I tried to write a really thoughtful piece about Richard Armitage’s voice, and I hated it. It’s tough being entirely serious when I sit down to write for this blog, and frankly, I’m glad!
So my first real encounter with The Voice was the moment John Thornton had a proper introduction to Margaret. To say I had a visceral reaction would be putting it mildly. Didn’t we all have a visceral reaction? :D I think every cell in my body vibrated. It was almost as if someone poked a stick in my back to make me sit up and take better notice, and it didn’t matter that I typically didn’t like period drama. It didn’t matter that he had not been my ideal. All of my attention was now focused on the guy who had yelled, “Stephens!” several minutes earlier.
Deb (aka November Bride) nails some of my fascination with his voice:
But as much as I loved hearing John Thornton say even the mundane, I still didn’t think Richard Armitage had a phenomenal voice. Yeah, can you believe that? It’s true. I assumed he was phenomenal for this role — larger than life and effecting a brogue and brusqueness that evoked a response from me which probably wouldn’t occur again. It wasn’t until I watched Vicar of Dibley where RA was the congenial Harry, who looked and sounded nothing like John Thornton and certainly didn’t evoke any strong emotion from me when he opened his cottage door, that I began to think I had never seen an actor of his like before. It came when he made his first move (albeit a subtle one) on Geraldine:
That about took my head off. The intimacy in the lowering of his voice and slowing of his speech had me giddy like I was 15 again and some boy I was crushing on smiled at me. Here’s the thoughtful description I gave it earlier, but had second thoughts about publishing: it was like lying on the beach with the sun beaming down and the water washing up on me, and I always want to lie in it, but it’s just cold enough to make me shiver and want to stand up and maybe run away, and I’m never quite sure what to do with myself. The only thing I was sure of was standing there with Harry and Geraldine and convinced Harry was immediately smitten and trying to put Geraldine under his spell, and I was falling under it too. Phew. I think I might have had a bead or two of sweat after that scene. The look on Dawn French’s face says it all. I would give her kudos for acting, but I’ve wondered if she really was.
I wanted so badly to describe his voice after the Dibley experience, but I wasn’t sure how to do it justice, and the perfect description eluded me since I’m not a chocolate lover. Oh, I like it fine, but I’ve never craved it and usually don’t think much about it. I truly can take it or leave it, so it wasn’t until later that I began to associate those beautiful sounds coming out of his mouth with chocolate. Dove Chocolate commercials might have something to do with that. Um, yeah, that’s how I imagine chocolate might sound.
Not too long after I watched Vicar, I discovered the CBeebies stories on YouTube. This was my first exposure to Richard’s voice work, and I thought they were adorable. I put them on my iPod and grinned at the thought of friends and family discovering them there. I also remember Mulubinba talking about using these stories as part of her work as a therapist. I found this infinitely fascinating and have often wondered about the result since I can totally believe that voice could have therapeutic effects. Jonia discusses some very interesting research about the possibilities, and I think she might be right, but I love to hear her voice as well. Enjoy:
And now I can pronounce her name correctly. Don’t ask me how I pronounced it before. LOL! Jonia, you have a beautiful name, beautiful voice, and your English is very good! I’m impressed since I surely can’t speak Polish.
As for Mulubinba, I haven’t had a chance to read her FanstRAvaganza posts, but I look forward to anything she wishes to write about:
Of course RA’s voice is not the first I’ve loved, but its profound effect has puzzled me. Countless times I’ve watched the scenes that move me, and I’m not sure I can quite describe why his voice resonates so deeply. With North and South, the scenes which affected me the most were the ones in which he didn’t speak or barely spoke. I was attuned to his body language and especially his facial expressions, which Musa is making a study of this week:
His facial expressions are a pleasure to study, but with the Vicar of Dibley scene, the emphasis was not on his facial expressions. I find it telling that he’s in profile so that his expressions and especially his eyes could not be the energy behind that scene. It was certainly his wonderful voice.
I will catch you tomorrow when I have a little surprise for you, but in the meantime, I would love to hear about your first encounter with The Voice.
Screencaps courtesy of RichardArmitageNet.Com and my stash.
Voices courtesy of Richard Armitage and his wonderful fans.