Today is the first day of the Barricade Boys Week. Are you excited? I am :) I've got several wonderful guest bloggers lined up (the first one coming on June 2nd), plus an awesome giveaway (I can wait until tomorrow...tomorrow comes!) and lots of other great things that I'm sure you'll all love. I'm also going to be starting up a mini-tournament later on today (a lot later because I have a big, real life event this afternoon). I think I did a pretty good job of pitting the different barricade boys against each other.
Now...in case you didn't know (although I'm sure you do), the barricade boys are a group of young revolutionaries from Victor Hugo's Les Miserables. And just to clear things up a bit...they do not fight during the French Revolution. They fight during the lesser known (but still important) 1832 Paris Insurrection. Which is not to be confused with the 1830 Paris Insurrection. I know. It can get complicated. If you want the French Revolution (which spanned 10 years - 1789 to 1799 - instead of two days like the 1832 Insurrection) read The Scarlet Pimpernel or A Tale Of Two Cities. Alright. Now that we have that cleared up we can move on :)
The barricade boys can also be called Les Amis de ABC ('the friends of the ABC') or the students. But we prefer to call them barricade boys. The musical doesn't really give much about any of them (except Enjolras and maybe Grantaire...), so I've prepared a quick beginner's guide to the whole group (if you've read the brick, feel free to skip this). Students in order of their descriptions in the brick (hey - it wasn't my idea to put Feuilly before Courfeyrac!)
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Enjolras – “A charming young man, capable of being terrifying”. Enjolras has the weight of the world on his shoulders even though he is only twenty-two (and looks much younger). He's fiery, passionate, idealistic and severe (especially with Grantaire). I really don't know how to fully describe Enjolras. He's brave but vulnerable (a few times...and then you only catch small glimpses of it, but it's there all the same), fierce but compassionate (he sends five guys out of the barricade so that they can be saved)...he's a complex character with several sides to him. Including a frightening side.
Combeferre - “Enjolras was the leader, Combeferre was the guide”. Combeferre is one of my favorites (if not my favorite). He loves to read, is extremely intelligent, gentle and kind and he basically looks out for all the other students. Like in the final battle (the film's final battle) when he's trying to get Jehan to safety, throwing bottles in a futile attempt to keep the soldiers back and even trying to protect Joly and Courfeyrac to the last. He's Enjolras' right hand man and I really wish that their friendship could be a little more well known around the fandom. Overall, he's just an all around amazing guy.
Jean (or Jehan) Prouvaire – “He confused God and future in the same trusting attitude”. Jehan is a really sweet student who loves flowers and poetry and taking long walks. But. He is not a wimp. He's actually really brave (his death scene, anyone?) He's an amazing, cultured (hey, he knows four languages), adorably awkward poet who's shy, who dresses badly (like I said, he's awkward ;) and takes long walks. Oh, and he's in love. Lucky girl.
Feuilly - “He had one thought – to save the world”. Feuilly is an orphan who works in a factory making fans for three francs a day (which isn't very much). He's self-educated (as in, he taught himself to read and write) which give him major points with me :) And he's obsessed with Poland. I don't really understand half the tangents Victor Hugo goes off on, but it has something to do with the partitioning of Poland (which I really don't know that much about). I mean, when everyone's running to build a barricade, he's shouting “Long live Poland!” Which is rather...strange, IMO.
Bahorel - “He wore loud waistcoats and flaming opinions to match”. That quote basically sums Bahorel up perfectly. Now, those of you who have just seen the musical won't know about him because he's left out of the musical :( But he made it into the film (yay!). I recently discovered a great liking for Bahorel. He's loud and boisterous and less than tactful but he is lots of fun and Victor Hugo says he was a deeper thinker than he let on. Which I found intriguing.
Lesgle (or Bossuet) – “He laughed at everything”. Lesgle has the worst luck in the world. His father left him a house and land which he quickly lost in a ill-fated speculation (where are Mr Thornton's sound principles when you need them?). Everything he tries to do never works out. Nevertheless, he's a very happy person and jokes around constantly (seriously, when the cannons are firing on the barricade, he and Courfeyrac are still cracking jokes). Lesgle is homeless (figures) so he just goes from one student's home to the next, most often staying with Joly. And the reason he's nicknamed 'Bossuet' is because that means 'bald' and even though he's only twenty-five, he's bald. I know. It's weird.
Joly - “What he had gotten out of medicine had made him more of a patient than a doctor”. So...Joly is the hypochondriac of the group (sort of like Mr Woodhouse but he's only twenty-three). I think he's unique in that he's a medical student because I believe all the others are law students. And he's the cheerfullest of the group even though he's constantly afraid of catching a cold (or some sort of deadly disease).
Grantaire - “Grantaire was a man who took care not to believe in anything”. The only reason Grantaire is even with this group is that he greatly admires Enjolras (something of an understatement) and he enjoys the company of the others. And they put up with him (although I think Enjolras would like him to leave) partly because of his good humour. At least that's what Victor Hugo said although, frankly, I never really saw his cheerful side. He always seems unhappy to me. Which is kind of sad in and of itself.
So there you have it...all the barricade boys. Oh, and if you're wondering why I haven't included Marius in the list, the answer is in tomorrow's post. I am including him in the mini-tourny though (along with Eponine and Gavroche - don't worry, all will be explained).
Who is your favorite barricade boy?