|Abbreviation(s):||Les Mis, Les Miz|
|Creator:||Victor Hugo (novel), Schönberg and Boublil (musical)|
|Date(s):||1862 (novel); 1980/1985 (musical)|
|Medium:||novel, musical, films|
|Country of Origin:||France|
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Les Misérables is a 1862 novel by Victor Hugo that was adapted into a famous musical, as well as numerous films, plays, and other media. A film version of the musical was released in 2012, causing a resurgence of the fandom.
The story is set in early nineteenth-century France and primarily follows ex-convict Jean Valjean. He breaks his parole and is pursued by dutiful Inspector Javert. Jean Valjean becomes Mayor and meets Fantine, who is down on her luck and reveals that her daughter Cosette is with M. and Mme. Thénardier. Fantine dies and then Jean Valjean saves Cosette from the abusive family. A time lapse brings them to Paris, 1832, where Marius Pontmercy spends time with the revolutionary group of friends, Les Amis de l'ABC, led by Enjolras. This changes when he sees Cosette and Jean Valjean being ambushed by the Thénardiers, including their daughter Éponine, and falls in love with Cosette. To Éponine's disappointment, she returns his feelings. However, Javert is closer than ever to finding Jean Valjean, and so Cosette is supposed to leave France. Marius is devastated, and goes to join Les Amis at the barricade. Fighting occurs, and Les Amis and Éponine die tragically, but Jean Valjean finds out about Cosette's love for Marius and goes to the barricade to rescue Marius. They escape through the sewers, where Javert finds them. He allows them to go free, and with his soul in conflict, throws himself into the Seine. Marius and Cosette are married, and Jean Valjean leaves them to live without fear of the police finding him and ruining their life. Just before he dies, Marius and Cosette return to him for tearful goodbyes.
There are differences between the different canons in terms of structure and character motivations. The earlier film adaptations in particular drop extensive sections of the source text, often choosing to focus on Javert and Jean Valjean.
I think it's easy to forget that Les Mis fandom really wasn't slash-heavy until maybe the 25th Anniversary Concert [in 2010], which played up E/R. Before that point, Valvert may have outnumbered actual E/R, and Valvert was also a fairly rare pair. There was a lot of "pre-slash" and a lot more Romantic Friendship on the Amis side. Any slash was pretty dripping with angst and shame.
The novel, approximately 1900 pages long in its original French version, is affectionately known by fans as "The Brick" and is infamous for its numerous digressions about only marginally-related topics (notably, the Battle of Waterloo and Paris's sewers).
Much of the book fandom focuses on Les Amis de l'ABC (the Friends of the ABC), or "Les Amis". Les Amis are frequently shipped in a variety of slash combinations, with the most common pairing being Enjolras/Grantaire ("E/R"), despite some fans believing that Enjolras is depicted as asexual in the novel.
The musical fandom is centered around the Abaissé forums, and involves much comparison of different stagings and meta discussion.
What musical-based fanfiction that existed before the 2012 movie was usually posted on fanfiction.net or private websites.
The movie also brought a large influx of fanfiction. Prior to December 25, 2012, the U.S. release date of the film, there were only about 100 works marked Les Misérables on AO3. By April 2013, this increased to over 2,000 works. Similarly, activity at the Les Mis kink meme at makinghugospin increased dramatically with the release of the film. From November 2009 to December 2012, the kink meme accumulated under 10 pages of comments; by April 2013, the meme is on its fourth round, with a cumulative total of approximately 150 pages of comments. As of January 24th 2014, makinghugospin is located on Dreamwidth.
Common Fic Tropes
Several categories of fic have appeared or grown greatly in popularity as compared to the pre-movie fandom. Some of these are:
- Modern AU, mainly centered on the Les Amis. Frequently, the student rebellion group and the other young characters are moved from the canon setting to US or UK university enviroments. They might be interested in social justice, though more general student-life fics also appear.
- Reincarnation AU, generally focused on Les Amis, with the characters in a modern setting becoming aware of their deaths on the barricade. Sometimes they are aware of each other before they gain awareness of their past lives, others include them getting to know each other after the fact. Often this is used to encourage the Enjolras/Grantaire pairing, as their death scene is one of their most shipper-friendly scenes.
- Punish Me, Monsieur le Maire-fics have become a trope of their own for the Valjean/Javert pairing. . They are centered on the scene in which Inspector Javert asks for Jean Valjean, in his guise as Mayor Madeleine, to punish him for the infraction of reporting "Madeleine" to the authorites. Because another man has been arrested and is believed to be Valjean, Javert feels he has done a gross infraction. They often contain a combination of dubious consent, identity porn and informal BDSM. The sub-genre is clearcut enough that it has spawned at least one parody fic.
- Post-Seine. A type of fixit fic, where a character (usually Valjean) saves Javert from the river, and they then often end up in a relationship together. This category of fic existed before the movie. Often contain some amount of hurt/comfort.
- Paris Burning by thecitysmith, a Enjolras/Grantaire fic in which Grantaire is the personification of Paris, which has spawned countless spinoff works.
- College Boys and High School Girls by defying3reason, a lengthy college AU with social justice overtones and some controversy.
- Apollo by lannisterrss, a popular Enjolras/Grantiare college AU 
- Talk Revolution to Me, Baby by truethingsproved, a light-hearted Les Amis-centric college AU 
- Gnomon by luchia, a Modern AU where Enjolras and the ABC are a vigilante group beloved by the world, and Grantaire is his unhealthily co-dependant husband.
- World Ain't Ready by idiopathicsmile, a high school AU set in the early 2000s where Enjolras and Grantaire pretend to date.
- The Resignation of Inspector Javert by Wraithwitch (Brick-based). A post-Seine scenario, where Valjean saves Javert. The fic successfully pastiches Victor Hugo's narrative style.
- Three Days by zamwessel (2012 movie-based). Three Days uses a What if? scenario where Javert choses to follow Valjean to Montfermeil and they end up rescuing Cosette from her abusive situation. It was one of the first long-fics in the post-movie fandom for the ship and remains widely recced. 
Links & Resources
- Les Misérables - All Media Types at AO3
- Les Misérables (novel) & Les Misérables (musical) at FanFiction.Net
- makinghugospin, an anonymous kink meme
- ExR-cache, a tumblr for fanfic recs
- Re: Les Misérables, comment at fail_fandomanon on Dreamwidth, 14 February 2018. (Accessed 17 February 2018.)
- See Les Misérables#Novel form at Wikipedia. (Accessed 01 April 2013.)
- According to the Les Misérables - All Media Types tag, sorted by date posted. (Accessed 01 April 2013.) See also the archived version of the page, taken by the Wayback Machine in April 2012, showing 68 works.
- As of April 1, 2013, there are 2316 works tagged Les Misérables - All Media Types.
- makinghugospin's Les Mis Anon Kink Meme. Round 1, Round 2, Round 3, & Round 4. (Accessed 01 April 2013.)
- An incomplete listing was made on the fail_fandomanon meme (April 01 2013) with the title Please Punish Me, Monsieur le Maire: An Index
- Making Amends at Archive of Our Own (accessed April 01 2013)
- The Resignation of Inspector Javert at Fanfiction.net (Accessed February 26 2014)
- Three Days (or The One Where Javert and Valjean Take a Road Trip Through France and Raise a Child) at Archive of our Own (accessed February 26 2014)