Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Tortured heroes...

I got to thinking about this yesterday after watching several fan videos featuring Guy of Gisborne from the BBC Robin Hood series. Ok - I just read the character's background on the site and don't entirely agree with it. He is many of the things they say, but like many tortured heroes, underneath he's a good guy who has been caught up in the quest for power and position. The one person who has offered it to him just happens to be a sh*t, so Guy suppresses much of his good side in order to earn the rewards the Sheriff offers.

Still, he never entirely succeeds and over the first two seasons he goes behind the Sheriff's back several times, tempering or countermanding his orders. His relationship with Marian is far more compelling than her relationship with Robin. As the series progressed, my sympathies shifted from Robin to Guy. Then the writers ruined things in the finale of Season 2, writing a scene for Guy that completely ignores the good side of his character. I'll watch series three to see if they can redeem him at all. But they did the character a serious disservice. In fact, for the first time EVER, I was tempted to delve into the world of fan fiction and rewrite the end of that episode.

Tortured heroes are compelling and I wish I could write them better. From the very beginning I've been told my heroes are too nice. I think this is because I have no real affinity for the stereotypical Alpha hero. But watching Guy, I can see the appeal of the tortured hero. I'm not sure I could ever write someone quite as dark as him, but he certainly has an edge that my heroes are missing and I might just use him as inspiration.

How about you? Do you like tortured heroes? How dark can they be before they're beyond redemption? Is there any crime that will exclude them from hero material?

And for those of you who have never seen this show, here's a video montage of Guy and Marian:

Interestingly enough, there are very few Marian and Robin montages, so obviously I'm not the only one who thought the writers failed in their attempt to make Robin the romantic hero of the series.


Currently Reading: The Glassblower of Murano


Annette said...

I love tortured heroes. I haven't seen the BBC Robin Hood series, though I've been tempted to buy the DVDs because I enjoying drooling over Richard Armitage. Only the price has kept me back. :-)

Melissa Marsh said...

Yum. Richard Armitage.

I haven't watched the BBC series, either, but I did watch the really old series way back when with Jason Connery as Robin Hood. I think it was Robin of Sherwood or something like that.

Tess said...

Annette - you should see if you can find it for rent :) We got it through

Lis - I too watched the old series. Michael Praed was the first Robin, then Jason Connery. Gisborne in that series was a straight out villain, IIRC. Armitage's Guy is far more nuanced - it's definitely worth watching for him, though other elements (such as accuracy) arent' so good and Robin does get rather tiresome.

Rene said...

There is a fine line for tortured heroes. I've read some heroes who are supposedly tortured who I think are just crybabies and totally annoying. The vamp ones are particularly bad. I like nice heroes and tortured heroines myself.

Tess said...

Rene - I totally agree. Some heroes are just a little TOO tortured. All depends on the skill of the writer.

Kelly Boyce said...

I definitely agree - Guy and Marion make a far better match than she and Robin. Mainly because Guy is a much more interesting and complex character than Robin.

DUTA said...

I'm afraid I don't like both kinds of heroes: torturing and tortured.

Tess said...

Kelly - I agree. Robin is just so, well, basic and uninteresting. The Robin in the 1980s BBC series was far more complex and conflicted, IIRC.

I'm not sure if they meant at first for Guy to be as conflicted - seem to recall at first he was just the usual villain type, then he kinda developed. Maybe because of RA's chemistry with Lucy Griffths. Shame the writers (or whoever was in charge of the story from above) ruined things at the end of Series 2.

Duta - I don't like torturing heroes either. But tortured ones, if they're well written, can be fascinating.