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.
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[All images courtesy of richardarmitgenet.com and richardarmitagecentral.co.uk]