R is for Robin Hood

Posted April 21, 2014 in A-Z Challenge / 0 Comments

We’re now into the fourth week of the A-Z Blogging Challenge. The aim is to write a post for every day of the month except for Sundays, with each post representing a different letter of the alphabet. This year I’m doing an A-Z of Great Britain, covering as much as I can about British music, literature, TV and film, food, wildlife and culture.

For the letter ‘R’ I have chosen Robin Hood. Like King Arthur, Robin Hood is a legendary British hero who became popular during medieval times. He is portrayed as a noble outlaw known for ‘stealing from the rich to give to the poor’, along with his band of ‘Merry Men’. According to the stories, he was a skilled archer and swordsman and a supporter of King Richard the Lionheart. He is said to have lived in Sherwood Forrest, Nottinghamshire, using a large oak tree as a hideout.

Robin shoots with Sir Guy, by Louis Rhead
[Public Domain Image, Source.]

Some people believe that the stories about Robin Hood are based upon tales of actual outlaws such as Hereward the Wake, Eustace the Monk, Fulk FitzWarin and William Wallace. It’s difficult to trace Robin Hood in historical records as ‘Robin’ (a diminutive of Robert) was a very common name in medieval England and ‘Hood’ was also a fairly common surname, so there are many references to ‘Robin Hood’ or ‘Robert Hood’ in medieval records. Some people suggest that ‘Robin Hood’ was a common alias used by thieves, and it has indeed been used as a nickname for a long time.

I really like the legend of Robin Hood. I think the appeal is the idea of an outlaw- someone on the margins of society- taking power back from corrupt rulers. Who wouldn’t want to relieve the government of some of their wealth and redistribute it among those who really need it? All the better if you could humiliate them in the process. I like the idea of living free in the woods with a band of misfits and ruffians.

I’m also a fan of the movie, Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, even though Kevin Costner didn’t even try to do a British accent. You can’t really complain about that when the cast includes Morgan Freeman, Alan Rickman and Brian Blessed! I also happen to love the theme song, however cheesy.

Here are some modern books based on the legend of Robin Hood (click images to visit their Goodreads page):

Are you interested in the legend of Robin Hood? What’s your favourite film or book based on the legend?

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