Things are about wrapped up (though not quite) and we come to the all-important part of any epic quest story: the part where there is much celebrating, and everyone gets medals. In other words, it’s time for the twentieth chapter in Michael Reads Percy Jackson: The Last Olympian, a.k.a…
We Win Fabulous Prizes
First, a recap of the chapter! Ready? Here we go! (*takes deep breath*) Thalia’s out from under the statue and just on crutches, Chiron’s out from under the rubble and is more or less okay, the gods clean up Olympus, Dionysus gets fifty years off his punishment, Nico is hailed as a hero for bringing in Hades, and Luke, in death, is treated as a hero as well. Tyson gets promoted to the leader of the cyclopses and awarded an awesome new…stick. Grover is put on the satyr’s council, no longer an outcast. Annabeth is put in charge of designing improvements to Olympus. And Percy gets granted one teensy-tiny enormous gift from the gods.
So, I have some thoughts. Let’s jump into the “Michael is a cranky bastard” one right off the bat, concerning Luke, with these two quotes from the text:
The Fate held up the snippet of blue yarn— and I knew it was the same one I’d seen four years ago, the lifeline I’d watched them snip. I had thought it was my life. Now I realized it was Luke’s. They’d been showing me the life that would have to be sacrificed to set things right.
By sacrificing himself, he had saved Olympus. Rachel was right. In the end, I wasn’t really the hero. Luke was.
Does Luke’s death really count as a sacrifice, though? For all intents and purposes, he was dead already, with Kronos set to burn through him once he regained full power (provided I understood that correctly). Luke really sacrificed his life a while back to bring Kronos into the world and create the very situation that required setting things right. After thinking on it since this came up in my last entry, I’m not willing to give Luke a pass here. You don’t get credit for putting out an arson fire that you willingly set in the first place. Yes, he’s a tragic figure in that he made a bunch of stupid-ass decisions because he had a lousy home life, but that doesn’t excuse him for causing so much death and destruction. Perhaps he’s worthy of pity, but that doesn’t make him a hero.
But on to more lighthearted, tongue-in-cheek things:
How come Tyson gets to lead the cyclopses and suddenly become an Olympian Army General? Protagonist’s privilege? I suppose I can see the reasoning in the sense that he did get them together and lead a charge at a key moment in the battle. Heck, Luke Skywalker got promoted to Commander after blowing up one piddly Death Star. Lando got to be a full-on General the second he joined up based on a single battle maneuver and a cool-ass cape.
As for Annabeth, she’s put in charge of designing the improvements to Olympus during its reconstruction. How’s that for nepotism, eh? She doesn’t even have an architecture degree, or even a high school diploma! Then again, judging by everyone’s comments about their own statues, she’ll have to worry about satisfying so many divine (and conflicting) godly egos that such a job is likely as much curse as it is blessing.
And then we have Percy’s gift: Immortality! Godhood! At least, that’s what’s offered. He mulls it over…
I could be a teenager forever… Who could refuse that?
I’m fairly confident in saying that 99.5% of anyone who’s made it through the teenage years, if offered immortality in that particular form, would be utterly horrified. At least I am. (Though if anyone wants to make me 25 forever, let’s talk.) But Percy turns it down (at least partially out of love for Annabeth) and I can’t blame him there, especially when he’s got proof of a pretty decent afterlife coming his way. Instead, he merely asks for the tiny little favor of throwing down the pact of the Big Three, having all gods claim their demigod offspring by age 13, giving everyone a cabin or at least amnesty at camp, and a tub of bottomless triple fudge brownie ice cream.
…Okay, so he didn’t ask for the ice cream tub. But he really should have thrown that in, just for a little gift to himself. He deserves it, surely. And you know the gods could create such a thing. Such a missed opportunity. But oh well.
But the book’s not over yet! Rachel Elizabeth Dare ran out of the Empire State Building at the end of the battle, and things aren’t entirely settled with her story. Plus Percy’s troubled about that. So I guess we’ll see. Is the next chapter the last chapter? Second to last? If I’ve looked, I’ve forgotten, and if I haven’t, I’m not letting myself look at this point.