Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Crush Wednesday: Fantasies about Fantasy

by Teresa Noelle Roberts

Long before puberty, I was enamoured with the brave men and fierce women who inhabit the worlds depicted in fantasy novels and movies. Brawny barbarians, elegant sorceresses, wily wizards, valiant knights, sardonic swordsmen and warrior women who quipped in the face of death? Elves, dwarves, hobbits, and other fascinating non-humans? I reveled in it all as an escape from life as a shy, bookish kid without a valiant bone in her clumsy body.

After puberty, my thoughts about my favorite fantasy heroes and heroines changed a bit. I didn’t just want to share their adventures. In some cases, I wanted to have adventures with them, if you know what I mean.

Take the Lord of the Rings series. Tolkien’s Eówyn was my first girl-crush, although I didn’t have words for it until many years after I first read the books. Miranda Otto’s beauty and gravitas reawakened that crush in the movies, and now I have words for it. And very explicit mental images.

Aragorn, with his heroism, his fateful destiny, and his seemingly doomed cross-species love, also got under my teenage skin. Why couldn’t he love a nice human girl, like Eówyn, or better yet, me? Thinking “Why not both of us, and I could take the middle? And Arwen could come play sometime when she wasn’t too busy being all otherworldly” was a little advanced for my teenage years, but once again the movie versions of the book reawakened old literary crushes in much more grown-up ways. Sandwiched between Viggo and Miranda—yum!

Oh, heck, bring on most of the Fellowship! Between the ones whose characters I love (Sam might be on the short and round side, but I have a feeling he’d be fun, even with that service-oriented d/s thing he has going with Frodo) and the ones who are pure sex on a stick (Boromir didn’t seem like crush material until I saw him played by Sean Bean, but for Sean, I’ll forgive a few tragic flaws. And consider Legolas—body of a buff college student, two thousand years of experience!) it could be quite a party.

Gratuitous Sean Bean as Boromir picture!

But I don’t confine my fantasy-fantasies to the Lord of the Rings. One of my early crushes was Robin Hood, and once I grew up a bit, I got all sorts of interesting ideas about “Merry Men”—some hotly homoerotic, some about what a lucky, lucky girl Marian was, alone in Sherwood Forest with all those men in tights. Leaving aside smutty thoughts (yes, I can do that sometimes), I love the Robin Hood legend to this day. I’ve enjoyed all the film incarnations I’ve seen, from Errol Flynn to Michael Praed, who was, in my opinion, the hottest Robin Hood ever. (And his Robin of Sherwood had Herne the Hunter in it, which moves it from historical fantasy into mythology, which is interesting even to me.) And the somewhat obscure 1991 Robin Hood featured the ever-intriguing Uma Thurman as a butt-kicking and fun Marian. (I haven’t seen the most recent BBC series yet, though. Netflix time!)

Heck, I even loved Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves because it’s Robin Hood, even though it was silly and Kevin Costner, while not unattractive, was entirely wrong for the part.

Of course, that might have had something to do with Alan Rickman’s Sheriff of Nottingham. Yummy, campy evil with a voice like silk: He can take me captive and do terrible things to me any time.

The Arthurian legends? Who hasn’t daydreamed at some point about being swept away to Camelot and all the hunks of the Round Table? As a young woman, I wept buckets—and fantasized copioiusly—about the tragic love triangle at the center of the legends. Lucky Guinevere to have two such amazing men as Arthur and Lancelot in her life, even if it ended horridly! Now, I get annoyed, thinking that before they tore a kingdom apart when they obviously all loved one another, they should have tried poly. Less tragic, and much sexier.

Barbarians? Those who’ve read Lady Sun Has Risen know one of my guilty pleasures is the dominant, underclad, totally politically incorrect barbarian hero. You wouldn’t want one around full-time, but the women they kidnap always end up looking bonelessly happy. It’s the sword-wielding and the alpha quality that gets to me, not the big muscles—Arnold Schwarzenagger didn’t appeal to me in any other roles, but as Conan? Whew! I have a huge weakness for barbarian movies, from The Scorpion King to the Conan epics to the really cheesy ones like Kull the Conqueror (both Kevin Sorbo and Tia Carrere are lovely creatures, whether they can act or not) and The Barbarians. I saw the latter with my gay best friend, both of us laughing our butts off and still getting kind of hot and bothered. It was in Spanish with no subtitles and you know what? It made absolutely no difference. The whole point was brawny, heroic alpha males wearing very little.

And finally, I’m putting in a picture just for Dayle. I never saw the TV fantasy spoof Wizards and Warriors, which came and went while I was in college in a place where TV reception was non-existent. Dayle has fond memories of the evil Prince Dirk Blackpool, though, and just because I love her…here’s a picture! Hey, he’s pretty sexy. Between him and several shady characters played by Alan Rickman, maybe we need to revisit the theme of Hot Evil…

Note: The Arthurian illustration is by Howard David Johnson and can be found here.


Olivia Knight said...

I'm off to play Rowling-Rowling in a coffee-shop, but before I go: yes. All of the above. Although perhaps not that final 80s creature holding the shining blue stone. Prince Dirk Blackpool? Now I have visions of him earnestly rotating on a seaside ferris wheel... Lancelot has always been adorable but Guinevere sets my teeth on edge. Did you read the Marion Zimmer Bradley Mists of Avalon? You get a brief threesome with them then, even if she does fade to black.
And yes, the Fellowship en masse will do nicely, thanks, with a side-helping of Faramir. (Noble, heroic and insecure: why is that attractive?)

Janine Ashbless said...

Nobody fancies Gimli though. Do they?

Janine Ashbless said...

Here's a nice pic of my favourite fantasy guy.

I actually thought Aragorn in the film version was way more interesting than the distinctly dull original version in the books. Instead of just being driven by duty and ambition, they rewrote him as a guy who has been brought up by elves and assimilated the elvish attitude to humans - i.e. that they are ugly, brutish, and morally weak. So of course he falls for an elvish woman. And he doesn't like or trust humans much, and really isn't that keen to get involved in the problems of Gondor.
How cool.

Dayle A. Dermatis said...

Ooh, thanks, hon!

What about the various TV and movie vampires? And the hotness of most of the casts of Buffy and Angel!

Oh, and skip the new BBC Robin Hood. "Appallingly bad" doesn't begin to cover it.

Erastes said...

This hits just about all of my buttons about from "Golden Mile" Blackpool.

There is eye candy in the latest BBC version, namely Guy of Gisbourne (Richard Armitage)

and there's actually some canon homoerotic context throughout as Much makes it perfectly clear who HIS love interest is (Robin). But other than that I don't recommend it, as the crocheted cardigans will set your teeth on edge.

Kudos for gratuitous Sean! You can never have too much gratuitous Sean!

As for Aragorn, I find Viggo's portrayal very close to my vision of him, and he gets brownie points for the Boromir death snoggage

My other fantasy crushes?

-Eddard Stark from George Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire

-Peter Pan.

-Captain Hook. What? I can't have both?

I'm currently hotly involved in my latest fantasy crush FitzChivalry Farseer from Robin Hobb's Farseer books. Tortured, lonely, scarred... hmmmm....

TeresaNoelleRoberts said...

Sorry, Dayle, I just didn't have room for vampires, and they've been covered in other posts.

Oddly, other than sexy bad boy Spike, I didn't find much of the Buffy-Angel contingent particularly hot. Great shows, yes, but not, for me, replete with hotness. Other people's mileage obviously varied.

Erastes: How could I forget FitzChivalry Farseer? And then there's basically every character written by Ellen Kushner (most of whom have the advantage of being canonically bisexual/opportunistic as well as smart, witty, troubled, decadent, kinky, and beautiful.The naughty fantasies write themselves.)

And I certainly didn't mean to leave Faramir out. Eowyn got the win with him. He's not only lovely to look at, he's the only LotR non-hobbit I can imagine actually being a halfway decent life partner ("I'm the insecure second son! I try harder!"), as opposed to a wildly good fling. Not having the patience of an elf, I'd have to kill Aragorn in his sleep eventually, for instance--I'm sure he'd be bored and cranky if there was nothing to slay.

Janine: I've read Gimli slash. It hurt my brain. Gimli, alas, is the entirely decent, funny, loyal, lovable guy you wouldn't fuck with if he were the last person of appropriate gender on (Middle) Earth... Although I imagine if you were a dwarf, he'd be Hot Stuff.

Kate Pearce said...

Dirk Blackpool? are you kidding me? snort. no way in hell could I go for a man called that even though technically I am an Essex girl.

I loved Aragorn in the movie too, and Sean Bean can make anything sexy, although I totally fell in love with Legolas...still am actually :)

As a teen I wept over the whole Camelot tragedy because I felt sooo bad for Arthur. The best version of that story I have ever read, and I've read a few, was the one by Rosemary Sutcliff, absolutely beautifully written and you can feel everyone's pain.

Great post!!

Janine Ashbless said...

Anyone remember a 1970s TV series called "Arthur of the Britons" which had him being a Brit fighting off the nasty Saxons? I remember it being sorta hot but I was so young and saw so little of it these maybe entirely false memories.

PS - as far as Robon Hood goes, I'm just going to suggest a Robin/Nazir combo.

Madeline Moore said...

I love the Camelot story and have tried to put myself in G's shoes and pick one. Once it would have been L, but these days - gimme the King.

This has to do with $$. My fantasy now is to have lots of money. Pretty much as unattainable as Aragorn, I'm afraid.

Lovely post!

limecello said...

Oh I really loved Marion Zimmer Bradley and the Mists of Avalon books. I read a lot of Anne McCaffrey at the same time - and David Eddings and Piers Anthony (yes, and interesting mix). Actually, Tanith Lee and Anne Bishop should be thrown in there too. Haven't read books like that in a while, but I loved those heroes ;)

Deanna Ashford said...

Loved the post - I think it is going to give me some hot dreams tonight.
I'd prefer to be sandwiched between Aragorn and Legolas if I had the choice but if I could squeeze in Sean as Boromir as well it would be utter bliss.
Erastes if you like Richard Armitage (who is far sexier as Guy than that weedy guy who plays Robin Hood) then you should check out the next series of Spooks. He's taking over from Rupert Penry Jones, who is leaving in the middle of the next series. Come to think of it I wouldn't mind being squeezed between the two of them either!

Chessie said...

Have we all forgotten the princess Bride? Who didn't want to get caught between Westley and the Spaniard?