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.