Popular Fanon

Meta related to characters, plots, or other elements introduced by Victor Hugo in Les Misérables.
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MmeBahorel
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Re: Popular Fanon

Postby MmeBahorel » Wed Jun 26, 2013 3:04 am

Hugo states "il flânait volontiers dans les champs de folle avoine et de bleuets" - he wandered through fields of wild oats and cornflowers. ("wild oats" appears not to have the same idiomatic meaning in French - it isn't coming up in dictionaries - so this is for once NOT Hugo sliding in something about sex.)

Also "Il avait la voix habituellement délicate et tout à coup virile" - he habitually had a delicate voice that became manly all of a sudden. The first half of this gets translated fanon-wise to a physical delicacy (I'm guilty of this, too, but largely because anything else would be a weird-ass match.) Especially when combined with later in the paragraph "Il parlait doucement, penchait la tête, baissit les yeux, souriait avec embarras, . . . rougissait de rien, était fort timide". He spoke sweetly (softly, calmly - "douce" can be used in all these meanings), bowed his head, lowered his eyes, smiled embarrassedly, . . . blushed over nothing, was very shy.

He doesn't have to be effeminate in terms of his exact physical features or small in stature, but it is harder to imagine a young man built like, say, Valjean, having all of these mannerisms. Not impossible at all, but you can see why fanon is how it is. (mine is physically small largely to exacerbate the bullying that is my explanation for how he came to apocalyptic reading material and thus to the overthrow of society on behalf of those who have also been social victims.)

The long hair is a Romantic (bohemian - really bousingo at this point) thing: Jehan is at least named for Jehan du Seigneur (Bahorel is named for Petrus Borel), who was a major figure in the weird-ass Romantic movement. The Hernanistes, etc. The guys who went around with long hair and doublets. The reference Hugo makes to the middle ages when describing Jehan again links him with this element. It's not a direct statement, but it's a plausible affiliation that fandom has jumped on. I think I was one of the earliest to publish Romantic Jehan (back in early 2003) - at least I didn't see that version of Jehan before then - but it's run through fandom so much that I can't take credit for it becoming fanon because it's a) kind of there in the text and b) most of fandom is taking it from other people in fandom, not from any research into the bousingots or Jeune France.

For more information on the Romantic aspect, the thread here about Jehan covers the basics.
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Re: Popular Fanon

Postby Majestic_Picnob » Wed Jun 26, 2013 4:55 am

Speaking of full names, I've found that Enjolras' first name is nearly always "Alexandre" or "Gabriel." Fitting (a great leader and a powerful angel), but I wonder how this trend came about.
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Re: Popular Fanon

Postby meow139 » Wed Jun 26, 2013 4:59 am

Majestic_Picnob wrote:Speaking of full names, I've found that Enjolras' first name is nearly always "Alexandre" or "Gabriel." Fitting (a great leader and a powerful angel), but I wonder how this trend came about.

I've seen a good number of Julien's as well. I haven't the slightest idea where it stems from.
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Re: Popular Fanon

Postby WhoIam » Wed Jun 26, 2013 5:08 am

To me, Julian and Gabriel, as well as Alexandre, imply some sort of ambiguity gender-wise, because they can easily double as female despite appearing masculine at first glance. Whether that's an allusion to Enjolras' asexuality or not is unable to be proven; it could be intentional, or subliminal, or completely on accident.
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Re: Popular Fanon

Postby Rachel » Wed Jun 26, 2013 6:29 am

Well, most of the Gabriels seem to be Aaron Tveit's Enjolras, so I thought it might be a nod to Next to Normal, where Aaron's character is called Gabriel. Also, it seems like there's a lot of crossover between the newer, (stereotypically) teenage fans of Les Mis and Next to Normal, so that's where I assume Gabriel came from, even if subconsciously.

No clue with Julien. I see a few Etiennes as well.

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Re: Popular Fanon

Postby Acaila » Wed Jun 26, 2013 6:47 am

MmeBahorel wrote:Hugo states "il flânait volontiers dans les champs de folle avoine et de bleuets" - he wandered through fields of wild oats and cornflowers. ("wild oats" appears not to have the same idiomatic meaning in French - it isn't coming up in dictionaries - so this is for once NOT Hugo sliding in something about sex.)

Also "Il avait la voix habituellement délicate et tout à coup virile" - he habitually had a delicate voice that became manly all of a sudden. The first half of this gets translated fanon-wise to a physical delicacy (I'm guilty of this, too, but largely because anything else would be a weird-ass match.) Especially when combined with later in the paragraph "Il parlait doucement, penchait la tête, baissit les yeux, souriait avec embarras, . . . rougissait de rien, était fort timide". He spoke sweetly (softly, calmly - "douce" can be used in all these meanings), bowed his head, lowered his eyes, smiled embarrassedly, . . . blushed over nothing, was very shy.

He doesn't have to be effeminate in terms of his exact physical features or small in stature, but it is harder to imagine a young man built like, say, Valjean, having all of these mannerisms. Not impossible at all, but you can see why fanon is how it is. (mine is physically small largely to exacerbate the bullying that is my explanation for how he came to apocalyptic reading material and thus to the overthrow of society on behalf of those who have also been social victims.)

The long hair is a Romantic (bohemian - really bousingo at this point) thing: Jehan is at least named for Jehan du Seigneur (Bahorel is named for Petrus Borel), who was a major figure in the weird-ass Romantic movement. The Hernanistes, etc. The guys who went around with long hair and doublets. The reference Hugo makes to the middle ages when describing Jehan again links him with this element. It's not a direct statement, but it's a plausible affiliation that fandom has jumped on. I think I was one of the earliest to publish Romantic Jehan (back in early 2003) - at least I didn't see that version of Jehan before then - but it's run through fandom so much that I can't take credit for it becoming fanon because it's a) kind of there in the text and b) most of fandom is taking it from other people in fandom, not from any research into the bousingots or Jeune France.

For more information on the Romantic aspect, the thread here about Jehan covers the basics.


This is a really great post and should be required reading for anyone producing fanfic or fanart on tumblr. Thanks MmeBahorel.

I have read gentle giant type Jehan a couple of times, and I love it just for smashing expectations. It's not necessarily what I imagine, but it's a good counter to the poor characterisations of a great character that are doing the rounds.

Re. Enjolras' first name, maybe I amn't reading so much of current fanfic trends, but I haven't noticed so many Alexandres. I feel bad now, I picked that for the RP on here, thinking it was a reasonably different name for an Enjolras :oops: . Marcelin is still my fanon induced headcanon thanks to a lot of fics from back in the day.
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Re: Popular Fanon

Postby deHavilland » Wed Jun 26, 2013 7:28 am

meow139 wrote:I've seen a good number of Julien's as well. I haven't the slightest idea where it stems from.


A very popular fic from the early 2000's, A Wasps' Nest, uses Julien as Enjolras' first name. Petra and Catherine, who wrote it, used the name in a number of other works as well, but I would say that it's Wasps which really brought it to the forefront of fandom's collective conscience. (Regardless of if it was used before then or not.)
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Re: Popular Fanon

Postby Morgan » Fri Jun 28, 2013 5:16 am

MmeBahorel wrote:Also "Il avait la voix habituellement délicate et tout à coup virile" - he habitually had a delicate voice that became manly all of a sudden. The first half of this gets translated fanon-wise to a physical delicacy (I'm guilty of this, too, but largely because anything else would be a weird-ass match.) Especially when combined with later in the paragraph "Il parlait doucement, penchait la tête, baissit les yeux, souriait avec embarras, . . . rougissait de rien, était fort timide". He spoke sweetly (softly, calmly - "douce" can be used in all these meanings), bowed his head, lowered his eyes, smiled embarrassedly, . . . blushed over nothing, was very shy.


Heh, this part is actually why my headcanon Jehan is more of the big and burly type - I have a friend who is big, tall, and beardy, and who these bits of the description apply to perfectly, and I think he's influenced my mental image.

It's a combination that makes sense to me because I can definitely see being physically imposing potentially exarcerbating the degree to which someone might be soft-spoken and a bit shy. Talking quietly, ducking your head and so on a lot - it's like subconsciously trying to make up for how much physical space you take up.
(I know I personally do all of those things a lot more if I'm in a room with a bunch of short people than if I'm surrounded by people taller than me)
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Re: Popular Fanon

Postby meow139 » Fri Jun 28, 2013 6:12 am

Mine is sort of tall too- I guess I based mine off of Alistair Brammer in the movie A LOT, (because I have this thing about Brammer and it's sort of a problem and I really don't want to talk about it okay) and he wasn't exactly... short. And he definitely did NOT strike me as the type to wear flower crowns. I mean, come on, fandom.

It actually really annoys me when people screw up Jehan so badly because Jehan is basically me, and it really annoys me to no end. Why can't they understand that he's a deep thinker too? Combeferre isn't the only smart one!

Anyway, yeah, as I was saying, my Jehan isn't tiny. All that just for one point. I don't know it's late, and... I'm sorry. I'll go to sleep now.
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Re: Popular Fanon

Postby Majestic_Picnob » Fri Jul 12, 2013 1:24 am

I've decided I don't really like it when Valjean gets reduced to an extra. I mean, yeah, he's not the best viewpoint character for a fic because we already know his story, but at least give him something cool to do. Sometimes he literally only shows up for the Marius-saving scene, plus a few prior cameos that basically exist just so the former doesn't come totally out of nowhere. :P
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Re: Popular Fanon

Postby freedomlover » Wed Aug 07, 2013 12:38 am

Enjolras' sexuality is actually important, and you can actually hate tumblr users and act like a five year old over it. (Nobody on here has done that thankfully)

All of the Amis political views are clearly stated in the Brick (they are not--- mostly headcanon)
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Re: Popular Fanon

Postby deHavilland » Wed Aug 07, 2013 12:59 am

Neither of those things is really fanon, Em, so much as the unfortunate side-effects thereof and what happens when you try to insist that fanon is more canonical than it is.

freedomlover wrote:All of the Amis political views are clearly stated in the Brick (they are not--- mostly headcanon)


This statement itself is not an example of fanon, but the resulting political views once they become popular and generally accepted within the community would be.
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Re: Popular Fanon

Postby Majestic_Picnob » Thu Aug 08, 2013 4:38 am

I've been noticing a lot of '60s AUs. Not that I'm complaining; I've always thought the themes of Les Mis meshed well with the '60s.
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Re: Popular Fanon

Postby deHavilland » Thu Aug 08, 2013 5:31 am

That's really very interesting, actually. I once had aspirations in that direction only because Combeferre in a 60's suit seems kind of appealing to me, lol! Do you have any links? I haven't seen any, but I haven't exactly been looking either.
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Re: Popular Fanon

Postby Acaila » Thu Aug 08, 2013 2:44 pm

It makes sense to me as an AU setting because I find it difficult to believe B&S didn't have 1968 in Paris in their minds at all :D
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