The problem, Mr. Armitage …

… of which you are no doubt yourself increasingly well aware, is that no matter how impressed we are by your acting, and I, for one, am really impressed by that, we also can’t stop looking at you. These perceptions are not unconnected. When you are “there,” you seem to be intensely present, and even when you’re not fully there, there’s a presence in the background. This is a bit of a riff, or an attempt to distill a particular feature of what Skully was saying about the way you create desire. But the general mood goes beyond desire, as well.

Richard Armitage appears on the cooking segment of Lorraine, ITV, September 17, 2010. Clip here. My cap.

At least from my perspective, the reason I can’t stop looking is not necessarily because you are all that great looking in a conventional way. You’re not by any means ugly, but too much of how your face is put together slides far enough outside the norms of male attractiveness. I admit that there are some great still photographs of you, but it’s not about your features — it’s about your energy, and usually the most entrancing piece of that is reflected in your eyes. Is that heresy?

I can totally see how you might disappear into a crowd if you were on a subway, immersed in your newspaper, and not speaking, whether you had a hat on or not. The effect is more like this: it’s that you have a sort of magnetic energy that is almost a humming when you’re present for just a little bit, speaking about whatever. You don’t have to say anything drastic; you don’t have to say much of anything at all. And then, in the course of some inane conversation, that humming suddenly comes alive and it’s shocking. This is why, although it’s frustrating to watch you with idiot interviewers, in the end it doesn’t matter, because in the end we forget about your interlocutor — you practically wipe these innocent women off the screen. It’s like a piece of this simmering charisma in the background suddenly shoots to your face, and I forget everything else, and I can’t look away. (This actually must be a relatively big problem for you to deal with when acting against someone who doesn’t have that presence. I’ve thought this a few times while watching you recently.) And even occasionally, as in early interviews, where for whatever reason that energy doesn’t get out, we still notice it, simmering away, quietly but insistently.

Richard Armitage with Myleene Klass, Lorraine, September 17, 2010. My cap.

Looking to see that — to experience that sudden infusion of presence — is what keeps me turning my screen on to watch you again. I’m reading an unusual number of sources from the early modern western Christian mystic tradition with my students in both classes this semester, and though I am not a natural mystic, my reading of these texts is helping me to understand the effect you’re having on me. The mystic practitioner spends most of her time in a state of preparation, waiting for something divine to become immanent and trying to set up the conditions for that contact to come to pass, to prepare themselves to experience union with the divine. Mystics usually indeed spend most of their time without the presence of G-d, longing for it. But once they’ve experienced it, they can’t stop.

Yes, I know that I have a weird predilection for religious metaphor, so I want to assure you and readers of this blog that I’m not confusing you with G-d, but this way that you have of suddenly piercing right through all the cloudiness, to the heart of something, is so weirdly penetrative on a personal level, so frighteningly intense, that I want to see and experience it again and again. And unlike the mystic searching for G-d, I can simply turn on some of video of you and experience it over and over again. I don’t ever have to long for it and go unfulfilled. I can give myself a hit as often as I need to. But it’s not quite like a drug. It’s more like a compulsion. I keep having to remind my students that in the later sixteenth century the verb “fascinate” largely carried a negative meaning: to be enchanted by witchcraft, by a force outside one’s own volition. Though I don’t completely perceive it as negative, I do experience it as something slightly beyond my control. After all these months, I remain weirdly entranced by you. Stirred, if you will. If I must.

And I don’t think my perception of this effect is limited to it being a function of your acting, though that is potentially the point at which you are perhaps consciously exploiting it; it’s apparent in these televised interviews, too, just in a different way. There’s something about you, an odd electric quality that you can apparently channel into acting but that’s hardly absent even when you’re being interviewed. You have a right to be confused about this, since many of your female fans are. I, too, occasionally descend into reveries about your physical attraction. So I can forgive that you are missing the point in terms of your own perception of what it is you actually do on screen if you think that people — women — are going to stop dropping their jaws over your performances if you just put on the beard of a dwarf or take on “ugly” roles. For better or for worse, you’re going to have to do a great deal more than uglify yourself if you want to keep people from staring at you. You’re going to have to somehow blunt or deaden this effect. (Or turn it off, or lose yourself in a protective cloud, or retreat from it to recuperate, as I wonder if you must do in your real life.) Because aging, cosmetic or natural, isn’t going to change that. It’s a consequence of personality, of some capacity, however occasionally or unintentionally you are in touch with it yourself, or motivate it for us, of some feature of how you are, of your being in the world.

~ by Servetus on October 27, 2010.

83 Responses to “The problem, Mr. Armitage …”

  1. Well said servetus!!! He has an inner light that shines…I can’t tell you how many times Sir Guy was hanging around in the background and my eyes were riveted on him, having no idea what shenanigans the Sheriff was to because I was so distracted.

    You are right, his is not a pretty boy beauty, but rather angles and planes and controlled muscles that catch the light and communicate without apparent effort. But I think it is more than that it is also The Voice (capitalization intentional). In the absence of the physical, his voice can communicate such emotion, whether desire, humor, slyness, etc. Again the personality radiates through.

    Really nicely done servetus.

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    • Thanks, Ann Marie. In the long drought of new material that is likely to come up hopefully we can do some more close analysis of THE VOICE.

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  2. Wow. I had a very similar conversation yesterday about his very topic. So this engery, life force, prana, charisma — where is it coming from? Is he a conduit for the divine force? Is he generating it? Or are we feeding into it…like we are the electricity and he is the lamp? Or is it all of the above? Because the “force” seems to be getting stronger with him. And like you, I can’t turn away.

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    • I had hesitated a lot about writing about this in the context of the mystic’s experience of G-d because I thought readers would object on various grounds (as they potentially should. I don’t mean to say Richard Armitage is G-d). But if you look at the experience of the Christian mystic, it starts from the desire of the mystic to become one with G-d, then moves toward an increased capacity for that experience of divine immanence (punctuated, as always, with the periods of divine absence that also drive the mystic onward) and ideally, from the mystic’s point of view, to an outcome in his or her life (inwardly or outwardly depending on the mystic — some mystics see themselves as conduits for the divine in ways that then influence their actions in the world, while others see themselves influencing only their own souls through their mystic experiences and others are limited to watching them).

      Whatever it is, it is spellbinding. And a bit frightening. There were many mystics who eventually lost interest in the details of earthly life (e.g., eating) because they became so bound up in their experience of the divine.

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  3. Great post! For me, there is no better evidence of what you describe than my own mother! Even SHE is drawn to RA, even though, in her own words she “doesn’t lust after anybody”. She doesn’t lust after RA either, but she’s still drawn in by him.

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    • Interesting. I should try this out on my mom, who thinks only one man on the planet is more handsome than my father: Michael Douglas. Of course, she doesn’t watch much tv or movies so it’s probably not a fair test.

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  4. Thank you servetus. I think you describe The Richard Armitage Effect perfectly. I think Peter Jackson has had the same mystical experience: http://popwatch.ew.com/2010/10/27/hobbit-peter-jackson-cast-heartthrob-dwarf/

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    • Musa, I think you’re right about “The Effect” affecting Mr. Jackson.

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      • impressive demonstration that Armitage fans are capable of distinguishing between homophones! 🙂

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        • well at least regular readers of your blog dear servetus. How would we market your blog? Regular reading of this blog has been proven to increase your vocabulary, in English and in Latin as well as improving your working knowledge of Mr. Armitage’s anatomy. Done! I’m in!

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  5. Great post, Dr. S. and agree with all you ladies.
    I always think of him as having what I think of as Charisma with an absolute capital “C” There are physically beautiful people in the sense of very regular features, great hair, teeth, cheekbones, and all that.

    But they don’t necessarily dazzle you. They’re nice to look at-and that’s about it.

    They don’t cause this inexplicable, wonderful ache deep inside, this queer fluttering in my heart, from watching them move, hearing them speak, simply watching them at rest–yes, Guy in the background, saying not a word, but you can’t take your eyes off him, and it’s something beyond the black leather and those smouldering kohl-rimmed eyes–it’s something, yes–electric and amazing and very, very rare, I think.

    I totally agree you don’t get the full force of the RA Effect through stills. I have to confess I have seen some stills where you could say he almost looked ugly (I love that he doesn’t mind grimacing and bellowing in such ways as to really contort his strong facial features in unflattering ways sometimes).

    He is so not a “pretty boy,” and yet–he is a beautiful man. The force of the personality beneath the surface–there is so MUCH beneath the surface–it really does shine through. I think there’s a beautiful soul there, you see, and its incandescence draws us in just as it does Skully’s mom. It does seem to be almost mystical . . .

    The “force” is growing ever stronger with Richard Crispin Armitage. And how lovely that Peter Jackson is enjoying basking in that marvelous glow he emits, too.

    My mother, by the way, had this sort of quality. She was in her 80s, white-haired, non-Botoxed, never lifted and long past the fresh-faced loveliness of her youth, and yet she absolutely dazzled people of all ages. She twinkled. She glowed. her voice sounded so much younger than her years.

    “Your mama is such a beautiful lady, Angie. I love looking at her and talking with her. She makes me smile.”

    I still so wish those two lovely people had gotten a chance to meet in this life. That would have made me very happy.

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    • Awww Angie…that was moving…I bet you’re a lot like her.

      Are you as tired as I am? I am utterly knackered…

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      • absolutely bloody knackered?

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        • not so today, Thursday, as it is Spooks night with my bff. I went to sleep with Mr. Armitage’s sexy vocal instrument of pleasure reading me to sleep with Venetia on my iPod. Heaven!

          Yesterday I was absolutely bloody knackered…trying to finish the last chapter of the dissertation and working full-time made sleep optional.

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          • keep fighting the good fight. If it’s the last chapter hopefully it will be over soon. Hang in there. I know it’s hard.

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      • Thank you, Ann Marie. It came from the heart. People do often say I look a lot like Mama and trust me, I take it as a compliment! Just getting around to getting caught up. And I am absolutely bloody knackered, yes, ma’am. Been roving our town’s main street taking photos during our first downtown Trick or Treat on Commerce St. The photos are FAB!! And then came home and practiced my makeup for my gypsy disguise tomorrow. I think, just maybe, I might win this thing . . .

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    • I especially liked PJ’s comment about appreciation of Mr. Armitage’s range — his point being that Armitage could give them all these things they were looking for, so the task of making him into an (ugly?) dwarf was minor in comparison to what they’d be getting from him. I didn’t know anything about PJ apart from having seen the LOTR films until then, but that absolutely won me over.

      Some people — your mom — are just special in ways we can only grasp tangentially during the time we know them.

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      • I loved “Heavenly Creatures,” which PJ directed earlier in his career. Actually it is based on the real-life story of two NZ teenagers who escape into their own fantasy world and decide to kill one of their mothers in order to not be kept apart.
        Kate Winslet played one of the two girls, the one who grew up to become one of my favorite fiction writers, Anne Perry (an excellent example of turning one’s life around).

        PJ is a very talented fellow and all his instincts are on the money when it comes to RA, methinks.

        My mom is still with me everyday. Sometimes I hear her in my voice, its timbre, the way I phrase things, see it in the way I find myself hugging people when I greet them (well, not everybody, but the ones I know like and need a hug). I even drew a fake mole on my face for my gypsy disguise because once upon a time she had a mole in the same spot (until the doctor she worked for decided to remove it one day, back when I was a very small child . . .) So I am trying to carry some of her forward if I can. Maybe by the end of my journey I will be as special as she was.

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  6. Fully agree with you all.

    This is also something I’ve been thinking about…what is it that makes me so irresistibly drawn to him…

    Yes, he’s good looking but like many of you mention, he’s not necessarily conventionally good looking, there are some awkward angles at times. He definitely has charisma and a commanding presence (that draw our eyes to him and steal whichever scene he’s in) and an intense, vibrant, electric/magnetic ‘look’ (actually the word we use in French is ‘son regard’ which conveys more accurately what I mean than ‘look’).

    But I’ve started to realize (as Ann Marie mentions above) that for me at least, the voice is a critical factor.

    So I have this — very unscientific — theory. Could it be that the quality, timbre and resonance of his voice is somehow triggering our parasympathetic system flooding our bodies with endorphins (feel good factor)? So, when we feel compelled to watch him in action (to get ‘our hit’ as you mention), perhaps we are — in fact — actually feeding this addiction to feeling good?

    I know this must sound completely crazy but there you have it…my two cents as I try to understand the hold he has on me. …I’ve never reacted to an actor like this before….

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    • Oh, Calexora, NO actor has ever affected me like RA does. And yes, that voice—-oh my. It certainly sets something off inside me. It’s a magnificent instrument and so pleasing to my ears and my sensibilities.

      When someone (apparently the same tediously “sour grapes” individual who regularly comments at Vicky Frost’s blog)was at EW’s comment board about the “heartthrob dwarf story” (yep, about RA) and described Richard’s voice as “monotonous or yelling too loud” my first thought was—“Whatttt? Are you listening to the same voice I am?”

      You do not sound crazy at all to me, Calexora. HE (or she) sounded crazy!!

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      • Thanks Angie! I got home just a few minutes ago to the wonderful surprise that Strike Back 1.3 and 1.4 is playing on TV! (here in Canada on Showcase). Of course, I have a big smile on my face as I eat my supper watching and listening to him! I am surprised anyone can be immune to his charms…or could it be that ‘they doth protest too much’??

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        • Calorexa, I assume those who profess they don’t like him either to be lacking in a Good Taste Gene or, indeed, to be protesting too much. Perhaps they are frightened by just how much they do like him . . .

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      • Monotonous? Maybe they have a hearing problem. I think there is a sense in which his voice takes on a rhythm — but that is true for every human — and what I find interesting about him is that the rhythm of Lucas’s voice is not the same as the rhythm of John Porter’s (e.g.).

        Hmmm. Looks like another topic for a post.

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        • Yes!! You feel as if you are listening to two different men who happen to sound somewhat similar. Not the same man playing two different characters. He’s that good . . .

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    • Calexora,

      You have proposed a very interesting “study” that I would be happy to conduct and one that i know servetus would grant me credit if not a degree for exploring!

      My bff and I were discussing this very thing today…she was teaching me how to bead while North & South was on in the background. The very sound of his voice made us pause and stop what we were doing to watch him. We were drawn and HAD to watch.

      The last “actor crush” I had was on Daniel Day-Lewis and it was nothing like this in its intensity and constancy.

      Your last sentence says it all, “I’ve never reacted to an actor like this before.”

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      • I’d participate in that study!!! Keep us posted 😉

        The only negative side-effect I see is that, with this intoxicating hold he seems to have on so many of us, other men pale in comparison. I thought I was picky about a mate before, now it might be near impossible to meet someone that I’m as attracted to (particularly considering the men — in my age range — in this city). 😦

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        • Good luck, Calorexa, and keep the faith. Your Mr. Right may very still be out there when and where you least expect him to be. For me, one of Mr. A’s charms is a certain resemblance, physically and personality-wise, he bears to my dear hubby. Tall, dark-haired, broad-shouldered, blue-eyed, aquiline-nosed, smart, funny, kind, a gentleman. My soul mate (and yes, in spite of what some will tell you, soul mates do exist). I’ve had friends who found their mates in their 30s and 40s and beyond, so–don’t give up. (I am a hopeful romantic at heart, can you tell?)

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          • Nice to hear someone is happy in their marriage. Very glad you’ve met your soulmate! 🙂 For now, I’m enjoying my two furry ‘soulmaties’ (my cats). Given all the affection I get from them they are a good stand-in for a hubby and a child (hope that doesn’t sound too pathetic; I’m quite grateful for them everyday) 🙂

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            • I’ve been alone now for 4.5 years. Just want to sympathize. 🙂

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              • If I could wave a magic wand, I’d create the Perfect Man for you ladies.
                Oh, wait. I think he may already exist.
                Sadly, there is only one of him.

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            • We celebrated our 25th anniversary this year, and I was sort of startled at how many people considered that a tremendous accomplishment. But then, both my oldest sister’s marriages together didn’t last that long. And I stopped to think about it–I guess today that is pretty good milestone to reach in a relationship.

              Don’t get me wrong, we’ve had our ups and downs and the whole “for poorer,” “in sickness” and “for worse” have come into play more than we would have liked at times. But in the end, it’s all brought us closer together. We started out as friends and we are still friends.

              As John Porter says in my AU fan fic, “Marriage can be a good thing between the right people.”

              As for animals, oh, darling, I wuvs ’em! We couldn’t have children and so we’ve always had pets. Right now four indoor cats and three hounds patrolling the yard. There is nothing like the unconditional love and acceptance and sweet companionship of a furry friend.

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      • That would be a dissertation project, because we’d have to have an IRB application (studying human subjects) and a whole group of researchers who were doing interviews and tests on participants. I think we could get NIH or NSF money for this, BUT the problem is that the Institute for Armitage Studies doesn’t currently have a chair in neuroscience or a chairholder.

        I think we need a chair in this area and to expand our course offerings.

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        • I offer to “chair” the search committee for a chair….I can think of a few special topics courses we could pilot while deciding to add to the curriculum..I am sure a few of your readers could offer a few course ides as well. Readers?

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    • This is not crazy. Feeding our addiction to feeling good is absolutely the physiological aspect of how Armitagemania works in our lives. Some days my bad feelings are really firmly rooted and it takes more Armitage to overcome them, but that’s what happens: Armitage puts me in a position to feel good, and once I am there i don’t want to let it go away.

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  7. What everyone just said– Moi aussi! I agree that it seems like it must be his “life force” that we see shining out through his eyes, and also in the timbre of his voice. He has a chameleon-like quality as well, as Servetus has pointed out, he is able to blend into the background in his real life, but when he is “on” he shines like a beacon that all are drawn to. It seems mystical but it is astoundingly real, as evidenced by all our experiences. The man is truly amazing, and that is why we are all now so pleased that someone outside the fanbase has finally recognized this fact.

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    • He is amazingly chameleon-like. That’s why it’s so easy for me to believe in all those characters, as opposed to, oh it’s So-and- So playing a soldier, or a spy or a con man . . . for me, he becomes those characters, brings them to life.

      Yes, it’s wonderful to know PJ sees what we see in him. It’s as if there’s been this really lovely treasure I’ve known about and I’ve wanted to share, but it’s been hard to get to. And now I can access it–and so can others, thanks to RA’s casting in this role. Hooray!!

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    • well, and mystical is not the opposite of real. What the mystic seeks to do is drawn down the experience of the divine into the sphere of human life.

      I think maybe it’s Richard Armitage who’s the mystic. That’s what I’ve been missing in my analysis.

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  8. I think I’m an observer before commiting to a writing a fanfic I spend hours watching his movements and how for different characters they are very different. Chameleon is a good choice of word he becomes the character. I can’t really comment on his voice because I don’t get the full effect. My daughters do though when he started doing a lot of voice overs it was my girls who picked it up immediately usually with eye rolling and it’s Richrd Mum so it must be very distinctive.(I really don’t tie them to a chair forcing them to watch RA) People comment on the repetive mannerisms but when I look at the whole each character is completely different I mean Ricky Deeming is very different to John Standring. His posture is one of the things that strikes me vividly never have I seen an actor use his posture so well. In North and South almost throughout he is ramrod straight a man in charge head and shoulders above his peers(I’m certain he was the tallest cast member so we relised his importance and standing in the community.) Yet at the train station when he sees Margaret his posture is so different his body seems much softer not in flabby way just more open and relaxed almost laying himself bare to Margaret.

    But the thing for me that really sets him apart is the eyes. It is a cliche probably to say they are the windows to his soul but I really do think that. I have never seen an actor uses his eyes in quite the way RA does .tTey draw you in a bit like moth to a flame nd hold you captive which is why although I am not enjoying Lucas’ character arc I can’t look away.

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    • Khandy, you are right about the eyes….sometimes (when you can see them clearly) it is the color that draws you in…sometimes it is the crinkles around the eyes. I don’t know how the man does it but he DOES manage to physically make himself different (from posture, as you’ve ably noted) to the perceived of his face and musculature of his body.

      Brad Pitt always looks like Brad Pitt in his roles (don’t anybody get their knickers in a knot), I like the man but his acting doesn’t transcend his physical appearance for me, just as an example.

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      • Yep, know what you mean, Ann Marie and Khandy. Those eyes are just amazing. The structure of the eye itself is very good; they are framed by those dramatic brows, very expressive in their own right, and fringed with those long, thick lashes (I love such lashes on a very masculine-looking fellow like RA). The blue can turn a stormy grey or be as clear an azure as a cloudless summer sky–or turn green and cat-like. The smallest flicker can say so much.

        He does seem to have an uncanny ability to change his physical being at will. I’d swear he was even taller and broader-shouldered than usual when he played John Standring in Sparkhouse. Compare the awkwardness of the gentle giant to the proud, arrogant carriage of Sir Guy on horseback.

        Brad Pitt seems like a nice fellow and he is talented; but bless him, he doesn’t come close to “doing it” for me, either, Ann Marie, in the way RA does. Simply–magical.

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    • I agree on this whole body language question, khandy. I’m a big student of it (as early posts on this blog about Guy’s posture with regard to other characters might suggest), and it’s nice to have it confirmed from your perspective as thinking about it is much important in your daily life than in mine. I think this is one thing, e.g., that keeps Lucas different from John Porter — their body languages.

      And by the way: this totally comes through in your fiction — your Ricky is really strongly different from your Lucas. Most fic authors I’m reading are writing fics for one of his characters and I’ve been so impressed by your ability to switch gears and write in so many different contexts.

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  9. Well said, Servetus, and I agree with you all. it’s interesting that there are many more ‘beautiful’ people in a conventionhal sense and Mr Armitage is not a ‘pretty boy’ at all [actually all the more appealing to me], yet Mr Armitage has something that is really quite special: something that is really utterly captivating. I’m sure it must be very rare.

    I always think of him as charistmatic but there is more- an energy or light that comes from within, and for me, what sets him apart is in eyes and voice. I have never seen anyone who can convey so much meaning with just a look. And just listen to him read or act in a stage play. The range of emotiona he can bring to bear whent here is only the one instrument- the voice- is amazing.

    I too have seen stills in which he can look almost ugly and I love that he is careless about this- he does not seem to care what he looks like when shouting, yelling or otherwise contorting those features. That’s real to me. But yes, he’d need do a lot more than uglify himself. I don’t think he understands The Armitage Effect himself because it is not looks. It is a rare phenomenon. I, for one, have never been captivated by an actor in this way. And I am almost old enough to be his mother.

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    • He’s just so darned uncelebrity-like and I LOVE that in him. This is a man who in my opinion really IS “all that and a bag of chips”–good-looking, charming, intelligent, loads of talent–and still so modest and self-effacing and apparently lacking in the vanity and huge ego we see in many actors who have far less to offer. Yeah, Ladyallenor, he’s the real thing.

      All those naysayers who keep insisting he just got cast in The Hobbit (and everything else they can think of) for his looks . . . oh, none are as blind as those who will not see.

      Good-looking guys are a dime a dozen. Richard is so very much more. And I am just as captivated as you. And a decade his senior. But I definitely don’t feel maternal towards him. Protective, yes–

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    • Me either. I’ve had very short crushes on actors — mostly after seeing one thing — but they extended at most to look at other work of theirs or following a series they were in. Nothing like becoming so curious about them. It’s an issue of intellect and being as opposed to mere attraction.

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  10. I totally agree ! I think it’s the same set of qualites that distinguishes two equally talented musicians. THere’s the one who’s present. And the other one.

    A first-time commenter from France 🙂

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    • Bienvenue, k! Richard est incroyable, n’est-ce pas?

      Glad you came aboard.

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    • Thanks for your comment, k, and welcome! I think this is exactly right about musicians as well – even if they have the technique and the training the true artist has a special quality of presence that makes listening to her/him a joy.

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      • I’ve discussed this before in my newspaper columns as well as online. Technical proficiency can be there in a dancer or artist or musician or actor–or writer, for that matter. But if that fire, that passion, that piece of their soul; that certain difficult-to-define element, isn’t there, their work/performance does not touch the person watching or listening or looking in the same way. We can still admire their abilities, but they does not move us in the same way.

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  11. Khandy, you bring an entirely different and fascinating perspective: RA’s voice is so intrinsic to my perception of him – if he were a tenor, it would grate so much on me. That you perceive the charisma so fully, without the impact of the voice, adds another dimension to the actor. Lovely! Thanks for that! Typo alert: Desktop HD began emitting loud sound, exactly like a Paris police car siren the other day. Apparently it has gone to its eternal rest. Working with a new laptop, new MS programme, unfamliar keyboard. Just located the delete key. Next goal, find the paragraph key….

    Just found it – techie whiz-kid, me 😀

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  12. Just wanted to add/enlarge on aspects touched on before: the sense of contrasts. The facial structure with its angles and contrasting roundness under the cheekbones; the mixture of grace and coordination, against the coltishness of movement. (Still always expecting him to fall over his feet) 🙂

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  13. I just want to agree with everything that’s been said here. I too, have been utterly captivated by this amazing actor for nearly a year now. And I have never been a fan of anyone before. Yes, I liked the Beatles when I was 4 years old (don’t ask me why), and I kind of liked Dr. Spock from Star Trek when I was in my teens. But I don’t think that I would have classified as a fan back then. While now I follow anything that he does. Somehow he has touched something that was hidden deep inside of me. Maybe with his energy, or charisma, or how you want to call it. I see other actors do great acting as well, sometimes, especially since I am now watching more closely for it after all Servetus’ detailed acting posts (thank you Servetus, I have learnt so much already). But in no way do they come close to making me feel what Mr. Armitage makes me feel while watching him. He kind of takes you on the journey with him.

    And his voice ties into the quotation. I once deleloped a crush on someone over the phone, so for me voices are very important.

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    • Thanks for the comment and kind words, Elisabet. He is so weirdly electrifying and I do think there’s a synergistic effect between voice, body language, eyes, etc., going on here.

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  14. I agree with everything you all have said. What I want to add is that I love how mature his beauty is, he’s not a boy, but a grown-up, dignified man – I think Allison Pearson said after one interview she’d done with him that he is like those manly actors of the thirties and forties – I think he’s a bit like Gregory Peck.

    There’s one actor who dah a similar effect one me – Patrick McGoohan, with whom I fell in love, when I was five years old, LOL. Before the Californian sun and , sadly, alcohol destroyed his pale skin he was the most beautiful blue-eyed redhead I have ever seen, and he also had a magical, deep, slightly raspy and very characteristic voice. He was one of the first choices for Bond in Dr. No, but turned it down, for moral reasons. He looked very similar to my father, and interestingly, the both died within a few weeks of one another. You couldn’t take your eyes off him, even when he was in the background – watch “Ice Statio Zebra” for the effect!

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    • I had no idea who this was and had to look him up. Adding stuff to my list of things I have to watch!

      My condolences on your father’s death — I hope that you are finding solace in memories.

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  15. Nietzsche – Ah, Danger Man!

    Ann Marie – Yes, it’s too much to hope: I’ll be in his direct path long before you 🙂

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  16. Wow! I love this blog…so happy to have found a place where Richard is adored as he should be…. Calexora, I agree with you about his voice…there is definitely something about it that stirs my very core…

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    • Welcome, skarra, and thanks for the compliment. There are several other pro-Armitage blogs out there — linked in the side bar. Hope you continue to enjoy this one.

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  17. […] is mostly a curiosity, posted in response to fitzg’s comment that if Mr. Armitage were a tenor we might react differently to his voice. I’m absolutely sure that’s true, though I am not sure exactly what it means (does a […]

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  18. @servetus, McGoohan was also The Prisoner, that ’60s series. An Irishman, of course.

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    • I first saw Patrick McGoohan on an ep of Columbo. I was just a girl but, as I’ve said, I always liked grown-up men rather than pretty boys, and he caught my fancy. It was later that I saw him in The Prisoner and in other productions. Loved his looks and his voice. Very distinctive.

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  19. Is there any possibility of the “trademark gestures” becoming stale?

    They have become iconic to a growing community of appreciation. (And, OK, fandon 😀 ). I love to see familiar expressions and body language in each new character. (Your fault, servetus, for the initial microexpressions and body langauge discussions, giggle). And they are not the same “bag of tricks” for each new character. Perhaps this is an unfounded concern. But, translated to the Big Screen, how will it develop? They are probably partly the result of intensive classical and Method training.

    As long as the actor maintains, not only the passion for acting, but the passion for each character; Bring on the 6’2″ Dwarf! Let us see how a really character-acting role transpires – as it did with Standring.

    Really, I’m not of little faith, just turning these things over.

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    • Right now the jury is out. I honestly think if we’d seen another season of Lucas (which it now appears we shan’t) we might have been asking ourselves that question. But the pieces are put together in different combinations in every role.

      I think that the whole question of accounting in body language for a drastically different body size is probably going to turn his gestural repertoire upside down. This is really going to be a good experience for his professional development in so many ways.

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    • I love seeing bits of Guy in Lucas, I confess, or in John Porter. *GRIN*

      I have no doubt he’ll continue to grow and evolve as an actor. He’ll learn to adjust for the big screen and for the smaller stature of the dwarf he’ll be playing.

      I just so totally believe him as a performer and I think he is champing at the bit to take on this latest challenge and make us all believers.

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  20. Yes, there are correlations to wondering how the close-up of TV would translate, after a decade, to the stage. Without the benefit of eyes and expressions as visible to the audience. But the body langauge and The Voice, and the dramatic timing would address that.

    Anyway, very anxious to see Thorin. Fully confident it will be another exceptional characterisation, notwithstanding a potential bushy beard and grey locks. I think the stubble is showing signs of grey, anyway. And even if RA is greying naturally, it would not detract from the facial structure or immense magnetism/ (why do I hesitate with the adjective) beauty?

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    • It’s hard to say that a man is physically beautiful. It sounds like the Renaissance and gender-bending, etc. — as if we say that he is beautiful we are saying that he is somehow less masculine. Total nonsense, of course.

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    • I’ve seen some flecks of grey there, too. Which I find rather endearing, I confess (I’ve been seeing grey in my hair for 20 years, which, oddly enough, I don’t find nearly as endearing).

      Oh, go ahead, call him beautiful. He is, you know. I think he’ll only grow more strikingly handsome, a la Gregory Peck, as he ages.

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  21. It is nonsense we can’t consider a man beautiful. Richard’s beauty is unconventional, unusual, and absolutely mesmerizing. And, for me, totally masculine. What a man!!

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  22. True, the adjective “beautiful” applid to a man conjures visions of Raphael and Leonardo’s androgenous figures. And there’s nothing androgenous about Richard Armitage.

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  23. […] In the end, I developed this immoderate attachment to Mr. Armitage and his work because other things are wrong that will no longer let themselves be ignored. I grew up in a faith that teaches divine providence and I chose one for myself as an adult that has strains that stress similar themes. While intellectually I believe in the possibility of coincidence, on a gut level I do not, and the most successful therapy I’ve had stresses the significance of understanding events by association of meaning (as opposed to solely by causality). My life has never ceased to involve an ongoing search for meaning. Hence my most inner convictions suggest to me that all of this is not coincidence, and that this attachment has developed for specific reasons. That attachment is clearly non-volitional. I did not choose it, would not have chosen it — indeed, there’s a different sort of commitment that stands in the background of my life that I would choose a much more non-volitional attitude toward if I could. Armitagemania stands outside my previous life experience, and I’m still not sure I would choose it again. [In a scholarly article there'd be a long footnote to the mystics here, except I'm not sure whether I'm the mystic or whether Armitage is.] […]

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  24. I don’t know how I managed to miss this post. It seems you’re trying to define the almost undefinable which is charisma, otherwise known as “It.” You either got it, or not. It’s a magnetism that blazes through eyes with a force all its own.

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  25. […] a flow experience that I have elsewhere, and experiencing his work as a flow experience in itself. Maybe he’s both. But in sum, fangrrling Richard Armitage — Armitagemania — is broader, grander for me […]

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