Christal Ann Rice Cooper

Christal Ann Rice Cooper
Chris on July 3, 2017

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Phantom/Erik From "Phantom Of The Opera" Featured In "Phantom: Edge of The Flame" by Kristine Goodfellow . . .

Christal Cooper
*2,788 Words


“The Story Of My Art Continues…”

“ I was born to create. The artist had found her medium with this book. And the love story of my art continues…”

Kristine Goodfellow has two philosophies in life: always evolve as a writer, and always be a creative reader, which requires to think of the possibilities, read in between the lines, wonder what happens next after the book’s end, and to question.  



After reading Gaston Leroux’s Phantom of the Opera Goodfellow did all of those things, especially the questioning:  Did Erik love Christine for her person or for her voice?  Was Christine under the influence of Eric’s hypnoses or did she act as an independent person?  



       “I couldn’t stop wondering why Eric became obsessed with Christine Daae. I wondered if I were missing something, so I reread the book.  Nothing could satiate my insane curiosity. The pairing did not make sense to me.” 


She then read another novel that further explored Phantom/Erik in a different light: the prequel to Leroux’s novel   Phantom by Susan Kay.


“I fell head-over-heels in love with Kay’s portrayal of the character, but, in the last quarter of the book, Kay retells the story of when Erik meets Christine.  According to Kay, Erik had some sort of Oedipal Complex, and Christine reminded him of his mother.  No way.  I couldn’t buy that excuse.”



She sought answers in the Andrew Lloyd Webb musical Phantom of the Opera which she’s seen four times: twice on Broadway, once in Las Vegas, and the West End production in London, England.



She also saw the 2009 movie Phantom of the Opera with Gerard Butler as the Phantom and Emmy Rossum as Christine Daae. 






Even still, her questions were not answered and she began to wonder what would Erik’s life be like if he could experience two things:  look past his own deformity to embrace his true artistic self; and fall in love with a strong woman.


“I wondered what would happen if Erik had a love interest who could keep up with him intellectually; one who could challenge him personally, and possibly lead him to redemption. What would happen if they were around the same age, had the same amount of life experience? What if they shared a love for art and literature? So…I created Olivia. And I decided to write a short story.”


At the time she was living in a rural village in Pennsylvania, where her desk faced a giant window overlooking a corn and alfalfa farm of rolling hills, and a white, two-story barn with a double-door loft, giving her a view that changed from moment to moment depending on the light, the weather, the time of day, and the season.  



The moment she sat down at her office over looking the giant window, she wrote non-stop, taking breaks to eat cookies, drink diet coke; and to care for her family.  She wrote into the wee morning hours, and, in the process, lost loads of sleep and twenty pounds, but never her passionate energy.   



 “The only way I can describe writing this book to anyone is to ask them to remember how they’d felt when they first fell in love. Sleeping and eating were annoying interruptions that kept you away from your beloved. You dreamt about them and woke up smiling.  Once Erik started talking in my head, I couldn’t get him to stop. I wanted him to teeter on the rim of redemption. In the end, I think we were both very satisfied.”



Her short story turned into an 80,000 word novel called Phantom: Edge of The Flame that presents Erik/Phantom not as a deranged hypnotist in search of the singer sensation for his Opera house, but a physically, emotionally, and spiritually scarred man who finds the chance for happiness when he first sees Olivia Weston, while on his nightly ride in the muddy streets of Paris. 



In the below excerpt, Goodfellow presents a new light on Erik – he feels concern, compassion for someone else, and offers Olivia aid, placing himself in a vulnerable position only to experience relief when he learns Olivia views his cape and mask as an eccentricity.





ERIK:
In the moments between daylight and dusk, a woman stood with the splendid sunset over her shoulder.  The evening sun’s rays deepened her blue traveling suit to indigo where the light caressed sections of the fabric and made her white collar look like a moonbeam on water.  The extraordinary vibrancy of the scene rivaled any painting in the Louvre.  She turned toward our approaching vessel; the soft hues of the setting sun fell upon her auburn tresses.
Her sophisticated hairstyle framed an appealing oval-shaped face that expressed apprehension.  A delicate beauty with rosy cheeks and big eyes looked toward my coach.  Her striking presence against a surreal backdrop of a crimson sky almost made me disregard the instinct to conceal myself.  Realizing the precarious situation of possible discovery, I drew away from the window before we approached any closer.
I sat back in my seat, letting go of my weapon and once again clutching the silver handle of my walking stick.  In direct opposition to my intrinsic desire to remain hidden, I leaned forward.  I had to observe the beauty of that woman one more time.  I’d never be able to forget such a strange, ethereal sight.
Upon hearing my coach pass she stepped back and landed ankle-deep in mud.  Her driver dropped his tools and steadied her by grabbing her elbow, leaving his filthy handprint upon her velvet sleeve.  A ravenous hunger shot from his vermin like eyes.  Maybe I imagined it or maybe it was my finely tuned intuition.  Perhaps one murderous lunatic can identify another, but if I left her there she would not see another sunset.
My heart pounded with forceful beats.  Part of me wanted to continue and leave her at the mercy of fate.
“Driver, stop!  Ask if the lady needs a ride,” escaped my lips.
Excerpt from Phantom: Edge Of The Flame
Pages 2 and 3
Copyright granted by Kristine Goodfellow

The courageous and strong New York widow Olivia is on a mission – traveling to France to visit her cousins Philippe and Raoul de Chagney; and to consider a risky operation that could possibly cure her of meningoencephalitis, a form of gradual blindness.  


What makes Phantom: Edge of The Flame authentic are two things:  Eric views Olivia as a complete, independent person, falling in love with her and not her voice; and Olivia views Eric as an equal, falling in love with him without being under the power of his hypnosis, influence, or suggestion, and without having an operatic voice.    


“I felt that Erik did use hypnotizing methods on Olivia and that it did relax her, but her mind and spirit were so strong that she was not actually hypnotized.”




ERIK:
A few minutes later, she stirred and opened her eyes. Despite my plan to remain silent and just take with me the assurance of her health, her name escaped my lips.  “Oh, Olivia.”
       She turned her head toward the 
 dresser.“Erik?”
       I’d have to use the power of suggestion.  There was very little time.  I needn’t be discovered hiding in a lady’s bedroom in the dead of night.  I moved to the side of her bed where my voice would hold the strongest sway. “Madam Weston, I’m sorry to disturb you.  I shall leave at once.”        
      “No, don’t go,” she said.  “What are you 
doing here?”
       My mouth dried up; my hands began to tingle as though they were asleep.  “Madam, you are dreaming.  I am not here.  You will not remember talking to me.”
       “You’re not here,’ she said groggily.  But the woman’s mind broke free.  She grabbed my hand.  I pulled away even though I desired nothing more than to hold her hand – to sit upon the chair next to her bed and cater to her every whim.  I would give her anything the world had to offer.
       A creak of a door and footsteps down the hall set my senses on high alert.  There was no time to suggest to Madam Weston, for the second time, that she would not remember my presence.  I slid out the window into the night.
       Excerpt from Phantom:  Edge of The Flame
       Pages 60 – 61
       Copyright granted by Kristine Goodfellow

“Thus the love they share is very real and emotional and compelling – they are more equals than man leading woman.  I felt this was further exemplified by writing the book in Erik and Olivia’s viewpoint.  


I had Olivia tell portions of the story from her point of view because she is often the voice of reason; whereas, Erik is more often the voice of passion. I tried to devise sort of a Yin and Yang view of falling in love. In addition, through her narration, Olivia is able to shed light on Erik’s idiosyncrasies.  More importantly, her narrative shows how she truly fell in love with him without his use of the power of suggestion.”


OLIVIA:
I stared at the contraption.  He invented this for me?  What kind of intellect does he possess?  How did he invent such a useful tool in such a short amount of time?
“Olivia, I can turn any text you wish into this Braille method.  Go ahead, pick a book from my library.  Any book at all.”
“You would do that for me?”
“It would be my pleasure.”
“You would sit and punch holes into paper until you’ve transcribed an entire novel for me?
       “Madam, I would transcribe the entire library for you.”
Tears filled my eyes.  My hand rested on the raised punches of Uncle Tom’s Cabin. I ran my fingers over the page.  I won’t have to stop reading.
“How did you know reading is the one thing I will miss the most?”
“Are you pleased?”
“I am most pleased.  Thank you.”  I wiped my eyes.
The prospect of reading with my fingers filled my mind.  I had the solution – the means to escape into fiction at my fingertips.  My world seemed much less bleak than a few minutes prior.  Erik had given me the gift of hope.
“Thank you.”  I leaned toward him.  “May I hug you?”
He didn’t move.  He stared at me through the mask.  Fear flashed in his eyes.
I drew back.  “I apologize.  Forgive me for my forwardness.  I hadn’t meant to make you uncom—“
He threw his arms around me with enthusiasm and childlike eagerness.  With little effort he lifted me into his embrace.
Excerpt from Phantom: Edge of the Flame
Pages 146-149
Copyright granted by Kristine Goodfellow

In Goodfellow’s Phantom:  Edge of The Flame – Erik and Olivia consummate their love for one another in what is Olivia’s first time since her husband’s death, and the first for Erik, who views the experience as spiritual.







       ERIK:
       I’d awakened before Olivia.  I had slept in a bed and rested my head on a pillow without horrifying nightmares.  God had given me a chance to redeem myself.  God had given me Olivia.
I never thought I’d seek out forgiveness from a God I swore abandoned me upon my birth.  I’d done such evil and despicable things.  I’d pushed Him far away.  I had wrapped myself in hatred, in darkness and evil, in order to forget I’d been, at one time, a child of God.  Listening to Olivia breathing as she lay in my arms, made me long for absolution. 
       Excerpt from Phantom:  Edge of The Flame
       Page 254
       Copyright granted by Kristine Goodfellow

“Erik’s narration shows the phenomenal feeling of a burgeoning romance—especially when a person feels that kind of love for the first time. Olivia’s character balances Erik’s naivety with experience. She offsets his childlike wonder with genuine romantic confidence.”



Phantom:  Edge of the Flame is not all about romance, love, and friendship, but, like Leroux’s Phantom, there is the bloodthirsty Phantom who likes to hunt, especially when it comes to revenge.




ERIK:
       I snapped the reins.  The horse picked up speed as I drove toward my destination, Gaston’s Point.  The carriage was an amazing piece of workmanship.  What a shame to waste such an example of incredible engineering.
       “If you let us go, my family will pay a reward.”  Eugene slurred his words not from spirits, but swelling.
       “I have no use for a reward, but thank you for offering.”
       “Freddy is really hurt.  We need to get him help.  Sir, if you have any mercy at all, you’ll let us go.”  Eugene’s voice shook.
       “The only mercy Freddy will receive tonight is the same he’d likely show to another.”
I cracked the reins again.  The gelding galloped up the hill as we approached the right place.  I turned around and released the end of the rope that bound the trio together.  Their maimed legs would not allow for any escape.  When the rope went slack, Freddy lifted his head and glared at me.  “Damn you to hell.”
“Too late.”  I’d roughly pulled the rope from around them and tossed it out of the vehicle.  We neared the top of the steep incline.  Exhilaration made me tremble.  With adrenaline coursing through my veins, I jumped onto the horse.  No sense in taking the life of such a beautiful animal.  Cool wind whipped back my cape and slapped against my face.  The breeze revived me after a night of extensive physical exertion.  I felt alive!
Excerpt from Phantom:  Edge of The Flame
Pages 95-96
Copyright granted by Kristine Goodfellow.

“The scene where he goes after the men who beat him was fun to write.  Erik enjoys the hunt; he lures the prey to his desired location and then proceeds to play with his quarry. He gets immense satisfaction in the final kill. It’s very much like a seduction.”


Goodfellow leaves much to the interpretation of her readers in the end, which does provide a happily-ever-after scenario for Erik and Olivia, but how long does that scenario last?  Or perhaps the question to ask:  is it possible that Goodfellow’s and Leroux’s Erik could live happily ever after well into old age, until death? 



There are two things that Goodfellow wants to make clear:  her Phantom and Leroux’s Phantom are not contradictory; and she never intended for her book to replace or disregard Leroux’s.



 “Instead of changing the original book, or its concept, I’d rather say I added another possible explanation of the events in the classic tale.  I used Leroux’s chain-of-events, but I gave all new explanations for the malicious deeds attributed to the Phantom.” 



       This is not the first time that Goodfellow has opened possibilities to classic novels, but still maintain the integrity of the novel – she did the same with Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein in her book Frankenstein: The Missing Chapter.





Goodfellow is now the author of four published novels.  Two things each of the novels has in common are the element of love and the power of dialogue, which she has mastered.





“I always read my dialogue out loud and try to make the characters sound as though they’re in a movie.  I’ve had many years of practice writing dialogue. It rarely comes out right on the first try. I write, write and write some more.  I also edit until I want to smack my head against my desk—then I know I’m almost done.”



       But being done with Phantom: The Edge of the Flame was not the end of the story – for she’s always said her art continues.  Phantom: Edge of the Flame was published by Bird-In-Hand Books in 2011; with another edition released in September 2014.


Goodfellow brought along her novel with her when she and her husband attended the West End production of Andrew Lloyd Weber’s Phantom of the Opera in London, England.  





       “After the London show, we ended up meeting Geronimo Rauch, who plays the Phantom. We also met the actors playing Raoul, Christine, Meg and one of the ballerinas. They were incredibly gracious. They took my book backstage and had the entire cast sign it for me.



We were invited to come back the next evening for a backstage tour. Unfortunately, we weren’t able to accept because we had to return to the States the next morning. I am still disappointed about that, but I have a feeling I will get my chance someday.    




When we returned home, I sent the cast signed copies of my book. I’ve received a few emails and Facebook messages from some of the performers.


I would love to hear Geronimo Rauch’s thoughts on my novel. I wonder if my story would give him a new angle on the character. As of today, I haven’t heard from him.  Maybe one day he’ll write a review. . .”




Photograph Description And Copyright Information

Photo 1
Kristine Goodfellow
Copyright by Christal Rice Cooper and Kristine Goodfellow 

Photo 2
Kristine Goodfellow
Copyright by Christal Rice Cooper and Kristine Goodfellow

Photo 3a
Gaston Leroux  (1868-1927)
Photograph taken in 1907
Public Domain

Photo 3b
Cover of the 1921 edition of Le Fantôme de l'Opéra by Gaston Leroux

Photo 4
Lon Chaney Sr. and Mary Philbin in "The Phantom of the Opera" (1925)
Film is listed as public domain.

Photo 5
Jacket cover of Phantom by Susan Kay

Photo 6a
Oedipus and the Sphinx
Oil on Canvas
Attributed to Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres (1780-1867)
Located at the Louvre
Public Domain

Photo 6b
The psychologist Sigmund Freud, age 16, with his adored mother in 1872.  Freud would later coin the term “Oedipal Complex”
Public Domain

Photo 7a
Phantom of the Opera musical poster

Photo 7b
Andrew Lloyd Webber (http://www.andrewlloydwebber.com)
Andrew Lloyd Webber at the set of "How do you solve a problem like Maria?"
Tracey Nolan
CCASA 2.0 Generic

Photo 8a
Phantom of the Opera Movie Poster
Fair Use Under the United States Copyright Law

Photo 8b
Scottish actor Gerard Butler at the press conference for the film Crayolanus
02 14 2010
CCA 3.0 Unported

Photo 8c
Gerard Butler as Erik/Phantom in the movie Phantom of the Opera
Fair Use Under the United States Copyright law

Photo 8d
Actress Emmy Rossum at the 2010 Independent Spirit Awards.
March 5, 2010
Attributed to Cristiana Del Riccio
CCASA 2.0 Generic

Photo 8e
Actress Emmy Rossum as Christina Daae in the movie Phantom of the Opera
Still
Fair Use Under the United States Copyright law

Photo 9
Portrait of a Red Head
Oil on Canvas
Attributed to Angelo Asti (1847-1903)
Public Domain

Photo 10
Auburn haired woman in a blue dress reading literature
Painting by Charles Amable-Lenoir (1860 0 1926)
Public Domain

Photo 11a
Goodfellow's view of the farm rolling hills in Pennsylvania from her great window.
Copyright granted by Kristine Goodfellow 

Photo 11b

Kristine Goodfellow writing Phantom:  Edge of the Flame in Pennsylvania.
Copyright granted by Kristine Goodfellow 

Photo 12a

The Phantom/Erik and Kristine Goodfellow
Copyright by Christal Rice Cooper and Kristine Goodfellow

Photo 12
The new opera in Paris, France, late 1800s
Vintage engraved illustration appearing in Trousset Encyclopedia (1886-1891)
Photograph attributed to Morphart
Public Domain 

Photo 13
Phantom/Erik in the adaptation Phantom Of The Opera
The Unicorn Publishing House, Inc
Illustrated by Greg Hildebrandt
Photoshopped by Christal Rice Cooper


Photo 14
Jacket cover of Phantom:  Edge of The Flame

Photo 16a
The Blind Girl
John Everett Millais (1829 – 1896)
Cropped
Public Domain

Photo 16

Painted styrofoam head of Erik/Phantom
Copyright by Christal Rice Cooper 


Photo 18a
Woman With Red Hair
Attributed to Dante Gabriele Rossetti (1828-1882)
Public Domain

Photo 18b
Jacket cover of Phantom: Edge Of The Flame
Illustrated by Mark Stone

Photo 19a
The Roman Widow
1874
Attributed to Dante Gabriele Rossetti (1828-1882)
Located at the Museum of Art of Ponco
Public Domain

Photo 19b
Jacket cover of Phantom:  Edge of the Flame

Photo 20 
Painted Styrofoam heads of Olivia and Erik
Copyright by Christal Rice Cooper  

Photo 21a
Illustration of Phantom/Erik without his mask.
Fair Use Under the United States Copyright Law

Photo 21b
Jacket cover of Phantom:  Edge of the Flame

Photo 23
Woman with red hair lying in bed reading a book 
Attributed to Jean Jacques Henner
Public Domain


Photo 24a
Lon Chaney Sr. as the Phantom/Erik in the 1925 film The Phantom of the Opera
Public Domain

Photo 24b
Jacket cover of Phantom:  Edge of the Flame

Photo 25
Lou Chaney Sr. as the Phantom/Erik in the 1925 film The Phantom of the Opera
Public Domain

Photo 26

Jacket cover of Phantom of the Opera 

Photo 26
Kristine Goodfellow
Copyright by Christal Rice Cooper and Kristine Goodfellow

Photo 27
Jacket cover of Phantom:  Edge of The Flame  

Photo 30a
Mary Shelley
Attributed to Richard Rothwell
Shown at the Royal Academy in 1840
Public Domain

Photo 30b
Jacket cover of Frankenstein

Photo 30c
Jacket cover of Frankenstein:  the Missing Chapter

Photo 31a
Jacket cover of Phantom:  Edge Of The Flame

Photo 31b
Jacket cover of Frankenstein:  The Missing Chapter

Photo 31c
Jacket cover of Mansion On Butcher Lake

Photo 31d
Jacket cover of Command Performance

Photo 32

Kristine Goodfellow
Copyright by Christal Rice Cooper and Kristine Goodfellow 

Photo 33
Jacket cover of Phantom:  Edge of the Flame

Photo 34a
Kristine Goodfellow in front of the Palace Theatre in London, England.
Copyright granted by Kristine Goodfellow 

Photo 34b
The Palace Theatre in London, England.
Attributed to Matt May
CCASA

Photo 35
Kristine Goodfellow's Phantom:  Edge of The Flame book which was signed by the entire London cast of Phantom of the Opera
Copyright granted by Kristine Goodfellow

Photo 36a.
Kristine Goodfellow and Geronimo Rauch in front of The Palace Theatre in London, England.
Copyright granted by Kristine Goodfellow

Photo 36b
Geronimo Rauch in Les Miserables
Public Domain

Photo 37.
Geronimo Rauch as Phantom/Erik

Photo 38

"The story of my art continues"



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