Comte de Rochefort
|Comte de Rochefort|
|d'Artagnan Romances character|
|First appearance||The Three Musketeers|
|Last appearance||Twenty Years After|
|Created by||Alexandre Dumas|
|Alias||"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 (1844). He insults d'Artagnan and steals his letter of recommendation to Monsieur de Tréville, 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, but each time Rochefort skilfully vanishes into the street crowds of Paris. D'Artagnan does not meet him again or 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; Richelieu eventually orders the men to become friends. In the Epilogue, we learn that Rochefort, and an older and wiser d'Artagnan, fought on three occasions (all duels being won by d'Artagnan), settled their differences and became friends.
In Twenty Years After
Rochefort reappears in the sequel, Twenty Years After. He falls out of favor with Richelieu's successor Mazarin, and spends five years in the Bastille. 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. Unable to recognize his friend in the chaos, d'Artagnan kills Rochefort, 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.
- A thug nicknamed Rochefort plays the role in the book The Club Dumas by Arturo Pérez-Reverte.
- 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 and television
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.
- Marc Warren in the BBC TV series The Musketeers, replacing Peter Capaldi's Cardinal Richelieu.
Film incarnations tend to depict Rochefort as a far darker character than in the novel, and often extend his role. d'Artagnan kills 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; 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, a departure from Rochefort's appearance in Dumas' novel, was deemed striking enough to be retained in several other film adaptations: Wincott, Mikkelsen and (eventually) Warren retained it in their portrayals, as did 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".