What You Can Learn About Conflict By Watching Robin Hood

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Richard Armitage, Guy of Gisbourne, Robin HoodNormally, I love just about everything on BBC America but I can't get in to the Robin Hood series because there are too many plot holes. However, after having seen the preview for this past Saturday's episode, I knew I had to watch. Richard Armitage shirtless. Need I say more? It was worth spending an hour of my life watching the weakest dramatic conflict I've ever encountered just to see RA without a shirt. That and the accent, I just love listening to his accent.

Speaking of weak dramatic conflict, the Robin Hood episode helped emphasize the importance of conflict in a story. Robin Hood movies work because the conflict between Robin Hood and the Sheriff of Nottingham is focused. Each character has a goal that is in direct conflict with the other's goal. The pursuit of their goals drives the story and therefore the conflict.

The problem with drawing the Robin Hood story out over a number of episodes is that it weakens the conflict. Conflict has to be character driven, not contrived simply to move the plot from point A to point B. Watching Saturday's episode, it was obvious that the conflict no longer stems from the characters' goals but is artificially forced in order to continue the series. After an hour, all I wanted was for Robin Hood to shoot the Sheriff or vice versa, anything to put the poor conflict out of its misery.

Alan Rickman, Robin Hood Prince of ThievesTo see a more focused conflict in action, watch Robin Hood Prince of Thieves. Yes, it's a bit campy, but Alan Rickman as the Sheriff of Nottingham is a great villain whose goals are in direct conflict with Robin Hood's. Throughout the movie, the Sheriff continually ups the stakes for Robin. This forces Robbin to rise to meet each new challenge and in doing so, to deal with his inner strife of having failed his father and his friend. Robin refuses to fail the people he has vowed to protect and he grows and changes as a hero because of it. Sadly, he lost his British accent in the process.

So, when dealing with conflict, remember to make it character driven and to make sure it is both external and internal for the hero. It also doesn't hurt to think of Alan Rickman and Richard Armitage while you write. It might even inspire you!

If you enjoy conflict then check out my books. They have lost of conflict in them. www.Georgie-Lee.com


Amarinda Jones said...

Well, I love the current Robin Hood series as it's a perfect escape and requires no deep thought...as for RA as Guy - yum and I would like a big slice please

Elizabeth Kerri Mahon said...

Georgie Lee, I agree wholeheartedly about this series. It blows chunks, particularly because this Robin Hood has the charisma of a rock. The only reason I watch it is for RA as Guy, and I tape it so that I can fast forward through the Robin Hood scenes. Of course that means that I miss out on most of the plot, but is that really a bad thing?

Kristie (J) said...

We have constant discussions on what a turd Robin Hood is and what a not so nice person (well - we put it a lot different then that really) Marion is for the way she 'plays' Guy who is so in love with her.
But Guy on the other hand.....our conversations about Guy are Quite a Bit Different - he's the only reason to watch RH really - but a Very Good One though

Vic (Ms. Place) said...

Armitage deserves a series of his own. That kiss at the end of North and South made me feel weak kneed.

Traxy said...

Oh indeed! RH was an awful show where they made RH an annoying git who deserved a good slapping and the baddies were the people you rooted for, because you certainly couldn't sympathise with the goodies!

Guy as a character is way more compelling to watch, both from a character point of view... and, admittedly, from an "OMG, RA is totally hawt!" point of view. He's the reason to watch it. I'm guessing you were talking about episode 3 of season 2? Saw that yesterday... and... holy moly! Gizzy without a shirt! The rest of the episode I hardly remember, but that scene... wow. Totally worth it!