Wednesday 16 March 2011

The Three Musketeers Readalong : Part 1

I've wanted to read this book for a long time, so when I found out about the readalong, I had to join in! As a child, I remember watching loads of adaptations of The Three Musketeers. In the first 29 chapters, though, everything I remember happening in the animated children's series, has already happened, so I'm really interested to see what happens next!

When I started reading, I really didn't think I was going to like the characters at all. D'Artagnan in particular, came across as a bit of a self-important, oversensitive child, and all of them really, seemed overly ready to draw their swords for the smallest percieved insult. Within about ten minutes of being in Paris, D'Artagnan managed to offend, and thus end up engaged to duel, each of the Three Musketeers, Athos, Porthos, and Aramis. When they are attacked by the Cardinal's guards, D'Artagnan steps up to help the musketeers, after which they take him on as their protege, and somewhere along the line, I started to like him. His self-importance became determination, oversensitivity, romanticism, and the desire to duel with everyone has turned into a really quite touching bravery, and desire to defend and protect his friends. I do feel that so far, a lot of the time, D'Artagnan comes across as a boy, pretending to be a man.

I've only been reading this two chapters a day, and to be honest, I think that's probably what's keeping it fresh for me. There have been days when I've wanted to read lots more than two, and equally days where the two have seemed like an impossible chore, although there have definitely been less of these! The only other Dumas book I've read is The Count of Monte Cristo, which is an absolutely huge, beast of a book. I really enjoyed it, but I (and my sister) both did manage to skip a fair few chapters in the middle where not much was happening, and pcik it up again at the end, not having missed much. So far with The Three Musketeers, I'm wanting to stick with it all the way through, for the most part.

Like a lot of people, though, I'm finding it hard to get to grips with the terrible lack of morals the musketeers have. It's equally hard to balance this lack of morals, with the kind of religious scenes which run through the book. The chapter about Aramis' thesis was the one I found hardest to get through, so far.  I do feel, though, that the novel is much more about the characters than the setting, and, for me, the two haven't really connected yet. It may sound like a silly thing to say about a novel that's so specifically French, but to me, the setting just hasn't really come alive. Thankfully, the adventure side of the story totally makes up for any of the things which are lacking.

I'm really looking forward to finding out what happens in the last half of the book!

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