The Alexander Trilogy
|Name:||The Alexander Trilogy|
|Country of Origin:||South Africa|
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The Alexander Trilogy consists of three books written by Mary Renault (Fire from Heaven, 1969; The Persian Boy, 1972; Funeral Games, 1981) which focus on the life and death of Alexander III of Macedon, better known as Alexander the Great.
Fire from Heaven is the first book in the trilogy. It focuses on Alexander’s early years. It starts when he is a small child and ends when he assumes the throne of Macedon on the death of his father Philip II. This book is told from a variety of viewpoints besides Alexander's, and introduces Hephaistion, his lifelong friend, in a relationship central to the novel.
The Persian Boy is the middle book in the trilogy. It is narrated by Bagoas, the Persian boy of the title, and eunuch at King Darius of Persia's court, who becomes Alexander's trusted servant and beloved after King Darius is slain. Alexander's campaigns in Persia and beyond are viewed through Bagoas' eyes. This book ends with Alexander’s death.
Funeral Games is the final book in the trilogy. Alexander actually appears only briefly at the beginning, on his death bed. The book's focus lies instead on the struggle for power that follows his death. Once again, a variety of viewpoints is used. The story follows the fates of a number of characters who were significant in the earlier two novels (such as Perdikkas and Ptolemy, two of Alexander’s generals); and some new characters are introduced (such as Eurydike).
The maryrenaultfics LiveJournal community has held chapter-by-chapter discussions of two of the Alexander Trilogy novels. Within the fanbase there is some friendly rivalry between those fans who prefer Bagoas, and those who prefer Hephaistion, though many fans enjoy both characters, and this has been evident in the discussions of both books.
- The Persian Boy: A chapter-by-chapter discussion of this novel started in August 2007, but the discussion petered out by Chapter 11 . Discussion was resumed in September 2008, and the book was concluded. For more details, see the The Persian Boy article.
- Fire from Heaven: Chapter-by-chapter discussion of this novel started in April 2010, sparked after fans learned the novel had been short-listed for the Lost Man Booker Prize. The novel did not win the prize; but discussion continued until July 2010, when the participants reached the end of the book. This discussion also did not attract wide participation but nonetheless was enjoyed by a small but dedicated group of fans who posted long contributions.
One minor by-product of the book discussions has been greater awareness of minor inconsistencies in Renault's descriptions of Alexander the Great (red and/or gold hair; blue and/or grey eyes), which has also been subject for speculation in ITOWverse.
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.
For more details please see the article about the ITOWverse.
Much of the fan fiction which has developed from Renault's books has focused on the relationships between Alexander, Hephaistion and Bagoas, in various combinations. The potential for jealousy between Bagoas and Hephaistion has been explored, as well as the romantic relationships between Alexander and these two most notable male partners. Like much other fan fiction, stories based on the Alexander Trilogy often fill in missing scenes; occasionally they provide back-story. In addition, the fact that there is a significant gap in time between the end of the first book and the start of the second has allowed some fan fiction writers to try to fill in the gap by writing about events in Alexander’s early Persian campaigns.
Not all fan fiction activity is easily categorised as belonging to one book or another. For this reason, both the maryrenaultfics community and Archive of Our Own decided to combine in one archive all fan fiction based on any of the three books.
Where the timeline for the story is clear that has been indicated in brackets.
- "Blood Brothers" by toujours_nigel - They were saying it in the guard room (FFH timeline)
- "Too Little to Bite" by daegaer - "Someone got bitten in the end, or so I heard." (FFH timeline)
Alexander and Hephaistion
- "Early Light" by louiselux - After a party Hephaistion tries something "new" (FFH timeline).
- "A Christening of Wild Apples" by musesfool - Hephaistion will always answer yes when Alexander calls (FFH timeline).
- "A Long Way from Paradise" by trust_no_1 - Resolving Kleitos' death (TPB timeline)
- "Arachne" by toujours_nigel - Alexander’s breath is hot against his ear, he is laughing, still. "Were you scared?"
- "All Those Endearing Young Charms" by devildoll - Hephaistion sublimates his desire for Alexander with another person (TPB timeline)
- "Alexander, too" by toujours_nigel - Nobody goes back, but you did (TPB timeline)
- "Disavowal" by toujours_nigel - I will not ride to war at your side again (TPB timeline).
- "Three Summers, Two Winters, and a Spring" by willowbell as a Yuletide 2010 gift for menswear - Six seasons in the life of Alexander and Hephaistion, from boyhood at Mieza to just before the conquering of Persia (FFH timeline).
- "Fighting Fate" by kouredios - Hephaistion retells to Alexander the story of Achilles and Patroklos in a desperate attempt to avoid their fate. (TPB timeline)
A gift for Cori Lannam in Yuletide 2011
Alexander and Bagoas
- "Some Man's Scheherezade" by toujours_nigel - I knew him today, for what he never was (TPB timeline)
- "Zadrakarta Nights" by magicmount_24 Bagoas remembers his first days and nights with Alexander (TPB timeline)
- "Triumph" by elfscribe5 - Bagoas wins the dance competition (TPB timeline)
- "Torn" by underlucius - Thinking about how much he loves Alexander (TPB timeline)
Hephaistion and Bagoas
- "The Grass Is Always Greener]]" by kisahawklin - Hephaistion and Bagoas come to an understanding of sorts (TPB timeline)
- "After the Contest" by baranduin - In Karmania, a brief encounter after the contest which Bagoas wins (TPB timeline)
- "What Could Ne'er Be Said" by toujours_nigel - Five things Bagoas never told Hephaistion (TPB timeline)
- "The Boy" by kindkit - Hephaistion muses on the "new boy" in Alexander's life (TPB timeline)
- "In Haste at Noon" by toujours_nigel - Bagoas tries to explain Darius; Hephaistion tries to explain Alexander. (TPB timeline)
Written as a gift for alexcat in Yuletide 2011
- "There is Truth in Wine" by baranduin - The two share confidences and jealousy (TPB timeline)
- "Wedding Night" by Laura Mason - Sharing feelings on Alexander's wedding night with Roxanne (TPB timeline)
- "The Inconstant Hour" by lanyon - Hephaistion confirms his position with Alexander (TPB timeline)
Written as a gift for Oshun in Yuletide 2011
Filling in Gaps
- "Vistas of Sun and Smoke" by toujours_nigel - Hephaistion and his father talk after Philip is murdered (FFH timeline)
A gift for Oshun in Yuletide 2011
- "Thanatos" by toujours_nigel - The Mallian arrow doesn't kill Alexander (TPB timeline).
- "Worship" by toujours_nigel - Those born of gods yet are bound to flesh (Siwah timeline).
- "Stealing Fire" by artaxastra - Bagoas and friend plan to take Alexander's body to Egypt (FG timeline)
- "To Swear at Troy" by heartofoshun – Hephaistion and Alexander pledge to Achilles and Patroklus (in between FFH and TPB)
- "Oromedon’s Lessons" by elfscribe. A prequel to The Persian Boy which details how Bagoas was trained to become King Darius’ boy (TPB timeline): Parts One, Two, Three, Four, Five, Six, Seven, Eight, Nine, Ten, Eleven.
- "Briseis" by toujours_nigel – Parallels in love (Ptolemy and Bagoas – FG timeline)
- "The Royal Women" by artaxastra – On the day of her wedding Darius' daughter reflects on her soon to be husband (Stateira and Drypetis – TPB timeline)
- "An Evening to Remember" by fawatson as a Yuletide 2010 gift for toujours_nigel - Roxane's perspective on marriage (TPB timeline)
- "Such Small Hands" by cirque as a rarewomen 2013 gift for fawatson - Kleopatra as a child at Mieza
- "Sacred Fire" by artaxastra - Bagoas and friend reminisce by Alexander’s tomb
- "Night in the Elysian Fields" by trust_n0_1 - Hephaistion discovers what lies beyond Hades
- "Epitaph" by artaxastra - a sad elegy of Alexander by the man who knew him best
- "Return" by Laura Mason - The Charioteer X The Persian Boy - Laurie (TC) dreams about Bagoas (TPB)
- "The Inheritance" by chazzbanner The Last of the Wine X The Persian Boy- How a young Alexander is seen through an unusual pair of eyes.
- "In the God's Hands" and Conquests New, both by fawatson - The Mask of Apollo X the Alexander Trilogy (in between FFH and TPB) – Nikeratos and Thettalos' relationship as spies for Alexander
- "Married Dance" by Jane Carnall -- a novella-length slash Highlander, ST:TNG, The Persian Boy crossover with Bagoas as a major character.
- "Lost Travellers" by daegaer - The Persian Boy/Star Wars crossover - Lost in the Himalayas while hunting, Hephaistion is rescued by Chewbacca.
- "Out of Battle" by AJ Hall
Crossover with Renault's The Charioteer. In Alexandria, trying to get to the front, Miss Haliburton treats a mysterious patient not properly recovered from a serious chest injury.
- "Red Wine and Honey" by Indranni
In his old age, patriarch and monarch, Alexander remembers his youth with Hephaistion as he supervises the construction of their joint tomb.
- the Hephty Mynton series by fawatson is an SF parody of The Persian Boy starring Sgt. Hephty Mynton (Hephaistion) with the Star Federation army occupying an planet of catmen:
Some fanart inspired by the Alexander Trilogy has been posted to the Mary Renault communities on Livejournal.
None of Renault's books has been made into a movie. It is true that Oliver Stone has claimed he was inspired by Renault's novels for his film about Alexander, and fans have noticed resemblances between Stone's film and Renault's books. Nevertheless, it is not true to Renault canon. For this reason the maryrenaultfics community has chosen to define posts which focus on Oliver Stone's film about Alexander the Great as not considered appropriate, to ensure that the community remains focused on Renault-based fan activities, rather than being diverted from its central purpose.
- Re-reading The Persian Boy post by trueriver on maryrenaultfics, 23 August 2007. Accessed 26 July 2010.
- The Persian Boy - Chapter 11 post by trueriver on maryrenaultfics, 11 December 2007. Accessed 26 July 2010.
- The Persian Boy: Chapters 1-10 post by my_cnnr on maryrenaultfics on 21 September 2008. Accessed 26 July 2010.
- Posts on maryrenaultfics tagged as TPB chapter-by-chapter discussion
- Fire from Heaven Chapter-by-Chapter Discussion, Chapter 1 post by trueriver on maryrenaultfics, 18 April 2010. Accessed 26 July 2010.
- The Lost Man Booker Prize shortlist announcement, 25 March 2010. Accessed 26 July 2010.
- Index to FFH chapter-by-chapter discussion posts on maryrenaultfics
- "Out of Battle" by AJ Hall as archived on AO3, 18 July 2010. Accessed 4 October 2012.
- Mary Renault influence on the "Alexander" Movie? post by rubynye in the maryrenaultfics community, 29 November 2004. Accessed 2 August 2010.
- Mary Renault influence on the "Alexander" Movie II--My Question post by innervoice_chan in the maryrenaultfics community, 1 December 2004. Accessed 2 August 2010.
- Odds and ends about The Persian Boy and the movie Alexander.. post by fajrdrako in the maryrenaultfics community, 11 December 2004. Accessed 2 August 2010.