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Robin Hood's a famous guy. So are his Merry Men. Likewise, his sworn enemies. And one should never underestimate his girlfriend either. Tales of this lot have been told for centuries, and on the Main Page you'll find an increasingly long list of ballads, retellings, novels, films, television shows, video games, tributes and cameo appearances by Robin and his associates.
This is a badass bunch of folks, and here are some of their Crowning Moments...
Winning the famous archery tournament by shooting his opponent's arrow straight down the centre.
His final arrow, in any incarnation, whether it be triumphant or tragic.
Particularly when he crashes Guy's party with a poached deer over his shoulders, informs the Normans of his intentions, and after sufficiently ticking everyone off, fights his way out single-handedly.
He makes his entrance to that party by beating up a couple of guards with a dead deer he's got slung over his shoulders.
When Robin kills some of Guy's troops for abusing the Saxons.
Robin proposing to Marian while fighting off Prince John's goons one-handed in the Disney film.
That entire fight scene really, as well as a CMOF.
Robin Hood and Little John's robbery of Prince John's coach at the start of the movie. Not only do they steal all of the gold on the coach, but also the coach's (gold) hubcaps, the jewels off Prince John's rings, and, just to top it off, Robin ends by literally stealing the robes off John's back!
"'Traitors to the crown?! That crown belongs to King Richard! Long live King Richard!"
The jail break in the climax. That's a monster-sized CMoA. After Robin Hood recovers from his Disney Death, he and Skippy give Prince John an insult as the castle burns.
A pox upon the phony king of England! Odelally! Odelally!
The Sheriff attempts to trip up Robin during the contest, so he shoots another arrow into the air to spin it around and get back on target. Physically impossible? Yes. Awesome? Yes.
From the BBC's Robin Hood. The moment in Sisterhood when he's dangling above the snake pit, getting tortured by an increasingly furious Guy, who demands to know who the Night Watchman is. Despite the situation, Robin remains completely calm, knowing that Marian's going to turn up in approximately thirty seconds to cause a diversion and save his ass. And she does.
In Robin of Sherwood (the ITV series); the episode 'The Greatest Enemy'. Robin fighting off the Sheriff's army with just a longbow. He's outnumbered by about 50 highly armoured men-at-arms to one outlaw....and the Sheriff's men are still afraid to advance on him.
When the Sheriff of Nottingham gets his "nail" for posting Robin's outlaw notice in the Ridley Scott film.
Quality Comics used to publish some pretty good Robin Hood comics back in the day. One of them had Friar Tuck and Robin Hood at the mercy of Prince John in his throne room, with an important scroll imbedded into the ceiling with one of Robin's arrows. Two of Prince John's men attempt to bring a ladder to reach the scroll, to John's fiendish delight. Robin Hood simply shouts for all of his "hidden archers" to shoot at the two men holding the ladder. Of course, there are no hidden archers but the trick does cause both men to let go of the ladder and Robin and Tuck grab some swords fight their way out. Bad. Ass.
In Disney's earlier effort, The Story Of Robin Hood And His Merry Men, Robin is a simple yeomen who succeeds in completely thwarting Prince John's plans to usurp the crown, outwits, humiliates, and finally kills the Sheriff of Nottingham, and ends the movie knighted an Earl and engaged to the girl who at the start of the movie was his social superior and indirect master. Kid's good.
In one of Marian's earliest appearances in the ballads, she dresses up as a man and enters Sherwood Forest to find Robin. They don't recognise each other at first, and battle each other in a fight that lasts for hours. Guess who wins.
Appealing to Prince John in an attempt to secure Robin's life. Sure, it fails, but she's still willing to get on her knees and admit to being in love with Prince John's most hated adversary, and her intervention buys Little John the few minutes he needs to sneak up behind Prince John and threaten him into releasing Robin.
in the Patrick Bergin version, her cold, firm defiance to Lord Folcanet, wich culminates in her being forced to the alter by Folcanet, where she firmly states, "I will not marry him, not before god or anyone else." to the preast.
From the BBC's Robin Hood. After getting injured as the Night Watchman, Marian looks on as every man in the town square is forced to remove their sleeve so that Guy can inspect them for any tell-tale signs of combat. After giving up, he casually pats Marian on the arm and notices that she's bleeding. Without missing a beat, and with Guy sitting right next to her, Marian uses a fruit-knife to casually slice into her palm to cover for the blood, telling him that she must have accidentally gotten some on her sleeve. It's awesome because it's so understated, and the girl doesn't even wince.
The shippers may disagree, but Marian punching Guy in the face at the altar after he coerced her into an engagement and then tried to marry her under false pretences was Made of Win. Not only does she use her wedding ring as a knuckle-buster, but when she rushes from the church she finds that Robin is waiting for her - and after leaping up on the horse behind him she gleefully chucks her wedding veil into the dust behind them as they gallop away.
Also Made of Win: Her idea of "one last fling to make her more comfortable in her marriage" was robbing her future husband blind on the very eve of their wedding. After all the hell Gisborne had been putting Marian through throughout Series 1 (and probably since before then), it was such a viscerally satisfying "Fuck you."
In the Ridley Scott film, when Marion fights a would-be rapist by seducing him into relaxing his defenses and plunging a knife into his neck at the right moment. No need of a hero for her... until later.
Marion and the feral kids rescuing the trapped villagers while the French are attacking Nottingham.
Winning the quarterstaff fight with Robin on the bridge. If you watch any adaptation in which he loses this battle, then the writer is missing the point entirely.
From the BBC's Robin Hood. Breaking wooden stocks off his own shoulders in order to save his wife and son.
From Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves: using his strength to topple the gallows, upon which half-a-dozen men are slowly being strangled to death, including his own son.
In the Disney version, Little John at the end of the tournament. It looks like Robin's going to be executed, everyone's crying, Marian's whining about how much she loves him, and what does the normally jovial Little John do? He grabs the prince by the neck, points a knife at his back and MAKES the prince set Robin free. This is the one who didn't want to rob the stagecoach and didn't think the jailbreak would work, and HE'S the one willing to growl in Prince John's ear, "Okay, big shot, now tell 'em untie my buddy or I'll..."
And just before he has to cut his losses and let Prince John go, Little John was starting to force him to declare Robin the winner and get the kiss from Marian.
While robbing Prince John's carriage, Little John steals the solid gold hubcaps on a whim. And gets away with it!
If we're talking about the hubcaps, then his emptying of the chest full of gold in broad daylight without the guards holding it even noticing certainly deserves a mention. Keep in mind that he's crossdressing at this point, and carrying the loot in his dress. Pretty graceful for a big guy.
His introduction. Robin Hood sees him on the road wearing his rich red suit and assumes he'd be a good target. After finding out he's going to be robbed, Will asks for a chance to defend himself. Robin Hood says he would give him a chance, but he has no quarterstaff. Will says 'that's fine, I'll make my own' and proceeds to uproot a tree and tear off the branches until he has a suitable weapon. Guess who wins.
From Robin Hood: Men in Tights. He's given virtually nothing to do throughout the whole movie, but at one stage during the battle in the great hall, Will notices a sniper about to shoot Robin. He chucks his daggers at him, pins him to the wall, punches him unconscious and retrieves his weapons as the guy slides to the ground. Then he turns to the camera to make sure we all saw how cool it was, and says: "Am I good? I'm good."
Much the Miller's Son
In the The Adventures of Robin Hood, it's Much who takes down a full on (former) knight turned assasin on his way to kill the freakin king of ENGLAND!
On the strength of a single scene (in which Nasir fights Robin to a stand-still with his swords, only to smile at him and abandon his former employer in order to join the outlaws), Mark Ryan was included as a regular cast member and thereby started the trend of adding a Saracen outlaw to the Merry Men in subsequent adaptations.
In one episode Nasir is hunted by a fellow Saracen who works for the new Sheriff of Nottingham. Whilst the other outlaws are about to be executed at the castle, Nasir fights his old enemy, kills him, and then turns up dressed in his face-concealing clothes just in time to hear the new Sheriff ask (what he thinks is) his lackey to dispatch the outlaws. Nasir promptly kills him instead.
In another episode he hears from two serfs that Gisborne has attacked the village of Wickham. He infiltrates the village and manages to take out ten soldiers single-handedly before being caught. At one stage he stabs a guard from inside a hut, having made a hole in the wattle wall, then reaches through in order to pull the soldier back up against the wall, making it appear as though he's just sleeping.
His awesomeness was silently lampshaded in the series itself. When the outlaws arrive at Wickham for a summer festival, each man is paired up with a village girl. Nasir gets two.
From the BBC's Robin Hood. Tiny little Djaq takes out two fully armed guards with a shoe.
Then caps it off with the excellent line: "Men are so obvious!"
King John seeing through Robin Hood's disguise in the Disney film. Said disguise wasn't paper thin, either. Hell, the way he unmasks him was awesome. In the middle of knighting him, he shoves the sword into the tunic he was wearing, and rips it open, not at all making it accidental. Then he just sits there smugly and goes "Sieze him!" like finding the infamous bandit in his own kingdom is nothing to him.
In Robin Hood (2010) he gets to have a massive rant at his mother, Eleanor of Aquitaine, over Richard's follies, like going off to play at holy war in the crusades and getting captured, meaning John has to raise an exhorbitant amount of money to get him back.
Likewise, the end of his character arc throughout the latter part of the film. Isabella proves herself to have been the right woman to make his queen by revealing Godfrey's treachery, and John shows he truly loves her by sparing her life and acting on her information. He then reconciles with The Marshal to plan their defense of England, and actually conducts himself well in the climactic battle, even personally leading a charge that sees him dismounted but still hacking away at enemies. And the army he's leading was dead-set on marching against him a few days earlier, before he rode into their camp and won their support with a lot of help from the Marshal and Robin.
Sir Guy of Gisbourne: Why a spoon, cousin? Why not an axe?
Sheriff of Nottingham: Because it's dull, you twit! It'll hurt more!
The Sheriff of the BBC's Robin Hood gets several of these.
After capturing three men identified as Robin Hood's men, he anticipates a rescue and has them hung a full hour before normal execution times, forgoing the opportunity to construct a trap just for the sadistic pleasure of killing men that he assumes are dear to his enemies. Not only that, but he has their bodies concealed within banners on the parapets and reveals them after some Evil Gloating in the courtyard in which he addresses Robin (who he realizes must be hiding in the crowd) and mocks him for his failure.
Having been told that Robin plans to assassinate the Black Knights, Guy, and the Sheriff himself during a secret meeting, he ensures that all of his allies are wearing padded vests under their clothing. Not only that, but he instructs everyone in the room to pretend to die after Robin's attack, presumably just for the fun of popping back up after Robin thinks he's killed them all.
As noted on this blog, Sheriff Vaizey's all-time crowning moment has to come in the episode “Walkabout”, just after Robin Hood has stolen evidence implicating the Sheriff in treason. He's so stressed about this that he winds up sleepwalking right into the heart of Sherwood. Coincidentally this is also the day that Prince John needs his seal or else he’ll destroy Nottingham, much to the shock of Guy, who's found himself in charge. So Sheriff’s in the middle of the forest, with no time, no shoes, no money, no weapons, not even his false tooth, and he still manages to form an evil outlaw band, con his way into Robin’s camp, rob the gang blind, screw over his partners, and stroll past the torch-bearing mob into Nottingham, berating Gisborne without missing a beat. Pure. Class.
In the animated Disney version, his insane attack on Robin at the end, burning down the entire castle just to get at him.
Escaping the burning castle is quite a feat as well.
Guy of Gisborne
From the word "go," Gisborne has always been a traditional Knight of Cerebus, being a villain who actually puts Robin in mortal danger and cutting just as memorable a figure as green-clad robin in his horse-hide armor.
From the BBC's Robin Hood. As an entire garrison of men attack the city gates with a battering ram, Guy shouts at them, "Will someone get this gate open— In the name of the KING!" Kicks the gate, which is apparently the last straw as the beam holding it breaks into splinters and the gates open. Awesome.
Guy is the BBC series hatchet man tasked with the decision to kill Marian, yet remained charismatic and entertaining enough to pull off a Face-Heel Turn and arguably become more important in the last series of the show.
A meta example: Guy of Gisborne had one single appearance in a ballad with Robin Hood, but made such an impression on readers that he's emerged as a villain to rival the sheriff and Prince John!
More than one book ensures that Guy's final battle with Robin results in a dangerous wound for the hero, a wound that festers and causes him to seek treatment, leading to Robin's death via bleeding at Kirlees Priory. Thus, Guy is the only main villain whose appearance almost always heralds the finale of the story.
Prioress of Kirlees
She is the one villain to ever kill Robin Hood. 'Nuff said.
He would have been even more of one had the original ending been kept: John, having sneaked into the church where a wounded Robin was recovering, is just about to kill him and Marian when he is stopped by the Big Damn Heroes entrance of Richard. Watch John cower, snivel and beg forgiveness, and then hand over the crown.
He has an even better moment in the Errol Flynn film when in disguise he sees Robin Hood ordering an massive search for himself to protect him from assassination. At that moment, the King says there is no need and doffs his plain black robes to reveal his armor covered by a rich red and gold decorated tunic, it makes for a powerful entrance befitting a King to his heroic loyalists.
Marian's lady-in-waiting, Lady Cluck, taking down the guards NFL Style, set to the USC "Fight on" and "On Wisconsin", in the Disney film.
I forgive Maid Marian for being so irritatingly helpless solely on the merits of Lady Kluck... who herself told Marian, "Run for it, lassie! This is no place for a lady!" right before leaving the Sheriff unconscious while saying, "Take that, you scoundrel!"
The BBC's Robin Hood had the popular guest-star Matilda, a healing woman who was accused of witchcraft and dunked in the lake in order to extract a confession. She fearlessly screams obscenities at the Sheriff entire time, and is the only character in the entire series who seems to truly unnerve him.
Alright, we'll give the much maligned Kate one. In the third season of Robin Hood, the outlaws are about to be burnt at the stake. Kate rushes forward, screaming "heretic!" and slaps Robin around the face, taking the opportunity to slip him an arrowhead that allows him to cut through the ropes. Sadly, that was the coolest she ever got.