Hello everyone and welcome to my twelfth book review! With this book review I’m going to be mixing things up a little bit with a so called Disney series. What that means is that I’m going to be reviewing books that have been turned into Disney movies and comparing them. So like The Hunchback of Notre Dame, The Little Mermaid, and others. I know a lot of people know the differences between the movies and the books especially the stories from the Grimm Tales, but this is something I really wanted to do. So these Disney Series of book reviews that I’ll be doing will not be in order, it’s more a less when I feel like reading the book I’ll do it. So I will admit there will be spoilers because I’m going way in depth with the comparisons, but this is honestly for people who want to know the difference between the movie and the books without having to read the books. So I’m starting with The Hunchback of Notre Dame because I really love Paris and I wanted to do The Little Mermaid later!! Also these will be long so bear with me.
Movie Synopsis: I know most people have seen the movies but might as well recap it for people who haven’t seen the movie in a while. Plus it will give people the chance to really compare the differences between the movie and the book
Its Paris 1482 a gypsy named Clopin Trouillefou tells the audience the background of the story that happened 20 years ago: Judge Claude Frollo is in charge of Paris, keeping the city safe from crime, or as he puts it “Gypsy Vermin”. One night while patrolling the streets and find a band of gypsy’s he kills Quasimodo’s mother and almost kills Quasimodo too, till the arch deacon stops Frollo and makes him Quasimodo’s adoptive father. Flash forward back 20 years and it is the Festival of Fools, Quasimodo’s favorite festival and he is persuaded this time to actually go to it and not watch it this time by his gargoyle friends. However he is deterred by Frollo reminding Quasimodo that he is too ugly and vial to go into the public. Frollo is viewed as cruel and yet somewhat kind to Quasomodo, but it’s obvious to the viewer that he really doesn’t care about his and has an ulterior motive for Quasimodo.
The audience is then introduced to Phoebus a knight who came back home from the war to serve Frollo as his captain of the guards. Phoebus is just trying to find the Palace of Justice but spots Esmeralda dancing on the street for coins. Esmeralda is alerted that some guards are coming and while trying to run away is caught and the guards accuse her of stealing the money. The guards try to arrest her but Phoebus steps in and helps her get away. Phoebus is then led by the same guards to the Palace of Justice where he meets Frollo and learns his intentions with the gypsies, and then have to go to the Festival of Fools.
Quasimodo does sneak out and goes to the Festival of Fools in disguise. Quasimodo, Phoebus, and Frollo all see Esmeralda dance and all fall for her. When Clopin is about crown the king of fools they pull Quasimodo on stage reveling who he is, at first the crowd is startled but then they get excited about Quasimodo being crowned the king of fools. Quasimodo is super excited to be crowned and felt that he was finally excepted by society but it turns ugly fast and they humiliate Quasimodo by throwing food at him and tying him down. Frollo doesn’t allow Phoebus to go save Quasimodo from this torture, but Esmeralda stops the crowd from the torture and helps out Quasimodo and apologizes for what just happened. Frollo yells at her not to help him, but Esmeralda refuses and demands justice for him and her people. Frollo orders Esmeralda to be arrested, while trying capture her she humiliates the guards and Frollo and he believes that she used witch craft to get away. Esmeralda sneaks into the church and was followed by Phoebus who explains that she is safe in the church. After a bit of flirting and getting to know each other Frollo barges into the church he tell Phoebus to arrest her, but Phoebus lies that Esmeralda claimed sanctuary and that she is safe in the church. Frollo is willing to ignore that rule and drag her outside until the arch deacon intervenes again and Esmeralda is safe inside the church. As the arch deacon pushes Phoebus and the rest of the guards out Frollo hid in the shadows and confronted Esmeralda threatening her that if she leaves he’ll lock her up and the audience learns that he has other intentions for her and has feelings for her, but does leave the church. Esmeralda catches sight of Quasimodo running back up to the bell tower away from other people in the church and follows him and catches up with him. Esmeralda begins to apologize again about what happened and from then they begin to bond and start a friendship. They then make an understanding with each other about the struggles they deal with and show acts of kindness towards each other when no one else really does. Because of Esmeralda’s kindness Quasimodo helps her escape.
Frollo learns that Esmeralda escaped and goes on a crazy obsessive hunt for her burning the city of Paris in the process. During a raid at a small home Phoebus refuses to burn an innocent families house down and goes against Frollo’s orders. Frollo then orders Phoebus to be killed for his insubordination and while trying to escape with Esmeralda’s help he got shot with an arrow falling into the river. Frollo thinks he died in the river and goes back to trying to find Esmeralda, while Esmeralda save Phoebus from the river and brought to the church. The audience learns that Phoebus and Esmeralda are in love and kiss, which breaks Quasimodo’s heart since he believed that Esmeralda loved him, but Quasimodo still will be a loyal friend to Esmeralda. Esmeralda see’s that Frollo is returning to the cathedral and as she leaves Quasimodo hides Phoebus. Frollo confronts Quasimodo knowing that he helped Esmeralda escape and lies that he knows where her hideout (the Court of Miracles) is and will attack it. Being scared for her safety Quasimodo and Phoebus go to find Esmeralda’s hideout to warn her. They find her and warn her but it’s too late since Frollo followed them and captured all of them and the gypsies.
Esmeralda is tied to a post about to be burned for witch craft , Frollo gives her an ultimatum: she can either die or marry him. She spits in his face choosing to die than be with Frollo. Quasimodo is chained to the cathedral and broken in spirit not willing to help rescue her, until they actual light the kindling for the fire. Quasimodo breaks the chains tying him to the cathedral, swoops down grabs Esmeralda and brings her back up the the cathedral for safety and sanctuary. Out of pure rage Frollo tries to break into the cathedral to kill Esmeralda. Phoebus breaks out of his cage and rallies the town to riot against Frollo and his guards. Fights break out in the streets against the citizens/gypsies and Frollo’s guards. Quasimodo also is fighting against Frollo and his guards protecting the cathedral from them. Frollo manages to break into the cathedral and Quasimodo believes they won the fight goes to check in on Esmeralda. Esmeralda is not moving or responding so Quasimodo believes she died, Frollo finds Quasimodo grieving over her death and tries to kill Quasimodo as well. Quasimodo stops him and confronts him about how he is not a monster but Frollo is. Esmeralda is actually alive and calls out to Quasimodo, realizing she’s alive Frollo goes back to trying to kill her. Quasimodo grabs Esmeralda and rushes past Frollo and tries to hide from him. Frollo easily find them and in his blind obsession to kill them both he is careless with his footing and falls to his death. The fighting in the streets stops and Esmeralda and Phoebus joining the crowd celebrating their win. They urge Quasimodo to join the crowd, Quasimodo does and the crowd accepts him for who he is. The townsfolk carry him off cheering for him and Quasimodo has a happy ending.
Book Overview: Alright that was a lot for the movie and now it’s time for the book! Again I’m going to go in depth with this so be ready for a long read.
The book starts out in January of 1482 on the day of the Feast of Fools as well, however the reader follows the poet named Pierre Gringoire who has written a play to be premiered at the Feast of Fools. However for poor Pierre his play keeps getting interrupted by the spectators: Clopin Trouillefou disguised as a beggar, Joannes Frollo (Cluade Frollo’s younger brother), and Quasimodo. Quasimodo is still a grotesque bell ringer but he is actually deaf from the bells. He wins the crown of the king of fools and is paraded around town, the townsfolk still are not fond of Quasimodo but view him as the perfect candidate. Just like the movie Quasimodo is very happy to be accepted and paraded around town and feels accepted.
While Quasimodo is being paraded around town Pierre is sulking because not a lot of people paid attention to his play. Pierre spots a sixteen year old Esmeralda dancing in the street with a good size crowd watching her. Pierre is bewitched by her beauty and her dancing much like the rest of the spectators who either find her beautiful as well or hate her because she is a gypsy. Esmeralda even gets her goat Djali to perform tricks as well: telling the date and time. Pierre spots another man in the crowd watching her and mumbling to himself intently but can’t remember why he looks so familiar. The parade carrying Quasimodo finally reaches where Pierre and Esmeralda are. The man in the crowd that Pierre couldn’t remember revels himself to be the arch deacon Claude Frollo (he is actually an arch deacon instead of a judge), Frollo goes up to Quasimodo and signing to him that he needs to go home. Quasimodo complies with Frollo and goes back to the cathedral. The crowd disperses and Esmeralda has disappeared, but Pierre is determined to find her. Pierre eventually finds her and follows her, knowing she is being followed tries to escape from him. Esmeralda falls into a trap from Quasimodo and a mysterious man (Frollo) trying to kidnap her. Pierre tries to help but is outmatched by Quasimodo and the mysterious man disappeared. Phoebus hears the commotion and comes to save Esmeralda from Quasimodo while Pierre recovers from the fight. Esmeralda thanks Phoebus for saving her and runs off into the night.
Pierre while again finding a place to sleep or Esmeralda stumbles into the Court of Miracles by accident breaking a jug. Knowing the Location of the Court of Miracles lands Pierre in trouble and has a trial with the King of Thunes: Clopin Trouillefou. Pierre can either join the vagabonds and pick pockets, marry someone in the Court of Miracles, or die. Pierre fails at pick pocketing and no one wants to marry him so he is sentenced to death. However, at the last minute Esmeralda agrees to marry him. In her quarters Esmeralda tell Pierre she will never love him and has absolutely no interest in him, she just didn’t want him to die. Esmeralda ask Pierre about Phoebus: if he knows him, or knows what his name means. Pierre also learns that Esmeralda is looking for her parents and has an amulet that will help her find her parents and will only work if she stays a virgin.
The story then shifts to the past where the reader learns about Frollo’s and Quasimodo’s past. Quasimodo was four years old living in an orphanage with nuns, nobody believed he would be adoptive. The nuns believed that his mother sold her soul to the devil and gave birth to Quasimodo. However Frollo who was 20 at the time came and adopted him out of pity and kindness. Frollo’s past is his parents wanted him to be a part of the church. So Frollo followed his parents wishes and goes into the church and starts his path to become an arch deacon. Frollo gets schooling from Universities, Frollo is very intelligent and loves science along with religion. Frollo would lock himself in his tower and work on his science when he wasn’t needed for the church, the nuns and townsfolk would call him a sorcerer and alchemist. Before he adopted Quasimodo, his parents died he took custody of his younger brother Jehan, and when Jehan was old enough Frollo sent him to Universities to make something of himself. However to audience learns that Jehan spends all his money partying and drinking and constantly ask Frollo for money. After Frollo adopts Quasimodo they create a good loyal bond. Frollo treats Quasimodo with kindness and educates him and gives him the job of ringing the bells for Notre Dame. Their bond was more loyal than a dog and master but it was fine.
Flash forward to the future the book shifts to a group nuns discussing about a nun named Gudule who joined the coven because she was heartbroken over the loss of her daughter. Seventeen years ago Gudule was finally pregnant with a child, she was desperate to have a child even with someone other than her husband. Her daughter was a half Egyptian girl named Agnes (Esmeralda). Gulude bought her a beautiful little pair of shoes and went out into town. When Guldue turned away for one second Agnes was kidnapped by a couple of gypsies. She tried to follow them and get Agnes back all she was able to find was one of Agnes’s shoes and she lost her baby.
While the nuns were talking about Guldude’s past Quasimodo was on trial for trying to kidnap Esmeralda. Quasimodo was convicted guilty and is punished by flogging. They punish him and let him go, Quasimodo is very thirsty and begs the crowd for water but nobody gives it to him. Esmeralda goes to him and actually gives him water even though she knows that he tried to kidnap her, and disappears. After Quasimodo goes home he feels conflicted about his new feelings towards Esmeralda.
It’s now March and Pheobus is visiting his fiance Fluer-de-Lys and her family, but Phoebus really doesn’t care for his fiance. Fluer sees Esmeralda dancing in the street and decides to have a little fun by inviting her into their house and have her dance for them. Esmeralda is hesitant but eventually goes into the house because she is excited to see Phoebus and is eager to dance for him. While Esmeralda dances Fluer and the rest of her family make fun of Esmeralda for being a gypsy street peasant. Usually Esmeralda would do a trick to embarrass them but is too enamored with Phoebus. Fluer then asks to see some tricks with her goat Djali, Esmeralda obliges and begins to show that her goat can spell out names. However Djali spells out Phoebus’s name and completely embarrassed Esmeralda as she runs away in shame. Phoebus is shocked by seeing his name spelled out while Fluer becomes heavily suspicious of her fiance and what he does in his spare time. The story returns to Pierre who finds Frollo in the streets and decides to talk to him. Pierre begins to blab about Esmeralda and how he knows she is obsessed loves a man named Phoebus, because it is all she talks about. Eventually Pierre leaves Frollo who then is approached by his younger brother Jehan for some money. Frollo gives his brother some money but before Frollo makes his way back to the church he hears his younger brother calling out the name Phoebus, Frollo puts on a disguise and begins to follow them. Frollo over hears that Phoebus has plans tonight to meet with Esmeralda. While in disguise Frollo approaches them and asked Phoebus if Esmeralda is the same dancing gypsy woman he was thinking of and if he could see her as well while Phoebus is meeting her. Phoebus agrees for a price and that Frollo can come along as long as he stays hidden.
Frollo is disguised again meets up with Phoebus at the meeting place and hides away but in an area where he can still see them. Esmeralda then arrives and they begin to tell each other how happy they are to see each other and that they love each other. Esmeralda is very excited to hear that Phoebus loves her and proclaims that she wants to marry him. Phoebus declines her idea of marriage because she is a poor gypsy girl and he is a high class citizen. Phoebus says he still wants her but not in the way she was thinking (basically he wanted to hit it and quit it). Esmeralda is disappointed with his response but she is also still happy to be with him in some way. Frollo hears their entire conversation and becomes jealous of their feelings towards each other. Phoebus them begins to kiss Esmeralda and she reciprocates, Frollo becomes so enraged with jealousy that he emerges from his hiding place and stabs Phoebus is the back while Esmeralda is stunned as to what she just witnessed. Frollo then runs away leaving Esmeralda to be blamed for the crime of stabbing Phoebus.
Esmeralda is put in prison and on trial for the stabbing of Phoebus. Esmeralda tells the judge and the court the truth of how she didn’t do it but a mad priest did. Of course they don’t believe her and begin to torture her until she tells the “truth”. After a few torture sessions Esmeralda breaks down and says that she stabbed Phoebus and is unfortunately sentenced to death. Esmeralda brought back to the prison cell to await her death, Frollo comes down to visit her. She recognizes Frollo immediately and is startled by him but is willing to hear what he has to say. Frollo confesses his love to her since he first saw her and is continuously haunted by her beauty. He then in a way proposed to her saying if they get married her can free her from the prison and from death. Esmeralda rejects Frollo she is too madly in love with Phoebus to want to be with anyone. Frollo out of anger from the rejection lies to her saying he is dead and leaves her to rot in the prison.
Pheobus is actually doing fine and has been recovering for a month from his knife wound. While in bed he is reunited with his fiance. When he see Fluer he feels the spark of love he once had for her. They reconnect with each other but Fluer is still suspicious of him and Esmeralda, but doesn’t bring it to his attention. Today however is the day that Esmeralda will be executed. Everything is set up as they parade Esmeralda down the street to the noose. Esmeralda spots Phoebus at his window watching the parade and calls out to him to be saved and happy to see he is ok. When she reaches the platform with the noose she gives up all hope of Phoebus saving her and when she is about to be hung Quasimodo saves her and brings her back to the cathedral for sanctuary.
The law cannot go in and grab Esmeralda; she must leave the cathedral of her own accord, so they leave her alone for the time being to think of a plan. While Esmeralda is staying in the cathedral Frollo doesn’t do much of anything to her but sees her walk around in a sorrowful state from time to time. Esmeralda does befriend Quasimodo and gets to know him a little, he then gives Esmeralda a whistle so if she ever needs him while she is in the cathedral she can blow the whistle and he’ll appear. However, Esmeralda still is madly in love with Phoebus and misses him dearly she convinces Quasimodo that he bring Phoebus to the cathedral so she can see him. Quasimodo does comply and goes to retrieve Phoebus. Phoebus however tells Quasimodo he no longer wishes to see Esmeralda or associate himself with her ever again. Quasimodo gives up trying to convince Phoebus to see Esmeralda and goes home. While Quasimodo begins to go home Frollo starts to get stir-crazy with Esmeralda living in the cathedral in proximity to him. Frollo tries to make another attempt to woe her but tries forces himself upon her after she rejected him again. Esmeralda blows the whistle and Quasimodo comes to her rescue and Frollo retreats feeling betrayed and angry.
The Court of Parliament have unfortunately decided to take away Esmeralda’s rights and plan to storm the cathedral to get Esmeralda and hang her. They gather the Kings Men to rally a break in. Frollo learns of this break in and informs Pierre. Pierre is aggravated knowing Esmeralda is stuck in the cathedral and wants to save her; he joins forces with the Court of Miracles and Jehan to go rescue her and storm the cathedral. A small band of people go to the cathedral trying to get inside but the doors are locked and Quasimodo sees Pierre’s group thinking they will hurt Esmeralda and begins to defend the cathedral. Quasimodo defends the cathedral from the people below but Jehan climbs up the cathedral to fight Quasimodo, being very outmatched to Quasimodo’s strength Jehan is thrown off the cathedral and dies. They call off the attack and retreat, but Pierre stays behind to help.
While the King’s Guard storm the cathedral Quasimodo does not stop them thinking they are here to help Esmeralda. In one last attempt to win her Frollo confesses his love again, however the same reaction come from Esmeralda: that she doesn’t want him. In anger Frollo gives her to the nuns to hold her for the King’s Guard. Esmeralda is being held by the nun Gudule. Gudule and Esmeralda figure out they are mother and daughter both reveling they had one of the shoes that Gudule bought for her as a baby. They are excited to finally be with each other but before they could escape together the King’s Guard take Esmeralda away.
Esmeralda is then brought to noose again to be hung. During her hanging Frollo laughs at her misfortune and Quasimodo is enraged by his laughter pushing him off the cathedral to his death at the same time Esmeralda dies. Quasimodo is devastated that both the people he cared for in life are dead; he then goes to Montfaucon, a huge graveyard in Paris where Esmeralda’s body is dumped. He stays with her until he dies.
Phoebus marries Fluer and Pierre goes onto to live his life. So not really a happy ending except for Pheobus.
PS: Thank you for sticking with me through my hiatus and through this long post. I’ll try to correct any errors as I see them but right now I just want to publish this.