Automedon, the Charioteer

Here we go, the climactic battle where, if self remembers her Greek mythology correctly (of course it’s nowhere near Madeline Miller’s level of expertise), Patroclus dies.

It’s so weird: this entire novel is told from his point of view. So if Patroclus dies, that will be the biggest, sappiest death scene in the history of all Greek mythology death scenes.

Anyhoo, self really wants to know how Madeline Miller pulls this one off. There’s only about 20 pages left, and she still doesn’t know if this will end with Patroclus dying and Achilles killing Hector and someone throwing a spear that hits Achilles in the heel (that part, she is 100% sure of)!

This novel, which left self rather unmoved for its first half, really kicked into gear when the Myrmidons got to Troy (a character in one of her favorite reads of 2022, Shards of Earth, is named Myrmidon Solace. Coincidence? Self thinks not!)

Here is Patroclus dressed in Achilles’ armor to try and trick the Trojans into retreating. Patroclus, unlike Achilles, is a very slender man. All he’s supposed to do is wear Achilles’s armor and let the Trojans see him. That is IT.

And off they go: Patroclus in the chariot, Automedon steering (After this, self swears she will name a character in one of her stories Automedon)

Madeline Miller really takes us into the moment:

  • “I’m ready,” I told him. The chariot began to roll, Automedon guiding it towards the packed sand nearer the surf. I felt when we reached it, the wheels catching, the car smoothing out. We turned towards the ships, picking up speed. I felt the wind snatch at my crest, and I knew that the horsehair was streaming behind me. I lifted my spears. Automedon crouched down low so that I would be seen first.

Patroclus does this weird scream, and “a thousand faces, Trojan and Greek,” turn to him in shock. YIIIIIKES, self almost can’t look! That scream was a bit much, Patroclus. She is sure Achilles has a much manlier screaming voice.

Stay tuned.


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