Le Fantôme de l’Opéra
Pardon my French, s’il-te plaît, but I believe that it’s relevant for the current topic, which, if you haven’t already guessed, is the renowned Broadway musical and book, The Phantom of the Opera.
More specifically, I’m here to caustically retort to my dearest friend Ella, whom has also written a post about this topic called “the Raoul/Erik (the Phantom’s real name) love triangle over Christine.
Ella can tell you, I am the biggest Erik supporter of them all. I’ve shared many a meme, fanfiction, and fanart with her…
The fanart was, to keep it in the school’s PG rating, interesting…
Don’t look it up, that’s all I ask of you.
Anyhow, I’m here to tell you why I think the Phantom is better.
Beautiful, innocent, soprano (the man always wants a soprano, it happened to Éponine Thénardier, it’ll probably happen to me) Christine Daaé. It’s no wonder she’s so desired, she’s the literal patron of perfection.
Like everything, she must choose. Does she take the annoying viscount, or the tragically beautiful opera ghost?
Of course she chooses the hunk. Smh.
In order to keep things fair, I will confess that I did like Raoul de Changy in the beginning, but this was before the Phantom came into the picture.
Put the past behind us, this is about who I like now. Erik Destler, the fellow opera ghost.
Our sweet Phantom has been neglected, betrayed, cast aside, feared. He yearns for love but receives hatred. He cries for compassion and gets used and hurt. He hopes for his Opera Populaire to be the best it can be and he gets Firmin and Andr.
A musical genius, chained my his horrid ugliness. Driven insane by his loneliness and hopeless love for Christine.
His own prodigy. Her Angel of Music. He teaches her how to sing, comforts her in the night, he takes her to his lair and asks her but one thing: don’t touch the mask. Andwhatdoes she do?
Well, obviously she touches the mask. Removes it, in fact.
And yet, he’s considered the “villain” by so many.
Tell me, with complete honesty, did he even hurt her? Did he ever touch her without her consent? Did he ever do anything to harm her?
He did not. He murdered, yes. He nearly killed Christine’s lover, yes. He is not without fault, and I’m not saying he is.
One might argue that he is at least a decade older than her, but in the Broadway production he is never given an age, and is often portrayed by young actors. Take Ramin Karimloo, one of the many Broadway actors who played the infamous role. He was only 31 when he performed at the 25th anniversary concert in 2011. And even if he was played by the 40-ish-year-old man the book makes him out to be, I think that age hardly matters. If you truly love someone, why should something as silly as a number stop you from being with them?
You know who else was several years older than the girl he was in love with? Edward Cullen. Hunky vampire supreme.
So, riddle me this, Twilight fangirls, why is this okay but Erik’s love for Christine not? Is it because you’re given the illusion of youth by the actor Robert Pattinson? Is it the fact that he’s an immortal vampire who’s age is just a number?
Well, the Phantom is not human either, and yet his age has made one heck of a difference.
I can relate to him. I remember when we watched the movie in class. I remember humming along to each song, feeling strong and confident and happy as I sang along softly to “Masquerade”. I remember my heart rate increasing as the Phantom rose from the floor, feeling excited and scared and a bit squeamish all at once.
I also remember two girls, whose identities shall remain anonymous, giggling and making fun of the Phantom and the plot surrounding him. I remember feeling my self-esteem smashed from under me. I remember feeling a sudden inferiority for loving the precious opera ghost as I did. I remember wanting to run out of the room and cry. I remember there was mist…
I had that one coming.
Of course, I gritted my teeth and kept watching. After all, those who speak of what they know find too late that prudent silence is wise…
Once you start making Phantom references you know you’ve passed the point of no return.
Finally, the end of the movie comes around, and Christine grants Erik with a kiss of compassion. (by the way, the look on Raoul’s face is priceless.) I’m giddy with Fangirl excitement, and I suddenly hear the same girls go, and I quote, “ew, she’s gonna get, like, Ebola or something.”
This horrible deformity. He’s had to deal with those comments his entire life. It’s driven him to insanity. You pity the man behind the mask, but pity is the same thing as fear, as hate, as everything he’s ever been labeled.
“You’re so mean.” I retort under my breath to the girl.
And she simply flips her hair and smiles. “Thanks, I know.”
The tears I might have shed for your dark words, grow cold and turn to tears of hate.
That sounded better in my head.
So, to everyone who will yell at me in the comments or in real life, fight me. Because I’m willing to stand for Erik Destler, and for everyone who was hounded out by everyone, met with hatred everywhere. And felt an inferior blow to their self-esteem for loving the notorious Phantom of the Opera.