Disney series titled “Percy Jackson and the Olympians” It is a successful adaptation of Rick Riordan's novel. The first attempts to show the world of demigods were in 2010, when a film directed by Chris Columbus was produced with the same title as the series. However, this production had a lot of flaws, which the new series fixed. So let's take a look at the Disney production and see how different it is from the original novel.
Naturally, there are a lot of similarities, but it is worth noting a small detail that did not have to be included in the Disney production, but is a very nice addition and “wink” for fans of the novel.
“How did I accidentally vaporize my math teacher?”
Fans of the book series are sure to notice this unique detail. Each episode of the first season has a title, which is also the title of a chapter of the first part of the series The Adventures of Percy Jackson.
This is a nice nod to longtime fans who will easily know where the series is in the book and know that the producers have at least looked at the source material.
Favorite color? blue
The creators of the series also haven't forgotten how much Percy loves the color blue. Drinks, snacks, even the pancakes that mom makes – everything should be blue. And this is not a random choice, because Percy, as the son of the sea god, feels a great connection to water and everything that resembles it.
Percy Jackson or Peter Johnson?
The creators of the series decided to play a joke that had been present in Riordan's novels for years – one of the guards at Camp Half-Blood, Mr. D. (God of wine and vines, Dionysus) is unable or unwilling to remember Percy's name. You distort his name in different ways or avoid saying it. Also, the series Mr. D does not use the boy's name until the end of the season. It's a small thing, but it makes me happy.
There are many items that only appeared in the series or were slightly modified for production. Some of the differences are bigger, some are smaller, but most are introduced to make the story a little smoother. But these changes did not negatively affect the reception of the series.
Gabe's stepdad was bad, and he ended up much worse
Before Percy came to Camp Half-Blood, he moved from school to school and stayed with his mother, Sally, during summer vacation. The woman is in a relationship with Gabe, who is not the boy's dream stepfather. At every turn, she insults him and considers him useless. Gabe is lazy, unemployed, and more annoying than dangerous.
In the novel, we meet Gabe as a violent man who may assault a woman and her son. He treated Sally like his maid and turned her apartment into a den where he invited his friends to play poker.
Sally only maintained this relationship because Gabe's stench masked Percy's demigod scent, which kept many mythical creatures away.
The stepfather's story also had a slightly different ending. In the series we see that Gabe opens a package sent to Percy and becomes a victim of the Medusa gaze. This is quite a nice ending since the original was a bit more brutal.
Given how the character was portrayed in the novel, Percy and Sally took more drastic measures – together they planned to use Medusa's head on Gabi. After the man is turned into a statue, Sally sells him a statue titled “The Poker Player.”
Percy thinks his father is dead
In the novel, Percy resents his father because Sally had to be with Gabe and take care of her son alone. He is disappointed and thinks his father is dead. Does this have a positive impact on the series' story? In my opinion, not necessarily – the series makes Percy a polite and organized boy who never has bad feelings, which is very idealistic and far from teenage reality. It also changes the perspective of the first meeting that will eventually take place.
Percy had dyslexia (and other superpowers)
One of the basic clues to knowing if someone is a demigod is to look at their ability to learn. The demigods suffered from what humans described as “dyslexia,” because the demigods' minds had difficulty comprehending texts written in modern languages because they were attuned to reading the ancient Greek alphabet.
Dyslexia was also accompanied by a diagnosis of ADHD – why? Demigods were always ready to fight, and the best way to release the tension and energy that was building up within them was physical exercise, preferably with a sword or spear. No wonder Percy had such a hard time learning!
Percy and Annabeth were under the influence of the Lotus Hotel
In Episode 6 of the first season, we see the trio falling into the trap of a fraudulent casino that is deceiving customers. Anyone who enters there completely loses their sense of time – it seems to them that they are having fun for only a few hours – but in reality they spend days or even weeks.
The heroes of the series almost immediately realize who they are dealing with – the Lotus Eaters, known from Greek mythology. Percy and Annabeth focus on the search, and only Grover succumbs to the hotel's power. It is true that they are deceived to some extent, but it is not on this scale as in the novel.
All three characters in Riordan's books enjoy the entertainment provided by the Casino and Hotel Lotos. They think that only a few hours pass, but in reality they lose up to five days. They get to know the essence of this place only after leaving the hotel. In addition, they want to stay there forever – record holders from other volumes of Percy's adventures have spent up to 77 years in the casino!
The heroes of the series know more
This theme is related to the previous version – the series' characters learn the details of their journey early on, learn about the dangers and anticipate certain events. This is good for keeping up the pace of the show, but the characters in the book were more oblivious. They learned many things only after the fact or solved a riddle contained in one of the many prophecies they received. Sending 12-year-olds on such an expedition without any information is more of a gamble than a fun story for teens.
The answer is yes! From the first Disney-produced episode, the love and respect for the source material is evident. The actors are close in age to their characters and their involvement in the story is clear. The series' producers have limited production to topics that do not disturb the main story, thus maintaining a high pace of plot development.
Let's hope that the director does not lack enthusiasm to maintain such a high quality of the series and we will have the opportunity to see the later parts of the novel depicted with such attention to detail and respect for the fans.
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