igenlode: The pirate sloop 'Horizon' from "Treasures of the Indies" (Default)

This has of course been done to death already... but here’s my own ‘repurposing’ of the finale to ‘Love Never Dies’, inspired by some discussion of the latest (Hamburg) production.

This is not a version of the characters I particularly endorse — but it’s one I can see Andrew Lloyd Webber accepting, at a pinch!

(And I still don't care for the present-tense viewpoint, but it's the best I can manage in order to convey a 'script' format in this context. I confidently expect this to be my last foray in that direction.)


Redemption

Meg’s voice cracks in betrayal.

“Christine — always Christine!”

The tenuous threads of hope — of understanding — that the Phantom’s voice had sent spinning out around her are ripped asunder, and she springs back as if from a closing trap. The gun is levelled between them. It fires.

Read more... )
igenlode: The pirate sloop 'Horizon' from "Treasures of the Indies" (Horizon)

Chapter 8: The Master and Marguerite

“She chose Raoul.” Every time it burst out of him with the same circling incomprehension. “The petulant sot, the fool: why, he was the last of us to know! He would have yielded her to me, yielded to the better man... Beauty, youth, wealth— he has none left, and still she cleaves to him. Ten long years, and still she cannot see what an empty vessel she has married — why, Christine? Why?”

Perhaps she loves him. But Meg knew better than to say that. She had known the Vicomte young and oblivious, known all that careless hope turned sick with self-loathing, and seen constancy beneath both.

Last night she had wanted him to take Christine away. She had not cared, much, if it meant Christine’s happiness or not. She thought now that perhaps it would.

“Why?” It was the same hopeless cry, and she drew breath sharply without thinking.

“It was her choice.” She had not meant to speak; but it was no longer the Master of the Aerie at her side but a man broken on his own wheel, and if she could tear him from it she would. “You said yourself that the other would have yielded her to you if she chose it — perhaps what you see as weakness is the value she sees in him. Perhaps in the end he was ready to honour her choice — to place her happiness above his own.”

Easier to accept, maybe, than the other truth Meg had heard half-formed beneath that halting, partial account... that Christine de Chagny as wife and mother had granted only pity in the face of every overture from her lover of one night save when he unleashed the dark power of his music, and in the end had found strength through anger to break free even from that.

Read more... )
igenlode: The pirate sloop 'Horizon' from "Treasures of the Indies" (Horizon)

I've been going backwards and forwards on whether Meg Giry is actually 'in love with' the Phantom or not (especially since I'm using the original London production canon here, after which we were assured that her interest is purely professional, though this frankly isn't what it looks like at all...) In the end I've largely left this part of the story in its state of confusion, since if there is one thing for certain in canon it is that the Phantom is not in love with Meg.

I never really thought much about the consistency of Meg's backstory before starting this chapter (not least because I was proceeding on the initial assumption that this dialogue would be seen from the Phantom's point of view!), so I've leaned quite heavily on [livejournal.com profile] aceofgallifrey's analysis, though I haven't swallowed this lock, stock and barrel because it's based on hyper-interpretation of the 2004 movie version in which Meg's role is considerably embroidered...


Chapter 7: Notes from Underground

Meg Giry had been the one on her way up out of the chorus, before any of this had ever started. She had been the one people noticed: the bright one, the quick one, the girl with the spark that said Look at me. She’d been the one who’d been featured in the minor rôles — serving-maids and confidantes, pageboys and peasant dancers, tiny parts all of them, but she’d been there on the programme with her name in print, she’d been there on the stage with her clear voice and her vivid grace and she’d made an impression.

She’d been the one with initiative and ambition, the one who was going places: her mother’s daughter. And it hadn’t been fair, because dreamy, quiet Christine Daaé had talent of her own that no-one ever saw. Christine could have done just as well as Meg if anyone had given her the chance. But if it had been left up to Christine, no-one would ever have looked twice.

So when Carlotta, the diva of those days, had let loose her temperament one time too many and stormed off the stage before the start of the production, Meg had followed the impulse of a moment — as so often in her life — and spoken up on her friend’s behalf: “Christine Daaé could do it, sir.” She’d known Christine was good; she’d heard her practising for her new teacher. She hadn’t had the faintest idea Christine was that good...

Read more... )

igenlode: The pirate sloop 'Horizon' from "Treasures of the Indies" (Horizon)

I've been fiddling and fiddling with the important bits of this and then putting things back the way they were before, so I think this is probably as good as it's going to get...

"Je me voyais mal faire chanter à Raoul The beauty Underneath, mais le cœur y est !"


Chapter 4: Dead Souls

Her aim shook so much that Raoul scarcely dared take his eyes off the weapon. But at that range she could hardly miss. For a moment they were a frozen tableau.

“Back.” She gestured with the gun, and Raoul obeyed, backing step by reluctant step away from the terrified betrayal in the child’s face.

“Papa...” It was barely a whisper, but Raoul’s heart clenched, helpless.

“Miss Giry—”

“It won’t be long, Vicomte. It won’t be long for any of us now. Just until he comes... and then it can all be over, all the hurt and all the wanting and all the shame. You feel it too, don’t you? You’ve wanted the same thing...”

The weaving mouth of the gun beckoned, mesmerising, like an endless tunnel into blackness spiralling down, and she laughed. Read more... )

igenlode: The pirate sloop 'Horizon' from "Treasures of the Indies" (Horizon)

Raoul, naturally, doesn't have the faintest idea why Meg Giry would want to kidnap his son -- and of course he isn't the rescuer that Meg is hoping to see...


Chapter 3: Diary of a Madman

Gustave. Raoul would not let himself think of anything else. He kept the boy’s face before his mind’s eye with a fierce, willed concentration, as if that small fair head could blot out the rest.

Gustave’s face — lost. frightened — haunted him round every corner, with every glimpse of a child through the crowd and every furtive shape that whisked away down dark alleys at his approach with what might have been a struggling burden in tow. Gustave...

The persistent small shadow trailed in memory at his heels, demanding acknowledgment — attention, affection — again and again with the same uncomprehending hope, until Raoul’s teeth had been set on edge by the knowledge of it. The child had wanted the old days back. He’d made himself a living reproach to the father he’d lost, and it had been one more reminder that Raoul neither wanted or needed to tell him what he had become.

Read more... )

igenlode: The pirate sloop 'Horizon' from "Treasures of the Indies" (Horizon)
It's amusing to watch the way that Raoul keeps intruding into what is supposed to be a hurt/comfort scene between Meg and the Phantom... but my goodness, I find it hard to create a scenario in which Meg (or anyone else) would be attracted to the latter :-(

He's about thirty years older than she is, selfish, inconsiderate, callous, immature (ironically enough), and obsessively in love with another woman. Oh, and he's physically so hideous that people run away screaming if they catch sight of him without prior warning. Writing a Meg who is hankering after that is confoundedly difficult -- especially since all her story in the original "Phantom of the Opera" is of protecting and defending Christine against him.



I think I'm going for the "All the Rules Rearranged" title for this story (and hence am tagging previous posts accordingly).
The Meg scene is running so long (approx 5,000 words again -- for some reason the chapters in this story move with the speed of mud) that I can't combine it with the short epilogue that I'd planned from Gustave's point of view, so that will evidently have to stand on its own as a fifth chapter. So much for my original three-chapter concept!
I've got quite a lot of notes for it, since writing Gustave's views on his parents comes much more easily to me than writing Meg angsting about the Phantom(!), but they are of such a detailed nature that I'm not sure how much they will expand. It should be enough for a short standalone chapter, anyway -- a couple of thousand words?
igenlode: The pirate sloop 'Horizon' from "Treasures of the Indies" (Horizon)
Brilliant(?) new idea -- have the new 'epilogue' (i.e. the left-over/delayed matter from Chapter 3) seen through Gustave's point of view rather than Christine's. We've had two chapters of Christine's PoV already, and using the child's-eye view of his parents opens a whole new set of possibilities :-)

*Still* no title decided on for this story, though... (I shall have to go back and tag all these meta-posts retrospectively!)

I really wanted to have Christine say to the Phantom (re her 'aria') "Meg Giry could sing it, sir" -- but sadly I don't think she would credibly be in that frame of mind immediately after discovering that Meg has abducted her son, which is the only available time-window during which the dialogue in question could take place :-(
igenlode: The pirate sloop 'Horizon' from "Treasures of the Indies" (Horizon)
Third chapter finished, after some fiddling to the last two paragraphs of what I did last night. Thanks to the added half-scene carried over from the previous effort I now have a third five-thousand word chapter; this story just seems to run that way...

And in consequence the scheduled Meg-and-Erik scene at the end of Chapter Three is going to have to be a separate chapter all of its own, and I'm going to need to carry my Happy Ending forward somehow to the end of that. Since this simply consists of Christine's realisation that Raoul making ridiculous and unworkable assurances about the future is in itself a very good sign that things are back to normal(!), it can be fitted into more or less any setting. But it probably will need to be yet another Christine PoV-scene, though, and we've had rather a lot of those.

I rather think the forthcoming scene is going to need to be from Meg's point of view -- not just because I'm running scared of actually trying to get inside the Phantom's head, but for the highly practical reason that if I'm writing from his point of view I'm almost certainly going to need to name him, and the Andrew Lloyd Webber Phantom is not 'Erik' to me :-P
This of course throws up other problems, not least that she is not the most unbiased of narrators and the fans are going to expect some sympathy for him, but also that there are limits to what he can plausibly tell her -- and at some stage I really do need to handle his (implicit offstage) decision to renounce Christine once more, having essentially skated over it in two chapters already.
igenlode: The pirate sloop 'Horizon' from "Treasures of the Indies" (Horizon)
*Very* interesting new comment and analysis on "Love Never Dies" as part of the massive Phantom Reviewing Project (an attempt to review all the versions of "The Phantom of the Opera" in existence!): The Phantom Project: Reviews & Research / Love Never Dies by Andrew Lloyd Webber (2010)

Though I would say that, naturally -- since the writer happens to echo most of my own prejudices and reactions, including a general preference for the original soundtrack over the amended one :-p I was going to quote bits, but really there's so much that I agree with, especially the entire analysis of Christine and Raoul's relationship and how the musical's heavy-handed attempts at manipulation completely backfire in this respect :-D

[Edit: having read a few more of these reviews, I'm wondering if the result of being exposed to bad fanfic is always to end up with sympathy for Raoul!]


I'll try to select just a handful of quotes: )
igenlode: The pirate sloop 'Horizon' from "Treasures of the Indies" (Horizon)
As before, I'm archiving various discussions/analyses on these stories here for future reference if necessary.

Family )
Backstage )
Raoul and Meg )
Which way does Christine choose, and why? )
Raoul's tragedy and despair )


To Ease Your Troubled Mind )
igenlode: The pirate sloop 'Horizon' from "Treasures of the Indies" (Horizon)
Finally decided to go through and pull out the various bits of character/plot discussion that took place with relevance to my story The Choices of Raoul de Chagny, for archiving and future reference if I need them again...
Raoul's psychology )
Aristocracy )
Means to a successful family life )
Meg and Christine as performers )
The thorny question of Gustave's paternity )
igenlode: The pirate sloop 'Horizon' from "Treasures of the Indies" (Horizon)
I've been asked what Erik's reaction was to Christine's failure to arrive at Phantasma: so here are a few of the 'unseen' parts of this story in note form.

Erik didn't give up easily when Christine cancelled her engagement: not being stupid, he worked out that she would still be on the boat whether she was going to sing for him or not, and sent his henchmen to the docks with instructions to bring her back anyway. However, Raoul's inspiration of using Célestine's talkative tendencies to distract the attention of the Press (since they couldn't very well shut her up, having sacked her) coincidentally happened to throw Squelch, Fleck and Gangle off the scent as well, and the little party managed to slip off the ship and reach the shipping office to trade in the tickets in privacy, without the slightest idea how narrowly they'd avoided a reunion with old friends...

Erik was furious at this incompetence; but by the time he'd tracked down what had happened, Christine had gone - they were lucky enough to switch to a sailing that very evening (at the price of having to travel back via Liverpool rather than direct to Cherbourg), and didn't even spend a single night in New York.

However, he did have all this music, and he did have a resident leading lady, and she did have song-and-dance possibilities that Christine had never offered - and inspired by the recent success of shows such as "The Merry Widow" with its string of lyrical hits and "Florodora" with its innovative dance routines, he had an Idea...

He is definitely not over Christine yet, however. Give it (and Meg) a few years, and a fond reunion may be on the cards: but if Christine Daaé were to walk in the door right now there would be angst all round, and I wouldn't be liable for the results. Christine's instinct to keep her family as far from him as possible is entirely correct: he would see them at best as hostages (he is not terribly pleased with her just at the moment; he is quite capable of combining this with an ardent desire to possess her all the same) and at worst - particularly in Raoul's case - as directly culpable in her 'flouting' of him.

So better to keep all parties well apart for a while and let things settle. Meg is very happy; Erik will be, if she has any say in the matter (and the current public success of his music is doing a lot to ease his troubled soul: he finds he can express himself without Christine, after all); and Raoul and Christine are enjoying a second honeymoon ;-D

Raoul, after some initial hesitancy, has settled down into a cheerfully ruthless and affectionate relationship with Gustave with which both are tacitly and undemonstratively very happy - a healthy Edwardian father/son set-up, in other words :-D
Christine hasn't quite got over the sheer pleasure of watching them together yet... and as I hinted earlier in the story, romping around with Gustave on occasion is actually very good for Raoul, both physically and mentally.

I'm not sure if they will ever tell Gustave of his true paternity (assuming it is true... Christine isn't certain, and can't ever really be). I rather suspect not; it will only hurt him and put him into a legally dubious and morally scandalous situation. These things happened, but one didn't talk about them; you wouldn't necessarily tell a child he was adopted, for example (given the almost inevitable implication that he was the discarded result of some maidservant's indiscretion, rather than a valued member of a respectable family).

I also suspect Christine of angling for another, 'accidental', pregnancy - which would scare Raoul stiff, possibly with entirely justifiable reason, and would certainly have him dragging her off pellmell back to Europe as fast as possible. But that is getting too far into badfic territory... ;-)
igenlode: The pirate sloop 'Horizon' from "Treasures of the Indies" (Horizon)

After the promise he can't keep, it's time for Raoul to make his really big mistake... with the very best of intentions, the poor man.

(Note: In the French game of hazard, the player throws dice against the house, and if he rolls the number stipulated (the 'main') then he has won on the spot. But in the card game vingt-et-un, the reverse is true: the gambler makes his play, and then the house plays last to see who wins...)


2. Encounter

Read more... )
igenlode: The pirate sloop 'Horizon' from "Treasures of the Indies" (Horizon)

Right; I've been over and over this chapter (which suffered from not having a pre-written plot outline: making it up as you go along is not the same), and I think this is the best I can do with it.

Happy endings all round, then!

Raoul gets to take the lead for once, at least partly because Christine is a little too emotionally involved to see the wider view... and partly because the author felt he'd earned a turn by this point :-) Raoul likes looking after Christine -- it makes him feel needed -- but he also gets to display a bit of insight. (Plus, he had more education as a child, which gives him a slight advantage when it comes to skimming foreign text..!)

And if they both seem slow on the uptake... remember that, in canon, they neither of them even guessed about Phantasma until the truth was thrust in their faces. They've had a lot of other concerns over the last ten years, and speculating about mysterious rich producers isn't top of the agenda any more.


Epilogue: A World with No More Night )

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