Love in Musicals

Love is found in musicals. Is love only in romance? Does it exist in different ways? There is a common misconception in love that non-musical fanatics believe-it is believed that only love is romance. I will try to sort out that in this post. THERE WILL BE MAJOR SPOILERS IN THIS POST.

Love for God

In Les Mis, you see love for God. This is first see through the bishop, and later through Valjean. The bishop welcomes Valjean into his house, gives him a place to stay, food to eat, and see as a brother (as in the bible). The bishop wants to help Valjean. He forgives Valjean when he steals his silver. He tells me to use the silver to became a better man. What the bishop does is an act of grace, mercy, and compassion. All of this is a love of God .

The love of God is later strengthened through Valjean. He looks up to the bishop. He starts to show compassion to others, which is especially shown through how he treats Fantine. He prevents her from being arrested and later promises to raise Cosette, Fantine’s daughter, as his own. That takes his love for God on a whole new level. I think his love for God is shown the strongest when he sings “Bring Him Home”. “Bring Him Home” happens at the barricade- Valjean is there to protect Marius because his adopted daughter loves him. The song is a prayer sent to God to prevent Marius from being killed. Even as Valjean is dying, it does show his love for God.

Love for Friends

This is easier to notice than love for God.

Elphaba and Glinda

  • When I think of friendship love, it is Elphaba and Glinda that comes to mind automatically. After all, in Wicked, the story revolves around their friendship. These two young girls originally started out hating each other and eventually became best friends and soon realized how much they changed each others lives for the better. They did form a very close and beautiful bond to each other- that is exactly what “For Good” shows.

Friends of the ABC

  • The Friends of the ABC is another love for friends that I love. I love their brotherly love for each other. It is strong that they are like family, and I do love how they take in Gavroche. They have a cause they truly believe in, and are so passionate about in that they will fight to the end no matter the cost. One of the things I love about “Drink With Me” is how intimate and vulnerable it is- it really shows their brotherly love for other.

Eponine and Marius

  • There is a friendship in Les Mis that I like that is an unpopular opinion. It is the one found between Marius and Eponine- yes, I know it is only in the musical, and not the book. I don’t believe Marius was a jerk to Eponine. He was the only person in her life who treated her kindly- that was why she fell in love with him, and why she held on to him. Marius was aware she had a difficult life. Just because Marius was unaware of Eponine’s love for him does not make him a jerk. I believe in act II, Marius sent her away with that letter to protect her from getting hurt or worse killed during the uprising. When she came back to the barricade, Marius was worried. When she collapsed in his arms, the moment he saw her wound, he realized she was dying. He was devastated, but he still stayed with her to the end- how does Marius being with her while she was dying make him a jerk? I believe that Marius was showing her compassion while she was dying- that scene was difficult on Marius, but at least he made her happy. The reason why I know he knew how difficult her life was had to do with what he said after she died- “her name was Eponine, her life was cold and dark, yet she was unafraid”

Newsies

  • The Newsies are a huge parallel to the Friends of the ABC. Just like them, share a brotherly love that makes them a family, have a cause they truly believe in and don’t give up till the end. I also love Jack’s intimate and special bond to Crutchie.

Lumiere and Cogworth

  • I don’t what it is, but there is something about Lumiere and Cogsworth that make them an interesting friendship. Is it because during most of the musical they are a talking candle and clock?

So, you see, love for friendships show up for a number of shows.

Love for Family

Fantine and Cosette

  • Fantine is the single mother of Cosette. Fantine’s storyline is the hardest to watch in Les Mis. She originally is working in Valjean’s factory. It soon is discovered that she has an illegitimate daughter- Cosette’s father abandoned both of them. Cosette is now living with an innkeeper and his wife (The Thenardiers). Her daughter was discovered through a letter, which was said that Cosette was deathly ill (little did she know the letter was a hoax). The other factory women pushed the foreman to fire her, and he did. She did not many options left to get money for Cosette. She had a strong love for Cosette- she had no choice, but to sell her hair, teeth, and to eventually become a prostitute. By living on the streets, she became deathly ill. She was doing everything out of love for Cosette and her only hope was that Cosette would have a better life. She eventually almost got arrested after defending herself- Valjean came to the rescue and sent to her the hospital. Even on her deathbed, she still was concerned about Cosette, and Valjean agreed to raise Cosette. This gave Fantine peace and comfort while she was dying.

Valjean and Cosette

  • Like I just said, Valjean became Cosette’s adopted father. Valjean did realize that Cosette was treated poorly by the people who were raising her. Cosette was the first person he loved since he was released from prison. He had to become a father in the most unexpected of ways. It was challenging to raise her due to being an ex-convict. I don’t blame him for how much he sheltered and protected Cosette. You can fully see his love for Cosette in act II. When he learned Marius, the one his adopted daughter loves, is one of the revolutionaries, he went to the barricades to make sure he survives.

Kim and Tam

  • Kim would protect Tam from any harm. She is a fighter for him. She wants him to a better life than the one in Vietnam. Tam’s father is Chris, and Chris is who Kim loves, and for a couple years Chris had no idea he fathered a son. Chris did love Kim at one point. Miss Saigon is a tragic love story, and Kim is the main character. At the end, Kim sacrifices herself in order for Chris to take Tam back to America. That ending- Chris comes to a realization- he has always loved Kim, and more than Ellen; that was how I interpreted it in Feb.

Romance

Romance is believed to be the only type of love in musical theatre. But based on the other ones I mentioned, it is not. There is love for God, love for friends, and love for family- I can tell you there are others- just the three I mentioned tells you there are is there than romance. Romance is wide-ranged. The Disney couples to the complex couple to the love triangles (even those vary). All of the couples are different. Why is romance so common? For starters, it is an universal emotion. It also translates well to song, forms beautiful songs no matter what (whether a couple is singing it, if it is a breakup or unrequited love song, or if a couple is starting to develop feelings for each other). The main song is key to a couple- if the main song doesn’t impress me, the couple goes dull.

What I Love about Jean Valjean

Jean Valjean is the protagonist in Les Mis. He is an ex-convict unfairly sentenced for nineteen years for stealing a loaf of bread to feed his family. He is one of the best protagonists in the world of musicals.

Major Spoilers:

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He is a character that goes through a wonderful transformation. When he is released from prison, he is stuck on parole forever. Being in prison has hardened him to become a hateful and angry man. It is his transformation that makes him such a wonderful character in so many ways.

It wasn’t until he meets that bishop that he realizes he needs to change. He feels like society will always hate him. The bishop showed him an incredible act of mercy by inviting him to eat and sleep at his house. But Valjean hardened through prison repays by stealing his silver. But the bishop forgives him and gives him the silver. He has taught Valjean the ways of the Lord.

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It is in this particular moment, Valjean has realized just how much prison has hardened him and realizes that he needs to change his ways. He notices the compassion the bishop has shown him. In order to change his ways, he needs to break parole.

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So Valjean has become mayor and starts to show compassion to those of others. He opens up a factory. He helps the less fortunate. So his transformation has truly begun. He was given a second chance at life and starts to live by the ways of the bishop. He indirectly is responsible for the firing of Fantine. He shows compassion to her by promising to raise her child, Cosette, on her deathbed. So Valjean understands the value of compassion at this point. In addition, when an innocent man is accused of being the “real” Valjean, Valjean turns himself in to protect the man.

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Valjean discovers just how broken Cosette is. She has been abused by the Thenardiers. Valjean has become a father in the most unexpected ways. Jean Valjean has never known love and neither has Cosette. So the two form such a special bond. Cosette is the main happiness in Jean Valjean’s life. She helps him with his transformation to becoming a better person. You might think he is sheltering and protecting Cosette too much, but let’s remember he is an ex-convict on the run and knows that Javert is after him.

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In act II, Valjean realizing that Cosette loves Marius, he does an amazing act of courage. He realizes that his daughter loves Marius. He picks up on the fact that Marius might die on the barricade so he ends up going to the barricade to protect Marius in order to make sure that he lives. Marius and the students eventually realize the uprising is a lost cause. After “Drink With Me”, Jean Valjean prays to God to make sure Marius lives. So Jean Valjean has learned to love God and it is clear that he has such a strong spirit.

During the final battle, Marius seriously gets injured and he falls unconscious so Valjean carries him through the sewers and eventually rescues him from death. This act of courage shows just how much he loves Cosette. It shows that he is capable of both compassion and courage.

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Valjean dies at the end. But he gets to die with Marius, his now son-in-law, and Cosette by his side. He has finally redeemed himself. He has become such a compassionate and saint-like man. He has lived a tough life of being an ex-convict, but he learns to love through Cosette. He has learned a lot of lessons through the bishop and that is why he was able to become a better person.

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So his transformation makes him such a well-loved character. To start out as a hateful, harsh, and angry man into a compassionate and saint-like man is so inspiring. He has developed a wonderful love for God. Due to being to prison, he rescues an innocent man from being sentenced to prison. He also rescues a man trapped under a cart. So he does many moments of risking himself for the sake of other people. Cosette has taught him how to love and he would anything for her even if it means losing her forever. That is why he rescues Marius. So his transformation and his actions make me love him so much.

Favorite Contemporary Christian Songs

As some might know, they are aware that there is another genre of music other than musicals that I love as well. I am drawn to contemporary Christian music in a similar way that I am drawn to musicals. I feel like I can easily connect to God in Christian music. Some of my favorite Christian songs are hymns and some of them are unique to my church. So for this post, I will write a list of some of my favorite Christian music.

  1. On Eagle’s Wings
  2. Here I Am Lord
  3. Seek Ye First
  4. I am the Bread of Life
  5. Let Us Break Bread Together
  6. All Are Welcome (unique to my church)
  7. Call to Discipleship (unique to my church)
  8. Fierce
  9. Power to Redeem
  10. Great Are You Lord
  11. Shout to the Lord
  12. You Raise Me Up
  13. For The Beauty Of the Earth
  14. Above All
  15. Child of God
  16. One Thing Remains
  17. Anchor
  18. Come to the River
  19. Lord I Lift Your Name On High
  20. Sanctuary
  21. Servant Song
  22. Create in Me
  23. Prince of Peace
  24. You Are My All in All
  25. Dry Bones (Come Alive)

What are some of Your Favorite Christian Songs?

Beauty of God’s Creation

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One place that I love about Gardner Webb is the lake, which is near the suites, which is where I live on Campus. On the way back to the suites, I saw a rainbow in the lake and I had never seen a rainbow in the lake before. You never know when nature shows you a part of creation you had never seen before. It shows just how beautiful nature can be.

The rainbow in the lake shows that creation is beautiful and that rainbow was captured in the picture above. The rainbow in the lake reminds me of God’s presence and the importance of God in my life. I want to make the most of my last year of  college, which is why I wanted to capture the rainbow in the lake.

Bring Him Home Analysis

Major Spoiler Alert:

“Bring Him Home” is sung by Valjean at the barricades. As a bit of background, one of the main plot lines in Les Mis is the uprising arranged by college-age students. Marius, who loves Cosette, is one of the revolutionaries. A couple scenes back, Valjean has discovered that his adopted daughter, Cosette, loves Marius and because Valjean loves Cosette so much, he heads over to the barricades in order to protect Marius.

“Bring Him Home” is a prayer that Valjean sends to God in order to make sure that Marius survives the barricades. In “Drink With Me”, the song right before “Bring Him Home”, the students realize there is a high chance that most of them will be killed. After Eponine died, they realized just how outnumbered they really are and acknowledged the fact in “Drink With Me”. In “Bring Him Home”, Valjean brings up the fact that he would rather die than Marius because Marius is only a boy and still quite young and still has a future ahead of him.

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This song can easily not be that sad the first time around. But when seeing Les Mis a second time, this song becomes even sadder than what it appears. As a matter of fact, the rebellion ends up being a complete failure. Marius is the only survivor and with knowing that fact, it makes you realize during “Bring Him Home” that the other students will not survive. As a matter of fact, Marius had to survive since he loves Cosette because Cosette is supposed to represent hope and light and if Marius didn’t survive, Cosette would not represent what she does in Les Mis. Valjean’s prayer at the barricades in a lot of ways is one of the places where spirituality shines through Les Mis even though the song is sadder than what it appears, and that is due to Valjean praying to God and throughout Les Mis, there is a love of God shown throughout.

Since it is Memorial Day, “Bring Him Home” can connect to the soldiers that families will hope survive even if they know there is a chance they might get killed. That sounds almost like Valjean’s situation. Valjean is getting older, and he needs someone to continue caring and protecting Cosette.

What are your thoughts on “Bring Him Home”?

The Lord’s Steadfast Love

They will have no fear of bad news;  their hearts are steadfast, trusting in the Lord

-Psalms 112:7

This is quite a wonderful piece of scripture. It is important to trust in Lord. When bad times strike, keep being loyal to the Lord. He will help you get through and accomplish so much. It is hard to not have fear when it comes to bad news. As a college student, I trust in the Lord, which helps me pull through. True, we live in a life of fear, but it is important to live according to the example that the Lord set for us. It is important to love others. The Lord will guide us in the right direction. There is hope even when a lot of fear is going on this world.

Trusting in the Lord

“God is within her, she will not fall. God will help her at break of day”

-Psalms 46:5

This quote really shows how much God is part of our lives. It shows that God will not give up. He will help us when we are broken and will help us when we are not. He lives inside of us through the Holy Spirit. Throughout college, I have found ways to help strengthen my spirituality. Every week, I attend our student-led worship service and singing those songs really enter and fill me up with the Holy Spirit. By attending weekly, I am able to develop my strong spirit and you can feel the energy from all the students singing. Sometimes I have to be reminded that God will always be a part of my life and one place I find that is through the sunsets and sunrises that I see. When there is a test, I look up to God and trust Him that I will get through them.

God is highly important to me. He  teaches us the importance of love, compassion, forgiveness, and kindness. He helps show us the light in the midst of darkness. He helps guide us so that our dreams will come true. He guides us in the midst of trouble and when we are heading in the right direction. Everyone has God-given gifts and we must use them to our advantage. We might feel broken at times, but God will always look over us.