I had gotten to the point in my fan path where I felt I really couldn’t avoid Guy of Gisborne any longer.

The leather and guy-liner aside, there had to be something to this character.

Sir Guy: the man, the myth, the legend
Sir Guy: the man, the myth, the legend

After I realized that the show was called Robin Hood and not Guy of Gisborne

I found it on Netflix and settled in to see what all the hoopla was about.

surprisingly, it wasn't *just* about this.
surprisingly, it wasn’t *just* about this.

My immediate first impressions:

*Richard’s not the star of this show?

*Robin is a twerpy douche

*is this supposed to be funny?

because the subtleties are cracking me up!


I needed to watch more than just one episode in order to form an opinion of Guy

and to get a real feel for the show.

that's my excuse and I'm sticking to it!
that’s my excuse and I’m sticking to it!

4 hours later a box popped up on my television screen asking me if I wanted to continue watching.

That sent me into a fit of giggles, like the TV was judging my viewing choices


(the TV does this to guard against being left on, unattended)

she's still watching?--I know, it's bizarre.
she’s still watching?–I know, it’s bizarre.

A lot of negative things have been said about this show;

the acting, the costumes, the writing.

I find it generally enjoyable. I think, as adults, we judge it unfairly.

It’s a family show, sprinkled with contemplative points amid the action and veiled humor.

It was easy to see that Guy would take the forefront though.

My kids, who wandered in and out during my first viewing,

became more interested in Guy’s plight than the seemingly obvious hero of Robin.

"she gave her heart to the man in the long black coat"
“she gave her heart to the man in the long black coat”

Guy wore black, he was mean, and he held a job that gave him power;

this automatically equaled “bad guy”.

Robin was dressed in a more mismatched style,

had a lighter disposition, and was essentially homeless; this equaled “good guy”.

And, of course, there is always a girl stuck in the middle…

"Clowns to the left of me, Jokers to the right, Here I am, stuck in the middle with you."
“Clowns to the left of me, Jokers to the right, Here I am, stuck in the middle with you.”

As my kids became more interested,

my son for Robin’s magical archery skills

magic, because there's no other explanation.
magic, because there’s no other explanation.

and my daughter for pretty Marian and boyish looking Robin,

they both soon remarked on the flipped issues.

Robin was doing the right thing by fighting injustice, yet he was stealing from unsuspecting travelers to do so.

Guy was being ruthless with the peasants, but it was the Sheriff who was forcing that kill-or-be-killed mentality onto him.

Marian was attached to Robin because of childhood memories and their shared values,

yet it was Guy who appreciated her for who she was and was always trying to protect her.

My 9 and 13 year olds were a bit less articulate in their explanations, of course,

but their musings and questions told me that they understood what was going on under the surface.

you get me, you really do get me.
you get me, you really do get me.

After I went on to watch the rest of the episodes on my own, with my adult sensibilities,

I had many positive and negative reactions to the characters, storylines, realism, etc.

adult sensibilities.
adult sensibilities.

But it’s that first simplistic impression that stays with me,

and it’s why I find myself going back to Robin Hood, aka Guy of Gisborne,

again and again.

in addition to *other* factors...
in addition to *other* factors…

25 thoughts on “Simplicity

  1. Guy was not the first character I ever saw RA play. Thornton was first (unimpressed). Heinz KrΓΌger was second (unrecognised), Lucas North was third (“isn’t that Mr Thornton? Why is he so angsty here?”), GUY – (“I love you – who is playing you???”) – there is something compelling about this character, and it certainly helps that RA is nice to look at, despite the Guyliner and the pointy sideburns. But the characterisation RA gave him was the thing that did it. It was that he played him to the full.
    So, welcome in the harem of Sir Guy of Gisborne, Kelbel, if that’s what you are implying πŸ˜€


  2. Well, good for you! I’m not a fan of the show, but I do like the character of Guy. He is that complicated bad guy with a soul and a long black leather coat. What’s not to love? Interesting that your kids liked it. I can see that. The adult sensibilities are only required for Guy, who isn’t on enough IMO. The relationship between the Sheriff and Guy is wild!


    1. now when I watch, everything but Guy just kind of fades away into the background πŸ˜‰ and it’s not really what he looks like, since I don’t like the guy-liner or the hair or the leather. it’s that deep heartache that this character embodies, the bone-crushing misery of just not being good enough, and how the walls that you’ve put up to protect yourself become a double-edged sword.

      seeing it on my kid’s level though, was a gift πŸ™‚ I watch the Disney channel shows with my daughter all of the time, so maybe I’m more open to that than most.


      1. That’s great and I get it. I am pre-conditioned by Spike from Buffy the Vampire Slayer, I’m afraid. I’ve written about it on my blog. I just see Guy as that type – the misunderstood bad guy who’s really a hottie. How you described Guy is exactly how I can describe Spike – the crushing misery of not being good enough (Spike was never as good as Angel as a vampire, he was never good at what he wanted to be, a poet, and Spike’s (really William’s) mom always thought he was a wimp.) And how the wall that you’ve put up to protect yourself becomes a double-edged sword – i.e. Spike as a vampire. Losing his soul made him “bad”, but also not “lovable” by the one person he truly loved. Sorry for the hi-jack! :DD


  3. Ha ha ha my 6 year old son saw me watching North & South and when Mr. Thornton came on asked “Is he the bad guy?” My husband could not believe a show like Robin Hood, neither did I, but I had to watch it because of RA


    1. well, Mr. Thornton does start out mean and he’s all dressed in black πŸ™‚ as for Robin Hood though, once you suspend belief it’s not a horrible show, all things considered; one particular “consideration” especially πŸ˜‰


  4. I really need to go back and watch RH. My children watched it when it was first aired – it was on at a time when I was cooking so I just used to look up when Guy was on and can’t say I followed the plot line too carefully. I’ve never sat down and watched the whole thing – it’s not on my BBC global app and I’ve been put off buying the DVD’s because Robin irritates me so much. But Guy certainly stirs me, even if Marion is unimpressed!

    For me it is interesting that I find the ‘good’ characters so boring and the ‘bad’ one so attractive. The feminist in me shudders at even the thought of empathising with guy. He’s the sort of man I spend a lot of my professional life convincing women to leave. And despite the wealth of fanfic I have enjoyed, from my scant memories I’m not convinced Marian liked him at all. Would I lust after a psychopathic bully who kills people and burnt my home down? I hope not.

    But OMG, he is beautiful!


    1. “would I lust after a psychopathic bully who kills people and burnt my home down?” well realistically, probably not but lust is different from like and sometimes a wounded man is harder to resist, so never say never πŸ˜‰ seriously though, I’ve often contemplated how I would feel about these characters if Guy was played by someone else and so was Robin. how much did they themselves put into the personality of them and how much was in the script? if Robin was played by someone like Clive (Archer) would he be half as annoying?


      1. Yes- I felt sorry for Jonas Armstrong as he was hopelessly miscast, in my (limited) view. If Robin had been played by someone with RA’s charisma, how different would the series have felt?

        I guess my point is that I need to go back to the original series and look at guy objectively. What were the writers and RA trying to do with the character and how much have we, as fans, overlayed? RA talks about finding the paradox in the character and I want to see what he actually did, as opposed to what we have fantasised he did.

        I also wonder at what point the writers realised what they had in RA. My initial impression was that he was cast as eye candy ‘for the mums’ and that the writers never expected he would become the most interesting character for a lot of viewers. What does a director do when they realise they have an actor in a supporting role who is far more magnetic and talented than the lead? Make him as vile as possible ( killing off the leading lady) or give him a more central role, which is awkward when the show is called Robin Hood, not Guy of Gisborne.


        1. I knew what you meant the first time around, I was just counter-acting a bit teasingly, because you are right: if we were to realistically put ourselves in Marian’s shoes, could we feel for someone like Guy, knowing the things he’s done? and if he’s only done them as some misguided attempt at “being somebody” would we want to fight the battle it would take to dissuade him of that notion?

          but since we’re suspending belief anyway, just to make sense of the setting πŸ˜‰ then why not take the dangerous and exciting route to be with the bad boy? to strip off all of that leather and find the sweet boy underneath who needs a bit of nurturing πŸ™‚ it’s kind of hard for me to be unbiased towards Guy because once I start reasoning his character out, I have to do the same with the rest of the show, and then it just all falls apart *laughs*


        2. From my perspective, as someone who never saw (and was barely aware of North & South when I first encountered Robin Hood on tv, before I was an Armitage fan), my first reaction was “I don’t know that they would have specifically cast him as eye-candy” because tv shows often do that: cast as many pretty people as possible.
          Of course my perspective is very different from the producers. πŸ˜€


          1. Robin Hood was before my crush started too – and i hadn’t seen N&S at that point. But i do remember someone saying that RH was supposed to appeal to the family audience and RA was cast to get the mums interested. They didn’t cast a TDH actor and dress him in tight fitting, black leather for historic accuracy did they? But (as is often the case with all the c*ap stored in my head) i can’t remember who said it, although i have a feeling it was someone involved in the production. Jonas was supposed to appeal to the young girls (and did, i believe) and Marian was supposed to appeal to any male (or female) with a pulse. So, yes, a pretty cast to cover all demographics.

            I wouldn’t have thrown Tuck out of bed either πŸ˜‰


  5. BTW, a while ago I found a hilarious review of the first episode of RH online in someone’s journal. It said everything I would have said. Harsh but fair. And funny. Very very funny. I would have shared it here but I cannot find it again. My google skillz have deserted me.


      1. All I remember is the line “I know it was the Dark Ages, but surely there was enough light to see that The Night Watchman had boobs”.


  6. Ha ha! Great! thanks Kelbel πŸ™‚
    Just look in those beautiful wary eyes and you want to be his savior…..or just his maid servant .
    I lean toward the second option πŸ˜‰


    1. I’m afraid I couldn’t be a maid servant, I don’t like anyone telling me what to do. I like to have the *choice* on whether to follow blindly or not; if I think it’s my choice, then I’ll do it willingly πŸ˜‰


  7. I’m just finished re-watching the compete serie of “Robin Hood” a few days ago and I love it.

    Guy of Gisborne was the second role in which I’ve discovered Richard (the first was “North and South”.

    I remember the first time I saw the character on my tv, I say to myself β€œWhat is that ???” Translation : β€œOMG OMG OMG, he is too sexy in black leather. And this is the bad guy that we are not supposed to like ??? Not possible”, lol lol lol. I have nothing against Jonas Armstrong and the others, but they don’t have the charisma of Richard or even Keith (the Sheriff is my favourite character in the series). πŸ˜‰


    1. yes, charisma is the key, and that is why Richard took over the show without even trying. the Sheriff had a strong presence, as did Marian and Tuck; Alan was good too πŸ™‚ but Robin and Will and Djaq? not so much πŸ˜‰ Much did a decent job with comic relief but his character wasn’t weaved into the story lines as seamlessly as he should have been; he was like the court jester 😦


  8. You know what, looking at the lovely selection of gifs in this post makes me realise I’d have watched this even if they were speaking a foreign language (though that would have removed some of the fun of course – “Punish you? Why would I punish you? What have you been doing?”) πŸ˜‰ He is just tooooooooooooooo beautiful as Guy.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s