Positively Protean Armitage: TAE Word for the Day


protean: (adj)  (1) Assuming many forms; variable.  (2) Able to handle many different things, as roles in a play. Versatile.

After Proteus, a sea god in Greek mythology, who could assume different forms. He got his name from the Greek protos (first) as he was one of the earliest sea gods. Earliest use: 1594.

The dark knight who captured my heart.

The first thing I ever saw Richard Armitage in was Robin Hood. I was taken with the nuances, the depth, the vulnerabilities he gave to what could have otherwise been a bog-standard one-dimensional henchman (not to mention the Guyliner and leather). That, of course, led me to investigate some of his earlier material. In a fairly brief space of time, I saw North & South, Sparkhouse, and The Vicar of Dibley‘s Wholly Holy Happy Ending.

I can only say I was truly blown away. This actor was clearly no one-trick pony. It was hard for me to believe the same human being who had given us the smouldering, swaggering, staggeringly sexy Sir Guy had also brought to life a painfully shy Yorkshire farmer, that gentle giant John Standring.

Sweetie John, the shy, steadfast friend and husband.

And the sunny, sweet, cheeky accountant Harry. And created the Victorian mill owner Thornton, the good son who had borne the responsibility of restoring and maintaining his family’s good name and fortune.  Wow.

Harry discusses “one kiss. With Tongues.” with Geraldine as part of paying up on her debt.

Thornton, the sober mill owner who develops a “foolish passion” for a young lady from the genteel south.

The man is a veritable acting chameleon, assuming many forms in a convincing manner, subtly altering voice, facial expressions, body language and mannerisms in order to create a new and different character.

And then, of course, there’s all those talents and skills. Swordfighting and horseback riding; singing and dancing; writing, painting, playing musical instruments . . . well, you get the idea. As I said, not a one-trick pony at all.

I would say Richard Armitage is a positively protean actor, wouldn’t you? And aren’t you glad you discovered him, too?

6 responses »

  1. So protean in fact that it’s hard to believe that the same actor is playing such different roles, from the light to the dark, from the comic to the tragic, from the weak to the strong, from villains to heroes, and everything in between, even the smallest roles as fully developed and distinct individuals. Few actors have this kind of gift and dedication. Am I glad I found him?? You have to ask??!

  2. Thanks Angie, this sums up Richard’s wonderful talent beautifully. And yes, I am. One could say almost deliriously so!!! 😀

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