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06:39:56 PM May 23rd 2013
The "Literature" page says in two places that "Jean Valjean comes from “Voilà Jean,” meaning "Here's Jean." The "Characters" page says that it means "John's as good as any other John." I don't know which of those is right but I think one of those should probably be changed.
09:35:20 PM Jun 17th 2013
I was reading the book again, and the narrative specified that "Here's Jean" was right, so I fixed it.
04:18:32 PM Apr 29th 2012
Wait,I think his character depends on both your interpenetration of him and the law he represents.If you think the legal system is a sham and biased for example, (he is about to arrest a woman for slapping a man when he tried to RAPE her) you'll think less of him because the his character is completely tied to the legal system.
09:48:21 PM Jun 17th 2013
I think you're right, but I also feel the need to point out that in the original text, Bamatabois didn't actually try to rape Fantine; he just insulted and threw snow at her. Also, while Fantine does explain what happens, Javert only sees her attack Bamatabois, and it isn't clear that Javert even believes her, although it may not make a difference to him either way. In the musical (which I mention because it is probably the version you're thinking of), he doesn't see any of it, and Fantine doesn't even mention she was provoked at all. Of course, in both cases, he still shouldn't have arrested her. It's just that it was a bit more complicated than what you described.
04:45:51 PM May 4th 2010
edited by vifetoile
Removed this line, and my own response:

  • Alternative Character Interpretation: Many people seem to see Javert as a villain, thanks mostly to Adaptation Decay in the films. Other characters also suffer from this.
    • Wait - Javert has a sick, penniless woman, charged for attacking a man who has conveniently vanished, begging him on her knees to not send her to jail, in the name of her sick and starving child - and he still condemns her - and you're telling me he's not a villain?

Since Javert is universally thought of as a villain (no Adaptation Decay needed), the faction that says he is not IS the faction pushing Alternate Character Interpretation. And the poster does not explain what the Alternate Interpretation is.

And for the record, Javert is the villain. His actions prove him as such. He just thinks he is doing good. It's called being a Knight Templar.

... Also, ACI is not something a character "suffers" from. If you ask me, a character with a lot of ACI around him/her is a strong character.
02:47:03 AM May 12th 2010
OK, I think the TV Tropes definition of villain is different from what my perception of a villain is, as I wouldn't put some forms of Knight Templar in the villainy category. On the other hand, some adaptations have Javert standing by and letting Fantine be beaten up, instead of stopping the fight, questioning his superior's authority (in a selfish way) and attacking Marius and Cosette, for example.

All of these take us beyond the law-abiding character we see in the books, who actually does a lot of good, except we only see all the questionable actions and from the point of view of the opposite character. And a lot of people, when asked who the 'bad guy' is, will reply Javert, when if you had to choose just one 'Villain' it would have to be Thenardier.

My original post was meant more to illustrate that the interpretations 'he's a villain' and 'he's just doing his job' often come up in debates about Les Mis as Alternative Character Interpretations, with Hugo clearly preferring the latter. Since you have shown that they are, on this website at least, one and the same, I take back my point about villainy.

Perhaps a better point for the case would be Eponine. She's either a crazy psycho stalker who deliberately sent Marius to the barricade to die and only saved him because she wanted to go first, or she's hopelessly in love with Marius, sent him to the barricade to help his friends and saved him out of the goodness of her heart. Other characters who come to mind are Cosette and Marius.

Btw, the reason I used the word 'suffer' is that since, almost always, the ACI seems to be completely the opposite of what the author intended, the characters end up worse off. I have never read an ACI that seems to make as much sense or works as well as the original.
02:55:31 AM Jun 9th 2010
Okay; so it's, some interpretations/people have Javert as a sadist, and others just as a man who values the law above all else. That works.
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