We’ve all seen some version of the Robin Hood tale because we’re not all living under a rock in Sherwood Forest. But picking a fave? Much more fraught.
Our current fave is Nathan Makaryk’s Nottingham, a gritty retelling of Robin Hood that gives voice to those that history left behind–and challenges the traditional narrative of who’s really a hero and a villain. It’s chaos, it’s complex politics, and it’s shades of moral gray.
Nathan Makaryk stopped by our blog to help answer an important question: What does your favorite Robin Hood say about you?
By Nathan Makaryk
You prefer the classics! Dashing and noble, your Robin Hood sets the stage for good versus evil (though he doesn’t exactly do a lot of talking). This 1922 movie pits Robin Hood as the earl of Huntingdon against the dastardly Prince John.
It’s the story that everybody knows, but the real world is not nearly as black-and-white—no pun intended (okay, pun was slightly intended).
It’s hard to beat the swashbuckling acrobatics of Errol Flynn in THE ADVENTURES OF ROBIN HOOD: you love a fun adventure story regardless of whether or not it’s historically accurate. Considered by many as the gold standard of Robin Hoods, against all others must (fail to) measure up.
By today’s standards, Errol Flynn’s Robin Hood is practically a caricature, and for good reason. The story of Robin Hood has evolved with time to turn him into the brave bombastic showman of legends, but perhaps those stories had more humble beginnings.
The often overlooked ROBIN AND MARIAN (1976) brings us a more mature look at Robin Hood in his older years, and is fairly unique in showing a self-absorbed, less-than-Lionhearted King Richard. This Robin Hood struggles with the moral line between following his King and doing what he thinks is right. Seems like moral ambiguity might be your thing.
This prince of thieves brought Robin Hood back to the forefront of pop culture, with or without an English accent. You like having fun and you don’t feel the need to sweat the details.
Daring feats and sweeping romance—not to mention the most charismatically wicked Sheriff of Nottingham of all time (the incomparable Alan Rickman)—Costner gives us a Robin Hood that everyone can root for, so long as you can ignore little things like catapulting yourself over a castle wall … and something about a witch?
There’s no point in hiding it—you’re in it for the comedy. MEN IN TIGHTS flips the Robin Hood legend upside down and shakes out all the silly bits to point and laugh at, while still respecting the dashing adventurous spirit of good versus evil.
Love it or hate it, Ridley Scott’s ROBIN HOOD (2010) brought a gritty reboot to Robin Hood, and pulled him away from a dashing swashbuckler and into a more serious, weathered soldier. You like a seasoned, realistic look at the world, and the difficult political realities of medieval England.
You like … hmmm … you like … did you mean to pick this one? We were asking for your favorite Robin Hood. Maybe you sneezed while trying to think of another movie? It’s ok, you can keep scrolling if you need to.
The 2018 Robin Hood proved that Robin Hood doesn’t have to be even remotely historically accurate, or set in anything resembling Nottingham, and can have impossibly evil characters, while still succeeding in … um … being filmed. Huh. Listen, if this is honestly your favorite Robin Hood, we understand how you feel about realism. The other Robin Hoods don’t feature even a single exploding grenade arrow or arrow-loading-machine-gun. So … I mean, you do you.
BRIAN BEDFORD (WHO? OH, THE FOX!)
There’s no denying it—he’s secretly everbody’s favorite Robin Hood. No cartoon character has any right to be as charming and (dare-we-say) attractive as Disney’s fox. But believe it or not, many Robin Hoods (and their Sheriffs) are even more two-dimensional than this one. Fleshing out the real people behind the caricatures of Robin Hood and the Sheriff of Nottingham is one of the main goals of Nathan Makaryk’s NOTTINGHAM (available 8/6/19 by Tor/Forge Books), a historical epic that takes the classic story and looks at it from realistic points of view on both sides of the conflict.
That’s right, Starfleet Captains can be merry too. When Q sends the crew of the Enterprise into the Robin Hood legend in the “QPid” episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation, we get a new look at the folklore hero from an outsider’s eyes. One of the surprise takeaways from Picard’s time with the pointy hat is a “Maid Marian” who is not the damsel in distress of lore and doesn’t exactly need saving.
You’re unique and maybe a little contrarian.
The Robin of NOTTINGMAM
I had to throw in a plug for my own book, coming next month!
In Notthingham, the light-hearted stories of Robin Hood are reconfigured into a far more realistic tale that explains how simple people with honest disagreements turned into the iconic figures of “Robin Hood” and “The Sheriff of Nottingham.”
Featuring a Robin that is less than altruistic, and a Sheriff who is anything but villainous, you’ll recognize many of the major plot points, but along the way the Robin Hood folklore is deconstructed and smashed to pieces—giving new definition to the best parts, and mercilessly ridiculing the parts that deserve it.
If this is your favorite you might be able to time travel, since it’s coming out next month.
Order Your Copy of Nottingham: