Can’t Win for Losing

For those who aren’t familiar with that saying, it simply means that someone just can’t get anywhere with something or someone no matter what they may try. The more I read from some of the Tolkien fans (key word is some), the more I realize Richard Armitage would not get very far with them simply because he doesn’t look exactly like Thorin from the book. Perhaps the views of some will change after the movies come out, but really, does it matter? That’s not rhetorical. I’m asking you if it matters what a small group of people think by comparison to the legion of fans these movies will amass? And of course I’m going to give my opinion as well. :D

I say this with all due respect to the Tolkien fans. They make up a very small number of people who will watch The Hobbit movies, and when you consider the ones who are negative, the number gets much smaller. So it doesn’t take a genius to figure out that these people have little influence, and certainly don’t have lots to do with the cash flowing into the pockets of everyone involved with the production. Mercenary as that sounds, it’s true. Therefore I’m not concerned about the negative comments from some of them wanting to see Richard Armitage removed as Thorin. It’s immaterial what they think with respect to the big picture (pardon the pun).

Also, Peter Jackson is just a nice guy who accords them respect as fellow Tolkien fans, and certainly most of them are just fine and even great. I’ve enjoyed reading what they have to say. It’s fascinating, and I’ve learned a lot. I’m happy to give them their due. More than happy to do it! But the ones who are territorial have got to hang onto something. They’re Tolkien experts b’god and we need to bow to that! ;-) Candidly, I don’t mind deferring to someone who really does know more than I do about something, but I happen to have studied Richard Armitage, the actor, so I’m not going to rollover on their assessment of his abilities. I guess we’ll be at an impasse on this, but I hope it’s a friendly impasse. I know it is from my quarter.

By the way, I hope as Richard Armitage fans that we’re not guilty of the same territorial attitudes about RA. I’ll admit feeling that way at times as I realize there is an elephant in the room — his imminent rise in popularity. Did I just admit that on an open blog? Yeah, I guess I did. Armitage Protection Mode is alive and well here. LOL!

Note: I should go back and read what these Tolkien fans said about alterations in the other Tolkien movies Jackson has directed just to see how they were before and after. Might be interesting reading.

I did contact one of the Tolkien sites (who shall remain nameless) to see if the admins there would talk on blog about any advice for the deluge of RA fans entering their world. I got nothin’, but then I think I committed an unpardonable sin — misspelling Tolkien’s name as Tolkein. Yeah, I know, I should be beaten for such a sacrilege. :D

I really need a picture after that. Maybe RA with a beard and long hair?

Yes, that’s a beard! It is in my book.

Okay, I’m going to get serious, and seriously, I hope some of you don’t sweat the criticism. Arrogant as it sounds, it’s going to be like I said here.

Net: if this is losing for RA, phew! I’d like to lose this way.

Screencap courtesy of RichardArmitageNet.Com


  1. I’m glad I don’t read these sites. I feel like people like this have a tendency to become susceptible to this issue:

  2. ROFLOL!!!! LOL!!! LOL!! That is a keeper! LOL!! Sorry, but I am sick. LOL!

  3. Firstly thanks for the pic: THAT is Gisborne from my novel… so very, very Gisborne. How i wish it was possible to use that image for the book cover. Ah well!
    Secondly, as a Tolkien devotee, (and someone who thinks RA is pretty good at what he does and also someone who has never even seen a Tolkien fan site!) I think we all should realise that this isn’t a book or movie called The Dwarf. It’s a book and movie called The Hobbit. Thorin’s role is a supporting character, not THE protagonist. He won’t be in all the scenes because its not about him.

    I’m happy for him to look like a dwarf, move like a dwarf, crikey even sound like a dwarf if it maintains the integrity of what Tolkien (and Peter Jackson) set out to do. Somehow I think whatever PJ does with the book to turn it into memorable cinema will be perfect.

  4. I wish you could use that picture too!!

    Thorin’s character should definitely not be the star of this piece. That would be so wrong, and I’m sure Richard Armitage would be the first to acknowledge it. I’m one of those people who truly would have been fine with him looking the part of an old man and no need for a “sexy dwarf.” However, it’s fun to tease about it. But like you, I trust Peter Jackson, so a younger Thorin it’s to be.

    The Tolkien fan sites contain several really fascinating discussions of which some have nothing to do with RA nor the movies. Many of those are what fascinate me, and most of that has to do with Tolkien himself or other works. Have loved that aspect of the sites!

  5. As a huge Tolkien fan (I don’t know if you call those Tolkienists) I can say that practically all people of our kind are very obstinate. I mean sometimes it’s very hard to please us especially with such things as movies based on Tolkien books. Because all fans are sitting before the screens and thinking so and so – in the book it wasn’t like that, I know, I read it who-knows-how-much-times. There are few photos from The Hobbit, but I spoke with my fellow friends and that’s what I heard: some of them doesn’t even like how Bilbo is dressed, they say his clothes look like a sack though in the book it is written that (now I am sitting here with the book on my knees): “he had whole rooms devoted to clothes”. They wanted to see fashionably dressed hobbit and even my argument that Bilbo wasn’t expecting any guests that’s why he wasn’t all tricked out didn’t convince them.
    It seems to me that most of the time people just don’t want to understand that film is a director’s viewpoint on the book. Many men, many minds. It’s impossible to please everybody, but everyone thinks that him exactly was offended most of all. Maybe I am a wrong Tolikien fan but I totally love PJ’s LOTR trilogy and it doesn’t matter to me that there is a lot of discords from the book. Many fans now will cavil at every single bit we’ll get from the movie. They don’t like that Thorin has dark hair, but hey! Aragorn in the book has greying hair and Legolas originally is dark-haired not blond! In spite of the fact that in the book Thorin has snow-white beard I always imagined him with dark one. Maybe Peter Jackson too. But it’s not the argument for most of the fans. They are and they will expressing their indignation. But in the end they’ll get The Hobbit movie and they’ll watch it again and again no matter that they don’t like something in it. Because it IS Tolkien and they just can’t ignore it. There were a lot of ballyhoo, discontent and resentment when LOTR was released and of course where will be even more emotions on the threshold of The Hobbit because everyone is expecting it to repeat the success of LOTR and maybe even beat it. The level is too high.

    I think I am beginning to spread along the tree, LOL (I don’t really know if you have such saying). But at the end of this monologue I wanna add that on the assumption of Peter Jackson’s films I can say that he has a gift of selecting perfect cast for his movies. Whatever people says Peter Jackson knows what he’s doing. And as he usually says: “Everything is under control” (c)

  6. I think Thorin will be in most or many scenes (that’s why RA and the other dwarves spend so much time in NZ), but often he will be in the background of the scene, because the main action will be about Bilbo and lots of fanciful creatures. I’m also not certain to which degree the other dwarves are more fleshed out at the expense of Thorin.

    The Tolkien purist have priorities totally different from our’s or from the average movie goer (and the latter will be the vast majority of the people that go and see the movie). They are not into acting or actors. They go by the look of a character or the look an actor had in another show and if it doesn’t fit with the book (or what they think is in the book) it is wrong. They don’t take into account that actors like RA will create a character they haven’t seen before and that Thorin won’t be like Guy just because he wears black or like some other character he reminds them of. It remains to be seen to which degree the finished product will convince them otherwise.

    The book is their holy bible and some of them find it hard to accept that it is an adaption and that that there is a thing called artistic freedom and that PJ has to consider what works well on screen and what the majority of the movie goners may like.

    As I understand with LOTR PJ intended to have Arwen fighting at Helm’s deep (aka “Xenarwen”) and fans protested against that and it got cut. I personally don’t hate the idea, I like to have strong female characters to identify with and don’t mind an elf warrior chick. :-)

  7. Indeed, it is best to approach a book and movie or any film type as different media. The important thing is for the filmed version to maintain the ESSENCE of the book and of the author’s vision. This is the challenge to the creativity and integrity of the producers, screenwriters, directors – and of the actors. (For all the differences between the book of North & South and the series, the series had this integrity, for instance).

  8. Phew, I just read that post, and it seems I couldn’t sum up. But I’m leaving it ’cause I think most who read it have gotten to know me and will forgive. :D

  9. Ending effectively is hard, isn’t it :) Hope you’re feeling better today.

  10. Yes, it is, and I’m cursed with second guessing. :D

    I actually feel pretty good and did yesterday as well. Was and am pretty lighthearted, and SO is back to his usual self and cranking out some great stuff. As I write this, he’s sketching a picture — of what I don’t know, but I’m sure it will be good if the look on his face is any indication. One of these days I may be really brave and post some of his stuff.

    Hope you’re doing well and your head is clear.

  11. I took out the boundary — “one last thing.” It could go on and on now if I wished. No, I won’t do that to you.

  12. *takes deep breath before posting*

    For what it’s worth, here’s my take on the matter:

    Whether or not RA is perfect in his role, or any other cast member is perfect, or Bilbo’s clothes are wrong, or the food at the catering table is acceptable, I wish these people would remember that this is a MOVIE!! PJ’s casting decisions are not life or death matters, and the world will not end because RA’s beard is not gray.

    They need to stop complaining and get a life.

    PS Giz, thanks for representing a Tolkien fan who seems to have a good perspective on the whole issue. Good for you for looking at the larger picture.

  13. I’m already kind of dreading the dearth of female characters in this film, but am trying to remind myself that girls often identify with male characters in children’s literature.

    What struck me about the Empire article, incidentally, was the material about TH being a more humorous book than LOTR and one more clearly directed at kids. This squares well both with my memories of reading it for the first time, and with my reread of it last fall. I hope that Mr Armitage has a chance to be a little funny from time to time :)

  14. First servetus’ comic was hysterical…

    Second, on what are they basing their opinions of Richard, a photo? Seriously, get a grip people. Let’s be hopeful and happy that a fun, wonderful movie is being made. When it is released then we can all offer INFORMED opinions, until then, button it up because it would be better for you, the Tolkien fan, to be perceived as having an open mind. And if you don’t like this comment, debate with me how closemindness and uninformed opinion rendering is the way to go. Bring it.

  15. I’m with you, Ann Marie

  16. When The Hobbit is finally in the cinemas, at least some of that minority of purists will rip it to pieces – they might even pin RA to the butterfly board. Worse, they might even ignore him! Some forget tthat they were children once. It will be interesting to see what the reaction of children is to the film. It’s a really nice thought that there will be humour in this Tolkien production!

  17. @fitzg…I for one, sincerely hope that TH leans towards the kids. Then, I can take grands 2 by 2 therefore viewing TH multiple times w/o an ounce of guilt/ or fear of being outed!!! =o) My biggest worry is how in the heck are we gonna be able to sit around and wait for this another 18 mos. give or take?!!!!

    @annmarie…remind me to NEVER EVER cross you!!! LOL!

    Self proclaimed purists/experts never cease to amuse me but then I guess they have to have something to complain about. Like we say in Smalltown USA, if everyone is talking about you, then they’re leaving me alone.

    @frenz, you do realize that you’ve used up your monthly quota of exclaims?! ;)-

  18. Oh let them say what they like – it makes no difference to anything. At the end of the day the movies will stand on their own. And I am certain that Richard will be fantastic in them. Less than 18 months to go now!! *sob*

  19. I’ve vowed several times not to return to one particular Tolkien dedicated site over the past few months … but in the end curiosity gets the better of me and I check on what is being said. At the moment there is a lot being said about Thorin, but there is just as much argument about GDT vs PJ’s direction; the props; the trolls; Bilbo’s look etc. etc. For some, if it isn’t 100% true to their beloved book, they will not like it. I’ve been tempted to say to a few detractors not to go to see the movie, but of course they will! I just hope that none of them will be sitting next to me :).

    As everyone has said, there will be thousands of people who will see these movies who have never read the book or have read it as children. They will not care a jot how old Thorin is, or whether orcrist has to be wielded with one hand or two!

    I know I will love these movies just as I loved LOTR before them.

  20. What angers me not that they are complaining that RA is too young, because he is, but that they are attacking via the hunk angle, basically saying he he has nothing else to offer and not taking female posters seriously.

  21. I’m sorry that’s happened, Jane, and as much as I don’t want to do it, I have to post about this again. The imp in me can’t resist. :D

    @Mulubinba, Fitz, and Cindy, Yep, there are some people who can’t be pleased. They are begging to be teased, and I’m in the mood to do it. LOL!

    @kap, I’m with you!

    @NB, I just changed the quota. ;-)

    @Annie, Whoa! I wouldn’t want to meet you a dark alley if we get crossways. :D

    @servetus, I LOVE that TH is going to be more humorous. One of my issues with LOTR was its darkness. No, I don’t dislike LOTR. Ijust got weary of the darkness at times.

  22. misognyism: the last refuge of the threatened.

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