I’m far more excited about learning something than Percy is, and given the nature of that something, this makes no sense to me. All this and more in the 16th installment of Michael Reads Percy Jackson: The Lightning Thief…
We Take a Zebra to Vegas
So I’m declaring it a de facto rule: All tales of gods in the modern world must take at least one side-trip to Las Vegas. It happened in Zeus Is Dead, it’s now happened in The Lightning Thief, and…well that’s all I know of, really. Who’s read American Gods? Do they go to Vegas? (If not, somebody tell Neil Gaiman to get with the program!) Oh, and there’s something else I should get out of the way right now:
I WAS RIGHT!!! 😀
Yep, Percy’s mom isn’t dead, but instead spirited away, as I suspected. Sorry for getting all smug there, but it’s my blog and I’ll be smug if I want to. The thing that struck me as weird, though, was the fact that Percy has almost NO reaction to learning this. At first I thought he was just too caught up in Ares’s angry-aura to respond. I kept waiting for him to mention, think about, or feel anything about this news, but there’s absolutely nothing for the rest of the chapter. What gives, kid?
Speaking of Ares’s angry-aura (yeah, I’m making that a term here), there’s only so much slack I’m willing to give Percy for needlessly antagonizing Ares, even with the aura. The kid has crossed into Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix territory (in which, as I recall, Harry was lashing out and making a general jerk of himself a lot of the time–not that it wasn’t justified in some ways, but it made a lot of readers, myself included, like him a lot less for a while).
Anger has its place, but I don’t much care for people who are foolishly antagonistic. In my life I’ve had to smooth ruffled feathers of people too blind to see that their anger is only hurting themselves, and it’s not something I enjoy. Despite the aura, Grover and Annabeth were keeping things in check, so I’m inclined to think Percy could’ve pulled it back a bit rather than pitching a fit and throwing the help that he earned back in Ares’s face. Yes, his mom has been taken. But he’s on his way to save her, and throwing diplomacy out the window is only going to sabotage what he’s trying to do.
Harry Percy got to Vegas on a truck full of abused animals that I was happy to see set free (and nicely blessed by Grover to keep them out of any other trouble). I was curious to see what was going to be in Vegas, and if any particular mythological figure was there, since Vegas plays something of a key part in Zeus Is Dead. (Dionysus runs the place from atop the Dionysian Hotel & Casino, newly erected on the site of Caesar’s Palace.)
I’m curious if the Lotus Casino’s part here (ensnaring Percy’s group and others in a trap of fun and leisure where time has no meaning) exists primarily for Riordan to provide an Aesop on the dangers of gambling addiction, or if the goal was just to ramp up the urgency of their quest by stealing some time. Poor kids. This is why “Hansel & Gretel” is vital reading for any young child!
Oh, hey, I nearly forgot about Percy’s dream of the “Crooked One.” I don’t recognize that name from Greek mythology (I’ll be the first to admit that I don’t know everything), so I’m curious to learn more. I’m betting the almost-recognized voice speaking to the Crooked One in the dream is Luke. This makes me realize also that it probably wasn’t Ares who stole the lightning directly (since I momentarily forgot when I made that theory that gods themselves can’t do such thefts in this setting), but that doesn’t mean I’m not still thinking he might be involved.
But I’m not putting any bets on him just yet.
- Percy did get points from me on the truck for giving the meat to the lion and the turnips to the herbivores. It was actually bothering me quite a bit from an organizational standpoint that those things were switched, so it was a little load off of my strange little mind when he did it. Oh, and probably it made the animals happy, too.
- We learn that Grover ignored some orders in an effort to try to save more people. It wasn’t entirely successful, but I respect him for the decision. This is an example of useful defiance. Take notes, Percy.
- There was a little more about Annabeth’s dad in this chapter. I wonder if he’ll be showing up at some point in the series.
My favorite line from this chapter goes to Annabeth:
“You don’t want a god as your enemy. Especially that god.”
Good on her for trying to push a little pragmatic sense into the kid…
In this chapter, I don’t know that you noticed it, since you never mentioned it, but the zebra spoke to Percy in his mind, saying “Free me lord, please.” It’s such a small part that you might have skipped over it accidentally, but it was, at least for me, a weird thing to to have in there when I first read it.
Michael G. Munz says
I did notice it, but I don’t always get a chance to write these posts immediately after I read, and it slipped through the cracks of my memory at that time. I thought it was weird at first, too, since he hadn’t been able to understand animals before – but then I realized it was a talent specific to horses, which I thought was pretty cool (and fitting for a child of Poseidon).
Think he can talk to seahorses, too? 😉
Bethany House says
I enjoyed the Lotus Hotel and Casino thing, I thought it was a neat way to bring the Lotus-Eaters that Odysseus encountered into America. I liked the correlation between the blissful forgetfulness experienced in eating those narcotic plants and gambling (slot machines in particular)
Michael G. Munz says
I really need to re-read the Odyssey! I completely spaced on the Lotus-Eaters. 🙂
Bethany House says
I only remember them so well because my high school Latin teacher made lotus shaped cookies to go along with the story… it’s amazing just how much I will remember when it is connected with food