Mary Renault discussion

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The King Must Die

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message 1: by Christin (new)

Christin | 7 comments SPOILERS AHEAD!

The King Must Die by Mary Renault

So, for those who finished, what do you think Ariadne was holding? I think I know but I want to hear your thoughts. Maybe I just have a dirty mind.


message 2: by Robert (new)

Robert Fucci (RFucci) | 2 comments The Kings penis


message 3: by Christin (new)

Christin | 7 comments Robert wrote: "The Kings penis"

Yeah, that's pretty much what I figured. I was thinking, 'maybe it's his heart, who knows' bit yeah, likely it was his pens. I have a sick mind so I always go to the dirty place, just making sure it was accurate.


message 4: by Robert (new)

Robert Fucci (RFucci) | 2 comments one of many of her great books, my fav is The Persian Boy, I also love her non fiction book about Alexander


message 5: by Christin (new)

Christin | 7 comments Persian Boy and Last of the Wine are my favorites, depending on what day it is. Nature of Alexander is good too but it's hardly impartial.


message 6: by Barbara (last edited Dec 30, 2010 05:41PM) (new)

Barbara (sema4dogz) | 35 comments On what Ariadne was holding, I alternate between thinking it's a finger or his penis, or even just a piece of flesh ( tho I do like the typo above in message 3 which says the Kings pens. Mmmm.. now where would he have kept those.....)

Robert, my favourite is The Persian Boy too- or maybe the Last Of The Wine as Christin says , it depends what I'm actually reading at the time . Both are sublime stories, , I think, of love and honour.


message 7: by Christin (new)

Christin | 7 comments Haha that's what I get for writing on my phone. Theseus was horrified, what is this inky thing?!


message 8: by Barbara (new)

Barbara (sema4dogz) | 35 comments See, that's what stuck her fingers together - ink LOL


message 9: by Christin (new)

Christin | 7 comments LMAO!


message 10: by Barbara (new)

Barbara (sema4dogz) | 35 comments What a long time since any of us posted ... anyone re-reading anything ?


message 11: by Christin (new)

Christin | 7 comments I re-read Last of the Wine and it ruined me for other books for months. So I re-read sparingly or just chapters now that they're on kindle.


message 12: by Margaret (new)

Margaret | 1 comments Having just joined this group, this seems to be the discussion thread where people are noting their favorite Mary Renault books. My personal favorite is The Mask of Apollo, partly because it was the first of hers I discovered (in the library of my junior high school, mumblemumble years ago), and partly because after many rereadings I've come to consider Nikeratos a personal friend. And that ending makes me tear up every ... single ... time.

Re Mary Renault and Plato: The Mask of Apollo includes Plato as a character, and it seems to me that rather than being a Platonist pure and simple, Renault is here in dialogue (appropriately enough) with Plato's ideas, in the character of Nikeratos. Living through the twentieth century, you can see how and why she would question and explore Plato's concepts of the good life and the good in humankind.


message 13: by Barbara (new)

Barbara (sema4dogz) | 35 comments Hi Margaret welcome and thanks for this above, I have opened a 'favourites' thread .


message 14: by Marc (new)

Marc | 21 comments Around half way through, and Theseus is apparently on his way to Crete? The term bull dancing comes up. Danger ahead!


message 15: by Barbara (last edited Jun 05, 2017 11:35PM) (new)

Barbara (sema4dogz) | 35 comments Marc wrote: "Around half way through, and Theseus is apparently on his way to Crete? The term bull dancing comes up. Danger ahead!"

Oh yes, oh yes a great treat awaits you. The bulldancing , the danger , the camaraderie . And - The Minotaur!
The formation of the Cranes is a foretaste of things to come......


message 16: by Marc (new)

Marc | 21 comments To add, the October 2017 National Geographic includes a piece on Minoan Magnificence, the ancient history of Crete including the great explosion. I recently found a videotape of MR on the internet at an obscure site. What a pleasure to finally hear her voice and a clip of her back in those days in South Africa. I wish I could see other documentaries such as the BBC Poole documentary but have found no source to view it.


message 17: by Gabrielle (last edited Dec 13, 2018 06:57PM) (new)

Gabrielle | 1 comments Thank goodness for Goodreads! I read "The King Must Die" for the first time like 40 years ago and was mystified by the Ariadne Bacchic creep-out scene (I was VERY young then). I read it again like 10 years ago, and I was still all "WHAT did she have in her hand?" Penis seemed likely, but I was still like, "Damn, Mary Renault, why didn't you just tell us?"
Now I've started reading "The Bull From the Sea" for the second time, and the subject comes up again -- when Theseus's mom tells him he was a bad boy for abandoning her, and he says, "Mom, you wouldn't believe how those people on Naxos kill their king!"

So THEN I was like, "I MUST figure this out." I read the posts here and on another site, and then went back and read that chapter in TKMD again. Someone on the other post site about suggested what she was holding was an eyeball. And that makes some sense, because MR writes a lot about Theseus looking at the king's eyes over dinner the night before the Bacchanalia. And an eyeball would make it clear that the victim was human rather than animal, whereas a penis is more ambiguous.

The key clue, I think, is in the fact that Ariadne's mouth was covered in blood. That would strongly suggest penis rather than eyeball, and that she had bitten it off.

OMG! I think this is the first time I really understood that book!

It may seem a little weird that I got so obsessed with this question, but I had been mad at Theseus since I first read the book at age 13 or whatever for ditching Ariadne on Naxos. Now I can sympathize with him much more. And yet, in chapter 3 or so of TBFTHS, he can't help blowing a kiss at the maiden who is assisting at the expiation rite his mother holds for him, and thereby sends that gal to her death.

MR seems a bit conflicted about whether Theseus is a hero or a destructive womanizer. Among other things, that scene is followed by one in which Theseus has a giant bromance with some pirate dude who is trying to steal his Cretan bulls. (And again with the eyes in this scene -- "He had golden eyes like a leopard, blah blah blah..."

Clearly MR had some deep psychic shit going on on the subject of powerful men and their sexuality, which she seems to simultaneously identify with and condemn. But then, as we now know, she was gay herself during a time when that wasn't acceptable.


message 18: by Marc (last edited Dec 17, 2018 12:24AM) (new)

Marc | 21 comments Gabrielle wrote: "Thank goodness for Goodreads! I read "The King Must Die" for the first time like 40 years ago and was mystified by the Ariadne Bacchic creep-out scene (I was VERY young then). I read it again like ..."

For me, Theseus is portrayed as clever yet flawed and so he comes to the end considering himself having failed at what he'd set out to achieve in life.

Did someone suggest Ariadne held the King's heart in her hand? That sounded reasonable to me, although penis is certainly possible.


message 19: by Marc (new)

Marc | 21 comments Yesterday, another birthday passed. Mary Renault born September 4, 1905 in England.

I still want to finish reading all her books.


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