Diary of an RA Fan — Part 6 Talking of Michelangelo

See Diary Part 5 here, or to access all entries, hit “The Diary” tab above.

Entry — a few years ago minus about four months:

I told the ladies I was fascinated with the tea scene, and the truth is that I couldn’t quit thinking about it for weeks. For some reason I haven’t fully discovered, I kept hearing lines from a T.S. Eliot poem when I watched it. It seems John Thornton albeit an important man in Milton doesn’t see himself that way, and the tea scene was the first time I got the sense he feels like an observer standing outside a window looking into a house he doesn’t believe he can ever really enter.

Hmmm. Have to watch again to see what else makes me think of that poem. I wish I were better versed in literature. I just always hated literature in school. It seemed like undue examination of the navel, and it ruined a piece of writing to examine it in almost a clinical way. But maybe I was wrong, and now I’m a little mad at myself for not slowing down and listening more to something that probably would have brought a richness to my reading.





A little while later:

John Thornton, who seems so decisive and sure of himself, stops and really ponders for the first time in the tea scene, and you can almost see the gears of his thoughts and the awkwardness of being in limbo with Margaret and how it fairly radiates from his eyes and the turn of his head, and then his tentative gesture at a handshake as the scene concludes. Oh, he gets on his high horse a bit with her, but that’s almost a relief for him. It’s a fight he understands, and so it’s a refuge from the uncertainty of not knowing how to proceed with her, how to enter the house, so that no one throws him out. That part of the scene is not what lends it such depth although it’s very necessary to show how he’s used to fighting for what he wants, and if it had just been his impassioned speech about his life’s experiences, then I doubt I would have thought about it for weeks. No this is more. It was the seemingly little things he did to convey being in over his head that have hung with me. It’s also very clear that he is the impetus of this scene and his demeanor changes the rhythm of the piece in a way that almost seems like a maestro conducting the perfect symphony, and the beauty of it continues to resonate in my head.

I wonder what else Richard Armitage has been in.

See Diary Part 7 here.

Screencaps courtesy of lauralorien in tempest_icons on LiveJournal.


  1. I like your impressions of this scene. There’s no doubt that this is one of everyone’s favourite scenes in the miniseries. I couldn’t express exactly what is was that was so special about it. But your comparison of him as a maestro is a lovely way to explain it. Even the silences in this scene are so pregnant with unexpressed emotion. And the sound of the tea being poured, the flicker of the firelight, the light touching of fingers on a teacup are so sensual that we have a hightened awareness of something special happening here besides just a visit from a friend of the family!
    As great as RA’s performance is, I really must give credit to the cinematography here too. The whole production is so top-notch!

  2. Wonderful reference to a maestro conductor. The entire series was something of a symphony, and the actors beautifully expressed that integration with the music and visual.

  3. […] Diary of an RA Fan — Part 6 Talking of Michelangelo What makes a bunch of prissy period drama lovers become action fans? […]

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