Being medieval

So, finally some “serious content” here again after a fair amount of twaddle. Oh, right, all of this is twaddle. OK, I better just get on with it, then, and get it out of my system!

Once I became immersed in “North and South,” I started to look for other stuff to see Mr. Armitage in. I confess that I was looking for modern dramas. I don’t usually care much for historical dramas (or novels). I’ve had way too much professional education in history and I’ve never been able to stop myself from playing “spot the anachronism,” which hugely irritates my friends and family if they watch such stuff with me, and annoys me myself if I don’t have anyone to share it with in order to demonstrate my (cough) tremendous erudition. And when I read of “Robin Hood” that the makers had made no gestures at authenticity, I thought it would be disastrous. I am generally not attracted by “medieval biker” or all-leather clothing. I’m not a medievalist; neither do I play one on tv; but I’ve learned enough to be a dangerous critic to a production like this.

Eventually my gnawing, developing Armitage obsession won out, though, and I started watching it. The historian in me still objects to it on some level. I cringe when I see Guy’s boots in series 1, or the spurs (medieval social historians have spilled a lot of ink on the development of the spur in Europe). But I am overcoming my objections, and I am trying to work out why. And no, it’s not just Armitage’s incredible screen charisma, or the body, or the voice. It has something to do with his characterization of Guy, in synergy with the script (even if I don’t agree with everything he has said in interviews). Here I am going to talk mostly about the scripts and the production, and will plan to talk soon in a post on RH 1.2, about his characterization.

From Robin Hood, series 1, episode 1. Source: RichardArmitageOnline

Why is this non-medieval medieval show is so compelling? I think that the answer lies in the fact that Guy of Gisborne–as the man without a category–is the nexus of all of the show’s status conflicts. On some level, this problem is very medieval, even if the show sometimes treats it in very modern ways.

I’ve talked about the problem of Guy’s status and his regular humiliations a little before in relationship to why it is women may find him sympathetic– how Guy is the most medieval of the characters and his insecure position ends him up in gender trouble. I’ve also discussed extensively the many ways in which Mr. Armitage plays Guy’s humiliation, and evaluated the reasons for his success in doing so. So I am partially going over familiar ground here, but I feel like I need this basis for later stuff I want to write.

To be fair to the makers of the show, it’s a bit difficult to envision what an authentic Robin Hood is supposed to look like. The first surviving written sources on the Robin Hood ballads date from the fifteenth century and don’t reference a specific period; sixteenth-century continuers of these stories put them in the late twelfth and early thirteenth centuries. Indeed, Guy of Gisborne himself was not one of the original figures in these tales. The first ballads were not solely or primarily political or historical commentaries; they have archetypal figures and read like trickster stories. There is some of that here, particularly in the inane Robin Hood figure they present us, which is not helped out by the fact that Jonas Armstrong only appears to have two facial expressions, but the “japes and antics” of the Merry Men are not all that funny. Their participation in terrorizing the people who are fighting the terrorists makes them a big too serious, a bit too patriotic–“We are Robin Hood!”–to be real tricksters. But as that device reminds us, the makers of this show decided to make it about the War on Terror, although they seem to have abandoned that issue after series 1.

But if the show is not medieval about politics, culture, religion, gender roles, language, costumes, customs, plots, dialogues, or even the level of dirt in Nottingham town, on one level it convinces totally, and that lies in how it approaches the problem, in medieval society, of status conflict. That is: Guy states repeatedly at the beginning that status is about land. This is the age of John Lackland.  Guy knows it, and can’t believe the Sheriff isn’t taking him more seriously. His men laugh at him, a Gisborne with no Gisborne.  The point, quite clearly, is the possession and not the cultivation–his rather odd inability to be a kind landlord we book into the category of his evil side–but it is the land that would make him able to stand up for the private ethical system that Armitage has said Guy has.

Now, let’s be clear: there are no “private ethics” in the middle ages. The good is defined by the standards of Christianity, which is still establishing itself, but is in a strong position in England by the late eleventh century, and is reflected in the hierarchical structure of Christian society, part of which involves the hierarchical allotment of land and the distribution of productive labor peculiar to medieval Europe. Guy may very well have his own ideas about the good, but he is in no position to pursue them except as a member of the hierarchy. To be fair, Armitage was presumably trying to answer for himself the question of how to enter a character who repeatedly commits murder and attempts infanticide with apparently few qualms, and seeing to avoid descending into caricature to make this character plausible and believable to an audience. But although Guy may justify these actions to himself in terms of some other ethic apart from self-interest, it is still the dominant Christian norms that control not only our perception of him, but more importantly, how his interlocutors in the series see him.

So who has status conflict problems here? Most obviously:

  • Robin. His return home reveals not only that he is not as he was, but also that home is not as it was. In episode 1, he humiliates Guy as a way of reasserting his control over Locksley Manor.
  • Edward of Knighton. Removed from his office, Guy’s attentions to his daughter–which he considers status inappropriate–are a constant reminder of his new lack of status.
  • Marian. As Edward’s daughter, she shares in his status problems, but her guise as the Nightwatchman reveals an attempt to problematize her remaining status–which in turn Guy tries to shut down.
  • the Sheriff. In order to be a commander, one must have a minion; in order to be “the Father,” one must have someone to sit at one’s right hand. This is a complex relationship, because it appears at first that the Sheriff needs Guy more than Guy needs the Sheriff, but by series 2 the status of power in the relationship is increasingly unclear.

Land would solve all these status conflicts for Guy except the one related to Marian (and this also bears more discussion someday…sigh). As a landholder, he would have the status to stand as Robin’s equal, to be an appropriate suitor for Marian, to operate independently of the Sheriff (this is clearly why the Sheriff has been so stingy with him). As someone with a defined status, moreover, he would stop being the provocation of so much status anxiety on the part of all of the other major players. As a landholder, he would have status; as someone with status he has honor. By this, I mean that he has something to defend and that others consider him to have to defend it. His behavior thus becomes less unpredictable; land tames one (People without land were not considered dishonorable as much as not in the same category for purposes of redress. Legally speaking, in areas with a dueling culture, one cannot be insulted in a way that generates a duel, for example, by someone without honor.) Thus, in having land and thus honor, he joins the ranks of those who have something to lose by standing up for their positions. This kind of thinking is at the basis of property concepts in the West and is especially noticeable as they develop into contract theories about property, which lie at the basis of our notions of representative government, which all emerged with property qualifications. I am not sure if it’s clear what I mean by that, so let me know if I need to clarify.

Hence the uniformly bad treatment of Guy in these scripts. Armitage objected to the repetitive, groundless humiliation of the character, and from the perspective of the subtlety of the character and the interest level of the script he was absolutely right. But given the merciless medieval status considerations that demonstrably permeate the show, it is hard to see how anyone could have treated him any differently. Guy, as the man who not only fails to know his place, but has no place, commits the cardinal medieval social sin. Hence, as a character without status, he is condemned to mime proper behavior of the status he desires, rather than ever to really behave appropriately. He gets better at the performance in series 2, but it is still only ever a performance for Guy.

Here I think that Armitage misperceived something in his reading of the plot. (This is not a criticism of Armitage’s performance as much as an alternate reading of the series that is consistent with Armitage’s performance and thus sheds more light on Guy’s behavior.) Robin is a problem for Guy not only, or even primarily, because Robin has everything Guy wants, even if that is Armitage’s position on playing him, and obviously it works for us as viewers. An eloquent friend of mine (who usually doesn’t write about such twaddle as this) has moved it a bit further, by noting that Robin’s willful rejection of everything Guy wants in order to live in the forest has to grate precisely because Guy is working so hard to get it. Not only does Robin have what Guy wants, he throws it away. (My friend also raises the question of whether we read Guy through Mr. Thornton, another person who believes that hard work will get him ahead, which would be worth further discussion.)

But Robin’s objectionability goes further than that for Guy, I suspect. If Guy is to have access to honor according to the peculiar rules of this system, he needs people to enforce those rules. From the moralistic perspective of this sort of bourgeois series fiction, characters cannot simply abandon the framework for some higher good, since the good itself is determined by the framework. Hence Guy’s dogged insistence on the law and upholding the law, even by illegal means. (War on Terror alarms going off here like crazy.) So, for example, Robin’s decision to abandon it all on principle draws the very system itself into question; Edward’s refusal to stand up for principle undermines the possibility that principle ever could have been connected to the system. Marian’s singlehood–underlined as lasting unduly long by the Sheriff in the first episode–and her particular refusal to tolerate Guy except in a condescending way until she has no other choice–show us that the system can be circumvented. The status anxieties of the characters who actually *have* status make the status system unstable, and that has to generate unstable behavior in a man without status, like Guy.

So, in the end, both Guy’s attempts at performing correct behavior, and his failures to do so, outline the contours of the predominant system of social status. As regular, predictable transgressor, Guy holds the system up. This is why he is so medieval — and such a problem.

[word count = 1912 words. My undergrads are required to write only 1500 for their essays. If I had written 2000 words today of an essay, presumably I could finish one in a week. What IS my problem?]

Questions, requests for clarification, counter-arguments, welcomed. Good night.

~ by Servetus on March 29, 2010.

41 Responses to “Being medieval”

  1. Very interesting post indeed! I particularly liked the observation your colleague makes about “Robin’s willful rejection of everything Guy wants in order to live in the forest has to grate precisely because Guy is working so hard to get it.”. Guy is trying hard to attain the very status that Robin, Edward and Marian have been born with but are being seen to reject. It reminds me a little of people who come into wealth (I guess like the manufacturers in N&S), can buy and build huge mansions but will never be a part of the “upper classes” simply because they were not born into them. Medieval times are quite a bit different but I can understand why Guy might feel so disadvantaged (inferior) because he has no “Gisborne”. The only way he can gain power is by using force. Lots of food for thought – I will have to read your post again in order not to miss anything.

    Aside: A lot of critics of this Robin Hood series have stated that they felt the writing was not that good and yet, of all Richard Armitage’s works, this one has engendered more comment, imo, than any others. The series has evoked a lot of discussion (both in terms of character portrayal and allegory) and continues to do so. I wondered if it was actually the writers’ intention for this to happen or just a happy coincidence …..

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  2. I find your points of view fascinating, but wonder if you might be overanalysing. This show was after all aimed at children, with elements written in to keep their parents happy. The difference between RH and, say, Dr Who, whom no-one would dream of examining in such depth, is surely that RH is based on a legend and borrows a certain richness from its historical tradition. Hasn’t that been partly the problem for the writers and producers, that viewers are easily irritated and disappointed when modern work strays too much from what is perceived as the original, although the “original” is an amalgam of many versions? I hope you get the gist of my argument. In short, perhaps the writers wrote a piece for entertainment and weren’t too fussed about the medieval details.

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  3. Several points struck me in this RH/Gisbourne analysis. Rather than even attempt a cohesive response, I’m going off on some tangents.

    Mediaevalism: Definitely informed by Christian norms, expressed through the Feudal construct. Within this construct, and the laws initiated and enacted by Henry II, certainly Guy (Lackland?) was heavily conscious of the need to appear to act within the law. (Love Mulubinba’s analogy to the noveaux riches of the Industrial Revolution – England always had nouveaux, from the sheep-farmers of the 15th/16th centruries! Spencers, anyone?)

    The Trickster: From the Scandinavian Loki, through the diverse cultures of Africa, to Indian/Indonesian lore, there is always a Trickster, who serves to create some chaos, “show up”? the earnest heroes’ failures to achieve an ordered society. Spot on, servetus, about Robin and Merry Men displaying “this is what we stand for” (but this is what we do to achieve it)….script alludes to this. “Don’t tell Robin, but we kill people, too.” How far different are they from Guy? (Morally, perhaps rather distant, but legally (in 12th C terms, could be another debate).

    Mediaeval vs. historical accuracy. As much of the Robin Hood revision through literary history, has settled on the time of Prince (King) John, and the ancestral memory of Saxon underdog, and Norman conquerors, let’s leave Robin there. And millyme, agree detailed historical accuracy is seconday to the premise of the series. But fun to critique the costumes, script, from various points of view! Has anyone caught BBC The Tudors? Being fascinated by both mediaeval and Tudor history (just catching up on modern times!) I nearly switched off off the first Tudors series, with (one) glaring historical innacuracy. Then relaxed, sat back and thoroughly the romp!

    Keep your critiques coming, please, servetus. They provide stimulus to imagination and to attempts to analyse our own responses.

    Re: your other humourous observation about NOSES: Mr. A’s is rather large – keep up campaign, all RA fans, to KEEP IT AS IT IS!!!!

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  4. Thanks for your comments, all.

    @mulubinba: in my experience with academic analysis, it’s usually the more provocative but less convincing contributions that get the most critical analysis in reponse. That is, an idea that everyone agrees with gets no discussion, but an idea for which people object to significant aspects of the notion always attracts discussion. I think RH gets attention because it’s easy for the viewer to see how it could have been much better, and everyone has her own idea. Also, the anachronism in the series is instrumentalized in such a way that it pushes our buttons (as with the status conflict discussed above).

    @MillyMe: absolutely, I am overanalyzing. I am an academic! (grin). To some extent this analysis stems from my professional work, which concerns the analysis of how legends are formed about a central 16th century historical figure. Actually, though, there is a great deal of writing on Dr. Who. I just looked in a major research index and found twenty articles written by philosophers in the last two decades. Since numerous books analyze the meaning of postwar TV science fiction narratives for popular audiences, I’d be surprised if there weren’t quite a few books that reference it extensively. The point from my perspective is that everything has a subtext. What we think of as entertainment always has a larger context in culture and politics (e.g., Shakespeare’s audiences found his work entertaining, but analyzing Shakespeare teaches us a great deal about Elizabethan and Jacobean politics and culture).

    For me, the issue here (and the structure of the argument is): I don’t like anachronistic drama. I like Robin Hood. Though Mr. Armitage is the reason I started watching, I don’t think that’s the reason I keep watching. Why do I keep watching? Because of the way the character of Guy negotiates medieval status conflict, which overrides my impulse to switch off a very anachronistic tv series. Then I give examples of that.

    @fitzg: great comment about what separates Guy from the band of outlaws. Will have to think about this more. A colleague of mine has been pressing me to watch “The Tudors,” but I have been so occupied with Mr. Armitage I haven’t had time. I’ll push it up higher in the netflix queue!

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    • To be honest, I’m in awe of your and other posters’ ability to dissect scenes, episodes etc.I think that Richard attracts a particularly gifted type of admirer. I read English Lit at university in London and am now taking a masters in the writing of creative non-fiction in Norway (use it in writing English textbooks for primary school) but feel rather inadequate in terms of analysis. Perhaps as a newbie, the drool factor gets seriously in the way of mental exertion in Richard analysis! Kudos to you as I’m enjoying your blog, whilst learning a great deal. My point was that I’m not sure the writers were as aware of the subleties of medieval times as you are, but accept that a sub-text reading is relevant and exciting!

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      • I am sure that you were right that they weren’t, Milly Me.

        So we’re really interested in essentially the same question: what makes a historical fiction relevant/authentic? I am glad that there are courses that examine this question and I had no idea of that. So much of the historical fiction I see doesn’t even make much of an attempt to try to figure out how to set up questions in ways that are useful for the classroom or the reader.

        Perhaps you will be writing some Robin Hood historical fiction for your future audiences?

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  5. Haven’t read past mulbinba’s comment yet, so

    @mulbinba,

    I think the RH series definitely had some flashes of brilliance, but like Guy, it suffered an identity crisis. The writers just couldn’t make up their minds what the show was supposed to be. A fleeting thought I had early on was that I don’t completely fault the writers for this because we don’t really know what was going on behind the scenes with respect to funding, promises of funding and just the general reception at the BBC. I believe all of those gyrations had an influence on this show and were the reasons why we saw such a radical change in the third season. But nothing that happened could completely eclipse the flashes of brilliance and certainly the brilliant handling of Guy by Richard Armitage. What those flashes of brilliance may be I’ll have to discuss in my blog post. I just haven’t posted yet ’cause deadgummit I want to get that post just right, and not being a natural writer, it’s hard work.LOL!

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    • This is always something that is on my mind while developing interpretations. As historians we read texts as finished and intentional products, but TV-making is such a haphazard thing. The writers never know what will actually be filmed, or even whether their stories are going to be continued after the end of an episode or a season. Then someone like me comes along and tries to make it all into a coherent whole.

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  6. I am the opposite I have a BA in history but my heart is in fantasy land so I love nonrealistic movies but books are another story. My reads have to be factual and serious. I think the only thing I unintentionally moderate are books and movies with Native American culture or Native history which is my career so I do that at home too.

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  7. In at least one interview, Mr. A opined that the British can be a mite “stuffy” about their history, and that he expected a more relaxed attitude from U.S. audiences to Robin Hood.

    Avalon, I also have my degree in history (mostly mediaeval – how useful is THAT?!) and English lit. And do, rather, like historical accuracy – except when it is specifically meant to be just for fun. How accurate can you possibly be about a mythical figure such as RH? About The Tudors, obviously, yes. (depending how much veracity you place in monkish chroniclers, writing their versions of Nationalis Enquiris, or “history” written by the victors (which, in many cases IS accurate – though maybe not history as written by 16th C Tudor historians… ) But we can still have fun with films and TV series just providing a good, entertaining time!

    Just one last comment: while Robin is not, to our knowledge, a real person, the legend is one which informed an important part of a nation’s ethos – (“WE are Robin Hood!”)

    servetus, you raise striking issues, which stimulate spirited discussion!

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    • Have you read Alison Weir’s latest book on the demise of Anne Boleyn? It came out this year and I thought she did a fantastic job of sorting through the different sources, rumors and legends that have arisen.

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  8. Oh, Fitzg I am a dreamer….I have studied the Robin Hood legend for years and I am one of those believers that the legend originated from the real person. I believe there were two Robins though. It is frustrating there are so MANY medieval documents that are in closed libraries just begging to be discovered but since about 2000 more and more are being opened making the “old historical research” unreliable. Europe is so lucky to have these documents, America does not have this option.
    I wish I had access to these document facilities, OMG, I would research day and night as I am a firm believer most legends (like Robin and Arthur) came from fact and through the years have been embellished and altered. I suppose I believe this way because most of my ancestral history developed from oral legends and were handed down by elders through generations. I would like to think that Europeans were not so different then us and also handed down stories to their children.
    I am no expert in medieval history and when reading the ballads I have to reply on a medieval thesaurus because the terms are completely foreign to me. I have found A.J Pollard’s work to be useful with terminology or when wanting to transform into the mind of the average medieval person. However I disagree with Pollard’s research on Robin Hood. I like Mike Dixon-Kennedy’s Robin Hood research.
    I hope we never absolutely find out for sure that Robin Hood and Arthur and so on were fictional, it would be so disheartening. It would just ruin the epic image of the past we dreamers conjure.

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  9. How interesting that we all have history degrees. Well, I’ve got a BBA as well, and that tended to eclipse my history degree. But I do love history and have had my interest in English history rekindled by a trip to the UK last summer.

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    • BBA was probably more useful. Students are always asking me about history grad school, and I tell them frankly that a history PhD is an even less useful degree than the history BA.

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  10. It is refreshing to have you all to talk to at times. I simply cannot abide people who get their history from Wikipedia or Hollywood flicks, then log on forums and debate! (No one here on our blogs. I am speaking about certain history forums elsewhere.)

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  11. @avalon: you are right that “legends” must have some basis in reality. (ie the Arthurian legends. And Dick Whittington was a real historical figure! Don’t give up on legends – there’s truth out there, waiting for documentation and archaeology…)

    We have strayed far and wide from servetus’ orignial thesis – see what avenues you open up, madame?! And all because we are united originally by a fascination with an actor (North & South/Robin Hood/Spooks-MI5, etc.

    Open to forum: which character does Richard Armitage handle more successfully: John Thornton, based on Gaskell, or Guy of Gisbourne, based on nothing in particular….except legends? Is this even a debate? Just in terms of acting flexibility and skill? Now back to RL. Thanks to forum for explaining that one. But I still don’t know what btw is….

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  12. Considering the problematic writing of the RH series, I’m inclined to think he handles that character more successfully. Although that should take nothing away from his wonderful performance as John Thornton.

    BTW=by the way

    I used to swear I would never use that kind of shorthand, but I guess I’ve well and truly succumbed to it. Must be one of the hazards of so many years online.

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  13. @Thanks bZirk! (Enjoy your comments on all blogs, btw!!)

    Wondered if someone would pounce on the RH script etc. as a contributory factor. JT was, of course, fully-fledged and explained character already. Poor old Guy wasn’t…..

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  14. I can not even pretend to write as well, or have as much historial knowledge as the others, but I enjoy reading the blog and the replies (I have a BS and MS in Agriculture). The discussions make me curious to find out more. For example, after reading that RA did the audiobook Lords of Kingdom it made me curious about Bernard Cornwell which got me to order the book, and watch the Sharpe series on Netflix. Of course, my science background made me curious about the trees of Hungary vs. the trees of the real Sherwood Forest of Nottingham which lead me to search online which led me to the knowledge of a soccer/football team of the same name that plays in England. LOL

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  15. I’m with you DRS. I cannot write as well, nor [do I] know nearly as much about history despite a major in it. But I’m really enjoying these discussions. It’s always refreshing to me when you run across people who will read more than a pamphlet’s worth of material at one sitting. LOL!

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  16. Oh my kids would laugh at that last post. I’m always on their backs about the correct use of person, antecedents, etc. I think it’s because I was lousy at grammar in school,and just generally hated writing and didn’t want them to struggle with it as I did.

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  17. DRS: more avenues to explore! Trees and football (or is that “soccer” not if you value your life in the U.K.! Only “over here”..)

    Keep up the comments from the scientist perspective.

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  18. bZirk, I emended it for you!

    DRS: I call this phenomenon “collatoral attraction”–when you get interested in something else because of your interest in Mr. Armitage’s work.

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  19. […] So, it’s on to a demonstration of my earlier point about status conflict as the major motor of Guy’s anxious behavior, the cause of his repeated […]

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  20. Re: Status Conflict….
    Possible discussion for another time – conflict between Marian and Guy. Guy’s humiliation at Marian hand always struck me more strongly than that between the men.

    Could we keep this on ice, till thoroughly looking at the current discussion? And I thereby hold my views on this topic.

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    • I have been working on this problem the last day or so and just published something that addresses it specifically.

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  21. Thanks, servetus. I consider you the analyst among us. I go off on tangents, association of thought/visual impression, and think I might possibly perceive things only sublimilaly. Require your analyist mind to explain or open up the conversation. Let’s keep Marian on ice for now. Except, where did you publish that….? Next WP post?

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  22. Thank you for bringing Alison Weir’s Boleyn venture to attention. She was a very good historical biographer. Acquired her study of Katherine Swynford (a 14th C historical person), who has interested me since reading Anya Seton’s Katherine, at 14, and started me on the journey of reading and studying mediaeval history….

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  23. […] This is not a detailed acting moment but rather one that transfixes me when it appears on screen: the Guy who feels he has the support of Prince John and (finally!) autonomy from the Sheriff suggesting to Robin that he’s in no position to make demands. Of course, Guy is wrong, and Robin sets all his plans awry, but it’s neat to see a confident Guy on screen. Even if this plan is evil, one feels like this is the sort of Guy who had the poise to have won Marian. I love the way that a slight move in the posture of the head and shoulders changes the defensiveness of the arm-crossed pose that we encounter so often at the beginning of the series into bravado. There are so many problems with season 3, and I found myself thinking today that a chief one is that there are so many new characters that we never have the opportunity to get a purchase on their characterizations. That was how I felt about Isabella — she mostly remained a plot device for me, and never became a real character. But this moment is great. As is the one a few seconds later when Robin gets the upper hand and you see Guy moving to protect Isabella. What I loved about that was the apparent instinctiveness of the action despite his ambivalence about her reappearance. It reinforces the strands from the beginning of the series that try to get us to see Guy as someone who plays by the rules in a world where the rulemakers are constantly breaking them. […]

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  24. […] will do what he has to do to get it without concern for the welfare of others — but also the Guy who is sensitive to social convention and recognizes the need to play by the rules. And although Maria Grazia is certainly correct that the Guy of the second half of the novel […]

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  25. […] on record as being annoyed by clumsy historical fictions, but I read three this summer that deserve mention for excellence: Hilary Mantel’s Wolf Hall; […]

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  26. Someone put this up on FB today. I had forgotten some of these old posts. Lovely to revisit.

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    • the drafts for the rest of these are still in my dashboard. Sigh. Apropos of your comment below. It only took me 2.5 years to finish most of what I wanted to say about North & South.

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  27. In fact, it’s mind blowing to me that time has passed so quickly.

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  28. […] even if I don’t have kids), but there were other fundamental issues. I just rediscovered that I was writing about status conflicts even then, though I was talking about them as a matter of narrative as opposed to acting […]

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  29. […] for me: Thornton, with his need to work all the time; Lucas North, dealing with betrayals; Guy of Gisborne and all of his problems with humiliation, status and hierarchy; John Porter, with his need to rewrite his story at all costs; Thorin Oakenshield, and the search […]

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