Heroes of Olympus is full of underdogs, but Frank truly captures what it’s like to climb the ladder to success and the journey of self-worth you must engage in to get there. Frank begins the series with a low rank and a low sense of self-esteem to match. His journey was the most satisfying to witness because he has struggles we can genuinely relate to. Although most of us will not be battling a horde of monsters soon, we may find ourselves a Praetor of our own lives.
Happy birthday Frank Zhang! In Honor of our beloved shapeshifting son of Mars, here are five heroic Frank Zhang moments.
1. The Sacrifice
We were all biting our nails when Frank challenged Caligula to single combat. Although this was not Frank’s first brush with death, it is certainly the most important. Frank chooses to sacrifice his life-sustaining firewood to defeat Caligula. Frank saves his friends, avenges his close friend Jason, and leaves us wondering whether he is truly gone.
Fortunately, his death was yet another case of Rick Riordan leaving us in suspense as Frank is revealed to not only have lived through the flames but come out with a life force separated from firewood. This moment is the final step in Frank’s journey as he finally takes his fate into his own hands.
2. The Blessing of Mars
When his friends’ lives are at stake, Frank must prove himself as a true son of Mars. Frank battles hundreds of monsters alone through shapeshifting combat. When we first meet Frank, he never would have guessed he was the son of the God of War. Mars represented everything Frank believed he was incapable of being. This moment is where Frank truly proves himself as a warrior.
Frank is so invested in the battle he doesn’t even realize the blessing’s effect on him. The blessing allows Frank’s appearance to change, allowing his outward appearance to reflect his newfound confidence. Frank has always been self-conscious about how he looks, so it’s refreshing for him to gain confidence physically as well as mentally.
3. Promotion to Praetor
Frank’s in-the-field promotion came as a surprise to everyone. Although we suspected that Frank would climb the ranks, we didn’t expect it to happen like this. Jason promotes Frank to Praetor to enable him to take control of undead Roman soldiers against a monster army. Frank fearlessly leads the undead, as well as his fellow Demi-gods, into battle.
He didn’t have much time to worry about Praetor’s duties before he was thrust into battle. Frank has struggled to see himself as a leader despite his friends tirelessly trying to convince him otherwise. The title of Praetor allows him to fully step into the shoes of leadership and polish the qualities he has always possessed.
4. Freeing Thanatos
The moment we discovered that Frank’s life was tied to a piece of firewood, we all had secondhand anxiety. Frank traveling to Alaska to free the God of Death is as close to physically facing his fears as he can get. Frank is required to burn his lifeline to break the chains trapping Thanatos. Frank’s life flashes before his eyes as the wood burns through the chains. He sees his mother and grandmother as he finally admits that he can be more than he thought possible.
Thanatos’s freedom enables the dead to stay dead. Frank’s actions help all the Demi-gods escape their fate of battling undying monsters. This is Frank’s first big feat in the books as he realizes that the stakes are high, but he is not afraid to face them anymore.
5. Leading the 12th Legion
Although Frank was promoted to Praetor in an emergency, he continues to shine and live up to the role throughout the series. When he reunites with Reyna in the final battle of the series, he immediately assumes his leadership position without questioning it. Frank leads the legion into battle with the 12th Legion Eagle in tow. He helps channel the Eagle, allowing lightning to strike down large masses of monsters at a time.
Although Frank was not promoted at Camp Jupiter, the Legion still follows him without question, demonstrating loyalty to both the laws of Rome and to Frank. Frank began his journey in the 5th cohort that was widely looked down upon by other campers. Throughout his journey, Frank demonstrated his leadership abilities and managed to wipe away the 5th cohort’s bad reputation and earn the respect of his fellow Legionnaires.
If you feel like you’re going into Olympian withdrawals, I don’t think that we’ve seen the last of Frank Zhang and the other demigods just yet. Rick Riordan recently released The Sun and the Star following the adventures of Nico Di Angelo and Will Solace. Riordan is also getting ready to release The Chalice of the Gods, featuring the original trio Percy Jackson, Annabeth Chase, and Grover Underwood back together again.