Oracles in the Attic! No, it’s not a V.C. Andrews novel; it’s time for the ninth chapter of Michael Reads Percy Jackson: The Lightning Thief…
I Am Offered a Quest
After a bit of good ol’ fashioned teenaged social ostracizing (on what could arguably be termed an officially “epic” level, given the mythological connections), Percy is offered a quest! It’s an exciting development that would have been completely surprising were it not for the spoiler in the chapter title. (I’m teasing, The Lightning Thief, I’m teasing. I still likes ya!)
Dionysus is now a murderous, cranky drunk, having stated his preference to turning Percy into the Human Torch rather than having him go on the quest. Low regard for mortal life is hardly out of character for a god, of course, but I’m still wishing Dionysus wasn’t such a dick. This also led me to mark him as being a bit more likely to have been the one who summoned the hellhound–though I’m far from certain.
Percy’s stock with me went up when he figured out, based on dreams and other things he’s heard, that Zeus and Poseidon are fighting over something that’s been stolen. Or, rather, I like that he wasn’t mystified, since the signs were rather clear. (Then again, I suppose prophetic dreams aren’t always things people know to take seriously if they’re not aware that they’re in a book. Either way, kudos to Percy.)
Speaking of this, a friend pointed out that not everyone (especially in TLT‘s target age group) knows as much about Greek mythology as I do, so my thinking that it was so painfully obvious that Percy is Poseidon’s kid wasn’t really fair of me. Okay, so sometimes I can be harsh. That said, I was also pleased to find Chiron say that he’d had his suspicions about Percy’s parentage for quite a while.
Percy’s stock dropped back down when he decided to omit the rest of the Oracle’s prophecy when telling it to Chiron. (Yeah, so I’m still harsh.) It’s a perfectly human thing to do, but… *whaps Percy*
So, speaking of that prophecy, I love prophecies. I don’t even care if they’re cliché. (There’s an argument to be made about whether or not they even are cliché, but even if they are, things become cliché for a reason.) They make for fun little mind-screws for the readers, so far as I’m concerned. They can almost never be taken literally, and there’s so much room for various twists and turns. Second-guessing a prophecy is natural too, but that never helps, either. In other words… DRAMA!
As for this particular prophecy, I can’t resist trying my hand at guessing a meaning for each line. I doubt I’ll be correct about everything, but at least I’ll give you folks who’ve read the book a good excuse to snicker at me behind my back.
You shall go west, and face the god who has turned.
Chiron seems to be 100% certain it’s Hades, and since this is the first line, I’m going to guess there’s no twist here, and it actually is Hades. I confess I’m unsure how “turned” describes Hades, however. Tiny chance it’s someone else, and “turned” indicates an act of betrayal of Zeus.
You shall find what was stolen, and see it safely returned.
Again, I’m not really expecting any major twists in this one. He’ll find Zeus’s lightning, and bring it back. Let’s hope Percy remembers to bring along some insulated gloves.
You shall be betrayed by one who calls you a friend.
The book seems to want us to think this is going to be Grover, but I’m leaning more toward either Annabeth or Luke. Luke isn’t going on the quest, so that might seem to make him less of a candidate, but maybe he’ll show up later to “help,” with some ulterior motive. Especially if I’m wrong about the first line and Hermes stole the lightning…
And you shall fail to save what matters most, in the end.
This makes me expect it’s going to be a failure to save Percy’s mom from the Underworld. But then, I didn’t think she even WAS in the Underworld–or at least, I didn’t think she was dead. (She might be alive down there and held for ransom.) I’m going to go out on a limb, though, and say that “failure” won’t be as bad as it seems: he’ll “fail” to save her because she won’t need saving–or she’ll save herself. Or someone else, other than Percy, WILL save her.
You’re all laughing at me now, huh?
- The Oracle is creepy. I’m not a big fan of desiccated mummies.
- I confess that I honestly didn’t know the golden net story about Zeus. A quick Google search doesn’t turn up the original source, or even a telling of the tale (that I could find). Does anyone know where it’s from?
My favorite line for this chapter:
“I mean, couldn’t the master bolt be in some place like Maine? Maine’s very nice this time of year.”
A funny line from Grover with a good callback.