favorite off screen friendships

Madame Giry and her ghost

Have I ever told you guys one of my favorite parts of Leroux’s book is the off-screen friendship between Madame Giry and Erik? Something about it just strikes me as awfully sweet and odd.

Madame Giry’s this kooky old boxkeeper, a widow no one takes seriously and everyone makes fun of. And she has no one but her daughter, a girl everyone finds plain and gossipy. And for some reason, the opera ghost takes Madame Giry seriously. The opera ghost that no one believes in, thinks Madame Giry is worth his time.

Just imagine all the conversations. While Madame Giry is cleaning the boxes, Erik chats with her and it’s not the usual comments “focus on your job” or “there that batty woman goes again.” He probably asks her how her day was, does cleaning the boxes tire her out, what’s her favorite part of the theater, etc. He probably tells her jokes and funny anecdotes, gossip that even Meg wouldn’t know. And he’ll probably say that only Madame Giry knows because the ghost doesn’t trust anyone else.

Eventually, he’ll start asking about her life, details that no one else cares about. What was your husband like? Where are you from? Do you like sweets? When she huffs about how no one appreciates Meg, he’ll tell her what a shapely nose Little Meg has, what a good dancer she is, what a good mother Madame Giry has been.

On Valentines, he buys her chocolates because no one else does. And they’re not the cheap kind, no, the ghost gives her imported sweets that even the highest billed performers rarely get. They talk to each other, they complain to each other, they gossip, they get each other little gifts. Everyone else might remember the ghost as some zany nightmare, but for Madame Giry, he was this sweet gentleman who called her friend.