My contribution to the Call My By Your Name fandom

I may be wrong, but…

So, I was listening to “The Mistery Of Love” and when the Hephaestion/Alexander verses came on I had a revelation, brought to me by this flash I had of a random fact I learned many years ago while reading Hephaestion’s page on Wikipedia. 

There was this time when Alexander’s army had just won a battle in Persia and he and Hephaestion were visiting together the captured royal family. The Persian Princess begged Hephaestion to spare the lives of her family members, because she thought he was Alexander (since they were wearing similar, rich clothes). After this misunderstanding, Alexander reacted saying  “You were not mistaken, Mother; this man too is Alexander.

Have you guessed, now, why the author chose this particular couple to be in the song? 
They were so united, so “one soul abiding in two bodies”, as Aristotle used to say, that Alexander considered them to be one person, one being. Ring a bell?

He considered his lover to be him. Therefore, he calls him by his name

In “Mystery of Love” there’s the verse:

“Like Hephaestion who died,

Alexander’s lover”

It refers to the story of Alexander The Great and one of his most trusted generals, Hephaestion, who was presumably his lover. No matter his heroic acts or his importance in Alexander’s conquests, Hephaestion is always remembered only for his relationship with Alexander.

In Call Me By Your Name we see Oliver only through his relationship with Elio.

Oliver doesn’t exist as an independent and full entity: he exist only to serve Elio’s story. We see Elio on his own, learn about his life before and after he meets Oliver, (we know his last name), instead we know nothing about the Oliver who isn’t Elio’s lover.

This is so much clear in the last chapter of the book, when the two lovers meet again. Elio panics at the prospect of seeing Oliver’s family, because if he met them, “Elio’s lover” would become “someone’s husband” / “the boys’ father”. He can’t accept that there is a place and time where Oliver isn’t his lover and calls those moments when they are separated “a coma”, as if they were alive only when they are together, rejecting Oliver’s explanation of “parallel lives”.

And because we read the book from Elio’s perspective we also reject any other form of Oliver: he is and will forever be only Elio’s lover.

Concluding with another verse from “Mystery of Love”, both Hephaestion and Oliver are

“Cursed by the love I received”

to be forever remembered only as their lover’s lover.

Reading about Alexander the Great is so much more fun if you add ‘no homo’ to the end of his gayest exploits:

  • “yo, hephaestion, you know who was totally rad? achilles. i’m gonna constantly publicly compare myself to him, so you should totally do the same with his bud patroclus! i mean, some of the greatest minds of our time have written about how they were totally doin’ it, but no homo!”
  • “heey, hephaestion! ya know how we were talking about good ol’ achilles and his boy patroclus? well how 'bout we take a detour to troy to pay tribute at their tombs and then maybe we can oil each other up and run naked down a beach ha ha no homo!”
  • “the dorians? oh yeah, us macedonians are definitely related to the dorians. a lot of greeks credit the dorians with introducing man-on-man sex to greece, it was a behavior that was even expected of their ruling class … no homo.”
  • “hey, bagoas, nice dancing. you know what wouldn’t be gay? if we made out. right here. everyone wants it. come on, bro, no homo.”
  • “what’s that?” “oh nothing, hephaestion. just a letter from that delightful fellow we met living in a barrel, diogenes of sinope. it’s really nothing … here’s something about me 'yielding’ to your thighs … uh, no homo …”
  • “hey, hephaestion, let’s get married together! no homo!”
  • “yo, hephaestion, you know what totally wouldn’t be gay? if you died and i wept over your corpse for a day straight until i had to be dragged away and maybe i wouldn’t eat for a whole two days cause i was too busy sobbing and then i spent anywhere from 10,000 to 12,000 talents, which is like a billion dollars, on funerary shit and i could extinguish that sacred flame that’s only supposed to be extinguished upon the death of the great king but whatever i mean you too are alexander and i could try to get you deified and then maybe the grief caused by your death could contribute to my declining mental and physical health over the next eight months until i also died ha ha NO HOMO!”

India, 326 BCE.  Macedonian War Council.

Alexander: So talk to me, commanders, how are we looking? 

Hephaistion: Sexy, but not like we’re trying too hard. Like, sure, we’re trying, but it’s almost effortless.

if you gave me the chance
I’d love you
until the last star in the universe blinks away
—  let us try by Abby S
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I got to work with Jared Leto. Jared’s cute. Oh, I’ll tell you. Jared will make you doubt about your sexuality   

 —    Colin Farrell