Happy Follow Friday!!
Happy Labor Day Weekend!!!!
This weekly feature is hosted by
Rachel at Parajunkee's View
Alison at Alison Can Read,
which you really must go and check out!!
Rachel not only has fabulous features,
but is a web designer
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You can find the rules at the links above.
Join in the fun and make new blogging friends!!
This week's featured blogs are:
Here's this week's question:
If you could change the ending
of any book (or series),
which book would you choose?
Why and to what?
I love this question! For me, there's absolutely no doubt as to which book I would choose: Gaston Leroux's The Phantom of the Opera.
For a long time, I actually avoided reading this book, since I had heard of the various film versions, starting with the 1925 Bela Lugosi film. I have never been interested in seeing it because I absolutely detest the horror genre, whether in books or film.
Most of the later film versions are basically faithful to the book's portrayal of Erik, the Phantom -- he is a monster, with a sick obsession for a young opera singer. Furthermore, he is insanely jealous of the young aristocrat who courts her. Because of his jealousy, he nearly ends up killing them both in the end. In all fairness, I read the book a while back, so the author might have shown some compassion toward his character, and I simply can't remember that.
The original story takes place in late nineteenth-century Paris. The film versions are faithful to this, as well.
Erik has a horrible facial deformity, which is why he keeps his face covered with a mask. He lives underneath the Paris Opera House, in an area permantnely flooded by water to the point that a lake has formed, which he crosses on a small boat. Isolated for years, he has lived only for his music, which he composes on an immense organ. Over the years he has constructed a dwelling for himself there. He is a genius, having also contributed to the design of the Opera House years before.
When he hears Christine Daae sing one day, he is immediately captivated with her, but is afraid that she will reject him, so he pretends to be her "Angel of Music", and starts giving her voice lessons from behind a mirror in her dressing room. Unbeknownst to her, the mirror is a secret entrance to a series of tunnels that take one down to the subterranean lake.
Erik falls madly in love with Christine, but it's an obsessive, controlling love. His jealousy is comparable to that of Othello for Desdemona, and its consequences are nearly as tragic as the ones in Shakespeare's immortal play.
Raoul de Chagny, the young Vicomte, is also in love with Christine. They had been childhood friends, were later parted, and have now been reunited as adults.
Erik becomes more and more monstrous as the book progresses, even going as far as to torture Raoul. Christine manages to escape with the Vicomte just in time, and, if I remember correctly, Erik wastes away and dies, pining for her.
My first exposure to the tale was through Andrew Lloyd Webber's film version of his 1986 musical, which was released in 2004. I fell head over heels in love with the Phantom! Well, he was played by the Scottish actor Gerard Butler, so that was to be expected! Then I read the Leroux novel, and was greatly disappointed. Lloyd Webber portrayed the Phantom with much more compassion and humanity than Leroux did. He's a tortured soul, longing for love, and mortally afraid of rejection. I felt that Lloyd Webber captured the essence of the character much better than Erik's original creator did, which is highly ironic, as well as fascinating. In fact, the story is thus seen to be based on the "Beauty and the Beast" archetype.
Sadly, in spite of this more humane rendition, Christine still chooses to escape with Raoul in the end, even though she is shown to have feelings for the Phantom. And Erik, in contrast to Leroux's character, lets her leave with Raoul. This is the essence of love -- to choose the happiness of the beloved above everything else, even if it causes pain to the one who loves...
Of course I cried and cried at the end of the movie. I barely did so at the end of Leroux's book. Still, I couldn't tolerate the fact that Erik could not have Christine's love in the 2004 movie. I could see why they couldn't possibly be together in the book, due to Erik's horrible nature. I felt that Webber's Erik should have had the chance to have Christine's love, however.
That was when I discovered a website -- fanfiction.net -- which allows people to create stories around favorite book or film characters. So I began to write stories about the Phantom of the Opera, and in each and every one of them, Erik at last wins Christine's love!
This became an obsession for a while, and I started several stories about the Phantom. Only one is finished -- a one-shot titled "Miracle in Central Park". It's a modern retelling of the story. All the stories I've posted on the site are variations and even entire departures from the original tale, but they all have one thing in common: a happily-ever-after ending for Erik and Christine. Of course, in order to achieve this, I have changed Erik's nature even more than Webber has. He's not as evil as he appears to be.
I am not alone in this; many other fan fiction authors have posted beautiful, romantic stories about the Phantom of the Opera on the site. Of course, this is not the only book whose characters can be used to write fan fiction. There are quite a few others, including The Twilight Saga. I have written four Twilight stories, as well.
My pen name on the site is Angelmuse, although, for some reason, it doesn't show up when one does a search. So, if anyone is interested, here's the link to my profile page, from which you can access any of my stories: