Why Do You Love POTO?


Why Do You Love POTO?

Postby Rose » Sat Sep 07, 2013 3:22 am

To kick off our Phantom Discussions on this board I thought I'd start with a simple one. :D

Why do you love POTO?

Why do you feel that it has lasted for so many years?

There are many reasons why I love POTO, but ultimately I feel what I love the most about it is the message that Leroux wrote into the story and ALW later captured in this musical so brilliantly.

And when one remembers just WHEN this story was written it is truly astonishing how ahead of his time Leroux was. POTO was created at a time in history where stories were very black an white. There was a clear cut villain, a hero, and a beautiful damsel...and POTO plays around with this convention.

We think we have the story all figured out: Raoul (hero) will rescue the damsel (Christine) from the villain (Erik) who is of course ugly as sin.

Had this story been written by anyone but Leroux this is exactly how it would have unfolded and Erik would have been just a one dimensional villain nobody would remember a hundred years later let alone write a musical about. ;)

But Leroux takes this convention of the day and flips it upon it's head.

The 'hero' ends up trapped and doomed to certain death and the 'damsel' defeats the 'villain' and saves the day.

Raoul is pretty much useless other then to put conflict between Christine and Erik. I commend ALW for giving him a healthy dose of testosterone because Leroux wrote him to be pretty pathetic (he's constantly crying) I sort of get the feeling that Leroux was mocking the whole idea of Prince Charming. Raoul is the Damsel in distress in POTO NOT Christine ;)

Christine is the hero of the story, she defeats the so-called 'villain' not with hatred and violence...Erik could not be defeated by those things because he's experienced them his whole life. The one thing he couldn't defend against was the one thing he had never before experienced...love

And compassion, and kindness, and sympathy.

A sword would never have defeated Erik.

Only a kiss.

And Erik...the main reason I feel so many people love this story. For being so little in the story he is a very complex and well drawn character. At the time when he was written people still thought that your physical appearance had something to do with who you were on the inside. So you see Erik's crimes and you immediately think of course he is a villain just look at him!

But Leroux does a shocking thing...he shows that the reason Erik turned out the way he was, was NOT because of his face but because of how society treated him. He made Erik a genius and he said very bravely that if Erik hadn't been treated so horribly because of his face he would have been the most distinguished of men.

Erik is NOT the villain of POTO.

Society is the villain.

And I feel the number one reason people love this story is because we have all felt a little bit like Erik at some point in our lives. That line from ALW: "The Phantom of the Opera is there inside my mind" applies not just to Christine but to all of us. We all want to be loved and accepted for who we are, and we have all felt like an outsider, misunderstood, rejected, ignored, maybe even hated at some point in our lives.

There is a Phantom within all of us.

Erik was never given a chance, people saw him as a monster, so a monster is what he became. Christine was the only one who looked a little deeper and gave him the chance to be something else...gave him the chance to be a good person. Nobody had ever before given him the chance to be 'good' because they only ever saw him as bad.

And what did he do?

He let her go.

And if Erik symbolizes us...then Christine symbolizes how society (how we) should be.

If we can embrace the Phantom within ourselves then we can strive to be a 'Christine' and the next time we see someone who seems strange, weird, or 'creepy' instead of reacting with disgust or fear...we can reach out with kindness and compassion instead.

Always give a person a chance to be 'good', because if you don't then how can you expect them to be anything other then 'bad'?

Yes POTO is a lot deeper then most people realize.
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Re: Why Do You Love POTO?

Postby Godzuki » Sat Sep 07, 2013 2:15 pm

Rose wrote:Christine was the only one who looked a little deeper and gave him the chance to be something else...gave him the chance to be a good person. Nobody had ever before given him the chance to be 'good' because they only ever saw him as bad.

And what did he do?

He let her go.

And if Erik symbolizes us...then Christine symbolizes how society (how we) should be.

If we can embrace the Phantom within ourselves then we can strive to be a 'Christine' and the next time we see someone who seems strange, weird, or 'creepy' instead of reacting with disgust or fear...we can reach out with kindness and compassion instead.

Always give a person a chance to be 'good', because if you don't then how can you expect them to be anything other then 'bad'?


Wow, Rose that was beautiful and really hit the head on the nail!!! I give you an "A"!!!! :D

One of the things that strikes me most about this story is that it touches on how much we all want to matter, to be loved. I think our deepest fear is being rejected and having no who loves us. E feels so close to finding that one person who could love him for who he is that he goes crazy trying to hang on to her

With ALW’s version, the music is the first thing that draws me in. its sooo romantic and moving, I feel like I’m E/C and am drawn in to their world, their fear, desire, love, etc. E is such a complicated character but I find myself really pulling for him and heartbroken at the very end. With GL’s story, I find myself imagining “what if” scenarios where he/C end up together. I do think if he had played his cards differently, they could have ended up together

And yes, I’m with you on how important it is for people to really see each other and not be afraid of those who seem different from ourselves. We really are the same inside, if we only take the time to see it

Another thing I really love is that C discovers that she really does love E. in both the GL story and ALW’s version, C kisses and tears are for real and move E so much that he lets her go at great cost to him. This part is lost in the Lon Chaney version and other POTO versions that followed and to me that’s the most profound part of the story!

I really liked your comment about the chance to be good. We've all heard that if a child doesn't get the attention they need, they lash out destructively because they are so desperate to know that they matter. If someone is shown appreciation for who they are, they see themselves in a positive light and it makes such a difference
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Re: Why Do You Love POTO?

Postby Godzuki » Sat Sep 07, 2013 2:56 pm

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Rose, I don't know if you got to see this on PGN, but couple of weeks ago, I was at Wegmans grocery store and they had these "the phantom has arrived" signs and I went to check it out and they have Phantom wine! LOL

Sorry its a bit blurry, but I whipped out my phone and just had to share it with you guys! Yet another reason to love POTO, eh? :lol:

ETA:
http://www.wegmans.com/webapp/wcs/store ... &langId=-1
here is a site where you can see the wine lable better (has a pic you click on for a closer look), read the description - apparently the phantom now wears boots and blue jeans! :lol: I highly approve ;)
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Re: Why Do You Love POTO?

Postby nightsmusic » Sat Sep 07, 2013 3:03 pm

I WANT THAT WINE!!!!
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Re: Why Do You Love POTO?

Postby Godzuki » Sun Sep 08, 2013 3:45 pm

You know, I think I'm gonna have to buy some now just to check it out :lol:

and when the bottle is empty, I'll either put a red rose in it or a tapered candle and let the wax drip down the sides :mrgreen:

Another reason I love POTO is E gets a chance to show who he really is. He tries so hard to be a phantom, but he knows deep down that his soul doesn't match his body and has hope (ALW version: STYDI; GL version: E begging C to love him and see what happens "all I need is love to be good" ).

In many stories, the bad guy/gal is one dimensional and usually meets their demise by the end of the story (the witch in Snow White falls off a cliff, Maleficent gets slayed, Voldemort killed by Harry, etc). But when I read Dicken's "A Christmas Carol" for the first time, I was delighted that Ebeneezer Scrooge had such a profound change of character. It may feel satisfying for the bad guy to "get whats coming", a sense of justice in a way, but I found it so heartwarming and hopeful, joyful that someone could see the error of their ways and change. I found that I much preferred a story where redemption was found instead of revenge/karma/etc. With POTO, E seems so out of control that you know its just going to end badly, yet a kiss/tears from C changes everything!
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Re: Why Do You Love POTO?

Postby Rose » Thu Sep 12, 2013 11:36 pm

It's funny I was just listening to the radio in my car the other day, and Hearts 'Magic Man' came on, I remember my mom always used to play that song when I was a kid but I never really got the meaning of it until I got older.

And it got me thinking that all of us have probably met a 'magic man' of our own, who helped bring us through that bridge from girlhood to womanhood. Some of us might have married them 8-) others just remember them fondly and sometimes not so fondly. :roll:

But for the character of Christine... it was Erik.

In ways people might not realize POTO is very much a coming of age story for Christine.

Probably more so in ALW's Musical then in the original novel, but even in Leroux one very much gets the sense of Christine being torn between childhood and adulthood.

In Leroux:

Raoul comes off as such an immature little boy in the book and Erik despite his mental instability never lets the reader forget that he's a MAN. Just the way Christine can feel relaxed around Erik (when he isn't going crazy) and how Erik is her teacher in more ways then just music (he's such a genius) one get's the sense that a big part of Christine's attraction to Erik is to his enormous intellect....Christine would never get bored with Erik, she would always be inspired by him.

Christine's romance with Erik is rather mature compared to her relationship with Raoul when the two of them are running around the opera house like kids pretending to be engaged. I definitely get the sense that Christine is maturing faster then Raoul and eventually she'll end up having to play mother-hen to him in there relationship.

Something she'd never have to do with Erik.

In ALW

Raoul is presented more as the classic 'Prince Charming', ready to sweep Cinderella (Christine) away to his castle where they will live happily ever after.

While I think Leroux was more mocking the fairy tale convention of Prince Charming by making Raoul a total pansy... I think ALW plays into this fantasy in the beginning only to shatter it all in the Final Lair when Erik has Raoul at his mercy and we see that Raoul WASN'T the Knight in Shinning Armour after all...since the Dragon managed to defeat him so easily.

We also see the difference with Erik's more mature way of romancing Christine (MOTN) compared to the rather immature portrayal of love in AIAOY. One talks about embracing your sexuality and your emotions, freeing yourself through the love and passion of another...compared to living happily ever after in a fantasy land and relying upon your man to protect you and shelter you from your own fears about growing up.

Maybe it's because I've always liked coming of age stories when they're done right, so I really do love Christine's journey not just in Leroux but in ALW's POTO and LND. I especially love LND because I enjoy seeing how far Christine has come from that scared teenager girl ten years ago. ;)
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Re: Why Do You Love POTO?

Postby Godzuki » Sat Sep 14, 2013 10:25 am

Rose wrote:

In Leroux:

Raoul comes off as such an immature little boy in the book and Erik despite his mental instability never lets the reader forget that he's a MAN. Just the way Christine can feel relaxed around Erik (when he isn't going crazy) and how Erik is her teacher in more ways then just music (he's such a genius) one get's the sense that a big part of Christine's attraction to Erik is to his enormous intellect....Christine would never get bored with Erik, she would always be inspired by him.
Well they say the brain is the biggest sex organ, after all LOL

Christine's romance with Erik is rather mature compared to her relationship with Raoul when the two of them are running around the opera house like kids pretending to be engaged. I definitely get the sense that Christine is maturing faster then Raoul and eventually she'll end up having to play mother-hen to him in there relationship.
Yes, C is definitely in mother hen mode with R LOL
R was very jealous and well he should be – C can’t stop talking about E, is very close with him, and the fact that she kept visiting him when she didn’t have to spoke volumes to me.


We also see the difference with Erik's more mature way of romancing Christine (MOTN) compared to the rather immature portrayal of love in AIAOY. One talks about embracing your sexuality and your emotions, freeing yourself through the love and passion of another...compared to living happily ever after in a fantasy land and relying upon your man to protect you and shelter you from your own fears about growing up.
C seems most alive/happy to me when she is with her angel, they each brought each other to life. And I have to agree, C sneaks away from R (makes me think of a teen sneaking away from parents), yet never gives up on E (a grown up thing to do)
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Re: Why Do You Love POTO?

Postby whisper » Sat Oct 05, 2013 12:35 pm

Why? i guess that i have always been drawn to male characters that are just "this side of danger".

in the real world a little danger keeps life and relationships interesting and dynamic.

disclaimer: i am not obsessed with POTO. i prefer to describe it as an intense interest. ( that keeps me out of the psych ward) :angel:

I Want a Bottle! or a case, lol.

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Re: Why Do You Love POTO?

Postby nightsmusic » Sat Oct 05, 2013 1:29 pm

Please don't tell me you got one of those. I'd be SO jealous! G posted a pic of a big, HUGE display at her local grocery. I WANT ONE!! And they don't sell them near me :(
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Re: Why Do You Love POTO?

Postby Godzuki » Sat Oct 05, 2013 6:39 pm

whisper wrote:
disclaimer: i am not obsessed with POTO. i prefer to describe it as an intense interest. ( that keeps me out of the psych ward) :angel:


I would wager that all of us here have the same intense interest :mrgreen:

nightsmusic wrote:Please don't tell me you got one of those. I'd be SO jealous! G posted a pic of a big, HUGE display at her local grocery. I WANT ONE!! And they don't sell them near me :(
Hmmm....should Godzuki admit that she has a bottle? :hmm: I plan on bringing it to a H'ween party, will give you our reviews. I want to bring the bottle home and stick a candle in it and let the wax drip down the sides
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