Something was stolen, monsters are attracted to demigods, and Mr. D’s still cranky. I now present the seventh chapter of Michael Reads Percy Jackson: The Lightning Thief…
My Dinner Goes Up in Smoke
This is another chapter that’s primarily given to world-building and character development, both of which are welcome things at the moment. Most of the development goes to Annabeth while she introduces Percy to more of the camp and many of the concepts related to it. I still like her – she’s friendly enough, but she’s got her own agenda as well; this is a good thing. She seems to be her own character rather than just a prop for Percy. Luke, the counselor that’s one of Hermes’s sons, got a bit of development, too, but so far the book hasn’t had a chance to give him too much depth.
As I implied, I’m enjoying the world-building. For one thing, I enjoy learning about any fantasy novel’s setting, and for another, it’s fun for me to find all of the contrasts between Riordan’s interpretation of the concept and my own in Zeus Is Dead.
One big difference is that people with one divine parent are automatically demigods. This was one of the things I did know about the series, which I learned when I looked it up on Wikipedia years ago. It’s one of the ways ZID is different. My own interpretation is that having a god for a parent merely confers some genetic advantages and hidden potential that can lead to greatness. Actual “demigod” status requires some additional help, which is actually how I interpreted the original mythology.
I also love Riordan’s detail that monsters sense power and come to challenge them. Riordan and I both used a “monsters are drawn to power” thing, but ZID monsters are drawn to places and items of power rather than people. Again, it’s fun that we have different takes. I’m not even sure at this point if the general concept is from mythology at all. Did we both see a need in our stories for such an idea?
Speaking of world-building, it’s suggested Percy talk to the Oracle to find out more about his parentage and who he is. I’m anxious for that to happen. For one thing, I like oracles and prophecies, but for another, so people can stop being mystified about his obvious parentage. The kid controls water and his mom met his dad on an ocean beach for crying out loud! (I’m fully aware that there’s a tiny chance I’m wrong about this, so if I am, you’re probably all reading this and snickering…)
There is one detail that I hesitate to point out. It’s something Riordan got wrong, but I don’t want to appear as if I’m criticizing the book because it’s an error that the U.S. Army (among others) have made as well: The Caduceus is Hermes’s symbol, but it’s not a medical symbol, and medicine is not part of Hermes’s traditional portfolio. That gig belongs to Asclepius or Apollo, depending on who you ask, and it’s the Rod of Asclepius, which only has one entwining snake, that was the actual medical symbol and confused with the Caduceus.
That said, there’s nothing wrong with changing a thing or two. In Zeus Is Dead, I decided Hecate was actually adopted because there were so many conflicting stories about her origins in the original mythology, so I can’t really throw stones. Perhaps Riordan decided that the American confusion about the Caduceus actually shifted medicine into Hermes’s portfolio, or that Hermes actually stole it? That’d be a cool interpretation, actually.
- I’m still not liking Mr. D, but I don’t think I’m supposed to.
- Monsters can’t get in unless intentionally stocked or summoned specially by someone on the inside. But I’m sure that won’t possibly happen, right?
- We learn in this chapter that something important was stolen. (I’m pretty sure it was Zeus’s lightning, given the title.)
This chapter’s favorite line goes to the following for teasing my interest with something that probably won’t ever be elaborated on due to legal reasons:
“A few [demigods] manage to survive in the outside world and become famous. Believe me, if I told you the names, you’d know them.”
I want names!