Happy Veterans Day

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?

Possible Spoilers

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)

The Good Samaritan- Found in Les Mis

One of my favorite passages found in The Bible is “The Good Samaritan”. It is about who is your neighbor and about the main commandment of loving your neighbor. While it seems like an easy to love your neighbor, it is harder than you think. Especially when it comes to loving your enemies, or when you don’t notice someone is in need of help. Three men were on a road= two didn’t notice the injured man on the side, but one noticed him and decided to help him.

A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell into the hands of robbers, who stripped him, beat him, and went away, leaving him half dead. Now by chance a priest was going down that road; and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side. So likewise a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side.

But a Samaritan while traveling came near him; and when he saw him, he was moved with pity. He went to him and bandaged his wounds, having poured oil and wine on them. Then he put him on his own animal, brought him to an inn, and took care of him. The next day he took out two denarii, gave him to the innkeeper, and said, ‘Take care of him and when I come back, I will repay you whatever more you spend.

Which of these three do you think, was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of the robbers?” He said (as in the one who questioned Jesus), “The one who showed him mercy”. Jesus said to him, “Go and do likewise”

Luke 11:29-37

The Good Samaritans Found in Les Mis

The Bishop

Of course, the Bishop is obvious. He is truly the reason why the story even begins. He is the only who shows Valjean mercy after being released from prison. After Valjean was released, no one was giving him a chance, giving him food to eat, work, or a place to sleep. He left prison as a hardened, harsh, and angry man. But the way society treated him hardened him even further- who would ever show an ex-convcit any mercy or forgiveness?

Well, only the compassionate and kind Bishop would show him that. He gave Valjean a hot meal and a place to sleep. Despite the level of compassion the Bishop showed, Valjean still stole from him. But after being sent back to The Bishop’s house by the police, The Bishop lied and told the police that he gave Valjean the silver, which shocked him- on top of the silver Valjean stole, he was given silver candlesticks and this is when you start to see Valjean’s transformation. The Bishop truly forgave Valjean, and asked him to became a honest man——teaching him the ways of the Lord——forgiveness, compassion, and mercy. If The Bishop didn’t do what he did, there is no way Les Mis would even have a story- The Bishop is truly your catalyst character.

Valjean

He actually is the 2nd Good Samaritan found in Les Mis, as in after encountering The Bishop. Valjean truly started to go on a spiritual journey after those actions. He started to be compassionate and started to strongly believe in God. He took the lessons he learned from The Bishop and started to apply them to his life. You start to see to compassion at the first time jump (as in the musical)- beginning in 1823. Starting to help out the poor, especially towards Fantine. Actually a moment does happen kinda of similar to the Good Samaritan passage in The Bible- the time when Javert was about the send Fantine to jail (just because she was a prostitute and not showing her mercy), but Valjean decided to show her mercy and compassion (he decided to help learning more about what happened- as in that she was one of his former employees, and that she has a child).

As a matter of fact, Valjean decides to adopt Cosette after her mother dies- this gives Fantine peace and comfort for once. This action also benefits Cosette as well- she was treated as a servant before being rescued by Valjean. He had no idea how much of an impact she would have on his life, but he has a strong unconditional love for Cosette- love the addition of “Suddenly” in the movie, as in further develops their relationship.

Valjean even shows mercy and forgiveness towards Javert- at the barricades. You would think he would decide to kill him, as they are enemies, but he decided to let him go. Valjean went to the barricades to protect Marius, the young man his daughter loves (“Bring Him Home” really shows his love for God; that song becomes heartbreaking after knowing the result of the uprising). Then, there is the act of saving a man trapped under a cart, and protecting an innocent man from jail (when someone was thought to “Valjean”)

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.

Come to Me Analysis

This is another SPOILER duet in musicals. As a matter of fact, this is the first death scene in Les Mis. You also need to understand Fantine to understand this song. Fantine has an unconditional love for her daughter, Cosette. Prior to “Come to Me”, Fantine has had a LOT of things happening to her- gotten fired, sold her locket, hair, turned to prostitution, and almost got sent to jail. Good thing Valjean intervened and helped her.

[Fantine]
Cosette, it’s turned so cold
Cosette, it’s past your bedtime
You’ve played the day away
And soon it will be night.

Come to me, Cosette, the light is fading
Don’t you see the evening star appearing?
Come to me, and rest against my shoulder
How fast the minutes fly away and every minute colder.

Hurry near, another day is dying
Don’t you hear, the winter wind is crying?
There’s a darkness which comes without a warning
But I will sing you lullabies and wake you in the morning.

[Valjean]
Oh, Fantine, our time is running out
But Fantine, I swear this on my life

[Fantine]
Look, M’sieur, where all the children play

[Valjean]
Be at peace, be at peace evermore.

[Fantine]
My Cosette…

[Valjean]
Shall live in my protection

[Fantine]
Take her now

[Valjean]
Your child will want for nothing

[Fantine]
Good M’sieur, you come from God in Heaven.

[Valjean]
And none shall ever harm Cosette
As long as I am living.

[Fantine]
Take my hand. The night grows ever colder.

[Valjean]
Then I will keep you warm.

[Fantine]
Take my child. I give her to your keeping.

[Valjean]
Take shelter from the storm

[Fantine]
For God’s sake, please stay till I am sleeping
And tell Cosette I love her
And I’ll see her when I wake…

Come to Me, Les Mis

All because of the mercy the bishop gave Valjean, he learned how to show compassion to others. After hearing about what happened to Fantine, one of his former coworkers, he decided to show compassion to her. For starters, he decided to be with her while he died. Second, he decided to raise Cosette as well= due to that, it gave Fantine peace and comfort for once. Valjean had to unexpectedly become a father- little did he know the impact Cosette would have on his life.