You, at the Barricades, listen to this:
The people of Paris sleep in their beds.
You have no chance, no chance at all.
Why throw your lives away?
Who is this? If you answered “that asshole soldier that shot Gavroche” then, A. No, and B. We’re not friends. Let’s talk about this guy (who by the way is played by the wonderful and amazing and talented
and somewhat scene-stealing Hadley Fraser who has played both Marius and Grantaire in different productions of Les Misérables). This National Guardsman is not an “asshole,” or a “heartless bastard,” no. Look at the shine to eyes, his expressions, listen to the desperation in his voice as he sings these lines.
Watch him after Gavroche is shot. Pay attention to how he keeps looking away as he’s pleading with the boys of the Barricade to step down, how he shakes his head rapidly, almost childishly, like someone who refuses to believe what’s happening right in front of their eyes. He doesn’t know these boys individually, but he knows they are just that: boys. Students, idealistic young men whose courage and tenacity anyone would admire, even the Guards.
And yet, this man knows that their deaths are inevitable, and that if it isn’t him to bring it about, some other unit will, and he’d be court martialed and put before a firing squad for failure to carry out a direct order. He isn’t manipulating them, he isn’t threatening or coercing them, he is genuinely pleading with Les Amis from the bottom of his heart, because there is nothing in the world he would want to do less than cut these brave young Frenchmen down in the primes of their lives.