3.5th Most Beautiful Female Character
Eponine! O Eponine! If ever secondary characters were given so much justice. Victor Hugo, the passionate writer he was, created a brilliant Character in Eponine Ternadier, daughter of the treacherous inkeepers and unrequited lover of Marius. I guess Cosette was worthy competition, given that she's the poster child for Les Miserables (literally) and the adopted daughter of Jean Valjean, altogether with her own amazing story, but Hugo is relentless in doing every single one of his characters justice, and so even though Eponine is secondary, she feels almost as if she could be the main character.
Great literature begets great music, and as such we have some really great songs to embody Eponine. For example, her famous solo "On My Own", a tear-jerking peace filled with far more power than most composers will ever conceive in their lifetimes, as well as a theme song for the common scenario of being on your own. Eponine, I've been there. I've experienced unrequited love. Perhaps not in the same sense that she does, given that from my perspective the emotions behind a man in love are analogous to but not parallel with those of a woman's, but regardless of that, we share the same ultimate archetype. The sadness of being alone brings me closer to this character, and that commonality provides me with some comfort. There's a song by Billy Joel, "Piano Man". I'm sure you've all heard of it, and I just think that the line "And they're sharing a drink they call loneliness / But it's better than drinking alone" fits the bond I have with this character. Granted, she's fictional, but still, it's a comfort. It still feels comforting to be alone together.
Yes, Doctor Who, you have been trumped.
(Of course, then there are pictures like the one above, where she looks boyish, which I of course think is incredibly attractive. And the freedom-fighter look is just cool in general. Nice gun. And nice hat.)
What it really all comes back to, however, is what I said about her being a soulful character. Back in the day, I didn't have much of an appreciation for her. I thought it was a testament to the beauty of the story, but I didn't feel incredibly bad for her. However, she was the favorite character of an uncle of mine. At the time that I watched this play with him, I think he was around thirty-five or so and unmarried. Looking back I can see how that makes sense and how he might have seen her in the most human light out of anyone in the play. Then of course, there were times where my life took a coaster dive into the land of suck and I was pretty miserable. At that time, it was this character I turned to, and I got some reminder of how beautiful of a person I am if I just accept myself.
As this last image suggests, given her matted hair and distressed face, she is indeed another poster child for the titular miserable people of France. She's a human being that we other human beings are obliged to love and care for. She's just as real as anyone else, filled with hopes, desires, temptations and trials, and I maintain that the deepest sense of beauty comes from growth amid intense suffering.