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How a 12-Year-Old Boy Stopped a Godly War

A look at new hit Disney Plus series: Percy Jackson and the Olympians
How a 12-Year-Old Boy Stopped a Godly War

“Look, I didn’t want to be a half-blood” (Riordan 1). The first line of the first book, “Percy Jackson and the Olympians, the “Lightning Thief”,  is the catalyst that transforms an English and social studies teacher at Mary Saint’s Hall, a private school in Texas, into a multimillion dollar author. With a whopping 66 books published by Rick Riordan, 46 are part of the series that brought him this level of fame.

The first book of the series became such a success that Riordan extends into a full five book series. In addition, there are also two other heavily related series containing the same number of books, and two partially related trilogies, which take place in the same universe as Jackson. 

“The Lightning Thief,” published in 2005,  sparked its own movie adaptation five years later, along with another movie three years later based on the “Sea of Monsters,” the second book of the series published in 2006. These movies, however, were seemingly a flop because many fans expressed dissatisfaction and the author himself tried to distance himself from them.

Saved from despair at the end of the year 2023,  the Greek gods rewarded their loyal fans with the new “Percy Jackson and the Olympians” series. The new shows have quickly gained traction on social media sites such as Tiktok

Percy Jackson, played by Walker Scobell, preparing to face off against Medusa, played by Jessica Parker Kennedy

As of the week of Jan. 21, there are seven episodes, so fans are just one week away from having a full season. The episodes’ runtime vary between 33 minutes and 44 thus far, and are all available on Disney Plus

The star of the show, Percy Jackson himself, is played by Walker Scobell, with Percy’s companions Annabeth Chase and Grover Underwood being brought to life by Leah Sava Jefferies and Aryan Simhadri. Another name, particularly theater lovers, may recognize is Lin-Manuel Miranda, the show’s face of Hermes.

Fifty-five members of the Brecksville Broadview Heights High school anonymously shared  their thoughts about Percy Jackson related media for comparison through a survey.

Hermes, played by Lin-Manuel Miranda, delivering a package to the gods

One common criticism of the new show, as of now, is the casting. Some fans of the books are upset that the cast doesn’t accurately portray the physical characteristics of the book iterations.  “Percy Jackson has blond hair and blue eyes while Luke Castellan has black hair and green eyes. Grover is supposed to be in crutches/wheelchair,” one answer states. 

Annabeth Chase, played by Leah Sava Jeffries, preparing for capture the flag

However, some individuals are happy for this change, and think the actors portray the characters well. Another answer says, “I love the new found diversity and the fact that they’re making it slightly different from the books. [It] may make people want to read the books to find the differences.”

One more survey says, “I know people have complaints about the physical attributes not being accurate, but I trust Rick Riordan’s judgment and if he decides these people will do his characters justice, then that’s enough for me.”

With all the creative liberties the show is taking in adapting the original book, it is important for fans to remember that Rick Riordan is heavily involved with the creation of the series. He is right there with the producers deciding what gets changed for the show and what is kept. 

Clarisse LaRue, played by Dior Goodjohn, preparing to face off with her team for capture the flag

The show’s hype is even getting around to teachers. Seth Clerget, a physics teacher, shared his thoughts on the books and new adaptation in an interview. Clerget first got into the books after seeing students read them, and picked them up himself due to his love of the fantasy genre and epic quest trope. 

Grover Underwood, played by Aryan Simhadri, promotional media

Clerget’s favorite character is “definitely Grover”, Percy’s best friend and trusted satyr protector, and he continues to enjoy the portrayal of this character in the show.

He is also impressed by the quality of the new show.  He says, “I was thoroughly ready to be disappointed, but it seems that with Riordan on board they’re staying true to style and substance.”

With the release of the eighth and final episode this coming week, there is plenty for fans to be excited about. The thrilling conclusion to the first season of what seems to be a very popular new show. As of now, however, the second season is yet to be confirmed. “A lot of the time they start the go ahead for later seasons based on how many times the first is completed, so [you have to] finish it,” Clerget advises.

 

 

 

 

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About the Contributor
Haydyn Kirby, Staff Writer
Haydyn Kirby is a Senior at BBH High School, this is her first year in the Hybreeze. She is also a member of the marching bees Flagline, as well as the hockey and bowling teams. Haydyn is a part of the NHS and has been partaking in creative writing for seven years. She is excited to join the Hybreeze staff and bring interesting stories to the BBH community.

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