As the novel is based on the Illiad, pretty much everything that happens in it is a Foregone Conclusion. It's a testament to Miller's writing skills and incredible characterisation that there are handful of scenes that break your heart anyway.
Warning: All spoilers will be unmarked, so read at your own risk.
- Anything and everything related to Patroclus' death
- As Patroclus is being surrounded by Trojans, he doesn't care about his own life and death at all. He desperately resists Hector not because he's afraid Hector will kill him, but because Hector killing him will result in the fulfilling of a prophecy that signaled Achilles' death. His last thought before he dies is literally 'Achilles'.
- Achilles' utter grief and rage as he's pushed into a Despair Event Horizon so strong that he becomes a Death Seeker and completely gives up on his dreams of being a hero, something that had been his main motivation throughout the entire novel and that he gave his life for.
- Briseis cleaning Patroclus' body and screaming that Achilles wasn't the only one that loved him. Her stand-off with Achilles is equal parts awesome and heartbreaking.
- That he basically agrees with her when she says she wished Hector would kill him just shows how much he hates himself by this point.
- Also, the quote on the main page becomes heartbreaking after that scene and...basially everything that follows.
- Deidameia. Yes, she's selfish and petty, but she loses first her husband, then her child and in the end has nothing left.
- Lycomedes watching his daughter suffer and not being able to do anything about it because he's being threatened by a goddess. I wish you had never come.
- As in the original source, Priam's Moment of Awesome. He walks into the Greek camp alone, lays himself at Achilles feet and begs for the body of his son. Achilles is incredibly moved and the two even briefly bond over shared grief and loss. Priam's humble request is all the more powerful as a contrast to the pride and anger that is the focus of the story.
- Thetis' entirely relationship with her son is just a neverending chain of emotional manipulation and megalomania, but in the end it's shown that she does love Achilles in her own twisted way and that his death will always torment her.
- Especially if you interpret the fact that the reason she was always so intent on getting Achilles to become a god was because she wanted him to become immortal so they would never have to leave each other.
- At first it is strange. I am used to keeping him from her, to hoarding him for myself. But the memories well up like springwater, faster than I can hold them back. They do not come as words, but like dreams, rising as scent from the rain-wet earth. This, I say. This and this. The way his hair looked in summer sun. His face when he ran. His eyes, solemn as an owl at lessons...
- The final passages of the book are both truly touching and utterly heartbreaking. Patroclus and Thetis finally overcome their differences and talk about Achilles, who they both loved so dearly, culminating in Thetis carving Patroclus's name into the grave so they can finally be together in the afterlife.