She is also an unofficial member of the Friends of the ABC.
Notable Portrayals Edit
- Frances Ruffelle in the 1985 London stage adaption.
- Lea Salonga in the 1995 10th Anniversary Dream Cast Concert.
- Samantha Barks in the 2010 25th Anniversary Concert/2012 Movie musical adaption.
Éponine Thénardier was a street gamine and unofficial member of the Friends of the Abaissé. She had been in love with her friend Marius Pontmercy, but he fell in love with Cosette Fauchelevent.
The daughter of M. and Mme. Thénardier and sister of Azelma and Gavroche, Éponine grew up in her parent’s inn, The Sergeant at Waterloo. When she was six and Azelma was five, Fantine arrived in Montfermeil, and asked her parents to care for then six-year-old Cosette while she worked in Montreuil-sur-Mer. They agreed on the condition that she would send money for Cosette’s care. The Thénardiers, however, did not spend the money that Fantine sent on Cosette, and instead used the money for their own use. Cosette became a slave for the Thénardiers, and the young Éponine and Azelma teased and bullied Cosette, often using her as a scapegoat.
However, the year Jean Valjean rescued Cosette from the Thénardiers, the family lost The Sergeant at Waterloo due to bankruptcy, and they moved into the Gorbeau House in Paris under the name Jondrette. By 1832, Gavroche had been kicked out from home and was living on the streets, and Éponine was forced to beg and work in her father’s gang. Azelma had died from the pox in 1826 at age sixteen.
When she was fifteen, Éponine’s father told her to steal from one of the university students, Marius Pontmercy. When she approached him, however, she fell half in love with him and was unable to take his money. Marius pitied her and gave her a coin, and she followed him, trying to impress him by proving that she was literate. They became friends, and Éponine fell fully in love with him, though he did not return her feelings.
When Marius fell in love with Cosette, he asked Éponine to take him to Cosette’s home. She reluctantly agreed, and was forced to listen while Cosette and Marius professed their love to each other. She saved Valjean and Cosette from being robbed when she screamed to warn them of her father’s approaching gang. M. Thénardier had wanted to make Valjean pay for taking Cosette, but Éponine interfered before he could. After the meeting between Marius and Cosette, Éponine realized that Marius would never return her feelings.
Éponine tried to join the uprisers at the barricade, but Marius – still caring for Éponine, as a friend – sent her to deliver a farewell letter to Cosette in an attempt to save her life. She delivered the letter to Valjean, and returned to the battle. She was shot in the hand and the shoulder in an attempt to stop an enemy soldier from shooting Marius, and died in the rain in Marius’ arms.