This is actually my 1st Guest Post. I choose to do Celeste first because of how important she was and still is important to my blogging journey. Celeste actually was my first blogger who really became my first amazing faithful follower to my blog- as in liking, reading, and commenting on my posts. I believe she really was the first dedicated follower to my blog.The two of us formed an incredible relationship.
Yes, while Celeste no longer has a blog, I am glad she decided to stay on wordpress. One thing the two of us share in common with musical theatre is loving both Marius and Raoul. I wanted to see her thoughts on the characters.
Celeste’s Post: Possible Spoilers Ahead
Meg asked me to write a post about the characters Raoul and Marius from The Phantom of the Opera and Les Misérables, respectively. Like Meg, I love these two characters very much. Particularly in the case of Raoul, I would go so far as to say that he’s my favorite character in his musical. I guess that a major reason why I find myself being so outspoken about my love for Raoul and Marius is because I think that a majority people who are fans of their respective stories don’t like them very much.
I won’t get too much into all of the reasons that I’ve heard for people disliking these characters, but I think that one of the main ones I see come up time and again is that people don’t like the romantic pairings that they each end up in. In the case of Marius, people feel like he made a poor choice in choosing Cosette. In Raoul’s case, people don’t like that Christine chose him instead of the Phantom.
While, personally, I like both the Marius x Cosette and Raoul x Christine pairings, I also think that both Marius and Raoul are outstanding characters outside of the romances they are tied to.
Particularly in the case of Marius, we see a character for whom romance is only one part of his storyline. He’s a character who, like everyone else in Les Misérables, suffers. He suffers rejection from his grandfather. He suffers the loss of his friends. While it ends up all right in the end, he also thinks for a time that he’s lost Cosette. Throughout it all, though, Marius is kind, loving, and courageous. Marius, in my opinion, is one of the characters that the audience is supposed to feel the most sympathetic towards throughout the whole musical. “Empty Chairs at Empty Tables” is, for me anyways, one of the single most emotional songs/scenes in Les Misérables. He’s haunted by the memory of his friends and their deaths. He’s haunted by their dreams which have been left unrealized and unfulfilled. He has to grapple with the fact that he “live[s] and [they] are gone.” There have been times that I’ve watched or listened to Les Misérables and have cried almost all the way through. “Empty Chairs at Empty Tables” is, however, amongst all that sadness and pain one of the saddest moments for me.
When it comes to Raoul, we have a character whose role is much more firmly tied to the romance of the musical. Raoul’s role in The Phantom of the Opera is mostly relegated to being Christine’s love interest. I suppose it makes sense, then, that people who don’t like the “Raoulstine” pairing aren’t big fans of Raoul. I, personally, find him an admirable and sweet character, and I think that that is manifested very clearly throughout his actions in the musical and I do love the Christine x Raoul love story. Raoul is someone whom, perhaps, some people find a little boring. Personally, I don’t find him boring. I think he’s very brave, sweet, and kind. Raoul isn’t, of course, a perfect character. He does have moments where he fails to truly listen to Christine and/or believe what she’s saying. Despite these failings, however, Raoul is quick to comfort Christine and to try to help her. “All I Ask of You” is a song that is really meant, initially, to comfort Christine. He starts off telling her that he’s there for her, and Christine finds reassurance in him being there. She wants him to assure her of his love for her, because she feels safe with him and trusts him deeply. Christine knows that Raoul is someone who wants to provide her with what she needs and wants, while the Phantom is not so willing to do this. Christine says in “All I Ask of You,” “All I want is freedom….” As we see in the ending sequence of the musical, the Phantom denies her requests for freedom until the very last moment where he lets her go. Raoul, in the meantime, was willing to die for Christine to be able to have the freedom he knew she so desperately wanted. In “Down Once More/Track Down This Murderer,” when the Phantom makes Christine choose between marrying him (the Phantom) or having Raoul die, Raoul sings, “Christine, say no! Don’t throw your life away for my sake. I fought so hard to free you…” Raoul’s life is on the line, and all he’s thinking about is Christine’s freedom. For all that Raoul may have failed to listen at other points in the musical, it’s clear that he was listening when Christine was telling him what she wanted: her freedom. The Phantom doesn’t truly understand this until the end of the musical, and perhaps not even then. While “All I Ask of You” is definitely one of the best Raoul moments in the musical, I personally think his strongest moment is in the final sequence because we see there the fulfillment of what was being sung about in “All I Ask of You.”
Both Raoul and Marius are, I believe, noble and kind characters. That, above anything else is what makes me love them so much. If anything, all of the hate that they receive almost makes me feel compelled to love them even more! I still think that if I were to make any changes to The Phantom of the Opera, I would probably give Raoul a solo song. This, I think, would probably make him more sympathetic to a lot of audience members who may still not like him, but might feel their hearts soften to him a little bit. I think that both Raoul and Marius are such sweet characters and I’m always happy to talk about how much I love them!
This is actually a post I wrote about the two of them: back to me. Like Celeste, it has been made known that I love Marius and Raoul.