”All for one, one for all.”
I honestly don’t even know where to start with my review of “The Three Musketeers” because the book was so very different to what I expected it to be. When we watch the movies, the three musketeers and d’Artagnan are always made out to be those honourable and noble heroes that save the day and serve their country and whilst the latter description is true, I can’t really say that the former one is as well. Or more directly, there is barely anything noble or honourable about them aside of the fact that they always feel offended in their honour and therefore get into plenty of trouble and fights. There I said it. Am I already drawing a pack with pitchforks? Well, I’m sorry, but it won’t get any better. XD
”Never fear quarrels, but seek adventures. I have taught you how to handle a sword; you have thews of iron, a wrist of steel. Fight on all occasions. Fight the more for duels being forbidden, since consequently there is twice as much courage in fighting. I have nothing to give you, my son, but fifteen crowns, my horse, and the counsel you have just heard.”
Considering that’s the advice d’Artagnan’s father gave him before he went out to “seek adventures” I’m not surprised he spent about 75% of the book getting himself in life threatening situations and drew problems like a dungheap draws flies. Me being salty? Oh boy, I barely even started. You might continue to read my review or if you love this book with all your heart like about 76% of goodreads seems to do (I actually recalculated that, I’m noting but thorough), just stop reading and abort this mission. Fair warning. I won’t blame you. ;-P
”People, in general,” he said, “only ask advice not to follow it; or if they do follow it, it is for the sake of having someone to blame for having given it.”
Athos was a clever one, you might head his advice or blame me for not taking my warning seriously. Whatever floats your boat. I’ll just continue saying my piece. I know this book is beloved by so many and I’d be lying if I’d say I didn’t enjoy some parts of it. I did. It wasn’t all bad, but it wasn’t all good either and I’m too much of a 21st century person to let some things slide. So this said let’s get down to business.
”What have I to fear,” replied d’Artagnan, “as long as I shall have the luck to enjoy the favour of their Majesties?”
“Everything, believe me. The cardinal is not the man to forget a mystification until he has settled account with the mystifier; and the mystifier appears to me to have the air of being a certain young Gascon of my acquaintance.”
I think by now everyone knows about the main plot of “The Three Musketeers”. A young Gascon named d’Artagnan arrives in Paris to become a Musketeer in the King’s service. But right after he arrives he already offends 3 musketeers and challenges all of them to a duel that is interrupted by the Cardinal’s men. The four men bond over their mutual adversaries and become friends that help the Queen regain her diamond ear studs she gave to her English lover Buckingham before she has to wear them on a ball. Another one of the Cardinals malicious schemes against the queen is thwarted and the three musketeers saved the day. So far so good. What’s interesting is that this only makes about 200 pages of this 560+ pages book. Where all the movies usually end the actual book continues for 350 more pages. So what happens in those pages?!
”Capital! Adieu, Chevalier.”
“Commend me to the cardinal.”
“Commend me to Satan.”
Milady and Rochefort exchanged a smile and separated.
Enter Milady one of the Cardinal’s most trusted and valuable assets. Truth be told, for me Milady was probably the most interesting character in the entire book because she was multi-layered, cunning, as beautiful as resourceful and had absolutely no scruples to do what she had to do in order to get what she wanted. We love a woman that is manipulative af. *lol* Honestly, the way she cheated her way through this book was really admirable and I had to grin when she spent about 6 chapters seducing a man by claiming she was a Protestant only to “convert” to being a Catholic as soon as it served her purpose.
”Who – – I?” cried Milady; “I a Protestant? Oh, no! I call to witness the God who hears us, that on the contrary I am a fervent Catholic!”
Fervent Catholic? Yeah, bet Felton turned in his gave when he heard that coming from her lips. *shakes head* Yet despite being one of the most intelligent pieces on the board she still seemed to be very naïve when it came to certain things. I mean how did she even mistake d’Artagnan for her lover? (Not one of d’Artagnan’s best moments btw. He basically raped an unknowing and averse woman. If she’d known it was d’Artagnan she would have never even considered to sleep with him. But it was dark. Oh what a plot device. Seriously, Dumas, are you kidding me?!) Which brings me right to d’Artagnan and the three musketeers.
”D’Artagnan and Athos put themselves into saddle with their companions, and all four set forward; Athos upon a horse he owed to a woman, Aramis on a horse he owed to his mistress, Porthos on a horse he owed his procurator’s wife, and d’Artagnan on a horse he owed to his good fortune – the best mistress possible.”
I think that sentence and short description is the “four musketeers” in a nutshell and I can’t really say that I’m a huge fan of them. I used to love Aramis the most and I think of all of them he’s still my favourite because he might have the same flaws as the others but he is more or less tame in comparison to them. Yes, he has an affair with a woman even though he wants to become a priest but him yielding to this temptation only makes him more human. Plus he isn’t as hot-headed as the others. Still, when it comes down to it I can’t really be a fan of either of them because I just can’t condone their actions.
I mean they basically only drink, gamble and fight their way through the entire book. They have affairs with married women, can’t seem to be able to hold on to a single coin and treat their hosts as well as their servants poorly. I honestly don’t get why their servants stuck with them because they didn’t get paid for most of the book. Either the musketeers were too stupid to keep money and gave it away like it was nothing (and this even though they were always broke) or they gambled with the little they had and lost it again. Well, and if their servants demanded pay they just hit them and the thing was settled. Talk about real role-models right there. I stopped counting the moments I rolled my eyes or facepalmed myself. Also d’Artagnan literally falls in love with every woman that’s pretty and talks to him and they all suffer because of it. One way or another giving d’Artagnan their affection never ends well. XD If you’re a woman you better stay away from that young Gascon, he’s trouble. 😉
”Take my wealth, my fortune, my glory, all the days I have to live, for such an instant, for a night like that. For that night, madame, that night you loved me, I will swear it.”
As for the other players in the game. I think there wasn’t enough of the cardinal and we barely found out anything about him. Lord de Winter was okay, I suppose? Buckingham was probably the only truly honourable man in the entire story which is almost comical because him being an English man automatically makes him the enemy of France and therefore of the musketeers. Yet his love and devotion to the Queen was unyielding and he didn’t even think of another woman like a certain someone *cough* d’Artagnan *cough* who changed them like his underwear. Yes, I just said that. You can quote me if you want to. I stand by it. *lol*
I personally think that Milady was the most intriguing character of the entire book, yet at the same time, she was limited by being a woman. No matter how cunning or cruel she was, she could only move in certain patterns and the fact she even got arrested speaks volumes about how women were treated back then. This is a theme that’s running like a thread through the entire book, while the men have all the opportunity in the world and never have to fear any consequences, the same can’t be said for the women in the story. Well, and the way it all ends? Let’s just say the only woman that comes out of it in a good way is actually the Queen and she’s the Queen so I think that says A LOT.
All told, I came out of “The Three Musketeers” feeling quite disenchanted. The heroes I loved as a kid aren’t the heroes I read about. In the movies they were honourable and courageous, fighting against everything that was thrown their way and charmed their way into the beds of their love interests. In the book we get to see an entirely different side of them and I guess that only proves that Hollywood knew what it was doing when it adapted the book into a movie. XD I never thought I’d say this but I think I’ll stick with the movies this time around. I know “The Three Musketeers” is a classic and beloved by many. It has its merits and interesting, whimsical and funny parts, I’ll give you that, but it ultimately wasn’t for me.