Monday, 3 December 2007

As Good As Gold

I'm Heidi Kneale and I write the character Daywen Athalia of Beltane.

I'm one of the several Australians here, but I can also claim an American heritage. (American-Australian?)

I'm primarily a Science Fiction and Fantasy writer, but have a soft spot for Romance. I adore cross-genre work, so The Enchanted Faerie suits me rather well. (Now that I think about it, most of my sold fiction does deal with romance as a major theme. Who'd a thunk?) I also write comedy (with a few award-winning musical comedies under my belt), and this streak towards a subtle chuckle is evident in my story, "As Good As Gold".

I am also responsible for Lachlan the Blacksmith, for which I am very sorry (or not).

As EJ has an understandable fondness for Peter Petrelli, I confess my weakness for Guy of Gisborne (in BBC's Robin Hood), played by the gorgeous Richard Armitage, who makes an excellent romantic hero, in nearly everything he does.

It is interesting watching this BBC series. Unlike Heroes, where anything can happen, Robin Hood is constrained by a pre-existing supertext. We all know about the "Rob From the Rich, Give to the Poor", and that Robin Hood's love interest is one Maid Marian.

With the coming of this latest interpretation of the 800-year-old legend, are our women going ga-ga over weedy little Robin? No, their eyes are firmly upon the baddie, evil Sheriff of Nottingham's lieutenant, Guy of Gisborne.

Gisborne has set his sights on Marian, and for the most part, a significant number of fans are willing to support him in his ambition.

Now, had this been a standalone story without a reputation to live up to, the love story could have easily gone Guy's way.

  1. Richard Armitage plays the character very well. And yes, like Peter Petrelli, Guy gets his shirt off--several times--in the second season. (No peaches, though.)
  2. Guy is not a cardb0ard character. Sure, he started out that way, but he certainly didn't end up that way. As episodes progressed, we started seeing a softer side to Gisborne. He's actually kind to women (and honours his late mother). Sometimes he hesitates when faced with a moral dilemma. He forgives the fickle Marian (okay, maybe after burning her house down, but he does apologise for that, and other sins, later).
  3. There is the genuine potential for him to turn good, or at least, to free himself from the yoke of the Sheriff, and become his own man. There is no evidence that Guy has been mismanaging Locksley in Robin's absence, nor unduly abusing the tenants. Perhaps his sense of nobility will win out in the end. Maybe he'll convince Marian that, as a man of wealth, means and power (not to mention looks gorgeous in black leather), he'd be an ideal husband.

Or maybe not. The legend of Robin Hood just doesn't go that way.

What a shame. Because Robin is not being portrayed as deep a complex character the way Guy of Gisborne is. Robin doesn't struggle with inner demons. Robin doesn't yearn for the heroine. He and his mates run around Sherwood forest having little-boy adventures and getting in and out of scrapes with a light-hearted pluckiness. What on earth does Marian see in him?

Part of writing a romantic hero is making him appealing, and not just in looks. One must consider his character, motivations, and in the case of historical fiction like The Enchanted Faerie, of a certain position and social status.

Money helps.

As does a burning love, or at least, desire, for the heroine.

Can one believe that Marian and Robin are destined for great love? If one ignores the supertext, their relationship is nothing more than a teenage crush. Those of us with romantic hearts know that there must be more to love than the hormonally-spawned adolescent awkwardness these two display.

We want passion. We want desire. We want near-obsession, and a dead certainty that without the other, life is a bleak and desolate landscape.

So, has anyone explained how the faerie works?


EJ McKenna said...

Oh yes, Robin Hood is such a guilty pleasure.
Gee, did Richard Armitage get his shirt off a bit? I hadn't noticed.

EJ McKenna said...

PS, you might enjoy this

Holly Greenfield said...

Very entertaining blog. You make me wish I watched Robin Hood on BBC.

EJ McKenna said...

And by the way, Sir Guy ain't gonna get Marion. It's just not going to happen. The writers of that show have done a sensational job of making him so very appealing.... because we all want the bad guy to come good. You see good in him... but we all know it would end in heartache. He's just not good for Marion and we all know it. :-)

Zara Penney said...

I put my comment in the wrong section.

Why on earth would Maid Marion be wanting RH when she's got Sir Guy. I didn't start watching this show from the beginning. I honed in when he was wanting her. And she gets on a horse and trots off with the hots for RH, who - if he lived in the suburbs of the year 2007 would just about be permanently neck deep inside the engine of his car; and the rest of the time with his mates in the pub.

I think Sir Guy needs his own program. He has to do a Frasier.

Anonymous said...

For serious! I think that Robin is a terrible match for Marian.

And besides...Robin doesnt (and probably shouldnt imo) wear sexy black leather. Only Guy can pull that off.... And in episode 10 when Guy realized he couldnt leave her, and stayed behind, even if it meant death, heck yes I would have married him! "And without her, my world might as well be turned to ash" *dies*

I agree Zara. RH strikes me as a "Go get me a beer while I fix this car sugar dumplin." while Guy would be the kind to love her passionately, provide for her, and wear black leather all the time. I want my husband to do that!!