Ok so I’m not proud of this one, but I’ve been a raging phan girl for well over a decade, long before Gerard Bulter destroyed the ALW version of The Phantom with that awful, awful movie version. But it says a lot about exactly how bad my addiction is that I still bought the soundtrack AND the DVD, even though I hated the movie.
I bought the shockingly horrible Phantom of Manhattan by Frederick Forsyth the day it was released, read it in about two hours and then threw it across the room. The book claims to be a sequel to the plot of the ALW musical, not to the original book, but then has a central plot device (Christine’s son being Erik’s rather than Raoul’s) that isn’t possible within the plot of the original show without making poor Erik a rapist. The book destroys well loves characters and ruins even those characters hated by the majority of the phandom. Raoul might be unpopular amongst Erik loving phans everywhere but turning him into a vicious alcoholic makes no sense. The epic failure of tPoM amongst phans and critics alike should have made ALW look else where for inspiration for his new musical, but by all accounts
Paint Never Dries sorry I mean Love Never Dies makes just as little sense as TPoM. I used to love ALW’s work, but this total disregard for the phans who kept PotO on Broadway and the West End all these years, and a complete contempt for the characters themselves is completely heartbreaking.
In comparison Susan Kay’s Phantom treats Leroux’s characters with the sense of love and respect they deserve. I think this is one major issue with everything ALW has done with PotO, there is always a sense that Leroux is just some incompetent buffoon and the characters are ALW’s personal domain, but as time has progressed its become more and more clear that ALW doesn’t understand the characters at all. Susan Kay gives Erik a real history, detailed, rich and tragic, she doesn’t half his age and turn his past into a cartoon. It’s not the greatest book ever written, and there have been plenty of amazing phan phictions written since (tip: avoid anything that starts with “my Erik is based on Gerard Butler” its usually a sign of bad things to come :p ) but if you really want to get to grips with the real Erik, I’d recommend starting there. I don’t know if this book has been rereleased recently, my copy (which is missing) cost me £40 back in the mid ’90s. Edited to add: new copies seem to be going for between £13 and £25 on bookdepository.
Even Better 30 Day Song Challenge – Day 27 – Track To Trip Out To
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