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

Welcome to Day Four of FanstRAvaganza 3, with nineteen new posts planned for you to enjoy!

Some posts are scheduled to appear automatically, while others will be posted manually. Keep in mind that not every link may be live until the end of the event day at 23:59, London time. Links to all FanstRA 3 posts appear here at the end of each day, too!


In the F3 tagteams, Day Four: it’s half over, already!

In King Richard Armitage, Servetus admits to (gasp!) stray thoughts while lecturing In fanfic, Margaret Hale guestposts at John Thornton‘s on why she loves him Jo Ann continues her story: think ten gallon hat! In freeform, Jas Rangoon jokes about potential reproductive partners for Mr. Armitage Itsjsforme reveals another Guy of Gisborne PSA (still not safe for work!) Gratiana Lovelace needs more help captioning “Whimsical Moments with Deadly Serious ChaRActers!” In fandom, IngeD3 focuses on Ricky Deeming Fabo confesses her Richard Armitage eyelash fetish In the Hobbit, it’s calories galore as Antonia Romera discusses fingerlicking at the Hobbit table The Queen takes on Hobbit cakes Links to all FanstRA 3 posts appear here at the end of each day!

In the F3 core, Day Four:

CDoart on Armitage in historical costumes Guy’s outbreaks are escalating at judiang’s therapy sessions RAFrenzy spurs us all onward Longhairedtoad guests at Richard Armitage Fan Blog with “If RA Had a Superpower …” Traxy writes all about the Monet, Monet, Monet Fanny interviews Wattpad author Yelloweeee Jonia relates her most memorable moments in fangirlingmulubinba describes her visit to Beorn’s House, a Hobbit film location and bccmee is hot on the trail of the sexy dwarf — who knew? • Links to all FanstRA 3 posts appear here at the end of each day!


You find yourself in Day Four of the King Richard Armitage Chain. Yesterday, Fabo wrote about potential actresses to cast as Anne Neville; tomorrow, the chain moves on to fitzg at Confessions of a Watcher.

What to get the man who insists he already has everything? Answer: more work for our beloved workaholic. Since watching his work gives us so much delicious fantasy fulfillment, we thought we’d turn the tables with a fantasy present: the job that he’s most repeatedly expressed interest in doing — a retelling of the Richard III story. Would you like to share the fantasy more actively? Sign the manifesto: Richard Armitage for Richard III!


Before lecture, I’m reviewing my notes and running through the list of things I emphasize in this 75-minute installment of the course, which treats the rise of national monarchies in the West. Given my very specialized training and the subjects I have been employed to teach since getting my Ph.D., this lecture is the only time I ever refer to Richard III.

Why is that? Another time I’ll explain, when I’m not rushing to prepare for lecture. Let’s leave it at: he’s not a major presence. Honestly, with most U.S. students, Richard III doesn’t have any reputation, not even one that needs rescuing. And this is a big overview. To give you an idea of just how big: Robin Hood and Richard III are on facing pages of the survey textbook my students are reading, strung together in a confusing discussion of the rise and fall of bastard feudalism. Which proximity initially made me think: no wonder students think history is just a long string of unfamiliar names.

So, in lecture, I’m trying to reinforce the point that the implicit and explicit statist aims of a series of western European monarchs of the period are reinforced not only through their dynastic sagas (which history geeks love, and students often find so boring) but through the administrative reforms they undertake. The point here is the long-term trajectory of the western state, something students should care about, as its contemporary successor influences their every move.

And they might, in twenty years. If they remember anything of this. So undaunted by lack of interest, I walk down the aisle of my lecture room, smile at the student at the end of the aisle and say, in the most pleasant tone I can find, “Stacey, would you shut your laptop if you’re going to facebook,” then catch my breath and take the deep breath that’s lends me the breath support to be heard all the way through the room without a mic. I say, “For example, in the reign of Louis XI of France,” [photo at right], notice a student on the other side of the aisle with his head on the desk, and bop him lightly with the role of printed lecture notes in my hands, and say, “stay awake, Jesús, you’re borrowing money to pay for the rare pleasure of listening to these lectures,” and pick up the strand of my remarks, “in France, the late medieval state steps out onto the terrain that would be followed more consistently by its absolutist successor, the attempt to defuse threats to the crown’s power via the suppression of noble factionalism.” I’ve now reached the back of the hall and turn back toward my PowerPoint slide, which has a nice painting of Louis XI on it.

I feel a brief sensation of vertigo. The picture dissolves and resolves into one of Richard III!

This better not be happening! Paintings of monarchs are required to stay the ones I’ve put into the presentation! They illustrate important points!

I shake my head, but it’s still Richard III on the screen [picture at left.] I click the classroom remote. Nothing doing. I look around furtively, to see if anyone has noticed. Jesús’ head has fallen back onto the desk. Stacey has now abandoned the laptop and taken out her phone. The attentive students who typically sit in the front middle don’t seem to be disturbed by anything. I move forward to see the expressions on their faces. They look non-committal. Whitney asks: “So why were the, like, um, nobles? Why did they, om, oppose the dynastic state?”

The portrait of Richard III opens its lips and begins to speak. “What an impertinent question! Who are you to question our motives, five hundred years later? And so inarticulately?”

I look around again. No one else has noticed. Thanks heavens. “Don’t pick on them. No one ever taught them to speak properly. And no one can hear you, you know,” I say, confidently, to the picture.

“Professor Servetus?” Whitney is looking at me in confusion.

“Sorry, Whitney, what was your question?”

“Why, like, the French nobles resisted the crown.”

“Hmmm,” I say. “Can anyone help Whitney out?” I look around the classroom. “Anthony?”

“The Armagnacs wanted to be kingmakers?”

I almost fall down. Someone read the textbook. Lots of implausible things are happening today. “Wow,” I say, “good job, Anthony!” But Whitney’s not satisfied. “But why? Why did they want to be kingmakers?” she asks. “What’s a kingmaker?”

The portrait opens its mouth again. “You know, you could use me to explain all of this,” it says. “A lot more easily. That French stuff is so complicated. Charles VII was dynastically a Burgundian, even though he was supported by the Armagnacs.”

“Stop interrupting!” I reply. “You are an annoying historical detail and your picture is not even actually in this PowerPoint. And we’ve been following the Armagnacs because Joan of Arc is a historical figure they have heard of. There are recent films about her. None of them have ever heard of you!”

This seems to mollify him slightly, but obviously I am starting to look crazy. “Professor Servetus?” Anthony says. I smooth my blouse down over my hips and square my shoulders.

“Good question, Whitney. Do you remember why, Anthony?” I say. He shakes his head. “That’s okay,” I say. “I’m impressed that you remembered that detail.”

“A kingmaker is someone with the power to put someone else on the throne of a country. The problem,” I continue, turning back toward Whitney, “was the interests of their factional opponents, the Burgundians, with whom they had been in civil war. Do you remember what they were?”

Erik, who sits next to Whitney, slaps his head. “The Burgundians were like all over the English wool trade,” he expostulates. My jaw drops. Two people read the textbook! Stacey drops her cell phone, loudly, and Jesús’ head pops up again, briefly, before it crashes on the desk again.

“Excellent,” I say. “Of course, that ‘proto-nationalism’ among the Armagnacs also had economic components, as they favored agrarian interests, but the conflict points out that one way to view the factionalism of the French nobility in the period before the reign of Charles VII is through the prism of the development of a notion of national interest. Bastard feudalism yields to a state that sells itself as no longer personalist, but instead speaks to its subjects in the name of a nascent, though putative, ‘national’ interest and seeks to bind larger groups beyond the nobility to state administration, in part through economic interest.”

Having re-established control over the historical narrative, I look back toward the board, determined to do the same to the PowerPoint. Wool was important in Spain, too. I’m ready to try to flip to the next slide, but I have to shake my head. The picture’s changed again, and the lips move.

“What if I got this guy to play me?” Richard III / Armitage says now. “Would you say no one has ever heard of me then?”

“Yeah, I heard you tried to issue a charter,” I say. “But nothing’s come of it.” I try to shut him up by scoffing.

“Hey, he’s busy,” Richard III / Armitage says. “He’ll be even more famous by the time he gets to me. The papers said just last summer that he wants to play me. Everyone will want to know about me then!”

“No way,” I say. “I need to get on to the emergence of the developing Spanish state out of the Reconquista. No way are 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 shrill.

“Professor! Professor!” I shake my head. “Yes, Anthony?”

“Are you all right?”

“Yes, absolutely.” I breathe deeply.

“You said something about a charter?”

“Yes, Anthony. Richard III of England issued a number of legal decrees during his brief reign, including a provision for the payment of bail in the criminal prosecution of felons, an important legal protection that he initiated and which we enjoy today.” Will this concession shut the picture up? I wonder. “We can see fifteenth-century England in this same light as France,” I continue, “but the factionalism of the English nobles persisted longer due to the struggling fertility of the Plantagenets and the unwillingness of the beneficiaries of the personalist system to leave off factionalism until they were forced to do so by Henry VII. Indeed, it was Richard’s inability to put an end to the factionalism that had brought him to the throne that brought about his demise.”

“That is so not fair!” Richard III / Armitage yells. “I was murdered at Bosworth before I could really get going! I was on a good path toward legal modernization. It’s not just bail. Ever heard of the Court of Requests?”

“STFU!” I yell back. “I’ve heard of it, but no one else in this room has. And get out of my lecture. I don’t care what an amazing actor Richard Armitage is, you are not a successful example of the defeat of factionalism! You’re one of its worst examples!”

I punch the remote. Ferdinand and Isabella. Finally.

“Before we move on to Spain,” I say to the class, “are there any questions about France?”

Anthony raises his hand. “I didn’t have any questions about France,” he says, “but I did have a question about England. Did you see that the textbook mentions Robin Hood?”

Immediately Jesús’ head jerks up. Stacey’s head swivels to the front. “He is wicked hawt,” she says. Jesús nods in agreement, the most active movement he’s made all semester.

“Who?” I say, confused. “Robin Hood?”

“No,” she drools. “Guy. You know. That actor. You can’t take your eyes off him.”

I look back at the screen. Ferdinand and Isabella are gone, and guess who’s staring down at me?

“You have nothing to do with Spain!” I yell. And see the students nervously rising and edging toward the corners of the room.

[Portions of this account may or may not be true, but all of it was decisively inspired by judiang. Pick up the King Richard Armitage Chain, there, at Confessions of a Watcher, tomorrow, with a guest post by fitzg.]

[Images in this section come from wikipedia, RichardArmitageNet.com, CDoart, and Phylly’s Faves.]


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.


Continue your F3 readings with the tagteams! In fanfic, Margaret Hale guestposts at John Thornton‘s on why she loves him Jo Ann continues her story: think ten gallon hat! In freeform, Jas Rangoon jokes about potential reproductive partners for Mr. Armitage Itsjsforme reveals another Guy of Gisborne PSA (still not safe for work!) Gratiana Lovelace needs more help captioning “Whimsical Moments with Deadly Serious ChaRActers!” In fandom, IngeD3 focuses on Ricky Deeming Fabo confesses her Richard Armitage eyelash fetish In the Hobbit, it’s calories galore as Antonia Romera discusses fingerlicking at the Hobbit table The Queen takes on Hobbit cakes Links to all FanstRA 3 posts appear here at the end of each day!

~ by Servetus on March 15, 2012.

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

  1. Hi Serv,
    Great RA teacher’s helper fantasy! Giggles! And that Alfie King Richard III pix is to die for.
    Cheers! Grati ;->


  2. […] March 15th, 2012: Servetus (Me+Richard) – Lectures about King Richard III […]


  3. Ah, the inmates are taking over the asylum. BRAVO! You might want to join the theRApy session too. 😀


    • I may *have* to. Actually this was supposed to have had a different vibe, but your post was so influential on me.


  4. Agree, judi, time for the inmates! 😀 Servetus, you intended to gloss over the whole of English Constitutional development and “bastard feudalism” just to get to Ferdy and Issy??? Yikes. Richard III is more interesting. OK, the Burgundians controlled wool IMPORT. So?

    Whatever keeps the students awake. Some students would sit up for a photo of someone who wants to do a production of Richard III. NOT SHAKESPEARE!!!


    • This course starts in 1400. Not a lot doing constitutionally in the English 15th c., comparatively. The important pieces are in the medieval course segment (which I haven’t taught in years) and in the late 17th c., which is coming up at the beginning of April 🙂 The point isn’t constitutionalism here but rather the nascent Leviathan.

      And yeah, I’m also resigned to “whatever keeps people awake.” They don’t learn anything from me if they’re sleeping.


  5. You know you are having a good day when Richard III AND Richard Armitage are interested in your lecture. LOL…I loved it.


    • I hadn’t thought of it that way 🙂 I prefer it when the subjects of my lecture don’t talk back to me — but you may have a point.


  6. Like what are we learning next, Professor Snape?


  7. It’s so fun to hear to your lecture!
    But, I’m like your student,
    distracted by a lot of RA in my laptop! :0)


    • That would be a real dilemma — if I came upon a student screwing around in class and they were looking at Armitage pictures. Actually I know at least 2 students who do that but luckily for them they are not in my classes 🙂


  8. I must sit somewhere in the middle and listen attentively. Prof. Servetus, can we have some more of these RIII/RA lessons?
    Great post and wonderful history lesson. Sleeping during your lesson, I can’t believe it ;o)


    • Yeah, some people are just incorrigible. 🙂 This is a distribution requirement (one of a handful of classes that students can use to meet a particular degree requirement), so a lot of people enroll who are only marginally interested. I wish they wouldn’t. Life is too short to waste time being bored …


  9. it was great fun reading this! Love the photo manip of Richard with crown and chainmail. 🙂


  10. Wow, we need to recruit a few of those students for the AAoAA!! I forgot about the random insert of ‘like’ at every mental pause possible in American speech patterns! Vital for authenticity! Especially if, you know, RA needed to star in a ’21 Jump Street’ like serial but at a college campus! 🙂

    It really takes me back to think that’s where we first saw Johnny Depp. 😉


    • Several of my colleagues at my last job had stickers on their doors with the word “like” and the red strikethrough sign over it. Most of them were over 70 — so it bothers them even more than it does me, too. The thing is that it’s really true — correcting speech patterns went out of style in the US middle class some time in the 1970s, so no one has ever told them that their speech is inappropriately colloquial. There are only so many battles a professor can fight 🙂

      Would be interesting to see if Armitage could imitate that particular speech pattern. I would be so amused!


  11. This is one of your best posts ever! 😀


  12. I’d trade places with Stacy any day! I’m always up for an interesting history course (and I’d read the textbook!).
    I’m afraid most my acquaintances would scratch their heads if I used ‘personalist,’ ‘nascent,’ and ‘putative’ in the same speaking sentence.
    Love that pic of RA the king!


    • “personalist” was covered in class. As far as other words they are supposed to ask if they don’t know them. 🙂 I am a professor, I am supposed to sound elegant 🙂

      you may trade places with Stacey if you promise to turn your cell phone off! 🙂


  13. Will be there in April, servetus. Mind you keep us posted here. Speech patterns can be annoying (Not 70 – yet) But English is an ever-evolving language, which keeps it fresh.


    • Now, if we could only get him to play John Locke. (Not going for any of the Stuarts, they were all pains in the ass, or Oliver Cromwell, since it’s hard to figure out a way to like him, and that might be more than Armitage really wants to chew on, given his insistence on finding the complexity in every character…)


  14. Aw, c’mon. Charles II? 😀 At least RA has a better nose than Louis, btw.


  15. Did I mention how brilliant this was? I have to come back and read it again! 🙂


    • Aaw, thanks. I think it was definitely improved by my decision to remove a discussion of the slim evidentiary basis for Richard III’s connection with the Court of Requests 🙂


  16. […] Servetus (Me+Richard) – Lectures about King Richard III […]


  17. […] 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 of Guy’s durability, […]


  18. […] the history of the European continent in my period lies in a different world professionally. Thus, as I’ve stated, humorously, the only reason for me to think about Richard III at all has to do…. And as I’ve also said, a bit more seriously, I have zero interest in rescuing Richard […]


  19. […] wait, the last time that happened spontaneously, it was just — […]


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