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Author Topic: Percy Jackson  (Read 6873 times)
gorm_sionnach
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« Topic Start: January 22, 2010, 08:49:08 pm »

I'm not a Hellenic recon but I am interested in the opinions of recons on popular depictions and retellings of Greek myths. I work in a book store and am aquainted with (though have not read) the Percy Jackson series, though with the release of the film adaptation in February, its popularity is growing. I have come across a blog or two where the series is discussed, but I was curious if any of the HP's who frequent the Cauldron have an opinion on it?

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« Reply #1: January 22, 2010, 09:08:39 pm »

I'm not a Hellenic recon but I am interested in the opinions of recons on popular depictions and retellings of Greek myths. I work in a book store and am aquainted with (though have not read) the Percy Jackson series, though with the release of the film adaptation in February, its popularity is growing. I have come across a blog or two where the series is discussed, but I was curious if any of the HP's who frequent the Cauldron have an opinion on it?

I haven't read the books.  While they do look interesting, I have seen so many horrible portrayals of Greek Mythology in pop culture (glances at Disney and gives it the finger) that I do not feel like getting pissed over something most people find silly.  I also hate most adaptations of books, so that may also have something to do with it.

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* If this is not the proper place to post this (i.e. if it is better suited to the Books sub forum) I'll gladly repost.

If we are discussing how the Greek Gods are treated in pop culture in general, I see no reason why this discussion should be moved.
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« Reply #2: January 22, 2010, 09:31:20 pm »

I have come across a blog or two where the series is discussed, but I was curious if any of the HP's who frequent the Cauldron have an opinion on it?

I've read the first few books and really enjoyed them. The Gods are portrayed well for fiction, especially young adult fiction. Ignoring the religious opinion aspects, they are darn good fantasy fiction -- on a par with the far better known Harry Potter series, IMHO.
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« Reply #3: January 22, 2010, 09:53:32 pm »

I've read the first few books and really enjoyed them. The Gods are portrayed well for fiction, especially young adult fiction. Ignoring the religious opinion aspects, they are darn good fantasy fiction -- on a par with the far better known Harry Potter series, IMHO.

I appreciate the input.

Do you think that the books may encourage more interest in Greek myths? I mentioned earlier I work in a book store and I have noticed a recent increase in the number of people asking for books on Greek myths (both adult and children). Its a highly speculative question, but do you think the books may spark more of an interest in HP?

Another (speculative) question, if the series (film) does well, would you expect the "usual suspects" pointing to the evils of Hollywood spreading paganism, as the "pagan" elements of the films are considerably overt?
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« Reply #4: January 22, 2010, 10:29:53 pm »

Another (speculative) question, if the series (film) does well, would you expect the "usual suspects" pointing to the evils of Hollywood spreading paganism, as the "pagan" elements of the films are considerably overt?

Kinda doubt it. Classical mythology is standard fare in schools, and as such, I think that things based on it tend to not register on the radar of those who would complain about the likes of Harry Potter. "It's just mythology" is what a lot of people think, I think.
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« Reply #5: January 23, 2010, 12:43:10 am »

I appreciate the input.

Do you think that the books may encourage more interest in Greek myths? I mentioned earlier I work in a book store and I have noticed a recent increase in the number of people asking for books on Greek myths (both adult and children). Its a highly speculative question, but do you think the books may spark more of an interest in HP?

Another (speculative) question, if the series (film) does well, would you expect the "usual suspects" pointing to the evils of Hollywood spreading paganism, as the "pagan" elements of the films are considerably overt?

The Harry Potter series, from what I saw, got more people to mention Wicca and Witchcraft and thus make their existence a little more known. I do not know if the Percy Jackson books will ever do the same for Hellenic religion, but I do think they will increase interest in Greek and perhaps Roman mythology. What I do find interesting is the possibility that there may be individual readers (and viewers of the movie coming out next month), who after reading about the Theoi being real, may actually ponder that themselves.

The "usual suspects" did point their fingers when it came to Harry Potter. I think it may happen that they point their fingers in regards to the Percy Jackson books and movie because of the whole "the gods are real" thing. They will call it a promotion of Paganism and then they will say something about how it's time for every American to return to praying in Jesus' name.

This reminds me that I find it interesting how Classical deities seem to be everywhere. On my land we have statues of these deities at government sites. Their mythologies are taught in middle schools and high schools. Now there is a movie coming out about Them being real. It is more than interesting; it is fascinating, actually.
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« Reply #6: January 23, 2010, 02:47:42 am »

I'm not a Hellenic recon but I am interested in the opinions of recons on popular depictions and retellings of Greek myths. I work in a book store and am aquainted with (though have not read) the Percy Jackson series, though with the release of the film adaptation in February, its popularity is growing..

I am waiting for Steve (ComW) to get bloody organised so that I can borrow this series. He has just read them and wants me to as well. So, once he has actually given me all my books back (about 25 of them!) I can get those off him and let you know-it will probably take me about 2/3 days to read them all.  Cheesy
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« Reply #7: January 23, 2010, 07:59:36 am »

Do you think that the books may encourage more interest in Greek myths?

Perhaps a bit. However, I think Greek mythology is still covered in schools, so I doubt there will be a huge increase in interest in it. Most readers should already have enough grounding in the myths -- even if they are bastardized Bullfinch versions -- that only a few readers are likely to develop much more interest.

Quote
Another (speculative) question, if the series (film) does well, would you expect the "usual suspects" pointing to the evils of Hollywood spreading paganism, as the "pagan" elements of the films are considerably overt?

Probably not as much. "Witchcraft" upsets more Christian fundies than Greek myths do -- probably because most fundies are actually familiar with Greek myths and therefore find them less threatening.  However, I'm sure there will be some negative reaction.
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« Reply #8: January 23, 2010, 09:59:48 am »


I haven't quite finished the first book, but from what I could tell there weren't glaring edits to the basic details of Greek mythology. (Although, admittedly, I was delighted to find such a good children's/YA book and may have been more absorbed in that during my first reading. Smiley) I think Rick Riordan (the author) did a good job of balancing both the pettiness that exists in myths and emphasizing that some of the characters are, well, gods, and have all the majesty and power that entails.

For the most part, it seems like the half-divine, half-mortal offpring in the books suffer more from overblown caricatures than the gods themselves. The children of Ares are all basically overgrown bullies with more muscle than brain. Ares himself is definitely a bully too, but he's also smart, calculating, and chilling at times. Aphrodite's kids from what I remember are basically the pretty and popular kids, and I haven't gotten up to the point where we meet Aphrodite herself.

One of my favorite parts in the book is when Grover (the satyr guardian of Percy) is telling his companions about Pan, and what his mission is. In the books, Pan disappeared years and years ago (it's indicated that environmental issues may have something to do with it) and every remaining satyr wants to go out and be the one to search him down and bring back definite news whether he's alive or dead. While Grover's talking, a breeze comes by and the characters sense what I guess is the echo of the presence of Pan - running through the woodlands, wild berries, that sort of thing. It's a very moving, surprisingly spiritual part of the book, and it aches with loneliness.

One of my least favorite parts is the fact that I hate the Dionysus portrayed in the story. He's basically a grouchy alcoholic who is punished by Zeus to oversee Camp Half-Blood (where Percy and company stay). Maybe it gets better in the later books, but there's so much emphasis on him being just a god of wine and drunkenness (and being ticked off that part of his punishment is that he can't drink anymore) and nothing else. It made me have a very sad face.

Do you think that the books may encourage more interest in Greek myths? I mentioned earlier I work in a book store and I have noticed a recent increase in the number of people asking for books on Greek myths (both adult and children). Its a highly speculative question, but do you think the books may spark more of an interest in HP?

I really hope so. Every time a major fantasy story gets such media attention, I want to do a happy dance and cackle evilly. Yes, draw in the little kiddies to our sci-fantasy geek I mean Pagan ways. While some may develop a greater interest in mythology, and fewer still may begin to seriously contemplate the reality of these deities, I feel that the Percy Jackson books and others like it are planting seeds for much further down the line. They're putting these concepts out into popular culture and reinforcing it. The more success the movies have (even if they make die-hard fans of the book cry), the more likely we'll get similar themes and story lines in our books, movies, and TV. Percy Jackson may start a copycat trend, but it's one that I'm totally okay with. (Sons and daughters of the Aesir, battling off the evil Jotun and still having to be home in time for dinner? Works for me. Smiley)
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« Reply #9: January 23, 2010, 11:28:47 am »

I am waiting for Steve (ComW) to get bloody organised so that I can borrow this series. He has just read them and wants me to as well. So, once he has actually given me all my books back (about 25 of them!) I can get those off him and let you know-it will probably take me about 2/3 days to read them all.  Cheesy

I'm missing the third book. of five which is irritating.

They are good time-wasters IMHO. Not so good I'd pass on anything else to read them, but good enough I'm will to buy and lend.
They scrape the surface of the mythos and deities that they use and the portrayals are reasonably on target for the mythos, but hardly what id consider a religious source.

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« Reply #10: January 23, 2010, 09:23:06 pm »

They scrape the surface of the mythos and deities that they use and the portrayals are reasonably on target for the mythos, but hardly what id consider a religious source.

I would hope Pagans have more sense than to take fiction as fact the way some of people do say, The Da Vinci Code.  But I may be hoping for too much.  Undecided
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