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Percy Jackson: Series VS the Movie



The Percy Jackson universe is well known and loved by readers all over the globe. The story was written by Rick Riordan, also known as “Uncle Rick '' by the fans.The whole purpose of the series was to create an inclusive story for his son, who has ADHD. However, he would have never thought that the series would impact and create such a huge fan base which loves his work and has found comfort in it.  The book series plays a huge role in inclusivity and the portrayal of characters with hidden disabilities, such as ADHD and Dyslexia. There are a total of five books in the first collection (Percy Jackson and the Olimpians), whichare: The Lightning Thief, The Sea of Monsters, Titan's CurseThe Battle of the Labyrinth and The Last Olympian.


The books focus specifically on the hero’s journey within Greek mythology stories and the following of a variety of prophecies. The plot follows the story of a trio, which consists of Percy Jackson, Annabeth Chase and Grover Underwood. Together, they partake in dangerous quests, such as retrieving the lightning bolt of Zeus. The story explores the themes of friendship, love, danger and, obviously, Greek mythology.


As years went by, the first adaptation of the books was made. They chose to adapt The Lightning Thief, the first book of the series, into a movie. The issue with that was not only the way in which they chose to portray the characters, but also how they changed the path of the hero’s journey drastically, affecting the entire plot of the movie. Due to that, many fans and Rick Riordan himself were severely disappointed, to the point where they act as if the movies were never there. The reasoning behind this is the multiple inaccuracies that they made, not only to the characters' personalities, but also the mythological inaccuracies and the cutting off of the essence of the book. A few of them include: 


(WARNING, SPOILERS AHEAD)


  • Grover's statues as a satyr: Satyrs are mythological creatures that are half man half goat, they are respectful and shy and have one aim in life, which is to find Pan, who is the god of nature. This was completely altered in the movie, as his appearance also made him appear as a faun, which is the Roman Equivalent of a satyr, showing the mythological inaccuracy and the lack of research for the movie.


  • The removal of the nicknames “Seaweed brain and Wise Girl”: Although it is a small detail, it does make a difference as it shows the closeness of Percy and Annabeth and how even though their parents (Poseidon and Athena) were enemies, they wanted to make things differently.


  • Rushed characters who lacked personality and character: The constant change of personalities and how they rushed them jeopardised the plot tremendously.For example, Clarisse La Rue: her character was important in the first movie, as she was a bully who pushed Percy, which was one of the ways that he realised that he had a connection with water, later making it clear that he was the son of Poseidon. Her character was completely cut off in the first movie and they tried to include character traits on Annabeth’s character. 


  • Annabeth being a daughter of Athena: In the book that is constantly emphasised, as she loved being a daughter of athena and defended the goddess at all costs. She was also one of the wisest and smartest characters in the entire plot of the movie.


  • The changes of the age of the protagonist trio: Altering the prophecy completely as they were supposed to be 11-12, when in the movie they were 16-17, changed the entire plotline, since they could do certain things that younger children couldn't, such as driving a car. 


These were just  a few examples of what was changed in the first movie. These details were fundamental as they completely changed the outcome of Percy’s journal and affected his relationships with other characters. 


The new Percy Jackson series was announced in 2022 and its casting and directing created a major difference, due to the fact that Rick Riordan was also assisting and being a part of all of  the related elements to the series. With that in mind, he was the one who chose the actors of the main trio, Percy, Annabeth and Grover, played by Walker Scobell, Leah Jefferies  and Aryan Simhadri. Rick Riordan emphasised the importance of having characters with the correct age, not appearance, as he wanted the series to be as accurate as possible, and he definitely did succeed in that aspect! The series was released on December the 20th 2023, with every Tuesday a new episode being released. One of the best elements of the series was the fact that Rick paid attention to every detail, making references to his other books and characters who would only appear later in the show. He also made certain to fix the mythological inaccuracies present in the movies, which made the entire atmosphere of the series much better and more interesting to the viewers who enjoy and study Greek mythology. The series had fundamental elements of the books, such as: 

  • Grover’s searching licence: He is a satyr, meaning that he has one quest, which is to search for Pan, who is known as the god of wildness, meaning that he can save nature. This element is quickly explained in the show which can be used to assist viewers in understanding his next steps.


  • The age: This factor was perhaps one of the best changes from the movies to the series, as it assisted them in maintaining accuracy within the books, helping them to properly follow the timeline of the book and the places that the characters went through during their journey.


  • Annabeth’s character: Her love for her mother, Athena, is portrayed as it is described in the movie, she grows with adoration for the goddess. The way in which the character was portrayed as the “wisest” character in the trio was fundamental as she was known as the one who would get the rest of the characters out of trouble. 


  • Characters were included: The books rely on a variety of characters that follow the young hero’s journey, their personalities affect how Percy will grow and interact with the gods. 


In conclusion, when it comes to a more accurate portrayal of the story, the new series certainly wins, since it not only makes the characters more relatable, diverse and accurate, but also the way that the story is presented is much more interesting to the people who have grown up with the books and the fans who found comfort in them.

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