FanstRAvaganza 2.3: Momma Said Knock You Out

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.

A black knight in shining armor? Yes, please!

16 thoughts on “FanstRAvaganza 2.3: Momma Said Knock You Out

  1. Interesting POV and one that applies to all the mad and bad characters we love to hate, then love. The same exists in so much fiction. Even the apparently tame Regency world of Jane Austen.We can be infatuated from a distance, it makes it safe. Not only that, we can dream that the anti-hero is always redeemable, even if its at the last minute. Forgiven and shriven!Thanks for the post.

    • Exactly. The joy of fantasy is you can temporarily shed the burden of being your and what that means and experiment with being some one else.

  2. Excellent perspective on Gisborne, Judiang! Could any other actor have exerted that magnetism, as a REALLY nasty piece of work, while attracting the sympathies of a sensible female audience?Been a feminist since I was 6. The ’70s movement was a necessary phase (and it didn’t prevent me using mascara. And I didn’t burn my bra. Or stereotype men – hey, married one!). And yes, there is that unholy attraction to the bad boys. (in imagination, at least). :DLooking forward to your continued discussions of the Black Knight! Not to put too fine a point on it, he is Drop Dead Gorgeous…

    • Thanks! I keep wondering whether I would like Guy had he been played by another actor. Honestly, I can’t settle on an answer. Practically speaking, yes, another good actor could have done a credible job. But I think that level of magnetism, as you said, might be inextricably bound to a certain RA.

  3. I had a chuckle to myself reading your post. Excellent justification for liking this bad Guy. I’m enjoying visiting here very much 🙂

    • Glad to see you’re still here. I’m switching things around in the queue, but you’re conversion post is complete. It’s coming for you. Just have to figure out what day to spring it. 😉

  4. Interesting post.While reading I thought Marian&Guy might not totally fit the idea of ‘saving the bad guy’ because usually is the girl in love with him and the bad guy of turn isn’t. I like that ship because Guy ends falling for her and I feel Marian is attracted/stirred by him and that if she let herself, could change into love. Wouldn’t really be sacrifice herself…Now, as feminist we know we don’t need saving. Guy, whether he offered it or not, was the one needing the saving so it doesn’t clash with the first assertment.Though is not possible to totally apply feminism here because of the time they lived in. She needed ‘saving’ from her father and/or Guy because, as prepared and intelligent as she was, if she didn’t have them she could end as property of the Sheriff in this case to be done with as he pleased :S.Ok, I’ll stop now… By the end of fanstRAvaganza you’ll want to block me or something.OML 😛

    • I think “saving the bad guy” cuts both ways. While it’s unusual for only the man and not the woman to be smitten in this scenario, Guy himself saw Marian as his savior. And although Marian had ulterior motives having nothing to do with love, she constantly exerted her influence and availed upon the decent man in him to do the right thing. Had their relationship continued, she might have saved him. It didn’t matter whether she actually loved him, what mattered was Guy hoping she could come to love him and reacting accordingly.It’s true today’s feminism cannot be applied to a 12th century noblewoman. However, I was writing from the point of view of a 21st century feminist fascinated by male character whose primitive nature runs totally against her beliefs.Please continue commenting! I welcome all points of view.

  5. Yes, a bad boy makes a good protagonist in a work of fiction. In real life, it’s another story altogether. However, most women want someone a little bit dangerous or at least interesting.In the animal world, many males of the species do battle so only the strong can mate. Also, we use the term “animal magnetism” in the human world. 😉

  6. Well, I just don’t know where to begin…other than perhaps taking a cold shower first?!! ROTFLOL!! I’ll read this really good. I promise. Just as soon as I get past the purdy pictures. Yeah, that would make me shallerer than most.10 mins. later….Just reread this..really. And holy cow! It just dawned on me who Guy reminds me of, physically and characteristically (that is a word, right?). And I brought him home to Mama. Oh good grief, what was I thinking? OK, freshman yr of college. THE best looking guy on campus and a Sr. 6’5″ish, raven black hair, have no idea color of eyes..very RAish. Every girl on campus had their caps set for him. Asked me out. Several times and I was in hog heaven. Me? Little old goofy freshman me? Yeah, well he was one of those bad boys. Sent him packing after the 3rd date and girls, this was when a date was JUST adate…basketball game, go to the drive-in for a Coke and straight home babe. Total hands on type of guy, if you get my drift! Scared the whammy out of me. I suspected he was more errr, mature than me. Confirmed it quicklike. Diff between him and Guy? Well, I don’t think he was madly in love with me but I sure riled him when I gave him the exit papers! But it was fun, the fantasy of what might be. Dodged the bullet on that one cause he’s been thru numerous marriages since!I think you nailed it Judi!! Now you wanna hear about my first grade boyfriend? Bwahahaha!!!

    • WOW. So you can totally identify, eh? That’s kind of spooky. Glad you dodged that bullet. I was caught up in a “I can change him” relationship for several years before it dawned that marriage was a bad idea. He wasn’t a bad boy, just wildly incompatible. Heh, youth.

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