February 17, 2009


A fiction based on the classic Robin Hood story we all know and love. However, Lawhead attempts to root out the true origin of the tale and presents a more realistic and historically accurate depiction. The setting is not placed in Sherwood Forest, which was actually fairly small and wouldn't be able to hide Robin and his merry men from anyone for long. Instead, Lawhead has placed the story within Wales, where there was huge swaths of undeveloped territory that stood as a buffer zone between the English and the Britons. The story is so plausible that it is hard to remember this is a fictional novel. With Hollywood's recent success with darker origin stories (Batman Begins, Casino Royale, Wolverine, etc.), I believe this would do well. The story is familiar favorite, but this telling has enough changes to keep you on your toes. I've included the classic characters they represent in parentheses if possible. All the heroes we love are in the book, but the villians are sometimes confusing. Just when I think I've pegged who represents the Sheriff of Nottingham and Prince John, new characters are introduced that also fit the role, leading to the idea that the tale was simplified over the years in retelling, until we get the story we know today.

"What will you do with your life now that you have it back?

These words from the wizened old woman taunt Bran ap Brychan, heir to the throne of Elfael. She has saved his life and for that he is grateful, but her demands are growing more insistent. Bewildered, yet fascinated, Bran sits night after night by the fire and listens as the ancient crone sings the long-forgotten songs of the Elder World- a realm of warrior queens and princely champions, of dangerous deeds and queer enchantments...and a terrifying creature called King Raven.

Born into a position of privilige, Bran has grown up headstrong and selfish, rebelling against his tyrant of a father. But now his father- king of the Welsh borderland cantref of Elfael- has been killed by Norman invaders, his lands have been seized, and his people have been enslaved.

It falls to Bran, a marked and hunted man, to defend his people and regain their homeland.

Hood is a tale of loss and triumph. Vice and virtue. Power and corruption. Justice and mercy.

Steeped in Celtic mythology and the political intrigue of medieval Britain, Stephen R. Lawhead's latest work conjures up an ancient past and holds a mirror to contemporary realities. Prepare yourself for an epic tale that dares to shatter everything you thought you knew about Robin Hood. " - Book Jacket

Dramatis Personae

Jonathon Rhys Meyers as Bran ap Brychan (Robin Hood)- Incredibly good-looking and charming, Bran ap Brychan, Prince of Elfael is considered the most eligible bachelor of the region. However, Bran shirks responsibility and abuses his privileged position to chase his interests, which changes day-to-day. He is tall with dark hair and due to his training with the best warriors, he is possibly the best archer in the region.

Ray Stevenson as Iwan (Little John)- The king's champion and leader of his warband, Iwan is a large man and a great warrior. He and Bran have been friends since childhood, despite the age difference between them. Iwan is 5-10 years older than Bran. Iwan is determined to see Bran back on the throne of Elfael.

Tommy Flanagan as Siarles- Before Bran arrived in the forest, Siarles was Iwan's second in managing the refugees in the forest. When Bran arrives, he becomes one of his trusted advisors. He is a lean, tall man who is suspicious of all new-comers and is predeposed to surliness.

Jane Alexander as Angharad- Angharad lives in the forest and is decribed as "a hag with a bent back and a face like a dried apple." However, she can play the harp and has the most beautiful voice anyone has ever heard. She is the Chief Bard of Britain, the last of her kind. She saved Bran's life and set him on the path to become a hero of legend.

Robbie Coltrane as Aethelfrith (Friar Tuck)- Tuck is a very short, very fat man. At 6'1, Coltrane is definitely too tall for this character, but I think it worthwhile to overlook this fact as he would be able to nail the role in every other way. Tuck is playful and adept with a staff. He does, however, believe that God speaks to him personally and provides much comic relief in the book.

Emily Blunt as Lady Mérian (Maid Marian)- Mérian is the very beautiful daughter of King Cadgwen, a neighboring cantref of Elfael. She is headstrong and has very pointed views of a woman's place. However, she is also mesmerized by the beauty and formality of the French court.

Mathieu Amalric as Count Falkes de Braose- de Braose is described as a slender young man, not much older than Bran. He is very ambitious in his vision of what Elfael will become under his rule, but is forced to use its people as workers to meet the demands of his uncle, the Baron de Braose. He tends towards naivety, sometimes brutality, and doesn't understand why the people don't accept his rule.

Ciarán Hinds as Abbot Hugo de Rainault- He was once a high-ranking member of the church and whispered as a possible candidate for the Papacy. However, he supported Robert as the legitimate heir to the throne of England and lost everything when William Rufus seized control. He has hopes to rise again with a new start in Elfael.

Olivier Martinez as Guy de Gysburne- The youngest commander under Baron de Broase, he has accepted a position in Elfael to further his ambitions of wealth and fame. Bran and his men steal the wagons that Guy was guarding, embarrassing Guy's first chance of responsibility. He takes the theft personally and vows to capture the theives. ßPin It

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