Comte de Rochefort
|Comte de Rochefort|
|d'Artagnan Romances character|
|First appearance||The Three Musketeers|
|Last appearance||Twenty Years After|
|Created by||Alexandre Dumas|
|Aliases||"Man from Meung"|
In "The Three Musketeers"
Known throughout the novel as "The Man from Meung", his first appearance is in the opening chapter of The Three Musketeers. He insults d'Artagnan and steals his letter of recommendation to Monsieur Treville, causing d'Artagnan to swear revenge.
He reappears from time to time as the story progresses; d'Artagnan regularly sees Rochefort and tries to catch him, however, he vanishes into the streetcorner crowds of Paris, skillful, and never gets to actually meet him again and learn his name until the end of the novel. It is Rochefort who kidnaps Constance Bonacieux, and we eventually learn that he is the other main agent (in addition to Milady de Winter) of Cardinal Richelieu. He is sent by Richelieu to escort Milady de Winter in some of her missions. At the end of the novel, Rochefort tries to arrest d'Artagnan for the cardinal, who eventually orders the two men to become friends. In the Epilogue, we learn that Rochefort, and an older and wiser d'Artagnan, have fought on three occasions (all duels being won by d'Artagnan), settle their differences and become friends.
In "Twenty Years After"
Rochefort would reappear in the sequel, Twenty Years After. Having been put into bad favor with Richelieu's successor Mazarin, he only comes out of the Bastille after five years. When Mazarin dismisses him from service for being too old, he joins the side of the Frondeurs. He aids Athos in freeing the Duke of Beaufort and reappears in the end at the riot against Mazarin's return. Not realizing who he was in the chaos, d'Artagnan kills his old friend, as he had predicted he would if they fought a fourth time.
In Other Fiction
The Comte de Rochefort was the subject of an earlier novel, Mémoires de M.L.C.D.R. (Memoirs of Monsieur Le Comte de Rochefort) written in 1678 by Gatien de Courtilz de Sandras. Courtilz de Sandras also wrote Mémoires de M. d'Artagnan (1700). Dumas combined the two, replacing an aristocrat named Rosnay from the d'Artagnan story with the Comte de Rochefort.
- Rochefort is the narrator and protagonist of Mary Gentle's novel 1610: A Sundial in a Grave.
- Rochefort appears in Jason Sæterøy's 2008 graphic novel The Last Musketeer in which he colludes with the Emperor of Mars to invade Earth.
- Rochefort is an important character in The Cardinal's Blades, a historical fantasy trilogy by Pierre Pevel set in the early 17th century.
In film Rochefort has been played by:
- Ian Keith in both the 1935 and 1948 versions of The Three Musketeers
- Christopher Lee in the 1973 movie The Three Musketeers, as well as the sequels The Four Musketeers and The Return of the Musketeers.
- Michael Wincott in the 1993 movie The Three Musketeers.
- David Schofield in the 2001 movie The Musketeer.
- Mads Mikkelsen in the 2011 movie The Three Musketeers.
Film incarnations tend to depict Rochefort as a far darker character than in the novel, and often extend his role. Unlike in the original novel, d'Artagnan ends up killing Rochefort in duel in The Four Musketeers (though he turns up alive in The Return in the Musketeers, only to die "again" in a gunpowder explosion intended for (and partially triggered by) the musketeers), and the character suffers the same fate in the 1993 adaptation. In his three appearances as Rochefort, Christopher Lee wore an eyepatch, intended to make the character look more sinister. The eyepatch, while a departure from Rochefort's appearance in Dumas' novel, was deemed striking enough to be retained in several other film adaptations, as Wincott and Mikkelsen retained it in their portrayals, as well as in the cartoon series Dogtanian and the Three Muskehounds and the anime version. Tim Roth's Febre, the main villain of The Musketeer, also wears an eyepatch (although Rochefort does not).
Dogtanian's Rochefort has a scar on his forehead rather than his cheek. Throughout the series, the title character often calls him "Black Moustache".