My five-year Armitage anniversary is this week!
It was mid-October in 2009 when my Friday-movie girlfriend drove over to my toy-strewn place near the ocean. As fate would have it, the DVD she brought was scratched, so we browsed what was available on Netflix and settled somewhat nonchalantly on a period piece that had good ratings.
And so it was that I first laid my eyes on this:
For how many thousands of other innocent viewers has this been their first glimpse of Richard Armitage? And tell me, is it a coincidence that the producers exalt this figure by putting him on a raised platform?! As if we needed any more prompting to encourage our abject veneration!
(Yes, Margaret, this is the proper stance of stupefied adoration.)
But, truthfully, the full impact of John Thornton/Richard Armitage didn’t fall upon me all at once. At his first appearing I thought “Ok, here’s the leading man.” (Duh! As if you could possibly miss that!)
No, the spell of Richard as Thornton began working on me more deeply here:
His vulnerability was beginning to show and his history was so remarkable. A man who respects and admires his mother, who is responsible, dependable, and practices self-denial? Margaret, were you even listening to this man?!
But it was here that I was a goner:
To be precise, it was the hitch in his throat – that moment when he expels that half-second sigh of agonized hope. You know the sound.
Do we even need to mention the tender kissing scene at the end? How is a girl to survive that?
Although I didn’t know it at the time, my world had just shifted. My girlfriend went home to resume her regular routine in life – wholly unscathed (how does this happen?). I replayed the ending without her. It’s not humanly possible to watch it only once. Or just twice.
Within a week, I was a member at C19. In May, the first chapter of A Heart for Milton was posted on the forum. Exactly two years from the time I found Thornton/Armitage, my book was published. At the time I discovered North and South, I didn’t even know I could write compelling fiction!
So, thank you, Richard. And thank you, wonderful fandom, for sharing and being part of the journey. It’s been a great ride so far.
When is your anniversary?