Fitzg’s Journeys: RA and the Archetype of the Byronic Hero

It’s Monday again, so time for Fitzg’s Journeys.  Today’s installment: Richard Armitage and the archetype of the Byronic hero.

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6 thoughts on “Fitzg’s Journeys: RA and the Archetype of the Byronic Hero

  1. Fascinating, Fitzg. Guy is absolutely a Byronic hero. Thornton…I’m going to have to think about that one but for now I’m going to disagree agreeably.

  2. Jazz, total agreement. Thornton is only vaguely byronic. Just had to throw in a fourth. 🙂 But the scales were weighted against him! Gisborne was too obvious…

  3. Nice essay, Fitzg!

    I’m at a little bit of a disadvantage, since I haven’t seen the Ricky Deeming portrayal in George Gently. But, I won’t let that stop me. Ha!

    To recap, here quoted from your essay are (to which I’ve added the character names in parentheses as I’m keeping track of my thought processes):

    (quote) “Characteristics of the Byronic Hero (“…idealised, but flawed character”)
    • Arrogant (Guy, John?, Ricky?)
    • Seductive and sexually attractive (Guy, John, Ricky?, Lucas)
    • Disrespectful of authority (Ricky?)
    • Distaste for social institutions and norms (Ricky?)
    • Troubled past or suffering from an unnamed crime (Guy, John, Ricky?, Lucas)
    • Emotionally conflicted, bi-polar or moody (Guy,John, Ricky?)
    • Treated as an exile, outcast or outlaw (Guy, Ricky?, Lucas at times)
    Pure anger is implied by these accepted characteristics of the Byronic Hero. Perhaps it ought to be more explicit.

    The following will focus on four of the BBC productions, in which the performances of Mr.
    Armitage show some or more elements of these characteristics.

    North and South – John Thornton
    George Gently – Ricky Deeming
    Robin Hood – Guy of Gisborne
    MI5/Spooks – Lucas North/John Bateman” (unquote)

    I guess by my tally–if I read your Byron Characteristics right–Ricky Deeming would seem to fill the bill, in terms of meeting most of your checklist. But, I’m going strictly by your descriptions of him since I haven’t seen that show. And only because I gave him the ‘flouts authority” vote and non of the other characters seemed to fit that. They either were authority–John and Lucas–or craved it (Guy).

    As to who is the best “anti-hero”? That would be Guy for me–because Guy is a “would be” hero if cicumstances were different. But the gods always got in Guy’s way–leper dad, illicit union of his mother and Robin’s mother producing a child they find out later, parents die in a fire and he has to take care of he and his sister with no parental or protective influence, forced to rely on alliances with trolls/Vasy, etc. But, if you didn’t have that “flouts authority” characteristic–because Guy craves to be the authority–then Guy would be my first choice.

    See? Aren’t I hedging my bets nicely? Ha!

    Thanks for an illuminating essay, Fitzg–and thanks for Judi’s sponsorship of it on her blog here.

    Cheers! Grati ;->

  4. Thank you for the comments, Gratiana – love your analysis. Those are great points about Guy as a wannabe hero, and wanting authority! I’m somewhat inclined to the view that Lucas does flout authority; he does report to Harry Pearce, but when off the grid, he can REALLY go off the grid- cutting off communication with the grid at times, ignoring orders, etc. Lucas remains a fascinating character for dissection!

  5. If the roles he’s chosen are an indication (obviously, this question is overdetermined) I think Armitage really likes archetypes, of which Byronic hero could definitely be one. A really interesting post.

  6. There is something so classic about Armitage, do you think, servetus? It might not happen, but it would be fascinating to see how he handles Richard III. We live in hope. My own sense of the Plantagenet remains that of an enigmatic person…

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