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#FanstRA: Stayin’ alive

Today’s Tag Teams: It’s almost over, oh noes! In fandom, Phylly3 celebrates her second blogiversary! • Avalon considers her favorite fandom moments (includes interview with Jeannie Gisborne)! •  In the Hobbit chain, Antonia Romera compares trailers for An Unexpected Journey in three languages • CDoart‘s the King Richard Armitage blogger, writing on the relevance of the character in times of questionable justice • In fanfic, Jo Ann finishes her story • fedoralady traces the evolution of her “sloth fic” series • In freeform, Gratiana Lovelace rescreens her Armitage birthday vid • Fabo casts Armitage in Hollywood musical remakes • C.S. Winchester takes on Armitage in period costumes from N&S and Miss Marie Lloyd • Links to all FanstRA 3 posts appear here at the end of each day.


This post is inspired, but not exactly based on, Richard Armitage’s character in The Inspector Lynley Mysteries: In Divine Proportion.

I freely admit the reason I’m not going to review this episode is because I wasn’t paying attention to it when I saw it. It was back in January, when I visited my parents in Sweden. They love British crime drama, and were watching The Inspector Lynley Mysteries. I was on my laptop or something at the time, and wasn’t paying much attention, until I heard a familiar voice – OMG, it was the episode with HIM in!! But we were already almost half an hour into the episode, so I had no idea what was going on, and it failed to grab me – aside from the few glimpses of Richard Armitage here and there. Not until the final scenes, I was paying full attention … but then, what I saw, did not surprise me.

If someone points a gun at a character played by Richard Armitage, what do you expect to happen? My first thought was “he’s going to get shot, obviously, because his character always bloody dies in the end!” Let’s see what might have led me to believe such a thing …

Well, there’s Guy of Gisborne … John Bateman/Lucas North … John Porter … Thorin Oakenshield (apologies if you’ve not read the book, but I’m assuming most of us will have by now) … Heinz Kruger … and I can’t remember whether or not he dies as Peter Macduff, I haven’t yet seen Malice Aforethought and haven’t seen disc two of Ultimate Force series two yet, but I’m sure I’ve heard Ian Macalwain gets what’s coming to him. Ricky Deeming was very nearly killed. So, when a gun was pointed at Philip Turner, I knew what was going to happen – it was inevitable. I’m not sure if he actually died, though, but still.

What’s with the character deathwish?

Maybe it’s Richard Armitage’s acting trope. A lot of actors have them, meaning a particular kind of roles they’re drawn to. Try watching through Sam Neill’s filmography and tell me what his success rate of “getting the girl” on screen is. Go on, I’ll wait. 😀

…Okay, to save time: No matter how handsome or charming Sam Neill’s character is, someone else tends to snatch the girl from him, poor man. So that would be his recurring theme as an actor, and I daresay dying is Richard Armitage’s. Why is that?

Is it from some murky backwaters of his mind, an unconscious fear of dying? It’s one of the most fundamental fears around, so it wouldn’t come as a surprise if it were true. Maybe it’s his way of trying to get over a very real fear that most of us carry with us every day?

What do you think? Why are so many of Richard Armitage’s characters so hell-bent on getting killed?

Traxy Thornfield

A Swedish introvert in Robin Hood Country (Nottingham, UK) where she lives with a husband and two cats. She's an eager participant in tabletop and play-by-post roleplaying, woodworking, photography and European travel. Will get a novel out one of these days, if she doesn't get too distracted on the way.

10 thoughts on “#FanstRA: Stayin’ alive

  1. I think he has a tendency to do a lot of things disproportionately to their actual occurrences in real life, because that’s a feature of modern drama. It revolves around conflict, infidelity, questionable sexual relationships, murder, etc., etc., and not around happy families. I mean, how many roles has he played that involve firearms, for example, in proportion to the number of times the average Englishman would actually handle a firearm? Even if you say, well, he was cast as a soldier, how often has he been a soldier in proportion to the amount of time the average Englishman spends as a soldier? I think we just notice that he dies a lot because that bothers us.

    It does occur to me to find it interesting that he doesn’t get cast as a non-action romantic lead (even Thornton wasn’t a conventional romantic lead) although he certainly has the face for that — but I see the fact that he apparently doesn’t seek out those roles as a compliment to him. He wants meaty conflict and ambivalence — not usually a characteristic of romantic leads.

  2. Hello Traxy,
    I would say, he dies so often in his roles, because he is too good to be true? Just a suggestion ;o)
    I hope, RA gets a role where he can break his dying-routine and get a happily ever after ending, soon!

  3. Does he die at the end of that episode? I’ve seen it a couple times and I couldn’t tell you. That whole season is the worst-written season of Lynley and that episode is just really bad. Nothing makes much sense but at the risk of spoilers … oh, okay: SPOILERS

    Richard starts out as a kind of dissipated, useless guy who’s gambled away the family fortune, lost the family house and says he has no reason for living. He really isn’t that important of a character so his character’s emotional journey isn’t the focus of the episode but still at the end he finds the courage to confront the guy with the guy, put himself in harms way and redeem himself some what. I think it was probably that arc that attracted Richard to the part rather than the character dying, if he does die and I imagine he worked out quite a lot of backstory for himself that made the character interesting. In fact, I wish we could have seen that episode instead of the one we saw. Anyway in the end he seems to be shot in the shoulder and bleeding rather badly but I honestly didn’t see him die and he obviously mattered so little they didn’t even bother to tell us what actually happened to him. But like I said, the whole episode was really badly written.

  4. I’m not sure he dies in that episode either. I’ve ony seen it once, and that was ages ago. RA does play characters that either die or come to a sticky end – I guess that says something about the sort of roles he is good at playing.

  5. One day an RA character is going to SHOCK us and not turn out to be the bad guy and not die at the end! But you know what? It’s not going to happen anytime soon! And Richard does die so beautifully on screen!

  6. And that’s why we love his characters too – just BECAUSE they’re conflicted. That’s why I prefer Mr. Thornton over Mr. Darcy, for instance, even though their stories are similar.

    From a writing perspective, nothing’s more fun than torturing your characters: “Here, have some angst! Aww, I love you, poor, broken person.” If they don’t have issues, they’re not half as much fun to write about!

  7. I think you’re on to something there. That the arc was the important part. Which is probably what’s true for most of his characters.

    Haven’t seen enough of Lynley to know if it was better or worse than other episodes, and I was probably distracted by Nathaniel Parker being gorgeous if I had seen them before. 😉

    He was probably okay, tbh, because the emergency crew got there soon enough. There were lots of police waiting outside so would’ve thought there was an ambulance standing by too.

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