I’m so enjoying this, but I’m having a bit of trouble finding something to say about this portion of the book besides oh the turmoil! oh the detail! oh the humanity!…and I think I’ve already said that a few times. So consider all that said, again, and I’ll just jump into a quick plot summary.
The third book introduces a new major character: Marius Pontmercy. Marius is young, poor, handsome and idealistic. And maybe just a leeeetle bit impractical. Marius’s father was a soldier at Waterloo, but owing to financial concerns Marius has been raised by his royalist grandfather. Book 3 goes into a great deal of detail (odd for Hugo, right?) (literary sarcasm—my specialty) about the aging and sequestered group of those who remember the throne with affection. These characters are definitely not portrayed with much sympathy—like Hugo’s detailed account of the cloister, the royalists are presented as inexplicably out-of-touch relics.
Marius finds out about his father, begins reading about the ideals of the revolution, sees the frivolity of his grandfather’s life and becomes an ardent revolutionary. He leaves the comfort of his grandfather’s home and becomes one of the honorable poor (very honorable, very poor) to live by his now-deceased father’s precepts.
Oh, and he loves Cosette. Truly, madly, deeply. After a glance. Mmmmhmm. Such a pretty young thang is she.
The lives of Marius, Jean Valjean, Cosette, Javert and the Thenardier clan continue to intertwine… guess who saved Marius’s father on the battlefield? And guess who moved into the apartment that Jean Valjean and Cosette abandoned? And guess who moved in next door? And guess who else is in love with Marius? And guess who chased them all? (Ok, that last one you probably got.) And while I’ve had a moment or so of really? it just happened to be the same address?!? , I think Hugo is doing this to show the cause and effect of actions. Everything is interconnected, everything causes ripples that affect other situations.
Holy mother, I’m loving this book.