Sunday, February 20, 2011

Team Raoul

I had an interesting conversation via comments yesterday that I thought I'd share with you.  As a result, I discovered this fun post on the blog "Day by Day":  Erik vs. Raoul.    Here are the comments that started it all:

Natasha Marie said...

 I loved reading your answers to the questions!

Finally, someone else who appreciates Raoul!! He was a bit silly in the book, but I did like him in the 2005 movie.

Chauvelin is an excellent pick for most dastardly villain!=) He is quite creepy.

beast'sbelle said...

Hi Tasha!! Thanks for commenting. I'm glad to find another Raoul fan!! I loved Patrick Wilson's Raoul in the movie. I kept hearing comments about him being boring or wimpy, but I didn't think he was that way at all (although I wouldn't have minded if he'd had a haircut, personally). And because I was so disappointed at Gerard Butler's less than satisfactory singing pipes and over-sensual acting, it made Raoul stand out to me even more.

Okay, I totally have to go off on a tangent here. When I saw the play, to me what attracted Christine to the Phantom was his beautiful singing voice. With a voice like that, how could you not think there might be some goodness to him? When Gerard sang, he sounded angry and lustful. Not attractive at all, at least to me.

Why must we always go after the dangerous when we have the option of the caring, safe love of someone who puts our needs first? That's why we have so many broken homes and abusive marriages today, in my humble opinion. Quite honestly, that's why I have a hard time with the Twilight books. I know they're just stories, but I think it's easy for us as women to get swept up into the stories we read and then look for someone like the character we fell in love with in real life. We need to be sure we're evaluating the character of our...characters. :}

Maybe I'm over-thinking this. Then again, when I read a story, I live it. I become the character and experience the story with them. So I have to be really cautious that I evaluate the feelings and emotions that the story makes me feel, and evaluate them in light of the truths of God's Word. Only then can I be balanced in my perspective.

Wow, that was a really long comment. But I had to get it off my chest. And at least it's on my own blog, so the blog author won't get annoyed! ;)

Natasha Marie said...

I agree - Raoul needs a haircut. lol.  And I agree with you about the Phantom and why Christine was drawn to him, although I haven't seen the play. I've read the book though, and that's what I got from the book.

I definitely will not be watching the movie again for many reasons, but mainly because of the Phantom's character. He was not like that in the book, and I was quite shocked when I watched the movie. Raoul was the only good thing in it, really, which is rather funny because I didn't like him in the book:)

I actually wrote a post about the Phantom vs. Raoul on my blog a few days ago. You can read it here if you'd like to:)

I think it's good to analyze the characters in the books we read and the movies we watch. Let's face it, we women are emotional, so it's good to think it through and put everything in perspective through God's Word. I live the story when I read, too, so I know exactly what you're saying:)
Sorry for the long comment;)

On her blog post, Tasha made these "Team Raoul" or "Team Phantom" buttons you can add to your own blog.  So, as you can probably tell from the above comments, my vote is for...Raoul. 

I'd like to give you just a little more background on my choice, if you don't mind. :)  I can't guarantee that it will be brief.  Then again, you don't have to keep reading.  You have the main point:  I like Raoul the best.  If you want, you can just skip the rest of this post.  If you're into following my rambling thoughts, feel free to continue. ;) 

I'll admit it:  I was completely obsessed with "The Phantom of the Opera" in high school.  I read the book, saw the play twice and had the full soundtrack, which I'd practically memorized.  I mean, it's kind of a "Beauty and the Beast" type story, in some ways.  Although Erik is not quite as beautiful on the inside as the Beast, in my opinion.  One of my fondest memories regarding Phantom was my senior year of high school, when my friends all pooled their money together to buy me a ticket to see a production of Phantom in San Francisco! :)  It was one of the most amazing birthday gifts ever!!

I dreamed of how fun it would be to play Christine, although I knew it would never happen, because I refused to sing "Past the Point of No Return" for its suggestive lyrics.  I fast forwarded that song every time I listened to the CD, because I didn't want those words and thoughts to have a prevalent place in my head.

So many people love "The Phantom of the Opera", especially Andrew Lloyd Webber's version.  It seems that the majority of Phantom "phans" love Erik (the Phantom) best of all.  And I'll admit, hearing Michael Crawford's version of the Phantom singing to me over my CD player made me completely understand why he was so attractive to so many women.  That voice!!  How could anyone who sang like that be completely bad?  And hey, he eventually let Christine and Raoul go free, so that was a good thing.  I agree, it's one of the most touching parts of the story.  Sitting in the audience in San Francisco, watching the unmasked Phantom sitting in a dejected heap in his lair, calling pitifully, "I love you...I love you..." after Christine, I bawled my eyes out! 

But let's not forget folks, he was a murderer and at least partially insane.  I can remember someone telling me, "If everyone would have just done what the Phantom wanted, it would have been okay.  He would have been a nice guy if people would have just listened to him."  This came from an adult.  I had to strongly disagree with that statement (although I wasn't brave enough to say so at the time).  Yes, Erik had a horrible life of mistreatment and misunderstanding.  The things that happened to him should never happen to any human being, and the people who mistreated him should be held responsible.  Yet, at the same time, we can't blame our circumstances for our actions.  We alone are responsible for our own actions, no matter what others have done to us.  And even if everything had been done Erik's way, he may have come up with more and more demands to keep him happy and keep others from trying to take Christine away.  Eventually, someone would have had to stand up to him. 

The older and (hopefully) wiser I get, the more I realize the advantages of the safe, steadfast love of the more "boring" guy like Raoul as opposed to the thrilling, dangerous love of Erik.  [Side note:  I don't think Raoul is boring, that just seems to be the popular opinion.]  There is something about danger and passion that excites our human nature.  We are attracted to the mysterious and seductive.  This kind of love may make for a good story, but in real life it can be disastrous.

[This paragraph is somewhat repetitive if you read the above comments, but bear with me.] :}  "Come on, it's just a story," you may say.  "Aren't you overreacting a bit?"  Perhaps.  But how many of us find ourselves wrapped up in the stories we read, so much so that we look for a human version of our fictional hero?  As women, most of us are extremely emotional creatures.  Emotions aren't bad, just as long as we balance them out by using our heads every once in a while. :)  I know that I often find myself led or carried away by my emotions if I'm not careful.  When we fill our heads with the Eriks, the Edward Cullens, and the Jacob Blacks of literature and movies, what kind of men are going to attract us in real life?  How many women have gotten into a relationship with someone thrilling and brooding and ended up in an abusive or otherwise heartbreaking relationship?

I even find myself having to be careful filling my head with too many good guys.  With all of the Mr. Knightleys, Mr. Darcys, Raouls, Sir Percy Blankneys and all those others, I think our real life guys find it hard to compete.  There's nothing wrong with a good story now and then, especially one that's well-written and uplifting.  But how can we be content in our real life if we're constantly looking for the thrill of our romantic stories? 

I love my husband dearly.  He's kind and thoughtful, he is so very patient with me, and he loves to make me laugh.  He also leaves his dirty socks on the floor, has a hard time noticing when I need help with housework, and I still have a big gravel pile in my front yard that he's been meaning to move for about a year.  (To be perfectly fair to him, there are lots of things I do that drive him absolutely crazy, too!) :)

The point is, you're never going to find the perfect man on this earth.  We all have aspects of our personality that need work and annoy others.  Then again, I believe it's important to watch for character traits in a person you're attracted to.  Watch how he responds in a tense situation.  Does he handle things calmly, or blow up and throw a fit?  Does he treat his mother with kindness and respect?  How does he react around kids?  Will he make a good daddy someday?  Does he spend all of his time playing computer games or the Wii, or does he reach out to others around him?  'Cause let me tell you, he's not going to change once you're married.  If anything, he'll do less than he does now because he's tired and worn out from providing for the family all day.  What you see is pretty much what you will get.  Make sure you can live with what you see.

Okay, I guess that's enough free relationship tips for the day. ;)  As a side note, I don't listen to or watch much of Phantom anymore.  There was a point in my past where "The Phantom of the Opera" was too important to me.  It became the only thing I could think about.  Nothing should be that important to me except Christ.  So, I gave it up completely for a time.  I still listen to it every once in a while, and I've watched the movie once or twice.  I can't fully recommend the movie for sensuality and some violence.  If you're going to see Phantom and have the chance to see the live stage version, it's waayyyy better anyway!! :)  I do try to be careful not to be too obsessive anymore, though.

So, how about you?  Team Raoul or Team Erik?

And, by the way, I realize that not everyone will agree with me on this, and that's okay.  I just want to share what I've observed and learned in my own life. :) 

P.S.  Okay, one more thing...for those of you picturing me in a bleak life of drudgery with a boring husband...I am very blessed to be married to the man I am married to.  Despite all of his faults, he is someone I love and look up to for his calm, gentle ways.  He is an excellent father, a good provider, and is also extremely romantic...usually more so when he hasn't been working the 12-15 hour days he sometimes has.  He works two jobs so that I can stay home with the kids.  He's my hero in every way.  Just wanted to clarify there.  :)


Claire said...

I'd have to agree - I'm Team Raoul AND I wouldn't have minded if he had a haircut in the recent version. ;) In third or fourth grade my mom took my younger sister and I to San Antonio for dead-center, front-row seats to Phantom - one of my all-time favorite musicals and movies. :)

bellesbeast said...

Yes, my wife started this post with an attempt to be "brief", but somehow it didn't stay that way. Anyway, I'm glad she went for the "safe"
husband. She has been a real encouragement in my life to that which is "...true, ...honorable, ...right," etc. (Phil. 4:8)

beast'sbelle said...

Aww, my hubby commented. Thanks, Babe! :) You know very well how bad my attempts at "briefness" (is that a word) are, since you live with me and have to listen to my babbling all the time. Thanks for being so patient with me.

Hi Claire! Glad you're another Raoul fan. :) How exciting to see Phantom in front row seats!! That must have been amazing! Have a great week. :)

Caelen12 said...

Who is Raoul??

bwaybabs said...

@Caelean12: Raoul is a character from Phantom of the Opera. He's the one who is NOT the Phantom who was into Christine. That other guy.

Anyways, Team ERIK. Always always always.

PS: I See The Light came on the playlist just now and it's so nice =3 I love that song.

beast'sbelle said...

Hi gals...thanks for commenting. I love "I See the Light", too. :) Listening to it just makes me smile.

Natasha Marie said...

Excellent post! Good point about not expecting a Sir Percy or a Mr. Knightly...though that would be nice;) Thanks for sharing the Team Raoul button:)


beast'sbelle said...

Thanks, Tasha! And thanks for making these buttons in the first place. :)

Jen said...

Team Raoul! I actually prefer book!Raoul - he's this sweet, naive doofus who just wants to reconnect with his childhood sweetheart and ends up getting sucked into this crazy situation that's way over his head. I haven't seen the movie (I heard about 3 seconds of Gerard Butler's singing while channel-surfing and said "no thanks"), but I don't like how some productions of the musical make him into this cheesy camp hero.

(They also tend to make Christine a fainting damsel instead of the take-no-crap Christine that was in the novel, but that's another rant.)

I remember seeing a documentary on cable about the making of the musical, and at the end they interviewed these dedicated fans who kept saying that Christine made the wrong choice. Erik, pretty voice or no, was a sociopath who dropped chandeliers on people for the lolz. Not exactly lifemate material!

beast'sbelle said...

Thanks for your comment, Jen. :) Christine sooo made the right choice. Not that I don't feel sorry for the Phantom, but she was way better off with Raoul. :)

Alexandra said...

What an incredibly great post! There was a time when POTO became my complete life as well and I had to put it on the back burner for a while.

It's helped me step back and look more objectively at the story than when I was in the throes of Phantom obsession. I was a staunch Team Erik (of course, I was biased...Michael Crawford has always been my very favorite singer) and I preferred the stage version - I saw a bootleg of the musical with Michael as the Phantom on YouTube and I do believe that he had a different "vision" of the Phantom than other actors. I despised the film version for the reasons stated, especially the over-sensualized Phantom.

While I have always had enormous empathy for the Phantom's character, looking back I can see how yes, in the end Raoul was the best for Christine.

"Yes, Erik had a horrible life of mistreatment and misunderstanding. The things that happened to him should never happen to any human being, and the people who mistreated him should be held responsible. Yet, at the same time, we can't blame our circumstances for our actions. We alone are responsible for our own actions, no matter what others have done to us."

That is so true. I found myself falling into that mentality when dealing with the Phantom's faults. Yes, he had a horrible life, and perhaps yes, he might have been different if he had grown up in a different enviroment, but we are responsible for our actions. To fully accept the Phantom as he is, is to accept our modern physco-babble mentality.

Because I tend to empathize, sometimes to a fault, with the abused, underdogs, and underprivileged, there will always be a piece of me that desperately wishes it could have been different for the Phantom. But with the mask (no pun intended) of obsessive fandom stripped away, I can much more clearly see the faults of the Phantom, and how in the end the more "boring" choice was the better.

On the subject of unrealistic heroes, that is soooo true. While I do have *great* fondness for certain heroes - *especially* Sir Percy - I try to look at it more as admiring and identifying the traits that I admire and praying for a man with those traits...such as chivalry, boldness, a sense of justice, a strong vision for life...instead of fantasizing that my future husband will be that exact hero.

Sorry for the long post...I just found it so inspiring! You have a lovely blog and I'm so glad to have stumbled across it!

beast'sbelle said...

Hi Alexandra! :) Don't worry about the long comment...I'm really long-winded too, and I'm constantly leaving long comments on other people's blogs. :} It was great to hear what you had to say. It sounds like we have a lot in common when it comes to the Phantom. :)

There was a novel written about the Phantom, which I'd rather not mention by name. It had several inappropriate parts that my aunt edited for me before letting me read it, so I can only recommend my special edited version. Anyway, it went into a lot more detail about his life before the Opera. It got to the point where I actually had to stop reading it because I was "empathizing to a fault", to borrow your words. It was so well written, but it really messed with my convictions. I mean, we seem to all forget that the guy was a MURDERER. Yes, he had a hard life and a beautiful voice (except for Gerard Butler's Phantom) :} but all that aside, murderers generally don't make really good husbands. Especially emotionally unstable murderers.

By the way, I love Michael Crawford's voice, too. I still remember the first time I saw him in "Hello Dolly". I laughed so hard because he really doesn't sing all that well in that movie. But even then, in some of the songs you can hear bits of the Phantom coming through. :)

So glad you found my blog. I loved yours too, by the way!

Anonymous said...

Team Erik. I read the book when I was eleven and to be at the time Raoul disgusted me. He was an utter man child who cried when he didn't get his way. Granted, I thought Christine should have ditched them both and kept on singing but I've definitely softened to Raoul and I honestly like him now but I still can't forgive him for taking away Erik's ONLY chance at happiness when he himself has had an extremely privileged life.

I know I'm late commenting on this but I just found the awesomeness that is your blog.



beastsbelle said...

Hi Gigi! Thanks for stopping by. :) I don't mind the late response. ;)

I definitely prefer the Raoul of the play to the Raoul of the book. Sadly, after writing "Love Never Dies", it seems like Andrew Lloyd Webber has changed the character of Raoul in the original play slightly to make his progression to angry drunkard more believable. At least, that's the impression I got from watching the 25th Anniversary performance. There were subtle differences, but you could tell that Raoul was a bit impatient and a little irritated with Christine, more patronizing than affectionate. :(

Of the two, I do think Raoul was the more stable choice. But as I've gotten older, I have found myself thinking why these two dudes were her only choices, especially as they were portrayed in the book. Stick with the singing, Christine, until a man worthy of you comes along. ;)