The Lightning Thief

Kailah Cassidy


Battles with venomous monsters and angry gods, one thing becomes perfectly clear about Percy Jackson: he loves his mom more than anything. It is this love that keeps Percy strong, that motivates him to complete his quest, and that helps him to do the right thing. This love contrasts heavily with the violence that Percy experiences in The Lightning Thief, and it is what makes life worth living for him. During his quest, Percy has access to some of the most powerful weapons and magic in the history of Western Civilization, but he doesn't care about this kind of power. He is not tempted to steal anything for his own power. He seems to understand that love (having a mother who loves him for who he is) is more important and more powerful than any master bolt or helm of darkness.


Percy Jackson is twelve years old, and tells us the story of his past year. On the first day of summer, just after his sixth-grade year, Percy discovers he is half-human, half-god. He is taken to Camp Half-Blood in New York, a camp for kids just like him that is safe from monsters that like to attack half-bloods.

Percy learns his father is Poseidon, god of the Sea and brother to Zeus and Hades. When Zeus's master bolt (the thing that allows him to create lightning whenever he wants) is stolen, Poseidon is blamed for the theft. Zeus tells Poseidon that the master bolt must be returned to Mount Olympus by the summer solstice, or else he will declare war on Poseidon.

Percy sets out on a quest to retrieve Zeus's master bolt, which is believed to be in the Underworld. Helping Percy are Grover, and Annabeth, a smart demi-goddess and daughter of Athena. The three take a bus, a train, a truck, and a taxi cab to make their way across America, from New York to Los Angeles, where the gates of the Underworld are located. They stop in St. Louis, Denver, and Las Vegas along the way. During their quest, they battle vicious monsters like Medusa, they find disaster on the observation deck of the Gateway Arch, they are tricked by the god of war (Ares), they nearly lose their memories in an enchanted Vegas casino.

Percy finds that Hades does not have Zeus's master bolt, and he is missing his own symbol of power: the helm of darkness. Hades accuses Percy of stealing both the master bolt and the helm of darkness for his father, Poseidon. He accuses Poseidon of being power-hungry. To make things worse, the master bolt magically appears in Percy's backpack while he is talking to Hades.

After escaping Hades's wrath, Percy, Annabeth, and Grover encounter Ares, the god of war, on the Santa Monica beach. Percy questions Ares and discovers that Ares stole the master bolt and helm of darkness from the original thief (whose name we don't yet know). Ares has been tempted by the possibility of sparking one of the biggest wars of all time between the Big Three: Hades, Zeus, and Poseidon. Percy and Ares battle it out on the beach, and Percy wounds Ares, winning the helm of darkness. Ares curses Percy.

Percy returns the helm of darkness to Hades and takes a plane to New York City where he finds Mount Olympus on the 600th floor of the Empire State Building. Percy meets Poseidon and Zeus for the first time and tells them everything that he knows and suspects. He tells them that he believes Kronos, king of the Titans who ruled in the age before the Greek gods, is getting ready to wage war on the Olympians (the Greek gods and goddesses). Percy has been having dreams about Kronos in which Kronos talks to him. Zeus doesn't want to hear it. Poseidon tells Percy that he is proud of him and that he must make a choice when he goes home to his mom's apartment in Queens, NY.

That summer at Camp Half-Blood, Percy has a great time living the life of a hero. He procrastinates making a decision about whether he will stay at Camp Half-Blood year round, or whether he will go home and live with his mom in Queens.

On the last day of camp, Percy is lured into the woods by his friend, Luke. Luke confesses to Percy that he was the original thief of the master bolt and the helm of darkness. He tells Percy that he serves Kronos and that Kronos is planning to defeat the Olympians and get rid of them. Luke vanishes, leaving a deadly scorpion to sting Percy. Percy nearly dies from this scorpion bite, but is rescued by wood nymphs who take him to safety. Percy's teacher, Chiron, nurses him back to health. Percy decides to go home and live with his mother for his seventh-grade year.


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Percy's journey starts here, right after he beats the minotaur.
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Their next stop is to Medusa'a lair, only they don't know that.
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Next, they stop at an enchanted hotel and are trapped there for five days.
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After there run in at the Hotel, they stop at the underworld.
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The last stop is the 600th floor, in the Empire State Building. Olympus, is located here this year.


Percy Jackson is perhaps the best chapter-titler known to man. He is the narrator and the hero of The Lightning Thief. To get a taste of his personality and his sense of humor, just glance at this book's table of contents. Chapter titles like "A God Buys Us Cheeseburgers," and "We Get Advice from a Poodle" really help paint a clear portrait of this twelve-year-old boy and his demi-god sense of humor.
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Annabeth is Percy's friend and sometimes competitor. Her mom is Athena, so you can imagine that she is one smart cookie. Thanks to Annabeth, we learn pretty quickly that Athena and Poseidon don't get along very well. Athena once caught Poseidon and his girlfriend in her sacred temple, getting busy. Another time, Athena and Poseidon competed to be patrons of the city of Athens, and Athena won. Once, though, Athena and Poseidon collaborated together inventing the chariot – Athena building the chariot part and Poseidon creating horses from ocean waves.

Like her mom, Annabeth is really good at strategizing, and she nearly always has a plan. That's why she is captain of her Capture-the-Flag team – she knows how to anticipate what the other team will do and what their weaknesses are. She also loves to study architecture. When the trio visit the Gateway Arch in St. Louis, Annabeth is super-excited. She has learned everything about how the Arch is constructed and why it is special. Her mom, too, shares a passion for building, inventing, and crafting things.

Annabeth and Percy have something in common: both have family issues and terrible step-parents. Her dad is a human, a professor at West Point who teaches American History. Annabeth is angry at him for rejecting her at an early age:

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The G-man. Percy's best and only friend in the world. Grover has stuck by Percy throughout sixth grade and has kept watch over him. Percy meets Grover at Yancy Academy and spends much of the time protecting him. At Camp Half-Blood, Grover is very nervous around Mr. D. Why? Chiron gives us the scoop:

"Grover has big dreams. Perhaps bigger than are reasonable. To reach his goal, Grover must first demonstrate great courage by succeeding as a keeper, finding a camper and bringing him safely to Half-Blood Hill."(6.16)

According to the Council of Cloven Elders, Grover did not bring Percy safely back to Camp Half-Blood the night the Minotaur attacked – Percy brought him (literally, he carried an unconscious Grover onto camp property). And, in the Council's eyes, Grover also failed to bring Thalia to safety so many summers ago (an event that broke Grover's heart and that weighs on him still). That means that, technically, Grover has failed twice at being a keeper. Grover's last chance to win a searcher's license (so that he can go in search of Pan) is to safely bring Percy and Annabeth home from their quest. Which he does! Wahoo!
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"Luke's the best swordsman in the last three hundred years" (8.15). He is the counselor in Hermes cabin, and he helps Percy a lot in Percy's first days at Camp Half-Blood, showing him the ropes and explaining that everyone at the camp is family. Percy thinks Luke, who is seven years older, is perhaps the coolest guy he's ever met.
Gradually, over the course of Percy's time at camp, he realizes that Luke holds a grudge against his own dad, Hermes. Luke does a good job of covering this up, but Percy still observes a strain of sadness in Luke.
On the very last day of camp, Luke lures Percy into the woods and nearly kills Percy with a lethal scorpion. He confesses to Percy that he was the original thief of both the master bolt and of the helm of darkness. He tells Percy that he is helping Kronos overthrow the Olympians. When Percy exclaims that the Olympians are their family, their parents, Luke responds,

"That's supposed to make me love them? Their precious 'Western civilization' is a disease, Percy. It's killing the world. The only way to stop it is to burn it to the ground, start over with something more honest." (22.109)

Do you hear the venom in his voice? Do you hear his anger? Luke feels rejected by his father, Hermes, and he wants revenge. Hermes never really checks in on Luke, and once he embarrassed him by giving him a quest to retrieve a golden apple from the Garden of Hesperides – a quest that another more ancient hero had already successfully completed. Like Annabeth, Luke is a year-rounder at Camp Half-Blood, and so his life is pretty limited. He doesn't get to see the real world. His only chance at a quest was a repeat of another hero's quest, making him feel like Hermes was mocking him and intentionally embarrassing him. Luke is a talented swordsman and fighter, but his talents are "wasted" at Camp Half-Blood.
In his last few moments at Camp Half-Blood, before leaving to serve Kronos full-time, Luke tells Percy that "all the gods know how to do is replay their past" (22.122). He is inspired by the idea of change, and he craves revenge on Hermes.
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The Conflict

Zeus's Thunderbolt & Hades's Helm of Darkness have both been stolen by someone. Zeus thinks it is Poseidon. Percy has just got claimed by Poseidon, which leaves Zeus to think that Percy is the one that stole the items. Percy faces MANY so so little challenges along the way.

Percy decides to team up with Annabeth and Grover to prove his innocence. Along the way they come across Ares's the god of war. They don't know he is the thief, until later.

At the end they find out they have been tricked by Ares. They go to tell Zeus this before the winter solstice, their deadline. Zeus believes him, so he forgives them. When they return back to Camp Half-Blood, Percy finds out that it wasn't really Ares's who stole it, it was Luke, and that Ares's was just helping him. Luke has always sided with Kronos and always will.

About The Author

Rick Riordan was born June 5th, 1964 in San Antonia, Texas. He attended Alamo Heights High School in San Antonia, Texas. He worked for the school news paper, and won third place for UIL feature writing. He got in trouble for an underground news paper that made fun of the school, especially the football team (his car got egged). He began college at North Texas State (because he thought he wanted to be a guitar player). He later transferred to the University of Texas, he graduated with a double major in English and History.

He loved to read Lord of the Rings. He fell in love with mythology, in middle school. He mostly read fantasy and science fiction in high school, and got interested in mysteries in college. His parents were both teachers. He worked at a camp in the summer that's how he got the idea of Camp Half-Blood.

He lives with his wife and 2 sons. They own two cats and one dog. His favorite character is either Grover or Tyson.

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Weve Been Expecting You


If you're a normal kid, reading this because you think it's fiction, great. Read on. I envy you for being able to believe that none of this ever happened. (1.4)

When she looks at me, it's like she's seeing all the good things about me, none of the bad. I've never heard her raise her voice or say an unkind word to anyone, not even me or Gabe. (3.36)

My mother was gone. The whole world should be black and cold. Nothing should look beautiful. (5.25)

I felt so relieved, I wanted to cry, though I didn't think that would be very heroic. Grover was the only friend I'd ever had for longer than a few months. I wasn't sure what good a satyr could do against the forces of the dead, but I felt better knowing he'd be with me. (9.192)

The truth was I didn't care about retrieving Zeus's lightning bolt, or saving the world, or even helping my father out of trouble.… All I cared about was my mom. Hades had taken her unfairly, and Hades was going to give her back. (10.103-104)

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