Saturday, 12 August 2017

Saturday Series: Love, Hate, or Both? - Enjolras or Marius

Hello everyone! With YALC having drawn to a close it was time for me to decide on a new Saturday Series. Having ran a small poll on Twitter a few days ago for Les Mis fans as to who was preferred - Enjolras or Marius - this idea was born. In 'Love, Hate, or Both?' I will be discussing characters and series', and my feelings towards them. In the first, as this was how the series came to be, Enjolras and Marius. Spoilers for Les Miserables ahead.

Ramin Karimloo as Enjolras.
Nick Jonas as Marius.
Les Miserables 25th Anniversary at the O2 Arena.
I know the story of Les Mis like the back of my hand, but Marius has always annoyed me. Though I can understand Cosette's 'insta-love' due to her lonely childhood and the fact that Marius was probably the first boy to show any interest in her, I cannot understand Marius' reasoning. Later in the show, during the song 'Drink with Me', the Barricade Boys (Minus Enjolras of course - his only mistress is 'Patria') lament over the women they've loved, so surely Marius was not as isolated as Cosette had been. Yes Grantaire states 'Is Marius in love at last?' during 'Red and Black', but that doesn't mean he's never had a relationship before, and yet suddenly upon meeting Cosette for all of a second, he is ready to give up his commitment to the revolution. It just doesn't strike right with me.

We get a good understanding of and insight to Marius' relationships with his friends and comrades during 'Empty Chairs and Empty Tables', how the loss has left him grief stricken, and yet he shows up late to the Les Amis de l'ABC meeting during 'Red and Black' and shows little commitment to or agreement with the revolution and the statements Enjolras makes. Perhaps Enjolras is a little harsh in response ('Who cares about your lonely soul? ... Our little lives don't count at all') but he is right to a degree in the fact that they have been planning the revolution for a great deal of time before Cosette appeared, and yet Marius accuses him of not understanding his plight ('Had you been there tonight you might know how it feels...'). I know that Marius does later commit to the revolution during One Day More ('My place is here, I fight with you') but it's only shortly after, at the Barricade, that he is still lamenting over Cosette, whom he has only spoken to once since. It's my opinion, of course, but it's simply a little too insta-love for my liking, and probably the only part of the musical I don't 100% enjoy.

Enjolras meanwhile is more severe, yes, but his unwavering commitment - even in the face of death - is what I love so much about him. He's rich, beautiful, and yet all he cares about is the welfare of others. His determination to stand up to those opposing equality and rights, to fight to the death for freedom and peace for all, is something to be admired. So maybe he doesn't understand Marius' plight, but he understands the worse plight of many others to much more of a degree, so how can he be faulted for that? Even when faced with certain defeat and therefore death, when given one last chance to flee ('You have no chance, no chance at all. Why throw your lives away?'), he stands tall against the oppressors and gives everything he has left ('Let us die facing our foes, make them bleed while we can'). He knows they have failed but hopes others will see what they have managed to achieve and build on it; that one day his country will be free, even if not by his hand ('Let others rise, to take our place, until the earth is free!'). His death scene, how it is portrayed with him still clutching the revolutionary flag, never fails to bring tears to my eyes. He is certainly a character to look up to.

What do you think?

I do hope you enjoyed my first in the 'Love, Hate or Both?' series. Do feel free to leave a comment below or @ me on Twitter! Thanks for reading!

Holly @The_Arts_Shelf


5 comments:

  1. I appreciate both characters for who they're written as, but Enjolras will always be my favourite (And I LOVE Ramin Karimloo's portrayal of him in the 25th anniversary at the O2).

    Great post!

    Amy @ A Magical World Of Words

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    1. I definitely appreciate both characters in the context of the story, it's merely the 'insta-love' aspect that gets me. If it was that he'd been willing to die for the revolution but then over the time before the barricades rise he falls in love and suddenly finds himself questioning that commitment, I could understand that, but show wise they're together for all of 10 seconds before he shows up late, etc. Maybe it's how they portrayed the timeline in the musical, but it's just a bit odd to me. Thanks for reading though! And I adore Ramin too ;)

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  2. I like both, but I think you're misunderstanding Marius's character. He IS inexperienced in romantic love (and in general), even ignoring the book you can see this when he's introducing himself to Cosette, if anything she comes across more mature. So that is why he acts that way, although of course you can still find it annoying.

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    1. Thanks very much for your comment. I can understand that he's inexperienced compared to the others, of course, but I don't think that changes the fact that he suddenly appears to disagree with everything the Les Amis have been working towards simply because he saw Cosette for all of ten seconds, if that makes sense? As I say, it's my personal opinion, everyone is entitled to feel their own way, it just strikes me as odd is all. Thanks again :)

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    2. Thank you for your reply. The way I see it Enjolras has a love for the people, while Marius prioritises love on a more personal level. I understand when people find the love at first sight silly, but I never had a problem with it - it's compressed from the book, it's a plot device, whatever. Maybe if the setting was more realistic without all of the ridiculous coincidences and constant singing, I'd think differently. :)

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