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Tuesday, November 05, 2013

Robin Hood Week: Robin & Marian

I kinda love this illustration.

Robin Hood and Maid Marian.  One of the most well known and well loved literary couples - and with good reason.  Every hero has to have a strong woman behind him which makes the two perfect for each other.  Added to that numerous film adaptions that play up Robin and Marian's romance more than the books ever did, and you have a formula for a couple that is many people's absolute favorite.  But where did this all begin?

Marian was one of the last characters to join the ranks of Robin Hood, which can seem quite surprising since her romance with Robin is one of the main focuses of my films.  However, she was originally cast as a rich noblewoman who had little romantic ties with Robin.  Even Howard Pyle's adaption of the story didn't bring her out into the light because there are exactly two passing references of her throughout the whole book.  Now, Paul Creswick's version has much more of Marian (and I really love how she's portrayed - bold and more than a little feisty, but still ladylike and gentle), but I don't think that the whole romance story had really 'evolved', since she and Robin are portrayed as two young adults with crushes on each other, than a more steadfast love, at least in my opinion.

cute :)
Absolutely love this quote.
And then movies started being made out of Robin Hood and Robin and Marian's relationship was taken to the silver screen where everything is enhanced and built up.  I believe that the 1938 adaption of Robin Hood was my first real introduction to period drama romances, and I loved it.  Still do, actually.  And, of course, the animated Robin Hood has a sigh-worthy romance (even if everyone is portrayed as an animal - it's still cute) and don't even get me started with BBC's show.  I mean, they actually get married and it's amazing and gorgeous and so happy (for about two minutes).  Yeah, I really, really like how BBC portrayed their relationship.

Now, I want to take a few moments to ramble about Marian, because I don't feel like giving her a whole post, but I do have some things to say about her.  First of all, like I said above, I can't find a single fault with her portrayal(s) in the different versions of RH I've read that actually have her as a character.  She's kind, gentle, brave, bold, a bit impetuous, and just very sweet.  In a couple of versions I've read, she and Robin get married and have children and it's really adorable (of course, then they have to put an epilogue saying she died of a fever later on, leaving Robin nearly mad with grief).

Robin Hood's BBC Maid Marion...
See what I mean about her dresses?
However, most film versions tend to portray her as more independent and headstrong (with my favorite exception to this being the animated Maid Marian, who's incredibly gracious, kind, and just plain ladylike).  I'm mostly talking about BBC's, or rather Lucy Griffith's portrayal.  Know, while Marian certainly had her good points, I loved her more for Robin's sake than anything else.  In season one, she's quite condescending, standoffish and just plain unlikable, for the most part.  Up until episode twelve, I didn't really like her that much.  But then when she and Robin had a sort of 'breakthrough' in their relationship, she improved quite a bit.  

My biggest complaint about her is the way she used guilt trips on both Robin and Guy, and led Guy on to believe that there could be something between them.  I know that much of the time she was trying to distract Guy from Robin or fighting for her own safety, but a lot of it was unacceptable, plain and simple.  And I think it was incredibly stupid of her to tell Guy she would rather die than be with him and that she was going to marry Robin while he has a sword within inches of her.  I would never do that.  Anyway...she does have gorgeous hair and beautiful clothes (for the most part), she is kind to others less fortunate than herself, and she loves Robin, so I do still like her.  Just not as much as other portrayals.

Robin and Marian.  One of literature's most beloved pairings - and one of mine.

Uh, yeah. I'm adding them again because I love them so much! Marian and Robin (BBC Robin Hood 2006)
What are your thoughts on Robin and Marian?  How do they rank on your list of favorite literary couples?


Miss Jane Bennet said...

*Siiiiiigh* They have SUCH a gorgeous romance. And ooh, I love that animated RH quote! I kinda love that whole scene...and the whole movie...*cough*
Anyways. I do really like their romance in the animated version, although as I've said, I've never fully read a Robin Hood book that actually has a Robin/Marian romance.
Let's see...Lucy Griffith's Marian. I agree with you for the most part (what I've seen of her, anyway), although I do quite like her in some episodes. And of course, her hair and her dresses...*melts*
And of course, the animated Marian...who is just SO sweet. She's kinda one of my role models. :)
Awwww, that picture is just soooo cute. <3 LOVE LOVE LOVE.

Sierra Bailey said...

*sigh* I love Marian and Robin. I'm blaming it on the Disney cartoon version from my childhood. I did get quite annoyed with Marian in the BBC version though. Ga, why didn't she just marry Robin when he first asked her instead of going back to the castle. >.<

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