‘Percy Jackson and the Olympians’ Season 1 Review: From Page to Screen | Arts | The Harvard Crimson (2024)

“Percy Jackson and the Olympians,” a show recently released on Disney+, has been a beacon of hope for fans seeking redemption from previous adaptations of Rick Riordan’s beloved series. Following the finale of its first season, the show has sparked a whirlwind of reactions. This adaptation, bringing to life the tale of Percy Jackson, a 12-year-old demigod, has been lauded for its faithful character portrayals and fresh casting approach.

The first season of “Percy Jackson and the Olympians” based on “The Lightning Thief” novel, reimagines Rick Riordan’s beloved universe with a fresh perspective. Actor Walker Scobell steps into the shoes of Percy Jackson, a young boy thrust into a fantastical world as he discovers his heritage as the son of Poseidon. Accompanied by Annabeth (Leah Sava Jeffries) and Grover (Aryan Simhadri), the series navigates the delicate balance between loyalty to the original narrative and the introduction of new, more diverse character interpretations. However, deviations from the books — like Percy’s accelerated learning curve and rushed plot elements — have sparked discussions among the fanbase.

The youthful cast’s vibrant performances form the show’s core. Scobell’s Percy blends adolescent innocence with emerging heroism, capturing moments of hilarity and bravery, like his amusing comment comparing himself to Jesus in the first episode. The actors who play Annabeth and Grover also bring depth to this dynamic trio. The chemistry among them enriches the themes of friendship and adventure.

Leah Sava Jeffries as Annabeth Chase is a standout, embodying the character’s defining traits of confidence and intelligence. Her portrayal of Annabeth’s leadership qualities and strategic thinking, coupled with a sense of vulnerability, truly captures the essence of her character. Aryan Simhadri’s portrayal of Grover Underwood also brings a delightful charm and depth to the series. Grover’s love for nature and animals is palpable, showcased through his compassionate interactions with the environment. This portrayal goes beyond mere comic relief, highlighting his role as a protector not only of Percy but of the natural world as well. Grover’s deep connection to nature, coupled with his cautious bravery, adds a unique layer to the character.

The series delivers memorable scenes that resonate with the essence of the books. Some scenes might not have been in the book but were still excellent additions. For instance, the humorous “pinecone’s fate” scene in episode three and the touching depiction of burning candy for Percy’s mom in episode two act as great plot additions. These moments not only advance the plot but also deepen our understanding of the characters. The show’s modern humor, blended with Greek mythology, made these ancient tales accessible and engaging.

The series has been praised for its faithful depiction of characters and their friendship dynamic. The diverse casting and strong performances are refreshing for the classic story. However, some narrative choices, like the rushed handling of the claiming in episode two and the group’s quick identification of threats have made it clear that this series was rushed. The season only contained eight episodes, and it seems that the directors struggled to tell the story in a small time frame. Along with occasional pacing issues, it seems that there are inherent challenges when adapting a detailed narrative into a television format.

The series not only shines in its action and humor but also in its emotional depth. A particularly touching moment is the beautifully crafted scene between Sally Jackson, played by Virginia Kull, and Poseidon, played by Toby Stephens. Their encounter, marked by palpable chemistry, conveys a wealth of emotion and history without relying on eye contact and physical interaction. This scene stands out as a testament to the show’s ability to handle subtler, character-driven moments with finesse. It’s moments like these, when the show deviates from the book to add depth to the narrative, that will surely resonate with the audience.

The technical elements of “Percy Jackson and the Olympians,” particularly its special effects and cinematography, play a crucial role in bringing the mythical world to life. The series successfully translates the magic of Greek mythology into a visually engaging experience, complemented by a fitting soundtrack that enhances the adventurous spirit of the story. For instance, the portrayal of Mount Olympus is breathtaking, with its grandeur and otherworldly aesthetics effectively capturing the majesty and power of the gods’ realm. The intricate set design is not just visually stunning but also rich in symbolic details, adding depth to the narrative.

Despite critiques, the show has generally been well-received for its engaging storytelling and visual appeal. It has succeeded in not only reigniting the passion of long-time fans but also in attracting a new audience to the Percy Jackson universe.


Ultimately, the show succeeds in capturing the essence of Rick Riordan’s universe, appealing to both long-time fans and a new generation of viewers. The show’s diverse casting, engaging performances, and visual flair contribute to a fresh and exciting retelling of Percy Jackson’s adventures. The announcement of its renewal for a second season is a testament to its success and the potential for further exploration and development of this beloved world.

—Staff writer Rachel A. Beard can be reached at rachel.beard@thecrimson.com.

‘Percy Jackson and the Olympians’ Season 1 Review: From Page to Screen | Arts | The Harvard Crimson (2024)


‘Percy Jackson and the Olympians’ Season 1 Review: From Page to Screen | Arts | The Harvard Crimson? ›

The diverse casting and strong performances are refreshing for the classic story. However, some narrative choices, like the rushed handling of the claiming in episode two and the group's quick identification of threats have made it clear that this series was rushed.

Why couldn t Percy Jackson read? ›

Percy claimed that he couldn't read it because of his Dyslexia, and had asked Annabeth what it had said, and Annabeth claimed that she didn't know either, as she also had Dyslexia. Then, later on in the series, and even later on in the book, Annabeth, and Percy as well can read English just fine.

What is Percy Jackson supposed to look like in the books? ›

As described by the books, Percy has sea-green eyes, tan skin, and black (usually messy) hair. In The Lightning Thief Percy is said to not be very athletic, but later on, he becomes stronger because of his demigod training and a lot of monster fighting.

Is Percy Jackson a good book for beginners? ›

It's a good light-hearted read. You may think it's a bit "childish" and it certainly IS written for middle-schoolers, but the tone, the humour, and the characters make the series enjoyable for older readers too.

Which is the best Percy Jackson book? ›

Best Percy Jackson Books
  • The Titan's Curse (Percy Jackson and the Olympians, #3) by Rick Riordan (Goodreads Author) ...
  • The Lost Hero (The Heroes of Olympus, #1) ...
  • The Last Olympian (Percy Jackson and the Olympians, #5) ...
  • The Mark of Athena (The Heroes of Olympus, #3)

Do Annabeth and Percy get married? ›

Yes, Annabeth is married to Percy Jackson, and has three kids: Cast, Ethan, and Zoe. How was Annabeth Chase born? Annabeth Chase is the half-blood daughter of the goddess Athena and the mortal man Frederick Chase.

Is Annabeth dyslexia? ›

Also like most other half-bloods, she has dyslexia, because her brain is 'hard-wired' from birth to read Ancient Greek. Annabeth is trained in hand-to-hand combat during her stays at Camp Half-Blood.

When did Percy and Annabeth fall in love? ›

In The Battle of the Labyrinth, Annabeth finally expresses her feelings for Percy by kissing him good luck before vanishing using her Yankee's cap.

Is Annabeth Percy's girlfriend? ›

Annabeth Chase is a demigod daughter of the Greek goddess Athena and girlfriend of Percy Jackson. She is one of the main protagonists in Percy Jackson and the Olympians and The Heroes of Olympus.

Does Annabeth like Percy or Luke? ›

Nothing ever happens between Annabeth and Luke, but Percy gets jealous of the other demigod. Annabeth also outwardly admits she had a crush on Luke in The Mark of Athena, the third book in Riordan's Heroes of Olympus series.

Is 13 too old to read Percy Jackson? ›

The story's narrator, Percy Jackson, will be familiar to most young readers, and here he retells the stories of the Greek Gods with wit and style. This book is appropriate for ages 10+, although some of the stories feature themes that are a bit more mature.

Should a 14 year old read Percy Jackson? ›

To answer your question: It really depends on your definition of “teenager.” Technically, a teenager could be 13 or 19. The Percy Jackson series is a very good read for young teens, say aged 10–15. I personally began reading it when I was 10. But that doesn't mean that adults or older teenagers can't enjoy it either.

What age is Percy Jackson appropriate for? ›

Percy Jackson by Rick Riordan 5 Books Box Set - Ages 9-14 - Paperback. Collect Book Points from your order!

Who is better Annabeth or Percy? ›

Annabeth Chase is portrayed as the smarter of the two, but Percy Jackson is portrayed as the best fighter the Olympians ever had, he contended with Cronos, kicked the ass of who knows how many monsters and evil demi-gods, pwned Ares at age 12, and gained even Artemis', Hades', and Zeus' respect for his combat ...

Is Percy better than Luke? ›

Mortician: In terms Skills and Training, Luke was a way better fighter than Percy, Percy only has about 4-5 years of experience on fighting monsters and Demigods, while Luke has spent many years training from two powerful Jedi and became one of the strongest Jedi.

Is Percy the most powerful? ›

Percy Jackson: Percy is often regarded as the strongest demigod in the series.

Why is Percy really considered dyslexic? ›

His ADHD is explained as his “battle reflexes” — he has an ability to stay alert, to notice small changes, to let his mind wander to find new solutions to problems. With a bit more of a reach, his dyslexia is made out as his brain truly being “hard-wired” to read ancient Greek rather than modern English.

Why is Percy Jackson dyslexic? ›

For example, though Percy has a label of “dyslexia” and struggles to read while growing up, it is later explained to him that demigods with dyslexia are actually people who are “hard-wired” to be able to read in a different way– in Percy's case, he is meant to read Greek, since is half-Greek god.

Did Percy Jackson have dyslexia? ›

In the debut movie “Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning Thief,” Percy is a 17 year old high school boy with ADHD and dyslexia struggling with school, and getting into lots of trouble. Unbeknownst to him, he is also the son of Poseidon, the Greek god of the sea.

What happens if two demigods have a kid? ›

It was officially stated by Rick Riordan that if two demigods had a child it would be mortal.

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