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Books Read in 2017-2018 > The Three Musketeers - Spoilers

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message 1: by Loretta, Moderator (last edited Apr 02, 2018 02:27PM) (new)

Loretta | 3971 comments Mod
Please use this thread to discuss the book freely!

Member Tiffany from ON, Canada, has graciously decided to lead our group discussions on The Three Musketeers.


message 2: by Loretta, Moderator (new)

Loretta | 3971 comments Mod
Some background:

In order to understand and enjoy this novel to the fullest, one should be acquainted with a special kind of novel — the "swashbuckling novel," a novel which is filled to the brim with intrigue, adventure, and romance. One rarely, if ever, encounters this kind of novel in contemporary fiction, and it was very popular during the nineteenth century. Dumas was a master of this genre.

Basically, the swashbuckling novel combines the best elements of the novel of intrigue, the novel of adventure, and the novel of romance. The novel of intrigue involves plots and sub-plots in which one person or a group of people are involved in elaborate plots or schemes of one nature or another. This kind of novel is often, but need not be, about love and is frequently concerned with the intrigues of spies, the takeover of some enterprise, or political intrigue.

The novel of adventure is, as the term suggests, one which involves all kinds of adventures, most commonly those which take place on the highroads. For example, d'Artagnan's trip to London to retrieve the diamond tags for the queen and his various adventures and encounters with the enemy along the way constitute a novel of adventure. Usually, a main character's life is at stake, but this need not be necessarily so.

The novel of romance involves a simple love story of some nature, and there are several basic love stories in The Three Musketeers — for example, the duke of Buckingham's love for Anne of Austria, the queen of France; he will do anything for the pleasure of being in her presence. D'Artagnan is continually astonished at the duke's extravagant sacrifices — merely to please this lady. Likewise, d'Artagnan will undertake a dangerous journey solely because of his love for and devotion to Constance Bonacieux, a love that is, as we see toward the end of the novel, deeply reciprocated.

The term "swashbuckling" refers most often to a combination of the above three elements, accompanied by extreme histrionics — fantastic dueling and hair-raising escapades, narrow escapes, and desperate situations. These escapades are often seen as heroics — such as the episode where d'Artagnan and the three musketeers make a bet to stay in the bastion for an hour, and during this time, they stave off a number of the enemy.

Most often, the term "swashbuckling" is associated with dueling, especially when the hero is outnumbered by lesser swordsmen or when he encounters a superb opponent and yet easily disarms or conquers him. There is a good deal of swaggering (especially by Porthos); there is also a good amount of bantering, bragging, bravado, and exaggeration (by all three of the musketeers and d'Artagnan), and, of course, d'Artagnan is the perfect example of the swashbuckler because he is handsome, an expert dueler, and a superb swordsman. D'Artagnan is a young man captivated by love and romance and willing to undertake any type of adventure merely for the sake of adventure but certainly for the sake of the woman he loves.

Taken from CliffNotes


message 3: by [deleted user] (new)

I was going to add something, Loretta, but I forgot what to say!

I think I'll discuss more freely when I know where everybody is. There's so much to the Three Musketeers! You've got love, obsession, and revenge.

Alexandre Dumas was inspired by a 'biography' of the historical d'Artagnan. This book is called Mémoires de monsieur d'Artagnan by Gatien de Courtilz de Sandras. Whether or not he actually knew the historical d'Artagnan or he wrote his 'Memoirs' as a way to criticise the French Monarchy and Louis XIV is unknown.

Nonetheless, Monsieur d'Artagnan's character was inspired by Gatien de Courtilz de Sandras' work.

In order to get readers to take his book seriously, Dumas states in his prologue that the Memoirs were historical fact.


message 4: by Lydia (new)

Lydia Corey It was a pleasure to reread this one. I completely forgot that I had read it the first, but once I was a few pages in it all come flooding back to me.


message 5: by [deleted user] (new)

Lydia Corey wrote: "It was a pleasure to reread this one. I completely forgot that I had read it the first, but once I was a few pages in it all come flooding back to me."

This is one of the books that stick with you, I think. The Three Musketeers and the subsequent sequels are definitely my favourites. Though, sometimes I feel that some of the characters need to be more developed. Especially, Milady de Winter. Though, Dumas definitely did a lot with her.

Have you read any of the other books in the series, Lydia?


message 6: by Lydia (new)

Lydia Corey Tiffany wrote: "Lydia Corey wrote: "It was a pleasure to reread this one. I completely forgot that I had read it the first, but once I was a few pages in it all come flooding back to me."

This is one of the books..."


I have not. The only other book I have read by Dumas is The Count of Monte Cristo.


message 7: by [deleted user] (new)

I know I'll be frowned upon here, but I used to write fanfiction for the musketeers. The Three Musketeers is a good book, and I love the series, but I felt that there were some scenes that weren't explained all the way through. Dumas touched upon them, but didn't really elaborate. For example, the hatred between Athos and Milady de Winter. The issue between Milady de Winter and the Lord de Winter (brother of Milady's husband). How did he find her, for example?

I love the book, but sometimes Dumas can be so frustrating!


message 8: by Lydia (new)

Lydia Corey Tiffany wrote: "I know I'll be frowned upon here, but I used to write fanfiction for the musketeers. The Three Musketeers is a good book, and I love the series, but I felt that there were some scenes that weren't ..."

That actually sounds really interesting!


message 9: by [deleted user] (new)

Has anyone watched any of the film adaptions/play adaptions of the Three Musketeers? If so, which film adaption do you believe is close to the book? Which adaption is your favourite?


message 10: by [deleted user] (new)

I don't know if this belongs in the non-spoilers or the spoilers, but I found a handy character list. :)

Three Musketeers Character List


message 11: by Loretta, Moderator (new)

Loretta | 3971 comments Mod
Tiffany wrote: "I don't know if this belongs in the non-spoilers or the spoilers, but I found a handy character list. :)

Three Musketeers Character List"


Spoilers is good Tiffany. 😊


message 12: by Lydia (new)

Lydia Corey Tiffany wrote: "I don't know if this belongs in the non-spoilers or the spoilers, but I found a handy character list. :)

Three Musketeers Character List"


Thank you! Even though I’ve read this a couple of times, it’s really hard to keep track of who all the characters are.


message 13: by [deleted user] (new)

I agree! It's very hard to keep track of the characters and who they are. When I first started reading this book, I kept forgetting who was who. Especially when other names are being used for the same character.

How is everybody enjoying reading this book so far?


message 14: by [deleted user] (new)

Re-reading this one has brought back some memories of how much I've enjoyed reading the book in the past. Though, there are certainly some moments where I read something new within the book.

For example, the business with the Englishmen and Athos.


message 15: by Loretta, Moderator (new)

Loretta | 3971 comments Mod
Has anyone started this book yet? First impressions?


message 16: by [deleted user] (new)

Loretta wrote: "Has anyone started this book yet? First impressions?"

I have started reading it, Loretta! I am afraid I might provide a bit of a biased opinion of the book. Especially since this isn't my first time reading the book. However, I do believe I remember my first impression when I first picked up the book.

It is very different compared to the film adaptions of the book. Most of the film adaptions have d'Artagnan's father as deceased. Whether it was because he was assassinated, killed in some battle, or dying to protect Louis XIII's father (Henri IV). It was a pleasant surprise to realise that d'Artagnan's father was still very much alive to give out the gifts he did to his son who was just going out into the world.

What do you think, Loretta? Are you reading the book? :D


message 17: by John (new)

John I’m on chapter 7. There will be more to this than insults and duels, right?


message 18: by Loretta, Moderator (new)

Loretta | 3971 comments Mod
John wrote: "I’m on chapter 7. There will be more to this than insults and duels, right?"

Are you enjoying the book John? 🤔


message 19: by John (new)

John Loretta wrote: "Are you enjoying the book John? 🤔"

Yes, so far. It's a "diversionary" book for me. Not a lot of thinking, but it seems to be a little repetitive so far.


message 20: by [deleted user] (new)

Oh yes, John. There will be more. I promise you. :)

Once you get through the beginning of the book, it starts showing more plot.


message 21: by Loretta, Moderator (new)

Loretta | 3971 comments Mod
John wrote: "Loretta wrote: "Are you enjoying the book John? 🤔"

Yes, so far. It's a "diversionary" book for me. Not a lot of thinking, but it seems to be a little repetitive so far."


Hate to admit this so early on here but I've tried to read this book more than once and could never power through. John, you strike me as someone who has great resilience so I know you'll get through the repetitiveness and end up enjoying it. 😊


message 22: by Piyangie (new)

Piyangie | 436 comments Am I the only one finding this hilarious? I mean, I can picture myself that young D'Artagnan running in street with his sword to avenge those who he thinks insulted him, and then ending up in duels. I'm still at chapter 10. This is my feeling at present.


message 23: by Loretta, Moderator (new)

Loretta | 3971 comments Mod
Piyangie wrote: "Am I the only one finding this hilarious? I mean, I can picture myself that young D'Artagnan running in street with his sword to avenge those who he thinks insulted him, and then ending up in duels..."

Well. I know the movie was humorous Piyangie so, no doubt the book is!! 😏


message 24: by [deleted user] (new)

Piyangie wrote: "Am I the only one finding this hilarious? I mean, I can picture myself that young D'Artagnan running in street with his sword to avenge those who he thinks insulted him, and then ending up in duels..."

That is one of my favourite parts in the book. I suppose that is how the 17th century gentleman made friends? :P


message 25: by [deleted user] (new)

@ Loretta: You find that with some of these books, I think. The writing is a little difficult or it doesn't engage us, and is disappointing in the end.

I am sorry that this book was like that for you. Have you read anything else by Alexandre Dumas?


message 26: by Loretta, Moderator (new)

Loretta | 3971 comments Mod
Tiffany wrote: "@ Loretta: You find that with some of these books, I think. The writing is a little difficult or it doesn't engage us, and is disappointing in the end.

I am sorry that this book was like that for ..."


No Tiffany. I haven't.


message 27: by [deleted user] (new)

I can recommend a lot of Alexandre Dumas' work. :)

I am wondering how everybody is doing with this book? If there is something in the book that you want to discuss, don't hesitate to put it in!


message 28: by Loretta, Moderator (new)

Loretta | 3971 comments Mod
Tiffany wrote: "I can recommend a lot of Alexandre Dumas' work. :)

I am wondering how everybody is doing with this book? If there is something in the book that you want to discuss, don't hesitate to put it in!"


I'm sure you can Tiffany! Well then! Recommend away! 🤗


message 29: by John (new)

John Loretta wrote: "John, you strike me as someone who has great resilience so I know you'll get through the repetitiveness and end up enjoying it..."

Me? Resilient? Not in this case. I got 100 pages in and couldn't take it. DNF. (Especially with Dostoevsky on the coffee table waiting for me)


message 30: by Loretta, Moderator (new)

Loretta | 3971 comments Mod
John wrote: "Loretta wrote: "John, you strike me as someone who has great resilience so I know you'll get through the repetitiveness and end up enjoying it..."

Me? Resilient? Not in this case. I got 100 pages ..."


Lol! Sorry John. I definitely enjoy Dostoevsky more too. 😊


message 31: by [deleted user] (new)

Dostoevsky is a brilliant writer, John! Have you read White Nights, yet?

I am sorry you didn't enjoy the adventures of our musketeers.


message 32: by Erin (new)

Erin (erinm31) | 6 comments I just finished reading The Three Musketeers — first time and I hadn’t seen any of the movie adaptations so I didn’t know what to expect. I think that is why it took me a while to get into it and start to really enjoy it (until the mission to recover the diamond studs). I think I was trying to take the characters too seriously at first and worrying too much about how all the French names should be pronounced!

So those of you who are on the fence, even over a hundred pages as I was, I would encourage you to keep going — I am glad that I did! 😊


message 33: by Loretta, Moderator (new)

Loretta | 3971 comments Mod
Erin wrote: "I just finished reading The Three Musketeers — first time and I hadn’t seen any of the movie adaptations so I didn’t know what to expect. I think that is why it took me a while to get i..."

I'm thrilled that you enjoyed the book Erin! 🤗


message 34: by Erin (last edited Apr 17, 2018 10:01AM) (new)

Erin (erinm31) | 6 comments There are two matters in particular that I would be very glad to her peoples’ thoughts on:

1) Why did Athos try to kill Milady when he first discovered her brand? Was it because he believed she had deceived him? Did she deserve to die for that? Surely not for the crime for which the brand already was the punishment! It would have seemed more appropriate to divorce her (if that would have been allowed). I know the characters and story are meant to be extreme in many ways but hanging her for that alone when hitherto Athos had apparently been more than happy with her struck me as barbaric and for a time I wondered whether this did not push her over the edge into becoming truly heartless and evil. (Of course we find out near the end that this is not the case.)

2) How did you feel about the portrayal of women in this book? What bothered me were the references to the “weakness of women,” as if they were controlled by emotions more so than men and simply could not help this, even a character as cunning and resourceful as Milady. It is that this case from the narrator as well-known fact (rather than characters) that bothers me.


message 35: by Erin (new)

Erin (erinm31) | 6 comments Loretta wrote: "Erin wrote: "I just finished reading The Three Musketeers — first time and I hadn’t seen any of the movie adaptations so I didn’t know what to expect. I think that is why it took me a w..."

Thank you! 😊

Tiffany wrote: "I can recommend a lot of Alexandre Dumas' work. :)

I am wondering how everybody is doing with this book? If there is something in the book that you want to discuss, don't hesitate to put it in!"


Have you read The Count of Monte Cristo or Queen Margot, or Marguerite de Valois? Are they similar in style and tone to The Three Musketeers?


message 36: by [deleted user] (new)

Erin that bothered me too. Seems women always get the short end of the deal. Either an evil, scheming villain or a saintly lady. I am more inclined to put it as a product of 19th century mores but I have not read anything else by him so I am no expert.
Personally I found the intrigues with Louis XIII and Anne of Austria more interesting than the other subplots.


message 37: by Loretta, Moderator (new)

Loretta | 3971 comments Mod
Kt wrote: "Erin that bothered me too. Seems women always get the short end of the deal. Either an evil, scheming villain or a saintly lady. I am more inclined to put it as a product of 19th century mores but ..."

What star rating did you give this book Kt?


message 38: by [deleted user] (new)

I wavered between 3 and 3.5 stars but stuck with 3.


message 39: by [deleted user] (new)

I am very sorry for not responding to anyone! I will go see what everyone has been saying and will respond.


message 40: by [deleted user] (new)

Erin: I shall try to answer your questions as best I can.

I believe that one reason for why Athos hanged Milady was because it was discovered that she had been branded as a criminal. It was dishonourable for him because he realized what she was. He may have loved his wife, and it may be true that Milady felt the same way about him, but since Athos was a nobleman, marrying somebody that had been branded with the fleur-de-lis could have meant he'd lose a lot more than his honour as a nobleman.

That is just a theory that I have. I believe that since Athos was considered a 'lord' of his lands, that he had the right to dispense justice where he saw fit. He didn't know who Anne de Breuil was when he married her. He fell head over heels in love with a woman that came out of nowhere and stole his heart. He probably felt that the reason for why she married him was for financial gain and rise in power, and was possibly feeling betrayed.

However, Milady de Winter also goes under different aliases. It's possible that Anne de Breuil wasn't even her real name. Athos probably (despite his love for her) felt that since she had been branded a criminal in such a way, that she was dangerous.

As for your second question. I feel that women were misrepresented. They either are the love interests and shown as being very weak and needing to be saved, or they are very evil (like Milady de Winter is), and try to murder the protagonists.

I agree with what you say with the emotional aspect of things. The whole thing with Constance and d'Artagnan seemed off when I first read the book. Though that was nothing compared to the hate love affair he had with Milady.

He essentially uses Milady de Winter to achieve his own ends. He wants to save his true love (Constance), but in order to do so means that he has to play a terrible game with another woman that was also being used by the Cardinal. It wasn't very fair to Milady de Winter, but as she is one of the villains, it's seen as it's okay.


message 41: by [deleted user] (new)

Erin wrote: "Loretta wrote: "Erin wrote: "I just finished reading The Three Musketeers — first time and I hadn’t seen any of the movie adaptations so I didn’t know what to expect. I think that is wh..."

I've read both the The Count of Monte Cristo and Queen Margot, or Marguerite de Valois. I'd say that both are better written than the Musketeers, but the Count of Monte Cristo is where you definitely see Dumas come out as a writer.

I love La Reine Margot. Dumas did his research in the period, and it does wonders for the plot. It is set during the French Wars of Religion, and there are many scenes that reflect that according to the author. They are fictional scenes of what he thinks would have been said behind closed doors, but he bases those conversations and scenes on history because that is what happened.

Marguerite is one of the protagonists. She's portrayed more human than Milady de Winter in Three Musketeers. Both are very good books. I definitely recommend both of them. :)

Another of Alexandre Dumas' books that might interest you is The Knight of Maison-Rouge. It is set during the French Revolution and shows Marie-Antoinette more sympathetically than most of Dumas' contemporaries of the time.


message 42: by [deleted user] (new)

Kt wrote: "Erin that bothered me too. Seems women always get the short end of the deal. Either an evil, scheming villain or a saintly lady. I am more inclined to put it as a product of 19th century mores but ..."

I definitely agree! The women in this book are seen as being very good or very evil. There's no in between, and hardly any character development. I feel sometimes that the women in this book are only in the story because they are the plot aids. We have an evil woman who intends to destroy the lives of every man she comes into contact with on one end. In the other, we have a very good woman (the love of d'Artagnan) who needs to be rescued from the clutches of evil.

Also, Anne and Louis XIII were definitely fascinating characters. Louis is suspicious, petty, and unforgiving. Preferring to listen to the more capable Cardinal Richelieu, than anyone else. Every suspicion that Louis has against Anne and her intentions is pressed further upon by Cardinal Richelieu who seems to hate her.

Then we have Anne who is in an unloving and cold marriage. She feels that she's in a hostile land because she's both Spanish and Austrian, and France is at war with both Spain and Austria because of the Habsburgs. Every conversation, either written or verbal, is intercepted or listened to- which adds to the mistrust and the hatred.

It definitely is a very interesting relationship between those two. I wish that Dumas was able to show that relationship in another book. Though, he does have it in The Red Sphinx: A Sequel to The Three Musketeers.

If only it were more flushed out, though, in the Musketeers.


message 43: by [deleted user] (new)

How do you think Milady de Winter survived her hanging? I don't think this is mentioned in the book. Unless it is mentioned in another edition?

Do you think that d'Artagnan legitimately loved Milady de Winter before her identity was discovered as being the same woman from Athos story?

I am very interested to hear what everyone thinks!


message 44: by Loretta, Moderator (new)

Loretta | 3971 comments Mod
Has everyone, who decided to join this read finished the book? Thoughts? Were not many members interested in reading this book? Looking for some discussions.


message 45: by Erin (new)

Erin (erinm31) | 6 comments Tiffany wrote: "How do you think Milady de Winter survived her hanging? I don't think this is mentioned in the book. Unless it is mentioned in another edition?

Do you think that d'Artagnan legitimately loved Mila..."


Tiffany wrote: "How do you think Milady de Winter survived her hanging? I don't think this is mentioned in the book. Unless it is mentioned in another edition?

Do you think that d'Artagnan legitimately loved Mila..."


I wondered how she survived that too!

I don’t think that D’Artagnan ever loved Milady de Winter, only infatuation, lust and a desire to prove himself and avenge his wounded pride.

But then I wonder whether he has loved at all, outside of friendship. It seems to me that he was more enraptured by romantic ideals and chivalry than by Constance herself, whom he barely knew. Would he have felt disillusioned if she had lived? Or would they have come to truly know and love one another?


message 46: by [deleted user] (new)

Erin: You bring up many of the issues that I have with the book. Did d'Artagnan truly love any of the women he was intimate with in this book? Even Constance seems to be a first blind love. It seems like it is one of those cases where a man goes out into the world, sees a very attractive woman, pursues her, but doesn't want much to do with her afterwards.

As for the Milady surviving her hanging, I am not sure how that could work. Perhaps, Cardinal Richelieu or one of his agents happened by and saved her? That might explain the reason for why she was in his service. "I saved your life. You must work off the debt"...

I don't know if that is plausible. However, after reading certain scenes in The Red Sphinx A Sequel to The Three Musketeers by Alexandre Dumas , I think it could be possible.

I just wish that Dumas explained more! Perhaps having Milady gloat about how she survived to at least one of the characters would be much better than this constant unknowing!


message 47: by Loretta, Moderator (new)

Loretta | 3971 comments Mod
Just want to take a moment here and thank Tiffany for leading the great discussion of The Three Musketeers!

Thank you Tiffany! 😊


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