Les Mis: A Crash Course

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This April marked two years since I fell down the rabbit hole of Les Miserables, and by extension many other musicals. TWO YEARS. It feels like a long time ago. I’ve changed a lot since then. Les Mis became, and still is, a really important part of my life!

Thus, to mark the occasion I bring you my guide to Les Mis, for people who know nothing about Les Mis. I am currently listening to the musical and I am READY FOR THIS.

so what is it???

Les Mis refers to the book Les Miserables by Victor Hugo, covering a failed revolution and a reformed convict in 19th-century Paris, and its subsequent adaptations, most notably the Broadway/West End musical.

les misérables, the book

les miserables book

Our journey begins with the novel Les Misérables-with-the-e-acute novel by French author Victor Hugo, published in 1862. The main characters are:

  • Jean Valjean, an escaped convict leading a life of extreme coincidences. Stole a loaf of bread.
  • Javert, the policeman hunting him for breaking parole. He was born with scum like you. Lawful but…well. Misguided.
  • Fantine, a kind & lovely girl who got abandoned by this guy and ended up in prostitution.
  • Cosette, her blessed daughter and my wife. Sappy, but hates not being told stuff. Deserved better from the musical.
  • Marius Pontmercy, a rich boy who get thrown out by his family and then lives as a poor student in Paris. He’s an absolute nerd and he loves Cosette. One time he hit his head for two hours against a tree.
  • Eponine Thenardier, a girl born into a not good family but doing her absolute best to kick your ass and overcome her unrequited crush on Marius.
  • Also some students called Les Amis de l’ABC. If you’ve seen the musical, you’ll probably only know their leader, Enjolras. (He’s the guy in red.) However, if you go into the book internet fandom, you’ll probably find it focuses more around these students. If you only know the musical you probably haven’t heard of them, but never fear. I’ll cover them in more detail later.

It’s a pretty long book, but I do think if you love Les Mis then it’s worth it! Lots of people call it The Brick due to…well, its very brick-like nature as a book. (That is to say, it’s very long.) Other things you might need to know are the Infamous Waterloo Section, which is an essentially an essay about Waterloo,  and the time that Valjean broke out of a convent in a grave. There are many different translations, ranging from modern (Donougher, ose) to old-timey but free (Hapgood). You can even do a Les Mis tour of Paris in which you visit the original sites. DON’T WORRY, I’M COMING TO THE STUDENTS.

les amis de l’abc

Yeah, I’m giving them a separate section because I LOVE THESE KIDS. The main things you need to know are that they have an extremely minimal/sometimes even non-existent part in the musical and…still quite a comparatively small part in the book. HOWEVER THEY ARE VERY IMPORTANT SYMBOLICALLY. (Or so I hear.)

Anyway. They all like jokes, and their name is a French pun (for l’abaisse which is apparently like the abased/degraded, thanks internet). They have so many French puns. I don’t even understand them most of the time. From the sometimes few information Victor Hugo gives us, the fandom has sort of interpreted personalities, which somehow absorb into one’s brain through Collective Fandom Knowledge, which is pretty epic.

  • Enjolras, who as Victor Hugo goes to great pains to tell us about is Very Very Handsome. His girlfriend is France. (I’m telling you. This is a canon joke.)
  • Combeferre is very chill, but will outsmart you. His main book attribute is just be SUPER SMART.
  • Courfeyrac sometimes acts like a douchebag but has a good heart. (This part is also actually canon. Maybe paraphrased, but.) Probably would be the lead singer of an indie band if he was alive today. Ray of annoying sunshine. These first three make up the ‘triumvirate’, which seems to basically just be a fancy word for group of 3.
  • Grantaire, the drunk cynic who goes on long drunk rants about intellectual things that I don’t understand. In unrequited love with Enjolras. (I don’t want to spoil you, and you know, interpretation and all, but there are some pretty gay moments.)
  • Jean Prouvaire, or Jehan, is the shy poet who actually has Many Opinions, probably would wear a flower crown.
  • Bahorel, who would probably either get in a fight or do other dumb stuff for the memes.
  • Feuilly, an optimistic orphan who works super hard. (Not actually a student, but still part of the group.)
  • Bossuet, whose name is based on another obscure French joke and can’t grow any hair. Always smiling but has terrible luck. Also known as Lesgle, L’aigle de Meaux… I mean, I don’t eve know how we got here.
  • Joly, a hypochondriac medical student who is a cinnamon roll.
  • Musichetta, a ‘superb and literary girl’ whom Joly is wild over. She can wreck you.
  • Oh yeah, Marius is also part of this gang but he’s definitely not the leader as the musical suggests. He’s a TERRIBLE revolutionary.

Excuse me whilst I feel a bit emotional here. This hasn’t included Eponine, Gavroche, and Cosette, who I sometimes group with them just for ease even if they’re not technically of the ABC, but OH WELL. MY KIDS. ;-; And just for good measure, here is an amusing post of “Les Amis as stuff the students living next door to me have done”.

les mis, the musical

les mis musical.png

This is probably the more well-known and accessible form of Les Mis. It’s a very popular sung-through musical now, but when it was released the critics were like OMG NO IT’S TOO SAPPY AND TRAGIC. I Dreamed a Dream and Do You Hear the People Sing? are among the best-known songs. The Confrontation, a duet between Valjean and Javert, is also very much a jam in my personal opinion. However, the musical does cut a lot of the book, in particular Les Amis, the details of Valjean’s life and Cosette being an absolute badass.

Some things you should know about various different forms and productions:

  • The original French concept version is SUPER different and even features a…disco version of Red and Black? Which is pretty hilarious to be honest.
  • Original cast is rad. I would recommend.
  • Other cool things to watch/listen to are 10th anniversary and 25th anniversary, although a word of warning: Nick Jonas plays Marius is 25th anniversary and he is nOT GOOD.
  • The 2012 movie made the musical a lot easier to follow than just listening to a cast album, which is great! Personally I think that after listening to cast recordings, the musical singing definitely isn’t as good *coughs*Javert*coughs* but you can get a solid idea of the story. (I saw this before I saw anything else.) I actually think Eddie Redmayne is a solid Marius. Sadly they cut some parts from the musical, but. Grantaire has a veeery small part in this but his actor George Blagden appears to be, like, a complete Les Mis nerd? which I still find amazing? (Like, is that an Enjolras/Grantaire fansong on Youtube? IS IT??)
  • It did produce this TRULY EXCELLENT VIDEO, which I am just going to embed for good measure:
  • I’ve also listened to some of a Spanish version, Los Miserables and I liked it a lot! I still think this version or Red and Black is super excellent. (I’ve fallen into the hole of watching Les Mis in different languages, and now I’m watching Daniel Diges in Les Mis Brasil? I mean, who even knows anymore.
  • I haven’t watched many Les Mis Broadway things since of course I’m nearer to the West End production, but this performance at the Tonys is wonderful! I particularly think Eponine, Marius, Enjolras, and Valjean are great. ❤ (That was like…half the people haha. THEY’RE ALL GREAT.)
  • There’s probably a lot more stuff I could say, to be honest, and I will undoubtedly regret not putting something in later, but OH WELL. Here’s an In The Heights/Les Mis mashup.

tv series???

Last year the BBC announced they were making a (non-musical) Les Mis miniseries, written by Andrew Davies, and in February this year he stated that he had just finished writing the first draft. It’s due to air next year, and for one I am very interested to see what it comes up with! I even wrote about the stuff I’d love to see them put in if you want to check it out. 😉 Other Les Mis-related content of mine includes a Jehan cosplay tutorialLes Mis v Hamilton fandom battle, and the Les Mis book tag.

There are, of course, many other adaptations, including several movies, radio plays, and TV series, and it’s very easy to fall into the hole of internet searching. As you can perhaps see by my myriad of links and 1.5k post on this topic. (Me, a Les Mis fan? I mean, maybe a bit.)

do you like musicals? what do you think about les mis? is there a particular fandom which is important to you?

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7 Things I Want to See in the BBC Les Mis

bbc les mis.jpg

As an eternal and enthusiastic Les Mis fan, I was EXTREMELY excited to hear of some news to liven up the fandom. They’re going to adapt the book into a miniseries for TV! It’s supposed to be in the style of the recent War & Peace TV show (Andrew Davies writes both) and…well, even it’s only going to be airing in 2018 I can still be excited. 😛

Although I am a fan of the musical, it did miss out so many wonderful parts of the book. And the singing in the movie could be pretty terrible in places. Not looking at Russell Crowe. So I’m looking forward to having the extended time period to explore all the different parts of the (admittedly very hefty). I thought I’d compile all the things that I REALLY want to see in this TV show if it should go ahead! (Because previously I have seen projects die, and it is very sad.)

1. Valjean’s James Bond convent escape

Although the musical does feature a brief convent scene, it completely misses out the insane/badass escape. Whilst escaping from Javert, Valjean and Cosette land themselves in a convent. By some stroke of luck the gardener is the very same man Valjean saved from being crushed by a cart many years before. Anyway, the gardener says they can stay by pretending to be his brother and niece but he has to sneak them out again so they can be seen coming in through the front door. Cosette is smuggled out in a basket, but Valjean is sneaked out in a coffin (pretending to be a dean nun) is almost buried alive due to the fact that the new gravedigger is more sober than expected. The gardener actually thinks he is dead for a bit. Yep.

2. Nuanced Cosette

I am always angry that people think Cosette is a pushover, but to be fair her character in the musical is not nearly as complex as the novel. There she is someone to be taken care of, but in the book she’s basically as active as she could be considering the restrictions of society at the time. She secretly courts and encourages Marius for several months without the approval of her father! She knows when her husband and father are keeping secrets from her! Cosette is AWESOME, everyone.

3. Non-hunky Enjolras

Musical Enjolras is way more handsome and likable. I apologise to Aaron Tveit, because he seems like a pretty good guy. But…he’s not Enjolras. Victor Hugo literally describes Enjolras as looking like a teenage girl. (There is also the recurring joke of his weirdly detailed description of Enjolras’ face, but anyway.) THIS GUY IS JUST A SCARY REVOLUTION NERD. France is his life, but he’s actually the only child of rich parents. He is not a macho dude who is too old to play the role. *coughs*

4. Les Amis de L’ABC

Les Amis are basically the bulk of the Les Mis fandom, so we’d all be very pleased to see more of them. (Since they’re barely named in the musical.) I need all the stupid puns. I need the revolution jokes. I need the camaraderie and the individuals and that one time Bossuet sacrificed his place in law school because he was filling in for Marius. I need Enjolras and Grantaire’s dying holding hands. I NEED IT ALL PLS.

5. Thenardier’s botched robbery (starring Marius)

Basically everyone in Les Mis is connected by some coincidence or another, to be honest. Marius thinks his father was ‘saved’ by Thenardier, who was actually looting corpses, so feels a weird sense of loyalty to him when he tries to kidnap and ransom Valjean. (The Thenardiers live next to Marius at this point.) Valjean ends up escaping but Thenardier & his cronies are arrested by Javert. IT’S JUST ALL COMPLETELY CRAZY. Another James Bond moment.

6. Marius being a nerd

Marius is also not a hunk. MARIUS IS A COMPLETE NERD. He purposefully rejects all of his super rich grandad’s money. He accidentally raves about Napoleon in a room full of revolutionaries who hate Napoleon. He swoons over Cosette for like 3 months but is too scared to talk to her. He finds Valjean’s hankie and sleeps with it under his pillow because he think’s it belongs to Cosette. (Probably smells it with his ‘passionate nostrils’.) There are so many more things I could say… To be honest, Marius is just a complete smol cinnamon roll who is utterly useless at being a revolutionary.

7. The Thenardier family

Remember Gavroche, the tiny kid from the musical? He’s Eponine’s brother. I am eternally angry that this what not included in the musical, because HELLOO. I seriously need the Thenardier siblings taking care of each other. Eponine also has a sister, Azelma, and two younger brothers. Gavroche takes these two boys under his wing without even knowing they’re related which y’know is pretty great. (Gavroche is in general pretty great.)

So, um, writing this might have accidentally drawn me back into the darkest depths of the Les Mis hole. Whoops…? But now I AM SO PUMPED FOR THIS SHOW and you are probably never going to hear the end of it. 😀

are you a fan of les mis too? would you include the same things i picked? are you planning to watch the tv show? (okay that’s pretty far into the future but SHH. :P)

Tutorial: Les Mis Cosplay Waiscoat

les mis waistcoat tutorial.jpg

YES. ‘Tis I, the Very Very Beginner Cosplayer, presenting you today with an tutorial! No, really: I know that I’m not an experienced sewer. But I have made an actual tangible costume, and whilst I was making this I desperately wanted a tutorial. So I thought I’d take you through how I made my Jehan cosplay, and hopefully it can help any of you if you’re a beginner to sewing like me!

Yes… um, more Les Mis. If you didn’t already know I discuss it incessantly. I’M SORRY TO THOSE OF YOU WHO MIGHT BE FED UP. Most of this tutorial is going to be a basic cosplay waistcoat, though, so it’s pretty all-purpose. You can use it for any of Les Amis apart from Enjolras, and any other costume that requires a waistcoat. (I call it a cosplay waistcoat because I really don’t recommend you use it as an actual waistcoat. Whilst it may look good to the viewer, it doesn’t have any lining or anything.)

1. design your costume

This is more important if you’re cosplaying a character from a book. Cosplaying book characters is super fun because you get a lot more freedom in your design, but you do have less visual references. Jehan’s clothing isn’t really mentioned in the book (except that he dresses badly!) so I decided to go with his costume from the 2012 movie. I also looked a bit at the photo book I got when I saw the musical and some other Jean Prouvaire cosplays.

jehan cosplay refs.PNG

I decided to cut the jacket so that I didn’t overheat at the con. My final list of costume elements was:P1000408

  • ginger wig
  • flower crown
  • red necktie
  • red, white and blue cockade
  • blue waistcoat
  • cream/brown trousers
  • shoes in similar shade to trousers

I made my cockade (the little ribbon badge thing) and waistcoat, but I sourced everything else from Amazon (wig, necktie) or my own wardrobe. You’ll probably realise that the flower crown isn’t very accurate to the costume, but Jehan is a flower child and I LOVE FLOWER CROWNS. So I wanted to wear a flower crown. As you can see below my trousers and shoes ended up being brown instead of cream, but the only other thing that changed from my original list was the ribbon I used to tie up my hair.

 

2. sewing!

Timagehat was a rather broad step, but ah well. To make my cockade I bought a length of red, white and blue striped ribbon, and the followed a mixture of tutorials from American Duchess and Yarn Blarn. I just sewed on the button and safety pin at the end rather than using a glue gun, and I found that ironing as I made the creases was a great help. It’s not the most perfect cockade ever, but hey!

 

Now onto the waistcoat. This part’s going to be the longest — I think I’ll get into sub-steps. 😛

1. Cut out your fabric

image

First of all you need to make or find a pattern. I drew around a waistcoat of my father’s and shrunk it with some help, but I do recommend you buy one instead. If you are drawing your own pattern, make sure each side is the same size: I used two front and one back panels, three in total. If you’re making lapels make sure you leave some fabric for those. Then, draw around the patters onto your fabric and cut everything out.

2. Sew the panel edges together

waistcoat panels guide

TRUST ME. This part is actually super easy, and it’s really cool to be able to wear your waistcoat after it. You’re going to be sewing these seams on the inside, so turn your panels the wrong way around, press them together, and literally just sew along the edge. (Don’t sew the two front ones together, though.) If you’re just doing 3 panels like me then you only need to sew two seams — between each of the front panels. You cans See that I had to sew along mine a couple of times to make mine fit smaller.

3. Turn in the collar

This is also pretty simple! Turning in makes sure that you’re left with a nice clean edge and stops the fabric from fraying. Just turn over a small amount of material at the collar into the inside of your waistcoat and sew along there.

4. Turn in the armholes

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This is slightly more difficult, because these aren’t straight lines. It basically works like before, except you need to make sure you keep changing the amount you turn in as you go around otherwise your circle will become a straight line. Also, beware of fabric catching like it did mine!

5. Turn in the all the other sides

This is all around the front sides and the bottom. Just turn over some fabric into the inside of your waistcoat and sew along.

6. Do the lapelsimage

If you’re making lapels measure and cut four triangles out from your fabric. if I made this again I’d do my lapels bigger, because once I turned them in they were a bit small. Sew the two pieces together along the short edge — inside out — and then you have two lapels! Place them along your main waistcoat and then just sew them on straight.

7. Do the buttons

image(By the way, this part requires hand stitching.) My waistcoat is a slightly different design to the movie, and as you can see here I’ve got blue buttons. First of all lay your waistcoat down and line up the buttons on your preferred side. You can even use a ruler to check if they’re evenly space. Mark their space with a pencil. Then sew them on, criss-crossing the thread and going over it several times.

 

Then place the other side over and draw a vertical line in pencil over where the middle of your button is underneath. This is going to be your buttonhole, so make sure it’s lined up. Then cut a little further than your line — it needs to be a tiny bit bigger than the button itself.image

Now blanket stitch all around that hole you cut. Your stitches need to be close together since they’re the only thing that will keep the material from fraying. But if you’re going to have your waistcoat done up all of the time it’s fine if they’re not pretty!

8. Darts (optional)

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A dart from the inside

 

The darts are those little lines you see along the front that give the waistcoat some shaping. To make these just mark where you want the line to be, fold in a tiny bit of your fabric along the inside and sew along it. Make sure it’s the same on both sides!

YAY now all you have to do is cut off all the loose threads and your waistcoat is complete! 😀

3. accessories and makeup

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Yes, ’tis I. NO JUDGING THE FACE.

Now it’s really up to you — you can choose which accessories and other clothes elements you need you’d like depending on your costume. Since my wig is ginger I did a makeup test for ginger-y eyebrows and freckles.

Aand that’s it! You have completed this cosplay tutorial. If you do try it then I’d love to see your photos. This Saturday I’m heading off to MCM London with my Jehan cosplay, and hopefully I’ll see some other Les Mis cosplayers there! 🙂 For my next cosplay project I’m thinking of either Baron von Gikkingen from Studio Ghibli or Lila Bard from A Darker Shade of Magic. I SHALL KEEP YOU UPDATED.

do you go to any cons? ever cosplayed? are you going to mcm too?

The Fictional Crushes Tag

fictional crushes tag

I was tagged for this by Engie @ Musings From Neville’s Navel — thanks so much! And also sorry that this is, um, pretty late haha. I’m basically terrible at doing tags, but today I am rewarding myself for essay writing with a post of me flailing about characters that I love. 😛

the paranormal crush.

…Am I allowed to choose Baz Pitch? I don’t read that many paranormal books. And I like Baz a lot, even if he is stupidly in love with Simon. He’s the only paranormal character I can currently think of. If witches are allowed, then I choose my favourite violent cold-hearted witch Manon Blackbeak. Who would hate me. (This seems like a recurring theme among characters I like.)

les mis deluxe cover
THIS IS (one of) MY COPIES OF LES MIS. I love this edition aah.

the dark and moody crush who has a good side.

Eponine Thenardier. I KNOW I’M PUTTING LIKE 3 LES MIS CHARACTERS IN HERE. I just have an intense love of Les Mis and to be quite honest all of the characters are wonderful precious cinnamon rolls. Eponine is the-coolest-girl ever-slash-secret-nerd. She could probably kill you with a glare. Enough said.

the most badass crush.

I am currently watching How to Get Away With Murder. And admittedly I’m not even through the first season, but LAUREL CASTILLO OH MY GOODNESS. Everyone else was so shaked by the murder but, like… She found herself. AND SHE’S SO BADASS. She speaks Spanish. She has amazing eyebrows. Okay, I think I need to stop talking now.

the crush i’d venture anywhere with.

Linh Cinder. We can fly off into the galaxy together as I talk excitedly about space and Cinder does mechanic things (about which I know a terrible amount).

the crush i’d want to be stranded on a desert island with.

Penelope Bunce, obviously. She’d get me out of there in no time. Although if we were actually stranded she would also be great because overall Penny is just a very sensible person. We could discuss social justice, spells, and the stupidness of Simon and Baz together.

the crush i want to tame.

…This seems like a kind of weird question? Because I don’t want to tame anyone per se. I would immensely like Adelina Amouterou to stop causing herself so much pain and become the villain. Also Kaz Brekker. Please stop torturing yourself, Kaz.

the crush i friendzoned.

Like Engie, for this one I’m going with ‘the character I super want to be best friends with’. (I mean, which kind of is all these crushes because that is basically what my crushes are. but anyway.) I’d love to be friends with Jean Prouvaire, aka Jehan! Also a Les Mis character, just to let you all know. Ahem. *looks sideways* He and I are one and the same. I, too, blush at everything and am in love with poetry and revolutions.

the most romantic crush.

Oh my god, Cosette Fauchelevent. I think a lot of people see her as a bit drippy because the musical simplifies her character a bit. But Cosette is A Literal Goddess, simultaneously lovely to everyone and slightly fighting you. Especially if you’re *cough*Marius*couch* keeping the secret that her father is an ex-criminal. But I think she’d be super sweet and romantic but in a very cool way. I would be sappy and embarrassed.

a gathering of shadowsthe crush i want to elope with.

Lila Bard. I was going to put her as ‘dark and moody’ because…well, she is pretty dark and moody but with a bad side. Also very brash, foolish, and in denial of her emotions/never ever talking about them ever. She says things like: I’d rather die on an adventure than live standing still. *swoons* And then I decided NOPE I LOVE HER TOO MUCH. She would probably hate me or forget my name instantly. Whatever. Let me indulge in my fantasy.

my soulmate.

Hahaha… I DON’T KNOW. My soulmate is all my bookshelves!

I’m not going to tag anyone directly for this one but IF YOU’RE READING THIS THEN FEEL FREE. I had a lot of fun. *nods*

which fictional characters do you love? is it nice weather where you are? (apparently it’ll be 24 degrees at the weekend here!!)

The Les Mis Book Tag

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If at this point you didn’t know I have an obsession with Les Mis: I HAVE AN OBSESSION WITH LES MIS. And very recently it was the one year anniversary of my becoming obsessed with Les Mis, so this is my celebration post! *showers confetti* Also, I was upset that a Hamilton book tag existed but a Les Mis one didn’t, so. I MADE ONE MWAHAHA. It may have resulted in me bursting into song/tears at random intervals whilst writing, but those are basically common occurences anyway ahaha 😛

I Dreamed a Dream

i had a dream my life would be so different from this hell i’m living: a book that didn’t live up to your high expectations

My mind is very much on French history as I write this post, so I’m going to with Liberty’s Fire by Lydia Syson. I WAS SO HYPED FOR THIS: Paris! Revolution! Queer characters in history! Alas, it was not to be. The romance bored me immensely, and it was such a significant part of the book that it basically ruined the whole thing for me.

vicious ve schwabThe Confrontation

i’ve hunted you across the years: your favourite literary duo

I just reread Vicious by V.E. Schwab, which is possibly one of my favourite books of all time. Obviously I have to choose Victor and Eli. I CAN’T BELIEVE IT’S GETTING A SEQUEL ASDFJKL. (Although Aaron Burr and Alexander Hamilton are a close second.

Castle on Cloud

i know a place where no one cries: a book you have read that made you comforted + happy

I think I could go for Fangirl, but I also adore Jandy Nelson’s I’ll Give You the Sun as a pick-me-up book. Fangirl feels like a warm hug, but IGYTS feels like a ray of rainbows and sunshine and happiness to be alive beaming down on me. It just makes me want to art and love and dance and asdfjkl I REALLY LOVE THIS BOOK. I encourage absolutely everyone to read it. *nods*

the rest of us just live hereRed and Black

red, the blood of angry men: a book you have an unpopular opinion about

I’m doing a shadowing group for the Carnegie medal right now, and there was a very…well, interesting opinion on Patrick Ness’ The Rest of Us Just Live Here. Everyone complained that it was too boring and the satirical excerpts of Satchel and the indie kids would have made a better book. Which I thoroughly disagree with. It was just a mash-up of everything I hate in dystopian YA. *coughs* I don’t think The Rest of Us is for everyone, but personally I did love it!

Do You Hear the People Sing?

will you get up and follow me?: a book you read due to hype

I read The Secret History by Donna Tartt purely because I saw about a million aesthetic edits for it on Tumblr and I wondered what all the fuss was. I did like it, but…I was very confused for a lot of it. I think this post explains it quite accurately.

http://falloutgirlongirl.tumblr.com/post/133172279912/what-is-the-secret-history-about

One Day More

one more dawn, one more day: a book that kept you reading into the next chapter (and the next and the next)

I couldn’t tear myself away from A Gathering of Shadows from V.E. Schwab. I read it at every available opportunity, leading to various spillages of toothpaste and food on my Kindle. (That thing has seen a lot of wear and tear but it’s still alive.) IT WAS DEFINITELY WORTH IT. And it’s definitely worth choosing for my second Schwab book in this tag. Ahem.

On My Own

still i say there’s a way for us: a ship of yours that isn’t canon

I was planning on trying to…well, keep out of using Les Mis as actual answers for the Les Mis book tag. Since I thought it might provide a nice sense of irony. But I don’t think I can let this one go: Eponine/Cosette. I was reminded of my love for this ship when I saw this excellent Grease AU art and asdfjkl. WHY IS THERE NOT MORE GOOD FIC. Marius is an adorable dork, but Eponine and Cosette are like the even more adorable/scary power. I SHIP IT SO MUCH & I DON’T CARE IF THERE IS NO BASIS FOR THEIR RELATIONSHIP IN CANON AT ALL.

radio silence alice osemanDrink With Me

let the wine of friendship never run dry: your favourite bookish friendship

Frances and Aled from Alice Oseman’s Radio Silence have SUCH an awesome friendship. (And yes, I am going to keep talking about this book forever and ever until you all read it because it’s literally so fabulous.) I feel like they’re so honest with each other! It’s great to be able to be yourself. Also, yay for girl-boy friendships that don’t turn into relationships. 🙂

Bring Him Home

let me die, let him live: that one character you will do anything to see protected

Agatha Wellbelove, obviously. I am distraught at the fandom hate she gets. My friend said she had the personality of a wet dishcloth. SHE IS AMAZING AND BADASS AND SHE IS NOT TAKING ANY OF SIMON’S CRAP. She’s a canonical Doctor Who geek. Support Agatha Wellbelove 2k16. (Although I’m still hoping Gansey doesn’t completely die in The Raven King. I’ll probably know by the time this is published, oh god.) (Edit: I can confirm this I have finished TRK as we speak but NO SPOILERS.)

Empty Chairs at Empty Tables

now my friends are dead and gone: a character death you don’t think you’ll ever recover from (spoilers beware!)

Maybe Sam Cortland from Throne of Glass. Until Queen of Shadows I still had my theories that he somehow wasn’t dead, but… I don’t think so. And I know I said I’d keep Les Mis to a minimum, but obviously I’m going to have to talk about the very major character deaths of many significant characters in that. *coughs* WHY, VICTOR HUGO, WHY. Let’s just pretend those parts didn’t happen, okay? would it be cruel to put a GIF of everyone lying dead here yes it would

AND THAT IS THE END. *dramatically sweeps hands* Sadly I couldn’t do all the Les Mis songs, although I did start with almost that number so be impressed at my restraint. I’m not super sure who’s listened to/likes Les Mis, but I’m tagging my usual musical theatre partner in crime Evi @ Adventuring Through Pages. (And here is my reminder that we wrote an excellent fandom war between Les Mis and Hamilton. Which I thoroughly recommend you read.) But feel totally free to do this tag, pick and choose questions + use the title image yourself! My only request is that you link back to this post and keep the image credit. 🙂

Just to recap, because I know how annoying it is to keep copy and pasting, the tag questions are:

  • I Dreamed a Dream: a book that didn’t live up to your high expectations
  • The Confrontation: your favourite literary duo
  • Castle on a Cloud: a book that comforts you
  • Red and Black: an unpopular bookish opinion
  • Do You Hear the People Sing?: a book you read because of hype
  • One Day More: a book that kept you reading into the next chapter (and the next and the next)
  • On My Own: a ship of yours that isn’t canon
  • Drink With Me: your favourite bookish friendship
  • Bring Him Home: that one character you will do anything to protect
  • Empty Chairs at Empty Tables: a character death you don’t think you’ll ever recover from

what books do you love? do you like any musicals? how would you answer my questions?

Les Mis v Hamilton

les mis v hamilton final

Two musicals, alike in revolution-ing… Which one is the better? Today I’m joined by the wonderful Evi @ Adventuring Through Pages to present to you the arguments for superiority of two fandoms featuring real historical revolutions: Les Misérables and Hamilton!

team les mis

Hi there! It’s Evi from Adventuring Through Pages! Eve is amazing, and I’m so eager to do this with her. I am covering Les Misérables, as you can see, though it was kinda hard to choose because asldkhflsdk THEY ARE BOTH AMAZING. (Note: this is all, obviously, in good fun. We’re just both massive geeks. 😀 )

1. While Les Mis is set canonically later than Hamilton…we’ve been around a lot longer

Les Misérables was published in 1862, and the musical opened in Paris  in 1980 – its very first performance – and has been around and loved since then. EVERYBODY has heard of Les Mis. It has performed in 44 countries, schools all over the place, and 347 cities. It’s even been made into the 2012 movie! So I think that we technically get authority credit for being so well-loved as compared to these young whippersnappers with their rapping and odd dance moves.

2.The characters are THE BEST

Okay, so maybe it doesn’t say it outright in the book…but Marius is a huge dork, Cosette is the literal cinnamon roll™, Valjean is the best father figure, and the Amis- even though they’re totally epic revolutionaries- all have so many intense personalities. Javert himself is one of the most complex characters on the planet- like, he’s a good guy…but he also wants to get rid of the main character, so that proves a bit difficult. The Thenardiers are an odd bunch as well, because literally everybody hates them but they are also massive comedic relief in the musical & movie. There’s more adorableness and less sass-and-relationship-drama-and-battle-issues-and-people-who-are-literally-the-phrase-“fight-me” as seen in Hamilton.

(Also tiny Cosette is adorable let’s face it she is)

3.The style of music is more classic and appeals to a larger crowd

While there is a lot to be said about Hamilton’s uniqueness in music style, Les Mis has a more classic, traditional style that appeals to a larger crowd than just those who enjoy rap/hip-hop. There are love songs, there are angry stirring fight-y songs, there are saddening but hopeful finale music, and there are dramatic self-reflection songs that may or may not result in you falling into a river. There’s music for everyone in it!

Also, one of my personal favorite things about Les Mis is how much there are common musical melodies that get repeated over and over in different ways. Leitmotifs are a common theme in musicals, I just think it’s really evident in Les Mis and that’s something I love.

4.The fandom is kind of ginormous and also really friendly

Because the Les Mis fandom has literally been around for nearly 200 years…it’s kind of huge. People of all ages and backgrounds love it (in fact, the musical has been translated into 22 different languages)! And because there’s not much to argue about, the fandom as a whole is really nice. There’s amazing fanart and funny textpost compilations and fan-made videos of people singing medleys. There is just so much to explore that Hamilton doesn’t yet have (though personally I hope it gets there).

les mis fandom post
source: imgur

(so maybe it attempts to consume your entire life hahaha it’s alright you’ll be okay)

5. You learn A LOT from the book

I…knew very little about French history and their failed revolutions and basically ANYTHING until I read Les Misérables. So it’s a history lesson AND a book of ginormous emotions and pretty words all in one! I mean, we have a book (Les Mis is separated into volumes, then books, then chapters) on France’s historical sewer systems. I know what every character looks like and how much Bishop Myriel spends on his charities and personal expenses (15,000 livres, if you’re curious). I know that Marius Pontmercy apparently has “well-opened and passionate nostrils” (Chapter One of the sixth book of the third volume). I know that Jean “Jehan” Prouvaire plays the flute. Essentially, if you take away the fact that it is the basis for the musical and all that, Les Misérables is the book every fan wants- an in-depth discussion of EVERYTHING that happened and WHO each character is and WHAT they like to do in their free time and EXACTLY HOW well-opened their nostrils are. It’s a ginormous companion book that isn’t, y’know, actually a companion book. Let it never be said that you don’t come away from Les Mis learning a lot.

team hamilton
This is Eve here! MAN AM I READY FOR THIS FIGHT. *cracks knuckles* Although like Evi said, I absolutely stress that I don’t actually want to physically fight you or anything. I love both fandoms like crazy. (As you all probably know by now!)

1. The music and lyrics are AMAZING

Hamilton is just an exceedingly well-composed musical. And exceedingly well-written. Not only does each character have their own musical motifs; they also have a distinctive style of lyrics. It makes my musical side extremely pleased. *sighs happily* Hamilton just has such a unique style of music and lyrics and sooo many fabulous songs asdfjkl. They’re CRAZY DAMN CATCHY.

JEFFERSON: I’m in the cabinet. I am complicit in
Watching him grabbin’ at power and kissin’ it
If Washington isn’t gon’ listen
To disciplined dissidents, this is the difference:
This kid is out!

Have you seen these lyrics?!??? I CAN’T EVEN IT’S SO GREAT.

2. It appeals to a wide audience

Musical theatre people? History people? Students? Teachers? HAMILTON APPEALS TO ALL THESE PEOPLE. And it’s also brought in a more mainstream audience — I mean, you could hear its songs on the radio. And hopefully you will. It’s so great to see people who wouldn’t normally be interested suddenly LOVE something. (I, at least, have developed a weird interest in US history. *coughs*) I think this fact — the transformation of what is for some an incredibly boring subject into something everyone can enjoy — shows something very special.

3. Lin Manuel-Miranda is super cool

Victor Hugo was…a bit of an egotistical asshole. He thought he was an amazing prodigy. He probably wrote his own memoir under his wife’s name. Obviously I don’t know LMM (the writer/Alex Hamilton) personally, but he just seems like a Genuinely Nice Guy™. He makes nerdy musical references! He responds and joins in which the fandom! He makes stupid vines ! He has also written another great musical called In the Heights! He and the cast give us Ham4Ham shows with cheap tickets and free fabulous music when they really, really don’t have to. It feels a lot better to like something made by wonderful people doing wonderful things.

ladies of hamilton ham4ham
LOOK AT THE AWESOME CAST BEING AWESOME (source)

4. The revolution survives, as do (some of) your faves

i’m not crying there’s just rain on my face Les Mis details the July uprising of 1832, which…well. It failed. Everyone died. Yep. Hamilton is about the War of Independence in the USA, which obviously didn’t fail because it’s still independent. This particular band of revolutionaries actually manages to get its act together and you’re not (immediately) left crying. I mean, everyone has to die in the end because this was 200 years ago and even asshole revolutionaries are not immortal. But within the musical, a decent amount of people survive! Hurrah for less emotional scarring!

5. Actual history = SO MUCH CANON

Les Mis was published in 1865? ALEXANDER HAMILTON WAS BORN IN 1755, SUCKERS. HA. Les Mis is based on a novel? So is Hamilton. (It was inspired by Ron Chernow’s biography.) You can read historical documents; letters from Hamilton to Laurens, Jefferson to Madison, Angelica to Hamilton; the actual Federalist papers; years and years of historical analysis. You might even study him at school! (Alas, not I, but I live in hope.) Hamilton’s legacy is visible in the USA today. He’s on the 10$ bills. I refuse to believe there is more Les Mis fandom to explore, thanks.

thanks so much for writing this with me, evi! now it’s your turn: whose argument was more persuasive? which fandom do YOU choose?