The Gods and Monsters of “Percy Jackson and the Olympians” Episode 3

The third episode of Percy Jackson and the Olympians has dropped on Disney+ and two new characters have shown up in this week’s release. A god and monster add much needed meaning to the show and expands our world of Greek Mythology.

In Episode 3 ‘We Visit the Garden Gnome Emporium’, Percy, Annabeth, and Grover, are evading capture from Alecto, and run right into a mysterious veiled figure named Auntie Em who offers them sanctuary from the fearsome Fury. The trio soon learns that the veiled Auntie Em is the mythical monster Medusa.

Who is Medusa?

Medusa was a beautiful maiden who happened to fall in love with the wrong god. Seduced by Poseidon in a temple dedicated to Athena, this act attracted the fury of Athena. Cursing Medusa, the beautiful woman’s hair was changed to writhing snakes, and if anyone were to look upon Medusa’s face, they would be turned to stone. Banished from civilization, Medusa would meet her end in mythology when the legendary hero Perseus arrives on her island and slays Medusa, giving the head as a tribute to Athena.

While Medusa has always been regarded as a monster and a quest for the heroic Perseus to slay, episode 3 gives another look at the character of Medusa and what happened that befell her in mythology. In the show, we hear Jessica Parker Kennedy bring out an authenticity that makes the viewers wonder who the real monster is. Medusa was brutally attacked by a god all because she happened to fall in love with the philandering Poseidon. There is no way the punishment that Medusa received was in any way valid. That doesn’t mean that she’s not dangerous, as Percy, Annabeth, and Grover find out, but we must consider what made Medusa the way she is.

From a monster who dominates this episode, we end with a god.

Who is Hermes?

The show concludes with Percy vanquishing Medusa, and then sending the head to the gods on Mount Olympus. Just who should deliver this very important cargo? The god Hermes played by Lin-Manuel Miranda. Other than Dionysus, Percy Jackson and the Olympians has shown only one of the gods but many monsters.

Finally, we get to expand our universe with the appearance of Hermes as he rides the elevator to the 600th floor at the Empire State Building to make the very special delivery to Mount Olympus. Miranda makes his appearance brief, and while we don’t get much screen time from the star, some viewers might wonder just who his character is.

Hermes was the son of Zeus and Maea a mountain nymph. Though Hermes has many jobs, one he is best known for is being the personal messenger of Zeus, Hermes is also his son. Throughout Greek Mythology, Hermes is usually portrayed as young and handsome. Sometimes he is seen as an older bearded man with winged shoes. For all the many stories about Hermes, he functions as the messenger of the gods, and is usually seen with his caduceus which has two intertwined snakes on them.

Of all the gods, Hermes is the only god of Olympus that can visit the three realms of heaven, earth, and the Underworld. With wings on his sandals, Hermes was the fastest of all gods, which makes him perfect for getting messages to arrive on time.

Hermes’ importance to Percy Jackson and the Olympians is well known to readers. His actions and his parenting skills with Luke Castellan will decide what is to come. There is much more to come with Lin-Manuel Miranda’s god.

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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