This week I finally managed to find a face to fit my latest hero.
I finished watching the BBC filming of Catherine Gaskill’s ‘North and South’ and knew that my Nathan was going to be Richard Armitage.
Now, as a rule I steer away from using famous people for my inspirations because either they’re horribly cliché or they come loaded with too many preconceptions (and in the case of Armitage I was sure I’d have trouble evicting Sir Guy of Gisborne in all his leather-clad glory from my subconscious).
But…my Nathan’s so very battle-scarred from his difficult upbringing and so completely closed off to the good things in life and—page after page—something keeps coming up for him; his blazing, intense eyes.
So really… Why didn’t I think of Armitage earlier?
Look up smouldering in the thesaurus and you’ll find brooding; sultry; Armitage. Okay, no you won’t, but perhaps in a future edition.
I’ve always considered myself a back-and-shoulders girl but I think I’ve matured into an appreciator of a good pair of peepers. There’s nothing a good simmering gaze can’t offset. In Armitage’s case he has a wonderful jawline but his lips are a little too thin and his nose a little too long to be called classically ‘handsome’. But those amazing eyes blow everything else out of the room the moment he steps into it.
Now, I’m not entirely sure I’d want to live with all that intensity (imagine facing that when you’re bickering over the remote-control) and—quite apart from anything else—every time he’d throw that molten glance my way I’d be crawling into his lap and then nothing would ever get done.
But…sigh…I do love it on a page.
For me it’s more than just windows of the soul stuff. Expressive eyes are like having a second character on the page. He can be doing one thing, saying one thing but his eyes will be doing something completely different. Adding layers to the complexity of a good character. Lying. Keeping secrets. Burning to share. Closing down. Glittering with desire. Darkening with lust. Creasing with amusement. Flaring with awareness. Bleeding with betrayal. They can be hooded, heavy-lidded, blazing, begging. Or, awfully… chilling, flat, lifeless.
For me… I’ll take ‘give me the remote or take me to bed’ eyes, any day.
Who does the best smoulder in your opinion? What fabulous potential brooders-through-time am I missing? Or are you totally over 'darkening eyes' and 'hooded gazes'?