Did I read Percy Jackson to learn something? No. I read it as any other book, for fun. However, I came out of it having learnt something as well. Was it Uncle Rick’s intention? Doesn’t matter.
PS: I know the movies didn’t quite live up to the expectation and the books are way better, but I had to include some instances from the movies as well.
So here’s a list of 5 things to look out for if you are picking up the Percy Jackson series next.
Before I talk about this, I want to put this point across - A fantasy novel works mostly because people can relate to the very human experiences in it. For instance, we would not relate to Gods and Demigods unless they showed human emotions – fear, love, revenge, anger, etc. In the Percy Jackson series, we see human experiences layered and weaved into the fabric of fantasy. For instance, the sequence where Percy, Annabeth and Grover eat the Lotus Flowers in LA, they lose track of time, they have a lot of fun and talk to several different people there. It is a dopamine fest.
This closely resembles the experiences I have had with social media. I lost track of time when I was on Instagram, I spoke to a lot of people, and those ‘dings’ would induce dopamine in my system. The realization that it wasn’t helping me, and I was being unproductive came when I heard a voice in my head telling me to stop spending time. This is uncannily like the way Percy hears Poseidon’s voice in his head.
Wondering who Poseidon is? Maybe our blog on Greek mythology and Gods will help you understand this better
This is a weird one, but bear with me. In most of the books that focus on one central character, that character is the be-all and end all of the story. But Rick Riordan makes sure not to put the spotlight on Percy alone. Lots of other characters play pivotal roles in the series sending the message that none of us are ‘special’ although we’re all unique. This excerpt from the book sums it up perfectly:
Families are messy. Immortal families are eternally messy. Sometimes the best we can do is to remind each other that we’re related for better or for worse … and try to keep the maiming and killing to a minimum.
We all belong somewhere – Percy, before he joins Camp Halfblood, always feels alone and out of place in his school and elsewhere. He doesn’t like the environment at home, he hates his stepdad and has no real connections with anyone. That’s because somewhere he knew that he wasn’t expressing his true self – the one he could be when he finally arrived at camp halfblood. This sentiment reminded me of my young teenage self. I didn’t know who I was and was just then beginning to form an identity of my own. The books (and the movies to an extent) helps kids going through the same thing relate and give them a sense of belonging. But what is even better is that, when we realize that Percy Jackson feels this way, we may understand that Parashuram (the boy sitting next to you in class) may also be feeling the same way. Apologies to all Parashurams out there *insert monkey closing eyes emoji*. This empathy is one of the greatest gifts Percy Jackson and books give us. I’ve nurtured and grown with it.
The past plays an important role but does not control us – The Percy Jackson series is filled with prophecies and oracles dictating people’s actions. This might give the impression that we have no control over our reality and that we are puppets at the mercy of our fate. But before we jump to this conclusion, I would like to draw your attention to the fact that the prophecy is not fate, but it is a way to understand the past. They say History repeats itself. In my view, the prophecy is just another way to giving a fair warning to everyone to is treading a path that has been walked on before. To better understand the present, we must look at the past and the future.
It shows us that there are different kids of people in the world – Needless to say, this series has shown ‘diversity’ in true sense of the word, because it has people of colour, people with disabilities, women, homosexual people, etc. all part of the storyline. They have not been added as an afterthought or just for laughs. They are well rounded characters who have a part to play. A very popular example is that all demigods have ADHD and Dyslexia. This helps them read ancient Greek and stay alert in battle. This is a near-accurate representation of the real world that we live in. This also brings in the complexity of thought and different perspectives to the table. So, when we do come across someone who is different from us in real life, we would treat them as just another person.
At QShala, let’s unravel the fantasy world of Percy Jackson with a specially curated Percy Jackson workshop
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Apart from this, the series made me tolerant, curious, and socially attuned human being as well. So, here are the 5 things that I loved and learnt from this amazing series. But we are sure there are more. What are some of your most #relatable moments from the Percy Jackson series? Tell us in the comments down below!