November 22, 2021

#08-155: Percy Jackson, Demigod

Percy Jackson

Note: Perseus "Percy" Jackson is, like Harry Potter, an unlikely hero. The son of a Greek god and a human mother, he's an "all-American boy" who does battle with gods--and wins!

Get Ready: Harry Potter, Percy Jackson, the young "Wart" who became King Arthur--many stories, new and old, feature young people who turned out to be much more than they seemed. Can you think of other examples? What do you think such stories are trying to tell us?

Percy Jackson & the Olympians is a series of five books that teaches cultural knowledge while capturing the readers' imagination. Percy is a normal American boy who happens to be the son of Poseidon, Greek God of the Sea. Like Harry Potter, he is just living his life--struggling with nothing more frightening than dyslexia and ADHD--when a series of events reveals to him his true heritage. (The fact that his real name was "Perseus" might have been a clue! In Greek mythology, Perseus slew the Gorgon Medusa and rescued Andromeda from a sea monster. That Perseus was a son of Zeus.)

All together, Percy appears in over 20 books.

In the first book, The Lightning Thief, Percy is attacked on a school trip by a teacher who turns out to be one of the Furies, the Greek deities of vengeance. He is saved by a magical sword-pen lent to him by another teacher, and by his best friend Grover, whom he discovers is a satyr.

He ends up in a sort of "summer camp" called Camp Half-blood for other kids who, like Percy, are demigods: half god, half human. There he meets Luke, a son of Hermes, messenger to the gods; and Annabeth, a daughter of Athena, goddess of wisdom--and war. Chiron, a centaur, is his "counselor," and is in fact the teacher who, in disguise, lent him the magic pen.

Percy's father, Poseidon, is brother to Zeus and Hades; together they represent sea, sky, and the underworld. These three had sworn not to have children by mortal women, but Percy's father broke the oath. This causes mistrust, and at last Percy is suspected of being the thief who stole Zeus's lightning bolt.

Percy, Annabeth, and Grover journey to Hades, thinking him the most likely god to have stolen the bolt. They meet supernatural challenges along the way, but the Olympian Ares, God of War, helps them on their quest, giving them a backpack full of supplies. When at last they meet Hades, he tells them that, like Zeus's thunderbolt, his Helm of Darkness has been stolen, and accuses Percy of taking this, too.

Percy later discovers that Luke, acting on orders of Kronos--one of the Titans and father to the Olympian gods--stole the sacred items, laying the groundwork for the overthrow of the gods. (In Greek mythology, Kronos indeed overthrew his own father, and was subsequently overthrown by Zeus.) It turned out that the bolt was in the backpack given to Percy by Ares! Percy fights Ares on a beach--fortunately near to the power of his father Poseidon--and wins.

At the end of the book, with war between the gods on the horizon, Percy returns to school for another year, waiting for the events of the book's four sequels.


Read more:

Practice: Match the term to its definition below:

  1. ADHD
  2. centaur
  3. demi-
  4. dyslexia
  5. helm
  6. Olympians
  7. on the horizon
  8. satyr
  9. the underworld
  10. vengeance

  1. the place where the dead live
  2. a condition that makes it difficult for children to pay attention, often causing misbehavior
  3. coming soon
  4. a learning disorder that causes difficulty with reading
  5. punishment for wrongdoing
  6. Greek gods who live on a mountaintop
  7. half-man, half-goat
  8. half-man, half-horse
  9. a root meaning "half"
  10. a protective hat

Answers are in the first comment below.

Submitted to the Shenzhen Daily for November 22, 2021

1 comment:

  1. Answers to the Practice: 1. b; 2. h; 3. i; 4. d; 5. j; 6. f; 7. c; 8. g; 9. a; 10. e