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From richardarmitagenet.com

From richardarmitagenet.com

I’m a woman who likes brooding men in cravats, so it’s not surprising that I enjoyed North and South, but I really really liked it  – to the point that it rivaled my passion for the 1995 Pride and Prejudice.

I watched all four hours of North and South four times in the first week.   I remember sneaking it in while I was folding laundry, etc., hoping that no one else in the family would realize how often I was watching it.   I couldn’t get enough – and the main reason was Richard Armitage and his portrayal of John Thornton.

Richard Armitage is an attractive man, but I didn’t think he was all that handsome until episode 3, when he told his mother that Margaret refused his marriage proposal.  At that moment, he became fascinatingly beautiful to me, and he has remained fascinating for eight years.  But why do I still like him so much?

I’ve thought about that this past week as others have posted their “I Saw Something Fine” posts on the Richard Armitage Flash Fan Event.

He is fascinating because his portrayal of male thought and emotion is so complex.  With his micro expressions, he makes his characters seem real.  He makes me feel their pain, their fear, their joy.  The good characters have hints of bad, and the bad characters have hints of good.  I find myself caring about them, even when I don’t always like them or the choices they make. (I still don’t understand the end of Robin Hood Season 2.  Personally I think Gisborne should have drugged Marion and forced her to marry him.  That would have made an interesting Season 3, but since I write quirky sweet romances rather than fanfic, I don’t think it’s going to show up as a subplot.)

But it isn’t just his technical skills that make Richard so compelling.  I have admired the acting style of other actors and not followed their careers so closely.  With Richard, I read and watched his interviews and found I liked the man behind the roles.  He cares about his craft and takes his work seriously.  Over time, I’ve enjoyed his cheerful good humor, his politeness and respect for others.  He seems like the kind of guy who would be fun to work with, a good friend, and ultimately, good to fall in love with.  (As a very happily married woman, I wish him all the best in that department).

In some ways, he reminds me of Jimmy Stewart.  Whenever I see a photograph of Jimmy Stewart, I smile because I like the man and the actor.  It’s the same with Richard Armitage.  I hope he has a long and happy career, making many more movies and television shows.

And if he could narrate a few more books, I’d appreciate that, too.  I could write another essay on “I Heard Something Fine.”

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OPF.

I’ll confess, I don’t read much of Other People’s Fiction these days.  I watch some movies, but I rarely sit down and read because if I have the choice between OPF and MOF (My Own Fiction), MOF wins.

Woman Reading (Kuroda Seiki)

Woman Reading (Kuroda Seiki) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

However, I love my Kindle and the ability to download samples.  So when I’m in the doctor’s office or somewhere else where I have ten minutes to sit, I scroll through my list of OPF and skim.  Most samples are entertaining for 5 to 10 pages, but I have no desire to finish the book.

Yesterday I came across What You Wish For by Catherine Winchester.  It was a Lost- in- Austen-esque version of North and South with a modern girl meeting Mr. Thornton.  What’s not to like about that?  As with Lost in Austen, there were a few things that I would have written differently, but that’s the case with most books I read.  I continually edit in my mind.  However, it was a fun escape and I thought she captured the essence of many of the characters in the original novel, but also made them her own creations.   Fun.

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As I’m going through Hobbit withdrawal, I came across this video that shows why Richard Armitage is my current favorite actor.   Definitely eye candy.  However, when I see all the  photos I’m reminded of his acting in those roles and why he is fascinating to watch.  He makes even small parts interesting and complex.   I need to see North and South again.

Thank you, fedoralady.

And here he is now:

 

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My current WIP has me thinking about tall, dark, handsome heroes with angst.

from richardarmitagenet.com

I want a happy ending, but I want my characters to suffer before they get that happy ending.   Watching others survive their emotional trials is cathartic and satisfying.

from richardarmitagenet.com

Fiction gives me hope.

from richardarmitagenet.com

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From richardarmitagenet.com

I’ve been reading some fun blogs about the difference between love in fiction and love in real life.

Since I’m working on a novel right now in which the main character (like me) likes Darcy, Thornton and Rochester a little too much, it has been on my mind.

In my not so humble opinion, a good romance is realistic.  There are enough “men are from mars” type insights in Pride and Prejudice, North and South, and Jane Eyre to make those male characters ring true emotionally.  Of course, they may be richer and better looking than the men at the grocery store, at church, or at work but underneath the fictional glitz, they really are men — and that’s why those books are so popular today.

Or am I just deluding myself?

One of the interesting blogs:

http://mgirouxstories.wordpress.com/2012/10/21/writing-past-the-passion-of-true-loves-kiss-a-tale-of-two-edwards/

 

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I just found out about a fun site called befunky.com  I may become a digital watercolor-ist.  Thank you fedoralady.

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English: Detail of C. E. Brock illustration fo...

English: Detail of C. E. Brock illustration for the 1895 edition of Jane Austen’s novel Pride and Prejudice (Chapter 56) showing Elizabeth Bennet outdoors in “walking dress”, with bonnet and parasol. Français : Détail d’une illustration de C. E. Brock pour l’édition de 1885 de Pride and Prejudice (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Women in Jane Austen‘s time took walks.   Elizabeth Bennett walks to Netherfield and her muddy skirt provides an interesting topic of conversation.  I particularly enjoy the A&E film version of Pride and Prejudice because it emphasizes Elizabeth walking.

Jane Fairfax also walks — to get away from an awkward social situation and have time to think — by herself.  I love the BBC Emma with the wonderful Olivia Williams  saying something about the joys of being alone.

Margaret Hale in the BBC North and South is a stalwart walker, although her surroundings are grim — all those tombstones!  Also, I worry about her lungs and wonder how long any of them will live in that polluted environment.  And then there is John Thornton’s walk before he proposes.   Richard Armitage does a great job of expressing his character’s angst, while walking.

Source: richardarmitagenet.com

Georgette Heyer‘s Venetia walks — without a chaperone — and has the good misfortune to run into the hero.

Maria in Sound of Music has one of the most beautiful walking scenes at the beginning of the movie.

I love to walk and if I can’t walk outside, I’ve been known to pace around my house.  But outside is best, and I realize that lately I’ve been cooped up too much.  I need to walk.  Walking helps me to work out my problems and be at peace.

And here’s the quote that prompted this blog post.

“I like long walks, especially when they are taken by people who annoy me.”  — Noel Coward.

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