I’ve been re-watching BBC’s Robin Hood recently. I might decide to write something about that another day, but right now, I just feel like talking about one character in particular.
No, not Robin Hood. Jonas Armstrong plays him very well, but Robin is really not a very likable character. Start of series one, he’s snogging a random girl, so he must’ve really missed Marian, right? And the way he treats Much is dispicable. Much is a really sweet character, albeit on the terribly naive side, but he’s the sort of friend that sticks with you in thick and thin. His reward? Being bullied! Seriously, it isn’t right. Then we have the whole peeping tom thing Robin does ever so often, especially when Marian’s with Guy. Now, what would those scenes have been like if she didn’t know Robin was there, eh?
Anyway, that brings me on to the whole point of this post: Guy of Gisborne.
I never really liked the show when it was first shown on BBC a few years ago, but I quite liked its baddies. The Sheriff (Keith Allen) makes me giggle and Gisborne (Richard Armitage) is just… well, everything you’d want a baddie to be. Tall, dark, handsome… uh… no, hang on, that’s not what I meant. I meant, uh, he’s bad! Okay, the clothes in the first two series aren’t really my cup of tea. 1980s rockstar indeed. I know it’s a kind of 80s fashion revival going on right now, to which I just want to scream “WHYYYYYYY?!” because seriously, I’m quite happy to be born in the 1980s, because that means I don’t remember a lot of things about it – I have seen pictures… it wasn’t pretty! Where was I? Yeah, the 80s revival – FFS, couldn’t they just let sleeping dogs lie?! – didn’t exactly look like medieval England to me, and that’s beside the guyliner and yellow neckerchief (decidedly not a cravat, because cravats are hawt).
But the character himself… oh my gosh golly gee.
First off, he’s twice the man Robin ever was, and he’s the most nuanced and likable character in the whole show! Yes, okay, so he took his illegitimate baby son out to die in the woods, but I’ll see past that. By series two, he wouldn’t do such a thing.
Let’s re-cap: End of series one, Marian had agreed to marry him, then dumps him violently at the altar. Series two, you can see he’s really hurt by her actions, and even though he’s trying to move on, he still loves her. (Robin, on the other hand, he might say pretty words but I don’t actually believe them.) Guy still cares for her, and yet she seems to start the series with “why are you so rude to me all of a sudden?” (seriously, Marian? You dumped him, remember?) and then she just goes on to being a manipulative bitch, luring him this way with sweet words and kisses… and like the lovesick puppy that he is, he totally buys into it. And then, noooo, “sod off, Guy, I’m Mrs. Hood now! Didn’t see that one coming did you? HAHA!” It’s the ultimate put-down. The woman he loves really has never felt anything for him, it was all just an act… and now she’s gone and married Mr. I-can-shoot-arrows-me. The end of series two – she totally had it coming, and good riddance, I say!
On to series three, where they all of a sudden decided to give everyone a more time-appropriate set of costumes (FINALLY!) and let Guy’s hair grow. Some varied opinions on this among the fans, of course, but I just have to say wow, if I wasn’t sold on Gizzy before, series three was the clincher. I only decided to follow series three because Toby Stephens was going to be in it, and I didn’t know in which episode he’d be (IMDb lied and said all of them, turned out to be just three), so I decided to watch it from the beginning. I’m glad I did.
The first thing that came to my mind when I saw Guy was “that’s what Snape looks like!” and that made me all warm and fuzzy, even though I’m not actually a Snape fangirl. From Snape, the leap to one of my roleplaying characters isn’t very far at all, and it dawned on me that while he looked like Snape, he also looked a terrible lot like my darling Fishy… and so I just had to continue watching. PJ (i.e. Stephens) would show up eventually, and until then, I’d be happy to just eye up Guy.
Dark, brooding, longing… Not just that RA is gorgeous, he’s also a splendid actor. His attempts to make skins crawl when playing Gizzy didn’t really pay off, because of all the characters on the show, Guy is actually the only character I sympathise with. Robin’s a right git, the Outlaws are a bunch of muppets and Marian’s a bitch, so it’s the baddies that make the show. The Sheriff is of a rather two-dimensional stock as well, but at least he’s fun and if he’s a cruel bastard, that’s because he’s meant to be that way. He’s not the hero of the piece. When the hero of the piece is a cruel bastard and you actually wish that the Sheriff would lock him up once and for all, you’ve failed, really. (While Rickman’s Sheriff was deliciously evil in Prince of Thieves, you still knew Robin was the hero.)
Guy is the show’s only real three-dimensional character, and I really felt so sorry for him when Marian kissed him as a distraction (2.8 I think it was). The show feels quite confused. Are we supposed to hope the bad guys win? Is it actually the Guy of Gisborne show, or why is he the only character worth caring about? While we do appreciate gratuitous shirtless scenes and think there should be more of them, the one where he goes home and changes while talking to Allan… surely there was no real point to that, other than to please fangirls? (Oh yes, very pleased, thank you!)
I showed The Clip (from 2.3, where he’s taking off the armour) to a friend, who isn’t a RA fangirl. Her reaction was to cringe at the fact that he had the metal next to bare skin, which you would never have in real life. To be perfectly honest, in that clip, most of us aren’t exactly ogling the armour… In fact, let’s try it and see how you do. Do you even notice the armour?
Okay, you can stop drooling now. *hands over a pack of tissues*
Not convinced that there’s more to Guy than just being tall, dark and handsome? Well, let’s let Richard show a whole range of emotions à la Guy, all from a storyline that was way too short:
Guy is the only reason to actually watch Robin Hood. Period.