History Main / SongOfAchilles

30th May '14 5:58:07 AM kerani
Is there an issue? Send a Message


[[quoteright:250:http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/song_4334.jpg]]
[[caption-width-right:250:''I could recognize him by touch alone, by smell; I would know him blind, by the way his breaths came and his feet struck the earth. I would know him in death, at the end of the world.']]

->'I know. They never let you be famous ''and'' happy.' He lifted an eyebrow. 'I'll tell you a secret.'

->'Tell me.' I loved it when he was like this.

->'I'm going to be the first.' He took my palm and held it to his. 'Swear it.'

->'Why me?'

->'[[CrowningMomentOfHeartwarming Because you're the reason]]. Swear it.'
-->-- ''Page ninety-eight, Song of Achilles''

'''The Song of Achilles''' is a 2012 novel by Madeline Miller, detailing the life of the Greek legendary hero Achilles from the eyes of his faithful best friend and confidante, Patroclus. The book spans from when Achilles was a child to [[ForegoneConclusion his final role]] in The Trojan War, and thus is a retelling of The Illiad as well. At heart, ''The Song of Achilles'' is a love story, a recording of the fierce devotion and passion between the two men, an exploration of the depths of the human heart and a vivid interpretation of classical Greek heroes, brought to life by a compelling plot and beautiful language.

The novel won the 2012 Orange Prize for Fiction, and is Miller's first published work.

----
!!Tropes used within this work include:
* AbusiveParents: Patroclus's mother is mentally disabled, and [[JerkAss his father]] constantly criticizes him and effectively disowns and exiles him in the end.
* AchillesHeel: Interestingly enough, averted. [[spoiler: Achilles gets shot in the heart just like a normal soldier.]] WordOfGod states that she's always found the heel thing rather unrealistic, so she didn't include it in the novel. Metaphorically, it was Achilles's pride that ultimately [[spoiler: killed him and Patroclus both]].
* AchillesInHisTent: Duh.
* AscendedExtra: Patroclus, who was only a minor character in the Illiad, is the narrator of the book and a central character.
* AllLoveIsUnrequited: Achilles's dashing good looks causes him to break a few hearts. Briseis is also quite fond of Patroclus.
* AmazonBrigade: The horsewomen of Anatolia.
* AttackAttackAttack: This lets Patroclus down ''badly''.
* {{Badass}}: Achilles. Patroclus counts as a BadassPacifist.
** BadassGay: Neither Achilles or Patroclus seem vaguely interested in girls.
** BadassNormal: Patroclus, again. He even points out that, unlike most other suitors for Helen, he wasn't the son or grandson of a god.
* BittersweetEnding: Yes, [[spoiler: everybody you love ends up dying, but Patroclus and Achilles finally manage to find each other in the underworld and reunite once again.]]
* BloodKnight: Achilles
* BigDamnHeroes: Invoked by Patroclus when he comes storming in with Achilles's armour on to rouse the Greek soldiers to fight and scare off the Trojans. It worked for a beautiful amount of time, and then, because of Apollo, it got worse.
* ChildhoodFriendRomance: Patroclus and Achilles grew up together, and have been best friends since they were nine.
* CurbStompBattle: Achilles versus anything that isn't a god, more or less.
* DeathSeeker: After Patroclus dies, Achilles doesn't even bother trying in battle anymore; he goes fighting without armour, trying desperately to get killed.
* DefeatingTheUndefeatable: Achilles versus Scamander.
* {{Determinator}}: Patroclus is usually quite mild-mannered, but fuck with anyone he loves, and he will come down on you with the force of the Greek army.
** He purposely defies Thetis multiple times for Achilles's sake
*** In a more tragic twist, Patroclus also ends up [[spoiler: betraying Achilles to Agamemnon]] in order to save Briseis.
* DivineParentage: Achilles's mother is Thetis, a sea nymph.
* DueToTheDead: Since the book is set in ancient Greece, correct funeral rites are of utmost importance. It becomes an important plot point later when [[spoiler: Patroclus is unable to join Achilles in the underworld because he has not been buried properly]]
** CriticalResearchFailure: The above (necessary) plot point is completely absent from Greek literature or mythology.
*** Not true at all. The whole plot of one of the most famous Greek tragedies, Sophocles' ''Antigone'', hinges on the fact that the Greeks believed you couldn't go to the Underworld without a correct burial.
* DyingMomentOfAwesome
* ElCidPloy: But of course
* FiveManBand: The main generals of the war could be seen as this:
** TheHero: Agamemnon, by default even though he's pretty much a JerkAss
** TheLancer: Menelaus, Agamemnon's brother
** TheSmartGuy: [[GuileHero Odysseus]], of course
** TheBigGuy: Ajax
** TheChick: Menelaus could be seen as this, since he acts as a foil to his arrogant, more aggressive brother Agamemnon
* {{Foreshadowing}}: Those who reread the novel stumble upon quite a number of 'oh, fuck' moments, most notably when Chiron is telling Achilles and Patroclus the story of Heracles, who killed his wife and children due to his madness caused by the gods. Achilles protests that the punishment was more unfair to Heracles' wife than to him, and Chiron says that the gods are not known for being fair, and 'perhaps it is the greater grief, after all, [[DyingAlone to be left on earth when another is gone.]]'
* HeroicBSOD / DespairEventHorizon: What Achilles goes into after Patroclus's death, and what pushes him into becoming a full-fledged DeathSeeker.
* HotBlooded: Achilles has the potential (he often reacts defensively and aggressively when threatened).
* InstantExpert: Achilles at fighting, more or less. Averted for Patroclus on his rampage, who simply copied what he remembered Achilles doing.
* LoverAndBeloved: Interestingly enough, for a gay romance novel set in Ancient Greece, averted. Achilles and Patroclus are pretty clearly equals in their relationship, and it is this which makes their relationship so unusual - it is explicitly spelled-out that this give-and-take is unconventional, where the Seme/Uke type dynamic that was more common in the period would have raised very few eyebrows.
* MamaBear: Thetis wavers between this. On one hand, she's fiercely protective of her son. On the other, it's hard to tell whether she's protective because she truly cares for him or she just wants his fame. It is shown in the end, though, that she regrets at least some of her actions and wishes that Achilles had lived.
* MamasBoy: But then again, if your mother was a divine sea nymph who planned to make you into a god, you'd probably go along with her plans, too.
* TheMedic: Patroclus is quite a gifted healer. The first time he's on the field he carefully cuts out an arrow shaft out of a soldier's shoulder without any risk of infection.
* MyBelovedSmother: Thetis, once again. Though to be honest if ''your'' mother was a sea goddess you probably wouldn't have the nerve to refuse her.
* MurderByMistake: How Patroclus ends up in Phthia.
* NiceGuy: King Peleus, by all accounts. Also, arguably, Patroclus and Menelaus.
* OneHitKill: Lots.
** Interestingly both used with [[spoiler: Sarpedon, who dies to a single javelin throw when he falls backwards off his chariot]] and subverted in the same event, since [[spoiler: Patroclus must kill Sarpedon as Achilles would have]].
* PhysicalGod: When Achilles fights, he's ''untouchable''.
** Not to mention all the actual 'real' Physical Gods floating around, although Thetis is the only one we see much of.
* PurpleProse: And ''how''. Pick a love scene and count the times some variant of the word "trembled" is used.
* RageAgainstTheHeavens: In his quest for Hector, Achilles is so enraged that even an ancient river god with a staff the size of a tree trunk doesn't stop him. In turn, his reaction to when his mother tells him that he's pissed off Apollo was basically 'let them come at me, I don't have anything to live for'.
* RapeIsASpecialKindOfEvil: Zig-zagged. The first rape we hear of is committed against Thetis in the BackStory by, of all people [[NiceGuy King Peleus]]. Later, however, this view seems more prevalent. Arguably justified by DeliberateValuesDissonance.
* TheResenter: Patroclus starts out this way towards Achilles, but he soon gets over it.
* SensitiveGuyAndManlyMan: Patroclus dislikes fighting and violence; he is often empathetic to other people's needs and is known for his kindness. Achilles is the physically more able of the two and a model warrior.
* ShownTheirWork: And how! The whole book is full of references to the more obscure parts of the Literature/TheTrojanCycle. Examples include the entire Scyros episode, Protesilaus dying first, and most of the action after Hector dies, amongst a ''lot'' of others. It's also got loads of references to BlinkAndYouMissIt moments such as Patroclus [[spoiler: being stabbed in the back before Hector kills him]].
* SingleTargetSexuality: It seems that both Achilles and Patroclus are not so much as [[BadassGay gay]] as they are just completely enamoured with each other.
* SkilledButNaive: Achilles is the greatest warrior of his generation and generations past, but his innocence and lack of cunning often makes him easily manipulable
* TeamDad: Patroclus, to all the girls he's rescued in the war.
* TemptingFate: "What has Hector ever done to me?"
* TogetherInDeath: After he burns Patroclus's body, Achilles orders the soldiers to mix his and Patroclus's ashes together once he's died.
* TriangRelations: Twice, both type 4. The first occurs with Deidameia's [[spoiler: marriage and subsequent pregnancy]] to Achilles, while the second occurs with Briseis and Patroclus.
* TheTrojanWar
* TheIliad
* YouCantFightFate: All prophecies are set in stone.
** EitherOrProphecy: If they're not set in stone. For example, Achilles can either be famous but die at Troy, or live an obscure but long life.

to:

[[quoteright:250:http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/song_4334.jpg]]
[[caption-width-right:250:''I could recognize him by touch alone, by smell; I would know him blind, by the way his breaths came and his feet struck the earth. I would know him in death, at the end of the world.']]

->'I know. They never let you be famous ''and'' happy.' He lifted an eyebrow. 'I'll tell you a secret.'

->'Tell me.' I loved it when he was like this.

->'I'm going to be the first.' He took my palm and held it to his. 'Swear it.'

->'Why me?'

->'[[CrowningMomentOfHeartwarming Because you're the reason]]. Swear it.'
-->-- ''Page ninety-eight, Song of Achilles''

'''The Song of Achilles''' is a 2012 novel by Madeline Miller, detailing the life of the Greek legendary hero Achilles from the eyes of his faithful best friend and confidante, Patroclus. The book spans from when Achilles was a child to [[ForegoneConclusion his final role]] in The Trojan War, and thus is a retelling of The Illiad as well. At heart, ''The Song of Achilles'' is a love story, a recording of the fierce devotion and passion between the two men, an exploration of the depths of the human heart and a vivid interpretation of classical Greek heroes, brought to life by a compelling plot and beautiful language.

The novel won the 2012 Orange Prize for Fiction, and is Miller's first published work.

----
!!Tropes used within this work include:
* AbusiveParents: Patroclus's mother is mentally disabled, and [[JerkAss his father]] constantly criticizes him and effectively disowns and exiles him in the end.
* AchillesHeel: Interestingly enough, averted. [[spoiler: Achilles gets shot in the heart just like a normal soldier.]] WordOfGod states that she's always found the heel thing rather unrealistic, so she didn't include it in the novel. Metaphorically, it was Achilles's pride that ultimately [[spoiler: killed him and Patroclus both]].
* AchillesInHisTent: Duh.
* AscendedExtra: Patroclus, who was only a minor character in the Illiad, is the narrator of the book and a central character.
* AllLoveIsUnrequited: Achilles's dashing good looks causes him to break a few hearts. Briseis is also quite fond of Patroclus.
* AmazonBrigade: The horsewomen of Anatolia.
* AttackAttackAttack: This lets Patroclus down ''badly''.
* {{Badass}}: Achilles. Patroclus counts as a BadassPacifist.
** BadassGay: Neither Achilles or Patroclus seem vaguely interested in girls.
** BadassNormal: Patroclus, again. He even points out that, unlike most other suitors for Helen, he wasn't the son or grandson of a god.
* BittersweetEnding: Yes, [[spoiler: everybody you love ends up dying, but Patroclus and Achilles finally manage to find each other in the underworld and reunite once again.]]
* BloodKnight: Achilles
* BigDamnHeroes: Invoked by Patroclus when he comes storming in with Achilles's armour on to rouse the Greek soldiers to fight and scare off the Trojans. It worked for a beautiful amount of time, and then, because of Apollo, it got worse.
* ChildhoodFriendRomance: Patroclus and Achilles grew up together, and have been best friends since they were nine.
* CurbStompBattle: Achilles versus anything that isn't a god, more or less.
* DeathSeeker: After Patroclus dies, Achilles doesn't even bother trying in battle anymore; he goes fighting without armour, trying desperately to get killed.
* DefeatingTheUndefeatable: Achilles versus Scamander.
* {{Determinator}}: Patroclus is usually quite mild-mannered, but fuck with anyone he loves, and he will come down on you with the force of the Greek army.
** He purposely defies Thetis multiple times for Achilles's sake
*** In a more tragic twist, Patroclus also ends up [[spoiler: betraying Achilles to Agamemnon]] in order to save Briseis.
* DivineParentage: Achilles's mother is Thetis, a sea nymph.
* DueToTheDead: Since the book is set in ancient Greece, correct funeral rites are of utmost importance. It becomes an important plot point later when [[spoiler: Patroclus is unable to join Achilles in the underworld because he has not been buried properly]]
** CriticalResearchFailure: The above (necessary) plot point is completely absent from Greek literature or mythology.
*** Not true at all. The whole plot of one of the most famous Greek tragedies, Sophocles' ''Antigone'', hinges on the fact that the Greeks believed you couldn't go to the Underworld without a correct burial.
* DyingMomentOfAwesome
* ElCidPloy: But of course
* FiveManBand: The main generals of the war could be seen as this:
** TheHero: Agamemnon, by default even though he's pretty much a JerkAss
** TheLancer: Menelaus, Agamemnon's brother
** TheSmartGuy: [[GuileHero Odysseus]], of course
** TheBigGuy: Ajax
** TheChick: Menelaus could be seen as this, since he acts as a foil to his arrogant, more aggressive brother Agamemnon
* {{Foreshadowing}}: Those who reread the novel stumble upon quite a number of 'oh, fuck' moments, most notably when Chiron is telling Achilles and Patroclus the story of Heracles, who killed his wife and children due to his madness caused by the gods. Achilles protests that the punishment was more unfair to Heracles' wife than to him, and Chiron says that the gods are not known for being fair, and 'perhaps it is the greater grief, after all, [[DyingAlone to be left on earth when another is gone.]]'
* HeroicBSOD / DespairEventHorizon: What Achilles goes into after Patroclus's death, and what pushes him into becoming a full-fledged DeathSeeker.
* HotBlooded: Achilles has the potential (he often reacts defensively and aggressively when threatened).
* InstantExpert: Achilles at fighting, more or less. Averted for Patroclus on his rampage, who simply copied what he remembered Achilles doing.
* LoverAndBeloved: Interestingly enough, for a gay romance novel set in Ancient Greece, averted. Achilles and Patroclus are pretty clearly equals in their relationship, and it is this which makes their relationship so unusual - it is explicitly spelled-out that this give-and-take is unconventional, where the Seme/Uke type dynamic that was more common in the period would have raised very few eyebrows.
* MamaBear: Thetis wavers between this. On one hand, she's fiercely protective of her son. On the other, it's hard to tell whether she's protective because she truly cares for him or she just wants his fame. It is shown in the end, though, that she regrets at least some of her actions and wishes that Achilles had lived.
* MamasBoy: But then again, if your mother was a divine sea nymph who planned to make you into a god, you'd probably go along with her plans, too.
* TheMedic: Patroclus is quite a gifted healer. The first time he's on the field he carefully cuts out an arrow shaft out of a soldier's shoulder without any risk of infection.
* MyBelovedSmother: Thetis, once again. Though to be honest if ''your'' mother was a sea goddess you probably wouldn't have the nerve to refuse her.
* MurderByMistake: How Patroclus ends up in Phthia.
* NiceGuy: King Peleus, by all accounts. Also, arguably, Patroclus and Menelaus.
* OneHitKill: Lots.
** Interestingly both used with [[spoiler: Sarpedon, who dies to a single javelin throw when he falls backwards off his chariot]] and subverted in the same event, since [[spoiler: Patroclus must kill Sarpedon as Achilles would have]].
* PhysicalGod: When Achilles fights, he's ''untouchable''.
** Not to mention all the actual 'real' Physical Gods floating around, although Thetis is the only one we see much of.
* PurpleProse: And ''how''. Pick a love scene and count the times some variant of the word "trembled" is used.
* RageAgainstTheHeavens: In his quest for Hector, Achilles is so enraged that even an ancient river god with a staff the size of a tree trunk doesn't stop him. In turn, his reaction to when his mother tells him that he's pissed off Apollo was basically 'let them come at me, I don't have anything to live for'.
* RapeIsASpecialKindOfEvil: Zig-zagged. The first rape we hear of is committed against Thetis in the BackStory by, of all people [[NiceGuy King Peleus]]. Later, however, this view seems more prevalent. Arguably justified by DeliberateValuesDissonance.
* TheResenter: Patroclus starts out this way towards Achilles, but he soon gets over it.
* SensitiveGuyAndManlyMan: Patroclus dislikes fighting and violence; he is often empathetic to other people's needs and is known for his kindness. Achilles is the physically more able of the two and a model warrior.
* ShownTheirWork: And how! The whole book is full of references to the more obscure parts of the Literature/TheTrojanCycle. Examples include the entire Scyros episode, Protesilaus dying first, and most of the action after Hector dies, amongst a ''lot'' of others. It's also got loads of references to BlinkAndYouMissIt moments such as Patroclus [[spoiler: being stabbed in the back before Hector kills him]].
* SingleTargetSexuality: It seems that both Achilles and Patroclus are not so much as [[BadassGay gay]] as they are just completely enamoured with each other.
* SkilledButNaive: Achilles is the greatest warrior of his generation and generations past, but his innocence and lack of cunning often makes him easily manipulable
* TeamDad: Patroclus, to all the girls he's rescued in the war.
* TemptingFate: "What has Hector ever done to me?"
* TogetherInDeath: After he burns Patroclus's body, Achilles orders the soldiers to mix his and Patroclus's ashes together once he's died.
* TriangRelations: Twice, both type 4. The first occurs with Deidameia's [[spoiler: marriage and subsequent pregnancy]] to Achilles, while the second occurs with Briseis and Patroclus.
* TheTrojanWar
* TheIliad
* YouCantFightFate: All prophecies are set in stone.
** EitherOrProphecy: If they're not set in stone. For example, Achilles can either be famous but die at Troy, or live an obscure but long life.
[[redirect:Literature/SongofAchilles]]
23rd May '14 5:34:33 PM ikissfrogs
Is there an issue? Send a Message

Added DiffLines:

* PurpleProse: And ''how''. Pick a love scene and count the times some variant of the word "trembled" is used.
23rd May '14 5:26:58 PM ikissfrogs
Is there an issue? Send a Message


** CriticalResearchFailure: The above (necessary) plot point is completely absent from Greek literature or mythology.

to:

** CriticalResearchFailure: The above (necessary) plot point is completely absent from Greek literature or mythology. mythology.
*** Not true at all. The whole plot of one of the most famous Greek tragedies, Sophocles' ''Antigone'', hinges on the fact that the Greeks believed you couldn't go to the Underworld without a correct burial.
7th Jan '14 3:59:13 AM EarlOfSandvich
Is there an issue? Send a Message


* ShownTheirWork: And how! The whole book is full of references to the more obscure parts of the TheTrojanCycle. Examples include the entire Scyros episode, Protesilaus dying first, and most of the action after Hector dies, amongst a ''lot'' of others. It's also got loads of references to BlinkAndYouMissIt moments such as Patroclus [[spoiler: being stabbed in the back before Hector kills him]].

to:

* ShownTheirWork: And how! The whole book is full of references to the more obscure parts of the TheTrojanCycle.Literature/TheTrojanCycle. Examples include the entire Scyros episode, Protesilaus dying first, and most of the action after Hector dies, amongst a ''lot'' of others. It's also got loads of references to BlinkAndYouMissIt moments such as Patroclus [[spoiler: being stabbed in the back before Hector kills him]].



* TheTrojanCycle
14th Sep '13 9:25:14 PM daisyink
Is there an issue? Send a Message
19th Aug '13 11:16:38 AM Lye
Is there an issue? Send a Message
19th Aug '13 9:53:37 AM Lye
Is there an issue? Send a Message


* MamasBear: But then again, if your mother was a divine sea nymph who planned to make you into a god, you'd probably go along with her plans, too.

to:

* MamasBear: MamasBoy: But then again, if your mother was a divine sea nymph who planned to make you into a god, you'd probably go along with her plans, too.
19th Aug '13 9:50:40 AM Lye
Is there an issue? Send a Message


* HeroicBSOD/DespairEventHorizon: What Achilles goes into after Patroclus's death, and what pushes him into becoming a full-fledged DeathSeeker.

to:

* HeroicBSOD/DespairEventHorizon: HeroicBSOD / DespairEventHorizon: What Achilles goes into after Patroclus's death, and what pushes him into becoming a full-fledged DeathSeeker.


Added DiffLines:

* MamasBear: But then again, if your mother was a divine sea nymph who planned to make you into a god, you'd probably go along with her plans, too.
19th Aug '13 9:46:34 AM Lye
Is there an issue? Send a Message


->His eyes opened. 'Name one hero who was happy.'

->I considered. Heracles went mad and killed his family; Theseus lost his bride and father; Jason's children and new wife were murdered by his old; Bellerophon killed the Chimera but was crippled by the fall from Pegasus' back.

->'You can't.' He was sitting up now, leaning forward.

->'I can't.'

to:

->His eyes opened. 'Name one hero who was happy.'

->I considered. Heracles went mad and killed his family; Theseus lost his bride and father; Jason's children and new wife were murdered
[[quoteright:250:http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/song_4334.jpg]]
[[caption-width-right:250:''I could recognize him
by his old; Bellerophon killed the Chimera but was crippled touch alone, by smell; I would know him blind, by the fall from Pegasus' back.

->'You can't.' He was sitting up now, leaning forward.

->'I can't.'
way his breaths came and his feet struck the earth. I would know him in death, at the end of the world.']]




->'I swear it,' I said, lost in the high colour of his cheeks, the flame in his eyes.

->'I swear it,' He echoed.
19th Aug '13 9:35:52 AM Lye
Is there an issue? Send a Message


* HeroicBSOD: What Achilles goes into after Patroclus's death.

to:

* HeroicBSOD: {{Foreshadowing}}: Those who reread the novel stumble upon quite a number of 'oh, fuck' moments, most notably when Chiron is telling Achilles and Patroclus the story of Heracles, who killed his wife and children due to his madness caused by the gods. Achilles protests that the punishment was more unfair to Heracles' wife than to him, and Chiron says that the gods are not known for being fair, and 'perhaps it is the greater grief, after all, [[DyingAlone to be left on earth when another is gone.]]'
* HeroicBSOD/DespairEventHorizon:
What Achilles goes into after Patroclus's death.death, and what pushes him into becoming a full-fledged DeathSeeker.


Added DiffLines:

* SingleTargetSexuality: It seems that both Achilles and Patroclus are not so much as [[BadassGay gay]] as they are just completely enamoured with each other.


Added DiffLines:

* TriangRelations: Twice, both type 4. The first occurs with Deidameia's [[spoiler: marriage and subsequent pregnancy]] to Achilles, while the second occurs with Briseis and Patroclus.
This list shows the last 10 events of 31. Show all.
http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/article_history.php?article=Main.SongOfAchilles