On Percy Jackson (and grammar)


If you haven’t read the Percy Jackson books, or want to refresh your memory, here’s some background for you.

The premise is this: all the Ancient Greek “myths” are real.  All that really happened.  And the gods and goddesses and monsters and titans and suchlike?  Being immortal, they’re still around.  They move from place to place with Western civilization.  From Greece to Rome, to various other places… and now to America.  Mount Olympus is on the 600th floor of the Empire State Building, but chances are, you’re not allowed up there.  Not if you’re a regular mortal.

Percy Jackson isn’t a regular mortal, with emphasis on regular.  He is mortal, but only half.  His mother is Sally Jackson, and his father?

His father is the god Poseidon.  (I before E exception!)

So lots of monsters try to kill him.  When he is 11, he gets taken to Camp Half-Blood, the only safe place for demigods*.  And he finds out who his dad is.

Anyway, he makes some friends — particularly Annabeth Chase, daughter of Athena, and Grover Underwood, satyr (half boy, half goat) — and they go on various important and life-threatening quests.  Fun, right?  Actually, it kind of is.

*If one of your parents is a human and one a god or goddess, you are a demigod, aka half-blood, aka hero.

That’s a little background for you.  Onwards!

So, throughout the first 4 books, some of the characters refer to a mysterious “Great Prophecy,” which apparently talks about a half-blood child of one of the “Big Three” gods: Hades, Poseidon, and Zeus, who was supposed to, at age 16, make a decision that would either destroy or save Olympus, the home of the gods.  Now, the gods didn’t want to risk that, so Poseidon, Zeus, and Hades all swore: no more demigod kids.  But Percy and a few others turn up anyway.  However, one of the other kids dies, one becomes an immortal Hunter of Artemis the day before her 16th birthday, and one is younger than Percy anyway.

But then in the 5th and last book, the prophecy is finally read aloud at a meeting, and Percy finally hears it.  It goes:

A half-blood of the eldest* gods
Shall reach sixteen against all odds
And see the world in endless sleep

The hero’s soul, cursed blade shall reap
A single choice shall end his** days
Olympus to preserve or raze.

So Percy will make this decision — and then die.  Or so it seems.

If you examine it logically, this prophecy refers to two people — a “half-blood” and a “hero”!  Of course they could be the same person — but what if they’re not?

The “half-blood”:

Is a child of Zeus, Hades, or Poseidon
Shall reach the age of 16 against all odds
Will see the world in endless sleep

The “hero”:

Will have his or her soul reaped by a cursed blade
Will have her or his days ended by a single choice

The “choice”:

Will end the “hero”‘s days
Will preserve or raze Olympus
Will be made by — who?  The prophecy doesn’t say!

So what actually happens?  The half-blood is Percy.  He makes the choice, which ends the hero’s days and preserves Olympus.  The hero is a character named Luke.  In fact, there is a hint in the book that this will happen.  Rachel (who has the power of prophecy) tells Percy that he is “not the hero.”  And he isn’t — he’s the half-blood!

Okay, so Olympus has been preserved.  As rewards, the gods make Grover a member of the Council of Cloven Elders and a lord of the Wild.  They make Annabeth the official architect of Olympus, which has been trashed by the war.  They make Tyson, Percy’s Cyclops half-brother, a general of the armies of Olympus.  And Percy?  They grant him a wish — any wish — even immortality.

But he turns it down and tells them to pay more attention to their demigod kids, and to claim*** them before they turn 13.  And he says that every god and goddess should have a cabin*** at Camp Half-Blood, not just the Olympians.  And so now they’re building a whole bunch more cabins.

Looks like somebody fell asleep building the Hypnos cabin.  I’d better go check on them….  Also, did you know that Harry Pottery magic doesn’t always work on Greek monsters?  Annabeth and I compared notes last night.  It’s so weird here.  You can impress everybody just with Wingardium Leviosa, and they act like swordfighting is no big deal!  Once some Hecate kids get here, I’ll visit again and see how their magic works.

Oh yeah, and everybody’s nervous about the new Great Prophecy.  I told them that Divination is piffle, but Annabeth says it’s different here.  Well, I suppose even Trelawney makes a real prophecy once in a while.

*Actually, Zeus, Poseidon, and Hades are not the eldest gods — they have 3 older sisters.  Plus, there’s Aphrodite, older than all of them….  But technically, they are all godesses….
**Or her.
***At Camp Half-Blood, there are 12 cabins, one in honor of each Olympian god.  That god or goddess’s children sleep in that cabin.  If you don’t know who your godly parent is, you sleep in the Hermes cabin until you are claimed by your godly parent.

This entry was posted in Book, By Khiyali, philosophy, Review and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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