Who wants to join me on an Adventure? Bilbo Baggins did not want to leave his nice, cozy Hobbit hole, but Gandalf had other plans for him. When those pesky Dwarves showed up on his doorstep, he was really annoyed! But then they had a map with secret runes, and sang a mysterious song of travelling to far-off places. Bilbo was hooked! Yeah, there was the fact that at the end of the journey there was a fire-breathing dragon. But what would they find on the way there? The unknown. An Adventure.
For me, being a fan of something is like that. It’s an Adventure. I get hooked and find myself walking down an unknown road, going who knows where. Maybe it’s the road to Rivendell, maybe to a fire-breathing dragon! Whatever it is, it’s more exciting than “Real Life”. Don’t get me wrong, I love RL. I am grateful every day for my family, my friends, my pets, my home, my job. The air, the sky, the trees. Real Life is wonderful!
But also full of boring bits and sad bits and just plain aggravating bits. So when I find myself enraptured with something – people, places or things – everything is just a little bit more exciting. I get enthusiastic and my eyes sparkle and I smile a lot more. I’m interested and my mind is active. Sometimes I start out in a fan of one thing and wind up a fan of another. All of these things are part of who I am. Part of my journey through life.
I accept that this is who I am. Part of my RL self is my fantasy self, my fangirl self. Since I was a child I’ve been like that. It definitely has something to do with fantasy – being able to imagine yourself as someone else, living somewhere else, interacting with fictional characters, or an actor, or in a book, or movie. It adds something to life. It’s an escape from the not-so-great bits of RL.
Currently I am a fan of Richard Armitage, the actor. He adds so much to my life. The characters he creates, his interviews, his voice, his unknown real self. Lots to fantasize about there. Along the way I’ve somehow become part of a community of people who are also on this journey of Richard Armitage fandom. They have different reasons and different ways of expressing and experiencing that fandom. I’ve learned so much from so many of them. Showing me different aspects of Mr. Armitage, looking at him and his work in ways I would not think of myself. Writing about him, painting him, photoshopping him to achieve effects that illustrate some aspect of him or their feelings about him, doing videos. Creating content about him that gives me something to think about and that allows me to escape from RL for a little while.
All I know, is that when I think about Richard Armitage, I smile. Yes I do! Why? He makes me happy. I hear his voice and I smile. I see pictures of him and I smile. I watch him perform a character or himself and it makes me smile.
This is what fandom means to me. I know others have other views. But I refuse to give up my Adventure. I have stepped outside my door and am on The road that goes ever on and on, down from the door where it began. Now far ahead the road has gone, and I must follow if I can, pursuing it with eager feet, until it meets a larger way, where many paths and errands meet. And whither, then, I cannot say. (Poetry by J.R.R. Tolkien – from memory!)
Which brings me to The Hobbit: Desolation of Smaug Visual Companion, introduction by Richard Armitage. Reading Mr. Armitage’s introduction HERE made me very happy today. I have always adored interviews with RA where he has launched into some detailed explanation of some aspect of Middle Earth and its creator, J.R.R. Tolkien. This introduction has confirmed to me that he thinks about Tolkien in a way that appeals to me. It makes me happy that he was able to participate in illustrating a bit of Tolkien’s work that we fans can appreciate and fantasize about. Bringing one of Tolkien’s creations to life. Wow.
I hope I still have lots of others on this Adventure with me. I am so grateful that I have been able to meet some of them and are able to communicate with so many others. I am so grateful to be able to offer my thoughts for others to consider and agree with or reject. To give others an opportunity to escape RL for a moment or two and think about Adventure! And Richard Armitage, of course! ;D