Les Mis Party 2017

Yesterday, I attended a Les Mis themed party. I came dressed up as Eponine, one of my favorite characters from the musical and one of the best characters of musical theatre. At this party, the house was decorated to be Les Mis themed. Outside of the house, Enjolras’ flag was there. On a flower bed the lyrics “rain will make the flowers” grow was there. Near the drinks, I saw the lyrics “drink with me to days gone by”. So those are just a few of the Les Mis references. A barricake was made and my mom brought a tart full of love. One of the many highlights of this party was doing Karaoke to Les Mis songs.

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Possible Spoilers:

In the picture above, I am dressed up as Eponine. I found all of these articles and pieces of clothing at Goodwill. I dirtied myself up using brown make up. Eponine is the eldest child of the neglectful and abusive Thenardiers. At first, she appeared to be loved by her parents, but after Cosette was taken away, the Thenardiers started mistreating Eponine and raised her to be a criminal. So she has a very empty life and not many good things are happening. Her family falls into extreme poverty. She has one source of light in her life, who is Marius and she loves him even though her love for him goes unrequited.

Eponine is brave, streetwise, tough, complex, and strong.  Despite being a Thenardier, she  does not grow up to be just as selfish and greedy as her parents. She still has a spark of good found within her, which might have something to do with Marius. That spark of good she has is a huge reason why I love Eponine. I love how despite her love for Marius being unrequited, she shows true love towards him. She loves Marius because of the kindness she shows her. He is her only light.

I love how her story ends even though her ending is tragic. She has disguised herself as a boy to be with Marius at the barricade. Marius wants to protect her from the uprising and in the stage show, he sends her away with a letter to Cosette only because he wants to protect her. She returns and gets shot, but her wounds are fatal. Even though Eponine knows she is dying, she still hopes to be with Marius. When Marius discovers that she is fatally wounded, he holds her in his arms until she dies. He is quite upset, but ultimately shows her compassion by never leaving her side.

Since I dressed up as Eponine, I will give you a more detailed analysis of Eponine.

https://megsdailymusings.wordpress.com/2017/01/08/analysis-of-eponine/

Letter to Marius

Dear Marius,

Possible Major or Minor Spoilers:

Many people in the fandom never seem to see past your romantic side. They have even called you a jerk for the most absurd of reasons. That was only due to the fact that you had no clue Eponine loved you and they believe you don’t treat her fairly. I don’t believe that is true at all. You are not a jerk at all in my opinion. I am so thankful that you treated Eponine with kindness. She needed that due to how empty and lonely her life is. You were well aware of how dark Eponine’s life was. But you were able to provide light in her life. In addition, fans feel like you should have loved Eponine and not Cosette. Well, I believe you and Cosette make an incredible couple.

You are not just a romantic person in my opinion. You were also a revolutionary as well. Yes, once you fell in love with Cosette, you were more concerned with Cosette than the rebellion. You are such a sweet, kind, and compassionate person in my opinion.

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Wow, I cannot believe you faced so much trauma at the barricade. First, you had to watch Eponine die and later all of your other friends died in front of you. I cannot imagine how traumatic that most of been for you.

You did try to protect Eponine from getting shot at the barricade, but she still got shot. I am so glad you decided to be with her while she died. Some people think you were a bigger jerk at her death because you just realized she loved you. That is the silliest thing I ever heard. You were so sweet and compassionate here even though her death left you devastated. You decided to stay brave for her and decided to be there for her. You were quite compassionate in this scene and I love you for that.

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First Eponine and later you were the only survivor at the barricade. If you weren’t in love with Cosette, you would have died at the barricade. The letter you gave Cosette was read by Jean Valjean. Out of love for his daughter, he decided to head over to the barricade to protect you. If it wasn’t for him, you would have died as well. But still, I wish there were more survivors from the rebellion. All you have left at the end is Cosette and all Cosette has is you. Still you may be one of the survivors of the musical, but you still did not have a not so happy ending due to what happened at the barricades.

 

Letter to Cosette, Marius, and Eponine

Dear Cosette, Marius, and Eponine,

You three are part of one of my favorite sub-plots in Les Mis. Your youthful love triangle bring wonderful texture and emotion to the story. Many fans have called this love triangle silly, but in my opinion it most certainly is not.

Marius, I cannot believe I am telling you this, but many people have actually called you a jerk for the most absurd of reasons. They only say that because you were oblivious to Eponine’s love of you. Well, I honestly don’t believe that at all. You are such a sweet, kind, and compassionate person. You actually never appeared to be a jerk to Eponine and people have called you a jerk since you always rely on Eponine to help you end up with Cosette. Well, one reason why you never knew Eponine loved you is that she never told you. By the way, I am so glad you were kind and nice to Eponine. She deserves it because of how dark and empty her life is. You were very aware of how sad and miserable her life was.

Cosette, I love what you represent in the story. You are the light and hope in this tragic tale. You started out with a horrible life due to being abused by the Thenardiers when you were younger. But it slowly improved over time thanks to being rescued by Jean Valjean, your adopted father. By the way, your mother, Fantine, loved you very much and Valjean fulfilled his promise to Fantine by raising you as his own. I believe you and Marius make a wonderful couple despite what I have heard others say. People seem to forget your importance to Les Mis. I know you are one of the lesser developed characters, but you are still a wonderful character.

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Eponine, you are such a special person. I know your life started out well with you appearing to be loved by her parents. But when you and Cosette got older, the tables got turned and you ended up being abused by your parents. They even raised you to be a criminal. I cannot believe you hardly had any good things happen in your life. You were never around good people in your life. Your life became even worse than ever before. You did find some source of light through Marius, the only person who ever showed you kindness. That is why you love him and despite your love for him becoming unrequited, it is wonderful you would do anything for Marius. I know this sounds crazy, but for plot purposes, it is fascinating to me that your life and Cosette’s life literally swapped places. I honestly wish your life was better and that you had a better family life.

Through all three of you, the emotions are very conflicting as a matter of fact. Marius, when you and Cosette first bump into each other, I cannot help but feel for all three of you. The same pattern happens towards the end of “A Heart Full of Love” when that duet becomes a trio. So the love triangle is developed nicely. It is important to the plot of Les Mis because love is one of the key themes in Les Mis. It shows love in several forms, which is why it is fitting Les Mis is home to this youthful love triangle.

Strong Musical Characters

In my opinion, strong musical characters exist. It can be quite difficult to understand what makes a character strong. Some of them have very challenging lives and they tend to know how to thrive.  Some of them are very strong-willed and even can be stubborn.

Here is the list I think of at the moment:

  1. Elphaba
  2. Glinda
  3. Jean Valjean
  4. Eponine
  5. Young Cosette
  6. Fantine
  7. Anna- King and I
  8. Maria- Sound of Music

What exactly makes all of these characters strong? Well, both Anna and Maria are very strong-willed and both the Captain and the King both call them difficult women. Those two might be the most surprising on this list, but I know they are strong-willed.

Young Cosette is quite a strong character. She is Fantine’s daughter and her mother had to leave her in the hands of the Thenardiers. Little does Fantine know that the Thenardiers are going to treat her daughter poorly. The Thenardiers horribly abuse the little girl and forcing her to be a servant. Young Cosette is quite optimistic and is always positive that she will eventually get rescued. She eventually does after Valjean comes to take her away after promising to her dying mother that he will raise Cosette as his own.

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Thinking of Young Cosette, I would like to talk about Eponine. Eponine and Cosette have an interesting dynamic in a way. Their lives completely switch places. While Cosette was rescued from the Thenardiers and gets a better life, Eponine is stuck with them her whole life. Eponine has to grow up pretty quickly due to how the Thenardiers will treat her. Her parents are quite horrible towards her and she gets the same treatment that Cosette got. She becomes the abused, neglected and lonely teenager and was raised to be a criminal. Her life has gotten even worse and all she sees in her life is darkness.

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All of this is highly important to order to understand her. Even though she was treated horribly, she is brave and tough and manages to not fully develop her parents wicked ways. I think that might have something to do with Marius. What makes matters even worse is that she has only one source of light in her life. That would be Marius, but she falls in love with him unrequitedly, but she is quite protective when it comes to him. She would anything for him and he is what keeps her going. He is the only person who treats her kindly and he does care about her even though he is unaware that she loves him..

Jean Valjean is both physically and spiritually strong. He is well known for his physical strength. The book compares his physical strength to the strength of four men. He also is very spiritually strong. When released from prison, he is a very angered, harsh, and hateful man. But through the forgiveness, kindness, and compassion shown by the bishop, Valjean starts his life fresh and lives by the bishop’s example. His actions clearly show that. Whether that is promising Fantine he will raise her daughter, saving Marius from the barricade or turning himself in when an innocent man was believed to be him or forgiving Javert, his spiritual strength shows. He has to live his life as an ex-convict and it is his spiritual strength that makes him show compassion and forgiveness and always lives by the bishop’s example.

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Fantine is quite a heart-renching character. She was abandoned by her lover leaving her to care for Cosette. She has to abandon her child in the hands of the Thenardiers. She even was fired from Valjean’s factory and had to turn to prostitution to provide for her child. She received a letter from the Thenardiers telling her that Cosette is deathly ill, but little does she know that Cosette’s guardians are actually scamming Fantine out of money and that they are horribly abusing her daughter. It is the love of Cosette that keeps Fantine thriving. In an act of self-defense, she attacks a man after he sexually harassed her and Valjean intervenes to prevent her from being arrested. She does not know what will happen to Cosette and Valjean decides to promise Fantine that he will raise Cosette as his own.

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As far as Glinda, it is hard for me to describe why she is strong. But I know that she is. I do know that she has to face people spreading rumors about her best friend and she still sticks by even though it does hurt her. Fiyero even leaves her for Elphaba.

As far as Elphaba goes, the strength is easier to notice. Elphaba has been treated like an outcast her whole life. Her father hates her because she was born green and blames her for the reason why her mother is dead and why Nessa is disabled. Even at school, people still misunderstand her. She befriends Glinda and Glinda becomes her best friend and the story centers around their friendship. Even in the second act when the Wizard makes the citizens of OZ believe she is Wicked, she is still strong. She has always been misunderstood, but she is such a wonderful young woman. She truly does develop through this musical. At the beginning she is very hopeful full of innocence, but it is during “Defying Gravity” where she truly matures and finds a new purpose in life.

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In your opinion, what makes a musical character strong and what are some examples of strong musical characters?

“On My Own” Analysis

Well, it currently is sprinkling outside and reminded me of “On My Own” from Les Mis. “On My Own” is about Eponine’s unrequited love for Marius, which is a highly important part of her story. I do feel like this song goes beyond the unrequited love. Below I will describe the song more in detail.

Well, “On My Own” was my second exposure to unrequited love in musicals. But it was the song where I finally began to understand the concept. I didn’t quite understand what it meant to suffer through unrequited love. But through this song, you can clearly see just how strong Eponine’s love for Marius is. A common misconception about Eponine’s unrequited love for Marius is that some people are puzzled as to why she loves him so much. In order to understand the unrequited love situation, you have to understand what Eponine’s life is like outside of Marius.

There are three parts in this song: the intro, the middle, and the rest. The intro starts at “and now I’m all alone again” and end at “the city goes to bed and I can live inside my head”. After that the main part of the song begins starting with “on my own pretending he’s beside me” and that part ends at “and all I see is him and me forever and forever”. Then there’s a sudden crescendo and keeps on building up until it is time for the song to slow down and come to a close.

I feel like in the introduction, it does give you more insight into who Eponine is as a person. I feel like you see aspects of Eponine’s life that are not related to the unrequited love. Through the opening lyrics “and now I’m all alone again”, it does show just how empty Eponine’s life is. Even at the words “without a home, without a friend, without a face to say hello to”, it shows that she has virtually no one in her life. She doesn’t even have parents who care about her and they treat her horribly and she doesn’t have friends either at all. Just by looking at lyrics like that, you start to understand why Marius means everything to her. He is all she has in her life, but she cannot have him. He is the only person who treats her kindly. She could have become just as selfish, greedy, and abusive as her parents, but she doesn’t which I think has something to do with Marius.

The second part of the song is truly when the song begins. That whole section gives a nature of fantasy throughout. It shows that she gets through the day by imagining that Marius is with her and that he loves her. But when that crescendo starts, the emotion truly starts to enter the picture.

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At that moment, it is when Eponine comes to terms with the situation she finds herself in. She realizes that Marius will never be hers. She realizes its only in her mind where she can imagine a future with Marius. She realizes that no matter what, Marius will never love her and she is quite aware that Marius doesn’t even realize that she loves him. I feel like the building up of emotion is key to the song. As the song gets louder, the songs gains more and more strength and that type of strength shows just how strong of a character Eponine is and shows just how strong her love for Marius is.

Towards the end, there’s another lyric that goes beyond the unrequited love. She sings “a world thats full of happiness that I have never known”. She is a character who doesn’t have a lot of good things happen in her life. She was raised to be a criminal and was horribly abused. She knows that the only good in her life is Marius. This song shows that she will always love Marius and will continue to show true love towards him even if he wouldn’t do the same for her.

I have to confess that I didn’t realize “On My Own” was heartbreaking right away. I found myself falling in love with Eponine the second time I saw the movie. I wasn’t able to grasp the concept of unrequited love right away. But as I got to know Eponine more and more, I realized that this song was a heartbreaker. This song is quite a powerful song and the use of crescendo add to the heartbreaking nature of the song.

Because I talked about “On My Own” today, I am planning to talk about “I’m Not That Girl” tomorrow.

Musical Characters Who Show Courage

What does brave mean? In the musical world, there are character who show courage. They show it in many ways. Below I will talk about some musical characters who show courage. In a lot of ways, these are characters that you can admire and fall in love with.

Possible Spoilers:

Elphaba is a character who shows courage. She shows courage despite how much she keeps on being misunderstood. She does not let anyone define who she is. She stands up for what she believes even though she risks being up against the Wizard. Elphaba knows the Wizard will use her for the wrong reasons so she defies him and decides to go on her own path. Even though this act causes the Wizard to believe she is wicked, she still stays passionate towards her cause.

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Enjolras, Gavroche, Marius and the students all show courage. They stay passionate towards what they believe in. They stand up against France’s weak government at the time. General Lamarque, the only left in the government who shows feelings for the poor, is dying. The students all decide to have an uprising. They are risking their lives for hope of a better France. They know they might die. After Eponine dies, they know they are outnumbered. But despite that, they stay stay passionate towards their cause. At the end all of the students died excluding Marius and even in death, they still were passionate towards their cause. Even Gavroche, who was just a boy, died on the barricades. The students were low on ammunition and he climbed over the barricade and died in the attempt.

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Eponine is another character from Les Mis who shows courage. She has to face terrible abuse from her parents and has to deal with extreme poverty. But when it comes to Marius, she is very protective of him. She loves him so much that she is willing to do anything for him. Even though the love for him is unrequited, she helps him find Cosette even if it risks losing Marius forever. She even shows courage when her father is about to rob Valjean’s house and out of love for Marius, she screams to alert Cosette, Marius, and Valjean. This act of courage causes her father to disown since his daughter just defied him and prevented him from robbing Valjean’s house.

Despite the heartbreak of Eponine’s love for Marius, she decides to join Marius on the barricade. In the stage version, Marius noticing that Eponine is there sends her away to deliver a letter to Cosette and he does that in order to protect her from the uprising. Eponine still returned to the barricade and that led to unfortunate circumstances. In the movie, seeing that Marius was about to get shot, she sacrificed her life for him. The wounds she received were fatal and she ended up dying in the arms of Marius. In fact, dying in Marius’ arms was the happiest time of her life. Marius was heartbroken over the fact that Eponine was dying, but he still stayed brave for her and still showed compassion in this moment.

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Jean Valjean showed courage as well. He showed courage after discovering that a man believed to be Valjean was going to be sent to jail. Valjean decided to intervene and prevented this man from being sent to prison. Valjean knows what it is like to be in prison and did want this man to face that same fate. He even showed courage after realizing that Cosette loves Marius. He learned that Marius is one of the student revolutionaries and went to the barricade to make sure Marius survives. When Marius falls unconscious, Valjean carried him to safety and the only way to escape was through the sewers.

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Crazy just how many characters from Les Mis showed courage. They risked their life in order to protect others. Both Eponine and Valjean risked their lives for Marius. Eponine did it out of love for Marius and Valjean did it out of love for Cosette. The students and Gavroche showed courage out of love for France. It seems that a lot of the characters in Les Mis show courage out of love for either a country or even someone else.

Even all the Newsies show courage. They decided to go on strike against Pultizer after he raised the price on papers. Even when they stopped work, they still stayed passionate towards their cause. This does led to a big fight, but even after that fight, they still stayed passionate about the strike, but does cause a lot of inner conflict in Jack.

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There is just something wonderful about musical characters who show courage. They can be admired. They teach you the importance of courage. In “Seize the Day” from Newsies, some of the lyrics are “courage cannot erase our fear. courage is when we face our fear”.  Courageous characters show the importance of standing up for what you believe in. All of the characters who show courage is one important characteristic to a well-written character. All of the characters I talked about are characters that I love.

Parallels in Musicals

Yesterday, I talked about why musicals rely on each other. This post is kind of similar, but this post I am going to be talking about parallels that you can find in musicals.

One parallel is “Memory” and “I Dreamed A Dream”. These two songs are from Les Mis and Cats. “Memory” is sung by Grizabella in Cats and “I Dreamed A Dream” is sung by Fantine in Les Mis. Both songs are heartbreaking songs and reflect on the past. Both Grizabella and Fantine do not have very good lives at all so in both of these songs, they think about the past and realize just how worse their lives have gotten. In my opinion, “I Dreamed A Dream” is a stronger song and part of that is due to the fact that I have a stronger emotional connection to Les Mis

Without “I Dreamed A Dream”, I never would have realized “Memory” is a heartbreaking song. I did see Cats when I was in elementary school, but have no recollection of seeing. However, I do remember I always loved the song “Memory”.

Another parallel is between “On My Own” and “I’m Not That Girl”, two unrequited love songs from Les Mis and Wicked. They are both heartbreaking songs and without “On My Own”, I never would have realized “I’m Not That Girl” is heartbreaking, but at least I knew the song was sad.”On My Own” is about Eponine’s unrequited love for Marius and “I’m Not That Girl” is about Elphaba’s unrequited love for Fiyero.

In my personal opinion, “On My Own” from Les Mis is stronger and more heartbreaking than “I’m Not That Girl” from Wicked. The thing with Elphaba is that literally just moments before she sings “I’m Not That Girl”, she realizes that she loves Fiyero and as a result, the song does not have room to be fully heartbreaking and her story doesn’t revolve around unrequited love, but instead her friendship with Glinda. In my opinion, this song goes beyond the unrequited love. One of her lines is “I wasn’t born for the rose or pearl” and through those lines, you realize that Elphaba doesn’t think that she is good enough for Fiyero because she is green  and outside of that line, she realizes that her best friend, Glinda, also loves Fiyero and that line is part of why “I’m Not That Girl” is an insightful song. In this song, you need to be quite vulnerable, but at the same time you need to keep some innocence alive due to who Elphaba is at this point in the story.

“On My Own” is stronger and more powerful than “I’m Not That Girl” and as a result you feel even more heartbroken. Unlike Elphaba’s story, Eponine’s story revolves around her unrequited love for Marius. There is a big reason why she loves him so much. Outside of Marius, Eponine’s life is extremely tragic and heartbreaking. Her parents are the Thenardiers, who don’t even love her and horribly abuse her. She was raised to be a criminal and all she saw was darkness growing up. She was completely left to fend for herself on the streets. So in this burst of light, Marius entered her life and for the first time someone treated her with kindness. Because Marius is literally all she has in life, it explains why she loves him so much. She literally will do anything for the one she loves.

In “On My Own”, Eponine accepts the fact that Marius will never be hers, but she still decides to stick by his side no matter what. In my opinion, this song goes beyond the unrequited love. One of Eponine’s lines is “without a home, without a friend, without a face to say hello to” and you do realize just how empty her life is and another line is “a world full of happiness that I never known” and this shows just how unhappy she is and how her life has gotten even worse over the years. Those two lines shows just how insightful the song is.

Besides the “On My Own” and “I’m Not That Girl” parallel and the “Memory” and “I Dreamed a Dream”, there are other parallels in the world of musicals. Musicals vary so much in storyline, character, melodies, and emotion. It is crazy how one musical song can help you understand another musical song.