Several things are going on here or not. Mr. Muse and I got into a big roll; well, I fussed and he ignored me. Things have been a bit stressed lately and he’s refusing to be helpful. He’s a git, I tell you. But a good-looking git. Sigh. Then I’m gearing up for company to arrive by plane and car (sadly no train) for my birthday this week. Okay, it’s April 1st, so get the jokes out of your system. It will be no joke when my IT pal arrives to migrate this blog to my server which I haven’t touched since the turn of the last century. I expect madcap hilarity to ensue. So don’t be surprised if this site goes down; it will be temporary. Hopefully.
In the interim, two topics landed in my lap courtesy of Twitter that I will work on while my IT does her magic. One concerns a writer meltdown that’s gone viral today. Mr. RA himself unwittingly presented the second topic. Oh, that one should be fun. So watch this space and keep your fingers crossed during the migration.
I’ve been in bed, in my best writer swoon, trying to shake some malaise that’s been clinging for the past week. The downtime has given me a chance to read the fanfic of writers showcased during FanstRAvaganza. The talent and creativity has both amazed and given me food for thought as writer. Appropriate for Surreal Saturday, I just spent a surreal hour grooming my pom Patty. She not only flopped on her back and allowed me to brush hardened bit of rubbish out of her tail, but remained calm while I used scissors and a brush to cut out matted fur and lightly groom. Anybody having dealt with this traumatized high-strung pooch would appreciate how shocking a development this is. She’s friendly sweet girl but hates for her tail and butt to be touched. Yet, there she lie grinning like it was just an unusual petting session. Then she climbed into my lap and dozed. Incredible. Anyway, just realized I haven’t posted video *really* surreal and that this one might fit the bill. There’s nothing deep here, just 9 minutes 38 seconds of WTF. If the internet were made into a music video, would this be it? I hate to say it, but yes, yes it is – but they left out the hamster dance.
Seriously NSFW. Oh, and if you “get” many of the mash-ups, yeah, you’re old.
FanstRAvaganza 2 is supposedly over, but I’m cheered by the fact RAFrenzy continues on her blog. I know she’s playing catch-up due to logistics last week, but I get to squee just a few days longer. She’s focusing on The Voice. This is totally a win-win situation. Maybe we can get Traxy to contribute her edits, just to lend moral support, yes?
Oddly the biggest thing I miss after the initial rush of the event is – the banner.
This banner headed all the event posts. This is fantastic photoshopping. I understand enough about graphics to know a lot of effort was put into this banner. The composition, choice of profiles, font, design, color, everything – work beautifully together. Clients would pay good money for a product like this. The creator expressly does not want credit, but I just have to acknowledge her work and say, BRAVO.
Because of the length of the event, inspiration was everything. I derived a certain pleasure of inserting this banner into each day’s post, and admiring its artistry as I brainstormed ideas. Art can be inspirational and this banner was for me. It came in flavors of big, small colored and black and white too which I didn’t get to use. Alas.
I also miss how the event allowed me to experiment with blog composition more than I ordinarily would or even anticipated. The increased use of images meant paying close attention to the balance of negative and positive space. A reader is more likely to stop and read something aesthetically pleasing, than a jarring mash-up of words and pictures thrown onto the page without careful thought. So in addition to the topic, I had to consider which images were relevant to the post, how many, what size, how to place them and where, how did they look in comparison with the words and blank space on the page, and what would the captions say. Different arrangements created different tones. For example, Ann Marie’s ficlet required center stage, so specific images had to sparingly highlight the prose, not detract from it. Interestingly I spent more time editing the posts’ compositions than composing the topics. I suppose this is what its like to be your own copy editor.
I suppose in a way I was trying to turn each post into its own little work of art, to do justice to the banner it followed. Or it could be me, simply being anal and knowing the posts will be out there on the internet, cached in perpetuity. I hope for the first, but suspect the last. Heh, Mr. Muse is amused, the git.
Oh, almost forgot – shiney!
Richard Armitage at promotional event, courtesy richarmitagenet.com
After the eight day orgy of pondering, analyzing, ogling and downright perving Guy, I wondered if I would respect myself in the morning. After the initial rush over having actually completed the project, I feel conflicted: glad it’s done, relieved to take a break, yet anxious to continue writing. My thoughts are a whirl. As the writers have all stated during FanstRAvaganza, it’s important to hone your craft by writing, writing, writing. Yes, I thought, I want to be like you when I grow up. I shall rise the day after and court my muse.
Sadly my muse isn’t feeling helpful. He grudgingly returned after I criticized his appearance, looking maddeningly the same. He peered over my shoulder throughout the fest, emitting smug grunts of approval as I toiled. He’s again sprawled, silent and juggling that Bag of Goodies. I wrack my brains for A Topic having nothing to do with all the fest reading I haven’t finished, my writing I haven’t dissected, and feelings I’ve yet to analyze. I recall a famous author once mentioning the curious letdown after a project is finished. What do writers do to revive themselves, to get the literary juices flowing again. They don’t really say. Apparently they don’t have arrogant silent muses convinced it’s all about them.
So bear with me Dear Reader. I probably fried my brain pawing through tens of Guy pictures and videos. Damn, that was a tough job. I anticipate spinning my wheels a bit until my gears slip back into place, sanity returns, and I plow through over 40 posts.
This is it, the last day of FanstRAvaganza 2. It’s been a madcap week talking All Guy All The Time. Things kicked off with an introduction dedicated to our black knight with two polls; ruminations over how I hate to love him; a feminist take on the show; a wonderful interview with Ann Marie; some sexy musings; a conversion for the uninitiated; and ended with a lovely ficlet written by Ann Marie. Arcing the entire week was Mulubinba’s challenge to convince her that Guy was worthy of all the attention.
Well, let’s deal with the polls first.
The first poll asked: Which series Guy character development did you like best?
S1 – Basic bad guy black all the way. I love the mullet and cravat – 11.86% (7 votes)
The winner is S2 Guy all way. I can extrapolate from that the first question you all simply want to mother S2 Guy…or, erm, something. As for second question, Avalon polled a similar one last year and 64% voted for the S2 Guy image, garnering a 3% increase. Maybe we need to commission a study?
Mulubinba’s challenge was inspiring and I hit the keyboard with dogged determination. Would I be able to reach her? The week ended with Mulubina conceding she was wavering on the issue and might need take a new look at the black knight. Considering her earlier sentiments, I am thrilled to hear this and hope she completes her “Looking for Good in Guy” series. As an added bonus, CDoart announced she was completely persuaded and is now a Guy Girl. I call this a success. My work here is done.
I want to thank the FanstRAvaganza organizers Nat and Traxy for getting things rolling; She Too Shy To Be Named for the beautiful banners (really love the one above, want to kiss it, pet it and call it Ritchie); the other participating bloggers for showing me how it’s done and giving me the confidence to do this; and Servetus for kindly inviting me into this madness. Thank you, Dear Reader, for the lively and encouraging comments. It’s been a blast. Last, but not least, I thank Richard Armitage, whose talents we celebrate.
At the top of the week, I mentioned including a slideshow by our Angieklong. However WordPress wouldn’t play nice so that was scrapped. However she created a fun video I’m sure you’ll all like. So I’ll leave you now with the sexy black knight.
[ETA: Be sure to catch up on the other participating blogs. The index is here. RAFrenzy had logistical problems but will continue her celebration this week. Don’t miss it!]
When Ann Marie suggested interviewing the black knight himself, I was privately skeptical. What could she ask? Knowing his mercurial temperament, how would he react? After discussion over borrowing Angieklong’s Sloth Machine, which works like the Doctor’s TARDIS, except it doesn’t, and Ann Marie’s reassurances she’d traveled many times there where she was a lady of substance, I wished her well and hoped her shots and insurance were current. A few weeks later, I received a message from the Sloth Machine: “Mission Accomplished.” The following missive was attached.
Sir Guy of Gisborne ~ The Interview
~~By Lady Ann Marie of New Jersey
The Sheriff of Nottingham, Vasey, really does hate to lose a wager. He’s not a very good sport at all. However, a wager is a wager and like it or not I correctly guessed his favorite color…black. Not that it was difficult, I mean the man is swimming in black from head to toe! However, the ease of the wager enabled me to accomplish what I wanted to do from the moment I had set eyes on his Master at Arms, Sir Guy of Gisborne. I wanted to meet him, talk to him, to understand what it was that drew my attention to him the moment he walked into the room.We had not met. Vasey did not introduce us, choosing instead to keep the dark haired Knight close to him except when I was near then Sir Guy was ordered away on an errand or task. I am not sure if he was keeping Sir Guy away from me or me away from Sir Guy.
My terms for the wager, rankled Vasey terribly. I wanted time alone with Sir Guy, for as long as I wished. Well, Vasey would not agree to that last part, and truthfully I had not expected him to, allowing only for one afternoon and then only in the Great Hall. No matter…I eagerly sat in the Great Hall, awaiting Sir Guy. I worried that he would be offended when he discovered that he was a prize.
“How may I be of service to you?”
The clang of spurs hitting stone signaled the arrival of Sir Guy of Gisborne. He entered the Great Hall and strode purposefully over to me. As I stood, he walked to me and taking my outstretched hand in his black-gloved one, raised it to his lips with a little bow, never taking his eyes from my face. His movements caused his scent to waft over me…. leather, horses, spice (what was that I wondered) and hard work. He kept my hand for a few extra moments allowing me to feel the strength of his hand through the soft, worn leather he wore.
He smiled and said, “My Lady, I am Sir Guy of Gisborne. Sheriff Vasey said that you wished to speak to me. How may I be of service to you?”
I smiled as he relinquished my hand and gestured to the seat at the head of the long table. I returned to my seat at his left hand. I called to the servant standing nearby and asked her to pour two goblets of wine. As I dismissed the servant Sir Guy called out to her, “Tell the Guard in the passageway to stand at the door. We are not to be disturbed.”
I offered him a goblet which he accepted with a smile. I was very…. I suppose the only word is…dazzled. By that smile. Fine white teeth, sensuous lips…I caught myself staring when I realized he was looking at me with an inquisitive look. I blinked…I am sure I blushed… and I lifted my own goblet to my lips and swallowed a healthy mouthful of the honeyed wine. The warmth of the liquid soothed me and gave me a moment to collect myself.
He took a sip of the wine and placed the goblet down and leaned back in the high-backed chair, resting his elbows on the arms and steepled his gloved fingers in front of him.“Now, my Lady, what is this about?”
I looked at him and made the decision to tell him the truth. “Sir Guy, what I am about to tell you may anger you but I pray it does not.” “I won this time with you in a wager with Sheriff Vasey.” I waited.
He lowered his eyes to focus on his fingers and though for a moment, his brow furrowing slightly. “My Lady, just so I understand, I am a prize?”
I sat in my chair, blushing to the roots of my hair, looking down at my hands in my lap. He raised his gaze and looked, intently, at my face, seeing my embarrassment, waiting for me to answer.
I took a breath and said, “No Sir Guy, time with you was my prize and I asked for it for two very good reasons.” I paused, uncertain should I continue.
“Please continue my Lady, I confess you have piqued my interest.”
“The first reason was because I thought it might annoy Vasey as he seemed determined that we would not be introduced.”
That comment elicited a deep chuckle and he picked up his goblet for another drink of the wine. “And the second?”
I looked him dead in the eye and said, “The second reason is that…you… interest me.”
That got him.
He raised his left eyebrow and sipped from his goblet. “The Sheriff has granted me the afternoon to spend with you,” I said.
Placing the goblet down he leaned forward in his seat, very close to me and with his voice impossibly deep and low, barely above a whisper said, “And how shall we spend this time?”
I smiled brightly and said, “I wish to talk to you.”
“Talk to me?”“Yes, talk to you.”
“Why?”“It is simple,” I said, “I find you interesting.”
“But my Lady, you do not know me.”
“Precisely!” I exclaimed.
“He pinched the bridge of his nose.”
Sir Guy pinched the bridge of his nose with his right, gloved hand and sighed. “Very well.” “We will talk.”
He settled back in his chair once again and waited, his eyes on my face, again. Reading me. Measuring.
I wasted no time. As I looked at him I noticed that the black hair, the dark stubble on his face formed the perfect complement to the blue of his eyes. “Was it your mother or father who gave you eyes so blue?”
That surprised him.“Neither. It was my Mother’s mother and my Father’s mother who were blue-eyed as my mother used to tell me.”
I smiled at him. He could not help but smile back at me. And I watched him visibly relax.
He leaned forward and as he reached to take an apple slice from the tray on the table, I asked, “Why do you wear such gloves?”
He paused in mid -reach, just for a moment. He took the apple slice and popped it into his mouth and settled back. As he chewed he looked at his gloved hands while he did so.
He swallowed, raised his gaze to mine and said, “No one has ever asked me that question.”
“Will you tell me truthfully?” “I will not share what you tell me with anyone.”
A small smile crept to his lips as his gaze shifted from me. He said, “You have met the Sheriff, you have some sense of what he is like, how he conducts his business.”
“Yes, I have heard of the things the Sheriff has done…. and that you have done in his name.” “I will not lie to you, Sir Guy, so many of those things attributed to you are reprehensible.”
“Yes, they are,” he agreed.“If you agree, why do you do them?” I asked.
He paused. “It is my job,” he said quietly. “A debt I must repay.”
I pondered that for a bit. It seemed a dangerous area to explore and I was unwilling to jeopardize his openness by pushing too far. Instead I leaned forward and asked him, my voice just above a whisper, “So, Sir Guy, why do you wear the gloves?”
He looked at me, a cloud passed over the blue of his eyes, and said softly, “It keeps it from being real. I do not allow it, the horror, to touch me. Ever.”
I saw his eyes glisten with moisture and then close. He sat there for awhile which gave me time to reflect on his answer.
I was surprised to find that I was relieved to know that he understood the horror of some of the things he has done. I was at a loss as to what to say to this tragic man. So I did the only thing I could, I rose and went to his seat and knelt beside it and took his gloved hands in my own.
Guy spoke to me, “I have never told anyone that before. I didn’t think I could speak of it.”
I rubbed my thumbs over the wolf’s head clasps on the backs of his gloves. Then, I started to pull the fingers of his left glove, causing his eyes to fly open. Guy gently tried to pull his hand from my grasp but I held it firmly, “No.”
I pulled the entire glove off and started on the right hand. I pulled that off too. I held both of his hands in mine and looked into his eyes. His hands were warm, large with slender fingers. They were beautiful, really.
“Sir Guy, you must remember to remove the gloves on occasion and feel.” “I have watched you for several days and have never seen you express the slightest hint of happiness.”
He smiled, not a genuinely happy smile, though it dazzled. He nodded, “There is very little that truly makes me happy.”
I released his hands and returned to my seat. I was about to ask him what did bring him pleasure when a young woman entered from the far end of the hall. She had dark auburn hair and was wearing a light blue gown with white silk around the décolletage. She spied my presence and came toward me unable to see the figure sitting in the chair because the chair’s back faced her.
“Oh, Lady Ann Marie, I did not know you were here,” she said pleasantly as she walked toward me.
I smiled at her but my eyes were on Guy. At the sound of her voice his face had lightened and opened, something, was it joy….hope?…lit his face.
As Marian came around the side of the chair, Guy rose and turned to face her. Marian stopped dead. She looked up into his face and I watched her forget to breathe…and I watch Guy do the same.
“So that’s the way of it, I thought.”
So that is the way of it, I thought.
From instinct and breeding, Marian lifted her hand to Sir Guy who grasped it in his bare hand. To this day I will swear that I saw an actual spark when they touched.
“Lady Marian,” Guy said as he raised her hand to his lips. I had noticed that Marian’s eyes had widened at the contact of her bare hand in his. I imagined the warmth she felt, the surprise of the tingle.
“Lady Marian, Sir Guy and I have been sitting here talking.” “Would you like to join us?” The young woman gathered her senses and turned toward me.
“Alas, I cannot, my father is ill and I was on my way to see the alchemist for a tonic for his pain.”
Neither realized that he still held her hand in his.
Marian continued, “I had hoped that Sir Guy would be free to accompany me so we could discuss a healing garden for the village of Locksley and the necessary plants….”
Guy said regretfully, “Marian, the Sheriff has assigned my time to Lady Ann Marie for the afternoon, I am not free.”
Marian lowered her gaze to their joined hands. Seeing her regret, an idea bloomed.
“Sir Guy, the Sheriff said I could have as long as I wanted this afternoon. I have accomplished what I set out to do. So I gift Lady Marian with the time that remains this afternoon to spend with you.”
Marian looked at me, “What was it you meant to do?”
I smiled at both of them. “I wanted to get to know Sir Guy better as I find him to be something of an enigma. That would take much longer than a single afternoon. I also wanted to know what brought him pleasure and, my dear, I have a very clear idea of what that answer is.”
“Sir Guy, if you leave by the same entrance that Lady Marian arrived, you should have no trouble leaving unnoticed. I will be happy to sit in the Great Hall for a spell with your guard outside the door.”
They both smiled. Guy finally relinquished Marian’s hand and stepped forward to bow and step forward to kiss my cheek. He said, “I look forward to talking with you again Lady.” His face held joy as he turned to Marian who lifted her hand to him as he took her fingers in his she smiled at me, mouthing the words , “Thank you.”
As they departed through the far entrance of the Hall I turned back to the table. And there they were.
All rights reserved Annie Lucas March 2011-Copyright
FanstRAvaganza is almost over. Be sure to visit the other participating blogs. CDoart’s index is here.
[All images courtesy of richardarmitagenet.com and richardarmitagecentral.co.uk.]
I have arrived at a point in my not so quiet contemplation of Sir Guy, where I must reach out to the uninitiated. Yes, there are some among us whose feet aren’t planted firmly on the path to our black knight. They wonder if he is worthy of the attention he gets. (I’m looking at you, Mulubinba.) They have not seen or do not fully comprehend the Gisborne mystique. What is this mystique? Nobody can definitively say. It is something ineffable that touches a special chord in each one of us.
Maybe it’s the eternal struggle between good and evil, personified in this character, the redemption of a twisted soul. Guy is a man who has done evil deeds for so long, it’s become second nature. His soul is black and seemingly irredeemable. He doesn’t concern himself with compassion, empathy or humanity. But through idealized purity and goodness he sees in one woman and her belief there is good in him, he longs to retrieve his soul and cleanse away the sins. He’s at constant war between serving his base nature and doing what is right. We like to see good win and so we keenly watch that struggle, rooting for him. We cheer when he succeeds and sigh in disappointment when he fails and wonder how it went wrong and what he should have done differently. We are drawn to his story because his conflict is universal. Our situations may not be as epic, but each of us deal with the good and dark sides of our natures every day.
Maybe the mystique is the plight of the lost boy who has lost everybody and everything: his parents, his home, his status, his birthright. In his twisted mind, he comes to believe he has everything to gain and nothing to lose. He rages against the world and doesn’t care for humanity because humanity has not cared for him. He lives unloved and untouched. When a bit of love and human contact does come his way in Marian’s form, he obsessively holds tight and cannot, will not let go. We can empathize because the need to love and be loved is ingrained in the human experience.
Maybe the mystique is the potential romance between Guy and Marian. We’ve seen enough Hollywood movies; we do love a happy ending. We wonder if Marian could come to care for him and if he could win her in spite of himself. We’re amused that a such thoughtless cruel man could share a body with a gullible, naive love-sick puppy. We feel his vulnerability.
Maybe the mystique is Guy’s badness which engages the dark side of ourselves. We’re not allowed to get away with bad deeds in the real world but have free rein to revel within the confines of Guy’s world. We can secretly smile at his badness and oogle him in his sexy black leather because he’s easy on the eyes and it’s deliciously fun.
Maybe the Gisborne mystique is the combination of all these aspects breathed into life by the considerable acting talent of his creator, Richard Armitage. And what a creator! He transforms a potentially cardboard villain into a multilayered deeply flawed human being. He takes uneven sometimes trite dialogue and make it interesting. He shows us the light in this dark knight, signaling internal conflict through subtle body language and expression with a tilt of the head, a furrowed brow or pleading glance. One of the most interesting things about Guy is what’s unspoken. He’s like a canvas in which the blank space is as equally important. He trains us to watch for signals, watch him. Guy’s presence grows in the series so that stories center more around him than the hero of the piece. I don’t know a higher compliment on an actor’s talent than that. He created a marvelous character, truly a beautiful disaster.
So if you’re still unsure, take another look and watch all three series. Ignore the anachronisms, the uneven stories and triteness. Focus on our black knight, what he says and how he conveys what he’s not saying. Keep an open mind. I guarantee you’ll spot things previously missed. If you still are not persuaded, well, there’s always next year’s FanstRAvaganza. We are very very patient. It’s just a matter of time.
I’ll close with my absolute favorite Guy fan video. It’s poignant and beautifully done. The lyrics say it all. Beautiful Disaster sung by Kelly Clarkson, video by Aim1013/smoothvideos.
Don’t forget to visit the other particpating bloggers. CDoart’s index is here.
[All images courtesy of richardarmitgenet.com and richardarmitagecentral.co.uk]
I’ve been watching you, milord. I’ve seen you galloping through the fields on that charger, your powerful thighs clenching its sweaty sides. You and your animal seem as one. You sit a fine horse, so tall in the saddle, so proud, arrogant and…masterful. See, he snorts and prances and flicks his black mane, just like you. Tell me, is he called Sir Guy too?
Do I amuse you? I’m glad, I aim to entertain. Mmm. I like the way you dismount and stretch out the knots, muscles ripping under that tight black leather. Just like that. My, you are tall.
I like tall men. And broad shoulders. And slim hips. I think I like black leather now. It looks quite… supple on you.
No, we don’t know each other milord.
But I know you.
I know what you do for the Sheriff and I’ve seen you prowling the castle at night like a big sleek black panther, lurking in the shadows, always watchful. It’s dark but I know it’s you. The torchlight dances along the smooth brow, across those sharp cheekbones and down that regal nose to those lips, rather like a bow, aren’t they?
And when you lean into the light, I can see your eyes. Do you know they change color? It’s curious, they’ve the shape of almonds but are the shade of anything from a crystal clear pond to a summer’s day to – well like now – a deep stormy blue.
Yes, the color of …passion.
I hope I’ve not offended by likening you to animals. But you see, I notice that animals like stallions and panthers have very majestic qualities akin to people. They preen and dominate and command. And you are quite a magnificent animal.
Do you think me forward? Well, I’ve a confession. Lean closer, yes that’s it.
I. Have. No. Shame.
Oh yes, I peeped in your window one night in the village. I watched you half bare in the firelight while your manservant tried to mold cold hard metal to the peaks and dips and angles of your lean hard body. I suspect the smithy doesn’t understand the elegance of your form. Perhaps I could be of assistance? Ah, I knew I could.
I’ve another confession. I dreamed about you in your bedchamber, oh yes. I wasn’t in it – yet. You lie bare-chested and asleep with your hair fanned around the pillow, and you were dreaming. Such a dream, thrashing and moaning – oh, you seem startled milord. Does that strike a chord with you? Oh really? You should tell me about it so we may compare.
It’s okay, whisper in my ear.
[Caveat- the video creator (our own Avalon) stated Isabel represents any woman and not Guy’s sister. Also the devil made me do this post.]
Be sure to stop by the other participating blogs. CDoart’s handy index is here.
Joining me today is a special guest. She is a regular presence on blogs in Armitageworld, know for her thoughtful but saucy comments. She is one of our foremost resident Guy experts and recommended as the go-to source for all things Gisborne. She has also been inspired to write her own stories for the black knight. Who could be better to help me delve into my Guy issues? So without further ado, here is our own Ann Marie.
J – Hello! Thank you for allowing me to interview you. I’m new to RA fandom, and find myself captivated by Sir Guy of Gisborne. I hear you are quite the fan yourself. How did you come to know this character?
AM – I became intrigued with Richard Armitage after my friend lent me her backup copy of North &South during the great blizzard of January 2010. Having excellent research skills, I of course starting tracking down everything I could find on this very interesting actor. This led me to find the BBC Robin Hood series….and Sir Guy of Gisborne. Swaggering, black leather-clad, Guyliner wearing, long, lean, feral, smirking Sir Guy of Gisborne.
J – When did you realize you were hooked?
AM – I realized I was hooked when at some point in watching series 1 of Robin Hood I said to myself, “OMG, I’m actually rooting for the bad guy!”
Richard Armitage as Guy and Keith Allen as the Sheriff of Nottingham in a promotional shot for Robin Hood S1
J – I have difficulty reconciling my fascination for Guy with my self-image as a feminist in the 21st century. He is the ultimate bad boy and screams bad news. Do you experience any problems like that?
AM – No. I revel in his bad boy-ness. In fact, I see a bad BOY, isolated, unloved, suffered God only knows what at the hands of the Sheriff. I see a vulnerability as well as fear and weakness but also great yearning and desire for love and belonging. The 12th century was a very different life for women (although similarities exist in present day in some countries) and I don’t find my present sense of independence and strength affected by the 12th century Sir Guy. In this century he would be a different man I think.
J – What is it about his story that resonates with you: his tortured past, his quest for redemption, his obsessive love for Marian? Something else?
AM – It is similar to what I just previously mentioned. I don’t see a one or two dimensional character. I see multiple layers as depicted for this character by this actor. Without the multiple layers Sir Guy would be laughable and dismissed. Yes he killed people, but he protected Marian from the Sheriff after he discovered she was the Nightwatchman. He burned her house down but then was willing to die by her side.
Richard Armitage as Guy and Lucy Griffiths as Marian, Robin Hood S1
Shades of light and dark, shades of grey. There is a poem that resonates for me when I think of Sir Guy of Gisborne that might have comforted him had it existed when he lived:
If a sadness rises in front of you,
larger than any you have ever seen;
if an anxiety like light and cloud-shadows moves over your hands and over everything you do.
You must realize that something is happening to you,
that life has not forgotten you,
that it holds you in its hand and will not let you fall.
~Rainer Maria Rilke~Letters to a Young Poet
Richard Armitage in “Glamor Guy” mode, Robin Hood S3
J – The show’s producers and writers capitalized on RA’s looks and physique with the black leather and glamor shots. Do you think Guy’s nasty side would have been as palatable had they not done that?
AM – I don’t think they prettied him up on purpose. The man is just attractive. I mean, black leather, black eyeliner, black hair, smirking, growling, killing, threatening. Seriously, what more could they do to scream, “Hey folks, this is the bad guy here!” The problem was, they handed the part to an actor that breathed life into the character and gave him a heart and a soul (neither in pristine condition, I might add). The man is mesmerizing on camera, even when he’s in the background I just watch him. Just when you think he’s tipped over into the abyss of evil, he does something, just one little thing, to show that his soul is not entirely covered in blackness.
J – But surely there must be something about RA; is it the acting?
AM – I, quite honestly, don’t see Richard Armitage AS Sir Guy of Gisborne when I watch Robin Hood, I see ONLY Sir Guy of Gisborne. Richard Armitage the actor, is completely consumed by the character of Sir Guy. I remember reading an interview wherein Mr. Armitage had said that even during rehearsals he needed to wear the black leather coat to play Guy. When I see other characters as played by Mr. Armitage I never see flashes of Guy. Guy remains, tragically, alone.
J – Do you think you would still like the character had he been played by somebody other than Richard Armitage?
AM – I can’t answer that and shudder at the horror of the thought! However, I would have probably enjoyed the series more if someone else had played Robin Hood and there was more of a balance in characters and ability.
The fatal finale between Guy and Marian, Robin Hood S2
J – What is your take on what Marian was doing with/to Guy? Do you think she was manipulative or conflicted?
AM – As a young woman in that time Marian began to revel in the power that she realized she had over Sir Guy and became heady with it. She had little opportunity for power of any kind otherwise, her life and future were not her own.She was attracted to Sir Guy in such a way that her affection for Robin did not prepare her to experience. It frightened her and thrilled her at the same time. Guy was right, he stirred her. It is interesting that, as much as Marian was all about flexing this power she found she had over Guy, she utilized outside reasons to be with him. Protection of her and her father to marry him, the “friendship” offer of the famous firelight scene, seeking intel for Robin, wanting to help and care for the poor were all excuses, all cover.
She was unable to accept being with him freely because he was so despised and feared by everyone and she did not want to be ostracized. I think that she was a romantic young woman in an unromantic place in history for women and that was her undoing.
J – The S2 finale in which Guy kills Marian was controversial. Did it work for you? If you could rewrite the ending in any way you wished, what would you have done and why?
AM – I could not ever really get my head to accept Marian’s “love” for Robin. I think that Marian played with fire and was fatally burned. All of her lies and manipulations came home to do her in. Do I think he should have killed her? No, because killing is wrong. However, a man, desperate, pushed to the limits and faced with his future (and make no mistake about it, in his mind, his future was wrapped up in Marian) disintegrating before his eyes will commit desperate acts.I would have loved to have seen Guy and Marian marry and then watch her work her wiles on Guy to slowly change him. But then, it would no longer be Robin Hood as Robin and the gang slowly but surely became superfluous to the series. “WE are Robin Hood”? I don’t think so.
Guy is redeemed in death in the series finale of Robin Hood; all images courtesy of richardarmitagenet.com
J – Were you satisfied with the series finale? Did it ring true for you? If not, how would you have changed it?
AM – As much as Richard Armitage has said in interviews that Guy had to die because the children needed to see that bad guys can’t win and need to be punished (that’s the gist if not exactly a quote) I think it would have been a much greater lesson for children to see repentance, forgiveness, restitution and the transformation of perceived evil into perceived good. I think some of the fanfic has explored these ideas beautifully. Some would say that those ideas were addressed in the finale and to some extent they were touched on. I think, however, that the greater struggle is to do good EVERY day and not just step up to the plate for an epic battle. For Gisborne to come face to face every day with the same villagers he tortured and threatened would have been a greater story.
J – Has the character of Guy inspired you in any way?
AM – He, very insistently, inspired me to begin writing fanfic (about him of course). He is a force to be reckoned with, banging around inside my head, and really has no patience for Real Life issues, work deadlines or the need to sleep. It’s all about him!
J – Thanks so much for spending the time to do this. It’s great getting the bird’s eye view from other fans.
AM – It was a thrill to be asked, thanks for the opportunity to wax on about my favorite subject (the Guy inside my head is very proud at the moment).
[Ann Marie entered Richard Armitage fandom during the blizzard of January 2010 when a friend lent her a copy of the BBC North & South. Life hasn’t been the same since! She soon found BBC’s Robin Hood and Spooks (MI-5). Being “of an age” Ann Marie doesn’t quite know what to make of her fan-girlishness but likes to think of it as an opportunity to increase her vocabulary (e.g. squee, crinkles, phwoar), improve her mad tech skills (learned blogging commentary, twitter, and heaven help her started a Tumblr account called I heart Richard Armitage), and meet some of the most fantastic women on the planet. Ann Marie lives with the love of her life and dear hubby, 2 Shelties, a fat cat, and 2 ferrets on the east coast of the U.S.A.. She enjoys camping, reading, needlework and laughing, a lot! Ann Marie writes her fanfic under the name Annie Lucas and can be found on http://www.dreamerfiction.com, http://www.livejournal.com and http://wattpad.com.]
Be sure to visit the participating blogs. CDoart has a handy index here.
Let’s face it ladies (and gent), Guy is not the kind of man you’d bring home to meet momma. He is boorish and thoughtless, sometimes compassionate, often times cruel. He is not relationship material. But it’s his love for Marian and their potential romance that fascinates fans including myself: would he have become a better man if Marian had really cared for him? Put another way: can a bad boy be saved by the love of a good woman?
Would you want to meet this man in a dark forest? Well, maybe you would.
Feminists would groan that this perpetuates the tired stereotype of the selfless female willing to sacrifice her self-worth in the name of saving a rotten apple, who more likely than not, will screw her over in the end. I’m sure many have been admonished to avoid no-good men. Experience has taught some of us to spot one at 30 paces and that these men usually don’t change. We are not to get involved with such a man and heaven forbid we should marry him. Yet we wistfully sigh with hearts aflutter that Marian, nay, we as Marian, could have, would have saved him.
But wait, cry the feminists, what about the Cinderella complex: the knight in shining armor coming to save us? Guy repeatedly offered Marian his name and protection; as his wife she would be save from the world. I don’t know about other fans, but I was taught that while finding a companion who would enhance my life was beneficial, I did not need a man to protect me. I suspect I’m not the only one to absorb this lesson. Yet we in the 21st century are drawn to the idea of a knight in shining armor, albeit, a black knight in the 12th century. The pull is irresistible. But it’s an old line, feminists would say which goes: don’t worry your pretty little head baby, I’ll take care of you. Nevermind, we sigh, he’ll change for the better. And so it goes.
You might want to take a pass on this guy in real life.
So how do I reconcile my inner feminist with fascination for character I would run a mile from in real life? I pride myself on being rational and pragmatic for the most part; what in the world am I thinking?
I pondered this question long and hard before it dawned on me – there is no real conflict. Guy of Gisborne is exactly what he is, a fictional character, a fantasy. I am free to fantasize whatever I want because he’s not real. I can be pragmatic in understanding that idealized romanticism does not translate well to real life; a man like Guy would be bad news. But in my fantasy, it’s safe to entertain my savior complex or my Cinderella complex all I want. I can be not-me. So I can feel sorry for Guy as he blunders down his evil path, think Marian cruel for her manipulations, and sigh wistfully at what might have been. I can even revel in his badness and feed my inner bad girl. As long I keep in mind the difference between reality and fantasy, there is no problem.
Be sure to swing ’round to the other participating blogs. The list is here.
Were it not for Richard Armitage, I wouldn’t have seen Guy of Gisborne. I’m not being funny or nothin’. Originally I had no keen interest in watching Robin Hood. But some friends were talking about it so I took a look. It must have been one of the earlier slow paced episodes because I was so bored with the hero that by time I glimpsed a black leather clad figure sneering in the background, I’d lost total interest. My later “discovery” of RA brought me back to the show for the express purpose of taking another look at this character, Guy of Gisborne. This is my take on the evolution of Guy:
Guy S1. Basic evil, basic outfit with cravat and mullet
S1 showed a truly nasty character. He slinked about in black leather, black mane, black eyeliner when not riding his black horse, smirking and sneering as he did the evil sheriff’s bidding. He was venal and vicious. He was a nobleman with a self-styled title and no lands, obsessed with regaining family power and status. He was Vaisey, except younger, taller, better looking, not as cunning, but half as crazy. He was the antithesis of Robin Hood and almost the dastardly panto villain who twirled his mustache and cackled evilly – but not quite. He wished to possess Marian as a stepping stone to status but something – humanity- stirred within because of her.
Guy S2, getting it wrong since 1190. Tweaked image, longer hair, no cravat, all leather
S2 unveiled a more layered character. There lurked a damaged soul and beneath the evil exterior. His need to possess Marian morphed into an obsessive love and belief that through her, he could cleanse away his sins. If he could untangle his mind from Vaisey’s influence, he could be the better man Marian wanted. Several times he endangered his precarious position with the crazed Sheriff by extending protection to Marian and even the villagers. Alas, despite his flashes of goodness, he managed somehow to undo the good he’d done. He was still dangerous and nasty but instead of eliciting boos and hisses, his bad acts provoked a disappointing sadness, and finally shocked horror.
S3 Guy, basic deranged; Greasy long locks, black shirt, fancy britches
S3 revealed the tortured soul full force, a man in hell slowly going mad with guilt and self-loathing. We learn his backstory and kinship to Robin, Archer and Isabel and are told had it not been for the twist in fate, he could have been Robin Hood. Even in changing sides, he’s motives still aren’t quite right, not quite noble and selfless until almost the end. He died free and redeemed although he had about two seconds to savor it all.
So this is the story of Guy in a nutshell: he’s evil but not really; he’s justifiably vilified but misunderstood, even by him self. Ultimately, he proves a tragic figure even in redemption. So why do I hate to love Guy? Find out tomorrow.
So Dear Reader, what do you think about Guy’s evolving personality and changing appearance each series? Tell me in this blog’s first ever polls. Take a look, think carefully and vote. Notice there is no box for “Don’t make me choose!” You must pick one. Feel free to explain your choices in the comments section. I’ll have the results at the end of the fest. [I just discovered the second question was polled last year. However, with the increased number of blogs and hopefully, readership, it might yield different results. Let’s see what happens.]
Wait gang! A marvelous idea occurred to me. I’m interested in what fans truly think about Guy. If you send in a short blurb telling me your deepest thought/passion/fantasy about him, I will publish them together anonymously. Something like this. Nobody need know who said what, unless you give me permission to attach your name. Click the contact tab above to email me. C’mon, it will be fun!
Also don’t forget to visit the other participating blogs. The list is here.
You know what that means. It’s time to stop beating around the bush and be frank. Yes, I have a confession to make – about a really guilty pleasure. It’s not about food, or sex or even a good book. No, it’s nothing as benign as that. It’s so wrong, I can barely say it.
I am crazy about Sir Guy of Gisborne.
Yes, despite John Thornton, Harry Kennedy or even Lucas North (don’t get me started on that one), it’s this character of all Richard Armitage’s portrayals that I adore the most. No matter he’s a murderous henchman who cold bloodedly kills people onscreen and countless others off-screen. He sadistically tortures villagers. He woos the maiden he obsessively loves by burning down her house and attempts to blackmail her into marriage by threatening her father’s safety at every turn. He’s locked in a bizarre unholy love/hate alliance with a scheming madman of a Sheriff that defies Freudian analysis. He’s deaf and blind to certain machinations around him and isn’t the sharpest sword in the rack. He flies into a blind rage and runs through his scheming sweetie (see what I mean). Finally he redeems himself against all odds and dies a heroic bloody death. Until then, he’s the most unchivalrous, chauvinistic 12th century black knight brutishness can buy.
In case you missed who I’m talking about.
But hey, he’s good looking and hot in black leather, so it’s all good, right?
Seriously, this guy right here.
My inner feminist just squeaked in horror and fainted dead away. Oh, maybe not? Should I be appalled with myself? Am I being – shallow? What would momma say? So, for FansRAvaganza, I will explore the reasons why I hate to love this bad boy and why this character is so compelling. Yes, I”m talking All Guy All The Time and I will be joined by some of the best Guy experts in the field. One aficianado, who you all know well, will join me to sort things out in an evocative interview. Another Guy lover has graciously provided a wonderful slideshow for your consideration. There will be lots of pretty, pretty pictures, and a few polls. Festivities with conclude with a very special surprise, so stay tuned. Don’t forget to check daily with the other partipating blogs:
Stephen King in his writing manual said his muse was a shady guy who lived in the basement, drinking all his beer, smoking like a chimney and hoarding a bag of goodies. King didn’t really like the guy but he respected him. So anytime he needed new stories, he would leave his comfortable writing den, journey to that basement and court his obnoxious muse for that bag.
This imagery tickled me and seemed quite fitting for Stephen King. Still caught up in existential angst over My Writing and the Meaning of It All, I pondered whether making my muse more tangible by putting a face, clothes and personality to it, would also help ideas become more tangible. My notion of a muse has been insubstantial and wispy like smoke, much like some of my ideas. King is a successful writer, loves his craft and it doesn’t hurt that he has money in the bank to boot. If he could dream up a muse, could I do it? And if I could think it, would it come? So I sat in my own writing den, closed my eyes, and imagined my muse taking form behind me on the futon. What would she look like? What would I say to her? How do you court a muse anyway?
Things didn’t bode well when my first thought on beholding my muse was, “Oh, hell no,” for there he sprawled, clad in black leather and offering a splendid profile and coiffed black locks. This was no ephemeral spirit ready to wave its magic wand. He was Guy of Gisborne, S2, not too much guyliner, just enough stubble. Clearly I had the FanstRAvaganza project on the brain, but I was looking for my muse, not a character. I wondered about the significance of conjuring S2 Guy over S3 but that wasn’t important at the moment.
“What are you doing here?,” I thought. “There’s no way I’m writing you fanfic!”
He turned amused blue eyes towards me and then back at a red velvet bag bouncing lightly in his hand. The bag of goodies! Surmising that lunging for it wouldn’t work, I changed tactics.
“Say,” I thought, “you and I should talk but maybe after you change into something a little more muse-y like Cate Blanchett in The Ring.” A brow arched. “Or maybe like Halle Berry in that organza number she wore to the Oscars.”
The brow arched higher.
“You can even be Gollum, but this is really too much.”
The bag stopped bouncing. He glared, unfurled from the futon and stepped into nothingness with the bag of goodies being the last to disappear like the Cheshire cat’s smile.
Maybe criticizing my muse’s appearance wasn’t the best way to handle the situation. After all, it’s all about the experiment, regaining my creativity and getting that bag of goodies, right? My fevered imaginings don’t matter. I’ll have to get him back somehow.
But I’m not writing him any fanfic.
My muse is not amused; Richard Armitage as Guy of Gisborne in Robin Hood; richardarmitagenet.com
This is one of those songs that seemed like it should impress but somehow missed for me in the past. It’s deceptively difficult to sing and some artists have mistaken shrillness for emotion and vocal lift. Power singing distracts from the poetry of the lyrics.
Finally, I heard this rendition performed by k.d. lang. The instrumentals are simple with the surging, almost marching temp of the piano. The primary focus is the singer who can make or break this song. k.d. lang is not only a gifted vocalist, but she immerses herself in the music and she showcases both here. This performance was live at the 2010 Olympics and best I’ve heard by anybody to date.
Here is Hallelujah, written by Leonard Cohen. Lyrics are here.
[Yikes. The month is only four days old and I’m already running behind. Feeling under the weather while keeping an eye on Patty who was in and out of the hospital twice last week with her usual gut problems. She’s pawing for skritchies right now so that’s good.]
The King’s Speech won the Oscar for Best Picture and Colin Firth, Best Actor. If you’ve been following my blog, you might have guessed I am pleased the film received the acclaim it deserved.The king’s Rocky-esque training has lead to numerous parodies. This was broadcast on Jimmy Kimmel Live and is the funniest I’ve seen. For those of you outside the U.S., neither ex-President Bush nor former World Heavyweight Boxing champion Mike Tyson have speech impediments, and are not known for their eloquence or brainpower.
I’m taking a break from navel gazing to ask for help. As you may have heard around the blogs, FanstRAvaganza is coming in less than three weeks. I’ve settled on the ultimate bad boy, Guy of Gisborne as a topic. Yes, for eight straight days, I’m talking all Guy, all the time.
Here’s where you come in: I would like some victims volunteers willing to be interviewed regarding why this character is their favorite. The interview can be as light-hearted or I can dredge your deepest soul as serious as you like. You can even be anonymous if you feel shy. So if you love, love, LOVE Sir Guy to bits, I need to talk to you. The contact tab is located at the top of the page. Just click it.
I was an avid reader as child. I consumed reams of books, first for the pictures, then for the stories. I craved a good ripping yarn that transported me away from my troubled world. I recall reading very little children’s books but hit the ground reading books for tweens and young adults. I was inspired to write my own stories, although I never thought to get them published. Teachers and relatives reacted favorably to my efforts, and truth be told, I felt quite puffed up. So I dreamed of writing The Great American Novel because that’s what great writers did.
Then when I was 17 years old, I perversely asked for a book for Christmas, any book. My parents scratched their heads, grilled a sales person and gave The Thorn Birdsby Colleen McCullough. I was floored. Her prose leaped off the page from the first paragraph. The words were smooth, lyrical and rich without getting in the way of the story, and, to me, enhanced the telling. I found myself stopping to savor phrases like good wine (as if I had any taste in wine) and then deconstrusting sentences to learn how she did it. Did words flow from her brain that way or was it an acquired skill? In my mind, this was a true wordsmith and I wanted to write like that. Then I understood that I’d fallen in love with her lyrical style and realized every good writer had his or her own distinct style. I devoured more books and reread others, looking for style. (I’ve seen learned that lyrical prose can be taken too far. For example, I adored Toni Morrison’s work until it seemed she’d become so enamored of her own lyricism that it drowned the storytelling.) As I reread books, the question hit me like a shot out of the dark: what was my style? How was I to compose deathless prose with no style? I didn’t have a clue, and as I’ve gotten away from writing, still don’t have a clue. Maybe I’m not clear on the concept and simply can’t see mine. I’m just not sure. It’s part of what this experiment is all about. There’s this feeling that with better understanding, I can remove an obstacle blocking my creativity.
RA had a similar revelation. He had trouble at auditions until he once arrived for one completely in character. Then he realized the immersive method style worked for him and best showcased his talent. He’s been honing that skill every since.
Guy of Gisborne (Richard Armitage) gets his total crazy on in Robin Hood, S3.1; richardarmitagenet.com
My writing hiatus had given me time to read old posts and take stock in my progress. The original purpose of this blog was to regain the ability to write tight creative prose. As I dissected each post, I realized the biggest problem wasn’t so much about finding the right action verb, or active tense or pithy adjective. Something else has been getting in the way.
The problem is one of the pitfalls of introspective writing: how to discuss thoughts and feelings without talking so much about oneself. I’m sure Dear Reader has encountered that writer whose navel gazing prose is so intense and relentless that it crosses the line between introspection and narcissism, leaving a bad taste. I want posts to be at least interesting, not insufferable.
This worry has led to increasing self-consciousness. How many “I’s” can I cut out and still make sense? Was the story overstated in the haste to emphasis a point? Did I understate something else? Is it organized and flowing or babbling? Do those words accurate reflect my thoughts? What’s the point to this?
Having made a pact with myself not to rescind a post once it’s published, I then lapse into a heap of insecurity the instant I click the button. Is it too personal? Is it too much? Will readers understand or is it simply more I, me and myself? Then I anxiously watch for replies and realize it’s not as bad as envisioned. Things didn’t blow up in my face; I avoided looking a fool. And then I start drafting another post and the agonizing starts again. I realize the self-consciousness and insecurity is caused by the vulnerability in revealing parts of myself, but it never gets any easier.
For these reasons, I’ve turned to closely reading blogger, Roger Ebert, the famous film critic. He still critiques movies but now writes about everything from soup to nuts. He’s a gifted writer with a simple elegant style and a penchant for just the right turn of phrase. I’m reading him for not only the technical, expressive aspects of writing, but also for how he deals with posts that have backfired on him. He treats these occasions as learning experiences, apologies, clarifies or corrects and then moves on. (For the creative side, I’m also reading Stephen King’s book, On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft.)
So in essence I have to deal with the ongoing issues on the process of introspecive writing in addition to the techinical presentation and the topic being discussed. Had this dawned on me at the beginning, I might have thought better of the whole experiment. But I’m in for a penny, in for a pound, so the blog goes on.
John Thornton (Richard Armitage) has no choice but to be in for a pound in North & South; richardarmitagenet.com