Another Reaction to the Hobbit Fan Event

I’m enjoying these fan reactions. Whether they paint a complete picture of Richard Armitage or not, they’re still interesting, and in the interest of a little diversity (especially in light of the recent Esquire Magazine release), below is Armitagebesotted’s unabashed reaction to seeing internet crush Richard Armitage for the first time live (at the Hobbit fan event in New York). If you’re prone to Armitage Protection Mode, you may want to think twice about reading this. Why? Because you need to read the whole thing and not trip and then quit reading after the opening paragraph.

He’s just a guy — who looked anxious, and uncomfortable, and squirmed like a bug being examined under glass. He’s clearly an introvert (not shy, Google the difference) who hates these things. He picked at his cuticles,wriggled in his seat and ducked his head self-consciously to the point that I actually felt guilty for participating in making him miserable by being an audience member.

But that didn’t stop me from staring. Steadily. For 45 minutes. (I missed a lot of the movie stuff and totally tuned out Anderson Cooper.)

I’m sorry, Richard. Please forgive me my obsession. I’m besotted, and I can’t help myself.

Others have written good descriptions of the lines, security, etc., so I’ll skip that. These are my further impressions:

Meeting fellow fangirls was the best, but I found the fan event presentation itself a little…underwhelming. It was disorganized and unrehearsed, and that was painfully obvious. All three “talents” (Bloom, Armitage and Cooper) looked like they desperately would have liked some direction, but they made the best of it.

RA’s introduction was buried in clapping for Bloom (RA deserved a solo entrance!), and there was no “ending.” Bloom, Armitage and Cooper just popped off their chairs as the sneak peeks started and slunk out of the theater in the dark — all three of them. We didn’t get to clap goodbye.

But we clapped, hooted and hollered the whole time they were on stage, so really, what did they miss?

There was a substantial amount of dead air. Several times, while waiting for the images from the other cities to appear on screen and to sync up, we in the audience were entertained by the crawl of Twitter messages at the bottom of the screen, including our own. I prodded my seat mates to put something out so we would see how long they took to appear (only a few minutes.)

My favorite was: “LOOK my tweet is on the big screen!!!” Janine Pineo’s tweet got a major rush of recognition, causing the three on stage to look up like, “Huh? What are they clapping for?”

There’s a story in there about the existentialism of supplementing the actual “event” (live people on stage in front of you) with your own stage-ignoring activity (fumbling with a gadget) in order to “participate” in the event. Or does that mean WE were the event? I will leave that to others to analyze.

Often, the theater was kind of quiet while Cooper listened to whatever was coming through his earphone and Bloom and Armitage squirmed. I was thinking it would be entertaining to give Armitage a phone book and ask him to read out loud to us. Or a Chinese restaurant menu. Too bad I didn’t have the guts to yell that out. Instead, I’m lamely putting it out now, as if I actually pulled off a good joke.

Speaking of yelling, people were heckling Anderson Cooper — Anderson Cooper, I tell you! Out of over-excitement, boredom or antsy-ness, I’m not sure which.

Bloom and Armitage spent most of their time looking down at their monitor, which was below the stage, in front of us, so that provided another weird disconnect. We’re right in front of them, and they weren’t looking at us.

We were looking at them, though. Non-stop. With comments. Bloom loved it. Armitage hated it.

Richard only got to speak once, but, of course, he made the most of it and was wonderful.

He’s very thin again. Thinner than last month in LA. Lucas North thin. His jeans were loose. I thought he looked tired and, dare I say it, frail.

The images of Richard on screen, on the other hand, were fabulous — and drew cheers from our crowd repeatedly. He and Orlando stood in the back during the trailer that opened the show and today I read that they watched the scenes from the movie which closed the show from the back, also. RA had to be gratified to hear us scream wildly every time he appeared. Bloom got his clapping, too, but there was no mistaking that this was a Richard Armitage audience. The roar each time Thorin appeared was LOUD.

Gripe, gripe, gripe. Having unloaded all my complaints, I will also throw in a few compliments. I can’t imagine, but do appreciate, the technology and technical support behind pulling off this event. Actually, we got one clue; there were four semis with satellite dishes on their roofs outside our theater in New York.

The 20 minutes of footage from the not-yet-released film which Peter Jackson wrangled out of Warner Brothers was a true gift to the fans. I do like to see anyone best entertainment conglomerates, so “Go, Peter!” Please continue to prove that the “creatives” who invent the “content” are in charge, not the financiers and the promoters.

Ooops, is my snarky, skeptical side showing? The marketing element of this “event” was inescapable. We all signed waivers….

The best part of the experience was meeting other fans and connecting on-screen fake names with real people and real names (which will not be revealed here.) This fandom’s dedication is mighty impressive. When I found myself between a woman who had driven overnight from Michigan and two who had flown from Chicago and Idaho, respectively, I decided to keep to myself how disgruntled I was when my train ran slowly from Times Square to 68th Street, making my trip from Brooklyn take a whole hour.

Frenz’s reaction: Maybe a little APM kicked in on me. LOL!

Dear Rich,

What a pain in the ass to be present at an event that is not well planned and have a bunch of people watching me like a hawk. I probably would have picked my cuticles too and squirmed and just generally wondered when can I get out of here!

But no worries that we don’t love you as you can see how we completely take the organizers to task and never you. :D

The particulars of the event aside, it should be obvious that we all just like to see you in person. Mostly I think because some of us have a hard time believing you’re real and must see for ourselves that you are. You’re like a dream, Man. And if I stop long enough to really think about that, it makes me feel bad for you. That’s a helluva persona to carry around. Who could do that non-stop? Even your toilet joke doesn’t seem to detract from it.

I’ve said enough. Just know I still love you even if you do pick your cuticles.

Signed,
A crazy fan — of yours. A crazy fan of yours.

P.S. You do have some really wonderful fans. I thank you personally for that! I just hate I didn’t get to see any of them this time around.

Like Armitagebesotted, I appreciate the technology of the event and also the dynamics “the powers that be” were trying to accomplish. Maybe it was just too ambitious with not enough time to pull it off. If this is done again, I would bet it will be much better organized. Looking forward to that.

I feel a letter to Sir Peter coming on, so I’ll stop with that line of thinking, or this post will take forever to load!

Before I go, Armitagebesotted and I want to once again thank Library Girl for her graciousness and let her know we both feel ANYTIME we get a chance to see Richard Armitage in the flesh, is a good time!

I understand RA Central has more media and lots of it!

And I’m looking forward to TheQueen’s take on things. No pressure though, Queen, no pressure. :D

Now I’m really done.

30 Comments

  1. I liked the event watching it on my pc. Actors got their own question and had a bit of a prank moment. I am impressed by the whole broadcasting ´backdrop´ organisation, even more after visiting that IBC convention and talking to post production professionals. Know the nitty gritty behind it.
    In the aftermath, I was surprised to hear that Richard said he was very nervous, but it explained his unease (no commenter brings that up! APM). He gave his heat to my desire as content hobbit audience to go see the movie, although it led to erm, get accelerated back into RA fandom whirlings (damn!).
    Read that some hobbit fans expected a screening instead of 20 minutes preview which would be unlogical as theatres all over the world were used for this event. Besides Peter Jackson never hands out unseen material just like that, also he was bound by Warner Bros.
    I can´t help but feeling some fans are a bit spoiled and ungrateful.

  2. Had my personal unease by tasting a bit of ´heavy orchestrating´(nicely put) by Peter Jackson sitting with bare feet (monkey rock theory brought to life) on a worldwide live online YT broadcasting backed by the lighthearted remark by Evangeline Lily “He really IS the boss! (even of this broadcast)”.

    P.S. I welcome Tauriel!

  3. I feel like the amazing actors that participated in this event were given short shrift–I did expect to hear more questions for them. That said, it was all worth it to sit in the same theatre with Richard for however long, even though his obvious discomfort made me feel terrible for him.

  4. loved hearing the “real story” from Armitagebesotted’s POV (and I just posted one of my fav links about what it is to be an introvert on twitter *winks*) we’ve heard, and seen for ourselves, what happened onstage during the event, so I greatly enjoyed reading about the atmosphere of the audience. thanks for sharing! I liked your letter too, Frenz. nothing wrong w/feeling protective of our guy :)

  5. If anything, I think seeing him in person at the event made me feel more protective of him than I did before–and I should probably throw in there that I have all the maternal instincts or a water buffalo unless it has four feet and fur. I just anted to go up there and give him a hug and tell him everything would be okay.

  6. is a water buffalo not maternal, then? learn something new every day! *laughs*

  7. Darned if I know–it was the only thing that came to mind

  8. Thanks, armitagebesotted. This is the report I’ve read that comes closest to my perception of the event.

  9. The different perspectives on this even is really interesting to me. Maybe I’ll throw my thoughts up one of these days (i was sitting just a couple seats away)

    For now, just a cent or 2 from me before anyone worries about him being “very thin” …..

    He actually looked pretty much the same as he did when I met him in NZ a year ago. It’s surprising, but he comes across as a lot more of a massive bloke onscreen and in pics than he actually is IRL.

  10. Thanks armitagebesotted for this detailed report with your personal observations. Read it with the utmost interest. What really strikes me in your story is, you mentioning this „supplementig the actual event“ by only staring at one’s gadgets instead of watching, what actually is happening on stage, which you can see nowadays at concerts all the time. I consider this very, very strange as you reject to take part of the actual life performance (probably afterwards not remembering anything?). Not being aware of the physical presence of the musicians or actors, and instead staring non-stop to all the small screens, obviously gives most of the audience that familiar feeling they are used to, when consuming music and films (actors) mostly/only via TV or the internet. Almost everybody at this event seemed to stare constantly at screens (especially me!!! LOL and despite the hardcore RA-Fans that understandably oggled Mr. Armitage-in-the-flesh permanently! ;-)), which seemed odd to me and raises the question why had the actors been invited in the first place (OK I know why, but still sooo !!!) and then being widely „ignored“ or „dwarfed“ (ha.ha!!) by all this technical hanky-panky and then not even been said good-bye, which left me quite disconcerted. Just press the button, turn off the light and fin……But probably you are right with your idea, that YOU (and the whole (!) world) could have been the event!! Besides it sure was a memorable experience and I’m glad you shared it with us.

  11. Hi Armitagebesotted! Interesting post. I’m not happy any more. I’m sad that Mr. A. looked so uncomfortable. I’m sad that he has to do things he doesn’t want to do. Even though I was happy to see him, his uncomfortability wasn’t fun to watch. Maybe something else was going on with him. Who knows. The Esquire photos are nice, though! Happy thought! And it was fun meeting you, too! :D

  12. A few comments, starting with a big thanks for sharing this.
    However, I’ll probably be unpopular because I think that people are projecting some reactions onto RA that probably don’t have much to do with him. For example, I’m not sure why anyone is supposed to feel guilty about participating in an event which is a part of sometimes chosen profession. Many of us experience this. We’re might not always feel like performing some of the obligations that go along with our chosen career, but we do them – and I am sure that RA and the others are being very well paid to do them, as well as being greeted by the cheers of adoring fans.
    And as for his personality, I think that he *is* shy perhaps in addition to or even rather than an introvert, since even Philippa Boyens remarked on (as well as the director of Staged) and they actually an opporunity to meet and interact with him and he’s never been described as introverted by his colleagues. However after his confident appearance at Popcorn Taxi, I think I was a little surprised by his unease (or the fan perceptions of it), but maybe this had to do with particular circumstances we can only guess at.
    I imagine the monitor-watching (which I noticed myself) was due to the fact although there were *some* fans with him in the room, the event was taking place in multiple cities so he and Orlando would probably trying to watch the feeds from a 3 cities, and perhaps also from things that we couldn’t see. It would have been a quite diffrent experience to the press conferences and other events like Cons or Popcorn Taxi.
    I’m glad to see kellyduck remark that he really wasn’t super-thin, since that was not the impression I got.

  13. I’ve not seen this before. It’s a video from just before the event I think http://statigr.am/p/582006304298618324_211479210

  14. I agree with Cill- we all have to do things we don’t like and that is no reason not to do them. I wonder how RA would feel if he thought people were feeling guilty about his discomfort- he might feel even more uncomfortable!

    Yes he was confident for the most part at the PT event in Sydney but my perception was that it was a very good performance and there was a point ( which I wrote about on Servetus’ blog) where he was anything but comfortable. The PT event was well organised and, apart from that one moment, slickly done. I wonder if the apparent lack of organisation and rehearsal in NY contributed to RA’s less relaxed demeanour.

  15. I agree. I think he might feel even more uncomfortable and self-conscious because of the guilt. :-/
    It’s interesting that you should mention the lack or organization, bollyknickers, since that thought crossed my mind too. I saw a mention of him checking his watch on agonistes’ blog http://armitageagonistes.wordpress.com/2013/11/04/i-see-fire-the-hobbit-fan-event-recap/ and wondered if that was because the event started a little late.

  16. I can’t remember where I saw it because I have read quite a few accounts but someone who was there talked about an apparent lack of organisation. To be fair, being part of an international event would inevitably mean times when nothing was happening but the way it fizzled out without the stars getting a proper send off struck me as an oversight. I wasn’t intending to criticise the event planners but commenting on what might have led to RA feeling exposed, based on my observations in Sydney.

  17. Marie, please don’t feel sad for being there, for being a fan wanting to show support and be part of something that doesn’t happen all the time (seeing him in person and meeting other fans). I’m not saying this to say that what you’re feeling after reading this one opinion about the event is wrong, nor am I saying that what Armitagebesotted felt is not valid. But the sadness you’re feeling now is your reaction to someone else’s perception of the event – days after the event. But if I recall correctly, you were very excited on the day of the screening, and even afterwards you were gushing.

    I hope you continue to honor that feeling because it’s yours. We (especially other fans on Twitter who couldn’t be there) were with you in spirit and we were all rooting for you to be able to sit close to the stage and see him, even ask questions if you could. We were buoyed by your enthusiasm and pure joy of seeing him. Don’t let someone else’s perception destroy the joy of that day, a joy that’s now tempered by everything else you’ve read about the event online, and the many rationalizations of whatever happened, good or bad – whether there were many technical glitches or whether he avoided looking at the audience, or whether they just whisked him out of the room. It doesn’t matter.

    Because at the end of the day, RA is an adult who agreed to be there – despite what may have been happening in his life or not. He could have been happier painting the walls of his apartment, for all we know, but in the end, he agreed to be there (contractually or not, again it does not matter). He himself is responsible for his own actions – or reactions, for that matter, not us as his fans. Though we can only rationalize why he does this or that, or why we think he looked comfortable or uncomfortable, there are so many factors to consider as to the why’s but it’s not anything that’s within our control, whether we like it or not.

    But in all honesty, I really hope you can still take with you that joy that I felt from reading your excited and happy tweets and your account of that day on your blog – and not feel any guilt about it.

  18. Well, bollyknickers, maybe I should have said ‘*relative* lack of organization’ because the greater part of the event seemed very well coordinated. It wasn’t only the end where it seemed as if thing were let slip.

  19. Marie, I agree with MorrighansMuse- you noticed a little of this when you posted your blog and were still on cloud nine. Maybe he didn’t *want* to be there, or would’ve preferred to be somewhere else – but he was working. And, I think this point has been made, but this particular job was not an easy one. In all four live places, the actors had nothing to do but observe and react to what was going on elsewhere for most of the event, while they were being watched by the live audience.And they were miked, so they really couldn’t talk to each other or their audience while someone else was talking on screen.
    On reflection, it would have been wiser not to hook up all the locations, to go to Wellington once or twice to hear PJ and for the sneak peek, and then have longer moderated Q & As in each location, and to limit the stream to one location for on line and theater viewers.

  20. Thank you, MM! I did have a wonderful day! I’m so glad I was able to share the excitement. And I’m certainly not sorry I went! Thanks. This account is certainly thought-provoking for me! Hugs!

  21. I’m not much a fan of labels but as someone who is an introvert I’d like to point out that shyness can be a part of that but it’s not either or. Richard may have been uncomfortable up on stage for a variety of reasons but that uncomfortableness has probably just become a part of him by now and it’s not something he necessarily needs a hug for :) here’s the link I mentioned above about traits of introverts: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/08/20/introverts-signs-am-i-introverted_n_3721431.html?utm_hp_ref=tw

  22. I think he’s phlegmatic ;-)
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Four_temperaments
    “The phlegmatic temperament is fundamentally relaxed and quiet, ranging from warmly attentive to lazily sluggish. Phlegmatics … are kind.”

  23. I’m definitely Melancholic, but only someone who knows Richard personally could give a fair guess on which category he falls into. the last bit of the Phlegmatic description, for example, mentions fear and laziness; Richard does not seem particularly lazy to me and he seems to relish a challenge, which requires change ;) and this is why I don’t like labels, because it’s very rarely an “all or nothing” situation.

  24. There’s no ‘fear and laziness” mentioned in the description I’m referencing, which is farther down the entry in wikipedia:
    “The phlegmatic temperament is fundamentally relaxed and quiet, ranging from warmly attentive to lazily sluggish. Phlegmatics tend to be content with themselves and are kind. Phlegmatics are consistent, they can be relied upon to be steady and faithful friends. ” and so on.
    My citation was more or less a joke. To me, it’s just as valid to use ancient or medieval terms as their modern replacements (which are *almost* as scientific ;-) ),

  25. just b/c I have to be right: ” Their fear of change (and of work) can make them susceptible to stagnation or laziness, or even stubbornness.” so…ha! *smiles*

  26. […] armitagebesotted and Stephanie Carr; and photos from Stephanie’s […]

  27. There could be any number of reasons for his demeanour that day- no point speculating.. I will now proceed to do just that- urmm … Tired, bit fluey, hungover, had busy schedule that day, been auditioning in the morning, tiff with lover/partner.. Prob just knackerd !

  28. Miz Besotted…thanks for your report and it was lovely to meet you!

  29. And here I was, basking happily in the belief that there was no way on God’s green earth that RA saw my tweet. I don’t even know anymore…

  30. Don’t miss this nugget from RA in the TORn interview which was released today: http://www.theonering.net/torwp/2013/11/25/83283-shakespeare-performance-capture-and-getting-back-on-stage-richard-armitage-talks-to-theonering-net/

    “…then at the World Wide Fan Event actually sitting through twenty minutes of the work that Pete’s been doing down in New Zealand since we finished pickups…feeling that fan response again was amazing.”

    WE delivered “that fan response” he’s referring to. Well done, gang!


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