Many people may not think a series about myths would be worth the time to read. Yet, the Percy Jackson series has much to teach about life.

Percy Jackson series poster for Camp Half Blood. An orange background with a black centaur in the foreground.
Camp Half-Blood is one of the main settings of the Percy Jackson series
Photo from Marcelinoportfolio on Flickr

Since I was a child, the Percy Jackson series has included some of my favorite books. It is much more than just fun to read, it pairs much of the benefits of myth with more modern ideas.

Percy Jackson Series Lesson #1: People’s Reality Can Differ

Humans see what they want to see.

Rick Riordan, The Lightning Thief

A major part of the series plot is that most mortal eyes don’t see the mythical. Most mortals create stories to ignore the truth. They find ways to explain away what is right in front of them. This is done in reality too. The human mind is great at rationalizing things.

I tend to be rational to a fault. I often fail to accept things that I can’t personally observe. I often miss things that are obvious to others with a more open mind. We all see the world differently, so it is important not to shut out the view of others. You may end up learning something.

People tend to go into echo chambers and ignore those they disagree with. Reality and myth are never black and white. The world lives in the gray. People’s biases cloud their judgment in much the same way as the mist does for Riordan’s series. It is something we can all learn to improve.

Percy Jackson Series Lesson #2: Accept People’s Differences

And the ADHD-you’re impulsive, can’t sit still in the classroom. That’s your battlefield reflexes. In a real fight, they’d keep you alive. As for the attention problems, that’s because you see too much, Percy, not too little. 

Rick Riordan, Percy Jackson and the Olympians series

A central theme in the series is that things often smeared are turned into benefits. The best example of this is that ADHD and dyslexia are seen as signs of divine parentage. Dyslexia is shown as having a wiring for Greek. ADHD is simply war instincts. Riordan turns a perceived disability into a benefit.

This particular lesson was a huge help to me growing up. I have always been an outcast to varying degrees due to being different. I often felt in my younger years that I was somehow inferior to others. The series showing these things in a positive light played a role in my slow crawl out of that.

Everybody was created the way they are with a purpose in mind. As a result, it is important to recognize that disability may only be in certain circumstances. Many things may not even be disabilities at all. Seeing the world through this lens allows everyone to move forward better.

Percy Jackson Series Lesson #3: Family Overcomes All

Family, Luke, you promised.

Annabeth speaking to Luke Castellan, Percy Jackson and the Olympians series

Luke Castellan was the primary person responsible for the full rise of Kronos. Riordan makes him the most real villain in the series. He had also been the one who became a vector for Kronos. Much of this was due to his hatred of his dad.

This story of family conflict is in direct contrast to his actions at the end of the story. Luke gave up his life to save the world. This represents the importance the book places on family. It contrasts family conflict with cathartic reconciliation.

The series also shows this through Annabeth’s relationship with her mortal dad. Before the series, Annabeth had run away due to her stepmom not liking her. She decides to try again at the end of book one. The family eventually reconciles later in the series, and by the third book, she rescues the characters.

Of course, Riordan does not claim that families can’t break. The series includes many things that tear families apart. Yet, a significant theme of the series is that “blood is thicker than water.” He stresses this because we should remember it in our own lives.

You deal with mythological stuff for a few years, you learn that paradises are usually places where you get killed.

Rick Riordan, Percy Jackson and the Olympians series

Riordan has much to teach us beyond which Greek war deity was smart. Percy Jackson gives lessons for our own lives. These series lessons are important to take away and implement. I hope that these themes are remembered when the TV series is released.