you never can begin to live until you dare to die...

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Marian- her secret

What Wart thinks of Marian, from "The Sword and the Stone:"

“Robin lay happily with his head in Marian’s lap. She sat between the rootsof the lime tree, clad in a one piece smock of green girded with a quiver ofarrows and her feet and arms were bare. She had let down the brown shiningwaterfall, which was usually kept braided for convience in hunting and cookery,and with the falling waves of this she framed his head. She was singing a duetwith him softly, and tickling the end of his nose with the fine hairs…[the two boys, Kay and Art go with the Merry Men on an adventure]The boys had felt disgruntled at first, at being put in a woman’s band. They would have preferred to have gone with Robin, and thought that being put under Marian was like being trusted to a governess. They soon found their mistake.It was not easy to be a companion of hers. In the first place, it was impossible to keep up with her unless she waited for them-she could move on all fours or even wrigglelike a snake almost as quickly as they could walk- and in the second place shewas an accomplished soldier which they were not. She was a true Weyve-except forher long hair, which most of the female outlaws of those days used to clip. Oneof the bits of advice which she gave them before talking had to be stopped wasthis: Aim high when you shoot in battle, rather than low. A low arrow strikesthe ground, a high one may kill in the second rank.“If I am made to get married,” thought the Wart, who had doubts on the subject, “I will marry a girl like this: a kind of golden vixen.”As a matter of fact, though the boys did not know it, Marian could hoot like an owl by blowing into her fists, or whistle a shrill blast between tongue and teeth with the fingers in the corner of the mouth; could bring all the birds to her by imitating their calls and understand much of their small language; could hit the popinjay twice for every three times of Robin’s; and could turn cartwheels. But none of these accomplishments were necessary at the moment.”

What captivates us ladies so about the legendary figure of Maid Marian?

Marian truly is captivating. I think it's her accomplishments that draw me to her: hooting like an owl, cartwheels, archery?

She's skilled in 'the arts of the forest.' A competent "Merry Man. What girl doesn't envy she who could be described as a "kind of a golden vixen?"

A golden vixen. I personally am utterly captivated by the idea of Robin's 'Greenwood Beauty' (quote from Reynolds) slinking gracefully through the forest; a quiet, highly skilled maiden who manages to steal his heart. She is my role model, the heroine of my current novella, and the famous figure that kindles my imagination in history books and legends alike.

She's also beautiful.

Reynolds, one more time:

With coat of Lincoln-green, and mantle too,

And horn of ivory mouth, and buckle bright,

And arrows winged with peacock feathers light,

And trusty bow well gathered of the yew,

--Stands Robin Hood:

and near, with eyes of blue

Shining thro' dusk hair, like the stars of night,

And habited in pretty forest plight,

--His green-wood beauty sits, young as the dew.

Oh gentle tressed girl! Maid Marian!

The beauty that I see in Marian (excluding the Lucy Griffiths version) is not only physical- she is depicted as having a quiet, sweet, strong demeanor that captures Robin's heart as well as ours.

Even when this week is over, don't think these will be the last posts on Marian.

Marian, I will follow...

1 comment:

Lady Nairam said...

Hmm, you made me really think about this. Now follows something far to long and not very well-written...I apologise.

It's hard for me, anymore, to consider the character of Marian without mine coming to mind. Okay, impossible. But why did I change her so much (translation: why did she insist on being changed so much)?

In the versions I've read, Marian has seemed to me to be a relatively flat character. I like her, though. She's (in general) pretty and well-mannered, but she dresses up as a page to go and find Robin, and actually manages to injure him with her sword before they realize each others' identities (always thought this was a leetle far fetched, but we'll leave it alone for the moment). I find your quote interesting--I might have to find that book. That's different.

There are two version of Marian that stick in my mind--Roger Green's and Robin McKinley's. Green's, like the rest of my book, makes me laugh. She has a semi-long dialogue with her father when Robin is first outlawed. She just appears in the room, dressed as a boy, with a bow in her hand, and when her father asks her WHERE DOES SHE THINK SHE'S GOING?! she mildly says: "The Greenwood."

Then they have a back-and-forth one-sentence conversation where her father says what he is going to do with her, and she says how she will escape.

Overall, Green's is clever, amusing, pure, and sweet. She's fairly human at times (I love it when she gets jealous of George-a-Green and his "lovely Beatrice.") I just like her.

McKinley's version focuses on the "clever." I remember liking IT because it was so different. Robin can't shoot. Marian goes to the archery contest. Robin doesn't fight with every person he comes to. In fact, it is only by Marian and Much's INTENSE urging that he agrees to stay in England after he accidentally kills a forester. Interesting. (He actually annoys me at times. He's to dern practical and mopey for a Robin Hood [says her of the practical and sometimes depressed Robin of her own...]...)

Anyway, Marian often doesn't listen to Robin. He doesn't even profess he loves her until she is seriously injured (oooh wait, BBC, anyone?). In fact, I think I realized what both intrigued and somewhat repulsed me by this book. Marian was more Robin Hood-y than Robin was.

So'far as roll models, I think Green's is the kind of girl I'd like to be, while McKinley's is one that I sometimes wish I had the courage to try.

I've gotten to the point where I've rambled far too long. I just hadn't considered this before. I will say I like the BBC Marian. To me, she sits in between the two other ones I mentioned, and I like that.

Now. To figure out what in the world *I* was doing...

Marian: Your mind is a mystery. *smirk*

Me: Oh shush.