Characters when they were younger

Any discussion related to Victor's Hugo's Les Misérables, in any language.
Enjolvert
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Characters when they were younger

Postby Enjolvert » Mon Feb 11, 2013 11:11 pm

We obviously get a very good idea of Marius and his background, as well as some other characters, but with quite a few, we don't really know that much about them.

Valjean's backstory is explained and we obviously know how he ends up in prison and what he does, but I often wonder what sort of person he was with his sister and her family. Was he the saintly type who could imagine nothing but providing for his nieces and nephews? Was he already quite rough? What sort of people did he associate with?

Again, we get the idea of Javert's backstory and of his parents, but again, what sort of person do you think he was? What tempted him into his law abiding ways? Was there ever a time when his background meant he was in danger of following another path? I think that Javert was the type of was always going to be single minded and passionate to one profession or cause, but it would've been interesting if his life he went differently to the extent where he took a different path for that committment.

Then there's Enjolras. What would his family have been like? Do we imagine that they cemented his rebellious nature, or did they discourage it meaning that he left them and followed his own path? And when did his association as leader of friends of the ABC start? Do we think it had been for a long time? Who was first to join etc?

Then there's Thenardier. Was there ever a time when he wasn't as cruel and evil as he later was? What drove him to be the sort of person he was?

That's just the basic outline for the sort of thing I mean here, but do you have any of your own ideas for characters when they had been younger and what made them the way they were?
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Rose1836
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Re: Characters when they were younger

Postby Rose1836 » Mon Feb 11, 2013 11:59 pm

I toyed with an idea of fan fiction about young, sleazily villainous Madame Thénardier (inspired by 2012 movie, admittedly) but I left it.

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Acaila
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Re: Characters when they were younger

Postby Acaila » Tue Feb 12, 2013 12:04 am

The Thenardiers would be really interesting to speculate on actually.
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Re: Characters when they were younger

Postby Enjolvert » Tue Feb 12, 2013 1:16 am

I actually got the impression from Madame T in the book that she was once your average person, but settled with Thenardier of course, and then kind of lost all hope for her life there and soon turned nasty because of it. I found it interesting that Hugo emphasises that she did care deeply for both of her daughters. Even if it results in horrific cruelty to Cosette, Gavroche and her other sons, I think he shows that there's some sort of care in her, also showing that she perhaps was better as a person than her husband at one stage, but soon got dragged down to his level over the years.

With Thenardier, I'm not sure though. Perhaps he was brought up that way? I could imagine his father being the same and kind of implanting his horrible philosophies on him, but I don't know. Something must have happened either way to turn Thenardier into the horrible, cruel person he became.
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Aurelia Combeferre
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Re: Characters when they were younger

Postby Aurelia Combeferre » Tue Feb 12, 2013 7:33 am

Here is what I am presently working with for "When Apollo Met Persephone":

-Valjean: The quiet kid who kept to himself, but could be counted on to help very often. Probably had a sense of obligation instilled in him, especially with regard to his sister's family. Doesn't remember much of his parents.

-Enjolras: Surprisingly got along well with his parents despite driving them up the wall with his endless questions. He'd be the son they'd despair of owing to his tendencies for political trouble, but he gets along with his parents better when he's older. I imagine him as reserved, able to look out for himself, bookish: the geek you can't mess with. (I do have a real life basis for this....)

-Thenardier: Grew up in a working class household but fell into bad company and got disowned at a young age. Eventually got into his kind of business, and it all goes downhill from there

-Mme. Thenardier: Working class girl too, seduced by her rat of a husband but became determined not to let him win ultimately
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Re: Characters when they were younger

Postby freedomlover » Tue Feb 12, 2013 5:03 pm

- Enjolras: Always arguing against injustice, parents slightly encouraging his talents but getting annoyed with his endless rambles. Always reading and lecturing his friends about liberty. (Yes, I know people like that *guilty smile*
ImageTime Machine Theory:According to some people, Hugo had a time machine and based Enjolras on this user but made a male version of this user.

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Acaila
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Re: Characters when they were younger

Postby Acaila » Tue Feb 12, 2013 5:16 pm

I imagine Enjolras was the sort of child who asked "but why?" a lot. To the extent that people maybe didn't always have a good answer.
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Re: Characters when they were younger

Postby Aurelia Combeferre » Wed Feb 13, 2013 12:01 am

More childhood bits!

-Javert: (even if I don't write about him): The kid who everyone avoided, mostly because of his parents. Grew up solitary, poor thing.

-Combeferre: The one who had to be convinced to stop reading in his parents' private book collection so he could eat. The one who brought home all kinds of things to study, much to the despair of his tutors.

-Prouvaire: A dreamy, sweet child who had indulgent tutors. Something happened though along the way that got him reading dangerous literature.

-Courfeyrac: Youngest among several children, the resident scapegrace who nevertheless, got away with everything. Gained quite a reputation back in boarding school, no doubt. And he would have grown up in a very social household, hence his learning to exercise his charm very early

-Montparnasse: A gamin who got talked into doing violent crime by another gamin, and was saved from starvation by the Brujons, and then by Babet.

More to come when I can think about them.
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YoungStudentMarius
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Re: Characters when they were younger

Postby YoungStudentMarius » Wed Feb 13, 2013 12:38 am

A lot of these actually make sense. :lol:

I'd say Combeferre is that one kid who brings a book to the table and reads, not even attempting to hide it, and when confronted and asked to put it away, points out several reasons why it would be more profitable for everyone if he kept it.

For Courfeyrac, I agree with you exactly, Aurelia. I think he would be the one playing pranks on all the girls in his class, and yet the one whom they all adored anyway, and the teacher half the time loved, and half the time couldn't stand.

I imagine Javert as being quiet and almost sullen, not really ever fully the same or participating the same way as everyone else in the group. I imagine that in all the groups of friends, he'd probably be the one who didn't speak much and sat by himself.

I could see Prouvaire picking bunches of flowers for his mother as a spontaneous gift. He'd probably be teased a bit, but I don't think he'd care.
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Aurelia Combeferre
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Re: Characters when they were younger

Postby Aurelia Combeferre » Wed Feb 13, 2013 2:05 am

I see Feuilly as an ex-gamin. But I am not sure how he avoided turning out like Montparnasse.
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MamzelleCombeferre
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Re: Characters when they were younger

Postby MamzelleCombeferre » Sun Feb 17, 2013 10:29 pm

Oh boy, prepare yourself for a long post.

I haven’t thought much about the older characters of the novel, and we already know a good deal about Cosette and Éponine’s childhoods, but I do have pretty solid head canons for most of the Amis.

Enjolras- Rene Enjolras was always a somber child. For the first few years of his life his parents thought he might be mute because he didn’t speak for the first time till he was nearly four. Even afterwards he was a quiet child though. He showed great academic talent even at a young age, and was given some of the best tutors money could buy. His father’s line were very distant relations to a cousin of the King, and though the Enjolras family was far from arrogant about it, they were strict and believed in good public appearance. They were also more of a royalist bend. Nonetheless, they loved their child very much, and were saddened by how their son seemed to distance himself from all people, even the Combeferre boy, his only friend, to a certain extent. He lived near the beach for his entire life, but left for Paris as soon as he was old enough to study at the university. From then on he rarely wrote his parents, returned home only at Christmas, and never told his parents of his political leanings. They were greatly shocked by their son’s death.

Combeferre- Guy Combeferre grew up in the urban parts of Marseille. His father was doctor with republican leanings, and his mother was a very kind, educated lady who insisted upon taking the education of her children into her own hands, carefully selecting tutors only when her knowledge lacked in an area. His academic whims were largely indulged. He has a younger sister named Elise who is eight years younger than he is. He is rather fond of her and remembers summer days teaching her how to read from books of fairy tales while they filched cherries from the kitchen. He met Enjolras when he was eight, and while it took a few visits, they eventually grew to be inseperable. He left for the university in Paris at 18 and was very happy when Enjolras finally joined him there. He started his studies in philosophy, but eventually moved over to the medical field, wishing to follow in his father’s footsteps. His father rarely indulged in the political talk that Guy was so fond of though, and thus he never realized that his father would have been very proud of his son for standing for his beliefs. His family did not know of his revolutionary attachments till they were contacted about their son’s death.

Courfeyrac- As I’ve mentioned before, I used to do a lot of role playing over on ff.net, and thus my Courfeyrac’s head canon is very tempered by the head canon of our resident Courfeyrac over there. He comes from a very large family with five sisters, four older and one younger. As the only boy, he felt a lot of pressure coming from all directions to be successful and marry a wealthy woman. His parents were typical aristocratic bourgeoisie. His father is in a low government position, which earns him a good salary which he uses to pay for his son’s schooling. His mother is a prim, proper woman of garish tastes, and brash opinions. His father is of a milder temperament, and very charming. Gabriel Courfeyrac obviously got equal parts of both. They were very proud to know that their son would study law at the university, but not so pleased that he seemed very uninterested in the prospect of education for himself. He has always made his alliances clear, and his parents have known since he was young teen that he falls on the republican side of opinions. They were greatly saddened by his death, but not overly surprised. It was how he would have wanted to go out.

The rest of the Amis will come at a later point.
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YoungStudentMarius
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Re: Characters when they were younger

Postby YoungStudentMarius » Sun Feb 17, 2013 11:37 pm

Zelle, you are amazing. :shock: I'd say more, but...I'm really not sure what I could.
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Aurelia Combeferre
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Re: Characters when they were younger

Postby Aurelia Combeferre » Mon Feb 18, 2013 4:15 am

The detail on this is great, Zelle! The reactions of everyone though to their passing is believable and yet very saddening. Could they really have kept their politics a secret for that long?
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Courgette
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Re: Characters when they were younger

Postby Courgette » Mon Feb 18, 2013 5:50 pm

Let me see...

Javert: A loner, who was extremely misunderstood as a kid. And no friends :(

Valjean: Helping others, but only when they asked. He stole bread, out of desperation, remember.

Enjolras: The most boisterous kid that ever existed in France!! "Why this? Why that?" Stop, Enjy, stop!!

Combeferre: A lot like me as a school kid!! Very studious but very quiet, almost introverted. Ready to help others when required. A definite teacher's pet 'cos of his good behaviour and extreme interest in academics :mrgreen:

Courfeyrac: The 'cool' kid, you could say. Very easily making friends, indulging in mischief, and getting away with it! Basically, the complete opposite of 'Ferre, I imagine!

Jehan: The quiet kid who wants to be friends, but is too shy to talk to anyone :oops: (again me!) The darling boy who would never even dream of hurting a fly...but whoa, joining Enjy's cause means a lot of inner strength & passion really existed underneath that perceived fragility.

Mme T: Why did she marry T of all people?!? 'Cos I can actually imagine her to be a decent working class girl before she got involved with him!

T: Lesser said, the better.
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Re: Characters when they were younger

Postby meow139 » Wed Jul 17, 2013 8:54 pm

Ooh jeepers, this is fun. Let's see-
Mme T- Actually used to be very pleasant, albeit very homely. She was considered intelligent- she could read, and was a typical working class girl, the oldest of a family of five kids.

Thenardier- Mmm, ah, yeah... no. He just had a crummy childhood- basically he's exactly like his father, only a bit poorer.

Azelma- actually, I see her as one of the leading causes for her family's poverty- in her childhood, she was very, very sickly and after Cosette left then the Thenardiers really didn't have enough money to pay for her, and steadily the inn started failing...

And for les Amis? This is actually easy, because currently on one of my whims of demented fancy I'm writing a story about all of the Amis aside from Bossuet getting de-aged and I'm turning it into a sort of character study on their childhoods, so- baby!Amis. Yeah.

Enjolras- That one kid who reads a lot and is always questioning everything. He was actually really serious and kind of intense as a kid. He has a tendency to creep people out sometimes because he's always really serious, but then when he's around his friends he acts almost like a normal, albeit very serious, kid.

Combeferre- Practically lives in his parents library. Has a book on him at all times. He, like Enjolras is a pretty somber kid. He always tries to understand everything that the adults say... even when it's way over his head. When he can't understand something, he gets really serious and just nods while scrunching his nose up a tiny bit, which looks adorable because he has, like, these gigantic glasses- just picture six year old Combeferre with his glasses nodding and doing the nose thing.... Ugh. Also, he knows a surprising amount for a little kid about really random stuff, and sometimes just spews information, because he knows all this stuff with no way to really apply it. He's not a real people person, and in fact Enjolras and Courfeyrac are his only closest friends.

Courfeyrac
- comes from a really big bourgeois family and is the youngest, so he never knew a lot of responsibility. He's really the cool kid and is friends with EVERYONE. However he's closest with Enjolras and Combeferre. The girls in school all absolutely adore him because he's awesome and he's, like, a real flirt- you know, THAT kid. Oh, also, he was a ginger growing up. Yeah, I don't know why either, I just think he had sort of reddish hair that got progressively darker until he reached canon age Courfeyrac, who in my headcanon has auburn hair.

More later...
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