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Artwork: 11
Enjolras“You don't believe in anything.”
Grantaire“I belive in you.”

Enjoltaire is the slash ship between Enjolras and Grantaire from the Les Misérables fandom.

Canon

In both the musical and book, Enjolras and Grantaire are members of Les Amis de l'ABC, the rebel group opposing the French government. Enjolras is the charismatic and inspiring leader of the group. While Grantaire is a pessimistic drunk and Enjolras's main skeptic. Grantaire questions Enjolras's ideals, so many might wonder why he is part of the revolution. His reason, in fact, is Enjolras, and he has no desire for revolution. From there, the dynamic between the two develops in a series of exchanges in which Grantaire puts himself close to Enjolras, who attempts to reject him outright and send him away, but is unable to discourage the other man’s presence, as the discouragement is met with either stubbornness or mockery. Each time, Enjolras expresses skepticism at either Grantaire’s ability to help or his motivations for doing so and Grantaire responds with a combination of absolute sincerity and sarcasm.

Grantaire deeply "loved, admired and venerated Enjolras", even referring to him as Apollo. Grantaire's pessimism is not shown throughout the musical except in the song "Drink with Me". He wonders if their deaths will even matter in the end. As their revolution fails and the barricade falls, Enjolras is to be executed by firing squad. Having slept through the entirety of the fighting, ignored for dead by the national guardsmen, Grantaire awakens from his drunken slumber to find Enjolras cornered by soldiers in the upper room. Immediately upon recognizing what is going on, Grantaire gets the soldiers’ attention and takes his place beside Enjolras before telling the guardsmen to “‘Finish both of us at one blow.’” However, Grantaire does not just decide to die beside Enjolras, he turns to Enjolras and asks him a simple question: “Do you permit it?” To which Enjolras responds with a simple smile, holding Grantaire's hand in his. So the both of them die hand-in-hand.

Grantaire developed romantic or sexual feelings for Enjolras, since in the novel, they are compared to many Greek and Roman lovers, such as Achilles and Patroclus, or Hadrian and Antinous. Throughout the novel, Grantaire is described as not knowing exactly what he feels for Enjolras, aside from the obvious, but right before death, Grantaire is said to have been hit by a "coup de foudre," which literally, means "a bolt of lightning," but is more commonly used as a French expression for "love at first sight." Because of this, it's likely that Victor Hugo had meant that Grantaire died because of his love. He loved Enjolras and so, despite being able to escape the squad, he decided to take his place beside his Apollo.

Les Misérables Musical Adaptations

In the stage musical, the subtext between Enjolras and Grantaire has gradually been played up more, with further interactions between the two, including hugging, hair-stroking and hand kisses, depending on the actors. Thus the ship has arguably been canon in many stage productions since the mid-2010s.[1]

A classic case of a pair of actors playing up a sense of intimacy between Enjolras and Grantaire to great effect can be found in Ramin Karimloo and Hadley Fraser’s performance of “Drink With Me” during the Les Misérables 25th Anniversary Concert. During this number, the two rely almost exclusively on body language to get across the way in which their characters feel about one another.

EnjoltaireLesMisMusical.jpg

Between the extremely subtle shifts in expression and posture that Ramin’s Enjolras makes while Hadley’s Grantaire is singing and the fact that from the line “Could it be you fear to die?” and onward, Grantaire very pointedly does not look at Enjolras until a full two to three seconds after he has stopped singing and the chorus has come in, their interpretation of Enjolras and Grantaire’s dynamic is one that is both conflicted and friendlier (at least on the part of Enjolras) than what appears in the book. However, it is the moments directly after Grantaire’s solo is over that are the most striking about their rendition of the E/R dynamic. Almost immediately after his verse is over, Grantaire looks at Enjolras for a moment before turning away to leave, but is stopped when Enjolras grabs his arm. He jerks away initially, but after a short, unheard conversation, he stops and reaches up to rest his hand along the nape of Enjolras’ neck before they both exit the stage.

Behind the Scenes

However, this sceptic had one fanaticism. This fanaticism was neither a dogma, nor an idea, nor an art, nor a science; it was a man: Enjolras. Grantaire loved, admired 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. He admired his opposite by instinct. His soft, yielding, dislocated, sickly, shapeless ideas attached themselves to Enjolras as to a spinal column. His moral backbone leaned on that firmness. Grantaire in the presence of Enjolras became some one once more. He was, himself, moreover, composed of two elements, which were, to all appearance, incompatible. He was ironical and cordial. His indifference loved. His mind could get along without belief, but his heart could not get along without friendship. A profound contradiction; for an affection is a conviction. His nature was thus constituted. There are men who seem to be born to be the reverse, the obverse, the wrong side. They are Pollux, Patrocles, Nisus, Eudamidas, Ephestion, Pechmeja. They only exist on condition that they are backed up with another man; their name is a sequel, and is only written preceded by the conjunction and; and their existence is not their own; it is the other side of an existence which is not theirs. Grantaire was one of these men. He was the obverse of Enjolras.
—Victor Hugo.[2]

Fanon

Enjoltaire is the most popular ship in the modern Les Misérables fandom. Although fans of the novel already noticed Grantaire's love for Enjolras,[3] the ship started gaining a lot more prominence with yunger generations in the 2010s, after the release of the 2012 movie adaptation.

Most fanfiction involving this pairing takes place in a modern setting. Likewise, their revolution takes a modern twist, and they are often social justice activists. On AO3, they are the most written ship in the Les Misérables tag.

Fandom

FAN FICTION

Enjolras/Grantaire tag on AO3
Grantaire/Enjolras on FanFiction.Net
Grantaire/Enjolras (book) on FanFiction.Net
Enjoltaire on Quotev

TUMBLR

Enjoltaire posts on Tumblr
Enjolras x Grantaire posts on Tumblr

TWITTER

Enjoltaire posts on Twitter
Enjoltaire hashtag on Twitter

IG

Enjolaire hashtag on Instagram

References

  1. [1]
  2. Les Misérables, Part 4, Chapter 1
  3. David M. Halperin. (1990). "One Hundred Years of Homosexuality." Diacritics. Johns Hopkins University Press.
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