|Alternative name(s):||Phantom/Christine, Christine/Erik, Erik Destler/Christine Daaé, E/C, C/E, CE, EC, Erikstine, ファントム×クリスティーヌ|
|Gender category:||F/M, Het|
|Fandom:||Phantom of the Opera|
|Canonical?:||Yes. Erik is in love with Christine in Leroux book and all major adaptations of the story; in many of them this love is portrayed as unrequited, but in some she has romantic relationship with him|
|Prevalence:||Popular, the Juggernaut Ship of the Phantom of the Opera fandom|
|Archives:||Down Once More|
|Click here for related articles on Fanlore.|
The relationship is central to the plots of most adoptions and variations of The Phantom of the Opera.
Erik usually starts giving Christine singing lessons without showing her his face (in the original story she at first believes that he is an angel of music that was sent by her father) and falls in love with her to the point of obsession. The details of different adaptations vary, but many of them follow the book's storyline (Erik kidnapping Christine twice and letting her go back, Erik forcing opera managers to give Christine major roles in operas, Erik trying to blackmail Christine into marrying him by threatening Raoul's life)
Differences in Various Adaptations
- In the original book, after Christine kisses Erik, he gives up on his plan to blow up the Opera building if she doesn't marry him and lets her and Raoul go, giving her his gold ring and asking her to bury him with it, which she does after seeing in a newspaper an obituary that says "Erik is dead".
- In Love Never Dies, a sequel to Phantom of the Opera written by the creator of the original musical Andrew Lloyd Webber, it is revealed that Christine had a night of sex with Erik ten years ago and that her son Gustave is Erik's.
- At the end of Kay's book Phantom Christine also gives birth to Erik's son named Charles.
Erik/Christine is the most popular pairing in the Phantom of the Opera fandom and the focus of the majority of fanfiction. Stories about this couple have been written since the beginning of the Phantom of the Opera fandom in the 1980s, but after the 2004 movie adaptation where Erik was played by the young and attractive Gerard Butler this ship has gained even more fans.
Because of Erik's personality, his actions in canon and the character of their relationship many fans consider Erik/Christine a rather dark ship. Their canon relationship have elements of teacher/student, kidnapping, and almost forced marriage. This couple also contains a very large age difference (Erik is of similar age as Christine's father.) All of this has led to a lot of fannish discussions about whether shipping Erik/Christine condones abuse and enforces sexist tropes. The earlier fandom was prone to idealizing Erik and excusing his actions; disliking Christine also was common even among Erik/Christine shippers. With time the fandom's view of the characters and their relationship has become more nuanced, and now many fanfic writers try to make their relationship more balanced and equal, often through a lot of character development that eventually makes dynamics between them very different from their canonical relationship.
There are also discussions about whether Erik/Christine is canon for this or that particular adaptation which sometimes veer into tinhatting territory. The most famous example of E/C tinhatting is probably the "hidden plot" interpretation of the 2004 movie:
Basically, they think that when you watch the 2004 movie, the story that you’re seeing isn’t the *real* story. They think that ALW (or Joel Schumacher, or the freemasons) actually wrote another, deeper, *secret* story, and planted clues throughout the movie, so that only the most observant viewers would be able to uncover the truth.The Hidden Plot forum threads, then, are a compilation of these ‘clues’, painstakingly catalogued and described by the sleuthers. From a lens flare to a subtitle typo to the colour of a button, everything has significance. All together, they lead to a story in which Erik was the lost de Chagny brother—the true comte, to Raoul’s vicomte—possessed by an evil spirit which transformed him into The Phantom. With the help of Christine, and the Priest of Light Raoul, he is eventually freed, leaving the two of them reign forever as King and Queen Music. .
Common Tropes in Fanworks
Unrequited Love - Obviously a very popular trope in Erik/Christine fanfiction. May stay unrequited or be unrequited only at some point of the story.
Futurefic - Erik and Christine get together after the canon events. Either Christine returns to Erik's house under the Opera for some reason (in Leroux fics she often does so to bury Erik as she promised) and finds him there, or their life paths cross again later in their lives.
- Unsung by wheel_of_fish A fic that got very popular in the fandom of the late 2010s, features Christine becoming mute post-canon
Forced Marriage - Mainly in Canon AUs where Erik succeeds in forcing Christine to marry him. Some examples of this trope are darkfics, but others are closer to more straightforward romances. Some AU fics also feature Arranged Marriage.
Kidfic - Erik and Christine's children, often "inheriting" musical genius from their father, appear quite often in fanworks about this couple. Usually in such fics they have children after getting together, but Christine having Erik's child while in relationship with Raoul is also common. A common twist is that an older child of Christine and Raoul turns out to be secretly Erik's.
- Progeny by Becky L. Meadows.
Modern AU - In stories set in the modern era, Erik may or may not be the villain.
- A Solo For The Living by Tango1, a rare example of not quite "historical AU", but rather "more historically accurate AU", which postulates that the 2004 movie was indeed set in the 1870 and shows the canonical characters experiencing the historical events that happened in France in that time
- Tightrope by Chapucera, set in Spain of the late 1930s and early 1940s
- Phantom's Beauty, a fusion with Beauty and the Beast by Lady Rosesong, a popular author from the 2000s
- Shadow Government by Quiet2885, a Futuristic AU
Reincarnation - Erik and Christine are reborn as other people, meet again and fall in love again. They may or may not remember their past lives.
- Phantasy by Becky L. Meadows.
Hookerfic - Christine is a prostitute, and Erik is her customer.
- Regret Like Tears by FieryPen37
- Don Juan Conquered by aquandrian (a rare variation of the trope in which Erik is a prostitute)
Slavefic - Erik never left Persia, remains Sultana's executioner and receives Christine as a gift. This trope may be partially inspired by the scene in Susan Kay's novel Phantom in which Erik is given a slave woman as a mocking gift from the Khanum.
Darkfic (sometimes called "morbid") - Such stories often feature a darker interpretation of Erik and sometimes of Christine as well. They are more likely than other kinds of E/C fics to portray Erik's love as unrequited or/and show their relationship as abusive.
Other tropes and themes specific for this pairing:
- Erik becomes a more moral and mature person under Christine's influence
- Erik is interpreted as representative of more non-conformist and exciting life choices, most often of Christine's creative or sexual side
- Christine is made more bold and assertive than in canon (one of the ways to address "problematic" aspects of the ship and make their dynamic more balanced)
- Christine casually and willingly visits Erik's underground house many times (usually found on the fluffier side of E/C)
- Christine is similar to Erik's mother or Erik is similar to Christine's father (this trope also appears in some non-fannish adaptations of the story)
- Love Never Dies fics are either fix-its where Christine doesn't die at the end or smut describing the night "beneath a moonless sky" when Gustave was conceived.
Other Fanwork Examples
- To Touch Me and To Trust Me by Phantomfluffandstuff.
- A Gypsy Caravan by silver_galaxy
- Fraternité by Gondolier, considered by many fans as one of the best phics in the fandom
Erik/Christine is one of the most popular subjects for the Phantom of the Opera fanart. Most of available fanart from the zines portrays them together or separately.
Fanzine E/C art often showed scenes from the musical. This one is from the cover of The Chandelier #5, artist Sybille Schenk
Another scene from the musical on the cover of The Chandelier #23, artist Marion Kadalla
From the front cover of Mask: Tales from the Underground #2, artist Janet Meeham
Cover art for the Millennium Edition of POTO: The Phantom of the Opera Magazine, artist Bradley J. Parrish.
More modern examples of E/C fanart:
- Herzdieb by xXVenomsGloryXx. It's a Vid made with a song in German.
- Happy together by teamezria53098
- My baby shot me down by teamezria53098
Archives and Communities
Other Fannish Resources
- Roses for Her :: A Tribute to Erik x Christine (Phantom of the Opera) at ship_manifesto
- Phantom of the Opera Wiki
- Characters/The Phantom of the Opera at TVTropes