Re-Reading Les Misérables

Thoughts and commentary on Victor Hugo’s masterpiece.

No Coincidences

I was expecting Peter David’s Coincidence in Fiction to be all about comics. But he takes his remarks on comic book writers’ tendencies to retroactively add connections between things that had previously been simple coincidence…and applies the formula to various classics including Les Mis, hilariously.

How in the hell does Javert keep running into Jean Valjean? After all, Jean Valjean lives his entire life without finding out what happened to his sister, or bumping into her so much as once. Yet happenstance crosses Javert’s and Valjean’s path repeatedly. Why so? As it turns out, Valjean’s sister is, in fact, behind it all. Angry because her brother was so incompetent that he couldn’t even steal a loaf of bread without getting nailed for it, thus leaving her and her kids hungry, Valjean’s sister sets up a vast spy network developed solely to keep tabs on her idiot brother. As soon as she receives any word on his whereabouts, she arranges matters so that Javert is sure to find him once again.

I mused in the comments over whether Eponine’s manipulations leading up to Marius’ arrival at the barricades should be worked into the spy network or if she should be an opposing force.