This time it really is goodbye.

I probably don’t really need to do this post, but I want to go out officially. This has been, for the most part, a wonderful ride. I’ve made some great friends and had tons of fun fangirling over a wonderful actor who seems to be a genuinely good person. I’ve learned some new skills as a result of this whole crazy thing, for which I’ll forever be grateful. But it’s time to move on.

I spent the last month or so waiting for the Anglophile Channel’s interview with Richard Armitage to gauge whether or not I was really done. And I am. While I found the interview entertaining, charming and enlightening at times, the squee factor is gone for me. I realize now that a huge part of why I enjoyed the fan aspect was the boost of “feel good” that it’s always provided. With that gone, there is really no reason to carry on with the blog.

I’ve gone through and deleted the more personal posts from the blog so that I feel secure in leaving the rest of it up for a time. And I’ve decided to leave my Twitter account open as well as the contact page here, should anyone want or need to reach me for any reason.

For those of you who might have hoped I’d eventually finish my North and South fanfic, I’m sorry. It’s just not going to happen. And since that is the case, I’ve gone ahead and taken down the chapters I had posted.

It’s been a pleasure. So to say goodbye I made this. It’s probably the worst fanvid I’ve made, but really I just wanted some pretty pictures to go along with the song.

)

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For the RichLee Shippers Out There

Okay, so I know RichLee shipping isn’t popular among certain segments of the fandom. And I think we can all agree that private pictures should remain private. But I made this edit of the wallpaper in the previous post for a friend and have been encouraged to post it for any shippers out their who would like to have it. Besides, their poses work soooo well for this graphic! And seriously, friends go dancing together too!!!

Get Down Tonight-Rich and Lee Version

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Get Down Tonight

It’s been a while since these photographs by the very talented Sarah Dunn came out:

For some reason the Richard Armitage one popped into my head today and I saw him out on a dance floor getting his groove on. It’s been a while since I did much in Photoshop, but my fingers were itching and my brain wouldn’t let it go. So I made a little wallpaper that I thought I’d share.

Get Down Tonight

Anyone up for a dance party? ;)

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Thinking on Good Things, While My Computer Acts Up

I’m feeling much more my old fangirl self after the holidays, so it seems almost cruel that my laptop has decided to freak the heck out.  Forget about scrolling through Tumblr, there are hardly any images displayed, but little depressing icons where there should be lovely photos, fanart, gifs and so on of my favorite actors. And it’s all of my browsers, not just one, so I know it must be something up with the computer and not one of the programs. :(

I’m in the process of backing up my files and then I’m going to try and use the reset in Windows 8. Gotta admit to a bit of trepidation on that score, but a girl’s gotta do whatever it takes to get her pretty pictures back! ;) Fingers crossed this works.

While I’m sans images, I thought I’d share a story of great kindness that really touched my heart this week.

Where I went to grad school, several of my church friends work with an organization that goes out everyday and takes hot food, coffee, blankets and so on to homeless people in the area. That’s been especially important over the last several days with this extreme cold and they’ve been trying to get as many people out of the cold as possible by means of churches opening up their basements and fellowship halls, the single shelter in the area and even by putting people up in motels thanks to generously donated funds.

The shelter got a rather generous donation that they weren’t expecting and when I read about it, it reminded me of the goodness to be found in our fellow human beings. Check out the story here.

And now that I’m back in the land of decent internet connection, this also reminds me to share this along with everyone else who already has:

So here’s to kindness, generosity, good will and everything wonderful in this New Year…and hopefully a fully functioning computer too. ;)

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An Explanation

I’ve seen some comments on negativity in the fandom about DoS and so on over the past few days. There have been comments that question why someone who is predisposed to dislike the movie would go and see it in the first place. Another suggested that such a person would only go see the movie under such circumstances in order to have something to complain about.

As someone who was open about my misgivings before seeing the movie and also someone who laid out her complaints afterwards, I feel like I’m a good person to address this topic. Mainly because I think people without some kind of affinity for the book are going to have the kind of thoughts listed above because they don’t, and perhaps can’t, see things from the perspective of a book fan.

With specific reference to Tolkien and The Hobbit many of us book fans have been waiting at minimum, a decade to see this book brought to life on the big screen. We’ve loved the story for so long and have been anxious to see it fleshed out. After a decade or more of waiting, you don’t just up and say, “Oh, the reviews give me misgivings. Damn, I guess I won’t go see this movie I’ve been waiting forever to see.” While I can’t speak for all Tolkien fans, the ones I know well would say such a thought was unconscionable. Even if you walk out of the movie unhappy with some or even most of the movie, there will be parts that made it worth going. Not to mention that if you don’t see it, you’ll never know if you could have liked it.

I think there’s also a distinction that needs to be made between being predisposed to dislike a movie and having misgivings. Again, I was pretty blunt with my assessment that based on reviews it sounded like PJ had really messed up the story. I can see where that would leave me personally open to criticism of being predisposed to dislike the movie. But let me be clear about something, when we walk into the theater to see the film, Tolkien fans–at least those I know well–don’t go in wanting to hate the movie. We go in hoping that the reviews have somehow misled us and that we’re going to love what’s been done. Because seriously, who in their right mind wants to dislike a movie based on a book they love? The thing we desperately want, that we crave is to walk out of that theater feeling the magic we felt when we read the book for the first time.

It’s always been more or less clear to me that fandom is something outsiders can’t understand. I didn’t really realize until this past week how incomplete that view was. It isn’t just fandom in general. I’m coming to understand that those outside of your very specific fandom(s) lack understanding as well. The view isn’t the same if your vantage point is different.

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Jas, The Anti-Fan

It’s Christmastime (Advent if you want to get technical) and for me that always means baking and candy making. This morning I’ve been working on Paleo peppermint patties. So, so, sooooo good! But anyway, while I was making the candy I had time to think. This post is basically me thinking aloud. I just need to think this through and in the past this blog has been a good place to do that.

So, the other night my good friend Snickers’ Mom sent me an email after a discussion we’d had saying that I might soon be the anti-fan blogger. Dear Judiang protested, “But I’m the anti-fan!” Love ya, Judiang. In response I told Judiang that the difference was snark versus legitimate anti-fan feelings.

Judiang told me she thinks I’ve moved into the disillusionment phase of fangirling. That I’ve gotten to the point where Richard Armitage is no longer some godlike creature on a pedestal to me, but a real person. So instead of just rolling with whatever he says or does, it gives me pause when something doesn’t sit quite right with me. I’ve been thinking about this for a couple of days and while I get that that is a legitimate stage of this whole crazy fan experience, I don’t think it quite fits where I’m at for a couple of reasons. For one, I’ve never really had him on a pedestal. He’s always just been the smokin’ hot guy who has the sexiest voice I’ve ever heard and is also an amazing actor. I’ve never been delusional about him lacking flaws. Secondly, Judiang pointed out that she thinks RA is trying out a new persona. I won’t say anymore about that in case she wants to blog about it, but I think the new persona has more to do with my “anti-fan” status than disillusionment.

The anti-fan feelings started with my take on a couple of interviews where RA seemed dismissive of book fans to me. (I don’t want to rehash that, especially after another blogger informed me and all of her readers on her blog that she knows the subtext of my thoughts better than I do). I wouldn’t even class this as anti-fan, because while I didn’t care for what I perceived, it wasn’t that big of a deal. I certainly wasn’t angry just somewhat disappointed.

But then I saw the Cinemax interview. I don’t want to lay out what in the Cinemax interview made me angry, yes actually angry, with him because I don’t want to draw attention to something that might hurt a certain segment of fans if their interpretation matches mine. One friend felt as I did about the interview. A few others whose opinions I value thought he was joking.  If that’s the case, the joke was in poor taste…

…kind of like one of those photos that Josh Horowitz tweeted yesterday of himself with Richard. While that specific photo didn’t stir up painful feelings for me, I was seriously unhappy about how it affected at least two people I care greatly about in this fandom. In general, I support Richard’s right to say and do whatever the hell he wants. If he pisses me off that’s my problem not his. I wouldn’t go so far as to call that photo malicious, but certainly incredibly thoughtless and in extremely poor taste. I’m aware that Richard isn’t the first and he won’t be the last to mimic hanging himself with a tie. Another friend pointed out to me that Richard can’t possibly know what will trigger negative feelings from fans. In general I would agree with her. Anything could set anyone off in some way. But, and this is a big but, he’s a smart man. He should know that pretending to hang himself with a tie would be problematic and even hurtful for a lot of people.

I mentioned to Snickers’ Mom last night that part of me thinks RA is trying to emulate Martin Freeman, at least partially. It appears he might be trying to crack jokes and be more lighthearted and it just isn’t working quite right. I really hope that’s the case, because otherwise there have been some other unkind words thrown around about him in private that I won’t repeat here.

For the most part I really enjoyed the PR blitz this go round. But unfortunately the last few days have seen things that have stolen the joy from fangirling over Richard for me. Someone shared a new pic with me that I hadn’t seen yet last night and there were absolutely zero of the euphoric feelings that always come with  seeing a new pic of the man.

I find this all to be quite the dilemma. I’ve always said that I just want him to be free to be himself. I still want that for him and the more I think on this the more I realize it’s true. For his own sake he needs to be the person he wants to be and is. But it saddens me that it might come at the cost of my enjoyment in this fan thing.

Who knows, maybe by the next PR blitz he’ll have worked out the kinks in this new persona, if that’s what it is. But for now, here I am…Jas, the (very, very reluctant) anti-fan.

 

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The Morning After: A DoS Review

Last night, or to be more exact around 4 this morning, I shared my knee jerk reaction to The Hobbit: Desolation of Smaug on ItsJSforMe’s blog. Having slept, I’m more clearly able to see why exactly I walked out of the theater pretty darn pissed off with Peter Jackson.

So here’s my two cents on the movie and I’ll do my best to remain spoiler free.

When I saw UAJ last year, I felt like the movie moved too slowly for the first 45 minutes. That is certainly not a problem this time. The prologue will please Armitage fans and then we jump right into the action. Beorn’s screen time was shorter than I would have liked, but still enjoyable. The time in Mirkwood gave us a chance to see Thranduil in all of his glory. Lee Pace is excellent in this role. The character isn’t even remotely likeable, but Pace’s performance gives him the ancient feel he needed along with a clear disdain for the dwarves that read true.

It’s in Mirkwood that things started to go wrong for me. In general I’m not flat out opposed to the edition of a female elf. I disagree with the oft repeated stance that she was necessary, but I know there are a lot of people who feel such a character was required. So add a she-elf, just give her a decent story. I felt like the writer’s really fell down on the job here. There was nothing relevant about Tauriel’s character. Her story  recycled stuff from other places in Tolkien’s work. Then of course there was the triangle we’d been warned about. Basically it felt like a waste of time we could have been spending with characters central to the story.

Luke Evan’s was enjoyable as Bard the Bowman and if I decide to see the third film, his character will be one of the reasons why. He was a character that I found myself sympathizing with and rooting for, even when and possibly especially when he challenged Thorin. He seemed to be the only clearheaded person in that scene.

Gandalf’s jaunt away from the dwarves was basically what I expected. Nothing spectacular, but I can see how it helps set up where the story is going in the third movie.

I thoroughly enjoyed Bilbo’s time in the mountain with Smaug. The digital artists are truly masters of their craft. The dragon really was stunning. Benedict Cumberbatch really got the voice right too. It just fit so well.

Then we got to the last 30  minutes of the film. I won’t go into detail about what happens, but it was a complete departure from Tolkien’s story. It was not The Hobbit. It was three screenwriters turning badly written fanfiction into a movie. I’ve always thought Peter Jackson, Philippa Boyens, and Fran Walsh are at their weakest when they depart from the original. If you’ve read my blog long enough, you’ll know that I’m a big proponent of a high level of fidelity to the source material. So I was highly unlikely to like these changes even if they were well done. The fact that there were poorly done made it even more frustrating. Cheesy, hokey, and oh good grief are some of the sentiments that come to mind when I think of some of the things that took place.

As the movie cut to the credits a woman in the front of the theater shouted out, “Peter Jackson, you’re a jerk!” In that moment, I was in total sympathy with her. All I could see was that gawd awful last 30 minutes and the parts I liked about the film were filed away at the back of my mind. I actually wondered if the film ended where it did as a calculated ploy to lure pissed off book fans back for a third film they might no longer want to see.

So to wrap this all up, I think this movie is going to be hard for Tolkien fans, at least those who are purists in any way, shape or form. While there’s a lot of good, that last part has you walking away with a sour taste in your mouth.

This is a Richard Armitage fan blog. And I know that many of his fans see these movies more for him than because of any particular tie to Tolkien’s work. For those fans this movie will go over extremely well. Richard’s performance is what we always expect from him–layered, nuanced. He makes me care about a character that I don’t particularly like.

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Simplistic Armitage

I’m back. At least for a minute. And yeah, not to talk about how gorgeous Richard is, although boyfriend has been working it on this PR tour. Nope, I’m here to pick a bone with the guy.

I know you’re probably wondering what in the world I could have to be annoyed by. So let me tell you: it’s his simplistic division of those who will see The Hobbit: Desolation of Smaug. I’ve watched two interviews* with him so far where he divides viewers into those who are just along for the ride and those who only want to see the simple book brought to life just as it is from the page.

I get that this is probably a little thing, but as someone who has been a Tolkien fan for much longer than an Armitage fan, it doesn’t sit well with me. The guy has a movie to sell, that’s his whole role in the PR blitz. I get that. But were I not already his fan, it would not endear him to me. Because here’s the thing, it way too simplistic. It basically puts all the blame on the fans who love the books if they dislike parts of the movie, rather than putting any of that responsibility on the filmmakers for possibly having fucked up a beloved story. Oops. Did I just say fuck? Yes, yes I did.

This probably gets to me more, because I was and still am excited about some of the changes we were told early on were going to happen. Tying in parts of the Appendices to make the films more cohesive with LOTRs? Bring it on! Reintroduce Legolas, since the elvenking was his father? Awesome! Most Tolkien fans I know felt that way too.

But then we get reviews from people like  Quickbeam that indicate major changes to the plot. Some of Quickbeam’s spoilers sound like PJ and company decided they’d just substitute fanfic for Tolkien’s work in this expensive flick. Changes like he’s talking about are not something that only diehard purists are going to be upset by. Even those of us who are willing to see the story stretched and expanded upon aren’t going to be cool with such changes.

So yeah, Richard’s simplification of the types of people who will see the film and what their reactions will be is frustrating. And his seemingly dismissive attitude towards purists is to be honest, obnoxious.

Dude, I get you only have a few minutes with these interviewers, so you have to condense your thoughts. But give the book fans a little more respect. They aren’t all already your fans like I am.

*I didn’t save the links for these interview and couldn’t even begin to tell you which ones they are. If anyone knows feel free to drop me a line.

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À Plus Tard

Not Goodbye

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Hurray and WTH?

Okay, so on the one hand I’m pretty darn excited by this news:

New Batman

After all, it means that Richard Armitage will not be playing the Caped Crusader. Y’all already know my thoughts on that subject. But now I’m stuck with a WTH reaction. Ben Affleck as Batman?! I love Batman movies and I’ve gotta say, this news sucks! Affleck is a wonderful director, his screenwriting skills are great, but his acting is more meh than anything. It’s certainly not in the same league as Christian Bale’s.

Oh well, I guess I know one movie I won’t need to see in 2015, although this really ruins my hopes for a great Justice League film. Yeah, I’m a nerd! ;)

Oh Richard, now would be a great time for an announcement as to your next role! I could use some good news. :)

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