The Phantom of the Opera: The Romance That Never Was

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Way back in April, I said that I wanted to focus on a few topics that I wanted to dwell on and share with everyone. One of those topics came from watching a few Youtube videos about various movies, where they succeeded and where they failed.

Then I came across one Youtuber that I could be easy friends with. Her name is Lindsay Ellis.

Lindsay has various videos on a number of different topics. Each one added another angle to the scope of creator I wanted to be. I found myself agreeing with a few of her points. I don’t think I could ever fully apologize to Stephaine Meyers for what I said about Twilight, but at the same time, I do respect the woman for her timing and knowing her market.

Then I came across a few videos that while they hurt, I can understand why they are important. This one is the most important one.

Now, I will start out and say this: I love the Phantom of the Opera. I really do. But sometimes we need to tell those that we love that they are not really the portrait they’re painting.

I won’t really get into the breakdown of the above video. Lindsay did a great job in making some great points. But after watching a special with Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber and learning what he says is his inspiration for writing this wonderful tale of mystery and intrigue, I feel the need to say something.

Sir Andrew said that he read Gaston Leroux’s novel when he was at a low point in his career. His wife just turned down a role that she couldn’t believe in, and the last thing he had written was just plain silly. He was inspired by the romantic elements of the novel and BAM! The Phantom as we know it was born. (I may be paraphrasing, but this was my takeaway from his little speech.)

Now, that sounds perfectly fine. It’s something a lot of writers can get behind. Except for 1 itty, bitty, teeny, tiny detail.

THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA WAS NEVER A ROMANCE!!!!!

Not A Romance

Sure, wanting Gerard Butler to lust after me is a life goal, but what Erik does… who the Phantom really is… if any man for copies him, well… I don’t know about you, but I’m calling the cops.

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Let’s take it from the top.

  1. Erik is a LOT older than Christine. I’m talking about at least 20 years older. He was in his 40s. Christine was only like 16. I don’t really care if it was of an age where grown men could marry children. He was twice her age.
  2. Erik was crazy. His disfigurement aside, Erik was a genius that went mad. He studied all of these arts, music, architecture, swordplay, you name it, he was supposed to have studied it. But when it came to interacting with people, he has the mentality of a 10-year old that only wants to play with his toy, Christine.
  3. Notice, I said that Christine was his toy. He didn’t love her in a romantic way. She was something for him to play with. How can I say this? Because when the chips are down and she’s given the ultimatum of stay with me, or I will kill the Viscount and this other poor slob that I can’t remember his name, Christine kisses his forehead, and Erik decides that she’s so sweet that he let her go.
  4. Can we also talk about how Erik is a murderer? I’m not talking about Vampire or Werewolf kind of killer. He doesn’t kill to survive. No. He kills because he doesn’t want you to interrupt his game! Does that sound familiar???
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I could be wrong. Don’t kill me if I am. 

 

Also, we need to talk about Christine.

She’s a child. Point blank. She’s only 16, and here is this creature KILLING people, starting fires, and STALKING her! Of course, when Raoul proposes to her, she wants to hide it. And she has to play it off as if it were another game. Why? Because she knows that Raoul would want to fight Erik, and 40-year-old Erik would kill the 18-year-old nobleman.

I’m not cool with thinking of this as romantic. Again, don’t get me wrong. I love the Phantom of the Opera’s musical. But I never thought it was supposed to be romantic. And with the current climate, while I’m proud that my daughter knows what is loving vs what is toxic vs what are two spoiled teens that can’t control their hormones, I also know that she’s not the norm.

Girls see things like this and want to wax poetic about how romantic the Phantom is. These are the same girls that would think there’s nothing wrong with a billionaire selling their car, and replacing it with something he chose. These are the same girls that think a 90-year-old vampire watching a 16-year-old girl sleep in the privacy of her own bedroom is romantic. We need to call it for what it is.

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So, I’m sorry. If you feel like the Phantom of the Opera is this sweeping romance where the true hero sacrificed his love so she could live on, good for you. I really want you to think about the heroes you let into your heart. Because if you would let Assailant: B go because he was handsome, or you can see his potential, BUT you would press charges on Assailant: A because he’s just creepy looking (yes, I know it’s a dummy. Work with me), I think you may want to have a long and hard conversation with yourself.

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I’m going to wrap this up. Hopefully, I still have a few friends LOL. I’ll say that I don’t want anyone to get it twisted. I am a fan of this musical. I enjoy the movie. I play the soundtrack all of the time and even sing along (when no one is around to hear). I just felt the need to let this beloved piece of work know that it’s not a romance. In my eyes, it never has been, and it probably never will be.

See you next time!
Dawn

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Masks.

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Memorial Day will never be the same for me.

On May 26, 2018, I got a frantic call from one of my cousins telling me that my older brother was involved in a motorcycle crash. When he said that he heard that my brother was dead, I yelled and screamed. I cursed him out and called him sick for playing such a cruel joke.

It wasn’t a joke.

Within minutes, I was on the phone with a police officer who told me everything I needed to know and nothing that I wanted to hear. It fell upon me, the youngest of 4 children to tell my family, our friends, and worst, my parents, that my brother was dead.

Things became a whirlwind then. I had to get him home (he was on vacation when this all happened). I had to contact everyone to make sure everything was in place. My sister was awesome. She was able to think of things that I never would have. We split things neatly down the middle. She handled the behind the scenes work, I became the face of the family.

I had an interview with a reporter, wrote his obituary, as well as a speech for the funeral. That’s all of the writing I’ve been able to do since that phone call. And everything was still moving forward, and I felt lost.

My brother and I were close. Two sides of the same coin if you will. And thinking about him in the past tense hurts SO MUCH. But I have to keep his words close to my heart.

“There is no mother fucker out here worth destroying yourself over. Not even me.”

We have a foul-mouthed family, what can I say.

But in a way, he’s right. I can’t let myself fall to pieces. I have to stay together for my daughter and my mother. I need to be there for my father whenever he needs me. I need to stand up because now he can’t. I know he wouldn’t want me to feel that way, but if the roles were reversed, he would be doing the same.

I met some of his closest friends the weeks leading up to the funeral. Men and women that knew my brother as well as I did. That hurt as much as I am. Some looked at me as if I were some sort of strange being because I was smiling, laughing and making others feel at ease.

I’m going to tell you a little secret about me. When it comes to all of the laughter, all the jokes and smiles, I have to tell you…

It was all a mask.

My brother wouldn’t want everyone he cared about to be upset. So, I acted like everything was fine. He looked good, so it was easy. I pretended that he was really asleep. At any given moment he could open his eyes and we could carry on like we always did.

My mask slipped when they closed his casket.

People wax poetic about the pain in their hearts when their loved ones pass. I was never one to want to do so. But watching those strangers seal my brother in that box killed me. I had to fight every urge to scream and cause a scene. I needed to be stronger than that.

I was able to put my mask back on once we left the church. By then, it was just a box. I didn’t think about him, or the fact that we were burying him. I needed to be the strong one again. And I was. I even hummed Pop goes the weasel as they were lowering the casket.

Now we’re nearly 4 weeks from the day I received that phone call. I remember everyone telling me that I was doing so much. It didn’t feel that way. But I think back on it now and have to take a breath. My brother wasn’t a celebrity by any means, but he touched so many people… Never mind the fact that we have a huge family to begin with, but between a memorial held for him by his friends and the actual funeral, I think I hugged nearly 400 people.

To have my mask in place for that long is exhausting.

I’m trying to level out. At least to a place where my mask doesn’t slip when I talk about him for too long. While writing this, I stopped and cried at least three times already. But I’ll be fine. He’s off on another adventure and when he and I meet again, I’ll beat the shit out of him (again, that’s how we roll).

Two for Joy is still coming along. I have to finish my first read-through before I can send it out to be edited. I’m aiming for a September release date. I’ll keep you all posted and see you soon. I think I’m going to work on one of those blog topics I kicked around a while back.

Love you
Dawn.