The Thorin Oakenshield Effect: Pole-Axed By the Hot Warrior Dwarf


“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 isIn 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?

36 responses »

  1. This is a wonderful post Angie! You are really great at putting into words what many of us think! 🙂 I do hope many more people find your blog! When they read this, they will get a taste of what the Armitage Effect is all about and begin to grasp why this amazing man means so much to us. 😉

    Someone asked me the other day how many times did I think I will go to see The Hobbit and I honestly couldn’t answer. I think it might be quite a number!! 😀 I know I’m going to enjoyed being poleaxed many times. 😉

    • I was so taken with Jane R’s comment, it got me thinking about the effect Richard is going to have on many people. I mean, she was smitten just from viewing the trailer. Imagine what it will be like to see him in all his magnificence on the big screen?? I expect lots of poleaxing to take place. 😉

      And Thorin can poleax me as many times as he likes–although with ticket prices, I may run out of dosh! LOL

      • I thought it was a great comment too! Even after all these years he can still have that effect on me. 😉 I’ll REALLY have to watch my spending as I am hoping to make a trip back to the “Old Country” some time next year. I guess I’ll just have to curtail my other spending instead! He’s SO worth it. 😀

  2. I agree with Teuchter, I love how beautifully you sum up our feelings for Richard. When I read Jane R’s comment I grinned at that line about her being poleaxed by Thorin. What a great word it is, perfect for TAE and now TTOE. Can you imagine the first time he appears on the big screen…I wonder what poleaxing will sound like en masse!!
    I don’t know how many times I will see The Hobbit in the cinema, probably sporadically through its run until it finishes up, then of course it will be the DVD umpteen times! Even if I eventually tire of the actual movie, somehow I don’t think I will ever get enough of Thorin! 😉

    • 😀 Well, you guys know I can go on and on about him with the waxing rhapsodic– but this was the Fedoralady Condensed version. 😉 I imagine a large collective gasp the first time the audience gets a good look at him. Perhaps a few muffled hysterical giggles. Some low moans. Or maybe it will just be me gasping, giggling and moaning as the blood roars in my head and I am unable to hear anyone else 😉

  3. Every time I read “I had never heard of Richard Armitage before ….” I smile because I remember my very first reaction to the Armitage effect and exactly said the same thing ! We are lucky women !!!

    • I feel the same way. I am glad however, that I saw him first in N&S, and got to watch other things over the past few years. I think those of us who have gotten to know him before the movie star thing have a different perspective. For example, many of us have a great deal of pride at his current success.

  4. I can’t wait for The Hobbit audiences to feel the Armitage Effect. Imagine all of them feeling the power of enhanced creativity and zest for life (in addition to *thud*, *squee*, exploding ovaries, and other manifestations of prostRAtion). If they, too, come to embrace the notion of a nurturing and nourishing philosophy…

    • I know. I get excited thinking about people’s reactions to seeing Thorin on the big screen and then discovering so much more out there re Richard–just as we did when he first really registered on our radars. Richard’s dedication to his craft and his life philosophy is a shining example and I can only think the more widespread the Armitage Effect is, the better this world will be. Might sound pie-in-the-sky and Pollyanna-ish, but nonetheless, it’s what I feel in my heart. Richard Armitage–a force for good across the planet. 😀

      • In a world that so deperately and demonstrably needs more kindness, more nurturing and nourishing, more “extra loving” and “extra forgiving”, and more dedication and creativity, every person who feels the effect is on the plus side. In that way, Richard is definitely a force for good, much more so than many who bray from their self-righteous soap boxes.

  5. Oh! it is WODERFUL!! guess what calls out for me the most about the pole-axed effect is that it kind of explains to me the attraction towards Richard I initially felt. Now, besides all his wonderful qualities, is this community another perk! Love reading your thoughts echoing my own, with rich words I’m in a lost for (not being english my natural language). Thanks for this and so much more…

  6. How beautifully you-once again-describe the feelings we all share, Angie!
    It feels so wonderful to read about the effect Richard has on people who have just discovered him. I have been on this unforgettable journey for nearly two years now and am constantly discovering new things about RA and my respect and admiration for him and his work keeps growing. I am so happy for the ones who will have the journey ahead of them, after discovering him from the Hobbit movies.

  7. I think most of you have had the luck of seeing Richard in N&S , Robin Hood or Spooks to begin with, I did not. Since I have been only watching PBS for 15 years (to cheap in the 90’s to get cable) and BBC A the last couple years, I have had a good bit of watching some good actors. One problem, because I am in the States and they are in the UK we (the family) tend not to know who they are. This happened to one such Richard Armitage. I first saw him in 2006 on PBS on both The Inspector Lynley Mysteries and Malice Aforethought. Then in 2007 in Agatha Christies Miss Marple : Ordeal by Innocence. It was my little thing for Rupert Penry Jones and watching YT when Richard just hit me, why don’t I like him. At this time I also was watching Robin Hood the more I watched the more I wanted Guy and Marin get together. We tend to remember the british actors by there characters not there real names in our house. For the past 1 and half years Richard has been number one, but that said I still like Rupert. Before this I liked Robson Green but nothing like this and nothing like this in my teens. Boy I am long winded.

    • It was Robin Hood that introduced me to RA a few years ago on BBCA. I wasn’t particularly impressed with the Robin Hood given to us in that show, but the “evil henchman” definitely caught my attention. By the end of S1, I was fully on Team Leather. I loved all the nuances Richard brought to what could have easily been a cardboard cutout type of character. He gave Guy a conscience, a heart and soul, vulnerability beneath all the anger and smoulder and swagger. And I ALWAYS thought there was a lot more chemistry between Guy and Marian than Marian and Robin–they had more of a sibling vibe IMHO. Anyway, after I discovered him as Guy, I started watching older stuff and I was blown away with his versatility.

      I like RPJ, too. He and Richard are in the first ep of Series 7 of Spooks together and I wish Rupert had stuck around longer–he and Richard had a great onscreen rapport and what a couple of hunks! Both tall and handsome, with the contrast between the fair and dark hair. *sigh*

      And never fear being long-winded around here. There’s no word count limit. 😉 We love talking about RA and other fave subjects.

  8. LOL Imagine my surprise to stop by and find I am being quoted. I stopped in to see what other goodies you might have put up for our perusal (quite a few) and to tell you…again…how much I am enjoying “Thorin: King Under the Hair.” I’ve watched it about 10 times so far and so has my sister, who pulls up a chair every time I kick it on. Since I never tire of of it I suspect it’s going to become my favorite video. It’s very well done and I love the song…not to mention the subject. I have sort of a fetish for long hair on men and beards, but I really never expected the feeling I got when Thorin looks at the camera. There is something just electric about that shot. Peter really really knows his stuff … and his audience.

    Richard seems the perfect choice for talent and personality. Peter knows how to choose actors who are humble and genuinely nice people. I’ve read so many stories of Viggo’s kindness and of the rest of the cast as well. A quick snip I found on Richard with a fan had him saying that he’s “not a movie star” and pulling her close to him for a picture. That says a lot about the man. I find that if I don’t like the person off screen I’m not too fond of them on screen either. I have not bothered to have TV service for years, but I will see what I can find on video, or on HULU. Do you think that Richard knows what is about to happen to life in December? He has a nice handful of fans now but now ladies and not a few men all over the world will discover him. I wonder if he will think he’s a movie star when that happens. 😉

    I’m having the devil’s own time sorting out the names of the Dwarves. I’m hoping that multiple viewing of the movie will help. I’ll have to see it IMAX and at the different speeds and at some point I will have to look at what the other actors on the screen are up to.

    As for feeling pole-axed I know I’m not the only one, but I ran across this funny post over at and thought I’d share it with you. It does have adult language in it and after Jardin’s comment toward the top I will never be able to look at that photo again without bursting out laughing. Enjoy: “As a heterosexual male this stirs up new and unusual feelings” or

    Ps, thanks for the warm welcome. It’s nice to feel as if I’m among friends.

    • LOL the link to Reddit. Listen, I have said before that I think everyone, regardless of sexual preference, should develop some sort of crush on Richard. I mean, he’s not just gorgeous and fit and mega-talented, he’s also truly a nice, down-to-earth guy, as you noted. And again and again people who have worked with him describe him as a gentleman, and I love that. And the voice—he could seduce me with that alone. *sigh*

      Richard knows how to make an entrance–three years of horseback riding on RH makes him really comfortable in the saddle and he has such a regal presence anyway– and Sir Peter obviously knows how to make the most of his actors. I do get the distinct impression PJ is not one to put up with divas and divos. Everyone needs to work together as a team and put egos aside, it seems. And that’s right up Richard’s alley. I don’t always like long hair on a guy–it depends on the guy. But Richard? Ohhhhhh–he rocks the locks and the beard. 😉 I absolutely adored his hair extensions for RH S3. The man knows how to hair act!!

      Some of RA’s stuff is also online at YT–I don’t use it as a resource much because our “high Speed” internet really isn’t. So over time I have collected everything on DVD.

      I have been studying the Hobbit Annual to try to sort out all the different dwarfs. I have said I am thankful they gave each a separate and distinct look rather than a bunch of Gimli clones with different colored hoods. 😉

      As for RA, I tend to think he’s always going to remain a humble, modest guy. He’s seems like a mature and grounded man who will keep his wits about him even in the midst of all the brouhaha sure to come, what with having a major role in this huge, huge blockbuster film with a built-in audience eagerly anticipating it. I think he probably is trying to get himself psyched up for what is to come. I thought he handled himself very well at Comic-Con. I am soooooo proud of him. 😀

      Oh, and I am glad you are enjoying the Thorin vid. I noticed the views have gone up by close to 1,000–were most of those you and your kin?? 😉

      • Postscript: If you have access to a U.S. server, North and South, Robin Hood, Spooks (MI-5), and George Gently (with Richard as Ricky Deeming) are available on Netflix streaming service, straight to your computer. I think “The Impressionists” is also available. Amazon plus has similar streaming video offerings. Strikeback, The Golden Hours, The Vicar of Dibley, and parts of Between the Sheets are on YouTube, but they’re broken into short segments and the buffering/spooling is a nuisance.

    • Welcome, Jane! 🙂

      I’m fairly newly RAddicted myself, since February. Isn’t it wonderful to feel so warmly welcomed? These amazing people are among the friendliest in the world. If a bit naughty at times. *giggle*

      For your research purposes … 🙂 One of the Dwarves — Bofur — is being portrayed by James Nesbitt. It’s his voice that you hear at the end of the (original version) trailer when the Troll lands on the lot of them. There is a terrific article about him that I saw yesterday —

      Enjoy! 🙂

      • This is a lovely place to find and be welcomed. The interwebs can be a very cold place, so it’s always great to find a nitch filled with like minds.

        I deliberately held off on looking at anything Hobbit related until about two weeks ago. Now it’s like being let loose in a playground that is going to keep expanding. I, of course, had no idea about Thorin being so hot. I started out being excited just because it’s more LOTR and now it’s even more fun. There is nothing like a hot flash to keep your mind occupied when life seems dark and dreary.

        I’m mad for James Nesbitt. I took one look at Bofur’s dimples and started to giggle. Of course he’s Irish and has a delicious accent. I wish he didn’t look like a Dwarven version of Pippi Longstocking though.

        I will have to check out more of RA’s work. I like his look as Guy, but will probably avoid it because I don’t like the character. I don’t have tons of time to watch anything, but I will get to it. First though I’m having a ball playing with Thorin and doing my best to avoid the reality of his fate. The third movie is gonna be a tough one…

        • We are glad you feel welcome and comfortable here. I love Jimmy Nesbitt, too, and I am a fan of Aidan Turner and several of the other actors as well. I am sure I would enjoy the film even if RA wasn’t in it–but Thorin is definitely the huge draw for me. Watching the video blogs Sir Peter has posted has gotten me excited about the films as a whole–seeing all the hard work and talent and enthusiasm and creativity that goes into such a production as this.

          I am sure you will fall in love with John Thornton in North & South–pretty much everyone does–and he’s simply outstanding as the shy gentle giant John Standring in Sparkhouse. He’s sexy as hell and a great hero as Porter in Strike Back and for pure sunshine and sweetness and fun you have Harry Kennedy in the Vicar of Dibley. Lucas, the beautiful, mysterious spy haunted by his past in Spooks . . . Oh, you have so much to look forward to. Of course, I absolutely LOVE him as Sir Guy because Richard showed us the vulnerability and naivety of the character, the tenderness beneath all the swagger. Guy was the character who introduced me to RA as an actor. And he looks hot as hell in the Guyliner and black leather, of course. 😉

        • Having been part of “our little community” for some years and happily a part of TAE – at least I like to think I am – I know you will love being a part of Armitageworld. It is a great place to be and I come many times a day to enjoy the fun, help and be helped when things are not so good and above all to share in the mutual love, respect, admiration etc., etc. of this stunningly handsome, gentlemanly and multi-talented man. He has no equal!

          Please don’t be turned off by Sir Guy or his character. When he first appears in Series 1, he certainly isn’t loveable or even likeable! But persevere! I can assure you, you won’t be sorry! Richard is magnificent in the role and you will find yourself rooting for this “baddie” as so many others have done before you. Even if you begin by watching Richard in other roles he has played, and leave RH until last I think you will come to the same conclusion as many of us have! 🙂

          • Of course, you are a part of TAE!! It wouldn’t be the same without you, dear friend! And I totally agree about the support system this fandom offers.–and the fact our crush has NO equal.

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