Sir Peter and his gang launched a brilliant PR campaign to unveil the Hobbit dwarves over the past week. The big question became when would Thorin (aka Richard Armitage) be revealed. I’m not a Tolkien fan. I never read any of the books but did see all the LotR films as seasonal blockbuster entertainment. The whole suspense of “how will Thorin look?” swept me up in spite of myself. But truthfully the question for my shallow self was “what will they do to Richard?” This was an extension of the debate raging since he was cast: why cast a younger good looking man to play an older dwarf leader if they are going to obliterate those looks in make-up and prosthetics? (Keep in mind I know nothing about the books and hence can happily wallow in my shallowness.) Well, he burst upon the scene yesterday. Everybody and their sisters and brothers rushed to judge.
Thorin shows off his knife. Courtesy of OneRing.net
I felt a bit let down. For one, he is hardly recognizable. After examining his blurry image from the hobbit reveal a few weeks back, I concluded in relief that RA was prosthetics-free. But this shows he has enhancements to his nose, brow and fingers. Something else bothered me too but I couldn’t quite put my finger on it. Otherwise, I loved the costume and long flowing grey streaked hair complete with braid.
Throughout the day I read mostly positive reactions, that RA looked awesome, that they could see RA in there, that Thorin was fierce and perfectly realized. Okay, if they said so. Then I fell over a reference on Twitter which caused me to laugh out loud.
You've got to admit Worf was hot stuff. Courtesy Cine TextAllStar
Thorin looks like a Klingon without ridges. There. I said it. C’mon, you have to notice a similarity. Look at the wide noses, very prominent brows, long hair, facial hair, and reputation for uber maleness and fierceness. I couldn’t help making the Klingon comparison because it was the only thing to which I could relate. Well, this amused me most of the day while I remained ambivalent about Thorin’s look. I perused TheOneRing.net to see how real Tolkien fans handled it. The positive reactions gave way to scathing reviews from purists who exclaimed that Thorin and all the other dwarves looked nothing like described in the book and that Sir Peter was leading their literary masterpiece to rack and ruin. Others retorted there was wiggle room in the book’s descriptions for interpretation and besides the films were adaptions, not literal translations intended to target both fans and larger audiences. This sounded reasonable and fair. I wasn’t perturbed by some of the overly hostile reactions and chuckled as I imagined Thorin as Worf’s long lost older brother.
However this morning I came across a tweet that said in essence: “Yes, that Klingon is Richard Armitage. This is promising to be the unsexiest blockbuster of next year, what a waste. (my italics)” What a waste? I thought that harsh and went about my business. As I showered (don’t we think our deepest thoughts in the shower?), it dawned on me. What on earth was that tweeter expecting? What was I expecting, an older, shorter, stubbier S3 Guy of Gisborne? Actually, if S3 Guy had shown up, I would have been thrilled to the tips of my toenails. But Thorin is a dwarf not a man; any other depiction would harm the integrity of the book. A Tolkien dwarf is not meant to make fans swoon in lust, except maybe Fili, but he’s young.
So I look at Thorin with new eyes. He has the nose, brow and fingers befitting a dwarf. The eyeliner, and long black mane and leather suggest S3 Guy which is fine with me. His gray streaks and lines denote an older but still vital leader. The picture is dark but I’m sure we will be able to see RA’s lovely expressive eyes with no problem. So yes, they toned down the pretty boy aspect but RA is still there underneath. And who knows, through RA’s acting, we may find him sexy indeed. I have no doubt RA will do this character justice.
Thorin will be awesome.