Who are the Thenardiers?

Some people think that Javert is a villain in Les Mis, but in reality the Thenardiers are the true villains in Les Mis.

Major/Minor Spoilers:

They are the parents of Gavroche and Eponine. You first get an idea of how despicable they are through how they treat Young Cosette. They treat her as a servant and at the same time, they pick pocket the people that stay at their inn. That gives you idea of the environment Eponine is going to be growing up in. They seem to love Eponine when she is young, but as they fall into poverty, you realize they are more neglectful and unloving towards their daughter. They just use her for their advantage and raise her to be a thief and criminal. They force her to be a part of their schemes by being watchdog for the law.

unknown-1

About Gavroche, they kicked him out of the house at such a young age. So they do not love either of their children. Then at the barricade, both Eponine and Gavroche are killed, and their parents don’t care. They are not saddened by the fact that their children have died. All the Thenardiers care about is themselves and money. When Thenardier is about to rob Valjean’s house, he basically disowns his daughter for preventing that. At the end of the uprising, Thenardier robs the students despite how young they are.

However, I have a love/hate relationship to them. I love how they provide the much-needed comic relief and without them, two of my favorite characters wouldn’t have existed. I hate them due to how neglectful, despicable, abusive, and unloving they are.

Advertisements

Who is Gavroche?

Gavroche is one of the children of Les Mis.

Major Spoilers:

What people may not know is that Gavroche is a Thenardier. I discovered he is a Thenardier by reading the book. A fascinating scene in the book is that he takes in his two younger brothers. He was kicked out of the house at such an early age. He lives in Paris by himself. He has this incredible spirit and is taken in by the Friends of the ABC. He becomes basically the mascot of the uprising. He is also very heroic and courageous and is shown when he climbs over the barricade to collect more ammunition, but this act gets him killed. He may be a Thenardier, but he still has an amazing personality. I find it interesting that both Gavroche and Eponine are brother and sister and that each are brave and still have some kind of goodness in them despite being Thenardiers.

unknown

Reviewing the Songs of Les Mis songs

This will be mega post. I decided to put together all the Les Mis songs and analyze each one of them in one post. So due to that, this will be a spoiler heavy post. I will not do all the bits of the musical, but have many of them.

Work Song:

This song opens up the show. This is when we understand the harsh conditions that prisoners have to experience. We are first introduced to Jean Valjean, the protagonist, in this number. We hear the prisoners anger and we can just see how extreme the work the prisoners all have to do. We learn that Valjean was in prison for stealing a loaf of bread to feed his family and was sentenced for five years, but fourteen extra for trying to escape. Even though it was his time to leave prison, he was sent to live the rest of his life on parole. We get to meet Javert, the antagonist, later on in the number. We learn that Javert doesn’t really care about Valjean’s story at all.

Unknown

What Have I Done:

This song is an epiphany song for Jean Valjean. Valjean was just shown an incredible amount of mercy in the previous moment. The bishop let Valjean stay there for the night and gave him a meal, but Valjean stole some silver, but the bishop forgave him. This song is when he reflects on his life as a prisoner and what he learned from the bishop. He realizes he has to become a better person, but to do that means breaking parole. He thinks about the mercy the bishop gave him, which taught him the ways of the Lord. Valjean decides to live by the example set buy the bishop. He expresses the guilt and anger he had of being a prisoner and expresses the compassion shown by the bishop. So this was a huge turning point in Valjean’s life.

images

At the End of the Day: Time advances to 1823

So much is going on in this number. First you are introduced to the poor and you learn their conditions and it is not looking good for them. They seem to be treated unfairly. Then you advance into the factory and that is where you first are introduced to Fantine, a struggling young single mother. The factory women are spreading rumors about her and steal a letter and all the factory workers learn that she has a daughter, which turns into a fight between Fantine and a factory worker. The foreman is the one to settle things and the women convince him to fire her and they do. This song illustrates how unfairly both women and the poor are treated in 1823. So it is quite dangerous to have an illegitimate child. So it is a number where sadness and heartbreak and desperation are expressed.

les-mis-film-stills-4-1357818483-view-1-1

I Dreamed a Dream:

This is Fantine’s solo number. Here you learn about Fantine’s background. You learn that Cosette’s biological father abandoned her and her daughter, Cosette. You learn how naive she once was and she still is a bit naive. She is devastated that she no longer has any income in order to pay for Cosette. She had dreams once, but now they are shattered. This is a very heartbreaking number and now Fantine has to do whatever she can do to pay for Cosette. The melody is extremely beautiful and such a wonderful song to listen to.

images

Lovely Ladies:

This song is the hardest song and scene to watch and listen to. This number is when you really get to see how desperate Fantine is. She sells her locket, her hair, and herself to get money for Cosette. This is when she turns to prostitution in order to care for her child. While she hates her life, she does it out of love for Cosette. She has such a selfless love for her child. You might think this choice is a bit selfish since she is now a prostitute, but women did not have many options so prostitution was her only option. While the melody is quite catchy, it is still a tough song to watch, which is even harder to watch than death scenes.

a98db90037d040464da995caea76b863

Who Am I:

Previously in the runaway cart scene where Valjean helped rescue a man who was trapped under a cart, Valjean learned that “Valjean” was arrested and about to be sentenced. Valjean knowing that an innocent man was accused of being him, Valjean is faced with a moral dilemma and he has such a big decision to make. Does he not turn himself in to protect his factory or does he go to court and tell the truth? Valjean never forgot how unfairly prisoners are treated and that is does harden you and he can’t bare to see an innocent man get the same fate he got. But in the end, he makes the right choice by turning himself in even though it puts his workers and his job in trouble, but he still made the right choice.

hugh-jackman-jean-valjean

Come to Me:

This is the first death scene in the musical. In a few scenes back, Valjean intervened to keep Fantine from being arrested. Even though Fantine is weak and dying, she is still concerned about the well-being of her daughter. Valjean shows compassion to Fantine and agrees to raise Cosette as his own. This gives Fantine peace and comfort for once. This really goes to show how much Fantine loves her daughter and she hopes her daughter will have to better future. This is quite a memorable death scene.

Unknown

Confrontation:

This immediately follows Fantine’s death. Valjean and Javert are having an argument. Javert tries to arrest Valjean and Valjean tries to prove he has become a better man and a promise to fulfill. This song goes to show how badly Javert wants to arrest Valjean for breaking parole.

8

Castle on a Cloud:

This is when we first are introduced to Cosette. She is only eight and we realize that she is not treated very fairly. She is horribly abused by the Thenardiers. They force her to be a servant and she is quite a broken child but with an amazing spirit. She has hope she will one day be rescued. This is a cute, but heartbreaking song.

fullsizeoutput_889

Master of the House:

I am so glad this number exists. This is the big comic relief number. You already have seen a lot of heartbreak. The opening number is already heartbreaking and after that leading up to the bishop, Valjean is treated unfairly by society since he is a prisoner. You have gone through Fantine’s storyline, which is so hard to watch and you see how much Cosette is being abused. So you need a bit of comic relief. This song highlights the pick-pocket nature of the Thenardiers, but at the same time, you can’t stop but laugh. This is a very catchy song and is much-needed.

unknown-1

Suddenly: Original song in the movie

This number is only in the movie, but it is important to understand Valjean’s love for Cosette. Valjean has already taken Cosette away from the Thenardiers. Ever since leaving prison, Valjean has never known love and Cosette has never known love either. Valjean has just become a father in the most unexpected of ways. You start to understand how much Cosette means to him. He is filled up with love and he knows he can’t tell Cosette about his past and will protect her. This song is so beautiful and love seeing this scene play out in the movie. Valjean knows it will be tough raising her since he is always on the run due to being an ex-convict.

fullsizeoutput_892

Look Down: Paris, 1832- the last time switch.

Similar to “At The End of the Day”, you see the conditions of the poor. You realize that things haven’t changed much. The poor still aren’t treated right. You are introduced to the rest of the characters. You first come across Gavroche, Marius, and Enjolras in this number. Gavroche ends up introducing you to the Thenardiers and their daughter, Eponine. You realize that the family is now poor and living on the streets of Paris and they are scamming people out of money forcing Eponine to be part of the schemes and she is the one who watches out for the police. With Marius and Enjolras, you learn of the outbreak of cholera epidemic since General Lamarque is dying of cholera. You start to see their plans for an uprising. This has such an epic feel to the song. So much is happening in this number, but very important.

543450_723673130982398_1244503345_n

Stars:

This is Javert’s first solo. This song is very hard to describe. You see that Javert has a religious aspect of him. This is Javert lying out his beliefs and he is saying how he is devoting himself to the law especially for capturing Valjean. I still struggle with understanding what this song is about. Even though I don’t like Javert, it still is such a beautiful song, but is an important song for getting to know Javert.

unknown

Red and Black:

This is when we are introduced to the rest of the students who are part of this political group. You learn their passion towards the uprising and you also are first introduced to their brotherly love of each other. You learn that Enjolras is the leader. In terms of Marius, he has just fallen in love with Cosette before Stars. He is a bit distracted by the girl he loves. Even though he is close to the students, he is so much distracted by this girl, but yet he has no idea who her name is yet.

tumblr_mg1is1kwwr1qkk5w8o1_500

Do You Hear the People Sing:

This is the number when the students go out into the street trying to rally some support. This is quite a passionate number and they are hoping others will join them. This is when you learn about their hope and passion for the rebellion that is to eventually come.

Unknown

In My Life:

This is really the first number you are introduced to adult Cosette. She is reflecting on Marius, the boy she is in love with, and wants to know more about her adopted father. You learn just how sheltered and protected she is. She is demanding to know more about Valjean. Later on in the number, Valjean enters and that is when she wants to know more answers about his past and she seems to know how dark his past is, but he really doesn’t want to tell Cosette about his past. The second half of this song is between Marius and Eponine. Well right before Stars, Marius asks Eponine to find where Cosette lives and though reluctant, she agrees seeing it will make him happy. It is already clear she loves Marius before “In My Life”. Marius keeps on talking about Cosette in front of Eponine oblivious to her love for him. She is reflecting on the fact that the words he is saying hurts knowing that he will never love her.

0989d997f339b1cac010ed55176cf57d.jpg

A Heart Full of Love:

This song is mainly a love duet between Marius and Cosette. They first mainly meet each other and learn each others names. Throughout most of the number, you feel happy for them. But towards the end, Eponine joins in reflecting on her unrequited love for Marius and than it is conflicting between feeling happy for Marius and Cosette, but at the same time feeling heartbroken for Eponine. That is part of why this love triangle is so effective.  This song is very romantic and very beautiful.

 

One Day More: Act I Closer

This song is one of the best ways to end the first act. You have each character talking about their passion, which eventually overlaps. They are curious what the next day will hold since the uprising is the next day. Valjean’s reflects on his past, Cosette and Marius bring up their love for each other, Eponine reflects on her love for Marius and knowing he does not notice that she does love him, Enjolras reflects on the uprising, Javert talks about how he plans to spy on the students and the Thenardiers plan to rob the dead in the sewers. The citizens are in this number too also curious what the next day will hold. But when their passions all overlap, it is quite powerful. It is hard to describe how powerful this song is, but perfectly ends act I.

Unknown

Before moving on to On My Own, I just want to mention that the students are starting to build the barricade. Based on the stage show, Marius saw Eponine disguised as a boy and gives her a letter to give to Cosette. While that seems selfish, it is not because he just wants Eponine safe. I brought all of this up to show that On My Own does not open up act II exactly.

On My Own:

This is Eponine’s main solo. In the intro part, you learn a bit more about Eponine’s life. You realize just how alone she is. She does not have a home because she is living on the streets. Marius is literally all she has in life. In this song, she reflects on the current situation she finds herself in. This song is about her unrequited love, but goes beyond her unrequited love. You learn she gets through the day by visualizing that Marius is in love with her even if she knows it just a fantasy that she is creating. As the song continues, you realize how strong her love for Marius is. She will always stay by his side and love him even though he doesn’t love her. He is the only happiness in her life. Towards the end, you realize that she does not have much happiness in her life. This is such a beautiful and very heartbreaking song.

Unknown

A Little Fall of Rain:

Eponine has just returned to the barricades. She eventually is shot and her wound would turn out to be fatal. Despite knowing she is dying, she still looks for Marius. After she collapsed in his arms, Marius realizes she is shot and weak and dying. Knowing this, it worries him and hurts him a lot. Even though he is devastated, he shows Eponine an incredible act of compassion by holding her, being with her and comforting her while she is in a lot of pain.

Eponine realizes just how much Marius cares for her. She is feeling this incredible sense of happiness even though she is dying. The song is quite tender and intimate. This scene is very hard on Marius, but never leaves her side. The first thing Marius says after she dies is “her name was Eponine, her life was cold and dark, yet she was unafraid”. Even though he didn’t love her, he knew that her life was not easy and knew just how brave she was. This is my favorite death scene in the musical. It is hard to find the joy in this if you didn’t realize how dark Eponine’s life and how strong her love for Marius is.

1024x1024

Drink With Me:

The students already know just how outnumbered they are. This shows their vulnerable side. This shows the friendship in such a beautiful way. It is very intimate but very devastating. They know they are going to die and they know it is a lost cause and they still have such a brotherly love for each other. This is the last moment they really have with each other. Marius expresses about Cosette wondering if she is going to miss him if he dies. Plus, he is still devastated over Eponine’s death. This is such a beautiful and intimate song to listen to.

Unknown

Bring Him Home:

While the students are sleeping, Valjean is praying to God to make sure Marius survives. He came to the barricades to protect Marius since Cosette loves him. This is such a soulful and beautiful piece and it really shows just how much Valjean loves God. This song is a bit sad especially when you realize that Marius will be the only one to survive.

636445281843556862-03-LM-TOUR-2385-Nick-Cartell-as-Jean-Valjean-613a8615f4

Before going on into the next song, I just want to say that during the final battle, the students still decide to fight even if they are going to die. Marius eventually falls unconscious and Valjean carries him and the only way to escape is through the sewers.

Dog Eats Dog:

This is my least favorite song from the musical. This is when you see Thenardier robbing of the corpses. You really see his villainous nature in this number. But still, my least favorite number. Thenardier is so frustrating. You can love him in one way but hate him in another.

6_27

Javert’s Suicide:

At the barricade, Valjean has shown Javert an incredible act of mercy by forgiving him and letting him go. This puts Javert in quite a dilemma and Javert even lets Valjean go after Valjean emerges from the sewers carrying Marius. Javert’s view of life has been conflicted. He realizes that people can change and realizes he has set his principles and beliefs all long. Even though the law says it is against the rules to break parole, but doesn’t want to chase Valjean any further because Valjean changed and has become a better person. He no longer sees a purpose in life so he kills himself. This is a big epiphany for Javert. He could have received the mercy and forgiveness from Valjean but he doesn’t accept it.

c957a0f499e065d59d818f032019bb64

Turning:

This song is a heartbreaker. The women are singing about how the students have all lost their lives and about what they were fighting before. They were only students and died in one night. These women were related to the boys in one way or another. They realize that not much has changed since those boys died.

Unknown

Empty Chairs at Empty Tables:

This song is extremely heartbreaking. Marius is the only survivor and feels like he should have died as well. Marius has lost everyone he cares about except for Cosette at the barricade. He first lost Eponine and eventually lost Gavroche, Enjolras, and the other students in one night. He has gone through so much trauma. He has no idea how he managed to survive. This song reminds you of the unsuccessful nature of the uprising. Marius is very devastead and quite broken.

94092-18

Wedding/Beggars at the Feast:

This song is during the wedding of Marius and Cosette. The Thenardiers crash the wedding and gave away some crucial information to Marius. Marius learns that it was Valjean who saved him. In the scene previously, Valjean told Marius about his past. In this particular number, he realizes it was Valjean who rescued him so he knows he wants to thank Valjean. The Thenardiers provide another comic relief number, which is Beggars the Feast. Act II almost needs the comic relief much more than Act I. Act II has many more deaths.

HR-Beggars-Feast-e1405079566847

Finale:

This number starts out with Valjean dying waiting for death to great him. He has lost Cosette so his heart is broken, but that is what he will eventually die from. The spirit of Fantine visits him thanking him for raising Cosette. Before he dies, Cosette and Marius arrive and Marius tells Cosette it was her adopted father that rescued him. Cosette eventually learns that her father is dying and she is quite broken. All Cosette and Marius is each other, but at least there is a sense of hope. Depending on which version, in the movie, the bishop and Fantine sing the last couple of lines with Valjean, but in the stage show, it is Fantine and Eponine.

Right after the lines “to love another person is the see the face of God”, the song goes straight into a “Do You the People Sing Reprise”. This finale may be quite heartbreaking, but this reprise fills you up with hope. This is literally the most perfect way to end a musical. One of the shows biggest spiritual themes is hope.

fullsizeoutput_705

So there we have, a review of Les Mis songs. While some aspects of the plot may be lost, these are just the main songs. As you can see, there are so many emotions to juggle. Sometimes you have joy found at a very heartbreaking moment. Or the opposite happens where you are happy for most of the song and then you have to add heartbreak to the mix. You can first feel heartbreak for the first chunk of a certain number and than feel hope. So Les Mis is a gigantic emotional roller coaster. It is very hard for me to describe just how much I love this soundtrack. This soundtrack is a big reason why it has lasted in London for more than 30 years and why the show still tours and why there are still school productions.

<a href=”https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/suddenly/”>Suddenly</a&gt;

Steps of becoming Obsessed with a Musical

This can happen in life. You can become obsessed with a musical. I am obsessed with Les Mis. I fell in love with Les Mis around 2012/2013. At this point, I have already seen it five times.

  1. See the musical in some way- well, I first saw the movie musical of Les Mis December 2012- I already knew Les Mis existed in 2009 through the whole Britain’s Got Talent Susan Boyle “I Dreamed a Dream” thing so I already knew one song. I was a bit unsure coming in, but still unsure after the movie ended. After the first death, I was so shocked and confused because at that point, I realized Les Mis was a tragedy so I had no idea how to respond. I had interpreted ALL musicals as HAPPY growing up so I was shocked that Les Mis was a tragedy. At the end, I had “Do You Hear the People Sing” stuck in my head. But I had no clue if I liked it or not. Despite not knowing if I like it or not, I still started researching the musical. 

  2. If you have to, give it a 2nd chance. That is exactly what happened with me. I had to give the movie a 2nd chance. I decided to give it a 2nd chance because I had no idea if I liked it the first time. I still don’t know what prompted me to see it a 2nd time. With the 2nd viewing, I was able to calm down and see so much more. I began to see there was something special about Les Mis. I started to research even deeper about the musical. I just wanted to know why it makes me feel uplifted since it was so heartbreaking.
  3. Have a desire to see the stage show. By this point, I already researched it a lot. I really knew a lot more about the characters. I even already owned the movie. When I heard it was coming to community college, I badly wanted to see it. So my mom and dad took me to see this production and then I saw it twice as an usher. Just by seeing it at community college, I wanted to see the musical in the West End. It was my dream to see it there.                                                              1450047_10202059520557133_349234801_n
  4. Understand why you love it (started after seeing the movie 2nd chance and on)- I really began to understand many reasons why I love it. I did start to love the character of Eponine the 2nd time I saw it, but failed to know why. It took the entire year of 2013 and part of why in 2014. I also began to understand why I love some of the other characters. By having an obsession, you see a lot in the musical. Les Mis after all is so complex. and there is so much to be explored. I began to understand how the characters’ lives are so interconnected and how they directly and indirectly impact each others’ lives. I eventually noticed the switch that happens between Eponine and Cosette, which is interesting to explore. I started to really see more of the spiritual themes, which proves why this heartbreaking tale is so inspirational. I began to love Valjean’s journey and love the passion the students have for the uprising. Etc

Well, by the end of 2013 I became officially obsessed. So this obsession is why I developed a passion for musicals. I saw it in the West End in 2015 so literally two years after I developed a dream for seeing it in the West End, finally was able to. I already seen a phenomenal production of Les Mis, but this was basically ten times better for 1) sitting nine rows back from the stage, 2) the staging, and 3) the cast. One member in the cast was an understudy, who was Adam Bayjou for Valjean.

 

2017: I already was obsessed, but seeing the musical a 5th time shows that you still aren’t tired of the musical. It was touring the US and I had a decision to make. Gardner Webb was taking people to see it in Greenville or I could see it in Charlotte with my mom. I choose seeing it in Greenville with my school. So seeing the musical another time shows how you are still impacted even after already seeing it four times. This production was my 5th time and my 1st time on tour. It also was the 1st time seeing the 25th anniversary. My other professional time, the West End, and an understudy, but what was a bit coincidental is that I had an understudy for this production. In this production, I had an understudy for Eponine.

 

I still don’t know why I am obsessed with it. I  only know why I love it. A lot of it had to do with the passionate, epic, highly moving and powerful score. It complements the characters perfectly. The characters are quite complex and believable. You have the very compassionate ex-convict Jean Valjean, the obsessive policeman Javert, the selfless mother and prostitute  Faninte, the funny, abusive, and greedy Thenardiers, the brave and loyal Eponine, the sweet, compassionate, and a bit awkward and brave Marius, the beautiful and orphan Cosette,and the hopeful and passionate students. There is so much going on it Les Mis. So that was a bit rundown of me becoming obsessed with Les Mis.

The Students in 19th Century France

Possible Spoilers:

Similar to the Newsies, Enjolras and the students have this brotherly love for each other. They feel like family. They are standing up for what they believe in and are planning for an uprising. They are hopeful for the uprising and are quite passionate about it as well. Marius is one of the students.

tumblr_mg1is1kwwr1qkk5w8o1_500

Of all the students, Enjolras is their leader. He also is the most passionate of the group. I think he is such a wonderful leader.

Unknown

Gavroche is the Thenardiers’ son. They kicked him out at such a young age. He is this kid who lives on the streets. But what is special is that the students take him in. He basically is like this mascot of the rebellion. Even during the uprising, he is with them.

unknown

What is the fate of these students? After the first attack, they realize that they are way outnumbered. At that point, they start to realize the uprising is a lost cause. They still stay passionate but are less fortunate. Gavroche eventually gets killed after being brave when he goes to the other side of the barricade to collect new ammunition. Despite the students knowing they most likely will die, they are still passionate about their cause that they decide to fight. All of them end up dying and the most heartbreaking death of them is Enjolras since his passion is the strongest. Marius, being the only survivor, is what makes him deal with survivor’s guilt so he faces a lot of trauma at the barricade.

Les Mis Collection (Part 2)

Earlier in Christmas Break, I wrote a Les Mis post about my Les Mis collection. Well, a couple weeks after, I realized I left part of my collection off so I am doing a new post. I will still talk about the things I already explained and will bring up the stuff I never included.

IMG_1527

This picture gives a general idea of my love for Les Mis. I have three tickets from the community college production (2013), the West End production (2015) and the current touring US production (2017), which was seen in Greenville. So have happened to see 3 productions ever two years. The community college production was seen 3 times due to going once with family and twice as an usher, which is why my total number of times I have seen Les Mis is 5 times. In relationship to those productions, I have the three playbills and what surprised me in London is that I had to buy the playbill, which doesn’t happen in the United States. My London playbill was signed by Adam Bayjou, my Valjean, and he was an understudy and he made me forget I was watching an understudy so that says something about how brilliant he was. I have a filer for the community college production and a filer for the London production.

As some know, I went to Les Mis party last year where I dressed up as Eponine, my favorite female character in the musical. Well, my first Les Mis party was in 2015 where I was surprised and my mom hid it by saying that one of her closest friends, who is also a big Les Mis fan just wanted to see the movie with me. So in my 2015 party, I was not able to dress up as a character, but I was called Eponine all night long just because I sang “On My Own” during Karoke. One of the people who attended knew a friend happened to know one of the Valjean’s and so she got in contact with that former Valjean and he signed a souvenir program and I did not see that part of my collection coming.

Obviously as any Les Mis fan, you would have the soundtrack. It took a lot of debating over which one I wanted. My mother eventually bought me one of the soundtracks and it ended up being the original broadway cast. Even with the soundtrack alone, I am reduced to tears. As a big Les Mis fan myself, I own the unabridged book, which I actually finished in less than one summer and that book is my favorite of the classics. The last of that picture is the page to screen book. It talks about how it made its journey to London stage to its creation of the school edition all the way to the musical movie. It has pictures and several facts in relationship to Les Mis.

IMG_1531

My first Les Mis bit of my collection was the movie. The movie was the first full experience of Les Mis. My first viewing, I couldn’t tell if I loved that movie or not. I was a bit shocked and confused as it is a tragic musical, a musical theatre genre I really had no clue existed so I didn’t know how to respond to Les Mis. Despite the confusion, I started researching the musical until I decided to give the movie a 2nd chance and I was able to calm down and get more out of it. I watch the movie each time I come home for break and I am not tired of it yet. I also own the 25th anniversary concert DVD. I watch that version less than the movie because it is longer so it is hard to find time to watch something of 3 hours. So these two are my easiest access to Les Mis if I am in the mood to watch it.

IMG_1529

I got the gray T-shirt at the Queen’s Theatre when I saw it in the West End. The red shirt is quite special. Some of my friends at Gardner Webb made that shirt for me for a birthday present. Literally the shirt says “keep calm and talk about Les Mis”. It appears as if those two friends know me quite well. It is unique in the fact that a) college friends it for me and b) no one else can own it.

IMG_1528

This poster is hung above my bed in Charlotte. This is yet another souvenir I got at the Queen’s Theatre. The only posters that belong on my wall in my room are musicals that hold an important part of my life.

fullsizeoutput_747

These two paintings do deserve a part in my collection as well. In my first semester of college, one of the RAs of my floor made these two paintings for me. Those two are hung in my dorm room. Even though the French flag is not in the right order, I still love the painting.

IMG_1583

Last time, I did this post, I cannot believe I forgot about my Les Mis piano book. In 2014, I was going through a rough time in my life and to get through that, my piano teacher taught me the Les Mis songs on the piano. Because I knew the songs so well, I was able to add emotion into the songs. I knew when the songs got louder or got softer. The colored pencils were found as a stocking stuffed. They have words on them like “one gray more”, “do you hear the purple sing”, “blue4601” and other things like those.

I will leave with pictures from when I saw Les Mis and when I dressed up as Eponine along with a painting I made at Pinterest night, which has Eponine on it.

‘So based upon my collection and the number of times I have seen the stage production, the movie and the 25th anniversary concert DVD combined shows just how big of a Les Mis fan I am. It also is shown through the number of times I listened to the soundtrack. So I have listened to those songs so many times and not yet tired of them and shows just how amazing of a musical Les Mis. Despite the number of times, I still get emotional listening or seeing it, which has led me to tear up, get goosebumps, and laugh along with something else that I can’t describe and that sort of feeling is something that rarely happen in a musical world.

 

Hunchback of Notre Dame vs. Les Misérables

Now that I have read both of Victor Hugo’s masterpieces, I decided to compare and contrast them. I was led to read Les Misérables because of my love for the musical.

Tangents:

With Les Misérables, I disliked reading them more than reading them in Hunchback of Notre Dame. In Hunchback of Notre Dame, they were much shorter and more interesting to read because they mostly were about architecture. With Les Misérables, those tangents were much more political and even longer. But with both, I understand that these tangents helped you understand the setting better.

Plot:

As expected, both of the books had a tragic, but beautiful plot. Both of these plots focused on the lowest of society. They represented things such as gypsies, criminals, disabled, and the improvised so they had a similar representation when it comes to the lowest rung. Both of these plots may be tragic, but they are beautiful. They each focused on love. Hunchback of Notre Dame had a much bigger focus on romantic love than Les Misérables. Hunchback of Notre Dame’s entire plot dealt with a love square of sorts since three men loved the same women. But with Les Misérables, it represented so many areas of love such as love for God, love for a child/parents, romantic love in the form of a love triangle, love for the country, and love for friends. So Les Misérables focused on more areas of love. I actually loved Les Misérables’ plot more than Hunchback of Notre Dame’s plot.

Characters:

I strongly disliked the antagonist, Frollo, in Hunchback of Notre because he was so evil and so dark and he responded to his unrequited love in very phantomesque ways. As far as Les Misérables’ antagonist, Javert, I loved him much more. At least Javert wasn’t exactly evil or morally twisted because he kept on trying to do the right thing even if he saw the world in black and white. But Les Misérables’ does have two major characters who are quite despicable, who are the Thenardiers. Both of the tales had a character who dealt with unrequited love in a selfless kind of way, who were Quasimodo and Eponine. For me it was very hard to figure out who Hunchback of Notre Dame’s protagonist was, but I want to say it was Quasimodo and what was interesting about him is that he was disabled due to being both deaf and have a hunchback. Being deaf did leave at a disadvantage such as when the mob tried to rescue Esmeralda, he thought they were trying to cause harm to Esmeralda so he attacked them not understanding their actual intentions, but he still acted selflessly for his love for Esmeralda. Les Misérables’ protagonist, Jean Valjean, goes on such an incredible journey from this harsh and hateful man to this compassionate and saint-like man and his journey is wonderful to watch.

Ratings;

Hunchback of Notre Dame: 7/10

I gave this a 7/10 because I struggled with understanding the plot. It felt forever till I picked up on the plot and I already was halfway done with the book when it finally picked off. It spent about fifty page or so on Pierre, who is quite a minor character. Also as excepted, you were given background information about some of the characters for some time so it took a while to understand what was going on. It is hard for me to fully describe why I loved this plot.

Les Misérables: 12/10

Okay, why on earth would a book give me a 12/10 rating. Even though like Hunchback of Notre Dame, it felt forever till the plot kicked off, the story was exceptional. This heartbreaking storyline has this beautiful underlying spirituality. It is this beautiful story of how this ex-convict was given a second chance, which led him to redemption. Jean Valjean after being encountered with the bishop, he began to have this strong spirit and helped those in need. He saved Fantine from being arrested and agreed to raise her daughter, he rescued Marius, and he turned himself in when an innocent man was accused of being him and so on. The story overall made up for those incredibly long tangents. It has many more characters I love than in Hunchback of Notre Dame. I loved how selflessly Fantine was towards her daughter, which is why she had to do what she had to do after being fired and she trusted Valjean enough to raise Cosette. The passion the students have for France, especially in the case of Enjolras, is wonderful and I just love how they take in Gavroche, who is Eponine’s little brother.

Eponine, the Thenardiers’ daughter, is not fully like her parents and showed true love towards Marius and her love for him made her become a better person and even though she led him to the barricades to die with him, she still saved his life and she got to die happy because Marius was there. I love what Cosette represents in the overall story and that is hope. She had hope when she was a child that she would be rescued from her life of abuse and later her love for Marius brings hope to the story. As far as Marius goes, he is so complex and is capable of so much compassion. Les Misérables represents all aspects of society and the story is so human.

What do you think? Have you read both or one of these books? Of the two, which one do you like more and why?