Much of the narrative of ‘Casanova in Paris: The Shadows of the King’ revolves around the machinations of two of Louis XV’s spymasters and these final pages of a sequence in which Gabrielle arranges a meeting with Casanova highlights pretty well the theme of hiding, seeking (and revealing) information. The meeting is secret. Gabrielle wishes to keep her pregnancy a secret. Casanova is being followed by Stefano and there is another hidden observer watching them both. These ideas are also underpinned in other ways. Information has been hidden from the audience in order to manipulate, and surprise, their expectations. They don’t know the identity of who is following Casanova and are likely to assume it is some ne’er do well. The fact that Casanova knows he’s being followed is also being kept hidden (and, of course, like the audience, Stefano doesn’t know that Casanova knows). Only in the final two panels are those pieces of information revealed. However, that reveal momentarily raises another information issue: is Stefano a good guy or a bad guy? There’s a two-panel delay before this is resolved, when the nature and closeness of the relationship between Stefano and Casanova is re-established. Meanwhile, however, another unknown is immediately introduced in the form of the second observer, giving the audience a new mystery to speculate about, albeit one which will not be resolved for another couple of chapters. Visually, of course, this theme is reinforced by being set amidst darkness and shadow (reflecting the title of the novel).
What else is going on here?
Well, key aspects of Casanova’s personality are on show: his love of subterfuge; his inability to resist a request from an attractive woman in need, especially one who is prepared to transgress societal norms; his love of absurdity and paradox (that he, a dedicated womaniser, should be the one attempting to save Gabrielle’s reputation); his shrewdness, knowing that he is being followed; his willingness to use force. The pages also foreshadow a couple of events: Stefano cares for Casanova after he is violently attacked by the Southerner’s men; Stefano becomes the unseen observer of one of Bechard’s men sent to spy on Casanova.
‘The Prologue’, and chapters 1 to 9 of ‘Casanova in Paris: The Shadows of the King’ are now freely available here.
6 long form articles on Casanova’s life and times are freely available here.
#behindthescenes #storytelling #graphicnovel #information #casanova #stefano