So there are a lot of characters that are introduced in this book…and most of them (from mortal to goddess) have significance. There are actually so many in this book to account for that Side Characters must be separated from Minor Characters. But do all the new cast members add to what I like to call MCD? Let’s see.
Percy Jackson Our main protagonist and narrator really begins to feel the pressure of being a child of the Big Three in this book. With the presence of Thalia and her impending birthday, not to mention being left out of the quest, Percy’s experiencing what it means to be on the sidelines, and he doesn’t take it well. The thing about him is, Percy wants to be in on because he wants people to depend on him, not because of the fame. Most importantly, Athena tells him that his fatal flaw is personal loyalty–the need to protect those he cares about the most. The next biggest thing about Percy in this book is his faith in the gods. Sure, he doesn’t like some of them, but he believes in their power, and a sort of trust is beginning to form there.
And also, Riordan is really starting to push that something more is happening between Annabeth and Percy in the novel…which is always nice.
Thalia Grace This novel really explores Thalia’s character. (In fact, it’s the only book that explores her character.) Everyone seems to claim she’s the female version of Percy. Yes…and no. Thalia is like Percy up tot he extent that they are children of the Big Three: they’re super powerful, the take the leadership role, they’re constantly under pressure, they’re both a little impatient and hot-headed. A lot of that comes from their fathers. Then you’ve got the fact that Thalia is much more sure of herself. She believes more in her own abilities than those of the gods. She is afraid of heights (and not because Zeus is going to blast her out of the sky if she goes up there). She’s sort of a punk-hipster. She’s kind of a badass. And this stem from the other half of her parenthood: her mother. Percy’s been sheltered all his life, meanwhile Thalia has to fend for herself. From his mother Percy’s learned to protect those he loves. From her mother, Thalia’s learned to trust in only herself.
Grover Underwood Our favourite satyr builds a lot more character in this book, showing off new skills and his obsession with finding Pan. He has a lot more of a backbone in this book than in the beginning, and yet still very unsure of himself and his abilities. He’s still dependent on Percy, but has the ability (and ingenuity) to fight for his own.He’s still goofy, but he also knows when to take responsibility. This book is the transition phase for Grover to move from Goat-boy to Goat-man, and he’s really on his way up.
Zoe Nightshade Daughter of Atlas, ex-Hesperid, and Lieutenant to Artemis, Zoe is an immortal who’s been around for 3000 years. Her slip-ups in English are a little less than amusing, but she really is a model huntress, which is great since the Hunters haven’t come up in the series before. Unlike the other figures of mythology, Zoe seems to be stuck in time, following old values, traditions and laws. I like how her stoic and indifferent persona becomes susceptible as Percy learns more about her, but as I mentioned previously, it would have been great to really know what happened between her and Hercules. Was she in love with him? How did he betray her?
Bianca di Angelo Bianca may be one of the fastest dynamic characters I’ve ever read. With a confused past and little brother to deal with she starts off the book as a very low-esteem, motherly figure. The thing is, she isn’t a mother, so when she decides to join the hunters, her appearance and personality immediately change. It’s hard to say whether Nico was holding her back or in check, but it’s easy to say she makes rash decisions. Granted, she’s twelve, but come on. Admittedly, her care-taker instincts kick in when they fight Talos in the junk yard, and it’s very sweet how she still thinks of her brother even though she joined the hunters to be free of that responsibility.
Nico di Angelo Ten years old and in love with mythology, Nico is that excitable little kid who is amazed by the world he’s introduced into. His initial conversation with Percy is adorable, and his faith in Percy is extraordinary. Where his sister rises in this book, he falls. Granted, they both change a great deal, but Nico descends from this love and fascination to hatred, fear, and confusion. And no one can blame him, for Hebe’s sake, he’s ten years old! Nico is exactly what happens when you discover that the world is not sunshine and rainbows, and it hits him hard. While he doesn’t get much ink in this novel, he’s definitely one to watch.
Annabeth Chase She’s still hardcore (carrying the sky for one thing) but still vulnerable, like in Sea of Monsters. She is Percy’s best friend and her divided attentions between him, Luke and Thalia are what push Percy to the sidelines. We learn a lot more about her connections with Luke and Thalia, and both were considering the Hunters…however whether she’s pushed by Luke or her father isn’t really explained. (Though, considering her budding romance with Percy, its more likely because of Luke.)
Mr. and Mrs. Fredrick Chase We finally meet Annabeth’s parents in this book and man are they…normal. I don’t really know what I expected, but I expected someone who didn’t really care. I mean, given that Athena is a maiden goddess, I thought Fredrick and his wife would treat Annabeth as some kid who’s mother pushed her child onto Fredrick. But Frecdrick’s concern for his daughter is endearing and his intelligence and obsession with war planes refreshing. And if Mrs. Chase knows quite a bit about Percy, Annabeth must place some trust in her. And all this just adds to the dysfunction family social issues that sprout from the gods relations with mortals.
Rachel Elizabeth Dare Her brief scene at Hoover Dam sticks out since she is a mortal who can see through the Mist. A quick thinker and an entertaining incident, she represents a very important key to the future.
Blackjack Percy’s trusty steed, Blackjack is a black pegasus loyal to Percy. He’s great comic relief and an awesome animal companion for our main hero.
Luke Castellan Luke’s character jumps leaps and bounds in this novel. He’s completely torn, still caring for Annabeth and Thalia, while determined to destroy the gods. At times it feels like Atlas has to push Luke back towards the road of evil and Kronos. And somehow, he’s gained invincibility…
Figures of Mythology
Artemis Maiden goddess of the hunt in twelve year old mode, Artemis is is level headed and surprising mature despite her young appearance. And I think this is the point. I find it especially ironic that the patron goddess of young maidens is the most mature of all the Olympians. She’s a great transfer, with smart speeches, a great attitude and (what I feel) is the most human of the gods. It makes sense that she is an integral part of the Council and her hunters follow her, since she relates to humanity so well.
Apollo Sun/Music/Medicine/Youth God is turned into a sophisticated teenager with a pretty hot ride. He’s also transferred over really well from the mythology. He’s a really good balance of laid back and serious, fun and concerned, helpful and aloof. Much like how he’s the most Greek of the gods, Apollo is probably the most American of the gods. I especially like how he tries to aid them in their quest. In fact, a lot of gods get more involved in this book, for example…
Dionysus The biggest thing about Mr. D is how he feels about heroes. He really hates their tendency to be unfaithful, but he still can be relied to on help…which brings up the question “when do we deserve the gods’ help?”
Athena Another goddess in disguise who aids our heroes, Athena is portrayed as a woman who thinks ahead and thinks strategically. She would probably make a good business woman, however she loses points for wanting to kill Percy and Thalia. (Though I think the former is in part due to protective maternal instincts.)
Aphrodite Goddess of love and a bit of an air-head obsessed with real-life chick-flicks, Aphrodite is finally introduced into the story, promising to make the story interesting (as if Riordan couldn’t make it more obvious.) I really love her description, how her appearance changes to match the observer’s opinion of beauty. Her appearance truly isn’t stable, suggesting that there are many forms of beauty in the eyes of one person. Plus, it’s nice that she looks like Annabeth initially (and, I like to think, predominantly).
Atlas Since I mostly thought of Atlas as some half-naked guy holding the globe/sky before reading this book I was surprised by his evil characterization. Granted, I knew it was punishment, but previously he was always a sympathetic character…now I know better. He’s a pretty evil guy, hiding in shadows for most of the novel.
Bessie the Ophiotaurus Probably the cutest cow serpent monster in the history of cow serpent monsters, Bessie is proof that the innocent must always suffer in war.
In the end I think all the new characters add depth to all the conflict in the story, which is great. The new characters often lend themselves to the main prophecy or the political and social issues surrounding the gods and their children.
So does The Titan’s Curse suffer from MCD? Not a chance.
Other PJO Reviews
“The most dangerous flaws are those which are good in moderation.”
― (Athena) Rick Riordan, The Titan’s Curse