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7/31 c1 11emeraldphan
I really have to apologise for not reviewing this sooner! It's a really good account of what might happen if Raoul and Erik had met on the first night, instead of Erik confronting Christine. He even seemed to be vaguely human, although still evasive and mysterious.

One thing that surprised me was how lazy Gustave was, which seemed very out of character for him. If he's related to Erik he would surely want to work hard on his music (and other things). I don't think Christine was lazy either, having trained as a singer under a very demanding, tutor so I don't know where he got that from, unless it's just from growing up in an upper class home with lots of servants? Still, I can understand why you wanted a change from an angelic genius.
A great story, which prevented a huge tragedy from happening and gave the de Chagnys another chance at happiness.
5/2 c1 aAangeldaisy
This is really wholesome :) I'd love it if you continued!
2/23 c1 45Igenlode Wordsmith
"Gustave didn't like anything he had to work for. Either he could do it immediately without any effort or he lost all interest and didn't do it at all" - hmm, I can definitely see the Phantom behaving like this! One of the less desirable effects of genius, I'm afraid; you get used to being able to do everything easily, and you never really learn to apply yourself to things you can't do first time off.

"Like all travels over the atlantic no one had been able to calculate the precise arrival. It dependet too much on unforseeable things and during the travel there was absolutely no communication possible" - I think that by this era people had a pretty good idea of when specific ships were due; I've just been reading about ship owners panicking back all the way back in the 1870s when their sailing clippers were late arriving from Australia and nothing had been heard of them. Ships heading in and out of crowded ports like London and Liverpool (or New York) all took the same route, and information as to sightings was valuable currency exchanged every time they passed one another. By 1907 the big modern steamships had just acquired wireless telegraph transmission that could put them in touch with the shore several days before they landed (a small but essential part of the plot of "The Choices of Raoul"!)
And in any case any ship coming up the river would have been reported from the minute it came in sight of land, hours earlier - if anyone had really wanted to organise a reception worthy of Christine, I think it could have been arranged :-(

"He was in some god forsaken hotel in a god forsaken city on a god forsaken continent. Somewhere among criminals and barbarians. A country full of people who had been cast out of society in Europe. Cast out for good reason" - I feel that Raoul may be a little confused between New York and Australia ;-p

I'm not sure I'm convinced by this self-righteous, workaholic Raoul, to be honest; he doesn't bear any more resemblance to his predecessor in POTO than the canon "Love Never Dies" version does, so he's not particularly recognisable, and it comes across instead as special pleading, like the rewritten Phantoms of fanfiction who are unjustly persecuted and would never hurt a fly...

"The barman brought them coffee and orange juice" - the Phantom is obviously very rich if he is ordering orange juice at the turn of the century! (It wasn't until the 1920s that America started marketing canned and processed orange juice from the Florida plantations as a health food drink; before that, if you wanted to drink juice extracted from an orange, you would have had to buy oranges during their ripe (winter) season and squeeze your own.)

"The Phantom is dead. I live. I found it rather convenient in the past to fake my death if I wanted to begin a new life. It always worked nicely" - of course, it's quite canonical for Leroux at least that he faked his death at least once before he ever reached Paris, in order to escape from Persia ;-)

Given that the story has made such a point of saying that even Hammerstein had no way to know when they were going to arrive and that it took hours before they found accommodation, Raoul has every reason to be suspicious when the Phantom claims casually that he just happened to witness their arrival and then see them coming to the hotel...

"Now you are playing the role of the angel again, aren't you? I can't believe you are really trying that!" - it does seem a bit hard to believe that, having successfully fooled Christine years ago in the role of a benevolent and disinterested protector, the Phantom now appears to be trying the identical tactic on her husband ;-p

"Who would hire a Vicomte as a servant or secretary? Who would give a Vicomte a job as carriage driver?" - the traditional job for a dispossessed nobleman would be as a dancing- or fencing-master, or a courier accompanying a rich youth or woman during their travels, although of course a lot of those exiled to England during the Revolution ended up simply attempting to teach French for a living...

"Fate has a strange humor, because the more we pretended the park to be a success, the more successful it became. It is really successful now so my partners and I are really making money out of this now" - well, that seems credible; he started the park as a scam and unintentionally made a genuine profit out of it ;-p (Though I'm not sure that entirely counted as an effort to become worthy of Christine.)

"Then you get Gustave to do his math exercises. Without beating him up, without yelling and without killing him" - my immediate thought: why on earth doesn't Gustave have a tutor to educate him? It's not his father's role; it's a job for a paid (and at least slightly experienced) employee.

"You are the reason for our misery!" - except that their experiences with the Phantom don't seem to be at the root of any of the things he has been complaining about so far (unless we're blaming the Phantom's genetics for Gustave's ungovernable behaviour). So to suddenly turn round and blame everything on him after moaning about family rejection and lack of money and Gustave's lack of academic application doesn't actually make Raoul come across as a very sympathetic character here.
Maybe that wasn't the intention, but as he's the viewpoint character it means we're stuck in the head of someone who complains a lot and is hard to like.

The Phantom laughed. "No. You are right, I am not that good. I made this up to help you" - OK, that did make me smile ;-p

So the Phantom was teaching Meg arithmetic at an age when she was still too young to remember him?

When Raoul gets back to the hotel room, his family life is just as dreary and miserable as it was before (and, I have to say, not in a way that's particularly consistent with LND canon - the story still feels as if it's trying to make Raoul look good by making everyone else look bad, which doesn't leave a very pleasant taste). Christine has locked herself in the bathroom (which is going to make it hard to put Gustave to bed properly!), and Gustave is busy gorging himself sick on chocolate, so Raoul tries again to play the stern father, without any indication that this is going to be conspicuously more successful than before :-(

It's not a particularly happy outcome, and there's no suggestion that their lives are likely to be any more happy in the future; even if Raoul had more money, he would still have a querulous wife and spoilt son. There has been no reconciliation with the Phantom, and I'm not sure how credible one would have been - nobody gets what they want. Except apparently Christine, whom we are told is suddenly radiantly happy. But since she hasn't appeared happy at all offstage, this doesn't augur well for the state of her married life :-(

As a hurt/comfort story, I suppose I feel that it doesn't contain a lot of comfort; it's a story of two men meeting in mutual dissatisfaction when their lives didn't turn out the way they hoped, and parting with nothing resolved. And the Phantom sitting at the end and concluding that he has succeeded in endowing Christine with the perfect life - despite all that he has just heard from Raoul, despite his own assertion that the couple "are a bit short of domestic bliss" - is just confusing; in one paragraph he is pretty much saying that Raoul doesn't deserve or appreciate what he's got, in the next he is asserting that in relinquishing his own claims in favour of the Vicomte "his sacrifice had not been in vain".

So the whole thing feels a bit grim.
12/29/2019 c1 10angelofnight
Lovely.

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