Bursting with Armitage-y goodness!

It’s such a pleasure to re-emerge into a world of such smart people, and makes me wish that finals hadn’t come at such an intense moment of Armitage commentary, so I could have been more involved in the discussions. Here are some of my favorites, in no particular order, many of which I am sure you have already seen, of course. The best part of this is that we’re hearing in posts and stories from people who’ve only commented before. The more Armitage writers the merrier, I say, and you all make the web a fascinating place to be at the moment.

First, to warm you up, in case you need warming up, a beautiful new vidlet from elvirasweeney.

  • The always erudite Maria Grazia at Fly High! offers a specific answer to a general question that I’ve always wondered about: what do spouses do when their partners succumb to Armitagemania? A fantastic interview with a husband who sounds not only tolerant, but positively charming.
  • When I read Phylly’s Faves, I always feel like my focused little Armitageworld has been significantly expanded. Phylly will make sure that you leave her virtual collection with something new to see, read, ponder. Since I was last there, I particularly appreciated her post on Christmas carols (as I was thinking a lot about Chanukkah during the festival, it’s nice to have someone commenting on the competition, and I was also alerted to the “Huron Carol”), but I especially loved her most recent piece, on the best news of the season (h/t Richard Armitage Online): that Mr. Armitage remembers playing a donkey in his school nativity play! She’s got a photoshopped picture that’s really worth seeing. Well, more than one. But the one in that post is especially charming. I wonder if Mr. Armitage ever feels like a doll we dress up?
  • Ah, RAFrenzy, the virtual friend upon whom I have the biggest blogger crush. Did anyone else notice that the über-sexy Guy of Gisborne photo on her home page now sports a Santa hat? Makes him look a little melancholy, I have to say. Will we get bunny ears for Easter? She’s also posted on the holidays, pointing out the need for love, an important message in the current rush, I think. Lots of great stuff there, but I’m particularly fascinated by her last two diary entries on Between the Sheets (one; two). How do you react when the object of your admiration suddenly appears in the rear altogether? If this experience isn’t gratifying, exactly, how do we describe it? What is to be gained by watching the unexpurted BTS, if anything? Hot caps in that post, assuming that we are willing to (almost) glimpse Mr. Armitage’s performance. Yes, that’s a double entendre, and even worse, a split infinitive.
  • The pondering of John Bateman continues with Skully‘s very personal post on factors that influence her take on the Spooks S9 script plausibility problem. This is a great read, for me because it raises questions about how we apportion the public / official and private / personal aspects of our lives for the consumption of our fellow humans. Essentially she’s saying that people in certain roles see themselves as justified in making these negotiations on a different basis than most people, and that this is part of why some of us are disinclined to believe the John Bateman backstory for Lucas North — we don’t really believe in the existence or plausibility of the existence of the third level as much as someone initiated into that world would be inclined to. (Great caps in that post as well.)
  • The best part of Violet‘s reviews of S9 are the hilarious captions underneath her screencaps. How she can be that funny in a language she’s not a native speaker of is beyond me, and way, way, impressive. The post currently on top about grammar is well, almost postmodern. I wish my German (let alone my Dutch, which can I sort of read but not speak) were as sensitive to linguistic nuances as her English is.
  • CDoart is also pursuing the S9 script plausibility problem, in convenient little pieces that make it easier to think about the problem, I suspect. But my favorite recent post of hers (and no, it’s not just because she says something nice about you guys and about me) is the one where she reflects on the meaning of Richard Armitage for her life. I need to do more of this, and I really admire her bravery and her thoughtfulness here. I’m a fan of honesty and I think she’s being really honest. But more than that, I think this kind of post, as painful as it is to write, and whatever form it takes (Frenz is doing it in diary entries) is almost the only way that we can get any closer to the “why Armitage?” / “why me?” problem, and I hope I can emulate her more in the future. This post deserves more comments than it got.
  • The succinct and thus always worthwhile pi provides her promised reflections on the question of the limits of her Armitage fandom. She gets me exactly right when she writes: “It’s almost as if they’re in so deep they are not sure where the boundary is” — that was the problem that prompted the post she was commenting on. She says here, as she has said to me before in comments on another post, that Armitagemania is not a disease, that it can be a positive obsession, and she provides some helpful further information about that in the post. I really appreciate her expressed ability to tolerate uncomfortable feelings — to me this whole blog really deals with that problem: how uncomfortable are these feelings and to what extent can I tolerate them? She also gets right onto the question of identity as a source of discomfort. Writing this blog is an uncomfortable expansion of my identity, an attempt to be something more than I really am / was, but also an attempt to create a different identity option in the spectrum of thinking about admiration or obsession for a thing. Ultimately, I don’t experience writing here on a logistical or emotional level as all that different from the experience of my academic writing when it’s going well. The problem is the topic (history scholarship vs a popular British actor) and the result (publishable refereed articles and books vs blog posts) and the feelings I have of self-betrayal that contrast with the feelings I have of euphoria (I’ll leave it up to you to decide which of those I associate with which writing experience). Really, this comment belongs over there, but since one of the comments in her chain seems quite obviously to refer at length to my blog, I put it here, since when I discuss myself I prefer to do it in my own space as opposed to that of a third party. I did leave a small comment there nonetheless. I also think for me there’s a lot of religious guilt involved: I’m always asking myself, based on my childhood, whether my euphoria involves sin. Here’s to a 2011 in which I can celebrate my feelings instead of fearing them — and pi’s post provides lots of encouragement to do just that. Thanks, pi.
  • Somebody put Mr. Armitage in one of those JibJab videos, this one with male exotic dancers (h/t Avalon). I thought this was really funny, because whoever did it picked one of those closed-off emotion Guy of Gisborne shots to do it with, so he actually has the haughty look of the classic male stripper (don’t worry; no clothes are removed in the sequence of the video). I especially like the part where Armitage is doing pushups. Ymmv: I am sure not everyone will find this funny.
  • A sweet post from mulubinba reminds readers of the sheer joy of watching the Armitage episodes of Vicar of Dibley at Christmastime. Though I practically know them by heart, this will be my first time to do it at Christmastime, so as I finally bought this DVD this week, I guess I have given in! [In case you’re curious: Since various things prevent her from going either to Germany or home for the holidays, Servetus was planning to engage in the usual Jewish occupations on Christmas Day (movie theatre + Chinese food; song here; there’s also a variation where you volunteer to work so that a Christian who’d be working otherwise would have the day off, but I’ve never been quite that virtuous), but she’s been roped into a tiny intimate dinner to which she will contribute a cheese plate and a rosemary-apple pie from her favorite bakery. She doesn’t think her fellow diners will want to go to Dibley, so she’ll watch that when she gets home.]
  • Oh man, and then there’s the Richard Armitage Fan Blog. I missed so much bloggy Armitage goodness here that I’m frankly ashamed, not least because I got a few shout outs there. Thanks Natalie and @Rob. I was worried what was going to happen here as Natalie and her husband reproduced, but she kept things going in her own inimitable style, and I loved hearing from the guest bloggers. I like in particular Nat’s rewriting of the Grinch story,”How the Giz Stole Christmas,” — no one retells a children’s story with the verve of Natalie — and @Rob completely got me with her suggestion that now that Mr. Armitage is going to be Thorin Oakenshield, he may no longer need an Army and we should transfer allegiance to someone else. Totally channeling the minx, there, @Rob!
  • I think I said this before but I also found quite thoughtprovoking a post by Ramones on the savior complex in Armitage roles. And then there was this disarmingly honest contribution by Twinkling Moon in which she says the most interesting thing about Mr. Armitage is Mr. Armitage. Who knew it was that simple? But she’s really convincing. I love how the blog expanded to include all of these new voices and yet somehow maintained its identity.

A recent video by Heathdances that reminded me how much I liked John Porter. She’s amped him up here. Warning: quite violent.

  • I’ve said a couple times recently that it’s fanfic that’s gotten me through the piles and piles of grading (I read or re-read approximately 2,000 pages of prose just from my research seminar students in the last ten days, which yes, is all my fault, since I wrote the syllabus). Now, please don’t have hurt feelings if I don’t refer to your fic in this post. I might not be aware of it. Or maybe I am, but am unsure how I feel about it yet; some stuff I have to read multiple times — or don’t want to hurt your feelings if I didn’t care for it. Also, I’m not commenting on anything in this post that appears behind a password — not because there’s anything wrong with those fics, but because it excludes some readers. I feel like if comments about fic are going to continue to be a staple of this blog I am going to have to articulate some of my own ground rules, so look for a post about that in 2011 some time. Meanwhile, on to the fic. (Yes, German readers, that was also a rather crude multilingual double entendre.)
  • First, and notably, a thoughtful and honest reflection on the question of whether and how to write sex in fiction by the author of one of Servetus’s favorite ongoing stories, mesmered. This is a really great question to be asking and I’m glad someone so smart and directly involved in the problem is asking it. In a way, she addresses some of the same problems raised in Frenz’s posts about BTS. Also, she announces that The Sheriff’s Collector will be updating next week again (link to Dec 9 installment). I can hardly wait.
  • Next, “Truce” updated with the first half of the epilogue. The chapters got longer and longer as this fic went on and I think Angie didn’t really want to finish writing it. Which is fine by me! Things I like about this story besides the sex: As’ad’s storyline is not left to dangle; we see the inside of Layla; Danni is not just a military prostitute, but has an emotional life; and Alex gets a real personality as opposed to just brushstrokes that imply she’s either neglected or spoiled. Oh, and then there’s Porter – toujours pret in more ways than one! Besides that, though, an aspect of her Porter that I find intriguing is his wrestling with the different permutations of the role of father, over against his actual daughter, his lover(s), and the child whom he seeks to save. Can’t wait for the end of the epilogue — will we meet Porter’s sisters? — except that then it will be over.
  • Annie Lucas, someone we know very well as a commentator on this blog, opened her fanfic career with a home run reflection on unfinished fanfics. This is just so ingenious. Annie, may you never write an unfinished fanfic! This is an earnest wish from a blogger with a number of unfinished post series.
  • Khandy’s begun a Dibley fic and the first two chapters just leave me feeling so warm — as if I’m fulfilling my daydream of rubbing my face into Harry’s shoulder when he’s wearing a cuddly jumper.
  • Still loving “A Heart for Milton” and “Grant What I Wish.” I suspect I am getting these later as the chapters appear earlier elsewhere; if you haven’t checked these out don’t hesitate. And look at the other stuff by their authors.
  • Whatcatydidnext has a new naughty North & South epic, “Master of the Mill.” If you’re not familiar with her style, she writes really dark sexy tales that shatter any romantic illusions you may have. This is not Edith Gaskell’s Mr. Thornton [ETA: or Elizabeth’s, either]. (Warning: only for 18+).
  • Finally, though I am resigned to getting no love from anyone for admitting this, I really liked the last chapter of “So I Met John Porter.”

A beautiful (as opposed to sexy) and romantic GoG/Marian video from OlerySt. The thumb shot at 2:37 is especially beautiful.

And then some personal and housekeeping stuff:

  • The Spooks 9 review posts are going to be unpassworded later this week. I’ll still try to remember to put “spoilers” in the subject line of Spooks 9 posts, but I apologize ahead of time because I will inevitably forget.
  • Thanks for all the strokes on the Chanukkah postings. I never anticipated writing that sort of thing for a broader audience, ever, and was cheered by the reaction to it. I know you all signed up for an Armitage blog and not for a religious one, but thanks for coming along with me on this ride.
  • And especially, thanks for all the supportive words during finals and over the death of my doctoral adviser. I’m still brooding over that, but it was so moving to be able to look at that post and feel your support coming over the Internet. Thanks, too, for every prayer that’s been said on behalf of my parents or me — I felt the support you guys were giving us.

OK. Now that I’ve caught up with y’all, next post will get on to some Armitageanalysis.

~ by Servetus on December 19, 2010.

27 Responses to “Bursting with Armitage-y goodness!”

  1. Great list, Servetus! Thanks for the mention. Hope you’re enjoying some freedom from work commitments now!

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  2. Servetus, Thank you so much for your comments on The Sheriff’s Collector and the link to Mesmered. Having people like yourself enjoy the story gives me the impetus to move on from rough draft to researched and edited umpteen million draft and eventually upload to e-book on Amazon Kindle. I envisage this being a long way down the track but as I move into Guy’s story, there’s evidence I will need to research so much more of the Medieval period in Europe and the Middle East so the story hangs solidly in its setting.
    Once again thanks and Happy Holiday. (Find the BEST Chinese you can and a damned GOOD movie!)
    Cheers!!

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    • Thanks and you’re welcome.

      You raise something that is of intense importance to me because of my career — i.e., I’m certainly willing to tolerate a certain amount of what amounts to fanfiction with anachronism — the series itself was so anachronistic — but what happens when it turns to fiction? You’re not really writing fan fiction, so what is your obligation to do responsible research? Because you’re right, it’s a lot of work. I do think from your perspective you have the comfort of having a great story and a lot of readers behind you, I am sure more than regularly take the time to leave a comment.

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  3. That’s a great recap on what’s going on in the Armitage world. It is very helpful for a RAfan as myself.

    I’m happy you are finally out of all the stress of grading and feeling better.

    OML 🙂

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  4. Thanks for the great post and of course for a link to Khandy’s fic, lovely story 🙂 I love Mr. Armitage in the character of Harry. I wish you a great week, a good rest for your favorite movies

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    • OT..I don’t have a clue as to where I should post this, so please forgive me for interloping in advance? @ann marie and @phylly…LotN arrived safe and sound today! I’m officially in Hog Heaven.

      I’m with you Servetus…am on the last hour of N&S (it plays while I bake) and VoD is up next. Well, maybe not…LotN will take 1st place at this time. And thanks for the heads up on “Heart for Milton”! Love, Love, Love it!!!

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  5. “the savior complex” yes, I feel that about him as though my sins are forgiven so I am allowed to experience him to know such goodness exists in this otherwise miserable universe. I too ask ‘why Armitage” Never before have I experienced anything like him. It hurts me to have you refer to him as a “popular British actor” as I feel him to be so much more. Since I first saw North and South on netflix last February I am a different person, more alive, kinder, quieter, more thankful for my life.

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  6. Thank you very much for your wonderful list – and of course for so favourably mentioning my blog !!!
    Once again, I will print out this post and have to come back to all the detailed information you provide. I admire you for finding the time in your already hectic schedule to research and combine such an interesting and gripping list of what is going on in RA-sphere.
    Now I really need more time to go through all the links in detail. Hopefully, could I possibly evade the meeting tomorrow or the one on Wednesday? … No, my indulging in your rich information will have to wait till after the Christmas days ;o(

    I hope you will have nice and enjoyable Christmas days and will find a good film and delicious food. Whatever you do, have a wonderful time!

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  7. Thanks for a wonderful post as usual. I need to bookmark all these blogs.

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  8. Sorry almost forgot – you put Edith Gaskell – should be Elizabeth!!

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  9. Thank you for this overview of most RA-related bloggers and fanficwriters. And my blog is listed too!

    Your academic approach on the subject gives extensive and elequent reads. Bravely and persistently battling with the given facts like they were shadows on the wall, evokes amusement :). I like it when you do manage to grasp the shadows. The posts on Gisborne´s high/low status, the/that American woman, the difference of British English are this year my personal favourites. Of course there are more. Your analyses of the various detailed poses of the subjected subject, are different from every other one´s approach, or are they yet secretly the same?

    To write posts in your native language is so much easier than to have to switch languages in your head before every written sentence. The fact that English is not my first language, makes me to think more about the use of that language and to mark certain phrases. It can be very frustrative to pick up that English dictionary again, but that enriches my in my choice of words and to be more precise in expressing myself in writing. I know I´m not there yet, and see big grammatical holes in my writing, and I thank every reader to be forgiving and.. (what am I moaning about?).

    I write what I would like to read myself. So all those different blogwrites provide different angles. At best we all exercise ourselves in our writings.

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    • I have such a hard time being funny in German. I think it’s because my humor in English relies so heavily on irony and sarcasm, which aren’t easy to express in German without rolling over into bitterness. Your facility and your ability to see connections between words and images is really breathtaking.

      I agree that all together we’re a wonderful Armitage blogosphere with a home for everyone: and thanks for your compliments.

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      • Genau! Die Deutsche Sprache hat ´Schwere Worter´. Ich referiere dabei auch an ein altertumliches Lehrbuch: eine Auswahl der Wichtigsten, dem Hollander nicht ohne weiteres verstandlichen Deutschen Worter.

        http://www.boekenwebsite.nl/taalgidsen/schwere-worter

        Dass is genug fur heute! 😉

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        • I love the idea of a book of German words that aren’t understandable to the Dutch speaker without further explanation. When my xSO and I used to drive into the Netherlands (he lived in German East Frisia for several years) we would make up German/Dutch verbs like “anbellen” for phoning and “huren” for renting and thought we were unbelievably funny 🙂

          German can be schwer in both sense of the word.

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  10. Hitting that send-button too soon! (talking myself out of it)

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  11. Thanks for the links to other blogs, Servetus!

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  12. Thanks, Servetus, on including me on your list and for the wonderful overview of all things Armitage out there to enjoy. You are right; I don’t really want to leave those two, Layla and Porter, behind. I think i’ve fallen in love with them both just a bit.

    Just getting caught up on my commenting amidst all the holiday busyness. I wonder if my spouse would care to watch VoD with me this holiday season? Quite a contrast to Porter and Strike Back!

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  13. Dear Servetus,
    Thank you for including me on your awesome list of Armitagey goodness! 🙂 I am glad you are back with us and not so bogged down with administrivia.
    There are lots of fanfics listed here that I am going to try and get to over the holidays. Thanks for including that beautiful video “My Confessions”. Love how you pointed out his thumb LOL!
    I hope you have a peaceful and rejuvenating holiday break!

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  14. […] has already gone to the trouble of doing that, I’ll take advantage of her hard work and link that list here – go check it out, it’s great! Avalon created a list of a different kind, sorting out […]

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