Even Percy Jackson Readers Are Shocked By The Show's New Twists
The solstice passing? The four pearls? Hello!?
Percy Jackson fans have been through the underworld and back when it comes to screen adaptations of the beloved novels. In 2010, book lovers were left a little high and dry when The Lightning Thief hit theaters. The movie finally brought the mythical world of demigods and fabled creatures to life... but changed so many details from author Rick Riordan’s books that both fans and Riordan himself criticized it and its 2013 sequel. Now, Riordan is actually involved in bringing Percy Jackson to the screen in Disney+’s new series, and while there are fewer changes from the books, there are still a lot of big details left out and new info added.
One of the most immediately apparent ways the Disney+ series differs from the movies is the main cast’s ages. The books clearly state Percy and Annabeth are 12 years old when they first meet, and Grover is 28 (though physically 14 since satyrs age at half the rate of humans). The new show faithfully adapts these ages, only slightly aging Grover down to 24 so he would also be physically 12. The Percy Jackson movies, however, completely shifted the books’ dynamics by aging up the main cast to be 16.
With Riordan on board as a writer and executive producer, it’s clear the new series is going to adhere much more closely to the source material. However, the show is making some important changes.
1. Percy gets four pearls instead of three.
One of the most shocking departures from the books came at the end of Episode 6, when Nereid gifted Percy with Poseidon’s Pearls. In the novels, Percy only gets three pearls imbued with the power to escape the Underworld, but the show added one extra. Percy even made the change explicitly clear by pointing out there were four — one more than he believed he, Annabeth, and Grover will need. The extra pearl threw fans of the book for a loop, as they were left grasping at straws trying to figure out what the change will mean.
2. Percy misses the deadline to retrieve the Master Bolt.
The pearls weren’t the only unexpected twist to come at the end of Episode 6. Nereid also informed Percy that the summer solstice had passed when he reached Santa Monica, meaning he missed the deadline to retrieve the Master Bolt and thus failed his quest. The revelation is a huge shock for book readers, since Percy succeeds in obtaining the Master Bolt before the solstice in the novels.
3. Poseidon and Sally’s relationship will be shown.
The initial Percy Jackson books don’t go into too much detail about Sally Jackson and Poseidon’s relationship, which makes sense due to Percy being the narrator and him not knowing anything about his father. But the TV show isn’t restricted by Percy’s knowledge. Riordan confirmed to Variety that Episode 7 will contain a flashback where viewers will get to see Sally and Poseidon together.
4. Medusa’s history with Poseidon is darker.
In the books and original mythology, Medusa was turned into a gorgon by Athena because she had sex with Poseidon in Athena’s temple. The Disney+ show adds much darker context to this event, as Medusa reveals Poseidon took advantage of her in that moment.
Medusa’s personality is also much different in the show. Unlike in the books, Percy, Annabeth, and Grover recognize who she is right away, and despite the danger, she comes off as kinder and much more sympathetic.
5. Percy doesn’t think his father is dead.
One of the show’s more subtle book changes may also have the biggest impact in separating the the page and screen Percys. In The Lightning Thief, Percy believes that his father is dead. The fact that Percy knows his dad is alive in the show adds to his growing resentment for Poseidon.
6. Poseidon claiming Percy is different.
Most of the events leading up to Poseidon claiming Percy as his son in the show are pulled straight from the book, but one detail is missing. In the book, Percy has to kill a hellhound after he beats Clarisse in capture the flag. The show just skipped over that part.
7. Alecto’s death is changed.
In the novels, Percy kills the fury Alecto with his sword, which causes her to disintegrate and return to her home in the underworld. She eventually returns as an important part of later stories. However, one of her deaths is notably different in the show. After cutting off Medusa’s head, Percy used its power to turn Alecto to stone. This isn’t in the books, so fans will have to wait to see if it has any impact on the character’s future.
8. Gabe is an entirely different character.
Percy’s stepdad Gabe is an abusive monster in the books, but the show completely changed him. No, he’s still not a great guy, but he’s also not as intimidating anymore. The series’ version of Gabe is more of a lazy deadbeat.
9. The beginning of the first quest is changed.
The show gives a bit more insight into what Percy’s thinking when he sets off on his first quest. Percy actively chooses Annabeth to accompany him in the show, rather than her volunteering to join him in the books. The show also reveals that Percy decided on Annabeth and Grover because the oracle’s prophecy told him one of his friends will betray him.
10. Argus is not in the show.
One of Camp Half-Blood’s directors is completely missing from the series. Argus, the camp’s director of security, is nowhere to be seen in the Disney+ series. In the books, Argus is described as a man whose body is covered in eyes. The show’s production company, Mythomagic, explained that there simply wasn’t enough special effects budget to include him.
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