From Page to Screen: Adapting “Percy Jackson and the Olympians” Episode 8 From Chapters 20, 21, and 22

It might be the last episode in season one of Percy Jackson and the Olympians, but there is plenty of adventure left on the page, which will hopefully be brought to a future season 2 for the show. How close is the ending of the show compared to the book? Let’s deep dive into the last three chapters.

Chapter 20 ‘I Battle My Jerk Relative’ brings Percy in contact with his cousin Ares. Percy is mad at the god of war and despite the warnings of Annabeth and Grover, an epic sword fight takes place. Los Angeles is dealing with the effects of the earthquake caused by Hades, and now as Percy fights for his life, he seeks to understand why Ares stole the master bolt and the helm of darkness.

What is surprising to Percy is that for a moment in the middle of the fight, Percy realizes Ares has been controlled by someone else. With a quick movement, Percy stabs Ares in the ankle which sets off a significant event. Surrounded by police, Ares creates a wall of flame which allows him to escape, and Percy and his friends are set free.

Realizing they have the helm of darkness Alecto appears and takes the valuable item from the kids to return to Hades. Before disappearing, the fury makes a threat that Percy may have held up his end of the bargain, but he better pray that she never sees him again.

Chapter 21 ‘I Settle My Tab’ the long nightmare of terror that Percy, Annabeth, and Grover have been accused of, ends. Through the mist, the human world interpreted the battle with Ares as Ares having kidnapped Percy and his friends and dragged them across the country. The kids are set free, and thanks to donations they fly across the country and make their way to New York City.

Grover and Annabeth head to Camp Half-Blood, while Percy makes his way to the Empire State Building to return Zeus’ master bolt. Taking the elevator to the 600 floor Percy makes his way to the throne room, where he meets Zeus and his father Poseidon.

Zeus is not pleased to see Percy, and while he may have got his prized possession back, Zeus doesn’t like Percy. Telling the demigod that he should be grateful for not killing him, the gods wonder why Ares would betray them.

Percy infers that it is Kronos who is controlling everything, and that he is assembling a force to challenge the gods and conquer the earth. Zeus will not hear of a single mention of his father and departs Olympus to have his master bolt purified from human touch.

Left alone with his father, Percy finally gets to interact with his dad. Poseidon feels bad for Percy because he knows how difficult his life is going to be as a hero. Percy wonders if his dad likes him. Poseidon tells Percy that his mother has been returned by Hades and that he is going to have to make a choice in his life. Telling him that his mother is a queen amongst mortals, Percy returns home to see his mom Sally, and listen to the complaints of his stepfather Gabe.

Even though Percy has been exonerated publicly, Gabe hates Percy and doesn’t want him around. The choice that Percy must make according to his father is what to do with the box that holds Medusa’s head, which is currently sitting in his bedroom. Afraid for her mother, because Percy realizes that Gabe has been physically abusive to her, Percy offers to get rid of Gabe once and for all.

Sally assures her son that she will deal with Gabe, and that he should go back to Camp Half-Blood for the summer. Percy leaves knowing that his mom will be ok because she has Medusa’s head wrapped in a box ready to be used.

The story concludes with Chapter 22 ‘The Prophecy Comes True’. Percy makes his way back to Camp Half-Blood where he, Annabeth, and Grover are feted as heroes. Grover has been given his searchers license and by July 4, he departs to begin his journey to find Pan, the great god of the wild.

Percy receives news from his mom. She tells him that Gabe won’t be a problem anymore, and that she has just sold her one-of-a-kind human looking statue of a poker player that looks just like Gabe for a lot of money. She is going to use that money to get a new apartment, put down tuition for her to go back to school and to hold a place for Percy at a new school for the fall. Of course, if Percy wants to stay at Camp Half-Blood year-round Sally understands too. She puts the choice back in Percy’s hands.

The summer ends with Percy not sure what to do on the day campers need to vacate their cabins. With everyone leaving, Percy finds Luke practicing his sword fighting, and decides to join his friend in some combat practice. Luke brings Percy to the woods, where they reflect on the year, and Percy learns the truth.

Luke is the one who stole the helm of darkness and the master bolt. Showing Percy that he hates the gods, he summons a pit scorpion to kill Percy and vanishes. While Percy slays the beast, he is stung and almost dies.

Waking up in the Big House, Percy tells his story to Chiron and Annabeth. He tells them how Luke admitted to working for Kronos, and that the titan lord is trying to rise from Tartarus to reclaim his throne on Olympus. Chiron departs for Mount Olympus to inform the gods, and while Percy is helped outside to the porch by Annabeth, he learns that his friend has taken his advice.

Annabeth wrote to her dad and apologized for the misunderstanding in the past. She asked if they could try again, and her father wrote back instantly saying yes. Annabeth departs to spend the year with her dad, stepmom, and step siblings, while Percy vows to return next summer after spending the year with his mom. Together they will chase after Luke and stop Kronos.  

Final Thoughts:

A solid ending to an epic journey. There are many moments that are sure to be condensed to seconds or perhaps skipped in the television adaptation, because in many ways, parts of the story aren’t needed for the show.

The series was never meant to be a copy of the book on screen. Percy Jackson and the Olympians was meant to adapt the book for the series, and having read the book with the show, I tip my hat to the writers’ room that was able to distill the essentials and the small details from the book to make a thoroughly compelling adventure for the audience.

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Bill Gowsell
Bill Gowsell has loved all things Disney since his first family trip to Walt Disney World in 1984. Since he began writing for Laughing Place in 2014, Bill has specialized in covering the Rick Riordan literary universe, a retrospective of the Touchstone Pictures movie library, and a variety of other Disney related topics. When he is not spending time with his family, Bill can be found at the bottom of a lake . . . scuba diving