*Spoilers for all of the RH seasons are below, read at your own risk. *
*Also, this post is very long.*
In the few years I've been a fan of BBC's Robin Hood, I've come to the conclusion that people either love or hate Marian. Or, to put it less strongly, they either think she's great or very annoying. (My brother falls into the latter category. He doesn't have very good taste. ) (Kidddiiiiing.) (:P)
*Takes a deep breath* Okay.
I'm going to address a few things I notice people usually complain about concerning Marian, and then list a few reasons why I think she's amazing.
1) Marian plays with the feelings of Robin and Guy
A frequent point of dislike I see people have for Marian is how she treats two of the prominent men in her life. They seem to think she encourages both Robin Hood and Guy of Gisbourne without having true feelings for either one. I've read complaints of how her attitude towards each of them seems to change with the wind, how she doesn't truly care for either of them, and how she leads both on simultaneously till her death by Guy's sword seems her just due.
This argument annoys me, quite frankly. I'm not saying her every decision or action concerning Guy or even Robin was perfect. But it's not like Marian was some teenage high schooler, flirting just to kill time. She was a woman in a very dangerous position. She basically had the role of a spy. Can you imagine trying to balance the love of your life and a man who won't leave you alone all while under the tension of high-stakes espionage. UM, I can't.
First off, about Robin. I honestly don't quite understand what people mean by saying that she led him on. She loved him! And she married him. Does that define "leading someone on"?
|this moment <3 <3 <3|
During that time in season one, they clash a lot in opinion, despite Robin flirting with her every chance he can get. But Marian refuses to encourage him. She wasn't ready for a romance again, not after her heart had been broken once already by Robin. This is why she kept her distance, and rebuffed his flirtatious attentions.
She didn't want to encourage him until she knew she could trust him again.
Then there's Guy. Look, I agree. She did encourage him and she did lead him on. I even get frustrated with her sometimes. But here's the thing: It's not like she wanted to do that to him, okay? I don't believe Marian obtained any enjoyment from the role she had to play for Guy. But, in her perspective at least, she had to do it. She couldn't see any other way of preserving her spot in the castle (which she needed in order to help spy for Robin), much less her own life or the life of her father.
Referring back to her role as a spy—Marian was in a very, very dangerous position. She was pulled from so many opposing sides—loyalty for both her father and for Robin created conflict more than once in her life. Add in the angle of maintaining the appearance of obedience to the Sheriff (and Guy) and she had a recipe for disaster in her hands. Marian handled it the best she could, and I think she did pretty well. I know I would have made many more mistakes! :P So, unless you know you would have been able to juggle your role as a spy, your duty as a daughter, your love for an outlaw, and completely and politely refuse allllll the attentions of Sir Guy of Gisbourne (who can make your life a whole heck of a lot easier if you just pretend to maybe like him, FYI) then I don't think you have room to criticize Marian. :P
Basically, this is all I'm saying: MARIAN HAD A LOT ON HER SHOULDERS, EASE UP ON HER PLEASE, OKAY?? Thank you.
|sorry, this is too funny not to include|
But did that mean she didn't care for him?
I don't believe so. Countless times Marian proved that she truly did want the best for Guy, and that she saw the potential for him to be a better man. She encouraged him, gave him advice, even scolded his wrong actions when she could. She presented him with a different view of things, a worldview untainted by the Sheriff's evil. She wanted him to become a hero. She pitied him and tried to help him, but in the end, he chose to go his own way.
Did her actions influence his? Yes.
Was she responsible for them? No.
We (Marian and Guy) are all responsible before God for our own actions. Not those of others.
(I know that Christianity isn't really a theme in RH, and what little there is can be pretty un-Christian, but my point still stands. :P)
|awwwwww his smile *cries*|
I think a lot of people get fed up with Robin and Marian's constant bickering relationship in season one. Now, personally, I love couples that bicker before admitting their feelings for one another. But that's just me, and not everyone has to share that opinion. (Bickering in a relationship is different, though. I only mean couples who bicker before they're in a ship. Just to clarify. I don't think bickering married couples are cute.)
I agree that Marian can be somewhat impatient and stubborn and uncooperative when interacting with Robin in season one. But I think there's a reason for her behavior that we can all relate to.
|can we talk about this scene?!?!|
Marian bitterly resents one of Robin's own flaws—his love for glory—and her flaw of resentment becomes evident because of it.
But this is what I love about BBC, guys!! These characters are so real, with incredibly relatable flaws and struggles. Haven't we all resented someone who took credit for our work or gained more recognition for something we'd been doing long before they ever came along? I know I have.
In some ways, Robin and Marian are such polar opposites that it's inevitable they should clash sometimes. He's cocky. She's reserved. He openly flouts the local law. She tries to work within the system. He likes to plan things (or half plan things...). She likes to plunge in, head first.
But at the end of the day, their primary goal is the same: save England. And that's why they work so well together.
This one isn't so much something I've heard people complain about Marian, but it's something I've noticed myself.
I think Marian struggles with pride. Maybe her pride is the root of all her struggles. And I can relate with this because pride is something I definitely struggle with as well.
Marian's pride is wounded when Robin leaves her for the Holy Land.
Her pride is wounded when he returns and steals glory for work she'd been doing.
When others think her talents and capabilities are limited because she's a woman.
When her father won't stand openly against the Sheriff.
When Robin points out when she's wrong and she knows she's wrong.
You know the episode where Marian joins Robin's gang with the forest? Her pride is at 110% in that episode. She can't let her guard down enough to submit to Robin's authority, admit she can be wrong, and let others see how much she is hurting inside.
Deep inside, I think Marian harbors a lot of fear, a lot of hurt, and a lot of self-doubt. She covers it up with a fierce exterior, allowing her pride to hide her from those who want to help her—and love her—the most.
Reasons I think Marian is a true heroine:
1)Marian is lion hearted
If you can't agree that Marian shows incredible courage time and again, then I must beg a question—have you even seen this show?? Marian risks her life over and over again in order to help the people of England. She openly fights the Sheriff's men as the Nightwatchman, and is constantly in conflict with the Sheriff over matters concerning the people of Nottingham. And when King Richard is about to be killed she puts herself in front of him, right in the path of Guy of Gisbourne's sword.
Granted, I don't think Marian knew Guy would kill her—the thought probably never occurred to her—but it was still a daring thing to run out in front of a man holding a sword, intent on murder. And she died because of that choice.
That's courage, if you ask me.
2) Marian is selfless
Marian exhibits an amazing degree of selflessness in the course of the show. I mean, first there's the tiny fact that she puts herself in danger 24/7 in order to help those who are less fortunate. But besides that, she risks and sacrifices all sorts of things on a day to day basis. Remember her title? She's Lady Marian. She could live a life free from cares and worries. She could live in relative luxury if she only turned a blind eye to the Sheriff's doings and kept herself to her own concerns.
But she doesn't. And she pays for it throughout the show. Her hair is cut as a punishment for helping feed the poor. Her home is burnt down. She's kept under castle (house) arrest. Her father is thrown in jail.
And yet she keeps doing what she knows is right, regardless of the consequences to herself.
Most of the instances mentioned above are punishments Marian underwent, not exactly sacrifices. But do you remember when she goes back to the castle after her engagement to Robin? She did that because she could help Robin better in the castle than in the forest. She knew she could better protect him there, and even though she wanted to stay with him, she chose to go back.
Last, but not least, she gave up her life in order to save the king who could save the people of England.
3) Marian cares for others
Maybe point is too similar to the above, but I think it's worth mentioning anyhow. Marian cares for the less fortunate, guys. Giving her life for England aside, she cares for people on a day to day basis. She never allows herself to feel it is her due as Lady Marian to have more than others, and she does everything in her power to help the poor. She goes into a quarantine zone of the city in order to bring food and medicine to the sick, brings bread to people trapped by the Sheriff, helps Robin rescue a little boy the Sheriff held hostage, and rushes to fight the Sheriff's men attacking the villagers of Clun.
You can't deny Marian cares for others deeply. And that, above anything else I mentioned, makes her a heroine worth emulating.
All specific arguments aside, here are my thoughts:
Yes, Marian made mistakes. She had flaws and weaknesses and messed up more than once. Many times, in fact. But isn't that what makes a character relatable and well-crafted?
Not the absence of flaws—but the courage to rise up and change and keep moving on in a better direction.
I don't know about you, but characters like that are some of my favorites, and BBC's Robin Hood is full of characters just like that.
Olivia, our lovely blog party hostess, wrote a REALLY good defense of Marian awhile back. Here's the link. As of now, I can't remember at all what she said, though I plan to read it as soon as I finish this post. ;) So rest assured, Olivia, that if we end up saying a lot of the same things, I promise I didn't steal it from your post! :D
|that quote entirely sums up a lot of the stories of BBC Robin Hood, imo|