Thursday, March 10, 2011

Top 10 Period Drama Villains: #2

2. Sir Guy of Gisborne (Richard Armitage) - Robin Hood

I'll be honest, Sir Guy/Richard Armitage was the only reason why I ever watched the BBC's Robin Hood. The show itself was quite silly, and I found emo-kid Robin a bit irritating. What made it worthwhile for me, however, was the Robin/Marian/Guy love triangle. Especially Guy. (Then the show's writers killed off you-know-who, and all of the romantic suspense was lost - plus they gave Richard that awful hair. I didn't even bother to watch the third series.) But the first two series were alright. Sir Guy was alright. :-)

Sir Guy of Gisborne (as portrayed in this series) is more or less the archetypal romantic/sympathetic baddie: lots of inner conflict, torn between good and evil, in love with the saintly heroine, hoping that she can somehow "redeem" him, etc. etc.

Which brings us to something interesting: girls apparently long to "save" the baddie and "transform" him. (Just look at Twilight. Just look at Erik, or almost any of the other villains who will eventually feature in this series.) In the real world, however, to attempt such a course of action would almost certainly be a recipe for disaster. As a Christian, I believe that only God can truly redeem us and transform us! And in the end, I think most of my favourite love stories are those in which the hero and heroine, both flawed and imperfect, do their best to help each other, and bring out the best in each other - Jane Austen's books are some of the best examples of this.

LOL! Love this picture. These two played off against each other so well. Keith Allen was hilarious as The Sherriff ("La-di-da-di-da!").

However, having said all of that. . . I think there is a reason why stories in which the heroine helps "rescue" the hero (or vice versa) resonate so deeply with us - they remind us of Christ's redemptive love for us.

I'm probably sounding a bit contradictory here. All I'm trying to say is that. . . I love a good story in which the hero saves the damsel in distress, or the heroine helps bring the hero to his redemption - I think most people do. However, girls, just bear in mind that it is almost always always a bad idea to marry or get involved with a murderer/vampire/tyrant/jerk; and try to keep a balanced perspective. ;-)

(Notice that I've packed as many pictures of Richard as possible into this post? :P)

So - have you seen the Robin Hood TV series? Did you enjoy it? Any thoughts on Sir Guy's character?


Christine said...

Oh, I love Richard Armitage! He was such a good Guy of Gisborne, and he was amazing in North and South!!

The Editrix said...

Totally agree, Christine! :-D

Christine said...

Not to mention he's in the Hobbit!!

The Editrix said...

Yes, but as a dwarf?? Still can't get my head around that.

Marian said...

Richard Armitage is one of my fave actors, but this version of Sir Guy was too villainous to be likeable (especially the ep. where IIRC he leaves the baby to die in the forest). I prefer Sir Guy (Rathbone) in the old Errol Flynn movie. Really looking forward to seeing Armitage as Thorin, though! :)

Emily said...

Oooh I need to see this version! I love Robin Hood! Just a bonus that Richard Armitage is in it :)

The Editrix said...

I need to watch the 1930s version of RH again sometime. I love Errol Flynn. :-)

Alexandra said...

I've come *this close* so many times to watching this TV series, only to have the emo-kid Robin (and the a-bit-too-modern-for-my-taste-Marian) turn me off. But then I see RA in clips again...and I come *this close* again...

I just need to break down and watch it.

(are you listening, myself? I said...)

Elizabeth said...

I have to say that Richard Armitage is my favorite actor. I love the depth of character that he can bring. I liked how much depth he put to Guy. (Robin was a very flat character) My sisters and I are obsessed with this show.:)
Season three was okay the only reason I watched it was because of Guy LOL. I didn't really like his hair either, but after a while it grew on me. I think is helped to show his characters depression after 'you know who' died, and that he killed 'you know who'.

Every time I think of him in the Hobbit I giggle! :)

Publius said...

Thank you so much for writing against the "save the baddie" story line that features in so many modern romances. I've written about that particular meme (in my review of Lady and the Tramp I call it the "myth of the romantic scoundrel,") on more than a few occasions, especially during our Disney Princess series.

You're absolutely right that it's rooted in what I think is a universal human desire for a messianic myth (God creates a desire for Himself in every heart), but at the same time it's hard to imagine a more destructive cultural norm than that which programs young girls to take the burden of redeeming fallen man on their own shoulders. Plus, it can lead them to stay in unhealthy or (in the case of one of my own friends) emotionally abusive relationships.

beast'sbelle said...

Great review, Elise! I also appreciate your "redemption of the baddie" point. This is the exact reason why I'm so concerned with the massive amount of young girls on "Team Edward" or "Team Jacob". It's not a great standard for real life. I completely agree with Publius's comments, too.

I haven't seen much of this series. I think I managed to make it through the first episode, but like so many of you, I was annoyed by Robin Hood's character, and had no interest in finding out what happened to him. And even though Richard Armitage is in it, I think I'll just watch "North and South" again. I think I'd much prefer him as Mr. Thornton. That, and wait for "The Hobbit" to come out. Of course, if he's playing Thorin, he's not going to be quite the same dashing, good-looking hero we all know and love! ;)

beast'sbelle said...

I actually deal with this same "redemption of the baddie" topic on my blog post "Team Raoul", if anyone is interested. Here's the link:
By the way, I don't normally stay up this late. :} Just up with sick kiddos.

Vellvin said...

I think I always felt sorry for Guy.
First he's in love with Marion and the with another girl and they both get killed off!!
I liked the first 2 seasons better then the 3rd. (Partly because Marion was in them).
P.s. It will be interesting to see how he turns out in the Hobbit!! Hope he is good as Thorin!

Enbrethiliel said...


Oh, gosh! I don't dare leave an intelligent comment on this character because I know I can't be objective about Armitage as Sir Guy.


But I can say, Elise, that you are spot on about girls getting involved with "dangerous" guys, in the hope that the girls will be the ones to change them. (And perhaps that's the reason Marian went with the less appealing Robin . . .)

Traxy said...

Aww, but series three was the best one! You've really missed something there! It got a lot darker, the costumes finally looked medieval ... Toby Stephens as Prince John ... yeah, you've missed loads!

OldFashionedCharm said...

I tried watching this Robin Hood series once and really couldn't stand the guy playing Robin or the modern take they took on the story. Too bad because I like Richard Armitage, and he's so handsome!
You're so right about girls wanting to change bad guys, I think this is a popular trend in books, TV and movies today. I love Jane Austen's books because her heroes are truly worthy of their heroines! You can't beat the gentlemanly character of Mr. Knightley, Mr. Darcy, Captain Wentworth, Colonel Brandon, Edward Ferrars, Henry Tilney and Edmund Bertram! And don't forget Mr. Thornton from North & South!

~Miss Laurie
Old-Fashioned Charm

beast'sbelle said...

Okay, just have to comment one more time. Apparently, we are in very different time zones! :} I do normally stay up till my time it was 2 or so in the morning! :) (Just didn't want any of you wondering what the big deal was.)

Bria said...

Well said Elise. I did like Armitage as Gisbourne, although like you I wish he had had a bit more of a redeeming character and end.

I suppose I'll ruin it for those who haven't seen it and burst your bubble but both Robin and Guy end up dying in the third one. Which I'm glad they put me out of my misery of watching Kate fall head over heels with Robin. I very much disliked her character.

But at the end Guy admits he is honored to have Robin as his brother. Which says nothing about if he was repentant of all the past tragedies he had caused.

Anyway, that's my take on it.

Anonymous said...

Loved BBC's adaptation of "Robin Hood." Yes, it was sometimes "silly," but it was mainly family-friendly, and in my book that can earn most anything points. Sad that it is over, but didn't detest the ending as much as I'd thought; plus, fans of Guy do get to see him redeem his character somewhat. Throughout the entire series, he was right on the "edge" of good vs. evil. You kind of felt he could be turned given the right circumstances -- that he knew his reign of terror really was wrong.

As for Robin, he goes through a lot of character changes in the 3rd series -- with good reason, too. In my opinion he is a bit of a jerk at the onset of series 3, but like everyone else, there is redemption; the final season is much more serious-minded.