F3, Day Three! One voice to thrill them all, and Armitage to bind them!

Welcome to Day Three of FanstRAvaganza 3, with twenty new posts for you to enjoy!

The links below will appear during the event day, between midnight and midnight, London time. They may not all appear at once. If you missed any of the previous posts, they are all indexed here.

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In the tagteams, Day Three: F3 brightens up “hump day”!

In fanfic, Maria Grazia presents an interview with Trudy Brasure and giveaway of her book, A Heart for Milton C.S. Winchester helps new authors get their feet wet writing fanfic In freeform, ChrisB continues the alphabet with “B is for Beard-Love jazzbaby1 puts John Porter in the hands of Frank Spotnitz Agzy outs Armitage characters as dog lovers In fandom, fedoralady recommends the right tunes for your Armitage fanvid Rose Gisborne describes her Armitage day In the Hobbit, IngeD3 reveals the deeper meaning of the dwarfs’ hoods Ana Cris reflects on Armitage and Maori ceremony, part 1, and part 2 In King Richard Armitage, Fabo offers some choices to play Anne Neville Links to all FanstRA 3 posts appear here at the end of each day!

F3 core, Day Three:

bccmee on the incompetent but gorgeous Lucas North CDoart on Richard Armitage & women fitzg (guesting at Confessions of a Watcher) divulges a classified memo from the DG of MI-5 on Lucas’s return to Section D RAFrenzy on Richard Armitage’s thinking Nat with a Richard Armitage interactive crossword puzzle Traxy on family relationships and Ordeal by Innocence Fanny interviews Wattpad author Stella del Nord Jonia on how she keeps herself from thinking she needs to marry Richard Armitage  and mulubinba on location scouting for The Hobbit Links to all FanstRA 3 posts appear here at the end of each day!

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F3, Day Three at “me + richard armitage”? I’ve never been as broadly successful as Didion with evangelizing for North & South, but I humbly present my only relevant success story.

In my last job, I found a way to incorporate North & South into my large introductory course. It totally fit, as the class covered the period of history treated in the book and film. I would have had them read Engels’ Condition of the Working Class in England, probably, or something by J.S. Mill for this period, so the themes fit. My only reservation was that until I showed this series, I had never shown a non-contemporary film in the class at all. Usually, I only show either historical footage, or films that represented a particular Zeitgeist when they appeared. History is complicated enough that (a) actual history is often / usually more interesting than fiction and (b) introducing a historical film into a history classroom can confuse students because they tend to conclude that the film says something “true” about history rather than being a contemporary representation of it. North & South broke my rules, even though it was a serialization of novel contemporary to the period of study. But I found a good way to incorporate it into my course theme, and it made a nice break right around mid-term from heavy reading that includes The Wealth of Nations and The Communist Manifesto.

I was nervous, though, so the first time, I asked the advice of my (male) TA (teaching assistant). The conversation took place just before his second semester with me, and although we are now great friends, I think we made poor first impressions on each other because we were both going through difficult life events at the time. He struck me as prickly, initially; (too) brusque; and even a little Aspergery. I was wrong about those judgments. As we worked through the first semester, he turned into a real colleague: both knowledgeable and incisive, and also a good teacher. Normally I wouldn’t ask a TA about the content of my syllabus, but my growing respect for him drove me to consult him, and I asked, specifically, “do you think this is too girly?” I will always remember his response, which was, essentially, that every book I’d assigned the class to read was written by a man, and yet I wasn’t asking whether the class was too “boy-y.” (Working as a female prof with a male TA can be tricky for all kinds of reasons, but one of the great things about this guy is that he’s a total gender egalitarian.)

My TA’s only complaint about N&S was that the serial didn’t give political radicalism (a subject of his dissertation) more space! William Houston as Boucher in episode 2 of North & South. My cap.

So we assigned it. I gave the students a few options for watching it online, but I supplied him with a (new) copy of it. (Faculty sometimes receive free instructional copies of materials, but when the publisher doesn’t deliver, I simply buy the materials for the TA myself.) It turned out that our library didn’t have a copy of it, either, and as course materials need to be on physical reserve “just in case,” I also had to buy a (new) copy for the library. We completed that portion of the course — it was a great success; something like 60 percent of students chose to incorporate North & South in their papers for that segment — but he admitted to me, with no apparent shame, that he hadn’t used the DVD. “I tossed it into my car,” he said, “and I couldn’t find it that week, so I just watched it online like the students did.” Oh, well, that’s how these things go, I thought. Since I knew I’d be teaching the class again the subsequent semester with a different TA, I thought about asking for it back, but I never do that with books. I left it.

About six months later, that TA started dating a (in my opinion wonderful) fellow graduate student. It was a big step; he was coming off a relationship where he’d been heavily exploited by his partner, at least partially with his own cooperation, and he had gone through a period of low trust for almost everyone around him, but a lot of things had happened for him in that year and he started making himself vulnerable again. I suspect it was love, or at least extreme emotional attraction, at first sight. I was really happy when he told me, at some point when I asked if he wanted to have coffee, “well, now I have a girlfriend.” Several weeks passed before I got to meet her, though.

When I did, at a dinner with him and another a colleague of mine, she told me an interesting story. On their first date, she got into the car, and for some reason, that night his car chose to cough up the North & South DVD it had been hiding all of those months. She picked it up off the floor or wherever she saw it and said, “Is this yours? A romance? Do you like historical romances?” and he said, “I’m not really into chick flicks, but this one’s not bad. I bet you would like it.”

“So he did think it was girly!” I said to her, and told her the story with him seated diagonally to me at the table. He laughed.

“He watched it with me, though,” she said. “Twice.” And she leaned over and rubbed her cheek against his shoulder.

[This tale is, against my own inclination, unabashedly sweet, although I'm not sure if I or the car was ultimately responsible. Or maybe -- just maybe -- it was my TA.]

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My favorite of the charities Richard Armitage has raised money for on JustGiving is Childline. If you liked this post or appreciate Armitage’s work, please consider making a donation of yourself. Demand for the service in most of the UK is up, and in some places only a portion of calls can be answered. As always, many worthy causes deserve our support, but this week I’m blogging to draw attention to this one. Thanks for listening.

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For more F3 reading: In fanfic, Maria Grazia presents an interview with Trudy Brasure and giveaway of her book, A Heart for Milton C.S. Winchester helps new authors get their feet wet writing fanfic In freeform, ChrisB continues the alphabet with “B is for Beard-Love jazzbaby1 puts John Porter in the hands of Frank Spotnitz Agzy outs Armitage characters as dog lovers In fandom, fedoralady recommends the right tunes for your Armitage fanvid Rose Gisborne describes her Armitage day In the Hobbit, IngeD3 reveals the deeper meaning of the dwarfs’ hoods Ana Cris reflects on Armitage and Maori ceremony, part 1, and part 2 In King Richard Armitage, Fabo offers some choices to play Anne Neville Links to all FanstRA 3 posts appear here at the end of each day!

~ by Servetus on March 14, 2012.

39 Responses to “F3, Day Three! One voice to thrill them all, and Armitage to bind them!”

  1. I such a sucker for stories like this! I hope they have a “happily ever after”!!! Or at least another convert!!

    • It’s been a year and a half and they’re still together, although he’s in Germany for the year. The real test in grad school relationships usually happens at graduation, if they can’t find jobs in the same city. But he’s open to not being a professor, so that’s a hopeful sign. I love them both to death, but I especially want him to be happy.

  2. This is a lovely story. I especially like the idea of the N&S dvd “turning up” in your friend’s car. :)

    • I know, wasn’t that kind of magical? Like the video had been hiding itself, just waiting for a potential romantic partner to get into the car.

  3. Hi Serv,
    This is such a sweet tale about North & South cementing a relationship. And they’re still together from your comment above. That’s great!
    Cheers! Grati ;->

    • Yeah, he’ll be back in the US in three months or so — and then they would have a year in the same city before she will need to go to Vietnam for her research. I’ve been urging them to consider getting married because the major funder for Vietnam is Fulbright, and Fulbright pays a spousal allowance.

  4. N&S is probably one “costume drama” that is not entirely out of place in the classroom. As long as the students read the book, too! It was, I’m sure, welcome after plouging through The Communist Manifesto/Wealth of Nations. Lovely about your TA!

    • I doubt they read the book, as during that term they read most of a long Spanish explorer’s memoir, a short book by Calvin, Moll Flanders, The Second Treatise of Government, WoN, Communist Manifesto, The Ladies’ Paradise, Storms of Steel, The Economic Consequences of the Peace, Theory of the Leisure Class, The Wretched of the Earth, and Capitalism and Freedom. We also couldn’t take class time to watch the film. Maybe some of the ones who really liked the series might have sought out the book afterwards.

  5. Maybe they can have a N&S themed wedding. ;)

    • If they even have one. They’re both kind of non-traditional people.

    • Of course!! Why didn’t I think of that…a N&S themed wedding. I know someone who could do a rad wedding cake with yellow roses and teacups! And a fruit table. Fruit in a basket on a table with teacups. Completely doable. Somebody slap me. :D

  6. HAHA… I love that you assigned N&S to your students. :)
    (Why were none of my college professors that awesome and sneaky???)

    • This was probably the one slightly cool moment in a very difficult class. (See reading list above). Although, if you haven’t read it, I’d recommend The Ladies’ Paradise. It’s a novel about shopping and what happens to the middle classes when the first department store opens in Paris, written about a decade and a half after that happened.

  7. Great story. I wish you had been one of my teachers. Education would have been a lot more interesting!

    • It helps that I have really interesting material to teach. European history is endlessly fascinating, at least to me, and I always say if I can get interested in something I can probably get you interested, too :)

  8. Very touching history,your TA must be in love.!:) He watched”North and South” twice!…*sigh*….my hubby fell asleep instantly. ;)

    • I think he was. I didn’t say much about him, but when I met him at first he was so grumpy that I thought he might have been unapproachable for the average woman his age. I grew to see past that, but I wondered if others would.

  9. And this is wonderful how RA can affect on our life always in good way. Thank You Servetus for wonderful post :0

  10. Great story! I won’t lie it made me all gushy. :) The idea of the car hiding North & South until just the right moment is fun, its as if the car knew precisely when to reveal its hidden treasure.

    • Yeah. Which makes me think if I’d asked him for it back, the car might not have given it up to him.

  11. Hi:

    N&S is still working its tricks!

    About your course : what an interesting choice of books! I ‘ll try to read them.I started Hobsbawn’s “The Age of Capital” as I had many issues , but had other readings to do. Which also included a biography on the “Viscount of Mauá”, a Brazilian entrepreneur,industrialist of the XIX century, with strong connections with England (There is a Braz. biopic about him- trailer on YT.)

    Some Brazilian students to whom I showed the N & S video were skepticall about the final train station kiss: they doubted people would do it in those days ( althoug having their fingers crossed for a happy ending).

    • Hobsbawm is really important — obviously an explicitly Marxist perspective, but he’s one of the scholars the course puts itself in dialogue with. The explorer we read, btw, was Bernal Diaz del Castillo. And I left Nicolas Barbon, a Discourse of Trade, off the list — very short. I think all those things are really worth reading. Wealth of Nations is more than a bit of a slog, though.

      The kiss: yes, totally anachronistic. A lot of English people wouldn’t do that in public even now :)

      • Anachronistic (*) yes, but probably THE most beautiful kiss in the movies ever!

        (*) One of the – many – things I like about your Blog is the vocabulary.At school we were always told to avoid latinisms when speaking/writing English which is a huge effort btw. Here I feel free to do it. ; )

        • Too bad, because if one avoids the Latin vocabulary one misses so many shades of meaning. Think of the difference between being bellicose and pugnacious, for example. Ah, Latin. I learned Spanish before Latin but the Latin-root words in English are the easiest ones to formulate in Spanish because so many are cognates … :)

    • Oh, and the other book that woul dhave gone on the list if the course were longer would be Hayek, The Road to Serfdom. To be read in dialogue with Naomi Klein, The Shock Doctrine.

  12. I LOVE this story! Do you think your TA studied the train scene in detail to perfect the technique?

    • I hadn’t thought of that — but maybe he did! He did listen to me make quite a few remarks about what an amazing romantic presence Richard Armitage has — and he heard the students in the class discussing the virtues of that kiss before class started one day. They had quite an extensive discussion about Armitage’s technique in that scene …

  13. Thanks Servet,
    This is so romantic! sigh!

  14. Love it! Assigned to watch N&S? Such torture! The story about the TA was the icing on the cake. Speaking of cake…I’m laughing about the N&S themed wedding, Queen.

    • The comments from men in the class were interesting. None of them said they hated it, and a couple of them said, this is the kind of movie to take a girl to. So apparently there is at least some sensitivity to romance in the younger generation :)

  15. Beautiful story. He watched N&S twice *sigh* oh, he really must be very sensitive guy.

    • What is weird is that I never thought of him as particularly sensitive. He is a gender egalitarian, I think because he was raised by a single mother in difficult circumstances. But I also think that made him tough. It was weird to see a tender side to him, albeit briefly.

  16. If we had watched N&S in my college classes, I would have paid more attention. It would have livened up Business Law (the class I fell asleep in EVERY day)

    • See, I’m not sure how I’d enliven that if I were the instructor, either. I just don’t know how I could get myself interested in it.

  17. [...] you worming your way into this lecture. You think you can use Richard Armitage as a vector because that’s how Thornton made his way into my modern history class, but you’re not the boss of me!” I realize I am starting to sound a little [...]

  18. [...] you’ve read that piece, go on and read the rest: the insinuation of North and South into her classroom, illusions of Richard III, the assessment of RichardArmitageOnline as a great site, the discussion [...]

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