At 15 she became a bride
At 19 she became a queen
By 20 she was a legend
That was what I read in a trailer of the movie “Marie Antoinette” starring Kirsten Dunst. I haven’t watched the movie and I’m not interested in trying. I’m not very fond of Marie Antoinette; there is no reason for me to watch any other movie about her besides ROV. But I don’t hate her either, and I like those sentences, just some simple words but they nearly draw a completed picture of her whole life.
*Warning: I’m talking about Marie Antoinette in “the rose of Versailles”, not the real Marie Antoinette. I don’t know and don’t care if in real history she’s an evil or a tyrant, I only know the Marie Antoinette that Riyoko sensei has created.
And honestly, I didn’t plan to write about her, but I went through a strange period made me think about her. Then after paying more attention to the queen of France, the thing that I never did since Oscar and André were the only ones in my eyes, I just have to write this.
Well, let’s start!
First, tell me when and why did you guys love Oscar? I know we’re talking about Antoinette here, but just answer that question please. For me, I read the manga first, and thought Oscar had a quiet impressive introduction – the sixth daughter in a general family and her father decided to raise her like a boy just because she cried like a boy- Antoinette was the one caught my attention. I guess because she is a princess, and I like classical stories with prince, princess, count…( and ghost stories too, in short, I like stories that not about nowadays reality). But then Oscar took over the stage, and completely took my heart at the moment her father hit her; after she went to Arras while she should have stayed home. That’s for the “when”, and the “why”? Because after that she vented all her spleens on André and he said, or actually just thought:
“At first sight, you’re as cool as ice, but inside your heart is always on fire. That’s the reason why I love you.” (Manga Vietnamese version)
He just stared at her with tender eyes then seemed like Oscar felt something different in that look, she released him. I smelled an interested hidden-forbidden love story there. So my eyes just followed those two and yes, their story is absolutely a wonderful story. That also means I didn’t see the other minor stories in the big story of ROV.
So, tell me, when and why did you love Oscar? Is it true that she’s famous because of her love affair more than her militant spirit? I believe the answer is “yes”. Just look at all the ROV fanfics and fanarts, there’re many kinds, but the love theme has the largest amount and certainly the pair is Oscar and André.
Of course we love Oscar because of her personality, yet when we think about her, usually her love will come first. She’s the dream of every woman, not because she has a fiery heart in an icy figure, but because she has a man that every woman wants to have: André Grandier. This’s like a fairy tale; little girls love the princess because the prince will kill the dragon and save her. So girls want to become princesses and wait for a rescue of the prince. We are not little girls anymore, so we find more reasons to love Oscar, let’s be honest, the first thing made us love her was André’s love, then came other things. And in the end, she just simply took our hearts.
No offense to Oscar fans, and must I repeat that I’m one of you. Just trying to be objective and hope you will read this objectively. Put aside “I love Oscar” (and also “I hate Marie” if you have some negative feelings for her), let find out why there’s a rumor that Marie Antoinette is actually the main character of ROV.
“The princess of misfortune”, why I said “princess”, not “queen”? Because I prefer her as a princess than a queen, and when she was the queen, she chose the misfortune herself.
Antoinette was a playful self starter. Playing, dancing, having fun all the time. Well, she was a teenager, she was a princess, she always had beautiful dresses to wear, delicious meals to eat and she lived in a palace with big garden, big fountain… what and why did she have to worry about? In the manga, she said that her mother usually lets her wear normal clothes (well, normal for her) and ignore all the prolix rituals. Maybe because she was too young for her mother to think of teaching her some responsibilities. Yes, she was taught so many subjects: French, literature, music, dancing, history… but not responsibility. Remember how many times she tried to fool the teacher and skipped the class? That was cute but also proved she couldn’t understand why she had to study.
You can tell your kids thousand times that study well will help them have good jobs in the future. When they have good jobs, they could have big houses and a good life… but if they don’t “understand” how necessary to have all of that, playing is still more important to them. They will take care of the thing they worry about. If they don’t have to worry about food, about the house, about life, then they will worry about how much fun they could have.
It’s the same with Antoinette. The thing she was worried back then was: she was going to marry a strange guy, she had never fallen in love but she had read in a book that people should marry the one they love. She didn’t think about her country, didn’t think that this marriage could prevent a war and save millions of her people. Obviously because she didn’t know about it. Seem like her mother didn’t let her has a chance to know about real life. She was a rose in a greenhouse.
And boom! Suddenly, people threw her to another country, said that she would become a queen and asked her to take responsibility on everything. Isn’t it a good fortune? She would rule one of the biggest countries of that time. She would have a lot of power. She would do whatever she wanted to do. She would buy whatever she wanted to buy… See? That’s what people usually think. It’s a good fortune! It’s great! They don’t think about how hard to rule the country, how hard to control the power… they don’t think it’s a misfortune, especially for a teenager girl who had never had to worry about anything besides having fun.
When she arrived in France, she had experienced something call “culture shock”, but that’s not the important thing. The important thing is she suddenly realized her power, her high position and how much people admired her. And she thought that was natural, she thought people were supposed to love her and she was supposed to have everything. That’s why when it came to Madame Du Barry, Antoinette was so angry and stubborn. That’s the pride of a true princess and also an unruly kid. A real princess would know when to get down her pride for political reason. Antoinette didn’t know that until things got serious, and the first time since the opening of the story, she thought about her country and finally greeted Madame Du Barry. Should I say this is the “only time” instead of “first time”? Because after that, all she thought about was herself, not her homeland or France. Selfish? No, not exactly. When she became a Queen, the first thing she did was promoting Oscar and sending her some gifts, because that was her only “friend” in France.
So, she did think about other people, but only the ones were close to her. I think it’s acceptable; she was just an innocent girl, a teenager how could she think about things that she didn’t even know they existed? She needed someone to guide her, to help her but not to preachify. In short, she needed a friend more than a teacher. And did she have a friend? Oscar? First Oscar was more like Antoinette’s body guard than a friend, then later she was more like a Royal guard commander than Antoinette’s personal guard. Their lives just slowly separated. It was a pity.
I believe if Oscar acted more like Antoinette’s friend, she would have a stronger influence Antoinette and the stubborn princess would listen to her advice. It’s easily to come from something fun to something serious, like high school girls talk to each other about boyfriends, about fashion. One day one of them has a problem with her family, wanna elope with a bad guy, the ones can make her change her mind is the other high school girls, not her parents or teacher. Antoinette didn’t have anyone to have fun with. No matter how much she tried she couldn’t find “fun”, so she worried about having fun more than other things.
Needless to talk about her husband, the boy who preferred making lock than dancing with his wife. Antoinette was disappointed when she first saw Louis, but she did try to get closer to him. And what she gets was: “I don’t like to dance; you can dance with someone else if you like.” I don’t care if he truly loved her or not, I don’t care if he was too shy to show his feeling, there’re plenty ways to let his wife know he loved her without saying. Instead of finding a suitable way, Louis hid himself in lock making and hunting. All I want to say is, Antoinette was in the biggest castle, among so many people but she still had to ask herself “why do I feel something is missing?”
And she found that “something”: Hans Axel von Fersen, a man fitted perfectly the image of her prince charming: handsome, highly educated, and more importantly: he made her happy. But after Antoinette became the Queen, he left her and left an empty deep hollow in her heart that she tried to fill by spending money. Here was the time she chose the misfortune. She was a Queen and her people came to talk to her about their problems. But she was busy thinking about her problems.
When she was a crown princess, it was her mother’s fault, other people’s fault when didn’t teach her about the real world outside the castle walls. But now she was 19, old enough to be considered as an adult and that “real world” had come to her itself. Antoinette refused to understand what her people said about bad harvests, lean years… I think the reason was: Antoinette couldn’t “feel” her people’s problem. She could “understand”, but not “feel”. She knew that “lean year” meant the farmer didn’t harvest enough food. But she didn’t know why it was a problem. She didn’t have to worry about food, so she didn’t think other people would have a problem if they don’t get enough food. Of course she knew that she was a Queen so she had delicious food that commoners couldn’t have, she knew that her meal contented more courses than that of a commoner, but she couldn’t figure out how a commoner’s meal would be. A millionaire can’t understand a life of a beggar. He thinks he eats chicken fired then at least the beggar has French fries. He doesn’t know that there’re some people go to bed with an empty stomach for a week unless he sees by himself. At least nowadays, a millionaire can watch that on TV, Antoinette can only hear about that from her people and unless she saw it, she would never believe it. Antoinette wasn’t someone with a cold heart, she would have done something to help if only she understood the situation and sympathized with her people. She gave money and power to Madame Polinag because she “felt” her pain (even though Madame Polinag was pretending but she did it too well), she saved Oscar from the duel to protect her. Only if Antoinette had opened her heart more to commoners listened to them and tried to understand them. She was a Queen now, she could go to the countryside to see how a “lean year” would be, she could ask someone to investigate the situation or even do it by herself…All I want to say is it was time for her to grow up, to decide her destiny, and she had chosen the wrong way.
On the contrary, Oscar had her chance to understand people. Also she had André by her side; the man would never leave her and could help her make the right decision. André understood the Oscar’s heart and Oscar understood the commoners’ hearts, but did anyone understand the Queen’s heart?
You can say Oscar was by the Queen side, but is it enough? Antoinette did consider Oscar her “friend”, but to Oscar taking care of the Queen was her duty, not something she wanted to do from the bottom of her heart. Antoinette was always her Queen, her duty, not her “friend”. When Antoinette was enduring the lack of friendship, Madame Polinag acted like her friend. Even though the Queen has a vague suspicion, she ignored it and fooled herself that finally she found a “true friend”, someone had fun with her, listened to her and was there when she needed. I believe she did realize gambling and all the benefits she gave to Madame Polinag was wrong, but to her, a “friend” was more important than money. She had all the money she wanted; she was the Queen, right? But she didn’t have a friend…
What if Oscar was more like her friend? Antoinette could talk to her about how Louis ran away from her, and Oscar could help her get closer to her husband, just like a girl help her friend win a guy’s heart. That’s more fun than: “you should give more sympathy; the crown prince is just too shy, you have your position to consider…blah blah blah…” Oscar could listened to her feeling about Fersen and tell her that was wrong, as a friend not as a personal guard. And Oscar could show her how the life of a commoner was by taking her out of the palace. That could be too dangerous for a Queen so a personal guard would never do that, but a friend definitely would, because it’s not only to help her “friend” realize the situation but also to have some fun together.
Instead of that, Oscar found her ideal when Antoinette was still struggling with her life, and their lives gradually disconnected. The only time Oscar acted like Antoinette’s friend; and saved her because she really wanted to, was when she wore a formal uniform and danced with the Queen, in order to distract people attention. That was what a friend would do for a friend. The other time Oscar helped the Queen was just because she was the Queen.
Antoinette, as a friend, had saved Oscar so many times, even when she betrayed her, the Queen still, well I think “forgive” is suitable: even when Oscar betrayed Antoinette, she still forgave her. But after Oscar’s heart beats the same beat with the people, she didn’t care if the Queen loses her life, Oscar was busy with her life, her ideal and a person was always with her: André. It wasn’t Oscar’s fault; she has her own life and the right to choose her own way. It was Antoinette’s fault for her need of being attached to someone. She always needed someone to stay with her; and the fact that everybody sooner or later would leave her side: first Fersen, then Madame Polinag and finally Oscar, made her feel unsafe, made her feel the others were moving on, having life but she was just staying still, and she was always the one who was left behind. If she had someone she knew would stay with her forever despite whatever she does, she wouldn’t have to worry about herself and think about other people more.
Oscar seems can do anything on her own. But Oscar had André, even she didn’t realize, deep inside she knew no matter which way she choose, André was always there to support her; if she chooses the wrong one, just turns around and he would lead her home. Antoinette had no one, if she turns around she will only find a dark black empty space; so she had to move forward whether it was the right way or not. And I didn’t mean she needed a lover, she needed a friend or someone whom she can count on.
Fersen? How could Fersen compare with André? André loved Oscar because of her personality; Fersen loved Antoinette because of her beauty. André always ran to Oscar when she was in trouble, Fersen always ran away every time he couldn’t deal with the public.
And every time he ran away, he only made the situation worse. Because of his disappearing, Antoinette became love sick, and again, only concentrated on her pain; forgot about everything else. Till, I have a feeling that her love for Fersen was just some kind of a teenage crush. But she couldn’t have him so she misunderstood that crush for a real love. Moreover, she needed so much a person who gave her a shoulder to cry on, who would embrace her in his arms and say “everything will be fine because I’m here with you”; and the only one could do it was Fersen. He was her escape to a fantasy world, and when he was gone, that world was gone too. Since she didn’t want to deal with reality, the thing she had missed was her fairy tale world, not Fersen.
Fersen did come back to Antoinette several times, but in my opinion, the fact that he couldn’t have her made him want to have her more. The forbidden thing is always so attractive. I have a thought that if they could get married, after a couple months Fersen would run after another woman; maybe after Oscar, because Oscar was an impressive woman and now his “love” for his “wife’s personal guard” would be forbidden. I just want to say he didn’t love her at all. He came back “to die with you” and tried to help the Royal family escape. But when Louis said it was enough, he should run for his life, he really did it. I don’t know and don’t care why; but I know if that was André, he would follow them by any cost, and would die with his beloved like he had promised.
Have I come from talking about Marie Antoinette to comparing André and Fersen?
Well, then I should stop. : mrgreen: Just want to confirm it’s true that Antoinette was a terrible Queen, and I am still not a fan of hers; but somehow I sympathize with her feeling and understand why she made all those mistakes.