Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Thorin: Move Over, Sparkles!

For those of you living on another planet, Robert Pattinson was nicknamed "Sparkles" online because of his sparkly vampire turn in Twilight.  To wit:

Sparkly Vampire
Well, move on over, Mr P, because The Armitage has snatched the crown. Not that he wanted to, but The Hobbit* made sure he did.

Can't say much for the original rendering of Thorin:

He looks like something out of some video game. Or graphic novel.  Are you enchanted? I sure as hell was not! He is one ugly, nasty, evil-looking dude. Meh, meh, and triple meh!  He is the stuff of male role-playing adolescent dreams about power (and looks a whole lot like a Klingon).

People, you lied!!!!!!

Here is the real Thorin as rendered in the film:

 And compared to all sparkly:

It's all a matter of light. Thorin was lit like a divinity.  Vampires? Not so much. They are rather bestial and drink human blood. Thorin? He wants to go home and is willing to sacrifice his life to reclaim it. No contest, eh?

Thorin has to have the dewiest complexion ever!  I know it's a weird thing to say, but the fact is, I was mesmerised by The Armitage's skin which was highlighted to great effect. You'll have to take my word for it till the DVD comes out.  It glowed.

I have so hated The Armitage's beard. Hate, hate, hate. And then I noticed Thorin's soul patch.  Normally, beards are rather common. But in the film the soul patch stands front and centre and it rules! Thorin is all about the soul patch!

There is nothing but the soul patch. And the eyes. Oh! The eyes!

The Armitage was a ghost in this film. Only his eyes were visible; they did all the talking (with soul patch emphasis, of course!). First shot of him. I lost my breath. Could he look more gorgeous. From the outset, Peter Jackson rendered the character divine. And the image was all that-- divine.

I am sure everyone has waxed eloquent about The Armitage's performance. About his beauty and everything in between. I can only speak of what moved me, what blew me away.

I will have to wait for the DVD to capture the moments, and even now, I am wondering if I will buy the DVD but I probably will because of The Armitage's performance.  Apart from Thorin's introduction, that image so breathtaking and setting the tone, I remember when his story was being told. I remember Thorin reduced to labour, at the forge, and the look on his face. Multi-layered, a mixture of pride, determination, dismay and anguish.  Stark. If it had not been RA, I wonder if I would have missed that look.

I noticed the way Thorin holds himself, tilts his head. His passionate physical presence. His rage, his nobility, his determination, his sadness, grief and anguish, his impulsiveness, his recklessness, his loyalty, his inwardness. Always colouring the face. Sometimes in the body. Always with that divine glow.

And then there was home, Erebor, the Lonely Mountain. Thorin stands before the sight of it:

And emotions ripple, billow and break under his skin. They crest and curl, they flow and flutter. Several, all there, one after another, in a nanosecond. That moment is worth everything. This is the actor Richard Armitage that I know and adore. Writ large. For me, it's worth all. More than beauty, more than divinity, more than nobility, this leaves me breathless.  I am rapt in the glow.

Shine on, Sparkles.

*Yes, I actually just saw The Hobbit, two months after the opening.


  1. I'm so glad you loved it! Richard as Thorin really is divine. :) I can't wait for the blu-ray next week so I can watch it on any ol' whim. I saw it 2 weeks after opening, waiting for my husband to not be busy with work, and I thought I was sooo deprived. Haha! And then, only saw it once unlike the majority of fans, from what it sounds like. I'm too practical about movie tickets and babysitters, I guess... But oh, to own it myself will be nice!
    Loved the post- you're such a great writer, they're well worth the wait. :)

  2. I agree with Nat. A beautiful post, beautifully written. ^^ :)

    What I don't get about "RPattz" (gosh, "RA" sounds so much better by comparison! I mean, imagine "RArmitz"? *shudders*) is that everyone went completely ga-ga over the poor lad just because he played Sparkles. No one really seemed to give him a second thought when he was Cedric in Harry Potter 4, even though Cedric's supposed to be such a heart-throb. No, he had to wear contact lenses and don an American accent and SPARKLE before the fangirls came out in droves ...

    Anyhoo. Glad you enjoyed "The Hobbit". :D

    P.S. Please forgive a silly question, but what is a "soul patch"?

  3. Interesting assessment. Because I thought he wasn't given enough opportunity to act. As opposed to doing action and stunt stuff and being part of the beautiful scenery. To me a day spent running around in the NZ landscape or hanging on a rope dripping wet are wasted days for an actor. Even if he is deeply in character and manages to convey some emotion in the split second we get a close up of his eyes.

  4. @Nat, @Traxy. Thanks! Erm, did I say I loved the film? I considered whether to include my thoughts about that, but decided it detracted from talking about the Thorin performance, was a separate issue. In a nutshell, I had problems with the visuals (2D) which I found cluttered, and I fidgeted through a lot of it. Tolkien, sadly, just does not speak to me or move me much; I didn't find it particularly meaningful on a personal level for me. I did love the performances, especially RA, Martin Freeman and all the dwarves. Hated Smeagol in the cave; can't stand him anyway. Absolutely adored the intro of Bilbo and the dwarves, setting up such a warm, sympathetic and charming foundation- makes me care. But if it weren't for RA, I wouldn't bother. On the other hand, I do want to see what happens next. I will buy the Blu Ray, I've decided. And perhaps a couple of more viewings will change my opinion of the film itself. I'm still open to loving it.


    Would RA have been better off playing Gandalf?

    Thanks, y'all, for dropping by!

  5. @Traxy,

    A "soul patch" is that bit of beard hair beneath the lower lip. For someone reason I was mesmerised by it- it was quite broad and very dark and stood out. Gave him more of a Byronic or literary look, yet grounded him at the same time. Poetic gravitas.

  6. This is a wonderful description of RA playing Thorin (virtually an ode to The Armitage). I especially like the expression „divine glow“ you use in connection with him. That's music to my ears, deliciously captured and worded, just that dose of RA praise that I needed today.
    Anyway for me there is not enough Thorin in this film and amongst other things I have a strong issue with the inscrutably absent women. As this is my first encounter with Tolkien I still don't get it, what's this all about, even after watching the film 5 times (despite the loyalty and the willing hearts), as the whole story obviously is ending in a big disaster for our determined king........

  7. *mouth hangs open* Did you just say something NICE? About THORIN? And all SQUEE-like too? Whaaaaaaaaa? Who are you and what have you done with Pi? :D

    BTW, I hate the beard on RA, but Thorin rocks it.

  8. Thanks for sharing your non-Tolkien fan thoughts on The Hobbit. I have been such a Tolkien geek since childhood (just like Mr. A.!) that I can't see it objectively. It horrifies me to think you hated Smeagol/Gollum in the cave! Such a pivotal point of the whole saga. I hope it grows on you when you get the Blu-Ray. But, as a Tolkien fan, RA's take on Thorin was so impressive that it brought him to my attention.

    I've been catching up on your older blogs and love your take no prisoners style! LOL! Love learning about a longer term fan's view of Mr. A. and his career. I have a blog too and you've given me an idea of something I want to write about there. Thanks!