Saturday, September 28, 2013

Celebrate Musicals Week: A Tale of Two Cities {Charles Darnay}

Okay by now I'm sure you've noticed that I'm a Charles Darnay fan. Which is why you're about to get a good dose of fangirling. It's such an unpopular opinion, which is why this will also be a post in defense of Charles. Although it's mostly fangirling you will have to put up with.

When I hear the name Charles Darnay the first word that comes to mind is gentleman. This is the best word to describe Charles; he's a proper European gentleman. His manners are impeccable as he thanks Lucie for her testimony at his hearing, only showing concern for how the events have affected her. Falling in love much?
Next we find Charles defending Lucie's name and honor. He's already loyal to her despite the fact that there's still no relationship between the two of them. Think about it! This attribute is so rare to find in boys/men these days. I hardly ever come across a guy willing to stand-up against a crude joke or stand-up against someone who's being out of line. Usually I find them all in a group, laughing and acting like over all animals. Charles manages to do all this without even loosing his temper.

This is where a lot of people start pointing out that "yes, he's a great guy, but Sydney loves Lucie more." Of course Sydney loves Lucie (more on that in another post), but Charles and Lucie share a love that Sydney could never be a part of, Sydney himself admits it! Charles was willing to admit he was a French aristocrat to Doctor Manette because of his love for Lucie. During the French Revolution this was basically declaring your own death wish, even if he was living in England. Anything could have happened to take him back to France, as seen later on in the plot.
Now we've come to one of my favorite parts: his asking Lucie's father for permission to marry  and the proposal itself.
First off he goes to the father. Obviously that was a must for that day and time, but it still gets to me. Asking the fathers permission is becoming 'old fashioned'. To top it all off Charles is so respectful, honest, and soft spoken. Secondly, he's gone to Lucie's father before making any advances what-so-ever! He hasn't even spoken of his feelings with her. Yes, they both are deeply in love, but he's respected her so much so to the point he's willing to admit his feelings to her father first. Just look at his face as he waits for Doctor Manette's reply. It's as if he is in pain not knowing.
Then the proposal: *swoon*

They're so sweet together. I could never see Lucie actually marrying Sydney Carton, but Charles on the other hand....also note to my future husband...the above mentioned going to the father is a must, minus the singing of course. Daddy would probably say no if you on the other hand...well if the proposal was sang then I would most definitely say yes "before Miss Pross comes back"

ACK. Once again I must fangirl over this kiss. THIS KISS. It's got to be one of the best kisses ever to take center stage of musical theater. I'm sorry, but Cosette and Marius don't even compare to this. Not ever. The run-across-the-room-take-her-in-his-arms-lovingly-gaze-into-her-eyes kiss is just *swoons again* Okay, but back to why I love Darnay (I mean the kiss is great but...). When Miss Pross interrupts the kiss Charles instantly steps aside, asking for Miss Pross's forgiveness.
The wedding. Oh my goodness. You can just see how devoted Darnay would be as a husband. (would it be overly dramatic for me to swoon again....yes?....okay well I'll try and refrain from swooning.) There's no doubt about this love being fully consuming. This was clearly a match made in heaven. Of course its sad that Sydney is so pained, but these two are so happy. 

I swear I'm not trying to make Darnay out as perfect. He's obviously not, since he is after all human. But just look at this. He is in complete aw of this child they've brought into the world. Lucie and Little Lucie are clearly the center of his universe. Someone please find me a Charles please? He's a romantic, he's honorable, he's a family man, he's even brought Sydney into the family as a close friend. 

Look at how he's gazing on his daughter and how his wife gazes at him. Okay, so confession time...I'm a hopeless romantic. No, really I am. This scene brings me to tears. So much love between Lucie and Charles, and even more love between them and their child, then there's Sydney with little Lucie, and then Lucie and Sydney and ACK.

Charles arrested for coming to help a friend. He KNEW the risks of going to France with the title bestowed upon him. Still, he went because it was the honorable and right thing to do. On the other hand he was torn between  staying with his wife and child, but could he really stand by and do nothing while a fellow countryman was in need? 

At the trial he bravely accepts his fate in front of the Republic and his wife....but really his heart is being torn apart as he suffers the consequences of his honest actions. His taught's are not on his own life or death, but how they will change the lives of his wife and daughter...the two women that haunt his dreams.

Okay another confession. Men who cry break me, or at least they break my heart. That tear slowly rolling down Charles face as he sings of Little Lucie...just hand me a tissue please....

But then most of all Charles is willing to give his wife a happy life, one where she is loved. He basically tells Sydney that he knows Sydney loves his wife and that Sydney needs to take care of her. He's basically telling Sydney to love his wife, even though it breaks Charles heart. Yet, Sydney has other plans and proves his undying love for Lucie in a better way, giving Charles back the love of his life.

Well here we are at the bottom of the page (finally!). Sorry, I just really love Charles Darnay...actually come to think of it I'm not sorry. Anyhow, who do you prefer better Charles (I can't be the only one to like him...can I?) or Sydney? 



  1. *Sniffle* Loved this post! I finally watched ATOTC straight through this morning...wonderful post! I reeeeally, really liked Charles. He was so honorable and gentlemanly and...what you said. *swoon*
    Anyway. I can't decide between Charles and Sydney! I mean, I totally think that Charles was the right choice for Lucie, but as for favorite characters...they're tied.
    Great post! :)

    1. I'm so glad you got to watch the musical! Yes, yes swooning does happen often in the life of a fangirl. :) And indeed it is hard to choose between the two since both of them are such central characters in the plot.
      Thanks so much!

  2. Nooope, you're not the only one! *raises hand* I just watched this and I loved it. I read the book last year and the only adaptation I'd seen was from the 80s or something and not quite the thing, haha. Anyways, I have always preferred Charles. Bad boys don't appeal to me. :P (And alcoholics repulse me. Haha.) However, I do feel sorry for Sydney, ESPECIALLY the way they did it in this musical, haha. More than in the book, I think. And I admire what he did, but I feel it's how the story should have gone.

    The thing that bugs me about Sydney is that he knew that he should change but didn't want to try and I don't find that very admirable. So anyways. Charles annoys me a lot when he hurries over to Paris, though... without a word, haha. Surely there could have been a better way of doing things. I mean, he couldn't even be sure of the truth of the message to begin with. He'd be risking his life as well as the security and happiness of his family (and it ended up he risked their lives too, actually, even though he didn't know that would happen).

    Anyways. I'll quit rambling now. ;)

    1. Yay, another Charles lover! And by the way I love the ramblings. :)

      It annoys me too when Charles goes to France without finding more information on the situation. It was one of those moments when the writer in me is frustrated that characters aren't listings, although it would have made me love him a little bit less if he hadn't gone to save his friend.

  3. I enjoyed this post. I have never seen the musical, but ToTC is my FAVORITE BOOK EVER! And I actually disagree with you about Charles.

    Yes, I do agree that he was the better man for Lucie. There is no dispute whatsoever about that. But, speaking as an author, Sydney Carton is the best antihero I have ever come across. I prefer him character-wise to Charles Darnay, even though he may not be a better man, per say. Sydney's story is one of redemption and sacrifice, which makes him a more powerful character. As for Sydney not trying to change, you need to remember at the end of the book he actually realizes that Jesus is the only source of life, which is one of the main reasons that he is my favorite character in the history of literature.

    The problem with Dickens is that he made both of these men with likeable character qualities. We are drawn to Sydney, wanting him to win Lucie, to change his life, and to redeem himself. But we are also drawn to Charles because he is a gentle, loving, principled man. In the end, though, the author in me always wins out, and I side with Sydney. (I am not a weepy person, but the end of the book never fails to reduce me to uncontrolled sobbing.)

    Oddly enough, I like Raoul better in PotO, so this theory does not carry over into every story.

    Anywho, thank you so much for your very interesting post!

    1. Thank you so very much for dropping by Kathryn, and I absolutely loved reading your comment!

      ToTC has been my favorite book for years now, and although Charles wins my favorite character award, Sydney is definitely my favorite literary antihero in the history of antiheros. And I loved that you pointed out his realization that Jesus is his only salvation. That is my main reason for him being my favorite. He's a very realistic character, which is why I think we're so drawn to him.

      This is quite funny, or at least I find it to be so. In PotO I like the Phantom over Raoul. I guess this does prove the theory changes with the stories!

  4. Hey, Sierra! I nominated this post for the I'd Like To Share event over at Amy's blog -

  5. I have never seen the musical, but I read the book, and I loved it. I think the relationship between Lucie and Darnay is very sweet. Lucie and Sydney are better as a one-sided relationship. I love how Lucie stands outside Darnay's prison every day, no matter what the weather is like, so he can see her, and it is obvious that they love each other very much.

  6. Hello! I stumbled on your blog while looking up Sydney quotes, and I have to say, it was exciting! I don't know many people who like ATOTC, let alone have seen the musical! I have a favor to ask. right now there is a petition going to get ATOTC released on DVD. It needs 100 signatures and I am having a lot of trouble promoting it. Would you mind signing it and sharing? Maybe even posting about it? It would help so much and there are so few people I know that I can talk to :) Thank you so much for all your support! The Petiton: