Les Miseranimals

Any discussion related to Victor's Hugo's Les Misérables, in any language.
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Schmerg_The_Impaler
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Les Miseranimals

Postby Schmerg_The_Impaler » Thu Aug 14, 2008 12:39 pm

This sounds like a pretty stupid topic, but you've probably noticed by now that Ol' Vicky Hugo is constantly comparing his characters to various animals. Javert is a dog and sometimes a tiger, Thenardier is CONSTANTLY called a wolf, Cosette is a lark, etc. So, the question is, which animal do you think the characters are most similar to, in general personality and (to some extent) appearance?

Thenardier-- I don't care how many times they call him a wolf, in my mind, he will always be a rat. A large rat exactly like Templeton from the animated version of "Charlotte's Web," who mutters nasally to himself as he picks through trash and sneaks through the sewers. Rats live in filth, but they're more clever than they seem, they can escape from anything, and they're almost IMPOSSIBLE to kill off.

Madame Thenardier-- A bear. An angry mama grizzly bear that someone provoked by threatening one of her (female) cubs. Or maybe she just feels like being angry.

Javert-- Thenardier's the one that Hugo is always calling a wolf, but I always got more of a wolf vibe from Javert. There's a host of passages that call him a dog (one comparing him to Thenardier and saying that 'sometimes, the dog is as frightening as the wolf' or something like that), but wolves are famously hunters and prowlers, and something about the greyish-brownish colour of their fur reminds me of Javert.

Bossuet-- A turtle. Their faces look so much like Bossuet to me. And then there's the fact that Bossuet carries his home with him, is plodding his way through law school, and is always seeming to be caught up with all kinds of misfortunes.

Eponine-- Some scraggly, mangy alley cat that walks around yowling like someone stepped on its tail all the time, but that walks inside your house and sits on the sofa and looks up at you smugly like it thinks it's some prize show animal. Not that I don't like Éponine. I think that's, erm, endearing. Or something.

Enjolras-- A UNICORN. Pure, pretty, a favourite among girls, unrealistic, and will impale you at a second's notice.

Grantaire-- Rhinoceros. Big, ugly, crusty, cantankerous, and ponderous, it wants to be a unicorn, but all it has in common is the horn. And to me, there's something awfully cynical-looking about rhinos.

Gillenormand-- A large, lordly walrus with a big, magnificent mustache that sits there bellowing all the time. (Not that the mustache bellows... well, you get my drift.)

Obviously, Cosette's a lark. For some reason, though, I can't think of anything good for Valjean, Marius (The book describes him as looking like a lion, but I don't see the resemblance... though he DOES remind me of Simba from "The Lion King," being whinily and excessively devoted to his dad... though I love Marius), Fantine, Gavroche, or any of the host of minor characters. ANyopne else have any ideas?
Last edited by Schmerg_The_Impaler on Thu Aug 14, 2008 9:16 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby SylvieProuvaire1832 » Thu Aug 14, 2008 1:20 pm

I can't believe you called Enjolras a unicorn. I mean, you explain it and everything but... *collapses in a fit a giggles*
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Postby Schmerg_The_Impaler » Thu Aug 14, 2008 1:50 pm

This image haunts my dreams... or is that my nightmares? :shock:


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Postby Sieglinde » Thu Aug 14, 2008 6:54 pm

Valjean is a big dog with long hair. Something like Sirius. He's nice with children and good people, but protects his beloveds against everybody.

I'd see Fantine as a doe or a gazella. You know, the pretty animal who is killed in nature movies by the lion/crocodile/hyena. Stupid Spectrum channel, I'm bored to death by these themes... *sigh* Where are the good old Attanborough movies?

Thénardier is a mix of hyena and rat.

Gavroche is a puppy, what else?

Others fit perfectly. Unicorn!Enjy! *dies laughing* So true. So pure and virginal...

And yes, Javert is a wolf or a dog/wolf half-breed. In fact, a dog what was born to a she-wolf... I adore that metaphor.

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Postby Schmerg_The_Impaler » Thu Aug 14, 2008 7:19 pm

I thought of Valjean as a big, shaggy dog as well, but I wasn't sure if that was just because of (the source of this thread's title) the Animaniacs episode called Les Miseranimals, where the protagonist was a huge dog named Runt val Runt. But yeah, he's strong and loyal and dutiful... and the bishop reformed him from being a Bad Dog.

Gavroche being a puppy, as well as that fits in the song "Little People," suggests sort of a tameness that Gavroche doesn't have, so that was the first thing I thought of... but I kept trying to think of other scrappy little animals that fit. The only thing that kept popping into my head was a flea that bites the bottom of the Pope in Rome. One thing I'll say for the song "Little People" is that it's certainly head-sticking.

Ooh, I like your Fantine idea. The pretty animal who is killed... and aren't deer usually symbols of purity as well? I know they symbolized Artemis, who was a virgin. So that's like a symbol on two levels...

Speaking of Enjycorn, unicorns are also DEAD. ^_^

Just wish I could think of SOMETHING for Marius. Nothing that pops into my head fits.
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Postby Sieglinde » Thu Aug 14, 2008 8:42 pm

Marius? How about a mule? :twisted:

"I don't think it nice you laughin'. See my mule doesn't like people laughin'. He has the crazy idea you are laughin' on him. But if you apologize, like you are going to, I can tell him you really didn't mean it." *boom boom boom boom*
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Oops. Man With No Name has nothing to do with Les Mis. Wrong show.

Well, Marius...

*thinking thinking*

No idea. He's a dolt.

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Postby cordeliersclub » Thu Aug 14, 2008 10:05 pm

Something with passionate nostrils, I should think--an anteater?
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Postby Frédéric Dumont » Mon Aug 18, 2008 3:26 pm

:lol: :lol: :lol:

I guess Marius is some kind of gazella too.

Yep, agreed about Thénardier, and about Javert. I think the cultural perception of the wolf has changed greatly since Hugo's days. A wolf no longer is seen as a vicious sneaking killer, but rather as a keen, tireless hunter, and as a bit of a romanticised loner.
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Postby Schmerg_The_Impaler » Mon Aug 18, 2008 3:37 pm

I don't know, I feel like gazelles are too... quick and active to be Marius. He's a very dreamy, head-in-the-clouds kind of guy.

Actually, more I think about it, maybe Marius IS a lion. They come across as majestic even though they usually go about twenty-two hours of the day without moving. The defining characteristic of a male lion is that they don't do ANYTHING-- they just kinda hang around lazily-- and then all of a sudden, when you least expect it, they just jump up out of nowhere and attack you and kill you. Yeah, that's Marius.

Sounds like Montparnasse, too. Actually, I've always wanted to see some kind of bad crack fanfiction where Marius and Montparnasse are long-lost twins or something, because they have an awful lot in common, physically and in terms of their disregard for working and making a living.
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Postby SylvieProuvaire1832 » Mon Aug 18, 2008 4:14 pm

Didn't Lesmisloony write something like that? Except that it wasn't bad crack fic?
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Postby merlin_emrys » Wed Oct 07, 2009 4:44 pm

Can see Marius as sort of a lion, though I always had something a bit more doggish in mind for him.
Joly -- a twitchy little fox!
Bahorel -- a dog that's always bouncing around for no apparent reason
Courfeyrac -- of course, a kitten!
Combeferre -- er, I always saw him as a bit owly. Even before I pictured him with glasses
Jehan -- some kind of bird. I see him as a winged animal, maybe a dove or something beautiful like that. A tern?

TOTALLY agree that Enjy must be a unicorn.

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Postby Frédérique » Wed Oct 07, 2009 5:05 pm

Jehan -- some kind of bird. I see him as a winged animal, maybe a dove or something beautiful like that. A tern?


How about a swan? A badly dressed duckling with the potential to grow to magnificence, shy and gentle by appearance, but soaring to formidability if circumstance demands it?

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Postby merlin_emrys » Wed Oct 07, 2009 6:28 pm

Frédérique wrote:
Jehan -- some kind of bird. I see him as a winged animal, maybe a dove or something beautiful like that. A tern?


How about a swan? A badly dressed duckling with the potential to grow to magnificence, shy and gentle by appearance, but soaring to formidability if circumstance demands it?


Oh that's perfect! And if you pronounce it badly it even rhymes ... Jehannnnn ... the swannnnnn ...

OK, I'll shut up. :D

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Re: Les Miseranimals

Postby CeridwenLynne » Tue Oct 29, 2013 2:22 pm

Reviving an old thread :D

Javert. I see him as a grey wolf stalking his prey.

Valjean. I see him as a large fluffy dog ( maybe a Newoundland or St. Bernard)

Enjolras. I picture him as an eagle or a lion.

Combeferre. I've always pictured him as an owl.

Courfeyrac. A cat. IMO he would be a Maine Coon or an Abyssinian.

Thernardiers. They are hyenas. :D

Marius. He is a puppy. Perhaps a Beagle or a Basset.

Éponine. She is an alley cat. No particular breed but wanting to be loved.

Cosette. Hmm some type of bird. Maybe a Goldfinch.
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Re: Les Miseranimals

Postby Gervais » Tue Oct 29, 2013 3:15 pm

CeridwenLynne wrote:Cosette. Hmm some type of bird. Maybe a Goldfinch.

...Lark? :wink:

How about Marius as a little curly-haired Boykin spaniel? Though that may be too hyper. Something a bit more reserved. (I'll admit to being a fan of the "Marius is a literal booby" gag, though. :lol: ).
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