Watching Richard Armitage means never having to wait to exhale

One of my go to sounds for that moment when I slam the door of my office or car or apartment or whatever and I’m finally alone, and I prepare to let down my guard is Sigur Rós.

What a combination: calming Armitage and calming music. Turns out there’s a Richard Armitage fanvid involving a Sigur Rós song, Starálfur:

Other Sigur Rós favorites of mine that allow me to exhale (sorry, no Armitage — posting these here because U.S. readers might not know this group if you don’t listen to alternative or campus radio):

If you need a beautiful Armitage fantasy for the late afternoon that will have you breathing a bit faster and then exhaling, check out Mary Lou’s story here.

~ by Servetus on February 2, 2011.

74 Responses to “Watching Richard Armitage means never having to wait to exhale”

  1. @servetus,

    Although I didn’t find the video the least bit calming I think I have figured out why. Lucas still just breaks my heart and I KNOW that I have NEVER been as traumatized by the deconstruction of a character as I am (note use of present tense) by that of Richard Armitage’s Lucas North. I have to reflect on that.

    • I had started this post talking about catharsis and then edited that out. I realized in reading your comment that part of it for me is that calming down usually involves a little sob (or sometimes a big one)

      • @servetus, oh gosh, THAT just made me sad…although I realize that everyone’s “process” is different. I found the audio to be in stark contrast to the video.

        I also realize that the fanfic story in order to heal has to be painful for a bit too…hmmm

        • What I find is that I can spend 90 minutes realizing that or why I am overwhelmed, or I can listen to a certain piece of music that calls forth an emotion and get it out on the table quickly … Sigur Rós has that effect on me. I realize this isn’t entirely clear from the post.

          But the larger point — yeah, acknowledging and respecting the pain is necessary to healing — is right on.

  2. I actually discovered Sigur Ros from watching RA vids and I do like their music and have listened to other pieces.
    But I also understand all too completely where you are coming from, Ann Marie. I can manage to watch some of the fanvids with Lucas, I just can’t delve back into S9 yet. Baby steps . . . but yes, what the writers and producers did to the Lucas North character was inexcusable, wholesale destruction of a brilliant creation so beautifully brought to life by RA. And I am not entirely sure I will every completely forgive the Spooks team and Kudos for that.

    • You know Angie, I have had the thought that for me to heal from the tragedy of Lucas, Lucas himself will have to heal and that has given me a fanfic idea. I am finding writing cathartic and that might be my key.

      I still adore the sweet, kind, nurturing way you are helping Lucas in your sloth fiction.

      • Writing is definitely cathartic. It’s been a bit slow going for me lately due to some health issues and work hours, but fanfic can certainly help exorcise some demons, so go for it, oh Lady from the Land of New Jersey!

        I do have another Sloth Fic chapter started at least. Lucas’s healing time is continuing . . . while dear Guy is rather knackered for some odd reason . . .

        • Oh, marvellous! 🙂 (But poor Guy – is he jealous?)

          • Well, Guy is inevitably jealous when LW’s attentions become focused on another ChaRActer, that’s just his nature; but he is also enough of a noble knight to recognize his Spy Friend needs extra special care right now. He’s very fond of Lucas. And Guy gets plenty of attention, believe you me. Servetus? Ann Marie? (;

            • @Angie et al… I do need to interview our Medieval Menace…I have a few plot points I need to run past him. I will be sending a missive shortly which should keep him occupied for a bit. I’m letting him have a say in his own fantasy. This should be interesting. Stay tuned. 🙂

              • Oh, Ann Marie–Guy is positively preening like mad again at the thought of getting a say in his own fantasy . . . what a smug little smirk you’ve put on that handsome face of his!!

                Avidly awaiting more news, my dear.

      • There’s something hugely seductive about the theme of healing the shredded Armitage character — this is a topic in a lot of fanfic. Look forward to your take.

        • The desire to put this beautiful but badly damaged man all back together again. It’s hard to resist.

    • Lucas is so beautiful, pale and fragile in the early episodes of S7 that one is almost forced to feel protective of him. I’ll never forgive Kudos, I won’t buy the S9 DVDs and I won’t watch S10, as I am sure Lucas’ memory will be drawn through the mud.

      • I know. I was looking back through screencaps from S7 and feeling all my protective and nurturing instincts rushing to the surface. The eager glow in those beautiful eyes as he seeks to assimilate back into MI-5, those disarmingly boyish smiles, his clear feelings for his ex-wife in those tender looks and words . . . oh, Lucas, how could we not love you?

        I fear what further damage they may do to the character of Lucas as we knew him in S10 as well. And I have already established I am not buying the S9 DVDs-a first for me with an RA project.

      • When I heard that Spooks would be showing on the BBC Entertainment Channel here in Norway, I wondered which series. I am over the moon to find out that it is Spooks 7. I can go back to the beginning and enjoy Lucas as he was when he returned from imprisonment in Russia, wan and thin, yet sweet and heroic. I’m looking forward to eight whole weeks of this lovely man!

        • Do your best to banish all thoughts and recollections of S9 Milly, and enjoy those days when we could actually look forward eagerly, expectantly, rather than waiting anxiously, with dread, re watching this show.

  3. Angie and Anne Marie, I share those feelings about watching S9 ever again. Perhaps by the time that it is released on DVD. Perhaps then I will have worked through and rationalised the ridiculous effect it had. And put it into perspective as a shocking TV/media/script cheap trick to play on the susceptibilities of the fandom. Exploitation? Or was it artful?

    In the meantime, received the DVDs of Strike Back and S8 this week. And finding the lovely possession of DVDs, and the leisure to focus on the elements in a way that programmed TV doesn’t allow. So I have a slow mind – just have to live with it.

    Finding I like both better than original viewing allowed. Looking at GO’R more closely and kindly. All just the tonic for Groundhog Day, and the windy 10-12 cms snow expected (had to turn this into inches to get some perspective – 4-6) Doubt that Wireton Willy will turn up trumps, and haven’t heard from Philly Phil…

    • @fitzg Phil didn’t see his shadow. Early spring 🙂

      Or so we all hope…

    • Fitzg,

      Don’t tell me you are looking at that ACCENT of GOR’s more kindly . . . I don’t think I will ever be able to listen to her in that role without my poor ears wanting to bleed! LOL

      Perhaps time will heal this wound enough I will one day be able to rewatch S9 without feeling so much pain, distaste, frustration and downright contempt for this hatchet job. Perhaps not.

      I think it is the combination of the journalist and fiction writer in me that particularly balks at this totally exploitative cheap trick with Lucas/John–a stunt, really–to pull in ratings through a melodramatic, soap-operaish plot device that I consider unworthy of this production. Oh, how the mighty have fallen in my estimation. They did not play fairly with you, Richard. They did not.

      I am so glad you had bigger and better things on the horizon, my dear fellow.

    • @Fitzg,

      As I watched the video that servetus provided I realized I was looking at S7 Lucas through the lens of all that happened in S9 and I didn’t like what I saw. Was it there all along and we didn’t see it? Perhaps. I’m not ready.

      • Ann Marie,

        I, for one, refuse to believe they had all this “Lucas the hero is a complete fraud who is really a murderous, unstable git named John Bateman and we planned this from the start–ooh, aren’t WE the clever ones!” malarkey. Won’t wash for me.

        That’s a convenient excuse some may use to try to cover up the scriptwriters’ and producers’ obvious contempt for their audience’s intelligence and their complete failure to deliver a sane, logical, plausible series 9. Exciting, yes. But at WHAT PRICE?

        • @Angie, love, I would NEVER give the writers credit for thinking that creatively and so far ahead. I can’t help but look at the past differently in the light of the “information” now available to me. And things look a little different.. and I know I need more time to pass before I can look at any of it intelligently. I realized I was interpreting S7 looks and reactions differently than I had before. I don’t like it.

          • You see, that makes me even angrier, the thought they may have virtually ruined for so many viewers what was one of my favorite RA characters–Lucas and John Porter are neck-and-neck right behind Guy for me–with their S9 shenanigans.

            What a stupid, bloody, unnecesaary waste. I find myself wishing I had never seen S9, that it really was all just a very bad dream.

            I don’t wake up in the middle of the night thinking about it anymore and I have stopped crying over it–thank heavens!

            I hope one day we can all look back to early Lucas and find those days unblemished by the ugliness of S9.

          • That’s like life, though.

            The reading for today in western civ was from Locke’s essay on human understanding and we were discussing the question of whether we are the same people today that we were yesterday (and what the consequences of that question could be both personally socially) and how we now begin to see the past in different terms based on our present. I love these big questions, and I like thinking about them with regard to Lucas. If the S9 plot line is true, it makes S7 even sadder because you realize what an effort Lucas is making. I’ve got lots more in me around this question because it is also a personal one for me (and no, I wasn’t a terrorist while in college).

            • @servetus, You’ve hit the emotion that struck me as I watched the video you attached in one….sadness. And it was overwhelming. And it makes me very uncomfortable to still feel this way. I should be able to put it aside and move on and I can’t. This isn’t like me.

              Seriously, start at S7 with S9 as a lens and it is so heartbreakingly tragic. It makes his performance that much more….I have no words.

              • Heart-wrenching and deeply painful and yet hard to look away?

                It becomes like an epic tragedy in its own way. Beautifully played, Richard, beautifully played, but I still wish they hadn’t put you through all that.

                Sure, it’s no surprise an essentially sensitive soul like Lucas who had been through such horrors and degradation would have some sort of breakdown eventually. Our hero is human, after all.

                I just didn’t believe this is how it would happen. I think such an event could have been handled using the existing background we had on Lucas without pulling this John Bateman s**t.

                I’ve read theories by numerous fanfic writers and fans that were miles better than what the show gave us.

            • Well, I am relieved to know the latter, Prof. 😀
              Everybody changes over time to some degree, it’s true–and my viewpoints on certain matters today sometimes differ from how I saw things when I was younger.

              Interestingly, I think I’ve become more liberal than conservative as I age (isn’t the reverse supposed to be true?)

              I would say in some ways I am a different person, in part due to what happened to me through the FMS. I talk of life BRA (Before RA) but I also had a life BFMS when I had so much more energy and no real problems sleeping and didn’t have so much pain to contend with.

              I’ve had to learn to adapt and I’ve been left with more time for soul-searching. Hopefully it’s made me a more compassionate person. But I had to basically deal with the death of the person I had been before.
              Losing my parents and inlaws–well, it hit both my husband and I so intensely, it changed us.

              Thinking back, it was a long time before I could go back to my mother’s room at the assisted living facility to clean everything out. My heart just couldn’t bear it. It has been somewhat the same feeling–grief, there is no other word–in retracing Lucas’s journey and trying to get a handle on everything that happened to that character and why his demise, so very much more even than my beloved Guy’s, had such a profound effect on me.

              Again–it’s all Mr. Armitage’s fault for making us care so danged much.

              • And these points apply in spades to Lucas / John. I asked my students today whether there was any potential objection to the statement that “I am not now who I was then” (something John / Lucas says about himself in 9.7 — “back then my morality was fluid”) and they figured out that the real context for the problem is in justice: if I am not now the person I was when I committed a brutal murder, do I deserve the punishment that that person deserved?

                The position in the West is that one does — that whatever one may say about one’s identity, in the end identity is fixed to the extent that our apparent physical bodies, which are subject to punishment for crimes, are stable. In the end this turns into a problem for us as viewers of S9 because we don’t want the Lucas we know to be responsible for the John of the past, though he must be. So our pain at this problem results in us pointing out all the plot inconsistencies — another identity problem insofar as we are claiming that in fact Lucas can not be John.

                • Suddenly I am thinking of Les Miserables (which I have on my Kindle and will re-read at some point) and Jean Valjean . . . how Javert would never forget or forgive Valjean’s crimes, in spite of the fact he became an honest and respectable member of the community (and of course his initial crime was stealing bread to feed starving family members, compounded by all those attempts to escape, not a brutal murder). In the end, of course, Javert cannot reconcile the Valjean who showed him mercy and compassion with the criminal he despises, and cannot go on.

                  This brings up the whole idea of capital punishment and whether an eye for an eye is still acceptable (most Western countries do not have a death penalty these days) and can a person turn their lives around in such a way as to negate any horrific crimes they may have committed earlier in their lives . . . oh, this is getting complicated. Sorry.

                  I just know the brave, heroic spy who underwent torture and deprivation in that Russian prison and never broke–was ready to take his own life before giving in to his captors–and exhibited so much concern for his team, for those he tried to protect like Dean, who knew colleagues were OK and who despised what Sarah and her ilk stood for—I can’t let go of my admiration and respect for him, flawed and damaged though he may have been.

      • Ann Marie, this is a great question, I don’t just mean from the perspective of the plausibility of what’s now become canon, but in terms of what the dark side(s) of Lucas might actually have been. A character punished by life as much as Lucas had been — well, when that happens in real life, the consequences are often extreme. It almost seemed necessary to me that Lucas was going to have to crack in some way.

        • I wonder if where the writers were going with the LN/JB thing is that the job in itself is extremely grey, the agents are called to be heros and villans at times simultaneously. Maybe there are no “real” heroes??? And lastly, it never seems to end well for these people. Does it?

          • @Rob, How difficult it must be to spend one’s life shifting the line between right and wrong all the time. No?

            • Or to feel as if one were hiding his or her true identity at all times, fearful it is going to be discovered–like the escaped convicted shown on that show “I (Almost) Got Away with It.” Their time on the run rarely seems very enjoyable, always looking over their shoulders, wondering when they will be found out. NO way to live, in my opinion.

          • It’s a bleak outlook, that’s for certain. Depressing on this cold night with more nasty winter weather on the way. So I watched “Groundhog Day” for the first time in years and thoroughly enjoyed it. Need something else funny and uplifting, I do believe.

        • @servetus, yes dear, I agree, he would have had to crack especially when we see NO signs what so ever of any healing or aid or comfort. In perspective now I see that the affairs with GOR and Maya and even reaching out to Elizaveta were signs of a mind and soul in agony desperately looking for healing and comfort without the usual grasp of rationality to know what was good for him and what wasn’t. Literally a drowning man reaching for ANYTHING to keep from going under.

          The service did nothing (lets stick to canon here and go with what they showed on the series) for Lucas. Nothing. He tried to save himself and failed…fatally…tragically.

          In hindsight it seems clearer to me now.

          • Now I find myself really hating Harry Pearce, who truly looks like a bumbling incompetent who should have tried harder to help his protege. But then, if he were as screwed up as everyone else in the service apparently is, he couldn’t have done much to help, could he? And, no, no one much seems to get a happy ending, Rob (Zoe got the best deal, it seems).

            Still think this show should probably call it quits after the next sries.

      • Interesting! It was the other way round for me – I rewatched series 7 and all was well again. There he was, my lovely, eager, heroic Lucas. Oh, and in series 8 I found the explanation – our poor boy was concussed and had nightmares while being unconscious 😉

      • I have not been able to view Lucas in the same way since S9 either, and it feels like an utter waste of a great character. Still, thinking back, from what I remember the feel of the character in S7 is so much different from what expired later. S9 is just so not in line with S7 and 8. By the way, I was so distraught about it all that the morning after 9.7 aired back in november I was thinking about it so much that I wasn’t paying attention, and I dented my car by driving into a pole on the parking lot. I still have that big dent in my little car; it reminds me of the reason why every day…. (I haven’t told anyone the real reason yet, exept now) (blush)

        • Oh, Elisabet,

          I am glad you are OK and didn’t suffer any injuries yourself. *hugs* But I can also totally understand your preoccupation with what was happening to poor Lucas because it so depressed and angered ME, too. So I do feel your pain.

        • Oh my dear Elisabet! Glad you weren’t hurt!

        • I think that’s the kind of effect a tv producer can only dream of … and I’m glad you’re ok. Perhaps you can put a Lucas North sticker on the dent to cover it up?

          • @Angie, Ann Marie and Servetus, thanks for your concerns. It was just a soft bumb, but boy, did it leave a dent. At least it helped me focus before I could get into more serious trouble 🙂

            @ Servetus, Now, THAT’s an idea 🙂

            • The Lucas North commemorative car. I can see it now, a trend is starting of distracted women denting their vehicles while thinking of (cough) a particular “other thing.”

  4. Superflous musing: it’s actually 7:40 here in the east, and I’ve been long bemused that comment from here in E. Ontario register about 7 hours ahead of EST. Is WP on GMT? I’m not…

    • GMT or GMT plus one hour, I believe is what Servetus said. She started the blog when she was in Europe, I believe? . . .

      • Yes, I have a prehistory as a blogger, which began while I was living in Germany in the Spring of 2008, and I think I set the blog at either GMT or GMT plus one at that time.

  5. Musa – GOOD!! Now we just have to wait for Willy….

  6. Thank you for your beautiful and so moody music, very silencing me.
    And for me it will be a nice evening as TV Spooks 8 e.5 and tomorrow the next episode (and it does not matter that I’ve seen that series.) Already I am happy, because Lucas / Mr Thorthon / Guy… / Mr Armitage is never too much :-)))))

  7. @ Angie, I know, I know!! Cheap trick!! Only, the DVD is just working insidulously on that part of the small mind to look at all the characters and acting. And feel their pain? Well, that’s a bridge too far. S9 – future. Maybe.

    And SB is helping to look at a work I would never LOOK at, except for Mr. A, and see the other actors – what did you think of Toby Stephen’s accent? And just try to see from another perspecitve this genre. But it would not work for me, without the performance of Richard Armitage….

    And please, again, banish Gisborne (fat chance 😀 please don’t), but he really is a persistent distraction…

    • Fitzg,
      Mr. A is the heart and soul of SB. It won’t be the same without him, sorry, Mr. Stapleton. There is only one larger-than-life hero in that series, and it isn’t you. I do love that John Porter.

      I thought Toby’s American accent was really quite good (miles better than dear old GOR, for certain!!) He makes a great bad guy, too.

      Speaking of “Guys” . . . the Dark Knight is very stubborn about leaving our hearts and minds. Now that he has been Loved Into Being, and achieved So Not Dead Status, I fear you are stuck with him.

      • Toby lived in north America as a child, which probably helps. I agree, I thought it was excellent.

        • I didnn’t realize that about Toby. He definitely had a good handle on that role, accent, body language and all, I thought. Following in his mama’s footsteps very nicely, that one. 😀
          (I am going to miss my weekly dose of Dame Haggie–BTW, Amazon has the unedited UK version of DA for $16.99 right now).

          • Oh, heck, Dame Maggie, not Haggie. My eyes are so sticky right now with allergies from being outside in the wind yesterday, hanging on to that reflector for dear life, I can’t see straight today LOL

          • Ms. Smith played in Canada for many years, apparently. At some point on a visit back to England his parents (divorced at that point, I guess) they discovered that his British accent was abating and thus enrolled him in an English school in order to encounter the creeping Northamericanisms.

  8. PS computer spelling is not improving, obviously. D*** that send key.

  9. I think the incomperable Ms/Dame Maggie did play at Stratford a number of times (memo to self: check that out), and I’m sure she played Lady Bracknell more than once, which leads straight into the Dowager Duchess of Grantham…

    The question of accents is amusing. When I was at school in England for several years, school worked to rid me of my “Canadisn accent”. On the other hand, compatriots back home were always asking where I came from, because? I’d picked up English mother’s intonations. Don’t know what it is today. I think the accent sank somewhere in the Atlantic. Neither fish, now fowl…nor good red herring. (I think the herring have disappeared from the Banks; so go the dinosaurs)..can I do an emoticon without (giggle) censure)? 🙂 🙂 🙂

    So there!

  10. I discovered Sigur Rós through my obsession with things Scandinavian, so when next I have hi-speed access, I must go look at the vid on YouTube. Sigur Rós and RA, wonderful!

    • I know — great combination, no? I thought I might do one, but I realized how important it is to me to understand the words in a fanvid. So I could do a German one, maybe.

  11. Skinny, frail, prison Lucas set against that haunting melody makes me hits me in my solar plexus. I have this dull ache in my heart. I also want to give him a cup of tea and several biscuits…it brings out this “mothering” impulse, I even want to do his laundry, and I HATE doing the laundry!!! Hate it! So for me to have a compulsion to wash a man’s knickers… Poor LN, we’ll just ignore that last season, and hold you in our hearts as a hero.

    • @Rob,

      I’m rolling on the floor abit about a “compulsion to wash a man’s knickers.” HAHAHAHAHAHAHA! Truly true devotion.

    • Me, too. There’s a really extended fanfic somewhere on DF, I forget where, exactly, and then it stopped, where the author just essentially feeds him, cuddles with him, and pets him for chapters and chapters and chapters. I understand the impulse.

      • ‘Overnight Therapy?’ I remember reading part of that on LJ and then she posted it on DF. Lucas in S7 definitely brought out all my nurturing and protective instincts.

  12. It isn’t illogical to see a continuum from Lucas 7 through Lucas 9. It’s just distressing. Yes, the cues were present from the first series. Magnified in S8. Lucas S8 really did lose his rag in relation to Sarah, which was disillusioning, but perhaps a heads-up. Lucas 7 demonstrated the good judgement of a superior agent. Lucas 8 did not, understanderble though it was in the context. An actress who did not have to struggle with accent, rather than focussing on nuance would have helped. BIG casting error – there are plenty of American and Canadian actresses (yes, I know we’re supposed to call everyone an actOR, but I think that’s silly). So it oughtn’t to have breached union rules…

    Another problem was simply the budget? decision to shoot only 8 eps. At least RH and Gisborne had space to develop more smoothly, with more transparent backstories. If you’re going to do something, do it properly! Instead of wasting countless $$$ on Top Gear!! (one of my favourite BBC targets…)

    As for the writers, well, they’ve done their job – we’re still talking months later!! GIGGLE…

    • Indeed — they definitely have us occupied.

    • Fitzg,

      I confess I quite enjoy Top Gear–but would gladly sacrifice a few road races across the Kalihari and “fish out of water” trips to the States to give shows like Spooks larger budgets to allow for more eps and thus more character development and sorting out of the storyline, so it doesn’t seem like a horrible rush job. And maybe pay the writers more so they would have a greater incentive to make it all flow better??

      Of cours, I get paid peanuts, but I take pride in my work . . . *sigh*

      Oh, yeah, they got our attention, alright.

  13. Meant to say, North American performers legally RESIDENT in England.

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