How To Tell If You Are In A Mary Renault Novel

The cutest boy in school has never been afraid of anything, not even once.

Your mother is, you know, hoo boy.

It’s genuinely unclear to me if you have had sex with your best friend or not. Like, there was a scene where you two were laying down together, and then in the next scene there’s a throwaway line about how the light has changed, and several paragraphs earlier there’s a bit that only makes sense if you two are now understood as having established a sexual relationship, but no one ever mentions it again, and it seems to require a time jump in order to work in the narrative?

You have gray eyes because you are a good person.

You are a sensible Macedonian who has no truck with the vain and effete ways of Southerners like the Messenians!

Your hair is tousled, your will is iron, your shoulder is bronzed, and your name has a K in it.

You are a sensible Macedonian who has no truck with the wild and lawless ways of Northerners like the Thracians!

This horse is special.

Your soldiers don’t respect you because you have too much sex. Your soldiers go absolutely nuts for your son, who hates sex, even though everyone wants to have sex with him.

Your mother is doing something absolutely horrifying to someone, and she got you a gift. You only respond to the gift.

A visitor from Knossos is lying.

There’s an earthquake, but you don’t really understand it.

You anxiously await the Scythians on the northern border.

You held your best friend’s hand a week ago. He didn’t say anything, and he didn’t strike you – which you find promising – but you have not dared to hold it again since. Maybe in another thirty years you will try again.

You are sitting on a riverbank at sunset making vows and listening for the sound of bow-strings.

Your gaze is constantly being held.

Someone is trying to explain philosophy to you, but all you can think about is boys.

Someone has subtly undermined you in a way that I, the reader, do not even a little bit understand, because I did not spend the last fifteen years researching ancient Greek social conventions, but I do have a generally acute sense of when someone else ought to be embarrassed.

You are used to being underestimated as a result of your non-Athenian accent, and use it to your full advantage.

You are either extremely impetuous or constantly awash in relief.

Your mother is hurling accusations at you while you try to eat a plum or something.

You were once entrusted with a secret look, and as a result have conquered half of Thessaly.

You both need, and hate, the Thebans – with them, the key to the south is finally in your hand.

Your boyfriend has exactly four character traits: he’s a terrible listener, he has pale eyes set in a grave face, he never gets cold because his parents were neglectful during the winter, and he murders absolutely everybody.