Why I Love Elphaba

Besides Glinda, Elphaba is the second protagonist in Wicked. Not only is Elphaba my favorite character from Wicked, but she is also my all-time favorite character in musicals. That means that I have such a personal bond with her and there are many reasons to love the character.

For starters she is complex, strong, and brave, which are three characteristics I love about her. Her complexity helps her become real, her bravery shows up in different ways and you see her strength starting in “Defying Gravity”, but I think she is strong before the song. At one point she does show her bravery is when she decides to go up against the Wizard and when she tries to save Fiyero when he is in danger of being tortured.

Being a strong character means that you are able to thrive in tough situations and care about those in your life. Elphaba is also loyal, smart, determined big-hearted and as Fiyero says talkative, and she believes in equality and staying true to herself.

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Her loyalty is shown when it comes to her best friend, Glinda. When the two both fall in love with Fiyero, when Glinda is in a relationship with him, she does not pursue him because she doesn’t want to destroy their friendship. So her friendship with Glinda is another reason why you can easily fall in love with her.  Elphaba can be impulsive at times and that is when you see her magical powers, but at the same she doesn’t know how to control them.

Many of these characteristics are things I can relate to, but not all of them. Like her, I am smart, determined, big-hearted, different, impulsive, and sometimes feel misunderstood at times, and believe in equality and staying true to myself. In addition, I can relate to the whole aspect of friendship. Because of my relatability with her, it is a huge reason why I have such a strong bond with her.  Because I cannot seem to separate Glinda from Elphaba, it makes Glinda my second favorite female musical character. Elphaba is one of the biggest reasons why Wicked is a spectacular musical.

 

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Be Strong and Courageous

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you

-Joshua 1:9

It is easy to not trust in God at times and be discouraged at times. But God will always be with you. The road is never easy, but always easier when you walk the road with Him in your life. Do not be afraid of what it is come because the Lord will guide you. It can be easier to trust God at other moments in your life then others. Trusting in God is what helped me get through college and I will continue to trust to Him in my last year of college. We have to be strong to thrive through tough times and be bold and remember that God is with you no matter what. It can easy to be discouraged at times and forget to trust in Him, but He will always be with you. It is important to be courageous, which helps us be less afraid and helps us be stronger.

How do you view this piece of scripture?

Characteristics I Look for in a Musical Character: Part Two

Yesterday’s post, I talked about characteristics I look for in a musical character. But as the day went on, I realized I left off a characteristic that is highly important to a wonderful musical character. That characteristic would be strength.

Why do I look for strong musical characters? To me, strong and complex characteristics seem to go hand in hand with each other. The strong characters are the ones who go through some kind of conflict. Strong characters tend to be courageous as well.  Strong characters manage to somehow thrive no matter how tough their lives may be. Some strong characters as a matter of fact don’t have really tragic lives, but end up with inner conflict at some point into the story.

What are examples of strong characters? I find Young Cosette, Fantine, Eponine, Jean Valjean, Elphaba, Glinda, Belle and others as strong. Each of them are strong in their own way. They all are strong in various ways. Some of them are strong spiritually or emotionally. Something keeps them going in their lives, which could be something they believe in or even a person. It takes strength to make sacrifices and some of these characters have to sacrifice a lot in order to stay strong.

Fantine, Jean Valjean and Eponine sacrifice a lot for the ones they love. They do sacrifice happiness for either Cosette or Marius. Both Valjean and Fantine sacrifice for Cosette. Eponine sacrifices her happiness for Marius and that is an act of true love. Belle sacrifices her freedom in order to save her father from imprisonment in the Beast’s castle. Some strong characters don’t sacrifice, but still are strong.

Young Cosette stays strong through all the horrible abuse she faces at the hands of the Thenardiers and stays strong and gets through by imagining a better place. Even Eponine has to stay strong when she becomes horribly abused by her family and when they make her participate in their criminal schemes. Eponine’s strength is her love for Marius and he is the light of her life.

Elphaba has a very difficult life and stays strong and courageous and always stays true to herself and despite all of the discrimination she faces, she never abandons the cause she believes in.

What are some other strong characters? What do you think makes a strong character?

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?

King and I Review

Last night, I watched the movie of King and I. So far, I have not disliked a single Rodgers and Hammerstein musical. Coming into King and I, I already knew “Whistle a Happy Tune”, “Shall We Dance”, and “Getting to Know You”. I knew that Anna comes to Siam to teach the king’s several wives and children.

This movie was a really well-done movie. I really loved the character of Anna. She is such a strong-willed women and love that she learns to love all of the King’s children. She always has problems with the King since he is so stern and strict. The King is very stern and feels like Anna is a very difficult woman. This scenario reminds me of the Captain and Maria. In Sound of Music, the Captain is also strict and feels like Maria is a difficult woman. In both situations, the two learn to accept each other’s differences. But the main difference is that the Captain and Maria fall in love while the King and Anna don’t. I also loved the King’s children. Similar to Maria, Anna becomes a teacher which is like Maria becoming a governess.

The acting was incredible as well. The actors playing both Anna and the King of Siam were incredible. Both were believable in their roles. Even though the King and Anna never get into a romantic relationship, they still form some kind of relationship. There is a romantic relationship that happens in King and I, which is a sub-plot and that reminds me of two Rodgers and Hammerstein’s musicals. It has the tragic nature of the romance between Liat and Joe Cable and also reminds me of the relationship between Liesl and Raouf especially in the scene when one of the wives sneaks out to be with her boyfriend. All of the parallels that happen in Rodgers and Hammerstein musicals is interesting. Even though there happens to be parallels, the plots have never been predictable.

The costumes were incredible. The costumes shown on Anna and the King, his wives and children really show the difference in culture. The costumes of the King, his wives and the children had very colorful costumes. Anna’s costumes were more simple representing the fact that she is from England.

In this movie, you kind of learn about the culture of Siam. Some of the roles the King has does not make sense to me like why does the King’s head always have to higher than everyone else’s and why do children always have to bow to the king on the floor. Siam is current Thailand. I obviously loved the songs I knew coming into the musical, but I fell in love with some of the newly discovered ones.

So far, I have liked every single Rodgers and Hammerstein musical. My favorite one is still by far Sound of Music followed closely by South Pacific. They are one of my favorite composer and lyricist teams.

Be Strong, Be Brave, Trust the Lord

Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid. Do not be discouraged. For the Lord will be with you wherever you go.

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This quote is something that will help whenever we have a fear of failure. When you think you are not going to be successful, just remember that God will be with no matter what. He will never give up on you. Be strong and brave when you fall into hard times and even be strong and brave when you are not in hard times. Whenever you feel discouraged, try to look for the positive instead of the negative.

It is easy to not be strong or courageous when you are afraid of showing it. It is easy to not be brave when you think you don’t have much courage inside of you. Being discouraged way too much can lead you on a path of failure instead of a path of success. Don’t let your demons guide your life. Look to the Lord because he is always with us. He lives in us through the Holy Spirit.

 

The Strong Spirit

Dear Strong Spirit,

You are one of the best gifts that God gave me. I was called a rare bird today while volunteering at Loaves and Fishes. You are very infectious and help spread light. People truly radiate off of me, which in turn is radiated off of you. One of the best parts about you is the big heart that I have. I may be a college student, but I already realized my calling. I was called to help the homeless and those living in poverty. I realize that I would rather do a job that I love than do a job that makes a lot of money. You are truly beautiful and truly impact other people. I will always try to make you stronger and give you room to truly grow. I have realized that you are strong back in high school and glad I was able to notice that. Now you have been able to grow through my passion for volunteering, my club, and the Gathering. Due to you, I have been able to stay true to myself.