Favorite Character From Les Misérables

I absolutely loved reading and watching Les Misérables (I'd even go so far as to say it's one of my favorite novels ever) and I wanted to see what other Nerdfighters thought of it, specifically what their favorite characters are.

I'll get the ball rolling by saying my favorite character is Javert. Now, I know he's supposed to be the villain in the book/movie/play, but he is actually just trying to keep France a just and law-abiding place. Of course he is obsessed with Jean Valjean, but that's just because he sees the world in black and white. He has a clearly defined vision of what's evil and a clearly defined vision of what's good. At the beginning of the book, he puts Jean Valjean in the evil category because in the eyes of the law, which is basically Javert's moral code, Jean Valjean is evil. 

However, after Jean Valjean decides to put aside his stealing past and follow the priest's advice to go down the path of righteousness, Javert is left utterly confused. This confusion furthers after Jean Valjean spares his life near the end. And this is ultimately why he committed suicide, because the world had become muddled and gray, the way that everyone else sees it. "Evil" people can change and that was just too much for Javert.

Anyway, the reason that he's my favorite is because if you think about it, Javert is just doing his job, which goes to show that his job (i.e. the law he was repressing at that time) is flawed and not just.

Comments

  • CaitRoseCaitRose IndianapolisPosts: 887 ✭✭✭
    (I'm not even going to discuss the book. sorry, it's a great story and everything, it's just SO poorly written. The reason is because the author was paid by the word so, similarly to when you have to write a three page essay with only a page or two to say on the subject, he filled it with a lot of extra words. Don't get me wrong, it's a touching story that makes me cry, it's just really poorly written. (this is my respectful opinion, feel free to disagree with me.) That's why I prefer the musical. It takes the story and frees it from the bonds of this poorly written book. anyway...)

    Gavroche is definitely my favorite. He's so brave, even though he's just this tiny kid. He understands perfectly what his country is going through despite being a child, and is willing to sacrifice his life for it.

    I also (respectfully) disagree with your interpretation of Javert's death. When Jean Valjean spares his life, Javert realizes that the "criminal" he spent his whole life persecuting is a better man than him, because if their places had been reversed, Javert definitely would not have spared Jean Valjean's life. Javert spent his whole life following the rules put down by the law, and when he realized that he had spent his whole life doing the wrong thing when he believed it was right, he was torn apart. The whole song "Stars" was about how he had tried to do the right thing his whole life, but he was still doing evil. That's what I thought, anyway. Again, feel free to disagree.
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  • I_am_a_LAMPI_am_a_LAMP NorCalPosts: 25

    My favorite character (in the musical, I have no intention of reading the book and Cait does an excellent job of explaining why) is Enjolras. He's brave and often gorgeous with the best ideals and is an extremely passionate man.

    I Love Gavroche also! he's this adorable little spitfire who thinks he can do anything. (unfortunately he cant)

    But I'm going to expand on your question and tell you my favorite actors in various roles because that's important to me.

    The PBS 25th Anniversary of Les Mis is my favorite version musically (with the exception of Nick Jonas) I think they did an excellent job.  Rami Karimloo is a vocal god and I was so happy to hear that gorgeous tenor take Enjolras' spirit to new heights.  Alfie Boe does an amazing job as well and his angelic voice just reaches into my soul and tears me apart every time. 

    Now here's a question to you guys, how do you feel about Colm Wilkinson's voice?? Personally, it's not my favorite. I can see how that gruff, raspy, British sound could be pleasing to the ears, I really can, that's just not the case with me. My favorite is actually someone you guys will probably never see. His name is Adam Cambell. I've known this man since I was seven and he's been a mentor to me ever since. The theater company where I met him put on Les Mis last year and he was even better than Alfie in my opinion. He really is Fabulous.

  • BluegrassBluegrass DenverPosts: 9
    I tried reading the book but I just couldn't do it.  Most of the book was superfluous at best.

    As for my favorite character, it changes every time I watch the musical.  Right now I have to Enjolras as well.  I love when a character is passionate and determined with a set of ideals they are willing to live and die for.

    The movie is probably my least favorite rendition, though it's not horrible there's an argument to be made that songs should be sung to their full potential. I did love the 25th Anniversary presentation but nothing so far can beat it live on stage.

    “How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world.” ~Anne Frank

  • CaitRoseCaitRose IndianapolisPosts: 887 ✭✭✭
    @Bluegrass really? I liked the movie. I know that it is not the same as watching it on stage, but the casting was fabulous. Everone's voices were gorgeous (even, though most people don't like him, Javert. I thought that was cast perfectly, though you may disagree) and everything was recorded live on set (not in a studio, therefore making it more honest and more like the stage musical)

    This is why I like Nerdfighters. Being people of an intellectual sort, we can respectfully disagree with each other without getting all upset and taking everything personally. :)
    J-J-J-U-N! I-I-O-R-S! J-U-N-I-O-R-S! Juniors, Juniors, Juniors!
    I-N T-H-E H-O-U-S-E! In the house! In the house! Juniors in the house!!!
    NCHS class of 2016!!!!
  • beschwipst_hasebeschwipst_hase OhioPosts: 106 ✭✭
    In the book: Valjean or Marius
    In the movie/musical: Javert
  • beschwipst_hasebeschwipst_hase OhioPosts: 106 ✭✭
    The movie was cast excellently. Samantha was born to play Eponnine, and if anyone else played her I wouldn't have paid to see it in theaters 4 times. Russel Crowe was amazing as Javert, but most of my friends thought that he did horribly at the role, which I completely disagreed with. They said that he was emotionless, but he was supposed to be. In most of his songs he was a solider, and he was only supposed to be vulnerable before he jumped off the bridge, which he preformed perfectly. I wasn't thrilled with Hugh Jackman's performance, but you are always biased to your first Valjean. My first Valjean was Alfie Boe.
  • beschwipst_hasebeschwipst_hase OhioPosts: 106 ✭✭
    CaitRose said:
    (I'm not even going to discuss the book. sorry, it's a great story and everything, it's just SO poorly written. The reason is because the author was paid by the word so, similarly to when you have to write a three page essay with only a page or two to say on the subject, he filled it with a lot of extra words. Don't get me wrong, it's a touching story that makes me cry, it's just really poorly written. (this is my respectful opinion, feel free to disagree with me.) That's why I prefer the musical. It takes the story and frees it from the bonds of this poorly written book. anyway...)

    Gavroche is definitely my favorite. He's so brave, even though he's just this tiny kid. He understands perfectly what his country is going through despite being a child, and is willing to sacrifice his life for it.

    I also (respectfully) disagree with your interpretation of Javert's death. When Jean Valjean spares his life, Javert realizes that the "criminal" he spent his whole life persecuting is a better man than him, because if their places had been reversed, Javert definitely would not have spared Jean Valjean's life. Javert spent his whole life following the rules put down by the law, and when he realized that he had spent his whole life doing the wrong thing when he believed it was right, he was torn apart. The whole song "Stars" was about how he had tried to do the right thing his whole life, but he was still doing evil. That's what I thought, anyway. Again, feel free to disagree.
    You're allowed your own opinion, and I'm not trying to take that away from you, but I have to defend Victor Hugo. When he wrote the book, that was just how people wrote. Also, he wrote it in French, and as a French student, I can say that the French language very rarely translates nicely into English.
  • I_am_a_LAMPI_am_a_LAMP NorCalPosts: 25

    @Bluegrass Totally agree with you that the movie is my least favorite. but it's hard to not love even the least favorite of productions because it's Les Mis and will always be powerful and intense no matter who puts it on.

    that being said, I also agree with  @CaitRose I think the casting was beautifully done. I loved what they did and thought the did an amazing job for what they were up against. My one complaint about  the movie was that Eponine was not at Jean Val Jean's death. the harmony between her and Fantine is one of my all time favorite parts in the whole show and I was very disappointed that it was excluded.

  • I_am_a_LAMPI_am_a_LAMP NorCalPosts: 25

    beschwipst_hase    I've gotta disagree with you about the First-Val-Jean-Bias Theory. Mine was Colm and still have found over and over again that others do it better. I do however have a different Bias Theory.

    I believe that when you see a play live originally, that the music and lines delivered will always be superior in your mind on that day, that first experience than any time you see it afterward. Thoughts??

  • I_am_a_LAMPI_am_a_LAMP NorCalPosts: 25
       French student, I can say that the French language very rarely translates nicely into English.
    I CONCURE WHOLEHEARTEDLY!  (le petit prince is the only exception)
  • BluegrassBluegrass DenverPosts: 9
    @CaitRose I thought they did a good job casting the movie the only one I really didn't like was Colette but I'm not sure if I disliked the casting or the character.  Probably the character though as I do like Amanda Seyfried in other movies and enjoyed her singing in Mamma Mia. (Sorry.  Tangent.  Anyway...)  I liked the casting for Javert and for Eponine especially but I wasn't a fan of the live recording.  It was, as you said, more honest but the songs are so beautiful I had a hard time reconciling the movie renditions with what I was expecting having seen the musical in the past.  It definitely made me biased against the movie but I still thoroughly enjoyed it.  The fact that they put their own spin on the songs worked well in that context but I will always prefer to see Les Mis on stage whenever possible. @I_am_a_LAMP this kinda draws off your response too.

    “How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world.” ~Anne Frank

  • beschwipst_hasebeschwipst_hase OhioPosts: 106 ✭✭

    beschwipst_hase    I've gotta disagree with you about the First-Val-Jean-Bias Theory. Mine was Colm and still have found over and over again that others do it better. I do however have a different Bias Theory.

    I believe that when you see a play live originally, that the music and lines delivered will always be superior in your mind on that day, that first experience than any time you see it afterward. Thoughts??

    Yeah I'd agree with that except when I first saw it live, it was with some not very good actors/actresses, but idk.
  • KritikalKritikal Boise, IdahoPosts: 250 ✭✭
    I GET TO GO SEE IT AGAIN THIS SATURDAY!!!! YAY!!!! I LOVE LES MIS!!!!

    My favorite character is Enrojlas Enrjyolas Enrolas Enjolras (I don't speak french). I love his bravery and how determined his actions were in the face of their futility. Viewed objectively, it's just stupidity but I'm a hopeless romantic and so I love it.
    I don't want the world, I just want your half.
  • JustinSwanJustinSwan Posts: 165 ✭✭✭
    A tie between Eponine and Javert. Javert because he's just so tragic. He was raised in the lower echelons of society, amidst the criminal class he comes to hate so much. He becomes a very rigid, "the law is the law" inspector to bring impose order on the chaotic underbelly of society--which he knows better than most. He spends years hunting Valjean, thinking he's another worthless criminal. When Valjean spares Javert's life, the foundation upon which he built his morals, his views, his life, is destroyed. A criminal showing compassion? Showing humanity in an instance where even he, the supposedly upstanding moral bastion of an inspector, would not? He realizes how wrong he has been, and this allows doubt to creep into his mind--which is his downfall. Having lived his entire life based on moral absolutes, ambiguity is too much to bear. He can't bend, so he breaks.

    Eponine because I think she was so much better for Marius. I'm not a fan of the love-at-first-sight whirlwind romance between Marius and Cosette. Eponine is better fleshed out as a character and far more likeable.
    “But I will say this: When the scientists of the future show up at my house with robot eyes and they tell me to try them on, I will tell the scientists to screw off, because I do not want to see a world without him.” 
    ― John GreenThe Fault in Our Stars
  • CaitiecatCaitiecat Posts: 1
    Eponine, or Fantine, or Marius, or Cosette,or Javert, or... well you get the idea. Any way, can you help me try to think of a Les Miserables wall paper? I can't find anything. :-(
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