The first time I read The Three Musketeers, I read it through a child’s eyes. They rode through those pages and straight into my heart with their swashbuckling, sword wielding, devil-may-care ways. They were my heroes and could do no wrong. I was wide-eyed and breathless with all their adventures and their daring-do’s. Their courage was awe-inspiring and their motto, ‘One for all and all for one’, absolutely posh.
The second time I read this book, it was through ‘grown up’ eyes. (As grown up as I can be that is. Which is not much.) But this time around it was a wee bit different. This time around I realised, much to my chagrined amusement, that Athos, Porthos, Aramis and D’Artagnan are/were in fact, bullies, not to mention, a bit savage. And I say this in an indulgent kinda way, as a mother of willful and naughty sons might say, “What can you do? Boys will be boys.” They robbed, they cheated and they killed their way through to the happy end. And they were remorseless. But I suppose they couldn’t help it either because it was either kill or be killed, cheat or be cheated. There didn’t seem to be any middle ground. Am I making excuses for them? Absolutely! Could they have been better people with better morals? Absolutely! But then, they wouldn’t have been the three musketeers would they?
So, does this ‘new perspective’ change the way I feel about the book? Nope! I was just as enthralled by their swashbuckling ways as I was all those years ago. The only difference was, this time I wasn’t just the gawking kid on the sidelines, I was an unrepentant and wily participant. I, was the fifth musketeer.