Monday, July 8, 2013

Late to Robin Hood, in More Ways than One

There's a Robin Hood retelling event over at Pages Unbound (thanks to Jenna of A Light Inside for hooking us up!), and I've never touched on the Sherwood legend on SSiG, so here's me getting my feet wet by jumping right in!

The blogmistresses posted some questions to start the ball rolling for discussion; there are also a round-up of links and book reviews, so if you're curious about more Robin Hood or an old devotee, click over and see what's what.

Discussion Questions  

1.  What versions of Robin Hood have you read? What retellings? 
I haven't! 
This question has made me painfully aware of my lack of knowledge in this department, which is a shame, because it is second to none in English-language folklore (except for Arthuriana, but you'd think the study of one would have led me to another). 
I have encountered nods-of-the-hat to Robin Hood in The Once and Future King and The Last Unicorn, and the Stephen Lawhead book Hood wins my instant interest by placing it in the march borders of Wales.  But his books are intimidatingly large and intricate, and while an avid book-lover, I've been known to have a short attention span. 
2.  What movie or television versions have you seen? 
Disney, of course, and the one with Kevin Cosner and Robin Hood: Men in Tights, which is probably the one from which most of my RH knowledge is drawn, even if in parody! 
3.  Do you have a favorite book or film? 
Not yet! 
4.  Who is your favorite classic character? 
As a childhood, hands down, Maid Marian.  Now, I don't know . . . the character of Father Tuck is interesting to me.  And of course the main character. 
5.  How do you feel about female Robin Hood characters? 
I think it can be a refreshing angle, and suitable way to reboot the legend for new generations.  I am, however, always was and will be a traditionalist: the closer to the oldest versions of the tales the better.  Even more reason for me to pick up Lawhead and plunge in, no doubt. 
6.  Do you like an emphasis on the romance between Robin and Maid Marian, or more emphasis on adventure? 
I tend to prefer adventure, unless it's really, really well-done romance.  I have an aversion to mushiness and stereotypical romances and love-at-first-sight with no other motivations backing it up.  They have to be good characters, too.  I just can't bring myself to care about the love affair of two characters I don't personally like, for whatever reason (note: I didn't say characters that were "good," but characters I like; the chemistry and conflict between an anti-hero and his/her love interest can make for some really fresh romance reading). 
Otherwise, adventure, in which tangible conflicts and difficulties challenging virtue and courage are what draw me in, especially if there is some element of mystery or some details left out that keep me turning the pages to find out the answers.

Okay, it appears like I'm late and the event is over, but I'm letting my questions stand.  Here is a great overview of the Robin Hood legend also posted over at Books Unbound.

What about you?  Do you consider Robin Hood a staple of English-language folklore?  What kind of fairy tale elements does it have, and how does it differ from a traditional fairy tale?



  1. Hie thee to a DVD rental store or whatever passes for that nowadays & watch The Adventures of Robin Hood starring Errol Flynn, Basil Rathbone, Claude Rains, & Olivia de Havilland!!

    1. Alas, are there still DVD rental stores available in your neck of the woods?

    2. Not really. Redbox is about the only rental thing available. Although you can rent the movie for 2.99 on Amazon in Instant Video Format.

  2. I'm probably the opposite of you: I've read a bunch of Robin Hood retellings but have only seen the Disney version of the movie! (Which I love, particularly due to its catchy songs.) I was absolutely obsessed with Howard Pyle's version of Robin Hood during middle school.

    I go back and forth on the female characters; it really depends how they're done. I thought the inclusion was somewhat heavy-handed in Robin McKinley's version, but it worked better in Scarlet by A. C. Gaughen.

    Thanks for participating!

  3. It was fun to read this, Christie! Now I need to go read some Arthuriana...

    George, I've never seen that one!

    pagesunbound, I can see the McKinley version being a little heavy-handed with the female characters. I love most of her books, but to varying degrees, they're all a bit self-conscious about their girl-centrism. It pushes the boundaries of belief in The Outlaws of Sherwood. Of course, I loved it anyway. :D I'll have to try Gaughen!

  4. i used to love robin hood when i was little! i really need to read some version of it again!

  5. I think it's a great testament to the legend of Robin Hood that, even if you haven't read a lot of the older retellings, you've still been exposed to his character through so many other versions. The Disney Robin Hood will always rank up there for me in movie versions. I can't help but sing along!

    1. Excellent point--Robin Hood permeates our culture. Most every child knows the phrase "steals from the rich and gives to the poor."

  6. I like the oldest ballads when Robin Hood is a Saxon peasant resisting a wicked king, rather than one just sitting around going, I hope the other King shows up soon, but than I'm always on the peasants side.

    I also like a lot of the other bandit tales from the Era.

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