Richard Armitage Admirer, The Arkenstone, Pays It Forward: A Spread the Love Connection Through Outlander

A good way to spend a Sunday morning

A very nice way to spend a Sunday morning

      I have become the recipient of several books that I had only recently come to know of upon hearing that Graham McTavish had been cast in the new Starz original series, “Outlander.” Naturally, I patiently await news and its premiere.

      Needless to say I was floored when I received these books – a set of seven of Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander book series of eight.  This generous gift was received from a fellow Richard Armitage admirer and ravenous book reader, The Arkenstone – who is also lovingly known as Arkie.

     The thick paperback tomes are simplistic and minimal in their cover art, and their contents appear to be far richer.

Graham McTavish as Dougal MacKenzie in Outlander

Graham McTavish as Dougal MacKenzie in Starz original series, “Outlander”

      Shamefully, however, after receiving them (because I have many other books in my “queue” to read), I failed to notice a very special feature about these particular books.

      I had tucked them away to await their turn in my queue, but auspiciously, while I was moving the books a few days ago, Outlander fell open to reveal a unique concept of giving which is labeled and detailed on the inside cover.

outlander label

Outlander tracking label at www.BookCrossing.com

       These series of books have been entered in a program which is designed to encourage book sharing.  The books’ participation – all initiated and perpetuated by Arkie – have been labeled with custom-made sticker labels that each carry ID numbers for tracking and information on this share program.  Each book’s new owners are encouraged by the sticker to seek out the website www.BookCrossing.com, where the its specific travel history can be obtained and a new owner can continue on the tradition.

       Although The Arkenstone writes fan fiction herself, she also generously shares links to other’s fan fiction as well in her weekly wrap-ups.

       After being clued in to the fact that there was more “gift” beneath their covers, I spoke with Arkie about this program and her participation, where more was learned on her passion for reading, writing and sharing.

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CC: I just adore my new books! Please tell me how BookCrossing.com came to your attention and when did you join the program?

TA: My husband gave me a Nook as a Mother’s Day gift in 2010, with the intention of ridding our house of the over-abundance of books. Let me step back for a second, not only did I have new books, but I also collect pre-1950 hardback books. Why pre-1950? Because there are less of them. My oldest is an 1853 Fifth Grade Primer. Think about it. 31 States. No Civil War, No Abraham Lincoln. Franklin Pierce was President. Potato Chips weren’t invented until August, 1853. There were also less words per page. Anyway, he knew I wouldn’t get rid of the old books. For the next few months, I gave several boxes to the local library, but they didn’t have the room for any more. I sent my paperback books to the Veterans Association or Wounded Warriors. One day I was searching the Internet for some books for my Nook and happened to see an advertisement for BookCrossing.com. The rest as they say is history.

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Dragonfly in Amber by Diana Gabaldon

CC: Aside from signing up, what is the process for participating in the program as you understand it?

TA: It’s really that easy. You don’t have to have books to share. You can look for books that are available and request them. It’s a sharing site to get people to read. It’s a chance to read an author you might have heard of and not read. I think there’s probably more books there that people have never heard of than you can imagine.

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Voyager by Diana Gabaldon

CC: When did you first read the books/become a fan of Diane Gabaldon? What made you choose, or wish to share, these books in particular?

TA: I have always been a fan of science fiction and fantasy. When “Outlander” came out in 1991, I bought it. I read it in 3 days. I couldn’t put it down. I bought every one of the series as soon as it hit the stores. I didn’t wait for the paperback. I really thought I would keep them forever. Then when word got out that Starz was making a series, my first reaction was “Oh no. I have to cart those heavy tomes around, when I’m now using a Nook?” I decided since I was going to buy the ebook version, that I didn’t need to keep 12 pounds of books around. I first put them on BookCrossing.com in a controlled release, simply because there were so many copies of the Outlander series already listed. That way I could hold them and not feel obligated to set them out someplace. They were in pristine condition.

CC: Yes, the books are indeed in pristine condition, and I do plan to keep them that way until I put them back into circulation. So how many books would you say you read a year?

TA: Easier to ask me how many books I read in a week. If the book is good, I will read it in a day. I’ve been known to read a book a day. So on an average, I would say probably in the neighborhood of 200, more or less. I will read almost everything and almost anything.

Drums of Autumn by Diana Gabaldon

Drums of Autumn by Diana Gabaldon

CC: Shamefully I could never keep up with you as such a prolific reader. But I think we may mutually know of a certain someone who might come close to that when he’s not working, hm? So, when did Richard Armitage come into your own sightlines?

TA: Probably 2011. My husband was channel-surfing and we came across Robin Hood. As someone once said, “I rooted for the wrong side.” I didn’t really get into the whole “Armitage Army” until later, but I did look him up on the Internet and checked out a few of his fan websites. I was amazed at their dedication to him. That is until Gandalf opened the door to him at Bilbo’s house. Thorin Oakenshield pretty much turned my whole world upside down.

The Fiery Cross by Diana Gabaldon

CC: So was it then that began reading fan fiction containing the characters portrayed by Richard Armitage, or does it go further back to other characters/fandoms?

TA: I didn’t read fan-fiction before I wrote fan-fiction. There are a couple of series I read now.

CC: How long have you been writing yourself? Is there a site that we can go to?

TA: I wrote my first fan-fiction in June 2013. I post on a couple of sites, Wattpad and DreamerFiction. Wattpad is easy to register on. Dreamer Fiction you have to be invited to join. It’s a little more selective. [Note: Dreamer Fiction is a private chat forum site. Joining requires a referral from an existing member and is for those aged 18 and over.]

CC: Would you like to mention specific fan-fiction writers that you adore and/or recommend?

TA: There are some really good writers out there. My absolute favorite is Morrighan’s Muse. She wrote a serial called “A Willing Heart” that was my first fan-fiction story that I could not get enough of. She’s writing a serial now called “Every Fifth Living Thing”. It’s amazing. A publisher soon is going to notice her. Zeesmuse is another one. She wrote a story called “Manna From Heaven.” It was yummy.

A Breath of Snow and Ashes by Diana Gabaldon

A Breath of Snow and Ashes by Diana Gabaldon

CC: What are your favorite fan-fiction sites?

TA: There are several fan-fiction sites. I wouldn’t want to say which are better than any of the others, since they are all different in their own unique way. Some are more geared to teens and band fan-fiction. Some are geared to slash fiction. Some are soft porn or are fairly racy.

An Echo in the Bone by Diana Gabaldon

An Echo in the Bone by Diana Gabaldon

CC: Anything else specific you want to share or say?

TA: Just a couple of things. One, share. Share your knowledge. I am amazed every day to hear that our children know so little about our country and the world. Ask your children some simple history questions. See what they are learning in school. Share your books. There are still people out there who cannot read because books are not available to them. There are soldiers and sailors serving our country who would be thrilled to have a paperback to read. They don’t even care what it is. Some of those same veterans are in hospitals recovering from injuries who wish they had something to read to pass the time.

Lastly, thanks for taking the time to listen to me ramble on.

Anytime, Arkie!

Where The Arkenstone can be found, amongst other treasures of course –

~ crystalchandlyre

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A Conversation with Ali at RichardArmitageNet.Com

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richardarmitagenet.com – all rights reserved

Several years ago, and for many years, American television seemed to consist primarily of silly situational comedies, creepy and “unrealistic” reality TV, vicious gossip forums, and various types of vapid music competition shows. 

With the exception of PBS Stations and Masterpiece, I was starved for decent television.

strike back

richard armitage – john porter – strike back: origins

When BBC America reached American shores and became a cable channel staple, I believe I said a prayer of thanks to the Gods of Television – or at the very least suddenly became thrilled at the prospect of paying my monthly cable bill. (Trailer Video)

I very quickly became an addict.

Along with it came Netflix, which (then) for about $15.00 per month I was afforded all my new favorite shows and actors gifted from across the pond.

North and South was just such one of those shows, and with it came Richard Armitage.

Very soon I was clamoring to search for other work of Richard’s that was available, of which the aforementioned sources certainly did provide me the “hook up” – but still I wanted more.  So it was in my searches that I very quickly discovered the website, RichardArmitageNet.com (aka RANet.com).

Since then, the website has been a go-to for me for All-Things-Richard-Armitage, and where I simultaneously became a fan of the site as well.

Ali is the very talented, communicative and open Webmistress of RANet.com.  She generously agreed to speak with me about the website, its inception, her experiences, and the passion that fuels her as its Administrator.

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richardarmitagenet.com – all rights reserved

CC: When did you become moved enough by Richard Armitage, and his work as an Actor, to create a webpage for and about him?

ALI: “That’s not quite how it happened. I was asked to run a fansite (now closed down) for a short while with a friend when the current Admin [at the time] took a break in 2008. Both of us had met the Admin in real life and became friends so we were delighted and flattered when she asked us to run it for her. When she returned to the site my friend and I knew immediately we had to create our own site. It had been too much fun to let go and we now had the freedom to make design and content choices. There are now many sites of course and I think it’s great that they all offer something for everyone.”

CC: So you run the site by yourself now?  How did that come about?

RobertAscroft-31

Richard Armitage – Robert Ascroft, 2012

ALI: “In 2010 my friend decided she needed to take a step back from the site, which involved covering for me during holiday periods, but in the end the break came about naturally. Although she still follows Richard’s career, her attentions have been diverted by an actor who plays the infamous tricksy Norse God. He’s attracted the interest of many an RA fan as well I believe!”

CC: When is the anniversary of the inception of RANet.com?

ALI: “The website was created on 22 October 2008 under a different name and then renamed in April 2009 to RichardArmitageNet.com.”

CC: How has the experience of creating and maintaining the website changed your life or affected you, or what have been some of the pros and cons?

ALI: “That’s quite difficult to answer. Has it affected me? It has introduced me to many people around the world, some of whom I consider to be good friends and meeting some of those people has led to several entertaining weekends and many happy memories. Sometimes I’m faced with a few challenges that I could do without. I’ve never been close to wanting to give up the website, but I won’t lie and say that it’s always easy. You encounter many different types of people with many different requests, but it is true that 99% of the time running the website is just plain, good fun. That’s why I do it I think.  Lord knows I’ve asked myself many times why I run this site, but I think it’s because it’s my hobby, it’s fun, I learn new things all the time, I’m introduced to many lovely people via email all the time, and Richard continues to entertain me with fascinating interviews and captivating roles.”

double trouble

a favorite – the weekly “double trouble”
richardarmitagenet.com – all rights reserved

CC: How many hours a week would you say you spend on the site?

ALI: “That varies enormously depending on what Richard is doing and my own schedule. If I need to update the site with news and check for new comments and guestbook entries then I might only log-in for half an hour or an hour a day, but if I’m doing some general maintenance or updating site content then I might spend a few hours. The bulk of my time is not taken up with the website but responding to emails, and this amount of time has reduced considerably since the picture of the day feature stopped. I’ve had to implement that change because the spare time I had for the site has now disappeared since starting a new career. I am concerned about the influx of news we will likely get at the end of the year when promotion begins for The Desolation of Smaug as I won’t be able to update the website as often as I used to or reply to emails as promptly, but I’ll get there eventually.”

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richard armitage – thorin oakenshield – the hobbit

CC: What would you say is your favorite article or audio interview of Richard? 

ALI: “I have two favourite radio interviews, the first because it’s downright hilarious and there is much giggling, and the second because Richard answered a question from me with the most brilliant answer about Gisborne’s back story. The funny interview is with Andi Peters on Heat Radio, October 2008  and the one in which he answered my question took place a year earlier in October 2007 in a radio interview with Radio Solent (#4 on this page).

It’s too difficult to choose a favourite [article] interview as there are so many. [Richard] always gives wonderful interviews to his original local paper, the Leicester Mercury. The interview on 15 Dec 2012 was a good one. I’m particularly fond of the Sunday Times Culture magazine interview, 30 April 2006, because that’s how I discovered Richard. Unlike most people who saw him first on screen, I saw him first on the cover of that newspaper and read the excellent article inside, intrigued by the guy who was going to play Claude Monet in the upcoming Impressionists series, as I’d heard that was airing soon and intended to watch it. After reading that article and watching The Impressionists, I bought the North and South DVD, watched it a few times, and then watched the first series of Robin Hood when it aired in the autumn of 2006 in the UK. I was hooked and found the Armitage Army forum (since renamed to the RichardArmitageCentral forum). So if you want to push me for a favourite interview, I’ll choose the Sunday Times 30 April 2006.

NandSPromo-42

richard armitage – john thornton – north and south bbc mini series

I don’t have a favourite video interview as there are too many. Any new video becomes the favourite, especially when he hasn’t made any appearances for a while.”

CC: I think anyone who is a fan of Richard’s who is prone to comb the internet for interviews the way I have, or has heard them first hand, has a favorite quote.  What’s yours?

one final questionALI: “His answer to the question in the Radio Times Oct 2005 article ‘Put a handsome bloke in a period costume’, etc. In that answer, he nailed the reason women yearn for the romance offered to the heroines of period drama by Darcy/Rochester/Thornton. The end of his quote succinctly states what is lacking in many modern romcoms. They could learn a lot from period drama about how to heighten the unresolved sexual tension.

Another quote is from the Vulpes Libres interview July 2009:

‘One of my great mantras is that ‘characters are at their most interesting when they are behaving out of character’, so when actors say:  “my character just wouldn’t do that”, I always say ‘well see what happens when you ‘make’ them do that!’ I had to instruct myself like this quite frequently with Guy of Gisborne, which is why he became interesting to me. He helped me to develop as an actor, for this reason.’ – Richard Armitage

I read and re-read this quote many times. I’m often exasperated by critics of a show who take issue because they feel a character has acted ‘out of character’. Richard makes an excellent point that those out of character moments offer such interesting challenges to actors, but also I think, to audiences. If the actor is good enough, he will convince us.”

CC:  I certainly agree with that.  Since RANet.com is often my “go to” place for recently released or found images, I was wondering if you have a favorite picture of Richard?

ALI: “I have lots of favourite pictures and they were all posted in the last month of the POD, which are still displayed on my website.

Some of those pictures were requested by others, but the majority are mine. You’ll have to guess which ones are my favourites!”

spooks

richard armitage – lucas north – spooks (mi-5 in the u.s.)

 CC:  Of Richard’s work, what would you say is your favorite film and/or TV show?

ALI: “I don’t like to narrow this down as there are moments in many shows that are memorable, but if pressed I would say North and South. However Guy of Gisborne is my favourite character. It’s not happened yet, but I think the Hobbit trilogy might overtake N&S as my favourite if parts 2 and 3 are going to be as good as I think they are. I enjoyed An Unexpected Journey, but I think the best is yet to come.”

CC:  I do too.  Ali, have there been any perks or opportunities that have made your experience as Webmistress of RANet.com extra special?

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richard armitage – guy of gisborne – robin hood bbc

ALI: “I have been sent some DVDs which I have given away in competitions and Warner Bros have been in touch a few times to give me press releases. I have had some interesting chats with TV writers on Twitter. Dominic Minghella (Robin Hood series 1&2 lead writer) was very kind.  And one of the Spooks writers said he referred to my site many times during the broadcast of Spooks to read the reviews and related articles, which was great.

Also Twitter has been useful when it comes to interviews: some TV stations and PR reps have tweeted me to tell me when Richard was interviewed so that I will publicize it for them via Twitter and on the site, so that’s been great.

That’s about it!”

A huge thank you to Ali for all her patience and time for this interview!

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The Pervasiveness of Armitage Art: Thorin as Muse to Korean Artist, Evankart

I have been granted the unique privilege of being permitted to post select images of work by accomplished Korean Illustrator and Artist,  Evan © Evankart.  All of the illustration images are the sole property and ownership of ©Evan K./Evankart.  Please respect her wish that none of these images be reposted, circulated or otherwise used elsewhere.  She has consented with the understanding that the images of her art only be used for the sake of my exclusive interview. The sole exception is the reblog of this complete post. 

Thank you for your understanding and cooperation.

Thorin Oakenshield - copyright © evankart - use without permission is prohibited

Thorin Oakenshield – copyright © evankart – use without permission is prohibited

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Evan is from Seoul, Korea.  She is known professionally online as Evankart, where she shares her works on Tumblr, DeviantArt, as well as on her own Website (in Korean).  She is “Tumblr famous” as a popularly reblogged artist, whose works recently have been largely inspired by her appreciation of Thorin Oakenshield (Richard Armitage) , Fili (Dean O’Gorman), as well as most of the cast of characters, that are featured in Sir Peter Jackson’s memorable and charming film, The Hobbit.

In addition to featuring selections of her work, Evan also granted me a few moments to answer some brief questions regarding her work, inspirations, and aspirations.  As she was shy about her grammar, it was at her request that I adjust to clarify her answers, where needed, as she wants to be fully understood.  All the words and meaning in her answers are hers.

Thorin Oakenshield - copyright © evankart - use without permission is prohibited

Thorin Oakenshield – copyright © evankart – use without permission is prohibited

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CC: Evan, where specifically are you from?

EK: “I am from the Republic of Korea – Seoul, which is a big city.  There are ten million people [here] and everyone is busy.  Sometimes I feel [moments of] vertigo because it is all too much to me.”

CC: Where did you learn English?

EK:  “Dublin, Ireland.  I stayed in Belfast for 7 months for work, where I found it inspirational and educational. I miss it and think of my experience often.”

Thorin Oakenshield - copyright © evankart - use without permission is prohibited

Thorin Oakenshield – copyright © evankart – use without permission is prohibited

CC: What kind of schooling or mentoring did you receive, or are you self-taught?

EK: “I majored in Fine-Art in Art in high school and at University.”

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CC: Tell me about your experience with Sir Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit and your connection with the characters that have inspired you?

EK:  “I watched the hobbit movie when I was in Belfast, a city in Northern Ireland. There were NO subtitles, so I couldn’t understand some parts of dialog in the movie, but it was so beautiful.  I went to the cinema five times more [in order to] feel all of images, music and characters of Middle Earth.  Thorin Oakenshield [inspired me], because of his hair and the emotions in his eyes.  But my favorite is actually Fili. I draw Fili when I want to feel comfort, especially when I have in insomnia.”

CC: When did you first come to be inspired to paint and draw?

EK: “I started my study of Fine-Art when I was 13.  It came easily to me.  My mother and sister are visual artists also.  The Hobbit [work]? After watching the movie.”

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CC: All of your work features meticulous thought and attention to Hair.  Would you say that was a key feature in all your work?

EK: “As you see, I love to draw hair.  All my portraits look so calm and sad in many cases, so I draw the floating hair to give more lines and colors in the image.”

Thorin Oakenshield - copyright © evankart - use without

Thorin Oakenshield – copyright © evankart – use without

CC: Do you have any plans for a gallery display or showing of any of your works in the near future?

EK: “No, [currently] I don’t think that is possible.  Someday I plan to make an art book for people who want to have it.”

CC: What are the future plans for Evankart?

EK: “Drawing.  What I want to draw, as always. I’m a comic book artist. I just want to [continue to] draw some nice comic books in the future.”

 

~ crystalchandlyre

Thorin Oakenshield - copyright © evankart - use without permission is prohibited

Thorin Oakenshield – copyright © evankart – use without permission is prohibited

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Evankart

 

 

 

http://evankart.deviantart.com/
http://evank7.egloos.com/
http://evankart.tumblr.com/

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