Hi, I’m Joe. I like reading books, writing reviews, and I write some books too. Help me get inside your mind like the Opera Ghost by checking out my Amazon page.
Hi, I’m Joe. I think a lot of dumb things, and sometimes I write them down.
For ease of reading, Joe and I have decided to adopt discriptors. I will become Potato Joe, aka PJ. Joe will be known as Dumb Joe, or DJ.
In this post I answer DJ’s questions about the book.
About the Joe movement: In an effort to solve world peace and build a better future, we at the Joe movement have given up individual names that cause division and exclusion and have taken on the single moniker of Joe.
About the book:
The classic tale of an up and coming Opera singer, Christine Daae, her childhood love interest, Raoul de Chagny, and her music teacher, the hideous Erik, phantom of the opera.
DJ: What are your feelings on chandeliers?
PJ: Haha! Don’t sit under them! I think they’re quite pretty, and they’re good for swinging from when you are fencing, but you really need to have an opera house or castle to make them work. There’s nothing as sad as a huge chandelier hanging over the dining table in a tiny suburban house. They’re impossible to swing from and you don’t kill anyone when you cut them loose.
DJ: Plus you will bump your head on the chandelier if the table is moved! It doesn’t not kill you, but it’s annoying and slightly embarrassing.
PJ: Very true.
DJ: Was there anything that really annoyed you about this book?
PJ: I don’t know if anything really annoyed me, but a few things irritated me.
1. The LONG interlude about the managers clipping an envelope full of money to their coats.
2. The LONG chapters supposedly written by witnesses followed by LONG chapters filled with details Leroux couldn’t have possibly known if he was staying true to the researched, journalistic story.
3. Erik complaining about women not liking him and then killing practically everyone.
4. Random SHOUTING throughout the text.
5. Erik pretending that toads go CRO-ACK.
6. Raoul accusing his beloved Christine of being a slut because he heard a man talk to her (while he hid in her dressing room and spied on her – the beginning of a healthy relationship there).
DJ: I actually didn’t mind the part about the managers trying to secure the envelope. I think it showcased just how stupid and incompetent they really were. (How do you take over management of an opera house and not realize you are in charge of a stable full of horses?) But OTHERWISE I’m in agreement.
PJ: Haha! I like what you did there.
DJ: There have been several adaptations of this novel, for both stage and screen, the best received and most notable being the 2000 Disney Channel film “Phantom of the Megaplex.” What’s your favorite adaptation, and what do you feel it adds to this book?
PJ: Ah yes, an instant classic.
My favorite adaptations are the Lon Chaney 1925 original, which plays up the horror and I think cast the Phantom as a prototype for the masked men to come in movies such as Halloween and Friday the 13th, and the 1990 Charles Dance and Teri Polo NBC version which portrayed the Phantom as a very dashing, romantic, tragic character.
Having read the book, I think they both took aspects of the book and developed them in very different ways. I’d like to see an adaptation that was truer to the source and showed Erik for the intelligent, manipulative monster he was. Not a slasher movie monster or a sexy antihero but more of a Hannibal Lecter type of character.
DJ: I confess that I am a total philistine. I’ve never seen the 1990 rendition. I also like the Andrew Loyd Webber version. Not because he has a great understanding of the characters or the story, but simply for the fact that putting this story on a stage and using opera inspired music to tell it does more justice to the setting than other versions I’ve seen. Plus the music is kind of cool. Shoot me if you want.
PJ: (brandishing gun) I’m sorry, Joe, it’s for your own good.
DJ: Can you see Erik as a sympathetic character?
Because I loved the 1990 version, I kept trying to make excuses for Erik but I quickly realized that the novel version isn’t the same as the Charles Dance version. I found him quite humorous and entertaining, but in a Ming the Merciless or Emperor Palpatine kind of way (hey, do you think that’s why he was called the phantom menace?). I didn’t see him as sympathetic at all. Plus his hygiene was terrible. He smelt of death all the time. Yuk.
DJ: I bet George Lucas is a major phantom nerd, which probably has something to do with the fact that Phantom Cologne isn’t a bigger hit around Halloween.
PJ: I think we’ve uncovered something big here!
DJ: Other than Christine, which characters would you have liked to have known more about?
PJ: It felt like we got to see the in-depth thoughts of every other character in the book. Raoul’s brother, Philippe, seemed a good guy. I’d like to have seen more of him (his death at the very least).
DJ: Yep, not many gory details on that one.
Thank you for buddy reading Phantom of the Opera with me, Joe. I think we should take a buddy trip to see the opera house that inspired the book. The underground lake sounds fun.