Le Fantôme de l’Opéra

Day 20) T is for Translated: Choose a book that was Translated from one language to English

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The Phantom of the Opera by Gaston Leroux

Yes, I know I said I wouldn’t talk about this book. However, as I was trying to think of books I like that were originally in another language, I couldn’t think of anything but this book and Jules Verne’s novels.

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I already reviewed two Verne books, so with nothing else coming to mind, I decided to review The Phantom of the Opera.

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Gaston Leroux studied to be a lawyer, but when his father died, he found himself a millionaire. He immediately quit school and went on a big spending/gambling spree losing everything.

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Afterwards, he began to work for a newspaper, doubling as a court reporter and a drama critic. As he toured the opera, ballets, plays, etc.; and heard different stories about what went on in the theaters, it gave him an idea.

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With that he published The Phantom of the Opera as a serial from 1909-1910, being translated and published in English in 1911. The story is told from the viewpoint of an interviewer as he researches his subject and tries to tell the history of this Phantom.

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Growing up I just loved this book so much. I used to check out the children’s version again and again; graduating to the unabridged when I grew older.

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So here I am going to do a slightly different post, I am going to focus on one character: the Phantom.

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I just love him:

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Erik is a wanderer. After being hurt by so many he no longer considers him as having an nationality or family.

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His pain originates from when he was a child and his own parents were too disgusted to see his “true form.”

“When my own father never saw me and when my mother, so as not to see me, made me a present of my first mask.” (pg. 130)

Aw, man.

Aw, man.

He is so often used to being considered as death, that he has even prepared him room as such. All in black and even sleeps in a coffin. How sad is that? Poor guy!

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But even in that ugliness and sadness there is beauty. He is a musical genius with a voice like no other.

“He heard a very captivating voice…Raoul had never heard anything more absolutely and heroically sweet, more gloriously insidious, more delicate, more powerful, in short, more irresistibly triumphant…nothing could describe the passion with which the voice sang…” (pg. 98)

Erik is very intelligent and has done many things before coming to the opera house and meeting Christine.

“You must not think, Raoul, that he [Erik] is simply a man who amuses himself by living underground. He does things that no man could do; he knows things which nobody in the world knows.” (pg. 135)

I mean he built THAT opera house and created numerous trap doors, spring sets, his own secret underground home. And that’s not the only thing he has created. He built palaces for Sultans and Kings; but always being betrayed by them as they want him dead so that they alone can posses his genius.

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One day the Phantom comes upon Christine and decides to help assist her to become a fantastic singer.

“From that time onward, the voice and I became great friends.” (pg. 116)

They spend years together as the Phantom puts his all into teaching her and helping her. Then one day Christine spots Raoul and tells the phantom all about seeing him. And the voice disappears. Christine is anxious and scared. She knows she is nothing without him, she will shrivel up into a has-been.

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The next day the Phantom comes and tells her he has to leave her.

“The voice was there, spoke to me with great sadness and told me plainly that, if I must bestow my heart on earth, there was nothing for the voice to do but go back to heaven.” (pg. 117)

You see, no threats. No harsh words. The Phantom would have simply backed off if she loved another. He would be heartbroken, but that would be the end of it. Except…

“I swore to the voice that you were no more than a brother to me nor ever would be and that my heart was incapable of any earthly love.” (pg. 117)

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You see that!!!! You see that!!! She purposely leads on the Phantom because she just wants to use him. She doesn’t love him, she doesn’t care for him, as she has stated before:

“[to Raoul] And that, dear, first revealed to me that I loved you.” (pg. 117)

you're evil

She knew, but she had a good thing and didn’t want to see it disappear. Now she tells Raoul that she “lied only because she thought she had no chance with Raoul.” But is that even the truth? She already admitted to playing the Phantom, she’s probably playing Raoul too. He’s rich and interested, and now she’s going to play the little helpless victim to catch him.

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So you know what, I never feel sorry for her. She created this whole mess as she only cared about herself and not what her false declarations did to people. She almost kills hundreds because of her selfishness. I feel bad for the Phantom. Poor guy, who is completely crushed by her. He picked the wrong woman.

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Then the Phantom carries her off underground into his home.

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Now I admit, his carrying her off wasn’t the right thing to do. He should have asked her instead of just carrying her like that. But what does he do next? He confesses that he isn’t an angel or teacher but that he is the Phantom of the Opera, its architect, etc.

“He [Erik] feels me with horror and I do not hate him. How can I hate him Raoul? Think of Erik at my feet…he accuses himself, he curses himself, he implores my forgiveness!…He loves me! He lays at my feet an immense and tragic love…He has carried me off for love!” (pg. 125)

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He treats her wonderfully. He respects her as a thing of beauty and doesn’t harm her or touch her. And when she is upset and wants to leave?

“And, when I stood up, Raoul, and told him that I could only despise him if he did not, then and there, give me my liberty…he offered it…” (pg. 125)

See he isn’t a crazy killer or psychotic (yet). He loves her and respects her wishes. She’s the viper, she’s evil as she chooses to stay there even though she doesn’t love him, she just wants to use him.

“For he sang. And I listened…and stayed!” (pg. 125)

She falls asleep and then wakes up in a whole different room, properly freaked. BUT then spots a note left to her by the Phantom.

“My dear Christine, you need have no concern as to your fate. You have no better nor more respectful friend in the world than myself.” (pg. 126)

He just let her alone, as he sees her as the kindest and most divine woman; respecting her. He also purchases tons of things for her in order to make the place truly home.

How sweet!

How sweet!

But Christine is not happy. She wants out. She is angry with the Phantom, even though he has given her everything! All she wants is to see his face as “no honest man would wear a mask.” But that is the one place Erik won’t give.

No thank youhowaboutno

Then Erik mentions how most of her time with him will be musical practice. She is angry as he wants her to stay five days, then he will let her go again as she will either love him (hope) or pity him. But Christine is now upset that he won’t let her go now, but hey he offered you before.

She cannot make up her mind.

She cannot make up her mind.

The real issue Christine has with the Phantom is his skull-like face. This is what breaks her and makes her horrified and disgusted. She can’t leave well enough alone, and asks him to play for her, plotting her deception. When he is too worked up in the music she snatches the mask off.

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Now she thinks he is disgusting, and here is where he makes his first incredibly bad decision.

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He tells Christine that he can’t let her go. He knows that she sees him only as a monster, and if returned to the surface would tell others of the “monster”, causing them to be riled up, create a mob, and set out to kill him.

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Grab your torches and sharpen your pitchforks!

Christine, the little actress she is, starts playing to the areas he has been insecure. She tells him that he is genius, his music causes her to forget his looks. She even burns his mask to symbolize that she is “above” such things. In reality she is playing him  from every angle, earning his trust so that he is willing to believe she actually loves him and won’t harm him. Letting her go.

you're evil

Christine acts as if he is a true monster, but the Phantom has a compassionate heart. She asks if she can pretend to “be engaged”, playacting, with Raoul and the Phantom agrees.

“He said, ‘I trust you, Christine. M. de Chagny [Raoul] is in love with you and going abroad. Before he goes, I want him to be as happy as I am.” (pg. 134)

How can someone be unfeeling when they consider what their arch rival’s feelings?

How sweet!

How sweet!

Eventually, the Phantom figures out the truth, that this was all a set up and steals Christine away; that final act of betrayal being the straw that broke the camels back.

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I mean he really believed that someone had fallen in love with him.

“It is my wish…my wish to let her go; and she will come again…for she loves me!…All this will end in marriage…” (pg. 206)

He thinks his dream and true love is in his grasp!

“…Now I want to live like everybody else. I want a wife like everybody else and to take her out on Sundays. I have invented a mask that makes me look like anybody…All I have ever wanted was to be loved for myself…” (214)

The thing I really hate about the Andrew Lloyd Webber musical is how the changed the relationship between Christine and the Phantom with her thinking if him as her father and making Raoul less of the pansy he was. But most of all they make the Phantom a total psychi and murderer. He doesn’t really kill people in the book, unless it is for self-preservation. We only witness three: two were out trying to get him, and the third he accidentally kills Raoul’s brother, who when searching for him falls into a trap. The Phantom really regrets having killed him. And he also does bring the chandelier down, which injures and kills. How many, we don’t know.

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He then gives Christina an option. She can choose Raoul and the Opera house will be blown up (as Erik has hidden dynamite under the floor when he built it) or she can choose him and save everyone. I have to admit that forcing her to choose marrying him was not right or what she should do, but people who have been betrayed often do not think logically but just want to heart the person who hurt them.

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But in the end he let’s Christine go, because she finally gave him the one thing he has most wanted: companionship and love:

“I tell you I kissed her just like that, on her forehead…and she did not draw back her forehead from my lips! (pg. 247)

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Poor Erik!

“Poor, unhappy Erik! Shall we pity him? Shall we curse him? He asked only to be “some one,” like everybody else. But he was too ugly! And he had to hide his genius or use it to play tricks with, when, with an ordinary face, he would have been one of the most distinguished of mankind! He had a heart that could have held the empire of the world; and, in the end, he had to content himself with a cellar. Ah, yes, we must pity the opera ghost.” (pg. 259)

Leave me alone so I can cry over the death of my fictional characters

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 I think what resonates the most with this story is how relatable the Phantom was. Who of us hasn’t at one time hated how we looked?

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Had our heart broken:

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Been betrayed by someone we thought cared about us?

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Or felt we hadn’t received the recognition we deserved?

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What else can I say?

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Why yes I do!

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Starting in 2015, I decided to dress up “Jane Austen” in Halloween costumes. Check her out as the Bride of Frankenstein.

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Stupid Not to Read Jane Austen Quote

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To start the 30 Day Challenge from the beginning, go to It Was a Pleasure to Burn: Fahrenheit 451

For the previous post, go to Each Illustration is a Little Story. If You Watch Them, In a Few Minutes They Tell You a Tale: The Illustrated Man

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For more on The Phantom of the Opera, go to How to Meet the Perfect Guy

For more on Gaston Leroux, go to Fantom of the Opera

For more Jane Austen quotes, go to Midnight in Austenland

For more Silverstein, go to The End by Silverstein

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Today’s carol is The First White Christmas from the claymation, The First Christmas:The Story of the First Christmas Snow.

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I couldn’t find any info on the song, but they play it in the opening and ending credits. I always thought it was cute, and it tends to get stuck in my head.

I couldn’t find a video unfortunately, or a good link to watch the film (as they took down the best one).

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For more on The First Christmas:The Story of the First Christmas Snow, go to 25 More Films of Christmas

For more Christmas Carols, go to She Struck Him as a Fixer-Upper, a Block of Clay Ready for Pygmalion’s Chisel: The Overnight Socialite

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A Letter of Love: Persuasion (2007)

Romantic Moment #14

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Persuasion (2007)

So first of all:

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So last year I ended the Romance is in the Air posts with Northanger Abbey. I thought this could become a tradition, always ending on a Jane Austen film. Hmmm…I wonder what next year will bring? Who knows?

Anyways, so two of my favorite Jane Austen books/films are Northanger Abbey and Persuasion. I mean I love the others, but I feel like these two are really forgotten by the fans and never gets any love.  Which is just not fair because they are fantastic books and movies. They deserve fans!!! Love them!

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Okay, let’s step back from the crazy. Sorry.

So Persuasion is a wish fullfillment piece by Jane Austen. Jane fell in love with a rich man from a good family, very Pride & Prejudice, but his family strongly disapproved and took him away from her in order to make sure their attraction didn’t turn into something scandalous like marriage. While Jane had offers from other men, she never stopped loving him and waited for him to come back into her life. (So now that you know this you will understand this movie/book even better.) Another fun,  fun is not the right word let’s go with interesting  an interesting fact, Jane died before this and Northanger Abbey were published so she didn’t name them. Her brother, who had them published, decided what they should be called based on what he thought would be interesting.

So, anyways, the film begins with nineteen-year old Anne Elliot getting engaged (secretly) to young naval officer Frederick Wentworth. However, her mother figure (as her mom is dead) and family friend, Lady Russell, convinces her to end the engagement. She tells her she is too young, that it is risky marrying an officer going off to war, he could die, she could end up a widow, she could be penniless, etc. (Lady Russell brings up some good points, but she also wanted to end the marriage as Anne was a higher station and had more money. She thought Fredrick Wentworth wasn’t good enough for her Anne.) Anne really values Lady Russell’s opinion and breaks off the engagement, even though it breaks her heart and she regrets it everyday.

Fast forward eight years and things have drastically changed. Anne’s father, Sir Walter, and older sister, Elizabeth, have squandered A LOT of the family fortune on their vanity. Anne tried to reign in the spending, but no one would listen as her sister has the position of running the home (that is until she is married). They now have to lease out their home and reside somewhere else. And just who should be living in their home, Admiral Croft and Mrs. Croft. Mrs. Croft just happens to be Frederick Wentworth’s sister. And to even add to it, her brother has had an increase in his fortunes. He made so much money in maritime victories during the Napoleonic wars. (He had no one to live for so he took A LOT of risks and they paid, boy did they pay.) He also was promoted to Captain.

Her father and sister leave for Bath, where they will be spending the season. Anne goes to see her bratty, hypochondriac, annoying, selfish, younger, sister, Mary. (As you can tell I don’t like her.) Mary is married to Charles Musgrove, a guy who wanted to marry Anne but she turned down as she still loved Frederick. He then married his sister to spite her, and spent the rest of his life (and family’s life) regretting that choice. Mary lives nearby the old Elliot homestead, so wouldn’t you know it, she runs into Frederick several times.

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To make matters worse, Frederick is so hurt and still heartbroken that he just ignores her and won’t say anything. This pains Anne as she still loves him and is just bursting to tell him how she feels but scared. And then to further rub salt in the wound, Charles’ younger, pretty, single, sisters are both making a play for him.

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And not only does he like it (of course, duh); but he totally plays it up in front of her. Just like a guy.

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Although I totally get what he’s doing. I mean she turned him down and didn’t do it in the best way. He started thinking she was only interested in the fact that he had no money, otherwise a “Good Charlotte Witch“.

Anyways, so the rest of the family has no clue what happened between Anne and Capt. Wentworth. So they purposely keep trying to bring Wentworth over. The one sister, Henrietta, stops her flirtations with Wentworth as her cousin is deeply into her. Everyone believes that Wentworth will ask for Louisa’s hand, but he still hasn’t gotten over Anne, but is just trying to get at her.

The whole family decides to travel down to Lyme Regis, with Wentworth to visit his friend,  Captain Harville and Captain James Benwick. Benwick recently lost his fiancé, the sister of Harville, and is stilll grieving her. He loves poetry and he and Anne become close. People start speculating about more happening between them, which does not make Wentworth happy.  Anne also attracts the attention of the Elliots’ long-estranged cousin, and her father’s heir, William Elliot. Also disturbing Wentworth.

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Things change when Louisa suffers from a fall and gets a serious concussion, because of her stubborn behavior (she’s the girl that does whatever she wants). Anne is the only able to keep her head and assist her. The Musgroves care for her and Anne goes to Bath. Captain Wentworth faces the fact that when Louisa recovers he may be tied to her forever, which is something he is not so sure he wants to do.

In Bath, Anne finds out that her father and Mr. Elliot, her cousin, have fixed their relationship. Elizabeth assumes that he wishes to court her while Lady Russell more correctly suspects that he admires Anne.  Anne doesn’t really like Mr. Elliot, she feels like something is not right about him and tries to avoid him as much as possible.

Admiral Croft, having heard a rumour of Mr. Elliot’s proposal to Anne, sends Wentworth to ask Anne if she and her new husband require them to quit Kellynch Hall. Anne informs Wentworth that Admiral Croft has been  misinformed.

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Soon the Crofts, Musgroves, Benwick, Harville, Wentworth, etc; the whole crew comes to Bath. Louisa is engaged, but not to Wentworth, but Benwick. Wentworth is not happy about Mr. Elliot’s attentions to Anne, not at all. Anne also goes to visit her friend, Mrs. Smith, who is a struggling widow. She tells Anne that Mr. Elliot is not a nice guy at all. He has been so determined to inherit everything that he has been going after Sir Walter’s love interest in order to ensure he doesn’t remarry and have a son. Anne is shocked, but it reaffrims her feelings of mistrust toward him.

Wentworth is moved by what he overhears Anne says about women never giving up their feelings of love even when all hope is lost. This makes him brave enough to share his feelings and he writes her a letter telling her how he feels.  Anne recieves the letter and runs after Wentworth, there he proposes and she accepts. We fast forward, and Wentworth is surprising Anne with a gift. It’s her old house!

Most Romantic Moment: 

He writes one of the most beautiful letters ever! Now the thing I really love about Persuasion is you can just feel for the characters, everyone has experienced rejection and heartbreak; and the hardest thing can be trying to put yourself out there. So we have Wentworth who loved Anne, had his heart thrown through a shedder. He realizes that he loves Anne, but should he say something? Does she still love him? Is she angry over the way he treated her? Has she moved on? Will she reject him again? This has to be one of the bravest and romantic things ever.

I can listen no longer in silence. I must speak to you by such means as are within my reach. You pierce my soul. I am half agony, half hope. Tell me not that I am too late, that such precious feelings are gone for ever. I offer myself to you again with a heart even more your own than when you almost broke it, eight years and a half ago. Dare not say that man forgets sooner than woman, that his love has an earlier death. I have loved none but you. Unjust I may have been, weak and resentful I have been, but never inconstant. You alone have brought me to Bath. For you alone, I think and plan. Have you not seen this? Can you fail to have understood my wishes? I had not waited even these ten days, could I have read your feelings, as I think you must have penetrated mine. I can hardly write. I am every instant hearing something which overpowers me. You sink your voice, but I can distinguish the tones of that voice when they would be lost on others. Too good, too excellent creature! You do us justice, indeed. You do believe that there is true attachment and constancy among men. Believe it to be most fervent, most undeviating, in

F. W.

I must go, uncertain of my fate; but I shall return hither, or follow your party, as soon as possible. A word, a look, will be enough to decide whether I enter your father’s house this evening or never. 

So romantic!

So romantic!

That is so romantic, just laying everything out like that. He totally threw caution aside and just told her everything.

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So romatic! And that is just one of the best ways to try and win a girl back. Conclusion:

BoysinBksSo now because it is my blog, and I want to, I am going to review my favorite parts of the letter.

You pierce my soul

not too late

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lovedyou

For you alone

A word look

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So that ends this Valentine countdown. I hope you all have a wonderful holiday whether you are single or in a relationship. Eat lots of candy, wear red, watch sappy movies; that’s what I’ll be doing. 😀

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For more Persuasion go to A Frederick Wentworth Sighting, Let’s Hear it for the Boysand On the 10th Day ‘Til Christmas

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In other news:

Yay!

 

For the 100th post, go to Wanna Grow Old With You: The Wedding Singer (1998)

For the 300th post, go to That’s What You Get

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