Rick Riordan's series is a hit with both children and adults. Learn more about the characters in the series with this study guide.
About the Series
The popular series of Percy Jackson & The Olympians, by Rick Riordan, has captured the interest and imagination of students, teachers and parents alike. The books center around a young boy named Percy Jackson, who discovers that he is a demigod - the child of a mortal and one of the Greek gods from Mount Olympus. Each story depicts a slew of adventures that Percy and his young friends embark on in an effort to help the god's.
Here we take a closer look at the main Percy Jackson characters - many of whom are introduced in the first book of the series, The Lightening Thief, and then appear repeatedly throughout the books.
Percy Jackson - Young Percy is both the protagonist of the series and the narrator. When we first meet Percy in The Lightening Thief, he is a 12 year old student attending Yancy Academy, which is a private school for troubled kids located in upstate New York. Percy tells us that he likes to eat blue food, and that his mother gives it to him as often as she can as an act of defiance against Percy's Stepfather who once insisted blue food does not exist. We also learn that Percy has dyslexia and ADHD (Attention Deficit - Hyperactivity Disorder.) On his website, author Rick Riordan states that his own son has dyslexia and ADHD, and that he wrote the character of Percy with the same traits for his son's benefit.
Later, we learn that Percy is actually a demigod - the son of a Greek god (in Percy's case, Poseidon) and a human mortal. Additionally, it is explained that Percy's "dyslexia" is actually due to the fact that Percy's brain is wired to read the letters of Ancient Greek while his ADHD is really just his "battle-field reflexes" and heightened senses. (The Lightening Thief, p. 88)
Since Percy is a descendant of one of the "big three" gods (Zeus, Poseidon or Hades), his powers are more prevalent than those of other demigods. As the son of Poseidon, many of his powers revolve around water. He can breath underwater and control large amounts of it. For Percy, water also contains a healing power. Since it is said that Poseidon was the god who created horses, Percy has the ability to communicate telepathically with sea creatures, and animals or creatures with horse-like traits. In the book The Last Olympian, Percy bathes in the River Styx, which is located in the underworld. Like Achilles, he is then given immortality.
Grover Underwood - Percy Jackson's school friend. Percy is shocked to learn that Grover Underwood is actually a satyr sent to protect him against creatures who would do Percy harm. His official title is "Keeper," and it is his job to help find and bring worthy students to Camp Half-Blood.
As a satyr, Grover is half-goat, half-human. He has the lower body of a goat and the upper body of a human. He also has horns which are typically hidden by his curly hair. Although Grover is technically much older than Percy, satyrs mature at about half the rate that humans do - putting him right around the same age as Percy. Grover accompanies Percy to the Camp Half-Blood, and on all of the adventures Percy has after that. Like other satyrs, Grover is on a quest to find the god Pan.
Sally Jackson - Percy's mother. In The Lightening Thief, Sally is taken to the underworld by a Minotaur seeking to harm Percy.
Gabe Ugliano - Percy's step-father. Percy describes the man as a "world-class jerk" (The Lightening Thief, p. 30) and that he reeks of "moldy garlic pizza wrapped in gym shorts." (The Lightening Thief, p. 30) Later, we learn that Percy's mother married him because of this smell. It was he hope that the smell would ward off any creatures trying to find her son.
Mr. Brunner - Percy's wheelchair-bound Latin teacher. This is a pseudonym, however. Mr. Brunner is actually a centaur named Chiron. Chiron is the head instructor at Camp Half-Blood.
Mr. D - Also known as Dionysus, the god of wine. Mr. D is the camp director at Camp Half-Blood.
Annabeth Chase - Percy's best friend at Camp Half-Blood. She is a demigod - just like Percy. We are told that Annabeth is the daughter of Athena, the goddess of war, skill, wisdom, justice and the arts. This explains why she is such a skilled fighter. At first, Annabeth does not like Percy - especially when it is revealed that he may be the chosen one from the prophecy. However, in the book The Last Olympian, Annabeth later becomes Percy's girlfriend. Annabeth accompanies Percy and Grover on the many quests and adventures throughout the series. Annabeth has the power of invisibility with her special Yankees cap.
Nico di Angelo - Nico is the son of the Hades, the god of the underworld. At first, Nico and Percy do not get along. Later in the series, however, Percy helps Nico raise Bianca (Nico's sister) from the dead and the two become pals.
Luke Castellan - Luke is a major antagonist in the Percy Jackson series. When Percy first meets Luke at Camp Half-Blood, Luke is one of the counselors and he pretends to be Percy's friend. Later, however, it is revealed that Luke is really part of Kronons and Kronos's army. Luke tries to kill Percy in several of the books.
Kronons - Kronons is the evil Titan lord and another main antagonist in the series. Kronos is the father of Zeus, Poseidon and Hades, and Chiron. HIs quest is to take over Olympus, so he must therefore stop Percy.
The Greek gods also appear frequently as characters in the Percy Jackson series, and many of them have children living at Camp Half-Blood. Here is a list of the Greek gods who appear as Percy Jackson characters:
Author Rick Riordan does a fantastic job of mixing Greek mythology with modern day fantasy. As a result, the Percy Jackson series is a wonderful read for the young as well as the old - and definitely one worth pursuing!