Top 10 reasons for why Erik/Christine doesn’t work.
Yes, I know I was supposed to publish my Love Never Dies rant before, but… this is really to help me write it.
So, short story. Before coming on Fanfiction, I already knew that almost everyone on Earth were E/C shippers. But I was still shocked of seeing the ridiculous number of E/C authors, especially that there are very good ones among them. Now, I’m not being rude, it’s okay to like the E/C pairing (I guess…), but I’m just being really honest. I remember, when I entered the phandom, I was a mild R/C shipper (You know, “I prefer that Christine ends up with Raoul because things are better this way…”) But now, I came to a point where I actually despise the Erik/Christine pairing. Yes, I’m conscious that they shared a very strong bond in music, that the Phantom was a very important figure in Christine’s childhood and teenage, and yes, Christine was fascinated by him and did feel lust for him, but it’s pretty obvious that she didn’t love him. I’m talking of the 2004 movie, which apparently has an ambiguity, but in my humble opinion, it really doesn’t. Making an R/C fanvideo just proved it to me. And for what is of the stage-Christines… it depends who is playing her.
When it comes to Leroux, I think pretty much everyone is okay with the fact Christine ends up with Raoul. There are a few people who ship E/C even in Leroux… I feel kind of awkward in front of those people… I mean, just as a start, Erik is 50-60 and Christine is 16. When you know that, you start feeling a little bit uncomfortable. But in ALW, and more especially in the 2004 movie… it’s a whole other story.
So I did an epic rant of Erik vs. Raoul, but if you want a clear(er) and short(er) account of why Erik/Christine doesn’t work, here you are. To me, it’s just so evident, and again, sorry if I’m rude, but I can’t believe there are so many Erik/Christine shippers, and authors, and some of them being serious writers not at all completely enthralled by the fact that “it’s b’cuz Ewrik is soooo hawt guyz!” (Well, that reaction is very human, when you look at Gerard Butler or Ramin Karimloo.) And not just twelve-year-old failgirls phangirls who read Twilight way too much. (Sorry, that was rude.)
And hey, we Raoul-supporters can really REALLY have a hard time. Seriously. Even more than those who are Team Gale for what is of Hunger Games.
Now, don’t get me wrong: I LOVE Erik, seriously, and Raoul really pales compared to him. I’m also a firm believer that Erik really has a beautiful nature if you know how to handle him right. But he seriously needs help in what concerns his Christine-obsession.
10. Erik has every characteristic of the obsessive border-line psycho boyfriend.
I really don’t understand why all those E/C shippers don’t simply FREAK OUT when they see the bridal-Christine-dummy. I mean, that by itself is as creepy as heck, mainly for the two following reasons: first, I really can’t help imagining what Erik does with that off-camera. To give you an idea, one of my little sister’s friends would practice kissing her crush on a Harry Yuck Styles poster. No kidding. And second… how did he get Christine’s measurements for the wedding dress? Okay, the most logical explanation would be that he just stole one of Christine’s dresses to get her measurements, but…
But knowing that Erik also STALKS Christine, I started to imagine that he actually measured her while she was sleeping.
Yes, Erik does stalk Christine. Just listen to the following conversation Christine and Meg have during the Angel of Music sequence:
Christine: Somehow I know he’s always with me, he the unseen genius…
Christine: He’s with me even now…
Meg: Your hands are cold…
Christine: All around me…
Meg: Your face, Christine, it’s white!
Christine: It frightens me…
Meg: Don’t be frightened…
So you know the principle of a guardian angel: an angel who’s always besides you, to protect you from any kind of evil imaginable, and so on and so forth. You also probably remembered that just before dying, Gustave Daaé promised his daughter he would send her the Angel of Music, to protect her and help her become a great singer and everything… Well, be her replacement father, if you want. So, in theory, little-lost-puppy Christine is supposed to find protection within the Angel of Music’s wing… Is it normal if she is frightened that the so-called Angel of Music is following her everywhere? No. That’s called: “I’m being stalked by a stranger.”
But, you know what? I forgot that being stalked by someone is 100% okay, as long as your stalker is sexy and mysterious, well, that is, since freaking Twilight.
But, to get back to the bridal-Christine-dummy… Well, there’s also the little theater with the figurines that is sort of creepy, though not as much as the dummy… and, if you are able to swallow a big giganto dose of emo-pretty-boy attitude (I have nothing against emos, just… Erik is NOT emo), go on Youtube and look at the No One Would Listen music video. It was cut off from the movie since it didn’t bring anything new to the plot. (Out of topic: I won’t add anything about the emo-pretty-boy thing, but the lyrics… they’re just so not true. It’s basically Erik singing: “No one would listen… but her [Christine]” Ugh, Christine didn’t listen AT ALL. I’ll come back to that. But this song does work so well for Meg in an E/M phanfic. *out*) So we get a better glimpse of the Phantom’s bat cave (okay, it’s “lair”, but bat cave sounds cool *I’m outta here*) and everything, and you can see not only drawings of Christine EVERYWHERE, but also Christine’s name written EVERYWHERE.
Replace those drawings by photos. You’ll see what I mean.
9. Christine simply represents everything Erik will never get to be.
A beautiful, talented, beautiful, kind-hearted, beautiful (I know, I say “beautiful” more than Gustave does in LND) opera-singer, who seemingly everyone loves (except La Carlotta, but she doesn’t count). Isn’t that the (almost) total opposite of someone we know?
Just think of these lyrics in the theme song: “I am the mask you wear…” “It’s me they hear…” Erik wants before all to use Christine as some sort of puppet so his art and talent can be finally known, and recognized. I don’t really blame him for that: it’s actually quite understandable.
So, the reason why I’m putting this in my top 10 reasons is because I believe that Erik loved Christine more for what she represented than for who she really was, a bit like some sort of faraway idol. It’s similar to how Rose Tyler loved the Doctor more for what he represented than for who he really was. Rose loved an idealized version of the Doctor, and she never totally understood his extremely complex character in its entirety. I mean… the part that Rose-lovers think so sweet and cute, you know, when the Doctor and she lose the TARDIS and Rose just says: “Oh well, who cares! Let’s get a house!” Seriously, she just lost all my respect at that moment. I mean, THE DOCTOR WITHOUT HIS TARDIS. Just like Eowyn loved Aragorn: for what he represented to her, the hero, the warrior, the leader, but not the man himself, and he is seemingly the only one able to look at her in another way as just some damsel in distress. And just like Éponine loved Marius. Those are the main reasons why I never did and I will never ship Ten/Rose, or Aragorn/Eowyn, or Éponine/Marius.
8. Erik and Christine don’t trust each other.
Hate to say you this, but it’s true. How can Erik trust Christine after she unmasked him twice? Once in his lair, breaking the spell Erik had put years to take form in order to seduce Christine. He was pretty pissed off, remember? And he didn’t like too much Chrissie’s reaction to it either. And the second time… in the worst place and context ever imaginable: during the representation of HIS opera, in front of everyone. Just imagine how Erik felt. How can he trust Christine now? There are many other reasons for him not to trust her (for example, the rooftop scene with Raoul…), but the unmasking really gives a striking example.
And Christine… strange to say at first, but true. She doesn’t trust Erik. First, he pretended for years to be her dead father/angel, and she learned in a really brutal way (the first unmasking) that he really wasn’t. Big major deception, to talk delicately. And secondly, just listen to her in Why Have You Brought Me Here and All I Ask of You. The darkness in which Erik wants to drag her scares her, because she feels even more lost in it. She’s already lost because of her daddy-issues, thank you very much. So… even with Erik at her side, she doesn’t feel safe. Conclusion: she doesn’t trust Erik. (And let’s not talk about the cemetery scene…)
Yes, you’ll probably tell me now that all we have to do to fix that is to write an E/C phic where Erik and Christine learn to trust each other. But Erik is the kind of guy who really has trouble just GIVING his trust to SOMEONE, and if you have the EXTREME luck of obtaining it, once he doesn’t trust you anymore, you’re both past the point of no return on that point.
And simply living together without trusting each other will be hell, may it be on Erik’s or Christine’s side. They both need a stable figure in their lives, Erik because he’s an obsessed maniacal perfectionist, and Christine because she is looking for something to stand on since her father died, and they obviously can’t give that to each other.
7. Erik is openly cruel with sad-little-lost-puppy Christine.
Okay, I feel like every die-hard E/C shipper is going to declare war with me, just by reading number seven’s title, if they didn’t already.
So, a part in the movie/musical that had always kind of bugged me was when Christine went to her father’s grave and that the Phantom was pretending to be her father’s ghost. Wishing You Were Somehow Here Again and Wandering Child are Christine’s I-have-daddy-issues-songs by excellence.
Basically, just to refresh your memory, she goes to the cemetery where she wants to pray on her father’s grave (or in the movie, in front of his father’s monument… gosh was the cemetery exaggerated in the movie!) to seek his advice since she really doesn’t know what to do anymore. Then, she hears a violin, and a voice softly singing to her… Again, she thinks it’s her father talking to her, and slowly, she’s drawn again to the voice, not knowing it’s actually the Phantom. But thankfully, Raoul arrives before Erik can actually achieve anything and, finally, he pops out, throwing fire grenades in the musical (well. I think there’re fire grenades), or having an epic sword fight with Raoul in the movie.
Okay. So now, let’s observe the scene from Christine’s point of view. You feel completely lost since your father died, only to be supported by your best friend Meg, your “Angel of Music”, you meet your childhood friend again, you’re both in love, but than your “Angel” gets wicked jealous and you learn he’s completely obsessed by you (if you didn’t already, knowing that he stalks you) and he’s even ready to kill to get you. And then… while you desperately tried your entire life not to have to take decisions because you just feel even more insecure, and that you have to take a decision that could just determine the outline of the rest of your entire life… I mean, unless you have your family and ALSO your planet entirely destroyed and you being the only survivor, like what happened to Nyssa of Traken, who was still standing on her two feet after that and even helped the Doctor during this regeneration trauma (something in which darling-Rose epically FAILED), you can’t be more vulnerable than that.
And I hate to tell you this, but Erik is fully aware of that, and he very willingly uses this to seduce Christine, and this time for good.
And then… once again, Christine is massively disappointed by Erik. I mean, she has trouble to get over her father’s death after like ten years, I’m pretty sure the first thing she did after Raoul took her away from the cemetery was to cry out all the water of her body on his shoulder!
And then, even later… during the Final Lair, when the Phantom basically tells her: “Stay with me, or I’ll kill your boyfriend.”
It only gets worse in Leroux: “Stay with me, or I’ll blow up the Opera house, and we’re all going to die.”
You need more?
You can really clearly see that Erik was obsessed by Christine, and you can really feel all the hunger he had for her (more especially in the 2004 movie).
If you were at Christine’s place, would you stay with a guy who just behaves like that with you? No.
Don’t come and tell me: “Yeah, but after she kissed him, he let her go. It proves that he truly loves her.” Yes, it’s the part where the morality in POTO, may it be in Leroux or ALW, comes in: “To love is to let go.” In a moment of extreme lucidity, Erik finally realizes Christine will never be happy with him, and for once, to prove that he loves her, he decides to do something very unselfish, contrary to everything he has done before and during POTO: he lets her go. But just for that reason, just because he finally proved he really does love her, you would stay with him? No. I’ll explain why as I continue this rant.
6. Christine and Erik don’t really know each other.
Yes, it’s been basically ten years that Erik has taught Christine in singing. But, I mean, Christine doesn’t really know Erik, and more especially, she doesn’t know him like she knows Raoul.
Anyway, he was like an Angel or a specter for her, and you know… those two entities aren’t really known to have definite personalities. Because, well, to quote Leroux himself, a spirit cannot love like Erik did. Really, she thought he was the Angel of Music or even her dead father… Continuing with the latter, Ramin Karimloo (who made a short cameo appearance in the movie as Gustave Daaé) looks cunningly like Gerard Butler… Joel Schumacher stated in an interview this wasn’t a coincidence. And… Wishing You Were Somehow Here Again. Listen to it closely, and read the lyrics. She could have sung it for Erik as well.
Continuing in this logic, Erik doesn’t really know Christine either. May it be in Leroux, in Kay or in ALW, and this being even more evident in the 2004 movie, Christine always seemed to be a one-dimensional character to me. Okay, she is a nice girl, sweet, kind-hearted and everything, but naïve, sometimes even sort of foolish, and she seemingly doesn’t have much of a personality. You know, I kind of see her as a girl whose mind is a shallow pool with few surprises in store. So, honestly, I’ve always wondered why Erik was even interested by her, besides her good looks and her voice… This brings me to say, once again, that Erik really just sees Christine as some sort of faraway idol, and also to #5…
5. Christine and Erik’s characters are at the opposite of each other, and in a way it won’t work in a long term.
So… as I said. Christine is the one-dimensional, nice, naïve, sometimes kinda-stupid girl, and Erik… well, I think that we’ll all agree to say that he’s a living explosion. Right? I love writing Erik, he’s such a complex, interesting, rich character… charming in his own creepy way, extremely omnipresent, able to build himself this amazing and dominant personality instead of ending up like some broken bird…
The exact opposite of Christine, actually.
I really wonder what Erik’s plans with Christine were once that she would be his. I imagine it to be rather idealistic, because… Well, to be honest, imagine Christine and Erik’s life together. Day after day. I don’t about you, but I think Erik would have grown bored with her within a week. Because, well, Christine doesn’t have much of a personality, and she was clearly under Erik’s level. Would she be able to understand Erik’s creativity? Deal with his (very) hot temper? No. I see very clearly in my head Erik getting annoyed with Christine’s ingenuousness…
I could continue on and on, and give examples and everything but I think I pretty much summed it all up.
I would like to know E/C shippers’ opinion about Christine. I’ve always saw them giving their opinion about Erik, and then their opinion about Raoul, tagging him as a fop while they have no freaking idea of what a fop is, but never Christine… I sometimes tend to think that they see her as some sort of everyman, but this isn’t at all the case. Christine isn’t an everyman, she’s really a person. One-dimensional, yes, but still a person. So conclusion… do E/C shippers want Christine to end up with Erik as a matter of sympathy for the latter, or really because of who Christine is as a person?
4. You can’t have a sane love relationship based on pity.
So… back to what I said about No One Would Listen… Erik sings in it “No one would listen… but her.” Christine did not listen to Erik’s call for help. I don’t actually blame her for that. She can’t force herself to love the Phantom just because he’s “Poor Lonely Erik Caught With His Doomed Love”. If the Phantom did force her to stay with him, I do see Christine really trying to force herself to act like a lover for him, but eventually cracking up in the end.
And Erik… you know how proud he is. I don’t think he would have been able to bear Christine’s pity for him for the rest of his life. I would have snapped also.
And finally, to give you an everyday example… Would you date a guy simply because he comes to you and says: “I love you, and no one else loves me, so please…” Usually, you would say no. It can seem extremely banal, but it’s basically the same thing between Erik and Christine. Except in a more dramatic and Romanesque context.
3. Christine and Erik had their chance, just at the tip of their fingers, and they didn’t take it. Why insist?
Honestly, why is everyone insisting so much for Erik and Christine to finish up together? During the Final Lair, if you think that Christine actually loved the Phantom and not Raoul, she could have perfectly well stayed with the Phantom (which brings me to another point… to be developed.). Even in Love Never Dies, it doesn’t work. I never understood why Erik didn’t bring Christine with him after that moonless night. Don’t come and tell me that it wasn’t financially stable, because Erik had a monthly salary of twenty thousand francs, and it’s impossible that he spent all of it. Don’t come and tell me that it was dangerous since Erik was wanted for Buquet and Piangi’s murders, because he isn’t stupid, and if he succeeded in escaping the Persian forces of authority sent after him, he’ll escape the French policemen, who are a lot less dangerous than their Oriental colleagues.
Christine (who has quite surprisingly grown a spine despite Raoul being a drunkard… we can assume from that that she had to be the pillar during all those years… which is surprising coming from her, so to say.) even tells the Phantom that they had their chance, and they blew it.
“Once upon another time
Our story had only begun
You chose to turn the page
And I made choices too
Once upon that other time
We did what we thought must be done
And now we have no choice
We do what we must do
We love, we live
We give what we can give
And take what little we deserve…
Once upon another time
I knew how our story would end
And maybe I was wrong
But now the moment's gone
Were it still that other time
I'd make time itself somehow end
But now I'm not that strong
And time keeps moving on…”
You need more? And I really believe that if Meg hadn’t gone psycho, Christine would have gone after Raoul. I don’t think she would have been heartless enough to just abandon him. Because, well, Raoul really has no one there for him. Besides Christine…
And for what is of E/C phanfics… I haven’t seen one where Erik, Christine and Raoul are totally in-character. Most of the time:
=> Raoul is a jerk. That is just so massively out-of-character. It’s like somehow, you realize that Christine and Raoul really do love each other, and that if you want to separate them, you’ll need something big… like inverting Raoul and Erik’s roles. There are a few E/C phanfics where he is either absent or dead… Which already makes more sense, but still, it doesn’t work. I’ll explain why.
=> Erik somehow isn’t a sociopath anymore. Don’t come and tell me that from his rough experience, he decided to be less violent and calmer and nicer and everything, because, well, let’s face it, Erik isn’t really mentally stable. You don’t heal from a mental disease just like that. Most striking example of such a behavior: Love Never Dies. There are a few phanfics where Erik keeps his initial darkness, but that brings me to say that in those moments…
=> Christine has a spine, which means here she’s able to stand up for herself. I think I see that in every E/C phanfic I’ve read.
If you know a good E/C phanfic who escapes those OOC elements, give me the link to it. I would be really curious to read it.
To finish this point, Think of Me, if you read the lyrics, is actually some sort of foreshadowing for what is to come. “Though it was always clear, yes, it was always clear, that this was never meant to be...” You know, some sort of way for Christine to say in her subconscious that, though she hasn’t chosen the Phantom at the end, she won’t forget him… After all, he is partly one of the reasons why she practically survived her father’s death… (The lyrics mentioned above are modified in the movie: “We never said our love was evergreen, or as unchanging as the sea…” I think that in the movie, Think of Me is meant for Raoul, while in the musical, it’s meant for the Phantom. Because, well, I believe Christine and Raoul were in love before the events of POTO… Christine did state that they were childhood sweethearts…)
And anyway, in every gothic novel (POTO is actually a mystery novel with a very strong influence, not AT ALL a dark romance story. Gaston Leroux is more known in France for the Joseph Rouletabille series… you know, the adventures of a young detective not at all unlike Tintin? I’m geographically well situated to know that, believe me. So conclusion: Leroux is not at all a dark romance author), the damsel in distress is meant to end up with the dashing hero. Well, let’s take the most famous example of a gothic novel out there: Dracula. I’m not talking about the 1992 Coppola film, which Americanized the book like ALW did with POTO (to a certain point, not as much as F. F. Coppola did). It’s basically the Daroga/Van Helsing who helps out Raoul/Jonathan Harker to save his fiancée, Christine/Mina, from a creature of darkness, the Phantom/Dracula.
See what I mean?
2. Christine doesn’t love Erik.
Whatever you might say, Christine obviously doesn’t love Erik. It’s plain obvious in Leroux. It’s plain obvious in the original ALW musical with Sarah Brightman and Michael Crawford, because throughout the whole thing, the lyrics NEVER give any indication that Christine actually loves the Phantom. And I would even say that the 2004 movie, when you observe it closely, is also obvious about Christine’s feelings. Then after, for what is of the other musical productions of POTO, it’s either Raoul-oriented, either ambiguous, either a clear tendency to Erik rather than Raoul. It all depends on who portrays Christine, actually. But I think we can consider the original POTO as canon, right?
Yes, I do admit the Phantom was an important figure in Christine’s childhood and teenage. I do believe that Christine does until a certain point care for Erik, not love, but care. She was fascinated by him, with maybe a little teacher crush, and she did feel lust for him (Emmy Rossum made that pretty evident), but today, people confound lust with love too often.
To explain why the 2004 movie is unambiguous and makes it clear Christine loves Raoul… Here are two reasons:
=> It is canon to say that Erik has some sort of hypnotic power, may it be in Leroux, Kay or ALW. He uses it quite a bit during Music of the Night. And later… that moment just after Why So Silent, where Erik and Christine get lost into each other’s pretty eyes, and that every E/C phanatic just goes on and yell: “See! See! She really does love him!” I don’t know. Christine rather seemed hypnotized at that moment. And when the Phantom ripped of the ring from her neck… she seemed like she woke up from some lethargic state.
=> The Point of no Return… as I said, people confound lust with love too often. And anyway… I always say that if she really meant what she was saying, and if she was really swooning around Erik, the mask would have stayed in its place. I think Christine was planning to unmask him all along, just to show that he was there AND THAT SHE NEEDED HELP. Not the most clever thing to do, but anyway.
Christine and the Phantom face a situation that’s similar to Hermione and Orestes in Jean Racine’s Andromache. Just in case you don’t really know the story (and I think it will be the case for most of you English-cultured people), I’ll explain. It happens after the war in Troy. So I’m going to resume it quickly, assuming that you know the bases of the Iliad. Pyrrhus, Achilles’ son, has come back to his country, with Hector’s widow, Andromache, and son, Astyanax, as prisoners. Pyrrhus, despite the pressure around him, falls in love with Andromache, and ditches his fiancée, Hermione (nothing to do with Hermione Grainger), who is the daughter of Helena and Menelaus. And of course, she’s furious, because she truly loves Pyrrhus. On the other side, there’s Orestes, the son of Agamemnon and Clytemnestra and Iphigenia’s brother, who’s in love with Hermione. Not too lost, I hope?! (Yup, I know. Effin family.)
Okay. So there’s that really nice scene in the play that I love (Act II, scene II to be more precise) where Orestes declares himself to Hermione. And basically, if you rip off all the complicated and pompous the 17th century-style of when the play was written, Hermione answers pretty much this to Orestes: “Listen, you really look like a nice guy, I know you’re well intentioned and you would do your best to make me happy, but… I wish I could love you, BUT I JUST DON’T.” And when I read this in Literature class, I immediately compared Orestes and Hermione to Christine and the Phantom.
Because, well, it’s hard to admit for us phangirls (and I must say that I include myself in that, from time to time)… but unfortunately, the common belief of “No one could ever fail to fall in love with Erik” isn’t true.
1. If Christine really did love Erik, they would have been together. Even with Raoul around.
Really, even with Raoul around, if I was wrong all along and that Christine really did love the Phantom, WHY DIDN’T SHE STAY WITH HIM? Really, why?
It’s the question I ask all the people who tell me that Christine actually loves the Phantom.
Don’t come and tell me that it wasn’t safe, or financially stable. I’ve explain why those reasons are bogus above. And anyway… when you love someone, you stay with him. No matter what.
Don’t come and tell me that it was because Raoul would have prevented Christine from doing so. Guys, Raoul loves Christine, too. He would have respected her choice, for the sake of her happiness, though it would be hard, yes, but he would have respected it. Like Erik respected Christine’s choice, at the end, of choosing Raoul over him.
Yes, she apparently came back in LND. But still, Erik and Christine managed to separate for stupid reasons, again. And anyway… Andrew Lloyd Webber very explicitedly stated in an interview that LND IS NOT A SEQUEL, BUT A SPIN-OFF. Well, it’s just so wildly different of POTO in spirit and for what is of the characters that he had to say that so he could stop looking like an idiot.
So honestly, why didn’t Christine stay with Erik? Just for the pleasure of the drama of a love forever separated, for a good old tear-jerker? Come on. That scenario makes no sense, and if there’s one thing that makes less sense than that, it’s LND, then the 2011 Three Musketeers film.
You need more? I think I pretty much summed it all up.