Guy/Marian

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Pairing
Pairing: Guy of Gisborne/Marian of Knighton
Alternative name(s): GuyxMarian, gxm
Gender category: het
Fandom: Robin Hood (BBC 2006)
Canonical?: largely unrequited
Prevalence: popular
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Guy/Marian is the het pairing between Guy of Gisborne ("Giz") and Marian of Knighton (Marian Fitzwalter or "Maz") in the 2006–2009 incarnation of the Robin Hood legend.

It is by far the most popular pairing for Guy, and one of the fandom's major pairings. The fandom has seen Ship Wars with fans of the Robin/Marian pairing.[1][2]

In Canon

Guy, a bad boy in black leather and Guyliner, and Marian, the outspoken heroine and masked do-gooder, form the apex in a love triangle with Robin Hood (BBC 2006 character). Initially, Guy covets Marian as a status symbol and to get at Robin, while Marian abhors Guy's actions as the Sheriff's lackey and continues to care for childhood sweetheart Robin.

Marian accepts Guy's marriage proposal under duress, but punches him and runs away with the outlaws at the altar after he lies to her (not to mention nearly kills her in her Night Watchman guise). In retribution, he torches her home, but after a bit of Shirtless Ogling (who knew medieval men shaved their chests?), they're soon friends again.

Guy falls in as True a Love as an Evil Villain is capable of feeling, while Marian starts to see the Good Man Lurking inside his Manly Chest. The high point of their relationship is when Guy returns to fight by her side when Nottingham is besieged; the low point is when he runs her through after she admits her love for Robin.

In Fanon

Fans of this pairing tend to assume that Guy is capable of redemption and that Marian can help him to achieve it. Though he rarely loses his Bad Boy image entirely, this Guy is usually rather nicer and more chivalrous than in canon. He is genuinely in love with Marian from a much earlier point than is clear in canon, fiercely loyal to her, and prepared to do anything to protect her. Though Marian is rarely seen as conscious of her love for Guy, this Marian is almost invariably attracted by him, even before she's seen his Manly Chest (and often not by Robin). Robin is sometimes demonised, and he's often even whinier and more controlling than in canon. Guy is often read as more capable of accepting Marian as she is than Robin, and this is often the catalyst for Marian to realise that she loves him.

Fannish Responses

On Guy/Marian & the Guy/Marian/Robin Triangle

What else kills Robin's credibility as the romantic hero? Guy. Sounds blasphemous to say, but it's a major mistep to give him more than a few seconds screen time. He's way too good at stealing...sympathy. When he's around, Robin's feelings for Marian seem like casual whimsy. The writers made Guy a tortured, yearning, conflicted villain. The costume department gave him black leather lace-up pants and metal buckled leather jacket. Armitage gave him smouldering screen presence and towering height. They should never let him too close to Marian. It gives the writers another reason to show him semi-naked, killing Robin's hopes for love-interest plausibility. With Marian in the castle, Guy has power, purpose, opportunity and angst. He may be a snake, but he's a romantic redemption-seeking reptile! He tries to win her by protecting her from the Sheriff, giving gorgeous gifts, admitting his ambitions to restore his family's former glory and dropping hints about how he'd be such a good husband. At the first sign of weakness, he pounces in proposing. Robin has no chance. {reviewerama}[3]
I think that while Guy's pursuit of Marian is initially linked both to his social-climbing ambitions and to his rivalry with Robin, he does very quickly fall genuinely in love with Marian. Interestingly, I believe that to a very large extent, what attracts him to her are the very traits that cause possibly insurmountable barriers between them – the love of freedom and justice, and the defiance of Vaisey's oppressive power, that drive her to become the Nightwatchman and embrace Robin Hood's cause. I think it's not an accident that Guy really steps up his courtship of Marian after she defies the Sheriff and gets her hair publicly chopped off as punishment – to some extent it may trigger his protective instinct, but I think it also makes him see (mostly unconsciously) that she has the inner freedom, the pride, and the ability to defy the Sheriff that he can only yearn for. I also think ... that Guy is far more suspicious from the start about Marian's sympathies with and connection to Robin than is commonly realized. He does idealize Marian, especially in Season 1, and his feelings for her are very much tied up in his desire for redemption as well as his intense loneliness and craving for love. His intense physical yearning for Marian is evident as well. By the end of Season 2, I think she really is his whole world – even his desire for power is by then mainly about being worthy of Marian. (Unfortunately, he still doesn't really "get it"...) While I believe that by then he comes to see Marian as a real person and not just a projection of his own needs, he continues for the most part to be quite self-centered in his interactions with her.

Marian's attitude toward Guy ... There is no question that she agrees to the marriage under duress, particularly since there is really nothing appealing about Guy in 1x07 (he backhands her elderly dad in front of her, ACK!), but I actually think that from 1x08 to the season finale, she is not that averse to marrying Guy, a lot of the time. I do think she's moved and intrigued (though also somewhat freaked out) by the intensity of his feelings for her (the way she says "This means so much to you, doesn't it" in 1x08 when he wants to put the ring on her finger). By 1x09 she has settled fairly comfortably into her role as Guy's betrothed, and I think she is actively looking for "qualities" in him until he lets her down in the Lambert affair – she's much more guarded after that, but I still think she's not especially anti-Guy even in the finale until she learns about the King's arrival being a hoax. (At the very least, her sympathy for Guy for having been "deprived of love" is quite real, I think.) When she befriends him again in Season 2, it's largely for pragmatic purposes – both because he's a useful protector to have at the castle and because she wants to use him to spy for Robin – but also because (1) she's very lonely at the castle, and (2) she does start to care for him and to believe that he has a better side. The shirtless scene in 2x03 speaks to me not only of sexual attraction but of an emotional connection as well – I don't think it's just acting (and I don't think it's a coincidence that it takes place after she has heard from the Sheriff that Guy showed compassion by not killing the kids). The development of their relationship after that is definitely a paradox; they get closer and not only does he fall more and more in love with her but I think she also comes to care for him more and more, and yet the lies between them continue to get deeper and deeper. I agree that Marian is naive in underestimating the intensity and potential violence of Guy's feelings, but I think she's also rather willfully blind in not facing the fact that she is pursuing two contradictory goals: to help Guy become a better person, and to use him to spy for Robin.

While Marian definitely sees herself as "Robin's girl" at this point, I do believe that at some point Guy becomes, semi-consciously, a viable alternative in her eyes (as Tango put it, it's a sort of unspoken ".... or maybe Guy" in the back of her mind"). Partly because of her affection for him, and partly because Robin disappoints her to some extent. I believe she is definitely moved by the extent to which she is the center of Guy's world, and she misses that with Robin. ... Guy's stock definitely goes up after Walkabout when she actually sees his capacity to be brave, self-sacrificing and heroic – the way her face just lights up when she says "You came back!", and even more when he replies "If I'm going to die, I'm going to die by your side!" speaks volumes. Sadly it all goes to hell in the S2 finale, where everything that could possibly go wrong, does, and Guy and Marian's relationship is pretty much destroyed by mutual feelings of betrayal and disappointment. While I'm certainly not saying that she doesn't love Robin, I think that her total commitment to Robin at the end is also reinforced by her anger at Guy – an anger that I think is very evident in their final confrontation, and that, ironically, tells me she did care. (LadyKate63)[4]
Guy/Marian relationship seems to hinge entirely on the angst and the tension and the secrets and the tip-toeing around each other. It makes for great television and a charged dynamic, but I still never really saw any evidence that the relationship would function without any of those things. I never saw them have a normal, relaxed conversation, or make each other laugh, or go out and have "quality time" together. I just can't see it, and I wonder perhaps if the attraction itself is actually based on this. Getting back to hypotheticals, (oops, I'm breaking my own rules) who's to say that if Marian successfully domesticated Guy, she'd keep her interest in him? Once the air is cleared between them, maybe the spark would have died out too. (ravenya03)[5]
Guy would be a lot more interesting and sympathetic as a character, to me, if there wasn't the whole Marian romance/non-romance. ... I find his relationship with Marian to be problematic right from the very beginning with all sort of imbalances between them, and it sets them up in what I think are some unfortunate stereotypical romantic roles. There are expectations attached to these, the audience who enjoys that kind of thing would like to see them met, but there's no good way out for either of these characters. (sylvi10)[6]
The "her pure heart will cleanse mine" and "Marrying you will wash away my sins" *really* ticked me off when I saw it, although as I mentioned on the "Clue" thread, there may have been some personal reasons behind it. I saw it as blame-shifting and wishful thinking of the highest order. Possibly his idea is that once he marries her, it will be like a new start for him, or a get-out-of-jail free card for his past–that marrying her will somehow cancel out or erase all the bad things he's done in his past. It'll be a new start, and from that day forward he'll be (and be *perceived* as, possibly even by Marian herself?) as a good person. (That may also be why he doesn't seem to have thought much beyond the ceremony, including realizing that once Marian finds out he tricked her, he'll be stuck with a wife that hates him in a marriage that is based on a lie–he's going to be a new person then, and everything will be different, so he won't have to worry about it.) IIRC, this sort of "new start" thinking is not uncommon among addicts and other dysfunctional people: "Okay, yes, I've really messed up my life/lost my job/wrecked my work history/alienated my friends and family, but if I just do this *one* *magic* *thing,* that will cancel everything else out, my life will straighten out, and it'll be like it never happened! It'll be just like starting over again!" It's essentially magical thinking. (Daughter of Tiaran)[7]
The more I’m thinking about the love triangle Robin/Marian/Guy, the more convinced I’m becoming that the best resolution of this triangle will be going on separate paths, so neither Robin nor Guy has Marian and each of these two men eventually ends up with someone else.

Marian and Robin have many problems in their relationship. Robin was a difficult man for the marriage because he was just Robin and he was too England's man and the King's man. Marian and Robin are suited very well because they are idealistic and altruistic in their caring for England, their people, and their King. But Robin is too loyal to the King and England, and he is likely to place his duty to the King and England above his love for Marian, above his personal life and happiness. There are always England and the King between Robin and Marian, but there is no England between Marian and Guy. Guy and Marian seem to be a more pragmatic and less "idealistic" couple. Robin also tended to keep his real emotions inside himself and shun everyone out of his inner world, and that made their relationship more complicated because he didn’t give Marian a chance to look into the naked soul of the grown-up Robin – the soul of the man who returned from the Crusade.

I think that Robin can move on over time, but it’s perhaps more interesting whether Guy can leave Marian in the past, and after long speculations I think that Guy can do this. I know that Guy loves Marian and he considers her his whole world, I don’t deny it. But there are some aspects about the nature of Guy’s love for Marian which we need take into account. Guy's love for Marian is a strong, deep, and sincere feeling, but it is also possessive, ardent and devastating. His love for Marian includes three components. His love for her is like a love for a female form chaste and pure as the alabaster of holy vessels, which served as the sacrifice he offered with tears to God for absolution and for redemption. He loves her because she supposedly can give him redemption, which is self-deception. Secondly, his love for Marian is love for the ideal he wants to have but he couldn't have it. Thirdly, his love for Marian is a part of his heart, but its strength surely diminishes once he learns that Marian played with him and also loved Robin; all things like the afore-mentioned ones exhaust love itself if one always has to fight for this love.

Thus, I believe that Guy can move on and become his own man, and in this case Guy’s need for Marian, for the guiding light in the darkness and on his way to redemption, may become less sharp and less desperate. In my opinion, there is a chance Guy can move on and forget Marian.

There are some other things which make me think that Guy can move on and be happy without Marian. I don’t argue that Guy loved Marian, but often I am not so sure that it was a pure, natural love – there was a kind of obsession – at least an element of obsession – in his love for Marian, as he wanted to possess what he couldn't have. Anyway, Guy’s love for Marian could be described as a devastating and destructive feeling to some degree, while Robin’s love for this lady seems to be a kind of different – it is more stable and a kind of reviving, though perhaps not as deep as Guy’s: love for England and love for Marian co-exist in Robin’s large heart.

Actually, the absence of understanding seems to be an important problem in this love triangle. Marian doesn’t understand Robin very much (I mean the grow-up Robin who returned from the war) and she often cannot look through Robin's masks of a flyboy. Guy doesn’t understand Marian very well either, and he loves not only the girl, but the idea of the girl and having her as well because Guy seems to somewhat idealize Marian, to a great extent, and when Marian turns out to be a human being, a different person from the ideal he created in his mind, Guy kills her in jealous rage in S2E13. Robin understands Marian very well, but he cannot understand her confusion with her feelings for him and for Gut and he cannot accept that as well.

If they part ways and try to move on, they really can avoid so much heartache and so many troubles. And nobody will die in this case.(Amaranthe Athenais)[8]
I ship Guy/Marian. But I am also not completely against Robin/Marian: They are the classic pairing in this and after all it is the BBC Robin Hood Show.

Though during S2 it could be called the Guy of Gisbornes show sometimes.... It`s right, R/M fight for the good and right things and they definitely have their sweet and tender moments with each other. One of my favorite moments for them is to see them riding of together after the failed marriage in episode 13 S1. But I can´t see sparks flying between them and I can`t see them sharing any passionate feelings/moments.

Then there is also the fact, I have a heavy soft spot for complicated and star crossed lovers/pairings and for complex and broken characters. And maybe it´s my helper`s syndrome, but I do also have a soft spot for lost souls and, to be honest (but you might have guessed it already) for RA. Which, taken all together makes me the perfect Guy/Marian shipper. I think this pairing has a lot of potential and offers so many possibilities, it is sheer joy to muse about them. Plus there is always some bitter feeling lingering around them and some subliminal passion.

I am aware of all the cruel things and crimes Guy has committed in general and to Marian in person and also of her ways of deceiving him, but I like the idea of couples, who have to struggle and to fight for their chances. Plus, to me Marian is a strong female character who likes challenges, maybe she wants to be challenged. So in my headcanon she would never be really satisfied in fighting by Robins side and become Lady Huntingdon one day. She is looking out for something more, something special, which I can`t exactly figure out, and to me it occurs Guy could have had understood and fulfill this needs much better than Robin.

As for Guy’s needs, she means everything to him, she even does so, when he recognizes her for whom she really is during S2. With Marian really being at his side, he could have found his road to redemption much earlier and without committing the ultimate crime of killing her (which the writers made him do....)

This brings me to the S2 finale, which definitely is a trauma for me, I would have had preferred, if the writers would have followed RA´s idea for S3: Guy and Marian become married and Robin tries to win her back (RA described this scenario in an interview, but I think, it is already mentioned in this thread). This would have been a very interesting S3 to watch. To me late S2 clearly could have lead into some kind of a serious and honest relation between Guy and Marian, if it hadn`t been for the writers. {Margret15}[9]
With my first viewing back in the day when I only got to around mid-season 2, I liked Robin/Marian more than Guy/Marian. Upon the recent rewatch, I really preferred Guy/Marian, while I did still like Robin/Marian. Both of the pairings are way flawed for various reasons- there's no doubt about that. The thing for me was when I thought about it, I guess I liked Robin/Marian the first time because I didn't really rely on their scenes to ship them, because there were always the other Robin Hood stories with the 'Yay, Robin and Marian belong together' thing from all the other versions of Robin Hood. I may get flack for this, but when I watched it the second time, Robin/Marian just seemed more forced to the audience than Guy/Marian did. It seemed they wanted the audience to depend on that... pre-acquired, if you will, love of Robin/Marian. I thought R/M was too one-sided in this, and you didn't get enough of their backstory with their childhood love, and instead you got a lot of Robin pining for her and her pining for him, but saying "grow up/not now" a lot. The G/M thing was easier to get behind because you kind of saw it happen with Guy super-pining for her and Marian fighting it, then being... semi-okay with it, if you will, then using his love/lust/whatever you wanna call it to her/the Outlaws advantage, then going back to fighting it again. I personally just like the complex loves more instead of the (almost)-everything's-fine thing R/M had in my book, if that makes sense. (Swatson)[10]

On the S2 Finale

As far as how the last episode plays into the R/M/G dynamic, I don't buy any of it. That courtyard scene never happened like the writers want us to believe. Marian did it for England and for her father and for herself and to finally crush Vasey. She did it for what should have been, for all the wrongs done to her, her family, her village. She didn't do it for Robin. I mean, yeah, so she thought he was dead and all of her memories of him turned rosy and she forgot all the frustration and arguing and divergence, and then he's alive and she's still caught up in the euphoria of it. But she didn't have any serious love left for Robin to throw in Guy's face.
Guy didn't kill her. Because that would just be dumb, right? Ha ha. If anything, I think Guy would have given up in the face of killing Marian. Perhaps his hatred for her would have finally solidified, but he never would have killed her. Granted, Richard A played it pitch-perfect (like he did everything), but I choose to believe that that episode, or at least the last half of it, was a total departure from everything that had been established in all the previous episodes, and therefore has no impact whatsoever on my impression of R/M/G's relationship. So there. (Dynamite Rabbit)[11]
I do agree that some of the events in the finale strain credulity in that both Guy and Marian consistently choose the worst possible course of action in one situation after another, and everything that could possibly go wrong does; everything is engineered to set up a situation where Guy can kill Marian in a fit of blind passion and despair. I can believe it .... but only just. (LadyKate63)[12]

In Fanworks

Given the tragic course of their relationship in canon, the majority of fanfiction is AU. Stories where the S2 finale plays out as in canon involve bucketfuls of angst. Guy/Marian shippers tend to ignore most of S3, though some accept the backstory from S3 "Bad Blood" as contributing to Guy's woobieness.

Guy /Marian fictions set in the pre-S1

  • To Be Worthy by lexie2/lillianschild – It’s the pre-series AU and S1AU. Betrayed by his latest master and mocked by the cruel hand of destiny, Sir Guy of Gisborne returns to Nottingham twenty years after his banishment determined to reclaim the life which should have been his.

Marian Lives! AUs

Fix-it AUs where Marian doesn't die are perhaps the most common AU trope. LadyKate63 writes: the season 2 finale is full of AU possibilities, because so many things go wrong to culminate in the tragedy of Guy killing Marian, and at so many points things could have happened differently.[13] Most of the obvious branch points have been written many times. Often the branch point is early enough that Marian escapes injury, but sometimes she is non-fatally wounded by Guy and gets nursed back to health.

  • Fallout by bookishy – Guy/Marian, AU after S2E13 (We Are Robin Hood). Guy and Marian deal with the aftermath of killing the Sheriff. It’s popular among fans, Marian Lives! AU novel (WiP).
  • Persistence of Memory by Lady_T_220 – heavy on the hurt/comfort with, unusually in Marian Lives! scenarios, Guy being the one injured.
  • Fortune's Wheel by an_lagat_glas – the politics-heavy AU novel (WiP). Guy is forced by the Sheriff to rape Marian and then helps her to recover. This is one of the few popular stories in which Guy rapes someone other than a servant, and the act is depicted as a violation of Guy almost as much as Marian.
  • The Lady of Nottingham by LadyKate1 – Carter fails to rescue the Robin & Co, and a broken Marian survives with all the outlaws dead. It’s popular among fans.
  • Humanity by CaribbeanAzure – Guy/Marian AU starting from S2E6 (For England). Answers what would happen if Sheriff Vaisey didn't let Guy go after Winchester to save Marian. It’s more a novel than a story, and it’s popular among fans.
  • Grant What I Wish by kleindog – novel covering an AU S3 in which Marian survives her injury but many other events follow canon
  • Travelers Returned by LadyKate and Tango – Guy/Marian, Robin/Marian, Robin/OFC S3 AU. Everyone thinks Marian of Knighton died in the Holy Land, but she is alive, and headed to England. Marian returns to Nottingham to find herself embroiled in political intrigue, torn between her relationship with Robin and Guy. It’s a great novel, and it’s popular among fans.
  • Quintessence of Life: Mysteries of The Past by Amaranthe Athenais – Guy/Marian, Robin/Marian, Robin/OFC AU starting from S2E10 (Walkabout), part one of the long epic (trilogy). The novel has an exclusive and original plot that is largely focused on the triangle Robin/King Richard/Guy (no slash, just the triangle about the mysterious relationships of the past), and Marian is not killed by Guy in a jealous rage. It’s a great novel, and it’s popular among fans.
  • Quintessence of Life: Mysteries unveiled by Amaranthe Athenais – Guy/Marian, Guy/Meg, Robin/Marian, Robin/OFC AU starting from S2E10 (Walkabout), part two of the long epic (trilogy). The novel has an exclusive and original plot that is largely focused on the triangle Robin/King Richard/Guy (no slash, just the triangle about the mysterious relationships of the past). Marian is not killed by Guy in a jealous rage: someone else is mortally wounded by Vaisey. It’s a great novel, and it’s popular among fans.
  • Everything But The Girl by Velocity Girl1980 – Guy/Marian AU starting from S2E6 (For England). Instead of handing Marian over to the Earl of Winchester, as the Sheriff commanded, Guy does the right thing and helps her escape the Castle.
  • Running Up That Hill by Velocity Girl1980 – Guy/Marian AU, sequel to Everything But the Girl. Newly wedded Guy and Marian haven't even begun to adapt to their new life, when an unexpected turn of events rocks them - parenthood.
  • Guy & Marian Acrostic Series by lexie2/lillianschild – A series of sequenced one-shots spanning over S1 & S2 & AU beyond. The fics explore Guy's relationship with Marian and are told from his POV.

Forced Marriage AUs

Forced marriage scenarios are another very common AU trope. These often branch where the S1 finale marriage isn't interrupted, or where the interruption is read as inadequate to prevent the couple being married under medieval law (a common bit of fanon). They can also stem from any of Guy's later proposals, or from Marian's offer to marry Guy if he kills the Sheriff in the S2 finale. Often Guy is surprisingly chivalrous, for example, waiting till Marian is ready before initiating sex.

Night Watchman AUs

Another common AU trope are scenarios where Guy finds out earlier or differently about the Night Watchman. Usually he reacts more positively than in canon.

Ghost-Marian

Ghost-Marian often turns up in works that accept the S2 finale outcome.

  • Haunted by bowie28 – a particularly angsty take on the ghost-Marian idea
  • My Skin by Heathra – fanvid with a dark view of the pairing, featuring ghost-Marian

Hurt/Comfort

Hurt/comfort is a common element in stories, with either party being injured or sick. Hurt/comfort is commonly an element in Marian Lives! stories, though in that case it is rare that Guy is the comforter. Sometimes Marian's a terrible nurse.

Threesomes

The pairing is also the nucleus for the threesome with Guy's lieutenant Allan a Dale; these are often played for laughs. Guy/Marian/Robin threesomes, on the other hand, tend to originate in Marian/Robin.

Other Tropes

Sharing beds or bodily warmth turns up in this fandom as in many others.

Further Example Fanworks

Fanfiction

Fanvids

Meta

Recs

Communities

References

  1. Sam & Freddie: Ship Wars..., We ALL know how they can get... (accessed 18 June 2013)
  2. TV Tropes: Ship To Ship Combat: Live Action TV (accessed 18 June 2013)
  3. The BBC's Robin Hood (accessed 18 June 2013)
  4. Robin Hood Fan Community: Robin/Marian/Guy (accessed 20 June 2013)
  5. Robin Hood Fan Community: Robin/Marian/Guy (accessed 20 June 2013)
  6. Robin Hood Fan Community: Guy Fans: Are We Wrong? (accessed 19 June 2013)
  7. Robin Hood Fan Community: Robin/Marian/Guy in the Season 1 finale (accessed 20 June 2013)
  8. Robin Hood Fan Community: Robin/Marian/Guy (accessed 17 April 2015)
  9. Robin Hood Fan Community: Who do you ship? (Robin/Guy/Marian) (accessed 18 April 2015)
  10. Robin Hood Fan Community: Who do you ship? (Robin/Guy/Marian) (accessed 17 April 2015)
  11. Robin Hood Fan Community: Robin/Marian/Guy (accessed 20 June 2013)
  12. Robin Hood Fan Community: Robin/Marian/Guy (accessed 20 June 2013)
  13. me + richard armitage: Fan Showcase: LadyKate63 (accessed 20 June 2013)