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The Phantom of the Opera was a novel by French author Gaston Leroux, published in serialized form in 1909 and 1910. Leroux tells what he insists is the true story of a young soprano, Christine, who believes she is being tutored by the "Angel of Music", sent to her from Heaven from her deceased father. Originally considered nothing special, especially compared to her rival and the opera's resident diva, Carlotta, after three months under the Angel's tutelage, Christine shines. The managers quickly realize the depth of her talent... and so does Christine's childhood best friend, Raoul, who sees her in all her newfound glory and realizes that She Is All Grown Up.After a show, Raoul is eager to be reacquainted with Christine, but she is kidnapped by the Angel (really the titular Phantom) and taken to his lair. There, the Phantom puts her under his spell with his music and tells her that he wants her for his bride. However, when Christine takes off his mask to reveal his disfigurement, the Phantom throws her out in shame.Shortly afterwards, Raoul and Christine become engaged. The Phantom overhears them, and decides to win Christine's love, once and for all... or, failing that, punish them both for their arrogance.Also has a good number of adaptations throughout the years.
Artifact Title: For English translations that refer to Erik as "the Opera ghost" or "the ghost" in the text instead of "phantom."
Backstory: The Persian tells the Phantom's backstory to Raoul (and to the narrator later).
Bad Liar: Christine, to the point where the Persian is practically Face Palming as she fails to Show Some Leg to Erik to get him and Raoul out of the torture chamber unnoticed.
In her first meeting with Raoul in years, she lies about knowing him to protect him from Erik who was eavesdropping. While it convinces Raoul to some degree, Erik is not fooled since she admitted to Erik that Raoul was a childhood friend of hers earlier.
Blackmail: The Phantom demands 240,000 francs a year and exclusive use of First Tier Box 5 or else he'll drop chandeliers on people. One has to wonder what he does with all that money, although one possibility springs to mind.
The Batman reference is perfectly appropriate because the answer is:
He describes exactly what he intends to use the money for: he wants to live what he considers to be normal life, and no longer hide from the world. He needs funds for that. He's even described using a false nose and moustache, which allow him to appear simply strange and ugly rather than outright monstrous, to move in public and do his shopping.
Break His Heart to Save Him: Christine tries to do this to Raoul to save him from Erik's wrath. She goes so far as to deny knowing him during their first meeting in years.
Cassandra Truth: After Christine is abducted from on-stage, Raoul quickly gains a solid reputation as a madman when he begs anyone who will listen to believe that she's been kidnapped by the phantom of the opera who lives in the cellars under the building.
Dead Guy on Display: The final line of the novel is a plea for giving Erik's body this treatment. Oddly enough, it seems to be a Type 1, where the person was an honored figure (despite the fact that Erik was a Psychotic Manchild unrepentant killer), and his body would be preserved as a relic/object of reverence:
And, now, what do they mean to do with that skeleton? Surely they will not bury it in the common grave! ... I say that the place of the skeleton of the Opera ghost is in the archives of the National Academy of Music. It is no ordinary skeleton.
Death Trap: The Phantom installed one as the first room beyond the back entrance to his lair to intercept trespassers. When Raoul and the Persian fall into it, it starts as a Sauna of Death and ends as a Drowning Pit, although its' greatest torture is psychological.
Decoy Protagonist: La Sorelli seems to be set up to be the female lead in the first chapter.
Deceptively Human Robots: Erik "also invented those automata, dressed like the Sultan and resembling the Sultan in all respects, which made people believe that the Commander of the Faithful was awake at one place, when, in reality, he was asleep elsewhere." for Mehemet Alí Bey.
Christine faints on stage after her splendid gala performance in chapter 2. Either an emotional or exhaustion type.
Christine faints again during her first abduction when Erik grabs her. Fits both the monster reveal type faint, since it is the smell of death on his hand that causes her to faint, and also the emotional type faint, since she is already freaked out with what's going on.
When Raoul first comes face to face with Erik unmasked in the Perros graveyard, he faints. Fits both the monster reveal and emotional type faints, since Erik had already been trying to freak him out by playing the ghost and throwing skulls at him.
Falling Chandelier of Doom: Probably not the Trope Maker, but definitely the Trope Codifier and still one of the most famous examples of the breed. Based on a real-life accident when one of the counterweights of the Opera House's grand chandelier fell into the auditorium and killed a woman.
Fate Worse Than Death: Christine tries to kill herself before the Phantom can force her to "marry" him in the climax.
It's worth noting, though, that Erik seems to have an almost humorously non-sexual view of marriage- his chief goal in having a pretty wife, as described to Christine herself, is to buy her nice things and take her for walks in the park on Sundays, while he wears a mask that (he thinks) sufficiently makes him look "like anyone else".
From a modern perspective, the threat of Christine being unable to be with the man she loves (and actually wants to marry) and in a forced state of virginity thanks to a sexless marriage with a repulsive man who treats her like a living doll could be seen as a Fate Worse Than Death in itself.
For all his talk about the happily married life they're going to have, Erik seems to be dead-set on a double-suicide with his new wife, once they've been married; he explains in the end that he only began seeing her as his living wife once she kissed him out of pity, and this prompted him to let her go. It has to be remembered that Erik is extremely unhinged and has a morbid obsession with death which doesn't let him go even when he's trying to become "normal".
Foregone Conclusion: Anyone who reads the prologue knows that the Persian survives to tell his story to the narrator, Christine and Raoul disappear from Parisian society never to be seen again, and Erik and Philippe both die.
He Who Must Not Be Named: Half the dancers and employees of the Paris Opera constantly try to tell the other half never to speak of "the ghost." The Persian refers to him as "He" around Raoul and orders Raoul not to say his name.
In Chapter XX, Raoul and the Persian come across a mysterious appearance while on the trail of the phantom. When asked by Raoul if this is another member of the theater police, the Persian responds "It's some one much worse than that!", the authors note attached to it further more states how the author "can give no further explanation touching the apparition of this shade", saying the reader must have to try and guess for himself. The nature of this mysterious person is then dropped, never to be mentioned again.
Hilarious in Hindsight: The narrator refers to Christine's first abduction (the one where she disappeared for two weeks) as "not the infamous abduction" which everyone has heard of. In context, this refers to how famous her second abduction became in the news in-universe, but the story is so famous now through Pop-Cultural Osmosis that this clarification seems to be Leaning on the Fourth Wall.
Interrupted Suicide: The Persian only just manages to stop Raoul from shooting himself in the torture chamber.
In the Blood: Christine is following in her father's footsteps with her career in music.
It's All About Me: Arguably, everyone except Christine, the Persian and Madam Valerious:
Raoul: After Christine murmurs: “Poor Erik!”
At first, he thought he must be mistaken. To begin with, he was persuaded that, if any one was to be pitied, it was he, Raoul. It would have been quite natural if she had said, "Poor Raoul," after what had happened between them. But, shaking her head, she repeated: "Poor Erik!" What had this Erik to do with Christine's sighs and why was she pitying Erik when Raoul was so unhappy?
Erik: After his Love Redeems scene, meets the Daroga, who asks him (repeatedly) about the murder of Count Philippe:
"Daroga, don't talk to me ... about Count Philippe ... " … "I have not come here ... to talk about Count Philippe ... but to tell you that ... I am going ... to die..."
"Mme. Giry. You know me well enough, sir; I'm the mother of little Giry, little Meg, what!"
Moncharmin: Excerpt from the (exceptionally long) "Memories of a Manager":
"A grievous accident spoiled the little party which MM. Debienne and Poligny gave to celebrate their retirement. I was in the manager's office, when Mercier, the acting-manager, suddenly came darting in. He seemed half mad and told me that the body of a scene-shifter had been found hanging in the third cellar under the stage, between a farm-house and a scene from the Roi de Lahore. I shouted: " 'Come and cut him down!'
I Was Just Joking: Raoul wonders aloud how Erik knows how to work all the trap doors and navigate the secret passages. What, did he build them? The Persian explains, yes, he did.
The Kindnapper: Erik. He kidnaps Christine multiple times with the intention of romancing her and making her his wife so that he can buy her nice things and take her out on Sundays. He keeps her in a luxurious bedroom as well. Despite his becoming increasingly controlling and aggressive towards Christine, she develops a case of Stockholm Syndrome so bad that she even asks Raoul to take her far away from the Phantom No Matter How Much I Beg. Not that Raoul has a chance to follow up on that...
Lemony Narrator: Gaston Leroux, which Lowell Bair, at least, mostly preserves.
On the other hand, she could be this trope until the end of the novel, but then we discover that any normal woman would have Gone Mad From The Revelation or be Driven to Suicide rather than marry with Erik. Only Christine could have really agreed to marry him without trying suicide, and Erick is so shocked that he quits his plan to Kill Them All.
Lost Wedding Ring: Erik gives Christine a plain wedding ring and says that she is protected so long as she wears it, although Raoul doesn't like it since he wants to marry Christine himself. Christine is thoroughly distressed when she loses the ring, because she doesn't know what will happen.
In the final scenes, Erik is revealed to have found the ring, and he gives it to Christine when she promises to marry him.
May December...It's Complicated: We never learn Erik's actual age, but at the very least he's old enough to be Christine's father. Close examination of the text, and several of the events mentioned in his back story, concludes that he's probably in his early fifties.
He's only a few years younger than the old veteran of the opera company, Madame Giry.
Murder the Hypotenuse: According to the narrator, the figure Raoul shot on his balcony was Erik coming to attempt this. Erik then gets another chance when Raoul and the Persian come to rescue Christine, and is only prevented from doing so when Christine swears to marry him.
No Celebrities Were Harmed: Many of the characters in the original novel, including some of the main cast, are thinly veiled versions of real people who lived in Paris around the time Leroux wrote the story, and a few references to real events are also made. Some scholarly fans have even suggested that apart from the parts which involve the Phantom, the book was essentially a true story, although this is almost certainly heavy exaggeration.
Justified Trope: The Phantom can move through the hatches on the Opera, and some rooms were designed by Erik where you could not utter a word but it was overheard or repeated by an echo.
Parental Substitute: Mama Valerius for Christine. Count Philippe is also 20 years older than his brother Raoul and has raised him since their father died when the latter was 12.
Plucky Girl: Christine is a Swedish peasant girl trying to make her way in the world and a name for herself with her singing, not to mention all the physical, mental, and emotional torture she has to endure, mostly on her own unless she's trying to protect her boyfriend as well.
Pretty Boy: Raoul, according to Leroux's description of him in Chapter 2.
Proto Supervillain: Erik has a lot of supervillain-like traits, and is acknowledged as an inspiration for several Rogues Gallery characters and even a creepy superhero or two.
Pointy-Haired Boss: Deconstructed with Opera managers Richard and Moncharmin: Everybody knows they got their jobs thanks to their connections, and that they don’t know a lot about music or how to run the Opera. Nobody really respects them and they're accustomed to cruel pranks and jokes, and thus they never take the Opera Ghost's threats seriously until the Falling Chandelier of Doom incident.
Retired Monster: Erik, after his From Nobody to Nightmare phase, survives the assassination attempts from his employers because He Knows Too Much. Then, tired of his adventurous, formidable and monstrous life, he longed to be some one "like everybody else." And he became a contractor, like any ordinary contractor, building ordinary houses with ordinary bricks. He tendered for part of the foundations in the Opera. His estimate was accepted.
Robotic Torture Device: The aptly named "torture chamber" is completely automated: when the victim falls in the room, it activates and gives him the illusion of a tropical forest. When the victim cannot endure any more, there's also a rope to hang himself. The Phantom uses it as a defense against curious people. The first victim of the book was already dead when the Phantom found him.
Scarpia Ultimatum: The Phantom threatens to blow up the Opera, killing everyone inside, if Christine doesn't "marry" him.
Scooby-Doo Hoax: Erik is pretending to be a ghost haunting the opera house.
Scrapbook Story: We hear the story from the Narrator based on his research (which contains several flashbacks narrated by Christine to Raoul and by Madame Giry to the new managers), memories of one of the new Opera managers Moncharmin, and the Persian.
Screw the Rules, I Have Connections!: Deconstructed in the original book, which shows the consequences of a society that embraces this principle: Richard and Moncharmin know how to play politics better than to manage an opera house, and Carlotta knows it's easier being The Prima Donna than to sing better. This means that everyone is a Pointy-Haired Boss who doesn’t know how to do their job. What's more, every employee knows this as well, so the managers are Properly Paranoid about being pranked by them because nobody respects them. They're also the ideal victims for a Blackmailer, and that’s how Erik could convince them into letting him do whatever he pleases.
Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: The departure of Opera co-managers Poligny and Debienne, at the very start of the book - once a Phantom starts skulking around their Opera and delivering Blackmail demands, they waste no time passing the buck and getting out of the Opera business as fast as they can.
Also Raoul de Chagny and Christine Daae (with Mama Valerious) flee from Paris to "the northern railway station of the world." Even when Raoul is a victim of the Malicious Slandering that accuses him of his brother’s death, they never look back.
She Is All Grown Up: Before their reunion at the Paris Opera, Raoul and Christine were childhood friends and last met on the verge of adolescence and strange new feelings that they couldn't understand.
Shoot The Builder: After Erik built his palace in Mazendaran, the Shah-in-Shah tried to do this to Erik. It didn't work.
Stockholm Syndrome: Christine — she herself lampshades it in everything but name, and Raoul is saddened but not at all surprised or confused to see how much she evidently truly loves her psychotic, jealous, possessive stalker while fearing him at the same time.
Technician Versus Performer: Explanation for the difference between Carlotta and Christine. Carlotta is technically perfect but has no soul to her singing, which is why her croaking on stage is such a big deal as it had never happened before. On the other hand, Christine sings with incredible passion when she is on top of her game, but she is a very erratic performer and the narrator points out quite a few moments when she is not singing well.
Tempting Fate: A near-epidemic among the characters. Sure, Christine, it's perfectly safe to discuss your Ax-Crazy voice teacher on the roof of the very building he's been living in for years. That eerie disembodied voice you hear echoing your words is just the wind, really...
This was Erik's real plan all along. Erik really never believed that Christine could marry him without being Driven to Suicide. When Christine convinces him she will not attempt suicide and kiss him, Erik is so shocked he lets her go.
I am a free agent, monsieur de Chagny; you have no right to control my actions and I will ask that you desist henceforth. As for what I have done during the past fortnight, there is ->only one man in the world who would have the right to demand that I give him an account: my husband! Well, I have no husband, and I shall never marry!”
What the Hell, Hero?: Christine and her guardian both chew out Raoul for too quickly assuming the rights of a husband or lover with his love interest and meddling in Christine's private affairs. He knows they're right, but Love Makes You Crazy.
Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds: Leroux's original Erik — he murders at least three people over the course of the plot and is definitely not the sanest person on the block, but Leroux expresses pity for him in the epilogue.
Arguably, he's this the entire time due simply to his appearance; at the time, Beauty Equals Goodness was commonly enough believed to be Truth in Television. Imagine what people who believe that are going to think of somebody like Erik—no matter what he does...