I have decided to do another blog series on reading a book and since this blog is on The Hunchback of Notre Dame it is only fitting that it should be by Victor Hugo. I was thinking of reading Les Mis since it’s Hugo’s masterwork but I’m not really ready to tackle that book, saying it’s massive is putting it lightly so instead we’re going to look at The Man Who Laughs.

I have never read it nor have I seen any of the film versions, so it will be all new for me. Once I finish I may look at the film versions, of which there is like five including one from 2012 staring Gerald Dippty Do erm I mean Gérard Depardieu.

Kindle Vs Book picture image

Kindle Vs Book

Technically I own two copies of this book but one is part of a 1 in 3 book of Victor Hugo’s works which includes Les Mis and Hunchback so the book is big and heavy, so I will be reading it on my new Kindle Fire HD that I got for Christmas.

So for the every Monday for a while Enjoy The Man who Laughs with me!

This was a list I originally made as a Squidoo lens but Squidoo is now defunct and it just didn’t seem like a page for Hubpages, not sure why though but I think it just better suited for the blog, so here we are.

Painting of Esmeralda and Djali by Wilhelm Marstrand

Painting of Esmeralda and Djali by Wilhelm Marstrand

Victor Hugo’s The Hunchback of Notre Dame (a.k.a Notre Dame de Paris) is known as a tragic tale of love, lust and tragic destiny. But despite the dark tones of the book, there are some very funny parts. This is a list of some of the funniest scenes in the book.
(in order how they occur in the book)
Please note, these scenes are funnier as written in the book and chapters may differ pending on translation.

Gringoire in the Court of Miracles by Celestin Francois Nanteuil  picture image

Gringoire in the Court of Miracles by Celestin Francois Nanteuil

Gringoire vs The Court of Miracles
Book 2 Chapter 6 “The Broken Pitcher”
Gringoire accidentally stumbles into the Court of Miracles and he is to be hanged because for trespassing. Gringiore tries to convinces them that as a poet he’d make a natural thief. They put him to a test which involves him standing an a ricky old stood with one foot, while trying to steal money from the “Bell Boy”; a dummy covered with bells. If he can steal the money without ringing a single bell he is in but he fails. In a last ditch effort Gringoire is offered to the women of the court for marriage. If he marries one of the women he’s safe. This deal suits Gringoire fine. The women berates him for being too poor and too thin. In the end Esmeralda takes pity on him and marries him to save him, which wounds Gringoire’s vanity.

Quasimodo at the Pillory. Illustration by L.H. de Rudder 1844 picture image

Quasimodo at the Pillory. Illustration by L.H. de Rudder 1844

Quasimodo’s Trial
Book 6 Chapter 1 “Ancient Magistracy”
Quasimodo is put on trial for kidnaping Esmeralda, distrubing the peace and resisting arrest. His judge is Master Florian Barbedienne, who like Quasimodo is also deaf. Master Florian doesn’t want people to catch on to this so he just pretends to hear people and passes judgement regardless. With Quasimodo he asks him a question and since Quasimodo can’t hear the question he just stand there while Master Florian pretends to have hear what he didn’t say.

Gringoire balancing a chair in this teeth 1844 picture image

Gringoire balancing a chair in this teeth 1844

Gringiore explaining himself
Book 7 Chapter 2 “Showing that a Priest and a Philosopher are Two Different Persons”
After Frollo sees Gringoire with Esmeralda, he starts questioning him on what he doing entertaining the crowd with balancing a chair in mouth and why he is hanging out with Esmeralda. He explains the wonders of his jaw and how it brings him money and that Esmeralda is wife in name only. Gringoire doesn’t despair that she doesn’t love him because Djali (the goat) likes him. Once again Frollo asks him if he has ever touch her and Gringoire asks he meant Djali the goat.

 Claude Frollo in his cell by Francois Joseph Aime de Lemud picture image

Claude Frollo in his cell by Francois Joseph Aime de Lemud

Jehan asking his brother for money
Book 7 Chapter 4 “Anarkh” and a bit from chapter 5 “The Two Men Dressed in Black”
In this chapter Frollo’s younger brother, Jehan comes to visit him. Jehan is a spoiled good-for-nothing mooch who only visits Frollo to get some money. Frollo is very disappoint that Jehan turn out so poorly so he disinclined to giving him money so Jehan has to turn on the charm. Jehan claims he needs money for charity, so that he and his friends whose names mean “Slaughter” and “the Rook” can buy a widow’s child clothes. When Frollo doesn’t buy his lie he say that he wants to go to a brothel. Jehan then ask for money for food and Frollo asks him about his studies which he really doesn’t brother with and Frollo repeats in Latin “He who will not work shall not eat”. Jehan ask for money for boots but Frollo says he will give him boot but no money. After a lecture about how Jehan on a path to the gallows Frollo hears someone coming and Frollo asks Jehan to hide in the stove and Jehan say his be quite for money which Frollo gives him. In the next chapter while Jehan is hiding he finds crusty bread and moldy cheese and eats them so loudly that Frollo claims it’s his cat to his visitor.

Lemud Illustration of Frollo picture image

Lemud Illustration of Frollo

Phoebus and the Goblin Monk
Book 7 Chapter 7 “The Spectre Monk”
Phoebus is about to meet Esmeralda when he runs in to a Spectre (some translation have it as “Goblin”), it’s really just Frollo but Phoebus is none to bright. Frollo calls Phoebus a liar when Phoebus says he is meeting Esmeralda. Phoebus doesn’t take kindly to being called a lair and challenges him to a dual. Frollo reminds Phoebus of his rendezvous and reassures him that he’ll kill some time soon but he really should keep his date. Phoebus wants to duel and go met with Esmeralda but eventually agrees with Frollo to postpone the duel. Phoebus then say he doesn’t have money, Frollo gives him the money on the condition that Phoebus hide him in the room, which Phoebus is more than okay with. Of course SPOLIER, in the next chapter Frollo stabs Phoebus.

Esmeralda & Phoebus Illustartion picture image

Esmeralda & Phoebus Illustartion

Phoebus wooing “Smeralda”
Book 7 Chapter 7 “The Advantage of Windows Overlooking the River”
This scene is where Phoebus and Esmeralda meet and Phoebus tries to put the moves on Esmeralda who is resistant. The scene ends with Frollo stabbing Phoebus and Esmeralda passing out. So the ending isn’t funny but Phoebus and Esmeralda’s banters is. Esmeralda is talking about marring Phoebus and he is tell her lies about how they don’t need to get married when they’re so in love but here the really funny part, Phoebus can’t remember her name. He keeps calling her “Smeralda” “Esmenarda” and “Similar” (may differ due translations). Her reaction to this is that she’ll change her name to whatever he prefers.

If you guys like this kind of post I can do more posts like this. Let me know.

Book 7, Chapter 7, The Specter Monk

The Shadow Notre Dame de Paris 2011-2012 Asian Tour picture image

The Shadow Notre Dame de Paris 2011-2012 Asian Tour

I find this chapter silly and I think it’s meant to be so, people forget how silly this book can be because of the ending.

Basically Frollo, in creepy monk form falls Phoebus. After they exchange some words, Frollo calls Phoebus a liar about meeting Esmeralda, which gets a real bee in P-boy’s bonnet and he tires to challenge Frollo.

Frollo deals him by telling him for  he is forgetting his date but poor Phoebus wants both the fight and the girl but darn he is out  cash. Frollo gives him the money in exchange for letting him watch and he ensures Phoebus that one day he will slit Phoebus‘ throat. Phoebus seems unfazed by this and lets him in the room to watch.

You have to wonder what is going through Phoebus‘ head? I know he is over confident but really. Ah well, he is probably a but drunk from the previous chapter.



Book 7, Chapter 8, The Advantage of Windows Overlooking the River  

Jean Danet as Phoebus & Gina Lollobrigida as Esmeralda,1956 Hunchback of Notre dame picture image

Jean Danet as Phoebus & Gina Lollobrigida as Esmeralda,1956 Hunchback of Notre dame

In this chapter Phoebus brings Esmeralda to the fateful room where Frollo is watching. Phoebus is ready sex Esmeralda up but she is not really in to as she is innocent and wants to maintain her purity so she can find her parents. Phoebus is working his pick-up lines and love speeches into overtime which eventually wins over Esmeralda but then Phoebus gets stabby-stab by Mr. Frollo.

Pretty much till the end of this chapter where Esmeralda is arrested, this chapter plays out on the humorous side. Gotta love Phoebus‘ butchering Esmeralda names and poor dear naive Esmeralda tell him she’ll change it for him. I do think him calling her Similar is very silly. Then there is all Phoebus’ love lines and Miss Esmeralda falling for them. It’s a rather silly chapter.

Also the description of Frollo’s face as he stabs Phoebus always reminded me of the Grinch.

Book 5, Chapter 1, Abbas Beati Martini
In this chapter Frollo gets visitors. One is the King’s doctor and the other is hiding his identity. They debate and Frollo defends alchemy and says that the printing press will kill architecture. On the one hand, it’s an interesting chapter as it shows Frollo’s attitude in opposition to his peers and it sets up the next chapter but maybe it’s my mood, it’s not a favorite chapter of mine. It is interesting to see that medicine was treated with contempt “Medicine is the daughter of dreams” and alchemy was considered to be more scientific by Frollo.

Book 5, Chapter 2, The One Will Kill the Other
This chapter is self-indulgent and the opening paragraph admits it. Hugo once again stop the story but in this the case of this chapter it goes into the idea that Frollo brought up, that “the printing press will destroy the building.” To this chapter’s credit a few movies use this chapter as a very core theme. Basically what this chapter says is that architecture was the chief registrar of humanity. It showed advancement, it demonstrated philosophy and religion. Architecture celebrated ideas in it stones, it taught the masses. In cathedrals and church architecture it taught the bible to the people. Then the printing press came long and changed that. It was the latest technology and made words accessible and thus architecture’s place the cheif  human advancement was surpassed. For a chapter that stops the novel to give an essay about modernity and technoical advancement from an 1830’s perceptive on medieval technology, it’s quite interesting. But this chapter can be skip if you want to read the story. However I do recommend reading sometime.

Only two chapters today but trust me two is enough. @@

Book 3, Chapter 1, Notre-Dame
This is a lovely chapter to read. Hugo’s descriptions are musical. He talks about how time has stole from Notre Dame but has also enhanced its beauty. My favorite part however is towards the end of the chapter where he talks about the changing styling that Notre Dame exhibits and how it’s like a chimera. This word choice links Notre Dame’s structure to that of Quasimodo. This is mentioned later on but it’s a little hint.

Book 3, Chapter 2, A Bird’s-Eye View of Paris
Groans, this chapter feels so long. It basically describes in massive detail what medieval Paris was like. It’s one of those chapter that you can skip if you want. Sure you will miss some points later on about where the action is but it’s not a great thing to have missed it. This chapter is both interesting and boring. It’s boring because much like the chapter before, it grinds the story to a stop to give you all these massive descriptions. The information is really interesting though. Hugo’s language is just great to read. I just with info wasn’t wasn’t right slap in the middle of the story.


Notre Dame, Paris, France - Matted Photo

Notre Dame, Paris, France – Matted Photo

It’s true that Notre Dame owes a lot of its cultural significance to Victor Hugo and his novel but Notre Dame didn’t just sit there and let Hugo’s imagination work with out her influence.

Anaykh craved on the wall, 1956 Hunchback of Notre Dame picture image

Anaykh craved on the wall, 1956 Hunchback of Notre Dame

One story goes is that as Hugo was up in the towers of Notre Dame he came across a word craved on the wall. The Word was “Ananke.” Ananke is a noun that means “force, constraint, necessity” and is the personification of destiny, necessity and fate. Seeing this word craved on the wall made Hugo think about the person who wrote it. From this word Frollo was conceived, making him the first character for the novel. Ananke is also a major theme in the novel.

Quasimodo is crowned King of Fools (Charles Laughton) 1939 Hunchback of Notre Dame picture image

Quasimodo is crowned King of Fools (Charles Laughton) 1939 Hunchback of Notre Dame

Also while Hugo was exploring Notre Dame, the cathedral was going though repairs. One of the stoneworkers was a Hunchback who was also British. His name was Henry Sibson This suggests that Quasimodo was inspired  by Sibson.

You can get the  Print of Notre Dame by clicking here!

Paris Skyline by Michael Tompsett

Paris Skyline by Michael Tompsett

By the early 1800’s Notre Dame was in a sad state. The local government thought about tearing it down. Then, in 1804, Napoleon decided it was the perfect place for his coronation, which gave the gave the old girl a new lease on life.. However it wasn’t till 1831 that Notre Dame was given a large public opinion boost.

On January 15th 1831, Notre Dame de Paris was published. Hugo was commissioned to write the novel and its agenda was to increase appreciation of old gothic structures. Which it did and Notre Dame was given a restoration. And thanks to both Napoleon and Hugo (but mostly Hugo), Notre Dame is one of jewels of the Parisian Skyline.

You can get the painting of the Paris Skyline by Michael Tompsett, by clicking here, It’s very pretty isn’t it?

This video is from the Victor Hugo Musical Gala.

It features Nadia Bel, Matt Laurent, Robert Marien, Bruno Pelletier, Richard Charest, Sophie Tremblay all singing Le Temps des Cathédrales.

Victor Hugo picture image

Victor Hugo

On May 22th 1885, at the age of 83, Victor Hugo died of pneumonia.  His death created an intense national mourning. He was revered not only as a literary figure but as a statesman who shaped the Third Republic and democracy in France.

More than 2 million followed his funeral procession in Paris from the Arc de Triomphe to the Panthéon, where he was buried. He shares a crypt with Alexandre Dumas and Émile Zola.

Film Fact – In the film Camille Claudel, the death of Hugo is addressed and you can see the national mourning it created. Also Camille Claudel is played by Isabelle Adjani who played Victor Hugo’s daughter, Adele in the film The Story of Adele H.

Does anyone else think Victor Hugo should get a bio-pic?

In addition to a novelist, poet, dramatist and writer Hugo was a a wonderful artist. Many of his works have survived. I really like his artwork. It has a whimsical fantasy aspect to it, at least from my point of view. I love have he used colors, his quality of lines and his use of positive and negative space.

Here are a view examples of his work but you can see more HERE

Victor Hugo The Snake c1866 picture image

Victor Hugo The Snake c1866

Victor Hugo Octopus with the initials V.H picture image

Victor Hugo Octopus with the initials V.H


Victor Hugo Mushroom picture image

Victor Hugo Mushroom