Funeral Games

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Name: Funeral Games
Abbreviation(s): FG
Creator: Mary Renault
Date(s): 1981
Medium: print novels
Country of Origin: South Africa
External Links:
Front cover of Funeral Games (Pantheon, 1981).
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Funeral Games is the final book in Mary Renault's Alexander Trilogy. It was published simultaneously by Pantheon (US) and John Murray (UK) in 1981. The story immediately follows the end of The Persian Boy and focuses on the breakdown of political unity in the Persian Empire after Alexander the Great’s death.

Plot Summary

Initially, Funeral Games concentrates on the immediate aftermath of Alexander's death. Confusion over his natural successor leads to the decision that his mentally disabled brother Arridaios should share the throne with his unborn child, should that be a son. Roxanne (Alexander’s pregnant widow) kills Stateira (Alexander’s Senior Wife, also pregnant), and subsequently gives birth to Alexander IV. Dissension is dealt with brutally (death by elephant) and plans are made for Alexander’s body to be entombed. The storyline then splits to follow the fortunes of a number of characters, most of whom had been prominent in previous books, including Perdikkas (whose bid for power leads to his death), Ptolemy (who successfully takes control of Egypt), Olympias (whose bid for power leads to her death when Kassandros outmanoeuvres her), Roxanne (who, along with her son, is controlled and eventually poisoned by Kassandros) and Arridaios—or more accurately, his wife Eurydike—who makes her own ultimately unsuccessful bid for power in his name.

Book Discussion

The LiveJournal maryrenaultfics community has not held a chapter-by-chapter discussion on Funeral Games. However, in 2007 there was one unscheduled spontaneous discussion about this book, prompted by a member's post on her thoughts after re-reading the novel.[1]

In Their Own Words

In 2008 maryrenaultfics began a project which involved 'interviews' of characters from Renault’s novels. Extensive interviews were conducted with characters from The Alexander Trilogy. However, it was not until the 5YO Interviews in 2009 that Ptolemy was interviewed, not once but twice[2][3] Notably it was the older King of Egypt from Funeral Games who appeared, rather than the young man of the first two novels from The Alexander Trilogy.

In other 5YO posts, Sisygambis aired her views about a mother’s duties to ensure her sons gained sexual experience [4] and was interviewed about her reasons for committing suicide after Alexander’s death. In the second interview, Stateira and Drypetis also answered questions about their marriages,[5] and later appeared in a confrontation with Roxanne over their deaths by poison.[6]

In addition, Alexander IV (Alexander the Great's son by Roxanne) appeared in several instalments of the Christmas at the Clubhouse series (2009-10), apparently spending the whole Christmas/New Year season in the ITOWverse. He met several child characters from other books, notably in "Christmas Morning", "I Saw Three Ships....", and "I Wonder as I Wander".

For more details, please see the article about the ITOWverse.

Fan Fiction

Funeral Games has been probably the least popular of the trilogy as a source for fanfiction, though some exists, usually focusing on what happened to Bagoas after Alexander’s death.

More details on fan fiction based on Funeral Games will therefore be found in the Fan Fiction section of the article on the Alexander Trilogy as a whole.



  1. ^ Some thoughts about The Funeral Games post on maryrenaultfics, 6 October 2007. Accessed 25 August 2010.
  2. ^ Interview with Ptolemy-part one: In His Own Words (5YO) post by fawatson on maryrenaultfics, 13 July 2009. Accessed 21 August 2010.
  3. ^ Interview with Ptolemy-part two: In His Own Words (5YO) post by fawatson on maryrenaultfics, 24 August 2009. Accessed 21 August 2010.
  4. ^ Wives and Mothers: In Their Own Words: Overheard (5YO) post by fawatson on maryrenaultfics, 29 June 2009. Accessed 21 August 2010
  5. ^ Interview with Sisygambis, Drypetis and Stateira; In Their Own Words (5YO) post by fawatson on maryrenaultfics, 24 August 2009. Accessed 21 August 2010
  6. ^ Summer Projects: In Their Own Words: Overheard (5YO) post by fawatson on maryrenaultfics, 24 August 2009. Accessed 21 August 2010.