|Reviews for The Ivory Eros|
| Joyeee chapter 6 . 12/23/2005
Ack, in the last review I meant no other Bodyguard besides H., not Companion. Sorry! I'm very glad you like long reviews!
Sidenote: Heh, often through "The Persian Boy" I wanted to scream something on Hephaestion's behalf - not that he needed it, or that he would have wanted someone else to speak for him.
More of the supporting characters, yay! Perdiccas is very perceptive and one can tell that he prefers action to waiting around. It wasn't for nothing he was the first regent after Alexander's death. I'm glad you had him say all that, because I think in most fics those insights would've been given to Ptolemy. Ptolemy might seem like he's not as willing to face the hard truth, but this ability to let go helped him secure Egypt and, alone among all Alexander's would-be successors, die peacefully in old age. He has his qualms about Hephaestion - that line "The dead can't look at you, can't smile at you . . . can't insist they're quite content as you strip them of all the honours they fought for." is great! Despite his relatively nonchalant appearance, he does care. But since he can't fix the situation, he'll make the best of it he can, and not trouble himself about it more than he can help.
If Ptolemy can feel this, what is Alexander thinking? Is he thinking at all? (Feeling the urge to scream on Hephaestion's behalf again, though no one would appreciate it . . .) He starts building a connection with Stateira, then cuts it off just because she didn't stop Hephaestion and Drypetis from getting close, which was something he wanted in the first place. Stateira, Bagoas, Hephaestion . . . Even after his epiphany that he just might go home, he seems . . . self-absorbed, cruel, even. I don't think that's what Eros wanted, especially since, as you wrote, he left his room to escape Eros' gaze.
A major figure of the world stage at that time, who should have died, is now alive, but certain things still must happen - Eros said something about having to keep balance. So Perdiccas still becomes second-in-command. Ptolemy's suspicion of the water (that Glaucas blamed for H's death?) is a neat touch too. The parallels you keep drawing between your story and the history are cool, and like the mythological background, really enrich your wonderful story!
| Joyeee chapter 5 . 12/23/2005
I'm very relieved that the danger of the dream seems to have passed. But, No! something worse! They're breaking each other's hearts!
Alexander's very desperate, to tell Hephaestion that everyone else wants him to be well again, when he earlier accused Bagoas and Perdiccas of killing him. I don't think that's what Hephaestion needs to hear right now, and if he wants Hephaestion to stay he's certainly not going the right way about it, especially by saying he'll go see Roxanne!
I think that Hephaestion's "I'm your Chilliarch, not your mistress" and his preference to depart rather than work and live separately from Alexander on future campaigns illustrates a lot about his character - he won't tolerate anything less than perfection for Alexander, even in his own actions and thoughts. If he can't wholeheartedly serve Alexander, he'll just remove himself. (Though he's very wrong if he thinks that anyone else could do better! Alexander had many field commanders; he only had one Companion I know of who was a diplomat and a logistics officer as well as a competent commander.)
This chapter showed very well how a love so intense can be twisted by things that are an innate part of love itself - wanting to live up to each other's expectations, needing each other, fearing rejection, and that "agape" of the Greeks', wishing nothing but the best for the one you love. And they wind up driving each other farther, capable of inflicting hurt only because they care for each other so much. You reinforced my amazement at the Energizer Bunny-like qualities of their relationship, that despite so many outside people, pressures, and changes, its depth and intensity lasted to death and beyond. (Great, now I sound like Buzz Lightyear).
| CoralDawn chapter 6 . 12/23/2005
Hmm... what WAS the price? No further glory but a long, quiet life back in Macedon? It looks like Alexander finally understands the importance of Homer's Odyssey - all this time, he was obsessed with the Iliad and glory in war. When Hephaistion came back from the dead, the ivory Eros seemed to imply that changing the future is a big no-no, and balance had to be restored again. If the future of the world should mostly unfold as it did in real history, but with Alexander and Hephaistion now alive, then the Empire has to split up between the Diadochi, and Alexander and Hephaistion have to "retire" from active history. I think Alexander has just made the decision to give away his Empire to his friends and follow Hephaistion back to Macedon - like Odysseus, all he now wants is his Penelope, er... Hephaistion! So, is he ready to pay the price? Waiting with bated breath for tomorrow! (And I am so happy you find long reviews flattering - I can't seem to help myself with this one!)
| Fredericka chapter 6 . 12/23/2005
Entralled by this story. I feel as though I'm actually there observing situations and events unfold. Takes a skilled writer to involve the reader emotionally as you do.
The atmosphere now seems sad rather than sinister. What is Ero's price? If I remember my Greek mythology, one is shown a preview of one's future life, accepts it or rejects it before drinking of the river of forgetfulness? Did Hephaestion have that preview...and are the visions of Alexander's death a memory of that? And just because Hephaestion's destiny is changed, is Alexander's?
Also, you are bringing out Alexander's total self-centeredness. Everything is about ME. He NEEDS Hephaestion but does he really love him or is it just dependency...is that the lesson Eros is trying to teach him, etc. Does he ever think about what Hephaestion needs etc. Will he die in Babylon?
And, as before, he isn't really listening to what Hephaestion is trying to tell him. Just focusing on what HE wants.
Thanks for your comments about the "Persian Boy". I felt cheated when I bought the book because I expected a sequel to "Fire From Heaven".
As a stand-alone book it was well done of course, IF you wanted to ready a psuedo autobiography of a jealous, obsessed castrated catamite It was the one time Ms. Renault disappointed me.
Apologies for this being overly long but I did want you to know how much I appreciate your excellent work.
P.S. I did read Judith Tarr's "Lord of the Two Lands" which you recommended. It's the best characterization of Hephaestion and Alexander I've ever read; have ordered "Conspiracy of Women" too. Thank you.
| CoralDawn chapter 5 . 12/22/2005
I wrote a long review for Chapter 5 earlier, which got lost somewhere! Anyway, this chapter is simply awesome! Firstly, Alexander's private letters to Hephaistion - I found the last letter a very interesting contrast to his current attitude. Previously he didn't seem to understand why his men wanted to go back home to loved ones - why riches, power and glory were not enough for them. At that time, he had his beloved with him always, there were no strings ever to pull him back. He took his friend and lover and thus his heart, wherever he went. Now his personality is so different. He is willing to give up on further conquests just to idle away with Hephaistion.
At the end, as both Alexander and Hephaistion are starting to realize that though Hephaistion is alive again, they simply can't pick up the old threads of their lives, I felt sorry for both of them. Hephaistion of course, as he realizes he has to give up his dependent love of Alexander. But Alexander too - because though he acts callously at the end, he is starting to realize that he cannot get back his old life. That's not what Eros promised!
| Baliansword chapter 5 . 12/22/2005
I'm absolutely loving the way that the story is progressing. It is very interesting to see the ways that Hephaestion has to find his memory. I have never liked Alexander, "the King", because of how he neglected Hephaestion. It wasn't until he was gone that he became Alexander the man again, or tried to, but failed without his lover. So I love the way that Alexander is struggling right now between always being there for Hephaestion, as well as trying to run an empire. I think that little play between worlds adds suspense. Secretely I think that everyone is waiting for Alexander to go back to how things were, igrnorance, and Eros will come back for Hephaestion. At least it is definately something I have thought of.
I really do want you to continue, because I'm very interested in where the story is going to go. I like the love that is being shared between Alexander and Hephaestion at this moment. I even like the role that you have had Bagoas play, even though he was a good person, I hated him with Alexander. He took light away from Hephaestion. Well- I suppose that such matters were cleared up in this story -and I liked that. Cannot wait for you to continue! I will await another thrilling chapter.
| Joyeee chapter 4 . 12/22/2005
Hopefully you won't mind a ridiculously long review . . .
I. Love. your characterization. And how you weave so much Greek mythology into the story, but with your own twist. And your use of multiple characters, both the historical ones and your own originals. (Hylas is adorable! And enviable, especially after what he revealed in chapter 4!) And did I mention characterization? There's Alexander in all his glorious stubbornness, determined to depend only on himself; there's Bagoas, so devoted to Alexander, reluctant to like the "New Hephaestion," and the new shyness between Alexander and Hephaestion, discovering each other all over again. (sigh) Even the most minor characters come alive, like Eumenes and Drypetis.
The scene in the first chapter between Alexander and Hephaestion . . . it was handled so beautifully. There's humor, there's reminiscence and nostalgia, there's Hephaestion rambling a little, yet speaking wonderfully of their history. Alexander's temporary impatience, concern about rejoining the public drinking instead of sharing this intimate privacy, and chagrin at Hephaestion's marital happiness, is contrasted really well with Hephaestion's dreamy, idealistic mood.
One of my favorite lines: Tell me, Alexander, which one of us is the most obstinate, me dying to win an argument, or you refusing to give in until I did!
I could ramble on like that, but then the review would be pages, but I have to mention I love your Hephaestion. It seems to me that in that first chapter he was already showing some of that openness and whole-hearted appreciation of love and life that Alexander calls charm and remembers from their childhood, seeing it again in this "New Hephaestion." How Hephaestion wants to know why Eumenes dislikes him, how he speaks Persian automatically to Drypetis, how he asks about Olympias, and requests _permission_ from Bagoas to ask an "impertinent" question . . . he's both uncanny in his instincts (like when he asked "Was I that unpopular?") and so childlike (good thing) in his experience of everything anew.
| parisad chapter 5 . 12/22/2005
Nice chapter. "I'm your chiliarch, not your mistress": so TRUE. Many writers show Hephaestion as Alexander's mistress more than as Alexander's general, IMO. Since I love angst fic, I loved this chapter very much!
BTW, yes, "No longer boys" is one of my fics and I thank your for enjoying it!
Keep writing this beautiful fic! :)
| koalared chapter 5 . 12/22/2005
Ah damnit Alexander will you never learn? That was truly sad. Don't ever apologise for quick updates, I love quick updates, the quicker the better!
| Trust No One chapter 4 . 12/22/2005
Very glad to see you updated this story which is one of the best I read recently on Thanks for your note to me, I would never presume to think you swiped my idea. I love your character portrayal, from tactless Leonnatus to stressed-out Alexander and serene new-Hephaistion and logical-minded Bagoas. Also the vagueness and mystery of it all. Nicely done and waiting for more.
| CoralDawn chapter 4 . 12/21/2005
Another great chapter! Our two heroes have made much progress in that they have rediscovered their all-consuming devotion to each other and both understand the price they will have to pay. Now we have to see if they can actually pay up - that is, accept the sacrifices. I liked the way you incorporated Alexander's historical death in a foreboding dream for Hephaistion.
Hylas is very sneaky and cute! But who can blame him? If I were on campaign with Hephaistion, I would probably make up all sorts of excuses to cuddle with him too!
I loved the last part when Hephaistion finally comes to Alexander's room. It's so tender and romantic! Looking forward to more!
| parisad chapter 4 . 12/21/2005
I love your story, though I usually don't like AU (too much in love with history,perhaps?). The why I like your fic is very simple: your Hephaestion is like a child, is again Alexander's boy but he didn't know it. He has his youth's soul and beauty and he acts like years ago. I think past memories,and most of all memories of our youth, always remain in our heart and help us to go on. In a way, I think when we love a person for so many years, maybe we keep loving this person as he was years ago. I mean, we can love someone for years only if he's not changed from the moment we met him or at least if we see still in him something of the person he has been and we have fallen in love with. Hephaestion should have seen Alexander always as the boy whom he loved, even if Alexander had so changed through the years. It's what I tried to show in my fics too: Alexander was a boy for Hephaestion, a boy whom he cared for and whom he loved. He was "his Alexander" and Hephaestion was the "philalexandros".
I'm looking for your next update :)
| Queendel chapter 4 . 12/21/2005
Sweet, tender and reflective. Some questions answered and love/passion rekindled between my boys.
I really do hope that life work out better for them this time around and they know true happiness and peace, but Eros price is hanging like a sword over their heads.
| koalared chapter 4 . 12/21/2005
Wonderful chapter. Angsty then passionate. Glad Hephaestion and Alexander finally found their way back to each other. Worried about the price that needs to be paid, and what of Hephaestion's nightmares, seeing what would have happened if he had remained dead? I forgot to mention on the last chapter, I really liked your explanation of the memory loss, it made sense.
| CoralDawn chapter 2 . 12/20/2005
This is a marvellous story so far! I love the idea of a second chance with a hidden price! Also, I love your writing style - very fluid and takes the reader right into the middle of things.
So, the alive-again-Hephaistion has reverted back to the friendly, charming personality of his youth, when he got along with others and everyone was in turn, charmed by him. He paid a high price in his previous life - loneliness, isolation, hatred from others - because of Alexander's love for him and his love for Alexander. Will he be willing to do the same again? Will Alexander be willing to pay now an equally high price of letting Hephaistion free to live a different life? It's interesting that Hephaistion is fascinated by Hylas, who looks like a young Alexander. It seems Hephaistion wants to go back to the simpler days of their youth when the world was a lot more friendly place.
This is fascinating! How much is too high a price for a love like the one Alexander and Hephaistion shared? Is that what the Ivory Eros is asking?