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A section from

‘A Jedi shall not know hatred, nor fear… nor love.’ from Star Wars Episode II

AMAZON (USA)

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A1BOOKS (INDIA)LINKS

ROBIN HOOD

 

"When you look at the early ballads and writings of Robin Hood, of which there are masses, they mostly start around the thirteenth century, but seem to refer to a guy about 200 years prior to then, a man who believed it was right for people to turn against their oppressors, their social superiors, because of starvation and too much tax. Times like those always throw up someone. There has to have been someone real to have left so many traces." - Mr. Ridley Scott, director of Robin Hood (2010) 

 

But not everyone held Robin Hood in high esteem - Ayn Rand had a low opinion of him. In ‘Atlas Shrugged’ she ripped to shreds his philosophy of robbing from the rich and giving to the poor. It represented everything un-American, everything communist and everything depraved about man. She hated communism as she had suffered under it’s yolk as a child. She loved America because it represented to her all that was good on earth and she loved men who had the balls to take for themselves what they wanted.

 

However if she had viewed Robin Hood and his maxim in wide context she could have easily understood the man’s words as taking from the oppressive and returning to the oppressed what is theirs.

 

Philosophy and politics aside, our man Mr. Hood went about his business with panache. Armies funded by England’s coffers couldn't hunt him down while he camped in the sheriff's backyard but he was accessible to the townsfolk of Nottingham when they needed his help. His liaison with Maid Marian provided the ancient equivalent of tabloid gossip, and his band of Merry-men provided ’employment’ to the uncouth youth of the time. He became a Don Corleone of sorts; and won acclaim that surpassed Zorro and the Scarlet Pimpernel.

 

Was Robin Hood real?

 

No one really knows, but some of us want him to be based on an actual hard-core old-school hero. So what evidence is there to support this? Not much if it is looked at objectively but here are some of the facts stripped down. They don't single out any person but provide scraps that contribute to the legend (and mystery) of Robin Hood.

 

Hood's base of operations is accepted as Yorkshire, where Robin was a common first name and Hood was an equally ubiquitous last name. One particular candidate - Robert Hoode was in the service of the king (Edward II) with whom he fell out but was later pardoned. This Robin was married to a Matilda. Another candidate - Robert Wetherby actually went so far as to anger the establishment but was a pretty bad folk hero who met his end in the gallows. Another was an aristocrat / pseudo-outlaw who went by the title - Earl of Huntington.

 

How did he become an outlaw?

 

Robin, aged eighteen took up the Sheriff's open archery challenge and was making his way from Locksley to the competition at Nottingham, whistling to himself and thinking of the hot and sexy Maid Marian when some random folks wagered went up to him and said that he was too young to be an archer of skill. Before you knew what was happening a dead beast lay with Robin's gray-goose shaft through its heart and a great sum of money was lost. But Robin Hood was outlawed by the king for shooting down the royal deer. Robin also killed a man at the same instance but the blessed beast was considered more valuable, leaving only the Sheriff of Nottingham (and cousin to the slain fool who decided to cross Robin) to take vengeance for the dead man. Hunted by the Sheriff of Nottingham for the 200 pound reward, Robin escaped into Sherwood forest after the killings.

 

The Merry Men

 

Once Robin had evaded initial capture for the killings he spent many months in Sherwood forest on the outskirts of Nottingham town. There he grouped with other men who were outlawed for various reasons, and some disgruntled subjects of the king. In a while they nominated Robin as their leader and the group decided to dedicate themselves to fighting and harassing their oppressors and also denying them any more victims.

 

Robin and his Merry men are a PR machine on overdrive. Picking up sound advice from the American forces manual of winning hearts and minds, they (like the American forces in Iraq) never make any purchase on credit, they always pay cash to keep the townsfolk happy, unlike the Sheriff and his henchmen. Another book Robin probably read was Sun Tzu's The Art of War, (Therefore a wise general strives to feed off the enemy. Chapter 2: Doing Battle) and recruits his merry men from among the many who come to him as adversaries (the Tinker, Little John, Friar Tuck, Maid Marian).

 

New recruits are promised a life free of care and worry, and are christened into the band and presented with three lincoln suits and weapons. Each member is also paid a sum of forty marks a year. In return they have to follow the basic principles of the group and respond to Robin's call for assistance (three blasts from his bugle horn).

 

For a list and brief introduction to the Merry Men look below.

 

What kind of man was Robin Hood?

 

In short, there was very good reason for Walt Disney to portray the legend as a fox. For the long version, read on.

 

Robin Hood's maxim of giving to the poor is just a social service and PR exercise. Deep down the man is not susceptible to all the control that the sheriff of Nottingham wants to exert on him; and the stories and events that follow trace their roots to this idiosyncrasy. Robbing from the rich would simply not be enough to symbolically moon the sheriff, Robin had to spread the ill-gotten wealth among the very people who were oppressed by the sheriff.

 

Brilliant conversation skills is another guerilla tactic that Robin uses. With a cool head he leads his adversary (The Tinker for example) into betraying as much information as possible without revealing much information on himself. In the case of the Tinker, Robin disambiguated himself completely but carried out conversation with great camaraderie. Robin held his booze, while the Tinker passes out from drink without having realised that the very man he was hunting was sharing ale with him. Once the Tinker was out of commission Robin stroked his beard with satisfaction, finished his Nottingham Light Beer and took one last drag of his Marlboro. Then he extracted from the Tinker's possession a warrant in his own name, paid the innkeeper and exited the bar. Only when the Tinker regains consciousness and realises that his prized warrant is missing did the true identity of his booze buddy strike him. But by then it is too late for the Tinker.

 

As an outlaw Robin could have was not obliged to contain himself within Sherwood forest and could have escaped much further to any other woods that were in close proximity to more prosperous towns than Nottingham. But it so happened that Robin and the Sheriff had entered into an unspoken game of one-upmanship. The Sheriff had promised his King vengeance for the beast that Robin had killed and himself for the slain cousin, and then there was the small matter of the prize-money that rested on the head of Robin. And Robin chose to stay near Nottingham so that he could remain a thorn in the Sheriff's side, forever emasculating him for the inability of Nottingham's finest to apprehend him and his Merry Men. And in this Robin misses no opportunity to rub the Sheriff's blunders in his face. Robin is in fact troubled when he gets the better of the Sheriff without the Sheriff's knowledge (The Shooting Match at Nottingham Town, Howard Pyle, Chapter 3).

 

Two Merry Men 

 

Little John: Little John became Robin Hood's right hand man after their famous duel over water where the giant knocked down the archer. In the archery contest that followed neither could best the other, and the giant was subsequently christened 'Little John' and became part of the Merry Men. If Robin Hood hadn't been a sucker for a fair fight he'd have probably taken the giant down using his gray-goose shafts, but since his opponent was armed by a staff alone Robin entered battle with just a staff himself.

 

The Tinker: The Tinker was a bounty hunter who obtained from the Sheriff of Nottingham a warrant to serve on Robin Hood. Robin got the better of this man by using his wits and sensing a iron-will made the Tinker an offer he couldn't refuse, adding another to the Merry Men.

 

On FactBehindFiction.com

Robin Hood 2010

Archery: The Sublime & Deadly Art

 

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If he was known for anything, it was for having the eyesight of a hawk and ice-cold nerves to match. Mr. Kevin Costner plays the legendary archer of Sherwood Forest in Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves (‘91)

The Sheriff of Nottingham is Robin Hood primary nemesis, and he represents typical villainy. Robin’s guerilla tactics are very effective against the slightly dim-witted Sheriff

In the 1973 Walt Disney production of Robin Hood, Robin was a wily fox, Marian was a vixen, Little John was a bear, and King Richard and Prince John were Lions.

The famous first encounter between Robin and his future right-hand man - ‘Little’ John.

Maid Marian, from a BBC production of Robin Hood

The Passing of Robin Hood

By N. C. Wyeth

The legacy of Robin Hood lives on in popular culture. Shown above are Green Arrow and Connor Hawke of DC Comics

Further Reading at

Fact

Behind

Fiction.com