“Do you hear the people sing
Lost in the valley of the night
It is a music of a people who are climbing to the light
For the wretched of the earth, there is a flame that never dies
Even darkest nights will end and the sun will rise”
- Les Misérables (musical), finale
You buy you’re own copy of the brick. You read quickly, excited to meet the characters. You reach page 38. You have only met Bishop Myriel. Where are the other characters? You reach page 621. There is only the bishop. Where is Valjean?
You open a fanfiction by a writer you’ve never heard of. Three pages in you realize you’ve read this fanfiction. You’ve only read this fanfiction. There are no other fanfictions.
You see a post by @just-french-me-up and decide to follow her. You’re sure you’ve followed her before. You see a post by @just-French-me-up and decide to follow her. You’re sure you’ve followed her before.
Fanart appears on your dash. The character is one you’ve never heard of. You ask. “She is only in the brick,” they tell you. You cannot find her. “She is only in the 2012 film adaptation,” they repeat. She is not there. “She was added in the musical.” She wasn’t.
There are hundreds of posts about Jehanparnasse. “It is Jehanparnasse week,” they all tell you. It was Jehanparnasse week last week. It is always Jehanparnasse week.
Someone reblogs your post. Their blog is not a les mis blog. The post has 321 reblogs. None of them are for les mis blogs. You do not know why
Everyone loves Enjolras. He is the only one they post about. All the art is him. All the headcannons are for him. All the blogs are named for him. You wonder why you thought there were other characters.
You carry your Brick around to class with you. Your bag gets heavier and heavier. By the end of the day, Victor Hugo has added 200 new pages about the Parisian Sewer System.
(Inspired by a post by @mardisoir that I don’t know how to link.).
Thank you for writing Les Miserables. It means a lot (probably too much) to me.
But mostly I want to say. I’m sorry.
I’m sorry your book is still relevant. I’m sorry your lessons fell on deaf ears. We are destroying our world through corruption and power and your writing has become more relevant than ever.
You state in your preface “as long as there is misery in the world books like this will be useful” but to think that in 2017, almost 200 years later, those words still ring true? It’s awful. So much has changed in the world, yet fundamentally the problems you address in your preface - and in the 1500 pages that follow - have barely shrunk a measurable amount.
Your book is an award winning musical now. It was filmed with a star-studded cast. It has had so many adaptation both for screen and radio I honestly cannot count them.
And yet nothing has changed.
I love your book. I think about it constantly. It is a work of genius and care to the extent I have not seen before. So this is a thank you for writing it.
But I hate that it is still relevant and I am sorry that your book is still useful.