In different fandoms, I've noticed that there is that one character--that one character that everybody hates. Fanfics will turn him or her into a buttmonkey, into an out of character jerk or lady with questionable morals, all sorts of things. So for the next few days, I'm defending these poor characters.
My first character that everyone hates and I actually like: Raoul, from "Phantom of the Opera".
So seriously, why does everyone hate Raoul? I don't get it. I've never gotten it. Is it his doofy haircut? Is it because he's not played by Gerard Butler? Is it because he DOESN'T psychologically abuse and abduct unsuspecting girls?
After careful research, I've discovered the reasons why most fans prefer the Phantom over Raoul. I am here to display them and also point out why they are utter horse manure.
1. Raoul is a fop.
...what? Do these people even know what a fop is? A fop is a person who is often effeminate, overdresses, a 'man of fashion', so to speak. Something really close to a metrosexual. Check out some restoration comedies, they use fops a lot in literary devices. Raoul doesn't dress any more fashionably than anyone else. Hell, the Phantom is more of a fop than he is.
2. Raoul is boring.
Boring? Ok, so he doesn't live underneath an opera house and he doesn't terrorize a bunch of dancers and actors. Nor does he wear an admittedly cool mask. But just because he's a (dare I say it, NICE guy?!) he's boring? Come on! He risked his neck several times to save Christine, he was nearly tortured to death (in the book), he's always the first to try and fight the Phantom, he has several moments of badassery! He is in no way boring!
And I'm sorry, but if you don't think it was extremely awesome the way he spat, "Why make her lie to you to save me?" you and I should really not be friends.
3. Raoul is a controlling horrible man who orders Christine around and wouldn't believe her when she told him about the Phantom, waaaah!
This is probably the complaint that aggravates me the most. First of all, look at context, look at the period. Guys ordered girls around all the time. I'm not saying that this was okay, nor do I support it, but it was accepted. Raoul grew up in a time where men were expected to control women. If you expect me to believe the Phantom, who expected not just women but EVERYONE to obey his beck and call, wouldn't treat Christine the same (or worse) then you're deluding yourself.
Secondly, yes, Raoul didn't believe Christine. Yes, it was aggravating, yes, he should've trusted his beloved, blah blah blah. Once again, look at it in context. If your girlfriend or boyfriend suddenly dragged you up on a rooftop and informed you that an evil angel of music abducted you to an underground lair and was killing people, would you honestly believe them right off the bat? Cuz I wouldn't. I'd be likely to ask, what are you drinking, and can I please have some, but instantaneous belief? I'm too skeptical for that. So are most people.
Thirdly--even if Raoul is chauvinistic due to a product of his period, this does not make him worse than the Phantom. Good gracious people, the Phantom has been psychologically messing with Christine since she was a child, pretending to be the spirit of her dead father. He abducted her. He tried to control her life. He stalked her, followed her. He killed people and threatened to do the same to a crowded opera house unless she 'married' him. (Marriage is in quotations cuz you and I both know all he wanted was some bow chicka wow wow.) Yes, I get that he had a messed up childhood and was beaten and abused, but you know what? The majority of abusers were abused themselves. This does not excuse them and it does not excuse the Phantom.
Honestly, the Phantom's only redeeming quality is that he's played by Gerard Butler in the movie.
3. Raoul is pathetic.
Wait a second, the Phantom has been lusting after this chick since she was a little girl, creeping on her, pretending to be her dead father in order to seduce her, and Raoul is the pathetic one? What?
I think people mean the final scene, when he gets caught by the Phantom and Raoul is literally begging Christine to not lock her life away. One of his lines is, "I fought so hard to save you!" A lot of people think this is him whining, like, 'I'm so awesome! I triiiiiiied!'
No. He's saying, 'Christine, I tried my best to free you, I fought really hard, my entire purpose was for you to be free and you being with the Phantom would lock yourself away and render it all pointless, please please please just get out of here and save yourself!' That's pretty effing noble, if you ask me.
Also people bitch about the many leaking fluids he has pouring down his face as he's being choked to death. Well excuse the crap out of me, we can't all shed manly Gerard Butler tears (Gerard Butler doesn't cry, he leaks testosterone) and a lot of us in near-death situations can't always remain looking sexy and dignified. He's being CHOKED to death, people. Choking isn't pretty.
I'm mostly going from the movie here, but look at the scenes between the Phantom and Christine and Raoul and Christine. With the Phantom, there's dazed confusion and slight adoration mixed with a healthy dose of fear, especially when he sings to her. With Raoul, there is nothing but honest to goodness happiness. Yes, Raoul is a product of his time period, but at least he makes her happy which is more that can be said for the Phantom, who is pretty much a mind rapist. You may think the Phantom is more interesting and sexy than Raoul, but I'll have you know that in the end of the movie (you can't make me believe that fanfiction crap they call a sequel is real) Christine chose Raoul, and it is probably because he's not an emotionally abusive asshat.
I will take the nice guy over the sick twisted abuser any day.