YMMV / Mary Renault

  • Alternate Aesop Interpretation: Renault wrote The Charioteer to say that gays are regular people with the potential for moral relationships and should not be relegated to, or relegate themselves to, a 'gay ghetto' subculture. However, the book is now quite old. Since it was written, Stonewall and the Gay Liberation Front have come and gone and the mainstream gay movement is now pursuing that white picket fence. Some gay readers now react to Laurie with exasperation, saying that he should just get over himself, forget the Plato, get laid and jump into the gay community with both feet. Also, in The Last of the Wine when Lysis and Alexias finally have sex after two years together, many modern fans say "Finally! Now their love is complete", although the big event is actually is shown as a sad, though perhaps inevitable, fall from the heights of spiritual love extolled in Plato.
  • Alternate Character Interpretation: Quite a few readers gay and straight take Ralph's pronouncements at face value, when in fact many of them are intended to show how much Ralph, who was once idealistic but has been knocked around by life, no longer understands. Laurie's views are closer to Renault's, but many modern readers see him as sweetly self-deluded. Also, Andrew is disliked by many in the modern fanbase.
  • Fan-Preferred Couple: An odd example with The Charioteer. Laurie and Ralph end up together, so they're actually canon. However, this was not intended as an unmitigated happy ending — almost none of Renault's endings are. Many fans, particularly the straight female fanbase though also some in the gay male fanbase, think that Ralph was supposed to be the right guy for Laurie all along, when in fact Renault wrote in a letter that at the end Ralph was "being taken on out of pity" by Laurie.
  • Marty Stu: Alexander.
  • Stoic Woobie: Ralph.
  • Values Dissonance
  • Wangst: A lot of the 'scene' gay guys in The Charioteer, especially Sandy, who's always making suicide attempts calculated not to actually kill him. He's based on someone Renault knew.