Nobody Gets the Fleece
Okay, this is just an excellent chapter. The action is fast and flowing, we get Tyson back (along with the humor that comes from his being around), and I was surprised on multiple occasions. Of course, Annabeth probably didn’t like the chapter so much. The poor girl has gotten pummeled more than John Crichton lately.
Right away we’re rushed into an action scene that’s both an attack on Polyphemus and a rescue for Annabeth. Fortunately, she’s not depicted as a helpless waif. Getting clobbered after cleverly distracting a monster in no way makes her less competent so far as I’m concerned.
At first I wondered if Annabeth would be invisible when Grover put on the invis-o-cap before carrying her to safety, but then Percy spots him out of the corner of his eye bringing her across the bridge, so it seems he didn’t put it on. But why not? Do his horns prevent that? Does it not work on satyrs? I don’t remember. Perhaps he’s just PANicking? (I’m sorry, I won’t do that again.)
I was delighted when Riordan tricked me into expecting Polyphemus to fall victim to the “cut the rope bridge” trick, and then put him safely across just in time to laugh at Percy (and at me). Seeing story tropes subverted like that always makes me grin.
Of course, Percy was less delighted. With Tyson dead thought dead, Annabeth unconscious and Grover and Clarisse getting fly-swatted, Percy goes all Ralphie Parker on Polyphemus. And then he stops, hesitating when the Polyphemus begs for mercy.
I’ve got to say, I’m not sure what I would have done in Percy’s shoes. On the one hand, I tend to be the merciful, forgiving sort. On the other, Polyphemus WAS planning to eat everyone. But hey, he’s a monster, right? He’s got to eat something! Except even if Percy kills him, he’ll just come back to life at some point down the line because again, monster. It’s not so much killing the guy as giving him a time out. So when Percy negotiated a surrender of the Fleece in exchange for Polyphemus’s life, I wasn’t without understanding for Percy’s motivations, especially thinking of Tyson.
Perhaps it goes to show how trusting I can be that I, embarrassingly, did not even see coming Polyphemus’s immediate violation of that surrender. Um, oops. (But again, delighted at the surprise!) And then Tyson makes his triumphant return with a boulder toss that would make Fezzik proud. RIGHT down the throat!
Okay, that’s it, from now on in my mind, Tyson is played by Andre the Giant.
So I got to revel a bit in Tyson’s return while he dealt with the “sheepies” of doom, and the others got a well-deserved breather as they Fleece-heal Annabeth and make their way to the ship. The chapter’s winding down, and now they just have to sail home and—
Polyphemus is STILL ALIVE?! Damn it, Riordan, you fooled me again. I love it.
While I was tempted to use some dialogue with Tyson for this, my favorite line from this chapter wound up being this one:
“The bridge fell away into the chasm, and the Cyclops howled… with delight, because he was standing right next to us.”
Again, I love subverted expectations.
Hey, wait a second! The source of the explosion at the end of Chapter 14 didn’t get explained yet. I want to know!