DISCUSSION: The E&R relationship

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grantaire
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Re: DISCUSSION: The E&R relationship

Postby grantaire » Mon Sep 30, 2013 3:55 pm

Marianne wrote: the kind [of friendship] where Grantaire's name is the one that would follow Enjolras's name with an 'and' in between; Orestes & Pylades, Alexander & Hephaestion, Achilles & Patroclus....

And I guess he got what he wanted. Here we are, talking about Enjolras&Grantaire.
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Re: DISCUSSION: The E&R relationship

Postby Gervais » Mon Sep 30, 2013 4:38 pm

grantaire wrote:
Marianne wrote: the kind [of friendship] where Grantaire's name is the one that would follow Enjolras's name with an 'and' in between; Orestes & Pylades, Alexander & Hephaestion, Achilles & Patroclus....

And I guess he got what he wanted. Here we are, talking about Enjolras&Grantaire.

...Huh. But then again, he doesn't, because they aren't Enjolras&Grantaire in the book. They don't have much of a legacy, at least that Hugo mentions. Marius has his nightmares, but that's about it.
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Re: DISCUSSION: The E&R relationship

Postby Ilargi » Sat Oct 31, 2015 7:08 pm

When I first read Grantaire's description and how he felt about Enjolras, I was kind of shocked and I immediately thought: "I can't believe it. It's so gay!" But I told myself, "OK, maybe it's just me, my interpretation of these lines must be wrong because if Victor Hugo had written about homosexuality I would have heard of it, wouldn't I?". So I kept on reading and I arrived at those passages where Grantaire repeatedly says to Enjolras "I believe in you", where he constantly tries to get his attention, the way his looks at Enjolras… And I thought: "This is too much, it can't be just me". Then I found fandom, Drink with me scenes and George Blagden, but that's another story.
In my opinion, Grantaire does love Enjolras. He'd follow him anywhere, he's eager to please him and he tries but is unable to (I'm thinking of the time when he struggled for Enjolras to let him go talk to people about revolution and when he finally got his chance he wasted it playing dominoes). I'm not sure Grantaire realizes what he feels is love. I mean, Grantaire wouldn't believe in such things as love, the same way he doesn't believe in anything else, so he probably doesn't understand what pushes him towards Enjolras. But that doesn't make the feeling any less real.
On the contrary, I think Enjolras doesn't love him back. Enjolras is too focused in the revolution to notice women (and the same goes for men, I guess), but even if he wasn't, what would he see in Grantaire? Grantaire is an alcoholic mess who doesn't share his ideals and who apparently only cares about having fun. The book says Enjolras despises him because of his skepticism and his drunkenness. I wouldn't even think Enjolras considers him a real friend if not for one scene at the barricade, the last before their deaths: Grantaire is drunkenly ranting about Matelote and stuff, and Enjolras scolds him harshly and tells him to go away from the barricade. In my opinion, at that moment, Enjolras is actually trying to save Grantaire: he knows they'll probably die and he doesn't want for Grantaire to stay there since it's not his fight and it would make no sense for him to suffer the same fate as the ones who believe in revolution. So I'd say Enjolras feels annoyed and disappointed by Grantaire, he doesn't like him, but he cares about him in spite of himself… but the same way he would care about any of his friends or acquaintances, not in a romantic way. And when he's about to be executed and Grantaire goes shouting "Vive la republique! J'en suis!", I think Enjolras smiles because he's happy Grantaire has finally found a purpose to his life (sad as it may be) or maybe he's even proud because he's managed for Grantaire to believe in something and to accept its consequences.
That's how I see it thinking of them as characters. I've read other interpretations analyzing them as symbols and I find them interesting, some of them make sense to me and some don't. But what I like most about all this is that there are a lot of ways to understand this relationship, there's not a single right interpretation which makes all the rest to be wrong.

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Re: DISCUSSION: The E&R relationship

Postby Chantefleurie » Sun Nov 08, 2015 9:49 pm

Love this thread!

grantaire wrote:
Aurelia Combeferre wrote:I agree with the second part of the theory (Enjolras is not madly in love with Grantaire).

As for the Grantaire as idolizing Enjolras....yes that is true. But it's idolization taken to an extreme that borders on obsession and self-abasement.

Yes, I think Grantaire's idolization of Enjolras is definitely more of an obsession - Just, in my opinion, not with the person Enjolras, more with the Idea Enjolras (i hope that made sense. If it didn't, tell me, and I'll try to clear it up)


Yes, I would agree with that. I think Grantaire loves Enjolras (NOT romantically) and pretty much worships him. And yes, I think that he loves Enjolras for the idea of Enjolras more so than the actual person. But I want to point out two things: 1. Enjolras put himself in such a way that he doesn't really have a "person" left. He transformed himself into an idea, a symbol. It's one of the many sacrifices he's made for what he believes in - he is at least as harsh in himself as he is on others. It's 100% dedication. He lives and breathes for his cause. It's not a part-time occupation for him, as it is for the other rebels. It is HIM. 2. There are very few - next to none - maybe but one in several centuries, as Hugo would melodramatically say - people who could match the greatness, selflessness, intensity, fire, and charisma of Enjolras. He's a kind of man that people would love and respect even against their will. In a person like Grantaire, these feelings turn to worship.

Marianne wrote:Actually--and this might in itself be an unpopular opinion--I think that not only is Grantaire drawn to Enjolras as a person rather than an idea, Hugo is trying to tell us this right-out. "How did Enjolras enthral him? By his ideas? No. By his character. [...] Without his being clearly aware of it or even thinking of explaining it to himself, this chaste, healthy, firm, upright, hard, straightforward nature charmed him. He admired, instinctively, his opposite." Grantaire isn't drawn to Enjolras as a Revolutionary Ideal, not quite--Grantaire makes a great deal of noise about not giving a fig for ideals of any sort, and whether or not he actually cares about them deep down (spoilers: he does), ideals aren't enough to sustain his interest and devotion. But the personal qualities that make Enjolras capable of being a Revolutionary Ideal, those fascinate Grantaire, because they're exactly the qualities he lacks.


I feel, though, that in becoming this person, Enjolras in a way embodies the IDEA. Graintaire was drawn by the idea of ultimate incorruptibility, not by the way Enjolras talks or dresses, or his hobbies, or his political views. I feel that this is precisely why Grantaire loves the idea - he would follow Enjolras regardless of what Enjolras actually did as a person. Grantaire worships the image of the leader, not the individual underneath (however little of that Enjolras allows to exist when/if it diverges from the leader persona).

Marianne wrote:(This cuts both ways. Grantaire, to whom affection and loyalty come naturally, has the heart that Enjolras lacks when we're first introduced to them. But Grantaire's good qualities tend to get short shrift, because part of Enjolras' problem at the outset is that he doesn't value love/devotion/interpersonal bonds at all; he hasn't made room for them in his orderly, absolute ideas.)


I think that's the main reason the Enjolras-Graitaire arch is so touching. Enjolras acquires some of Grantaire's affection, and Grantaire learns idealism. And both do it for, and mostly because of, each other.

Acaila wrote:(not that I really interpret him as lacking heart as much as a lot of fandom seem to, but still, I like the idea)


I don't hang around the internet fandom much, and I don't have any RL fan friends, so I didn't know that's the popular perception. I never saw it that way. In fact, I think Enjolras is the Ami with the most heart and the deepest sorrows, but because he knows this is what is required of him and he cannot give up, he shoves that heart somewhere deep down to do what he must do. He might not be as responsive to smaller needs of smaller individuals - that's certainly true. He lacks the friendliness of the other Amis (but then that's part of the price one must pay to become someone great***).


***I find that there's a curious theme running through Les Mis, about people's response to the problems of society. I'm not going to go into all the characters' responses, because there are many and not all are relevant. Jean Valjean and Myriel are two people who go about fixing the world one person at a time; they are the quiet backstage crew - and their work is possibly the purest of its kind, simply because they do not get fame or credit. People like Combeferre respond with pity; he and the rest of les Amis are people who you would feel would understand you, people who you can depend on, people who would do you a kindness and show you affection. They are people who you want to be friends with. And then there is Enjolras. He's a person who you would follow through water and fire, a person for whom you would give up your life, even if you do not fully agree with his ideals. You could never be his friend, because he would always be so much more than you. But you would live on his inspiration. Enjolras, on the flip side, is a solitary person. He is lonely, and he suffers from it, but such loneliness is required by his incorruptibility. He placed himself on a pedestal above the crowd, and he does not like it, but he goes through with it because he must. He knows it will be over - his uprightness and inspiration - as soon as he steps off to ground level. I don't think it brings him any joy; quite the contrary.

But perhaps I'm biased by my own "reader relationship" with Enjolras's character. I wanted to facepalm whenever he started going on about higher ideals - progress, revolution, better world, politics - and I didn't much like him other than through the eyes of other characters. But there was one short scene that changed my attitude 180 degrees: the scene where Enjolras shoots the artillery sergeant. I had a bit of a Grantaire moment; I realized then that he's a person whom I would follow to the barricade even though I disagree with almost everything he believes in. I would want to be a friend, but I also know that we could never be friends, but I would be satisfied if he would just acknowledge and tolerate me. He's a person who inspires by personal example, not by the specifics of his ideals. Maybe because of my Grantaire moment I'm projecting my thoughts about Enjolras onto his character, but I feel like that's part of what Hugo wanted to show, that everyone would be drawn to Enjolras in that way (heck, even the fire squad was humbled by his mere presence!).


grantaire wrote:
Acaila wrote: (not that I really interpret him as lacking heart as much as a lot of fandom seem to, but still, I like the idea)

I've often thought that Enjolras doesn't lack a heart, I just think he hid it.


Precisely! :D

Marianne wrote:The force of Enjolras' beliefs leads him towards love, and the force of Grantaire's love leads him towards belief.


Wow. Never thought of it that way, but... wow. Well said!

grantaire wrote:
CeridwenLynne wrote:My opinion on the E/R relationship:

Enjolras does not love Grantaire at all. In the Brick he can barely tolerate him and in the musical/ movie he's no closer to him than he is to any of the other Amis.
Grantaire greatly admires and idolizes Enjolras but is not romantically in love wirh him. He loves him like a brother.
I realize that we are all going to have different opinions here and I respect that.

This is sorta how I look at it. My full opinion [which I have been slightly hesitant to post] is that Grantaire (while, yes, admires/idolizes etc. Enjolras) longs for Enjolras's friendship and/or acceptance, rather than being quote-en-quote "in love" with him.
Anyone else have an opinion sorta like this, or am I alone?


Yes! Yes! Yes! Grantaire is not "in love" with Enjolras, it's precisely as you say - he's longing for his friendship and acceptance. And Enjolras scoffs at Grantaire because of how infirm he is, because of how he lacks the spirit and dedication that Enjolrs has. I feel like Enjolras even borders on despising Grantaire for his spinelessness, but tries hard not to treat him with complete contempt. Enjolras does not believe in Grantaire (ha ha). But at the end, he grows more Combeferrian in several aspects, and he finally accepts Grantaire's affection and devotion to him (as opposed to an ideal). He accepts that there is idealism beyond the political variety.

Marianne wrote:I'm not sure Grantaire is consciously aware of wanting anything from Enjolras at all; he admires him, and feels like he "becomes someone once more" when he's around him, but he seems mostly content to just let Enjolras... be Enjolras. Except, yeah, deep down he does want Enjolras' acceptance, and more than that, his trust and respect. Or rather, he wants to be someone Enjolras could respect.


I'm not sure if he wants to be someone Enjolras could respect, or if he just wants his respect/acknowledgement/appreciation. I feel like he's pushing himself to become someone Enjolras could respect BECAUSE he wants Enjolras's appreciation. But at the same time, he admires Enjolras in the first place because that's the kind of person he wishes to be, and his cynicism and spinelessness is in a way a form of denial. He won't admit to himself that he aspires to bother with such an unrealistic thing as idealism. It's a chicken-or-egg question.
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Re: DISCUSSION: The E&R relationship

Postby Chantefleurie » Sun Nov 08, 2015 10:03 pm

Ilargi wrote:In my opinion, Grantaire does love Enjolras. He'd follow him anywhere, he's eager to please him and he tries but is unable to (I'm thinking of the time when he struggled for Enjolras to let him go talk to people about revolution and when he finally got his chance he wasted it playing dominoes). I'm not sure Grantaire realizes what he feels is love. I mean, Grantaire wouldn't believe in such things as love, the same way he doesn't believe in anything else, so he probably doesn't understand what pushes him towards Enjolras. But that doesn't make the feeling any less real.


Yes, but I want to insist again that deep love can exist in non-romantic ways. Rejection of friendship can hurt as much as rejection of romantic love.

Ilargi wrote:I wouldn't even think Enjolras considers him a real friend if not for one scene at the barricade, the last before their deaths: Grantaire is drunkenly ranting about Matelote and stuff, and Enjolras scolds him harshly and tells him to go away from the barricade. In my opinion, at that moment, Enjolras is actually trying to save Grantaire: he knows they'll probably die and he doesn't want for Grantaire to stay there since it's not his fight and it would make no sense for him to suffer the same fate as the ones who believe in revolution. So I'd say Enjolras feels annoyed and disappointed by Grantaire, he doesn't like him, but he cares about him in spite of himself… but the same way he would care about any of his friends or acquaintances, not in a romantic way.


I would mostly agree. Or, I should say, I agree with most, and don't disagree with the rest. What I don't fully agree with is the main reason for sending Grantaire away. When Eljolras says that Grantaire is too drunk and incapable of anything (to which he replies "you will see"), he really does mean that - if people are to die for idealism, they should die for idealism, and not because they are too drunk to function. Such a death is a mockery. I feel like that's why Enjolras refuses Grantaire and basically calls him worthless (but worthless in his current state). However, I can't disagree that somewhere in his motivations was also a desire to save Grantaire's life - the life of a sidekick who doesn't believe in their cause but who would tag along anyways because of them.

Ilargi wrote:And when he's about to be executed and Grantaire goes shouting "Vive la republique! J'en suis!", I think Enjolras smiles because he's happy Grantaire has finally found a purpose to his life (sad as it may be) or maybe he's even proud because he's managed for Grantaire to believe in something and to accept its consequences.


I feel like he smiles because at that moment he can finally step off that pedestal and open his heart without losing height. I feel his smile is an acceptance of Grantaire's continuous offer of friendship. In that moment, Grantaire becomes as great as Enjolras, and Enjolras as human as Grantaire, and they die like equals. Enjolras is aware of that, and that's why I would agree that to an extent his smile is due to Grantaire's loudly proclaimed purpose in life (though I still insist that this purpose is not la republique ;)).
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Re: DISCUSSION: The E&R relationship

Postby Ilargi » Mon Nov 09, 2015 5:09 pm

Chantefleurie wrote:Yes, but I want to insist again that deep love can exist in non-romantic ways. Rejection of friendship can hurt as much as rejection of romantic love.

Of course. Love is love, but there are a lot of nuances to it. I couldn't really define it, it's very difficult to me to put it into words, but in this case you may see it halfway between friendship and romantic love. I feel it's stronger than ordinary friendship, but not romantic in the musical Éponine/Marius way, for example.

Chantefleurie wrote:When Eljolras says that Grantaire is too drunk and incapable of anything (to which he replies "you will see"), he really does mean that - if people are to die for idealism, they should die for idealism, and not because they are too drunk to function. Such a death is a mockery. I feel like that's why Enjolras refuses Grantaire and basically calls him worthless (but worthless in his current state). However, I can't disagree that somewhere in his motivations was also a desire to save Grantaire's life - the life of a sidekick who doesn't believe in their cause but who would tag along anyways because of them.

Yes, Enjolras didn't want for Grantaire dishonor the barricade, he didn't consider Grantaire worthy of dying there with people who fought for France. But, as I said, I don't think that was the only reason.

Chantefleurie wrote:I feel like he smiles because at that moment he can finally step off that pedestal and open his heart without losing height. I feel his smile is an acceptance of Grantaire's continuous offer of friendship. In that moment, Grantaire becomes as great as Enjolras, and Enjolras as human as Grantaire, and they die like equals. Enjolras is aware of that, and that's why I would agree that to an extent his smile is due to Grantaire's loudly proclaimed purpose in life (though I still insist that this purpose is not la republique ).

As I see it, he accepts Grantaire because he finally deserves it. Of course his cause is not the republic, but the fact that he takes a step forward and becomes something more than the usual drunkard makes him somehow important. Like at last he does what he had to do. I don't know if that makes sense, but I don't know how to explain it better. :?

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Re: DISCUSSION: The E&R relationship

Postby Chantefleurie » Mon Nov 09, 2015 10:02 pm

Ilargi wrote:
Chantefleurie wrote:
Chantefleurie wrote:I feel like he smiles because at that moment he can finally step off that pedestal and open his heart without losing height. I feel his smile is an acceptance of Grantaire's continuous offer of friendship. In that moment, Grantaire becomes as great as Enjolras, and Enjolras as human as Grantaire, and they die like equals. Enjolras is aware of that, and that's why I would agree that to an extent his smile is due to Grantaire's loudly proclaimed purpose in life (though I still insist that this purpose is not la republique ).

As I see it, he accepts Grantaire because he finally deserves it. Of course his cause is not the republic, but the fact that he takes a step forward and becomes something more than the usual drunkard makes him somehow important. Like at last he does what he had to do. I don't know if that makes sense, but I don't know how to explain it better. :?


I think that we all understand some things better if we quit trying to explain them. :) I get ya, and I agree.
C'est tellement mystérieux, le pays des larmes. ~Le Petit Prince, Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

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Re: DISCUSSION: The E&R relationship

Postby ange et hère » Tue Apr 05, 2016 1:30 am

Well, objectively, Grantaire loves Enjolras. Like, that exact word is used in the text. However, it is unclear whether or not his love is romantic.

I believe it is, but not because of the way Grantaire acts towards Enjolras (though staring at someone with dreamy eyes while saying "I believe in you" would suggest at least a crush) but because of the comparisons Hugo makes.

Hugo compares the two to many duos, several of which are, or have hypothesized to have been, a pair of lovers. Take Orestes and Pylades, for instance. Just look at the wikipedia page: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pylades#P ... nd_Orestes

Enjolras especially was compared to many historical and fictional figures, all of whom were, or have been thought to have been gay or at least bisexual. There is no argument that Enjolras was in love with Grantaire, at least not up until their moment of death (and I would not argue for that). But I do think that this was to suggest romance between the two, even if it did not actually exist.

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Re: DISCUSSION: The E&R relationship

Postby sinkingship » Mon Apr 11, 2016 2:59 am

This discussion is really fascinated, and I just had to post my short opinion.

Before I started reading the brick, and had only seen the musical on youtube (once live) and the movie, etc... I always thought that the way R felt about E was more brotherly/friendly/platonic. But when I read the students' parts of the brick, I was surprised of how much more there was to it. After reading it, I no longer feel that it is only platonic, or idealistic, I think that R is very romantically affectionate towards E, even though he may not know it yet, and craves his attention/acceptance.

What E feels, however, is not easy to tell. Though I really find it funny/interesting that when he is off to speak about the revolution he's like "Oh, I'll just go see how R is doing". I think he is drawn to R in some ways, but I have no idea as to what fashion his attraction is.

Soeh, that was my short opinion about the subject, hehe.

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Re: DISCUSSION: The E&R relationship

Postby CC21106 » Sun Oct 16, 2016 6:12 pm

I'm coming late to this discussion so this may have been said before, but it's quite possible to have a crush on somebody, and be fascinated with them, and follow them around without a romantic element, let alone sexual. That's how I see it. After all look at how many people are fascinated by Enjolras as merely a fictional character described in words in a book. In person such an individual would be ten times more appealing at least. I have met someone nothing at all like E, but with qualities that caused amazing loyalty and respect, and disinterested non-romantic love among many people. So I have seen it in action.
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