ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Greek Myths in Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief

Updated on October 16, 2012

If you think of the history of Earth as a lifetime, the earlier human citizens could be considered the "children" of the universe. Children are known to have wild imaginations and outrageous explanations for things they don't understand, for example- a loud thumping noise in the night issued from the washing machine is thought to be a vicious monster throwing a fit in the basement. Because the early citizens of the earth used their childlike imaginations to explain events that they didn't yet understand scientifically, the Greek myths they invented are bound to appeal to the children of all generations.

Just like the reader, Percy Jackson doesn't believe in Greek myths- at first. He has learned about them in school, but thinks of them as nothing more than hokey traditional stories invented by men who lived in the distant B.C. era. Even after arriving at the Half-Blood Camp and personally fighting a minotaur, he is skeptical that they are factual, as evidenced by this quote from page 67 of the book: "'But they're stories,' I said. 'They're- myths, to explain lightning and the seasons and stuff. They're what people believed before there was science.'" He continues to argue the illogicality of the Greek myths with Mr. D., or Dionysus, the god of wine, despite witnessing magical events unfolding before him, such as a goblet of wine appearing out of thin air. Thus, Percy and the reader are convinced, over time and simultaneously. The author, Rick Riordan, attempts to make everything fit in with reality as much as possible, explaining that no human witnesses the mythical phenomena because of a "mist" that is over their eyes. They only see what they can believe. Once the reader lets go of reality, or the "mist," and allows themselves go along with the magical story, they become like Percy and almost become like a half-blood themselves.

Percy may also interest modern children especially because of the ties to common issues the current younger generation faces; i.e. attention deficit disorder, dyslexia, step-parents, absence of a father, trying to fit in, bullying, etc. In the first chapter, Percy Jackson is established as a boy with only one good friend who hates his step-dad and has trouble in school. He is relatable to the readers, modern children, with the Greek Myths aside. The other kids in the book are relatable as well. The half-bloods in the story take on the characteristics of their god parent- Athena's children are intelligent, Aphrodite's children are preoccupied with appearance and gossip, the children of Hermes are thieves, the children of Ares- the god of war- are violent, and so on. Children of single parents who wonder what makes them the way they are will immerse themselves in the story, perhaps imagining they are the child of Zeus.

Once they are tied in, the myths don't seem to detract from the likability or relate-ability of Percy or the book itself. Riordan attempts realism within the unrealistic themes, giving an explanation as to why the gods are in America. This is where the Greek mythology strays from the traditional tellings. Although all the same names and most of the same storylines from the mythology remain intact, the gods are said to transplant Olympus to wherever the Seat of Western culture lies. Because of this, they wear very modern clothing- when Percy meets his father, Poseidon, he is wearing bermuda shorts and a Hawaiian t-shirt while sitting on his throne- and speak in modern slang. The minotaur who attacks Percy and his mother is wearing Fruit of the Loom-style underwear, and Ares rides a motorcycle, sports leather, and sneaks around with his girlfriend. The gods are all still there, with the same attitude and original personalities and powers, but their appearances have been changed by the author to suit modern times and a modern audience.

Riordan had the right idea when he included modern children and ancient myths. Children of all generations since the beginning of humankind have been fascinated with stories of adventure and imagination. The Greek myths, originally fashioned by the ancient Greek civilization, the youth of humanity, continue to captivate their imaginations in Riordan's modernized form.


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • Olivia-O profile image


      6 years ago

      Your comparison of mythology to the imagination of children is one that I had never thought of before. It makes a lot of sense, though.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)