All fan events start with a journey. I live about five hours, give or take an hour or so, from New York City depending on what mode of transportation I use. Thursday my choice was the bus, not my preferred mode of transport, but the cheapest. As people chatted around me on the crowded bus, a song kept playing inside my head.
I'll fast forward through things a bit. Got to New York, stopped to get something to eat, and got to the theater around 11:30am. Now remember, the movie was starting at 7:00pm and the Q&A with Richard and Lee would follow. As I got closer I saw there was a line already, about 12 or so people at that moment, though I knew that would change. I took my place in the line. After a while it started to snow, wet snow, and it was cold. A man came out to talk to us a few times, later discovered he was from the Los Angeles Times, and told us they were going to take us into the theater shortly. True to his word, this first group, our group.was guided into the theater to get our wrist bands and go up to the 4th floor, to stand in line again. We stood, or sat, or leaned, against the wall, and that was our home until about 6:30pm. (I'm not always checking my watch so times are approximate.) But we were inside and warm.
I talked to a few of the people in line when I first joined. Those near me seemed to be a group of RA and LP fans. We didn't talk much after we got inside. The others around me seemed to be a combination of Hobbit/Tolkien fans, RA fans, LP fans, movie fans...all excited about the night events to come.
There was another line outside now, waiting.
I'm just going to give some of my impressions of the Q&A with Armitage and Pace and of The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies.
Hero Complex said there would be a video of the Q&A posted on their site. I hope they post the entire Q&A and not just bits and pieces. Some intrepid fans have already posted vids with some of the Q&A that evening.
* I was two seats away from Richard when he came down the steps on my side of the theater towards the stage at the start of the Q&A. It was very quick, so I only caught a glimpse of the stubble, and his profile. (Lee also came down the steps first, but I was concentrating on seeing Richard, so didn't look at him.)
* This is the third time I've seen Richard "in-the-flesh" and he's looked slightly different each time, though the same Richard as a person. He was in a slightly mischievous mood I thought, having a great time with the fabulous cosplayers, and enjoying the audience of fans in his reserved and quiet way and naughty twinkle in his eye.
* This is the second time I've seen Lee Pace in person. The first time was at The Hobbit: AUJ premiere in New York more than two years ago, Then he had these ugly sideburns because of a play he was in at the time. We didn't talk to him that night, but saw him several times. He seemed taller this time, and much better looking without those sideburns.
* My personal highlights of the Q&A:
1. Richard's revelation that he won a fastest growing beard award or title from the Royal Shakespeare Company (something like that, can't remember exact words) when he was in Macbeth. Apparently it is truly a "beard of wonder". Not only a funny and cute moment, but also a new bit of info about him!
2. The little girl and her mother who made the cookies and sweets for Lee and Richard as a present, that was a sweet and magical moment, and Lee's story about his mother bringing homemade cookies home from school at Christmas (his mother was a teacher).They both looked so delighted with the present.
3. Bringing the marvelous cosplayers on stage with them and taking the time to take photos together,
4. Richard's delight at speaking Khuzdul and his favorite insult!
* There were really no new questions asked or answered about The Hobbit in the interview, either from the moderator or the fans. I hoped that since we had all just seen the movie and they were all aware we had, that there would be more questions about the final scenes that we couldn't discuss because of spoilers. Then again, others would still see the vid (or vids) and there would have been spoilers in any case.
* I really haven't seen many video interviews with Lee Pace,or many interviews really,and never live of course, and found him to have a very "guy next door" easygoing charm, very comfortable interacting with fans, and seemed to be having lots of fun sharing with us.
* Richard's eyebrows! Think he could create and entire character and make a movie just using the movement of his eyebrows alone, no words. One raising of one eyebrow can say a thousand words. (And I wasn't even sitting that close!)
* The special thrill of hearing Richard's voice coming from him in person, still as addictive as ever.
I was happy to share the Q&A and movie experience with a group of fellow RA fans. Thank you for inviting me to join you, it was great fun to spend time with you all. See you around Armitage World and hope to see you all again for the next Armitage movie happening.
What a pleasure to have the opportunity of spending this special time with two charming and very talented men after just having watched their work on screen in the company of fellow fans. I'm ready to do this again right now! Thank you Lee and Richard.
The Hobbit: The Battle of The Five Armies:
Again, just some impressions, not really a review. I'll try not to have any spoilers. Very difficult to talk about the movie without going into that forbidden territory of what happens to the story of the heirs of Durin, but I'll try.
% Movie starts out all action and it really grabs your attention and from that moment time just flew by for me.
% The movie belongs to Thorin. Oh yes, I'm a Richard Armitage fan, but I truly believe even if I had never heard of him before, I would admit the movie belongs to him.
% I love Ryan Gage, and he's even favorited one of my Tweets on Twitter (love you more Ryan), and I enjoy Alfrid, but there is maybe a little too much of a good thing in this film. Time the movie could spend with the Dwarves and Bilbo.
% Too many elves, especially Legolas. Good to see Orlando Bloom, but some scenes again took time better spent elsewhere exploring other characters. I wanted to get back to Erebor.
% The romance between Tauriel and Kili still doesn't entirely work for me, but I confess tears were streaming down my cheeks watching a certain scene between the two of them.
% Several of the battle scenes, despite all that CGI, are thrilling to watch. Close to Helm's Deep level.
% Great moment for LOTR fans to see Saruman (Christopher Lee), Elrond (Hugo Weaving) and Galadriel (Cate Blanchett) battling evil together
% Spoilers (possibly): Without venturing into the forbidden scenes, two that will stand out for me: 1. Thorin giving a certain gift to Bilbo and what happens in that scene between them knowing what we know and Thorin doesn't, 2. Thorin and Dwalin surrounded by gold, I wasn't sure about this scene seeing it in the trailer, but it's an entire different scene in the movie from what I expected, and it engaged my feelings about these two old friends.
% Bilbo might not have been afraid of Thorin Oakenshield, but I was, afraid of him, and afraid for him.
% My favorite scene outside of Erebor before the evil ones arrive is the tent scene with Thranduil, Gandalf, and Bard. Three political powers maneuvering for their side.
% Thorin's battle - the word that came to my mind is "elegant" and once it started I could barely breathe. Ice and Fire.
% Wonderful performances by all the cast, especially Richard Armitage, Martin Freeman, Luke Evans,Aidan Turner, Lee Pace, Graham McTavish, everyone in the cast
% Whatever quibbles I may have about some of Peter Jackson's choices in this film, they were inconsequential as emotions swept me away at the end. I'm looking forward more than ever to the Extended Edition.
I will see the film again on Monday. Oh yes, I'm going to The Hobbit Trilogy Marathon at a theater near me.
I take horrible photos, but a few more below anyway.
(Farther away than they actually were)