Phantom - Her Thoughts
Mulling over this book the past week I had a few thoughts to add to Steve's:
Transitions - the less information the characters (and reader) have about the Opera Ghost leads them to assume some supernatural force is at work. General opera staff assumes it's an evil spiritual being (save the new managers), but Christine believes it to be inherently good at first; her Angel of Music. As the story progresses and the true nature of O.G. is revealed, several characters (Christine, Raoul) and the reader come to understand him as he truly is: wretched and pityable, but very corporeal. This is when he becomes the most dangerous - when fully known as real.
Other seemingly evil spirits are similarily transformed: the demons by the furnaces, the door-shutters, and the rat-catcher. I won't give away the details!
This general spiritual-to-corporeal transition is the opposite of how our culture typically responds to unexplicable events. I was reminded of all the attempts to "explain" various miracles of Jesus, the parting of the Red Sea, the great Flood, etc. And yet our sophisticated scientific culture clings to local town ghost stories! (Boston, Charleston, etc)
As any good author, not all loose ends are neatly tied by the end of the book. There's the shade in the felt hat, the siren in the lake, the phantom's lady who requires a footstool... we are led to understand that the great Opera House, with it's complex structure and inner workings, definitely has a spiritual presence in it. Like our own world.
There's a lot more to think about in "Phantom"; the book was so well written I'm hesitant to see Lloyd Webber's production, esp. after let-downs like Lord of the Rings, Jurrasic Park, and Narnia. I'm afraid Webber's production will be reduced to one great chandelier-crashing moment. Anyone read the book and seen the musical? Comments?