More thoughts on a face from out of the past.

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I’ve found myself looking at screencaps of the reconstruction of RIII’s face yet again tonight. I’m drawn to it, as I am to the whole archaeological project known as “The King under the car park.”

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Richard III Society member Philippa Langley, originator of the search, said on a Channel 4 documentary earlier: “It doesn’t look like the face of a tyrant. I’m sorry but it doesn’t.

“He’s very handsome. It’s like you could just talk to him, have a conversation with him right now.”  A quote from the BBC website

I have to agree with Philippa. Looks can be deceiving, of course, but even in the portraits of the day, which might or might not have been accurate, I never got the sense of the pantomime villain presented to us so often.  History, it is said, is written by the victors; the losers often get the very short end of the stick.

I’ve always loved history. To see it come to life in the way it has with these recent developments, to hear all the details of these bones, to imagine in my mind those bones transforming into the flesh and blood man, an anointed king, a valiant warrior, brutally killed and then disrespected in death . . . I felt a sense of awe mingled with sadness.

We cannot change the past and the ignominious way Richard Plantagenet was treated in death.

But something can be done to rectify the image molded by Shakespeare and other writers of Richard III as an ugly hunchback with a withered arm and a dark, poisonous heart, a villainous murderer with no redeeming qualities.

Richard Plantagenet was a human being and certainly not perfect, but many signs point to him being a much more sympathetic (and far better-looking) individual and a better king than history and literature have painted him.

That’s why I am so psyched at the notion of Richard III’s story being told on screen. Even if Richard Armitage is unable for whatever reason to play a part in its coming to fruition, I dearly hope it happens.

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Richard III Society member and RIII screenwriter Philippa Langley at the site of the excavation. Courtesy of examiner.com.

I have a lot of admiration for Philippa Langley and her dogged determination to find the King and to see his tale told properly. I appreciate all those who supported and participated in this dig and the dedicated researchers whose efforts established beyond a reasonable doubt the identity of the bones.  What an amazing odyssey!

Here’s a link to the live Q&A held earlier today by Channel 4 with Philippa and Professor Lin Foxhall of the University of Leicester. There’s some interesting queries and responses if you haven’t seen it yet:

http://www.channel4.com/programmes/richard-iii-the-king-in-the-car-park/articles/live-qa-with-philippa-langley-and-lin-foxhall

And just for fun, this bit of art that’s been making the rounds on the Net:

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And a glimpse of Guy, looking rather Richard III-like:

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8 responses »

  1. I see you couldn’t keep off the internet very long, not with this incredible story breaking. And you ARE a reporter, just a different kind. Your email list is pushing 400—that is not insignificant, and there are plenty more lurkers.

    Love the pictures of Guy—glorious, and truly regal! Would I love to see RA play R III. Directing is fine, but we wouldn’t get to SEE and HEAR him! What a waste of his beauty! Peter Jackson I can do without looking at.

    • No, the old reporter instincts still kick in and I can’t resist following a good story. It’s not the first time I have stayed up all night doing it either. 😉 But at least I got to wear pajamas doing it this time. Having an issue with the domain here though that I have been wrestling with for the last half hour or so and it’s making my headache worse.

      If you try to access the site by typing in the address into a search engine it doesn’t take you to it. Nor will my Twitter link work, discovered that through a Twitter follower in Germany. So I took it down for the time being until I can get things sorted out. At least by you responding I know the links still work going out to my blog followers! I have an upgraded account and I am entitled to the domain thearmitageeffect.com along with thearmitageeffect.wordpress.com but nothing’s working like it should–oh vey! I may have seek out the assistance of my in-house technical advisor LOL

      I think Richard could do a fantastic job in the role. I want him to do what he wants to do re the project, I really do– but can’t help hoping to see him in the role or at least a supporting role. We all know he has the acting chops to do it and can easily pass for a younger man (although RIII appears older than his years in his portraits).

      Well, let me play around with this darned domain thing a bit more before I give up. 😉

  2. Good luck with the domain thing. I hope your “in-house technical advisor” can come to your rescue. We both know you need to save your eyes, but we also know that as a journalist, you can’t resist this story. Talk about journalistic catnip!

  3. And I wish, just once, in all of this verbiage from the Ricardians, we’d get some admission that what Shakespeare wrote is not what historians or even “history” as a whole believes to be true about Richard. As much as I support this project, I’m getting tired of reading mischaracterization after mischaracterization of historians’ work. This is not directed at you — I’m just tired of being told what “history” says about Richard III when as far as I can tell, no textbook of history that’s in current usage actually villifies Richard.

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