The next morning, Valjean informs the Thénardiers that he wants to take Cosette with him. Madame Thénardier immediately accepts, while Thénardier pretends to love Cosette and be concerned for her welfare, reluctant to give her up. Valjean pays the Thénardiers 1,500 francs, and he and Cosette leave the inn. Thénardier, hoping to swindle more out of Valjean, runs after them, holding the 1,500 francs, and tells Valjean he wants Cosette back. He informs Valjean that he cannot release Cosette without a note from the child's mother. Valjean hands Thénardier Fantine's letter authorizing the bearer to take Cosette. Thénardier then demands that Valjean pay a thousand crowns, but Valjean and Cosette leave. Thénardier regrets that he did not bring his gun and turns back toward home.
Great article, and it doesn’t just go for fantasy novels either – when I read about the crisis moment I immediately thought of my favorite book, “Les Miserables”. Jean Valjean has a huge crisis moment where he has to decide whether to stay in hiding and remain free, or reveal his identity as an escaped convict and return to jail, thus giving up everything he’s accomplished in his years of freedom. Victor Hugo wrote a masterful sequence where Valjean pivots back and forth, and it’s a great moment where the reader sees into the very center of his character. Powerful stuff!