Final Discussion #AchilleSong

Thoughts tsoabymm2 The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller, ecco – Imprint of HarperCollins 2012, 378 pages

FIRST HALF of the discussion –> HERE <–

“Pride became us — heroes were never modest.”

I loved this. As do most of the people I encounter who have read this Orange Prize Winner. For a book to get me interested in reading Homer, KUDOs! And even though I was worried that my extraneous searching into the Greek Mythology (about half way through, I wrestled with the wonderings of missing something because I didn’t really know who Patroclus was or much at all about who Achilles was (other than Brad Pitt played him in a movie)) and then I was all worried that I RUINED it because I found out Pat AND Ach both DIE!!!!  But the ending still surprised me; I was so moved and touched and really grew to love Patroclus as much if not more than Achilles.

“As if in answer, the air changed. Bright sunlight broke and poured over Achilles, went rolling down his hair and back and skin, turning him to gold. He seemed suddenly larger, and his tunic, wrinkled from travel, straightened until it shown white and clean as a sail. His hair caught the light like buoyant flame.”  -p.192

Was there really a monument to both Achilles and Patroclus on a beach somewhere?

When on page 264, Thetis tells that the prophecy has changed, that the best of the Myrmidons will die before two more years have passed, I knew. I KNEW it was Patroclus. I was waiting to read that Achilles and even, Patrocles, would recognize this. But no. I liked it actually. It felt all the more real. You can’t accuse Miller of being an author who tells not shows.

“… hubris. Our word for arrogance that scrapes the stars, for violence and towering rage as ugly as the gods.” 


Per the questions in the back of my edition of The Song of Achilles. Number 11: As represented in the novel, what are some of Odysseus’ defining qualities? Do you find him a sympathetic character? Why or why not?

YES. I always liked him in every scene. He is smart and clever but never cocky. He is always very careful. AND considerate. I am as much inclined to read The Odyssey now as I am to read The Iliad.

Question for you experts out there. Who is DAPHNE? Page 326, when Patroclus was being set up in Achilles’ armor and being warned to stay in the chariot, stay away from the archers on the wall of Troy, chase only and then come right back:

“The armor was stiff and heavy and unyielding. “I feel like Daphne,” I told him, barked up in her laurel skin.

If I had this as eBook, I would have searched for Daphne; did I miss something? Is this an isolated reference? Do tell.


I thought the whole thing extremely well done. Five slices of Fig Pie.

Thanks everyone who participated and tweeted (and continues to tweet) along with us (hashtag #AchilleSong) !!

Rhapsody in Books Jill says: “What a moving and memorable story this is. It is both a love story and a war story, and I think it will satisfy those who like either genre.”
Fizzy Thoughts Jill says: “…plenty to think on, and the more I think on it, the more I love it.”
Iris on Books
2606 Books and Counting…
The Bluestocking Society
Necromancy Never Pays

Watch for
Avid Reader‘s post on March 25th for GREEK WEEK: “Broke my heart. It’s the most humanizing telling of a Greek mythology story that I’ve ever read.” (Tweet)
Too Fond
Sharlene (Twitter profile)
Jenny’s Books – soon to read…
Between the Covers – currently reading…

and all the many reviews at Fyrefly’s Book Blog Search Engine…


“There are too many of them,” he said. “It’s simpler if they just remember me.”


Copyright © 2007-2013. Care’s Online Book Club. All rights reserved. This post was originally posted by Care from Care’s Online Book Club.  It should not be reproduced without express written permission.

26 thoughts on “Final Discussion #AchilleSong

  1. Daphne’s a myth! There’s this story that Apollo was shot with a love-arrow by Cupid, and he then pursues her. Daphne’s not interested, but Apollo won’t stop chasing her, so she pleads with mother Earth (Gaia) to save her, and Gaia changes her into a laurel tree. The laurel tree was always sacred to Apollo — that’s why they crowned you with laurels in the Olympics in the olden days. #stuffIlearnedinLatinclass

  2. Yay! I’m so glad you liked it. I really just loved it. And I loved the reference to Daphne. (That’s my daughter’s name.) I, too, wondered I there really is a monument somewhere. I want to go to there!

    1. It is? Daphne is the BEST name – so sweet. I’ve always loved the name Veronica, too. This might give hints as to my favorite cartoons when I was growing up.

  3. I don’t know what Homer would say about the nicknames Pat and Ach! It’s good to know from all the readalong posts that this is an easy read; I would have expected it to be more difficult.

    1. Homer has been dead a long time. I doubt he can keep up with all the things they say about him these days. He should be so glad that I say I want to read his books!

  4. When I get my copy of the book from the library, I’ll have to come back here and reread your #AchilleSong posts as I’m reading. It will be almost like I’m reading along with you! I like that it’s made you want to read The Odyssey. I’ve never read The Odyssey, or The Iliad, and have always felt I might be missing out on something!

    1. I’ve never been inspired to read Homer until now – except that I have had a fantasy of reading everything on the 1001 Books To Read Before I Die list. yea, right. But then, @Jennysbooks comes along and makes it sound fun and meaningful.

  5. If you really want to know about the possibility of a tomb for Achilles, or the idea of Achilles, there is a very long disquisition on the subject at Harvard’s Center for Hellenic Studies, which is here: The most important thing to take out of the discussion, from my perverted perspective, is that the word “tumulus” comes from the same root as “tumescent” which is, as you probably know, not necessarily a word for a p.g. rated blog! :–)

    1. Jill, you are the coolest.
      First thing I did, since NO, I don’t know what ‘tumescent’ means, is go look it up.
      Second, but thought before the ‘first’ action above, is me wondering about your ‘perverted perspective…
      But truly, before all that, is … What the heck is ‘disquisition’?
      Will go look that up next.
      After I tell you that you are WAY too smart for me!!!

  6. I seem to have lost my Twittability during my hiatus. Actually what I think I lost was the program that made it easy to follow hashtags. I can’t even remember what it was called. All I remember is that it was black and grid-like and may have had a clever name.

    I truly loved everything about this book and am SO GLAD you made me read it! And one of the things I love the most is the way she showed Oddysseus as a sympathetic character *even though* the protagonist didn’t seem to like him much. Brilliance in action.

    I totally didn’t expect this to be a love story when I started reading it, by the way. Achilles and Patroclus are now on my list of favorite fictional couples.

    1. Cool – you went into this totally blind! I knew abt the love story but didn’t really know who Patroclus was in terms of the Trojan War and any relation to Achilles.
      What do you mean abt Twitterability? I use You can save searches… It’s not fancy, but it works for me. 🙂

  7. Sorry I am late to the party. Work is crazy at the moment.

    I love this book. I had no idea that it would be such an epic love story when I started reading it. I cried for both Patroclus and Achilles. Even Thetis’s heart of ice melted when she heard the tale.

    This is a story for the ages.

  8. You already know I loved it! I’ve always been a fan of Greek mythology, but this book really inspired me to dig back into it. Because of this readalong I started about 4 other Greek-related books and I’ve just been loving this refresher course on that world. Thank you for pulling this impromptu readalong together! I’m so glad I joined in the fun.

  9. Thanks for picking this book for discussion. I bought the enhanced eBook months ago when it was offered for $2.99 or $3.99. Honestly, it’s worth the full price and more. I loved the book and am curious about The Odyssey, The Iliad, etc. but I wonder if perhaps Madeline Miller has spoiled me – I think she needs to apply her style to the rest of the Greek classics!

    1. Yes, wouldn’t that be great? She’ll have to write faster! Although, I’m sure her learning curve to the ‘biz’ has increased sharply, maybe?

  10. I want to read The Illiad after finishing this one too. I read The Odyssey awhile ago and actually liked it a lot — it’s really funny, in an unintentional way, I think. This book made me like Odysseus more than I liked him after The Odyssey (he’s kind of a jerk).

  11. I feel conflicted about this book in retrospect. I felt it was highly addictive and I loved loved loved it. But looking back, I’m just not sure if I was deceived by its addictiveness in some ways? I think I might love it less on a reread, but for now I’ll settle for loving it anyway. Did any of that make sense? 🙂

  12. One of the things that I found most interesting about the Song of Achilles is the depth of character that Madeline Miller gives both to Achilles but, especially, to Patroclus. She goes way beyond the characterisation that Homer gives us (which is generally pretty shallow, probably because of the oral tradition and the way it would have been experienced in ancient times). It almost becomes a totally different story to its source.

Welcome! I invite you to comment. If for some reason commenting is troublesome, pls send email to BkClubCare [at] Gmail

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s