Lousy step-parents, blue candy, prophetic dreams, and missing pants! That can only mean that it’s time for another installment of Michael Reads Percy Jackson! Enter The Lightning Thief, chapter three, a.k.a.:
Grover Unexpectedly Loses His Pants
I suppose it’s better to lose them unexpectedly. …I’m not sure how to back up that statement. And that’s my favorite chapter title so far.
So the fact that Grover is likely a satyr (he’s revealed to have cloven hooves but there’s no mention of any extra legs) may mean that the clop-clop sound heard back in the second chapter was Grover rather than Mr. Brunner centauring it up like I’d previously suspected. But hey, maybe it’s both. I’m going to stick to that whole centaur guess thingy, and let that one ride.
…Unless Mr. Brunner is actually Apollo (there was that bow – but I figured that was just what centaurs traditionally wield), since perhaps the wheelchair is meant to be his chariot? Seems a pretty lousy gig for Apollo, though. That guy’s got a lot on his plate, after all. But it crossed my mind, so I’m putting it out there.
So, where were we? Ah, yes, it’s home for Percy, to introduce us to his jackass step-dad, and then it’s off to the ocean cabin where Percy’s mom met his dad. I’m now certain that his dad is Poseidon, given all the sea connections. This isn’t to say I’m claiming some massive foresight on my part – I did say that I knew going in that he was either Zeus’s or Poseidon’s kid, after all. But now I’m sure.
As for the step-dad (Gabe Ugliano – and I’m wondering if it’s meant as a joke that Percy went with “Smelly Gabe” for the nickname rather than some play on the last name and the word “ugly”), I find myself a bit disappointed at the “evil step-parent” trope being used. Isn’t that a bit cliche at this point? But at least he’s got one decent parent left, unlike a certain scarred wizard boy I could name. Gabe is well-depicted as an ass, though. I could practically smell the beer and cigars in that apartment.
Given his mom’s mention of the “summer camp,” which I figure is where all the half-bloods are supposed to go, I’m thinking I misunderstood the whole “they never get past sixth” thing meant those who DON’T go to that place get killed by sixth grade. Clearly his mom knows a heck of a lot more about Percy’s parentage than I’d expected, too. How much does she know? This doesn’t seem to me like something she could only know a part of.
The dream Percy has of a white horse and golden eagle trying to kill each other while a monstrous voice beneath the earth goads them to fight harder would seem to indicate that Hades is pitting Zeus against Poseidon, perhaps to weaken both of them enough to make some sort of power play. I’m pretty much certain about this one, given my own familiarity with the pantheon (did you know Poseidon created horses?), so I don’t think I’m making a hugely profound prediction here. I am curious to know why, and if there’s a reason beyond “Hades is a bad guy.” Portrayals of Hades as being a stand-in for Satan always bother me. I hope Riordan gives the guy more nuance than that.
This chapter’s best line:
“He looked like a tuskless walrus in thrift-store clothes.”
Again, nice imagery.