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Name: Linda | Gender: Female | Posts: 147 | Roses: 10
Old 03-07-2015 at 06:25 PM
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The Northern Railway Station of the World  Post [1] Ľ


I wanted to quote several paragraphs from the book before going on with the discussion:

"The monster resumed his mask and collected his strength to leave the daroga. He told him that, when he felt his end to be very near at hand, he would send him, in gratitude for the kindness which the Persian had once shown him, that which he held dearest in the world: all Christine Daae's papers, which she had written for Raoul's benefit and left with Erik, together with a few objects belonging to her, such as a pair of gloves, a shoe-buckle and two pocket-handkerchiefs. In reply to the Persian's questions, Erik told him that the two young people, at soon as they found themselves free, had resolved to go and look for a priest in some lonely spot where they could hide their happiness and that, with this object in view, they had started from "the northern railway station of the world." Lastly, Erik relied on the Persian, as soon as he received the promised relics and papers, to inform the young couple of his death and to advertise it in the EPOQUE."

and

."...They took the train one day from "the northern railway station of the world." ...Possibly, I too shall take the train at that station, one day, and go and seek around thy lakes, O Norway, O silent Scandinavia, for the perhaps still living traces of Raoul and Christine and also of Mamma Valerius, who disappeared at the same time!."

and this:

"I have prayed over his mortal remains, that God might show him mercy notwithstanding his crimes. Yes, I am sure, quite sure that I prayed beside his body, the other day, when they took it from the spot where they were burying the phonographic records. It was his skeleton. I did not recognize it by the ugliness of the head, for all men are ugly when they have been dead as long as that, but by the plain gold ring which he wore and which Christine Daae had certainly slipped on his finger, when she came to bury him in accordance with her promise."

I had read once somewhere a fascinating post where someone equated the northern most railroad as equivalent to death. Yet in the second paragraph, Leroux seems to equate it with a place. So what exactly is it? A state of mind, an actual place, or is it death? And what do you think about Valerius? I understood she was bedridden, so how would she get to this place? If you don't believe she went with Raoul and Christine, where did she disappear to?

The third paragraph I quoted has always been an interesting one to me for a couple of reasons. First, Raoul is now a fugitive and forced to flee possibly for his life. I believe Leroux also mentions that Christine is implicated in all of this, so she too is forced to flee. Erik says they had started from the northernmost railway of the world, yet they came back three weeks later to bury him?

Where would they have hidden for those three weeks? I really hate to sound morbid but the thing that occurred to me is that perhaps they were caught by the police and secretly dispatched. Erik was found dead in the cellar and was buried by whoever posted his death in the paper. And on a side note, just who was the person who kept tabs on Erik to alert that papers of his death?

I always thought is strange that Leroux didn't do any further checking to find out what happened to Erik and Christine. He assumes they went to Norway and hopes to find traces of them there.....someday. That's the best he could do? By the time this book was written there were so many technological advances that could aid in locating people. Plus, Raoul's sisters were alive and might have been of help. Yet Leroux leaves the ending with a 'maybe I'll go up there someday and find traces of them'. Thoughts?

The one final morbid thought I had in all of this was that perhaps Erik himself killed all of them. He wouldn't have to hire someone to post his death and there were enough skeletons down there to place his gold ring on and then bury.
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Old 03-07-2015 at 07:19 PM
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Interesting. I hope we get some others back on these threads, because this is a fascinating topic.
I'm not sure what to think.
"Lastly, Erik relied on the Persian, as soon as he received the promised relics and papers, to inform the young couple of his death and to advertise it in the EPOQUE."
It sounds like when he knew his death was extremely close, Erik would send the Persian the papers. Then the Persian would advertise it.

In addition, Erik stated that Raoul and Christine had "resolved to go and look for a priest in some lonely spot where they could hide their happiness and that, with this object in view, they had started from "the northern railway station of the world."'
It sounds like when he said it, he meant it literally - as if Raoul and Christine were using this as a means to get to some solitary spot and marry. And at this point, he seemed adamant that the couple was alive. And Leroux seems not only to confirm this, but to suggest that they might still be living. Not to say that they wouldn't have been caught later, however. Now, to contradict myself:
"There is no need to repeat here how greatly the case excited the capital."
It would surprise me if they had taken care of Raoul and/or Christin and it had not been made public. I guess it's possible that they might have gotten into trouble for not giving a proper trial and kept this secret as a means of protecting themselves. But why would they not care to make this a public trial, if there was so much anxiousness surrounding the subject?

Well, I think Velarius could go two ways: first, I can't see Christine letting her stay there alone, with being bed-ridden and all that as well as a dear figure in Christine's life. Perhaps she had just just. enough strength to travel. And of course, the second being her death, as you said.

Leroux could have been implying, as the author, that this was literal. Or, also as the author but also as an author who was posing as an investigator, he could have been saying this to keep in character - as if that was what someone in that role would have translated it as, not that it's what happened. He was a mystery writer, after all...

Do you mean that Christine and Raoul were caught and Erik killined Raoul's family in revenge? That's extremely sad, but possible. But at the same time, it was all Erik's fault.
If you mean everybody as in Christine and that's why he had the ring, than I think...I don't know what to think. I feel like that would kill his whole redemptive scene, which I believe is important to the point of the story because of the symbolism concerning it.
"The Persian asked him no questions. He was quite reassured as to the fate of Raoul Chagny and Christine Daae; no one could have doubted the word of the weeping Erik that night."
The Persian out of everyone knows when Erik is lying. Yet he, too, believes that Erik is telling the truth, and it sounds like we are meant to believe this.

This is what Leroux tells us regarding Christine:
"Christine was represented as the victim of a rivalry between the two brothers; and nobody suspected what had really happened." Christine wouldn't have been forced to flee, she could have stayed and spoken in Raoul's defense. On the other hand, I'm not sure how she would have gone about that...And it's possible that if they caught Raoul, she would have defended him and gotten herself into trouble, as well. But we are told Regardless of his motivations, we know that Leroux writes this:

"nobody suspected what had really happened, nobody understood that, as Raoul and Christine had both disappeared, both had withdrawn far from the world to enjoy a happiness which they would not have cared to make public after the inexplicable death of Count Philippe....They took the train one day from "the northern railway station of the world."' This seems to imply that Christine and Raoul did indeed make it out of Paris alive. I would assume that had they been dispatched, Leroux would have found out and told us somehow. Quite honestly, that is a huge detail to keep to oneself, even if Christine isn't THE main character.


Next, you make a fine point with Raoul's sisters. But would they truly have been of any help? If Raoul and Christine had to flee, would they have known, with the knowledge that their brother might have killed Phillipe?

I have read around of certain arguments that the skeleton was specifically described as normal for the exception of the gold ring because it symbolized that in death, Erik was able to achieve as he had not in life: the chance to be an ordinary man.

And finally, as I posted on Christine's discussion thread, this is primarily the story of the Phantom. This could perhaps be why we never find out exactly what happened to Raoul and Christine, yet also why we received so many details as to where and why they might have left. Christine is, after all, a main character and does need closure.
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Name: Linda | Gender: Female | Posts: 147 | Roses: 10
Old 03-08-2015 at 06:39 PM
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I hope others respond, too, Lotte. Iíve wanted to bring this topic up for a while, but itís really a difficult one to discuss because we donít really know what the term means. I googled it, but could only come up with a modern railroad whose latitude and longitude put it at the northernmost spot in the world.

You are correct, the story is primarily about the Phantom of the Opera. But without Raoul and Christine and Daroga, would you really still want to read it or discuss it? I canít speak for anyone else, but because Leroux gave such details about Christine, Daroga, and Raoul, I found myself caring about them too. I want to know what happened to them. We know what happened to Daroga: Leroux is specific about that. But with regard to Raoul and Christine, heís really vague. Itís not that I donít want the ending of the story to be a happy one. But the more I read it, the more I find everythingís just too neatly tied up. Whatís more interesting to me is that itís Erik who does all of the wrapping. Even where Christine and Raoul disappeared to is based upon Erikís word.

Leroux says no one could doubt the word of the weeping Erik that night. I find it interesting that he would limit Erikís word to one night. What happened the next day, or the following week, or three weeks later when Erikís death is announced? Could Erik have killed Raoul and Christine and then staged his own death?

I don't know that the police were involved with murdering Raoul and Christine. I said that because I was thinking that with Philippe's death, they wanted to classify it as a murder and pin that murder on someone, mainly Raoul. With Raoul and Christine dead, they had their murderer. Daroga is looked upon as a madman and the matter is closed.
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Old 03-08-2015 at 07:28 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Designated Driver View Post
I hope others respond, too, Lotte. Iíve wanted to bring this topic up for a while, but itís really a difficult one to discuss because we donít really know what the term means. I googled it, but could only come up with a modern railroad whose latitude and longitude put it at the northernmost spot in the world.

You are correct, the story is primarily about the Phantom of the Opera. But without Raoul and Christine and Daroga, would you really still want to read it or discuss it? I canít speak for anyone else, but because Leroux gave such details about Christine, Daroga, and Raoul, I found myself caring about them too. I want to know what happened to them. We know what happened to Daroga: Leroux is specific about that. But with regard to Raoul and Christine, heís really vague. Itís not that I donít want the ending of the story to be a happy one. But the more I read it, the more I find everythingís just too neatly tied up. Whatís more interesting to me is that itís Erik who does all of the wrapping. Even where Christine and Raoul disappeared to is based upon Erikís word.

Leroux says no one could doubt the word of the weeping Erik that night. I find it interesting that he would limit Erikís word to one night. What happened the next day, or the following week, or three weeks later when Erikís death is announced? Could Erik have killed Raoul and Christine and then staged his own death?

I don't know that the police were involved with murdering Raoul and Christine. I said that because I was thinking that with Philippe's death, they wanted to classify it as a murder and pin that murder on someone, mainly Raoul. With Raoul and Christine dead, they had their murderer. Daroga is looked upon as a madman and the matter is closed.
I googled it, as well. Same result.

I guess what it really comes down to is whether you believe Erik was redeemed or not. He specifically states that he won't have anyone harming Christine. I personally find the beauty of the story in the fact that he let them go, and that he didn't go back on that. On the other hand, I can't see Leroux killing Christine after everything she did for him. I also believe that as part of the mystery, Leroux specifically refrained from giving us any personal accounts from Erik or Christine. What better way to end a mystery by keeping everything fairly ambiguous, especially since he was aware of the ambiguity behind Christine's relationship with Erik. I find this as more of a reason to keep those perspectives to himself.

Oh, I agree that I care about what happened to Raoul and Christine. As for that night, I merely think that the Persian said that because that was the last time we see him. But as I said, mentioning Scandanvia and Norway could very well have been our answer to where Raoul and Christine went. Everything to do with the Phantom was done, so he implied the rest to us. And if no one can doubt Erik's word, and he won't have anyone - as in anyone - touching her, because she is so brave and honorable. I really find it hard to believe that he would have turned right around and killed her.
I'm repeating myself here, but I'm just really put off the the whole Erik killing Christine discussion in general because he raved about how she was so brave and honorable. I understand he was willing to before, but not after her compassion.

On the other hand, why would Leroux go to all the trouble to kill Phillipe if not to get rid of the last of Christine's reasons for not wishing to marry Raoul? It seems like a waste...
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Old 03-08-2015 at 08:12 PM
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Wrong board
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Name: Linda | Gender: Female | Posts: 147 | Roses: 10
Old 03-08-2015 at 08:19 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lotte Potter View Post
I googled it, as well. Same result.

I guess what it really comes down to is whether you believe Erik was redeemed or not. He specifically states that he won't have anyone harming Christine. I personally find the beauty of the story in the fact that he let them go, and that he didn't go back on that. On the other hand, I can't see Leroux killing Christine after everything she did for him. I also believe that as part of the mystery, Leroux specifically refrained from giving us any personal accounts from Erik or Christine. What better way to end a mystery by keeping everything fairly ambiguous, especially since he was aware of the ambiguity behind Christine's relationship with Erik. I find this as more of a reason to keep those perspectives to himself.

Oh, I agree that I care about what happened to Raoul and Christine. As for that night, I merely think that the Persian said that because that was the last time we see him. But as I said, mentioning Scandanvia and Norway could very well have been our answer to where Raoul and Christine went. Everything to do with the Phantom was done, so he implied the rest to us. And if no one can doubt Erik's word, and he won't have anyone - as in anyone - touching her, because she is so brave and honorable. I really find it hard to believe that he would have turned right around and killed her.
I'm repeating myself here, but I'm just really put off the the whole Erik killing Christine discussion in general because he raved about how she was so brave and honorable. I understand he was willing to before, but not after her compassion.

On the other hand, why would Leroux go to all the trouble to kill Phillipe if not to get rid of the last of Christine's reasons for not wishing to marry Raoul? It seems like a waste...
And yet, for all this redemption, Erik doesn't seem one bit sorry about Philippe's death. Do you really believe that to be an accident?
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Old 03-08-2015 at 08:54 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Designated Driver View Post
And yet, for all this redemption, Erik doesn't seem one bit sorry about Philippe's death. Do you really believe that to be an accident?
'"Daroga, don't talk to me...about Count Philippe....He was dead... by the time...I left my house...he was dead... when... the siren sang....It was an...accident...a sad...a very sad ...accident. He fell very awkwardly... but simply and naturally... into the lake!..."'

I doubt it was an accident, but he did say it was sad.

Anyway, you could be right. But we know that both Leroux and Erik refer to the northern railway station of the world as a place, and that no one could have doubted Erik's words, some of which involved no one hurting Christine. I'm back to where I started. I just have a hard time believing that after all that he would hurt Christine. But that's all up to interpretation.
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Old 03-11-2015 at 12:45 AM
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I think I might have made a discovery. I was reading the Gaulois serialization of Phantom - which is the original French publication - and found that the phrase in question is this: "'la gare du Nord du Monde.'"
In the epilogue, Leroux refers to it as "Gare du Nord."
The former translates into the "northern station of the world," as de Mattos translated it.
The Gare du Nord properly translates into "North Station." If you want to get really literal, we can call it the station of the north.

The Gare du Nord is an actual train station that was built in Paris in 1846.
According to raileurope.com, "The name was decided with the notion that travelers would be able to travel to Belgium, Netherlands, Northern Germany and the Scandanavian countries."
It was rebuilt three times due to traffic, but was functioning fully by 1864, meaning that it would probably be busy with travelers by the time Phantom came around.
It just happens to be the busiest station in Europe and second in the world as of today. From its history, it sounds like this station was popular from the start.
Leroux definitely equated this with a place, and (as I mentioned earlier) I dare say that the Persian's recount did, too, because he mentioned it quite clearly: "with this object in view, they had started from 'the northern railway station of the world.'" They had a goal to find a priest and presumably marry, and I just can't figure out how they would do that if it meant they had moved on :)
Because of this station's name and where it traveled, it could very well have been known as the world's northern station (though I can't confirm that) and as the station that Erik/the Persian was referring to.
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Name: Linda | Gender: Female | Posts: 147 | Roses: 10
Old 03-11-2015 at 01:33 AM
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I've also made a discovery as I posed this question on another website. Unfortunately, it doesn't make things any clearer. That website contains the original Phantom of the Opera story as it appeared in the paper. Leroux references the railroad as "la gare du Norde du Monde", which translates to the northern railway of the world. I even looked at the Epilogue to see if perhaps Leroux termed it differently, but he used the same phrase.
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Old 03-11-2015 at 02:54 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Designated Driver View Post
I've also made a discovery as I posed this question on another website. Unfortunately, it doesn't make things any clearer. That website contains the original Phantom of the Opera story as it appeared in the paper. Leroux references the railroad as "la gare du Norde du Monde", which translates to the northern railway of the world. I even looked at the Epilogue to see if perhaps Leroux termed it differently, but he used the same phrase.
I probably overlooked something in the Epilogue, then. Thanks for clearing that up. But then again, why would they die if Christine was supposed to come back and bury the ring? As you said, we know at least that Erik's words that night were true.

On the other hand, Leroux does state in his epilogue that they had "withdrawn from the world to enjoy a happiness that they would not have cared to make public..." I'm wondering if he's using "world" as a reference to the city or just most people in general, since metaphorically they were withdrawing from the world. In this case, it would be the northern railway station of the world, as the station would be jam packed with people as well as being in the city rather than a solitary place. This makes more sense to me because both Erik and Leroux refer to the couple going to an actual place. Perhaps they went part of the way, hung out for the sign of Erik's death, and Christine came back?
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