Episode 3: The Carnival of Fools

Quasimodo, Esmeralda and François, The Magical Adventures of Quasimodo, Episode 3

Feast, Festival, Carnival it’s all the same thing in the end. What is different is the contest in question. But let’s put a pin in that for the moment.

 So The Carnival of Fools is being prepped by our gang of pals, Quasimodo, Esmeralda and François. The King drops by and is most pleased with their work. But the question comes up of who will judge the contest? What is the contest? The ugliest face of Paris like in  the book and most of the adaptations? No, that is too mean spirited. This  contest is that the best performer will win the chance to perform for the King. And of course the gang of pals are judges, mostly be the asked.  

Enter The Jester, who is a super honest looking sort of gentleman, right? He is also a magician like Frollo who he seems to be in league with.  So he enters the contest and wows Quasimodo, who has been taking his role as a judge super seriously.    

However it turns out the Jester wants to steal the King’s crown which Frollo also wants. The actual crown with the jewels. Not sure why Frollo would want that aside from wanting to rule, maybe he thinks whomever has the shiny is King. Or he just wants to play dress up. 

Anyway Esmeralda figures out the Jester’s plot using a sixth ability she has. She also has some illusion based magic that comes from her locket which was more detailed this episode. The Jester however ties her in a chest before his performance for the king so she can’t tell anyone.  

Esmeralda then busts out of the trunk she is being held in and informs the crowd as the Jester makes his getaway but he is followed by Quasimodo 

But before Quasimodo can catch him, Frollo runs into the Jester and takes the crown and the Jester gets away.  Quasimodo vows to the king that he will get the crown jewels back because Quasimodo blames himself for the whole thing. Esmeralda sends François to follow while she sees her contact in the streets, not sure what that means. 

Quasimodo’s search leads him down to the spooky underground tunnels which houses something that looks like a sea turtle. Which is rather random but also delightful. However Quasimodo and François get caught by Frollo, who does display a lot of self knowledge, he knows he is a “fabulously good magician and a truly evil man.”  I appreciate that he knows who is and perfectly content with himself. He is not a complex villain with moral ambiguity, then again for the times and genre wise this would have been very rare.

Frollo then demands that Quasimodo and François entertain him and then transform François into a cat because cats are entertaining the internet is proof of that.  

So while Azarof chases François distracting Frollo, Quasimodo and the Jester form a plan.  The plan goes great as they get the crown back. Eventually Esmeralda comes for them with the help of cat François and Quasimodo secures possession of the crown from the Jester, who does his best Gollum impression when he thinks the crown fell out while they were running.

With the help of Dennis and books of magic at Notre Dame, they revert François back to a stinky human. Darn he could have been a cat.


This episode has a moral about trust and openness. One shouldn’t distrust people because of a bad experience. One’s openness and willingness to trust may be the very thing to save your life. And while that is not the worst moral I can’t get over magical books at Notre Dame. Sure whatever, in this version Notre Dame seems more like Hogwarts than a religious site. Though I guess it would be more like Beauxbatons Academy of Magic, since the setting is France. Then again I’m not the  biggest fan of Harry Potter.    

 Episode 4: The Star Master

Frollo, The Magical Adventures of Quasimodo, Episode 4

This episode of The Magical Adventures of Quasimodo is a bit weird.

As Quasimodo, Esmeralda and François enjoy a nice outing they notice a lot of very strange things occurring. Geese flying backwards in the sky, a critical donkey getting stuck in a tree and autumn just happening all at once.

Of course Dennis just so happens to know the answer instantly from a book. Very simply a star is about to fall to Earth which will bring the end of the world within 24 hours when the moon rises. And only our gang of pals can stop it by destroying the star. The star looks like a pink crystal. 

Meanwhile, The Oracle, a pal of Frollo, pops into Frollo’s underground layer, which is very tastefully decorated. The Oracle shows him the power of the star using a small fragment, which makes explosions. Frollo is very into this magical items and wants more. The Oracle agrees to bring him to the rest of it if they form a partnership, which Frollo agrees. Frollo then dubs himself  “The Star Master” and he wants to rule the world.  The Oracle is content to be Frollo’s top advisor.  

The gang of pals  set out to find the star and notice more weird stuff, like berries tasting like lemons and vine monsters trying to kill François. Then get captured by some thugs that Frollo and  The Oracle employ. They escape only to get captured again by Frollo’s stone gargoyle whose name is apparently Dragon, maybe? 

In the end Frollo allies leave him though he did doublecross The Oracle and the thugs peace out because of the Star’s chaos magic. He half-heartedly tries to recruit Quasimodo, Emeralda and François but  to no avail but the mere attempt was very endearing.  

Dennis and Angelica show up to help destroy the star by throwing into a volcano that magically appeared after the star fell. Everyone works to push the star up into the volcano and the volcano pushes the star back into orbit and the world is saved.   

A “Blind” Thug, The Magical Adventures of Quasimodo, Episode 4

The premise of this episode is very creative and quite high stakes for a Hunchback version. 

Aside from the names, and the concept of the village of thugs, this episode does not feel like it was inspired by any version of Hunchback. That is not inherently a bad thing but worth mentioning. For the most part this show has seemed somewhat grounded in the source material  up until this episode. 

The only real Hunchback-ish reference was a random man who was wearing glasses that was holding a sign reading “blind.”  Very Court of Miracles.  

Frollo, Quasimodo, Esmeralda, François, The Magical Adventures of Quasimodo, Episode 4

Episode 1: Evil Unmasked 

Quasimodo and Esmeralda from The Magical Adventures of Quasimodo, Episode One, Evil Unmasked 
Quasimodo and Esmeralda from The Magical Adventures of Quasimodo, Episode One

The first episode of The Magical Adventures of Quasimodo, sees our boy, Quasimodo, meeting Esmeralda and her brother François for the first time.  Right off the bat, François is the Gringoire character. Not sure why he was not given the name Pierre but there you have it.  He’s François.

Esmeralda and François are performers but they do engage in some more devious methods of money making. Mostly Djali tears at on-lookers coin purses and François tells the person who then gives him a reward for his honesty. Only bad guys would actually steal. 

François is also a delightfully bad poet, I loved his poem. Seriously, it made me laugh. 

Esmeralda is performing when she spots Quasimodo who is atop Notre Dame. They take an instant liking to each other. Quasimodo in this version is sixteen years old and he seems to function more as cleaner of the cathedral and not so much as the bell ringer.  

Esmeralda and Quasimodo cross paths properly when he saves her from being arrested. But why is she being arrested? For performing without a license, which is just a form of exhortation as Esmeralda explains. 

So Quasimodo helps her but gets arrested himself. Esmeralda and François along with Djali bust him out of prison, using a combination of skills in their skill set. 

While that is going on there is a plot to kill the King. Oh No! Frollo, who is a magician and does something at Notre Dame, has hired a guard to recruit  a thug who is in prison to carry out an assination plot during a masked ball. It’s while Quasimodo is in jail that he overhears the plan and then enlists Esmeralda and François to help. 

The crew of new pals  thwart the thug but then Frollo decides to do the deed himself because gosh darn does he want to rule France. Again Quasimodo thwarts the plan using Frollo’s dog, Azarof, to sniff him out. Frollo is caught with a dagger and gets away after he brings  gargoyles to life and flies away. Because this Frollo can and does that. 

This episode showcases Quasimodo, Esmeralda and François’ ingenuity as they very effortlessly solve the conflict.  It also shows us that Frollo is truly evil as he is mean to his dog. 

Also it is weird to see the King so nice. That is a new interaction for Louis XI. 

Episode 2: Frollo’s Revenge

Quasimodo and Dennis from The Magical Adventures of Quasimodo, Episode Two, Frollo's Revenge
Quasimodo and Dennis from The Magical Adventures of Quasimodo, Episode Two

Or Frollo Strikes Back! No, one calls it that. 

This episode is about Frollo’s retaliation for getting banished to the spooky underground tunnels after his coup failed. Far be it for me apply lines of successions on a children’s story but even if Frollo did murder Louis XI, he would not have been crowned but Frollo despite being a magician is none too smart. Or blinded by ambition. 

Qusimodo learns about his backstory from Dennis, the archdeacon. His parents were super noble nobles and alchemists who were very close to learning how to make gold from lead. They were doing this to help the poor.

 Dennis gives Quasimodo a medallion which is most likely his family crest, which is  an eagle holding a snake. Interestingly enough the symbolism of the eagle for a family crest  is “Emblematic of fortitude and magnanimity of mind.*” And the snake is “Emblematic of wisdom & medicine.*”  Not sure if this was intentional or not since eagles and snakes are common but it does showcase Quasimodo bravery and intelligence as well as his parents for being more or less scientists. The snake symbol has ties to Hermes who has connections to alchemy.    

As this is happening, Esmeralda, François, Djali and their adopted Grandmother Angelica are leaving Paris along with the other nomads at noon. This bums Quasimodo out but he convinces them to meet him in the square to say a proper good-bye.  This is when Frollo strikes using his dog to steal Quasimodo’s medallion to lure him underground in the aforementioned spooky-ooky tunnels.  

Once down there Frollo turns rats into human-size guards, complete with helmets and swords. This is bad news for Quasimodo because he hates rats. 

Esmeralda figures out something is wrong when Quasimodo doesn’t show up and she and François help out. She manages to halt the rat by giving them the cheese she had bought earlier. 

 In the end Frollo summons a green whirlpool looking vortex thing. Quasimodo is hanging on to Frollo who is begging Quasmodo not to let go because though he was mean to him in the past it was for Quasimodo’s own good. Remember Frollo used to do something at Notre Dame and watch Quasimodo grow up. Quaismodo doesn’t drop him if only to get this medallion back. Frollo then rages but then leaves by magical means.   

Also in the end, Angelica takes a supervisor cleaning job at Notre Dame  which means Esmeralda and François can stay in Paris.  Hooray!

Frollo tells Quasimodo that his parents were not nobles which is a departure  from the novel. As Frollo’s parents were  low ranking nobles, petty nobles, who had a small fief of twenty-one houses according to  book four chapter two of the novel. If you want to get really specific it’s the estate of Tirechappe. 

And it’s Quasimodo who is descended from nobles. Which is a departure from the novel but there is magic in this version so let’s just not hold it against the book too much.  

Also this version of Frollo seems more like Aladdin’s Jafar than either the book or Disney’s Gaston which was the case in two other off-Disney versions of Hunchback.  

Frollo's dog Azarof from The Magical Adventures of Quasimodo, Episode Two, Frollo's Revenge
Frollo’s dog Azarof from The Magical Adventures of Quasimodo, Episode Two

Just a quick note – I’ve been watching this show on Amazon and episodes two and three were flopped for some reason so this second episode  is listed as three on Amazon.

The Magical Adventures of Quasimodo cover art picture iamge
The Magical Adventures of Quasimodo Cover Art

Well the time has come to take up the mantle of reviewing a Hunchback version geared at children once again.

The Magical Adventures of Quasimodo has been long been requested. I watched the first episode maybe two years ago and I was ambivalent towards this version. I found it neither good nor awful. It was a children version that was clearly not for me, a grumpy person and perhaps at the time a super judgmental adult who reviews Hunchback versions on the internet.

Now that is possibly still true but I like to think I’ve soften over the years regarding my views on Hunchback versions. After all it has been nearly two years since I have reviewed a version. But now I’m reviewing this one. Not sure if my less “angry critic” approach will be make for entertaining internet content but oh well. C’est la vie.

So what is The Magical Adventures of Quasimodo before we get started?

Very simply, it’s a 26 episode Canadian children’s TV show that came out in May 1996. Same year as the Disney version.

Some very introductory differences are that Esmeralda has a brother, named François. Frollo is a magician and has a dog named Azarof. It seems according to wiki that he “plotted’ to kill the king of France. Though that could just be his thing throughout the show (spoiler it is). And Esmeralda and François have an adopted Grandmother called Angelica. I’m sure there are many more differences to be revealed.

A bit of house keeping. As of this moment I’m not sure what the the schedule for reviews will be nor do I know how many episodes will be covered in each post. The aim is more than one. I don’t know much right now. If you know Meyers-Briggs at all consider me a super P type right now.

So see you when we get to episode one.