8. The Murders of Notre-Dame, 1821


Welcome to the sixth arrondissement of Paris in the 1820’s. Settle in with a young, struggling Victor Hugo and his angst as a budding writer, his soul haunted by towering structures and literary giants before him.

During the formative years of Victor Hugo’s literary maturing, he was caught in a conflict that has arisen in our own time. With the recent destruction of the Notre-Dame Cathedral, particularly its spire and roof, there is a bustle about how to restore it and in which style. This was precisely the topic that Hugo, (in his mid twenties) was looking to champion.

It was from this conflict that our modern tale of Quasimodo, Esmeralda, and Frollo was born. But just what culled these odd conjurings from the dusty darkness of a cathedral whose deterioration demanded restoration? Just what was Victor Hugo looking for as he sought to become the icon that would represent its gothic tradition?

In 1821, Victor Hugo’s political interest in the Notre-Dame’s restoration spirals into a bloodied climax of friendship, betrayal, and ambition featuring the true character behind the Hunchback of Notre-Dame.