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Valjean - a distant father? 
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Broadway Legend
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Post Valjean - a distant father?
I was just browsing deviantART and looking at a picture someone drew of a sad Cosette, then read the artist's notes, which basically talked about how Cosette isn't the spoiled ditz that Eppyboppers think she is and really has a raw deal in her own right. One of the things he/she wrote was that she has "only an aging distant father to keep her company." But that surprised me. I've never gotten any sense that Valjean is a distant father: he's always come across as very loving. He's secretive and overprotective, of course, but I can't find any indication in the musical that Cosette is starved for attention or affection from him.

What does anyone else think on the subject? Has anyone besides this artist gotten the sense that Valjean's secretiveness = emotionally aloof from Cosette in general? I suppose it's just natural for fans to exaggerate things that way (e.g. Hugo's hints that Montparnasse and Eponine sleep together being turned by the fandom into "every night he pays Thenardier to let him drag her into the alley, beat her and rape her"), and I suppose it's reasonable to assume that someone with Valjean's experiences might be very closed-up even around the people he loves. But I've never gotten that sense from him at all, and I was wondering what other people thought, because that description of him so surprised me.


Tue Jan 24, 2012 9:53 am
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Off-Broadway Lead
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Post Re: Valjean - a distant father?
Yeah, I don't get that, either, especially since Cosette has lyrics right in the show about how 'loving and gentle and good' Valjean is. She's frustrated because he won't give her any information about her past but she still seems to love him.

I have seen a few productions where Valjean seems sort of abrupt with her, maybe that's where it's coming from...


Thu Jan 26, 2012 6:33 pm
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Post Re: Valjean - a distant father?
You mean the JOJ grabbing and shaking of Cosette during "In My Life"? I recall people going loopy over that. XD

As for Valjean being "distant," huh? Nope.

In fairness, it could be the person interprets Valjean's secretive nature as distant, but saying he is distant implies something distinctly linked to neglect, and that I wholly disagree with. Like the poster said above, it is clearly said elsewhere the quality and loving nature of Cosette's upbringing in Valjean's care. I dig your questioning of various head-scratching claims strewn around the internet, Vanessa, dear. I've had about enough of this recent trend of the mildest suggestion--no matter how weak or lacking in evidence to support it--picked up and repeated by many as a fact.

It's as unfounded as the conspiracy theories of the UNIVERSE against Cosette, all because of a black dress. XD

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Fri Jan 27, 2012 3:44 am
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Post Re: Valjean - a distant father?
Dear "Les Mis" Fans,

OMG! So, is Eponine a virgin in the novel, or ISN'T she? Is she a virgin in the musical, or has Thernardier prostituted her out to every Tom, Dick, and Harry, and she's just upset because she can't have Marius in bed? I always assumed that she was a starving, frustrated, desexualized, ignored, sad virgin of epic proportions!

Thanks in advance for your replies.
:?:


[quote="Vanessa20"]e.g. Hugo's hints that Montparnasse and Eponine sleep together being turned by the fandom into "every night he pays Thenardier to let him drag her into the alley, beat her and rape her")

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Mon Mar 18, 2013 8:50 pm
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Post Re: Valjean - a distant father?
I can't provide all the exact quotes, but the book does imply that her father tends to send her to potential "benefactors." In fact that's how she and Marius meet: they don't go through with it, of course, and it's not overtly stated, but she walks around his room with her blouse falling down and her torso exposed, calls him a "pretty boy," eyes his unmade bed with a "chilling" expression, and gives him a letter from her father saying "My eldest daughter awaits your orders."

Whether that applies to her portrayal in the musical or not, I don't know.


Mon Mar 18, 2013 9:58 pm
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Post Re: Valjean - a distant father?
Vanessa20 wrote:
I can't provide all the exact quotes, but the book does imply that her father tends to send her to potential "benefactors." In fact that's how she and Marius meet: they don't go through with it, of course, and it's not overtly stated, but she walks around his room with her blouse falling down and her torso exposed, calls him a "pretty boy," eyes his unmade bed with a "chilling" expression, and gives him a letter from her father saying "My eldest daughter awaits your orders."

Whether that applies to her portrayal in the musical or not, I don't know.


The kind of soliloquy she does at that moment in the novel is one of my favorite chapter... Extremely well writen.
THe same for Cosette going alone in the wood to get some water.
Some short moments, full of grace.


Tue Mar 19, 2013 12:56 am
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