Probably the most difficult thing I encounter writing my blog are the different portrayals of the characters from the original Leroux, to the stage play, to the movie. There are variations in each, and Meg Giry, the daughter of Madame Giry, is no exception. Referred to as “little” Meg in Leroux, and termed by him as the “most charming star of our admirable corps de ballet.”
In the novel she is described as having eyes black, black hair, a dark complexion, and being little boned. Perhaps that’s where the “little” reference comes in. In the film version she is opposite, much more beautiful, fair, curvy, blonde and blue eyed, but still on the petite side. Leroux states that eventually in life she becomes the Baroness de Barbazac, perhaps in fulfillment of O.G.’s earlier prophecy to her mother that some day she would be “empress.”
Meg knows about the Opera Ghost, and has received that knowledge from her mother. O.G. apparently helps her career by arranging for her promotion to “leader of a row” in the ballet. She knows about Box 5, and shares secrets about the Ghost with the other girls in the ballet corps, sometimes to her amusement by frightening them with stories about his existence. She states at one point, “Awful things!” said Meg cheerfully, “truly awful. The floor in our dressing room starts to run with blood...”
Leroux never mentions that she is friends with Christine Daae. She does, however, comment in the novel on Christine’s ability to sing by stating that before she obtained a divine voice, six months prior to that she “sang like a rusty hinge.” The storyline, of course, in Webber is different, and she is close friends with Christine, her mother having taken her as her own daughter and the two of them growing up like sisters.
From Webber’s character, I like to think of Meg as a woman of possibilities. It’s clear she knows more than she’s telling Christine. When in the chapel, she asks if she thinks it’s the spirit of her dead father coaching her. Christine replies “who else,” but Meg turns her head, seemingly knowing it’s the Phantom. She also seems to have a fascination for the Phantom while watching his interaction with Christine; and if we are to read behind the lines of their friendship, she must know of Christine’s love for Raoul and her plans to betray him. When Christine is taken, she wants to run to his lair with Raoul, but her mother holds her back. At the end, she obviously persists in her longing to see where he lives, as she is the first to enter the Phantom’s lair. She looks for him, finds him absent, but sees his mask and carries it off with her.
To me, the movie portrays her as a woman of possibilities beyond the sad ending of the story, perhaps for our benefit and imagination. Sequels have been written to follow that line of thought, as my readers no doubt know. It’s not difficult to believe that this man, who she has known since childhood as the Phantom of the Opera, did not hold for her as a woman some mysterious attraction to his genius and existence as well. After all, her mother served him faithfully throughout the years. Perhaps she is drawn toward him out of thankfulness, curiosity, or dare I say it, even love.
Meg – the woman of possibilities. Who is Meg to you? If you were her, would you have followed Erik through the mirror or reunited him with Christine or another? That’s the great thing about fiction; you can write whatever you choose and take the story wherever your imagination chooses to go.
The Phantom's Student and a Woman of Possibilities
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