Daily Archives: December 14, 2012

Guyday Friday: The Delights of Hood Academy



These wonderful GIFs are courtesy of Recycled Vinyl & Dessine-Moi-un-Mouton at tumblr








I never tire of watching Richard in Hood Academy.  He’s so much fun to watch–all that focus and intensity. Not to mention the tousled locks, heavy stubble and forearm hair. Oh, Richard . . .







I’ve got Thorin’s key . . .



Too bad it’s not to his heart. Actually, this is a Thorin’s Key pen from Noble Collection, along with a renticular 3D Thorin bookmark which I will use in my new Weta Workshop book, discussed in the last post.

Honestly, I am NOT going to buy anything else. Except possibly a mug. And maybe a T-shirt.  Oh, the madness . . .

If you haven’t purchased it yet–you’ll want to.


I’m taking about The Hobbit: An Unexpected JourneyChronicles: Art & Design by Daniel Falconer. This beautiful 200-page book  from Weta Workshop was just released today and, having pre-ordered it from Amazon, my friendly Fed Ex lady delivered it to my doorstep a little earlier.  Squee!

And “beautiful” is no exaggeration. The sturdy cover, embossed in gold, has the look of fine leather, with a reproduction of Thorin’s map ready to fold out inside the front cover, and Bilbo’s contract with the Company inside the back cover.

The book is chock-full of conceptual art for the film, from the furnishings for Bag End to the environs of Goblin-town, done in detailed pencil sketches and vibrant watercolors. We see the development of the costumes, hair, beards, weaponry, accoutrements and more for the cast of characters, along with descriptions from costume designer Ann Maskrey and many others instrumental in creating the amazing world of Middle-Earth.

I still don’t have a scanner here, so I tried to take a new photos of some of the pages I thought would most interest you: the ones about Thorin, of course.


From the Chronicles, artwork depicting concepts for Thorin’s look. On the right, Thorin’s “oakenshield,” an addition envisioned by Richard.

I even found a snippet written by a certain fellow you might know of–

Thorin receives the name Oakenshield when he is younger, when finding himself without a shield in the middle of the dreadful battle, he breaks a branch off a tree and fights with it on his arm. I thought it would be nice to bring something of the past into what was happening now: he might have kept and nurtured this chunk of oak that had saved his life and perhaps honed it into something else. I made a sketch of it, like a branch that had been hollowed to become something like a vambrace with prongs, which I showed to Peter and he liked the idea of it.

Richard Taylor picked it up and we went through a development of the idea. It briefly had a fist-like end with nails on it, but it started to look Orcish so we pulled back from that to give it a Dwarvish feel.

Richard Armitage, Actor, Thorin

(In case you are wondering what a vambrace is, it’s a “forearm guard worn as part of a suit of plate armour.” Yeah, I had to look it up. Who says Richarding isn’t educational?)

Here’s some of Thorin’s gear:


And guess who else is featured in the book? Yup, young Thorin.  Sadly, I believe the concept image of a bare-chested, sweaty young Thorin working as a blacksmith was simply done as a request. They ended up sticking a shirt on him (shades of Guy!). “I think this one was done for the ladies,” said the artist, Gus Hunter. Oh, yeah . . .


And here’s a passage from another page on young Thorin:

We see Thorin as a young prince in a time before Smaug’s coming. Initially we offered suggestions that were quite princely, but it became clear that Peter, Fran and Philippa really wanted him to contrast with the pompous grandeur of the scene and be much more of an understated hero. My immediate reference of choice for that was Aragorn. I worked up ideas to suggest he’s just come back from a hunt and is dressed in functional leathers.  It’s interesting that little things such as shortening his hair or raising his crotch-line, all make Thorin look younger: little tricks that convey a sense of youth.

(Raising his crotch-line? Oh, never mind . . .)

This is just a small sampling of the treasures to be found within the pages of this book (trying to avoid spoilers here), in what promises to be a series of  such volumes from Weta Workshop on the trilogy.  Why, you even get a glimpse of lady dwarves complete with varying degrees of hirsuteness!

It’s wonderful to see the creative efforts of all these talented people spotlighted in such a handsome volume.  You can order the book ( retails for $39.99, $26.39 through Amazon) and use RANet’s portal for a portion of the sale to go to Richard’s Just Giving charities. It really would make a fabulous gift for any Hobbit fan (including yourself).

And now, back to salivating over that picture of half-naked young Thorin working up a sweat . . . oops, did I type that out loud?

Yes, Guy, you played your part


“Sooo.” Guy, brow furrowed, tilts his head. “The creator believes I have played my part in this latest triumph of his?”

“Yes, Sir Guy. He’s said that everything that has come before in his career helped him prepare for this role. Look at your skills on horseback. And with weaponry. Not to mention all that anger–understandable anger, most of the time–all that inner conflict, that intensity. Expressing so much just through your eyes alone at times. Even the extra deepness of your voice.”

Guy’s lips curve into a lop-sided smile. “So–will you be looking for glimpses of me when you do see this–Thorin on the theatre screen?”

She returns his smile and nods. “Of  course. I don’t think I ever stop looking for glimpses of you, Sir Guy. Right down to the CReAtor wearing buttery soft black leather. That always reminds me of you, my dearest dark knight.”

Sir Guy leans down and presses a kiss to Ladywriter’s cheek before murmuring in her ear: “It’s good to be your favorite.”

Ladywriter, drinking in Sir Guy’s scent–leather, something spicy and a definite hint of chocolate– gives a soft little sigh. Speaking of chocolate . . . “There are fudgy walnut brownies with white chocolate icing in the kitchen, Sir Guy.”

“I’ll bring back enough for two, shall I?” he rumbles.

“Please do, darling.”








It’s almost like New Year’s Eve . . .


With folks counting down to the midnight premiere of The Hobbit. And some fans really get into the spirit of things. Check out this full company of 13 dwarves as posted by @pagelady at Twitter:

Love the homemade beards here. Especially Bombur's orange lei for his "strangler" braid.

Love the homemade beards here. Especially Bombur’s orange lei for his “strangler” braid.

I can only think the real Dwarves would get quite a kick out of these creations.

These dudes are downright scary looking! Outside an IMAX in Quebec.

These dudes are downright scary looking! Outside an IMAX in Quebec.

@Oronhya said, “Je suis prisonniere” surrounded by these pretty authentic-looking Orcs awaiting The Hobbit in Canada.

And it’s a bit like Christmas Eve, too, as you anticipate Santa’s visit and getting that present you want most of all . . .


Even Santa’s starting to look a lot like you-know-who . . .


And Lego Thorin is in on the act, too!


For all those seeing The Hobbit tonight, and tomorrow, and this weekend and in the weeks to come–enjoy your present.  It’s been a long wait. And it’s time to celebrate!