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Richard’s just zhis Guy, you know…

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? πŸ˜‰

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 Γ  la Guy, all from a storyline that was way too short:

Guy is the only reason to actually watch Robin Hood. Period.

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.

13 thoughts on “Richard’s just zhis Guy, you know…

  1. You should’ve “shamelessly plugged” your blog a long time ago! I love it. (Not just the stuff about RA.) Keep up the good work. πŸ™‚

  2. Thank you very much! πŸ˜€ I’m happy to finally have found a blog topic where I actually keep on going back and finding things to blog about. And amazed that I’m actually blogging fairly regularly as well. First time for everything!

  3. OMG!! i absolutely love you blog.. From the oodles od really intensive and intellectual detailing of RA’s role to most of the other writing, its truly entertaining to read and I completely agree or feel a real connection with…

    kudos to a great job done…

    I think Im going to catch up on Robin Hood now. Watched till Season 2, but didnt care for Robin much so left it at that…

  4. Omg!! i love your blog. Right from the incredibly intellectual and interesting musings of RA to the discussion on all other things like Rochester( I quite like him 2). I have absolutely loved this short journey.

    Kudos to amazing work!!

    Think im going to catch up on Robin Hood now… Saw till Season 2 but got sick of Robin so left it at at that..

  5. Hello and welcome! Oh wow, that’s praise indeed! Thank you so much, I’m glad you like it! πŸ˜€

    You really should see RH season 3, Guy has never been more wonderful than in that. It’s really … wow. It made me hooked on RA!

  6. Hi there! πŸ™‚ Found your blog via Ruth’s BookTalkandMore, and went straight to the Guy of Gisborne post because I’m a huge fan.

    After reading your post though, I’m really feeling like posting a counterargument, in defense of both the show as a whole and other characters. πŸ™‚ Is some debate ok? Because I really don’t want to barge in here and start arguing.

    (Also, you really live in Nottingham? how cool. A friend and I made a Robin Hood pilgrimage there last May.)

  7. Hi there and welcome! πŸ™‚

    Please, go ahead, I love a good argument! ;D No, but seriously, I’d love to hear your views. Everyone has ’em and there’s nothing to say we need to agree either. If everyone had the same opinions all the time, the world would be pretty boring. Take it as a challenge, see if you can get me come around to a view of BBC’s Robin Hood other than “it’s the Guy of Gisborne show, the rest isn’t half as interesting”. πŸ˜‰

    (Yes, I really do. πŸ™‚ Funny how that worked out, really. RH is my favourite Disney movie, and then I end up meeting – and later marrying – a guy living in Nottingham! What did you make of the town? Was the pilgrimage worth it?)

  8. Oh, cool. πŸ™‚ Working on something right now but will definitely be responding to you in a bit. (Mind you, Guy IS my favorite character hands down, and I think Season 3 was pretty much the Guy of Gisborne show.)

    I adored the Nottingham pilgrimage. πŸ™‚ Will dig up pics to show you.

  9. Omg! You took my thoughts and put them into words! I was rooting for guy to get Marian even though I thought her to be a right bitch and manipulative too, just because he wanted her so badly. I agree with ya point for point and could go on and on but I’ll leave it at this. Guy is sexalicious and should have had a better end.

    1. Yeah, the ending was really disappointing. πŸ™ Glad there are more people who have the same issues with the show!

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