grantaire

readin’ the BBC Les Mis shooting script

It’s online ya see. So, against my better judgement (since I thought the whole thing was awful and all) I decided to go look up the Grantaire bits.

AND WE’RE ALREADY OFF TO A TERRIBLE START.

I don’t think the Grantaire-Eponine bit made it to the actual TV screen but it definitely wasn’t in the books. And okay, I’ll concede that Grantaire is pretty shitty towards women in the book, but not this shitty. He goes out and parties with Marius and the others at the ball of “lost women” (which takes up one paragraph in the book rather than the entire sequence devoted to it it in the miniseries) but he doesn’t seem like the type to hire a prostitute:

“Oh! frightful old world. People strive, turn each other out, prostitute themselves, kill each other, and get used to it!”

-from “PRELIMINARY GAYETIES”

But the thing that possibly annoys me the most about this scene (apart from it also reducing Eponine to a quip machine, which I hate) is that if it had just stopped before that bit it would have actually been a good moment, because Eponine and Marius and Grantaire at this point are “in love with an angel”:

Grantaire admired, loved, and venerated Enjolras. To whom did this anarchical scoffer unite himself in this phalanx of absolute minds? To the most absolute. In what manner had Enjolras subjugated him? By his ideas? No. By his character. A phenomenon which is often observable. A sceptic who adheres to a believer is as simple as the law of complementary colors. That which we lack attracts us. No one loves the light like the blind man. The dwarf adores the drum-major. The toad always has his eyes fixed on heaven. Why? In order to watch the bird in its flight. Grantaire, in whom writhed doubt, loved to watch faith soar in Enjolras. He had need of Enjolras. That chaste, healthy, firm, upright, hard, candid nature charmed him, without his being clearly aware of it, and without the idea of explaining it to himself having occurred to him.

-from A GROUP WHICH BARELY MISSED BECOMING HISTORIC

Honestly (to me at least) the Grantaire/Enjolras relationship is one of the most tragic, romantic and interesting relationships in the whole of Les Mis, and for the life of me I can’t see why it was just… left out. There was time to show Marius having a wet dream about Eponine (ugh) but no time to explore the only bit of the book which depicts an (albeit one-sided) love between two men?

I assumed when I first watched this episode that “I have felt what you are feeling” etc was a veiled nod towards the relationship, but I kinda have second thoughts now.

Onwards…

I don’t hate this but it’s nowhere near what happens in the book:

He sat down, put his elbows on a table near the window, looked at Enjolras with indescribable gentleness, and said to him:—

“Let me sleep here.”

“Go and sleep somewhere else,” cried Enjolras.

But Grantaire, still keeping his tender and troubled eyes fixed on him, replied:—

“Let me sleep here,—until I die.”

Enjolras regarded him with disdainful eyes:—

“Grantaire, you are incapable of believing, of thinking, of willing, of living, and of dying.”

Grantaire replied in a grave tone:—

“You will see.”

-from NIGHT BEGINS TO DESCEND UPON GRANTAIRE

Okay this actually is in the book (though it’s more than Grantaire joining in) and yes it absolutely would count as sexual assault in today’s world. Sure it would have been nothing in the nineteeth century but now it is, which makes this all the odder:

So, ur…?

Disclosure! I once wrote a fanfic where (a pre-barricade) Matelote and Grantaire do indeed go to bed together, but there’s nothing really in the books to actually indicate she was attracted to him in the slightest. Or even liked him, really. (Can you blame her?)

We are now up to The Death Scene:

I’m glad they got some variation of “I am one of them” plus “Long live the Republic” in there. But here’s the kicker, here’s what They Did Not Get…

Grantaire doesn’t face the firing squad because he has “the courage of a very drunk man indeed,” the exact opposite in fact-

Grantaire rose to his feet with a start, stretched out his arms, rubbed his eyes, stared, yawned, and understood.

A fit of drunkenness reaching its end resembles a curtain which is torn away. One beholds, at a single glance and as a whole, all that it has concealed. All suddenly presents itself to the memory; and the drunkard who has known nothing of what has been taking place during the last twenty-four hours, has no sooner opened his eyes than he is perfectly informed.

-from ORESTES FASTING AND PYLADES DRUNK

He chooses to die alongside Enjolras because he’s in love with him, whichever way you wanna take that. Oh sure, the miniseries version of the death scene is snappy enough, and they did at least get the clasped hands in there in the finished version-

-but it doesn’t have anywhere near the power of the book. Why? Well honestly very little of the miniseries has anywhere near the power of the book, but leaving out the Grantaire/Enjolras story in a show that had more than enough time for it is just sort of galling to me personally… plus I notice that they managed to sexualise almost every relationship in the book (in increasingly gross ways) except the one same-sex one. Sigh.

Happy Valentine’s Day, assorted OTPs!

A very happy day to Amy&Rory, Quinn&Gary, Enjolras&Grantaire, Peter&Harry, Bubblegum&Marceline, Star-Lord&Gamora, Gail&Erica, Faramir&Eowyn, Finn&Poe, and Disneyverse Esmeralda&Phoebus.

Most of whom never celebrated or had any concept of a Valentine’s Day.

A Movie Meme

(image from here)

I found this prompt meme at coffee, classics, & craziness and I’m joining in! Yay!

Rules:

#1 Use a different movie for each prompt
#2 Add photos and/or explanations of how your choices fit the prompts
#3 Tag a few friends to play along

Let’s see what we got.

1. A Partridge in a Pear Tree — movie that involves agriculture

OH NO. Okay… Hmm. WAIT! My husband just HANDED ME the most obvious answer. The Martian, a space movie which I love, all about a guy who survives on Mars by growing potatoes. (It’s much, much more interesting than I make it sound there.)

Home to a really good line about humanity and the world:

“Every human being has a basic instinct: to help each other out. If a hiker gets lost in the mountains, people will coordinate a search. If a train crashes, people will line up to give blood. If an earthquake levels a city, people all over the world will send emergency supplies. This is so fundamentally human that it’s found in every culture without exception. Yes, there are assholes who just don’t care, but they’re massively outnumbered by the people who do.”

2. Turtledoves — movie about a long-lasting relationship

Back in 2007 this movie ripped my heart out, stamped on it, put it back in, then kicked it upwards through my brain and out my head.

I speak of course of Atonement, the tale of a doomed romance and some beautiful, beautiful dresses. In the end, Robbie and Cecilia can’t survive World War II or the British class system. (Yeah, the British class system, not Briony, is the villain of this story.) But Briony ensures via her writing that they have a long-lasting relationship anyway, and I cry.

3. French Hens — movie that takes place in France

Okay, it’s a toss-up between two movies here, both based on works by Victor Hugo: Disney’s The Hunchback of Notre Dame and Tom Hooper’s Les Miserables. And… despite the fact that it has virtually nothing at all to do with the book… I think Hunchback juuuust takes it, because it’s a gorgeous, interesting, progressive-for-Disney film, and I love it.

I can’t even choose one shot from this movie so just have the opening one. And hey! The titular church didn’t burn down this year! It’s still there!

4. Calling Birds — movie where people talk on the phone

Okay, I’m gonna stretch the definition of “phone” a bit here and show you something from The Phantom Menace:

Qui-Gon’s space phone (commlink, sorry) is actually a Gillette Ladies Sensor Excel Razor, or a close approximation of. THIS MOVIE COST 115 MILLION DOLLARS. I love it.

5. Golden Rings — movie with multiple romances

There could only ever be one choice here.

I’m sorry I knoooooow Love Actually probably isn’t really all that great as a movie and it’s so cheesy and corny and up-itself but I love it. It’s like a warm Christmas hug. (And I don’t even really like Christmas, so…)

6. Geese A-laying — movie with a birth or that features babies

So before there was Baby Yoda, there was this equally adorable fella:

And I think his presence is enough to qualify Guardians of the Galaxy 2 as a film that features babies. No births though, unless you count the birth of a god or the birthing chamber stuff on the gold planet or various “rebirths” of characters. Wait… GOTG2 is surprisingly birth-metaphors-heavy actually. Who knew.

7. Swans A-swimming — movie where someone goes swimming

Okay, so maybe this isn’t so much “someone goes swimming” as it is “someone tries to swim and nearly drowns” but…

I can still remember the music from that bit in Fellowship of the Ring after all this time. My god, the last quarter of that movie kicks all kind of ass and tramples on my feelings, I love it so.

“I made a promise, Mr. Frodo. A promise. Don’t you leave him, Samwise Gamgee. And I don’t mean to. I don’t mean to.”

8. Maids A-milking — movie with cows

Okay, this can only be Children of Men. (A film that I very nearly put at #6.) Why? At the film’s pivotal moment we get this beautiful, striking scene featuring a whole lotta cows.

I think it’s meant to be reminiscent of Mary in the manger. And I love it so much. Please watch Children of Men, it’s so harrowing but so good, it’s amazing, I promise.

9. Ladies Dancing — movie with a dance scene

AM I GONNA DO IT? YEAH I’M GONNA DO IT. I’m gonna put Spider-Man 3 in here. Yes, that one.

But not for that dance scene… or even that one. You know the much-derided ones I mean. The one I like is this one:

Harry Osborn (in his various incarnations) is my Second Favourite Fictional Character Of All Time, and Mary Jane is pretty high up the list as well, so it was nice to see them have a moment of happiness before one of them dies. Honestly, that’s it. (I unapologetically love Spider-Man 3, even if only for Harry. I admit it. I’m sorry. No wait, no I’m not.)

10. Lords A-leaping — movie about athletes

Aw dang… I’m not good at this genre. But I do really like Noel Clarke’s Fast Girls and no-one else seems to have seen it, so I’m putting it here. I really need to watch it again actually. It suffers from Unnecessary Forced Heterosexual Romance In An Almost All-Woman Film Syndrome but eh, what doesn’t.

(Yeah, the Noel Clarke from Doctor Who. And yes, that is a pre-mega-fame Lily James.)

11. Pipers Piping — movie with someone playing a musical instrument

Wait, NOW I can get Les Miserables in here. During the very start of the “Drink With Me” scene Grantaire (my First Favourite Fictional Character of all time) starts running his hands over a broken piano.

It doesn’t make any sound of course, but that’s so much more poignant than if it had.

12. Drummers Drumming — movie with characters in the military

I don’t really get to go to the cinema much these days but one film I did see this year was Tolkien, which kinda delves in a little into how Tolkien’s experiences in the First World War inspired his writings.

It didn’t get very good reviews, to my surprise, and I suppose the dispute with Tolkien’s descendants definitely didn’t help, but I liked it. It definitely didn’t shy away when depicting the horrors of World War I.

And that’s that…

You should definitely do this meme if you want to! In fact, please do!

So I just realised I never posted my BBC Les Mis episode-by-episode reviews on here! Let’s rectify that:

Les Mis episode one. Apparently writer Andrew Davies hates the musical, so I have an instant distrust of him, I’m sorry. I also have an instant distrust of a man who claims to be “saving Hugo from himself.” Victor Hugo was a womanising fiend who once sent a live bat to his fiancee via post, the old asshole would die laughing at the notion he needed “saving.”

Anyway. It wasn’t bad! Perfectly cast so far. Johnny Flynn looks EXACTLY like the Felix Tholomyes in my head. It was nice to see Fantine’s friends, too, even though they’re down to two from the novel’s three. I always wondered if they met kinder fates than her.

It was good to see the Petit Gervais scene. I understand 100% why it gets omitted from the musical but of all the scenes Not In The Musical it’s probably one of the more important ones. Also Dominic West makes a very good closer-to-the-book Valjean. Hugh Jackman is lovely but he can never hide his loveliness even when playing a hardened violent criminal. (Sorry Hugh.)

This is a good Fantine. One thing I do agree with Andrew Davies on, Fantine is silly and soppy and easily led. She’s not a strong female character. You should care about her anyway.

Les Mis episode two. The writers seem to have given Fantine a last name, which I’m actually quite pleased about. (I wonder if they’ll also give Javert a first one.) However, that’s the only thing I’m pleased with. NO Valjean doesn’t and shouldn’t have anything to do with how Fantine ends up on the streets! In the book he has no idea she’s been fired. His only crime, if it could be said to be one, is trusting that his factory workers will treat their employees well. So yeah, why, whyyyyy throw that in for no reason? Why make it Valjean’s fault when it was *society’s* fault? You know….?

David Oyelowo is a great actor but Javert hasn’t been given anything to do so far except stand around and be menacing. (And all his dialogue is so clunky.) But also… Book Javert is just cold and aloof. *This* Javert is outright mean and nasty, calling Fantine terrible things and just generally being awful. Again whyyyyy? What’s the point? We’re supposed to feel sorry for him, that he’s given up his identity to an establishment that doesn’t care. This Javert *is* the Establishment, and oooh, that’s getting on my nerves.

Actually yeah, I kind of feel that’s the problem with this whole adaptation. Everything that’s happened in it has been A Person’s fault, not People’s fault, you know? Fantine can’t suffer and die because of a whole community being compassionless and cruel, it has to be primarily the doing of Valjean for some reason.

Sigh. I am at least looking forward to meeting Eponine and Les Amis, who I love with all my heart. (Also I only found out today that the actress who’ll play Eponine also played my favourite character in the Star Wars Han Solo movie. Noice.) Oooh, and I am very glad to see Eponine’s little sister, Azelma, around. She’s actually one of my faves in the book because god, she suffers SO MUCH and I want to protect her poor soul. But anyway, this complete misunderstanding of the story is really rattling me. As you can probably tell.

So far I rate this production 0/2 candlesticks.

Les Mis episode two OH GOD I HAVE MORE I’M SO SORRY. I love Olivia Colman a lot but there’s not a terrible amount of depth to Mme Thenardier so far. I find her more interesting than her horrible husband so I wish there was.

(Side note: Oh, when The Crown airs with Colman and Helena Bonham-Carter this year, two Mme Thenardiers will be sharing the screen, how fabulous a tidbit that is to NO-ONE BUT ME)

Another irritating thing: Sister Simplice. She’s an interesting minor character in the novel and here’s the thing: she LIKES Fantine! Simplice is a nun and Fantine is a “fallen woman” and yet she cares for her health completely and is kind to her. It’s not what you would expect and is a great departure from the cliche, so OF COURSE she’s only in the adaptation so Valjean can yell at her for calling Fantine ‘the prostitute’.

Please somebody make me stop talking

Les Mis episode three. I liked it a bit more than the last. LOVE the fabulously morbid detail of Cosette’s first doll possibly being where her dead mother’s hair ended up.

The writers have compressed a lot of stuff down for this episode. No Fachevelent, and Sister Simplice and the Mother Superior are sort of both composite characters of each other, if that makes sense. Between this show and Call the Midwife it was a good night for Benevolent Nuns.

It’s good to see Gavroche so early (the musical never bothered mentioning he was a Thenadier) and ah look he’s being mistreated by his parents even as a very young kid because they’re literally the worst people on the planet.

I saw someone on Twitter point out that it’s kinda disconcerting how Les Mis seems to have been cast colour-blind and yet two of the main antagonists, one of whom PIMPS OUT A CHILD (ugh) are also two of the few characters of colour. So I kinda agree with that I think. Javert still seems to have been written meaner and crueler than he is in the book.

Another thing! Despite the protestations of Andrew Davies this production seems to borrow an awful lot from the movie musical. Even Georgie Glenn has been reused. (She was a nun in the movie and a Mother Superior in this.) Obviously there’s only so much you can do when both are based on the same source material but it’s a wee bit surprising how many shots look so similar.

One big departure I forgot about and LOVED: Little Cosette swearing! I mean, of course she bloody would, wouldn’t she, considering the environment she was in. It was nice to see her have a bit of bite.

Les Mis episode four. Too much sex. Too much not-in-the-book sex. It’s very silly and totally unnecessary.

Les Amis! Enjolras looks nothing like anyone ever imagined him (where are his ridiculous angelic blonde locks?) but Grantaire is bang-on perfect.

They did pay a TINY bit of lip service to Enjolras/Grantaire but so far even less than the movie-musical did. Still I wasn’t really expecting much.

…Weird how every other relationship in this story has been given sexual overtones (including Valjean/Cosette, UGH) but not the only gay relationship. WHO WOULD HAVE GUESSED…

I love this Eponine. Everything about her is perfect.(I mean, apart from the pointless sex scenes) Actually I like her better than Sam Barks’s Eponine, and I liked her a lot.

Good to see Azelma still around. I wonder if she’ll meet the same fate in this she does in the book (she remains tethered to her horrible abusive father even when he goes to America and becomes a slave trader). Which brings me to…

I think this adaptation’s a good example of how colourblind casting (though great in many cases) can fail. As a lot of people have pointed out on Twitter, almost all the protagnonists are white and almost all the antagonists are people of colour. They could’ve gotten around that pretty easily and they didn’t. (Why not a black Valjean?) And Thernadier, considering his position in the story and where he ends up (a SLAVE TRADER, although most adaptions leave that out…) I kinda feel he should have been white, you know? A few things switched here and there and it wouldn’t feel so uncomfortable.

Um. I guess that’s it for now? Yeah I still don’t like it, you can tell.

Les Mis episode five. I guess I’ll be keeping my eye on Grantaire since he’s still my favourite fictional character of all time! They still haven’t quiiiiiite got around to stating he’s gay/bi (Victor Hugo managed it the best he could, with lots of euphemisms regarding Greeks) but his death scene was in the ‘next time’ trailer so maybe they managed to tell his story to *some* extent at least. That’d be nice.

I LOVE Erin Kellyman’s Eponine. I loved her smile when she’s finally free of her mother, I loved her final moments, it made me so sad. She better go onto be big.

Gavroche is also great, but it pisses me off they didn’t show his reaction to his *sister* dying right there in his vicinity. Great time to forget they’re related guys, you remembered in previous episodes.

All in all this was probably the best episode they’ve done so far, nothing MASSIVELY out of character. Valjean and Cosette maybe but I’ve kind of given up on the adaptation getting them right. And any adaptation getting Marius/Cosette right. No, they didn’t actually fall in love in that short space of time! In the book it takes ages!

Thought I posted on Twitter: I love Eponine so much, I could write essays on her. She has no reason to ever be heroic and she fails a lot but she’s always TRYING SO HARD to be good. Imagine what she might have become.

Thought I didn’t post on Twitter: I still have no idea whether Victor Hugo intended his audience to like Marius or not.

Les Mis episode six, the last one!

Okay I find it hard to collect my thoughts, because they all go back to my overall thoughts on the series. Mostly it’s been alright, but there are some character things I just can’t forgive. Like Valjean being responsible for Fantine’s downfall. And in this episode something even worse: Marius hears directly from Thenardier that he plans to become A SLAVE TRADER and GIVES HIM MONEY ANYWAY. SO HE CAN TRADE SLAVES. Absolutely 100% cannot accept that one. (In the book Thenadier just spins some yarn and Marius gives him the owed money to “go get hanged somewhere else.) So that put a BIT of a damper on the otherwise alright ending, shall we say. Gah.

Enjolras and Grantaire’s death scene had all of the visuals but none of the heart. If you don’t know it’s a love story (or if it’s a love story you can’t be arsed to tell) it loses some of its power, you know?. (I’m still terribly suspicious that they managed to sexualise every single relationship in the story *apart* from the gay one.) That being said, both their actors were really good, I just wish they’d gotten to be the tinest bit more like their book counterparts.

David Oyelowo’s portrayal of Javert’s suicide better be the BAFTA clip that plays when he wins it. MAN, that was good. Dominic West was also good. I don’t have a single quibble about the acting in this series, it’s just those little things here and there which made me sigh and go back to the book…

This series ends with two kids (the lost Thenadier siblings?) begging in the street. It’s not a bad ending but god, imagine how powerful it would have been if they’d flash-forwarded to the modern day, just for those last few seconds.

flovvright:

george blagden’s sad, bitter, disillusioned faces right before drink with me are soooooo. theyre so. oof. i mean bless him for doing the character work for grantaire he could squeeze in, but MAN they hurt

and right after this he’s the one that starts drink with me… and pretends to play this busted piano……….

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SPIDERS GRANTAIRE, or, the best historical discovery i have ever made

1001paperboxes:

verseanduniverse:

barricadeur:

so i was searching scanned archives of historical books for references to the names of the amis outside of les mis, like you do, in order to try and find clues for why hugo picked the names that he did. i found a few things (which i’ll make a post about later), but i wasn’t having much luck overall… until i found this sentence in a french scientific journal (Cosmos: revue des sciences et de leurs applications) from 1895:

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for those of you who don’t speak french, allow me to translate:

A Frenchman by the name of Pierre Grantaire has, near Philadelphia (United States), the largest spider “farm.”

…okay cosmos, you have my attention. the full article is even better:

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and another rough translation:

The art of giving bottled wine the appearance of age. – More and more things are counterfeited in our age. This is why there are forged diamonds and other precious stones, ivory, gold, rubber. Now, here’s an example found in the sale of phony old wines, that is, wine stored in bottles having the appearance of age. To make bottles appear older and obtain a better price for their contents, a new industry was created, that of spider cultivation. A Frenchman by the name of Pierre Grantaire has, near Philadelphia (United States), the largest spider “farm.” His stock usually consists of thousands of spiders originating mostly from the selection of spiders imported from France.
This industry also exists in the Loire region, but on a smaller scale. There are however ten establishments devoted to the cultivation of spiders in this department. These spiders are sold for around 60 francs per hundred, and the clientele consists of french wine-growers who use them for a clever, if not recommendable, purpose.
Three months after the introduction of 60 francs’ worth of spiders to a newly stocked wine cellar, the bottles are covered from cork to cork in spiderwebs. The uneducated person, seeing these bottles completely covered in spiderwebs, naturally concludes that the wine which they contain is old, and so one can get a better price for it.

COUNTERFEIT WINE 

SPIDER-FARMER GRANTAIRE

IS A THING

and it gets better — apparently this story went “viral,” in a nineteenth-century sense, appearing throughout different american newspapers and journals, including the scientific fucking american. here’s an excerpt from the story about it in the hartford locomotive:

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aka: 

“average ami raises 3 spiders a year” factoid actualy just statistical error. average ami eats 0 spiders per year. Spiders Grantaire, who lives in pennsylvania & raises over 10,000 each day, is an outlier adn should not have been counted”

here’s the headline of the san francisco call’s article:

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HE HAS A MOTHERFUCKING SPIDER FARM. 

the text of the article (which we can all read because it is available online, thank the old gods and the new) includes an interview with spiders grantaire, in which he waxes rhapsodically about his charges in exactly the way that you imagine the grantaire of les mis would:

“They think I feed them now,” said Pierre, “but I ford them for you. They have brains, these little creatures. Ah, they are cunning. After you see them and I tell you of them you will not oush them more. You will say, ‘The spider can teach me something. I will Watch him. He is a diplomat, an architect, a mathematician. His knowledge is worth having.’ Ah, there is a fine fellcw running on your neck. Don’t knock him off. He will not bite you. They are harmless. He wishes to give you a bon jour and make your acquaintance. […]
“But what money is there in it, you ask. Men Dieu, money, money—always money. I, who love my pets, to be always thinking of what they sell for! I will tell you now, and then you will talk no more of money, and I can show you something. A customer comes to me. He is a wine merchant from New York or Philadelphia, or perhaps he writes. He says that he has just stocked a cellar with five-year-old port or Burgundy, or something else. The bottles have brushed clean in shipping. They look like new and common. They will not sell for old wine. He has attached to them labels of twenty, thirty or forty years ago, some year of a grand vintage. He tells me so many hundred bottles. I know how many of my pets will soon cover his cellar in cobwebs of the finest old kind. I put them in little small paper boxes, a pair in a box. I ship then, in a crate, with many holes for air. Maybe I send 200, 300 or 400 spiders. For them I ask half a franc each, si, for every hundred. In two months you would think his cellar was not disturbed for the last forty years. It has cost him $40, or $50 maybe, but he may sell the wine for $1,000 —yes, more than that—above what it had brought without any pets had dressed the bottles in robes of long ago.”

one million stories, please, about a grantaire who miraculously survives the barricade and moves to the united states where he starts a spider farm and keeps the flame of the revolution alive by bilking snobby fat cats out of their wine money.

If y’all didn’t realize I was going to research the crap out of this just because I could, you clearly don’t understand this blog at all.

So, first off, I seriously doubt there was ever a French military veteran farmer named Pierre Grantaire who moved to Pennsylvania to help wine merchants defraud people and had pet spiders named after Zola and Sarah Bernhardt.

I know it’s sad. And I can’t prove there wasn’t. But you have to understand that “there were articles in a bunch of 19th century newpapers and the notes sections of some scientific journals” is basically  the equivalent, accuracy-wise, of saying “I saw it on my tumblr dash”. Which is to say, they shamelessly made stuff up. All the time. And then shamelessly copied it off each other.

I can tell you that there was no person by the name of Grantaire living anywhere in Pennsylvania in the 1880 or 1900 US censuses, though, and nobody with a name even close to Grantaire who was born in France and lived there. (The 1890 records were destroyed in a fire.)

Plus there’s the fact, as needsmoreresearch pointed out, that if you want to make a cellar look spider-y, you don’t use pretty garden spiders that weave neat patterns, you use the cellar spiders that use the fluffy dusty cobwebby silk, which could be a question of art as proposed in needsmoreresearch’s post, but it seems like if you were actually committing fraud you’d go for authenticity over symmetry.

And the earliest version of this story I can find, after checking a bunch of databases, is in the April 16th Edition of the St. Paul Daily Globe. I can’t guarantee that’s the original source, since digitizing of American newspapers is still pretty patchy, but I’d make a fair bet that it is. It’s the full long-form article and includes all the quotes and wording that were copied in the other publications and tbh it really reads like a 19th century newspaper hoax.

Also, unlike any of the other papers, the Daily Globe was advertising it over a week in advance as one of their cool weird stories in the Sunday edition, which none of the other papers did. Including, for several days, under the headline “NOT A FREAK SHEET”. Daily Globe, methinks you may protest too much.

Now you may think it’s sad if this dude did not exist. But. Just imagine: A bunch of Globe reporters just off their alcohol-soaked lunch break, BS-ing about the most click-bait-y hoax stories they can come up with, and one of them says, “I need a name for a weird old rambly French dude who really likes spiders” and another immediately says “Grantaire. Definitely Grantaire.”

And since the ONLY results in Google Books for the word “Grantaire” in all of the 1890s are a) this story, and b) editions of Les Miserables, I am absolutely sure that whoever proposed that name was a Les Mis fan.

In other words, this is totally somebody’s modern-US-AU Grantaire headcanon from the 1890s that got reblogged a lot and is still merrily going viral 125 years later, because Mis fandom never dies.

“Les Mis memes last 3 years” factoid actually just statistical error. Les Mis memes last 1 month if they’re lucky. Spiders Grantaire, a meme going viral for over 125 years and still going strong is a statistical outlier and should not have been counted.