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Last week I talked about the symphony of Skating’s Greatest Hits.  One of the pieces they placed was Phantom of the Opera.  I have never spoken of my passion over this devastating love story before but listening to that last week got me onto my Phantom kick again!  I have listened to the soundtrack almost endlessly and I watched the movie last weekend as well.

I love the music and the story is so sad.  It’s one of those that has an unhappy ending.  The Phantom has done everything for this young woman.  He has taught her to sing because he wanted her to be a star.  In doing so, he fell in love with her.  Enter Raoul, who I don’t particularly like, and, because they knew each other as kids, he falls in love with her all over again and, obviously, she liked him too.

There’s a little war within the Opera House and, in the end, the Phantom lets her go.  He doesn’t want to be caught by all those who are about to enter his lair.  I feel for him.  He’s devoted years, he’s fallen in love and, even she had feelings for him too.  But is that how they would have lived?  Would he have made her live in his lair or would he have moved out of there and into a real home with Christine?  Would that have changed how he felt about himself?  Because she loved him and married him his status would change?  He would be accepted?

I also fell in love with the music to the point that, when I was taking singing lessons, I learned a number of the pieces… I sang All I Ask of You, Think of Me, Music of the Night and Wishing You Were Somehow Here Again.

It’s incredible how Andrew Lloyd Webber came up with this way to tell a story that is that old.  It was written in 1910… 106 years ago!  The Phantom’s name was Erik but we don’t learn that in the musical.

What do we learn from this story?  That all stories don’t have to have a happy ending but it’s definitely the preference for most of us.  We feel uplifted when there is a happy ending because life doesn’t always work that way.  We read to escape, therefore we want to see something work out happy.

How might you change the ending of one of your books to make it an unhappy ending?  What do you think your readers would think?

Interesting to think further about that!