John Thornton had lost his disgraced father through suicide and seen his family fortunes fall on desperate times. It took a lot of hard work and tenacity on Thornton’a part to restore the family’s status and rebuild their wealth, while looking out for his widowed mother and his feather-brained sister. Mrs. Thornton, a woman not to be trifled with, had a fierce love for her only son and pride in the man he had become. Fanny may have been a flibberty-gibbet, but there is no doubt she also loved her brother.
In his early teens, Sir Guy of Gisborne lost both his mother and his father in a terrible accidental fire for which he long blamed himself. His father had already been taken from Guy due to the elder Gisborne’s leprosy. The highly contagious disease made him a pariah in the community, forcing him to live away from his family. After their deaths, Guy was forced to strike out to make his way in the world, with a younger sister in tow–a sister with an unstable nature who would grow up to hate her brother for arranging her early marriage.
Both Guy and John could be volatile men with passionate natures. Both had larger ambitions, a desire to better themselves and to restore their families’ good names and fortunes. Both men were deeply in love with women who managed to cause them pain along the way.
Thornton had the unwavering, staunch support of his mother, who also provided him with a moral compass. He eventually won over his Margaret with the prospect of a happy married life ahead of them. Guy of Gisborne had—the sheriff of Nottingham. Why did he stay with the sheriff, a poisonous malevolent force? The promise of wealth, power and status. And the fact was as he told Marian, he truly had no one else. And when he thought he had finally won his adored Marian and had wealth and power within his grasp, it all turned to ashes at his feet.
John Thornton, the romantic hero. Guy of Gisborne, the tragic hero. Both expertly brought to life by the talents of Richard Armitage.