Friar Tuck's dark past
One of Robin Hood's best known Merry Men, Friar Tuck is portrayed in modern lore as a fat and jovial monk with a hearty appetite for fine food and wine. But some early tales paint a different, darker picture.
Scholars tell us Friar Tuck's character borrowed heavily from a real-life figure, Eustace the Monk, a bloodthirsty French mercenary and pirate who plundered ships for both France and England. Tuck’s shady past does not end there.
In one early Robin Hood play, Friar Tuck is a bawdy priest with a strong sexual appetite. Speaking of Maid Marian, he says: "She is a trul of trust, to serve a frier at his lust/a prycker a prauncer a terer of shetes/a wagger of ballockes when other men slepes." (For those unfamiliar with archaic vernacular, a trull is a female prostitute.)
In KING ROBIN, Friar Tuck is the childhood Latin teacher of central character Robert Webber (who will one day be known as Robin Hood and eventually become a tyrant king). As monarch, King Robert makes Friar Tuck the Archbishop of Canterbury, the realm's highest clerical post.
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King Robin “puts these enduring characters into a realistic milieu, where the morality is grey, and the decisions are never easy. With the structure and approach, it’s custom-built for streaming or cable audiences,” reports story analyst James Chatterton (HBO, Anonymous Content) in his cinematic coverage of the novel.
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