“Ho! Ha ha! Guard! Turn! Parry! Dodge! Spin! Ha! Thrust!”
– Daffy “Robin Hood” Duck
Someone posed a question on facebook about who the favorite Robin Hood was and it got me to thinking about Robin and those Merry Men.
Robin Hood is a legendary character in the British Isles. Brought forth from the idea that corrupt sheriffs and the monarchy were against the common man and the bandits, or the men in hoods, were robbing the rich and royals to give the money to the poor and to protect the innocent. There are, of course, references to ‘hoods’ named Robin in the court records of the various villages and towns of the 13th century and it is also true that the sheriffs of many of these towns held sway during the 13th century and some do show some amount of corruption. So there is some truth to the thought that there was some corruption and there was some possibility that there were people stealing and robbing, in hoods, to feed their families.
Robin Hood, as a figure, made it into early pop-culture in the form of children’s ballads and tales. Robin’s attachment to Richard the Lionheart did not occur until the 16th century as the stories of Robin Hood changed and became more complex. In the 16th century and in much more modern version, Robin is a Loxley, one of the elite of Nottingham. He has gone off to the Crusades and comes back to find his family lands stolen by Prince John, the Sheriff of Nottingham or Sir Guy of Gisborn (take your pick – this changes depending on the author).
Another part of the Robin Hood mythos is the Merry Men. Little John, Friar Tuck and Will Scarlet to name a few. Little John of course who has a famous quarterstaff fight with Robin in most of the movie adaptations. Friar Tuck, a man of cloth, turned outlaw that in the Costner-Robin Hood brings the monk’s art of brewing to the people of Sherwood and the Merry Men (making them merrier, I am sure). And Will Scarlet, played by Christian Slater in Prince of Thieves, who is almost always shown with daggers.
Robin Hood of course is going to pop up at Ren Fairs. The costume is pretty easy:
- Robin Hood hat (Errol Flynn style) or a hood if you want to be a little more authentic
- Green Tights
- Green Tunic
- Bow and a quiver
You can go authentic and make everything a little less movie oriented by aiming for a ranger look or an outlaw look or you can just make your self a replica of Errol Flynn from his rendition of the character and though you might take some snarking at your choice of garb… you will still look cool. Robin Hood is one of the few costumes that I would bust out the tights for.
Just incidentally, my fav Robin Hood is the Disney version with the fox as Robin and Baloo the Bear as Little John. Childish but wonderful.