The narrator, Patroclus, describes his father, who is a king from a long line of kings. Patroclus’ father married Patroclus’ mother when she was 14 years old, due to her large dowry. It wasn’t until Patroclus’ mother smiled at their wedding that Patroclus’ father realized his wife was “simple”; brides were not supposed to smile at their weddings. When Patroclus is born small and with no obvious talents, he also quickly becomes a disappointment to his father. When Patroclus is five years old, his father hosts the Olympic games. Patroclus remembers watching the young son of King Peleus win a race. Patroclus’ father is ashamed that Patroclus is not as talented as the boy.
When Patroclus is nine years old, he and his father travel to Sparta to present Patroclus as a potential suitor for King Tyndareus’s daughter Helen. Patroclus recalls being in the great hall among the other suitors, all of them kings from across Greece. Patroclus watches as the men propose their lavish gifts to King Tyndareus: the bow of Heracles, a rare double-headed ax, a beautifully dyed cloth. Patroclus’ father presents himself on behalf of Patroclus, before Odysseus suggests that Patroclus present himself and their gift, a gold bowl engraved with a story about Zeus.
King Tyndareus asks Odysseus what he thinks about the procession of suitors. Odysseus wonders how the losers will be dissuaded from declaring war on the suitor who wins Helen’s hand in marriage. Odysseus suggests that the decision should be Helen’s choice, but before she chooses a husband, the men must pledge to defend Helen’s choice and band together if anyone were to ever take her. Throughout the hall, the men agree and take a blood oath together. Helen chooses Menelaus, the brother of Agamemnon who is already married to Helen’s sister, Clytemnestra. When Ajax asks if he can wed Tyndareus’s niece, Odysseus informs them that she is already promised to him. Patroclus’ father is angry and disappointed, and they leave hastily that evening.
One day while ten-year-old Patroclus is outside playing with dice, a highborn boy named Clysonymus appears and bullies Patroclus. In retaliation, Patroclus pushes Clysonymus, and watches in horror as his head hits a stone and cracks open, causing his death. To avoid a war, Patroclus’ father exiles Patroclus to the kingdom of Phthia. Patroclus knows the famous story of Phthia’s King Peleus, who impregnated the sea-nymph Thetis. Thetis bore Peleus a son, then left Peleus after one year, only returning every so often to visit her child.
When Patroclus arrives in Phthia, he is led to the palace to meet with Peleus’ son, Achilles, who is the same boy Patroclus had seen at the Olympic games years ago. When Patroclus first meets him, Achilles is playing a lyre. They exchange names, and Achilles welcomes Patroclus to Phthia. Later that day, Patroclus learns that he is not the only orphan being fostered in the palace. One boy asks Patroclus if he wants to play dice, but Patroclus refuses, remembering the last time he played with dice was when he accidentally killed Clysonymus. That night and many nights following, Patroclus has nightmares about Clysonymus.
After the other boys in the palace find out Patroclus was exiled because he killed a boy, they become fearful of him. Patroclus begins avoiding his lessons. One day, Achilles approaches Patroclus and informs him that the master of the lessons has noticed and has told Peleus of Patroclus’ absence. To prevent Patroclus from receiving punishment, Achilles takes Patroclus to his lyre lessons, knowing Peleus will excuse Patroclus’ absence if he’s with Achilles. Achilles plays Patroclus’ mother’s lyre, a gift that was given to Peleus upon Patroclus’ arrival at Phthia. Patroclus does not tell Achilles that he’s playing his mother’s instrument. Patroclus is entranced by Achilles’ musical talent. After the lesson, they go to see Peleus.
Peleus agrees to let Patroclus be Achilles’s therapon, or brother-in-arms. A brother-in-arms is sworn to a prince by blood oath and love, and becomes the prince’s most trusted adviser. After Peleus gives his blessing, Achilles informs Patroclus that he must go train. Before Achilles goes, he informs Patroclus of a prophecy that states he will be the best warrior of his generation.
Achilles invites Patroclus to sleep in his room. That night, Achilles teaches Patroclus how to juggle before they go to bed. After some time, Patroclus becomes accustomed to his friendship with Achilles and the new privileges that friendship brings. One afternoon, Achilles lets Patroclus watch him train, an honor only few people had been given. Patroclus is so mesmerized and moved by Achilles’ grace and sword- and spear-wielding skills, he asks Achilles to fight him. When Achilles refuses, Patroclus leaps at Achilles, but is quickly subdued. Patroclus says that Achilles is unlike anyone Patroclus has ever met or seen.
A year after Patroclus’ exile, Patroclus tells Achilles the story of how he killed Clysonymus. Achilles comments that he has never been bullied so he doesn’t know how he would have responded to Clysonymus, but Achilles ensures Patroclus that he too would have been angry. Patroclus begins spending more time with King Peleus, and often listens to Peleus’ tales from his youth.
The only place where Patroclus does not join Achilles is the cave where Achilles goes to see his sea-nymph mother, Thetis. One day during Patroclus’s second spring in Phthia, Achilles tells Patroclus that Thetis wants to see him. Patroclus is hurt by Thetis, noticing how much disdain she has toward him. Thetis tells Patroclus that he will be dead soon and how Achilles will be a god. Achilles tells Patroclus later that evening that he does not know if he wants to be a god, but he is certain he wants to be a hero.
Achilles and Patroclus are now thirteen. Their bodies change, and they notice the other boys in the palace begin sleeping with women. One night, Peleus tells Achilles and Patroclus the story of Meleager, who was the strongest warrior of his time, and how he refused to fight after the king of Calydon declined to give Meleager his riches. As a result, the city of Calydon was attacked. While Peleus tells the story, Achilles plays with Patroclus’ feet. Before they bid Peleus goodnight, Peleus suggests that Achilles look for a servant girl to sleep with. Achilles says he is too tired tonight, but maybe some other time. Patroclus asks Achilles if he likes the servant girl, and Achilles angrily pushes Patroclus and says he’s tired of talking about her.
One day while on the beach with Achilles, Patroclus kisses him. Patroclus, filled with shame, watches as Achilles runs away. On his way back to the palace, Patroclus is approached by an enraged Thetis who tells Patroclus that she saw the kiss and that Achilles will be leaving the palace. Later that night, Achilles informs Patroclus that he will be leaving in the morning to become Chiron’s student.
Patroclus runs away the next day, finding no reason to stay in Peleus’ palace without Achilles. Patroclus is startled by a sound in the woods. Before he can respond, Achilles knocks him to the ground, overjoyed to see Patroclus. Chiron—a half-horse, half-man centaur—appears and introduces himself to Patroclus.
Chiron leads Patroclus and Achilles to the cave on Mount Pelion where they will be staying. Chiron says he will teach them medicine and music, among other things, just as he taught the heroes Heracles and Jason. Achilles and Patroclus bathe later that day, and when they return to Chiron’s cave, Chiron says that he will teach them about forestry, hunting, and herb-picking. Later that night, Chiron informs them that Thetis warned him to not let Patroclus follow Achilles. Chiron, however, goes against her wishes and lets Patroclus stay.
Achilles and Patroclus learn many skills from Chiron on Mount Pelion: hunting, herbal medicine, cooking, and astrology. One day Achilles shows Patroclus his mother’s lyre. Relieved that his mother’s lyre is safe, Patroclus says that he almost didn’t leave the palace because he did not want to leave the lyre behind. Achilles jokingly says that now he knows how to make Patroclus follow him anywhere.
One morning, Patroclus wakes up to find Chiron gone and goes outside the cave to wait for him. Thetis suddenly appears, angered that Patroclus followed Achilles to Mount Pelion. Chiron arrives and sends Patroclus back to the cave so he can have a word with Thetis. When Patroclus tells Achilles that his mother has come, Achilles goes to join Chiron and Thetis. Achilles and Chiron return late in the afternoon. As they eat lunch, Achilles assuages Patroclus’ fears and informs him that Thetis only wanted to see Achilles.
One day in winter, Achilles asks Chiron to teach them to fight. Chiron says that he can teach nothing to Achilles since Achilles is already a great and trained fighter. Patroclus, on the other hand, will never be a famous fighter. In the summer, Achilles turns fourteen and receives numerous gifts from Peleus. Achilles and Patroclus agree that they do not miss the palace.
On Achilles’ sixteenth birthday, Patroclus gifts him figs and a hand-carved statue. Achilles is very pleased with the gifts. One day, Achilles returns after visiting Thetis and informs Patroclus that Thetis cannot see them on Mount Pelion. Patroclus is calmed by this information and lays beside Achilles in the cave while Chiron is outside. Achilles and Patroclus make love.
The following day, Achilles and Patroclus wonder if Chiron will notice a change between them and whether Chiron will tell Peleus or Thetis of their love-making. As Achilles and Patroclus discuss, the sound of a distant trumpet interrupts them. A man appears, announcing his intentions to meet with Achilles. The man informs them that Peleus needs to see Achilles. Achilles and Patroclus tell Chiron that they will be leaving for the palace. Before they leave, Chiron gives both boys parting words. He tells Achilles to think of the answer he will give when asked to fight. Then, he tells Patroclus that Patroclus does not give up on things as easily as he once did.
When Achilles and Patroclus arrive at Peleus’ palace, they are surprised to see Thetis and Peleus in the same place. Peleus calls all the men of the palace to the dining hall and announces that Helen, the wife of Menelaus, has been kidnapped by King Priam’s son, Paris. Agamemnon, the king of Mycenae and the brother of Menelaus, has asked the kingdoms of Greece to join in the war against Troy. Peleus tells the men that if they want to fight, they can. Patroclus thinks about the blood oath he made as a child at Tyndareus’ hall and becomes worried.
Later that night, Peleus invites Patroclus and Achilles to sit with him. Peleus expresses his desire to have Achilles lead the army. Achilles tells Peleus and Patroclus that he believes after Patroclus was disowned, his oath to Menelaus was dissolved. Achilles has not made up his mind about fighting, feeling that there will be other wars to make his name in. In bed that evening, Achilles tells Patroclus that he will go to war if Patroclus is forced to go.
The following morning, Achilles is missing. When Patroclus asks Phoinix, Achilles’ old counselor, where Achilles is, Phoinix informs him that Thetis took Achilles in the middle of the night. After begging Peleus about Achilles’ whereabouts, Patroclus learns that Achilles is on the island of Scyros. Peleus advises Patroclus to get money from Phoinix to travel to Scyros. When Patroclus arrives and asks to see the king of Scyros—King Lycomedes—he is led, instead, to the princess Deidameia. Patroclus says his name is Chironides and that he is there looking for his friend from Phthia. Deidameia does not give Patroclus a direct answer, but is noticeably offended when Patroclus says he has not heard of the beautiful women of Scyros.
That evening at dinner, Patroclus watches the women dance. As the women approach Patroclus and the other men, Patroclus notices that Achilles is disguised among the women. When Achilles embraces Patroclus, Deidameia calls him “Pyrrha” in shock and disbelief. King Lycomedes inquires what Achilles, disguised as Pyrrha, is doing. Achilles responds by saying that Patroclus is his husband. Deidameia retorts that it isn’t true, before threatening to unveil Achilles’ true identity. Thetis soon appears, enraged as she tells Deidameia that she will not reveal the truth. Achilles reveals his identity himself and explains that Thetis placed him in Scyros as a woman to avoid going to war. Upon hearing that Deidameia and Achilles are technically married and that Deidameia is pregnant, Patroclus leaves the room. Achilles later tells Patroclus that it was not his intention to sleep with Deidameia, and that Thetis had set him up so she could hide him.
Patroclus stays in Scyros, but his time with Achilles has to be spent in secret. One day Patroclus is called to see Deidameia. Deidameia berates Patroclus, unable to understand why Achilles is so fond of Patroclus and not her. Patroclus feels sympathy for Deidameia as she begins crying and telling Patroclus about how Achilles ignores her. Patroclus consoles Deidameia as she cries. Suddenly, they find themselves making love. Right afterward, Deidameia is cold toward Patroclus once more. Before Patroclus leaves her room, she tells him to say goodbye to Achilles for her.
Lycomedes, Deidameia’s father, sends Deidameia away until she gives birth to prevent anyone from knowing that Achilles is the father. Even though they are far away from the war at Troy, everyone on Scyros still hears news of it. One day, while lamenting the absence of Patroclus’ mother’s lyre, Achilles and Patroclus spot a sailboat in the distance with an indiscernible flag. Achilles returns to the women’s quarters, where he is staying as he stays disguised as Pyrrha. Patroclus goes back to his room and takes a nap. He is awoken by a knock at his door. Patroclus recognizes the man as Odysseus, remembering him from his youth at Tyndareus’ hall. Patroclus tells him his name is Chironides. Odysseus asks him to join the fight with Agamemnon at Troy. Before Odysseus leaves, he remarks that Patroclus looks familiar. Odysseus continues to pry, but Patroclus maintains his lie.
At dinner that night, Lycomedes announces Patroclus as Chironides to Odysseus and Diomedes, King of Argos. Patroclus recognizes them both as former suitors of Helen at Tyndareus’ hall, but Diomedes less so. Odysseus tells Lycomedes the story of how he met his wife Penelope, Helen’s cousin. Diomedes expresses his annoyance as Odysseus tells the story. When Odysseus finishes, he asks Lycomedes to see the famous dancers. Thetis had warned Lycomedes against showing them the women for fear of Achilles’ true identity being discovered, but Lycomedes relents to their request to appease them.
Achilles enters with the women, dressed as Pyrrha. Diomedes asks which one is Lycomedes’ daughter, but Lycomedes says that Deidameia is away visiting family. After the women finish dancing, Odysseus pulls out opulent gifts for them. Patroclus watches Achilles from across the room as he admires the gifts, particularly a pair of blue earrings. Patroclus also sees Diomedes speaking secretly to one of his servants. Before Patroclus can make sense of what is happening, trumpets go off, warning the people of danger. While the girls cower, Achilles forgets his disguise and prepares for battle. Patroclus watches Odysseus and Diomedes smiling as they reveal that they know Achilles’ identity. Before leaving the room with Achilles, Odysseus tells Achilles that he could bring Patroclus along with him if he so desires. The trumpets were just a ruse for Odysseus and Diomedes to identify Achilles and Patroclus.
Diomedes and Odysseus attempt to convince Achilles to join the fight at Troy. They tell him that this battle is Achilles’ chance to become immortal in both the eyes of the gods and humans. Odysseus tells Achilles and Patroclus of a prophecy the gods shared: If Achilles does not go to Troy, he will never become a legendary hero. Thetis appears and confirms the prophecy. After consulting with Patroclus, Achilles decides to go to Troy. Thetis says the prophecy requires that Achilles die after Hector dies. Upon hearing this, Achilles crafts a scheme to avoid killing Hector while still fighting the war, saying that he finds no reason to kill Hector because Hector has not personally done anything to him. By doing this, Achilles acknowledges that it will prolong the war, but he sees it as a way to protect his own life for longer. Before Patroclus and Achilles leave Scyros, Achilles shares Thetis’ request that Achilles and Deidameia’s child be raised by her. Lycomedes regrets ever having Achilles in his palace.
The next day Patroclus and Achilles set sail to Phthia, accompanied by Diomedes and Odysseus. Patroclus and Achilles listen to Diomedes and Odysseus’ stories. At night, they dock on an island and make tents. Odysseus upsets Achilles when he remarks on Patroclus and Achilles’’ close relationship, indicating that he knows of their romance. The next day, Odysseus gives Achilles a lesson on the Trojans: Hector, Paris, and Priam. Odysseus stresses that if Achilles maintains his resolve to not fight Hector, then his name will become legendary. Achilles asks about Agamemnon, and asserts his reluctance to serve and fight for him. Achilles knows he’s the best living warrior and doesn’t want to follow anyone else’s orders. That evening in bed, Patroclus thinks he will kill himself rather than spend a night alone after Achilles dies.
The next day they arrive in Phthia, where the entire kingdom chants Achilles’ name and welcomes him home. Patroclus watches as Peleus announces Achilles the pride of Phthia. After six weeks of training and war preparations, the Phthian soldiers are ready to go to Troy. Before they set sail, Peleus gives Achilles a spear given to him by Chiron. Achilles chooses not to tell Peleus of the prophecy, realizing that knowledge of Achilles’ death will only bring his father grief. The soldiers finally set sail for Troy with much fanfare and ceremony.
The soldiers arrive in Aulis where Achilles is welcomed by the cheering Myrmidons. Achilles meets with Agamemnon, Odysseus, Diomedes, and the old king of Pylos, Nestor. Achilles claims that Agamemnon does not command him. Upset by Achilles’ defiance, Odysseus steps in to quell Agamemnon’s anger. Patroclus realizes the prophecy of Achilles’ greatness is true as the people in the camps cheer and laud him as a hero.
After an oppressively hot month without wind, the chief priest, Calchas, claims that they must have offended the gods and says they must atone with a big sacrifice. Agamemnon decides that his daughter, Iphigenia, and Achilles should marry to appease the goddess Artemis. Patroclus expresses his agreement with the request and Achilles accepts the proposal. The day that Achilles and Iphigenia are to marry, Iphigenia arrives and Patroclus notices how young she is. As Iphigenia approaches Achilles, she is dragged out by Diomedes, and then stabbed to death by Agamemnon, who says that now the gods will be happy. The wind soon follows, confirming that the gods are appeased. Back in their tent, Achilles regrets not having stopped Agamemnon from killing Iphigenia.
Achilles is traumatized by Iphigenia’s death and Patroclus tries to console him. Achilles asks Patroclus what it was like to kill Clysonymus in childhood. They continue lamenting Iphigenia’s’ death, when suddenly Achilles grabs and kills a deadly snake beside them.
Days later as they approach the shores of Troy, the soldiers find the Trojans already at the bay, with Hector in a chariot. Achilles throws a spear from an impossible distance and strikes a Trojan down. Agamemnon’s fleet is in awe by Achilles’ feat. In response, Hector throws his own spear, killing Protesilaus, the Prince of Phylace.
The Grecians set up camp on the shores of Troy, and Patroclus remarks how his and Achilles’ tent is situated in the best location by far. Once they settle, Agamemnon and the rest of the generals have their first war meeting to decide how to proceed. The generals decide to raid the neighboring farms of Troy to cut off supplies and send a message. Afterward they will attempt diplomacy. The next day, Achilles goes on the raid while Patroclus remains behind. When Achilles returns, Patroclus listens to Achilles recount the events of the raid, particularly how easily Achilles killed the men.
Agamemnon is the first to choose what he wants to keep from each day’s raid, followed by Achilles. On the third week of raids, Achilles claims a woman at Patroclus’ suggestion, which angers the greedy Agamemnon because he had hoped to take her for himself. At first the woman is suspicious of Achilles and Patroclus, but once she learns that they do not intend to rape or abuse her, she feels comfortable enough to tell them her name: Briseis. While Achilles goes on raids, Patroclus and Briseis become close. Patroclus teaches her Greek. As other women are brought into the camp and claimed by the Greek soldiers, Patroclus and Briseis help them settle in as best they can.
After multiple raids, King Priam finally agrees to meet with the Greeks. Odysseus and Menelaus meet with King Priam, unarmed, to try and diplomatically retrieve Helen. However, they return in the evening without Helen, meaning Priam did not give her up and the war must continue. Patroclus describes Achilles’ skillful fighting on the battlefield, and how Thetis sometimes appears next to Achilles to observe his mastery. Both Achilles and Patroclus avoid Hector while fighting, unwilling to hasten the fulfillment of the prophecy.
Achilles speaks to Thetis and learns that the gods are choosing sides in the war. To pass time, Patroclus visits the medical tent to see if Machaon, the physician, needs help. Patroclus remembers his medicine lessons with Chiron at Mount Pelion. Almost immediately, Patroclus is thrust into action and deftly performs surgery on a soldier with an arrow wound. In the evenings, the camp spends time around campfire, sharing stories and singing songs. Briseis tells Achilles and Patroclus about Hector and Hector’s beloved wife, Andromache. After hearing that Achilles raided Andromache’s village and killed her and her family, Achilles acknowledges that he has done something to harm Hector.
After four years of fighting with no end in sight, discontent among the Greek soldiers grows. One day Agamemnon is blocked by protestors from entering the assembly, and he grows so angry, he accidentally kills one of the men. The crowd is about to seize Agamemnon when Achilles speaks up. Achilles gives a morale-boosting speech and successfully convinces the men to continue fighting.
Several years pass and Patroclus, while working in the medical tent, becomes closer to the Greeks as he cares for their wounds. One day after Achilles and Patroclus make love, Thetis appears before them. She informs Achilles that the god Apollo demands a sacrifice of one hundred sheep. Furthermore, Thetis tells them that there is a prophecy that says the best Myrmidons will be dead within two years, but Achilles will live.
One day while they are picking herbs, Briseis kisses Patroclus, surprising him. Briseis asks Patroclus if he’s ever wanted a child, and indicates that she would like to be Patroclus’s wife but wouldn’t mind if he kept Achilles as his lover. When Patroclus later tells Achilles about their exchange, Achilles is jealous but says Patroclus can have a child with Briseis if he wants. Patroclus isn’t sure he wants a child with her, and this relieves Achilles.
In the ninth year at war with Troy, Agamemnon claims a young Trojan girl named Chryseis. One day her father, a priest named Chryses, comes to ransom his daughter, offering double what Chryseis is worth. Agamemnon refuses his plea and throws him out. The priest curses Agamemnon as he leaves. The next day, the camp is struck with a plague that kills their animals, then later hordes of soldiers are afflicted by a disease. After nine days of their men and cattle dying, Achilles learns from Thetis that the gods have inflicted them with the plague.
On the tenth day, Achilles gathers the men and tells them of the plague’s nature. The priest, Calchas, tells the men that Apollo is angry and that the only way to appease him is for Agamemnon to return Chryseis to her father. Agamemnon refuses to return her, and in retaliation, threatens Achilles by taking his war prizes, including Briseis. Achilles responds by threatening to quit fighting for Agamemnon’s army. Later that day, Automedon, Achilles’ young charioteer, informs Achilles and Patroclus that Agamemnon’s men are on their way to capture Briseis. Achilles says he will kill Agamemnon, but Patroclus disagrees and asserts that they should protect Briseis. Patroclus realizes that Achilles will not protect Briseis and goes to warn her, feeling helpless.
Patroclus confronts Achilles about his decision to let Agamemnon take Briseis. Patroclus cannot understand Achilles’ selfish choice, and feels like he doesn’t recognize Achilles anymore. In an attempt to retrieve Briseis, Patroclus goes to Agamemnon. Patroclus slits his wrist and swears on his blood that he’s going to tell the truth. Patroclus explains that if Agamemnon violates Briseis, who is Achilles’ possession, then he would be violating Achilles’ honor and Achilles could kill him for it. Agamemnon realizes that Patroclus is betraying Achilles with this information, and says he will let Briseis go if Achilles bends to Agamemnon’s will. When Patroclus tells Achilles of his actions, Achilles feels betrayed that Patroclus went behind his back and ruined his chances of killing Agamemnon. Patroclus says he had to choose Briseis’ safety over Achilles’ pride.
Thetis and Achilles come up with a plan: Thetis will ask the god Zeus to make sure the Greeks lose without Achilles fighting for them, so Agamemnon will be forced to beg for Achilles’ return. Patroclus thinks of Chiron and what his advice would be in this situation. Chiron had once said that no person’s life is more valuable than someone else’s, regardless of what nation they’re from.
One evening, Patroclus meets with Agamemnon and Briseis. Agamemnon assures Patroclus that he has not violated Briseis and is taking care of her. The next day the Greek army goes to war without Achilles, leaving Achilles and Patroclus wondering how the battle will transpire.
Achilles and Patroclus learn from Phoinix that Paris had challenged Menelaus to a duel for Helen; whoever won the duel would end the war once and for all. Patroclus notes that during the fight Paris disappeared, and then Menelaus was struck by an arrow. Their duel ended in a tie. Later, Ajax faces off against Hector, which also ends in a draw. Achilles feels excited listening to the story, learning that everyone remarked how Achilles would have defeated Hector if he was there. As the war progresses the powerful Lycians join the Trojans, leading to the deaths of many Greek soldiers. While Patroclus feels remorse for the loss of these men, Achilles reads this as a sign that Agamemnon is close to seceding to Achilles’ will.
One night, Odysseus, Phoinix, and Ajax join Achilles and Patroclus for dinner and tell them about the current war situation. The Trojans are nearby and if Achilles does not fight, the Greeks will surely lose. Phoinix tells Achilles the story of Meleager, a young hero who once quit fighting for his people because of a slight to his honor. The only person who could convince Meleager to rejoin the fight was his beloved wife Cleopatra. Phoinix looks at Patroclus, and Patroclus realizes that he’s the only one who could sway Achilles. Achilles resolutely refuses his participation in the war.
Patroclus warns Briseis of the impending Trojan attack but quickly realizes that she is not in any real danger because she is a citizen of Troy and was kidnapped by the Greeks; the Trojans will free her. Briseis suggests that she will claim Patroclus as her husband in order to protect him from the Trojans. Patroclus wonders if he could’ve loved and married Briseis if he had never met Achilles. That night, Patroclus lies next to Achilles wishing that he could change Achilles’ mind about stubbornly refusing to fight.
The next day, Achilles and Patroclus are awakened by thunderstorms, a sign that the gods are enraged. Machaon begs Patroclus to convince Achilles to fight. Patroclus meanwhile tends to the increasing amount of wounded soldiers as the Trojans progress further and further into the Greek camp. Patroclus watches as Hector deftly sets a ship aflame, and as a spear pierces Ajax.
Patroclus finally appeals to Achilles to continue fighting, suggesting that though his honor is great, people will die without him. Achilles refuses. As an alternative, Patroclus proposes to stand in Achilles’ place, so that Achilles himself doesn’t have to enter the fray. The next day, Achilles dresses Patroclus in his tunic and prepares him for a faux battle, stressing the importance of Patroclus not actually fighting. Patroclus, dressed as Achilles, leads a charge, and disobeying Achilles’ orders, actually fights against Sarpedon, the king of Lycia, whom he kills. Patroclus then leads a charge against the walls of Troy, but is diverged when the god Apollo intervenes. A spear hits Patroclus, and he sees Hector walk toward him. The last thing Patroclus sees before his death is Hector, but the last thing he thinks is: Achilles.
Patroclus’ body is brought back to camp the next day, which causes Achilles to scream and sob. Achilles says he will fight the next day. While lamenting, Briseis blames Achilles for Patroclus’ death. Achilles defeats the river god Scamander before defeating Hector. Achilles parades Hector’s body, which angers the gods, especially when Achilles refuses to return his body to allow him a proper burial. Thetis tells Achilles that he is provoking Apollo’s rage and pleads with him to stop. Achilles scoffs at her, saying she has no power to bring Patroclus back. Thetis tells Achilles that his son, now twelve years old, will be more of a man than Achilles, that the Fates say Troy will not fall without Pyrrhus, and that she is glad Patroclus is dead.
King Priam appears to Achilles one night begging him to release Hector’s body. Achilles finally agrees, and dictates his desire to have his ashes mixed with Patroclus’ after he dies. As the war continues, Achilles kills more and more notable figures, including Memnon, Penthesilea, and the young Troilus of Troy. Within the walls of Troy, Paris shoots Achilles to death with his arrow.
Following Achilles’ death, Achilles’ son, Pyrrhus, arrives on the battlefield. Pyrrhus denies the burying of Achilles’ ashes with Patroclus’, claiming it will taint his father’s legacy. Briseis tells Pyrrhus that Achilles and Patroclus were in love and wanted to be buried together. Angry, Pyrrhus calls Briseis forward, and she tries to kill him with a knife, only to have him evade her attack. Briseis runs into the ocean, and Pyrrhus kills her with a spear. Troy eventually falls with the help of Pyrrhus’ ruthless fighting.
Achilles is in the underworld, so Patroclus can’t be with him. Thetis comes to Achilles’ grave, and Patroclus shares his memories of Achilles with her. Thetis regrets that she couldn’t make Achilles into a god. Thetis tells Patroclus that she added Patroclus’ name to Achilles’ grave, and that Achilles is waiting for him. Patroclus goes to Achilles.