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!”
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.
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
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.
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.
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.]
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Thank you Judiang and Ann Marie. I’m always interested in opinions of Guy.Just with regard to his misdemeanours, I notice that no one has brought up the abandonment of his own son in the forest. I always felt it was a pity that Seth did not re-appear in a later episode. Would Guy have acknowledged him as his son in S3, for example? On the whole I thought S3 ended satisfactorily – I agree with RA – he needed to die repentant.
I always thought the writers intended to come back to that story due to the special evilness of the deed but it didn’t fit into the other arcs planned. Children were not adored in those times but it is certainly a prickly subject for a 21 century audience. It was very publicly revealed but nobody talked about it. IIRC Marian had to have known and Robin would have told her. Oddly we never learned Guy’s POV. Some suggested that Guy left the infant because he feared the outlaws were about to ambush him and intended to return for him. Who knows. I think he would have eventually acknowledged Seth much later on, but he had too much emotional baggage to deal with in S3.Part of me agrees with Ann Marie it would have been sent a stronger message to let Guy live. However it was a family show so children had to see evil punished.
Dear Ann Marie, if anyone inspires anyone to write fanfic, It’s Guy of Gisborne!!Your perspective on Marian rings so true, an independent woman grappling with a society in which women were property. The Guy/Marian story did leave some unresolved issues (yes Mulubinba – Seth!), leaving the imagination free to explore…Super interview, Judiang and Mulubinba.
Thanks fitzg. I’m waiting for the guest of honor to come take her bow.
A lovely interview with a lovely lady. Thanks for sharing!
Welcom Sarah P and thanks. 🙂
I meant Judiang and Ann Marie!! Cat attempting to use the keyboard as a short-cut distracted me!!!
You’ve got Mulubinba on the brain because you’re dying for her conversion. 😉
My cat tries to help me too, unfortunately she really only likes the delete key!
I think Judiang’s point about Seth is well taken. We never got Guy’s POV and I think that is key. Hmmm..there’s a story there…
I was going to say — it seems like this comes up a lot in fanfics, so it’s been good from that perspective 🙂
Great interview you guys. I figured this one would be good, b/c Ann Marie’s got a lot to say. I especially like the insight that part of Guy’s appeal lies in his BOYishness. He can’t be so completely evil because after the second half of S1, he seems so vulnerable at the same time. I’ve read at least one fic in which he says that it was better for Seth to die than to experience a childhood without protection, even worse than his. This seems to me to be a typically adolescent stance, not one of a mature adult.What I wonder: while I like the idea that Guy could have been redeemed in a more meaningful way than he was (and agree that it would be useful for children to see such lessons in popular drama), I wonder if Guy as written here / or as Armitage played him really had the capacity for that. When I think of Guy the decisive point is always his constitution as a creature of boundless appetite, tempered by reason only in the sense that it’s politically expedient. The boundless appetite thing is something that Armitage played up to the hilt. Guy’s redemption in S3 is always balanced out and often trumped by his desire for political advancement. It had to be that way, I think, otherwise it would have seemed smarmy all the way through and not just as Guy was dying. But it limits the possibility for true change, I think.
It is true that in end although he switched sides, his motives never turned purely noble, he was motivated by revenge more than anything else. I’m not sure had he lived if his boundless appetite would have continued to such an extent. I think it would have been tempered by the new found sense of doing the right thing. I would say he had a bit of an obsessive personality (a tad unstable maybe?) and might have acquired a zeal for being a decent man. OR, he might not have turned goodie-goodie, but kept a dangerous edge. I think it could have gone both ways.Playing badness to the hilt is always entertaining to watch. And his paying with his life really drove home the point that good must trump evil. Had he not been quite so bad, we wouldn’t found him quite so interesting.
@servetus,I read that fanfic re: Seth dying better than living without protection. Often wondered why he would not offer that protection.I think you judge him a little to harshly in one respect. He did NOT ALWAYS take the option most politically expedient. Case in point- he can live when the troops are about to level Nottingham but he chooses instead to turn back and face almost certain death to be at Marian’s side. That decision was HUGE for the political animal that Guy was evolving from…..As always my dear, erudite, intelligent and on point.Still laughing as “she has alot to say” is the biggest understatement of the year (thank G-D its only March)!
If we assume that his desire to turn back is selfless. Maybe. Or maybe it’s the result of appetite, too. I don’t know. Part of what made the character so intriguing was how multilayered Mr. Armitage made him. You could never tell exactly what was going on behind that forehead — until very late in S3, at which point the whole thing got less interesting to me.
@servetus..the phrase “You could never tell exactly what was going on behind that forehead” just has me in stitches for some reason….now let me rock your world…how would you have felt about Guy..with a beard?
I loved the points at which he almost had a full beard, like in that episode where he find out the truth about his childhood.It would have been worse.I have a hard time watching Guy. Of all the characters Armitage has played, Guy and Thornton are the most like me. Sometimes it’s too painful to watch.
He almost had a beard when he kills Marian.I think you will need to explore Guy in a post. No two ways about it.
yeah, I’ll put it on the list 🙂 Some days I fear I will never get to the end of this obsession 🙂
Gosh I hope you never get to the end of this obsession…*shudders* Can’t contemplate it…
@servetus, so you’re tall, dark and handsome with stubble issues?
and a piercing stare 🙂
🙂 🙂 🙂
LOL! Very good. 😉
Ooh, ooh, I met your celebrity interviewee, but I forgot to ask for her autograph. She’s a delight in real life, I can tell you!Thanks to both of you for the interview. I really enjoyed the “Ode to a Button” from the Hobbit Press Conference posted here: http://www.wattpad.com/1085849-ode-to-a-little-button
@bccmee, I am still laughing and that is all I have been able to do when I encountered any of your posts this week. You just crack me up…and I neglected to get your autograph too.
B & I totally forgot to record our voices! Why I don’t even have proof that it actually happened! Next time autograph a must! Or even better we could get tattoos together!! LOL
Ann-Marie,This i/v was wonderful. You nailed so much of the ‘might have beens’ with what was the past and present. For me as a writer, it’s enlightening to see what others perceive in Guy’s character.Your slant on Marian was so completely spot-on. She is manipulative and even arrogant, through and through. I’ve no doubt she felt her motives were pure, but she took Guy’s heart out and laid it pumping on the floor and then stepped on it. In modern terms, I’d say she got off on her power. And as you say, in the end she had no hope of controlling what she had unleashed. It was awful but totally believable in a time where conflict resolution was generally brutal.Terrific blog post both of you.
@mesmered High praise from you, my lady!The sentence,”..but she took Guy’s heart out and laid it pumping on the floor and then stepped on it” is so evocative and spot on! An example why each installment of “Gisborne” is so anxiously awaited.Thank you very much for the lovely compliments.
To be honest if I was in Marian’s position at that time in history I would have used Guy’s vulnerability as well. I have serious doubts about him making any husband material. And I hope nobody will hate me for that. But really aren’t we forgetting how he manipulated her? Everybody was manipulating someone in that show!! LOL
My darling Fanny,(I always think North&South when I write to you!)You raise a good point about Guy manipulating Marian as she did him. Except, not really! He tried, no doubt about it. But he never really succeeded. Every time he got close to getting his way with her, she wriggled out of it somehow. He pressures her to marry him under the guise of protection but she DOESN’T!And this just occurred to me….the reasons under which she agreed to marry Guy, need for protection for her and her father, a test of her loyalty, etc. still remained even though she had left Guy at the altar and changed her mind. So, then, why did she agree to marry him in the first place? I think it was because it gave her a reason to do so , that she could blame it on.
And fantastic interview!!
Thanks. Ann Marie is a wonderful interviewee.
This was a wonderful interview!!! I always commend Ann Marie on her exceptional research skills…and I must say, the point you make about Guy being JUST Guy in Robin Hood, as opposed to Richard Armitage PLAYING Guy – that’s spot on! Fantastic interview, ladies!!!
Welcome Lea! Glad you enjoyed it. They told me Ann Marie would know what she was talking about – and she does.
Some very wise words there, and great to learn more about Ann Marie as well. Thanks for sharing, both of you! 🙂
“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. ”
Indeed. I think he was meant to be a bog-standard baddie to begin with, and then RA made the part his own, and from there … he fleshed him out in a way that Guy turned out to (probably) be the only 3D character in the show!
Ironic that RA managed to upstage the lead hero in the end, eh? Talent does win out.
I agree with you about Marion, but I don’t like the way she led Guy on. It was obvious that he truely loved her, and I felt so bad because you knew she was only pretending to be interested in him. Even for the time period, and for Guy being pushed to his limits, I do think the stabbin Marion like that was a tad unrealistic. He really loved her, and I don’t think that that scene, while dramatic, was completely true to his character. You are right about the ONLY Guy when he plays the part. Richard Armitage is an amazing actor!
Yes, Marion’s machinations made her less than good and pure in my eyes. In the hands of a more experienced actress, Marion probably would have shown to a more convincing degree the stirred/torn angle. RA had trouble with the finale too which is why he considered it terrible accident (he reached out to her and ran her through in the process) rather than a crime of passion. I was willing to look past it just to see more RA. 🙂
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