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]
Magnificent disaster indeed. Your first two pics illustrate your premise of the dark and shade of Gisborne’s nature.Magnificent disaster could apply to the series in toto as well. Ultimately a sucess. Why? Ultimately the “fault” of this actor. It could be to the credit of the RH producers to have realised, however dimly, that there was a comet in this actor’s evolving performance and instructed the writers to reflect this – thus it became Guy’s story, albeit supported by some other talented performances.Back to Guy: medieval history is my favourite period, and there are figures from this era who, from the records, exhibited many of the Gisborne characteristics of light and shade. Edward I (Plantagenet), Ian Mortimer’s Great and Terrible King, was one. Guy represents this brutal era in the determined self-serving in conflict with the strong religious consciousness. In the context of a TV series the religious is transferred to an idealised devotion to Marian, which nags at the nascent good in Guy. (Mulubinba’s “Looking for the Good in Guy.We will win you over, Mulubinba, whatever it takes!
I’m pretty sure the show was an accidental success in a way TPTB didn’t anticipate. I had written it off, only to take another look because of RA and his portrayal of Guy.As to medieval history, that’s interesting. I do understand that religion and morality was perceived differently then, but how exactly did they reconcile their strong religiouss consciousness with their political philosophy?Mulubinba hasn’t posted yet; she’s usually the first. Do you think the conversion was too much? Dare we hope? 😉
I need a bit of convincing too, like Mulubinba.But your way of convincing is really well done. I see the depth in his character and love how RA transfers him from a plain evil guy to a haunted Guy of Gisborne.
Ahhhhh. Sooo, are you just a little bit persuaded? Just a teensy bit closer on the path to Sir Guy?(Here, I’ve got a euro $20, you’ve got to send in for Mulubinba. :D)
I cannot see the video, but your descriptions of his qualities convince me very much! So really thank you to Mulubinba for making you confince us not fully initiated ;o)
Oh dear, is something blocking YouTube for you? It really is a great fanvid.You are converted? Excellent! How absolutely gratifying.CDoart, I formally award you the official Sir Guy of Gisborne Society membership card. You can see it’s edged in gold and there’s the embossed cameo with his image. There’s also a special hidden strip on the back, the purpose of which I’m not sure. Maybe it opens secret doors?*kisses you on both cheeks*Welcome! 😉
Yes, Sony is blocking it because of the music. I think perhaps only for Germany.Thank you for your warm welcome and the membership card. It really sounds lovely ;o)Sir Guy of Gisborne Society, he would be proud of that.Thank you!
@CDoart,Yes, welcome to the dark side. Its fun here, we have cookies, and chocolate and Guy!
Oh, the dark side sounds really lovely and I love chocolate and cookies. How did you know that? I love baking chocolate chip cookies and would feed Guy well ;o)
@CDoart…and as we’ve learned from Angie..Guy LOVES eating…you’ll soon be a favorite of his..*winks*
Oh, I adore men who have a hearty appetite and like sweets, cakes and cookies to be spoiled with. Guy really seems to be a man to my liking.
Yup, he’s beautiful. Yup, he’s a disaster. Perfect for fiction which needs conflict.
It’s like he was made to fanfic-ed (is that word?) 😉
I agree perfectly with you,especially about the scope of Richard’s talent. And you know that is my favourite fanvid too! Great minds think alike! LOL
It’s that a wonderful video? I’ve been looking for the perfect post to share it and TADA!
And the viscerality of it — the “never hide anything” quality of the series that’s designed to make it easy for kids to watch but sort of socks you at the same time.
Yes, I wondered about that viscerality every time Guy was shown killing somebody in cold blood. I supposed children understand really bad men do really things like murder. The lack of blood and gore supposedly made it less real but still.
I had never seen the Beautiful Disaster vid before..now I’ve shared it on FB and Twitter it is soo good!There is plenty of good in Guy somedays it just seems buried in the center of the earth…or wouldst that be Middle Earth?To quote judiang:”We are very very patient. It’s just a matter of time.”Resistance is futile…and quoting Lord Uhtred, “Fate is inexorable.”
I love that vid. When I first heard the song, I thought it was ludicrous. But applied to this character, I suddenly understood. The lyrics could have been written for him.Not sure what happened to Mulubinba. I think she was overcome. 😉
Completely right, that was a line I left out of my response, the lyrics were perfect..spot on!
I’m back from Sydney!!Hmmmmm …… yes, I’m wavering with your wonderful, eloquent descriptions of this character, Judiang.After the FanstRAvaganza is over, I may have to revisit Guy. I have managed about 12 or so posts over the past year or so – the theme being “In Search of the Good Guy” ….. I stopped at Episode 6 S2 and I suspect I should really continue. Will Guy manage to bring down my resistance to him?
Welcome back. I was worried you’d grabbed Harry and run for the hills.Your challenge was to be convinced Guy was worthy of all the attention, so I’ll take wavering. That’s a healthy sign. I believe my work here is done. Here’s you gauntlet back, ma’am. ;)Seriously I hope you continue with the theme analysis and look forward to it. It was quite evocative.
I love the way your writing draws me in. I almost believe that RA did, indeed, train us to watch for signals”.Fact is, for me, Guy is just a violent deadbeat, sometimes. At other times, he is a yesman. Other times he is a crybaby whinging about something and at moments he is canny, focussed and ready to do whatever, and then when Marian comes along he is often mush, both good and bad.Also, he is revolting in his habits. Geeez, he is SO gorgeous and yet picks his nose (metaphorically speaking); I think that hotness can be a total distraction. I feel like I’m bouncing off the walls just describing him.I guess I just can’t get behind a running thread of sympathy for him. For me he ran hot and cold and I don’t attribute it to an underlying theme of vulnerability. Not saying the vulnerability was not there, but honestly, until Series 3, not even understandable.I just found him compelling. My dark side is very well capable of murder but I did not relate to him at all. His weren’t crimes of passion (until Marian). They were just utilitarian.I also don’t think that Guy and Marian were meant to be together. But I do think that if they had married, it would have been eminently interesting to see their dynamics and the consequences. It would have been interesting to see if her influence continued to help him develop, to see how their differences were managed, how he would have influenced her….in the hands of good writers.Ah well.A wonderful, thought provoking post. Thank you!
Thank you! That was exactly my goal, to be thought provoking. Let’s face it, Guy was the closest thing to a devil’s minion and still possess a shred of humanity. My question was why did we have any sympathy for him at all. How can such a man be so compelling? I do not underestimate his beauty in this and seriously wonder if an average looking actor with similar talent could have gotten away with it.Yes, seeing them married would have been interesting in a post watershed show. And what you said too. 😉
@pi,You raised an excellent point that I know I haven’t given much thought to but know it would have been interesting to watch develop, namely HIS influence on HER. Guy/Marian ship believers tend to consider the dynamic of change flowing only one way. It would be interesting to see how it flows the other way….hmmm…methinks there’s a story there….
@pi, Guy (aka R.Armitage) is just plain DDG. I think he would have made a horrible husband to Marian. (sorry, shippers). He wouldn’t have known what to do with her. He would probably have turned into a frightful bullying, controlling medieval husband, whose wife was chattel. Marian, being the spirited sort (aka Lucy G) would have put up with it (no matter how stirred she was) for a few months, and risked church and society condemnation to flee to the greenwood. Only hope Robin the greenwood sap wasn’t there. From fire to slow frying pan…But seriously, Ann Marie and pi, that is an interesting thought.Were they, in fact, rather closer personalities than we have considered? Survivors at whatever costs, by whatever methods? Hmnn, have to think about that.
I don’t know if they were meant to be together. But where Marian was concerned, Guy was quite vulnerable. She was his blind spot and Achilles heel. All she had to do was smile at him and he was off to the races. Had they married, I suspect the behavior would have continued. He was moving towards becoming a decent man. Although his issues probably would make him make difficult to live with, I don’t think his treatment of her would have been as brutish as you say.As for similarity in personalities, I think between the two, Marian was more the schemer and political animal. Guy wasn’t as cunning as she.