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Dear Second Chance

Letter Challenge Day Twenty-Two – Someone I Want To Give a Second Chance To

Dear Mademoiselle Daae of Movie Phantom,

The offenses I lay at your doorstep are many and grievous.

At first glance, you are a naive and superstitious little twit with a weak mind, so indecisive that it takes the near murder of your betrothed to get you to make your choice. When that choice is finally made and only by the miraculous change of your captor’s heart everyone saved, you make your wounded fiance row the gondola back to the world above. He was nearly strangled to death. His arm was sliced open and bleeding. What made it so impossible for you to row the gondola, hm? I’m sure being forced to wear a wedding dress and then making out with Gerik is really rough. I’m surprised you escaped with your life.

But failing to be helpful in the gondola is not my only or most serious complaint with you. I’m sure you were emotionally drained at the time. (Kind of like the man next to you who was almost strangled to death.) I’m not too happy with your trilling and sniffling through life while the men duked it out over you. I fully believe in the right of a woman to be a damsel and expect a man to save her. I think you can be too damsely, though… and you are that. When you did take action, it was always the wrong action. Like giving Raoul vague hints about a violent ghosty man he couldn’t make sense of, then telling him not to kill the scary violent ghosty man when the danger was finally made clear, and also ripping off Erik’s mask at the end of The Point of No Return–which is a sequence everyone knows you were enjoying. What exactly did that accomplish? It got you glared at. Then abducted. Did you enjoy the falling through trap doors? Is that why you did it?

She regrets nothiiiiiing!!

But upon closer inspection, you’re not as empty-headed as you seem. Your father raised you on fairy stories and angel of music dreams, making the art of taking advantage of you as simple as a three part harmony. The Phantom did everything he could to befuddle you into a sense of ease, and really, who can deny his persuasive powers? It must have been difficult, trying to explain a phenomenon to the man you loved when you could hardly make sense of it yourself. You were scared and lost and needed someone to put his arms around you and say you were safe.

Now, I’ve had my share of shipping arguments, and the one thing I can’t blame you for is choosing Raoul. Whatever anyone else says, Raoul was there first. You two had history, he was stable, secure, sweet, and sacrificial. Oh yeah, and you loved each other. I’m not denying the appeal of a happy ending for Erik. But choosing to go with the man you loved (and “fought so hard to freee you!“) will not ever go down as a fault in my book. So rest easy on that score, Christine! I would pat your far too curly head if I could.

I have to hand it to you. Without your presence there is no Phantom story. Erik would probably continue to haunt the opera house for his monthly salary and to have his way in details of each production, never roaming above ground to kidnap the young woman he became obsessed with–you. Yes, you made Erik a madly attractive evil stalker genius. *applause* Raoul wouldn’t even be introduced except as that one victome who lavished the opera with his parents’ money, and Carlotta wouldn’t have anyone to call “little toad.” And then of course, there’s the whole love triangle. What would Phantom of the Opera be without the love triangle? Well, it would be a suspense/horror film. I’ve seen horror versions. I prefer the love triangle.

Maybe you’re okay. Maybe you’re a character with more depth than I originally gave you credit for. You did… hm. I know I had a mental list prepared of things you did that were useful, but it’s gone now. Anyway! you went through many wonderful costume changes for which I will always be grateful!  So I suppose you’re not that bad. Emmy Rossum played you… and she’s the reason I found Phantom, soooo… yes.

And I’ve always thought a great part of what makes the Phantom’s story so appealing is the aspect of redemption.

Christine Daae, I want to give you a second chance.

Oh look, I found it! It’s called fan fiction! ;)

Not mine. In all mine so far you’re either an evil mastermind, mad with terror, or vapid and flighty with a propensity to chase sparkly things. But eventually I do want to give you a second chance as well! Hurray!

I remain, mademoiselle, your obedient servant,

B.W.

or

Le Vicomtess de Chagny (if you don’t want him)

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5 thoughts on “Dear Second Chance

  1. It’s the long awaited post! I like it, I do. But I still really don’t like Christine–nothing personal. You’re just a better phangirl than me. :)

    1. You don’t have to like Christine to be my friend. It’s okay. :) And this newer translation I’m reading somehow makes her less… random. I mean, she kind of apologizes to Raoul for bearing with her gullible nature. I wonder which is closer to the original French…

  2. Love the way you wrote that! Good analysis of Christine Daae’s character – with a lot of sarcasm and cynicism thrown in!

    But, to be honest, I’ve got to admit the book isn’t as great as the musical / film. I just think that the totally altered plot (thank you, Andrew Lloyd Webber) works far better than Gaston-Leroux’s-whatever-his-name was…

    1. Why thanks! :)

      Oh dear. Don’t say that! To me, you just can’t appreciate the variance of storyline without really immersing yourself in the original. I adore Gaston Leroux. I think he’s fantastic. He took rumors and facts and complied them into (I believe) the most beautiful mystery/tragedy in a way that seemed absolutely real. You have to get your hands on a copy of Lowell Bair’s translation of the book. So much got cut from what people assume is the full, unabridged version, and I’ve had some moments where I get teary-eyed from realizing phrases and whole pages entirely new to me. Yes, I’ve read the book several times. :) And I don’t usually re-read anything. Too many new things to try!

      Goodness, that was long! But yes, I’m a die-hard purist. Just so happens that I’m also a sucker for musicals. You can’t really compare the two in that regard. I mean, a musical is so vastly different in pace and structure. The movie’s more garish, overblown, sentimentalized … showy…ness, and the book is literary depth of tragic drama and emotion. It’s like apples and oranges. ;)

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