A Fan’s First-Hand Experience at RA’s Sydney Q&A: A Must-Read!

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Boys and girls, do I have a treat for you. For those of us who didn’t get to attend the Q&A with Richard Armitage, this is the next best thing to being there for now, thanks to groovergreen.  I have also included some photos taken during last night’s session courtesy of my peeps at Twitter.

Groovergreen, I owe you a big one, mate (oh, and why don’t you have you own blog, little missy??)  Enjoy!!

Greetings, everyone, from the middle of the Sydney night, the sleepless aftermath of the Richard Armitage love-in at the Orpheum Picture Palace! Thanks to the Popcorn Taxi’s The Hobbit Q and A, 700 of us had our first chance to quiz Mr Armitage directly — unmediated by media — to gaze admiringly on his magnificence and to ponder: How can the gods devolve so much power of enchantment on just one human being?

Reckon the Popcorn Taxi boss could have used a bit of that, for he warned us against letting our love flow too freely. “I suggest you deal with the wetness on your seats,” said he with such delightful delicacy and tact. Bewdy, mate, thanks, will do.

Despite having been interviewed to within an inch of his life this week, RA was tireless and gracious, and for 45 minutes we sat rapt in his bass-baritone eloquence as he expounded on life in Middle Earth. He scrubbed up all right, too, in sleek white shirt with skinny neo-Modernist tie, jacket of a peculiar green-gold hue and exquisitely tight (tight, I said!) black jeans. Ooh!

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No digital recording was allowed, so I cracked a notebook – an old-fashioned paper notebook — and transcribed almost all the Q and A in shorthand. (Well, as best as I could in the dark and while bedazzled by RA.) So though this may be superseded by an official transcript in days to come, I reckon that between Lady 0akenshield’s pictures from the front row and my own humble offering we have this one covered for at least the next 24 hours in the fandom. You will see where I have paraphrased some things for better flow and sense, but mostly I have preserved RA’s words.

A big thank you to Angie the Fedora Lady for hosting this transcript on her wonderful blog, The Armitage Effect!

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First question of the evening: What has RA learned from playing Thorin that is useful to him in real life?

RA (with the winsome meekness that we adore but don’t quite understand): “I am not really a bold leader as a person, and I found in him a nobility that is about leading by example, not necessarily dictation. That is the best thing I have found for myself.”

To create Thorin’s distinctive look required prosthetics and heavy make-up (about $1.6 million worth, according to a report in a Sydney newspaper this week). Was RA shocked by how he looked in Thorin’s body?

When I met Peter (Jackson), no, before I met Peter, I was given a character break-down and one thing it said was ‘you will be required to wear some prosthetics’. I knew there would be something, but it was extensive and the initial manifestation of Thorin was more extreme.’’ RA worked with make-up artist Tami Lane to tone it down, including Thorin’s wild eye-flashing.

I didn’t want to be inhibited in any way. The key to seeing into Thorin’s heart is through his eyes. When the makeup came off, my face was much more animated than I am as a person, but I think that is because all the facial muscles had been exercised a lot more.’

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How differently might today’s audiences and readers interpret The Hobbit compared with the original readers in the 1930s?

RA: “I read Tolkien’s biography and he talked a lot about his experiences in World War I. That he lost his fellowship was what he was writing about, and the rise of evil… but we are living in a time when we send other people’s children off to fight battles. The idea of dwarves exiled from their homeland pervades across times, I think.’’

Amid chortling about his “266 days of hard work emoting through Thorin’s hot and heavy costume and make-up’’, RA was asked whether he had fun on the Hobbit set.

I have got to say that most of the fun was off the set,’’ he said, explaining that Thorin required all his concentration. “He isn’t a big bag of laughs, I’ve got to be honest,’’ he said. “But for me, I have fun when I’m stretching myself fully.”

The cross-cultural exchange among the dwarves actors kept the amusement factor high too, he said. ‘’Without the British and the Kiwis, the coming together of those two cultures, it wouldn’t have been as much fun. I’m looking forward to seeing them again. We have 10 more weeks of shooting. We haven’t done a single frame of the Battle of the Five Armies. Actually I think it might be the Battle of the Six Armies. I started training again at the end of January so I could swing that heavy sword around you are talking about. I’ve had practice; I was very close to taking it to the gym with me. I didn’t bring it with me now. I would never have got it through security.”

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Popcorn Taxi host: “I’m determined to find out some of the stories that haven’t been told and retold about fun on set — such as director being put in embarrassing situations?”

Our director put himself in very embarrassing situations,’’ RA replied, recounting a complicated shoot in which Thorin had to run down a tree trunk. “Peter said ‘this is how you do it’. He came down that tree trunk so fast his pants fell down around his ankles and the film crew kept on filming it. So somewhere there is a film with Peter Jackson with his pants around his ankles. For Peter’s 50th birthday we decided to make a naked dwarves calendar. As you know, dwarves when they take their clothes off have a lot of padding , and the calendar featured dwarves of the movie in various compromising positions. There is only one copy. Graham wanted to make more but I said absolutely not, and there is only one copy.”

Host: “Did you have a strategically placed piece of oak?”

RA: “What happened in the calendar stays in the calendar!”

Host: “In The Hobbit you sing a song, Misty Mountain. You were a song and dance man before you went into the more serious side of drama. What was it like returning to singing in a production?”

RA: “I did a production of The Hobbit when I was 13, and it was a musical, really. I know that Tolkien had written lots of songs through the literature. I was really excited there were going to be these songs in it. (Hobbit co-writer) Fran Walsh wrote the tune to this song, and I was honoured to be asked to take it on. (For research) I listened to a lot of Russian church music. I listened to a Welsh male voice choir. We took the pitch down and down and down … I wanted to keep recording it until the end of time because I was not ever happy with it.’’

The audience was then invited to ask questions, and one was about The Hobbit’s horses.

I love my horse, her name is Shaman and she and I became very close,” RA said. “She had her long hair thing going and so did I. We would ride the horses out on location at the weekends… In the Tolkien literature it describes dwarves as not liking horses because they don’t ride very well, which I was slightly annoyed about because I was in love with my horse.’’

How much control was RA given over the way Thorin looked?

RA: “I remember asking for more grey at the sides (of his hair) because I felt it would give him more age. I originally conceived Thorin as being like a bison and I wanted better body bulk. That included the pelt he wears. When I didn’t have the pelt on I felt I was missing a part of him.”

A fan helplessly entranced by RA’s voice (like us all, really), complained the Misty Mountains song was too short and might there be an extended version in the offing? “I know Neil Finn did it but it isn’t as good,’’ she said with complete lack of finesse.

RA: “It is quite long. If that song had been any longer I think people would have been quite impatient. There was a moment when I nearly got to sing the song at the end. Nearly. But Neil Finn did a version of the final song which extended and developed it, which I absolutely love. I am hoping there will be more singing in movies two and three.”

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The next inquisitor was a woman who asked RA how he had met Geraldine, and when he was going home. Er, no dear, this is not a Vicar of Dibley time warp.

Q: “How did you imagine Thorin as a child compared with the role under Peter’s vision?”

RA: “I do remember very clearly reading the book as a 12-year-old, and then as a slightly older 12-year-old man. I had seen him as a bit older. But the important thing was that he was the potential king who can return to his people and show his prowess on the battlefield. He was older than I am, but he still had the prowess to swing that sword around.”

RA was asked about working with Sir Christopher Lee, who plays Saruman and who is apparently noted for unusual behaviour.

RA: “I hate to admit it but I never worked with Christopher Lee. I don’t like to give away too many secrets of filming but all of Christopher’s stuff was shot in the UK because he was too old to travel, so I never got to meet him.”

Q: “If you hadn’t been cast as Thorin, who would you like to have been cast as?”

RA: “You tell me!” He likes the portrayal of Beorn: “He really lives up to the images of him I had as a kid.”

Q: ”How did it feel to play Thorin, then see him on screen?’’

RA: “It was really surprising. I actually thought I hadn’t done very much in the first movie and that most of my work was in movies two and three.” He explained that Peter Jackson had chosen to give Thorin more and extended scenes. “I hadn’t looked at what he had chosen. I was pretty pleased. He made Thorin look awesome. It was his doing, not mine.”

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Jackson, he said, tended to make decisions on the run: “It was always very difficult to get Peter to sit down … he likes to have these conversations when the camera is rolling.”

Q: what are the differences between doing a movie such as The Hobbit and television?

RA: “The main thing is time. When you have a budget like The Hobbit had it buys you so much time; in particular, time to experiment. And working on a green screen. I had never done that before. I was nervous of it. But it does fire up your imagination.”

Q: ‘What personal life experiences helped you shape Thorin?”

RA: “I suppose the thing I really love about Thorin is that he does have a fear of what he is going to do. He is on a path to something that is thrilling. He will get to be a king and he will accumulate a huge amount of wealth. But in that mountain is the most terrifying thing he has ever experienced in his life … I assimilate that to a holocaust of some kind, the bomb dropping on Hiroshima and the devastation it caused … He is walking towards something that he wants to do but it is repelling him. That dichotomy is the most appealing thing.’’

RA is noted for preferring to do his own stunts on film. Asked about his favourite stunt in The Hobbit, he nominated the scene in which the mountain splits open, Bilbo falls off the side and Thorin has to save him.

‘’It was one I didn’t know I was going to be able to do,’’ he said. “Just getting on the horse and doing something your stunt double has shot is really thrilling. Not that it gives you a sense of heroism, but it makes you feel like you are living the character.”

Speaking of that, how about the one RA is named after? Does he still plan to play Richard III on film?

RA: “Many, many plans but they are all in my mind at the moment. There is a possibility but it is a matter of when and how. Maybe I’ll be too old to do it.’’ (Collective groan of disbelief from the Armitage Army in the front rows.)

Q: “You have played a lot of dark, brooding, grumpy characters. What would you say about casting to type? Are you looking forward to choosing different sorts of roles in future?”

RA: “I always get very nervous when I read something that is close to myself. I predict I won’t get it, because I am better at playing someone very far away from myself. I fantasise about playing the romantic lead character, but I don’t think my face suits that.’’ (More groans.)

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Host: “You’re right. I think you look inherently evil.”

RA also talked about The Hobbit’s spectacular sequence known as Scene 88: ‘‘It felt like we were running through the whole of the North and South islands. But it was so great to be out in those locations, to see them, because I might never see them again. I did have to tape up my ankles, though, because the ground was so incredibly uneven.”

Q: “Will Smaug (played by Benedict Cumberbatch) and Thorin be in the room together (in Hobbit 2 and 3)? I wonder whether that has happened or whether you have talked about it.”

RA: “That is a pretty awesome thought. I went into the motion capture studio because I wanted to see how Ben worked – I’m a huge fan of his — so we did cross paths. I love the fact that they cast him because it means the dragon will have an incredible intellect and an incredible voice. I also think they may be able to use certain aspects of his bone structure in the face of the dragon, but nobody knows yet. But I don’t know if Thorin and Smaug ever come face to face. That is something I will find out when we do the reshooting. I hope so.”

Alas, time dances too merrily away in the Dionysian presence of Mr Armitage. And so to the final question: If there were one question he could ask of Thorin Oakenshield, what would it be?

The thing I want to know, that I’ve tried to fill in in my little biography, is: Who was the love of his life? I felt he had made a sacrifice in his life, that he gave up something for his people, for his quest, and I imagine there would have been a princess he would have been betrothed to as King Under The Mountain. So that is probably what I would ask Thorin.”

Then, to a standing ovation and with a bashful smile, RA was gone … out the wrong exit, whereupon an usher gently led him across the cinema and we shamelessly turned our mobile phone cameras on those long, sleek legs, that nose, that FACE in those precious last seconds of his being there.

Safe travels, Mr Armitage, and thank you for an evening that was well worth my journey of 1000km!

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Wasn’t this a wonderful report, folks? As I said, next best thing to being there . . . give groovergreen some love and let us know what you think of the Qs and As!

203 responses »

  1. Thank you so much groovergreen! A great report indeed! I’m sure you and other people there won’t ever forget this event. Thanks to everyone who, with their reports, pics and comments, permitted RArmy too far away from there to participate to this wonderful evening. Kisses from Italy 🙂

    • You are welcome, and welcome to the blog. Yes, it was very well written and as I said at the top of the post, I am wondering why she doesn’t have a blog of her own. The writing ability is definitely there. 😀

  2. Wow, what a great write up. I was there, but I’d half forgotten some of the questions because there was so much to absorb.
    The only detail I remember differently was when Richard was asked which character other than Thorin he’d like to have played. I’m sure he said Beorn because I remember him mentioning the Swedish actor who plays him and how impressed we’re all going to be with his performance.

    I don’t want to clog up your post, but let me know if you would like more detail of my experience of the night- I’d be happy to oblige!

    • Hi, Katherine and welcome! I seem to remember RA saying something about Beorn in one of the print articles–I will be honest, we’ve been so inundated with RA interviews this week my head is spinning and I can only imagine what it’s been like for those of you who actually WERE THERE. Thanks for sharing that tidbit and yes, if you have other details, I’d be happy to share them here.

      • It was a wonderful night- I arrived early, queued for 2 1/2 hours and managed to get a great seat in the second row.
        The waiting time became part of the occasion itself as everyone chatted happily about their common interest- the man himself. I happened to meet entirely by chance a lovely lady whose blog I’ve been enjoying for a while now (you know who you are!)
        The cinema staff seemed quite bemused by the herd of women camped out on their upstairs foyer carpet, complete with yellow roses, balloons and a large cardboard figure of a dwarf!
        I must make mention of the theatre itself- The Orpheum is a beautifully restored 1930s Art Deco picture palace with gorgeous period detail, which for me added to the sense of a special occasion. If you look at the photos posted by Popcon Taxi of the event you’ll see one of us all (I even found myself in the photo!) in the beautiful auditorium.
        Once seated, there was a palpable sense of expectation- would Richard Armitage reveal himself to be a real person, or was he just a figment of our collective, fervent imaginations? There was a delighted gasp as he came down the stairs near where I was seated and we could finally begin the Main Event.

        I particularly enjoyed the playfulness with which Richard answered some of the questions. He seems to have some sort of friendly rivalry going with Graham McTavish as he insisted contrary to previous reports that HE in fact came up with the idea of the now infamous Dwarf Calendar and not Graham.
        There was a fair amount of good natured banter as the moderator tried to push him for more explicit details of his particular contribution!
        When asked who would win a cage fight between Thorin and Dwalin he grinned gleefully and spread his hands as if to say “hey, no contest”. I noticed today online someone tweeted Graham about Richard’s answer and he replied with his usual good sense of humour something along the lines of ” easy for him to say, all the way away in Sydney”.

        The Q and A finished all too soon, but I must say I really enjoyed seeing the movie again with such a clued in and appreciative audience- everyone was in a great mood and laughed not only in the outright funny moments but some of those scenes where the actors have revealed a little bit of the background of what went on during filming.

        All in all, a fabulous way to spend an evening- the company of a truly wonderful special guest and an extremely appreciative (almost exclusively female) audience!

        • Thanks for sharing these additional details, Katharine! Love hearing the details of what the theatre itself was like. We have a 1930s Art Deco theatre here in our little town that was saved from wrack and ruin and transformed into a gem the whole community can take pride in (that’s the Ritz about which I have recently posted).

          I think you are right, there is a sort of friendly rivalry between those two, RA and Graham, and I suspect they conduct it with twinkles in their respective eyes. 😉 I was frankly surprised to hear some people left before the film was screened. It HAD to be fun to share the viewing experience with so many like-minded fans!! What a wonderful thing to be able to be a part of.

          • I suppose some people had to head home, being a mid week event. I would have found it hard to get up and walk away- I wanted to soak it all up for as long as possible. As it was I couldn’t sleep for hours afterwards- too keyed up.

            Another thing I forgot to mention before was how relaxed and at ease with his surroundings Richard seemed to be (from my close vantage point and careful observation!). He handled the couple of awkward questions well, and there was very little of the face touching, leg rubbing mannerisms that seem to come with his feelings of discomfort at times. To me, it was quite a brave move on his part to take on this type of event (who knew what types of questions these crazy Aussies might ask! ). Hopefully he’ll feel emboldened to do another such event sometime, so another group of fans get a chance to enjoy the experience .

            As to the cinema, there’s a short video and a potted history on the Hayden Orpheum website if you want to take a look. It’s such a shame so few of these wonderful buildings have survived and been treasured for the gems they are. We only have two ornate theatres left in the city of Sydney itself , so for this to exist in the suburbs (albeit a pretty well to do suburb) is a testament to the man who restored it and then found a way to make it a going concern. It hosts quite a few special events and one offs like opera screenings. Unfortunately we didn’t get to hear the famous Wurlitzer organ last night, but you can’t have everything!

    • Thank you for this Katharine I’m looking forward to Beorn too, as I’m a fan of the Swedish actor, Mikeal Persbrandt also 🙂 Please share more with all of us, much appreciated 🙂

    • Hi Katherine, you are right — it was Beorn. i wrote “Bayon’ in my notes, then later checked the cast list and thought I must have heard ‘Balin”. Angie, are you able to do a late edit and to fix that in my copy?

        • Thanks so much. You can tell I’m not a Tolkein fan. I hated having to read The Hobbit at school and pretend this Boy’s Own homoerotic adventure was at all interesting to a 14-year-old girl, but for RA’s sake I am visiting it anew.

    • Isn’t it a great report? The photos came from a variety of sources and I confess in my woozy headedness I cannot remember exactly which came from what sources. I know Bechep, Meri, RACentral and Plfallin all posted some on Twitter and I snaffled from there.

  3. Wonderful report groovergreen and the pics!!! Thank you so much for sharing the experience with us. I agree, the gods reached perfection with RA. Also some intriguing comments about Richard III possibilities!!! Thank you Angie for hosting and posting!

    • As a former reporter, I give her top scores for her efforts, Fabo! I really appreciate her sitting down to take the time to do this and share it with us. I found the RIII comments–well, the whole darned thing–fascinating, too. 😀 And you are most welcome.

    • Thanks Faboamanto! The words are mine, but I do not take credit for all the lovely pics; they came from the well-organised fans who arrived early and got the front seats. (I had to come from Melbourne and cut my arrival very fine.)
      A million thank-yous to all who took such beautiful pictures!

  4. Many thanks to groovergreen and Angie. Superlative! Groovergreen, you deserve a huge award for dedication and service to the AAA crowd, and also for having the self control, presence of mind, and skill at shorthand to be able to pull this off. I never could. Kudos!!! And the pictures!! Superbe!

        • Thank you Herba! I am stoked you like my little effort and are sharing it with RA’s German-speaking fans. I am new to the fandom (tho a long-time admirer) so am still exploring blogs and discovering how wide and vast is RA’s appeal. It knows no language barriers, obviously!

          • Yeah! Obviously there are no barriers, I saw Chinese fan vid maker on Yutube, and Japanese. I’m korean! (What I said in Korean: 네! 정말 장벽이 없죠. 유투브에서 영상을 올린 중국분도 봤고, 일본분도 봤어요. 저는 한국인이에요!) I like richard so much. but I found it hard to understand the meaning of english jokes or complicated or murmured words. Thanks for all transcripts.!! Great job~;)
            p.s. If there are someone who knows where can I find the transcripts about “the vicar of dibley”

  5. Thank you so much, groovergreen !!!
    I must admit, I am rather on the side of the fan “with complete lack of finesse”, as the last song in the film always forcibly throws me out of my entrancement with the film. It is just not a dwarf voice. And I am also convinced RA would have done it much more homogenous compared to the rest of the film.
    Sorry for all fans of Neil Finn, just my opinion and my own experience with the film. Though it might be a good thing to be thrown out of fantasy and back into reality at the end of the film.

    With RIII, I hope RA’s dream project can come true. I would have such a lot of ideas, how to push the topic. What a pity if it does not come to fruition.
    No more ranting of me here. You know of my KRA-hopes and dreams ;o)
    😉

    • Neil Finn’s version is very nice, but I confess I would have loved to have heard RA’s version. And to have seen it released as a single! The man has singing chops and he embodies the spirit of the dwarves in his singing of that song.

  6. Many thanks to the lucky grooves green for giving us this lovely interview, big hugs to Angie for hosting it …..and gorgeous photos! Oh way isn’t it December yet!

    • Hugs back atcha! I think we can thank our friends at Popcorn Taxi for a lot of those gorgeous photos. 😉 You know, I do feel as if it’s December in some ways–I am like a kid at Christmas with all this RA-related goodness. Yummmmmm

      • We are getting early presses aren’t we! I guess I should sit back and enjoy the excitement until the release date rolls around…… but it ages away! So pleased with the current deluge of RA!

        • I know we will likely hit a dry spell or two again before the whole full court press (as we say here) begins for film 2, but I am reveling in what we are getting now. And we can hope for a video production blog or two from PJ in the coming months, Comic-Con in July . . . and who knows what else? I will take WHATEVER I can get! LOL

          • Me too! I’d forgotten about the blogs, that will be fun….although message to PJ a little more RA this time please♥

            • I still doubt we’ll get a lot of on-camera time with Richard speaking to us in his Thorin gear–we know how he likes to stay in character. But maybe more behind the scenes footage of him in action . . . roaring, fighting, wet in a barrel . . . again, I will take whatever I can get!!

              • I like all the behind the scenes stuff best, it’s like being a fly on a wall. I love seeing how the whole project comes together and if we get glimpses of a certain hot dwarf all the better. More singing would be heavenly though!

              • Oh, I do, too, it makes me feel all the more invested in the film as a whole by watching those vlogs and seeing how filming was progressing, meeting the people who work the magic behind the scenes, and so forth. I am definitely in favor of more singing, too!!

              • What I always find so humbling when I hear him talk about the cast and crew is that he seems to know everyone’s names and seems genuinely thankful to be involved.

              • Yes–he is very much one to give credit to the people who work behind the scenes and to show appreciation for their talents. I remember what the Strike Back stunt guy said about him: “He’s one of us.”

              • A well earned compliment. I hope if my girls succeed they will be as considerate and gracious too.

              • We all know how modest and self-effacing he is–I wonder how much it has to do with his long years of struggling and coming to the realization that it might never happen for him. Now that seems inconceivable, but I just have the feeling that it affected him deeply. We know how amazing you are, Richard, never fear.

              • I think those years of struggle and dealing with self-doubt and fears he’d never make it did weigh heavily on him and still stick with him. He may not ever think of himself as a star, but he is–a true star of a human being, light years ahead of all those wanna-bes out there.

              • He was talking about being up against other “A-list” actors for the roles he’s being considered for. If there is such a list, our dear Mr.Armitage should be at the top in all ways. I sincerely hope that the day will come when he realizes that we think he already is at the top of that list and always will be.

  7. Much gratitude to Groovergreen and Angie! Hugs from Canada! What a wild rollercoaster week this has been for the RArmy… I am almost out of endorphins!! Congrats to Angie for the well-deserved shout-outs on radio and print! Hope you’re feeling better… I am still trying to wrap my poor head around his “party trick” and tuna mayo pasta concoction…. Cheers!

    • Hi, darling, it’s been a week of revelations and reveling in all things Armitage, hasn’t it?? And I have had a couple of surprises of my own, it’s true! I don’t get mentioned on Aussie radio or get my blog linked online very often,so it was fun. 😉 My toe feels better today, I am happy to say, and I did get some sleep overnight for a change. My schedule’s been crazy with trying to keep up with the doings Down Under, you know?? I love the way RA keeps surprising us–always fascinating, that man. 😉

  8. Wow! What a fabulous report. Thank you to both groovergreen and Angie for your work in bringing this to us. I know how hard it is to make the time to do something like this in the midst of a busy life!! But it really satisfies the *avid hunger* of those of us who missed it. 😀 You two are gems!! MWAH!! Now I want to know more about this dwarf fiancée… poor Thorin.

    • I really appreciate her taking the time and effort to do this–it was my pleasure to be able to host it and pick out some photos to break up all that fascinating “grey matter” (that’s a saying in the newspaper biz). MWAHHH back at you, baby! 😉 I, too, long to know more about dear Thorin’s lost love . . . (sigh)

  9. What a wonderful way to start my day–I knew it would be marvellous, and many, many, MANY thanks to groovergreen and Angie, as always, for putting it together and sharing it with us. Every thing I learn about Richard just makes me admire and revere him even more, and as far as I’m concerned, there can never be enough of our boy. He looks terrific (again, as always) and the questions were great, the answers even better. Vicariously, it makes me feel a little bit like I was actually there but I still have to be just a wee bit jealous of the ladies who scored the treat of meeting and speaking with him. Still feels like a very long time until December, though.

    • It’s hard not to feel a little envious, that’s just human nature, but I am still so very happy for those who got to be a part of it. And no, there can NEVER be enough of RA. Glad we could share this extra bit of RA goodness with you!

  10. Forgot–I would have SO rather have heard Richard sing the “Lonely Mountain” song at the end of the film. And he said he hopes they’ll do more singing in the other films–I’m in heaven! I do like Neil Finn (have long been a Crowded House fan), but I just think Richard would have brought something very special to it, singing as Thorin. Sigh–maybe in the next one.

      • I hadn’t known that either–now, I feel a little cheated and have to wonder why they decided to go with Finn instead of Richard. I think having him sing the song at the end would have been so much more in keeping with the atmosphere of the film–as it was, I have to agree that it was a little jarring to hear a studio performance of it rather than an authentic performance from the character.

          • OKay, how and where do we send the barrage to Sir Peter about having Richard and the dwarf chorus do the song in “Smaug”? I figured you would know if anyone would and now that Richard has said again that he’d like to do it, seems like now would be the time to begin.

  11. This was a wonderful report. So well-articulated and beautifully recounted. Thank you for all that effort that you put into letting us share the special moment. I have felt as if I was right there with you.

      • Absolutely. I was thinking that this is magazine-worthy writing. Any first-hand account of a RA event is good. But it is a pleasure when it is written with care and flair!

        • Having written newspaper and magazine articles myself — but not having read groovergreen’s stuff before (other than comments) — I was absolutely chuffed at the quality of it. It not only met, it exceeded my expectations and I was proud to share it here. Thank you for commenting and recognizing her good work, Guylty! 😀

          • She really does deserve serious kudos–I’ve read newspaper and magazine articles that weren’t as well constructed and attention holding. What a great job, and in steno, which I didn’t know anyone even used anymore! Richard has some seriously amazing fans, thank God!

            • I read a LOT of stuff nowadays, particularly online, that leaves much to be desired. *sigh* And while I developed my own system of shorthand when taking notes for stories, I never knew actual shorthand. God bless the rich variety of talents and gifts amongst the fandom, indeed!!

          • Working in the area myself, I couldn’t agree more, Angie. Compliments to groovergreen. (I am actually behind you in the call for groovergreen to start up her own blog 🙂 )

            • THANK YOU so much for all the wonderful comments! It’s 7am Friday in Sydney, and I woke up wondering if Angie had had time to post my piece yet … Now I’m sitting here with my face fit to bust from a grin as wide as the Harbour Bridge!
              What an amazing few days it has been here. I wish I could linger and enjoy the afterglow, but it’s back to Melbourne this afternoon, and back to work on Monday … yawn …
              I wonder where RA is now? Does anyone know if he is still in Sydney?

  12. Wow how cool!! Bless you, bless you, bless you groovergreen for sharing this with us! What a superhuman effort. You must have amazing self-control, I’m sure in Richard’s presence I would have forgotten how to write let alone do shorthand (Mind you I can’t do shorthand anyway)! Plus my hands would have been shaking too much to hold a pen! A thoroughly entertaining and enjoyable report! And Angie, thank you ever so much for hosting this wonderful account here on TAE. Finally, I totally agree with the other commenters re the Neil Finn vs. Richard version of Misty Mountains! The Neil Finn version did sound a bit out of place.

    • My absolute pleasure, Judit. As for self-control, sometimes I wish I didn’t have so much of it … like when RA was being led out of the cinema and passed a couple of metres in front of me. THAT would have been the perfect time to abandon all control and throw myself in his path!

  13. A very , very thank you to Groovergreen for sharing this delicious interview with us and Angie to posting it in your blog. I say Goovergreen was a very strong woman in to be writing instead to stay admiring all that beauty of man in front of her. I don´t know if I would have the same concentration and strenght .I also adored those… groans of the women each time that RA said something that for us was totally a big absurd: “I fantasies about playing the romantic lead character, but I don’t think my face suits that…” Oh, c´mon Mr Gorgeouness, are you kidding ? Or you ´re just throwing up his charm up the women?

      • That was the other comment he made that made my jaw drop–the only conclusion I can come to is that the man must not own a mirror in his entire house. Not a romantic lead? PLEASE!

        • We are discussing on twitter recently how our own conceptions about how we look can be somewhat skewed and I really don’t think he realizes how attractive he is. I mean, obviously, he has some notion with all these women drooling over him, but I definitely don’t think he sees what we are seeing. That he is a really beautiful man. He’d probably say it’s all due to the photographer/cinematographer/makeup artists etc. but look at how many of those who saw him yesterday were bowled over with how much more attractive he is in person???

          • I have no problem whatever believing that he is even lovelier in person–he does not need airbrushing or anything else to improve his stellar looks.

            • He is enchantingly beautiful, and I think we would all love to see him getting romantic with a worthy co-star as soon as possible!

              • Seriously, who wants some bland cookie-cutter pretty boy when we could glory in watching RA with a wonderful co-star with whom there is definite chemistry??

              • Would love to see him with Julia Roberts or someone as beautiful and talented as he is–my brain is too fried at the moment to come up with any other possibilities. I think I’m on Richard overload–and no, that is NOT a complaint.

              • What an apt description–enchantingly beautiful, which he is the definition of in my book. I would so love to see him get the chance to play a romantic lead with a truly terrific actress worthy of him–or even in a romantic comedy. I know he thinks he’s not funny, but I don’t agree at all!

            • Stephanie, I agree with you about Julia Roberts; she always gives a brilliant performance no matter what she does, and would be a worthy match in talent and beauty for Mr Armitage.

              • While I know she’s not to eveyone’s taste, I think she is always brilliant in everything she does and is absolutely wonderful in romantic comedy–plus, I think they’d make a gorgeous couple and Richard would have the joy and the challenge of working with someone who could keep pace with him (of course, doesn’t hurt that she’s also an Oscar and Golden Globe winner and has been nominated several other times as well).

              • Oh, I’ve forgiven those two films and seen her give fine performances in many other roles since then, but I’ve never watched one of them with my hubby. :-/ Even her appearance is not appealing to him. What can I say? He prefers blue-eyed blondes. 😉

              • Sadly, I don’t think my husband would want to see the film with me if Ms. Roberts co-starred, and I’d like to enjoy a nice romantic film with him. He hated the first two films he ever saw her in, “Flatliners” and “Pretty Woman” (I didn’t care for them either; they were our visiting nieces’ choices) and he’s never gotten over that. So I suppose )quite selfishly) I prefer a co-star he’d find more appealing.

              • Just thought of someone else that might be great fun for Richard to costar with–Nia Vardalos from “Connie and Carla” and “My Big Fat Greek Wedding”. Wonderful comedienne and very creative. Another actress who would be gorgeous and a great co-star for Richard–I love Angie Harmon from “Rizzoli & Isles”, who is much funnier than I ever thought she could be and a good actress to boot. You will notice i am trying to come up with age-appropriate actresses, not the twinkie sorts that seem to populate most of our movies these days. Another great choice–Mariska Hargitay, a huge favorite of mine. Thank God,my brain has finally started functioning again!

              • Benny would approve of Mariska. 😉 Don’t think he’s really familiar with Nia or Angie (who, I agree, is much funnier than she ever got the chance to be on L&O).

              • Of course, I’m thinking more in terms of romantic comedies–if you haven’t seen “Connie and Carla”, it’s a hoot and you should check it out. Carla is played by Toni Colette Also, you’re right, Angie never got much chance to be funny on L&O (though she did get off a few good zingers at McCoy every once in a while), but I think she’s improved amazingly since she started on R&I. I just hope that when it comes to pass, they don’t team him up with someone unworthy of him. And there are so many, unfortunately.

  14. Pingback: Is It Over Yet? | Love, Sex & Other Dirty Words

  15. Thank you very, very much for this wonderful report! I’m so happy for you, Groovergreen. When reading your report, I felt as if I’d almost been there myself.

  16. Robin Hood re-run just finished here on TV 😥 Your report is cheering me up.
    Many thanks for your effort.

    I have a stupid question: is his face sun-burned as in the other pictures I’ve seen on the net? (Your pictures show his skin as still in relatively good shape.) I hope somebody talks to Graham to broadcast it further to whom it might concern: Rich, we need you to MOISTURIZE!
    (Please delete if this is too cheeky.)

    • He looked his usual fair self on Wednesday night. However, visitors to Australia are often unprepared for how strong the sun is here; I always wear SFP30 even in winter, and a hat on sunny days. RA would surely be too smart to go sunbaking at the beach, but even an hour spent sitting in an open-air restaurant enjoying lunch and a sublime view of Sydney Harbour will roast a fair-skinned Pom — and RA must have had a few such lunches if he has spent his Sydney sojourn wisely and well.

      • I once got an unexpected sunburn in London during a June day at Windsor Castle. Somehow it was the last place I expected it–I had my usual makeup with sunscreen in it, but that wasn’t enough! You can look at photos of me in Kensington Gardens that night and I am quite “glow-y.” LOL I’m like Richard–very fair complexion.

        • I’ve had to be very careful (although I’m not THAT fair) since a really horrendous sunburn I got some years ago–stayed out way too long and didn’t realize how bad it was until I went in to shower and clean up. I was in bad shape for weeks and it taught me a very big lesson. Another reason I’m surprised I don’t have more lines than I do–I used to get sunburns on a fairly regular basis.

          • I’ve had a couple of bad sunburns in my life–spending a day at the beach and coming back looking like a blue-eyed lobster. I’ve tried to be much smarter about it in more recent years. I wear hats and sunglasses a lot and use daily sunscreen. I still have a lot of age spots starting to sprout in my hands. I forget to put sunscreen on them and the sun spots really run in my mother’s family.

            • This one was SO bad that I had a dreadful time wearing clothes for nearly three weeks–and I was working in a fairy classy department store at the time. Finally had to come clean with my boss because I couldn’t wear pantyhose until my skin started to heal–not that he couldn’t see the sunburn, but apparently he didn’t get that trying to pull on panyhose over fried skin was just a no-no.

              • That can be so very painful–you don’t want to be touched or touch anything against you! I think of the time in “I Love Lucy” when she got a sunburn and then had to model a wool suit! 😉

              • Terrific description–that is exactly what I looked (and felt) like.

  17. I feel like I was there! Thanks, groovergreen, for your awesome shorthand skills and important asides (i.e., GROANS) to set the stage. Richard just keeps on proving what a gentleman he is, as well as cheeky boy (I believe Graham and Jed have plans for Armitage, if Twitter is any barometer). And yay for all the gals who got to see the man in person and have been sharing it with all of us around the globe. We are grateful.

  18. Thank you, thank you, thank you for that wonderful report! He’s such a lovely man! If only we could get him to believe it! Somebody please sign the boy up for a romantic lead in a movie!

  19. Because of real life yesterday I completely forgot about the event, until later in the evening and felt very out of the loop. Thank you for doing this post I felt like I was able to play catch-up a little. Also, I swear I could hear his voice in my head at times when he was answering the questions.

  20. This was a fabulous report! Thanks so much to both of you!

    And I have to say I had a giggle with some of the Q&A: strategically placed oak? And RA trying to say that he is not a romantic lead. Come on fella! You need to “own” your inner heartthrob–right now! Ha!

    And and lovely Awww! moment when RA was talking about wondering if Thorin had to give up a princess love to lead his people and that sacrifice is part of Thorin’s persona.

  21. What a wonderful recap this is to read. Mr Armitage needs to stop listening to the press that is telling him that he is not romantic lead material because I have never seen anyone more qualified. I would love to see him in a movie with Emily Blunt or Cate Blanchette. I love how articulate he is and his sense of humor comes shining through in all of his interviews even with his shyness. Thanks again for this wonderful recap and all your work Angie. Love your site and your art.

    • Thank you, Fernanda! I agree, with Richard’s good looks, charisma, his ability to make love to a woman with just those incredibly expressive eyes, the way he focuses in on the love interest, to express desire and longing–he’s made to order as far as I am concerned for a romantic lead.

      • Yes, he is. He really needs to stop listening to his publicist and just go forth and conquer whatever role he may want in the future. I love that he sold out this event. That alone should be telling to someone in Hollywood or whatever Studio is out there, that this man is wanted to be seen by the public/ the public that will buy tickets to his future films and events such as this one. GO FORTH and conquer Richard and turn a deaf ear to any nay-sayers out there when it comes to your talent/looks and what you should be seen in.

        • I’ve always found the mainstream idea of Hollywood gorgeous a bit bleurgh! Nothing bleurgh about this lovely though, everything in the right place and he knows how to rock it on screen too! A relatively chaste kiss and smouldering looks as Mr Thornton and a sex symbol so strong was created it took down the BBC message boards! And time does only an improvement make!

        • Studios see dollar signs–but it makes me wonder just what it will take to make them realize this wonderful man’s universal appeal and huge fan base, not to mention his blazing talent that makes him an excellent candidate for almost any role. For heaven’s sake, the man played a dwarf and has half (at least) the female population of the world swooning–well, at least those of us who weren’t already overcome with Armitage devotion.

  22. A great recap and what clever work with shorthand – in the dark – and wanting to be paying attention to Richard. I doubt I’d be able to get any viable outlines let alone make head or tale of them afterwards! So, excellent job and thank you so much. I was sitting in the front row and am very glad to have the reminder of so much I can’t remember. Just a couple of things. I think the Geraldine comment was really asking whether Richard would be meeting up with Dawn French who, the questioner seemed to think, is in Australia currently. I think she was just so nervous her mind went blank and, instead of saying Dawn French, she fell back on Geraldine. Personally, if that’s what she was asking, I think it’s a viable question. There was also another Misty Mountains one. Maybe I’ve missed it? There was a music student who, with her friends, had developed their own arrangement and asked, if they played it, would Richard sing it with them? At which point he event manager, who was managing the mike, whisked it from her, saying, “I think that will do for Sunday”. While, down the front, Richard was saying, “The answer, is ‘Yes’!”. And there was the boy who got tangled up in what Richard and the interviewer decided was a question about how Richard felt about seeing himself in the movie.

    It was a completely wonderful night and one I’ll never forget. Thanks to Aussie Indie and Pol I managed to be sitting right in front of the cinema 4 doors first in the queue (which ended up around the block to the carpack at the back of the cinema). We got there at 3pm and held onto our spot. There were also some balloons left over from a meetup which were blown up and we handed around. We had visits from the theatre staff, security and the events manager who were worried the balloons would escape and, possibly attack Richard. Aussie Indie assured them that the only hot air was ours 🙂 If there’s a Cloud bajillion I’m still floating on it 😀 So, thanks, again, for reminding me!

    • Wow, Deb! I got there at 6.30 and missed out on all the AAA camaraderie, so thank you for filling me in. I do feel sad that I didn’t get to meet any other fans, as it would have been lovely to hang out with people who understand me and my adoration. Thanks for interpreting the Geraldine question too. I was really baffled by that and it seemed RA was too.

      • Well, I’ll tell you one of the things I enjoyed most about seeing the movie, having seen in 7 times already (hfr = 4, 3D = 2, 2D = 1). It was being amongst a whole audience who also love it and knew it. That was magic. And, on top of that, the AA camaraderie was really special. I’m sorry you missed it. One of the best things to come out of all the Hobbit PR is that people who’ve only met online are getting to meet in person and the whole community is growing and developing in a marvellous way. I really think we should organise something for 1st May every year, somehow.

        I think the Geraldine question makes sense if it was just a nervous muddle about names. And, yep. Richard was definitely confused. I think part of the problem with many of the questions is that the mike was being handled by people for whom it was an unfamiliar object so they held it too close to their mouth making the sound coming from it a bit muffled. Add nervousness to that and some of the questions were really difficult.

        Oh, and did you see the, probably accidental but possibly
        not, reference to LOTN?

        • Hi Deb – thank you so much for sharing with the rest of us not there your experience. OK, I’m dying of curiosity, what was the reference to LOTN? 🙂 🙂

          • Hiya 🙂 Well, there’s a big slide on the screen behind them of Thorin holding Orcrist across his chest and glaring with teeth bared. You know the one. It’s one of the earlier publicity shots. It’s one of the pics on Popcorn Taxi’s FB page. And there’s a line of text with it, “My path is the sword path”. It’s actually a wallpaper by Bccmee, I think. So, Popcorn Taxi might not know the reference – but there’s a few of us that do 🙂 It’s especially cool because the way they introduced Richard didn’t refer to his audio work – it’s not really ever mentioned.

            • That is so wonderful Deb! a big fan of RA reading, performance really, of LOTN. I wish they would ask him about his audio work, wish he would do more. Thank you for your answer 🙂

    • Wow, this is getting so exciting–it sounds like he truly enjoyed singing on “Lonely Mountain” and would be happy to do it again. Maybe we need to start that email barrage to Sir Peter suggesting that Richard be allowed to sing it this time (for “Smaug”) with backup chorus by the other dwarves. I think it would be wonderful as opposed to another studio version, and I can scarcely wait to hear Richard do more singing.

  23. I should probably say, that about 20-25 of us managed to meet for lunch and found a great little Italian restaurant just up the road from the cinema. There were several of us staying in the same hotel in Neutral Bay, and I highly recommend it – the Neutral Bay Motor Lodge – anyway, we unwound on Thursday by getting onto a couple of ferries and let the Harbour work its magic 😀

  24. What a fabulous occasion! Thanks so much to all who made this report possible. Greetings from Canada. 🙂

  25. I thought I saw a post from someone that Richard said Graham had suggested doing a copy of ‘the’ calendar. I’ve scrolled through all the marvellous comments and can’t see it but the last few days might be catching up with me. I was in the front row – right in Richard’s eyeline *happy sigh*. I think he said, ‘Fran’, meaning Fran Walsh.

      • Did her say “Fran”? I have Graham in my notes, but then, I was sitting halfway back in the cinema and might have missed a few nuances of the fabulous RA tongue. Think hard, Deb — do the Lucas North thing of imaginatively transporting yourself back to the moment — and if you are sure it is Fran we can ask Angie to change it in the transcription.
        The AAA’s harbour cruise and lunch sound absolutely blissful. I am seething with envy and regret! Thank you for adding your brilliant descriptions to the post. What with all the pics and comments from the AAA, I think this is now the definitive post on RA’s Sydney Q&A.

        • I’m pretty certain it was Fran. Like I said, I was only a few feet from him (sorry, gotta stop to fan self) and, because of the way the chair was aligned, could see his lips moving. I know the outlines for ”Fran” and “Graham” are completely different so you couldn’t mistake what you wrote but I remember thinking of Phillipa at the time (muddling the names) because I understood that it was one of Peter’s team that wanted copies. I think that makes sense. I’d imagine the cast would have wanted Pete to have the only copy because that would make it special.

        • I think I have to agree with you. I haven’t seen any other posts as descriptive so thanks for setting it up 🙂

          I think the Harbour cruise was the only way any of us could unwind. You know, from first hearing about the Q&A until leaving the theatre, the nearly 3 weeks was such a build up of excitement and tension what with coming to terms with something you’ve dreamed about for years, maybe, was actually going to happen just sitting in a ferry while it travelled around Sydney’s fabulous Harbour was just what was needed. And it gave a chance for the out-of-towners to do some sightseeing.

          • Thanks so much, Deb, for all your contributions to the thread–I really appreciate it. This post has had more than 2,000 views in the last couple of days, making it the top post here at TAE. 😀 For all of us who didn’t get to make it to Sydney, it’s helped us feel as if we were part of the experience.

            • That’s brilliant fedoralady! Excellent work! I’m glad to have been a part of this. I think the pics are fabulous. Some of the best I’ve seen for any of his appearances. I’ll be posting my own report over at RAC this weekend, too. Hopefully, the PTBees are keeping an eye open and seeing just how popular our man is. Did you hear that his fans managed to trend the Scotty & Nige show? That must tell them something!

              • I know, I was one of the fans that helped it trend! LOL And I am the Angie that has mentioned amongst the numerous RA Tweeters who got recognition on air, which was a thrill for me way over here in Alabama USA! Scotty and Nige said they’d never seen the like of it re a response to a celebrity guest. Oh, they just didn’t know the power of RA and his ever-growing legion of followers! 😀 I will be looking forward to your report this weekend. Cheers!

              • I am so GLAD that they got such an enormous response, and that the Hobbit showing sold out (I think in great part to a certain dwarf king being there in his glorious wonderfulness)–I want all these PTB that have casting clout to wake up and see the potential of this amazing actor and his equally astonishing gifts in the talent department. He’s worked much too hard for a long time and deserves his recognition and reward now.

              • EEek. I’m losing track of which reply to hit 🙂 Couldn’t agree more Stephanie Carr. And when I arrived at the ticket window with some friends to see if we could wait upstairs (we already had our tickets of course!) and they said it had sold out I was really pleased. On the one hand, nothing could have been nicer for his fans than an intimate evening but to have a sold out performance is such a big space should tell everyone he’s worth paying attention to! It should, too, tell everyone that Australian audiences are worth paying attention to. I’m not dissing our international sisters, and brothers. It’s just national pride (and coming from an Aussie that’s quite a statement).

              • I hadn’t realized it was that large a space–but that makes me even happier about it. It is so rare to find someone these days who royally deserves his success, and yet is so modest about the whole thing–it just makes you want to do everything you possibly can to make this jaded world sit up and pay attention.

              • Oh, it’s gorgeous! Thanks so much for sending me the link so I could take a look–I am truly impressed and I love movie theatres that still look like movie theatres and not multiplexes like most of ours in the States are these days. We do still have some that have been preserved, but very few.

              • It is a beautiful theatre. If you go back to its home page there’s a link there, I think, for its history. It was restored in the 1980s.

              • Our little movie theatre (the Ritz) which seats 400-450 people, is not as ornate as the lovely Orpheum, but I am so proud it was also restored to its former Art Deco glory. Films are no longer shown (we have one of those fancy multiplexes now, too) but it is used for stage productions such as our recent fundraiser for the arts council, beauty pageants, dance recitals, high school plays and musicals, concerts, and traveling professional productions. It’s a gem of our little town. Kudos to those who saved it and the Orpheum and other wonderful theatres, such as the Fabulous Fox Theatre in Altanta, Georgia, with its fabulous 1920s neo-Moorish style. 😀

              • Oh I couldn’t agree more! Thank god there are people and organisations who understand and appreciate the value of our past and that these are still not only important but many of them are absolutely essential. I used to work as a heritage historian. I know the balance between honouring our past and respecting our present is a difficult one but it’s one worth the struggle to get right.

              • It thrills me to think my dad once saw touring vaudeville shows on the very same stage that his nephew, who wrote a wonderful song in his honor, performed to a standing ovation last week . . . it’s part of our city’s history and it took some determined arts lovers and lots of elbow grease and enthusiasm, combined with financial assistance from visionaries in the city council, to make it all happen. It didn’t happen overnight, just as the theatre didn’t fall into disrepair overnight. It took years, one restoration and improvement at a time. But today the theatre is complete and is flanked by two adjoining buildings that form the Ritz Complex–a beautiful conference room on one side, and a reception room with a full kitchen and additional restrooms on the other, both furnished in Art Deco style.

              • There are still a few theatres in DC that have been rebuilt and restored–one of them is no longer used as a movie theatre (out sthe Warner Theatre), but is used as a concert venue. One of the greatest things my mother ever told me about was going over to one of the DC theatres to see Judy Garland and Mickey Rooney on tour promoting one of their films and those were the days when they would actually do live shows before the movie was shown. Just wish I’d been there (sigh!)

              • She and I did go to the Warner to see Mickey Rooney and Ann Miller when they were touring in “Sugar Babies”–of course, this was many years after Mickey and Judy. There aren’t that many performers I have missed seeing that I really regret–but I’d have killed to see Judy in concert. She is and will forever be one of my idols.

              • She was an amazing performer. Such poignancy and wistfulness in her singing voice. It’s tragic her life ended much too soon.

              • My other idol I did get to see–twice, touring in two different plays when they came to DC–none other than the glorious Miss Katharine Hepburn. That’s the only way I can think of her to this day–Miss Katharine Hepburn. And she was everything I ever expected her to be.

              • Oh, the Great Kate!! I have read several autobiographies and bios of her and seen pretty much all of her movies, many several times. Would have loved to have seen her, too. How wonderful you got to see her!

              • I think my life would be complete now if I could just ever meet the god of my idolatry, Mr. Richard Armitage in person. Maybe someday.

              • Strangely that’s how I feel, too. As if I could die happy knowing I’d actually met him and gotten to say,”Thank you for being you, Richard.”

              • Well, if I didn’t know he was the perfect man before I saw him cuddling Kermit, I would certainly know it now. I am a diehard Muppet fan and Kermit is my hero–to see him getting snuggled with Richard was almost more than I could take. He really is the love of my life (Richard, not Kermit).

              • There is a photo I took of Benny playing with my great-niece a couple of years ago where he’s sitting on the floor talking with her and he’s clasping her stuffed animal to his chest. And it’s just—so–SWEET. That moment with Richard reminded me of Benny and our sweet girl, and I got a bit of a lump in my throat.

              • I have to say–that one got me even more than the photo of Richard and the Lego Thorin. I wish he knew how darling he is.

              • He is so adorable. I can’t help but think his mother looks at him and thinks, “Oh, my sweet little baby boy all grown up and so handsome, like a movie star. But he’s still my boy . . . “

              • I think,just maybe, having handled a lot of RA’s fan mail, she understands. He’s such a splendid fellow, her son, and it’s hard not to admire and adore someone like RA.

              • I hope she’s very proud of the wonderful man she raised. I think she probably had a lot to do with it.

              • I have also said I have always wished I could meet her and shake her hand and say “thank you” for giving the world such a wonderful gift. I have written and posted fake letters to her in the past. 😉

  26. Thank you Groovergreen and Angie for this lovely report with the pictures. How exciting to see and hear Richard, Groovergreen and be able to still do shorthand. What a great week it has been. Greeting from Snowy Northern Wisconsin and yes I did say snow, 12+ inches of wet heavy snow from May 1 & 2 in less than 24 hours.

    • Katie, I can’t believe this SNOW! You must be so tired of it. ((hugs)) Even down here it doesn’t really feel like spring. The rain has been so chilly and it’s been going at it all day. I told Benny yesterday other than the fact everything is so green and blooming it seemed more like fall than spring! Our electricity flickered off briefly a little earlier and I had to reboot the computer to get back online.

      • Snow in May is depressing and when is it ever going to end. We did have snow the last 2 weeks and in 2 weeks have been off school 3 snow days. Last weekend was lovely, snow almost gone and temps in the 70’s so this last snow was a bit of a shock. Nasty all weekend, right now we have sleet and the rest is rain, freezing rain and snow temps in low 30’s. Monday is to be better with temps in the low 70’s and hopefully no more snow till maybe Christmas Eve HAHA. The fishing opener is a bust in the north with ice covering the lakes, some still have 20 inches on some of them, and we are known for the fishing where I am at. We thought we might lose the electricity a couple times yesterday, we didn’t but others did do to the wet wet snow. Son 2 move a couple down trees yesterday and said for every 10 pounds of tree there was 20 pounds of snow.
        I will keep looking at the great new pictures and everything about the Q&A in Sidney of Richard. After all he can cure the winter or lack of spring blues. But say I do love RA in blue.

        • Wow, you really did get hit with everything, didn’t you? My condolences–I know I’ve felt for three months now that it might never be warm again, and we are nowhere near as far north as you are. I hope it all melts soon and you really get some sustained spring and warmth.

          • Spring snows are not nice–I know from living in South Dakota. It was always so heavy and hard to shift. And when you’ve got freezing rain and all that–truly a mess. :-/ Definitely hoping it all improves very, very soon for you, Katie.

        • It’s really come at a good time for you then, all the RA goodness. I do hope things improve soon. All the rain we’ve had has forced cancellation of several outdoor events here.

          • Right now I sure would take a rain with nothing frozen with it. Are school sports spring (what is that) has been a bust so far this year. Last year we had 80’s in March. Oh what a difference a year makes.

            • A friend was complaining on Facebook about freezing through her kids’ baseball games earlier this year and now other events are being rained out. Down here people would have no idea how to handle what you all have been dealing with–a few flurries and people start panicking. I have experience but it’s been a while and I really wouldn’t want to deal with it all again.

              • The best way I can put it is that really I hate snow and the cold, but I don’t like hot either. My aunt was visiting her daughter when she lived in Arkansas and could not believe they didn’t shovel the snow and everything shut down at the first few flakes of snow. We have to learn to live with it or no one would get out all winter. But May is pushing it a bit.

      • Here in Andalucia, where it should be really warm with brilliant blue skies, we got pelted with freezing rain last night and it’s still cold and windy this morning. (FMS going bonkers. ‘Nuff said.)

        • This seems to be trending worldwide. it’s in the 40s here. It’s NEVER in the 40s here on a May night. You actually need a jacket. I had to close the window. Cats have alternated clinging to me. Right now it’s Thumper.

          • Lucky was snuggling last night, but he has also learned to ask me to put the heater on. Like a well-trained kitty mommy, I take care of it.

          • It’s not too bad here today, at least now the sun’s high in the sky–but last night, I had to sleep under two blankets, which is not at all normal for DC in May. And today it will only be in the low ’60’s, which I know is summer compared to what you are all experiencing–but it’s not normal for here either.

            • It’s colder tonight (or should I say this morning) low 40s. I had to grab the comforter again and must admit a certain calico cat feels mighty good snuggled against me.

  27. I’ve been talking with someone who was sitting quite close to me in the front row of the Q&A and, after thrashing it out, I have to apologise and offer a correction to a correction I suggested. When he’s answering the question about THAT calendar, Richard does say, ‘Graham’ not ‘Fran’ wanted a copy. (sorry).

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