Les Misérables, The Vatican's powerful display of another Gospel, Another Jesus

Les Misérables, The Vatican's powerful display of another Gospel, Another Jesus

The Catholic writer Theresa Malcolm says that after Valjean leaves, "Monseigneur Myriel never again appears in the story, but he is the soul of the novel, he who sowed love where there was hatred, light where there was darkness."[14]

Main article: Adaptations of Les Misérables

The Gospel Message is NOT in Les Misérables is NOT a lesson in the GOSPEL of GRACE, But rather another Gospel, another Jesus. 

 In the end we are introduced to the spirit of the antichrist which explains the overwhelming popularity of this novel since 1862 and one of the greatest Broadway plays in history.

It’s no wonder it’s one of the most beloved scores in musical theatre history, with breakout hits aplenty.

London Theater Critique UK

1 John 4:3

“And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world.”

King James Version (KJV)

I was surprised to see a few YouTube Videos claiming Les Misérables as the GOSPEL message like this one here:  Note: I have seen the play three times and although acknowledge the powerful Bishop's scene, I had no idea of the centerpiece the Bishop played throughout Victor Hugo's Novel. 

The first priest's song to Jean Valjean is symbolic of the invitation of Christ through the church to a weary world: "Come in, Sir, for you are weary, And the night is cold out there. Though our lives are very humble What we have, we have to share. There is wine here to revive you. There is bread to make you strong, There's a bed to rest till morning, Rest from pain, and rest from wrong" (Bread and wine speak of communion/the eucharist) The second priest's song to Jean Valjean is symbolic of the grace of God: after Valjean paid the priest evil for good,stole from him and ran away,when he got caught, the priest covered him, protected him from the officers who arrested him, and even sent him away with a gift: "But my friend you left so early Surely something slipped your mind You forgot I gave these also Would you leave the best behind?" The priest asked the officers to release him: "So, Messieurs, you may release him For this man has spoken true I commend you for your duty And God's blessing go with you." Then he turned to Valjean: "But remember this, my brother See in this some higher plan You must use this precious silver To become an honest man 

By the witness of the martyrs By the Passion and the Blood God has raised you out of darkness 

I have bought your soul for God!" 

Matthew 26:15

“And said unto them, What will ye give me, and I will deliver him unto you? And they covenanted with him for thirty pieces of silver.”

King James Version (KJV)

This grace touched Valjean's heart,transformed his life, and he in turn, touched the lives of others around him....


1:25 - Do the roar. 

(note: I'm researching this further, see the roar thinking of LION Roaring scripture:  
1 Peter 5:8

King James Version

8 Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:

Beautiful and piercing to say the least. Such compassion. Represennts God's attitude towards mankind when mankind is willing to come out of denial.

The main premise to this musical can be summed up as Grace vs Law just the fact this dude popped up with bread and wine makes him Melkeidech, he is literally Jesus popping up in Val Jean's life... bro.. The grace and mercyh he got after stealing his silver. wow. This is making me cry it's so beatuiful. And that colm plays the priest in the movie is so good hes' like bro I walked ur exact road.

he reference for the wine to revive, and the bread to make you strong is a reference to communion.

The candle stand if placed on a table can only give light to a room. However, Valjean made it to shine the world. God’s blessing and miracle.

Was the priest supposed to look like Jesus or was that a clever coincidence?

When he originally began writing the novel, Hugo was going to write about a Saint, the Bishop. In the end the novel featured three saints, the Bishop, Valjean, and the Mother Superior of a convent where Valjean hides after escaping Javert who famously never told a lie in her entire life, except once to save Valjean.

Additional Quotes from Les Misérables and the Gospel message from YouTube


One said,: “This is Jesus.”

The Gospel here before us. Etc.

Few more examples:

The gospel before us. The monk is like a figure of Jesus and Valjean each and one of us. New man=being born again, the silver= the Cross, fear and hatred =life before Jesus and after all that now he belongs to God.

What a great example of awe inspiring Christian grace. I'm not even Christian but stuff like this scene really show the appeal of the faith. And Liam Neeson's acting is superb here. Comparing the look of hesitant, shameful anger and desperation in his face when he hits the Bishop, to the look of trembling awe at the end.....breathtaking

Ladies and Gentlemen, this is what a real Bishop should act like - caring about the man over the materials.

In my opinion, this is the most powerful chapter chapter / scene in all of literature / film. It perfectly portrays the type of person that many of us are in some respects (Valjean before his transformation by the Bishop's pure love and charity) and the type of person that we should strive to become (the Bishop). I believe that Victor Hugo was inspired of God as he wrote this.

This makes me cry every single time

Even though I'm not christian and not religious at all but still I want to live like this bishop

He sees people's goodness deep inside their hearts and save people by forgiving their mistakes

Notice how the Gendarme represent justice, the bishop represents Christ, and Jean Val Jean represents all of us.

Notice how the Bishop does not hate justice (the gendarme) he offers them wine. Yet because of Christ's sacrifice for us (represented by the pieces of silver), He can show Jean mercy. Justice does not rob mercy, and mercy does not rob justice because of Christ's sacrifice for all of us in the garden and on the cross.

Things like this make me remember why I'm Catholic.

End Quotes Comments.

Additional links explain the profound impact of Les Misérables

Learning from ‘Les Mis’ | Graduate School of Arts and Sciences (harvard.edu)


It deeply saddens me to see how deceived people are.  What is happening in the Bishop scene is the Bishop is in essence replacing Christ with himself and ultimately the office of the Pope as the Vicar of Christ.  If you don't see this, then please pray that the Lord open your eyes. It's craft and deception of the Bishop seemingly bringing the GOSPEL to this wretched soul Jean Valjean, but in reality, he talks about the crucifixion and the blood as witnessed by the martyrs, but it is ONLY JESUS CHRIST and him alone who ransoms the SOUL by BELIEF that Jesus Christ died on the cross for our sins according to the scriptures, He was buried, and He rose again the third day according to the scriptures.. It is only by GRACE through FAITH alone.  


Most do NOT know the GOSPEL #EndTimes (thethirdheaventraveler.com)

I've watched the theatrical version of Victor Hugo's Les Misérables three times from Broadway, Washington DC and beyond during my years in the wilderness.  It has only been recently as a mature Christian have I come back to study this work and expose the spirit of the antichrist which is so prevalent in Victor Hugo's work. 

Disclaimer:  I'm not promoting that Christians should never go to the theater. Nor do I think I was in sin when I attended. This is religion and not experiencing freedom in Christ.  If going to the theater offends someone they should not go or push someone else to go. Please see Colossians 2:16 and 1 Corinthians 6:12 KJB.
 I'm only bringing this up to express how my eyes have been opened to what is truly behind this play and novel. 

Victor Hugo 1802-1885.  I assumed Hugo was a devout Catholic from his strict devotion to the Catholic faith in his underlying obsession and reverence to Bishop Charles-François-Bienvenu Myriel, referred to as Bishop Myriel or Monseigneur Bienvenu of Digne

Of course, he was raised and educated by a devout Catholic mother, so he did have "the indoctrination." However, as he grew older his disdain for the Catholic Church grew stronger as witnessed by the backdrop of the French Revolution 1789 into the July Revolution of 1830 which I discuss below as LIBERTY and God's judgment in notes below.

However, it is very interesting to note that although Hugo was waning from the Catholic church and his son was strongly anti-religious, Hugo insisted he stay with the true spirit of the times to show what a "true cleric catholic priest should look like" which again proves Hugo's upbringing and adherence to the catholic faith.  See this quote:

"As Hugo set to work on the novel in 1848 after a long interruption, his anti-clerical son Charles objected to presenting Myriel as "a prototype of perfection and intelligence", suggesting instead someone from "a liberal, modern profession, like a doctor". The novelist replied:

I cannot put the future into the past. My novel takes place in 1815. For the rest, this Catholic priest, this pure and lofty figure of true priesthood, offers the most savage satire on the priesthood today.[3]"

Hugo's religion (all men adhere to a religion because all men are created with a spirit and soul within their body) was Freemasonry. His Luciferian enlightenment of man took over in his writings. 

See quotes which reveal a great deal:  Note: His membership as a freemason was self-admittedly hidden for political reasons. 

Hugo’s writings contain numerous references to Freemasonry and its philosophies. “God manifests himself to us in the first degree through the life of the universe, and in the second degree through the thought of man. The second manifestation is not less holy than the first. The first is named Nature, the second is named Art,” wrote Hugo. 

Victor Hugo, conceived as an immense depiction of the history and evolution of humanity – from darkness into Light.

Hugo’s characters aspire towards the ideal of perfection, a seemingly impossible dream is given wings through his masterful writings. Jean Valjean’s fortitude against almost insurmountable odds, Javert’s justice, or Cosette’s enduring faith, each is an example of a Masonic virtue personified. Soldiers of the revolution, Hugo’s characters march diligently towards that glorious victory –overthrowing tyrants, trampling evil, developing virtues, and discarding vice. These legendary stories populate example of a Masonic virtue personified. Soldiers of the revolution, Hugo’s characters march diligently towards that glorious victory –overthrowing tyrants, trampling evil, developing virtues, and discarding vice. These legendary stories populated with archetypal figures are Hugo’s immortal gift to humanity, providing examples of divine virtues for mankind’s enrichment and emulation.

French Revolution 1789 into the July Revolution of 1830 which I discuss below as LIBERTY and God's judgment. 

The Dragonnades of the Vatican pawn King of France Louis XIV; Why the French Revolution- Liberty - was God's Divine Judgment

The slaughter and extreme persecution didn't end with the Waldensians. 

History of the Waldenses 

I was shocked to find the Vatican Jesuit army was panicking to see Protestant s thriving and growing in France under the Huguenots.

They went on another slaughter fest in France.

Saint Bartholomew’s Day Massacre

King Charles IX of France, under the sway of his mother, Catherine de Medici, orders the assassination of Huguenot Protestant leaders in Paris, setting off an orgy of killing that results in the massacre of tens of thousands of Huguenots all across France.

Two days earlier, Catherine had ordered the murder of Admiral Gaspard de Coligny, a Huguenot leader whom she felt was leading her son into war with Spain. However, Coligny was only wounded, and Charles promised to investigate the assassination in order to placate the angry Huguenots. Catherine then convinced the young king that the Huguenots were on the brink of rebellion, and he authorized the murder of their leaders by the Catholic authorities. Most of these Huguenots were in Paris at the time, celebrating the marriage of their leader, Henry of Navarre, to the king’s sister, Margaret.

A list of those to be killed was drawn up, headed by Coligny, who was brutally beaten and thrown out of his bedroom window just before dawn on August 24. Once the killing started, mobs of Catholic Parisians, apparently overcome with bloodlust, began a general massacre of Huguenots. Charles issued a royal order on August 25 to halt the killing, but his pleas went unheeded as the massacres spread. Mass slaughters continued into October, reaching the provinces of Rouen, Lyon, Bourges, Bourdeaux, and Orleans. An estimated 3,000 French Protestants were killed in Paris, and as many as 70,000 in all of France. The massacre of Saint Bartholomew’s Day marked the resumption of religious civil war in France.

After driving out the Protestants France then turned on itself and the Catholic Church. 

In the unbridled blood must of the French Revolution under LIBERTY.

The literal overthrow of Government and Church.

And the USA adapted the same spirit making any all religion accepted under the Mob rule of government... then said oh no, we don't trust the people, so we'll make it a representative democracy under a republic.   A different story for a different day.

See full studies and research for yourself the ILLUMANTI and the founding Fathers, Masonry, Lady Liberty, The Statue of Liberty.

Roman goddess LIBERTAS

An exploration of the influence of secret societies on the formative documents and symbols of the United States

• Reveals the Founding Fathers’ spiritual vision for America as encoded in the Great Seal

• Traces the influence of the Iroquois League of Nations upon the Constitution

• Exposes the deep connections the Founding Fathers had with the Freemasons and other secret societies

All children growing up in America learn who the Founding Fathers were. Most, however, never learn of the founders’ connections to the Freemasons, the Rosicrucians, and other esoteric orders. In Founding Fathers, Secret Societies Robert Hieronimus investigates these important connections and how their influence can be traced throughout our most significant national documents and

But the French Revolution was God's Judgment on France. No doubt after their incessant persecution of the Protestants.

France was so proud of itself for cleaning out the filthy Protestants. The Jesuits thought the Waldensians slaughter would clean them out permanently, but they kept growing in France.


Amazing Study by Practical Christian


More depictions of I give your Soul Back to God 
The Truth

In Only Jesus Christ and in Him alone is true Liberty. The Liberty of man's government is in the end bondage. 

Luke 4:17-18: Jesus opened the book and read: "The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised."


Bishop Charles-François-Bienvenu Myriel, referred to as Bishop Myriel or Monseigneur Bienvenu, is a fictional character in Victor Hugo's 1862 novel Les Misérables.[1] Myriel is the Bishop of Digne in southeastern France.

The actual Bishop of Digne during the time in which Myriel's appearance in the novel is set was Bienvenu de Miollis (1753–1843) who served as Hugo's model for Myriel.[2] In the novel and the film and musical adaptions of it, the Bishop is a heroic figure who personifies compassion and mercy.

As Hugo set to work on the novel in 1848 after a long interruption, his anti-clerical son Charles objected to presenting Myriel as "a prototype of perfection and intelligence", suggesting instead someone from "a liberal, modern profession, like a doctor". The novelist replied:

I cannot put the future into the past. My novel takes place in 1815. For the rest, this Catholic priest, this pure and lofty figure of true priesthood, offers the most savage satire on the priesthood today.[3]

Bishop Myriel in the novel[edit]

The novel’s first fourteen chapters are an account of the life and practices of Myriel. He was born into a noble family: "the whole of the first portion of his life had been devoted to the world and to gallantry."[4] His wife died while they were living in Italy as exiles from the French Revolution. The narrator reports his next transformation with a rhetorical question:[5]

Was he, in the midst of these distractions, these affections which absorbed his life, suddenly smitten with one of those mysterious and terrible blows which sometimes overwhelm, by striking to his heart, a man whom public catastrophes would not shake, by striking at his existence and his fortune? No one could have told: all that was known was, that when he returned from Italy he was a priest.

While a little-known priest, he had a chance encounter with Napoleon and praised him, as a result of which he was made a bishop. He continues to act like a common, compassionate, country priest, generally known by the name "Monseigneur Bienvenu" ("welcome"). He moved into the small town hospital, so that the episcopal palace could be used as a hospital and keeps only a tenth of his salary for himself, spending the rest on alms. He once accompanied a condemned man to the scaffold, after the village priest refused to do so. Hugo devotes one chapter to a transformative episode for Myriel, in which the Bishop visits an old revolutionary on his deathbed. They discuss the politics and morality of revolution, and Myriel comes to marvel at his "spiritual radicalism", asking his blessing as he dies.[6]

The narrator summarizes Myriel's philosophy:[7]

There are men who toil at extracting gold; he toiled at the extraction of pity. Universal misery was his mine. The sadness which reigned everywhere was but an excuse for unfailing kindness. Love each other; he declared this to be complete, desired nothing further, and that was the whole of his doctrine.

One night Jean Valjean shows up at his door, asking a place to stay the night. Bienvenu graciously accepts him, feeds him, and gives him a bed. Valjean takes most of Bienvenu's silver and runs off in the night. The police capture Valjean and take him back to face Bienvenu. The police inform Bienvenu they have found the silver in Valjean's knapsack, and Bienvenu tells the police that he had given them to Valjean as a gift so they will not arrest him again. Valjean is surprised of Bienvenu's graciousness, and later sees the error in his ways. He chastises Valjean for not taking the silver candlesticks as well. After the police leave, Bienvenu tells Valjean to use the silver to become an honest man.

Myriel is referenced several times later in the novel. In 1821, Valjean, while serving as a mayor under the name Monsieur Madeleine, learns from a local newspaper of Myriel's death at 82, and wears mourning attire for some time. [8] Not long after, as Valjean contemplates allowing Champmathieu to be convicted in his stead, a "terrible voice" tells him: "Destroy these candlesticks! Annihilate this souvenir! Forget the Bishop! Forget everything! Destroy this Champmathieu, do! ... Yes, it is well arranged thus. Ah, wretch!" The voice then warns that one person, presumably Champmathieu, will curse him if he follows that advice. The voice is not identified, but the passage implies that it is the recently deceased Myriel as it concludes with Valjean asking who is there:[9]

There was some one; but the person who was there was of those whom the human eye cannot see. He [Valjean] placed the candlesticks on the chimney-piece.

Just before Valjean's death, when a female porter asks if he wants a priest, he replies "I have one," and points upward. The narrator adds: "It is probable that the Bishop was indeed a witness of this death-agony."[10] The silver candlesticks, Myriel's gift to Valjean, are mentioned several times near the novel's end, and Valjean dies in the glow of their candles.[11]
Role and significance[edit]

Writing in The Contemporary Review in 1885, Margaret Oliphant welcomed Hugo's portrait of Myriel as a refreshing change from his depiction of religious life in The Hunchback of Notre Dame, a "surprise of sweetness and relief". Calling Myriel "the keynote of the wonderful tale", she considered all the adventures of Valjean and Javert "on a much lower level of art than the opening". She continued:[12]

All the after-struggle is secondary to the great event of the beginning, which is the salvation of Jean Valjean, not from the law or the prejudices of society, but from the power of evil. Javert is an accident, though a striking one; the real matter is much higher; it is the work of Bishop Myriel, not of the penal code. It is the redemption of a soul; it is the struggle, first of the dominating sin with the dim risings of a better life [...]

Kathryn M. Grossman describes Myriel's work in transforming the lives of the poor as a moral "investment". His "fraternal demeanor thus corresponds to an economy marketing in souls." She continues:[13]

By his theft, Jean Valjean shows that he is still chained to hatred and anger; by his generosity, Myriel operates a spiritual purchase (achète) that substitutes "goodwill, gentleness, and peace"—in other words, "God"—for this satanic mentality. While Christ alone can redeem (rachète) with the sacrifice of his life, his bishop can perform an equally effective exchange. In divesting himself of his silver, Myriel invests in Valjean. All he demands of the recipient is that he prove worthy of the promise that he could not have made in his prison of sin, but that he will have made following his liberation. Sublime fiction opens the way, as in Simplice's case, to a higher truth.

The Catholic writer Theresa Malcolm says that after Valjean leaves, "Monseigneur Myriel never again appears in the story, but he is the soul of the novel, he who sowed love where there was hatred, light where there was darkness."[14]

Main article: Adaptations of Les Misérables

Since the original publication of Les Misérables in 1862, the character of Bishop Myriel has been in a large number of adaptations in numerous types of media based on the novel, such as books, films,[15] musicals, plays and games.

Bret Harte parodied Les Misérables in his Condensed Novels. In this version, Myriel confesses to stealing his own candlesticks. When the police can take no action against him, "He had a charming ball and chain made, affixed to his leg, and wore it the rest of his life."[16]
Bishop Myriel in the musical[edit]

See also: Synopsis of the musical and Les Misérables (musical) § Synopsis

In the stage musical of the same name, which is based on the novel, the role is called "Bishop of Digne" and the character is not otherwise identified. All of Myriel's history is omitted, and he is not mentioned by name after his encounter with Valjean, though his act of kindness toward Valjean guides the character throughout the show. He appears in the shows prologue and after Valjean is caught with his possessions having taken him in from the street he sees the opportunity to impart his values unto the protagonist. He explains to Valjean that his act of mercy was for a greater cause, instructs Valjean to use the silver "to become an honest man", and says that he has bought Valjean's soul for God.

Although his role is highly condensed compared to that of the novel, the Bishop retains the same heroic character and has a major significance in the story, moving Valjean to mimic the Bishop's strong values of kindness and mercy. At the end of the 2012 film (and recent stage revivals of the musical), he and Fantine are shown in the embrace of God and welcome Valjean into life after death. As well, the 2012 film has Myriel played by Colm Wilkinson, who originated the stage role of Valjean in 1985.

In Hugo's novel, Myriel tells Valjean:

Forget not, never forget that you have promised me to use this silver to become an honest man. ... Jean Valjean, my brother: you belong no longer to evil, but to good. It is your soul that I am buying for you. I withdraw it from dark thoughts and from the spirit of perdition, and I give it to God!

In a sermon, he preaches:

My brethren, be compassionate; behold how much suffering there is around you.

In the musical, Myriel sings to him:

But remember this, my brother
See in this some higher plan
You must use this precious silver
To become an honest man
By the witness of the martyrs
By the Passion and the Blood
God has raised you out of darkness
I have bought your soul for God!

In support of the Bishop's gracious posture and commission toward's Jean Valjean, Hugo goes on to quote this powerful line in the epilogue:

To love another person is to see the face of God.

“Prologue: Work Song”

Our grim introduction to the hero of Les Misérables: Jean Valjean, aka prisoner 24601, among his fellow downtrodden convicts. He’s served hard time simply for stealing a loaf of bread to save his starving family. Valjean thinks he’s finally free, but prison guard Javert will always see him as a convict. So, it transpires, will society. This effective opening number sets up the big themes of the show — and the duel between Valjean and Javert.
“Prologue: Valjean Arrested/Valjean Forgiven”

Valjean is immediately arrested for stealing silver from the Bishop’s house. But at his darkest moment comes a ray of light: the Bishop, instead of pressing charges, tells the police that he had given the silver to Valjean. This moment of salvation is a musical reprieve from the punishing misery, too.
“Prologue: What Have I Done?”

This is the major turning point for Valjean. As the Bishop states plainly: “I have bought your soul for God.” Here the lyrics are particularly evocative as Valjean castigates himself for acting like a “thief in the night… a dog on the run”. He decides to begin again — with a new name, a new story, and a new purpose.
“At the End of the Day”

It’s now eight years later, and there is still misery and injustice in France – as we hear from the embittered workers. This sets up another key character in the show, Fantine, who is constantly sexually harassed by the factory foreman and mistreated by the other women. Unfortunately, Valjean (now the factory owner and mayor) misreads the situation – something he will later bitterly regret.
“I Dreamed a Dream”

After those impressively efficient opening songs establishing the musical’s setting, plot and ideas, this ballad gives us some breathing space. Fantine confesses all to us: her memories of happier times, and the dream she had for life, all destroyed by the lover who abandoned her.

This stirring number transcends Les Mis, covered by everyone from Neil Diamond, Aretha Franklin and Elaine Paige to Susan Boyle in her viral audition for Britain’s Got Talent. Anne Hathaway delivered a hushed, intimate (and ultimately Oscar-winning) version in the Les Mis film.
“Lovely Ladies”

Without a social safety net, the now-unemployed Fantine slips easily into prostitution. The inevitability of that is illustrated by the song’s structure: we begin with the prostitutes and their clients, interspersed with Fantine, until she joins their ranks.

Her desperation undercuts their faux-cheeriness, and we end with a violent encounter – and the authorities, represented by the returning Javert as a policeman, taking the side of the wealthy client. Thankfully, Valjean is also back to intervene – yet in helping, he unintentionally reveals himself to Javert.
“Who Am I?”

Les Mis gives Valjean several dynamic soul-searching numbers. In this one, he must decide whether to sacrifice his new life – in which he’s in a powerful position to help others – in order to save the innocent man who is about to serve his sentence. It’s a song full of questions, punctuated by the repeated couplet summing up his dilemma: “If I speak, I am condemned/ If I stay silent, I am damned.” Who is he, ultimately? He is 24601, and he made a bargain with God.
“Come to Me”

It’s too late for Fantine, who is now on her deathbed – but calls out to her daughter, Cosette. Years later, we’ll hear this same haunting musical refrain in Eponine’s “On My Own”, linking the two generations of women. As Fantine dies, Valjean makes another defining promise: Cosette will live in his protection. Their brief duet bonds the two, but any chance at romance is immediately snuffed out.
“The Confrontation”

We have been building to this, and “The Confrontation” does not let us down. Valjean and Javert face off, furiously articulating their opposing points of view on justice, duty and whether a man can change his ways. Their differences are reflected in the musical counterpoint too: Valjean higher-pitched, lyrical and passionate, Javert lower, ploddingly rhythmical and implacable.
“Castle on a Cloud”

Meet Cosette, the daughter who Fantine gave everything to protect. Here we see the sad truth that the child is neglected and ill-treated, and, in this vulnerable solo, she too “dreams a dream” of a better life with her mother. But she’s soon interrupted by the vicious Madame Thenardier, who scorns the “ten rotten francs” Fantine sent them – although we know how much she sacrificed to obtain it. Needless to say the audience is immediately on Cosette’s side.

“Master of the House”

And yet… sometimes the Devil has the best tunes. The Thenardiers might be filthy crooks, but this is such a fun, naughty, raucous number – after a string of sad ones – that we’re more than happy to spend a bit more time in their company. Here we learn how they scam all their customers, and get a glimpse into the unhappy married life of Madame Thenardier, but at least we get a party along the way.
“The Waltz of Treachery”

Now we see that scamming in action, as the Thenardiers pretend to be heartbroken at the loss of their dear Cosette – and keep pushing up the price for Valjean to take her. It’s amusingly couched in a schmaltzy waltz tune, but we know the venal truth. Valjean gets the measure of them too. And this won't be the last time that he tangles with the Thenardiers.
“Look Down”

Following another time jump, here we get an echo of the prologue’s “Look Down” refrain, again sung by a downtrodden section of this unequal society. But it’s juxtaposed by the swaggering words of street kid Gavroche, and then by the rebellious talk of students Enjolras and Marius. Welcome to the revolution!
“The Robbery”

This action-packed number sets up our new tangle of relationships. Thenardier now runs a low-life criminal gang, including his daughter Eponine, who is secretly in love with Marius – but he spies Cosette, who has become a well-heeled lady, and is instantly smitten. More worryingly for Valjean, Thenardier (who has tried to rob them), recognises him, and so does Javert.

So far, we’ve only viewed Javert as an unreasonable antagonist. But now the musical gives him a soft, pensive song in which he can confide in the audience, explaining his personal faith and how it shapes his profession. He isn’t just an overeager policeman: he feels like he’s on a holy mission to maintain social order, and so Valjean must be caught. Ironically, this sentiment brings him closer to Valjean, also now a man of faith.
“Eponine’s Errand”

Poor Eponine. Not only does Marius completely disregard her as a romantic prospect, he now asks her to assist him in wooing the elegant Cosette (who she used to treat as a servant). It’s the ultimate humiliating friendzoning. You’ll hear Eponine and Marius’s duetting again later, in more tragic circumstances.
“Red and Black”

Vive la revolution! Enjolras’s rallying cry? “Red: the blood of angry men,/ Black: the dark of ages past./ Red: a world about to dawn,/ Black: the night that ends at last.” That’s interspersed with Marius’s love-at-first-sight bewilderment. In both cases, their world is changing forever. It’s a clever way to add a personal dimension to this political cause.
“Do You Hear the People Sing?”

So effective is this revolutionary call to action (which also acts as the musical’s finale) that it’s been taken up by real-life protestors – including in Turkey, Egypt, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Sri Lanka and Ukraine. Thank the clear-cut, repeated lyrics, the insistent beat, and the unquestionable principles.

“In My Life”

We switch back from politics to love, as the sheltered Cosette – via an exquisite silvery soprano line – expresses her confused feelings. Though Valjean adores her, there are too many secrets between them. In bursts Marius, matching her lyrical style, while poor Eponine can only watch on.
“A Heart Full of Love”

Cosette and Marius finally duet – awkwardly, adorably, finishing each other’s broken sentences. Although there are some lovely soaring vocals, the lyrical simplicity here speaks to their sincerity: Marius’s “I am lost” met with Cosette’s “I am found.”
“The Attack on Rue Plumet”

Uhoh. Marius isn’t the only one scoping out Valjean and Cosette’s house: Eponine meets Thenardier and his gang, planning to rob them. Eponine’s scream scares them away – but also makes Valjean think it’s time to run again.
“One Day More”

Surely the most epic ending to an act in musical theatre history. This mammoth number checks in with all our key characters, using counterpoint melodies as each uses their own distinct vocal lines. It’s an extraordinary feat, both a clever summary of where everyone has ended up at this key juncture and a gradually building, knockout moment in the show. “Tomorrow we’ll discover what our God in Heaven has in store” – or, in other words, you’d damn well better come back after the interval.
“Building the Barricade”

We begin Act II with the students constructing their infamous barricade. Marius is still distracted, however, as Eponine acts as go-between for him and Cosette. Meanwhile Javert prepares to infiltrate the rebels.
“On My Own”

This tortured ballad, with its big, wrenching key changes, is Eponine’s moment to express her anguish: however much she devotes herself to Marius, he simply does not love her back. “On My Own” only became Eponine’s number when the show was Anglicised, but Frances Ruffelle’s rendition established it as a breakout hit. Later, Lea Salonga used it when she was auditioning for “Miss Saigon”.
“At the Barricade”

Javert attempts to subvert the rebels’ cause – but Gavroche recognises him, and now Javert finds himself a captive, at the mercy of others’ whims.
“Little People”

Gavroche crows that he might be small, and underestimated, but he learns a lot close to the ground. It ties into the musical’s exploration of power dynamics. Right now, Gavroche is smaller than Javert, but he’s on top.
“A Little Fall of Rain”

Here’s that agonising reprise of Marius and Eponine’s duet – now sung with horror, pain and eventually acceptance as she dies in his arms (after being shot climbing the barricade), all while reassuring him that she delivered his letter to her love rival Cosette. I’m not crying, you’re crying.
“The First Attack”

The rebels win the first skirmish – but their enemy will be back. Meanwhile, Valjean finds himself in the extraordinary position of being asked to decide the fate of Javert. Again they’re at odds (philosophically and musically), as Valjean astonishes Javert by releasing him instead of killing him.
“Drink With Me”

A moment of calm amidst the fighting. In this gentle, evocative song, the rebels raise their glasses to happier times, and wonder what it will mean if they lose their lives to this cause. Marius also wonders if he can go on without Cosette.
“Bring Him Home”

Written to make the most of Colm Wilkinson’s incredible range, this shiver-inducing prayer has since been covered by numerous musicians, and is a favourite in auditions, concerts and talent shows – but it’s a big ask for anyone to sing it with the vocal effortlessness and God-given grace of Wilkinson. Here Valjean prays for Marius’s safety, for Cosette’s sake, offering up his own life instead. Again, that musical beauty is paired with relatively simple lyrics, letting the conviction of his words ring out. Discover more about actors who have played Jean Valjean in the West End.
“The Second Attack”

It’s all gone wrong. The people have not rallied to the rebels’ cause, and they’re running out of ammunition. Gavroche, cocky to the end, climbs the barricade to gather ammo from his fallen comrades – while reprising his “Little People” – and is tragically shot.
“Dog Eats Dog”

Where is Thenardier in all of this? Looting corpses, of course. One of those is Marius – but thankfully, he’s not quite dead, and Valjean has the chance to save him. After escaping Javert, who breaks with tradition by standing aside.
“Javert’s Suicide”

However, that merciful action destroys the code that Javert has lived by his whole life. Now it’s Javert’s turn for a big, rousing, soul-searching, Valjean-style number as he questions whether he was wrong all along. Referring back to his “Stars” song, he now finds the stars “black and cold”. Hopeless, he hurls himself into the river.

In this haunting number, which uses the same melody as “Lovely Ladies”, women recall the “children of the barricade” going off to fight for a new world – and dying for it instead. Nothing will ever change, they lament. The use of a familiar tune emphasises that feeling.

“Empty Chairs at Empty Tables”

Marius, beset with survivor’s guilt, surveys the empty tables at the ABC Café where his comrades used to sit. What, he asks, was their sacrifice for? It’s the lowest moment of the show: a shattering personal loss, as well as the end of their revolutionary dreams.

“Every Day”

Marius and Cosette reprise their “Heart Full of Love” tune as they reaffirm their commitment to one another: at least that has survived the slaughter. Valjean adds a counterpoint, realising that he needs to let Cosette go.
“Valjean’s Confession”

Yes, it’s “On My Own” again – although this time it’s just a riff as part of Valjean unburdening himself to Marius, confessing that he’s a convict on the run and that he must now leave Cosette for good. It brings our story full circle, as Valjean finally claims that old identity.

“Wedding Chorale”

Marius and Cosette marry in grand musical fashion. But the jubilation soon shifts into a familiar tune: that cunning Thenardier waltz. Yes, the criminal duo are now passing themselves off as landed gentry. Marius isn’t fooled, but he does learn a crucial bit of information from them: Valjean was the man who saved his life.
“Beggars at the Feast”

Yet more musical reprises, as the Thenardiers crow about their newfound fortune to the tune of “Master of the House”, while Valjean, watching the wedding party from the shadows, asks God to take him now – to the tune of “Bring Him Home”.
“Valjean’s Death”

Valjean finally dies to the tune of “On My Own”, while giving Cosette his last confession, and the spirits of Fantine and Eponine come to claim him. Valjean’s shiver-inducing final words sum up the show’s empathetic mission statement: “To love another person/ Is to see the face of God”.
“Do You Hear the People Sing?”

Les Mis ends on a note of defiance: the rebels might be beaten this time, but more will follow. It’s a triumphant climactic number – hard-earned but full-throated optimism. After numerous songs about relentless, unchanging toil – tomorrow just another day of the same hardship – the show ends with the promise of something better when “tomorrow comes”. Who will join in our crusade? Generations of Les Mis audiences, inspired to fight for a fairer world.


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