Why Elphaba is a Map to what I Want in a Musical Character

Elphaba is my favorite musical character and she is one of the two protagonists from Wicked. I almost feel like she is a map to characteristics I want in a musical character. That is mostly because there are many admirable characteristics that she has. I tend to lean towards complex, strong, brave and big-hearted character and those are characteristics you can find in Elphaba. In addition, I want characters to be flawed, which makes them even more real. Complexity is an important characteristic because there is so much to a character and those characters you end to find something new. In terms of bravery, it shows that they don’t mind risking their life for the sake of others or they truly fight for something they believe in. In terms of big-hearted, it shows how caring and compassionate they are for others and that is such a beautiful characteristic to have. Strong characters, like Elphaba, shows that they can make it through rough and tough situations and that they don’t care what others think of them and they tend to be strong in many ways.

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Courageous Characters Found in Musicals

Courage cannot erase our fear. Courage is when we face our fear.

-Seize the Day, Newsies

What does the word courage remind me of in the world of musicals? Well, in musicals, you come across many brave characters who show their bravery in many ways. I decided to make a list of various characters who do show courage. I will do my best to explain why they are brave in the first place.

Possible Spoilers Ahead:

Newsies- Even though they have to survive off of Pulitzer’s newspapers, they still stop buying papers. They end up going on strike to go up against Pulitzer to say this isn’t right. They stay passionate towards the cause. Going on strike was a brave thing to do because if they don’t buy papers, they will barely survive, but still go on strike to make a stand.

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Les Mis: 

Friends of the ABC- they are very similar to the Newsies. They have a cause as well and are planning an uprising to go up against the weak government. They stay passionate towards the end even when they know they are going to lose and know they will most likely die.

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Eponine- She risks her life several times. Even though she loves Marius, she does anything for him just to make sure he is happy and safe. At one point, she goes up against her father when he tries to rob Valjean’s house while Marius is there and ends up screaming to protect the one she loves. Then at the barricade when Marius is about to get shot, she protects him by sacrificing for life so he could survive. She does not have a very good life, but yet risks her life several times for the sake of Marius.

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Jean Valjean- he is an ex-convict. He ends up turning himself in when an innocent man is “Valjean”. Than at the barricades, he goes there to protect the one that his adopted daughter, Cosette, loves. When Marius gets shot and falls unconscious, Valjean takes Marius to safety even the only way to is go through the sewers.

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Elphaba- she is brave in many ways. She goes up against the Wizard even when he is spreading “rumors” and “lies” about her. She always true to herself no matter what people say about her.

Wicked: 

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Belle- she ends up saving her father when imprisoned by the Beast. She ends up taking his place as prisoner. Then towards the end when Gaston and the citizens want to kill the Beast, she goes back to warn the Beast and wants to make sure he comes out alive.

Beauty and the Beast

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Beast- when he falls in love with Belle, he lets her go. Then when Belle returns, he protects her by fighting Gaston. So because these two would protect each other, it makes them such a beautiful couple.

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Can you think of other courageous characters I did not put on this list?

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Ranking Characters who Deal with Unrequited Love

For this post, I am going to take a small break from favorite couples. This time I will be grading characters based upon unrequited love situations. These unrequited love situations come from Phantom of the Opera, Les Mis, and Wicked. Criteria has to do with response, acceptance and their unrequited love song if they have one.

Major and Minor Spoilers:

Phantom- F

Acceptance: He never accepts the unrequited love at all, which is part of why he gets that F.

Response: He deals with it in both anger and revenge. He does not show true love towards Christine. After realizing that both Christine and Raoul love each other, he seeks revenge. He plans to kill Raoul so his response is very poor. In the end, he makes Christine choose between staying with him or killing Raoul. But does let Christine and Raoul go, but letting them leave does not excuse the rest of actions when he responds to unrequited love. So due with how extreme he poorly deals with unrequited love gives him a F.

Unrequited Love Song: All I Ask of You (reprise). Yes, you can feel bad for the Phantom in this song, but not enough to get him higher than a F ranking.

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Nessa- D

Acceptance: does not accept it either

Response: her response is a bit better than Phantom’s, but is still poor. She falls in love with Boq during “Dancing Through Life”, but doesn’t realize Boq’s feelings for Glinda. So it isn’t until act II when she figures that out. Responds by imprisoning all the Munchkins so Boq is not allowed to leave. But right after realizing his feelings for Glinda, she tries to use the Grimmarie to cast a spell on him to get to him to stay, but things go wrong. That scene happens when Elphaba is there. Her spell caused his heart to shrink so all Elphaba could do is turn him into tin. Her response is poor, but more on a D level.

Unrequited Love Song: doesn’t have one

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Boq- B

Acceptance: yes, he accepts that Glinda doesn’t love him

Response: the problem is it is hard to know how he responds. He appears to stay faithful towards Glinda. For whatever reason it is harder to tell how he responds compared to Nessa. But he responds in a better way. He just gets a B due to it being hard to figure out how he responds in the first place.

Unrequited Love Song: doesn’t have one

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Glinda- A-

Acceptance: yes she does, but unexpected

Response: she responds by not stealing him back. I don’t blame her since Elphaba is her best friend. That goes to show how far Elphaba and Glinda will go to keep friendship alive. Yes, she originally responds by telling the Wizard and others that to arrest Elphaba the best way is to use Elphaba’s sister, but to me that is not a factor into how she responds. She still doesn’t steal Fiyero away from Elphaba.

Unrequited Love Song: “I’m Not That Girl (Reprise)”, well this song is quite unexpected. It is so short so it is hard to feel for her situation. But it allows you to realize that she does accept the situation, but is hard to feel the unrequited love song since it only is four or so lines.

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Elphaba- A

Acceptance: yes she does rather quickly

Response: responds very similar to Glinda. She chooses to not pursue Fiyero since Glinda is in a relationship with him. So with Elphaba, it shows just how far the two girls will go to keep friendship. Due to that level of loyalty, it makes since that Elphaba gets an A in the first place.

Unrequited Love Song: “I’m Not That Girl”. Elphaba gets the full “I’m Not That Girl” so you feel Elphaba’s unrequited love stronger than Glinda’s. She even accepts the situation right after realizing she is falling in love with Fiyero. She even admits she is not good enough for Fiyero since she is green.

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Eponine- A+

Acceptance: yes she does

Response: she stays loyal towards Marius and loves him so strongly that she responds by true love. She makes sure that Marius stays safe and happy. So she helps him find Cosette. She risks her life several times to do everything she does for Marius. At one point, she screams to protect Marius when her father and his gang try to rob Valjean’s house. At the time, Marius and Cosette were with each other. Even though it is her family she goes against, she cannot bear to see Marius hurt.

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She decides to go the barricade to make sure Marius stays safe. She does another favor for him when Marius sends her away with a letter to Cosette, but Marius does it to protect her. But she goes back and when Marius is about to get shot, Eponine takes the bullet herself. So up until her death, she makes sure Marius is safe and happy. She is able to die in the arms of Marius. Despite being a Thenardier and living in extreme poverty and dealing with unrequited love, she shows true love towards Marius.

Unrequited Love Song: “On My Own”. Of all the unrequited love songs on this list, “On My Own” is the strongest. That goes to show how deep and strong Eponine love for Marius is. It gives you an idea of what her life is like outside of Marius. Through lyrics like “without a home, without a friend, without a face to say hello to” and “a world thats full of happiness that I have never known”, you know her life is quite dark. It goes to show that she gets through the day by imagining that Marius loves her. She is constantly beaten at home and is forced to participate in her family’s schemes. It shows that she will always love Marius no matter what. Due to this song, it helped me realize “I’m Not That Girl” is aheartbreaking song.

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New Blog Series: Favorite Couples

I decided to create a new blog series. Recently I have been talking about favorite musical theatre characters. Eventually I thought it would be amazing to talk about favorite couples. Romance after all is the biggest theme in the world of musicals and some are these couples are love triangles and some are just alone. So I decided to start with Elphaba and Fiyero.

Major Spoilers:

Elphaba and Fiyero are what I could call the “unexpected couple“. Those two are part of  a love triangle with Glinda. In act I, Glinda and Fiyero are a couple with Elphaba having unrequited love. When Elphaba first meets Fiyero, she thinks he is super rude so you really don’t think Elphaba will even fall in love with it. But than there’s the whole lion cub incident, which happens after Elphaba puts a spell on a class after seeing a sacred lion cub in a cage and it just didn’t affect Fiyero for some reason.

Than it goes straight into the lion cub scene. The two of them have amazing chemistry in this scene. They are joking along playfully. It appears as if Fiyero has a crush on Elphaba, but deep down doesn’t realize it, but those are clues for act II. Eventually Fiyero asks Elphaba why the spell did not affect him and in that moment Elphaba realized she was falling love with him.

“I’m Not That Girl” happens right after this scene and she accepts her unrequited love right away and chooses not to pursue him. I don’t blame her because her best friend, Glinda, is in a relationship with him. She even admits in the song that she doesn’t think she is good enough for Fiyero because she is green.

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On to Act II, some unexpected things happen to the love triangle. During “Thank Goodness”, Fiyero is hearing these rumors spread about Elphaba and cannot believe Glinda is supporting all of this. He realizes that he truly loves Elphaba and breaks up with Glinda and so the unrequited love shifts to Glinda. This is the only musical theatre love triangle with an unrequited love shift going on. Even Glinda admits in the reprise of “I’m Not That Girl” that she will not steal him back.

When Fiyero finds Elphaba, they sing this amazing love song. The love triangle does develop in the same way the characters do. Elphaba and Fiyero have finally matured at this point. “As Long As Your’e Mine’ really shows just how mature the two are due to the melody of the song, but still proves they are young. After the song, it does show much they love each other. After the catfight scene, Elphaba almost got arrested, but Fiyero comes by and says “Let the Green Girl Go” and was sent to the fields to be tortured, but Elphaba does spell after spell to try to save him. Those two actions show the courageous nature of these two characters.

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So this couple has been part of my life for 11 1/2 years basically. Some pieces of this couple took a while to realize. For instance, I had no idea Fiyero had a crush on Elphaba in Act I until 2016. I also had no clue “I’m Not That Girl” was heartbreaking until sometime between 2013 and 2016 and it was “On My Own” and memorizing the lyrics that made me figure that out. So in 2016 when I saw the show a 4th time, I decided to pay closer attention to Fiyero and “I’m Not That Girl” to try to understand Fiyero’s decision in Act II and paying closer attention to the emotions I would be feeling during “I’m Not That Girl”. They truly are an unexpected couple in so many ways.

Fiyero’s Drastic Transformation

I already did two characters I love from Wicked: Elphaba and Glinda. Well, I only love and am emotionally attached to three characters from Wicked, who are Elphaba, Glinda, and Fiyero. I will do my best I can at discovering why I love Fiyero because I have a hard time pinpointing why I love him.

Spoilers Ahead:

Just like Beast, part of why I love him is his transformation from when you first meet him to what he eventually becomes.  When you first met him, he is a bit of a jerk and doesn’t seem to care much about anything. At this point, he and Glinda start going out and they become a couple.

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He starts to soften up in the Lion Cub Scene. This particular scene makes no sense if you weren’t paying attention. This is also the scene where you realize this musical is home to love triangle. Elphaba realizes her feelings for Fiyero in this scene. If you were paying close attention to how Fiyero is interacting around her, you can tell that he does have a crush on Elphaba. But he has no idea he has a crush on her at all, but if you were, it is a sign of foreshadowing in act II. Even after this scene, he realizes he can’t stop thinking about the incident so another sign of him realizing he has a crush on her in act I.

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Fiyero goes through big changes from act I to act II. At the opening of Act II, Fiyero is hearing rumors spread about Elphaba and he can’t believe Glinda is supporting all of this. He thinks those rumors are insane and realizes he actually loves Elphaba. So a huge reason why I love him is the huge curveball he throws in the middle of the love triangle. Like I said, he was in a relationship with Glinda from act I to the beginning of act I so Elphaba has unrequited love for Fiyero, but now the unrequited love jumps to Glinda so this love triangle isn’t straight forward at all. He realization that he loves Elphaba helps mature him a lot.

He immediately goes looking for Elphaba. He does find her disguised as a Guard in the Wizard’s Palace. Those two go running off in the woods somewhere and bring up their love for each other. Just by listening to the melody, you can tell they are a mature couple. Fiyero actually sees Elphaba for who she is, which is part of why I love him. So he matured a lot from when you met him to “As Long As Your’e Mine”.

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So besides being mature, he is also courageous. This fight happens between Elphaba and Glinda. Eventually guards come and try to arrest Elphaba, but that doesn’t come far. You see, Fiyero comes to her rescue and demands that they “let the green girl go”. So in that moment, you see just much Fiyero loves her. He is willing to risk his life in order to protect Elphaba. Due to that, they sent him in the fields to torture him, but still he did what he had to do to protect Elphaba.

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Describing why I love Fiyero is so difficult. He goes through a ton of character development. He starts off as being this rather rude and annoying guy to a mature and courageous young man. He sees Elphaba for who she is. It is love for her that makes him a better person.

Fiyero is probably the biggest reason why Wicked’s love triangle is my favorite of all musical love triangles. It is just his realization of his feelings for Elphaba complicates things even further because you don’t see it coming at all because you expect Elphaba to have unrequited love the entire time.

But its not true, which makes “I’m Not That Girl” and “As Long As Your’e Mine” ironic.  I like to call Elphaba and Fiyero an unexpected couple since no one sees it coming. Another reason is because it was the first one I ever bonded with. I feel like the trio matures in the same way the love triangle does.

What I Love about Glinda

My very first character I talked about on this blog series is Elphaba. If you love Elphaba, it is very hard not to love Glinda. She starts the top of the show in a bubble and is basically in a way the narrator of the entire show. She does say that she did know Elphaba and goes on saying that they both went to the same college.

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Possible Spoilers:

Glinda is very popular at school. She is very outgoing and funny, which are two reasons why I love this character. She is a comical character, but also very real. She is a girlie girl and all she seems to wear throughout the entire show are dresses. She does eventually become Elphaba’s best friend and the musical revolves around their friendship. They both bonded at a school dance where Glinda made Elphaba’s silly dance quite magical and I love that moment in the show. It is where Glinda and Fiyero become a couple, but eventually they become part of a love triangle.

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In the entire “Popular” scene, you notice just how funny Glinda is. It is a fun scene to watch and you watch Glinda trying to give Elphaba a makeover.

Eventually Elphaba realizes her feelings for Fiyero. So Glinda, Elphaba, and Fiyero create  a very complex love triangle. Elphaba realizing her feelings for Fiyero doesn’t pursue him because she doesn’t want to risk losing her friendship with Glinda.

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Well, look what happens in act II. First Glinda hears rumors spread about Elphaba and she knows they are not try. She is trying to stay happy for the citizens of OZ, but feels quite sad so she trying to hide how hurt she is. She also has to put up with Fiyero breaking up with her and ending up with Elphaba. But just like Elphaba, she doesn’t try to steal him back.

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You eventually realize just how much Elphaba means in Glinda’s life. She realizes that Elphaba was the only friend that mattered. Their bond is so special that they don’t let a boy get in the way of their friendship. They realize they have to part ways, but are able to to express that they changed each other for good.

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Much of my love for Glinda comes from how funny she is and that she is so real in the fact that she feels a lot of pain in the second act with the unrequited love jumping to her and having to be annoyed by rumors spread about her best friends. Than she has to part ways with Elphaba. The fact that she is a comic character that has pain her life makes her feel like a real person. I just love her bond with Elphaba so much. Because of the bond, I can’t seem to separate the two so Glinda is my second favorite female musical character.

Elphaba and her Uniqueness

Today is my first day of a new blog series. I will talk about musical characters I love and why I love them. I started with Elphaba because she is my favorite musical character.

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Possible Spoilers:

I see a lot of myself in Elphaba and that is why I love her so much. She is complex, strong, smart, brave, determined, big-hearted, unique, misunderstood, talkative, impulsive, and believes in equality and staying true to herself. She develops such a beautiful relationship with Glinda and Fiyero. Glinda is her best friend and Fiyero is the boy that she falls in love with. She at first wants to work with the wizard, but after realizing he is doing harm to the animals, she stands up against him. She starts out being so innocent, but she truly matures during “Defying Gravity” and that is when she realizes that she believes in staying true to herself.

 

The only people who see her for who she is is Glinda and Fiyero. Glinda starts to bond with her at the school dance. When you first meet the two, they hate each other, but after Glinda makes something magical out of Elphaba’s silly dance, the two start to bond. In the scene right before “Popular”, Elphaba confesses to Glinda that her father hates her and blames her for why her mother is dead and why Nessa is disabled. So Elphaba is hated in her own home. Glinda is Elphaba’s only friend and makes such an important impact on her life.

In the whole lion cub scene, she realizes her feelings for Fiyero, but doesn’t pursue him due to her special bond with Glinda and that is why she doesn’t get in the way with Fiyero’s relationship with Glinda. This situation shows her loyalty to Glinda. But with a twist of turn, Elphaba ends up in a relationship with Fiyero after he realizes he broke up with Glinda since in act II, he realizes his feelings for Elphaba. Despite feeling misunderstood and labeled as “wicked”, she stays strong and brave. At least Glinda and Fiyero see her for who she is.

 

Elphaba has been part of my life for 11 and 1/2 years basically. Like Elphaba, I am smart, determined, unique, big-hearted, talkative, impulsive and believes in equality and staying true to herself. Since I see a lot of myself in Elphaba, she is my favorite musical character. I ended up seeing Wicked four times and once was on Broadway and the other four was on tour. I am surprised that each time I see Wicked, I find something new in Elphaba and that really shows just how complex Elphaba is.