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The Wessex Wire

The Wessex Wire

REVIEW: Percy Jackson revives fans’ hope in book adaptations

Photo Obtained from IMDb
Fans of the Percy Jackson books will not be disappointed by the series.

Published in the summer of 2005, “Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief” was a hit book amongst young adults and kids, with the fan base growing with each update in the saga. In 2010, a poor movie adaptation of the first book was released, leaving fans disappointed. For years, it seemed there was no hope for a faithful adaptation of the beloved book series.

In May 2020, Disney announced they would be starting production on a Percy Jackson show, with the book’s writer, Rick Riordan, leading the project. Fans were beyond excited and when the season was released beginning on Dec. 19, it certainly did not disappoint. 

From the very first episode, the show proves itself loyal to the books in a way the movies simply were not. Fans heard (“Look, I didn’t want to be a half-blood”) audiences were instantly reacquainted with the original story of Percy Jackson. The words that have defined so many people’s childhoods are a perfect and instantly recognizable hook into the iconic story.

The actors truly embody the characters, from Annabeth Chase (Leah Jeffries), Percy Jackson (Walter Scobell) and Grover Underwood (Aryan Simhadri) in the main trio to Luke Castellan (Charlie Bushnell) and Clarisse La Rue (Dior Goodjohn) as secondary characters and everyone in between. 

Not a single character felt inauthentic or unfaithful to the original book series, every actor fully committing and delivering with their performances, exceeding audience expectations. The genuine emotions and feelings of the characters, as well as their motivations, are incredibly well portrayed through the talented actors and actresses.

Any doubt in the abilities or choices of the actors and actresses were swiftly and effectively squashed by the end of the first episode.

Percy Jackson’s world is immersive, with memorable lines and witty dialogue keeping the show moving. There is not one slow moment naturally, every scene flowing easily into the next. One moment, there will be an appropriately heartfelt scene, and the next an impressive fight scene, both including stunning visuals and aesthetics. The world is entirely unique, yet also, entirely familiar, a perfect combination of the expected and unexpected into a single story. 

Perhaps the most unique thing about this adaptation is the way that it is still able to shock and surprise long-time fans of the books, as well as new fans, with innovative and clever changes that didn’t alter the integrity of the original story. The story still remained in the world Rick Riordan created. It wasn’t unrecognizable from the original story, just a new retelling of it. Percy Jackson is full of old myths retold to match the current worldview, and the story itself mimics that pattern, adapting with each iteration.

This series is the truest interpretation there has been be of Percy Jackson. Those who engage in the story are meant to see themselves in the characters as they evolve and change. It’s a special experience that cannot be replicated for any other story. With the recently announced second season, it’s almost certain this pattern will continue into the future. 

With the help of the new show, Percy Jackson will always be there for his audience.

Behind the Byline
Delaney Piccoli
Delaney Piccoli, Arts & Culture Editor
Delaney Piccoli is an Arts & Culture Editor for the Wessex Wire. When she isn't scribbling in her notebook (or reading), she is a part of Masquers and the West Essex Concert choir. Whenever the time arises, she convinces her younger siblings to eat her burnt candy attempts.
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