Sunday Fun Facts: The Thénardiers
In the musical Les Misérables, we know that Monsieur and Madame Thénardier run an inn, a cover-up for swindling their customers out of their earnings and their possessions. We also learn that when their daughter, Éponine, grows up, she also assists them in their scams. They make a not-so-happy family of three, which is sadly reduced to two by the end of the show.
In Victor Hugo’s novel, however, Éponine is the eldest of five children. She has one sister named Azelma, who survives and travels to America with her father after the wedding of Cosette and Marius. Interestingly enough, both girls enjoyed playing with little Cosette in their youth until they began following their parents’ example and abusing the orphan.
|Cosette by herself while Azelma and Éponine play together|
Éponine also has three brothers. Two of them are unnamed; the third is Gavroche. Yes, the adventurous and beloved street urchin in the musical is actually a Thénardier. Éponine actually asks Marius not to let Gavroche see that she is dying because he would “scold.”
|Samantha Barks (Éponine) and Daniel Huttlestone (Gavroche) in the 2012 film|
After the fall of their inn and during their life in poverty, the Thénardiers actually live under the name “Jondrette.”