Celebrity Names Blog

Robin Hood: Marion (Part Two)

Robin Hood: Marion (Part Two)
Fame Pictures: Cate Blanchett, who plays Marion Loxley

Robin Hood just opened, and in an earlier post we focused on the title character.  Now it's time to turn our attention to Marion, played by Cate Blanchett in the film.  Turns out this character's name, as well as her lineage and personality, have proved highly variable over time. 

Marion has been depicted as: a virginal maid, a pagan, a Saxon, a dainty lady, a highborn Norman, a daredevil dressing as a page and beating Robin in a sword fight, a brave and feisty lady, a woman disdainful of robbery, a lady-in-waiting to Eleanor of Aquitaine, an adventurer, a high-ranking woman of the court, an orphaned noblewoman, and, in Disney's version, as a fox -- a bit confusing, since the film makes her the niece of King Richard, a lion. (source: Wikipedia)

Throughout all these various incarnations, the name Marion has remained constant (well, not the spelling, more on that below).  What comes before and what comes after Marion, however, has necessarily varied, depending on how the storytellers want to depict this character.  She is perhaps best known as Maid Marion, that Maid indicating her virginal status.  This is in keeping with the Camelot tales of dashing men and pure women.  

Ridley Scott's new film looks to complicate matters.  Marion is now Marion Loxley, a widow when Robin first encounters her.  Presumably she is no longer a maid.  Things will get complicated.  And Cate Blanchett's Marion looks to be as tough and flinty as Robin Hood himself, more in the tradition of hearty and fighting Marions than of rarified nobles.

Here are a few of film's Marions:

Note the spelling change: for the first time, Marian is Marion.  Why the change?  Perhaps to signify this will be a different lady of the forest than we have seen before.

Do you prefer Marian or Marion?  How do you know this lady of legend?  Is Maid Marian your preference?  Have you heard her called Marion Loxley before?  

What other legendary heroes and heroines have a whole spectrum of personalities and pasts held under one name?

-- D.J.

Comments

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May 15, 2010 9:24 PM
By Caitlyn (not verified)

I was also thinking about how this movie might affect the current namesake - it occurred to me that if they included Guy of Gisbourne (which I gather they didn't), the name Guy could have gotten quite a boost.

Personally I prefer Marion, since Marian can read as Mary-Ann and I don't like Mary-Ann. (That's probably a personal dislike - my dad had a very irritating coworker with that name.)

May 15, 2010 10:09 PM
By M (not verified)

I prefer Marian because it looks more feminine, though I think that the O spelling is the french version... (Marion Cotillard?) but despite it being associated with a beautiful and talented actress I always think of Marion Barry when I see it spelled with an O.

May 16, 2010 10:44 AM
By Anonymous (not verified)

In Robin Hood: Men in Tights, Robin Hood's name is Robin of Loxley.

May 17, 2010 1:22 AM
By Kelley (not verified)

I prefer the Marion spelling, but that's because it was my grandmother's middle name, and if I ever use it, it will be for that reason.

May 17, 2010 7:22 AM
By Sebastiane (not verified)

Marian to me is a male name. Marion would make more sense for the time since it was a French/Anglo-Norman diminutive form of Mary or Marie.

May 17, 2010 10:13 AM
By Sebalek (not verified)

Robin Hood's alter ego, Robin of Locksley, is from Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves (w/ Kevin Costner), not the Men in Tights version which stars Cary Ewles.

May 17, 2010 11:33 AM
By Kristina (not verified)

He was Robin of Locksely in Men in Tights too, because Marian's last name was Bagelle...there was a joke about Locksley and Bagelle (lox and bagels).

May 17, 2010 8:28 PM
By Diana (not verified)

When I see the name Marion, I always think of Marion Mitchell Morrison, better known by his "stage" name -- John Wayne!

May 18, 2010 1:53 PM
By Dianne T. (not verified)

Sarah Jessica Parker's daughter is Marion.

May 18, 2010 2:26 PM
By B. (not verified)

I think of "Marian" as delicate and feminine, and "Marion" as masculine thanks to Marion Berry and John Wayne.

I've never heard "Marian" pronounced as "Mary Ann." Have other people heard this, or is it common and I've just been oblivious? :)

May 18, 2010 10:32 PM
By nedibes (not verified)

Robin of Loxley dates back at least to the British 80s TV series "Robin of Sherwood"--a lot of the things we now might think of as canon for Robin Hood actually come from this series (the Kevin Costner film borrowed heavily from it).

I read once that Marian was the feminine, and Marion the masculine, with the mnemonic that your daughter is spelled with an "a" and your son with an "o". Also, of course, if you remove the "n" the gender follows this pattern. Obviously this is not a hard and fast rule, but it has stuck with me and it's hard for me to see the genders any other way.

May 19, 2010 1:11 PM
By NAMES (not verified)

Marion sounds more like a male spelling of the name.

May 20, 2010 4:36 PM
By Erin (not verified)

I rather liked the Maid Marian personage. I'm looking forward to seeing this new version though. Marion is a family name on my dad's side, used for males. Maybe if she's going to be tough or scrappy in this, that more masculine image of Marion is desired over the more delicate Marian.

December 20, 2010 1:11 PM
By Jennifer (not verified)

Loved the movie

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