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What chapter are we at today, Gen? We are at Gen Completely Forgot To Post For A Few Days chapter! Which is to say, there are about to be a few discussion posts in a row, to catch up to where we're supposed to be today, which is 3.2.5.

First: 3.2.2, "Dol"! Take it away, my friends.

Date: 2014-06-10 03:45 pm (UTC)
primeideal: Multicolored sideways eight (infinity sign) (Default)
From: [personal profile] primeideal
"Dol, a Spanish town of France in Brittany, as it is termed in the old charters, is not a town but a street." <- According to legend, one of the founders of the city was Saint Teilo, who tamed a dragon and left it in the ocean. Goes along with the St. Michael allusions.

"Gauvain was thirty years old," Older than either of the figures he’s compared to (Hoche and Marceau) would have been in 1793.

"He did not smoke, he did not drink, he did not swear. He carried a toilet case throughout the war, he took great care of his nails, his teeth, and his hair which was brown and abundant;" I feel like the switch from negative sentences (abstaining from vices) to positive constructions (specific things he does to maintain his outward appearance) sort of changes from indirect praise to the suggestion that he’s somewhat vain?

"Although he always rushed recklessly into the midst of the battle, he had never been wounded." A bit of a battle Mary Sue.

"Alcibiades to look at, Socrates to listen to." Alcibiades wiki page. Some highlights: originally from Athens, but wound up fighting against his hometown, before changing his political allegiance even more (at one point fighting for Athens again). “the last famous member of his mother’s aristocratic family.”

"Alcibiades took part in the Battle of Potidaea in 432 BC, where Socrates was said to have saved his life and again at the Battle of Delium in 424 BC. Alcibiades had a particularly close relationship with Socrates, whom he admired and respected. According to Plutarch, Alcibiades "feared and reverenced Socrates alone, and despised the rest of his lovers"."

"this scamp!" There’s something lighthearted about the way Lantenac goes after Gauvain (compare the tone of the placards from the previous chapter).

"In a revolt of this kind, where all are jealous of each other, and each has his bush or his ravine, the coming of a superior rallies the scattered chiefs, who are equals among themselves." There’s been a couple mentions of jealousy and squabbling leaders, now unified by an outside force.

"Success seemed certain. He had six thousand men." Seems to be lampshading the Conservation of Ninjutsu trope (TVTropes link).

"He was a kind of cacique," Wiktionary translates this as "a tribal chief in the Spanish West Indies," basically another Hugo insult for "backwoods savage." I’m getting this out of the way because let’s talk about l’Imânus.

To get an idea about l’Imânus, I sort of want to compare him to Lantenac. Who we established many chapters ago is a horrible person responsible for inordinate violence and totally unpleasant, right? Okay, this is from 1.2.1, where we meet Lantenac: “every appearance of starting on an adventure…straight and sturdy…full of years and strength…” There’s a potential here for something praiseworthy. Kind of. Even in this chapter, he’s “formidable…reflective…daring.”

With l’Imânus there are no punches to be pulled. He’s just wall-of-text described as “barbarous…atrocious…heart full of tortuous intricacies…excelled in cruelty.” I mean, what can you say for this guy? Sometimes “brave in battle”? But only then “infernally,” in terms of hell!

There’s also a tangent to show you that Hugo knows some etymology.

…aaand Lantenac’s sizable army might be in trouble if this awful human being is the best choice for field-sergeant, but for that, we need another cliffhanger.

Bleeping l’Imânus, though. What an intro.

3.2.2: Dol

Date: 2014-06-11 01:26 am (UTC)
bobbiewickham: Kalinda Sharma of The Good Wife (Default)
From: [personal profile] bobbiewickham
Dol is a Spanish town of France in Brittany. Encapsulates the international connections in French history, maybe, and maybe also the international implications of the Revolution itself.

I think the last chapter is the first time it’s explicitly confirmed that Lantenac is Gauvain’s great-uncle. Before, in the chapter with Cimourdain, Robespierre, Danton and Marat, it’s merely implied (and also in the chapter when Lantenac sees Gauvain’s signature).

As we were told in the last chapter, Lantenac wants to seize Dol to let the English into France; Gauvain has thrown his forces on Lantenac’s to stop this, taking initiative, without waiting for orders. Now we’re also told that Gauvain is attacking six thousand royalists with only 1500 men. But those 1500 men include, as we were told last chapter, the last of the Bonnet Rouge. I’m thrilled they’re alive, but less thrilled that the women and children appear to have been fridged to turn the men into the Ultimate Fighting Force, hell-bent on vengeance, that’s transforming the course of this war. We’re explicitly told their desire for vengeance is what makes them unstoppable. I’ll reserve judgment because, while they want to avenge Michelle and Houzarde and rescue the kids, Michelle is still alive (and possibly will have a character arc of her own). Even so, that would leave Houzarde fridged. I don’t necessarily object to the basic concept of killing a character to send another character on a revenge-spree. I actually often like that kind of story. But the murdered character is so often a woman, and the avenging character a man. Why not kill Radoub and let Houzarde go all bloody-minded to vindicate him?

Gauvain is an “ideal” young figure, as contrasted with the “gigantic” young figures of Robespierre, Danton and Saint-Just. He’s thirty, he’s abstemious, he doesn’t swear, his voice is quiet but can ring out suddenly with a command, takes care of his hair, nails and teeth, and is fierce in battle—all of which is highly reminiscent of Enjolras. The only difference is that Enjolras has a streak of harshness that Gauvain appears to lack (maybe that’s the Cimourdain part of Enjolras’s soul). Even so, Gauvain is still capable of being terrible.

Lantenac is irritated at Gauvain at his disobedience and rebelliousness, taking it personally because Gauvain is his great-nephew and heir; at the same time, Lantenac desires to kill his great-nephew like a dog. I think this is meant to epitomize the dehumanizing aristocratic worldview. To Lantenac, Gauvain’s relation to him just means he ought to be able to control and dominate Gauvain. It does not mean that he has any special affection for Gauvain or that he’ll value Gauvain’s life if Gauvain disobeys.

Lantenac, despite commanding the obedience of most peasant leaders, doesn’t understand or value their tactics of guerrilla warfare. Which may be why Gavard ditches him, despite being the first to pledge allegiance to him.

Lantenac has confidence in the cruelty of his second-in-command, which makes him by far worse than even Cimourdain. Cimourdain is ruthless but not cruel, and he doesn’t admire or encourage cruelty. And of course Lantenac’s cruelty is a striking contract with his merciful great-nephew.

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