Today is the 15th anniversary of the publication of Rick Riordan’s ‘The Lightning Thief’ in the Percy Jackson and the Olympian series, and the fanbase just keeps getting bigger with every series he releases. For many of us, ‘The Lightning Thief’ was a gateway to Greek Mythology, and combined with its wit, humor, heart, and maturity, the series has proven itself in the pantheon of YA works. To celebrate this, here are the five best moments from ‘The Lightning Thief.’
5. Percy Beats the Minotaur
Although this wasn’t his first mythological fight, this was the fight where he would establish himself as a major player. After his mom was seemingly crushed in a shower of golden light by the Minotaur, he springs into battle and kills the beast. Although his battle reflexes were keeping him alive, Percy was entirely new to this, having only been introduced to the world of gods and monsters just minutes ago. If a 12-year-old can take down one of the most infamous monsters in mythology, that’s a win in my book.
4. Percy is Impertinent
After the battle with Medusa, there is still the matter of the head, a spoil of war, which still has its petrifying powers. Percy is kind of ticked off at the gods for everything that’s happened in the last 24 hours, like any Greek god, he gets petty. He puts it in a box and sends it to the gods themselves. It’s a nice cathartic little ‘screw you’ moment, especially to the gods who put him on a dangerous quest with little training to retrieve the master bolt he’s accused of stealing, and for which he has no choice. The head makes an appearance at the end, which leads to the next best moment.
3. Sally Becomes a Sculpture Artist
Sally Jackson, Percy’s mom has been through a lot. In order to keep Percy safe from monsters, she got married to an abusive guy named Gabe, whose ‘scent,’ would mask Percy from the monsters. He abuses her emotionally and it’s implied physically as well. When Percy returns home, he finds the box with Medusa’s head inside, returned to him from the gods. Percy convinces her that he doesn’t need protection anymore, and just before he leaves, he sees his mom already thinking about Gabe as a statue. We then find out that she made a lot of money from her ‘sculpture.’
2. Escaping the Underworld
Many heroes have gone to the Underworld, and came out miraculously. Heracles and Orpheus come to mind. But a 12-year-old, and one that has ticked off the God of the Dead, is especially impressive. After confronting Hades, whom Percy thinks stole the lightning bolt, only to realize he’s been tricked into thinking that, Percy and his friends are in a tight spot. Hades would like nothing more than to kill them, and not only that, he is holding Percy’s mom hostage. Percy realizes what he has to do, and is forced to leave his mom for the time being, promising to get her back, while Hades rages in anger and confusion for being tricked.
1. Percy Wins Against the Literal God of War
It’s there in the title. A certain quote from Iron Man 2 comes to mind: “If you could make God bleed, people would cease to believe in Him.” Mind you, Ares and the Christian God are two different entities but the point still stands. Ares is the second god he’s met, and they instantly get off on the wrong foot. When Percy finds out that Ares was the one who gave him a backpack that contained the lightning bolt, he is not pleased at all. After Percy escapes the Underworld, he is confronted by Ares, and needless to say Percy has had enough. It is implied that Kronos stops Ares from completely carving up Percy, but it’s still ridiculously impressive. Who would have thought that in a fight between a 12-year-old and the God of War, the 12-year-old would win?!
Featured Image Via Hachette Books