This post will probably shock your mask off, because it’s going to be the most critical one I’ve written about the characters in Love Never Dies. I’ve had fun doing my psychological playground thing dissecting each character regarding their personality changes. Christine, however, remains an enigma. She is by far the most complicated of characters in the Phantom of the Opera and Love Never Dies.
If I had to use three words to describe Christine in this version, I’d say "twisted every way." I shake my head over this woman’s actions in the original and in the sequel. If you’ve never read my former posts regarding Little Lotte or Christine, follow the links and catch up. Christine is a product of her childhood in many ways. I see her as a woman who is indecisive, dependent, immature, confused, and torn.
Let’s take a look at her actions 10 years before her arrival on Coney Island. She was originally torn between two men. She loved the Phantom for his music and passion. She loved Raoul for the security and normal life he could give her. Twisted over her decision, she agrees to betray the Phantom in the Point of No Return so she can be with Raoul. Then in Love Never Dies, we hear that afterward (in the song Beneath the Moonless Sky), she returned to the Phantom and betrayed Raoul! When that doesn’t work out as hoped, she returns to Raoul, and betrays him again! And you wonder why the man drinks?
As you know, Beneath the Moonless Sky is a song about Christine’s indiscretion, if you wish to call it that, in returning to the Phantom before she weds the Vicomte de Chagny. Bad move. She succumbs to the unthinkable, has a one-night stand with the Phantom, and awakens to pledge her love only to find him gone. Rather than seeking him out until she finds him again, she returns to Raoul and proceeds to marry him under the guise she loves him. Does she love Raoul? Does she love the Phantom? Does she love both?
Christine has one big character flaw that her indecision breeds in her – she tends to betray the men she supposedly loves. Instead of being truthful with Raoul before the wedding about her one-night stand, Christine hides the fact and walks down the aisle vowing her love and devotion for Raoul at the altar. What kind of woman does that? What’s her motivation? Is Raoul the consolation prize? Is she in love with two men? Okay, of course, this is all just a story.
I suppose if we look deep enough into her motives, we might pity her instead. She’s torn between two men that have fought for her affections most of her life. She finds solace now in her son while she’s married to a man she really didn’t want 10 years ago. Did Christine ever make a true choice between the two? I don’t think so. In the play she sings totally unaware of the bet between Raoul and the Phantom. She didn't know the stakes, and she was manipulated again by her Angel and played by Raoul.
Frankly, the play couldn’t have ended any other way. Christine had to be taken out of the equation. In her dying breath, she professes again her love for the Phantom, while Raoul returns home with his tail between his legs.
As much as I love the Phantom story, I really think Christine's decision process is quite twisted in both the original and in the sequel; but it doesn't take away our obsession over those two star-crossed lovers who can never be together.
There I've said it.
The Phantom’s Student
NOTE: This will be my last post regarding the characters in Love Never Dies. I'm ready to leave it behind. As I said in my review, either embrace it, enjoy it, or reject it. I enjoyed the stage version, the actors, the singing, and took from it the good parts and left behind the bad. To be very frank and honest, I'm tired of the firestorm and criticism and just wish to move on to new and better things.
I'm finishing up my Phantom of Valletta story, which I hope to release this summer. Why? Oh why not, I say! Hey, there are tons of books already on the Phantom and I might as well throw another one on the heap. I've been so heavily involved in the Phantom community for so many years, I feel that I need to leave behind a rather unique story regarding the mask man that I love too. You'll find my book is unlike anything you'll read. It's not going to keep the conventions of what you feel should happen to the Phantom. And when it's released, it will either be embraced, enjoyed, or rejected. That's just the way it flows in the Phantom world. Hugs to all my readers.