Catalyst Characters in Stories

There are several types of characters in books. They range from protagonists, antagonists, major characters, secondary characters, and minor characters. However, I believe some characters serve as catalyst characters, who are the reasons why a plot truly begins or maybe why the antagonists start to oppose the protagonist. Let me bring some examples.

Les Mis- Spoilers (I believe there are two)

The Bishop

Look, Valjean left prison as a hardened and angry man. Many people weren’t going to give him a chance just because he was a prisoner. No one would give him a job or giving him shelter or food, etc……They even were beating him up, which made Valjean even more angry at society.

Look what the bishop did- he gave him a place to stay and food to eat despite the fact that he was a convict. Despite all the compassion, Valjean still stole the bishop’s silver. However, when the police came back with Valjean and the bishop’s silver, the bishop lied to the police and said the silver was a gift, which left Valjean stunned. The bishop actually taught Valjean the ways of the Lord- mercy, compassion, and forgiveness. That explains the rest of Valjean’s actions- showing compassion to Fantine, turning himself in to protect an innocent man, mercy towards Javert, etc………..

Cosette

Why do you think I said there are two catalyst characters in Les Mis? Cosette is another catalyst character for Valjean. Cosette made a huge impact on Valjean’s life- Valjean literally promised her mother that he would raise Cosette as his own not knowing the huge impact Cosette would have on his life. Cosette would become the best thing in his life- explaining why he became such an overprotective father and why he rescued Marius from the barricades. He got to die with both Cosette and Marius by his side.

Tale of The Cattail Forest- my main WIP

Marge

It can be hard to say this at times, but Marge is my antagonist’s younger cousin. Unlike Sarge, she was born with a loving family. That resulted in Marge being Sarge’s easiest target and for her to be easily misunderstood by her own kind- all of that led to her having an incredible amount of wisdom and knowing how lonely Graysloup became. Once Sparkle, my main character, heard about the bleak situation going on in Graysloup, she decided to take action. Her first decision was to befriend Marge, and the rest of the story goes from there. Not only did she decide to befriend Marge, but she also made the decision for all the The Fairy Frogs to try to befriend all the Toads despite knowing how hard that would be.

What about you, do you understand the idea of catalyst characters?

Finale (Les Mis) Analysis

The Finale of Les Mis is one of the strongest finales in musical theatre. In my opinion, it is actually one of my favorite finales found in musical theatre. If you want to PROCEED, SPOILERS. It is the final death scene in Les Mis- it is actually when Valjean dies. The Finale is full of both heartbreak and hope. This song is a reprise of “Do You Hear the People Sing”, and this time, I believe it represents heaven. Through lyrics like “Even the Darkest Night will End and the Sun will Rise” and Tomorrow Comes”, there is a lot of hope found in this song.

And remember
The truth that once was spoken
To love another person
Is to see the face of God.

Do you hear the people sing
Lost in the valley of the night?
It is the music of a people
Who are climbing to the light.

For the wretched of the earth
There is a flame that never dies.
Even the darkest night will end
And the sun will rise.

They will live again in freedom
In the garden of the Lord.
We will walk behind the ploughshare;
We will put away the sword.
The chain will be broken
And all men will have their reward.

Will you join in our crusade?
Who will be strong and stand with me?
Somewhere beyond the barricade
Is there a world you long to see?
Do you hear the people sing?
Say, do you hear the distant drums?
It is the future that they bring
When tomorrow comes!

Will you join in our crusade?
Who will be strong and stand with me?
Somewhere beyond the barricade
Is there a world you long to see?
Do you hear the people sing?
Say, do you hear the distant drums?
It is the future that they bring
When tomorrow comes!

Tomorrow comes!

The picture below is something I painted, but it does show the finale from Les Mis.

Even though Valjean does die, he is still happy at the moment. That is because he got to see Cosette one last time. It is actually on the night of Cosette’s wedding, and the same night Marius discovered that Valjean saved him from the barricade. So, Marius was able to thank Valjean for saving his life. Valjean’s redemption is so strong at this moment- Fantine’s spirit escorts Valjean to heaven and is welcomed by the Bishop, who played a huge part in Valjean’s journey.

To Love Another Person is to see the Face of God

The lyrics above are the most famous lyrics from Les Mis. Look how many people showed love in Les Mis who did die. Valjean’s love for God and Cosette; Fantine’s love for Cosette, Eponine’s love for Marius despite it being unrequited; and The Friends of the ABC’s love for each other and the country. Even though Marius and Cosette lived, they have love for each other despite losing everyone that meant something to them.

A Heart Full of Love Analysis

When it comes to love triangles in musicals, the ones that automatically come to mind are the ones in Wicked, Phantom of the Opera, and Les Mis. A Heart Full of Love serves as the romantic duo in Les Mis- it is between Marius and Cosette, who are the two lovers.

(Marius)
A heart full of love
A heart full of song
I’m doing everything all wrong
Oh God, for shame
I do not even know your name
Dead Mad’moiselle
Won’t you say?
Will you tell?

(Cosette)
A heart full of love
No fear, no regret

(Marius)
My name is Marius Pontmercy

(Cosette)
And mine’s Cosette

(Marius)
Cosette, I don’t know what to say

(Cosette)
Then make no sound

(Marius)
I am lost

(Cosette)
I am found!

(Marius)
A heart full of light

(Cosette)
A night bright as day

(Marius)
And you must never go away
Cosette, Cosette

(Cosette)
This is a chain we’ll never break

(Marius)
Do I dream?

(Cosette)
I’m awake!

(Marius)
A heart full of love

(Eponine) He was never mine to lose

(Cosette)
A heart full of you

(Eponine) Why regret what could not be?

(Marius)
A single look and then I knew.

(Eponine) These are words he’ll never say

(Cosette)
I knew it too.

(Eponine) Not to me…

(Marius)
From today…

(Eponine) Not to me…

(Cosette)
Every day

(Eponine) Not for me…

(Cosette & Marius)
For it isn’t a dream

(Eponine) His heart full of love

(Cosette and Marius)
Not a dream

{Eponine) He will never

(Cosette and Marius)
After all!

(Eponine) Feel this way…

A Heart Full of Love, Les Mis

Yes, my love for Marius and Cosette is an unpopular opinion.Their relationship is so adorable and they help bring hope into Les Mis. That is why Marius had to survive the barricades. A Heart Full of Love may be the romantic duo, but it is clever towards the end when it becomes a trio. You already are feeling joy for Marius and Cosette, but at the same time you start to feel heartbroken for Eponine- that is what happens when the duet is turns into a trio. In the love triangle, my favorite character is Eponine, but I still love Marius and Cosette.

Classic Memory Prompt #4

  This is another prompt given by Classic Remarks. Yes, I skipped last week, but decided to do the one given for today. Who are some of your favorite classic couples? Here me out on this- I struggle with finding couples in books.

My Favorite Classic Couples:

Levin and Kitty- well, this couple is what me get through Anna Karenina. I really was enjoying the Levin and Kitty subplot even though I didn’t know why.

Marius and Cosette- yes, this is an unpopular opinion in both the musical and book. I have learned to love them a lot love over the years. So, why do I love this couple? For starters, I love both characters especially Marius.These two characters bring hope to this tragedy. People always say Cosette is boring, and that Marius is a jerk. That is so not true- Marius is flawed and deals with a lot. Marius is kind to Eponine, even she wouldn’t say that Marius is kind.

Marius is more complex then he appears. Look, Marius is kind, sweet, brave, and awkward. That awkwardness makes Marius even more charming- that is the newest characteristic I found in him. He now is almost a core favorite character. Yes, in the book and musical, some of his relationships are a little different. These two characters are so adorable, which really shows through Jillian Butler and Joshua Grosso. I got to see them twice ( 2017 and 2019), and Joshua treats falling in love with Cosette like “I don’t know what to do”, and in “A Little Fall of Rain”, he treats Eponine with a lot of compassion and waits till the end to show his heartbreak. There are reasons why those actors are my favorite Marius and Cosette pairing and individually.

Who else loves Marius and Cosette as a couple

CPCC- The In Between

After graduating from Fletcher, I did not want to go to Central Piedmont Community College. I really wanted to be at Gardner Webb- I knew I was meant to be there. However, I spent two years at community college, where there was actually some highlights.

Musicals

Godspell

Well, the very first musical I fell in love with during the college years was Godspell. CPCC did that production in my first semester- little did I know I would see some of those actors in future CPCC productions. What I remember about Godspell was some of the costumes: from hippie to a lady in a pink dress holding a star. My favorite song is “We Beseech Thee”. Godspell is one of two biblical musicals I love. I was recommended to watch Godspell because of my love for Stephen Schwartz.

Les Mis

Before Les Mis, I actually signed up to be an usher for CPCC. Due to that, I ended up seeing Les Mis three times (once with family and twice as an usher). I fell in love with Les Mis during my 1st year of college. CPCC did their production in November of 2013. Ryan Deal, my Valjean, was also Jesus in Godspell. Yes, this was a community college production, but I called it phenomenal. Halton Theater has both an orchestra and balcony- the orchestra is deep (I was sitting in row Q near the center when I saw Les Mis with my family). CPCC’S production of Les Mis was truly the motor for wanting to see the musical in London. Because of CPCC, I was able to start doing more in theater than just being in the audience.

For an extra credit assignment for my communication class, I ended up critiquing the actress, who played Eponine. That was because I really was still puzzled on why I love the character in the first place. Les Mis did start this pattern of seeing Les Mis every other year- each year was seen in different theaters (from Halton to Queen’s to Peace Center to Ovens). The reason why I saw the stage show six times was due to ushering.

Some Enchanted Evening

Once again, I was an usher. It is basically a concert that showcases songs from Rodgers and Hammerstein. My 2nd show I saw at Halton. This wouldn’t be the last time I saw some musical theatre production at CPCC. Those other musicals would happen after Gardner Webb.

Volunteering

I did end up volunteering. I was part of a service club, participated in Martin Luther King Day, and went on Alternative Spring Break. Martin Luther King Day means you literally show up at CPCC, and you are randomly assigned a service project- so you have to show up prepared for anything. Alternative Spring Break happened in Atlanta, Georgia: that was a mission trip. We did some things outside of volunteering: like visiting the Georgia Aquarium.

Classes

Why would I put down classes as one of the highlights? Well, there are some classes I am so glad I took at CPCC. My first round of history was one of them- I had to take my 2nd history class with Gardner Webb: their Western Civilization classes are much harder than CPCC’s. So at least I got one out of the way. I don’t know what made me take this class- psychology (that would eventually lead to taking Sociology at Gardner Webb).

In some ways, I learned more about acting in my Communications class: they did offer some extra credit assignments. One of which was to critique a sermon: I literally had to ask “can I critique an actor instead of a sermon”. Well, guess what- I did critique an actor: during Les Mis. The reason why I choose the actress, who played Eponine (Kayla Ferguson), was because I still could not quite understand why I even loved that character.

Musicals- the 2nd Round

Oklahoma

By this point, I already graduated from Gardner Webb. But, I still decided to see musicals at CPCC. After all, their musicals are always well-done. They combine students with professionals with the community. Oklahoma was a theater date with mom: we got seats in the balcony. Actors/actresses did move sets, which went smoothly. Two actors I had seen in Godspell were Laurey and Will Parker. People think Oklahoma is just about this dance social: but it actually is truly a love story between Curly and Laurey. Like any Rodgers and Hammerstein musical, there was a 2nd romance. Both of the couples were part of a love triangle. In addition, it is also about Oklahoma becoming a state.

Fun fact: Ashton Guthrie, who played Curly, would end up in another summer CPCC musical.

Grease

This time around, I went to see Grease with my sister and one of our friends. Once again, actors moved set pieces, which did flow smoothly. CPCC did get permission to use songs that were originally not part of the stage show. I just knew how different the stage show was when I heard the first song. There were a couple of new songs I never knew existed in Grease.

Newsies

Well, I had already seen Newsies by this point, but not with CPCC. I really wanted to see Newsies at CPCC, but as it got closer to when Newsies was playing at CPCC, It did feel like I wouldn’t see it. There was no sign of my parents getting tickets. When the last day of the production happened, I literally believed I wouldn’t be seeing the CPCC production.

However, things would come unexpected. One of my best friends from Gardner Webb just shown up at my house. I thought we were just going to go shopping. On the drive, she did ask what do you want to today: “I really wanted to see Newsies”. Guess what happened- the two of us ended up in the Will Call Line to pick up Newsies tickets. As a matter of fact, my friend hadn’t seen a stage show in years- so at intermission when the lights got on, she thought the show was over. I had to say, that is what happens at intermission: the lights go up.

Ashton Guthrie was Jack Kelly- I already saw him as Curly. Here is what I really loved about the casting of Crutchie: he was an actor of color. Jack and Crutchie are my favorite Newsies because of the intimate and deep bond those two have. The towers were still there, but had to be moved by actors/actresses: still flowed smoothly. While Joey Barreiro still remains my favorite Jack Kelly, Ashton was able to add a since of maturity in Jack. Jack is the Newsies leader so the mature nature I saw from Ashton worked for the character. I still felt innocence coming from the character- which did not show up until “Something to Believe In”. Like any CPCC musical, well-done. This was actually her graduation present to me: the best I had.

Due to seeing three CPCC productions over the summer, I was able to see five musicals in 2018: the other two were with Blumenthal.