WHOOOWOW that is a big order
But here, I have done what I can !
Notes: This is more or less in the order of character appearance.I’ve only included puns and references , not direct translations or name meanings (like “Felix” meaning “lucky”). I also haven’t sourced everything, because then I would really take forever answering this’; I’ve tried to get SOME sources linked in; if there’s any source someone’s especially curious about, let me know and I’ll add it.
ALSO I am in NO way saying this is a complete list of references or puns. I know right now Im’, missing some really good references about Fantine and Eponine! It is possible it will never be complete. But if anyone would like to help complete it, and sees a reference or a joke I’ve missed, please message me and let me know! I want to know about these things too!
Anyway. Here goes:
A month ago, I had to attend a memorial service for-not-my-friend-and-not-my-family, which means spending the day being SRS and adult.
My brain woke me up with some astonishingly graphic smut.
For Padmé and Rex.
Yeah, I don’t know either.
So I had to write an entire scenario around that for it to make sense.
Then Flamethrower pointed out I really ought to rewrite a section (and she was totally right and it kicks some ass now instead of…just sitting there being awkward)
About 10.4k words later….
Description: Padmé survives Mustafar. She and Obi-Wan strike out on their own with
the twins, accumulating a far bigger family of clones, Jedi, and
assorted troublemakers. Even in the shadow of the Empire, they manage to forge
Padmé realizes she might be in a bit too deep when she wakes up
later. The cabin is dark, and she can’t see the chrono from where she
is, but she can feel Rex’s steady breathing from behind her. He’s been
clinging since they curled up underneath the blankets, and it’s not
quite what she expected from his perpetual, polite distance when they’re
in public. She doesn’t mind at all. It’s a nice feeling, and they fit
Since they’re that close, it must have been movement from him
that woke her. Trying to decipher that wakes her up more, so she can
just barely make out Rex whispering. His head is bowed, hair brushing
against hers as words puff faintly against her shoulderblade.
“Cyar’ika,” he says, and it’s clear it is not meant to be heard
by her. “Ner’cabur.” His voice goes gentler, and she can hear
determination coiling around the Mando’a. “N’kelir cabuor gar.”
SO WORTH IT, MUST READ.
This is an unusually good examination of Les Mis, the way it’s been received and reinterpreted, and the politics of the story and Hugo himself over his life. And also the intro alone is SO MUCH of what I want to yell at an enormous number of reviews.
What is usually elided in conversations about this show is that one of its defining characteristics is the foregrounding and embrace of an attempt at violent revolution by a group of students with guns. Their rebellion ends in bloody failure but the attempt is honored, not mocked. Forgotten in the tedious critiques of technical nit-picking and whining over the melodramatic plot and its Christian quest for forgiveness, there is a central political problem at the heart of the work which places one man’s quest for redemption against the crucial backdrop of a society under revolution.
Fans describe the story as a universal one of “eternal truths” and societal “archetypes”, but Jean Valjean’s problem is his relationship with a government that not only misuses and perverts its power, but facilitates and reproduces a society that is perversely stratified. Granting that Jean Valjean’s saint-like quest for personal salvation forms the redemptive core of the story, what if the global popularity of this work also echoes the perennial frustration with government’s interminable persecution of innocents and its obsessive zeal for crushing liberatory movements?
The perennial hostility of critics would then remind us more of the nervous murmurs and outright hostility of elites whenever the masses begin to congregate, build barricades, camp out and demand a better world. The tears of the audiences would not remind us that the “people” are easily conned into weeping over a melodramatic spectacle that apes the gospels, but perhaps allows a vicarious vision of rebelling against unjust rule while remaining true to desire and love.
Also, it talks about Louise Michel!
Go read the thing!
At this point—to omit nothing from the sketch upon which we have ventured—we will call attention to the fact that, with Christianity, and by its means, there entered into the mind of the nations a new sentiment, unknown to the ancients and marvellously developed among moderns, a sentiment which is more than gravity and less than sadness—melancholy.
– Victor Hugo,Preface to Cromwell
“The situation of all in that fatal hour and that pitiless place, had as result and culminating point Enjolras’ supreme melancholy.”
-Victor Hugo, Les Miserables
Something I noticed during a recent discussion on the Quel Horizon speech (and then promptly kicked myself for not noticing before); the start of that chapter is the first place Enjolras is linked with Melancholy. Not sadness or thoughtfulness; Melancholy, specifically.
And, well. See above quote. In Victor Hugo Mythos Land, this is kind of a gigantic deal.
Melancholy in canon era had many meanings in common use– depression, indigestion (yes) various illnesses, as well as just plain sadness– and characters use the word to indicate those meanings , like Grantaire claiming it for himself along with nostalgia and hypochondria.
But Melancholy, for Hugo, also had a very *specific* meaning, unique to Romanticism, and especially his own near-religious approach to Romanticism, one he thought about and wrote about a fair amount. I’ve written more about it here but to hugely simplify: Melancholy,Hugo’s idea of Melancholy, is not just sadness in general; it’s *sorrow* , and specifically the sorrow felt by understanding and knowing the Ideal, AND understanding the grotesque, the absolute absence of the Ideal– and thus understanding the suffering caused by that distance (it’s one of two Romantic responses to understanding that gap,the other, coming from the other side of the ideal/grotesque understanding, being a specific kind of humor or laughter; as in, “Bahorel’s laughter”. That juxtaposition is not at all coincidence, but it is another post.). It is, basically, a holy or spiritual sorrow, coming from understanding and compassion; as Hugo puts it, the suffering of the luminous over the ones still in the dark.
This is why Enjolras associates Melancholy with Prouvaire, and considers it a strength. It’s not just sadness, it’s a Romantic awareness of suffering–an almost divinely-inspired compassion, basically. That is a pretty major strength for any attempt to change the world! And it’s a marker of Prouvaire’s status in the group as Prophet, a role Hugo always insisted poets should aspire to and embody.*
The American primary election process is, by any measure, arcane, drawn-out, and at times maddeningly confusing.
This Tuesday, March 1, is “Super Tuesday,” aka the “SEC Primary,” (the latter comes from a college athletics conference that includes many of the states voting). A whole slew of states are holding primaries and caucuses. I’ll address the basics of How To Caucus in a separate post — it can be a bit confusing the first time, but don’t let that deter you!
Delegates on Super Tuesday will be allotted proportionately — winner-take-all contests aren’t allowed until March 15. Some states do it directly proportional, but many have clauses where the winner will take most of the votes or candidates have to meet a certain threshold before getting delegates. The math for the Republicans, in particular, will probably get complicated.
If you want some great voter guides, Bernie Sanders’ campaign has an easy-to-use state by state breakdown [here] — you can even use it if you’re voting for Hillary! The League of Women Voters has a great non-partisan search tool as well [here], and has an awesome voter’s guide [here] to help you compare candidates — remember, you might have local races that have primaries as well! Be an informed citizen, and remember that local government often has more of an influence on your day-to-day life than the President.
Also, on Tuesday night, check out The Guardian’s live election returns page. If they continue doing what they’ve done so far, they have little animated figures of the candidates coloring in the counties they’ve won while they spout off talking points. It’s adorable and hilarious.
Answers to FAQs under the cut (corrections welcome):
Okay so I want to post about a thing that seems to get overlooked a lot: Marius has a fairly dismal childhood himself! He’s looked after and educated and so on, yes. But he’s extremely isolated, and M. Gillenormand is a terrible parent. He’s not Thenardiers-level horrific, of course, but he is emotionally and verbally abusive to the point where, while the reader understands that he secretly loves Marius, Marius is in his twenties before he has any inkling of this.
And this is where a lot of Marius’s fail stems from – he’s a sheltered teenager who literally doesn’t know what healthy relationships look like.
Obviously I’m not gonna change any dedicated anti-Pontmercy minds here, and that’s not really my goal – but I do think this is an important aspect of his character that a lot of fandom doesn’t take into account. Also I should emphasize that a lot of this meta does not originate with me but with manypalimpsests, who has all the clevers but does not have way too much time on her hands.
Lots of Brick quotations and teal deer follow.
This is a very long post that I suspect no one will read,
but which I’m going to post anyway because I need to get this off my chest.
People have been biting each other’s head off over Javert’s ethnicity, and the
more arguments I see, the more my heart breaks.
If you do decide to read on and find that you don’t like the historical and cultural context I’m providing, don’t take it out on me. I come in peace,
bearing the flag of rationality as best I can. I’m not defending a particular view and I don’t care about being right, but I do care about helping people base their arguments on proper context. Because the world is not as clear-cut as Javert wanted to believe.
That is all this is: context. After that, the decision is yours.
Connected to this post, re: the “hypochondriac” thing:
-“Hypochondriac” has a different meaning in canon-era context. For one thing, it was used to describe several different conditions. And in Joly’s case, it’s specifically in reference to Moliere’s play, (which, perhaps relevantly, ends with the title character deciding to become a doctor because ‘no disease would attack a doctor’). So it may not be terribly useful to apply the modern understanding of “hypochondria” to Joly in any case; it’s a pop culture joke directed to the audience of Hugo’s day that’s sort of lost its connotation now(it can also be considered a bit of a dig at the Know-it-All attitude of the medical establishment; that is, something confirming the validity of Joly’s eccentric attitude towards experimental treatments, as much as it’s teasing).
okay so this hasn’t been prompted by anything in particular lately but it’s something I’ve been thinking about for a while and I think I’m currently coherent enough to write about it a little? Let’s see!
I’ve seen some criticism about depictions of Joly in canon-era where he actually needs his cane to walk. The usual protests are that Joly’s hypochondria means he can’t actually need his cane to walk. or that he only has a cane because it was stylish (it was!) and therefor it must ALSO have been ONLY stylish, and this…friends, it is wrong. It is wrong in many ways. I shall elaborate. Rather a lot, I’m afraid.
I’m trying very hard to avoid a lecture on social models and concepts of disability here, because this is already long enough, so this is highly HIGHLY simplified. Also, I’m not even TOUCHING here on how Wrong About Hypochondria that idea is; maybe in a second post. But allowing for all that :
Having Joly depend at least somewhat on his cane is actually way more historically likely than having it just be a pretty prop.
I started writing tag responses and then realized this is just a paragraph this goes in the text box:
Joly is fascinating as all the barricade boys are because they’re each very explicitly assigned a little portfolio of characteristics and attributes, and it’s a limited portfolio (because they get very little individual page time) that’s calculated to allow you to extrapolate distinctive personalities for them based on those little tags.
But the reason that works is because you’re supposed to pick up those tags and read out from them a whole network of common associations, because they’re drawing on historical/literary references, on contemporary stereotypes, on tacit social assumptions that are very much of their time. We don’t have the same web of assumptions and associations available to us as someone reading the brick at the time it was published would, we have a very different repertoire of associations with any given concept, especially when it’s something as ephemeral as fashion.
Like…beards. If you’re giving me a description of a young male character in something set in 2015, and you say he has a substantial beard, then (depending on what the surrounding tags support) that’s likely to say to me either hipster, LARPer or metalhead, for example. Saying Petrus Borel had a beard, though, says something completely different, because he had a beard in a time when beards were very Not The Done Thing, so it has totally different social meanings attached.
And canes and hypochondria are SO LOADED with meanings, and they really aren’t the same meanings in 2015 that they were in 1832 OR 1862, and the thing about fanfic and headcanons is that they dance around on this line where they have to make sense both in terms of what would have made sense for Joly if he were an actual person in the late 1820s/early 1830s AND what chimes with the fan in 2015 and it’s fascinating on all levels! They’re things that are really, really loaded and they carry so much significance for modern readers but which is a very modern *set* of significances and THE SEMIOTICS ARE GLORIOUS AND COMPLEX AND AHHHHH
I don’t want to get too into analysing this because PILF IS DOING THAT GREAT ALREADY and I’m basically restating Pilf while being less qualified to actually talk about disability stuff but YES. *flails*
YES TO ALL THIS. It’s one reason why I’m always afraid of History Context Stuff seeming prohibitive instead of just informative; these details are supposed to serve as certain indicators in canon , and knowing what those indicators are can be interesting, but (esp. for AU purposes!) just directly transposing those indicators to a modern audience doesn’t always work. Like, Bahorel’s eternal law-studentness makes zero sense in a modern context, and especially in the US neither does Bossuet’s; the social situation and the nature and cost of college have all changed so much that what that studenthood is meant to signify isn’t there anymore.
And yeah– one of the reasons I always trip over 3.4.1 on rereads is because seriously every line of the descriptions is so incredibly loaded with that kind of signal. Combeferre reading Fourier and Saint Simon says a LOT. So does Courfeyrac’s disowned de, and so on. And this isn’t super secret code! Hugo would expect a lot of his audience to get it! It’s trying to be clear! But : Culture Marches On, and now it’s History Nerd Detective time. 😛