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Oh, Gisborne, why I love thee…

This was something I posted as a comment on Avalon’s Blog a few weeks ago, on the subject of why we love Guy of Gisborne of BBC’s Robin Hood. Well, here’s my reasoning behind loving the Man in Black:

In a show where he was just meant to be a one-dimensional baddie, he turned out to be the hero. The transition from stereotypical goon, the sheriff’s evil sidekick who leaves babies in the woods to die to lovestruck puppy – and later on very wounded puppy, and then fierce puppy – and angst-ridden emo to Man with a Tragic Past and then redeems himself… That range of emotion is very compelling to watch. A show where you don’t root for the supposed hero (because the hero is a stuck-up brat) but for the guy you’re supposed to hate – it’s a bit confusing, but an interesting change to normal proceedings.

A lot of the appeal of Gisborne is RA, though, that can’t be forgotten. If someone else had played him, I doubt the show would’ve had the fanbase it now does, because it’s RA who lifts a mediocre character from a mediocre script and makes him three-dimensional and human. He’s made Gisborne into someone who isn’t just a cardboard cutout, but a man you can’t help but sympathise with.

Even though RH as a series definitely wasn’t the best, at least the humanity Gisborne turned out to have made the show stand out. Alan Rickman may have done a brilliant job as the sheriff, but the character was still just a fairly generic baddie. BBC Gizzy is ambitious and dangerous, but at the same time, passionately in love and capable of great deeds, if given the chance. The man was flawed, deeply flawed, but given his background, we can glimpse where he’s coming from and forgive him.

Might say more about us fans than the Giz himself that we’re quite happy to forgive he murdered his love interest in cold blood, but still. He’s not just a standard baddie, but rather a Lost Soul… and those tend to be irresistible.

Traxy Thornfield

A Swedish introvert residing in Robin Hood Country (Nottingham, UK) with a husband and two cats. She's an eager participant in tabletop and play-by-post roleplaying, woodworking, photography and European travel, when there's not a plague on. Might get a novel out one of these days, if she doesn't get too distracted along the way.

8 thoughts on “Oh, Gisborne, why I love thee…

  1. Well said!!

    BTW, I can’t remember if I thanked you for the book you sent, but I did receive it. It came right before my move, so things have been a little crazy…

  2. I’m glad you reposted your comment here. It was certainly worthy of a stand alone post. Wonderful tribute to RA as Gisborne! Agree 100%.

  3. Ditto, Traxy!

    Guy is my favourite RA character, and I agree with all you’ve said about him.
    As for “forgiving him for having murdered his love interest in cold blood”, I don’t see it that way. It wasn’t ‘in cold blood’ at all, it was a crime of passion, and she heavily provoked him. So I’d vote for a temporary insanity, if I were in the jury 😉
    R.I.P. Guy: you’ll be never forgotten!

  4. Thanks everyone! 🙂 Nice to see some more Guylove (…erm…) out there!

    Ruth: Oh great, it made it! Hope you’re settling in okay and that you enjoy both the book and the new place! 😀

    Karen: Yes, you’re right. She provoked him terribly CONSTANTLY, not just in that final scene! “Temporary insanity” or “that bloody hag had it coming!” – either way works for me. 😉 (Me? Not a fan of Marian? Whatever gave you that idea? ;))

  5. “BBC Gizzy is ambitious and dangerous, but at the same time, passionately in love and capable of great deeds, if given the chance”
    This sums up for me his attractiveness.

    Agree with Karen, I don’t see it as ‘cold blood’, if he would’ve killed because she was in the way to kill the king, then I would call it that, but if she hadn’t told him all those hurtful things I doubt he would have been able to kill her.

    OML 🙂

  6. I agree and I love the character but I enjoy the whole show and all the characters and actors and the writing and everything. I think it is a terrific show. Of course, Guy is most definitely the highlight of the show and reason enough to watch. I agree Marian did not treat Guy right at all. Also, it is a little unrealistic that anyone could resist the guy, wow! Sorry.

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