Thursday 29 August 2013

King Richard III for Richard Armitage

... from a totally un-historic perspective

[This article was originally meant to be a series of 7 articles during the KingRichardArmitage Week 2013, but due to time pressure, the topic did not get the planned wider execution, but now comes condensed and shortened down to this minimal rump-post. Please excuse the wide range and only touching of an abundance of topics. I just want to put down these ideas somewhere, to keep them.]

King Richard III had so much drama in his life that it was even too much for the congenial William Shakespeare.
He needed to flatten his character into inrecognizablility to be able to bring him on the stage.

But why is that and why do I think an artist like Richard Armitage could do more and bring more aspects of the complicated life of King Richard III to a wider audience and show new aspects of an individual, so far flattened and simplified into unrecognizability by either literature and research?

My main question is, what aspects prevent King Richard III from getting a just and scientifically adequate research into his life?

  • His blood relationship to the current royal house reigning over England?
  •  His supporters giving the impression (though at closer contact mostly a false one) of manufacturing facts in their / his favour.
  • Scholars have established their position and hate to be wrong or proven wrong about something.
  • King Richard III just is such a convenient villain one need not think further about. That is much easier than to do extensive research about him.

King Richard III really was busy during his just 32 years long life. He is accused of being a:

father figure murderer - getting rid of opposition and his former tutor and fatherly friend

murderer out of envy - murdering the first husband of his later wife to make her available for himself 

brother murderer - out of greed, to gain the inheritance of his wife, to ascertain his succession into power

king murderer - to fulfill his duty towards his oldest brother King Edward IV.

murderer of Scotts - good that was war and ordered by his brother and no closer sources are available about that, but we certainly can invent some kind of case around that 

child murderer - to gain power

wife murderer - to fulfill his duty as king, to ascertain a secure bloodline and consequential peace for his country

friend murderer - to ascertain and continue in his ill-gained position as king and defeat all opposition.

We should note, that except for his wife, King Richard III was very friendly towards women and tried to avoid killing those. So, unlike Jack the Ripper, his preference clearly was on men.
That could make it a decidedly good role for Richard Armitage and his female fans ;o)

Getting rid of, ... - sorry, just read a book about a court case, where the end-consequence really lead me to feel happy that some of the men were just...
I would not have even stopped at the end and had some more candidates I would have gotten rid of as author. Unfortunately, the real author of the book did not agree with me on that and left some of the annoying men alive at the end.

But King Richard, the murderer, we already discussed in the last post as well. That is the most common interpretation of his character.

The interesting thing about King Richard III is that he has - or could be manipulated/interpreted into having - so many more character traits to make him the ideal subject for a film crew.

Just to list a few which readily came to my mind:

  • The forgiving brother / husband / son / guardian.
  • The frightened child.
  • The fearful and uprooted son.
  • The carefree participant of social games and play at his home in Middleham.
  • The loving husband.
  • The learned / well educated scholar.
  • The pious man.
  • The obedient subject to his king and older brother Edward IV.
  • The able ruler.
  • The observant creator and founder.
  • The open-minded and loyal friend.
  • The power-sensitive observer.
  • The patient creator and taker of opportunities.
  • The brave warrior.
  • The envious brother.
  • The greedy husband, marrying an exceedingly wealthy dowry, not the woman. (Though it was disputed and needed a good and long fight to achieve it.)
  • The power crazy conniver.
  • The devilish single-minded king.
  • The forgiving patron of York.
  • The able and merciful ruler over England.
  • The political tactician.
  • The far planning patron of trade.
  • The wise founder of learning & universities (Cambridge, Kings College).
  • The supporter of liberty and free spreading of knowledge. (Printing trade)
  • The straight forward fighter in conflict.
  • The defender of the weak.

There is not really much of an emotional sentiment you cannot in some way or other dump on King Richard III.
Is it possibly not too few murder cases but too much drama in King Richard III's life for film makers?
Are they not able to cope with such a multitude, after all, not even Shakespeare could cope with all of it and was only able to show an un-recognizable excerpt of King Richard III's life in his drama?

Is King Richard III just too much for the abilities of today's film makers?

Still, I believe Richard Armitage could do better than what was previously done with the subject.

If you agree with me, please sign the KingRichardArmitage Petition!

King Richard Armitage Week 2013

(Picture of Richard Armitage is an edited version of this picture - source: - by Robert Ascroft)

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