So, I've been thinking of joining up for... a year now (whoah) but, well, haven't before now because of reasons. (To be honest I find this fandom a little intimidating... Also, I couldn't come up with a good username which is a perfectly valid reason not to register, you know.)
I'm a Finnish university student majoring in Uralic languages but honestly I seem to be using it as an excuse to study whatever I find interesting, including general linguistics, history, sociology, philosophy, other languages, economics, whatever. I was born in 1987 so right now I'm 26 going on 27. My native language is Finnish but I also speak English (evidently) et mon français est passable (j'espère?) I've studied other languages too but let's stick to the relevant ones here.
Anybody else from Finland, btw?
This message ended up ridiculously long (I'm so sorry orz) so just skip the rest if you're busy/tired/not interested. I won't be offended, I promise. I know how annoying this is, I just can't stop myself.
My history with Les Misérables started with the 1998 Liam Neeson movie (yeah, yeah, I knooow...) which I saw in 2000 when I was twelve or so. I loved it. Yes, I didn't know any better and I loved it. And I still have a bit of a fond feeling about it as much as I hate some of the things about it now.
The following summer our family happened to go to London for a vacation and I saw the posters for the musical everywhere around the city and I spent the next four or five days begging mum and dad to take me to see it. Finally they gave in. And oh my god did I love it, adore it, worship it, etc. (I only understood like... maybe a fifth of the lyrics? I mean, I was twelve and had studied English like two years. But I knew the bare bones basics of the story from the movie so that helped. And obviously the music was amazing no matter what and the actors were so good that you understood the emotions if not the details.)
I think I made the immediate decision then to read the book once we got home. So I did and I looooved it. My favourite character changed from Valjean and Javert (both at the same time) to Éponine (how original) because she was all new and interesting and tragic and closer to my age. I did find the digressions annoying and tiring, I have to admit and I did skip most of them after a point. But again, twelve! Well, okay, almost thirteen.
Also sadly mum's version of the book is abridged so some of the digressions weren't even there. As it turns out now that I've been looking for it: it's practically impossible to find an unabridged Finnish translation of the book. It exists but I think it went out of print like... eighty years ago. I've found one copy from something like the 1920's, in the university library. And that was after going through every other library in Helsinki. And even that was missing two volumes. All the newer reprints of the book are abridged. All of them. So I have it in French instead. I did buy my own copy of the abridged Finnish version, though. I've also been using the English (Hapgood) translation too since it's online and since my English is better than my French.
But now I'm the one who's digressing.
So I didn't get into the fandom back then because a) didn't know what a fandom was b) didn't have access to internet. So my enthusiasm for the book faded what with being completely alone with it. Instead I got into The Three Musketeers because that was something my brother also liked. And then I got into Harry Potter and finally found fandoms and the internet.
I never expected to go back to Les Mis. I would never have guessed. I mean, I never forgot about it but the whole enthusiasm thing was pretty much gone. I still listened to the music from the musical every now and then and I read crossover fics and well maybe sometimes I'd reference it for some literary purpose or something but that's pretty much it.
When the 2012 movie came out I was initially like "well I know I'm gonna go see that because past experience tells me I can't resist anything Les Mis related if it's being waved at my face." But strangely enough, I didn't. I didn't go to the movies much at all in 2012 for some reason.
Soooo, but people online kept talking about it and then last year (in August I think) I finally thought I'd dig up my DVD of the musical and indulge my nostalgia a bit. And here we are then. (And yes, I did then see the 2012 movie. And a whole lot of other adaptations too. I'm currently in love with the 1972 Marcel Bluwal miniseries.)
As for my current Les Mis related interests... I'm really just following the predictable path. Yes, I found my love for Les Amis now, too. And yeah, I like Grantaire too... (it's weird because I vaguely remember kind of disliking him the first time I read it. Well, until OFPD. I was kind of a stick in the mud as a kid. I hated drunk people, I hated how he acted towards women, I didn't like his cynicism, etc. So I was all for Enjolras at the time. He was my favourite Ami, no contest. I liked to think of myself as something like him, all full of righteous anger, trying to stand up to bullies etc. (Now I'd prefer to think of myself as Combeferre. But honestly I'm more Marius. Not that it's necessarily such a bad thing, I guess.) I'm not sure I even have a favourite Ami anymore. On one hand, yeah it's probably Grantaire but, on the other hand, the second I say that I'm like "but then again Combeferre! And Courfeyrac! And Feuilly! And Bossuet! And... everybody!")
Btw, it's entirely possible that I'm too shy to post anything on this message board... It's so old! And full of people who know so much more than me about Les Mis! And French history! o__o I have to say it's intimidating. Appealing, yes, but intimidating. I mean, I'm the "French history nerd" in my RL circles but I'm really not that knowledgeable. I feel like such a newbie. And there's so much to read, still. Even though I started a year ago and technically I should have already had plenty of time to read through all the most interesting threads. But there's so much of it and it's not exactly light reading a lot of the time either. And curse/bless you all for your super interesting links and book recs.
On the other hand it also feels like "Oh! My people! Where have you been all my life?"
Okay, I guess I've proven that I can indeed ramble on forever... or at least that I can ramble on forever about myself. (I CAN in fact ramble on forever about a lot of things and I'm willing to prove that too.) I really hope Hugo has desensitised all of you because I have a rambling problem. Although I really should rather try and stop. But maybe it's appropriate in an introduction. A sort of self-demonstrating introduction? Especially since you can just skip all this, unlike if I did this in real life. (Excuses, excuses...)
Oh yeah, my username is from the Finnish translation of La Marsellaise. Not that it's obvious or anything. It means "forwards" or "onwards" or "forth" or something like that. Because the Finnish version (at least the one I learnt) goes nyt eespäin lapset synnyinmaamme = 'now onwards children of our land of birth' literally. Idk, I thought "forwards" is a nice Les Mis-ish sentiment. And I've long had a rule of using Finnish usernames. To be a little patriotic, I suppose. Since I use other languages so much I feel like I should remind myself of my roots sometimes.