May Lovers, Robin Hood & Maid Marian

For today’s post, I have decided to discuss another pair of iconic lovers during this season of romance!   The focus this time will be on Robin Hood and Maid Marian.   These two legendary lovers became iconic figures, first during the high middle ages.    Later they became famous as romantic figures during the Victorian times as part of the explosion of medievalism!   A love of medievalism is one of the reasons that the stories of Robin Hood and King Arthur found themselves in the Victorian consciousness so easily.

Robin Hood is named as such because he began in his tales as a simple hoodlum who robbed people.   Over time, he became a Nobleman who was ostracized but was a royalist at his heart.   He was a supporter of the true King, Richard I.   Robin Hood was now more of an icon of what the Victorian people would view as an ideal.   This transformation was not sudden but instead gradual, as royals had long loved the Robin Hood story, even Henry VIII played the legendary figure in performances during his reign!

The story of Robin and Marian was something that began as Marian being made a small figure in early versions of the legends.   In later variants, she became more clearly his love interest.   Their romance was one of a man who led a group of ne’er do wells and a woman who was of noble birth (just as he was) yet still willing to live the life of an outlaw.   Maid Marian is iconic for being a woman who was more than happy to play with the boys.   She is good-natured in her dealing with the Merry Men who made up the troupe of outlaws that her lover led!   She is a unique figure in the legends in that she is very much a woman and a Noble at that, yet still able to take care of herself in the rough terrain of the woodland.   The romance of Robin and Maid Marian would inspire countless film and book adaptations of the tale.    I personally like the romance of the Errol Flynn film version in particular!

In real life, the romance of Robin Hood and Maid Marian would inspire how Bonnie and Clyde would be talked about.   They too, would become icons of the poor refusing to be oppressed!   In the case of Robin and his lady love, it was more obviously a tale of two nobles refusing to be brought down by financial misfortune who would steal from the rich and give to the poor.   Robin and Marian would even inspire a very fun episode of my favorite television show Charmed, where Drake transformed himself and Phoebe into Robin and Marian and then lost his memory believing himself to actually be Robin Hood!   Finally, I will mention that the Robin and Marian love story would be used in Once Upon a Time, however there it is not used as a true love tale but instead, as a tragic backstory for Robin when he is introduced.   

I hope that you have enjoyed this brief look at the love of Robin Hood and Maid Marian.   What is your favorite thing about Robin and Marian?   Let me know your thoughts in the comments below!

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Further Watching/Reading

  • The Adventures of Robin Hood (1938)
  • Charmed (1998)
  • Once Upon a Time (2011)
  • The Merry Adventures of Robin Hood by Howard Pyle