The following text is excerpted and adapted from a piece I wrote called Worlds Collide which appeared as a guest post on me+RichardArmitage last fall. You can find the original here.
My story, I have discovered, is quite common in the global ranks of Armitage fandom. 2012 was a rough year for me. I seemed to be at crossroads in so many aspects of my life, and after spending time in Greece the previous four summers, I was feeling trapped at home. In search of respite from the actual and metaphorical din of my life, I had exhausted all the Jane Austen film adaptations to be found. I finally followed Netflix’s repeated advice that I should watch North & South. I admit, I was momentarily taken aback…North & South? The John Jakes adaptation? Patrick Swayze? I saw that in high school… The picture didn’t look right, so I read the full description…Oh, different North & South, OK. Ever a fan of period drama, I “found” Richard Armitage accidentally and was captivated almost immediately. Almost.
I was initially surprised by the rather explosive violence of the opening altercation on the floor of the mill. At that point, I had not read Gaskell’s novel, so I knew nothing about the story or the characters. It didn’t take long to get the lay of the land and warm up to John Thornton…or be mesmerized by the actor who inhabited him so movingly, from rage to insecurity and vulnerability…
He had me at the portrayal of Thornton’s determination to propose to Margaret despite his almost fatalistic belief that “she would not have him.” The incredible tenderness as he gazes at her lowered head in the train station scene was the cherry on top…
It was a combination of factors…the looks, the amazing voice, the intensity…some alchemy of qualities that silenced all of the angst and let me breathe. Let the games begin! Inquisitive by nature and a little afraid that I had finally fallen off the deep end, I investigated in secret…no one must find out, what would they think? I Google’d, I watched, I listened, I read, I lurked here and there trying to figure out this strange obsession I had developed. I have never been inspired to fandom, even as a teenager – What am I doing I asked myself repeatedly, but the more I learned about Richard Armitage, the deeper in I fell.
A month later, I was no closer to understanding it, and it was getting stronger. On August 22nd (an Armitage intervention?) I was inspired to break my silence and comment, but to do so, I would need a virtual disguise…Obscura was born. Obscura is Latin, meaning dark, secret, unknown, as I rather prefer to remain in the context of this world…at least for now.
Over the past fifteen months, I have continued to explore what “it” is that draws me in. I’ve been inspired to write, I’ve begun to blog, I’ve made some fantastic friends, and I’ve found that Richard Armitage inspires a lot of incredible people in much the same way that he inspires me. I don’t think that it is any single thing, but a combination of qualities that have resulted in a remarkable person…not perfect, but then no one is – perfection is an illusion in my book.
I have come to accept that Richard Armitage has entered my life as a sort of lodestar. I’m not fighting it anymore. I still don’t fully understand it, but I don’t know that I actually need to define completely what it is about him that inspires me, although I enjoy pondering it. I freely admit, Richard Armitage is probably not an actual celestial or supernatural force, but somehow he has managed to unlock a whole lot of doors inside me that were keeping me stuck in a place where I didn’t want to be and I continue to be grateful.
PS…if anyone reading would like a place to post his/her own “I saw something fine,” reflection, drop me an email at ancientarmitage at gmail dot com. I’d be happy to host 🙂