Yes, the Christmas surprise is shaking off the dust (since it’s been complete for weeks) and readying for a wardrobe walkthrough (read: heavy duty prepping). After much consideration, the surprise will be completely password protected. Ooer! More news about it tomorrow, so watch this space.
What's the surprise? Stay tuned! (courtesy RichardArmitageNet.com)
I’m celebrating Columbus Probably Did Not Discover America Day with more drawing. I’m working very slowly through a lesson book. I was sketching last night and people in chat teased it wasn’t Richard Armitage. So I make up for it today with a nice close up of him.
Richard Armitage as Guy, simple outline trace lesson; pencil. If you can’t see Flash, it’s here.
Hot on the heels of last Thursday’s post, I decided to continue making little films but quickly ran out of usable footage. One of the big problems recording with an iPhone is making sure to shoot horizontal and not vertical. Hence I wrecked a nice film recorded at a Japanese hibachi restaurant. What to do? I don’t intend to make fan videos but it would interesting to learn about the process. Interviewing other video makers about the how-to seemed the best way to go, until I realized that many of the main fan vidders had already been interviewed for the two Fanstravaganzas. Great.
Although the task seemed daunting, the only thing to do was read up a bit and jump right in. It turned out to be not quite like that. So, hypothetically, if I were a new video maker interested in leaping into the fray, what exactly would it take?
First I would have to select the editing software. Being cheap, I would opt to use Windows Live Movie Maker bundled with Windows 7. This program was not immediately intuitive. The idiot proof aspect occurred only after I watched the tutorials. However, producing the fireworks and bicycle videos were simple and linear. They simply required music and transitions if needed. But how would you tell your own story in a fan video using footage from a series?
Second, I learned not to grab any kind of footage, so I had to read about ripping raw footage from a DVD. This would require downloading a small but powerful program, MPEG Streamclip. If I used clips, they had to be preferably high quality. But I couldn’t edit that footage yet in WMM – I would have to “set up” the clips or my video would look like garbage.
Third, I learned from nifty tutorials all over video forums how to setup clips, that is how to process and convert them to a format appropriate for editing. This meant I would have to know the resolution (i.e. 720×526), format (PAL or NTSC) and aspect 16:9 (letterbox)/ 4:3 (normal) of the footage. Heaven forbid I didn’t know the right aspect or I’d have squished or squashed images. If I had a mix of resolutions and formats, I would have to convert the clips to be on the same page, as it were. The tutorials provided the exact settings for using MPEG Streamclip. Boom, converted. Once I wrapped my brain around this process, which was the hardest in terms of a learning curve, my studies progressed. (If you’re curious, the answer in my situation was to convert to NTSC DVD DV AVI. Aren’t you glad you know now?). This may sound complicated, but as I said, once it mentally clicked, it’s smooth sailing.
Four, armed with a load of newly convert AVI clips, I would have to attach descriptive labels so they could be used again. THEN I was ready to drag and drop them into WMM. I would select a song, depending on copyright constraints which would be published on either YouTube or other more lenient sites like Vimeo. With the song in place, I would use WMM to edit the clips I wanted and arrange them like a jigsaw puzzle according to taste, tempo and and the story I wished to tell using all the programs bells and whistles if I so chose. Tutorials listed different things to do or avoid in making videos but from watching numerous pieces on the internet I would say it’s all down to viewer personal taste and what the vidder wanted to say.
Five, I would add the title and credits (very important) and render my masterpiece into a file appropriate for posting on video sites and then upload it to that site. That’s it. The video would be out there for all the world to see.
So, after all that study, would I bite the bullet and finally make a fan video? Well, if I did I’d probably select as a topic Sir Guy of Gisborne played by a certain Richard Armitage. Or maybe not.
Welcome new subscribers! Feel free to make yourselves at home. As I said when first starting this writing, this blog is mainly about getting my creative literary juices flowing again. I’ll discuss everything from A to Z peppered with comments about a certain Richard Armitage because he’s what you people really come here for. I’ll especially return to him to stir the pot because it’s what I *do*. Pretty pretty pictures may also find their way here.
I notice a few of you are looking through old posts. May I suggest the Fanstravaganza 2 ones? They were great fun to write and contain much eye candy. That I managed to write about Guy of Gisborne for eight straight days still amazes me. Plus we can use more Guy converts. So, have a look, tell your family, tell your friends! Seriously, we need more converts. Just click here and work from the bottom posts up.
EDIT: Due to migrating from WordPress.com to WordPress.org, formating is a little odd on some posts prior to April. I ‘m manually fixing each one, but they are readable.
Anyway, here’s some motivation to get you started:
Richard Armitage shows that dancer's physique; Spooks S9; Courtesy, RichardArmitageNet.com
I kid you not, Dear Reader. I possess proof positive of Richard Armitage’s acting failure. This little gem was posted by RAnet.com in the Robin Hood S1 update section. It’s a BBC 2006 website interview with the man himself.
There I was taking in the pretty and considering dusting off my Wacom drawing tablet when his last sentence hit me. It starts at 3:04:
“I’m really hoping that when people sit and watch this, when Gisborne is trying to win Marian, that they actually squirm in their seats, that their skin is crawling; that’s my aim with this character, to make people absolutely despise him.”
After talking about Guy for eight days straight for FanstRAvaganza, I find this hilarious. This interview suggests he intended to play the panto baddie; he wanted us to boo and hiss and stamp our feet. This seems true through about half of S1, notably during Guy’s “torture the villagers” phase. But did RA’s propensity for finding light in dark characters go too far? Guy very quietly moved towards becoming a more sympathetic character especially when Marian left him at the altar in the S1 finale and it’s quite evident the writers bought into the kindler gentler Guy philosophy during S2 and S3.
However even when Guy was his sadistic best in S1, I never had a sense of total evil particularly when dealing with Marian. He could be cruel, calculating, and clueless but underneath lie a growing sense he was pitiable. So, if RA meant my skin to crawl, he did a poor job. A really bad job.
Today is my birthday. Nothing momentous; that was last year, capped off with a cruise in the Caribbean. I don’t have any insights or revelations today. There’s simply a sense of tranquility, something I’ve been sorely needing these past few weeks. One of my buddies (the IT maven) arrived Wednesday and another is due today. We’re taking things easy while my IT massages HP into health it hasn’t had since it left the factory nursery.
It’s amusing actually. I’m happy chirping at everybody “Today’s my birthday!” but don’t particularly care whether there’s a big dinner or a musical or Something Special to do as the younger me would have. Just marking another year without much fuss is good enough. Maturity is definitely a perk to getting older.
My IT is darkly muttering about buying flash drives for HP’s surgery so I need to head out. Meanwhile take a look at the lovely shiney posted by RichardArmitageNet.com. Enjoy!
This is it, the last day of FanstRAvaganza 2. It’s been a madcap week talking All Guy All The Time. Things kicked off with an introduction dedicated to our black knight with two polls; ruminations over how I hate to love him; a feminist take on the show; a wonderful interview with Ann Marie; some sexy musings; a conversion for the uninitiated; and ended with a lovely ficlet written by Ann Marie. Arcing the entire week was Mulubinba’s challenge to convince her that Guy was worthy of all the attention.
Well, let’s deal with the polls first.
The first poll asked: Which series Guy character development did you like best?
S1 – Basic bad guy black all the way. I love the mullet and cravat – 11.86% (7 votes)
The winner is S2 Guy all way. I can extrapolate from that the first question you all simply want to mother S2 Guy…or, erm, something. As for second question, Avalon polled a similar one last year and 64% voted for the S2 Guy image, garnering a 3% increase. Maybe we need to commission a study?
Mulubinba’s challenge was inspiring and I hit the keyboard with dogged determination. Would I be able to reach her? The week ended with Mulubina conceding she was wavering on the issue and might need take a new look at the black knight. Considering her earlier sentiments, I am thrilled to hear this and hope she completes her “Looking for Good in Guy” series. As an added bonus, CDoart announced she was completely persuaded and is now a Guy Girl. I call this a success. My work here is done.
I want to thank the FanstRAvaganza organizers Nat and Traxy for getting things rolling; She Too Shy To Be Named for the beautiful banners (really love the one above, want to kiss it, pet it and call it Ritchie); the other participating bloggers for showing me how it’s done and giving me the confidence to do this; and Servetus for kindly inviting me into this madness. Thank you, Dear Reader, for the lively and encouraging comments. It’s been a blast. Last, but not least, I thank Richard Armitage, whose talents we celebrate.
At the top of the week, I mentioned including a slideshow by our Angieklong. However WordPress wouldn’t play nice so that was scrapped. However she created a fun video I’m sure you’ll all like. So I’ll leave you now with the sexy black knight.
[ETA: Be sure to catch up on the other participating blogs. The index is here. RAFrenzy had logistical problems but will continue her celebration this week. Don’t miss it!]
When Ann Marie suggested interviewing the black knight himself, I was privately skeptical. What could she ask? Knowing his mercurial temperament, how would he react? After discussion over borrowing Angieklong’s Sloth Machine, which works like the Doctor’s TARDIS, except it doesn’t, and Ann Marie’s reassurances she’d traveled many times there where she was a lady of substance, I wished her well and hoped her shots and insurance were current. A few weeks later, I received a message from the Sloth Machine: “Mission Accomplished.” The following missive was attached.
Sir Guy of Gisborne ~ The Interview
~~By Lady Ann Marie of New Jersey
The Sheriff of Nottingham, Vasey, really does hate to lose a wager. He’s not a very good sport at all. However, a wager is a wager and like it or not I correctly guessed his favorite color…black. Not that it was difficult, I mean the man is swimming in black from head to toe! However, the ease of the wager enabled me to accomplish what I wanted to do from the moment I had set eyes on his Master at Arms, Sir Guy of Gisborne. I wanted to meet him, talk to him, to understand what it was that drew my attention to him the moment he walked into the room.We had not met. Vasey did not introduce us, choosing instead to keep the dark haired Knight close to him except when I was near then Sir Guy was ordered away on an errand or task. I am not sure if he was keeping Sir Guy away from me or me away from Sir Guy.
My terms for the wager, rankled Vasey terribly. I wanted time alone with Sir Guy, for as long as I wished. Well, Vasey would not agree to that last part, and truthfully I had not expected him to, allowing only for one afternoon and then only in the Great Hall. No matter…I eagerly sat in the Great Hall, awaiting Sir Guy. I worried that he would be offended when he discovered that he was a prize.
“How may I be of service to you?”
The clang of spurs hitting stone signaled the arrival of Sir Guy of Gisborne. He entered the Great Hall and strode purposefully over to me. As I stood, he walked to me and taking my outstretched hand in his black-gloved one, raised it to his lips with a little bow, never taking his eyes from my face. His movements caused his scent to waft over me…. leather, horses, spice (what was that I wondered) and hard work. He kept my hand for a few extra moments allowing me to feel the strength of his hand through the soft, worn leather he wore.
He smiled and said, “My Lady, I am Sir Guy of Gisborne. Sheriff Vasey said that you wished to speak to me. How may I be of service to you?”
I smiled as he relinquished my hand and gestured to the seat at the head of the long table. I returned to my seat at his left hand. I called to the servant standing nearby and asked her to pour two goblets of wine. As I dismissed the servant Sir Guy called out to her, “Tell the Guard in the passageway to stand at the door. We are not to be disturbed.”
I offered him a goblet which he accepted with a smile. I was very…. I suppose the only word is…dazzled. By that smile. Fine white teeth, sensuous lips…I caught myself staring when I realized he was looking at me with an inquisitive look. I blinked…I am sure I blushed… and I lifted my own goblet to my lips and swallowed a healthy mouthful of the honeyed wine. The warmth of the liquid soothed me and gave me a moment to collect myself.
He took a sip of the wine and placed the goblet down and leaned back in the high-backed chair, resting his elbows on the arms and steepled his gloved fingers in front of him.“Now, my Lady, what is this about?”
I looked at him and made the decision to tell him the truth. “Sir Guy, what I am about to tell you may anger you but I pray it does not.” “I won this time with you in a wager with Sheriff Vasey.” I waited.
He lowered his eyes to focus on his fingers and though for a moment, his brow furrowing slightly. “My Lady, just so I understand, I am a prize?”
I sat in my chair, blushing to the roots of my hair, looking down at my hands in my lap. He raised his gaze and looked, intently, at my face, seeing my embarrassment, waiting for me to answer.
I took a breath and said, “No Sir Guy, time with you was my prize and I asked for it for two very good reasons.” I paused, uncertain should I continue.
“Please continue my Lady, I confess you have piqued my interest.”
“The first reason was because I thought it might annoy Vasey as he seemed determined that we would not be introduced.”
That comment elicited a deep chuckle and he picked up his goblet for another drink of the wine. “And the second?”
I looked him dead in the eye and said, “The second reason is that…you… interest me.”
That got him.
He raised his left eyebrow and sipped from his goblet. “The Sheriff has granted me the afternoon to spend with you,” I said.
Placing the goblet down he leaned forward in his seat, very close to me and with his voice impossibly deep and low, barely above a whisper said, “And how shall we spend this time?”
I smiled brightly and said, “I wish to talk to you.”
“Talk to me?”“Yes, talk to you.”
“Why?”“It is simple,” I said, “I find you interesting.”
“But my Lady, you do not know me.”
“Precisely!” I exclaimed.
“He pinched the bridge of his nose.”
Sir Guy pinched the bridge of his nose with his right, gloved hand and sighed. “Very well.” “We will talk.”
He settled back in his chair once again and waited, his eyes on my face, again. Reading me. Measuring.
I wasted no time. As I looked at him I noticed that the black hair, the dark stubble on his face formed the perfect complement to the blue of his eyes. “Was it your mother or father who gave you eyes so blue?”
That surprised him.“Neither. It was my Mother’s mother and my Father’s mother who were blue-eyed as my mother used to tell me.”
I smiled at him. He could not help but smile back at me. And I watched him visibly relax.
He leaned forward and as he reached to take an apple slice from the tray on the table, I asked, “Why do you wear such gloves?”
He paused in mid -reach, just for a moment. He took the apple slice and popped it into his mouth and settled back. As he chewed he looked at his gloved hands while he did so.
He swallowed, raised his gaze to mine and said, “No one has ever asked me that question.”
“Will you tell me truthfully?” “I will not share what you tell me with anyone.”
A small smile crept to his lips as his gaze shifted from me. He said, “You have met the Sheriff, you have some sense of what he is like, how he conducts his business.”
“Yes, I have heard of the things the Sheriff has done…. and that you have done in his name.” “I will not lie to you, Sir Guy, so many of those things attributed to you are reprehensible.”
“Yes, they are,” he agreed.“If you agree, why do you do them?” I asked.
He paused. “It is my job,” he said quietly. “A debt I must repay.”
I pondered that for a bit. It seemed a dangerous area to explore and I was unwilling to jeopardize his openness by pushing too far. Instead I leaned forward and asked him, my voice just above a whisper, “So, Sir Guy, why do you wear the gloves?”
He looked at me, a cloud passed over the blue of his eyes, and said softly, “It keeps it from being real. I do not allow it, the horror, to touch me. Ever.”
I saw his eyes glisten with moisture and then close. He sat there for awhile which gave me time to reflect on his answer.
I was surprised to find that I was relieved to know that he understood the horror of some of the things he has done. I was at a loss as to what to say to this tragic man. So I did the only thing I could, I rose and went to his seat and knelt beside it and took his gloved hands in my own.
Guy spoke to me, “I have never told anyone that before. I didn’t think I could speak of it.”
I rubbed my thumbs over the wolf’s head clasps on the backs of his gloves. Then, I started to pull the fingers of his left glove, causing his eyes to fly open. Guy gently tried to pull his hand from my grasp but I held it firmly, “No.”
I pulled the entire glove off and started on the right hand. I pulled that off too. I held both of his hands in mine and looked into his eyes. His hands were warm, large with slender fingers. They were beautiful, really.
“Sir Guy, you must remember to remove the gloves on occasion and feel.” “I have watched you for several days and have never seen you express the slightest hint of happiness.”
He smiled, not a genuinely happy smile, though it dazzled. He nodded, “There is very little that truly makes me happy.”
I released his hands and returned to my seat. I was about to ask him what did bring him pleasure when a young woman entered from the far end of the hall. She had dark auburn hair and was wearing a light blue gown with white silk around the décolletage. She spied my presence and came toward me unable to see the figure sitting in the chair because the chair’s back faced her.
“Oh, Lady Ann Marie, I did not know you were here,” she said pleasantly as she walked toward me.
I smiled at her but my eyes were on Guy. At the sound of her voice his face had lightened and opened, something, was it joy….hope?…lit his face.
As Marian came around the side of the chair, Guy rose and turned to face her. Marian stopped dead. She looked up into his face and I watched her forget to breathe…and I watch Guy do the same.
“So that’s the way of it, I thought.”
So that is the way of it, I thought.
From instinct and breeding, Marian lifted her hand to Sir Guy who grasped it in his bare hand. To this day I will swear that I saw an actual spark when they touched.
“Lady Marian,” Guy said as he raised her hand to his lips. I had noticed that Marian’s eyes had widened at the contact of her bare hand in his. I imagined the warmth she felt, the surprise of the tingle.
“Lady Marian, Sir Guy and I have been sitting here talking.” “Would you like to join us?” The young woman gathered her senses and turned toward me.
“Alas, I cannot, my father is ill and I was on my way to see the alchemist for a tonic for his pain.”
Neither realized that he still held her hand in his.
Marian continued, “I had hoped that Sir Guy would be free to accompany me so we could discuss a healing garden for the village of Locksley and the necessary plants….”
Guy said regretfully, “Marian, the Sheriff has assigned my time to Lady Ann Marie for the afternoon, I am not free.”
Marian lowered her gaze to their joined hands. Seeing her regret, an idea bloomed.
“Sir Guy, the Sheriff said I could have as long as I wanted this afternoon. I have accomplished what I set out to do. So I gift Lady Marian with the time that remains this afternoon to spend with you.”
Marian looked at me, “What was it you meant to do?”
I smiled at both of them. “I wanted to get to know Sir Guy better as I find him to be something of an enigma. That would take much longer than a single afternoon. I also wanted to know what brought him pleasure and, my dear, I have a very clear idea of what that answer is.”
“Sir Guy, if you leave by the same entrance that Lady Marian arrived, you should have no trouble leaving unnoticed. I will be happy to sit in the Great Hall for a spell with your guard outside the door.”
They both smiled. Guy finally relinquished Marian’s hand and stepped forward to bow and step forward to kiss my cheek. He said, “I look forward to talking with you again Lady.” His face held joy as he turned to Marian who lifted her hand to him as he took her fingers in his she smiled at me, mouthing the words , “Thank you.”
As they departed through the far entrance of the Hall I turned back to the table. And there they were.
All rights reserved Annie Lucas March 2011-Copyright
FanstRAvaganza is almost over. Be sure to visit the other participating blogs. CDoart’s index is here.
[All images courtesy of richardarmitagenet.com and richardarmitagecentral.co.uk.]
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]
I’ve been watching you, milord. I’ve seen you galloping through the fields on that charger, your powerful thighs clenching its sweaty sides. You and your animal seem as one. You sit a fine horse, so tall in the saddle, so proud, arrogant and…masterful. See, he snorts and prances and flicks his black mane, just like you. Tell me, is he called Sir Guy too?
Do I amuse you? I’m glad, I aim to entertain. Mmm. I like the way you dismount and stretch out the knots, muscles ripping under that tight black leather. Just like that. My, you are tall.
I like tall men. And broad shoulders. And slim hips. I think I like black leather now. It looks quite… supple on you.
No, we don’t know each other milord.
But I know you.
I know what you do for the Sheriff and I’ve seen you prowling the castle at night like a big sleek black panther, lurking in the shadows, always watchful. It’s dark but I know it’s you. The torchlight dances along the smooth brow, across those sharp cheekbones and down that regal nose to those lips, rather like a bow, aren’t they?
And when you lean into the light, I can see your eyes. Do you know they change color? It’s curious, they’ve the shape of almonds but are the shade of anything from a crystal clear pond to a summer’s day to – well like now – a deep stormy blue.
Yes, the color of …passion.
I hope I’ve not offended by likening you to animals. But you see, I notice that animals like stallions and panthers have very majestic qualities akin to people. They preen and dominate and command. And you are quite a magnificent animal.
Do you think me forward? Well, I’ve a confession. Lean closer, yes that’s it.
I. Have. No. Shame.
Oh yes, I peeped in your window one night in the village. I watched you half bare in the firelight while your manservant tried to mold cold hard metal to the peaks and dips and angles of your lean hard body. I suspect the smithy doesn’t understand the elegance of your form. Perhaps I could be of assistance? Ah, I knew I could.
I’ve another confession. I dreamed about you in your bedchamber, oh yes. I wasn’t in it – yet. You lie bare-chested and asleep with your hair fanned around the pillow, and you were dreaming. Such a dream, thrashing and moaning – oh, you seem startled milord. Does that strike a chord with you? Oh really? You should tell me about it so we may compare.
It’s okay, whisper in my ear.
[Caveat- the video creator (our own Avalon) stated Isabel represents any woman and not Guy’s sister. Also the devil made me do this post.]
Be sure to stop by the other participating blogs. CDoart’s handy index is here.
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!”
Richard Armitage as Guy and Keith Allen as the Sheriff of Nottingham in a promotional shot for Robin Hood S1
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.
Richard Armitage as Guy and Lucy Griffiths as Marian, Robin Hood S1
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
Richard Armitage in “Glamor Guy” mode, Robin Hood S3
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.
The fatal finale between Guy and Marian, Robin Hood S2
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.
Guy is redeemed in death in the series finale of Robin Hood; all images courtesy of richardarmitagenet.com
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.]
Be sure to visit the participating blogs. CDoart has a handy index here.
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.
Were it not for Richard Armitage, I wouldn’t have seen Guy of Gisborne. I’m not being funny or nothin’. Originally I had no keen interest in watching Robin Hood. But some friends were talking about it so I took a look. It must have been one of the earlier slow paced episodes because I was so bored with the hero that by time I glimpsed a black leather clad figure sneering in the background, I’d lost total interest. My later “discovery” of RA brought me back to the show for the express purpose of taking another look at this character, Guy of Gisborne. This is my take on the evolution of Guy:
Guy S1. Basic evil, basic outfit with cravat and mullet
S1 showed a truly nasty character. He slinked about in black leather, black mane, black eyeliner when not riding his black horse, smirking and sneering as he did the evil sheriff’s bidding. He was venal and vicious. He was a nobleman with a self-styled title and no lands, obsessed with regaining family power and status. He was Vaisey, except younger, taller, better looking, not as cunning, but half as crazy. He was the antithesis of Robin Hood and almost the dastardly panto villain who twirled his mustache and cackled evilly – but not quite. He wished to possess Marian as a stepping stone to status but something – humanity- stirred within because of her.
Guy S2, getting it wrong since 1190. Tweaked image, longer hair, no cravat, all leather
S2 unveiled a more layered character. There lurked a damaged soul and beneath the evil exterior. His need to possess Marian morphed into an obsessive love and belief that through her, he could cleanse away his sins. If he could untangle his mind from Vaisey’s influence, he could be the better man Marian wanted. Several times he endangered his precarious position with the crazed Sheriff by extending protection to Marian and even the villagers. Alas, despite his flashes of goodness, he managed somehow to undo the good he’d done. He was still dangerous and nasty but instead of eliciting boos and hisses, his bad acts provoked a disappointing sadness, and finally shocked horror.
S3 Guy, basic deranged; Greasy long locks, black shirt, fancy britches
S3 revealed the tortured soul full force, a man in hell slowly going mad with guilt and self-loathing. We learn his backstory and kinship to Robin, Archer and Isabel and are told had it not been for the twist in fate, he could have been Robin Hood. Even in changing sides, he’s motives still aren’t quite right, not quite noble and selfless until almost the end. He died free and redeemed although he had about two seconds to savor it all.
So this is the story of Guy in a nutshell: he’s evil but not really; he’s justifiably vilified but misunderstood, even by him self. Ultimately, he proves a tragic figure even in redemption. So why do I hate to love Guy? Find out tomorrow.
So Dear Reader, what do you think about Guy’s evolving personality and changing appearance each series? Tell me in this blog’s first ever polls. Take a look, think carefully and vote. Notice there is no box for “Don’t make me choose!” You must pick one. Feel free to explain your choices in the comments section. I’ll have the results at the end of the fest. [I just discovered the second question was polled last year. However, with the increased number of blogs and hopefully, readership, it might yield different results. Let’s see what happens.]
Wait gang! A marvelous idea occurred to me. I’m interested in what fans truly think about Guy. If you send in a short blurb telling me your deepest thought/passion/fantasy about him, I will publish them together anonymously. Something like this. Nobody need know who said what, unless you give me permission to attach your name. Click the contact tab above to email me. C’mon, it will be fun!
Also don’t forget to visit the other participating blogs. The list is here.
You know what that means. It’s time to stop beating around the bush and be frank. Yes, I have a confession to make – about a really guilty pleasure. It’s not about food, or sex or even a good book. No, it’s nothing as benign as that. It’s so wrong, I can barely say it.
I am crazy about Sir Guy of Gisborne.
Yes, despite John Thornton, Harry Kennedy or even Lucas North (don’t get me started on that one), it’s this character of all Richard Armitage’s portrayals that I adore the most. No matter he’s a murderous henchman who cold bloodedly kills people onscreen and countless others off-screen. He sadistically tortures villagers. He woos the maiden he obsessively loves by burning down her house and attempts to blackmail her into marriage by threatening her father’s safety at every turn. He’s locked in a bizarre unholy love/hate alliance with a scheming madman of a Sheriff that defies Freudian analysis. He’s deaf and blind to certain machinations around him and isn’t the sharpest sword in the rack. He flies into a blind rage and runs through his scheming sweetie (see what I mean). Finally he redeems himself against all odds and dies a heroic bloody death. Until then, he’s the most unchivalrous, chauvinistic 12th century black knight brutishness can buy.
In case you missed who I’m talking about.
But hey, he’s good looking and hot in black leather, so it’s all good, right?
Seriously, this guy right here.
My inner feminist just squeaked in horror and fainted dead away. Oh, maybe not? Should I be appalled with myself? Am I being – shallow? What would momma say? So, for FansRAvaganza, I will explore the reasons why I hate to love this bad boy and why this character is so compelling. Yes, I”m talking All Guy All The Time and I will be joined by some of the best Guy experts in the field. One aficianado, who you all know well, will join me to sort things out in an evocative interview. Another Guy lover has graciously provided a wonderful slideshow for your consideration. There will be lots of pretty, pretty pictures, and a few polls. Festivities with conclude with a very special surprise, so stay tuned. Don’t forget to check daily with the other partipating blogs:
I’m taking a break from navel gazing to ask for help. As you may have heard around the blogs, FanstRAvaganza is coming in less than three weeks. I’ve settled on the ultimate bad boy, Guy of Gisborne as a topic. Yes, for eight straight days, I’m talking all Guy, all the time.
Here’s where you come in: I would like some victims volunteers willing to be interviewed regarding why this character is their favorite. The interview can be as light-hearted or I can dredge your deepest soul as serious as you like. You can even be anonymous if you feel shy. So if you love, love, LOVE Sir Guy to bits, I need to talk to you. The contact tab is located at the top of the page. Just click it.