Weird and Wonderful Conspiracy Theories: 'Les Misérables'

Harriet Wilson

Set in France, in the 1820s / 1830s (i.e. in the same universe as Star Trek), Les Misérables is a much-loved musical, based on a book which nobody has ever read. It's the story of Jean Valjean, a man who stole a loaf of bread (or maybe murdered somebody), and found a … secret admirer … in Javert. And the whole time, it was just a comparison of Old and New Testament morality.

Alright, here are all of those very weird but kind of wonderful conspiracy theories, explained.

1.     Jean Valjean did way more than steal one loaf of bread.

Was he, in fact, a murderer? This theory suggests that Valjean did quite a lot of heavy tweaking when he retold the story of how he ended up in prison. After all, why does Javert refer so much to Valjean being dangerous? Maybe Javert wasn't overreacting at all, and Valjean really did need to be kept behind bars.


2.     Les Misérables is really all about Old Testament morality compared with New Testament morality.

This theorist argues that Les Misérables is really an exploration of these two views on morality. The flame, the sword? Classic Javert. And classic Old Testament.

Sacrificing yourself to save somebody else? Caring for people no matter their place in society? Well that's Valjean through and through … and also very New Testament.


3.     Javert was in love with Valjean.

This theory paints Les Misérables in an even more tragic light than the original story-line. Imagine a young Javert, whose only solace is the absolute faith that he has in his beliefs. Jean Valjean appears on the scene, and Javert fights against stirring feelings of adoration towards the prisoner – feelings that quickly turn into obsession.

Now for some spoilers (don't say I didn't warn you). When Valjean escapes, Javert's obsession with him grows, and he becomes fixated on the idea that if he could just get Valjean back behind bars, then he would be able to control the feelings that he is struggling to subdue.

But that's not quite how events transpire, so skip a few scenes and Javert finds his life in Valjean's hands. At this point, Javert really does want Valjean to kill him, because this will 'free' him from his conflicted emotions and, in his last moments, he will finally be able to loathe Valjean. Of course, Valjean was having none of that. Instead, Valjean leaves Javert alive – with a whole heap of impossible emotions to deal with. And Javert can't cope.

This theory does explain Javert's extreme reactions to anything and everything Valjean-related, and it really does hold together … Well, I'm convinced.


4.     It's set in the same universe as Star Trek.

Isn't Les Misérables just set on … Earth? France in and around 1832, to be specific. Well, let's skim over that. After all, no conspiracy theories blog is complete without at least one “it was set in the same universe as …” entry. So what exactly is the brilliant explanation behind this one?

“[I]n both, the French speak English with British accents.”

If that's not evidence, then I don't know what is.


5.     Nobody has actually ever Victor Hugo's book, Les Misérables.

“Literally no one,” claims this theorist. Not even Schönberg. Instead, a couple of critics made up positive reviews of the book to seem intelligent and, basically, everyone else just agreed because they didn't want to be left behind … but they also didn't want to read the book. I mean, it's really long.

So how did they come up with a musical adaptation? Well, all the critics put some made up details into their reviews, until the guys at SparkNotes got drunk and decided to piece everything together (again, without reading the book). Since then, everybody has just used the SparkNotes version, and not one person has read the original book.

A couple of people commented on this Reddit theory claiming to have read Les Misérables, but then they would say that, wouldn't they? They don't want their large-scale fraud to be uncovered. So we still have no proof that anybody has actually ever read it.

Have you?


Let us know whether you've read Les Misérables, and what you think of all of these weird and wonderful conspiracy theories, by tweeting @thespian_blog and @OnstageBlog.