Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning Thief

by Rick Riordan

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Percy Jackson is twelve years old and has been diagnosed with ADHD and dyslexia. He struggles in school and has been expelled more than once. It is not surprising that when he goes missing, his stepfather describes him as a delinquent. However, Percy actually has a good heart: he is loyal to his friends, and he hates bullies. In fact, many of his mistakes are not his fault. His ADHD and dyslexia are learning disabilities suffered by most demigods, who have brains that are hardwired to read Ancient Greek (not English) and senses that are too heightened for classroom dynamics. The son of Poseidon, god of the sea, Percy is a naturally gifted swordsman and has the ability to manipulate water. He can also be healed by it.

Over the course of his journey, Percy comes to rely on more than his godly attributes. Percy defeats his first monster primarily through luck. However, by the end of the novel, he comes to rely on his mind as much as his bravery. In particular, Percy’s defeat of Procrustes relies on tricking Procrustes to trap himself in his own bed. As Percy begins to figure out the mysteries that surround the theft of Zeus’s lightning bolt, he becomes less a pawn and more an independent hero, saving the world in spite of his learning disabilities.


Annabeth is the daughter of Athena, goddess of wisdom and strategy. She has been training at Half-Blood Hill for five years when she first meets Percy. Annabeth knows a great deal about the gods, and she often explains to Percy things he does not understand. Although she is knowledgeable, Annabeth prefers to emulate the traits of her mother. To this end, Annabeth always tries to have a plan for victory. Sometimes Annabeth’s emulation of Athena goes too far. In particular, because Athena and Poseidon are rivals, she believes that she and Percy must also be rivals. However, over time, Annabeth learns to value her friendship with Percy and decides that if there will be a war between the gods, her place will first and foremost be at Percy’s side.


Half-human and half-goat, satyrs are commonly held to be a representation of animal appetites that drive human action. Grover is indeed a creature of appetite, and when knocked unconscious near the start of the story, he moans “food” repeatedly in a sort of fever dream. Although Grover’s purpose in The Lightning Thief is largely one of comic relief, his true dream is to become a seeker. Legend has it that when humans began to destroy their environment, Pan died. However, the satyrs believe that Pan still lives and many search for him. In two thousand years, not one seeker has returned from the search.

In order to become a seeker, Grover must first complete a keeper’s assignment, which means that he must escort a demigod to Half-Blood Hill. Unfortunately, Grover failed on his first assignment, saving Zeus’s daughter, Thalia. His second assignment is Percy, and although Percy arrives safely at Half-Blood Hill, Grover is unconscious when this happens, a gray area. Grover is given a final chance to prove himself by accompanying Percy on his quest.

Grover plays a variety of roles in the novel beyond comic relief. Because the story is told from Percy’s point of view, Grover often introduces Percy to elements of the mythical world that are unknown to him and to the reader. Grover’s desire to become a seeker also adds an environmental message to the novel. His quest to find Pan is largely a condemnation of the way that humans disrespect and...

(This entire section contains 806 words.)

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fail to take care of the environment.


The son of Hermes, Luke is one of the oldest demigods at the camp, and he has even returned from his own quest, which left a scar across his face. Luke is charming and responsible, and he is the best swordsman at Half-Blood Hill. Over time it is revealed that Luke has become the servant of Kronos, who seeks to overthrow the Olympian gods. Luke’s sword, Backbiter, stands in contrast to Percy’s sword, Riptide. Riptide cannot harm mortals because it is made entirely of celestial steel. Backbiter is made out of both celestial and human steal, which allows Luke to harm helpless mortals as well as gods.

The Olympians

Although the gods have different powers and personalities, Percy finds many of them to be vain, overly proud, and uncaring. As king of the gods, Zeus should be a wise and fair ruler. However, when those around him point out how unlikely it is that Poseidon would have taken the master lightning bolt, Zeus ignores them and continues to press Poseidon to confess. When Percy returns the lightning bolt, Zeus rewards Percy by letting him live.




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