On November 11th, it is time to honor Veterans. It actually reminds me of the song, “Bring Him Home”, from Les Mis. After all, one of the subplots in the musical focuses on The June Rebellion of the 1832- The Friends of the ABC are the ones planning the uprising, who have a strong hope and passion for it. When does “Bring Him Home” happen?
The song happens during one of the barricade scenes. Valjean decided to be the at the barricades to protect Marius, the student his adopted daughter loves. He cares more about Cosette’s happiness than his own. “Bring Him Home” is sung as a prayer to make sure Marius comes out alive. You don’t realize how heartbreaking the song is until you know the outcome of the uprising- in the end, Marius becomes the only survivor (a result of Valjean saving him)
Romance does show up in two forms in musicals. Either they show up through an individual couple or happen by a love triangle. A love triangle forms when three people are involved—-so someone gets unrequited love, a heartbreaking situation to end up in. Some of those love triangles are weak whiles others are strong. So, what are some of my favorite love triangles?
This love triangle in found in the musical, Phantom of the Opera. It actually is the prime focus of the musical. Christine and Raoul are the couple while The Phantom has the unrequited love. The Phantom responds poorly to unrequited love- acts in revenge and doesn’t accept it. At least Raoul treats Christine better- they deserve to be together.
It is a mysterious and angelic love triangle. “All I Ask of You” is one of the most beautiful love songs in musical theatre.
This trio is found in Les Misérables, and one of my favorite subplots. Marius and Cosette are such an adorable couple and bring hope to the story—-by the way, Marius is actually my favorite survivor in Les Mis. Cosette is supposed to represent hope and light, and Marius is kind, compassionate, and loving. By the way, he is a good friend to Eponine and is worried about (I think that was why he sent her away from the barricade and why he asked why she came back).
Eponine is meant to have the unrequited love, and Marius is the light of her life. She has one of the BEST stories of unrequited love in musical theatre. The way she responds to it is incredible- she accepts it, and risks her life several times for Marius. That explains why she even goes to the barricades- to make sure he is safe- she doesn’t mind sacrificing her life her him. True, her death is heartbreaking in more ways than one- first she is dying and he is devastated, but at least she is happy due to being in the arms of Marius (“A Little Fall of Rain” is such a touching and moving scene).
These three make up my favorite love triangle, which is found in Wicked. First, it is the first one I emotionally bonded to—meaning I first became aware of the concept due to it. Second- my favorite musical theatre character is a part of it. Third- the level of complexity it is. Of ALL love triangles in musical theatre I have come across, Wicked has the most complex one.
Explain the unrequited love situation——-not easy to do. Elphaba originally has unrequited love for Fiyero (“I’m Not That Girl”). But there were clues prior to the scene that maybe Fiyero has a crush on her- look carefully at the Lion Cub Scene and the scenes that follow “I’m Not That Girl”. This love triangle seems to develop in the same way the characters do- the love triangle truly matures when the characters do. In act II, there is an unrequited love switch- now Glinda is dealing with it (“I’m Not That Girl (Reprise)”).
In my opinion, the love triangle strengthens the friendship between Elphaba and Glinda. How far will they go to keep friendship alive. Look how they BOTH responded to unrequited love—–they didn’t try to steal Fiyero away. So they wouldn’t let a boy get in between them. So, it really tests their loyalty if you think about it.
This Marius’ solo in Les Mis, and happens after the uprising.
There’s a grief that can’t be spoken There’s a pain goes on and on Empty chairs at empty tables Now my friends are dead and gone
Here they talked of revolution Here it was they lit the flame Here they sang about tomorrow And tomorrow never came
From the table in the corner They could see a world reborn And they rose with voices ringing And I can hear them now
The very words that they had sung Became their last communion On this lonely barricade At dawn
Oh my friends, my friends forgive me That I live and you are gone There’s a grief that can’t be spoken There’s a pain goes on and on
Phantom faces at the window Phantom shadows on the floor Empty chairs at empty tables Where my friends will meet no more
Oh my friends, my friends Don’t ask me what your sacrifice was for Empty chairs at empty tables Where my friends will sing no more
This song is quite devastating in so many ways. Marius is the only survivor of the barricades- he had to lose all of his friends during the uprising. In the song, he is dealing with survivor’s guilt. All he has left in his life is Cosette, the love of his life. He doesn’t understand why he lives and why all of his friends are gone. So much trauma he had to face. In the song, you really did to see just how unsuccessful the uprising was- considering that only Marius lived. Marius, as a matter of fact, is my favorite survivor from Les Mis.
While Les Mis is tragic and heartbreaking, one of its biggest takeaways is hope. One of the strongest places where you notice this spiritual theme is found in the Friends of the ABC. They are an incredible group of characters.
The Friends of the ABC is literally a political group of college students led by Enjolras. They are planning an uprising due to a weak government. They have such a strong brotherly bond that they feel like family. Of everyone in the group, Enjolras is the most passionate. They have a strong passion and hope- you really feel it the strongest during “Do you Hear the People Sing”, their revolutionary number.
Even during the uprising, you still can see their passion even at their most vulnerable moments- as shown in “Drink with Me”- during that number, you can tell they know they are going to lose and most likely die, but you really can strongly feel their brotherly bond. Marius, at the moment, has already gone through one tragedy at the barricade- as in he has already lost Eponine (she meant something to him), and still devastated and worried about whether or not we will see Cosette again. Even when Enjolras gives them a chance to leave, they still put despite knowing they are going to die- they still have hope even at that moment.
Even the Darkest Night will End and the Sun will Rise
When I think of Veteran’s Day, I usually am thinking about the uprising in Les Mis. Enjolras, Marius, and the students have such a strong friendship that they feel like family. They have so much passion and hope.
God on high Hear my prayer In my need You have always been there
He is young He’s afraid Let him rest Heaven blessed Bring him home Bring him home Bring him home
He’s like the son I might have known If God had granted me a son The summers die One by one How soon they fly On and on And I am old And will be gone
Bring him peace Bring him joy He is young He is only a boy
You can take You can give Let him be Let him live If I die, let me die Let him live Bring him home Bring him home Bring him home
The song, “Bring Him Home”, takes place during Act II at the barricades. It is sung by Valjean and is one of his strongest spiritual moments. He is praying to God to make sure Marius, the young man his adopted daughter loves, survives. Valjean loves Cosette so much that he is really to sacrifice his happiness for her own. The song really shows just how much Valjean loves God. It is such a heartbreaking, soulful, and spiritual song- in so many ways, it is pretty much a prayer. Even though Valjean barley knew Marius, he knew that Marius had to live for the sake of Cosette.
As a matter of fact, the song becomes heartbreaking after the first viewing. Once you know the outcome of the uprising, it changes the emotion of “Bring Him Home”. True, Marius does survive, but Valjean has to rescue him after he was seriously injured. Here is what was really sad about the uprising- Marius was the only one who lived (Eponine, Gavroche, and the rest of the students all died during the uprising). All of those who died on the barricade meant something to Marius, and he had to lose everyone: now all he has left is Cosette. That is what makes “Bring Him Home” such a heartbreaking song.