In the BBC series Robin Hood (2006-2009) , British actor Richard Armitage portrayed Sir Guy of Gisborne–an errant knight who coveted what did not belong to him, desired what he could not possess, and ruthlessly campaigned to win the favor of the honorable Lady Marian. Lady Marian’s hand in marriage would be a prize for any man–a rare gift to be cherished and treasured.
And yet over time, Sir Guy’s love for Lady Marian transformed from social ambition into a heartfelt love for her–that sadly, he was never to receive in return from her. Lady Marian’s heart was bound to another, Robin–just as her values were also not aligned to Sir Guy. And in trying to take what Lady Marian would not give him freely–her love–Sir Guy was grasping at an illusory goal, doomed never to achieve it. Lady Marian’s heart belonged to another, Robin.
But for Margaret Hale’s change of heart and fortune in the BBC miniseries North & South (2004) , austere Mill owner John Thornton would have descended into a maelstrom of despair and failing yet again–although he had tried his best, and he remained honorable in defeat–while also bereft of her soothing presence. Though at first, bitterness and hurt consumed John in thinking that he had lost Margaret forever to another man–as bitterness also consumed Sir Guy whenever he thought about Robin. But it was in John’s letting go of his hurts and desires to truly think of Margaret’s needs and wishes before his own, that allowed he and Margaret “found” each other again–and their love blossomed.
How different might have Sir Guy’s path have been if he had realized that if he truly loved Lady Marian, then he should let her go? How different might Sir Guy’s future have been if Lady Marian had taken her place by his side–as Margaret did for John?
Too late for Lady Marian, Sir Guy strove to be the better man that he felt Lady Marian saw in him, she hoped for him, she believed in him–honoring her memory. Sir Guy’s steadfast love for Lady Marian remained constant even unto his own death. And in a perfect world, I believe that they would have found each other again.
Here is a lovely video by JulietD001 that gives Sir Guy and Lady Marian their happy ending–in eternity.
“Sir Guy of Gisborne “Eternal Sleepsong””
Two men, Sir Guy of Gisborne and John Thornton–one tragically flawed, the other honorable but thwarted by circumstances beyond his control–both portrayed with finely nuanced sincerity, conviction, and heart by one man, Richard Armitage (left). Mr. Armitage so completely brought these characters to vivid life, that for many of us, that the roles of Sir Guy of Gisborne and John Thornton are more than merely engaging characters in entertaining stories. Rather, these men embody the path that many of us take through life as we search for our purpose, seek out that which is meaningful for us, and strive for happiness and loved ones to share our lives with. These hopes are universal–as are these characters’ struggles. For what we hold dear and what we value is often only on loan to us–to cherish, to treasure, to be thankful for, and to remember–when memories are all that we have.