Down Under Has It — The Lords of the North Winners

A little history before I tell you something about the two winners of The Lords of the North audio books. A few years ago I had a giveaway of this book, and after I announced the contest had begun, the BBC contacted me to ask me if I wanted some more books. I said, “Sure, just let me know how best to order them from you, because it has been a bit difficult.” The woman I spoke with said, “No, we’ll give them to you. Just tell us how many you want and where to send them.” You could have knocked me down with a feather, but I recovered long enough to ask for three books. I wish I had been more on the ball and asked for a dozen. :D I gave away two of the books and planned to give away the other but never got around to it until now.

In the meantime, I found a windfall of books and was able to obtain several others from a dealer for a decent price. I’ve been sitting on those for at least a year. But my friends, life has been chaos at my house, so yeah, this is the first opportunity I’ve really had to do this, and I say that because most of my posts are by the seat of my pants, but a giveaway has to be more planned out. Okay enough of this, onto the winners. (is that a comma splice? I’m never sure. Yes, I suck at grammar).

Because of so much interest in the audio book, I decided to award two winners. The first winner will receive the 10 CD set, and the second winner will receive a 1 CD set. Other copies i have will be awarded another time. Probably later this year.

Being my usual curious self, I wanted to know about these two winners, what there interest was in the book and about being fans of Richard Armitage.

The first winner is Carolyn:

A beautiful beach in Adelaide

A beautiful beach in Adelaide

I have tried everything to get this set and all to no avail – my life is now complete. The only thing to surpass this would be to meet RA, and with Adelaide being a bit of an Australian backwater I don’t hold much hope for this – still I didn’t expect to win this fabulous prize and look what happened!

I’m relatively new to the world of Richard Armitage, although, now that I’m going through a retrospective of his work I realise that I’ve seen him many times over the years as I’m a big fan of BBC drama.

My sister introduced me to him (metaphorically speaking) about 18 months ago and I’ve been in awe ever since of his talent, thoughtfulness, humility and not forgetting his stunning good looks. This ‘introduction’ came at difficult time for me and I found his hard work, good humour and determined attitude quite an inspiration, which encouraged me to take steps to get my own life back on track – a work in progress…

More of Adelaide

More of Adelaide

I think I’ve seen every you-tube compilation, and interview, and if I could, I would have seen him in London in the Crucible, however, I did the second best thing and saw him in the Old Vic Cinemalive, at two of the three screenings here in Adelaide last month. I continue to be amazed by the way he immerses himself in the character and his power in a live performance.

Between my sister and myself I believe we have every DVD he appears in and NOW every audio book. We’ve also seen his big screen movies whenever they are screened (usually more than once) and then get the DVD for the collection.

I’m also part way through the book ‘North & South’, I’ve finished ‘Urban Grimshaw and the Shed Crew’ and I’m waiting with bated breath for the cinema release. I can’t wait to see his portrayal of ‘Chop’.

Now that I will have this set, if there’s something of his I haven’t seen, read or heard it must be very well hidden!

Thank you, thank you, thank you

Carolyn, thank you so much for sharing that and for the lovely photos of Adelaide! Oh, and you do not live in a backwater. I do. LOL! And I just have a feeling you are going to meet up with Richard Armitage. That’s my gut talking to me, and it’s usually right! :D

The next winner is Bluebunny:

I am delighted to have found myself as one of the winners of the competition run by Frenz to have the audiobook The Lords Of The North by Bernard Cornwell read by Richard Armitage. This audiobook will be a valued and rare addition to my vast collection of Richard Armitage works. I wish to thank Frenz and the BBC for this competition. It goes to show that the BBC take notice of fan websites and are checking up on blogs. I am thrilled to have found a website that shares my interest in all things Armitage like this website.

How I came to be a Richard Armitage fan is quite simple, I saw a random episode of Robin Hood in 2009 and thought who is that guy playing Guy of Gisborne? I wasn’t hooked on RA at that moment in time but throughout 2009-2010 was keeping an eye out for what he was acting in every once in a while. From watching Spooks I was hooked on Lucas but actually fell in love with the whole Spooks series from start to finish. When he was cast in The Hobbit I was overjoyed because he was in my part of the world the Southern Hemisphere.

In 2012 I was quite randomly on holiday in New Zealand and was able to go to the Hobbit Premiere in Wellington. I saw Richard Armitage first hand in the flesh and was lucky enough to get an autograph from the man. Anyone who says he can’t get any better looking hasn’t seen him in person. Since Wellington I have become a huge Richard Armitage fan. I have most of Richard Armitage works but my collection is still not complete. I know for me being a RA fan makes me a happier person because the man is well just a man but he has a conscience and seems to be genuine. These days people like him don’t exist. Thanks again for the lovely competition.

Bluebunny, well said. His character is wonderful to observe, and I’m so glad you got to meet him! Maybe you can advise Carolyn? :D

To both of you, thank you so much for sharing, and please know it was my pleasure to give away these books. I hope you enjoy them immensely.

Monday was Bernard Cornwell’s Birthday

Yep, I know it was Cornwell’s birthday ’cause he’s my friend on Facebook, and FB reminded me. No, I don’t know how old he is. We’re not that close. And since I don’t get on Facebook much, I missed the notice earlier, but today I saw it, and now I’m going to deal with a loose end.

I’ve got some audio books the BBC sent me in order to give them away. In particular, The Lords of the North as read by Richard Armitage.

9574797

This is one of the best reads by Richard Armitage, but I’m not sure it’s for everyone. Nah, you’ll like it if you’re an RA fan and especially if you’re nuts about his voice. You may also become a Bernward Cornwell fan. I speak from experience. Oh sure, I started off with a rabid need to have this book simply because Richard Armitage narrated it. About Cornwell I knew very little. And it was a helluva feat to track down my first copy of this book, and I spent — I’m not telling you how much money I spent to acquire my copy — a chunk. When I was done listening to it, I knew i had to read the first two books in Cornwell’s Warrior Chronicles aka Saxon Stories. Yep, that’s right LOTN is the third book in that series. I’ve now read six of the books, and Cornwell just published the eighth book, The Empty Throne.. I’ve gone on to read some of his Sharpe Series as well.

If you would like to win this audio book, just make a reply on this post between now and the end of the day on March 4th. Be sure to include your email address in the email field of the comment, and that way I can contact you if you win. Winner will be chosen randomly from the comments. I’ll announce the winner on Friday, March 6.

Please note: if you have never commented on this blog, your comment will be moderated, which means it may not show up immediately. As to the deadline, it will be the time you actually make the comment that counts toward it and not when it’s been approved to show up publicly in the comment section of the blog. Because I always like to give people every available opportunity, the deadline is the last possible time on March 4, 2015 which means midnight GMT-12 (aka Baker Island Time — a place about 3,000_ west of Hawaii; how much more fair can I make that? :D ) When you make your comment, you must include your email address in the email field. For your own privacy, please do not put it in the body of your comment. That is not necessary. Also, “Likes” are not the equivalent of a comment. They never have been, but I’m making that clear in this note. You must make an actual comment.

All of that aside, good luck!

Additional note: I also have a few extra copies of some of the Heyer audio books. I’ll give those away this year too.

Dreaming about Uhtred

Truly, it would be a dream to see Richard Armitage in this:

BBC AMERICA Announces New Drama Series The Last Kingdom
Published: July 9, 2014

An adaptation of Bernard Cornwell’s best-selling book series by BAFTA nominated and Royal Television Society award-winning writer Stephen Butchard

New York – July 9, 2014 – BBC AMERICA, Carnival Films – the Golden Globe® and Emmy® Award-winning producers of Downton Abbey – and BBC Two announced today that production will begin this fall on The Last Kingdom, a new historical 8 x 60 drama series.

BAFTA nominated and RTS award-winning writer Stephen Butchard, (Good Cop, Five Daughters, House of Saddam), will adapt Bernard Cornwell’s best-selling franchise “The Saxon Stories” for the screen. Cornwell is also known for his much-loved “Sharpe” novels that became the long-running TV series of the same name starring Sean Bean and aired on BBC AMERICA.

Set in the year 872, when many of the separate kingdoms of what we now know as England have fallen to the invading Vikings, the great kingdom of Wessex has been left standing alone and defiant under the command of King Alfred the Great.

Against this turbulent backdrop lives our hero, Uhtred. Born the son of a Saxon nobleman, he is orphaned by the Vikings and then kidnapped and raised as one of their own. Forced to choose between the country of his birth and the people of his upbringing, his loyalties are ever tested. What is he – Saxon or Viking? On a quest to claim his birthright, Uhtred must tread a dangerous path between both sides if he is to play his part in the birth of a new nation and, ultimately, seek to recapture his ancestral lands.

The rest here

Those of you who are so adept at PhotoShop need to make us a cool graphic to swoon over. :D I’m serious despite my grin. It would be an even bigger grin if there was a graphic.

Wait a minute. Google yields all sorts of goodies. Here we go:

uthredviv1

and another one:

uthredviv2

These are both by Vivayn and can be found at RichardArmitageNet.com

Yes, my grin just got much bigger, and for anyone wanting to make their own, some inspiration:

Thorin cum Uhtred

Before you ask, no, I have not forgotten I promised to have a giveaway of Lords of the North audio book.

Lords of the North Giveaway Contest

LOTN-1

As I write this, I think it’s almost 9:00pm in the UK. If you hurry and get in your entry by midnight UK time, you might have a chance to win a copy of Lords of the North by Bernard Cornwell as Narrated by Richard Armitage. Details here.

I’m not going to go on and on about this book. I’ve already done it several times and so have some others both here and here. And all the gushing was entirely justified!

Speaking of Bernard Cornwell

bernardOh, you weren’t. Well, he has been on my mind after reading about Amazon acquiring rights to some of AudioGo’s books. That includes Lords of the North, but as Ali at RichardArmitageNet.com pointed out, there is no Richard Armitage version for sale at Audible. It is only the Jamie Glover edition.

I have nothing against Jamie Glover, but have you heard Richard Armitage read this book?!

Kaprekar and I waxed on about it here where I also have a sample. Of course you can watch some video clips on YouTube, but somehow I think you don’t get the same effect as when you only listen.

Let me explain the full effect it has had on many of us. We went onto read all of Cornwell’s books in the Saxon series (there are currently seven) and some of us are working our way through Cornwell’s Sharpe series as well as some other of his books. And should I even mention how I bought Richard Armitage’s Heyer readings beginning with Sylvester? Me, the person who is not a fan of Regency romance novels and long criticized them for their ability to give sugar shock, buying them in audio form? Yeah.

Richard reads so well he gets you caught up in something you don’t want to end even when the writing is not your favorite. But when it is good writing, it often helps you discover a wonderful author and then you really cannot stop.

This makes me wonder who will let go of their resentment of Shakespeare being foisted on them in high school and/or college only to embrace the Bard and many of his others works after this book Hamlet comes out in May.

As for Lords of the North, Ali is doing her part to get at least one copy into the hands of fans with a giveaway contest. Details here.

And when Ali’s contest is done, I’m going to have one. A few years ago, AudioGO kindly sent me several copies to give away. I did do a giveaway on blog, but I still have one copy, so I’m going to be looking to give it to someone who really, really wants it. Details of my contest coming later.

Coming up next or near next, I resurrect my drum banging with respect to The Hobbit audio book. Get ready.

edit: I may be wrong about Amazon owning Richard’s version of the book. See Ali’s comment below.

Lords of the North Audio Book Winner

I thought this would never get here! My very juvenile self has been dying to give these books away to people who really enjoy Richard Armitage. Actually, I’m just announcing one of the winners. The other one I haven’t heard from yet, so who knows? Maybe I’ll draw a second time for that one? ;-) No, I have a feeling I’ll hear from them. :D

But I have to confess this has been so much fun that I want to do it again sometime soon. I have two more copies of LOTN and a little stockpile of Heyer books, so I’ll definitely be doing it! And I have to thank AudioGo again for supplying the books in this giveaway. Thank you so much; the gift helps prolong the fun for next time. Until then:

And of course I had to ask Anakris to respond:

Hi Frenz!

These are wonderful news! Coming to work in a rainy day like this and find out that I won this audio book… just made my day!

You asked me to tell you something about myself, so I have to ask you back: “Me, as a person? (…) I have 45 years to talk about”. (I keep feeling butterflies in my stomach every time I hear that). Although I have all those years to talk about (I wont, that’s a promise) I only came to know about Richard Armitage, early this year, through a dear friend of mine who send me a link to a video of The Vicar of Dibley, warning me on the side effects of the expression “well, there you go”. And there I went! From that day on a hurricane of RA information took over my computer, my TV was flooded with new DVDs, films and TV Series, and my MP3 is almost reaching melting point. Venetia as read by Richard Armitage, kept me company while waiting for my children to get out of school, everyday during 2nd period and now Lords of the North will do the same during the 3rd one! Again, all this I owe it to my friend Sandra (who is also a frequent reader of this blog) so I think I should publicly thank her from the bottom of my heart and obviously, I’ll be sharing this piece of melting chocolate voice with her!

Reading to your blog, Frenz, is now part of my daily routine, and while doing it I find myself many times nodding at your comments and thanking you for being so accurate and objective. Talking about RA being handsome, and hunky, and breathtaking, and (I’ll leave it here) it’s easy but I think all of us here agree that RA is so much more than just a pretty face and you really honour that.

Keep on the good writing and, again, thank you for this opportunity!

Anakris
From Portugal

Anakris so glad to meet you, and thank you so much for the kind words. It’s been my pleasure. Truly.

Be sure to tell us how you like the book!

Original screencap courtesy of RichardArmitageNet.Com

A Reverie

Please click to see list of participating bloggers


Over the last two years, I’ve had the opportunity to get to know some of you beyond your public comments, and that has been one of the greatest parts of being a fan of Richard Armitage. Yes, I keep saying this, but it can’t be said enough! Let me put it like this. I’m thrilled that I jumped into this madness known as the RA fandom. What awesome, awesome people so many of you are, and now it’s my pleasure to share someone with the rest of you whom you may not know much about even if you’ve seen her comments here or there. Oh, and sometime in the near future you’ll be the recipient of some fun I have planned, which I could not have done without her help. I now think of her as a “partner in crime” ;-), Kaprekar.

So, Kap, have to ask you the requisite question. How did you become a fan?

I first saw Richard Armitage when he was revealed at the beginning of Spooks Series 7. ‘North and South’ completely passed me by, which is strange for me as I usually make an effort to watch new period dramas. It may have been something to do with having a six month old baby at the time! I had rather different priorities!

I watched the whole series and thought he was interesting and quite good looking. The series was a definite return to form, but other than that he made no particular impression on me. Roll on a year, and shortly before Spooks 8 started to air, I was searching YouTube for some clips of ‘Pride and Prejudice’ and ‘Persuasion’ and lo and behold, here was this ‘North and South’ thing popping up all the time. Eventually I watched one of the clips and was soon watching the whole thing on YouTube. I guess once I realised that the tall dark and handsome cotton mill owner John Thornton was the same actor as the mysterious Lucas North in Spooks, I decided I needed to investigate further…

It didn’t take me too long to find these strange things called “fanvids” on YouTube, and I also found references to something called the “Armitage Army” and from one of the fanvids, Sexy Back, a reference to something else called C19. So I joined that forum, but found it rather overwhelming, and I couldn’t seem to find the ‘North and South’ board (very strange!). It was several weeks before I went back to investigate properly. In the meantime I watched the rest of Spooks 8, and between that and ‘North and South’ (now bought on DVD), I was a goner!

Those fanvids really should come with a warning. LOL! I wonder how much the fan community has heightened your interest since then?

It’s definitely heightened my interest. I joined several forums, C19 is my favourite, perhaps because I joined it first. It’s a wonderful community of ladies that is simply one of the best places I have ever found on the internet. I’ve also ventured onto blogs and Twitter, and I still find it astounding that there is so much activity out there about this one actor…I mean how many blogs are there that post regularly about him – ten? fifteen?

It was about fifteen or so at last count, but I think it’s increased since FanstRAvaganza started. LOL! Sorry to keep laughing, but well, I really am laughing. I can’t help it as it’s always fun to hear how others bite the dust. :D But what do you think about Twitter’s part in all of this?

Twitter has also been an enormously rewarding experience for me, in terms of reaching out to other fans. But with all these social networking opportunities, you get out what you put in, and sometimes I find it very hard to find the time to do everything I want to do, and go everywhere I want to go, as often as I want to. That may not make much sense!

It makes perfect sense!

Changing the subject a bit. I understand you play the piano and the flute. Is that still a significant part of your life?

I am a pianist first and foremost, and I played regularly up until we had to give our piano back to the person it belonged to a couple of years ago! Sad day! But I am working on getting my daughter to learn, so we will have to get something in that case. I learned the flute at school, so that is more “in the past” but it enabled me to play in orchestras and ensembles which was a fun thing to do. I was never good enough to play either the piano or flute professionally though, or even consider going to music college. I won’t admit to exactly how many years I have been playing the piano, but it’s a few decades!! I think I read that Richard played the flute too!

Yep, he does! Or did. I’m not sure where he stands with that now. Would be lovely to know.

I have to ask what are your favorite kinds of music? I don’t even care if it’s RA related. It’s always something I want to know from everyone!

When I was a child I listened to classical music almost exclusively – I think that is just what we had on in our house. I also used to record myself playing the piano and listen to that. In fact I was just reminded that I also used to record myself reading poems when I was a child. When I went away to boarding school, I began to listen to pop and rock music, the popular bands of the 80s such as The Police, and Duran Duran, and Madness (showing my age there!) just what was in the charts, and I explored music past and present from there. I became a massive fan of Prince in the late 80s. I have also become a fan of the music from musicals e.g. Oklahoma and Singing in the Rain.

But from the time I left university and started work, I lost touch with new music and tended to listen to my old stuff. It’s only recently (and completely down to my interest in Richard and the fan videos I have watched I may say) that I have started to listen to new(ish) music again, and I am finding it as interesting as exploring the music of the 60s and 70s in my youth. Muse is one example, but I am really still exploring.

I also understand that you take acting classes. I would love to hear about that! And of course how it may have changed your views of or helped you appreciate more the work that’s done by Richard Armitage.

I started taking the class about a year ago. It’s just a local acting workshop with about 10–15 regular participants. I joined because I wanted to develop my inter-personal and communication skills more for the sake of my work than anything else, and I have found business communications courses either not very useful or not able to meet my needs. But I think I may have missed my calling, because I find it just the most interesting and fun thing to do! It’s also really hard! Everything that you say or do during a scene has to be thought about beforehand. And there are so many things to think about – from basic stuff like making sure that you are facing the audience, and that they can see your face, to harder things like thinking about your character and what they are thinking about and wanting in a particular scene, say.

What is particularly interesting and surprising to me is the amount of improvisation involved in acting (or developing as an actor), and how it starts off being terrifying but then, after you get used to it, it becomes something that is really enjoyable and something that you just have to throw yourself into. Also it’s often what you are doing when you have no lines at all to say that reveals most about your character. It feels like teetering on the precipice of something – you feel like you are going to go over the edge but you just manage to stay on. I also think it’s important to keep trying different ways of doing the same thing and not be afraid to do something where you feel foolish – in fact you have to commit – because faking it just doesn’t work.

This is making me appreciate RA’s work slightly differently (and similarly the work of other actors), in that I am becoming more aware of the work that must have gone into any given scene and that there are usually several ways in which to play a scene, and the choices that the actors and the director made have a big impact on the final result. But it’s early days for me still, and I am learning all the time, I am just beginning to really appreciate how powerful it can be to slow down, and pause and find special moments when you connect with another character.

In that vein, has being a fan had an effect on your general creativity?

Well, I don’t do graphics or fanvids or write fanfiction or anything like that…so I can’t lay claim to being more creative in those respects. But being a fan has led to a reigniting of my love of reading, something that I haven’t been unable to indulge myself in so much since starting a family. Reading North and South, Heyer, Bernard Cornwell and also fanfic has made me remember all those feelings I had when I found good books for the first time. I was not a Heyer fan before listening to the audio books, I tried a couple as a teenager, but they always seemed to be very lightweight reads, and I gave up quickly. I think I should have stuck with it, because I realise now how some of them are gems in their own right, though the language is quite…interesting at times…and they are essentially light reads. But since listening to Sylvester and Venetia, more particularly, I have picked up a few others and am working my way through – but there are lots of them I have to say! Will take me quite a while.

Ah yes, the audio books. LOL! As you know, I’m covering RA’s voice work, so I’m really curious what is your favorite?

For audio work as a whole I would have to say the ‘Words and Music’ poems, particularly Preludes by T. S. Eliot.

I have listened to them hundreds of times, literally. They are like spoken songs to me. Aside from the lovely, earthy, gravelly voice, I suppose I like them so much because of the pacing and rhythm of his reading and because of the beautiful expression and meaning that he uses in every word like when he says “flickered” you can just imagine the light flickering on the ceiling. And when he says “short, square fingers stuffing pipes” I see it happening, in my mind.

But for audio books, my favourite would be The Lords of the North.

Oh my! It’s definitely my favorite too, and I defy anyone to listen to even a few minutes of it and not come away wanting to listen to the whole thing and in spite of it being about a very violent period of history. Listening to it turned me into an audio book lover. There is only one problem. I’m spoiled to his narration. He has set a high standard for me, and now I want to hear him reading countless books. Is there anything in particular you would love to hear him read?

Well of course I would love Richard to read North and South. Wouldn’t we all? But I have more or less accepted that this will never happen.  So I would personally love to hear Richard read The Hobbit, and I have not given up hope that this might happen.  Of course the obvious person to read that audiobook would be Martin Freeman, and he has done audio books before (e.g. he read a version of The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy, another movie he starred in), but…you never know…I live in hope. 

I’m with you, and maybe he should read the whole Lord of the Rings trilogy! We may have to start a campaign. :D

You know I’ve shared others’ recordings of what they think of RA and how he’s affected them. I’m happy you agreed to share yours as well:

Kap is married with two young children and obviously hails from the UK where she still lives.

For those who listened to the excerpt of Lords of the North and are now curious to listen to the entire book, or if you already love it and would just like to have your own audio book or an additional book, I have two to give away. The books are courtesy of AudioGo (BBC Audio Books) and rules for the giveaway are found here. Good luck! :)