I picked up the Percy Jackson series a little over a year ago for my nephew. The author Rick Riordan was going to be at the local Barnes and Noble, so they were promoting the books pretty heavily. I really liked the blurb about the first book and having been more than a little Harry Potter’d out, I thought it would be a nice change of pace.
In Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief, we meet young sixth grader Percy Jackson on a field trip to the Museum of Natural History in New York. He ends up vamporizing his math teacher when she wigs out and attacks him, His step-father is a jerk and his mom is overworked, but loving. The two escape to Long Island Sound for a vacation where everything that can go wrong does and Percy soon learns that he’s a demi-god, but more than that, Percy is a demi-god with a mission because a minotaur tries to kill his mother and the Gods think he stole Zeus’ lightning bolt.
What makes the Percy Jackson series so appealing is the way it embraces Greek mythology, the ethos and the pathos of it. You see, I have a passion for the Greek myths. One of the first books my parents gave me that I can remember having was a Greek mythology pop-up book. The gods and their intrinsically human flaws appealed to me on a visceral level.
The film Clash of the Titans sealed the deal as I watched Laurence Olivier glare down upon the world of mortals and Ursula Andress look like a fabled beauty as the goddess Aphrodite. Over the years, we’ve seen many incarnations of the Greek gods in different shows including Hercules and Xena. Ares was definitely a popular favorite. Hera was the villainess in the Hercules films, murdering his wife and children out of spite for his existence.
No matter how they are portayed, the gods of Greek mythology are painted very much in human colors. They are humanity’s greatest and worst qualities magnified. Riordan embraces that concept in his novels. While these books are definitely written for children, they are not written down at all. They embrace Greek mythology and the concept of human weakness and heroic behavior. They also feature quests, responsibility and fantastic storytelling. All the right ingredients for a great story!
What god in Greek mythology is your favorite?
Percy Jackson Movie Trailer