Meta: Writing Grantaire

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

Postby a_marguerite » Sun Nov 08, 2009 4:37 pm

I was chatting with Marianne the other day and she lamented the lack of Grantaire in the current nerd renaissance, at which point I realized that I do not write Grantaire because I can't figure out how to do so.

I have some trouble with Grantaire because he's clearly the product of a failed education, or rather, he was given a brilliant classical education but does not know how to apply it, except in drunken, 3-page long rambles that I cannot possibly imitate. He believes in nothing (save Enjolras), thinks he's much handsomer than he is, tries to flirt like Courfeyrac though he fails as much as Bossuet (and without as much amused acceptance), is more or less constantly drunk (the reasons why allow one a little leeway in interpretation- general misery? depression? unhappy home life (his father's disappointed in him because he, Grantaire, cannot do math)? just for funzies? to escape? because he has nothing better to do?), and lives near the Cafe Musain. He's some kind of student (maybe he goes to the Sorbonne and is getting a useless degree in arts and letters?), he's a bit of a Herbertist when he can manage to think of politics instead of dominoes and he is really damn hard for me to write.

I mean, how does one write dialogue when one cannot toss of the names of all of Bacchus's followers? :? Adding on to that, how exactly does one handle his devotion to Enjolras and his inability to believe in anything without adding a (rather stupid IMHO) post-modern, "revolutions always fail, you have no hope, Grantaire was the Cassandra of the group!" sort of vibe?

Is it just me, or do other people have problems writing Grantaire?

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Postby Col.Despard » Sun Nov 08, 2009 8:43 pm

Ohhhhh Grantaire! Does anyone know what to do with him? He's frustrating and irresistable.

I like what we've seen of your Grantaire so far very much...he has a playfulness so you can see the appeal in letting him hang around as his friends did. He also has that touch of neediness when it comes to the subject of Enjolras...I liked his Enjolras-didn't-speak-to-me this morning bit in the latest Wodehouse chapter, which was reminiscent of his mournful sulkiness the morning of the barricades because, sniff, Enjolras didn't sent a message to HIM.

Which reminds me...if Enjolras has been such a perpetual bastard to Grantaire, WHY would it even cross Grantaire's mind that he would send a message to him? Come on, Grande R...after all these years, surely it's hardly a surprise that he's going to send word to Bossuet and not, you know, to the likely-to-be-drunk hanger-on. And yet, he seems genuinely upset.

I don't think anyone could quite manage the multi page rants with the wonderful light, clever humour that is Grantaire at his best. The mix of extravagent bombast and poignancy. What I find difficult is not chucking in gratuitous classical references...with Grantaire, they fit together lightly in a stream of consciousness, but without that depth of classical education, I fear falling into a strained better-chuck-in-some-Greek-mythology air.

Grantaire as Cassandra - oh, how I do HATE this beast. Nononononono! He does NOT offer a coherent criticism of what the boys are doing. He does not frequently remind them that they are all doomed. The closest he comes to anticipating anything like that is the double edged meaning of his observation that he won't go to Enjolras' funeral.

That Grantaire of fanon often seems to be the one who is bordering on condescending to Enjolras, or who torments him with a stream of criticism. I just don't think Grantaire would do that - he might call him a statue, but there's something terribly wistful in his attitude towards their leader. And somehow the loving reverence with which Grantaire regards him somehow in fiction translates into this harping criticism and constant reminders that Failure Is Imminent.

Another problematical Grantaire: the one who sees and loves Enjolras' human side, which is why he denigrates and mocks the man's ideas. It's out of love for the real man that Enjolras conceals beneath the stoic facade. Which I think is not how the dynamics work at all. Brick Grantaire is absolutely in love with Enjolras the idea, not Enjolras the man (which is good, because the man doesn't really exist outside the ideal). I can accept a fictional depiction in which it is both that Grantaire loves - both the soaring passionate absolutist and *also* the human figure behind it (and the moment of their deaths, with that smile and that touch, could even support this), but not the rejection of the ideal in favour of the human, if that makes sense. And it is when Grantaire speaks the language of Enjolras' ideals - even if it's too much of a stretch to imagine he has genuinely embraced them - that allows the gulf between them to be bridged. As I've said before, Enjolras can't stoop to reach him. Grantaire can only raise himself to within touching.

Motivations for the drinking? Hmm. I think we could come up with a whole range, from unrequited love for Enjolras to a family history of alcoholism, as there's not enough in the text to point in one direction. I think Grantaire is brilliant, but possibly prone to depression and the extremes of bi-polarism, hence some of the almost manic high spirits and the sinking depression. Possibly he has been unable to find a proper outlet for his abilities. Wasn't there some discussion of his apprenticeship and suggestions that it took place in an artist's studio if translated correctly, implying he might have been an artist?
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Postby Col.Despard » Mon Nov 09, 2009 9:13 pm

And thinking more on Grantaire - has anyone noticed that there seems to be a lot of identification with him going on among fanfic writers? One strain of this is the Eponine-fan school of OMG He's Just Like Me...suffering from unrequited love. See, all Enjolras has to do is...um...something (stop the abuse that the fanfic writer is sure he pours on him? Shag him? Just kiss him already? Just accept him as a Top Bloke?) and Grantaire will come round as a fully functional human being. I can't be too censorious, as I have a tendency to identify with him as well - although more in the sense that I see the appeal of a soaring absolute as a counter to my own early betrayed political idealism.

Sometimes ideas feed off each other and generate creativity. Other times, you get paler imitations of imitations that are already bland and washed out. Grantaire harping on Enjolras in a recognisable "you're going to fail! You're all going to die! You're a statue! You're marching to your death! And the subtext to all this is that I really love you!" (which does a disservice to not only his way of thinking, but also does grotesque violence to his use of langage and imagery). The typical Enjolras response is some variation of "Shaddup, Winecask!" (won't even go into what's wrong with that). The dynamics of their relationship, quirky as they are, are very interesting to explore. But not when it devolves into harping criticism and cudgel response.

And then there's Grantaire outside of Enjolras. Even given he's grafted so much of his existence on the man he idealises, he does clearly have some sort of a life elsewhere. He's frequently drunk, but that doesn't mean 'round-the-clock intoxication. There are a few stories that touch on the singlesticks...not sure about the tennis playing and dancing. And he does hit the tiles on at least one occasion with the lads.

What I wonder is...WHY do they trust him? This is supposed to be a secret cell...and here's someone who is decidedly not of their militant persuasion. Okay, he has his waistcoat and his Hebertism (or at least says he does ) - did he show some flare of this when he first came into their circle, some lingering traces of early enthusiasm? I have trouble visualising him as having lost political ideals - it's easier to imagine he never had them in the first place, but that he knows them as fluently as he knows so much else with his magpie mind. Did he successfully pass himself off as one of them to gain such access to their inner circle (to the point he's even in a position to persuade Enjolras to try him out in a job usually given a lieutenant), or did they just somehow get used to having him around and charming? Which makes you want to face palm and wonder aloud about the organisation of the ABC. Somehow the "he's entertaining so they let him hang around" doesn't cut it. Not when he's there during srs revolutionary bzns.
"The principles of freedom, of humanity, and of justice, will finally triumph over falsehood, tyranny and delusion, and every principle inimical to the interests of the human race" - Edward Despard, 1803

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Postby MmeBahorel » Mon Nov 09, 2009 9:48 pm

Oh god, one of the best lines R gets is when he and Courfeyrac and (was it Bossuet?) take Marius out dancing/looking for Cosette/to get laid. "But this is where all the lost women in Paris can be found."

R is obviously friends with a bunch of them and didn't just stumble in because Enjolras is pretty. They aren't averse to attempting to make converts - witness how no one pitches a fit that Courfeyrac brings Marius in (until Marius goes off on his elegy for the Emperor and everyone facepalms). It seems reasonable that R came in initially because someone (possibly Courfeyrac because Courfeyrac seems to have that kind of faith in people) thought he'd be interested and useful, and his use seems to have been only in finding Corinthe. But there's a huge difference between dangerous and useless, and if they don't have the heart to wholly ditch him, especially if someone still thinks he can be brought round, well, then he's there. (and Bossuet and Joly are not exactly ideal revolutionaries themselves.)

(of course, this is wholly better than the scene Peter Moffat wrote in his screenplay for Cambridge Spies where everyone is talking about everything in front of Guy's bum boy. And then Jack, the bum boy, tells Anthony that of course he knows everything, servants have ears, and you look awful, let me take you to bed. I think Grantaire would dearly love to be the Jack Hewit to Enjolras' Anthony Blunt, but I do think the whole ABC situation is probably better than the way Moffat was combining things for the screenplay. I love that miniseries so much, but for the emotional punch and a lot of the dialogue, not at all for the details.)
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Re: Meta: Writing Grantaire

Postby Aurelia Combeferre » Fri Mar 05, 2010 3:43 am

Grantaire = one of the most complex drunkards who ever existed.

Perhaps Grantaire fancies himself as a poet in the Edgar Allan Poe school of writing, meaning doing work under the influence. He has a strange zest about him: all the interests and quirks must give him some inspiration someplace. He knows enough about obscure stuff to be able to expound on things and relate everyday matters to the classical. But maybe he's just not gotten around to writing.
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Re: Meta: Writing Grantaire

Postby collectingbees » Tue Apr 27, 2010 9:06 pm

I am currently writing an online comic based on the adventures of Patron-Minette, but I decided to include Grantaire. I had a little difficulty wrapping my mind around how I wanted him to be depicted, too. I basically avoided all depictions of him that I possibly could, all the fan art of others, all the movie Grantaires. I read the passages of his in the Brick over and over until I had an idea in my head of who he was. I went with my first instincts. So, I had someone in my mind who cynical, harsh, bombastic and loud, but with someone who had some very beautiful in them (Despard and I have chatted about this a bit). I don't know how else to describe it. I've experimented with little one-day silly stuff, How the West was Miserable, The Breakfast Club and playing Castle RISK, and generally in all of those he was drunk off his butt and saying/ doing something funny. Really, that's all I can do with him, because despite being really loud, he's very inaccessible.

For the purposes of the comic, I'm teaming him up with Courfeyrac as kind of a dynamic duo, more so flirting with the actual plot than being a part of it. They're both kind of cheeky and cynical and typically up to no good/ shenanigans of some kind.

I hope that helps!

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Re: Meta: Writing Grantaire

Postby MmeJavert » Tue Aug 17, 2010 2:11 am

So--okay. I'm going to admit that I don't really have a One True Favourite Pairing in this fandom, but I do have a huge huge huge soft spot for Enjolras/Grantaire. Not just because it's practically written into canon, even if only one-sided on Grantaire's part, but because actually writing the pairing convincingly and believably requires quite a lot of creativity with their respective characterisations.

A lot of E/R fic sucks. And it doesn't just suck because the authors don't have a grasp on the issues surrounding 19th century boys in love, because the authors aren't great at writing in general, because the dialogue and romantic storyline just aren't any good -- but because they don't understand the characters themselves well enough.

This is the Grantaire meta thread, so you can guess where I'm leading with this. Grantaire may possibly be the less understood and less well-written between the two. Just maybe, possibly.

According to Hugo as translated by Julie Rose (it's closest) ...

... Grantaire was a man who took good care not to believe in anything ... for everything, he knew all the best places; he also knew how to kickbox and make his way around a gymnasium and a dance floor, and he was a natural with a singlestick in stickfighting. A big drinker to boot. And unnaturally ugly. Irma Boissy, appalled by his ugliness, had come out with this sentence: "Grantaire is impossible." But Grantaire was so conceited he was not at all put off by this. He looked at all women tenderly and staringly ... hoping to persuade his friends that he was in general demand ...

All these words: the right of the people, the rights of man, the social contract, the French Revolution, republic, democracy, humanity, civilisation, religion, progress, were, for Grantaire, very close to being completely meaningless ... Skepticism, that dry rot of the intellect, had not left one intact idea in his head. He thrived on irony. This was his axiom: "There is only one certainty: my full glass." He derided any allegiance to any party ... Womaniser, gambler, lecher, often drunk, he riled [les amis de l'abc] by endlessly crooning "I loves the girls and I loves good wine" to the tune of Long Live Henri IV."

Still, this skeptic was fanatical about one thing ... neither an idea nor a dogma, neither an art or a science; it was a man: Enjolras. Grantaire admired, loved, and venerated Enjolras. Who did this anarchic doubter rally to in this phalanx of absolutists? To the most absolute. In what way did Enjolras enthrall him? Through ideas? No. Through character ... a skeptic sticking to a believer--it is as elementary as the law of complementary colours. What we lack attracts us. No one loves daylight more than the blind ... Grantaire, in whom doubt lurked, loved to see faith soar in Enjolras. He needed Enjolras ... his limp, wavering, disjointed, sick, deformed ideas attached themselves to Enjolras as to a backbone ... Beside Enjolras, Grantaire became somebody again ... Some men seem born to be ... the reverse, the wrong side ... Pollux, Patroclus, Nisus, Eudamidas, Hephaestion, Pechméja. They can live only on condition of leaning on someone else; their name is a sequel and can only be written preceded by the conjunction and; their existence is not their own; it is the other side of a destiny that is not theirs. Grantaire is one of these men. He was the wrong side of Enjolras ...

Grantaire, as a true satellite of Enjolras, dwelt in this circle of young men, he lived there, he was only happy there, he followed them everywhere ...

The believer in Enjolras looked down on the skeptic and the teetotaler looked down on the drunk ... Grantaire was a Pylades who did not pass muster. Always treated roughly by Enjolras, pushed away harshly, rejected yet coming back for more, he would say of Enjolras: "Such a beautiful slab of marble!"


And yet some readers persist on portraying Enjolras as though he were only waiting to be brought down to earth by such a skeptical drunkard as Grantaire. Hugo goes on and on and on about how Grantaire can only be whole in the company of Enjolras. Yet fic authors and other enthusiasts of the Enjolras/Grantaire pairing will insist on making Enjolras in need of Grantaire's "wise scepticism" to "humanise" him or "bring him down to earth." WTF? In what part of canon could this possibly be supported?

There must be a reason for Enjolras to have much intercourse with Grantaire (word chosen deliberately, thanks). He rejects the drunkard and the disbeliever. Before June 6, Grantaire is only both of those things to Enjolras. Enjolras does not see him as a man worthy of being called his brother, his equal, his friend -- Enjolras cannot be friends with a man who can only make jokes of those things that he holds dear--that are his whole existence.

Enjolras does not need someone wise and sceptical to bring him down to earth. No. It is the other way around. Grantaire needs someone strong and upright in ideals and beliefs to prop him up.

Grantaire does not drink because he hates himself. Grantaire does not drink himself into a stupour because he hates the fact that he doesn't believe in anything. He does not drink himself into a stupour because Enjolras doesn't like him -- he is constantly going back to Enjolras regardless of how unkind Enjolras will be to him. And he does not, for god's sake, drink to hide the fact that he's closeted. Grantaire is the sort of man who will be gay and not pretend it isn't so, and not angst endlessly over it.

Grantaire is not the man many E/R authors and enthusiasts make him out to be, so before you write your fic or pass judgment on someone else's, by god try not to judge the author's Grantaire upon what your fanon wishes he were. Hugo went on at length about what Grantaire is and is not, with and without Enjolras. Enjolras does not need Grantaire to be happy; but Grantaire does need Enjolras to be happy.
and to this day, she's glided on
always home but so far away
like a word misplaced
nothing said, what a waste

~pearl jam, "dissident"

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Re: Meta: Writing Grantaire

Postby Col.Despard » Tue Aug 17, 2010 2:28 am

Amen! Preach it, Sister!

This is exactly what it is about so much fanfic that makes me bang my head on the desk and has sometimes driven me to reread that intro because I thought I was going nuts and/or totally missing Hugo's characterisation of their relationship.

There seems a bizarre tendency to turn the dynamics of E & R on their head and make it *Enjolras* who requires Grantaire. One is often left wondering what on earth the Grantaire of fanon sees in Enjolras - Grantaire is wise, Grantaire sees the folly of their Revoution and its inevitable failure, Grantaire is just trying to bring Enjolras down a peg or two for his own good (closely related to Enjolras being a bastard and needing Grantaire to humanise him). Enjolras, on the other hand, is seen in fanon as a pissy, petty demagogue who is evidently too blind to see what Grantaire so intelligently discerns.

Grantaire does not give a FF about the Revolution not because he sees it's doomed to failure, but because he just cannot be arsed. He's doing okay, so meh to any social issues (see conversation between Joly, Bossuet and Grantaire on the morning of June 5th). As long as he's got his booze and his good food and the cafes are open, it's all good for him.

One thing I'm trying to work with in that silly E/R romance I've written is how to get around the issue of Grantaire being able to raise himself to within touching distance of Enjolras without, y'know, the whole getting shot for the cause thing. That's why it's set *after* the revolution - it's a watered down version of "Vive la Revolution! I am one of them!", but it's one of the few ways I could see to make the pairing vaguely plausible.

I think one problem is so many fanfic writers are using Grantaire as a proxy (in the same way that many use Éponine as their avatar for an unrequited love scenario). Having issues themselves with Enjolras and what he represents, they make Grantaire their voice and use him to confront Enjolras with personal and ideological criticism. But that, to me, seems the very antithesis of what Grantaire wants from Enjolras. He does not want to drag him down to earth. He doesn't want him to trail his wings in the dust. He *wants* to watch him soar.
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Re: Meta: Writing Grantaire

Postby MmeBahorel » Tue Aug 17, 2010 3:04 am

Why does Grantaire drink so far beyond the level of entertainment, then? If it isn't a certain amount of self-loathing, is it loathing for the world? There are serious issues there that he's probably medicating with v. large quantities of alcohol and I'm curious as to what you think they are, if they aren't the usual fanon ones.

(and wow, Julie Rose is clunky in parts of that excerpt.)
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Re: Meta: Writing Grantaire

Postby Roses for Ophelia » Tue Aug 17, 2010 3:15 am

Grantaire is hard to write. I think i did it correctly once, and have never been able to duplicate it.

As for the thing about R 'humanising' Enjolras, i will say Enjolras could use someone to broaden his horizons, not because he's inhuman, but because he's dogmatic. And Combeferre does that job perfectly. If anyone 'humanizes' him, it's Combeferre, in the sort of ' yes, Enjolras you're right, but there are other ways to do good besides armed rebellion' way.

Personally, my favorite thing about Grantaire is that he boasts he's read the Social Contrat and is an Hebetist and can 'hold forth six hours by the clock' or whatever the quote is. I never quite decided if he was just saying things to try to impress Enjolras, hoping his deception about the Barriere du Maine will never be found out, or if he really believes SOMETHING, or did once. Was he trying to redeem himself with the Barriere du Maine by actually giving it a go and lost his nerve, or was it all a trick to impress Enjolras, and he was going to come back after a good game of dominos saying ' well,i gave it my best shot, they don't care.'? He says he never paid attention in school, so maybe he's just lying, but i like the idea of a once-political Grantaire who just...stopped...caring. Nothings worse than seeing your ideals lose their luster. Maybe that's why he clings to Enjolras, who is an ideal who will most likely die before he loses his beliefs, and rather than live without his last ideal, Grantaire chooses to die with it.
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Re: Meta: Writing Grantaire

Postby MmeJavert » Tue Aug 17, 2010 3:23 am

Why he drinks is a pretty good reason to explore him in fanfiction further. I just don't really like the idea that he's sitting around in cafés thinking "woe, I don't believe in anything, let's just order several bottles and get shit drunk so I don't remember that I don't believe in anything."

I may have expressed myself badly, in a rut of righteous indignation over people taking fanonisations too far, but really ... I wonder about it. There are parts of me that think he started drinking for fun and it spiralled out of control, fuelling his booze-soaked rants into page-a-graphs. There are parts of me that wonder if he turned into a social drinker because he met Enjolras and his friends, and realised he could only hang out with them and never be a part of them.

Maybe, perhaps, he's a drunkard because he realises he fails at life, he has no interest, no ideas, no motivation, no vocation -- so might as well drink, what better to do?

But I don't think he drinks because he secretly wants to get into Enjolras' well-tailored trousers. Not in the slightest.

I admit to in my head exploring various backstories for Grantaire that end up turning him into the drunken cynic he is -- who chases after women as though they are only waiting for him and who is good at boxing and singlestics. That right there, at the beginning, suggests there is something. And yeah, I realise I'm contradicting myself a little, but when I get off on these rants about fanon/canon/characterisation, it's because there are murky spots, because characterisation is my favourite part (and primary reason) for writing fanfic, and of course because I tend to think as I type up these rambles.


As far as political Grantaire who just stopped caring ... I'm not sure I buy into that. I think his lack of ideals and lack of conviction carries across his life whether drunk or sober. I do buy, perhaps, a Grantaire who trotted off to school in Paris thinking maybe a further education was all that his broken ideas lacked to be turned into real convictions -- and then found the women and the cafés and the billiards-parlours and the dance halls and became a dissolute drunkard who cared nothing for higher beliefs.

The Barrière du Maine ... that's interesting. I see it as Grantaire finding his one chance to endear himself to Enjolras -- oh oh pick me pick me I can do it -- but then he meets a friendly face with a friendly bottle and a familiar game of dominoes, and nature takes over. I've seen idealistic fanfic authors take it as though Enjolras saw him after or before him talking revolution, just so that Grantaire could go back and say "but look here are a bunch of names I took down while I was there" -- but really I think Hugo showed it as he did because Grantaire failed Enjolras, yet again.


(And yeah. More than once I found myself making fisheyes at that excerpt. Wilbour may have been clunky in an archaic way, but I like his way better than this modernly clunky version Julie Rose has got.)
and to this day, she's glided on
always home but so far away
like a word misplaced
nothing said, what a waste

~pearl jam, "dissident"

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Re: Meta: Writing Grantaire

Postby Marianne » Tue Aug 17, 2010 3:50 am

MmeBahorel wrote:Why does Grantaire drink so far beyond the level of entertainment, then? If it isn't a certain amount of self-loathing, is it loathing for the world? There are serious issues there that he's probably medicating with v. large quantities of alcohol and I'm curious as to what you think they are, if they aren't the usual fanon ones.

(and wow, Julie Rose is clunky in parts of that excerpt.)


I'm thinking he probably started out as a heavy social drinker, and once Enjolras entered the scene it became a vicious circle: he hates himself for (among various other things) being a frivolous drunken waste of space, and drinks to excess so that at least he can be entertaining about his self-loathing and joke about not believing in anything. Also, if his ties to the Friends of the ABC are all social and not political, it follows that his social drinking would get out of control: he has no place in the group besides being good company, so he drinks and has a(n excessively) good time with his friends and if he's not respected, at least he's entertaining enough to keep around.

He strikes me as someone with no intellectual confidence in himself whatsoever--he's educated, he has all these facts floating around in his head, but he's only comfortable stringing them together if he doesn't have to defend or stand by the conclusion except in jest. So he throws his facts together into nonsense proofs that the world is a wretched place, bats ideas back and forth, and if you try to call him on it seriously he can claim he was just being ironic. And of course the bullshit flows more freely when he's completely smashed, so why not get completely smashed? At least then he can pretend he has something to say.
[Dieu] entend ta voix, ô fille des hommes! aussi bien que celle des constellations; car rien n'est petit pour celui devant lequel rien n'est grand.
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Re: Meta: Writing Grantaire

Postby MmeBahorel » Tue Aug 17, 2010 4:11 am

(she knocks his sentences apart! Does she not understand Hugo/; OTP?)

Anyway, now that I currently going out with that guy your parents warn you against, I need to do a proper re-read on all the R bits as I have a feeling I'm getting a certain perspective on screwed up families and self-medication that I didn't have the last time I did a re-read.

I think it's actually worse, though, than wanting to get into Enjolras' well-tailored trousers. Because that's more understandable than the fear that Enjolras might say yes to you coming anywhere near his well-tailored trousers and you can't figuring out if you want to anyway or not. Because I'm not sure Grantaire knows what he wants - he isn't content to just be staring, otherwise he wouldn't bother trying to volunteer himself and try to be any better than he is. But even as he might sort of want some attention or affect, he knows he'd hate receiving it. I think we're confused because he's confused. Because the whole situation doesn't resolve into a neat sexual category. And it's worse for him if Enjolras is the only time he's ever had these feelings, because he can't just sort it into "third sex, explains a hell of a lot of other things, too" - if there's no conception of bisexuality and if he isn't even certain the attraction to Enjolras has a sexual component (it might or might not, and the idea of it having a sexual component may flicker in and out, particularly in retrospect while vanishing the actual presence of the divine), then the whole situation is likely to be as fraught for him as it is for us. We have more of a vocabulary to attempt to make sense of this than he does, at least in terms of making it seem normal. We can talk about bisexuality and the possibilities of gay marriage (fanon R seems to be all about gay marriage, anyway, even though that would involve consummation of the marriage and real R would totally have his mind blown over the idea). And if it's hard for us because we aren't sure about the actual sexual component, and if he can't quite get his head around "but I like sex with women and I've tried sex with men and it's just ok, but I'm really in love with Enjolras even though I could never shag him", then it would be little wonder that he's feeling screwed up and additionally worthless because he can't seem to make the categories work out. (I think that sentence just turned out like "wibbly wobbly ball of timey-wimey stuff", and if it doesn't make sense it's because it's a logic spiral.)
What kind of literature and what kind of life is the same question. - Tom Stoppard

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MmeJavert
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Re: Meta: Writing Grantaire

Postby MmeJavert » Tue Aug 17, 2010 4:23 am

I think we should probably apply ourselves to some absinthe and then look at it from Grantaire's perspective. That is only half-joking, by the way. Most of his thinking seems to get done while he's drunk or on his way there -- I imagine he's sober in rare instances.

Anyway, there really is a lot of interesting things to explore re: R's sexuality. Just because he really does loves the girls. Is he perhaps drinking because he doesn't understand what it is about Enjolras that draws him to him? Okay, yes, I fully accept that R understands his own attraction to watching E soar on the wings of his ideals -- but I'm pretty sure R also knows that there is more to it than just "his belief is so beautiful that I cannot live without it." Is there a sexual component? Possibly. Is it possible that Enjolras/Grantaire is really like Achilles/Patroclos as the randier Greek playwrights wrote them? Or is it possible that Enjolras/Grantaire is more like Aeschylus' Orestes/Pylades in which they really are Platonic friends who don't allow sex to enter into the equation. Clearly Enjolras never thinks of such things as they are below his sphere of existence, but Grantaire would. And his wide knowledge of classical subjects suggests to me that the idea may have occurred to him -- "I'm the Pylades that my Orestes won't have anything to do with!" -- and it's equally possible that the idea depresses him, that he couldn't possibly ever do anything to make himself worthy of Enjolras.

Is that, perhaps, where his volunteering to go to the Barrière du Maine comes from? A lucidity between bottles that suggests it to him, maybe. He hears Enjolras say he has no one to go to the Barrière du Maine, and perhaps it's like rays of sunlight suddenly breaking through the clouds -- R's clouds of inebriation anyway. Enjolras has no one for this errand, but he doesn't even look at Grantaire, so Grantaire volunteers himself, insists he can do it, spouts a few words that he thinks are vaguely revolutionary, goes home and changes into clothes he thinks might make him look like a revolutionary, and hopes that if his Revolution Iz Pastede On Yey maybe he can convince Enjolras he can do it. Of course then he fails, which undoubtedly triggers a wave of self-loathing. Enjolras saw him there--saw him fail there--obviously Grantaire finds himself on Enjolras' Shit List.

And I really don't know where I'm going with this anymore, just spouting off ideas -- although unfortunately without the crutch of booze, otherwise there'd be fourteen more paragraphs of this, hah.
and to this day, she's glided on
always home but so far away
like a word misplaced
nothing said, what a waste

~pearl jam, "dissident"

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Marianne
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Re: Meta: Writing Grantaire

Postby Marianne » Tue Aug 17, 2010 4:27 am

And if it's hard for us because we aren't sure about the actual sexual component, and if he can't quite get his head around "but I like sex with women and I've tried sex with men and it's just ok, but I'm really in love with Enjolras even though I could never shag him", then it would be little wonder that he's feeling screwed up and additionally worthless because he can't seem to make the categories work out. (I think that sentence just turned out like "wibbly wobbly ball of timey-wimey stuff", and if it doesn't make sense it's because it's a logic spiral.)


Don't worry, it makes perfect sense. Fanon is all about Grantaire being self-aware--aware of his role as the cynic, aware that he's in love with Enjolras and probably at least wants to kiss him (if not bang him because the slash in this fandom is overwhelmingly PG-rated), aware that he's right and they're doomed and blah blah blah. But doesn't Hugo say that Grantaire was only vaguely and confusedly aware of what Enjolras meant to him? If he is attracted to Enjolras sexually as well as emotionally, he probably doesn't have a very clear idea of it or what it means or what box to put it in, let alone neatly wrapping it up with a little "I think you're full of shit but I'd follow your hair to the grave" bow on top.
[Dieu] entend ta voix, ô fille des hommes! aussi bien que celle des constellations; car rien n'est petit pour celui devant lequel rien n'est grand.

- George Sand, Les sept cordes de la lyre


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