Star Trek: Into Darkness, movies these days, and Richard Armitage: Excursus on hype

Continued from here, kind of. Or maybe it’s a detour. But not really. Anyway, there’s more to that piece than what follows, but this got a bit overdeveloped so I am putting it here. Or whatever. This is not especially well connected.

imagesBack to the initial point, which was thinking about the entertainment news (especially Brad Pitt and World War Z) in light of Armitage and his future. Because I had drawn that connection much earlier, and was reminded of it by the trailers and my reaction to them, as I was driving home from the theater, I was thinking about whether and how my reactions to Star Trek: Into Darkness apply to Richard Armitage and, unavoidably, to the energy that drives “me + richard armitage.”

Let me preface my reflections by stating that (a) Armitage’s decisions are his own — how could they be otherwise? — and that he knows best what he wants (not I); I think he’s chosen well so far and will continue to do what’s best for him, which should be his primary concern, and that (b) I have no worries about his representation’s capacity to act effectively on his behalf. I try hard to avoid prescriptions for his professional future. Also, obviously, I’m no expert on the entertainment industry or entertainment marketing. I have no idea what Armitage’s professional ambitions really involve beyond what he’s said in the press — which include things like a variety of roles, more film work, the oft-mentioned desire for a return to the stage, artistic challenges, and work with directors he’d like to work with.

In short, as always, this is all about me.

Tokyo-30IIIA. me + the comparative effects of hype and audience involvement

[Right: Richard Armitage with fans at Tokyo premiere of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, December 2, 2012. Source:]

I don’t think of myself as part of the target audience for blockbusters — I followed Harry Potter, but because I loved the books. I saw Captain America: The First Avenger only because you-know-who was in it. I don’t object to big screen action or superheroes; I even think they have a social-political function at the moment; but the other films I’ve seen in this genre, I’ve seen mostly at the behest of friends. Right now I don’t go to movies much, but in my last city, when I did, it was almost always to (non-action) dramas and smaller release films. Dear Friend steered me to the worthwhile stuff among that city’s amazing palette of choices. As a consumer, then, I speak about my reaction to big action films tentatively and in full awareness that — as my students told me during the course break on Friday — I’m not the target for most of them.

I didn’t catch any Star Trek: Into Darkness ads ahead of time, beyond the alert that Cumberbatch had been cast. I did see in my FB feed that the trailer was out. At least one close Armitage friend told me she’d seen it in the theater and was definitely sold. But I spend most of my time on slow café wifi and stay away from non-essential vids, so I didn’t look at it. When the film came out, I read a handful of the initial reviews.

179776_10151659722336558_141261027_nAfter seeing ST:ID, I started comparing my response to it and The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey. In the latter case, I was invested in the film because of Richard Armitage. No way was I going to miss it. I didn’t participate in the entire hype wave — at some point in November 2012 I’d had enough, and tuned out teasers and spoilers — but I followed most of it. Not least because making the film took so darn long — if I wanted news and images of Armitage, I had no choice — but also because I’d known since sixth grade how the story ended. And I’m sure the hype got me invested in enjoying the film, to the extent that I now wonder if I’d have enjoyed ST:ID more if I’d seen its advance publicity, or The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey less if I hadn’t. I also had the strong feeling that like me, the people in the theater with me at the December 2012 premiere knew what to expect — that they were waiting for the joke at the end of the goblin chase, for instance. So one question for me is — especially with these films that have so much eye-fatiguing action that it’s hard to catch it all on one view anyway — is the advance hype necessary so that the audience has the necessary prerequisite narrative and visual vocabulary to enjoy the film once they see it? Or even so they are familiar with the basic features of a story that has to be edited down to its most remarkable moments in order to fit into the format?

Screen shot 2013-06-16 at 9.01.04 PMThe hype as an aspect of our participation in these films continued and continues — as sloan remarked in the comments a few posts ago, Peter Jackson believes in “constant contact.” Richard Armitage called it a “drip.” This is really true; every time I catch my breath and think I’ll have time to process and analyze what I know with a little sanity, more information drizzles down on me. This happened at first with the regular vlogs, with the advance release of the pictures of the cast in summer 2011, and then with more or less uninterrupted, steady publicity for anyone who was even slightly interested after about February of 2012. The film premiere itself was both preceded and followed by interviews, with the press rush for the first DVD rush quickly on its heels, trailer for the second film, another vlog coming this week some time and (one imagines) one for the end of the pickups. Then there’ll be more publicity for the extended DVD in the fall, and then the pre-release publicity, the premieres, and resulting reviews and interviews, taking us in 2014.

Maybe it’s not fair to think about ST:ID vs The Hobbit in this context, because it’s taken so long to make the two, now three, films — and I can see why Jackson would want to keep people awake and involved. But whether or not it’s fair, after several of the dwarves started tweeting and making FB updates, I started to get even more involved in the progress of the production.

Screen shot 2013-06-01 at 2.51.11 PM

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I really never thought that Richard Armitage *should* tweet (especially if he didn’t want to, or as he said, didn’t “get twitter”), as I myself am an ambivalent tweep — I mostly broadcast my own links and have short conversations, because misunderstanding arises way too easily in 140 char if the words are not formulated carefully. But I confess even my own fairly intensely-felt sentiment about that position and defense of Richard Armitage’s right to refrain from tweeting and to remain untweeted in his free time has weakened in the last month, as the other actors playing dwarves tweet pictures of the New Zealand sky, of themselves out in the evenings at bars, celebrating birthdays, or taking part in charity events. I find myself daydreaming about what might be happening on any given day in Wellington in the same say that I used to calculate the hours ahead to GMT + 1 and think about what my favorite person was doing. Am I getting wistful about a hype relationship with Richard Armitage that I’ve never had? And that he apparently has no inclination to initiate?

And even if I’d like to know more about Richard Armitage’s future projects — I’d like to know that more than I care about who he’s going to the bar with in his probably limited free time — how much is too much? To be honest, I’d been suffering some Hobbit fatigue and had been ready to turn to writing about some other Armitage matters, but when the trailer for The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug appeared, I fell right back into the excitement, to the point that I’m now wondering about myself a little.

So. I was never not going to see The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey and in that sense, I was something like a Cumberbatch fan going to see ST: ID. The more I learned about Thorin Oakenshield over the fall of 2012, the more interested I got in that story — and marketers couldn’t have fully anticipated that sort of personal trajectory — the thing that made me an Armitage fan –, I think. I also am convinced that if Armitage’s role had been minor, or I thought he hadn’t done well in the film, I wouldn’t have seen it a dozen times in the theaters, or bought two editions of the DVD.  (I saw Captain America once and haven’t bought the DVD yet.) And I wouldn’t be watching it about once a week still.

Wow, is this incoherent. What can I pull out of it for going forward?

  • Based on the comparison of my advance experiences of these films, I am wondering about the function of all the hype for the success of the big blockbuster film — the point seems to get everyone to feel like a shareholder ahead of time so they buy in heavily at the moment of release of artistic product and merchandise. I have ambivalent reactions to that. I enjoy participating in the hype, but …
  • My positive reaction to the TDOS trailer suggests to me that I may have become something like an addict who needs a little more junk each time. I was actually almost “off” Hobbit news and now I’m hooked again.
  • I ponder how all of this — how the ways that I’ve been made into a Hobbit shareholder already via my allegiance to Armitage– are being used intentionally to affect my judgment or are having that effect unintentionally. It wasn’t so much that I could look at Armitage’s work dispassionately before, but my capacity to do that is being progressively retarded by his participation in this project.
  • I wonder what the effect of all of this — “this” being the requirement to participate in much of the advance marketing and sales of the film — might be on Armitage. That’s actually a good cliffhanger for next time.

I’m going to post this now and go defiantly off to bed — possible appearance of the next vlog at any moment be damned. See, Peter Jackson, I’m still independent! I am!

~ by Servetus on June 18, 2013.

29 Responses to “Star Trek: Into Darkness, movies these days, and Richard Armitage: Excursus on hype”

  1. This is fascinating to me… having a rather squirrelly cranium myself, it’s lovely to watch others in sorting-it-out mode. It makes me feel immensely comforted. And it’s also good to know I’m not the only one feeling a bit “off the wagon” as per the Richard drip. I was kind of congratulating myself on having a bit of a handle on it, but no… I’ve gone daft again. But I am waiting for that vlog, not that Our Skittish Thorin is likely to appear. :} Perhaps just a flash of crocks, and then he’s gone. Hi, ho, bison!! (yawn. OK. Time for bed)


    • He’s not as scarce as Ken Stott. Can you imagine, if Ken Stott had an organized fandom, how crazed they’d be just now? No doubt they’ll cut in a few seconds of Armitage, anyway 🙂 They understand fanservice, too.

      Glad to know I’m in good company 🙂


      • SNORT They should cut in a shot of Richard and Ken in their bathingsuits, then post it on Tumblr under an assumed name that somehow combines the names of Cumberbatch and Hiddleston. PAPOW. They killed the internet.


        • Knock on wood. I’m hoping the current flame elsewhere on questionable manips does *not* come here.


  2. I tend not to want to know much about TH, I am going to see it and don’t want to know much until I see it. I have said to others that there was 8 to 10 good minutes of CA and that is why I took the boys to see it. I love using the boys as a reason to go see movies. HaHa.

    As someone who has never seen many movies in the theater (I can count them on my fingers and still have some leftovers, that counts TH twice with there own finger. Really). I am not a good person to see if the hype is more likely to make me see a movie, most likely not. I couldn’t even asked my husband if he wanted to go see SkyFall and I did want to see that, bought the DVD and watched it at home. I think part was when we where first together we just didn’t have the money to go the movies and then we got so use to waiting to rent it.

    Maybe I will watch the vlog and maybe not. I didn’t watch any before seeing THUJ. But I can’t wait to see THDOS in December. I have not read the book and will try and hold out until I have seen all the movies. This also goes for watching TLOTR movies.

    Sweet dreams to all, from the night owl.


    • I honestly think if I stayed out of the hype stream, I wouldn’t be feeling a strong inclination to see the movie in the theater. That surprises me a little, but like you, I’ve never been a super regular moviegoer …

      Sleep tight, owly!


      • Fueled by Richard and Depeche Mode 2:00 am is nothing in the summer. Husband’s gone to training part of this week and I never sleep well while he is gone. Beats getting up at 5:00 am. Must get to bed earlier tonight. I did have a good sleep until morning it was cold, in the high 30’s.

        I can’t wait until December and I think Richard could get me to see any movie he is in. I must have it bad.


        • are you a Depeche Mode fan, too 🙂


          • Of everything in my childhood music was my great escape and my great rebellion. There was no way that I would live on church music alone. I bought a little radio and very quietly listened to everything my parents deemed bad. I also had a family who my parents where friends with, who sons where more than happy to let me listen to what they where. I also sang at church, but also my last 2 years of high school.

            The answer is yes, I really like Depeche Mode, my sons think that it’s weird and the 80’s stuff really get’s to son1. My music tastes these days are pretty wide, but even as a teen I did like different music. I do keep my music to myself, my husband likes older country and at a time mocked me for what I liked.


          • Yes! 🙂


  3. It’s interesting- I’ve just been reading comments on TORn board re the DOS trailer. Consensus seems to be that New Line did a far better job of promoting the LOTR movies than Warner Bros has with TH- better at crafting the trailers (with far fewer spoilers) and better at maintaining a connection with fans. I had presumed PJ put his own trailers together, so that was news to me.
    I personally adore the video blogs, not as a teaser for the upcoming films, but as a wonderful insight into PJ’s movie making world- there could almost never be too many of those. I remember watching the LOTR EE extras for the first time and being utterly enthralled for hours on end. Yes, we’re being drip fed here, but PJ knows his audience when it comes to this stuff.
    I didn’t watch the TV spots for THAUJ (even though we Aussies had to wait so long to see the movie at the cinema), and I certainly won’t this time either- why spoil the big screen experience?
    I’m happy to read the odd tweet from the actors at the moment just as a lovely reminder that the cast are all together and enjoying what they love best- it will all be over far too soon.


    • Wow, that is *fascinating*, KatherineD. Thanks for that info. I didn’t watch the hype for the LOTR films and probably saw them mostly because a former student I became friends with wanted to see them.

      I could listen to Armitage talk forever about how he puts a character together, and there are other people on the cast I’d like to hear from, but not everything in the vlogs has interested me, to be perfectly honest.

      And yes, I’m glad they’re enjoying themselves. I just wonder what will happen with those twitter streams when the filming ends.


  4. Well, I feel like I may have a bit of insight to offer on this particular question, because I have been at both ends of the pre-film-release fandom hype. (This is also, tangentially, the story of how I became a Richard Armitage fan, which I suppose makes it relevant to the larger theme of the blog.)

    One of my strongest early memories is that of sitting on the floor with my older siblings as my mother read The Hobbit aloud to us when I was maybe two-and-a-half or three years old. I was transfixed. The world, the characters, the story. I was enchanted by the idea that a person could make these things up out of his own imagination with such believability and it could be read to me and I could see it all in my mind in more or less the way he intended. That idea of sharing story across the human boundary line, of one mind speaking to another – that this was something anyone could do, that I could do – took hold in me and has never let go. I can say in all honesty that I’ve been a writer since that moment, because that was when I knew it was what I wanted to do. As soon as my mother finished the book, I had my older brother teach me to read so I could consume it on my own, over and over again. I was reading The Hobbit in Kindergarten and The Lord of the Rings by the time I was seven. I buried myself in stories, all stories, learning how they work, so I could make my own. But it always came back to Tolkien, because he was the one who had awakened that need in me. Tolkien and fantasy were the constant driving forces of my childhood.

    I say all of this to explain why when I was using my in-laws’ computer to work on a college assignment some time in 1998 or ‘99, and I spotted off to the side of the news page the headline “Cate Blanchett talks about being Galadriel,” I have never clicked on a link harder or faster in my life. Of course the article presented the to-me news that a trilogy of movies was being made about my beloved LotR books.

    It was all down the rabbit hole from there.

    I joined my first ever discussion board to talk to the other people who were also in raptures over the news. The internet wasn’t really much to speak of back then (and neither were discussion boards, my word,) but I was all over it looking for news about the project. Who was in charge? Who had been cast, and what else had these people done? Where was it being filmed? More importantly, did the director share anything like my vision of Middle Earth, or was it going to be a Bakshi-esque disaster? Was the substance of my childhood being torn asunder and trampled on, or were my dreams in fact coming true? It was fiercely difficult to get any information in those days. Not only was there a certain level of secrecy surrounding the project, but it took hours to download even one high-res photo and literally all day (and many prayers for an uninterrupted internet connection) to acquire that first trailer. We would all converge on the discussion boards after every little tidbit and spy photo emerged to pick it apart for whatever significance we could squeeze from it. We were like vultures, man.

    The mostly shit quality of the images and trailers in no way dampened our enthusiasm for examining every pixel. The ambiguity of what we were looking at only added to the fever pitch of our speculation. Flame wars were waged across multiple message boards over disagreements as to which character we were looking at a grainy spy photo of, what color a cloak was or should be, whether certain ears were pointed, the shade of someone’s hair, which scene from the book we were maybe seeing, which scenes there was no way they would include, what changes they would certainly make, how much right they had to change anything at all. Et cetera.

    What I’m trying to say is that modern-day internet fandom has nothing on the level of rabid fanaticism that LotR fans brought to the table in those days before the release of the first movie.

    I was there for all of it, from the very first Lycos discussion board I was linked to by that Cate Blanchett article (which claimed to be the official LotR movie discussion board. Heh.) all the way through several moves to more advanced forums as they evolved. I made friends there that I still speak to. Some of them I’ve met in person since then. One of them has stayed at my house. It was a rich and diverse community. The one thing drawing us together was our shared love of these stories and our enthusiasm (or trepidation) leading up to the movie releases. There was, no question, a sense of belonging to a greater whole as I watched each film for the first time. A feeling that these movies were something we were all sharing with each other. It was a good feeling.

    I drifted away from the LotR forums in the years after RotK’s release, with no new material and no more insider news to talk about, but as I said, I do still speak to many of the people I met there. They were the ones I first heard the news from, that Peter Jackson was trying to get The Hobbit greenlit. The news at that stage made it clear that this was an undertaking fraught with difficulty and no certainty of success. I decided at that point not to get too heavily invested in the idea since it didn’t seem likely to happen. I made no effort to seek out updates on the project, only coming across it when it was specifically pointed out to me.

    I remember vaguely hearing about PJ’s legal troubles with New Line and the implications that had for the Hobbit project. I remember hearing about Guillermo del Toro’s involvement with the project. That was actually the point at which I completely shelved my interest in the movies at a conceptual level. If they weren’t to be in PJ’s hands, I didn’t want them to happen. So now, not only was I not seeking out Hobbit news, but I ignored it when it was sent my way.

    All of this occurred over the course of several years. By the time it was announced that the movies were definitely getting made and Peter Jackson was in charge, I had removed myself so far from the hype that it just didn’t make sense to try to immerse myself in it. I was doing other things at that point, mainly centered around my writing and trying to be a serious professional. I actually told myself that, having managed to take a step back from the LotR fandom and the level of obsession I had invested in it at its height, it would be for the best if I didn’t get into it this time around. Because I know that once I start fangirling over something (especially Tolkien,) I go all in. I mean, we’re talking about the kind of obsession that your friends and family either mock you for openly or suggest you need actual help for. I’m autistic. When we perseverate, there’s no going back.

    So when PJ started the pre-production drip, I made a conscious choice not to partake. I didn’t watch a single one of the production videos, look at a single promotional still, or read a single news article or blog post about the making of the film. I didn’t even watch the trailers. Especially as the drip sped up and I recognized that they were trying to get my attention, I actively resisted participation. My friends kept linking me to things that I had to tell them I was going to pass on, and they were always puzzled. But I thought you were such a Tolkien fan. I am. That’s the problem.

    Roll on the evening of December 13th, 2012. I was camped in the movie theatre lobby with everyone else, excited nearly to giddiness that it had happened and I was about to see it. I love the carnival atmosphere of a midnight opening. You know the people there with you are all people who care. You know they get it. That experience is possibly my favorite in fandom, and it was in no way affected or lessened by the fact that I had been keeping myself un-spoilered. In fact, knowing that I had no idea what I was about to see (apart from knowing how the book goes and that I trust PJ,) added to the anticipation. I daresay I wouldn’t have felt that way while waiting for Fellowship if I hadn’t been involved in the pre-release discussion, because I would have had too much anxiety over whether or not this Jackson fellow knew what he was doing, on top of my natural anxiety in crowds. But in that moment, in 2012, with my lived experiences and my fandom history behind me, being fresh to the project was perfect.

    I loved the film. Loved. I laughed everywhere I wanted to be able to laugh, got the chills in all the right moments, was sucked right back into PJ’s Middle Earth as though I had never left it, bought wholesale every single one of the people he put on the screen in front of me as those characters I remembered from my childhood. Loved it.

    Needless to say, when I came home from my viewing, I immersed myself in every bit of backstage trivia related to the film that the new and improved internet had spent the past few years making available to us. I had successfully avoided becoming enmeshed in fandom obsession prior to the film’s release, and I rewarded myself for that by diving in headfirst. I watched all of the press junket interviews, all of the production videos.

    (That was where I saw that the fellow playing Thorin is actually – holy shit – really very attractive under all of those prosthetics, and dammit looks quite a lot like one of my original characters from certain angles. Quite a lot. I didn’t set out to obsess over him, specifically. I was genuinely just trying to get to know the entire cast. But the more interviews I watched, the more I was mesmerized by the man and the things he has to say. That’s how I ended up here, now, having mainlined first every interview of his I could find online and then every production he has been in that I could get my hands on, because nothing I’ve yet consumed has been enough to rid me of my intense curiosity about the man beneath the still surface or my fascination with watching him move, hearing him speak.)

    So all of this is to say that I have approached these big blockbusters from both sides. What I’m concluding, I suppose, is that no, I don’t think it’s necessary to buy into the pre-release marketing in order to fully enjoy the movie experience. But also that I think it’s situational.

    Would I have loved FotR just as much if I hadn’t been living on a steady feed of spoilers in the years prior to its release? I’m confident I really would have. PJ had me enchanted from the first moment the Shire appeared on the screen, and then Gandalf showed up and it was all holy shit that’s Gandalf that’s my childhood happening up there on the screen omg this is real Middle Earth is real. Nothing that I had consumed on the internet had prepared me for the wowness of seeing it actually happening in live action on the big screen. But would I have lost something of the experience if I hadn’t been part of the pre-release fandom? I don’t question that for a moment. Did I fail to enjoy The Hobbit as much as I could have as a result of my decision to keep the blinders on this time around? I don’t think so, because I really don’t know how I could have enjoyed it more than I did. I think it was just a case of not needing the fandom on this one.

    So I guess what I’m actually saying is that sometimes you need the fandom, and sometimes you don’t. I suppose the solution, if there’s a problem in that, is to gauge your level of excitement going in; if you find yourself not having any damns to give, and you’d like to, a bit of advance immersion to prepare your mindset might not go amiss. And I don’t think there’s anything wrong with considering that to be part of the moviegoing experience.

    (And I’m sorry for clogging up your page with such a long response. Perhaps I should have just posted this to my own blog and linked it.)


    • Alyssa- I enjoyed reading every word of your Tolkien experience, both book and film related. You must have been quite the precocious reader as a child- where to after reading LOTR so young? I bet your school librarians had trouble keeping up with your advanced requirements.
      My older son, now in his twenties, enquired after the trilogy in primary school and was informed that they were not the sort of books that a 10 year old would normally read- end of story. He became a huge Tolkien fan when the movies were released a year or so later and had the great experience of attending a Q&A night with Peter Jackson in Sydney a while later.
      Will you now follow all Hobbit news or only RA related titbits?


      • After LotR I took on The Silmarillion, which remained my favorite book for years. My teachers pretty early on figured out that it was useless to try to keep me in the regular reading program and just let me do my own thing. On the one hand, it was great moving straight into adult literature without anyone telling me what I should or shouldn’t be ready for, but on the other, I feel like I sort of missed out on the experience of discovering the world through YA literature — it remains a genre I’m largely ignorant of, and I know there’s a lot of quality there. I’m sorry for your son that the people who were supposed to be guiding him forward were holding him back. That’s terrible. But at least he became a fan in time for Sydney!

        I’d say I’m fully immersed in the Hobbit fandom experience now, though not to the extent that I was with LotR. I’m afraid Mr. Armitage may have stolen a little of TH’s thunder, because while I *am* following the movie news now, and I love everyone in the cast, he’s really where the lingering fascination is.


        • My son was a voracious reader of fiction, which isn’t always true of boys, so he simply went off and read some other series of books. He is now pleased that he didn’t read LOTR at a younger age. Once the movies started coming out he made a conscious decision to read each book after each film, so he never would have a fixed idea in his head of how it should all be.
          This has proven to be a point of difference between us now The Hobbit has come out, as he has long since read the book and isn’t too happy having RA portray what he steadfastly maintains should be a far older Thorin. When I went off to the Sydney Q&A, his only comment was predictably, not ‘have a great night seeing your favourite actor’ but ‘tell him he’s too young for the role’! We have now respectfully agreed to disagree on this issue!


          • I remember during the pre-LotR hype just how strongly everyone felt about the various casting choices. Wars were fought over that like you can’t even believe. It was definitely different for me going into TH with no knowledge or preconceived ideas about any of the actors who had been cast (except Martin Freeman. I knew about him and believed he was the perfect choice.) So I was able to weigh everyone’s worthiness on the strength of the performance he gave.

            If I *had* participated in the fandom prior to the release, I probably would have been in the what-have-they-done-to-Thorin camp. I have distinct purist leanings. As it was, the eyes and the voice sold me.


    • this is interesting, alyssa, and you’re always welcome to leave long comments.

      I agree that good movies are good movies regardless of the hype stream; my question was more whether I was readier to find these movies good because of the hype stream. One difference is that the *only* films I have ever made a point of being at the premieres of are films with Richard Armitage in them. (I was accidentally at the opening of HP 7.2 because it was the crown of a two-day HP marathon.) I have to say that I felt odd waiting to get into the theater in Dec 2012 because it seemed everyone was wearing a Middle Earth costume of some kind — I wondered if anyone else was there like me, “just” for Armitage. I don’t think there’s any question about whether I need the (Armitage) fandom — I’d answer that with an emphatic yes. No way I’d ahve gotten anywhere with the project behind this blog without “us.” I suppose in that sense the hype is useful in that it gives us something to chew over. I’m not ambivalent about the fandom, I’m ambivalent about the hype.

      I need to start writing about that damn movie.


  5. […] they’re coming now, if the several thousand words I wrote in reviews and blog replies tonight is any indication. None too soon, too. I was getting […]


  6. Fantasy was never a genre I had any interest in, despite several ex-boyfriends attempting their utmost to lure me there. And yet, because I had a reason to look forward to the Hobbit, I felt obliged to inform myself about it. I am very susceptible to any kind of hype. I freely admit that. And yes, the whole drip feed of trailer-vlog-poster-vlog-photo call-vlog etc all the way up to the eventual premiere very much kept me in an artificially induced coma… eh… state of expectation. And you know what? Artificial or not – I loved every second of it. (Even those seconds that did not contain any trace of RA. Because in the “drought” we all got really creative – oh the various little schemes and themes we kept ourselves occupied with.) I think, the whole marketing machine with its carefully planned drip feed is only effective if *we* allow it to work on us. Much like Alyssa showed in her comment – you *can* immunitise yourself against it. But I have to admit that I wouldn’t – the whole hype made me feel alive. I am ready to jump onto it again.
    Jackson!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Where the F is the bl**dy vlog you promised 13 hours ago??????????????????


    • Sure, I could have refused all Hobbit hype. That would have meant that I would have refused all new information about Richard Armitage (with the exception of perhaps a dozen things) for eighteen months. (And then there really *would* have been a drought — which in my opinion we never experienced.) Obviously, that wasn’t on with the blog, or with the project behind the blog 🙂 The line that I drew personally was that I am not a marketer for Richard Armitage, Inc., and especially not for Jackson — i.e., if it had gotten to a point where I felt that the publicity function of what I do had overwhelmed my enjoyment of Armitage and what I was getting from being a fan, I was going to stop. But that doesn’t mean I didn’t feel uncomfortable 🙂


      • Uncomfortable with appearing as if you were marketing TH? Or uncomfortable as a “victim” of marketing?


        • I think what these posts about ST mean is that I am conceding that I am more a victim of marketing than I realized. I realized it on some level, and said, it’s okay, but I’m thinking now that the process was deeper / more insidious than I realized. I think, insofar as I was writing about it, I was marketing it, and I’ve been conscious of that all along, wanting to stay away, however, from actual concrete contact with marketing entities (e.g., some bloggers got offered priority access to WB publicity, that was something I didn’t want. I wanted to stay on the “fan” side). I never want to be in the position of hiding my reaction to something for any reason that doesn’t have primarily to do with me. Now I am wondering if I was so hornswoggled by the marketing that I totally missed that happening to myself — which would be disturbing.


  7. Hmmm, I’m a LOTR fan, so I come pre-programmed for excitement over TH news, independent of RA. As an RA fan, I eagerly await any sign of him. Trailer, vlog, mention in the press, fan photo – here I am panting at the bait! 😀 Can’t separate the two out. I want to say I wouldn’t be excited about TH: DoS if RA wasn’t in it, but that’s not the truth. I was a total sucker for all the LOTR build up, and because of RA I am of the TH build up. Wasn’t that into TH before my RA love.

    Re marketing influence, I don’t know. It has an impact. How could you be resistant, since you have an interest via RA?? It’s his crowning glory thus far, isn’t it??? We want him to do well, we want him to STAR, we want to see him being majestic Thorin. For him to show the world how he creates a compelling character. Of course we’re hooked. Right?


    • I think the reason I’m asking this question will be clearer in the final post of the sries (gosh, this got long), but it’s okay to be hooked if it’s not creating other problems for me in terms of the project of this blog.


  8. […] from here, discussing my reaction to Hobbit hype, drawing on this earlier […]


  9. […] on the cultural importance of the role. If he does get Batman, of course, we’ll all have been part of the hype, something that used to drive me crazy but to which I’ve learned to turn a blind eye or […]


  10. […] the first book I can remember having read to me, The Hobbit.  I’ve already talked at length about the way this experience is what kindled the love of story in me and made me want to become a […]


  11. […] talked before about the fact that it was The Hobbit in particular of all books that first got me interested in […]


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