Meta: Writing Grantaire

Meta related to characters, plots, or other elements introduced by Victor Hugo in Les Misérables.
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Rebus
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Re: Meta: Writing Grantaire

Postby Rebus » Tue Jul 30, 2013 9:25 pm

It's definitely coherent, and I agree that plenty of fanfics lack a decent representation of some of Grantaire's other qualities, but I definitely don't think it's fanon to assume he has low self-esteem or is depressed. He describes himself as melancholic and displays strong mood swings and bouts of melancholy. Fanon definitely tends to woobify him a bit, but Grantaire shows symptoms of depression from a purely clinical standpoint.

And he is drunk in many of his scenes, is known for his drinking habits, so it's not entirely fanon to assume he does drink quite a bit. He also has a very distinct way of cutting himself down in his speeches that makes it seem like his self-esteem is not entirely intact. He puts on a good show, but that's the entire point of his character. Everything about Grantaire is a show. He doesn't just say he wants a drink - no, he wants to be a leech on the tun of the Heidelberg. He doesn't just sit in his chair; he sits with his fist on his knee, arm bent into a right angle. He doesn't just laugh, he bellows from a window and harrasses the serving girls.

Grantaire tries very hard to be a lot of things - a non-believer included. I would say he's far more skeptical than cynical. I think it's very important to note that he's not described as not believing in anything, but in being a man who takes great care not to believe in anything. There's a big difference between those two descriptions. In the one, he might be incapable of belief, or have simply decided he doesn't care, or for whatever reason have simply stopped believing in anything. In the latter, he puts effort into not believing in things, which begs the question why and also means that he might not always succeed in completely not believing. He won't let himself believe, but a part of him clearly wants to, considering the way he's attached himself to Enjolras. And I want to write more, but I'm exhausted and can barely put my thoughts into something resembling coherency, so maybe tomorrow!

I mean, he's clearly much more, and I'd love to see more of his encyclopaedic knowledge of Where-to-go-for-what, his gambling, his boxing, his flirting and everything else in fics, and I agree the depressed alcoholic with a bad childhood spiel can be easily abused and cut his character down to just that, which is vastly disappointing, because he's so complex and fascinating; but I don't think that the basis for those themes is un-canon or incorrect at all.

"He's a faithful and loyal friend, he isn't interested in working or change, and he often thinks about the world without taking an active role in it." <-- Definitely agree with this, though.

I hope this made sense. My thoughts are a complete jumble right now.

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IBelieveInYou
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Re: Meta: Writing Grantaire

Postby IBelieveInYou » Thu Aug 15, 2013 11:03 am

I completely agree with the fact that fanon tends to undercharacterize Grantaire, and yes AJ, I love a good fanfic where he is phlegmatic enough :wink: But as Rebus says, I can easily picture him as depressed, even in clinical terms, and signs are especially shown during the moments before the barricade falls.
And he is drunk in many of his scenes, is known for his drinking habits, so it's not entirely fanon to assume he does drink quite a bit. He also has a very distinct way of cutting himself down in his speeches that makes it seem like his self-esteem is not entirely intact. He puts on a good show, but that's the entire point of his character. Everything about Grantaire is a show. He doesn't just say he wants a drink - no, he wants to be a leech on the tun of the Heidelberg. He doesn't just sit in his chair; he sits with his fist on his knee, arm bent into a right angle. He doesn't just laugh, he bellows from a window and harrasses the serving girls.

That. Thank you. I could never have put it better.
I was just about to say how I think he tries with desperation to prove to himself that he doesn't believe, but then I saw you described all my thoughts perfectly on your next paragraph. He's definitely skeptical and extremely well read, Grantaire is clever and I feel like his arguments would be extremely strong and coherent.
Truth is I don't see himself having a bad childhood just because this is an easy solution to excuse his depression and overal behavior. I see him having a completely normal one, maybe his parents wouldn't be too caring but not abusive. I see him eventually realizing he simply didn't care and leaving to live his life in the way he wished without much of a revolution or a conflict. But that's just me.
Then I saw their trembling features warp and, gradually,
Their foreheads turn pale and dissolve in front of me,
And everyone, like a stream that flows into a sea,
Became completely lost in a dark immensity.

Victor Hugo, The Slope of Reverie

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Aurelia Combeferre
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Re: Meta: Writing Grantaire

Postby Aurelia Combeferre » Thu Aug 15, 2013 11:10 am

Interesting. I imagine that Grantaire's dissipation/depression must have started not in childhood but at some point in Paris. I am not sure what would set him off in that spiral though.
"...all aptitudes having equal opportunity; politically, all votes having equal weight; religiously, all consciences having equal rights."

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SpiritOfDawn
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Re: Meta: Writing Grantaire

Postby SpiritOfDawn » Wed Aug 21, 2013 11:42 pm

French revolutionary history?
As opposed to a gut feeling that the ideals of egalite fraternite liberte would be a good thing to establish, the attempts at truly implementing it were rather... ah...difficult.

So that might be a "this is a nice idea, but totally goes against human nature, so we are kind of doomed to be bad".
For example....
A dreamer is one who can only find his way by moonlight, and his punishment is that he sees the dawn before the rest of the world


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