The Scarlet Pimpernel is one of my favorite books. As much as I cheer for Sir Percy, I also have a great affection for his arch nemesis Citizen Chauvelin. I’m not sure how it started, but I confess that the books in the Baroness’ series I liked best were the ones that involved Chauvelin. Not that the rest weren’t good, but they lacked a certain something.
Chauvelin’s sanity is shown to be very loosely gripped in subsequent books. The lengths that he goes to in order to trap that elusive Pimpernel! Despite his attempts to wear down Percy, the Englishman shows that he’s more than a match for Chauvelin. While Percy is a master of disguise Chauvelin uses a practical method of telling to difference between the real person in question, yet he couldn’t realize to what lengths that the Pimpernel would go to accomplish his own objectives. However, it is interesting to see that by this point in the books Chauvelin has grown extremely paranoid. A far cry from the arrogant agent in the original novel. He is the anti-thesis to Percy’s chivalry and heroics… and for some reason I find myself liking the character a great deal. It’s been a long time since I’ve read The Scarlet Pimpernel so I might make that one the title of “reread a classic of your choice” for the Back to the Classics reading challenge.
As I said earlier this week, Tom Hiddleston is now my dream cast option for the role in a film adaptation. Time to explain. I’ve seen some of the versions out there. I know that it’s hard to reconcile a film adaptation to be a perfect match to every reader’s perceptions, but I haven’t been happy with the Chauvelins in the versions that I have seen. Someone told me that the musical Chauvelin was wonderful, but I doubt I’ll get to experience that stage production so I must rely on film. However, during my recent viewing of Thor it occurred to me that Hiddleston might be able to pull Chauvelin off for me. And thanks to YouTube I know he can speak French so everything’s good!