Author Topic: Les Miserables  (Read 2928 times)

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Offline @random

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Les Miserables
« on: October 16, 2010, 10:58:32 am »
Okay, so... new thread, started from a tangent that started elsewhere and kept on growing.

~~~~~~~~~~

First, a random bit of good news if you still love Les Mis: It's coming to Portland next August.

~~~~~~~~~~

Hey man, Jean Valjean is AWESOME and I don't care if I have to be in jail/die, he gets pretty much one of the coolest rivalries EVER. COSETTE IS BORING ANYWAY

This is kinda off-topic, since it's not what grinds my gears, but a close friend absolutely HATES Cosette. You know how the musical has no clear villain, just "tyranny" itself? She says that Cosette is actually the villain: 1) Cosette causes the suffering of almost every major protagonist, and 2) her happiness typically comes at the expense of others.

I would totally, 100% agree with your friend. If Cosette hadn't been in the story things would have gone so much differently, and for the better.

Wrt the musical, I do technically agree. Fantine would have been sadder but wiser at the end of her affair, possibly marrying Valjean (who would have remained the good-hearted mayor of Montreuil-sur-Mer), all the people who worked for Valjean would have kept their jobs, and Eponine or Courfeyrac or Enjolras or whoever you ship might've had their happy ending with Marius. But see below for clarification.


): I liked Cosette. Eponine was crazy. And not in a good way.

BUT I STILL TOTALLY SHIP COURFEYRAC/MARIUS.

Wrt the book version of Eponine, I wholeheartedly agree. She was a stalker who you could feel really bad for... but she still was a stalker, and extremely out of touch with reality. My friend was saying this about the musical version of Cosette (the only one she was familiar with), because she sympathized with the musical's Eponine.

(It's been theorized that Hugo wrote her as half-crazy because the Marius/Cosette story was a roman a clef from his own life. Writing a book sympathizing with your wife's former love rival would be kindofa bad idea. But regardless, the book's Eponine barely resembles the musical's Eponine.)

Wrt the book version, I don't personally care for Cosette - but I recognize that she was written in the manner that women were expected to act. Hating her for that would be like criticizing Huck Finn for being a racist. By today's standards he is, but by the standards of the time he was practically an abolitionist.

Wrt the musical version of Cosette... to me she comes across as self-centered and vacuous, but my friend's analysis is unfair because it ignores the element of volition. Cosette was the agent of a whole lot of people's suffering, but there are only two cases where it was only caused by any choice she made. You can't really blame her for "stealing" Marius (like other things, love happens), or for not knowing how Valjean would misunderstand her white lie about the robbery.

*looks back up at how much he typed*

Er, sorry for the wall of text - Les Mis used to be one of my passions. I guess it still is. (^_^)
« Last Edit: October 16, 2010, 11:10:35 am by randompvg »
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Offline jaqua

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Re: Les Miserables
« Reply #1 on: October 16, 2010, 09:51:34 pm »
I have to admit that I've never read the novel, I've only ever seen the musical (and even then only once oh snap why did I get into this debate), but I have to say that during the musical Eponine was my favorite character, and I really felt like she and Marius would have had a stronger and longer-lasting connection.

WHEN I READ THE FORTY THOUSAND-PAGE NOVEL I'LL COME BACK WITH MORE REAL DEBATE MATERIAL 8|;

Offline superjaz

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Re: Les Miserables
« Reply #2 on: October 16, 2010, 10:13:12 pm »
Read the book but since then Gacktism has taken over my life so I instantly thought of his song "Mizerable"
It is my favorite
<3 <3 <3

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KLuOf9dtgIE&feature=related
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Offline sandrobotticelli

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Re: Les Miserables
« Reply #3 on: October 16, 2010, 11:48:57 pm »
Love Les Miserables. Love it, love it. It's my favorite book and I am SO EXCITED FOR THE MUSICAL IT'S NOT EVEN FUNNY. THE END.

I wasn't a huge fan of Cosette. I do have a friend that hates her, but I myself just didn't care for her all that much as a character and that was it. In a way she does tie in all the lives of the story or at least a good majority of the main characters, so she is a vital character to have; but it was unfortunate the unintentional suffering she caused for some of them.

As for Eponine, I really liked her. I know that she was a stalker and I'm not saying that was ok, but I did feel really bad for her and was really upset when she died. I guess I just almost always feel bad for the characters who suffer from unrequited love. Now, I wasn't a huge fan of Marius, but I did understand that he was a "miserable" as well and did suffer. 

Also, I saw the movie Les Miserables with Liam Neeson not to long ago and was furious when they didn't have Eponine in the movie. Like, at all.
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Offline @random

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Re: Les Miserables
« Reply #4 on: October 19, 2010, 10:45:44 am »
I have to admit that I've never read the novel, I've only ever seen the musical (and even then only once oh snap why did I get into this debate), but I have to say that during the musical Eponine was my favorite character, and I really felt like she and Marius would have had a stronger and longer-lasting connection.

WHEN I READ THE FORTY THOUSAND-PAGE NOVEL I'LL COME BACK WITH MORE REAL DEBATE MATERIAL 8|;

Please don't worry about needing to be "qualified" to talk about something you like. If that were necessary we couldn't have anime conventions, since almost no one has seen even a tenth of what's out there. You don't have to be an expert on Les Mis to love it, any more than you need to have watched 5000 hours of anime before you're allowed to come to a con.  ;)

Sometimes it's good just to trade experiences with people who care about the same subject, you know? Not to mention that the book is simply a different story than the musical. It's not intrinsically better or worse - just different.

Fair warning, you're quite right about how tough it can be to wade through the book. Victor Hugo sometimes goes on wild tangents, and doesn't stop for several pages. Heck, most editions cut out a couple of entire chapters for being pointless filler. Seriously, if you do read it and start getting bored, don't hesitate to flip pages until you get past the filler.

But there are also plenty of times when you'll be unable to put the book down - and it can make you think really hard about what you consider to be social justice. Despite the gap of 150 years, a lot of the issues today are not much different than when Hugo wrote about them.

(And for the record, I'm a pretty big fan of Eponine myself, book or no book. "On My Own" and "A Little Fall of Rain" can still make me tear up, despite seeing the show almost a dozen times and listening to the CDs hundreds of times.)


Read the book but since then Gacktism has taken over my life so I instantly thought of his song "Mizerable"
It is my favorite
<3 <3 <3

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KLuOf9dtgIE&feature=related

Wow. :o That's the kind of tonal quality I'm used to hearing out of seiyuu doing tunes in a studio. Thank you for the link.


Love Les Miserables. Love it, love it. It's my favorite book and I am SO EXCITED FOR THE MUSICAL IT'S NOT EVEN FUNNY. THE END.

If enough people chime in, maybe we can start yet another thread in Plan Your Own Adventure and get a whole group to go? (^_^)


Also, I saw the movie Les Miserables with Liam Neeson not to long ago and was furious when they didn't have Eponine in the movie. Like, at all.

The movie wasn't bad, but it still pissed me off somehow. It seemed like they were trying too hard to make it "realistic", and killed all the feeling in the process.

Do I remember correctly that they dumped not only Eponine, but also Gavroche and the students (except for blink-and-you'll-miss-them cameos)?
« Last Edit: October 19, 2010, 10:49:17 am by randompvg »
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Offline MiriaRose

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Re: Les Miserables
« Reply #5 on: October 19, 2010, 10:42:43 pm »
): I liked Cosette. Eponine was crazy. And not in a good way.

BUT I STILL TOTALLY SHIP COURFEYRAC/MARIUS.

Wrt the book version of Eponine, I wholeheartedly agree. She was a stalker who you could feel really bad for... but she still was a stalker, and extremely out of touch with reality. My friend was saying this about the musical version of Cosette (the only one she was familiar with), because she sympathized with the musical's Eponine.

(It's been theorized that Hugo wrote her as half-crazy because the Marius/Cosette story was a roman a clef from his own life. Writing a book sympathizing with your wife's former love rival would be kindofa bad idea. But regardless, the book's Eponine barely resembles the musical's Eponine.)

Wrt the book version, I don't personally care for Cosette - but I recognize that she was written in the manner that women were expected to act. Hating her for that would be like criticizing Huck Finn for being a racist. By today's standards he is, but by the standards of the time he was practically an abolitionist.

Wrt the musical version of Cosette... to me she comes across as self-centered and vacuous, but my friend's analysis is unfair because it ignores the element of volition. Cosette was the agent of a whole lot of people's suffering, but there are only two cases where it was only caused by any choice she made. You can't really blame her for "stealing" Marius (like other things, love happens), or for not knowing how Valjean would misunderstand her white lie about the robbery.[/quote]
Actually, I never saw the musical. I only read the book, so perhaps I'm not qualified to give an answer on this.

But I liked Cosette, in the book. You're right, she did go along with how women in society were expected to act, but I couldn't dislike her. I had no reason to. I thought she was a likable character, and I felt bad for her, especially because IIRC Eponine treats her like crap when they live together.
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Offline @random

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Re: Les Miserables
« Reply #6 on: October 21, 2010, 08:26:22 am »
Actually, I never saw the musical. I only read the book, so perhaps I'm not qualified to give an answer on this.

But I liked Cosette, in the book. You're right, she did go along with how women in society were expected to act, but I couldn't dislike her. I had no reason to. I thought she was a likable character, and I felt bad for her, especially because IIRC Eponine treats her like crap when they live together.

If it makes sense, I don't think my "didn't care for her" is very much different from your "couldn't dislike her". I'd probably feel almost exactly the same as you if I'd read the book first, given my soft spot for characters who get hurt without deserving it.

It's not that I actively dislike the book's version of Cosette, it's that I didn't think there was really a lot there to like or dislike. To me, she was more of an object (of others' affections, admiration, or abuse) than she was an independent character. You could even read her as being a direct symbol of "the goodwill of others" in terms of how characters relate to her. Fantine spends her life futilely trying to reclaim her, the Thenardiers abuse her, Valjean cherishes and protects her, the convent refines her, the cavalry officer (i.e. the army) tries and fails to win her attention, Marius falls in love with the abstract idea of her, Eponine has seen almost nothing of her and doesn't understand her, Javert has no comprehension of her even when he sees her, etc.
« Last Edit: October 21, 2010, 08:27:28 am by randompvg »
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Offline RemSaverem

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Re: Les Miserables
« Reply #7 on: October 21, 2010, 11:02:52 am »
[snip].... She was more of an object (of others' affections, admiration, or abuse) than she was an independent character. You could even read her as being a direct symbol of "the goodwill of others" in terms of how characters relate to her. Fantine spends her life futilely trying to reclaim her, the Thenardiers abuse her, Valjean cherishes and protects her, the convent refines her, the cavalry officer (i.e. the army) tries and fails to win her attention, Marius falls in love with the abstract idea of her, Eponine has seen almost nothing of her and doesn't understand her, Javert has no comprehension of her even when he sees her, etc.

*nods*
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« Last Edit: October 21, 2010, 11:03:24 am by RemSaverem »
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