Les Misérables Week: In Defence of Marius Pontmercy-Jonas

As promised, this week I begin my dedication to Les Misérables. And as an opening gambit, instead of addressing my favourite character, adaptation or musical number, I’ve decided to take this time to defend a character who has a soft spot in my heart, and the man who caused it.

Ladies and gentlemen, I think Nick Jonas was an amazing Marius.

I assume 80% of you just closed the page in disgust. For those of you still with me, allow me to defend the love of my life.

Nick Jonas played Marius in the 25th Anniversary Concert at the 02 arena in 2011. It was a heart-stopping experience to behold, and I just watched it on DVD. I envy the people who saw it live. But on the internet… well…

This is part of a review on IMDB:

The casting of Nick Jonas, of Jonas Brothers fame, is little more than a casting publicity stunt, and one which almost backfires catastrophically. Quite simply, Jonas is leagues out of his depth, and his voice has not the power nor range to do justice to the role, and he comes across as a typical boy band singer, and a barely adequate one at that. His voice seems small and tinny next to the emotion of Barks or the raw power of Boe. Even his facial expressions come straight from Backstreet Boys 101! He is clearly there as a blatant stunt to draw in younger fans who would buy this just on seeing his name in the cast, a move which comes across as cynical and could cost the performance a star on its own.

Ouch, Mr_PCM. Ouch.

Okay, first of all, I do question why the theatre would want to introduce itself to new fans via a concert. I mean, I read the book first, so I did know what was happening, but I spent a lot of viewing time explaining to my sister what was happening.  A concert is not the way to do it.

I won’t talk much about Nick Jonas’s stage career, because that is something you can check on wikipedia. It should be noted though that he has been in Les Misérables before, as well as Beauty and the Beast, Hairspray and How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying. He’s no stranger to the stage, and playing Marius has been a dream of his since Gavroche. He has respect for the story.

But that is not why I will defend him.

I will defend him because Marius Pontmercy is a romantic dork. He is. He’s quite simple adorkable. Let us review the ever-charming, though socially awkward Marius.

He idolises a handkerchief he believes to be Cosette’s.

“…he went to an engraver on the Quai des Orfevres and ordered a hundred cards bearing this name: Le Baron Marius Pontmercy. Only, as he did not know any one and could not sow his cards with any porter, he put them in his pocket.”

The wind shows a part of Cosette’s leg, and he is furious with it for offending her modesty.

He is a revolutionary idiot, and it is the height of endearing. He isn’t the smouldering beacon like Enjolras, or the comedic wonder like Grantaire. He is a child who becomes a man through loss of his friends and his Romantic ideals.

And no one in my opinion played it better. His voice is young, and full of such emotion when he sings that I melt. He portrays desperation, adoration and desolation with each nuance of verbal stress. 

So I will always defend Nick Jonas because he wasn’t polished, and that was exactly what the character should be like. A little rough, a little broken, but still so wholesomely good that he deserves to be appraised. Don’t let the Jonas put you off. If you were judged on your teenage years, be honest… would you consider it fair?

And so dear readers, we reach the end. Let me ask you; who is your favourite Marius Pontmercy? Do you even like him as a character?

Tomorrow, I deal with the plot of Les Misérables and ask why we still love to brag that we’ve seen or read it.

About Stephanie Gallon

I'm 22 years old with first class honours in BA (Hons) English and Creative Writing. I'm currently studying MA English Studies. I'm an author, a blogger, and a zealot of all things written. I write on everything from comics, to feminism, to advice on university life.
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4 Responses to Les Misérables Week: In Defence of Marius Pontmercy-Jonas

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  3. kateorgera says:

    You make a good argument here. Admittedly, I didn’t really mind Nick Jonas as Marius myself. In personality, yes, he does capture Marius’s youth and romanticism well. The problem is, in the concert he was paired with a lot of strong singers, so to me his voice seemed out of place by comparison. Personally, I liked him as Link in Hairspray better, because his voice and acting were *perfect* for that part. But kudos to you for defending this!


    • He was a perfect Link ❤ And I have his stint in HT$IB on CD. I love it.

      I do agree though. Next to Alfie Boe and Ramin Karimloo, he isn't as impressive. Still, I like the juxtaposition. And I still prefer him to Eddie.


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