Finally! We get a really good look at the exquisitely talented British actor Richard Armitage’s character of Sir Raymond De Merville in his recently filmed and now in post production project “Pilgrimage”! Richard Armitage tweeted the link to a The Hollywood Reporter article about “Pilgrimage” that included this production still image of Richard Armitage (below right) and actor Tristan McConnell (?) (below left):
And Richard Armitage’s character portrait does not disappoint. In fact, it astounds me. Yet again, Richard Armitage has managed to embody a new character with subtley nuanced physical changes to his person. In this case, the pointy bangs. Love them! And I seriously had to do a double take to make sure that my eyes were interpreting the character figure as Richard Armitage because the bangs plus the beard transforms his physicality into embodying this new persona.
As intended, Richard Armitage’s knightly costume gives this character an air of wealthy nobility, but also fierceness. It looks like Mr. Armitage’s character is wearing chain mail under his decorative tunic and shoulder-arm armour. Chain mail being a somewhat lighter weight and more flexible (for movement) alternative to full on armour–and a necessary protection for the violent times in the period of this film.
And for overall composition of the scene still that producers chose to release, Richard Armitage as Raymond De Merville’s sword becoming unsheathed in this image creates a sense of urgency for me. They are moving forward–if not to attack, to be ready defensively were they to be attacked. So this scene implies danger, as well as, strategic maneuvering to me.
And in general, the angularity of the shapes on RA’s “Pilgrimage” character ensemble–apart from the rounded shoulder armour plates–make him seem harder, tougher, the bad*** of the Middle Ages. Pointy bangs, check! Sharpe cross like sword, check! Vertically flowing tunic making him look even more impossibly huge, check!
Raymond De Merville Coat of Arms
And one more image that I’m drawn to in this production still is the coat of arms on RA’s nobleknight Raymond De Merville character’s tunic. Here is that coat of arms up close to the right. The symbolism on any coat of arms is carefully chosen. So having forayed once into that realm of historical research–by creating the coat of arms for the Sir Guy of Gisborne character in my fan fic “Sir Guy’s Dilemma”–I just had to look at this De Merville coat of arms more closely. And a disclaimer here, I am no expert on coats of arms. So what follows is just my interpretation based upon what I have read. Though this De Merville coat of arms is not a terribly complex, it does have some interesting elements.
There are two large winged birds called “supporters” flanking a central shield. Supporters refer to the individual’s rank–and whether their title is hereditary or not. I couldn’t find the key for the bird supporters–and they vary by country as to what rank they specifically refer. And visually, the supporters above with their splayed wings tend to increase the overall size of the coat of arms–by almost twice its width. No one would miss seeing this coat of arms. But they also add a pleasing design element in what is, for all intents and purposes, a rather bare bones coat of arms.
The central unifying image is a shield–aka an “escutcheon”– standard issue for coats of arms. The shape of the shield/escutcheon also conveys the region or era of the coat of arms. So just like car shapes change over time and in different countries, so did the escutcheons in coats of arms. And the simple halving of the sections of the shield into top half and bottom half is what is known as the “party per fess” form.
And different parts of the shield in a coat of arms have different purposes or themes. In this shield’s bottom half, there looks like to me to be a symbol of a mythical griffin creature that is part lion and part raptor/bird–and thought to be “especially powerful and majestic”. So in choosing this symbol, there might be an allusion to royalty–in that, the De Merville’s are either related to royalty by birth or marriage, or they are in the king’s inner circle of counselors, perhaps having done some service to the crown.
Then above the griffin–and neatly separating the shield into two parts–is a vertically pointing upward chevron. The chevron is what is referred to as an “ordinary” and being the most recognizable symbol from a distance on the coat of arms, serves to identify its wearer/owner. You wouldn’t want to attack someone on your own side, now would you?
Updated clarification: Finally, the top of the shield seems to have another symbolic element called a cadency, (thanks to French Resident for this clarification); it is a “label” symbol referring to first born son with father possibly alive; see my comment below in it. See French Resident’s clarifying comment below and my reply. Bouncing off the 1st born son notion, I posit that Raymond De Merville’s character motivations might include family legacy–both honouring and continuing/extending it–especially if his father is alive. Who doesn’t want to make their father proud? But since Richard Armitage’s character in one account was referred to as being “misanthrophic”, we might presume that Raymond is attempting to thwart the relic getting to its destination. The question remains as to “why” would he want to thwart it? Hmmm. Ponderings for a future post. Ha!
Update: I was wrong about thinking it was a “key” symbol in the shield, but a picture of Thorin is always Yummy: To me, it appears to be a key lying on its side. If it is a key, it could refer to several meanings literally and figuratively–keys to the kingdom, unlocking learning, etc. And of course, with Richard Armitage having portrayed Thorin Oakenshield in The Hobbit trilogy–where the key to Erebor figured prominently [right, RANet–perhaps there is a little inside joke film allusion there. Oh and, check out Thorin’s pointy hairline compared to De Merville’s pointy bang hairline. Hmmmm.
But I digress. Richard Armitage portraying Raymond De Merville looks commandingly fierce. Purrrr! So I very much look forward to seeing “Pilgrimage” in theatres. With the basic film plot referring to monks having to transport a holy relic and Raymond De Merville as a knight with ulterior motives, this film looks to be an intrigues laden, good old fashioned thriller–with plenty of action adventure and swoon worthy knights in the person of Richard Armitage and such to appeal to a wide range of audience interests.
P.S. And here are a few other bloggers and such who wrote or created something about the “Pilgrimage” image in social media:
1) Ancient Armitage, Obscura looks at other “pointy” objects and hair styles in her post (PG-13) (right): http://ancientarmitage.wordpress.com/2015/06/08/its-the-most-wonderful-time-of-the-year-richard-armitage/
2) Lady Juliet6 tweeted the initial art of what will surely be a stampede to immortalize RA as Raymond De Merville in romance book cover art with her lovely edit (right)–perhaps we could title this story, “A Knight to Remember”:
3) M.I. Rogers post comparing GizTheGunslinger’s stunning KR3 drawing of a few years ago of a warrior King Richard 3rd to this new RA role in “Pilgrimage” (right):
(Update: See additional References below for the left hand stunning King Richard III drawing by GizTheGunslinger.)
Film, Historical, and Image References also hyperlinked above
Sparse “Pilgrimage” movie news so far at IMDB: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt3531202/?ref_=nv_sr_1
Coat of arms: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coat_of_arms
Heraldry (this is really comprehensive): http://www.internationalheraldry.com/
Griffin symbol: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Griffin
The Hollywood Reporter article with a first look about Richard Armitage in “Pilgrimage”:
News and resources about British actor Richard Armitage: www.RichardArmitageNet.com
Update: Additional References for GizTheGunslinger’s stunning King Richard III drawing, and such:
Found at this King Richard Armitage interview post about Giz by CDoart:
And collaterally, a very nice discussion of Medieval armour by Fabo: