Aug 1, 2010

The eyes have it.

by Nikki Logan

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'?


  1. Eyes... hmmm... they get me everytime. One of those looks and I'm gone. Not sure what it is, but it melts me.

    Aiden Quinn is my eye man. I don't know what it is about his eyes but they catch me everytime.


  2. Hey, great topic, Nikki!

    I cast Richard Armitage as the hero in my Feb release, Million-Dollar Amnesia Scandal. And it wasn't just for his eyes - it's his voice too. Gorgeous.

    But it looks like there are some new photos since I did my research a while ago. Wish I'd had that picture at the top for my collage!

  3. Nikki, I've heard lots of people rave about both Richard Armitage and North and South. Clearly, I have some viewing to do! Do you know that you're not the only LoveCat to use Armitage as the inspiration for your hero. Rachel, are you out there...?

  4. Oops, I see Rachel posted while I was away from the pc. Should have refreshed the page!

  5. Catherine - ooh, Aiden... yes... those baby blues. Nice choice.

    Rach - great minds think (and blog) alike, hey :) I'll email you the top pic in its uncropped form. Positively drool-worthy. And yes... that voice. I hear he's done a wildlife doco (siberian tigers or something). Must look that up. Armitage in the wild...

    Emily - I just finised N&S (Elizabeth Gaskell *slap* thanks Rach) and it was such an enjoyable film, must have been a terrific (and epic) book.

  6. Nikki, I love how you describe Nathan's eyes as almost another character -- am looking forward to meeting this man!

    You know, I don't collage and I don't try to find a pic to capture what my heroes look like, but if I looked at that top pic of your Richard Armitage every time I sat down to write... Actually, no, scrap that. I'd be too busy drooling to write :-)

  7. Nikki, big news for some of us... I found that Richard Armitage has done audiobooks for three or four Georgette Heyer novels - at least Venetia, Sylvester and The Convenient Marriage.
    They might find their way onto my birthday wishlist. :)

  8. Hi Nikki --
    Great inspiration for your hero and great eyes.

    Hugh Jackman is my all time fav -- I love him as the brooding Wolverine in the X-Men. It's not just the eyes's the entire package. *Sigh* Can't seem to use him as inspiration for a character though -- like you said, too many preconceptions.

  9. THose baby blue peepers are something else aren't they! Wonder what thoughts lie behind such a look...

  10. Michelle - I have the white one on my desktop (alongside heroine pic) and it *is* throughly distracting. But I refer to it every time things get intense on the page and it really helps.

    Rach - OMG, the dulcet Armitage tones to go with the eyes :) And a dose of Heyer at the same time. Perfect!!

    Anna - yes, poor Hugh's fame has spoiled him for writers everywhere, but he DOES have lovely intense eyes. Actually what's most lovely about his eyes are the laugh-lines in the corners. You know that man smiles a lot (and probably at his family), which is gorgeous.

    Mel - I"ve cropped the pic too. It came from a super blue background that just made those eyes POP right off the page. What's he thinking? Probably 'come on, get the shot already. I'm gasping for a pint at the local.' LOL.

    Sue - HEY!!! First post?? Nice job. :)

  11. Nikki, I'm so late to the discussion but oooooo it was so worth visiting! I do love a nice pair of eyes! And actually one of my fav county and western songs has a line in it about a man with "blue eyes and blue jeans"!

    Actually, there are a few songs that mention eyes - for instance "When Irish Eyes Are Smiling"... and there's another one playing at the edge of my memory too... but not coming any closer!

    Really eyes of any colour grab me - especially when they're full of humour!