“We lose ourselves in books, we find ourselves there too."

Hello all,

After reading Les Misérables, I felt that I had an opinion on who the true villain of the tale was. I had watched the film previous to reading this and my opinion definitely changed. I was intrigued to see what other opinions were.

So over the past few weeks I have been compiling opinions from people on who they believe is the hero and who they think is the villain in Les Misérables. This could be either from the book, the film or the musical.

So starting off with my villain. My villain: Marius. I know what you’re all thinking, controversial choice. But let me explain my reasoning, remember this is my opinion after reading the book:

  • Marius literally stalks Cosette from when she was a young girl to when she grows into a beautiful young woman. He waits for her and follows her and even sends Éponine to find out where she lives and then Marius waits for her outside her house. Whilst waiting in her garden for even the slightest glimpse, he makes a diary which he wrote in daily expressing his love for Cosette, a women who, up until now, he hasn’t met, let alone spoken too. Talk about creepy!
  • He tries to get Valjean arrested by telling Javert who consequently gives him two pistols.
  • When Cosette leaves for England, he feels like he has no hope and life is no longer worth living and so heads to the barricades to die. A tad dramatic right?
  • One of Éponine’s last acts is to give Marius a letter from Cosette. With no forwarding address attached to this letter, Marius feels he must honour his promise and die for her. Why is this her fault?!
  • Marius is the lone survivor of the particular barricade he fought at and this was partly thanks to Valjean who basically saved his life. When Marius has recovered he marries Cosette. After the wedding, Valjean feels it is only right that he confesses and tells Marius of his true identity, that he is Jean Valjean. He tells Marius the full truth, a truth not even Cosette is aware of. Shocked, Marius believes it is best if Valjean never sees Cosette again. Valjean doesn’t want to be cut out of her life forever and so is granted (by Marius), one short visit per evening.
  • The visits aren’t exactly cosy and friendly affairs. They are in a cold basement/cellar that no one ever goes in, the lights are always off and they aren’t allowed to hug. No wonder poor Cosette is confused when the man she treats as her father is seemingly acting distant and cold.
  • Marius’ conviction that Valjean is a criminal leads to him completely pushing Valjean out of Cosette’s life for good.
  • Marius FINALLY comes to his senses and him and Cosette rush to be at Valjean side, only for him to die a few minutes later.

So there’s my reasoning! What do you all think? Below are some of the opinions I have compiled over the past few weeks.

“He’s driven by a sense of duty and what’s right. He comes from a background that does not support that and yet he does everything to follow and uphold those morals. He relentlessly pursues what he thinks is right and when confronted with a situation that breaks his code he does the morally right thing…but he kills himself after because he believes so much in the righteousness of the law.”

Adrian’s hero: Javert.

I don’t disagree with this opinion! I actually sent mega long essay texts in reply to Adrian’s message regarding this. Whilst Javert isn’t wholly a good guy by any means, he’s definitely not a villain.

“My hero’s are Éponine, Gavroche and Marius. My villains are – the women and foreman that cost Fantine her work and ultimately her life. The Thérnardiers for their treatment of Cosette. The leads even Javert are just deeply flawed humans, who aren’t really villains in the sense that we think of villains.

Christi Caldwell, author of series such as Heart of a Duke and Scandalous Affairs

I actually never thought of the villains in this way in a more generic and actually more villainous sense of character. The women and foremen caused Fantine to lose her job because of an illegitimate child and so couldn’t afford her ever rising keep of her child, Cosette, with the Thérnardiers. This subsequently left her to sell herself – her hair, her teeth, her body and ultimately her life for the safety of her child. This is why Fantine is my hero. The women and foremen are essentially murderers. The Thérnardiers were villains in their own right, thieves and liars at the highest level, they didn’t give Cosette a chance at a happy life. Gavroche is an incredible character with a lot of depth considering he is only a child. He is a determined little fellow, determined to fight and full of enthusiasm for life.

“My hero is Éponine. She’s feisty and outspoken at times and I’ve always loved her solo ‘On My Own.’

Emily – follow her blog

Éponine is one character in the book that I couldn’t really work out if I’m honest. We meet her as a child, she is a daughter of the Thérnardiers and she bully’s Cosette. Then we leave her for most of the novel and then we meet her again as an adult and a part of the ABC club. She’s there for a few chapters then sacrifices herself for Marius and then dies. I feel like her character could have definitely been developed more. I love her in The Court of Miracles though!

So there you have it! Four opinions on Les Misérables – heroes and villains. If you have any opinions of your own then please feel free to share them below.

Until next time,

Keep reading and stay safe,

D x

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Let me know what you think!