YMMV / Song of Achilles

  • Big-Lipped Alligator Moment: Patroclus having sex with Deidameia. It occurs almost immediately after Patroclus and Achilles reconcile over Achilles being forced to impregnate Deidameia, it doesn't tell us anything about Patroclus that we don't already know (he's empathetic and rather self-sacrificing; even the fact that he isn't completely Achilles-sexual is handled much better with his interaction with Briseis), and it's such a miserable, joyless moment that even Patroclus attempts to pretend it didn't happen. Some readers opt to do the same, a few going on record as having torn out the page, because it really doesn't change much about the story.
  • Rescued from the Scrappy Heap: Most readers (including Rick Riordan) of The Iliad have this opinion of Achilles, who was considered the least likable character in the entire Trojan war, due his characterization in this book. Amazingly, Miller managed to do this without any Adaptational Heroism.
  • Tear Jerker: The wole thing, if you know the ending. It's one of those stories that you'll read once for the beautiful writing and characterisation, but never again because the ending will rip out your heart and paint pictures with your aeortal blood.
  • Wimpification: A Double Subversion. For the most part the characterisation is pretty awesome, but once on the field of Troy, Patroclus becomes a Non-Action Guy, which rankles pretty hard for a fan of The Iliad. The worst part is when his Awesome Moment — pursuing the Trojan forces from the burning ships all the way to the walls of Troy, cutting down many great Trojan heroes on his way including a son of Zeus — is portrayed as something wildly out of character that he would normally be far too meek and gentle to accomplish without some kind of divine help. On the other hand, despite being far less of a warrior, Patroclus is still a Badass Pacifist and Determinator par excellence, and is specifically stated to be copying what he saw Achilles do for almost 20 years.
  • The Woobie:
    • Patroclus has a father who made clear that he is a disappointment, a mentally ill mother, a goddess who hates his guts for being mortal and watches the man he loves becoming hardened with war and bloodshed. Even in death, he didn't even get to reunite with Achilles because of Pyrrhus until Thetis has a change of heart.
    • Briseis. A captive of the Greeks, she fell in love with someone who can't love her back only to watch him die brutally. And then she got turned into a sex slave by Pyrrhus and died trying to escape.
    • Lycomedes got repaid for his kindness by watching his daughter suffer and not being able to do anything about it because he's being threatened by a goddess.
    • Jerkass Woobie: Achilles and Thetis. The former can be prideful, cruel and callous of other people but he is only that way because he has been manipulated by everyone whose name isn't Patroclus for his entire life while living with a prophecy dangling over his head and ended the book a severe case of Death Seeker because the man he loves died and unwittingly fulfill the prophecy. The latter is vindictive and spiteful towards Patroclus while manipulative and obsess with making Achilles immortal but genuinely loves her son and wants what best for him while stands helplessly when Achilles chose to die die young for glory and became a Death Seeker. Not to mention her grandson Pyrrhus is killed, although that is because of her parenting method.