I hear people all the time criticizing musicals by saying “why can’t they just say what they mean instead of singing and dancing about it?” and for years the only answer I’ve had was a smile and a shrug, but I finally just figured it out.
It’s because the words by themselves aren’t enough.
Outside the song, there would be almost no moving passion in Javert’s words “This I swear by the stars.” How would He Had It Comin’ be anywhere near as dangerous and vengeful without the lighting and the dance routine? The reprise of Wouldn’t It Be Luvverly is essential to underlining just how much Henry Higgins has changed and damaged Eliza Doolittle. The Mary Poppins chimney sweeps would just be weird guys off the roof if they didn’t have their whole zany song and choreography to make them a funny and interesting group. And there aren’t any words in any language to describe the complete change in Leslie Odom Jr.’s voice as the music cuts off and he solos “I…wanna be in the room where it happens, the room where it happens.”
The reason we have musicals–and the reason we have music in general–is because words aren’t enough.
Concept: Les Misérables (1862) but if Lemony Snicket was the author
Example: to Enjolras–darling, dearest, dead.
If you’re seeking a story whose tragic beginning is followed by a less-tragic middle and an inevitably uplifting denouement, this book should be avoided at all costs. The approximately six hundred and fifty-five thousand words that are about to follow contain the tales of several bright and brave young people who each meet an unfortunate end and several less-bright, less-young people, including myself, who unfortunately survive to recount the events. “Unfortunate” is a word which here means “luckless” and “miserable”, the latter definition having been used for the title of this novel, designed to dissuade you, the misguided reader, from continuing past the cover page.
There are other techniques I have employed in this book that are designed to stop you from yourself becoming miserable by reading this story in its entirety. Firstly, the physical novel, which as you may notice shares the same dimensions and weight as a standard housing brick, for the utmost inconvenience. Secondly, I have included several hundred pages of information which are both uninteresting and have little bearing on the grander story in the meager hope that you will come to your senses and place this novel back on your shelf or better, in a lit fireplace, where I solemnly believe it belongs.
For example, the use of candlesticks. The word “candlestick” is derived from the purpose of the item itself, that is an object, most often metal, commonly silver, in which one can stick a candle. Many dictionaries define “candlestick” as
“an often ornamental holder for securing a candle or candles”. “Candleholder” is another, less commonly used word for “candlestick”. Candlesticks come in a variety of forms and sizes, and can contain a variety of numbers of candles often demarcated by their names-a “trikirion” contains three candles and a “menorah” contains seven. If you have had the fortitude-a word which here means “strength of mind”-to make it this far through this dull paragraph, it may be of some note to say that the candlesticks with which we concern ourselves in this story are single candlesticks, that may each contain one candle.
Thirdly, not only have I named the main character in a redundant manner-Jean Valjean-I have decided to tell you here that Jean Valjean perishes on the final page of this novel. That is my story’s conclusion.
With all this information in mind, and having the ending already known, I now give you my final warning and pleading suggestion to forget about this book. Put it down. Hide it away. Bury it in a cemetery late at night with the assistance of a man named Fauchelevant. Forget it ever existed. For now the story must begin.
It begins in a town called Digne, on a grey and dreary night under the roof of a very kind but elderly and poor man, the bishop of the town, whose name was Myriel.
I can’t stop thinking about how if you’ve only seen the Les Mis musical, you wouldn’t be able to tell the difference between real subplots in the Brick and fanfiction….Because the Brick’s actual real subplots sound exactly like fanfiction
I mean this “fanfiction” is actually a canon book subplot:
Javert and Marius team up buddy-cop style to take down a deadly gang of criminals who are planning to ambush Jean Valjean.
Marius very predictably screws everything up (because he’s a DORK why did Javert give him a gun?? Why did he give him two guns?????) So Javert has to save the day practically single-handedly. He does this by making snarky comments and saying badass one-liners until this armed and deadly gang is so afraid of him that they just lay down all their weapons without putting up a fight.
Valjean escapes in the confusion (to Javert’s extreme disappointment) but all of the gang is arrested….with the exception of Montparnasse, because he’d ditched his lookout duties to flirt with Eponine.
The next morning Javert goes to Marius’s house to tell him How Much He Screwed Up. He arrives to find that Marius isn’t there…. because he’s literally packed all his bags and moved houses to avoid talking to Javert again.
Javert isn’t really surprised. You kinda get the feeling that things like this must happen to Javert a lot
Don’t buy puppies from pet stores to “save the puppies from being mistreated!!” While this is done with the best of intentions, the puppy mill problem isn’t really about the puppies- the actual puppies are usually treated okay, it’s the parents that are kept in horrible conditions and forced to breed until they die. While you may be giving a home to one dog if you buy from a pet store, you’re supporting the misery of hundreds of other dogs with your money.
USDA certification isn’t a sign of a reputable breeder. It’s actually the mark of a puppy mill and if you see this, run fast in the opposite direction. CKC registration (Continental Kennel Club, not Canadian) is also a huge red flag.
But having AKC registered puppies doesn’t mean they’re reputable, either. While most good breeders (in the US) will have AKC registration, AKC isn’t picky about which dogs they register, so plenty of bad breeders do too. Also, “champion bloodlines” means nothing unless they’re at least in the second or third generations of a pedigree.
Stereotyping breeds is not “like racism for dogs”. Humans weren’t strategically bred for hundreds of years to develop traits to assist them in specific tasks. Dogs were, so retrievers retrieve, greyhounds run, shepherds herd, and terriers fight. It’s not “all in how you raise them”. Genetics. They do stuff. Science. And hey could we maybe not compare the systemic oppression of minorities to people saying chihuahuas are barky? Thanks
Designer breeds i.e. labradoodles, maltipoos, cavachons etc. are not “the best of both worlds!” Again, genetics…that’s not how they work. Also realize that most of these dogs (especially since they are common products of puppy mills) don’t come from well-bred parents because reputable breeders generally don’t allow their dogs to be used to breed crosses. Like I’ve seen poodle breeders literally write it in their puppy contracts that they will take back the dog if they find out it’s being used to create “doodles”.
If you support importing foreign rescue dogs but use the “overpopulation of shelter dogs in the US” factoid to protest dog breeding you’re a fucking hypocrite.
Don’t tell people “you can find any breed in a shelter!” Like ??? Yeah lemme just go find Cesky Terrier at my local humane society! I genuinely have no idea why people say this when it’s obviously not true?
Puppies aren’t a blank slate, and adult dogs don’t all come with awful baggage. If a puppy is genetically predisposed to aggression, all the early socialization in the world might not help at all. And while any adult dog will be shaped by its past, not all rescue dogs are abused and many are there because of circumstances completely unrelated to them and have had perfectly normal lives. You also have the advantage of already knowing their temperament, energy level, and any behavioral issues.