Enjolras

From Fanlore
Jump to: navigation, search
Character
Name: Enjolras (surname, birthname is unknown)
Occupation: student, revolutionary
Title/Rank: leader of Les Amis de l'ABC
Location: Paris, France
Status: deceased
Relationships: Les Amis de l'ABC
Fandom: Les Misérables
Other: played by Aaron Tveit in the 2012 movie adaptation
Click here for related articles on Fanlore.

Enjolras is a character from the 1862 Victor Hugo novel Les Misérables and its subsequent adaptations. He is the leader of the revolutionary group Les Amis de l'ABC and a central character in the modern Les Mis fandom.

Canon

In the brick, Enjolras is introduced as the leader of Les Amis de l'ABC, the revolutionary group Marius Pontmercy becomes involved with through his friendship with Courfeyrac. He's described as charming, serious and preoccupied with justice and overthrowing power to the exclusion of everything else in life. While his looks differ wildly between adaptations, the brick has a clear description of Enjolras' appearance: he's described as having blond hair and blue eyes and generally being very pretty. Furthermore, it's described how he looking so young and feminine that when he's 22 years old, he could easily be mistaken for a 17 year old. It's implied that he gets attention from women because of this, but that he fails to notice it due to his devotion to revolutionary ideals.

As Les Amis is described as principally a student group, he's thought to be a student, though it's never mentioned what he studies. Enjolras is described as representing the logic of the revolution and thus as more willing to engage in violence on it's behalf than Combeferre, although both end up killing and dying for it. When the progressive Lamarque dies, Enjolras rallies Les Amis to take part in the resulting 1832 June Rebellion. He's the last of the named Les Amis to die at the barricade, along with Grantaire. When he's about to be shot, Grantaire walks up to him and asks for permission to die along side him and after Enjolras grants it, they're both shot.

In both the stage musical and the 2012 movie, Enjolras is depicted as wearing red, due to this being the colour used by European revolutionaries in this period. Grantaire, in turn, is depicted as wearing green, due to a comment in the brick about how the two are like complementary colours.

Common Pairings

The most common pairing featuring Enjolras is Enjolras/Grantaire (often written as e/R or exR, referencing Grantaire's nickname), on AO3 or fanfiction.net. This pairing mainly takes its source from the book by Victor Hugo, where the two characters are almost always mentioned in relation with the other. Their differences and complementary are highlighted in their introduction chapter (III, 4, I, "Un groupe qui a failli devenir historique") and in their joint death scene (V, 1, XXIII, "Oreste à jeun et Pylade ivre"). Productions of the musical began to play up the subtext between the characters in the late 2000s throughout the 10s and the ship may be considered canon in some late 10s productions.[1]

Other common pairings include Enjolras/Éponine, though this and other het ships with him lost a lot of following in the 10s, probably due to the interpretation of him as gay (see fanon) becoming popular. Enjolras is also frequently shipped with other members of the Les Amis de l'ABC, particularly Combeferre, Courfeyrac and Feuilly.

Fanon

Sexuality

Enjolras is commonly portrayed as either gay, asexual or a combination of the two. This especially became common after the 2012 film adaptation brought in new fans and Modern AU fanfic and fanart became extremely popular. The fanon comes from the book, though, wherein it is said that "it did not seem as though [Enjolras] were aware there was on earth a thing called woman" and Enjolras is compared to Antinous, the beloved of Emperor Hadrian. Furthermore, his and Grantaire's relationship is compared to a number of literary homoerotic couples, such as Achilles and Patrocles and, notably, since they are referred to by these name in the title of the chapter in which they die, Orestes and Pylades. This has lead fans to argue that Hugo always meant for Enjolras' relationship with Grantaire to be understood in this manner.[2] The chapter "Wherein Will Appear the Name of Enjolras' Mistress" where Enjolras's mistress is described as "Patria", his patriotic ideal of France, is also often brought up in these discussions, particularly when arguing for an asexual interpretation.

Common Tropes in Fanworks

  • Fans often refer to Enjolras as "Enj", "Enjy" or "E", which sometimes make appearances as in-story nicknames in fanfic, as well.
  • The most common first names for Enjolras in fanon are Marcelin and Julien.[3]
  • His nickname, or Grantaire's name for him, being "Apollo".
  • It's common for Enjolras to be portrayed as harsher or more socially inept than canon implies. A description of him from the book often thought of in connection to this fanon is "Enjolras was a young man capable of being terrible." After claims that this was often written in an ableist manner, portrayals of Enjolras as autistic have also become common.
  • In Hogwarts AUs, Enjolras is usually sorted into Gryffindor or Slytherin, with some fans seeing the Slytherin sorting as symptomatic of general mischaracterisation of the character in fanon:
i think i have found the core of the problem that causes such a mischaracterization of enjolras: people sort him into slytherin [4]
  • Enjolras is sometimes portrayed as a trans man, particularly in Modern AU, with Hugo's descriptions of his appearance as feminine and youthful used to argue in favour of it.
  • The attention to diversity in portrayals of Les Amis de l'ABC has led to discourse about which characters are portrayed as which identity and in which manner. Enjolras is a prominent example. He is often portrayed as white, even when the rest of Les Amis are depicted as racially diverse. Some fans pointed to this as a form of tokenism, where the less prominent characters are depicted as people of color, while the most prominent very rarely is. A factor in this discrepancy may also be that Enjolras is the only Amis who has a canon appearance. Indeed, many depictions of Enjolras as a PoC have him keep the blond hair so strongly associated with him within fandom. In response to this discussion, a POC Enjolras Week was held by fans on Tumblr in 2015, from May 17th-23rd.
Other POC characters are of course welcome, but because Enjolras is a character so rarely depicted as non-white, the focus will be on Enjolras.[5]
  • In portrayals of Enjolras as a PoC, he's often portrayed as a naturally blond Melanesian, to retain his iconic hair.
  • In Canon Era works, Enjolras is usually assumed to be a law student due to a number of historical factors.[6]
    • Alternatively, some portray Enjolras as the son of a print shop owner rather than as a student, based on a post by pilferingapples.[7]
And then we realized Hugo doesn’t ..actually say… Enjolras is a STUDENT. Just “an only son and wealthy”. And he LOOKS like a student (a ‘college escapee’) but that’s in the same sentence that claims he looks like a pageboy and we’re all pretty sure he’s not that. And hey, workers can BE wealthy! Class often correlated with income (very often) but it wasn’t dependent on that; it was dependent on what sort of work a person did– manual labor was working-class, intellectual labor was bourgeoisie, to oversimplify ridiculously complicated social strata. So after like five minutes of shouting TO HECK WITH YOUR CLASS ISSUES, HUGO, WE’RE TAKING ENJOLRAS BACK FOR THE WORKERS we realized we…needed a plausible profession?

Example Fanworks

References

  1. Examples of e/R moments in stage productions.
  2. 10littlebullets on Livejournal about the canonicity of e/r, 2008.
  3. http://dead.frenchboys.net/enjolras/index.html
  4. music-hetta on Tumblr about Enjolras' Hogwarts house, 2015.
  5. POC Enjolras Week anouncement
  6. Fannish discussion of historical universities in Paris
  7. A (Printer's) only son and wealthy: an alternate Enjolras interpretation by pilferingapples on Tumblr, 2016.