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Cumberbatch to play Richard III or the case of my little green-eyed monster

Shakespeare's First Folio Edition To Be Sold

As I try to keep my grubby fingers on multiple fandom pulses, a while back I came across this interesting piece of news:

Benedict Cumberbatch is set to play Richard III in the second series of Shakespeare’s History for BBC2.

Ordinarily, one could skim over this little morsel if it wasn’t for the fact that playing the role of Little Richie Plantagenet, Yo! it’s York in the House,  has been a dream of Armitage for some time, a goal he has mentioned in countless interviews throughout the years and I am too lazy to link to a single one of them, so you are welcome.

It got me thinking about what it must be like to mold your career at a time when another British actor, especially one younger than you, seems to be thriving, even making it onto Time 100 Most Influential People list.

Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely love the direction in which Richard’s career is heading (seriously, chuffed as chips or rather Chops!) and I like the fact that being an Armitage Admirer Well-wisher still feels like a member of an exclusive club with a well-kept secret of exquisite taste in men, but when you’re vying for the same parts, heading to the same auditions as the likes of Cumberbatch or Hiddleston, when you stand back and watch their notoriety soar, does it smarm a bit?

To what extent do you compare yourself and your opportunities, casting options, accomplishments to others?

Although I would really dislike the notion that RA is pushing for a glitzy Hollywood career and therefore abandoning projects that made me fall for him in the first place, I can’t help but wonder if he ever questions why them and not him.

Some projects that we felt would be perfect for Richard but went to another actor are easier to swallow, like casting Aidan Turner in Poldark, with others having another actor portray Matthew Clairmont in A Discovery of Witches would be much harder to accept (seriously, have you read it? Matthew is perfect for Armitage), but having Cumberbatch play Richard III feels…personal…

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Don’t get me wrong, Cumberbatch is huge right now and it makes sense that if the producers would jump at the chance to cash in on that.

I have little doubt he will do a superb job and I will certainly be amongst the swarm of people who know that anything Ben is in is definitely worth checking out as the man does not disappoint.

Then there are those arguments that maybe RA is just a little long in the tooth to play the king who died at 32, that this particular ship may well have sailed.

But a part of me, the one that is blinded by the sense of my very own distorted need for justice, the fan who wants Armitage to make him dreams come true, is disappointed and my little naughty fangirling green-eyed monster is having a field day.

To ease my discomfort, here’s a brilliant manip from Fan-Art from KingRichardArmitage:

RichardIIIa

An image of what could have been and, hopefully may still be, after all Frodo did take the ring to Mount Doom against all odds, right?

Oh, and just so you know- had you chosen me Queen of the World like I have requested repeatedly, not only would you have Fridays off from work, but I’d also give Armitage the right of dibs on every single Richard III project.

In other words, if you liked it then you should have put a crown on it…

Richard III for Dummies Part 2 as in Oh Heck! It’s The War of the Roses

As I mentioned in an earlier post, I’m on a quest to learn more about King Richard III.

I hope it will help with the collective reading of Sharon Kay Penman’s The Sunne in Splendour.

Just to clarify, the reading starts on the 23rd of September, with the discussion of chapters 1+5 a week later!

I know some of you, like me, will start earlier, just in case life and other nonsense get in the way!

I’ll be the first to admit I don’t really know anything about RIII, but what I do learn, I will share in a cycle of posts titled:

Richard III for Dummies.

I see it as a collection of random RIII facts that I found interesting.

I won’t be going into great details, just the bare essentials necessary to understand the book chosen for our collective reading.

It’s time to tackle The War of the Roses!

It was a terribly destructive, long-lasting civil war in England between two  families with rival claims to the throne.

The war takes its name from the two Roses that symbolized the two sides meaning, the houses of Lancaster (red rose) and York (white rose), among the English aristocracy.

Those English and their gardening…

I’m not going to go into detail, but let’s just say both sides had a legitimate claim to the throne.

The clip is extremely interesting, definitely more than my writing 😉

Just look at  it as a very long boxing match.

The war itself occurred in three phases:

The first phase was the longest and bloodiest, and resulted in a York victory.

The second phase involved a rebellion within the York family which provided an opportunity  for the Lancaster’s to reassert their claim.

They briefly succeeded, but the crown soon fell back into the hands of the Yorks.

The third phase occurred following the death of the Yorkish King Edward IV,  and was fought between Richard III and Henry Tudor a distant cousin on the Lancaster side.

 It’s not an easy war to follow in terms of alliances, or military progress.

There are so many twists, treachery, changing sides and battles, so I shall focus on the elements that appear in The Sunne in Splendour.

By the way, I started reading the book yesterday and I couldn’t put it down.

I thought the vocabulary wasn’t bad at all, and with the help of my trusted Kindle 3 dictionary, I didn’t come across any phrases that would prove to be challenging.

Here’s are the key elements of what I’ve read.

Please be warned, there may be spoilers if you haven’t started the book yet!

We meet Richard (nicknamed Dickon, because that’s such an adorable name for a young boy…) on the eve of the attack on Ludlow village and its Castle, a major base in The War of the Roses.

In the first chapter we are introduced to some members of Richard’s family:

Ma Mere meaning Richard’s mother, Cecily Neville, Duchess of York, wife to  Richard Plantagenet, 3rd Duke of York.

Richard’s brother Edward (Ned), 4th Duke of York, 7th Earl of March, 5th Earl of Cambridge and 9th Earl of Ulster.

He goes on to become Edward IV.

Edmund, Earl of Rutland, second surviving son of Richard Plantagenet, 3rd Duke of York.

George, only a few years older than Richard,  1st Duke of Clarence, 1st Earl of Salisbury, 1st Earl of Warwick.

I think it’s best to keep an eye out on George, as he’ll be playing a very important role later on.

The Queen Margaret of Anjou continues to raise support for the King Henry VI among noblemen,whilst the Yorkist command under the Duke of York is finding anti-royal support despite the severe punishment for raising arms against the King.

The Yorkist force based at Middleham Castle in Yorkshire need to link up with the main Yorkist army at Ludlow Castle in Shropshire.

As Salisbury marches south-west through the Midlands the Queen orders Lord Audley to raise a force to intercept them.

This results in a bloody battle, but also signified that the Queen is set on war.

Fearing that an attack on Ludlow is imminent, all the male members of the York House escape, leaving behind Cecily and her two youngest sons George and Richard.

The assumption is that no harm will come to them, as the code of conduct forbids involving women and children in fights.

Ah, but will it?

You’ll have to start reading the book to find out 🙂

I found the character of Margaret of Anjou fascinating, but then I would!

I found this clip very interesting clip:

 

Collective Reading of The Sunne in Splendour and I want YOU to be a part of it!

You’ve probably heard about Sharon Kay Penman’s The Sunne in Splendour.

It’s the book Richard Armitage mentions in the  Vulpes Libris interview as one of his favorites.

This autumn and winter Fanny/iz4blue over at DistRActed musings of one ReAlity is organising a collective read of this historical fiction novel.

The group read will be accompanied by Richard III Bloggers and their ‘ fun activities‘.

Oh Dear 😉

The first deadline is:

Sept 23rd : Chapters 1 + 5 of Book One : Edward

Now, I know what many of you are thinking (I’ve had these thought too…):

Firstly, that bloke Richard III? Again?

He’s not even that good-looking!

What’s up with this obsession regarding some historical figure I don’t really know much about!

Why should I care?

Secondly, how can I possibly read an epic novels the size of a dictionary?

I don’t have the time/language skills/background knowledge to do that.

Here’s the deal.

I don’t really know anything about Richard III.

My fascination with British History starts with Henry VIII, and why couldn’t Richard Armitage and Papa Armitage be fascinated with him?

At least I’d know what the heck we’re talking about…

Then again, he’d have to be called Henry Armitage 😉

But I’d really like to learn more, as it seems like an important aspect to the Armitage fandom.

That’s why I’ve decided to set off on a quest.

And, you guessed it, I’m taking you with me!

I’m going to create a few Richard III for Dummies posts for all of you out there who (like me) haven’t got a clue!

By the end of it you still won’t be able to answer the Servetus RIII scavenger hunt questions, but maybe a little background knowledge will help with understanding The Sunne in Splendour.

That’s my second aim!

No matter if English is your native language or not, I want all of us to give the book a try.

Yes, I mean YOU!

No excuses!

That’s why I’ll be writing a post after each chapter I read to help with vocabulary, phrases etc.

Don’t get me wrong, it may be a case of the blind leading the blind, or the ignorant leading the ignorant 🙂

As the first deadline is in 15 days, that comes to roughly 1 chapter every 2 days or so.

That’s 80 pages.

I want all of us to exercise our little grey cells (as Poirot would put it).

Even if we don’t get to share our thoughts on twitter #ArmitageWatch with  #RA4R3, let’s read it because we can!

Let’s do it because the Armitage Fandom knows no boundaries!

Because a thing like a language barrier shouldn’t stand in the way of knowing more!

Learning and being exposed to new things is one of the most endearing aspects of our community.

Who’s with me?

Illustration: Martin Rowson/Guardian

You can purchase this The Sunne in Splendour on Amazon, and help support an RA charity.

For more info go here.

For those who are having trouble with getting their hands on the book, for whatever reason, please email me at iwanttobeapinup[at]wp.pl

WE CAN DO THIS!!!

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