Timeline of Mary Renault Fandom

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Fandom: Mary Renault
Dates: (on LJ/DW) 2004 - present
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This is a partial time line of events that occurred in (or are of interest to) Mary Renault fandom.

Publication of the Novels

  • 1939 - Purposes of Love (aka: Promises of Love) - contemporary novel set in a hospital
  • 1940 - Kind Are Her Answers - contemporary novel
  • 1944 - The Friendly Young Ladies - contemporary novel, published in England by Longman's
  • 1945 - an American edition of FYL is published by Morrow under the title The Middle Mist
  • 1946 - Return to Night - contemporary novel
  • 1948 - North Face - contemporary novel
  • 1953 - The Charioteer - published in England by Longman's - contemporary novel set during 1940
  • 1956 - The Last of the Wine - first of Renault's historicals, set during the Peloponnesian Wars
  • 1958 - The King Must Die - first of the Theseus duology, retelling the myth of Theseus's youth as an historical novel set in the Bronze Age
  • 1959 - The Charioteer - published in America by Pantheon - the text was somewhat altered and shortened by about 15%
  • 1962 - The Bull from the Sea - second of the Theseus duology, retelling the story of King Theseus of Athens as an historical novel set in the Bronze Age
  • 1966 - The Mask of Apollo - set in 4th century B.C., follows the life of a Greek actor
  • 1968 - Purposes of Love is reissued with the final chapter cut.
  • 1969 - Fire from Heaven - first of the Alexander trilogy - his youth
  • 1972 - The Persian Boy - second in the Alexander trilogy - the conquest of Persia
  • 1978 - The Praise Singer - set in 6th century B.C. Greece
  • 1981 - Funeral Games - third in the Alexander trilogy - events after his death



  • On 8 June, baranduin and trianne found a LiveJournal community at http://maryrenaultfics.livejournal.com/ for discussion, squee, fanfic, and art about Renault's books. Its official name is "Mary's Handmaidens"; but it was also known as "maryrenaultfics" or MRF for short). The community has open membership.
  • On June 13, the moderators make the first post on MRF, immediately followed by additional posts by newly joined members, including links to both stories and art. Nineteen people join the community on the first day.
  • On June 30, the first story (as opposed to link) is posted to MRF: lorie945's "In Hospital". It is followed by several ficlets and drabbles.
  • On 5 July, the first poll is posted to MRF (open to all, members and lurkers alike). It asks which of Renault's books people have read, wholly or in part, and which is their favourite.
  • On 12 July, Tehta posts five questions about The Charioteer, leading to the first serious discussion about the book, albeit only with reference to specific points. Minotaur's site is referenced in the discussion of Ralph/Laurie; and it is suggested by lorie945 that a suitable challenge for the community would be to write fic about one of the various wedding nights in Renault's novels. Later the same day, the Wedding Night Challenge is posted to MRF. Over the next few weeks, several stories are posted.
  • On 18 July, one of the mods notes that MRF now has 50 members.
  • On 22 July, lorie945 posts to MRF about differences she has found between her paperback edition of The Charioteer and the original 1953 Longman edition, which she had just purchased.[1] This comes as a great surprise to the other members of the community, none of whom had previously been aware that the novel had been revised and shortened when published in America in 1959.
  • On 27 August, the Hephaistion's Diary Challenge is posted to MRF.
  • On 29 November, the first of several posts about Stone's movie Alexander is posted to MRF: the author points out similarities with The Persian Boy.[2]
  • On 7 December, one of the mods notes that MRF now has over 100 members. The Fic or Fanart Challenge is posted to MRF, with one-sentence prompts taken from Renault's novels.
  • For Yuletide 2004, there are three stories based on the Alexander Trilogy ("Aftermath" by Cori Lannam[3], "Early Light" by Louise Lux[4], "Where Fear Was Killed" by mael[5]), and one story based on The Mask of Apollo ("Naxian Wine" by baranduin[6])


  • In an admin post on 18 April, the mods register their concern over "blog-organizing sites", especially those that collect links and archive posts on their own site. However, the mods say that they do not intend to change the default posting level of the community to friends only.
  • On 20 April, the mods post a poll to discover whether members would be interested in a book-club type discussion of one of Renault's novels, and, if so, which one: 15 vote for The Charioteer. The next highest are 8 each for Fire from Heaven and The Persian Boy'.[7]
  • From 1 May into August, there is a chapter-by-chapter (CBC) discussion of The Charioteer on MRF.
  • On 10 June, in an admin welcome post, it is noted that MRF has over 160 members and over 200 people watching the community.
  • On 17 June 2005, the Charioteer Fic Challenge is posted to MRF, for Ralph/Laurie stories elaborating on the final scene of the book.
  • On 27 June, cleo_eurydike announces that she has taken over the collection of Renault cover graphics from baranduin.[8]
  • On 21 August 2005, poicale posts a Seven Years Later challenge to her "Sunday Tea" flist on her LJ journal. ("Seven years later, Andrew shows up on Laurie's doorstep.") Later the same day, she posts her own fic for the challenge, "Home"; and it is immediately suggested that she put the story on MRF. She posts a link to "Home", resulting in a spate of controversial comments.
  • On 5 September, the mods announce that MRF now has over 200 members.
  • From 11 September into November, there is a partial CBC of The Last of the Wine on MRF, which fizzles out partway through.
  • On 27 September, shezan founds a LiveJournal community at http://maryrenault.livejournal.com/ (official name "Mary Renault readers and fic writers' Journal") for discussing Renault's novels and posting fanfic.
  • On 26 October, there is a brief discussion of Return to Night on MRF.[9]
  • On 17 November, my_cnnr founds a LiveJournal community at http://mapmakerfic.livejournal.com/ to serve as the fic archive for trueriver and poicale. It is a closed community moderated by the three of them, with posting access limited to select members. The stories are all Renault-based.
  • On 11 December, there is a brief discussion of The Friendly Young Ladies on MRF.[10]
  • For Yuletide 2005, there are two stories based on the Alexander Trilogy ("Neither Half Nor Whole" by maelithil[11], and "Hamartia" by tosca[12]), and one work for The Charioteer ("our sole defense against the season" by Penknife[13]).



  • From February to May, there is a second CBC discussion of The Charioteer on MRF, this time focusing on the differences between the 1953 Longman edition and the 1959 Pantheon edition (on the text of which subsequent editions are based).
  • On 12 May 2007, faithfulreader, a new member of MRF, makes a tendentious, argumentative post ("The Charioteer: Review (Post to maryrenaultfics by Faithfulreader)") that, on the basis of his replies to comments, is soon gauged to be trolling. The next day, faithfulreader's membership in MRF is rescinded; and, within a day or so, the post is deleted.
  • On 26 May 2007, there is an admin post ("members post") on MRF in which the moderators announce that, for the foreseeable future, MRF will go to moderated membership. This decision is explicitly associated with faithfulreader's behaviour.[1]
  • On 8 August, there is an admin post on MRF ("members post - hey! how'd you do that so quickly?") in which the moderators announce that, in response to the strikethrough crisis on LJ, they have started journals at InsaneJournal and GreatestJournal in order to claim the comm name just in case a move should prove necessary. (In the event, it does not; and the mirror sites remain unused.) They indicate also that, because of the crisis, the comm will remain on moderated status for longer than they had previously intended.[18]
  • On 23 August, a discussion of The Persian Boy is started on MRF (at first informally, but quickly turned into a formal CBC); however it fizzles out after Chapter 10. The post for Chapter 11, made on 11 November, attracts only a couple of comments.
  • On 26 August, a Sunday Tea Challenge with the prompt "the dog days of summer" is extended to MRF members.
  • On 21 October, there is another Sunday Tea Challenge on MRF, to the prompt "Ghosts don't always have the best timing", with the stories to be posted as comments. As it is explicitly "in honour of the season", the comments are screened until Halloween. (The event is repeated annually thereafter under the name, Spooky Challenge.)
  • For Yuletide 2007, there are two stories based on The Charioteer ("Always: Time Will Bring Their Hour" by kenaz[19], posted in two versions; "Afterwards" by Wildcard[20]), and two stories based on The Mask of Apollo ("Eros Crowned" by baranduin[21], "And Many Fates Fulfil" by the_antichris[22]).



  • On 1 February, the mods of MRF inform members that the community profile has been updated.[33]
  • On 9 February, the Six Word Novel challenge is held on MRF, inspired by the 2007 Guardian newspaper Six-Word Novel Challenge.[34] Members are challenged to condense the plots of Renault's novels to a mere six well-chosen words. The results are revealed on 19th February.[35]
  • On 3 March 2009, the mods post a poetry challenge in honour of World Poetry Day: either to post relevant classical or contemporary poetry or write original poetry inspired by Renault's books,[36] with the reveal on the 21st.[37]
  • Many people on LJ report that they have been friended by what appear to be bots, which are taken to be Russian in origin.[38]. Various solutions are suggested,[39] most of which require some knowledge of computers.
  • On 5 March, the MRF mods warn members of a Russian bot that infects LJ communities trying to get people to click on links that will then infect their computers. They also inform members that, as a result, they have altered the community guidelines: from now on, they want people to disable links in their posts so they aren't clickable ("More from the Russian bots...."[40]). Another bot-warning post is made the following day.[41]
  • On 12 March, the MRF mods post a lengthy admin post, "Admin: Membership and Moderation", about the principles guiding their decisions about membership in and moderation of the community.[42] The post is met with favourable comments from MRF members, some of which explicitly reference the ongoing "Russian bot" problem.
  • Five Years On (or 5YO) celebrates the fifth anniversary of MRF.
  • The Summer Prompt on MRF is "summer sojourn".
  • From September through to March 2010, there is a CBC of The Last of the Wine on MRF.
  • Community members compile an index to fanfic that has been posted to MRF.
  • The Spooky Challenge on MRF has the prompt "cobwebs".
  • From December 2009 to 2010, a series of Christmas ficlets set in the ITOWverse is posted to MRF by greerwatson and fawatson as a present for the community.
  • For Yuletide 2009 there are four stories based on the Alexander Trilogy ("In Two Bodies" by Amber Largo[43], "Pyrrha" by rosekay[44], "Too Little To Bite" by daegaer[45], "Some Man's Scheherazade" by toujours_nigel[46]), one story based on The Charioteer ("Christmas Plans" by fawatson[47]), one story based on The Friendly Young Ladies ("Letters" by fawatson[48]), one story based on The Last of the Wine ("To Learn and to Teach" by DragoJustine[49]), one story based on The Mask of Apollo ("True Friends Have Nothing Private" by Zdenka[50]), and one story based on Purposes of Love ("High time someone did" by queen_ypolita[51]).


  • In March, MRF celebrates World Poetry Day with a series of challenges: dirty limericks, complete-the-poem, and adding more verses to a renga.
  • On 4 April, there is an art challenge on MRF: to design covers for Fire from Heaven. This is designed to coincide with the novel's shortlisting for the Lost Man Booker Prize. (Results are revealed on 18 May.)
  • From April to July, there is a CBC of Fire from Heaven on MRF. (Again, this is designed to coincide with the novel's shortlisting for the Lost Man Booker Prize.)
  • On 8 May, there is a timed five-minute fic challenge on MRF, with each poster providing the next prompt.
  • On 30 May, there is a Sunday Tea challenge on MRF to the prompt "respite" (one-hour time limit).
  • On 6 June, there is a Sunday Tea challenge on MRF to the prompt "respect" (one-hour time limit).
  • On 1 August, the annual Summer Challenge on MRF is announced with the prompt "swim" (no time limit).
  • In late August, LJ staff announce that, in future, it will be possible to cross-post automatically from LJ to Facebook and Twitter.[52] There is enormous outcry, mostly negative, from people outraged at the thought that anyone could—by auto-copying their own comments—thereby post links to someone else's journal/community.
  • On 11 September, MRF is closed by the moderators: from this point on, non-members are only able to read old posts. According to the post "Going forward...Members Only", [53] the mods had contemplated the change for some time, but actually made the decision in response to LiveJournal's enabling crossposting to Facebook and Twitter. The immediate result is a flurry of membership applications from lurkers (all of which are granted). One person suggests moving the comm to Dreamwidth (which the mods say they have, in fact, been finding more and more attractive.) Otherwise, reactions vary: some people are heartily in favour of the closure; others have reservations, especially about future effects.
  • In October, the annual Spooky Challenge has the prompt "lurking".
  • From October through November, greerwatson and fawatson post a series of autumn-themed ITOWverse ficlets to MRF.
  • For Yuletide 2010 there are three stories based on the Alexander Trilogy ("An Evening to Remember" by fawatson[54], "Tickle" by fawatson[55], "Three Summers, Two Winters, and a Spring" by willowbell[56]), four stories based on The Charioteer ("The Alphabet" by queen_ypolita[57], "Those voices that will not be drowned" by Naraht[58], "Andreia" by wildestranger[59], "To Reconcile All Things Unto Himself" by fawatson[60]), one story based on The Friendly Young Ladies ("The girl in the hospital bed" by queen_ypolita[61]), one story based on The Last of the Wine ("Trust" by fawatson[62]), one story based on The Mask of Apollo ("νόστος (Homecoming)" by Inner Voice[63]), and one story based on Purposes of Love ("The beginning" by queen_ypolita[64]).
  • On 25 December, Greer Watson announced a present for the MRF community: The Collected ITOWverse, a section of her website in which she had collated all the links to the various ITOWverse material on MRF (save for those written by herself and her sister, fawatson, for which she had made webpages).





  • On 30 January, Naraht posts "maryrenaultfics and me"[111] to her Dreamwidth journal, describing her concerns about MRF and her experiences as a member. The post sparks a considerable discussion, ranging from events in 2005 up to the present, with comments from members past and present.
  • On 3 February, the moderators of MRF take the journal to moderated status (with all posts run past the mods before becoming visible). In their post ("Admin Update"),[112] they allusively explain this as a response to the recent discussion on Naraht's blog.[113]
  • On 6 February, there is a third Valentine's Day Challenge on MRF—this time, not to a prompt, but to include a lyric from a popular love song within the fic. The prompt is posted, not by the mods, but by one of the members, fawatson.[114] Stories appear on the 14th.
  • From 6 February through April, Naraht hosts a discussion of Return to Night on her Dreamwidth journal.[115]
  • On 16th February, fawatson posts a Sunday Tea challenge, with the prompt "Decisions! Decisions!"[116]
  • On 18th February, Naraht and Makioka found RenaultX, a Dreamwidth community at http://renaultx.dreamwidth.org/ (official name "Mary Renault Fic Exchange").
  • On 8 March, the Renault Exchange is announced on RenaultX, as a fanfic exchange for Renault's modern novels. Sign-ups run from 16 to 23 March 2014, with assignments sent out on 27 March.
  • On 20 March, MRF celebrates World Poetry Day with a challenge to create a Cento made up of lines taken from Renault's novels. Or alternatively write any Renault-themed poem.
  • On 20 April, the first 10-themed post is made on MRF, heralding the season of their Ten Years On festivities, celebrating the community's tenth anniversary.
  • On 11 May, the stories for the Renault Exchange are revealed.
  • On 11 May, the stories for the Rarewomen LJ community's fic exchange are revealed. There is one story based on The Charioteer ("The Eternal Muddle Service" by queen_ypolita[117]).
  • On 30 June, the Mary Renault Commentfic Meme is announced on RenaultX (for both historical and contemporary novels).
  • On 24 August, RenaultX is officially renamed "Mary Renault fans" and repurposed as a general Mary Renault community, open not only to fanfic but also to recs and discussion.


  • On 4 January, toujours_nigel and bee_muse officially announce the debut of a new Renault-themed DW community, ye_olde_renault ("Renault's Ancients"), exclusively devoted to the author's historical novels. The following day it opens activities with a drabble/drawble prompt claim.
  • Also on 4 January, the MRF mods officially "draw a line" under that community.[3] With this post, maryrenaultfics ("Mary's Handmaidens"), the Livejournal community that was started in June 2004, went on (probably permanent) hiatus.
  • On 9 January, maryrenaultfics2 (another Renault-based DW community) officially opens so that former maryrenaultfics members can finish stories that had been intended to be part of the old community's 10th anniversary celebrations.
  • From 15 January to the week of 10 April, RenaultX holds a CBC of The Mask of Apollo.
  • In March-April, the Renault Exchange is run for the second time, with the reveal on 19 April. It is expanded to include Renault's historical novels as well as the contemporaries.



  1. ^ "members post" made 26th-May-2007 12:51 pm by my_cnnr, members-locked.
  2. ^ The .PDF download of the complete character glossary for all of Renault's novels is no longer available; but the individual glossaries remain posted to the MRF community.
  3. ^ "Ye_Olde_Renault, Maryrenaultfics and Moving Forward in 2015", post by my_cnnr.