Tag Archives: john thornton

Will the real Richard Armitage please stand up? Or–maybe not.

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“Who’s Richie A, Who’s the real guy, will the real Richie A please stand up, please stand up”

(with apologies to Eminem aka Slim Shady, who is, in fact, actually a guy named Marshall Mathers)

Fedoralady plays the devil’s advocate a bit here . . .  tossing out some food for thought.  Glean from it what you will.

 

Who exactly is Richard Armitage? That seems to be a question a fair amount of fans are asking these days.

What concerning RA can we agree upon?

I think we can all agree he’s enormously talented. Charismatic. A hard-working professional (maybe even a workaholic). He shows an appreciation for his fans and has a generous heart, supports worthwhile charities and encourages others to do the same. He is not at all hard on the eyes. In fact, he seems to get more attractive with each passing year. There is a lot to like and appreciate here.

The RA that most who have been fans for a longer period have come to expect is this thoughtful, diffident, humble, bookish, boyish, good-humored and gentle sort of gentleman—a kind of Harry Kennedy come to life in some respects. Richard himself once said HK was the character he had played who was most like him in real life, which led to quite a few “squees” in the fandom.

 

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We saw glimpses of this “Admirable RA” in television and radio interviews to promote his shows and films, in the behind-the-scenes features for DVDs and in some print interviews. There was never a great deal offered up about his private life, even when interviewers tried to pry or provoke it out of him. He preferred to focus on his work, a subject about which he was clearly passionate.

Some fans who first discovered him as Thornton in “North and South” found Richard Armitage the perfect romantic hero and longed to see him in more high-quality period drama. Those who adored him as Harry Kennedy pined to see him perform in a wittily scripted rom-com. Others found “Action Hero with a Heart” Armitage and “Beautiful Baddie (Who Really Isn’t)” irresistible.

 

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For certain fans, RA pretty much ascended onto a pedestal. If he wasn’t a saint, surely he was an angel, almost too good to be true.
After all, look at all his virtuous qualities . . . he was different from all that riff-raff out there in celebrity land, and we could pat ourselves on the back and smugly smile and say, “We fangurl only the best and the most pure of heart.”

 

And other fans said (in private, if not on forums), “Virtuous qualities, shmirtuous qualities. He can effin’ read the phone book for all I care (preferably in really tight jeans and a shirt with a few buttons undone) as long as I can hear that smooth chocolate baritone and gaze into those hellagood azure eyes and imagine all the bad, bad things I could do to him!” (I should point out these feelings can be found in fans who really, really admire his personality and acting talent, too.)

 

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As for Richard, he has always tended to dismiss talk about his sexual allure, expressing disbelief that he could ever be considered a hottie, proclaiming he’s always found himself a bit odd-looking.

RA has seemed like the perfect celebrity crush for the discerning fan girl: bright and gifted, yet humble and modest. Beautiful and sexy, yet seemingly unaware of his physical charms (although quite a few of us found that hard to swallow). Here was an intensely private man who clearly intended to remain so, one who wanted the focus to be on his body of work as a serious actor–and not his body, as it were.

And then he joined Twitter. Dived in headfirst, one might say.
And we started getting selfies. Lots of selfies. Some were quite funny and cute and a little weird, but in a good sort of way. And one or two were— “Huh? Zat you, Richard?”
They seemed to be of a handsome young man but they didn’t exactly look like Richard Armitage—maybe a younger look-alike relative?

Clearly, our Richie was doctoring his images. Hey, no big deal, right? Don’t all celebrities (and quite of few of us nobodies) use filters and other touch-up tools on our photos before we post them to Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and the like? And he’s working at lot in Hollywood now, where youth is the religion; he’s almost 44 and there are always younger actors up for the same roles.

 

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B4cEX4uCIAE03cWAnd maybe, just maybe, Mr. A is a bit more vain and conscious of his good looks than we were led to think.

Then there’s this whole thing of tweeting—and deleting. And tweeting and deleting some more. “Make up your mind, Mr. Armitage, a legion of fans is apparently hanging on your every word and trying to dissect what went wrong that caused you to need to remove a particular image/words!” Fans cry out.

So, tell me, Richard,  are you just teasing us, or are you in fact still a bit inept when it comes to this whole social media morass? Inquiring minds want to know. Some fans are getting downright frustrated!

And there are some of the roles Richard is choosing—very action-oriented, one even described as “hyper-violent” and of course, that blood-soaked turn as a serial killer later this season on “Hannibal.”
Didn’t he once state horror was a genre he didn’t think was a good fit for him?

“What caused you to change your mind?” ask some fans, disappointed over your decision.

“Aren’t people allowed to change their minds?” Other fans respond. “This isn’t your run-of-the-mill splatter fest, anyway. There’s great scripting and character development. The critics love it!”

There’s a lot of disquiet and a certain degree of disappointment expressed in the fandom of late and it has led me to query: While we’ve never been completely harmonious, were fans in general happier when RA was actually less accessible?
Was ignorance bliss for some of us when that alluring veil of mystery still swirled around him? Is a portion of it still there or has social media permanently dispelled it?

 

8992342a74186be2f224f6dbd9d00254I wonder, would it be more acceptable for some fans if he were like a movie star in the old studio system, in which the Powers That Be carefully groomed and molded their stars’ images . . . and kept anything negative out of the press.

Has Richard Armitage as an individual actually changed in any fundamental way, or are we simply seeing him break out of his shyness and shake off some of that British reserve,with the self-professed late bloomer now “busting out all over” with a nearly nude photo posted on Twitter? (Of course, it’s not like he hasn’t gotten naked before for the camera . . . on several occasions, in fact. “Between the Sheets,” “Spooks” and “Strike Back.”)

Do we know/see a little too much now, and are some of us afraid of what we might discover next about “our Richard” that could potentially shatter our illusions about him?

And do we as individual fans and as a collective truly want the real Richard Armitage—whomever and whatever he might prove to be—to stand up? Or can we ever really “know” a man who is such an expert at immersing himself into his characters?  Actors–well, they ACT.

Would we prefer to only fangurl a Richard made to our personal specifications . . . and is there any harm if we do?  Should we hold tight to our fantasies even if reality turns out to bite?

I wonder.

Some antebellum beauty. And a handsome gent to go with it.

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Y’all know I am the General Flunky for the video production business co-owned by Benny and Harry. I also do some freelance work for my old employer, a community newspaper that will celebrate its 150th birthday next year. I am not getting rich at either job, but I certainly enjoy what I get to do and the creative outlet it provides.

Today, after spending a tiring morning sitting in various parts of the local hospital’s clinic trying to sort out the Never-Ending Story of my Rotten Wrist (I don’t even want to go there right now), I was ready for some peace and natural beauty. So I was happy to take a trip with a local realtor, our publisher and ad manager/photographer to a historic house located in what happens to be the state’s smallest incorporated town (population 27 or thereabouts).  I went to soak up the ambience of this Greek Revival raised cottage (built circa 1840-46) and take notes in order to provide the written “color commentary” for a magazine piece in the paper’s quarterly publication.

 

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But I also took my trusty Olympus along to snap a few photos of my own.

There’s nothing terribly artsy here; I was shooting on auto with a regular lens and big flash to help me remember what I saw as I ambled around the 5,200 square feet of house spread over two stories (like the Tardis on “Doctor Who,” it’s bigger than it looks on the outside).

 

The home has soaring 14-foot ceilings and multiple mantle pieces ranging from the rustic to the ornate. Much of the original glass with its wavy charms is still intact, including a pane with the builder’s bride’s name etched in it with the diamond of her engagement ring.  There are polished hardwood floors throughout, wonderful broad doors with old-fashioned keys, and plenty of the character generally lacking in a contemporary “cookie cutter” house.

 

Magnolia Hall is also furnished with a plethora of antiques and collectibles that reflect its history and heritage and the owner’s love of period furniture. While I am not a particular fan of Victorian furnishings (could this be due to my youthful self having trouble staying put on the slippery horsehair of my music teacher’s settee?), I do love the “bones” of this house. I can’t help wondering, if those walls could talk, just what they would have to tell us, you know?

And I thought you might enjoy seeing some of the images I snapped and glimpse a bit of southern American history . . . although I could also imagine a certain handsome English mill owner in a cravat, sipping tea in the parlor–couldn’t you?  😉

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Care to join me in my purple bedchamber, Mr. Thornton?     *bats eyelashes*
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RA in black & white (with a smidgen of color) & more. Collages & Photo Edits.

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Just seeing that scan of the RA-as-Byronic-young-actor photo from LAMDA the school tweeted today reminded me (1) how much I love looking at images of Richard from throughout his career and (2) how much I love RA in classic black and white. So I did some editing and some plundering of my stash of old edits.

Of course, being me, I also had to play with that lovely black and white image of our handsome floppy-haired Richard and tweak it a bit. I simply could not resist. Call it theRApy of sorts.

And speaking of therapy, tomorrow I see the local orthopedic surgeon and have him take a look at me, my MRI and my EMG results to see what he recommends re the wrist.  In the afternoon I am traveling with the newspaper publisher to a neighboring county to tour one of their historic old homes and surrounding property. She’s shooting the photos and I will take notes to write the copy for the upcoming edition of the Camellia Magazine. I LOVE old homes, so although I know I will be tired afterwards, I am very much looking forward to it (and getting paid to write it).

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Sir Guy, RA and I and our Seven-Year AnniveRsAry. Not itching yet.

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It was seven years ago this summer when it all began. One sticky south Alabama Saturday night I flipped on the TV and tuned into BBC America to catch their latest version of the Robin Hood legend.

I have to be perfectly honest. I found the rebooted “legend” less than–legendary. Hoodie with his boyish bangs, constipated expressions and cocky strut did not exactly make me forget Errol Flynn.

I did think his cohorts had their charms, Marian was pretty (and pretty feisty), and the sheriff, the sort of amusing panto-ish villain one loved to hate.  But the one who ultimately kept my attention and piqued my interest was the tall, scowling, smirking man in black.

 

He was the one always hovering near the sheriff, arms folded across his broad chest, trying to be impassive. The master of arms’ body language and facial expressions, however, told so much about the “evil henchman.” Oh, he was a handsome devil, no doubt about it, and he knew it.  “A right smarmy bastard,” I said to myself.  In spite of some reservations about the show, I kept watching . . . the chief attraction being the bad guy, Guy.

 

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I abhorred some of Sir Guy’s choices and actions; still, the more I watched, the more complex this potentially one-note cardboard cutout of a character became.  I’m not bein’ funny — the baddie turned out to have a heart and soul, folks. Robin Hood 2006 had its cheese-tastic appeal, but the raison d’etre of it all for me was Gisborne.  By the end of the first season, when Marian slugged him and left him at the altar, I was fully Team Leather all the way.

I cried buckets when the character died at the end of the third and final season. Even though I knew in advance it was going to happen and tried to prepare myself for The Moment, I was still so distraught when it came.  I shed more tears over this fictional character than I have some flesh-and-blood relations. He was–and is–that real to me.  And I still simply cannot bear to re-watch THAT Moment.

And so there was nothing to do but to declare him “loved into being” a la The Velveteen Rabbit, back with us to enjoy more adventures, and serve as the catalyst for my popular “Sloth Fiction” stories.  Sir Guy is SO Not Dead.

 

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We each have our own story about the character that lured us into Armitage Mania. Guy was my particular “gateway drug” into the Armitage fandom. But I didn’t stop there.  I went on to investigate more online about this very attractive actor with the rich, honeyed baritone and beautiful way of moving, a performer who could also speak volumes without saying a word, giving a mere flicker of those long, darkened lashes, a sidelong glance, or a twist of his mouth. I watched fanvids and visited a few Armitage sites.

 

When I had the cash, I ordered the DVDs of RA’s I could find stateside at that time: North and South, Vicar of Dibley and a used copy of Sparkhouse.

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After viewing those three productions in quick succession, call me officially blown away. The man was clearly no one- trick pony in the world of acting. How could the man who inhabited cripplingly shy, awkward sheep farmer John Standring also bring to life sunny, cheeky accountant Harry, sober Victorian mill owner Thornton and the smoulderingly seductive presence that was Gisborne?  And yet, he did, looking and moving and sounding differently in each and every role.  Richard made me believe and care every single time.

And he’s done it again and again–as Lucas, as Porter, Ricky, Mulligan, Kruger, Thorin . . . and now he’s wowing London theatre audiences as gruff, work-hardened farmer John Proctor in Miller’s The Crucible.  And will no doubt perform admirably as Gary the widowed dad and teacher in Into the Storm and in whatever future roles he undertakes.  And then of course I’ve also discovered how kind, thoughtful, funny, bright, humble and simply extremely likeable the real man appears to be.

He’s not perfect, but he is a pretty special human being.  I really do believe in the power of The Armitage.

In long-term relationships, in marriages, there is a phenomenon referred to as the “Seven-Year Itch” in which the partners begin to feel an urge to–stray, to move on to pastures with, say, Bahia grass versus Fescue (I am a farmer’s daughter, remember).

And yet, not only do I not feel an urge to move on to a different actor on which to have a big ol’ crush, I also don’t plan to ever abandon my first RA love.

Sir Guy of Gisborne, you will always be my very favorite.  I wrote my first novel-length fanfic about you. I’ve made more Guy photo edits, fan art and fan vids than I have of any other ChaRActer. Of course, there is more of you, in 37 episodes, although never enough even then.

You continue to inspire me, and to endear yourself to me with that special blend of thrilling alpha male dominance (I will forgive you things I would never forgive anyone else) with an awkward sweetness, aching vulnerability and at times, heartbreaking gullibility.

 

And frankly, nobody, but nobody, rocks the Guyliner, stubble, leather and long locks the way YOU do. You’ll always be THE one.

I’m not bein’ funny . . .  no seven year itch for me!

 

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Just Call Me the RA Collage Queen. Boom, Boom, Boom!

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Well, it’s fun and when you can’t sleep, it’s a nice way to pass the time. A mixture of collages and FB covers I’ve made this week. Hope you enjoy!

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Try saying the above 10 times fast. It’ll make you giggle.

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MoRe CollAges and Catching Up . . .

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I felt somewhat out of the loop with the RA fandom for a few days. That thing called Real Life crept in, which is a good thing really, because it meant work for the video production company last Saturday, and me being busy with related activities.

Those included being asked to write a feature story and provide photos for a picture page for the newspaper at treble my normal column rate of pay. Which doesn’t leave me rolling in dough, but it does mean I am earning some of my daily bread.  That and the sale of a small bisque pitcher vase to a friend yesterday cheered me up. 😀

 

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It also meant time with extended family–my brother-in-law and sister-in-law Bobby and Pam were visiting from San Antonio and staying with another BIL and SIL, Paul and Donna, in Montgomery. So there was a trip to Montgomery to visit with a gathering of family members from the area on Sunday, and the four of them also came to Greenville on Tuesday to share lunch with us and a little shopping at a local flea market. Yesterday, my Real Life activity of helping animals came into play with a meeting of the humane society. I feel as if I am somehow coming out of hibernation . . . even though today is feeling a bit more wintery again than spring-like!  Physically, I don’t feel great; mentally, I am in a good place. This is a blessing.

In terms of Richarding, I *finally* got to see the 2nd and 3rd parts of the Anglophile interview this week. YT was not cooperating when Part 2 came out and I was not available when the final part came out. So I enjoyed delayed gratification . . . and you know, there can be something very satisfying about not gorging oneself but taking your time and savoring all the goodness. Because there is *so* much to appreciate, isn’t there?

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Well, time to mix up the tea, check on the dishwasher and feed the dogs. In other words, RL calls once more. Hope you are all doing well!

Wonderful Wednesday: A Gallery of RA’s Memorable ChaRActers

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It hasn’t been a wonderful winter for me (nor for many more of you–curse you, groundhog, why must we have six more weeks of this!?) But I am beginning to see glimpses of light at the end of this long, cold, wet and dreary tunnel.  I got my first column of this new year for the paper written; nothing fancy but a sense of accomplishment. I’ve been playing with ideas for that story I promised dear Guylty.  In spite of brain fog and a fibro flare (not helped by slamming into the wall on the way to the bathroom early this morning), I am feeling–hopeful. 😀

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Here’s what it looked like a week ago outside my house. It’s mostly ice with a little snow mixed in. The ice paralyzed the Deep South for a couple of days.
I’ve been doing a lot of posting of words and images–some silly and some serious and some simply beautiful–on FB in recent days on my regular page, and lots of images and some of my vids of Mr. A and his characters at https://www.facebook.com/pages/Richard-Armitage-Effect/

Yes, I whipped up some new photo edits I premiered at FB and I thought I would share them with you all, in case you aren’t on FB. And even if you are–do we need an excuse to peruse Mr. A’s lovely, expressive features and admirable physique? I think not . . . have a wonderful Wednesday, my friends and fellow RA well-wishers!

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Who needs Batman? Give me an Armitagehero every time.

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So Richard is not going to be the next Batman. No problem. As far as I am concerned, he’s already brought some amazing superheroes to the screen–and he didn’t need superhuman powers or fancy gadgets or a silly costume with a mask and tights to do it.  Real men with challenges and weaknesses, flaws and fears, who nonetheless stand their ground, believe in loyalty and family, know how to be both tough and tender when it’s needed, and who ultimately win our respect, admiration and our hearts.  Hooray for Armitageheroes!

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Like I said–who needs Batman??

Happy Birthday, Richard Armitage. I’m so glad you came into my life.

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“My universe will never be the same, I’m glad you came, I’m glad you came . . .”

Dear Richard,

It was thanks to a smouldering, anachronistically black leather-clad medieval henchman swaggering into my life one summer’s evening in 2007 that I became an Ardent Armitage Admirer.

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Guy was a slow burn for me; gorgeous, yes, but a bit of a smarmy bastard at first (well, you did want us to hate you, although I never managed that). And then I began to catch on to what you, this British actor I’d never heard of before was doing with the classic cardboard cut-out of a villain–you were giving this version of Sir Guy breadth and depth, bringing in so many subtle nuances in this, at times, distinctly unsubtle production.

You piqued my interest, Richard. I started watching fanvids, met some cool fellow admirers, began to read up on you on the major sites like Richard Armitage Net.

I felt I needed to explore more of your work. There wasn’t a whole lot available on this side of the pond, but I got my hands on the productions that were: “North and South,” “The Impressionists,” and “The Vicar of Dibley.” My husband scored a region-free player for me–God bless that man!–and I found a copy of “Sparkhouse” (and soon began ordering from Amazon UK and eventually collecting pretty much everything you’ve done–yes, even “Cleopatra.” Oh, stop giggling. On second thought, keep it up. It’s delightful).

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And here’s what I discovered: not only could you bring subtlety and nuance to your characters, you were so damned versatile. A veritable acting chameleon are you, dearest Rich. I felt as if I was meeting a new and different person each time, so fully fleshed out was each character.  I believed in the reality of each of these men, I walked with them on their journeys; I cared. Sometimes, I cried.

You are such a good, detailed actor, the consummate professional and a true team player. And you aren’t exactly hard on the eyes, either, whether or not you feel comfortable admitting it.

But above and beyond that, I discovered something else about you. Richard Armitage, you are a nice guy. And as the wife of one, I have a great appreciation for nice guys.

You are a gentleman who shows sensitivity towards others. Your generous, charitable heart shines. You have a lovely, slightly naughty sense of humor that never seems mean-spirited. Physically, you are a big, strapping man; but you are also a man with a big spirit. Nothing petty and small-minded about you.

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I have no idea what will come next for you in your career; I just want it to be all that you want it to be, regardless of what we fans desire. I wish you continued good health and happiness and love in its every form in this coming year. Goodness knows, you deserve it all.

Happy birthday, Richard Armitage. I’m glad you came into this world 42 years ago, and I am so very glad you came into my world eight years ago. My universe will truly never be the same.

With love  and affection and deepest admiration,

One more member of the AAA.

Sunday SmoRgAsbord: It’s ba-aack! (Part 1)

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Rev up your motor with Ricky, dive in the deep end with Lee, savor sweet romance with Mr. Thornton, sizzle in sexy steaminess with Portah, admire the medieval beauty that is Sir Guy, thrill to Thorin’s amazing way with a weapon or simply bask in the sunshine that is sweet Harry’s smile as you sample our first smorgasbord for Sunday.

Still wet and downright soggy here with 70 percent chance of rain tomorrow and a good chance on Monday, too. Everyone is pretty tired of the endless precipitation. Hope these fellows will help brighten up all our days!

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I’m Glad You Came, Rich

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Into my life via my computer, my television screen, the big screen, my DVD collection–I am so glad you came to me, Mr. Armitage.  All the laughter, the angst, adventure, the pain, the pleasure, heartache and heartbreak: thank you for always bringing your “A” game to the project.

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It’s all about the journey, isn’t it? Lead on RA, lead on.

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Steak, a Julienned baked (jacket) potato, green salad with Ranch dressing and a thick slice of Texas toast washed down with iced tea. I could imagine Richard Armitage eating such a meal (although my steak might be cooked a little more than he prefers). This is what we had for supper, courtesy of my sweet spouse. I think the Marie Callender pie and ice cream is going to have to wait a bit . . .  as well as the rest of that potato (like, tomorrow).

I didn’t feel great this afternoon so I took a nap and never did get anything posted here. Color me lazy.

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I did finally get the video production business website and blog live today, hooray. Still work to be done there, but it’s coming along.

Let’s see, I now have two blogs, a website, three FB pages, two Twitter accounts (one of which I really need to do something with) and a Tumblr account which is a rehash of this blog but is steadily climbing in number of followers. My FB followers have jumped up by more than 70 people this week, I think.  And I used to be afraid to touch a computer.

I guess I have come a long way, baby! Although what I have accomplished seems a mere drop in a bucket compared to a certain actor I deeply admire.

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(courtesy of FB and Thorin’s Arkenstone)

And Mr. A has come a long way, too! After all those early struggles and disappointments. After almost giving up.  From winning so many hearts and starting his own army with his portrayal of the romantic hero, John Thornton . . .

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To turning what could have been a bog-standard cardboard cut-out villain into a complex, charismatic, intensely erotic anti-hero we loved, Sir Guy of Gisborne . . .

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To bringing us Lucas North, a mysterious and alluring spy fractured by his years in a Russian prison, trying to reclaim his place in the present . . . and totally fascinating us all . . .

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To giving breadth and depth to role of a tough soldier with a tender side, John Porter, an alpha male seeking redemption and making us fall in love–and lust–all over again . . .

So many other roles, too, large and small, always making an impact. Always giving his best and making the most of the role.

Thank you, Richard. Little wonder you’ve wowed audiences all over the world with your amazing portrayal of the King Under the Mountain, Thorin Oakenshield.

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It’s all added up, hasn’t it? The successes and the seeming failures from which you surely learned valuable lessons; the long hours of research and rehearsal and hard work you’ve put into your roles over the years, the commitment. The dedication. I sense you wouldn’t take anything for the journey, the experiences, the lessons learned along the way.  You’ve grown as an actor and, I believe, as a human being. Which has only, in turn, made you a better actor–or so I would argue.

It’s been an amazing journey thus far. And I can’t wait to see where it takes you next, my wonderfully gifted, deeply dedicated, beautiful Richard Armitage.

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Again, thank you.