Convicted for stealing a loaf of bread to feed his sister's children and sent to prison, Valjean is paroled 19 years later. Rejected by society for being a former convict, he encounters Bishop Myriel, who turns his life around by showing him mercy and encouraging him to become a new man. He assumes a new identity (Monsieur Madeleine) in order to pursue an honest life, where he becomes rich and a mayor. He promises Fantine (who worked in his factory) as she is dying that he will take care of her child, Cosette. Valjean confronts Javert after turning himself in to the police to save another man from life-long prison and rescues Cosette from the Thénardiers. Discovered by Javert in Paris, he evades capture once again. Valjean saves Marius from probable death at the barricade, reveals his true identity to Marius and Cosette after their wedding, and is reunited with them just before his death. Having kept his promise to the bishop (to live an honest life) and to Fantine (to take care of her child), Valjean dies in peace.
A fanatic police inspector in pursuit to recapture Valjean. He first sees Valjean when working as an overseer for the chain gang. Later, he joins the police force in the small town where Valjean is living his new identity. At one point, he recognizes Valjean’s great strength and suspects he has found the lost convict. However, Javert is told that Jean Valjean has been arrested. But when the real Valjean turns himself in, Javert pursues the hunt again. He is promoted to the Paris Police and, while working undercover behind the barricade, his identity is discovered. Valjean pretends to execute Javert but releases him. When Javert next encounters Valjean emerging from the sewers, he lets him go instead of arresting him. Javert cannot reconcile his devotion to the law with his recognition that this lawful course is immoral. He takes his own life by jumping into the river Seine.
Fantine’s daughter. As a child, she is beaten and forced to work as a drudge for the Thénardiers. After her mother Fantine dies, Valjean ransoms Cosette from the Thénardiers and cares for her as if she were his daughter. She grows up to become very beautiful and falls in love with Marius Pontmercy. At their wedding at the end of the musical, she finds out for the first time about her “father’s” history and rushes to his side before his death.
Abandoned with a small child by her lover, Fantine leaves her daughter Cosette in the care of innkeepers, the Thénardiers. Fantine finds work at Monsieur Madeleine's factory, but she is discovered as an unwed mother and is dismissed. To meet the Thénardiers' repeated demands for money, she sells her hair and two front teeth, and turns to prostitution, where she becomes ill. Valjean learns of her plight when Javert arrests her for attacking a man who called her insulting names, and sends her to a hospital. She dies after Valjean says he will take care of her daughter.
A young law student loosely associated with the Friends of the ABC. He shares the political principles of his father and has a stormy relationship with his royalist grandfather, Monsieur Gillenormand. He falls in love with Cosette and fights on the barricades when he believes Valjean has taken her to London. After he and Cosette marry, he recognizes Thénardier as a swindler and realizes that Valjean was the one that saved him from the barricade and brought him home.
The Thénardiers' daughter. As a child, she is pampered and spoiled by her parents, but ends up a street urchin when she reaches adolescence. She is blindly in love with Marius. At Marius' request, she finds Valjean and Cosette's house for him and sadly leads him there. After disguising herself as a boy, she goes to the barricades to join Marius. She is mortally wounded as she reaches out her hand to stop a soldier from shooting at him. As she is dying, she confesses her love to Marius, and gives him a letter from Cosette.
Husband and wife and parents of Eponine and Gavroche. The innkeepers abuse Cosette as a child and extract payment from Fantine for her support until Valjean takes Cosette away. They become bankrupt and relocate to a house in Paris. The husband associates with a criminal group and conspires to rob Valjean until he is thwarted by Marius. At the barricade, the two steal from the dead soldiers and students. The husband attempts to blackmail Marius with his knowledge of Valjean's past, but Marius pays him to leave.
The leader of Les Amis de l'ABC (Friends of the ABC) in the Paris uprising. Passionately committed to republican principles and the idea of progress. He is executed by the National Guards after the barricade falls.
The eldest son of the Thénardiers. He lives on his own as a street urchin and sleeps outside the Bastille. He takes part in the barricades with the students and Friends of the ABC and is killed while collecting bullets from dead National Guardsmen.
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