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[YRP Students' Essays] Percy Jackson, Son of the Sea God

In Greek mythology, after a devastating war with the Titans, the Olympians started to rule the world. Zeus was their leader and became the conqueror of the world. In Percy Jackson and the Olympians series, the main character, Percy, is the son of Poseidon. Poseidon is Zeus' brother and the God of the Sea. Why did the author, Rick Riordan, choose Percy to be the son of the sea god? He could have made Percy the son of Zeus. Why did he choose a minor god to be Percy's father? There are a few possible answers to this question. One is to make the story more exciting. The other is to show the changes in the main character and the people around him throughout the story. The last possibility is related to the image of Zeus and Poseidon.

If the main character of an action/adventure book was too strong and easily defeats problems or an enemy, the book would be tedious. The book is exciting because the characters struggle to get over their problems. Riordan must have chosen Poseidon as Percy's father for this reason. If Zeus was the strongest of all the Olympians, it is highly possible that his son would be tough, too. On the other hand, Percy cannot be so weak because he has to save the world. Which means the father cannot be like Dionysius, the God of Wine who loves amusement and entertainment. So Poseidon, who was not too weak nor too strong, was an ideal god to become Percy's father.

Poseidon and Athena, the Goddess of Knowledge, were not getting along very nicely because of an incident they had in the past. Naturally, readers would expect that their children would not be good friends either. At first, Annabeth and Percy were no exception. Annabeth viciously called Percy, "Seaweed Brain" and Percy maliciously names Annabeth, "Brainy". However, after fighting and solving their problems, Percy starts to respect Annabeth's cleverness, and more surprisingly Annabeth starts to have special feelings for Percy. To make these changes in their feelings, the author could not make Percy the child of Zeus. He did not have much trouble with Athena like Poseidon did.

Sometimes people's image becomes important in stories. It is well-known that Zeus has a bad habit with women. Although Poseidon is a minor god, there are no bad rumors spread about him like there are about Zeus. Percy is a person of good character who is absolutely not like Zeus. Also, Zeus has a more furious temper than many of the other gods. While Percy is not so peaceful, he is at least calmer than Zeus. Riordan must have thought about these features when choosing Percy's father.

Minor can sometimes be better than major. The Percy Jackson and the Olympians series might not be interesting if Percy were very strong and got along with Annabeth while having trouble with other girls. It would be chaos. Riordan made a good choice about who would be Percy's father.

Child Research Net would like to thank the Doshisha International Junior/Senior High School and Yoriko Okamoto, student and author, for permitting reproduction of this article on the CRN web site.

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