Sunday, 10 March 2013

Les Miserables: Grantaire and Enjolras - More than Friends?

I saw this discussion on Goodreads, and I was actually going to answer it right away there, but I realised that my answer has become too long. This is indeed an interesting issue, especially if you watch what the fans are doing in Tumblr. Somehow Enjolras/Grantaire has become increasingly popular. Is it true, though, that they are more than friends? Here's my opinion.

I seriously disagree with those who think that they are homosexuals. No! But their relationship is of course special, from a point that their beliefs are as far as the north to the south.

Honestly, what is more important and interesting from the Friends of the ABC aside from their differences in opinions and ideologies and still, they fight together for the things they believe in. Combeferre believes in education, Courfeyrac in human being, and so on. Without that aspect, the Friends would be no more than a bunch of kids hanging out in a cafe, chatting and having fun. But the fact that they believe and fight for what they believe in, makes them special.

Enjolras is one side of the extreme. His whole life revolves around the Republic. His mother is the Republic, his mistress is Patria. What could be clearer than that? Leave alone love, he doesn't even care about his life when it comes to the nation.

Enjolras' brightness and radiance attract Grantaire. He's a nihilist. He doesn't want to believe in ANYTHING – except Enjolras. Enjolras is capable of being a leader and of inspiring people that all his friends – even Grantaire – see him as a great person. Rather than 'love', it's more like idolatry, or even 'fanboying' of some sort. Enjolras, on the other hand, despises Grantaire's lack of belief, and hates his comments about others'.

That's it.

What makes it sounds so "romantic" is of course the fact that this admiration is not mutual. The story now becomes, "Grantaire loves Enjolras deeply but he doesn't seem to care, whilst deep inside Enjolras loves him all the same." It's not canon, and not likely to happen, even in alternate universe, if both Enjolras and Grantaire stay true to their characters.

Another thing that support the 'theory' that there might be something between them is the musical. On stage, some Enjolras become extremely friendly with Grantaire. It's not Hugo-supported, and it is done so on stage to express the weird friendship between the two, just like Grantaire's lines "will the world remember you when you fall/can it be your death means nothing at all/is your life just one more lie" are put there to make it clear that Grantaire doesn't believe in any of those.

Ramin Karimloo and Hadley Fraser as Enjolras and Grantaire
in Les Miserables musical
“But they died holding hands,” some might say. Isn't it touching? Very. I'd proudly say that I cried reading it. For once, and the last time, Enjolras views Grantaire as a worthy friend. Is it “romantic”? Read the passage in 16th century view point. It's not even close.

I seriously think people should re-consider what they think about those best-friendships in literature. I've seen people talking about Sherlock and Watson, using ACD's 19th century vocabulary as a proof ('intimate relationship' and so on). At this point, we only need another film played by good-looking actors to make Caesar/Antony or Hamlet/Horatio relationship romantic.  

1 comment:

  1. Oh people these days, they seriously offend great best friends by thinking that those characters are homosexuals. In Great Expectations, Pip shared almost everything he has with his bestfriend Herbert, but does that make them homosexuals? No. In Three Musketeers Athos said "I love you" to d'Artagnan, does he mean it in the romantic way? Definitely not.

    Of course everybody is free to imagine the fictional characters in any way they want, but at least they could take some heed to what the author was really trying to say through his work. The same treatment, I think, suits those re-writings that added nonsensical sexual scenes to our best beloved classics.