Sunday 30 December 2012

Bathroom ballads and shower soundtracks

I was looking for a reason to bring some music into this blog and, as always, my muse provides me with the inspiration I was looking for...

So Richard Armitage does not sing in the shower... But if he did (I will be eternally grateful to Martin Freeman and Andy Serkis for pressing on and making RA answer this question) he would sing this: Love In An Elevator by Aerosmith! :-)

What a great choice! There's a ride in Disneyland Paris by the name of The Rock 'n' Roller Coaster which features Aerosmith and, more specifically, this song. The ride is a great thrill, taking you from 0 to 100 km/h in less than 3 seconds. It's one of my favourite roller coasters!

But back to music, and singing in the shower. As RA's been so good as to give us a sneak peek into his shower (oh no, it's going to take me hours to get THAT mental picture out of my head...), I thought I'd return the favour and share a song that I sing in the shower.

To be honest, I always sing in the shower, mainly because I love the way my voice echoes in the bathroom :-) Although that does not necessarily mean that my singing is any good :-§

The songs that I sing tend to change according to my mood or the radio station that I've been listening to, but there are certainly a few songs that I keep going back to. I love film and musicals, so this is a definite favourite: Let's Go To The Movies from the musical Annie. When I was young, we had this film on VHS tape and I'm sure the film is now completely ruined from the very many times my sister and I used to watch it and sing along to all those wonderful songs.

What about you? Any favourite bathroom ballads or shower soundtracks?

Thursday 27 December 2012

Let's make him number 1!

As of today, Richard Armitage is ranked #2 on the IMDb Starmeter.

Wouldn't it be great if he got to number 1?
I know Richard probably couldn't care less about his rank, as it's a popularity contest of the purest form and he has no interest in being popular whatsoever.

Richard Armitage promotes The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey in Toronto, Canada on 3 December 2012

But still, as a fan, I would love to see my favourite man in the top spot.
And, as it's so easy to make it happen, why not?

All you need to do is get as many different people as possible to go to the IMDb website and visit pages related to Richard Armitage. Not only his profile page, but also the pages of the projects he's been involved in: Spooks, Captain America, North and South, The Hobbit, Chris Ryan's Strike Back, Black Sky, The Phantom Menace, Robin Hood - it all counts.

So let's all do this and show our man that he is our number 1!

Thursday 20 December 2012

Richard Armitage, this is your Fault!

So yes, I ordered the Winter issue of Fault Magazine with the special edition Richard Armitage cover. And although it was ridiculously expensive, I'm now convinced that it was a good idea. The video below will show you why. Best looking 41-year-old man I have ever seen! Not a 'fat dude' in sight, Mr. A, but I'm now beginning to realise what you mean by "I'm extremely vain"!  :-D

So I guess I'll just consider this a little Newyear's present to myself... as it will only be delivered somewhere in the second part of January. It's all Richard's Fault anyway... bad, bad man! :-))

What to look out for in the video? Designer stubble alert, the blue-eyed wonder, glorious fashion (yes, I did notice the clothes as well...), crinkles (yes!), the new hairstyle (which I still love, although the natural hair colour is now gone - but black just suits him so well, so it's all good!) and last but not least: the hands, those lovely long and elegant fingers...

Right, I'm watching this again!

Richard Armitage for Fault Magazine Issue 13 - Behind the scenes

Wednesday 19 December 2012

Gone in 60 seconds

Two brilliant new interviews: one in which Martin Freeman interviews Richard Armitage and one where Richard interviews Martin. Funny, adorable, sexy (that voice!)... these guys are so funny together!

What I've learned:
- There's somebody out there who is even worse at telling jokes than I am :-)

- RA prefers wine to beer... As I'm belgian, it would be almost sacrilege for me not to like beer at all, but I have a definite preference for wine. My new favourite is a Sauvignon Blanc from the Stoneleigh vinyards in New Zealand ;-)

- RA had a 'relationship' with his horse - Good to hear that he got along with HER after his rather 'difficult' relationship with Richie, his horse for Robin Hood... :-§

- He trusts the judgement of a stylist to make him look good. Now, I know we agree that this man would look good wearing a plastic bag (and not much else, winkwink), but he's right that his stylist for the press tour for The Hobbit has made him look absolutely gorgeous (Best dressed list gorgeous, that is!). Can I get a big round of applause for Miss Ilaria Urbinati?

- RA is a bit of a fitness freak... lifting weights because he "would not want to be a fat dude". I love people who like to suffer the pain of sports, and appreciate the incredible feeling you get when you've put your body through an extensive workout :-)

- He's sticking to his guns (!) about social media, but he prefers making that perfect shot with a bow and arrow... good, I don't like guns anyway, unless we're referring to a specific part of RA's body; in that case: I love guns! ;-)

Oh, and can I just bring everybody's attention back to that voice... That's dip-me-in-chocolate, tingles-down-my-spine, rich velvet voice? Not even Thorin's voice can top the real thing! Enjoy!!

MAX 60 Seconds with Richard Armitage - Thank you Cinemax!!

And MAX 60 Seconds with Martin Freeman:

Monday 17 December 2012

Dwarven fun with the merry men

This is hilarious! IGN ( submits the dwarves to questions on all things Hobbit. So, have our dwarves done their homework? Have they checked the facts and checked them twice? Have they read and studied all things Middle Earth?
Well...not exactly :-)

Prepare yourself to meet the newest members of the company of dwarves: Milli and Vanilli. Also, we find out that there is a connection between Bilbo Baggins and Star Trek's Spock, that it's not easy to remember exact dates when you're travelling halfway around the world and that Cate Blanchett is actually a sword... :-)

But, most of all, we get to see how these 12 men from different countries, different backgrounds and different ages have really become a band of 'merry men', and friends for life, I'm sure!
It's a shame, though, that dwarf number 13 (or is that number 1?) is missing...

Friday 14 December 2012

A little gem of an RA interview

This interview is brilliant - had me laughing out loud!! :-)

There will be more in-depth analysis of the film and the previous weeks and days very soon, but as it's already 01:40am here, I need to get some sleep first. Or maybe I'll just quickly watch this interview again... ;-)

Richard Armitage on George Stroumboulopoulos Tonight- Toronto, Canada
Video shared on Youtube by TheHour

Thursday 13 December 2012

Thirty Days to Thorin - It is done...

It is done. I have just seen The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey in 48fps 3D. My hands are actually shaking while I write this. I wanted to describe the experience, but I seem to be unable to string a few words together to form a decent sentence...

The film

I am in awe of Peter Jackson, Fran Walsh and Philippa Boyens and I am extremely grateful for their interpretation of Tolkien's 'children's book'. They do the story so much justice and they treat it with nothing but love and respect. Their knowledge of the details of Tolkien's world is so very evident throughout the film...
I expected the return to Middle-Earth to be a wonderful experience, but nothing could have prepared me for this!

The story

Sir Peter and his team remained extremely loyal to Tolkien, whenever they could. So much so that much of the dialogue comes directly from the novel which is just what the fans want. Whenever they do stray from the original storyline, it is because some things simply do not translate well to the silver screen. Even Tolkien, the great storyteller, would have agreed with that because he would have understood that the success of a story depends as much on the vehicle you use (film, in this case) as on what you describe. Even though I've heard certain people in the media say that "Tolkien would be turning in his grave" if he could see what PJ has done to his story, I firmly believe that he would be proud to have this story interpreted the way Sir Peter has.

The 48fps

Oh my world! The 48fps makes everything so very clear. Every hair on Balin's beard, every piece of Thorin's battle robes, every wrinkle in Gandalf's face, every piece of gold in the Lonely's all there, right at your fingertips. This is setting a new standard for film in the future, and it really makes this specific film an extraordinary experience. I don't want to give away any spoilers, so I can't go into too much detail now, but I just want to say this: if you have a chance to go and see it in 48fps 3D, do yourself a favour and do it - you will not be disappointed.

Richard Armitage

Fans of Richard Armitage, look around you. Once this film is released to audiences across the globe in the days to come, there will be many more in RA's "little group of friends".

He took my breath away! The regal authority, the gravitas, the depth and the sense of purpose he brings to Thorin are undescribable; I was literally moved to tears. Such wonderfully detailed acting: the eyes, the hands (although they're not his own elegantly beautiful hands) the posture, the voice... I'm sure that voice will haunt me in my dreams tonight and possibly for many nights to come. That was SO good!

I don't think I'll manage to sleep tonight, but I'd better try anyway - long day at work ahead of me...
But for now, with Thorin's voice in my head, all I can really think about is: When can I go see this film again?

Wednesday 12 December 2012

Thirty Days to Thorin (26) - Finding Thorin's confidence

This is an exerpt from the London press conference posted on Youtube by RedCarpetNewsTV. Richard talks about finding the confidence to commandeer his 'merry men' of dwarves and about venting his inner anger through Thorin.

I'm always fascinated when Richard speaks about his process of becoming a character. Without knowing it, he has taught me so much about acting and there are so many little things that I now do when I go on stage just because he has spoken about how they help him do a better job. So, thank you, Mr. A!

Thirty Days to Thorin (25) - Looking good in a red chair

Feast your eyes (and ears) on this!

Just a small fragment of Richard Armitage's appearance on Strombo - The George Strombopolous show when he was promoting The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey in Toronto, Canada last week. (clip from Youtube shared by @RA_Central on Twitter)

Thirty Days to Thorin (24) - Exclusive!

It's exactly 01:00 on Wednesday, 12 December 2012. It's officially Hobbit Day - I will only have to wait hours instead of days, weeks or months before I get to see Thorin, and the full film, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey. The midnight screening here in Belgium is going on as we speak. At 20:45 today, I will be watching the film in high frame rate 3D and I can't wait! By the way: does that mean I will be watching the film at the exact same time that Richard will be watching it at the premiere in London? Well, that's almost as good as watching it together with him, right?! Oh, if only...

In the meantime, enjoy an exclusive scene from the film - The Misty Mountains song, delivered by Thorin and the company of dwarves in Bag End, while Bilbo and Gandalf contemplate the journey that lies ahead...

Monday 10 December 2012

Thirty Days to Thorin (23) - Best of both worlds

This picture left me completely speechless... It's one of those rare pictures of Richard Armitage dressed as one of the characters he's portraying, but not 'in character'.

Being the kind of actor that he is, he usually keeps himself and the character separate. When it comes to Thorin, Richard has said that he got more and more into character while the prosthetics, the body suit, the hair and the costume were being applied every morning. I think it's extraordinary that we get to see Richard here, dressed as Thorin, but as himself. And, trust me, that smile is all Richard!! :-)

Richard Armitage (Thorin Oakenshield) meets LEGO-Thorin (and presumably takes him home!) on the last day of filming in New Zealand
Image shared by

Sunday 9 December 2012

Thirty Days to Thorin (22) - My new precious

With all the new pictures and videos that have appeared this week, it was not easy to pick a favourite. So, I gave myself 24 hours to make up my mind, and this is the one that I keep going back to.

Richard Armitage photoshoot in NY 5 December 2012
Picture by Victoria Will - Invasion - AP

Why this one? There are so many reasons why I love this picture, many of which would make no sense to anyone but me. I'll try to explain:

  1. Richard looks tired. I can see the jetlag. He looks real. After the larger-than-life pictures from the many red carpet events over the last week or so, it's obvious that the hectic schedule is getting to him. Hey, if you had gone from LA (US) to Auckland (NZ) , to Wellington (NZ), to Tokyo (Japan), to Toronto (Canada) to New York (US) in only a week or so, you would be tired as well! The great thing is that RA is not afraid to show it.
  2. I love the new haircut! Slightly longer on top and short along the sides. Just a little bit of wax and he's ready to go ;-)
  3. Lucas' sideburns and designer stubble - no explanation necessary
  4. The blue background makes his eyes sparkle
  5. I love that smile (what can I say?)
  6. The black hoodie again reminds me of Lucas North and black is not only my own favourite colour, it's also my favourite colour on him (although I must say that plum is also growing on me...I'll explain that in a later post)
  7. Leather... he's wearing leather *sigh* The jacket is a Todd Snyder (NY) and it looks incredible on Richard
  8. Last but not least: I have a very strange attraction to Richard's hands. When I see Richard on screen, my attention goes to his long, elegant fingers. The fact that they feature so prominently in this picture, makes me love it all the more...
So this is currently my favourite picture of Richard as himself, but the competition is fierce! He's on the limited-edition cover of the next edition of FAULT magazine and that picture took my breath away!

Oh, and this was my runner-up for favourite picture. It's from a recently published photoshoot for Glamour Magazine that shows Richard in different scenes involving taxies in New York City. The caption for one of the pictures just said it all: "Yes, it makes us want to be a New York cabbie too" :-)

Friday 7 December 2012

Thirty Days to Thorin (21) - Warrior voice

OK, so yesterday was the premiere of The Hobbit:An Unexpected Journey in New York. Can I just say that Richard looked absolutely amazing!! There will be more about the fashion of the premieres soon, but I wanted to share this "Soundbites" video with you first.

In this video, Richard talks about Thorin, about Thorin's reasons for going on the quest to reclaim Erebor and about how safe he feels in the hands of Peter Jackson who "has the entire film in his head" and "knows this character better than I do".

The content of this interview is really nothing new: over the last week or so, we've seen more interviews with RA than we had in the last 2 years, so all of these questions have come up at some point. But this video is still very much worth watching - or rather, it's very much worth listening to.

As you can see, this was taped while filming for The Hobbit was still ongoing - hence the beard (by the way, I still love that beard, even though RA looks stunning without it). And I think Richard is still very much in Thorin-mode here: his voice is very deep, he speaks very slowly and deliberately - this is not Richard! No, I honestly think we are looking at Thorin, dressed up as Richard.

In the beginning of this video, although you can't hear the question, it's obviously "tell me about your character in this film" or something like that. I can almost see a look of frustration on RAs face. It's as if he's offended because some 'human' has basically said "who the hell are you?" and is not giving the King Under The Mountain the proper greeting and acknowledgements. When you get as immersed into a character as RA usually does, it must be very difficult to remind yourself who you really are, especially when you're asked to do interviews in between shoots.
He's talked before about how difficult it was for him to be friendly to fans when he was on his way to set to film a scene for Robin Hood. He would be so deep into the evil Guy of Gisbourne, that it was almost impossible to quickly become Richard again and smile and sign autographs. So now that he's been living as Thorin for the last 18 months, it must have been quite a recovery process to find the real Richard again.

Anyway, watch the video here. I would love to hear if you see what I see!

Thursday 6 December 2012

Thirty Days to Thorin (20) - 13 minutes of awe

"Whatever age you are, try to remember the sense of awe you had as a child... Hopefully you will leave with that awe firmly in place"
(James Nesbitt - Bofur)

A 13-minute Television Special has been made available. Careful, the video is full of spoilers, so if you're not ready for more details of the story, better not watch this...

If you are up for it, you will love this. I do. I can't believe that I'm only 1 week away from finally seeing this film, the first of 3, at least. *jumps up and down!*

I will mainly remember this:

Not only does Richard Armitage play a fierce warrior... he IS one! The proof is in this video :-)

Tolkien was a brilliant writer (not that there was ever any doubt!)

Philippa Boyens is a huge fan of Thorin Oakenshield (and, I suspect, also of Richard Armitage!)

This is how Richard describes Thorin:
"He's gone from prince to pauper and he's a battle-hardened warrior.He has a fierce sense of honour but he's been hardened by life, so his outer shell is pretty impenetrable."

I hope you enjoy this as much as I did!

Update: The original video was removed from Youtube, but it seems it's now available again. I hope it remains here:

Thirty Days to Thorin (19) - Naughty dwarves!!

The dwarves exclusively reveal that they created a secret naked/naughty dwarves calendar as a birthday present for Peter Jackson. There's only one copy of it, unfortunately...

Watch the video to also see the special rings that the Hobbit stars all share, symbolizing their incredible Middle-earth bonding experience! Beautiful, and much less painful than a tattoo :-)

Thirty Days to Thorin (18) - Thorin takes Toronto

This is the story of how one humble, but incredibly talented man from England becomes the spokesman for a Peter Jackson trilogy. He's generous, patient, open, friendly and genuinely thankful. And he speaks about this film with so much passion... no wonder people love him! Even those who had no idea who he really was...

Thanks to Warner Brothers Pictures Canada for sharing this video on Youtube!

The hobbit: An Unexpected Journey - Union Station Takeover - Toronto, Canada
3 December 2012

Tuesday 4 December 2012

Thirty Days to Thorin (17) - Good questions!

Can I just say to Richard Crouse: This was a wonderful interview. Thank you for allowing this intelligent man to speak! Your questions were very good and Richard's answers are always extremely insightful and so well thought-through. I love hearing him speak about his love for these books, these films, his sense of responsibility for the correct portrayal of Thorin, his research into Tolkien's reasons for and messages in The Hobbit. And even about his acting process - now that piece of information is a true gem! Thank you! 

And then this: "I'll certainly give it to my kids"

Excuse me, I need to listen to this again!

Listen to the interview on Youtube

And here's a picture for you to enjoy while you listen to RA's beautiful voice:

Richard Armitage and Thorin Oakenshield were both in Toronto, Canada today!

Monday 3 December 2012

Thirty Days to Thorin (16) - Orcrist in safe hands

Now, I expected Richard to walk away with the map and key to Erebor. The Oakenshield belongs to the character of Thorin, so that makes sense as well. But he's got THE Orcrist!! How coolis that! Now, Richard, when is the Army expected at your house to come and take the mighty sword for a 'schwing'?

Saturday 1 December 2012

Thirty Days to Thorin (15) - A snippet of Smaug

In this new TV spot for The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, we get a first look at the dragon, Smaug. You have to look very carefully, though, because he appears just a fraction of a second.

Although I'm very excited to see how Peter Jackson has designed the mightly beast Smaug, the end of this TV spot is actually a lot more exciting for me as it shows more of Thorin.

That hug between Thorin and Bilbo! I'm absolutely certain that that is going to be a very emotional moment in the film. Note to self: Take enough tissues to the cinema on 12 December...

I've got my tickets booked, by the way - I'm so excited!!

Thirty Days to Thorin (14) - Konichiwa in leather!

So I wake up this morning to find my Facebook wall and Twitter timeline full of pictures and video from the press conference and premiere for The Hobbit in Japan.

First of all: Richard Armitage in leather! Both at the press conference and later at the premiere, he wears leather. Talk about pleasing the fans: he brings back a little bit of Guy of Gisborne, just for us! :-)

Richard Armitage and Elijah Wood at the premiere for The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey in Japan - 1 December 2012.
Picture (screenshot) from the image gallery of

Secondly, both Martin Freeman and Peter Jackson had some extremely nice things to say about Richard: about him as a person, about him as an actor and about what he brings to the character of Thorin. I was completely blown away by what they said, and by the man himself... again!

I thought about putting some quotes in this blogpost, but decided agains it because you need to hear it from their own mouths. And please, look at how RA reacts to what they say, especially after Jackson sings his praises about Richard as Thorin. Such a humble, thankful, respectful reaction - tingles down my spine!

You can see the entire press conference on Youtube thanks to but you especially need to see part 4 - Enjoy!

Friday 30 November 2012

Thirty Days to Thorin (13) - Richard and Richard

For a while now, I've been wondering whether Richard Armitage is still thinking about playing King Richard III. Richard was named after the English king as he was born on 22 August, the day Richard III was killed in the battle at Bosworth Field in 1485.

A few years ago, Richard was planning to create a film to redeem the wronged King and restore his reputation. The fans loved the idea and have been rallying support for this project ever since. But with everything that has happened in Richard's career over the last few years and months, does Richard still have Richard on the brain? Or has he moved on?
Someone on that Red Carpet for The Hobbit in Wellington had obviously done their homework on Richard and asked him that very question. And I could not be happier about his reply... notice the twinkle in his eye and that small sigh of regret when he is confronted with the memory of Richard III... *runs off to watch the video again* 

Video uploaded to Youtube by Britu 21
Would you like to know more about King Richard III? I would recommend the excellent historical novel The Sunne in Splendour by Sharon Kay Penman, which was actually a great favourite of RA's father.

Would you like to support Richard and make his dream of playing Richard III a reality? Sign the petition at

Thursday 29 November 2012

Thirty Days to Thorin (12) - IMAX and trying to swim

I'm in information overload-mode! There is so much news to read and so many pictures to see since yesterday's The Hobbit world premiere in Wellington. I really don't feel like I've been able to see everything yet. So while I'm trying to keep my head up and swim through all of this goodness, I wanted to share the wonderful new IMAX poster of Thorin with you. Isn't it simply stunning?

New IMAX poster for The Hobbit - An Unexpected Journey featuring Richard Armitage as Thorin Oakenshield

Wednesday 28 November 2012

Thirty Days to Thorin (11) - He's got my heart forever now!

I just had the most amazing night/morning (04:30 am - 08:00 am) watching the live red carpet event for the world premiere of The Hobbit - An Unexpected Journey in Wellington, New Zealand.
I'll definitely take time to talk about all that later today, but I just found out that Richard has written to us, the fans, again, so I just had to share this immediately.

Literally hours or minutes before the biggest event in his career, the man takes the time to sit down and write a note of appreciation to thank the fans for their support. How amazing is that! If I did not love him with all my heart before today, I will surely do so from this day on.

Thank you for sharing the message with the world!

Here it is:

Dear Friends,
So I am sitting in my hotel room from which I can see a very long red carpet and The Embassy Theatre. I am nervous, excited and quite emotional, the day has arrived when we can finally present our work for everyone to hopefully enjoy.
I wanted to say thank you for the continuing support that I receive from everyone who visits Annette's brilliant site, and those others which have popped up over the last few years and months. It means so much to me to have that support. I truly hope you all enjoy The Hobbit, I tried to respect the responsibility that taking on this role presented to me, my fellow cast members are all spectacular in the story and we send out our work to you in the hope that you can take your friends and family to see a great event in the cinema.
I look forward to saying thank you, at the various premiers over the next few weeks.
See you on the Red Carpet.
Much love

Tuesday 27 November 2012

Thirty Days to Thorin (10) - There should be a law against this!

Seriously, nobody should be allowed to look that good after getting off a flight from LA (USA) to Auckland (New Zealand)!

Richard Armitage and Martin Freeman between flights at Auckland International Airport, New Zealand, 25 November 2012
Flying from LA to Auckland takes about 13 hours. Yes, they were in first class, so they were probably slightly more comfortable than some other passengers on the flight. Even so, I don't know many people who would manage to look THAT GOOD after being stuck on a plane for 13 hours.

I love his stubble (you may have noticed before that I'm a fan of Richard with designer stubble), I love the fact that his hair is messed up, I love the fact that his boots are untied as if he just put them on very quickly after waking up from a well-deserved nap. I'm so bad at sleeping on planes, trains and automobiles that I have developed great respect for people who do manage to make good use of flying time.
I love the red spots on his cheek which tell me that he's probably been sleeping with his cheek resting on his hand, or resting his cheek against the window - that's just adorable!
I love the jeans - dark and tight - showing of those long legs...
I love the jeans shirt - collar up, button open (the fans love to see his neck, don't ask me why, but we do!)
I love the leather jacket - I thought RA would never go near anything in leather ever again after having to endure the Hungarian sun in the leather costumes he had to wear for Guy of Gisbourne in the BBC's Robin Hood. I'm extremely happy that he does wear leather, though, as it suits him so very well.

Well done, Mr. Armitage, top marks for style!!

Thirty Days to Thorin (9) - Cheeky Richard

This is how Richard Armitage spent his Monday in Wellington. Together with Martin Freeman, Andy Serkis and Elijah Wood (and possibly other members of the cast and crew of The Hobbit) he visited Zealandia.

Zealandia is an eco-restoration project where you can "see some of New Zealand's rarest birds, reptiles and insects living wild in their natural environment, including hihi, tuatara, saddleback, kākā and (at night) little spotted kiwi. Indoors, NZ’s incredible natural history and world-renowned conservation movement are brought to life in a state-of-the-art exhibition."

For more info on what seems to be a breathtakingly beautiful project, visit the website

Sounds like great fun! And he seems to be having a good time: I just love to see him smiling that cheeky smile!

Oh, and did you notice? No beard and no stubble... clean-shaven... Looks lovely, as always, but I admit that I was hoping to see that designer stubble on the red carpet tomorrow (28/12).

Richard Armitage (in signature black and blue) with friends in Zealandia (Wellington, New Zealand) on Monday, 26 November 2012. Picture found on

Thirty Days to Thorin (8) - How to properly address the King

Not that it's very likely to happen, but do you know what you're supposed to say when you meet a dwarf? Not just any dwarf, mind you, the Heir of Durin's Folk in exile, his majesty prince Thorin Oakenshield, son of Thrain, son of Thror.

"Durin, Durin!" said Thorin. "He was the father of the fathers of the eldest race of Dwarves, the Longbeards, and my first ancestor: I am his heir."
(From: The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien, Chapter III A Short Rest p. 69)

The word of the day could possibly help you. Although I'm far from an expert at Khuzdul, if you know this one word, at least you will be able to acknowledge his royal status:

Image courtesy of
Now if you do happen to meet Thorin and you're overcome with nerves so badly that you forget the one word of Khuzdul that could possibly have saved your life, just bow as low as you can (even better if your beard touches the floor) and say: "Thorin Oakenshield, rightful King under the Mountain, I am at your service!"
You'll be fine! ;-)

Saturday 24 November 2012

Thirty Days to Thorin (7) - PJ understands me!

Yes, Peter Jackson understands me. He knows exactly what I want to see. So, when I woke up to PJ's new production video this morning, it turned out to have exactly what I needed: interesting details about the process of creating The Hobbit... and a lot of Richard Armitage and Thorin!!

So, Thank you PJ, for making my day - again!
And a special thank you to Wendy Dixon and Jonia for their excellent screencapping skills and for making the pictures available on the web.

See Peter Jackson's production video here:


As I said, there's plenty of Thorin/Richard in this video. In fact, Richard is the only member of the cast who features prominently in this behind-the-scenes video. Oh, and did I say he looks absolutely incredible, both as Thorin and as himself... or is that just stating the obvious?

Why don't you judge it for yourself...
And there it was: his beautiful, deep, velvet, dip-me-in-chocolate, tingles-down-my-spine voice.
I've missed you, my precious...

Thorin in action
And then, the piece de résistance, the most beautiful picture of Thorin- He looks dark and angry and slightly mad, but still as regal as ever. I love it!
Thorin Oakenshield (Richard Armitage), the wronged King of Durin's Folk, on a quest to reclaim his homeland, his honour and his dignity

Thursday 22 November 2012

Thirty Days to Thorin (6) - Family resemblance

Do you see the family resemblance?
Glóin – the father

Gloin, as portrayed by Peter Hambleton in Peter Jackson's The Hobbit trilogy

Gloin is a direct descendant of Nain II, one of the kings of Durin’s Folk and a distant cousin of Thorin Oakenshield. Gloin and his brother Oin, two doughty, Northern Dwarves join the Company out of a sense of loyalty to their kin, and also because they have a substantial sum of money invested in the venture. Oin and Gloin are talented at started fires. Along with Bombur, Gloin is the only other married Dwarf in the Company (there being a shortage of female dwarves in general). His wife is an acclaimed beauty with a particularly fine beard. Gloin is the proud father of a young son, Gimli, who will go on to become part of the famous Fellowship of the Ring. Gloin is the only dwarf from The Hobbit to personally appear in The Lord of the Rings.

Gimli – the son

Gimli, as portrayed by John Rhys-Davies in Peter Jackson's The Lord of the Rings trilogy

Gimli, son of Glóin, was a well-respected dwarf warrior in Middle-earth during the Great Years. He was a member of the Fellowship of the Ring, and was the only dwarf to readily fight alongside elves in the war against Sauron at the end of the Third Age. After the defeat of Sauron, he was given lordship of the Glittering Caves at Helm's Deep.
Gimli was born with a well groomed beard. He was a remote descendant of Durin the Deathless, father of the first house of dwarven people. Gimli stemmed from, but was not an inheritor of the royal line. He was also the first cousin once removed of Balin, Lord of Moria. It is also stated in the Unfinished Tales that Gimli was prevented from traveling with his father on the Quest of Erebor (in The Hobbit), because Thorin and company thought that he was too young. Gimli, being in his sixties, considered himself ripe for adventure and was disappointed to be left behind.

Wednesday 21 November 2012

Thirty Days to Thorin (5) - A song

"The quays were thronged with hurrying feet. Some began to sing snatches of old songs concerning the return of the King under the Mountain; that it was Thror's grandson not Thror himself that had come back did not bother them at all. Others took up the song and it rolled loud and high over the lake."

The King beneath the mountains
The King of carven stone
The lord of silver fountains
Shall come into his own
His crown shall be upholden
His harp shall be restrung
His halls shall echo golden
To songs of yore re-sung
The woods shall wave on mountains
And grass beneath the sun
His wealth shall flow in fountains
And the rivers golden run.
The streams shall run in gladness,
The lakes shall shine and burn,
All sorrow fail and sadness
At the Mountain-king's return!
From The Hobbit Chapter X - A warm welcome - page 251
Picture courtesy of (cropped)

Tuesday 20 November 2012

Thirty Days to Thorin (4) - The One Woman

I need to apologise to you. I promised you thirty days of countdown to the release of The Hobbit and I have not been very good at keeping my promise. You know how it goes: real life gets in the way: work, important life-changing decisions, busy times, family, etc. So I hope you're still with me and I promise I will make up for the lost time: I will publish all of the thirty blogposts before 12 December when The Hobbit - An Unexpected Journey is released in Belgium. Today, on International Men's Day (19 November, by the time I publish this that will be yesterday), I thought I would talk about the women in Tolkien's story, and the Dwarf-women in particular.
Galadriel, as played by Cate Blanchett
Image courtesy of
With the exception of the Galadriel (who does not appear in the original story), the story of The Hobbit is quite a ‘boys club’, don’t you think? 13 male dwarves, a wizard, a hobbit, Bard the Bowman, The Master of Laketown, Beorn etc. So much so that Peter Jackson, Philippa Boyens and Fran Walsh had to invent characters to inject some female energy into their films. They decided against creating more Dwarves, but went for Elves instead. That’s how the character Tauriel (played by Evangeline Lily) was born.

I guess it was a wise decision not to create female dwarves for the films: they are so elusive that their existence is even questioned. On page 411 of The Lord of the Rings - The Return Of the King, Tolkien speaks about female dwarves:

“It was said by Gimli that there are few dwarf-women, probably no more than a third of the whole people. They seldom walk abroad except at great need. They are in voice and appearance, and in garb if they must go on a journey, so like to the dwarf-men that the eyes and ears of other people cannot tell them apart. This has given rise to the foolish opinion among Men that there are no dwarf-women, and that the Dwarves grow out of Stone.”

I don’t know if she will even be mentioned in the films (she’s only a reference in the book), but there is one important Dwarf woman – the company of dwarves would not have been complete without her - she is the One Woman.
The youngest members of Thorin’s company of dwarves are Fili and Kili, his nephews. They are the sons of Thorin’s only sister, Dís. In fact, Dís is the only female dwarf that J.R.R. Tolkien ever mentioned by name.
The last Heirs of Durin's Folk: Fili (Left - Dean O'Gorman), Kili (Right - Aiden Turner) and their uncle Thorin Oakenshield (Middle - Richard Armitage) 
Dís (born Third Age 2760) was the daughter of King Thráin II and sister of Thorin and Frerin. Like her brothers she was born in the Lonely Mountain and was driven into exile in T.A. 2770 when the dragon Smaug took control of the kingdom.
The name Dís was probably derived from Old Norse -dís ("sister of") which is found in many Nordic names. So Dís is simply named as the sister of her brothers – not very gender-friendly, Professor Tolkien!
On the other hand, although it is often believed that the name Frerin came from either the Old Norse Dwarf-name Frár ("Swift") in the Völuspá, or from the Old Norse word frérinn ("frozen"), to me, it simply sounds like “frère”, the French word for “brother”. That would mean that both Dís and Frerin were named as the siblings of the heir of Durin’s Folk, Thorin.
OK, Tolkien, listen up: your stories need more women!! Thank you. That's all.

Wednesday 14 November 2012

Thirty Days to Thorin (3) - New TV spot

A new TV spot fot The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey has just been released. It contains some new scenes and features Thorin quite prominently. Enjoy!!

Thirty Days to Thorin (2) - the dwarves

Here's a picture of the 'Unexpected Party':

I manage to name all the dwarves quite easily these days, but I keep putting the wrong name with the wrong picture: for some inexplicable reason, I tend to get Dori & Nori and Oin and Balin mixed up, .

Anyway, what was Peter Jackson thinking when he agreed to make a film that featured a band of 13 dwarves?! They are all very similar in Tolkien's book - he only really gives Thorin a bit more of a personality. So, that's quite a challenge for a filmmaker, but it's also a great opportunity to fill in the blanks and shape the characters to fit the story that you're trying to tell.

As I discussed before, PJ didn't use the different colours that Tolkien assigns to each of the dwarves. He must be colourblind, as that would have been a perfect starting point for their character development.

But Sir Peter is smart: together with screenwriter Philippa Boyens and producer Fran Walsh, he has given the dwarves their own way of dressing, their own way of acting and fighting, their own hairstyle (and beard, of course!), their own weapons, their own history, their own reasons for going on this quest etc. And bit by bit, piece by piece, they have been feeding us these details. For the last year or so, we have had the time to get to know everything about these dwarves, so when we finally get to see the first film, we will be able to step right into the story without being distracted or confused by 'who was that again?'.

This is the official description of Thorin Oakenshield: (thanks to

Name: Thorin
Alias: Oakenshield, King under the Mountain, King of Durin's Folk in Exile
Date of Birth: T.A. 2746
Race: Dwarf, House of Durin
Date of Death: T.A. 2941
Alignment: Good
Parents: Thráin II (father)
Spouse: None
Children: None

"As a young Dwarf prince, Thorin witnessed the destruction and terror wrought when a great fire-breathing Dragon attacked the Dwarf Kingdom of Erebor. After slaughtering many of Thorin’s kin, the great serpent, Smaug, entered The Lonely Mountain and took possession of its vast store of gold and jewels. No-one came to the aid of the surviving Dwarves, and thus, a once proud and noble race was forced into exile. Through long years of hardship, Thorin grew to be a strong and fearless fighter and revered leader. In his heart a fierce desire grew; a desire to reclaim his homeland and destroy the beast that had brought such misery upon his people. So when fate offers him an unusual ally, he seizes the chance for revenge."

"We will seize this chance to take back Erebor!"
Thorin Oakenshield (Richard Armitage) prepares his company of dwarves for the difficult task that lies ahead.

Tuesday 13 November 2012

Thirty Days to Thorin (1) - The Crush

As I type this, the last minute of 12 November 2012 is officially over. In exactly 30 days, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, the first film from a new trilogy by director Peter Jackson will officially be released in Belgium.

I'm good at countdowns, apparently, so here's another one. For the next 30 days, I will be writing about The Hobbit, the film(s), the book and especially about Thorin Oakenshield and Richard Armitage (of course!) every day. Join me in counting down to the moment that we have all been waiting for for so very long.

Before I start, let me just warn you that this countdown may contain spoilers about the original story by J.R.R. Tolkien and about the film(s). It's quite impossible to talk about both without giving away any details from the storyline. So, if you haven't read the story and don't want to know what happens before you see the film, please don't read any further.

Even though the title of J.R.R. Tolkien's story is The Hobbit, or There and Back Again, it could just as well have been called Thorin Oakenshield, the King Under the Mountain. It's Thorin Oakenshield who goes on a quest to reclaim Erebor, the kingdom in the Lonely Mountain and vanquish the dragon Smaug. He's the character that goes on a journey of redemption, to liberate his homeland and claim his heritage. He's the character in the story that goes on the most profound, life altering journey. To me, he's the real hero of the story (although I admit that my judgement may be slightly blurred by the fact that RA is portraying him.)

It's over 2 years ago now that I first learned that Richard Armitage was going to be playing the role of Thorin Oakenshield in Peter Jackson's film(s). I was so very happy for him, but at the same time couldn't really wrap my head around the idea that this tall man (He's 6 foot 2 inches - and a half! - or 189.23cm) would be playing a 5'2" dwarf - that's about 157.5cm. How would this man, who was used to towering over people and having others look up at him, cope with being short? Wasn't PJ just complicating things too much? So many things to worry about! I'll write more in the coming days about how I slowly started to believe that this was actually a good decision.

The first thing that set my mind at ease was this picture of Richard as Thorin. I hate to admit it, but I've had a huge crush on this dwarf ever since! *blushes*

Richard Armitage as Thorin Oakenshield, the King Under the Mountain
Question: Can you name all 13 dwarves that take Bilbo Baggins on this adventure? No cheating allowed!
Start practicing now and I'll see you tomorrow... :-)
Sweet dReAms!!

Sunday 11 November 2012

Remembering sergeant Armitage

Today, on Remembrance Sunday, I would like to pay my respects to those who sacrificed their lives, their future and their freedom for future generations. I have always been especially interested in the stories behind World War I and II, both the grand strategic and political decisions and the personal stories of soldiers, civilians, families and villages. I’ve travelled to places like London, Paris and Berlin to understand how these cities and their people were affected by the wars and I’ve visited the important landmarks and memorials in my own country (e.g. Tyne Cot cemetery in Paschendaele, Menin Gate in Ypres, the woods of The Ardennes).

When I visit a war cemetery, I try to stop at as many graves as I can to read the name that is on the gravestone out loud. It’s my own personal way of honouring them and thanking them for their sacrifice.
Last week, I visited the Commonwealth War Cemetery at Hotton (Belgium), where I found this grave.

Final resting place of Sergeant P.S. Armitage
The text on the gravestone reads:
1809956 sergeant
Air Gunner
Royal Air force
2nd March 1945 Age 21

The Lord is my shepherd

I shall not want

He maketh me to lie down

In green pastures
The records of Hotton Cemetery provide the following information:
VI.A.3. United Kingdom Sergeant ( Air Gnr. ) 1809956 Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve.
2nd March 1945. Age 21. Son of George Henry and Louise Hilda Ellen Armitage of East Barnet Hertfordshire. Unit: 622 Sqdn.

The War Cemetery at Hotton (Belgium) is the final resting place of 665 British and Commonwealth soldiers killed during WWII and the Battle of the Ardennes. Among them was one Belgian who fought with the 53rd Welsh Division.

I’ve seen the name Armitage in these war cemeteries before. I distinctly remember standing by a grave at the WWI memorial cemetery Tyne Cot near Paschendaele here in Belgium and I recently found out that the Tyne Cot memorial contains sculpture by a man named Joseph Armitage.

The Tyne Cot Memorial that surrounds the cemetery (unveiled on 20 June 1927) now bears the names of almost 35,000 officers and men whose graves are not known.  

“They shall not grow old, as we who are left grow old

Age shall not weary them nor the years condemn

At the going down of the sun and in the morning

We shall remember them”
Lucas North (Richard Armitage) wear the poppy, the symbol of Remembrance, in Episode 1 of Season 7 of Spooks (BBC)