It’s a double-rainbow all the way across the country! (So intense!) Or at least it’s a two-way rainbow. In other words, it’s time for part fifteen of Michael Reads Percy Jackson: The Lightning Thief…
A God Buys Us Cheeseburgers
My first thought as I started reading: “Great, now I want a cheeseburger.” But I soon moved beyond that, because it turns out I get to meet another god. Yes, Ares has arrived. As usual, my interest in meeting Ares was two-fold: I just like when gods enter personally into any story, and I was eager to compare Riordan’s Ares with my own in Zeus Is Dead.
By the chapter title, I knew a god was coming in this chapter. Yet when the motorcycle pulled up, I first thought, “Oh, hey, it’s Poseidon!” It wasn’t until the god in question was further described that I remembered that Poseidon inventing the motorcycle is something I came up with for Zeus Is Dead rather than from mythological canon. (Poseidon gave the world horses, so it stands to reason that he’d eventually make “iron horses”/motorcycles, no?)
Riordan’s Ares is just a little different than mine: More sneer, less growl. More negotiating, less blustering. Slightly better grammar. Also this Ares is a little less thick-headed, but then ZID is a comedy, so playing Ares as a violent dimwit was useful for laughs. (One thing that is the same: Both have been having affairs with Aphrodite for the past 3,000 years, which is of course from the original mythology.) So he’s different, but I still like him. Or, rather, I like him as a character. I wouldn’t want to hang out with him.
Even so, when he offers Percy a quest in exchange for some help that the kid sorely needs and Percy scoffs, I had to scoff right back at Percy. Hasn’t Percy played any RPGs? (That’s role-playing games, not rocket-propelled grenades. Given Ares’s involvement I suppose that needs to be clarified…) You’ve got to XP-grind, kid! That’s just how this stuff works! Now go fetch the shield!
At first I thought that his resistance was just due to increased aggression from being in close proximity to Ares, but then Ares left and Percy still refused. Fortunately, he came around. I mean, sure, obvious trap, but when looking for divine allies, that’s the chance you’ve got to take. The abandoned water park was a fun scene. I especially liked that Hephaestus’s trap involved robots, television broadcasts, and other modern elements.
Oh, I haven’t even mentioned the rainbow messages. Riordan balances the ancient Greek magical concept of sending a message via rainbow (or, rather, the Iris, the messenger goddess of rainbows) with creating such a rainbow in a car wash.
They use this method to check in with Chiron, but wind up talking to Luke, who reaffirms the theory that the lightning thief has to be Hades. But you know what? The more people insist that it HAS to be Hades, the more I begin to suspect that it’s not. It doesn’t help that it’s Luke who says it, as I still don’t trust Luke due to my own theory about him being the eventual betrayer. He was really interested in knowing if Percy was using the winged boots, wasn’t he?
Speaking of that whole Hades theory, now we’ve got this quote from Ares:
“Framing somebody to start a war. Oldest trick in the book.”
As soon as Ares said that in the diner I wondered how likely it is that Ares actually stole the lightning, and that he’s framing someone for framing someone to start a war. Ares was sent to find the lightning and failed. Perhaps that’s because he didn’t want to find it? I know, I know, I’m a very suspicious individual.
- Riordan’s characterization of Hephaestus’s is different from mine, too. Heph doesn’t have more than a couple of lines in ZID, but I wrote him as so in love with Aphrodite that he’s forgiven the affair, and still dotes on her. (I think she cares about him, too, but that doesn’t stop her from having the affair.) I’m not actually sure if he’s aware they’re still running around behind his back or not.
My favorite line from this chapter is a great bit of characterization that’s quite on target, so far as I’m concerned:
“While Ares and Aphrodite were smooching with each other they could look at their favorite people: themselves.”
Well put. 😀
For those of you reading along with me, who do YOU think stole the lightning? Or for those who’ve already read it, do you recall what your theories were at this point in the book when you first experienced it? Tell me in the comments!
As always, no spoilers please!