Unnecessary deaths?

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Majestic_Picnob
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Unnecessary deaths?

Postby Majestic_Picnob » Sun Apr 14, 2013 3:03 am

Reading the unexpected deaths thread, I was inspired to make this one. So, if someone knows nothing else about Les Mis, they'll probably know that it's "That book/play where everyone dies." But... did everyone need to die? Were there any deaths you felt were unnecessary, or at least that the greater plot could get along without?

In my opinion, Valjean, Fantine, Javert, and Enjolras are the ones that need to die for the plot and themes to be realized to their fullest (and even Valjean is debatable because of all those films that manage to have a relatively-complete plot yet end before he dies). Grantaire as well, due to what a logical conclusion to his character arc it is.

For unnecessary deaths, the one that jumps out most at me is Mme T. I wholeheartedly believe that you could read the entire book and actually not notice she was dead. I actually like that the musical spared her. In next place would be Gavroche, whose end seemed excessively cruel and didn't serve much of a purpose IMO beyond yet another reminder that 19th century France kinda sucked. You could probably spare an ami or two without affecting the plot much, either.

I'm torn on Éponine as well. On the one hand, her death, like Gavroche's, seemed cruel given all she's been through; girl's so messed up that she's happy to die half-crazed in the arms of her stalking victim. On the other... I can't really think what you'd do with her if she lived. She might just become a colossal loose end. Ad like Grantaire, it's a believable coda to her character.
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Re: Unnecessary deaths?

Postby between4walls » Sun Apr 14, 2013 3:26 am

There are a lot of good arguments that Gavroche has to die because in his situation he doesn't have much of a future, his light-heartedness and relative innocence are only possible because he's still young. So I can't see his death as unnecessary. More importantly imo, he symbolizes Paris and its cheerful and rebellious spirit and so his being killed by the forces of order has a lot of symbolic freight.

I've always found M. Mabeuf's death more ridiculous than affecting. But he didn't have much to look forward to either.

I'm not sure there's such a thing as an unnecessary death- there are deaths that the book can't work without, but the less important deaths still serve to reinforce the themes and convey the precariousness of life among les Misérables.
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Re: Unnecessary deaths?

Postby Gervais » Sun Apr 14, 2013 3:32 am

between4walls wrote:There are a lot of good arguments that Gavroche has to die because in his situation he doesn't have much of a future, his light-heartedness and relative innocence are only possible because he's still young. So I can't see his death as unnecessary. More importantly imo, he symbolizes Paris and its cheerful and rebellious spirit and so his being killed by the forces of order has a lot of symbolic freight.

I've always found M. Mabeuf's death more ridiculous than affecting. But he didn't have much to look forward to either.

I'm not sure there's such a thing as an unnecessary death- there are deaths that the book can't work without, but the less important deaths still serve to reinforce the themes and convey the precariousness of life among les Misérables.

I agree with almost all of this of this, I think. Though I also agree that Madame T's death wasn't entirely necessary, though it also sets up poor little Azelma to a pretty crap future with Thernardier (Not that it wouldn't have been bad before, but at least the Madame had some love in her, while Thernardier is mostly indifferent.).
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Re: Unnecessary deaths?

Postby between4walls » Sun Apr 14, 2013 3:36 am

Well, the Thenardiers are living in an incredibly precarious situation, involved in crime, desperately poor, in and out of jail, and in the middle of a cholera epidemic (okay, Hugo doesn't go into that aspect, but he does mention that there is one). It makes sense that at least one of them just falls through the cracks.

Basically for me the "unnecessary deaths" establish a certain "background noise" level of misery, violence, and risk. And the killing of all the Amis leaves Marius as the lone survivor, which is significant both for his character and for no one knowing that Valjean saved him.
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Re: Unnecessary deaths?

Postby Gervais » Sun Apr 14, 2013 3:46 am

It makes sense and all of the deaths definitely have their place, but I took "unnecessary" as more or less meaning "the story could continue basically as it does no matter if the character is dead or alive," so that possibly skewed my views a bit.
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Re: Unnecessary deaths?

Postby Majestic_Picnob » Sun Apr 14, 2013 3:54 am

Gervais wrote:It makes sense and all of the deaths definitely have their place, but I took "unnecessary" as more or less meaning "the story could continue basically as it does no matter if the character is dead or alive," so that possibly skewed my views a bit.


'swhat I meant, yeah.
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Re: Unnecessary deaths?

Postby between4walls » Sun Apr 14, 2013 3:55 am

Your interpretation seems much more in line with what Majestic Picnob meant in the first place; I was being a bit self-indulgent and wanted to make a point re Mme T, since there was discussion of that on another thread as well.
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Re: Unnecessary deaths?

Postby Gervais » Sun Apr 14, 2013 4:04 am

between4walls wrote:Your interpretation seems much more in line with what Majestic Picnob meant in the first place; I was being a bit self-indulgent and wanted to make a point re Mme T, since there was discussion of that on another thread as well.

At least it's a good subject to self-indulge in. :wink:

And thanks for clearing that, Majestic Picnob.

I was thinking about what was said about if one or a few of Les Amis (other than Grantaire or Enjolras) stayed alive. If they were in a separate area or knocked out, or even a million other things, then they wouldn't have seen Valjean rescue Marius. His survival would've lost impact, though, like was said, so Amis aren't really unnecessary deaths in my view either.
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Re: Unnecessary deaths?

Postby freedomlover » Sun Apr 14, 2013 4:16 am

I'd say Mme.Thernardier's (although she does annoy me...), Courfeyrac, Combeferre, some other Les Amis (except Enjolras- his death was necessary.) I'm not sure about Éponine's
Fantine's and Enjolras' deaths were needed, as was Javert's.

This is quite an interesting thread :)
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Re: Unnecessary deaths?

Postby Majestic_Picnob » Sun Apr 14, 2013 5:02 am

Never thought that way about Gavroche before, actually. As creepy as it sounds, dying as a happy kid may just be preferable to growing to be a miserable adult...

I've always thought that if Éponine had lived, I'd have liked a scene where she meets Cosette and Cosette forgives her. Because that would be adowable and Cosette would totally do that.
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Re: Unnecessary deaths?

Postby Gervais » Sun Apr 14, 2013 5:08 am

That scene would be incredibly adorable. :mrgreen:

Actually Em, Courfeyrac and Combeferre would be the first two on my list of Neccesary Amis Deaths under Enjolras and Grantaire. They complete the triumvirate along with Enjolras, and Courfeyrac's death is probably the one that affects Marius the most because he was the closest Ami to him. (Courfeyrac as the Best Man at the wedding is fanon, I'm pretty sure, but it would actually make sense in a modern AU at the least, because that's almost the only person who could fill the role.)
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Re: Unnecessary deaths?

Postby Majestic_Picnob » Sun Apr 14, 2013 5:23 am

Gervais wrote:That scene would be incredibly adorable. :mrgreen:


There seems to be this new sort of subgenre of fics where Éponine survives and moves in with Marius and Cosette. She's usually not paired with him in these, probably 'cause that'd be really awkward.
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Re: Unnecessary deaths?

Postby Gervais » Sun Apr 14, 2013 5:27 am

Majestic_Picnob wrote:
Gervais wrote:That scene would be incredibly adorable. :mrgreen:


There seems to be this new sort of subgenre of fics where Éponine survives and moves in with Marius and Cosette. She's usually not paired with him in these, probably 'cause that'd be really awkward.
I think I've seen some of those, actually. That, and somewhat older Cosette-fixes-Eponine-up fics, though those don't necessarily have an apology/forgiveness scene.
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Re: Unnecessary deaths?

Postby Majestic_Picnob » Sun Apr 14, 2013 5:41 am

There's actually a lot of Éponine/Cosette friendship stories springing up, I've noticed. It's cute, and a welcome change from bashing.
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Re: Unnecessary deaths?

Postby Gervais » Sun Apr 14, 2013 5:50 am

I've seen a few of those, though I haven't really gone onto ff.net as much lately. What I have seen is amazingly fluffy, though. :D
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