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DISCUSSION: The E&R relationship

Posted: Sat Sep 28, 2013 8:26 am
by grantaire
Okay, I realize this is a touchy subject, so I'm going to say a couple things before I address the topic: (1) I have not yet read the Brick, therefore anything and everything I say will be based off the musical versions I've seen and what I've read about the characters on wikis and small paragraphs of the book I have picked up along the way. If I say anything that absolutely flat-out contradicts the Brick, please (kindly) enlighten and correct me. (2) Realize everyone's entitled to their own opinions. Some unpopular opinions may pop up on this thread (my own opinion will probably prove to be rather unpopular), and you can either kindly acknowledge them, or you can ignore them. (3) I do NOT want any internet-flame-wars on this thread. The moment this discussion starts to get heated, I will contact a mod to either delete or lock this topic.
Okay, now that's done, we can get on with this.

I'll start with a point I think most of us will agree on: In my opinion, Grantaire is not madly in love with Enjolras, and Enjolras is DEFINITELY not madly in love with Grantaire. I think that Grantaire idolizes Enjolras, I don't think he's exactly attracted to him.

Can we build on that, before I post my full theory and possibly make a lot of people angry?

Re: DISCUSSION: The E&R relationship

Posted: Sat Sep 28, 2013 9:00 am
by Aurelia Combeferre
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.

Re: DISCUSSION: The E&R relationship

Posted: Sat Sep 28, 2013 10:51 am
by Marianne
You don't have to read Grantaire as being in love with Enjolras if you don't want to, it's a valid interpretation either way--but no, actively denying that Grantaire's ~feelings about Enjolras could be anything but platonic is not "a point most of us will agree on."

Re: DISCUSSION: The E&R relationship

Posted: Sat Sep 28, 2013 11:28 am
by grantaire
Marianne wrote:You don't have to read Grantaire as being in love with Enjolras if you don't want to, it's a valid interpretation either way--but no, actively denying that Grantaire's ~feelings about Enjolras could be anything but platonic is not "a point most of us will agree on."

No, you must have misunderstood me. I wasn't saying we would all agree that Grantaire hasn't got any romantic feelings about Enjolras - I expect some of us do, and others don't. The point that I assumed we would all pretty much agree on (and please do correct me if I am wrong, I would love to hear your take on this subject) was that he's not madly in love with Enjolras.
Again, I would love to hear your "theory" (that may not be the proper word, I dunno) on this topic, 'cos I feel it will probably clash with mine (which is NOT a bad thing!) and I honestly like my thoughts on things to be challenged, sometimes.

Re: DISCUSSION: The E&R relationship

Posted: Sat Sep 28, 2013 11:31 am
by grantaire
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)

Re: DISCUSSION: The E&R relationship

Posted: Sat Sep 28, 2013 12:03 pm
by Marianne
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. (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.)

Re: DISCUSSION: The E&R relationship

Posted: Sat Sep 28, 2013 12:14 pm
by grantaire
Marianne wrote: the personal qualities that make Enjolras capable of being a Revolutionary Ideal, those fascinate Grantaire, because they're exactly the qualities he lacks. (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.)

That. Is. Brilliant. I've never heard that theory before, but really . . . wow. That sorta just blew my mind.

Re: DISCUSSION: The E&R relationship

Posted: Sat Sep 28, 2013 12:16 pm
by Acaila
Oh, I like that idea about Grantaire having the thing that Enjolras lacks!
(not that I really interpret him as lacking heart as much as a lot of fandom seem to, but still, I like the idea)
But yes, it's clearly shown that it's not his ideals that attract Grantaire's interest.

Re: DISCUSSION: The E&R relationship

Posted: Sat Sep 28, 2013 12:25 pm
by grantaire
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.

Re: DISCUSSION: The E&R relationship

Posted: Sat Sep 28, 2013 12:45 pm
by Marianne
Hugo goes to a lot of trouble at the beginning to show us that Enjolras... well, at least acts like he doesn't have a heart, because he acts according to his ideals and his ideals are still quite austere: he doesn't care that Rousseau packed off his own children to an orphanage, he could watch a widow weep and tear her garments and throw herself onto her husband's funeral pyre without batting an eye, he's compared to a tyrannicide who wouldn't betray his co-conspirators even to save one of his lovers from torture. All of which is in stark, deliberate contrast to how he acts when he's actually there traversing that revolutionary apocalypse: his contribution to Combeferre's 'mothers and sisters' speech, his determination to save Prouvaire even if it meant trading over a spy who could compromise and identify them all, his conviction that "love, thine is the future." Basically, in practice both Enjolras and Grantaire turn out to be better people than the way they'd describe themselves on paper. The force of Enjolras' beliefs leads him towards love, and the force of Grantaire's love leads him towards belief.

("The bare bosom of Evadne would have moved him no more than Aristogeiton" is actually a reference that's very dense with meaning and foreshadowing once you figure out what the hell Hugo's referring to. Because what he's saying is that Enjolras would be completely unimpressed by the grief/devotion of someone who would rather share her husband's death, and be united with him that way, than live on without him. Romantic "wedded in death" symbolism all over. Obviously by the time we get to Orestes Fasting and Pylades Drunk, Enjolras has changed a lot... and stuff like this is why I get really eyerolly at the suggestion that the only 'proper'/'serious'/'canonical' way to interpret their relationship is with "no homo" stamped all over it. They've got gay subtext coming out their ears, and it wouldn't be the first or even the most obvious time Hugo has tacitly leaned into that subtext rather than plastering it with "nope, totally platonic" disclaimers.)

Re: DISCUSSION: The E&R relationship

Posted: Sun Sep 29, 2013 6:27 am
by CeridwenLynne
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.

Re: DISCUSSION: The E&R relationship

Posted: Sun Sep 29, 2013 12:16 pm
by grantaire
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?

Re: DISCUSSION: The E&R relationship

Posted: Sun Sep 29, 2013 10:26 pm
by Marianne
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.

Friendship... ye-e-essss, but a different kind of friendship than Enjolras has with the other Amis. Hugo is fairly insistent on that. The "we are the most important person in each other's lives" kind of friendship; the kind where Grantaire's name is the one that would follow Enjolras's name with an 'and' in between; Orestes & Pylades, Alexander & Hephaestion, Achilles & Patroclus, he gives a whole long list of them. It needn't be romantic, but Hugo is definitely setting them up as thwarted soulmates of one sort or another.

Re: DISCUSSION: The E&R relationship

Posted: Mon Sep 30, 2013 6:33 am
by WhoIam
Sort of following Marianne's thinking in her first post, one could argue that Hugo's point to their relationship is that together they make a balance that essentially would equal Marius, of ideals and love. Belief without love is harsh, love without belief is rife with vice and purposelessness. In that, Enjolras needs Grantaire as much as Grantaire needs Enjolras, except Enjolras refuses to accept it. If there was a romantic inclination between them, it certainly didn't exist for Enjolras until they died. At that moment, Enjolras gives Grantaire something to believe in, and Grantaire in turn gives Enjolras something to love.

Re: DISCUSSION: The E&R relationship

Posted: Mon Sep 30, 2013 7:03 am
by Acaila
Does he really give him something to love though? What?