Editor’s note: The below contains spoilers for Percy Jackson and the Olympians.
The Big Picture
- Percy Jackson and the Olympians includes hints and Easter eggs that pay homage to the book series.
- Annabeth’s view of the Fates adds tension while foreshadowing future events in the story and her use of the name Seaweed Brain should be familiar.
- The show introduces Hephaestus and explores his backstory, staying true to the character in the books.
Percy Jackson and the Olympians doesn’t look exactly like the books it is based on, but the Disney+ show goes out of the way to honor the books. Using hints to highlight aspects that are not important until far later in the story, the show leaves Easter eggs for fans of the books to find. This has occurred since the premiere and shows no signs of stopping as the characters continue their quest. Episode 5, “A God Buys Us Cheeseburgers,” introduces two new gods and builds the relationship between Percy (Walker Scobell) and Annabeth (Leah Jeffries) that fans have been anticipating as the trio is sent on a detour. After damaging a national monument, Percy, Annabeth, and Grover (Aryan Simhadri) are fugitives and, with no other modes of transportation available, attempt to walk across the country with the looming deadline of war. However, a trip to an abandoned amusement park for Ares (Adam Copeland) may get them the ride they need.
With this plotline, the show includes many things that fans might recognize, but not just from Rick Riordan‘s Percy Jackson and the Lighting Thief, which the show is adapting. The books have continued well beyond this quest, getting three series with these characters and several crossovers with Riordan’s other works. Though the show cannot explore everything, they are aware of it. Highlighting the Olympian family’s convoluted nature, the show once again proves its foresight, especially as it includes many small hints at what is to come. Though some easily escape notice, others fans anxiously awaited, but all prove the show’s dedication to the story, even when it differs from the books.
Percy Jackson & the Olympians
12-year-old modern demigod, Percy Jackson, is coming to terms with his newfound divine powers when the sky god, Zeus, accuses him of stealing his master lightning bolt; with his friend’s help, Percy must restore order to Olympus.
- Release Date
- December 20, 2023
- Rick Riordan, Jonathan E. Steinberg
- Streaming Service(s)
- Percy Jackson & The Olympians
The Fates Appear in ‘Percy Jackson and the Olympians’
After Percy falls from the Gateway Arch, Annabeth sees three old women knitting among the crowd gathered to watch the emergency. Seemingly unaware of the chaos, they look straight at her and cut a string. Annabeth immediately sees them for what they are, the three Fates (Joyce Robbins, La Nein Harrison, and Cindy Piper), and fears the string means a member of their quest is destined to die. Though the Fates appear in Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief, Annabeth does not see them. In the book, Percy sees the string cut before getting to Camp Half-Blood. As only Percy witnesses it, Grover assumes Percy will die. This moment was cut from Episode 1, but its addition to the later scene dramatically changes it.
Annabeth seeing the Fates makes more sense as the fifth book, Percy Jackson and the Last Olympian, reveals whose death is foretold by this moment. Luke Castellan (Charlie Bushnell) is closer to Annabeth than Percy. His sacrifice at the end of the series, which is the death the Fates are implying, is for Annabeth, so she’s the one who should see it. Her understanding of what she sees also adds tension to the quest with plenty of near-death experiences that will play into the danger of the Fates’ prophecy. Though from the book that the show is adapting, the dramatic changes make this an entirely different scene. However, it brings to mind the events of the book.
‘Percy Jackson and the Olympians’ Finally Said ‘Seaweed Brain’
Episode 5 finally gave Annabeth the chance to say what fans have been waiting for since day one. As Percy tries to sacrifice himself again, Annabeth argues, saying, “This isn’t the Arch, Seaweed Brain.” The Poseidon-based insult is more than it seems. Throughout the series, Annabeth uses it as a name for Percy. Though she originally calls him Seaweed Brain in arguments like this one, it later becomes a pet name as they develop a romantic relationship. The introduction of this nickname has been a long time coming and certainly got the attention of fans, despite how subtly it was worked into their fight. It’s long past time for this, as Annabeth and Percy’s relationship has progressed quickly from reluctant teammates to friends in only five episodes and is already hinting at deeper feelings between them.
However, Seaweed Brain is not the only insult-turned-term-of-endearment between the couple. Though Percy has yet to call Annabeth Wise Girl, the episode seemed to hint at it, just not through Percy. During their first meeting with Ares, he recognizes her as a daughter of Athena, stopping in his offer to help to refer to her as “the wisest one in the bunch.” Though not the name itself, it is a slightly out-of-place comment with specific emphasis on the word “wise.” Since it occurs in the episode with the first use of Seaweed Brain, it certainly seems like a reference to Annabeth’s nickname.
Hephaestus’ Appearance Is An Easter Egg in ‘Percy Jackson and the Olympians’
Like Hermes (Lin-Manuel Miranda) in Episode 3, Hephaestus (Timothy Omundson) is added to the story for the show. Though mentioned as he attempts to trap and embarrass Ares and Aphrodite for their affair, only a handful of Hephaestus’ inventions appear in the book. However, the god himself appears in book four, Percy Jackson and the Battle of the Labyrinth, where he shows the same resentment for his family. The show dives into Hephaestus’ backstory, exploring his rejection from his mother, Hera, as it establishes the cruelty of the Olympians. Hephaestus has tendencies to create traps, but he does take pity on the demigods, releasing Percy because of Annabeth’s words, showing him to be one of the more understanding gods. This shows the god to be similar to how he is portrayed in Riordan’s books. Though bitter at his family, Hephaestus is more merciful towards the demigods than his fellow gods.
Another change in his plot references an important Hephaestus moment in the books. As they walk through the broken-down amusement park, Annabeth comments that the machines, though in disrepair, are clearly the work of the god of craftsmen. While there, Percy and Annabeth encounter several traps designed to scare and even kill those who enter. Though Waterland does appear in the book, it is not Hephaestus’ place, but an average deserted waterpark that the god tampered with to embarrass Ares and Aphrodite. However, much later, in Percy Jackson and the Titans Curse, Percy does find a location that belongs to Hephaestus, a junkyard full of scraps and broken inventions. But like the park, it is also well protected. When his companion, Bianca, takes a toy from the pile, she activates a trap that requires a sacrifice to stop, similar to the golden throne in the episode. Though not exactly the same, the waterpark belonging to Hephaestus is reminiscent of the junkyard.
Percy Jackson and the Olympians is available to stream on Disney+ in the U.S. with new episodes on Wednesdays.
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