over the line, but I know I’ve crossed it a few times.

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            • Love the Joey Ramone reference. Funny and gruesome all at once.

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      • @angie, I’m just finding out now that you have a private site?! I can only imagine the shenanigans that occur when you let your hair down!

        @musa, I know what you mean. I’ve joined several sites and adhere to their rules because they have what I need, information, fanfic, what the 6 little words from Between the Sheets are that cause every woman’s heart to THUD, etc. I have found some of the sites very rigid and strict but hey, their site, their rules. What I find most interesting is that there are those who are react almost violently to any perceived negative comment. For example, I will say here, that I don’t get the thuddering over “the Kiss” in this series of Spooks. Sorry, but every time I read I read I shake my head and say ewww. Both Lucas and Maya look uncomfortable and it looks forced to me, every time. I could not say that on some other sites because I would be incinerated.

        The key is this, it has to be fun, if it isn’t move on to a place that is. You’ll always be welcomed where I am.

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        • Ah, Ann Marie. You see, blondes DO have more fun. *giggle* Even though I was a brunette a little earlier this evening. Working on my mandatory Halloween costume for work.

          And thinking how silly I am going to feel at that Rotary Luncheon on Thursday . . . *sigh* But I want to WIN!! Half-day off, paid.

          I liked THE kiss, I have to admit, and the one with the wifebeater and the knife (now that sounds kinky!)–but the hospital scene seemed all wrong to me and there are others who squeed over it.

          We all have the right to react and respond as we chose without being “incinerated.” Because, yes, it should be FUN. When and if it stops being fun, it is definitely time to move on.

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          • @angie, I hope you win! Although I can’t tell if you’re going blonde or brunette to do it.

            I hadn’t though of it before but you’re right, Knife and wifebeater (where I grew up they were called something else) DOES sound kinky.

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            • Ah, heck, one of the primary rules of journalism: don’t confuse your reader.

              I forget you don’t know my actual hair color, which is golden blonde (OK, it’s really prematurely white mixed with ashy blonde, so I have to give Mother Nature a helping hand, you see). But I have this dark brown, long and curly wig I bought several years ago for a Halloween costume.

              It does change my looks rather dramatically, but I really have to pile on the makeup with that dark hair. I have a very fair complexion with blonde lashes and brows, so I actually have to color in the brows with an eyeliner pencil. Thanks for the good wishes!!

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        • Hey, Ann Marie, definitely feel free to say that you didn’t like the kiss here. There is no party line about kissing at “me + richard armitage.”

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    • I’m a member of several forums and I enjoy them a lot, though I spend less time there since I discovered blogs and Twitter (!) I visit one of them on a daily basis and the others pretty frequently. One one I visit every day I think is a wonderful place, and one of the best places I have found on the Internet. But it did take time to get into it, though I think the effort was well worth it. I am trying to get to know the others better but it’s hard to find the time.

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      • I think this is a good point, and potentially a neglected one, kaprekar — joining any community takes time, online or RL. That’s true of this particular one as well. 🙂

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  6. After worrying and fretting over what they’ve done to Lucas and may be about to do, as they seem bent on the further destruction of this wonderful character (I seriously am beginning to suspect Vasey is behind all this), I have to say the thought of him moving to film where hopefully, the characters will be consistently scripted and directed (and to start your transition to a major movie role with no less than Peter Jackson, wow!) makes me happy for Richard as an actor and a creative person and for me as a viewer who likes some logic with her drama.

    I do believe this is going to give him many more options in his career and, perhaps, his leisure time; maybe even the opportunity to actually take more than a week off to enjoy his danger sports. I do dearly hope he takes proper care of himself.

    More than anything, right now, I just want him to be happy, to feel fulfilled and satisfied with where he is and where he is going.

    Will I miss seeing him in episodic television if he, indeed, completely moves into the sphere of film (although if the long-mentioned Richard III project does come to fruition, it would likely be done in the same format as The Tudors, I believe he has said)?

    Yes, surely. I like getting new Mr. A every week, who in their right mind doesn’t?

    But I remind myself he isn’t or shouldn’t be worrying about what the likes of little old me wants or wishes. I have my DVDs, after all. And I mustn’t be selfish. it’s his life, not mine, and again, he owes me nothing.

    Right now, I am still feeling so proud and, yes, a bit smug at having discovered him before the World At Large has. I think I will always be a fan, no matter how his career changes or what sorts of projects he pursues. He fascinates me as a performer and a human being and has for more than two years now.

    Oh, fitzg, I don’t think we have to worry about him looking like a hairy dwarf the rest of his career! I think he’s going to continue to age like the finest of wines, into an even more distinctively beautiful and most distinguished older man, and with his amazing acting skills, I look forward to seeing the sort of roles he takes on.

    We have to ask ourselves–is it Richard that wants the distinguished stage career and the accolades for his Shakespearean roles and the reputation as a “serious actor”—or is it what some of us dearly want for whatever reason that may be?

    Then again, David Tennant has been both Hamlet and Doctor Who.

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    • Well, as Jane said somewhere — maybe over at Frenz’s — Kevin Spacey, who I don’t usually think of as a big force of the classical stage, gets to play Richard III because his rep has grown so big otherwise. So this project could move Mr. Armitage in that direction. My point was that it may or may not, but whatever it does it’s going to change him and us. I did want to be honest about that, and don’t want to have left the impression that I am not overjoyed about this. I still am.

      In general, I try to espouse the position that my feelings and reactions are about me, and want to be honest about them 🙂

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      • I guess I am just saying we have to remember that change is almost inevitable. I guess from my perspective as someone who is older than a lot of posters here, who has been through so much upheaval in her personal life in the past decade or so–five deaths in my family, a health crisis, a complete career change and coming into this fandom and starting to write fanfic, a big undertaking for me– suddenly Gordon Ramsay’s words are stuck in my head to the owners of a failing restuarant: “Change or die.”
        Change is hard and uncomfortable and scary. Yes, this is going to change him in certain ways that we and even he may not like. It will change the makeup and perhaps direction of the fandom. It’s sort of the Great Unknown, isn’t it?
        I appreciate that you do try to be as honest and open as possible in your musings about RA and life in general. I appreciate your intelligence and insight and compassion.
        That’s why I like coming here.

        And I try to do the same.*grin*

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        • I think at some point in response to all this stuff that happens in one’s personal life one has to say “ok, I give up, let loose the dogs of war, bring it on.” In my own struggles I am still at the point of attempting vainly to cling to a few things, and I think your comment points out that quality in my post. I want there to be things I can cling to. That hope is illusory.

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          • Oh, Servetus, I know it’s hard.
            I am learning more and more to hold on tight to memories. Writing has helped me do that. The holidays are approaching and they just aren’t the same since all our parents are gone and we have no children of our own. And I am someone big into holidays.
            And I miss the old days and I mourn them, I confess. But as long as I have my memories of what once was, those times are still with me. And now I look so forward to the moments I do get to spend with my siblings and my nieces and nephew and the greats . . . but I do know how hard it is to let go.

            I have to battle a tendency to hoard, for example, to keep all sorts of things that have sentimental value to me. So it is wrenching to let go, but I know I’ve got to do so. I have stuff in two houses and a storage shed and at some point, it’s gotta go. *sigh*

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            • I keep stuff, too, for the same reason. I’m determined that a lot of it is going to someone who can use it better at my next move in May.

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  7. This will be a short post for now as, coincidentally, I have to get ready for Mass. Let’s not make more out of this than it is, the Hobbit, I mean. It is simply, a major career advancement because of the international exposure it provides, the industry resources and people it gives dear Mr. Armitage access to, and the possible (if his agent did his job correctly) some financial security to allow for project discretion.

    It also serves to provide our dear man with some degree of validation that he is indeed talented, can act and is not just attractive. Remember, this is the actor that had little work for 10 years in an industry where more don’t make it than do. This is the actor who had “the talk” with his agent about whether or not this is what he should be doing with his life. From what I’ve read, God knows if it is true, he decided that the problem may not be the casting people but rather how he presented himself for the audition. He LEARNED from it, he made adjustments and was subsequently more successful. Perhaps the audiobooks, with the developed ability to convey a range of characters and emotions without the benefit of the much ballyhooed facial expressions, played a part in landing the role.

    My point in all of this is that it is just another stone, albeit a big one, in his career path. Strike Back, Robin Hood were all such stones, just smaller in original scope. The argument could be made that they are growing larger over time because more countries are airing them. Ok, so what? We want the man to keep working as much as he wants so he’s happy, makes me happy too. Darn, I missed Mass.

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    • Seriously, the point of all of this was not to corrupt you, Ann Marie.

      It is a stone, no disagreement. It’s just a really, really, really big one. One much bigger than any previous one. I do remain convinced that it can be / is a career changer in a way that his other projects have not been. It’s a surprising one, in that I was now guessing that after Lucas North and John Porter the move into film would be inaugurated by an action flick.

      I agree that he has the capacity to be whatever he wants — and that my “twinges” about this are about me, not about him. At the same time if I didn’t know about this new role I wouldn’t be having the twinges, I don’t think.

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      • @servetus, I make God laugh on a regular basis so missing Mass because I was writing into an RA blog surprised Him not at all! No corruption worries necessary.

        I think the pang(s) you feel could be that of the fledgling bird (our Dear Mr. Armitage) preparing to leave the safety and security of the nest we’ve built for him.

        I was on the Hobbit forum today. Some grumpy people there so I took the opportunity to shine the light and start the “education” of the masses regarding the talents of our dear Mr. A. Respectfully of course.

        I love you servetus because your heart is in the right place.

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        • Aaaaw. Ditto! 🙂

          G-d, please forgive Ann Marie for not attending Mass. She promises to go next week. Your friend, Servetus.

          I think this is a nice point: that as long as Mr. Armitage has been a “little guy” professionally we could either defend him vociferously in an effective way, or at least console ourselves that no one knew him as well as we do. When he comes to the attention of a broader audience, those cases will be harder to make. And if he’s been sensitive to criticism from his fans in the past, it’s hard not to worry about how he might react to criticism from people who aren’t inclined to praise first. He does, however, seem to have been developing a thicker skin in the last few months.

          Good job on the missionary work regarding Mr. Armitage.

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          • I’ve just had someone on the forum say that he feels like an atheist when faced with faith of the devout. He wishes he could have my faith but “doens’t see any evidence to justify it”. And so it begins…

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            • I think I crack up God and my husband on a very regular basis. Fortunately both are patient and love me a lot.

              And Ann Marie, good on you for being such a fine ambassador for those untutored in their knowledge of the wondrous and versatile talents of this fellow we all admire so. *grin*

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          • I think we will all have get a thicker skin when it come to criticism or even worse. With bigger exposure in a world that is less polite than Armitageworld usually is it is inevitable. There may also be press reports we may not like that may or may not contain a grain of truth. But every reasonably famous actor gets this kind of treatment.

            He does not need us to rush in and defend him any more. Who laughs last, laughs the longest. He got the part, no one can take that away from him (unless something goes horribly wrong and the film is not made after all) and all the opportunities attached to that, even if it is not that huge success and does not lead to other big roles, it is still quite a feather in his cap.

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            • I was happy, upon furhter correspondence with the person i quoted above to find that many of the reservations center around their concern for the script and that they are concerned that the character of Thorin would be revamped into a younger, “swashbuckling” model. I have no need to defend Mr. A. but when someone says they don’t know anything about him I am happy to clue them in. As it is several now know about his audiobooks that didn’t before. Just a little enlightenment along the way.

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            • I like this comment because I’ve been wondering for awhile if the legions of fans who jump in to defend his work at every turn don’t do him as much harm as good in terms of making the Armitage fandom look like a religious cult and him like an unassailable demigod from the perspective of the uninitiated. Good point that our skins will have to become thick just as his will.

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            • It’s an absolutely great thing no matter how you look at it, and yes, he is a grown man and seems to have moved past that need to constantly please his fans and feel compelled to make us happy with his choices. Which is a very healthy thing, I think, for RA.

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            • So true, it’s a fine thing for him all way round. He’s proven he can “run with the big dogs” by being chosen for this plum role by such a noted director.

              He may have to deal with some nosy journalists along the way who want to intrude into his personal life, that sort of thing, but he has become more and more savvy and skilled at dealing with the press. He seems to be growing in so many ways and we’ll have to develop that thicker skin that he seems to already be building up as we journey along with him.

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        • My father used to conveniently be somewhere else on Sunday afternoons when I packed my car to return to my apartment and job in Talladega after a weekend at home.It is hard to let the baby bird (and I was the youngest) out of the nest, for sure. But we must allow our dearest “baby bird” (if Mr. Armitage was a bird, what kind of bird would he be? A hawk, perhaps?) must flee the nest.

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  8. What do I want from this fandom? What I’ve been getting over the past year (I think since January, whenever the big blizzard was here on the East coast). An opportunity to be exposed to different literature,history, media (never had an audiobook before, never wanted one), the opportunity to “meet” people from all over, the opportunity to read great fan fiction (and try my hand at writing it too). Most importantly, the opportunity to be transported, for a time, from reality and escape into his character’s world for a time.

    I consider myself a friend he’s just never met. I like what I know about him, I pray for him (yes, I do routinely pray for people I’ve never met and for people who have no one to pray for them) and want all good things for him like I do for all the people I care about. My “fandom” (and that seems such a silly term to me now) for this wonderful I am sure I will never meet in person, very simply, makes me happy. As servtus says, its about ME, not him.

    Am I going anywhere? No. Richard III’s motto, Loyaulte me lie (Loyalty binds me) sums me up rather well.

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    • That’s actually a good description of how I feel on my better days, Ann Marie: “a friend he’s just never met.” That’s deceptive — I think I could totally run into him on the street here, invite him over for a quick scrambled together dinner, and feel totally unself conscious, at least on my better days. It probably wouldn’t be the same for him 🙂

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    • Amen to that, dear Ann Marie~~

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  9. After all this has sunk in a little I’m coming to think that the change may not even be as big as we anticipate or fear. Don’t get me wrong, I’m VERY happy about this development, and can hardly think of any part that could be better for him (An action hero? Lead in a rom com? Not really!). To be discovered by a famous director like that as a “mere” TV actor is a dream that comes true for few actors. I had expected, if things go well, that a major part in a major movie (let’s say James Bond) might be possible in five years, after a string of small roles/small films – or maybe never. Many of RA’s co-stars have worked with big names and it led to nothing. Miranda Raison, to name only one of them, has been in a Woody Allen movie a few years ago. If WA had taken a fancy to her she could have been offered the lead in his next movie but apparently this didn’t happen. She said it looks good in her CV but was of no use for her career.

    With The Hobbit RA does not have to “work his way up” any more and does not have to take the path via American TV series either, something Andrew Lincoln or Shelley Conn do at the moment. But where will it take him?

    One big movie part does not make him a Hollywood star. Not everyone from the LOTR cast made it big, Orlando Bloom is the only one who can count as a Hollywood star now (including the obligatory supermodel wife) and he made it as LOTR’s pretty boy via other pretty boy parts in other blockbusters. (No offence to OB or his wife or his fans!) If I can see anyone as the next OB it may be Aidan Turner, though I could be totally wrong. RA will not be pretty in this movie so he won’t get that kind of fame and probably won’t get that kind of attention by fans either. Of course this is exactly what he wants and what is right for him if he wants to establish himself as a character actor. This part may even be more useful in the long run than the lead as I imagine it will be hard for Martin Freeman to get away from being labelled as “The Hobbit” when he is done with this, just like it is hard for Daniel Radcliff to get away from being “Harry Potter”.

    I think with things like The Hobbit or LOTR the movie itself is bigger than it’s actors. I’m not familiar with LOTR fandom and how much they worship the actors but I imagine it is more about the LOTR universe as a whole and about the many characters. I don’t think RA will gather as many ardent admirers of his person as we might think at the moment. We will see how much attention he will get from the press, but with (respectively without) the dwarf make up he will still be able to walk around in London unnoticed. No doubt he would hate it to be followed by paparazzi!

    Award wise I also think that the movie will be bigger than the various actors. If they don’t mess it up completely The Hobbit will surely be a candidate for awards, but while LOTR won many, there were no actor awards among them.

    Another thing is that I’m not sure how rich this will make him. The idea that he could earn enough money to get RIII of the ground is lovely, but “unknown” actors don’t get paid so highly, for them it is about the chance of a breakthrough. There has been talk that they did cast TV actors to save money (though I think with a budget of that size they could afford big stars if they wanted) and I have also read that the actors that played the other Hobbits in LOTR have been paid badly. However RA has a god agent (the same as Kate Winslet), he wouldn’t allow that he sells himself too cheap.

    Sorry for rambling and don’t get the wrong impression from this post, I still think that this is the best that could happen to him!

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    • I guess we’ll see. I agree that he won’t get enough money to finance RIII completely, but he might get enough to attract other investors — or, what I really hope, is that he gets enough to invest some and live off the income.

      In terms of reputation: I think my main perception is just that suddenly everyone will know who Richard Armitage is. Presumably he will get second billing behind MF. They may not recognize him on the street if he’s not wearing his dwarf beard, but he will have huge name recognition. I think that’s a separate issue than either the quality of the performance or the ultimate reception of the film. Even if it’s horrible, people will know who he is.

      I agree with you and fitzg below that we shouldn’t jump the gun.

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      • I think it will be kind of nice not to always have to explain just who Richard Armitage is to people who see my screen saver, key chain, and the latest RA DVDs that show up on my desk. Not that I mind sharing the wonder that is he.

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      • I doubt he will be getting a really big paycheck for The Hobbit – he hasn’t got that bankability (yet). But after the Hobbit, well, could be anything…

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    • I think Aidan has a certain intensity, shall we say, that Orlando Bloom is lacking as an actor, so I hope he won’t get pigeon-holed as pretty boy (I can’t really see Orlando as a smouldering vampire like the one Aidan plays in Being Human.

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      • I was unmoved by Orlando Bloom. But the friend with whom I saw most of the LOTR films just gushed for him. It’s all in which buttons get pushed, I guess.

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  10. Good point, Jane – about it not necessarily being so big a change; getting our knickers in a twist before we have a clue exactly what this will look like, or what it offers Mr. A.

    Actually, I like facial hair, too, and RA has quite a good face for a beard. Preferably not a squirrely goatee, but he can carry that, too!

    As for the fan base, which could transmute/broaden, it would be incredibly selfish, as well as an injustice to the actor, to wish to hug him to ourselves. (Fun though it’s been).

    I’m really happy that he has a role like this, in a film such as this. Personal bias, but it’s a good counter-balance to a comic-book character. (Of course, he should have been top of the list for the “modern” re-invented Sherlock…, but that would have been keeping him relegated to the small screen, too.

    Time to move on, and “loyaulte me lie” will keep this fan alongside, too.

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    • I think above all he’s got to be gratified not to be playing a romantic lead (not that there really is one in The Hobbit) — but a role where people’s first response isn’t going to be to gasp in amazement at his beauty.

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      • They will do that when they see him in interviews or at the premier. 🙂

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        • @Jane, and then they will EXACTLY how good a job he did acting then!

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          • Exactly.

            Unless he comes to the premieres in his dwarf costume 😦 He’s just perverse enough to do that 😦

            One thing I was thinking was that The Hobbit will have premieres in lots of cities all over the globe, and we’ll get to see him in formalwear again 🙂

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            • A new pic in formal wear! Thud! My computer will be ready for new wallpaper by then.. 🙂

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            • LOVE that man in a tux. It’s like James Bond and Cary Grant and all sorts of yummy things rolled into one. Yes, indeed, hoping for lots of red carpet moments.

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    • My hubby has had a beard before and a mustache a couple of different times, so I am certainly not averse to facial hair on a man (and RA definitely has the face for it).
      I am watching the newly re-invented Sherlock even as I write this. A chance to see Bilbo in action *grin* I like Martin Freeman and I think he will make a good Bilbo.

      Yes, most definitely, it is time to move on, and I plan to be moving on right along with him.

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      • I just watched the new Sherlock also and agree with you about Martin Freeman. Look forward to seeing him and RA in the film together. Go Bilbo!

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        • Some Tolkien fans were quite stroppy about him as a choice for Bilbo, but they weren’t too keen on him as an actor in general. And I’ve always liked him–in “The Office,” in “Love Actually”–and I like him as a modern-day Dr. Watson. So yes, indeed, Go, Bilbo, go!

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  11. Probably he is happy to have a not-romantic role. After JT, Gisborne, Lucas and JP – too exhausting!

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    • and Thorin has NO love interest that I remember. I am halfway through the reread now.

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    • And let’s face it, other than JT (and JP, if you include a questionable romance with the woman who honey-trapped you) RA’s characters haven’t had a whole lot of luck in the love department.Gisborne killed the one he loved and had another possible love interest die in his arms. Lucas–aw, heck, I don’t even wnat to go there. JS married a woman for whom he was always second best.
      Of course, we do have The Jumpered One and his lovely vicar.

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  12. […] [This is the last piece of what I started writing yesterday as a riff on nunc dimittis.] […]

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  13. Angie, right-on! We cannot forget Jumper-Chappie and the effervescent, irrepressible vicar! They made it happen!

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  14. I think I’ve managed to read through everything. Servitus – you have such a talent for writing and for stimulating discussion. I’m not sure I can contribute to the discussion – I have waited for 2 + years for this movie to be cast and have hoped upon hope that RA would get a role. It wasn’t the role I hoped he would get, it is much bigger. Why this movie? He has stated in a number of interviews how much he loved the books as a boy. I just assumed that an actor like him might have an ambition to play a role that he has loved since childhood. Not only that, but if it was me, I’d jump at the chance to work with Sir Ian McKellen. As for “fame and fortune”, I’m not sure this will be a role that will elevate him to superstar – maybe it will get him more meaty roles in the future, but he has to prove himself first. As for the fandom, Sorry but I have had some quite bad experiences on the forums from either being totally ignored to being made to feel absolutely stupid. I think an injection of new fans into the arena might be a good thing if they are not put off by the cliqueiness (spelling?). What will come about is that RA might (in fact ,has) distanced himself from the fandoms as it is too unmanageable to maintain a more personal contact. I think if we follow his work on a longterm basis, we will have to expect that things will be in a constant state of change. There will be some sadness when we look back on the “old times” but also occasions to celebrate his successes. Perhaps at times, we may have to commiserate with him if he is not so successful – maybe that is when he will appreciate our longterm support the most. So, in my case, I’m not “departng in peace”, I think I will wait a bit longer to see where his career takes him 🙂

    MTA: @ AnneMarie above – I had to write the intercessions for last Sunday and I have to say that I very nearly offered thanks for those involved in the performing arts, but I couldn’t quite find a place for that particular sentence.

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    • @ mulubinba, re: intercessions..LOL..there’s still time, you’ll get it in there somehow (and then I imagine a divine roll of the eyes)..:)

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    • Thanks for your kind words. You must really feel like Simeon — except for the depart in peace part.

      I like that you remind us of the “support in less successful times” thing, too. That is definitely something we can do.

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  15. Thank you, Servetus for another very interesting and stimulating post and discussion and much food for thought.
    I’d like to answer Musa’s question. I have been a follower of Mr Armitage’s work for some three years and visit several forum sites and blogs, though I am not a particularly prolific poster. I am so very sorry you’ve had bad experiences and have felt like an intruder, Musa, but –yes- I can see why you say this because I have been troubled some of the things that you and Servetus have mentioned.There may be an element in fandoms of looking back to the days when fandoms received messages from the man himself: that has already ceased. Mr Armitage has distanced himself from personal contact and I’d venture to suggest that was inevitable. B8ut the more new people, the better.

    I certainly do not subscribe to the view that ‘if you don’t view him as we do then you don’t belong’ and find that a very sad and limiting viewpoint. I feel that Mr Armitage is wonderful actor deserving of greater recognition; maybe this movie will bring more fans, whom I welcome, for whatever reason they have decided to seek out sites devoted to Mr Armitage. I find it strange that some fans jump in to defend him and the roles he takes or express that he should do some other thing that they would prefer : he is a grown man: his choice, his career and… could these fans perhaps do more harm than good, I wonder? But, yes, having never been someone who visited or participated in forums, I have learned in my time visiting these sites that, sadly, it seems there are always flame wars in fandom and though there may be a great deal less in Armitage fandom, it is still present.

    While I am thrilled he has landed this role in The Hobbit, I am not sure it is the massive thing is it being considered in some quarters, which is not in any way to denigrate the achievement of obtaining a relatively major role in what will be a major movie. For sure I think Mr Armitage might be delighted to hide behind a lot of face hair and be digitally altered: he seems an actor who seeks challenge in his choice of roles and wishes his acting skills to be appreciate, not his looks. Perhaps it is hard to be taken seriously when you are, undoubtedly, handsome.

    I see evidence of Mr Armitage handling the intrusive questions and the inevitable questions about his ‘Army’ far more deftly of late and his being less concerned about what his fans will like, which is only as it should be. Perhaps after his 10 years in the relative wilderness, this comes from experience. You have remarked about his ‘growing up,’ I think he himself has said he felt about 10 years behind himself or something similar.

    Mulubinba: I am glad it has all come to pass!

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    • Thanks for the comment, ladyj, and welcome (I think you’ve not posted here before?)!!

      Agree that the influx of new fans will be good — and perhaps increase the diversity of reactions to his work even more? I think that would be great for him just insofar as he’ll have a chance to see how his performances affect different audiences.

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  16. It’s far from assured that this role will be the “break-out” to the big screen, that N&S was to the small screen. But it does offer another challenge, and potentially wider audience. I hope he loves every minute of filming. And it would be lovely if things sorted out for filming in N.Z.

    As for fandom, again, it’s a personal thing; I prefer several blogs to forums (perhaps I haven’t visited enough forums). The blog-owners come to their sites with a distinctive purpose and voice. It seems to set a direction (even if we do go off-the-grid occasionally), and to set a tone for discussion. My experience of lurking on some forums has been a bit soured by some ill-mannered and personal attacks of posters. If I had more time, I’d lurk on more forums, to try to set the record straight in my mind. However, some blogs are more than enough to appreciate the recognition of, and adherence to this actor. It’s been fascinating – and I only came to “fandom” six/seven months ago.

    And I do have roles in mind (list gets longer), however, a dwarf wasn’t in my limited imagination! It will be a terrific experience, and definitely a tribute to Mr. A’s abilities and talent, that he was selected for this.

    Let the fandom grow, morph, do what it will; Richard Armitage is a man in his prime, with plenty of experience now, and, it seems, a good head on his shoulders. It would be surprising if it all went to that head. In a sense, he’s come up the through ranks, paid the dues (and where’s the next cliche?) and, as he mentioned, doesn’t plan to let “fandom” unduly influence his own strong direction.

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    • I think on forums there are attempts to moderate in order to prevent the ill mannered from breaking the rules, but it’s all so much easier as a blog writer to control. At the same time, if there were too much more participating in this blog, I’d probably have to curtail my responses to comments. By egging everyone on, I can set the tone, and I actually think that’s a good thing. On the other hand, there are probably plenty of readers (well, actually, the statistics suggest that there are hundreds) who never say anything at all. Maybe they are disturbed by what I write, or by our discussions? Of course, lurking is their inborn right. I lurk on plenty of blogs I’d never comment on, and at least some of them I lurk at because I find them disturbing.

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  17. I’ve been following your blog for a while now, and you always manage to write such interesting and thought provoking posts.

    And I too am a relatively new “fan” (how I hate that word) of his, I’ve only started to follow his career in 2008. I mainly lurk on his forums, I’ve had my fill of fandom and have long decided to stay on the fringes, basically being a bystander. Mainly because I’ve always been quite critical and this was not always appreciated by “real fans”, apparently the general view is that a “real fan” never questions their favorite person’s decisions. Now that school of thought is what I find problematic, being critical does not equal to being unsupportive in my book.

    The main reason why I lurk is their speed when it comes to news gathering.

    Also, when I read the news, I too had conflicting feelings. On the one hand happy for him to get this great opportunity, on the other doubt of what it will deliver. Then again, I absolutely love the LOTR movies, but also have seen over the years what the various actors have gained. Excluding the well-established actors; i.e. Cate Blanchett, Ian McKellen etc; the only true break-out star was Orlando Bloom.

    If anything, I’d hope RA to follow Viggo Mortensen’s path; in the sense of during and after the LOTR madness, Viggo’s always managed to keep a low profile. Yes, LOTR got him tons of exposure, but it didn’t change him. He no doubt got plenty of offers after his stint as Aragorn and yet he chose to do Hidalgo, The History of Violence and Alatriste. 3 very different roles.

    I’d say the major plus is that Richard will be in his 40s (at least when TH is finally released!) and who he is as a person has been well established – for himself I mean, since we only know the public persona version – that the experience of global exposure might not have such a life-changing impact on him as plenty of people fear.

    Last note, fandom is a funny thing and an ever-changing entity with a life of its own. If you decide not to follow all the moves, you will find yourself left behind with a few like-minded, looking in. And before you know it, you’re on the outer fringes, free from the scrutiny of the “establishment.”

    I feel like I’m rambling, so I hope it makes some sense!

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    • Thanks for the comment, CC, and welcome!

      You’ve really articulated my stance well: we can be supportive as fans without having to praise everything he does — we can be critical of his work and of each other’s opinions without being cruel or damaging. I don’t know if we always achieve that in practice but it’s always my goal.

      I am really grateful about the newsgathering, and it’s why I have never said anything especially critical of the forums and sites. Without them, I wouldn’t be here. So I guess my position is that of principled outsider.

      Agree on Viggo Mortensen who is fantastic and does intriguing work.

      Again, thanks for the comment!

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  18. Nothing’s guaranteed but The Hobbit will be a great way to get noticed by an international audience. I think that it will be up to him where he goes afterwards but, having read all his interviews, I think he is ambitious so I would expect him to give it his best shot at future success. I was pretty sure he would get some kind of movie break – thought it might have been CA but clearly TH is the one. But until it happens doubts remain of course.

    Of course he could put in a bad performance, the movie could flop or never get made etc etc but on balance I’m inclined to go with my gut feeling that this is just the beginning of success on a world stage…and good luck to him!!! I’ll be along for the ride!!

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    • Above all I think he gives the impression of despising doing things poorly or less well than his absolute best. This is a trait I share, and I hope it’s one that serves him well in this situation.

      I think the movie is very unlikely to flop, which is part of why I like having him in it 🙂 Is that unfair?

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  19. […] the laudable self-description of another commenter here of herself the Armitage fan as “a friend he’s just never met,” of being happy that he has people in his life, no matter his relationship to them, that […]

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  20. […] I’ve noted in passing, for instance, an example of ties between Lucas North and Achilles, and how the photography of the defeated John Porter takes on this same mood. This ongoing struggle with identity and the attempt to create great […]

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  21. […] a religious experience. I couldn’t agree more. I’ve had that feeling in the past, as after Armitage’s casting in the role, for example, but it was intense last night. As I was waiting for the trailer I was thinking that I […]

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  22. […] Jane apologizes for the Rechtschreibreform. Jane likes Lucas’ face best in Spooks 7. She learned medieval poetry at school. Jane thinks spelling errors are charming, but she is annoyed by Umlaut erasure. She keeps her eye […]

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  23. […] want to see those things. It might be my own personal nunc dimittis. I want to see Richard A play Richard III. If that’s all I’ll ever grasp of the Richard […]

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  24. […] Since I’m treading onto terrain here that has the potential to offend people I’ve grown to care about in ways that I hadn’t anticipated would ever matter when I started blogging, I wish to emphasize that what I say here reflects my experiences as a fan, my perceptions of situations I’ve been involved in, and my reactions to them. As I wrote the last time this topic came up here, in October 2010: […]

    Like

  25. […] too, had mixed feelings, which I wrote about extensively. I thought the role would mean a significant shift in Armitage’s public perception and his […]

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