“An Experience Like This . . .”


“I know there are a million people out there for whom I will probably not be their version of Thorin, but I can only be my version of Thorin. Yet even that is elusive, and I still don’t know whether I can achieve what I want to do with this role. Peter thinks I can do it, thinks I can get there; so I trust his judgement and hopefully we’ll get there together. And that’s very exciting because an experience like this doesn’t come around very often.”

~~Richard Armitage in a quote from The Hobbit:  Official Movie Guide by Brian Sibley.

This is a photo taken of a fairly small photo situated on a page that would not lie flat, so there is some distortion.  Still, I think you can see why I liked it so much.

This book and the movie tie-in visual guide both finally made it into my hot little hands tonight.

Benny and I watched Prometheus together whilst dining on Papa John’s pizza, so I haven’t had the chance to properly peruse them both. Something tells me I won’t be falling asleep early tonight either. The guide is a large 166-page paperback with slick and glossy pages, tons of photos, including all that behind-the-scenes stuff so many of us love and lots of interviews with cast and crew.

But, what do you know– my fingers immediately seemed to find Sibley’s article with RA.  There is a photo I had not seen before of Richard and Sir Ian standing in a field talking together,  a down-filled coat covering Sir Ian’s costume. For some reason it put a lump right into my throat. And then I read that Richard was trying “desperately” to stay in character on the first day on set whilst thinking, “That’s Gandalf!” Seems he still gets starstruck, too. Which I find so endearing–the seasoned professional sparring internally with the wide-eyed boy feeling a major squee coming on.

The BTS photo of Richard in Thorin gear looking down with a pensive expression is amongst the photos in the article; the cutline is “An actor prepares. Richard Armitage becomes Thorin.”  This perfectly mirrors what many have expressed about that particular photo, that it is neither Richard nor Thorin, but a combination of the two melding before our eyes.

Turns out our poor lad was doped up on painkillers when he auditioned for the role–he’d injured himself doing a stunt for Spooks, which makes me hate TPTB there just a little more–and says if nothing else, he had succeeded in showing his ability to convey pain!

And the clever boy has come up with a reason for Thorin’s beard being so short compared to the other dwarves and the description by Tolkien. It seems that his father and grandfather’s beards were badly singed after their encounter with that wicked dragon Smaug. Thorin decided to cut his beard short to show his elders respect for the indignity suffered by them. And if he ever does get to sit on the throne again, maybe he will grow it out again!

And that’s just a small portion of the good stuff you will find within.   In his interview alone, RA elaborates on the Shakespearean connection to Thorin, why the part needed to be played by a younger man,  why it’s important to know the history of the other characters as well as yours, and more.

It’s $18.99 for the paperback or $9.66 for the Kindle edition. Personally, this is the kind of thing I would prefer in traditional book form, particularly if you don’t have a color e-reader.

If you haven’t already gotten a copy of the book, you can do so by visiting www.richardarmitagenet.com and using their Amazon or AmazonUK portals to order and a portion of the sale will go to charity.

Resistance is futile. Go ahead and dive right into full-fledged Thorin Mania if you haven’t already.  What an amazing ride!!

47 responses »

  1. I think I may have to buy myself a Christmas present. I love the photo of Richard becoming Thorin. This is a great actor at work, doing what he does best. The reasoning behind his characterization makes sense emotionally and dramatically, as well as logically.

    I hate to think of what Richard went through at the hands of TPTB on Spooks. Still, to be able to audition successfully under those conditions is amazing.

    Thanks for sharing!

    • I think that shows how amazingly well disciplined he is—obviously feeling the effects of the physical pain and having thought processes a bit blunted by the painkillers, yet still able to deliver something that certainly favorably impressed them. I give him two enthusiastic thumbs up, alas my thumbs are not nearly as attractive as his are. 😉 A lot of people really like that photo you mentioned, too–“a great actor at work, doing what he does best” is a great description.

      There a GORGEOUS two-page spread of Thorin in the other book, the visual guide. But it really wouldn’t photograph well or even scan because you’ve got the spine in the middle. Maybe the original will show up online.

  2. I wasn’t going to buy anymore stuff, but you changed my mind! So, more Hobbit stuff is headed my way! I expect next year I’ll be buying too much, too! I can’t wait!!

    • Honestly, I wouldn’t recommend it if I didn’t think you’d consider it well worth it. And books are always a good investment to me. 😉 However, when I think about the fact that, yes, there are two more years of this . . . oh heavens, how much Hobbity stuff will I have before it’s all over . . . oh vey!!!

  3. Angie, as soon as I read that quote on the top of the post I decided that I wanted this book!!! Then I read the post and now I want it even more! That picture of Richard and Sir Ian in itself would be worth the price of the book! How wonderful that he got to work with Sir Ian, a living legend (amongst all the other great actors.)!

  4. thanks for telling us something about the interview with RA in the book. It makes me more and more crazy about him. I think he can be the best version of Thorin. I can not imagine a different Thorin.

    • I think it will be much as it was with John Thornton. Can you really imagine anyone else as Thornton? Or, for that matter, as Gisborne? Or John Standring? He takes the roles and really makes it his own. And I know what you mean. I just adore and admire him all the more. *sigh*

  5. Thanks so much for this. Only reinforces how thoughtful this man is. Personally, I think his own worries about his role as Thorin will only aid in his portrayal of a character who is setting out on an “ill-advised” venture. I have not a single doubt that he can pull off the role. He stuns me in everything I have watched thus far. Can’t wait for my copy to arrive (it’s in the mail, Amazon said today) so I can jump in!

    • Thank you, Janine, and welcome. I am reminded once more of how very much Richard contradicts the image of the self-absorbed celeb. He is so in tune, so sensitive to what is going on around him. I am really not worried about his performance, either–I never have been, simply because again and again I have seen him take a character and do amazing things with it, no matter how daunting the challenge.

      I think whatever fears or doubts he has in terms of his characters and performances, he faces them, he takes them on and is able to incorporate that in some way into the roles. And yes, Thorin is a conflicted character dealing with his own heavy burden, his own self-doubts. I can’t wait to see what he does with this role!! 😀

      • I’ve been lurking about for awhile. And thoroughly enjoying your naughty self. But Frenz brought me out of my shell a couple of weeks ago and I’ve been having so much fun on blogs and Twitter. 😉 I honestly have NEVER been captivated by an actor before. Oh, I liked some. But this man is the whole package. And even though I have not been a recruit in the AA for long (March), I so want to see him gain the accolades he deserves.

        BTW, I just read your piece on S3E9 of RH from back in March. I have watched the episode several times and bawl every time. You said it all beautifully. Obviously, the writers loved his character because they knew he could take anything they could throw at him (witness the killing of Marian, which I still don’t think Guy would ever have done), but the director, too. Just look at the lighting of that man’s face. I found I liked Guy for different reasons in each season. But S3 Guy was wildly good; we love our tortured souls. I haven’t yet had the strength to watch the end because of the obvious. Maybe in a couple of weeks, she says. 🙂

        I still have many, many hours of shows to watch, which I have stockpiled for winter. And I was always a fan of Lord of the Rings (my man there was Aragorn/Viggo), so when I realized that man I had just fallen for in North and South was going to be in The Hobbit, I lost it. And everything I see on his desire to give this role his all makes me want to just hug him. I can’t wait till I can see him supersized on the screen. My heart may stop. Repeatedly.

        And thanks for the video fun, too. Your captions never fail to make me laugh. Or blush. Then laugh. A big digital hug to you, fedoralady!

        • Well, so glad you decided to de-lurk. I know you guys are out there, as the regular commenters just can’t add up to all those hits. 😉 Thanks for coming onboard, and thank goodness you like my naughty side, because I don’t think it’s going anywhere anytime soon . . .

          It’s amazing, really, the sort of loyalty and devotion Richard tends to inspire in his admirers in a relatively short amount of time in so many cases. Because he is, I believe, such a good guy and really special human being, you do want to see him succeed and achieve his goals and dreams–just as you would a dear friend or family member.

          I am glad you have so much RA goodness to look forward to as you continue to discover his many fine performances, Janine. Oh, Guy–my first chaRActer and always, always, the dearest to my heart. I am seeing little bits of Guy in certain aspects of Thorin, which delights me to no end. That particular ep was so moving. Even just thinking about it–never mind watching it–tends to make my eyes misty. He was great in all three series of RH, but it was truly a tour de force performance on the scale of an operatic tragedy in the final series. His beauty and the intensity of the emotions–despair, desperation, a need for vengeance, remorse, tenderness, so much more–was off the charts. The lighting was just exquisite.

          I want to hug him all the time. I mean, seriously. Yes, I fancy the pants off of him (be quite, all of you in the peanut gallery) but gosh, he is just-so amazingly talented and beautiful and charming and yes, so down-to-earth, modest, sweet and thoughtful. Like my husband, he is just an adorable man and adorable men deserves lots of hugs!

          His dedication to getting it right and his genuine respect for this role and for the fans makes me believe he will totally rock and rule as Thorin.

          Oh, and Viggo is also a fave of mine. A real Renaissance man himself, very much multi-talented and seems very grounded, too. And he’s someone whose had success and still maintained his privacy.

          • Love Viggo. I have most of his poetry/photography books. Deep, very deep thinker. (We do like that kind, don’t we?)

            As to the rest, I fully agree. I just hope this ride is fun for him. Adorable man.

            Inspiring great affection; delightful; charming.

            • Smart is very, very sexy to me. It you look good but there’s no spark of intelligence in those eyes or you open your mouth and nothing of interest or insight comes out—my interest wanes very quickly.

              Richard, on the other hand, is simply sublime inside and out. Judging from some things he has said, he truly enjoyed his time in New Zealand and will look forward to returning to playing a dirty, sweaty, fierce warrior dwarf next summer. 😉 He has said if he never played another role, he’d feel content.

              Coming from a dedicated and ambitious actor like RA, that is saying something.

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