The character of Guy of Gisborne (as portrayed by Richard Armitage) in Apollo for this one. As I mentioned here, Apollo was one of the most renowned of the gods in the Greek pantheon, and like his father Zeus, in addition to all of his supernatural powers, he also seems to have had a supernatural libido…in layman’s terms – Apollo was a major player. The fact that some of his would be lovers were were noticeably repulsed by him didn’t seem to be much of a hindrance to Apollo. Convinced of his own irresistibly, he pursued a number of human women and nymphs who turned him down repeatedly. Unfortunately (for the women and nymphs) refusal to take “no” for an answer usually put them into a difficult circumstance.(BBC 2006-2009) is a rich source for classical comparisons. I’m returning to another story of the Greek god
A story from Ovid’s Metamorphoses gives a great example of this tendency of Apollo – complete with two gods having a pissing contest (pardon my language 🙂 – RA isn’t the only one who gets to throw out off color slang around here!) over the relative size of their weapons. You can find a translation of the whole story here, but the nuts and bolts of it go something like this:
The great archer Apollo is teasing Eros (Cupid) about how tiny his eensy weensy little bow and arrows are. What Apollo apparently forgot was that Eros’ arrows might be tiny, but they packed a huge wallop – one that not even the other gods were immune to. To prove the might of his weapon he shoots Apollo with a golden arrow causing him to fall in love with the first person he sees…in this case the nymph Daphne. To really drive the point home, Eros shoots Daphne with a lead arrow, causing her to be turned off by Apollo in a big way…the result? He sees her and falls madly in lurve…she sees him (and presumably the acute case of bedroom eyes he’s shooting at her) and takes off running. The chase is on!
Even a nimble Naiad like Daphne can’t outrun the great god Apollo forever. Just at the point that he catches her, (beautifully articulated in marble by the Italian sculptor Bernini) she appeals to her father, the god of a local river to help her escape Apollo. Her father does so by turning her into a tree…a laurel tree (we might know it better as the tree that produces bay leaves in the US).
Apollo mourns his “lost” love by making a wreath of the leaves that sprout from her as the metamorphosis is complete. The laurel becomes a sacred tree to Apollo and the laurel wreath one of his frequent attributes. (You might think that Apollo would learn from this episode…um, not so much!)
I noticed a certain similarity between Apollo and his inability to leave Daphne alone and Guy of Gisborne’s refusal to take no for an answer in his persistent pursuit of Marian. One scene struck me as particularly similar to the scene above between Apollo and Daphne.
Guy has caught the object of his desire, but as he leans in to kiss her, she very clearly strains away from him before he can reach her. (Right about now I’m yelling at my TV… “What is wrong with you woman?!”) Marian’s poor taste in lovers aside, like Apollo, Guy’s caught her, but he won’t be able to keep her. A moment later, lacking the intercession of a divine father, she wrenches away and flees from him. One might think that Guy might take the hint and find more accessible prey, but like Apollo, he will pursue her desperately – to no good end for either of them.
Psst…Apollo? Guy? Hint…if a girl runs away or would rather turn into a tree than kiss you…she’s just not that into you! (Don’t worry, there are plenty of us who are! 🙂 )