Let’s kick off this month of wedding stuff by discussing the only actually wedding in the Hunchback of Notre Dame, the wedding of Esmeralda and Gringoire.

So what goes down? I’m sure most of you know that Gringoire wanders into the Court of Miracles and as thieves and beggars are  very rule based, the tell Gringoire that he can either join them via a entrance exam or he will die. Gringoire opts to take the test of stealing from a dummy covered in bells and he must do the theft on one foot, I don’t think I need to say that he failed miserably.

However there is a secret third option, one of the ladies can claim him as her husband. Most of the ladies tease him but Esmeralda takes him as her husband to save his life.

Unlike most weddings with cakes, gowns, flowers, vows and boring speeches, the Court of Miracles weddings are delightfully short and include a easy divorce out. All they do is break a pitcher and the number of shards it breaks into is the length of the marriage. Gringoire and Esmeralda are slated for a four year affair. In that time Gringoire is suppose to care for Esmeralda.

Of course Esmeralda makes it clear that the marriage is in name only (no sexy times) but Gringoire is  suppose to take care of Djali and help with money matters. Pretty much except for the initial sting of learning she married him just save him and that there will be no sexy times, Gringoire takes it all in strides, I mean he is getting food and shelter and isn’t that what marriage is all about?

This scene also sets up some movies to have  a romance between Esmeralda and Gringoire and of all the romance options Esmeralda gets in the movie adaptations, the ones with Gringoire are more natural and sweet than her with Phoebus or Quasimodo. There has yet to be a version where she and Frollo end up together, that would be a very messed-up version.

The Man who Laughs Part II: Book 4: The Cell of Torture

Much like Hunchback we get a torture scene though it’s pretty different. First let me backtrack a little bit. Back in Book 3 there was this chapter called The Wapentake. A Wapentake was an administrative division of the English court. Basically in the context of this story, if they touch with their staff thing you’re pretty much arrested and here in Book 4 one comes for Gwynplaine. However prior to that Gwynplaine torments himself over the beautiful duchess or the heavenly Dea, poor guy, two women want his love, does he have to spilt his heart in two? Dare I say he’s torn apart. Actually, No, he burns the letter and then the court cop shows up. Gwynplaine is taken silently as to not upset Dea.

Ursus then follows Gwynplaine and the Wapentake to the jail, the Southwark jail. There Gwynplaine sees a prisoner pretty much being torture but not quite because they didn’t torture people in England as that time, instead they deny the poor guy food and drink. The man also claims to know Gwynplaine which Gwynplaine denies and freaks out.
The Sheriff then says to Gwynplaine,

I have before me,” said the sheriff, “Lord Fermain Clancharlie, Baron Clancharlie and Hunkerville, Marquis of Corleone in Sicily, and a peer of England.”
Rising, and offering his chair to Gwynplaine, the sheriff added,–
“My lord, will your lordship deign to seat yourself?”

Gwynplaine is a lord! WHAT! I should go back and skim through that chapter on the English nobles, because even if I had paid attention I would have forgotten. *
Anyway this book was okay, I mean really only a few things happen but the twist was nice though.


*Thanks to magic, (CTRL+F for the name Clancharlie) I found the the mention of the title in that boring part way back at the start of the book.
Linnæus, Lord Clancharlie, Baron Clancharlie and Hunkerville, Marquis of Corleone in Sicily, derives his title from the castle of Clancharlie, built in 912 by Edward the Elder, as a defence against the Danes. Besides Hunkerville House, in London, which is a palace, he has Corleone Lodge at Windsor, which is another, and eight castlewards, one at Burton-on-Trent, with a royalty on the carriage of plaster of Paris; then Grumdaith Humble, Moricambe, Trewardraith, Hell-Kerters (where there is a miraculous well), Phillinmore, with its turf bogs, Reculver, near the ancient city Vagniac, Vinecaunton, on the Moel-eulle Mountain; besides nineteen boroughs and villages with reeves, and the whole of Penneth chase, all of which bring his lordship £40,000 a year.

Now how could one possibly forget that at the end of chapter full of paragraphs like it? My sarcasm aside it was still a nice twist though.

The Man who Laughs Part II: Book 3: The Beginning of the Fissure

Where most authors who have the plot kick in anywhere from 1 to 25% of the way through the book, Victor Hugo, with his 1860’s style dares to be different and say “No, the plot kicks in around 52%,” gotta love Kindles for giving percentages.

So yes, the main plot starts around here in Part two book three, though there have been critical backstory components that have been explored, like all the ocean and storm descriptions, I don’t know about you but I would be lost without them. Despite the kicks in very little actually happens. Out crewe goes to London. Ursus gets in a little trouble with some intellectuals guys, Gwynplaine is sexual aroused when he see Lady Josiana which in turns gives away for him to gave conflictions towards Dea, as he finds her a scared entity and desiring her as a woman is driving him crazy.
At the end of the book Josiana’s page gives Gwynplaine a note that says she desire him and he should come to her.

The beginning of this part was a dull but it did pick up toward the end. I did enjoy the descriptions comparing Dea and Josiana and when Hugo goes into pose about conflictions about sexual desire that is also interesting. Also Ursus with intellectuals doctor guys was amusing. This part gets a grade of a B. It’s solidly ok.

Gwynplaine and Dea

Well, well, well  our dear pal of Ten-Year-Old-Nameless-Boy has a name and it’s Gwynplaine, I’m going to have so much fun typing that, copy & paste powers activate!

Anyway much like Quasimodo, Gwynplaine is rather deformed and monstrous. Unlike Quasimodo, his afflictions of a mutilated face were the result of the child-trader, Comprachicos, that were mentioned forever ago. His face is a permeant smile which he likens to a mask. The book hints that genetically he would be attractive and has an athletic body.  And again unlike Quasimodo, Gwynplaine is a little be more ok-ish with his face because he has made a living off it and because of the blind baby girl.

The Blind baby girl’s name is also given and it’s Dea, which is a very pretty name and it means Goddess in latin. Dea is described as being very beautiful in a fair fragile way, almost ethereal. For the record I don’t know what Gwynplaine mean, Hugo seems to have made it up. Two possibilities could be is that it means “White Plains” in Welsh or it comes out of the Arthurian legends of a character named Guinglain meaning “Fair jewel”. But I have no idea.

Most of the core subject matter that is talked about OVER and OVER and OVER again through these twelve chapter is that Gwynplaine and Dea are in love. They grew up together being cared for by Ursus and Homo and they grew to worship each other. Gwynplaine has some feeling of remorse that he feels like he is tricking a blind girl into loving him but Dea really truly loves him. It actually rather sweet and Ursus is a nice little foil trying to convince them not to love each other because he is a misanthrope.

Anyway these chapter are backstory from Gwynplaine and Dea because we need the set-up but at the end I think the plot sort kicks in with them going off to London.

I actually enjoyed these chapters, the were needed and they expanded characters that were part of the story, though I’m seeing how things are fitting together but really did 50% of this book need to be set-up? Guess it a style thing of the 1860’s or Hugo. This section was the reason I didn’t quite quit these post and opt to take a part at a time, we’ll see if the plot actually does kick in and what the plot is.

So I have thought about it and considered the polls and have decided that I will combine both options and I will just the posts with more chapters at a time hopefully a part at a time. For this post we’re just going to quickly  finish off Part II Book I, which gets us through these English Court Shenanigans, well at least the 12 chapter set-up.

To be honest I really don’t recall much of these chapters. Our old pal  Barkiphedro, I’m going to call him Barky from now on,  plots more against Lady Josiana. The book seems to indicate that he loves her so we have a Frollo-Esmeralda thing and considering deformed supposed main character it very Hunchback-y.

Then I think there is a dual or something, I read or skimmed these chapters a week ago. Okay I re-read the last chapter (a little) and it was boxing match, I mean of course yes, boxing lovely.

Most of chapter 12 describes the boxing match and there is some dialogue and it whatever one guy wins, yay. And at the end of the chapter this is said;

As she left, Josiana took the arm of Lord David, an act which was tolerated amongst people “engaged.” She said to him,–
“It is very fine, but–“
“But what?”
“I thought it would have driven away my spleen. It has not.”
Lord David stopped, looked at Josiana, shut his mouth, and inflated his cheeks, whilst he nodded his head, which signified attention, and said to the duchess,–
“For spleen there is but one remedy.”
“What is it?”
The duchess asked,–
“And who is Gwynplaine?”

Ok, I thought she meant spleen as in her organ which could have been some weird 1860’s slang or something  but silly me, she meant as bad temper or spite which makes more sense. I won’t lie this confused me for a while.

Book 3: The Child in the Shadow

Book 3, Chapter 4, Another Form of Desert

Ten-Year-old-Nameless-Boy and Little Girl turn out to be in Weymouth. He is still cold and hungry and can’t find any help. He considers just giving up and dying but he keeps going for the little one. That’s it, next chapter. Side note I read this chapter when I was VERY sleepy and when I had to remember what chapter I was one I thought this was two and giving Hugo’s wordiness I can believe that this could have been. Geez was Hunchback this wordy, i don’t think so. I mean by Book three think we were getting into the big essays and plot had happened.

Book 3, Chapter 5, Misanthropy plays its Pranks

FUCKING FINALLY! Something! Ten-Year-old-Nameless-Boy meets Ursus and Homo. Ursus gives them his food and grips about it, they kids go to sleep and that is pretty much it and it was a long chapter to boot. Geez this book.

Book 3, Chapter 6, The Awaking

So Ursus, Homo, Ten-Year-old-Nameless-Boy and Little Girl are going to be a family, so many yays. Oh and the girl is blind.

And on to Part II Book 1, oh come on. Nothing really happened in Part I really like four plot point and the say Part II what difference does it make to say Book 4? Oh well. I’m gonna finish this book and You’re going to finish it with me.

Book 2: The Hooker At Sea

I’m sorry, these chapters @@.  I feel Hugo is trying to lose me on purpose.

Book 2, Chapter 9; The Charge Confided to a Raging Sea

This chapter explains the bell that heard. Basically it’s a buoy and when it ring means rough sea, though if you can hear the bell you’re fucked anyway so it’s shit as a warning. Kudos Bell.

Book 2, Chapter 10; The Colossal savage, the Storm

At Last! We come to the storm messing up the boat. That is all really. I mean it’s exciting but that is pretty much all there is to this chapter. Oh wait, at the end they see the Light…house.

Book 2, Chapter 11; The Casket

This chapter is about the lighthouse because screw characters or plot, Lighthouse! The Caskets refers to the rock….I think.

Book 2, Chapter 12; Face to Face with the Rock

You know what just dawned on me, the ocean is the most well developed character in this book so far. The Second is that corpse that Ten Year Old Nameless boy found, the third I guess would be that night or the hooker. I know he had Homo and Ursus but it’s been 12 chapters since they were mentioned and it felt like a different book altogether.

Anyway this chapter, the people and crew try to make their way to the rocks and no one can swim not even the sailors, groans.  It’s a dangerous maneuver at they try to get the boat into a cave under the lighthouse. But they get away.

I gotta say, this chapter leaves me for a loop. I skimmed it and re-read it and shrugs.

Book 2, Chapter 13; Face to Face with Night

Ok, so they get way from Caskets and  then they see another rock, Ortach Rock which is the title for the next chapter, which no doubt will explain the formation of the rock in great detail and the history of all the boats that have ever seen it. I have no read this chapter yet but consider this book’s style I think it’s a good guess.

Book 2: The Hooker At Sea

Yup still snowing, though to be honest I’m writing this post on the same day as the last Man who Laughs post. High-Five for scheduling posts. (Though it probably is also snowing today.)

Book 2, Chapter 5; Hardquanonne

Ok, so Hardquanonne is the Doctor’s name or at least how he is credited which probably is a spoiler. More sea talk and a discussion about a gourd. The gourd belong to Hardquanonne and he was a friend of the cook. That’s all I got, Moving on.

Book 2, Chapter 6; They Think that Help is at Hand

If you said this chapter was more about the storm on the sea, you’d be right because it is. Seriously, book come on. Maybe storms on the sea was more exciting in 1869 but we’re are like at 15% with this book and it’s been like six chapters and prior to that the storm was starting and there is still more.

Book 2, Chapter 7; Superhuman Horrors

If like Hugo is just stalling. Was he payed by the word. Really, I got nothing. I mean this chapter was kind of fun to read fucks if it know what the point of it is. It’s a dark night, they’re at sea, there is storm, I’m not sure where that plot went, do you? I really hope this is adding to something because getting annoyed.

I should just say, I have never been much of a reader so pardon my ineptitude.

Book 2, Chapter 8; Nix et Nox

AGIAN, like the chapter before MORE on the storm at sea. I suppose in fairness to the book the Storm has mounted over the chapter to this chapter where it is the strongest and the people on the book think they are free and at the end they hear a bell. But 8 odd chapters of Sea and Storm imaginary is too much.

Ten more chapters in Book 2, I was wrong there are 17 chapters in Book 2 and not 12 but in my defense; Roman Numerals and Laziness.

Book 2: The Hooker At Sea

I know it’s a boat but I have to giggle at that title. And I’m REALLY starting to doubt my ability to blog about this book.

Book 2, Chapter 1; Superhuman Laws

So if you wanted to learn about the people on the boat and the group who abandoned our pal, ten year old nameless boy, well rejoice because you kind of get that but mostly these chapters are about the snow storm approaching, and living in New England I’m sick of Snow, in fact it’s snowing now as I’m writing this blog post and it more than likely will still be snowing when this gets posted.

Anyway I digress. This chapter is about the storm on the sea. That’s pretty much it. It’s getting redundant to talk about Hugo’s descriptions. If nothing else this gave me good night-time reading fodder, and that joke is getting redundant too.

Book 2, Chapter 2; Our First Rough Sketches Filled In

The title of this chapter is true. We learn something about the rag-tag team of people on this hooker, (giggles………phrasing). Mostly it’s not that super interesting until we get to the German dude and then it’s like “Oh, Hello Frollo fancy seeing you in this book.”
Hugo uses almost exactly the same description for this guy as he uses for Frollo. Like Baldness forming a tonsure. Also words associated with Frollo are flung in there, like Virgin and Cassock and dude isn’t a priest.

You can read the chapter here; http://www.online-literature.com/victor_hugo/man-who-laughs/19/ it’s at the very end.

Book 2, Chapter 3; Troubled Men on the Trouble Sea

Oh, what is this? Could it be the mythical and legendary Dialogue? I heard about it once in a book that was all descriptions. Seriously though finally someone says something and it not that interesting and it’s in Spanish.

The skipper chats with the Chief of the group who abandoned Ten Year Old Nameless Boy about the the old German Frollo-esque dude, who is called both The Sage and the Madman, of course he is.

Book 2, Chapter 4; A Cloud Different from the Others Enters the Scene

Well if a Cloud enters the scene you know what that means? PARTY-TIME! Probably not.

Here we get a conversation between the Skipper and the German guy. The Old German guy is concerned about the weather which means his dialogue is descriptions. Oh, you clever author. But we do get more actual conversation, The Old German guy prefers to be called The Doctor. The conversation isn’t that reveling, it’s still mostly about the sea and the weather.

I’m sensing a theme to Book II……

Book 1; Night Not as Black as Man

Book 1, Chapter 1; Portland Bill

Classic Victor Hugo long descriptions here. Not going to lie, it took my a while to get through this chapter. Like so long that I don’t recall it. I mean they are masterful descriptions but it didn’t pull me into the book.

Hugo describes harshness and cold of January 1690 in England along the Portland coast of cliffs. It is from the perspective of a hooker, a boat. At the end of the chapter we see a group of people in rags with a child.

The chapter does communicate a sense of dread and cruelty but it’s a chore to read then again Hunchback doesn’t have the most stellar opening chapters so I forgive it.

Book 1, Chapter 2; Left Alone

This chapter describes the group of people from the end of the last chapter more. They are Spanish in fashion as that is just the style in England at the time. The kid with them is a boy about ten years old and he is a slave of the group of people.

The boat docks and the group gets on leaving the boy behind.

It’s an okay chapter but I kinda forgot it as I was working on this post. Like I wrote the first paragraph for this chapter and did something else, thought I was done and wrote the next chapter and then looked back and forgot to included the part where the kid was left alone. In my defense though, I don’t have a defense.

Book 1, Chapter 3; Alone

If you haven’t guess it yet, this chapter is about how the boy is alone. Again it’s very nice descriptions of the cold dark night that this poor child is left in. The way Hugo describes it, it seems unpleasant yet very dream-like. You feel for the poor child in the dark but he also free from the people he worked for.

I liked this chapter more than the other two so far but the descriptions of the boat leaving went on forever but it was to indicate that as the boy watches the ship leave the reality of being left alone is sinking in.

Book 1, Chapter 4; Questions

So no joke, I watched a bit of Love Never Dies the day I read this chapter and one of the songs is Devil Take the Hindmost and behold that expression is in this chapter (gleeful laugh). The expression is an imprecation that everyone should look after there own interests. And on a huge side note, I have been one a Phantom kick of late.

Anyway back to the chapter…

So this chapter is quite short, which I don’t mind admitting I like. It’s just tells us the since England and Europe are cracking down on the child-traders, the Comprachicos they and other vagabonds families started abandoning children out of fear and convenience. That’s it, though the chapter pretty flat says that they group who abandoned the boy were Comprachicos, so it answered its own question.