What makes a character Strong

When I look at musical theatre character, one of the key characteristics I want is strength. What do those characters have in common?

Bravery:

It seems that a lot of them are actual brave characters. They are fighters. They have something to fight for- it can be their country, a loved one, etc. Some of them have tough and difficult lives. Some are them are actually tragic characters.

Vulnerability:

They are for sure vulnerable. It has to do with the life and what they are dealing with at the moment. They have someone or someones up against them that made them vulnerable in the first place. If they fall in love, vulnerability gets added up, in particular if it will NOT end well (tragic love stories and unrequited love).

Complex:

Strong characters tend to be complex. What does complex mean exactly in a character? It means they have layers. That means there is a lot to them. They have a lot of depth meaning there are many ways to portray them.That is one of the reasons why I love combining actors/actresses portrayals in order to create one character. Backstory can play a huge role in complexity. Complex characters are the most likely to express both positive and negative emotions due to what they have experienced. The complex characters have the highest chance of being relatable and to form an emotional connection with.

Flawed:

You might be asking, how can someone who is strong be flawed. Well, part of being vulnerable is being human and part of being human is being flawed. They are more likely to be hurt emotionally if they did have a horrible past- true, not all strong characters have a horrible past, but a good number did. The strong characters know how to thrive even in the most unfortunate of circumstances. Vulnerable and flawed really do go hand in hand if you think about it.

Thriving:

This kind of goes back to the bravery concept. Those strong characters know how to thrive even when things KEEP on throwing them back. Like I said, they are fighters. They try so hard to keep going even when someone is taking advantage of them. Their fates do vary- yes, I said they know how to thrive and keep on climbing back up, but sometimes some of them get killed off while others are the survivors.

Who is Jean Valjean?

Jean Valjean is the protagonist of the musical, Les Misérables. He is one of the most complex protagonists in musical theatre who goes on quite a journey from the beginning of the musical to the end.

Jean Valjean is an ex-convict who stole a loaf of bread to feed his family, which put him to prison for 5 years, but for trying to escape 14 more years. So for a minor crime, he was imprisoned for 19 years. He entered prison as a good man, but being in prison hardened him, and he left prison full of hate and anger. Jean Valjean is known for his physical strength.

Once he realized how unfairly society treats him, his soul fills up with even more anger and hates society even more. But he is given kindness by the bishop. Despite being given food and shelter, Valjean still steals from him. But the bishop forgives him and says all the silver was a gift.

So due to the mercy given by the bishop, Valjean realizes that he can change. He starts to treat people with compassion. He opens up a factory and shows compassion to the poor. So Valjean’s transformation begins to show. Valjean’s journey is a spiritual one. Valjean ends up helping Fantine, one of his former factory workers, Fantine, who has unjustly been fired from his factory. She had to turn to prostitution to provide for her daughter. Valjean prevents her from being arrested and sends her to the hospital. Valjean even turns himself in when an innocent man is believed to be “Valjean”. In an act of compassion, Valjean actually agrees to care for Fantine’s daughter, Cosette. So Valjean continues to act by the example set by the bishop.

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Cosette is the first person Valjean loved after being released. He feels like a true father to Cosette. Cosette was a broken child before. Valjean knows that caring for Cosette will be dangerous due to being an ex-convict, but he keeps to his word. Yes, he over-protects and shelters her, but I do not blame him in the danger of being sent back to prison. His love for Cosette makes him a kinder and better person. His love for Cosette is shown in different ways. He goes as far as rescuing Marius, who Cosette loves, from the barricades to show his love for his adopted daughter. This act of sacrifice shows that Valjean has some kind of courage. He may not tell Cosette about his past, but he is an incredible father. He saves Marius from being killed at the barricades.

He does shows the importance of forgiving our enemies. In one scene, he forgives Javert. In that scene, he was supposed to kill Javert, but instead lets Javert go and shows Javert forgiveness and mercy. This happened at the barricades.

In the end, even though Valjean dies, he dies with Cosette and Marius, his now son-in-law, by his side. Jean Valjean is an incredible character. He starts out as this harsh, angry, and hateful man and turns into this compassionate, loving, and caring man. Becoming a father to Cosette was such an important to his journey. One word for his journey: redemption. Valjean’s journey is a huge reason why I love Les Misérables.

Eponine’s Strong Love for Marius

It is quite fitting that for the series, I would go straight to a character from Les Mis. That is because Wicked and Les Mis are my top two favorite musicals. For today, I decided to talk about why I love Eponine. It actually took me almost an entire year to know why I love Eponine.

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Major Spoilers:

Eponine is the eldest child of the Thenardiers. She started out as being a spoiled child, but also appeared to be loved by her parents. But soon after Cosette was taken away, Eponine’s life becomes even worse. She becomes horribly abused and unloved by her parents and falls into extreme poverty. She eventually falls in love with Marius so deeply because of the kindness he shows her, but that love falls unrequited. So where does my love of Eponine fall into all of this?

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She has to take part in her parent’s schemes because she was forced into them at times. But the interesting thing about Eponine is that she is not as despicable or as selfish as her parents. Her loyalty towards Marius shows just how different she is when it comes to her parents. She would rather be loyal towards Marius than towards her parents. That is an interesting part about Eponine. She shows how you can raise above her upbringing.

She is strong and brave and complex. A lot of my love for her comes from how she responds to her unrequited love for Marius. She will do anything for him even if it means losing him forever. She is the girl who helps him find Cosette. She risks everything for Marius. That shows her bravery and strength. Her love for Marius is quite strong. She continues to hold on because he is the light of her life. You might think her love for Marius is a weakness, but it actually is her greatest strength even though it leads to “A Little Fall of Rain”.

Her love for Marius does lead her to the barricade. At the barricade, in order to try to protect Eponine, he sends her away to deliver a letter to Cosette. As she sings “On My Own”, she accepts that Marius will never love her and you can feel the level of depth her love for Marius goes and the song is very powerful. She will continue to love him no matter what. Without Marius, her life would be much darker.

She eventually gets killed at the barricade after sacrificing her life for him. She gets to die happy due to being in the arms of Marius. Marius shows compassion to her by holding and comforting her while she dies. If you understand how dark her life was and how strong she loves Marius, it makes you understand why dying in the arms of Marius makes her happy for once.

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So a lot of my love for Eponine comes from she responds to her love for Marius. You see her level of strength and bravery through her love for him. At least she gets to die in the arms of Marius due to how dark her life was. Her death does make Marius feel devastated, but despite that he still stays with her till the end.

What is Romance?

This poem is coming from someone who has never been in love before. My knowledge comes from musicals and seeing couples in real life.

What is Romance?

It is like a bridge with two paths

One leads to paradise

The other leads to a dark cloud

When young, it can be magical

But at the same time innocent

Love can be strong and courageous

Or filled with such depth and maturity

No matter what path it takes

The dark cloud is tough

And feels like you have been hit by a pile of bricks

But true love can still spring from that cloud

Even when at paradise

Romance is filled with not getting along

Fighting is a factor but yet you still love

Both paradise and the dark cloud are crazy

The dark cloud makes you feel vulnerable and fragile

But even the level of paradise makes you feel those

Romance leads to sacrifice

But not all the time

Sacrifice is risking yourself for the sake of the other

Even if it breaks you

Or even if it leads to death

But it shows true love towards the other

Due to seeing them happy

That dark cloud is otherwise known as heartbreak

The paradise is the place where two really love each other

This is the nature of romance