PJO Reviews | The Lightning Thief: Characters

Wow Part 2 took a while to write. Here I go:

the lightning thief

The Protagonists

Perseus “Percy” Jackson: Twelve year old son of Poseidon Percy Jackson is the narrator of the story. He’s diagnosed with ADHD and dyslexia, and doesn’t fit in at school. He’s a likeable character, with a snarky voice, an underdog appeal, and a great prophecy on his shoulders. His character development in the book is typical: a journey from underdog to hero, which, while somewhat stereotypical, made unique by his situation. His ties to his family and friends are admirable, and really help the reader understand his motivations.

Annabeth Chase: While not introduced until a quarter of the way in, Annabeth is (as many fans know) and extremely important character to the series. Daughter of Athena and one of the longest member of CHB, Annabeth is smart and knows how to kick Greek butt with her knife, often acting as Percy’s personal Greekipedia. However, she is sure of herself, desperate to prove her strength. Her conflict with father opens herself to a lot of surprising vulnerability, one of which is Luke, who she has a crush on. (A conflict which is justified since, she isn’t technically supposed to exist as Athena is a version…but explanation to come.)

Grover Underwood: An undercover Satyr who is Percy’s best friend and protector, Grover is depicted as a late-bloomer, who is nerdy and incompetent. Again, sort of a stereotype: and underdog trying to prove his worth, so he can search for the missing god, Pan. Grover’s especially useful with his nature magic, talking to animals and using his reed pipes. And he’s a pretty good comic relief.

Side Characters

Sally Jackson: Percy’s mother, who is loving, supportive, and self-sacrificing. The connection between herself and Percy is genuine and well written.

Chiron: Chiron is a father-like figure, teacher to all demigods at camp. He acts mostly as a mentor, pretty static, but necessary and well transferred from mythology.

Clarisse La Rue: Daughter of Ares and big bully, Clarisse is the first obstacle Percy encounters at camp. Her development is pretty static.

Antagonists

Luke Castellan: Luke is an especially interesting antagonist, because his motivations are sound as an ignored Son of Hermes, but his actions aren’t his own. He’s convincing as a genuine friend, and especially since Annabeth trusts him so much,  his betrayal is even more hurtful. Unfortunately, not much else is said about him.

Kronos: Not much has been mentioned about Kronos except that he is powerful and evil. More on him to come…

The Gods

Dionysus: The transfer of Dionysus as celebrated god of wine to reluctant camp director on prohibition is hilarious. He intentionally acts as if he doesn’t care (and in many cases he probably does), but as the first god the reader actually encounters, it really puts in the reader’s head that these are not capital G gods.

Ares: The god of war on a harley, the transfer of Ares to America is also very good. He’s hotheaded, he’s bossy, he’s full of himself. And his fight against Percy is ironically necessary to save Percy’s reputation with the mortals.

Hades: The god and the underworld named Hades is very well done. I like how population growth has really taken its toll on both the person and the place. And it is unsettling that one of the Big Three is not an Olympian.

Zeus: Lord of the sky turned hot-tempered businessman is featured for a very short amount of time. Themost we get about him is that he is proud and arrogant.

Poseidon: What I like best about Poseidon’s characterization is his relationship with Percy. The confusion and mixed feelings in their relationship is key to the series: gods don’t know what to do with their mortal children. They don’t feel responsible, and yet they do. Poseidon has a special fatherly approach to Percy, which is still awkward and impersonal. And I like it.

Overall, while the non-Greek mythos characters are kind of cliche, the Greek mythos characters are well transferred over and re-imagined with American aspects. Each character is left with a lot of room for growth, necessary for a series, and with a lot of backstory allowing them to be well rounded-characters, despite their easily recognizable tropes.

Next post on The Lightning Thief will include writing, extras and the final verdict!

“You’ll be a hero, Percy. You’ll be the greatest of all.” – (Sally Jackson) Rick Riordan, The Lightning Thief

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