Please read the following. It explains the theory behind What REALLY Happened and also clears up some issues raised in the latter chapters of Back to the Frollo
Ever since Disney's film The Hunchback of Notre Dame hit the theaters, a flurry of theories concerning Frollo's 'possible survival' proliferated on the old Frollo fan forum like rabbits. (!)
It had been suggested that Clopin could've snatched Claude Frollo immediately after the latter's tent was smashed in Esmeralda's unforgettable, and highly hilarious, chase scene.
That said, FrolloFreak would like to explain her theory before she launches into follow-up installments of What REALLY Happened:
I've always thought that a certain Gypsy King would ultimately pay back Claude Frollo for years of persecution. After all, Claude hounded gypsies for nearly twenty years; Clopin has a legitimate reason for doing in Our Man. Just how does Clopin plan to rid Paris of Claude Frollo? His help comes in the strangest and wildest of arrangements...
Let's just say, without giving away TOO much of my story, that Clopin involves himself with someone from Claude Frollo's past, someone who wants to be the next Minister of Justice BY ANY MEANS NECESSARY!
We all know Claude likes his women...LOTS of women. If I'm correct, he has at last count 30+ FSMs! How does he keep up?
Anyway, Clopin is very aware of Claude's weakness for beautiful women. If you don't agree with me, check out Chapter 18 of Back to the Frollo. Check out the many Frollocentric fics on other sites. I know, we're a wacky lot. ;-)
Anyway, I believe Clopin had Esmeralda perform that near lap-dance for His Grace. You know, get Claude all worked up, then, at the right moment...Clopin makes his move.
But here's the kicker. We all know how easily women fall for Claude Frollo, that is, except Esmeralda. Claude is used to getting his way, whether it's gaining information from a criminal, or breaking down a potential lover's defenses. Look how he convinced Ms. Nisha to become one of his many mistresses –– And she wasn't all that accommodating at first!
Claude thought, with little 'friendly persuasion', Esmeralda would be truly flattered to become a Frollo Woman. After all, we are a privileged lot.
But unlike the Frollo gals, Esmeralda resisted Claude's advances. Check out the look of utter disgust on her face. Not exactly moonlight and roses here, folks. She rather be with Phoebus than the second most powerful man in France.
So...Plan A backfired. Clopin puts Plan B in motion, and things finally start to click.
At the end of the Hellfire sequence, Claude Frollo passes out. We don't know what transpired between then and the next morning when Claude orders Phoebus to search for Esmeralda.
Now here's another problem. If Claude just gave Esme the brush-off, why is he so intent in finding her? Why would he torch a city he loves? It just doesn't add up!
The Heart of My Theory:
I believe Clopin and company had Our Man drugged. Claude suffered from hallucinatory effects, then passed out. He is replaced by a man who pretends to be Claude Frollo! That guy you see torching the city, terrorizing Quasi, invading the Court of Miracles, etc. is NOT the Minister of Justice! I believe Clopin and others had the real Frollo 6fa drugged and hidden somewhere in the Palace of Justice.
Then, after the fake does his damage, Clopin planned to pull the switch again. Only this time, the citizens of Paris would turn on the REAL Claude Frollo! So what, Clopin thinks, if Parisians put poor Claude to death...Good Riddance!
THEN the fake would take his place as the new Minister of Justice! Little does Clopin and the gang know that this dude plans to sell out the Gypsies! And remember, folks, Claude Frollo KNOWS THIS MAN!! He's no ordinary imposter but someone with his own score to settle. This guy's a real charmer -- Wait till you read Claude's recount of a little "Medieval Peyton Place."
Then there are TOO MANY complications as this imposter also has connections to Claude's good friends at Chateau d'Arcy (FF's invention)
Whew! That should do it!
Please remember, it's just a theory, not the gospel truth. Say to yourself, "It's only a story, it's only a story..." AND...
This story is in no way anti-Romany, although it may read as such. Please be aware that we're dealing with 15th Century European mindsets coupled with that of late 20th Century Americans who've had NO personal contact whatsoever with the Romany. Prejudice and cultural assumptions are based on lack of exposure and experience. The viewpoints expressed here are NOT my personal views. What Esmeralda does in this story in no way takes away from this wonderfully defined character Disney (and Hugo) gave us. It's simply "Desperate times call for desperate measures", and such actions always have dire consequences, as is evident in the final chapters.
On to What Really Happened