Today is Annabeth Chase’s birthday! The demigod, daughter of Athena, Wise Girl, and beloved character of Rick Riordan’s Percy Jackson and the Olympians and Heroes of Olympus series is a well-known icon and inspiration to readers.
But what exactly sets Annabeth apart from other strong female Young Adult characters? What makes her such an essential inspiration for young girls?
One major factor was that in Rick Riordan’s fantasy world of gods and monsters, Annabeth was a character with no major physical powers. Of course, she had the abilities that all demigods did, regardless of their godly parent: superhuman strength, agility, speed, etc. She had the gift of wisdom and battle strategy from her mother, including an innate knowledge of weaponry even with no experience. Annabeth displayed these abilities numerous times, proving herself to be a force to be reckoned with.
Obviously, Annabeth did have powers from her demigod heritage. But Riordan could have easily given her some sort of physical manifestation of her powers. For example, the main character and Annabeth’s boyfriend, Percy Jackson, could control water and heal wounds with it. He could communicate with sea creatures and even summon storms.
Why wouldn’t Riordan have given Annabeth powerful and obvious abilities like Percy?
Because that’s the whole point.
Annabeth was a notorious and vital character in the series–and she accomplished everything she did with nothing but her fighting ability and her mind. I mean, how many times had Annabeth’s wits gotten Percy and the crew out of a difficult situation? How many times had her quick thinking saved everyone?
The fact that she doesn’t possess some obviously mystical power is what makes her so relatable to readers, and so inspiring. Young girls read about a female character whose intelligence and strength is all she needs to be the hero that she is, and they realize that those are things that are entirely attainable, even in the real world.
Another way that Annabeth changed the game when it came to inspiring young girls is through her personality itself. She’s intelligent and studious, but also brave and strong-willed. She’s stubborn and confident, even to a fault. In fact, that’s her fatal flaw: Hubris, or deadly pride, along with ambition. In other words, she thinks she can do anything better than anyone else, and craves power.
You may be thinking: how do her flaws inspire young girls? Wouldn’t those be a bad thing?
No. Not at all.
Because Annabeth’s flaws are part of what makes her who she is. They make her more relatable to the reader and more rounded as a character.
In a society that frowns upon confident women, Annabeth’s character shows young girls that it’s okay to have a strong personality–and that it’s okay to make mistakes!
Looking for more Annabeth Chase content? Check out this article about her most iconic moments! Also, be sure to keep an eye out for updates about the upcoming TV show adaptation. Read about who will be playing Annabeth, Percy, and Grover here!