You know Jane. Jane Austen…the author of Pride and Prejudice, Sense and Sensibility, Persuasion. Most of us read her books in high school. By the time we were out of college, we had probably read all of Jane Austen’s works. And had seen the old black and white movie version of P&P with Laurence Olivier and Greer Garson. Many times!
In 1995, a new P&P hit the TV scene via the BBC. Not that I saw it or even heard of it until 2001, when I found the Christy fandom. “They” all recommended the ’95 version. Highly. About that time, PBS aired the mini-series starring Jennifer Ehle and Colin Firth on Sunday nights in the Masterpiece Theater Classics.
I loved it! I did not miss a millisecond. I made BB sit and watch with me. Most of the time he was bored out of his gourd but he adored Mrs. Bennet! He dubbed her “the Mrs. Olson of Pride and Prejudice“…you know THE Mrs. Olson, the infinitely nosey busybody from the Little House series? Yep, that one.
And so, I was officially hooked on the wonderful Mr. Darcy/Colin Firth and all of Jane Austen’s main guys in her novels. Enter the PBS version of Persuasion on the same Masterpiece series around 2010, starring Rupert Penry Jones. I had seen the Ciaran Hinds version and it was OK, but THIS…this was wonderful! I am such a sucker for a good love story!
So I researched the character, actor, story and fell into the IMDb site, where anything movie/TV is filed, analyzed and discussed. I discovered the Persuasion boards where the talk was “The Kiss”…most hated it, some excused it and generally everyone went “meh”. Up popped a message one day that said something like, “If you want to see a REAL kiss, watch North and South.”
HUH?! Never heard of it. Well, yeah there was that Civil War mini-series back in the ’80s that was less than great. Surely not that one? No, indeedy, not. It appeared that BBC had produced yet another “masterpiece” called North and South, based on the book by Elizabeth Gaskell, and it was “to die for”, according to the message board at IMDb that I found next, which by the way has a most excellent fan fiction series, Homeward Bound, written by HeartFelt!
I ordered North and South, unwrapped the dvds, popped them into the player and remained glued to the screen for the next 4 hours. I’m not sure I breathed. To say I loved it would be a gross understatement. I watched it again the next day. And the next. And….well, you get the drift.
There were five actors that really caught my attention: Brendan Coyle, who played Higgins; the eternally suave Mr.Bell of the Plaid Pants, played by Brian Protheroe; Sinead Cusak, who portrayed Mrs.Thornton, John’s mother, Daniella Denby-Ashe who played Margaret Hale; and last, but by NO means least, Richard Armitage who became John Thornton. He had my attention!
While Mr. Armitage produced a magnificent performance in N&S, I kept thinking I had seen him in something else. And I dug until I figured out that he had been in the BBC series, Robin Hood, as the character Guy of Gisborne. Well, I was done for at that point.
Eventually, through the internet world, I found a wonderful group of fans/enthusiasts who follow all Projects Armitage. I’m convinced, as are many others, that he’s one of THE best actors around today. And he’s starring as Thorin Oakenshield in Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit which will be released this coming December. Which happens to be one of my favorite books and is the prequel to The Lord of the Rings, which is one of my fav movies!
Sir Peter Jackson has this movie /internet connection down to a fine art and has Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit fans pumped up and excited about the new film to the extent that you can now find replicas of the movie’s swords, quilts featuring the book’s themes, jewelry showcasing quotes from the book, drawings and paintings of the movie’s characters, Lego toys replicating the movies’ characters. Do I even have to mention the possibilities of Hobbit character dolls?!! There are MANY sites dedicated to nothing but Tolkien and his works…and the movies that are the result of his books.
My part in all of this? During FanstRAvaganza3 Week , which begins tomorrow, I’ll be participating with about 40 other bloggers next week who will be focusing on Mr. Armitage, Tolkien, The Hobbit, the fandom, and fan fiction, to mention a few. So if you have a passing interest in any of these subjects, check out my links each day for other bloggers who are participating in FanstRA3 week. I’m scheduled to post on Tuesday and Thursday….the other days of the week I’ll be posting a little farm talk, my Top Ten (maybe twenty!) Favorite Children’s books, some thoughts on Christy Fandom, bluebonnet updates and maybe even some Jane Austenology?! And I’ll be checking out my fellow FanstRAvaganza blogfriends!! 😀
*Note: I only know for sure what I’m posting and featuring during the week and have no idea what others will be writing and focusing on. So keep that in mind as many folks from all over the world will be writing their posts with their own points of views, thoughts and ideas!