“I had never heard of Richard Armitage before The Hobbit. I’m more into the Thorin Oakenshield Effect. He rode up in the trailer and turned to the camera and I was poleaxed…and I swore I would never look at another man after my last marriage. Let alone a man with long hair and a beard like my ex. Well, Richard proved me wrong, so here I am cruising the interwebs for treasures. I have watched “King Under the Hair” several times and sent it around to friends who were equally delighted by it. I have just started to peruse your site and have already found it to be a treat.” (Excerpt from a comment made by Jane Rafferty here at TAE)
I saw this comment and I could not fail to smile. What happened to Jane (and welcome, Jane, to our little community!) is something I suspect many, many more folks will experience: being “poleaxed” by the amazing charisma and presence of Richard Armitage as Thorin Oakenshield.
Of course, I am feeling a bit smug about all this because I don’t want to say, “I told you so,” but of course, I DID. Sure, when I first heard Richard was going to be playing a dwarf I raised my eyebrows. A strapping six-foot, two (and-a-half!)-inch-tall, youthful-looking fellow like RA as a pint-sized warrior of rather advanced years?
But I reminded myself he’d convinced me over and over again–as a conflicted “evil henchman” with a troublesome conscience, carrying a torch for a fair, duplicitous maiden, a determined Victorian mill owner with a foolish passion for a persnickety parson’s daughter, a cripplingly shy gentle giant of a Yorkshire farmer, a dedicated, cerebral spy damaged by eight years in a Russian prison, a tough, sometimes ruthless soldier seeking redemption who is also a loving father and a true hero–and the list goes on.
He’s so very good, our Richard, a veritable chameleon, submerging himself in each character. Why would it be any different with Thorin, I asked myself?
And indeed, from all evidence thus far, Richard IS Thorin Oakenshield–proud, regal, passionate, at times arrogant, a charismatic leader who can convince a small company of dwarfs with “willing hearts” to follow him on a very difficult and dangerous mission.
I suspect since the last trailer appeared, many, many more people who were interested in The Hobbit in a more general sense, are finding themselves specifically drawn to learn more about the actor behind Thorin. ”What a voice! And those eyes! The way he carries himself. Who IS this guy?”
Even as a dwarf, forced to look up at Gandalf and the elves, RA is somehow larger than life as Thorin. It’s a role that will surely become iconic.
What will it be like to see him on the big screen, to hear him through the stereo speakers in the theater? I may very well have to see it twice–just to absorb into my brain the whole sensation of that much RA truly larger than life, his honeyed baritone reverberating in my ears, and then a second time to actually enjoy the entire movie, because I do believe there will be much to appreciate and savor in the film as a whole.
Many, many people will flock to the theater in December to see The Hobbit because they are Tolkien fans, or their kids, grandkids or significant others are fans. I believe a fair number of those attending (who were not already RA fans) will leave as converts to “our little community.”
Because once you discover Richard Armitage, once you’ve been poleaxed, as Jane puts it, by him in one role, it’s almost impossible not to pursue seeing him in other roles.
To discover the sweet and sunny-natured accountant Harry Kennedy, the brooding John Thornton, smouldering Sir Guy, sweet John Standring, the passionate artist Monet, rebellious biker Ricky Deeming and the other memorable chaRActers he’s brought to life so vividly. Not to mention all the wonderful audio recordings he has done, the irresistible appeal of the CBeebies . . .
And then to watch/listen to/read his interviews, and find out what an intelligent, insightful, funny, sweet-natured, modest individual he really is. In a world of wanna-bes, it seems Richard Crispin Armitage is all that and a big, big bag of chips.
Richard in a GMTV interview prior to Spooks 9. Courtesy of RichardArmitageNet
Oh, for those who have not yet experienced The Armitage Effect (and I don’t mean the blog, because if you are reading this, you’ve obviously found me), there’s so much wonderful, amazing stuff out there to be discovered.
I look forward to Richard’s fanbase growing and diversifying in the coming months as more people discover just what an amazing and versatile talent he is. I fully expect more folks to come forward and say they’ve been poleaxed, too.
As Mezz said, resistance is, indeed, futile. And we’ll welcome you to the fold.
Oh, and is it December yet?