Percy Jackson and Greek Mythology

The Beasts, Gods, and Goddesses of "The Lightning Thief"

David Crespo / Getty Images

Percy Jackson encounters many of the best-known gods, goddesses, and mythical beasts of Greek mythology. Here's what to keep an eye out for in the movie. But be warned - some spoilers lurk below.

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Perseus - the Hero Behind "Percy"

Perseus - National Archeological Museum
Francisco Anzola/Flickr/CC BY 2.0

Percy's "real" name is Perseus, a famous hero of Greek mythology who - spoiler alert! chops off the head of Medusa during "The Lightning Thief".

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Zeus and his thunderbolts
deTraci Regula

It's hard to imagine Zeus misplacing his thunderbolt, as he does as a crucial plot point in "The Lightning Thief", but stranger things have happened in Greek mythology.

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Poseidon of Melos, National Archaeological Museum of Athens
Andy Hay/Flickr/CC BY 2.0

A jumbo-sized Poseidon rises from the sea before transforming into a less-conspicuous human size in the early scenes of the movie "The Lightning Thief".

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Chiron, the Centaur

itle Bell-Krater with (A) the Centaur Chiron Accompanied by a Satyr
Los Angeles County Museum of Art/Wikimedia Commons

Apparently, wheelchair-bound teacher Pierce Brosnan continues his involvement with Greece, though in a very different role from what he played in "Mamma Mia the Movie". Here his wheelchair conceals his horse legs and body during "The Lightning Thief".

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Athena Promachos, Academy of Athens
Dimitris Kamaras/Flickr/CC BY 2.0

Anabeth, a vigorous young girl who is an able fighter, is said to be the daughter of Athena, goddess of wisdom. However, in traditional Greek mythology, Athena was usually considered to be child-free. But she did have a lesser-known aspect called "Sweet Athena", who may have been more open to a loving relationship which could result in a child such as Anabeth. But this is one of the more major deviations from classical Greek myth in the Percy Jackson universe.

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Hermes Hermes
Imagno / Getty Images

Hermes is a multi-purpose god in Greek mythology. Spoiler Alert: His son Luke takes after his father, who was, among other things, the patron god of burglars.

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Plaster head of Aphrodite
chudakov2 / Getty Images

Aphrodite is only glimpsed in the first movie, but a large group of her enticing "daughters" frolic at Camp Half-Blood.

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The Minotaur

Theseus defeats the centaur.
Ruskpp / Getty Images

This giant beast is half man, half bull, the result of an engineered liaison between Pasiphae, the wife of King Minos of Crete, and a bull that Minos was given to sacrifice to the gods. He liked the bull too much to sacrifice it, and Pasiphae was made by Aphrodite to really, really like the bull as a way of punishing King Minos's impiety in failing to sacrifice it. The man-eating Minotaur was the result.

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Rape of Persephone, by Luca Giordano. 1684-1686.
Rape of Persephone, by Luca Giordano. 1684-1686. Wikimedia Commons

Bride of Hades, Persephone rules over the underworld with her husband. As in the movie, she is capable of exerting some independence and depending on the myth you believe, might not find her life in darkness to be so bad.

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Hades and Persephone
Hades on Attic red-figure at the Louvre, by the Oionokles painter (c. 470 B.C.). Persephone is on the left. Marie-Lan Nguyen/Wikimedia Commons

Brother of both Poseidon and Zeus, Hades rules over the dead in the underworld. Beside him is his abducted bride, the beautiful Persephone. But the fiery winged form? Not really part of the traditional Greek mythology, though one obscure, late reference describes him as a dragon.

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Pan and Satyrs

Stone Statue Of Pan At The National Park, Athens, Greece
Czgur / Getty Images

The Greek god Pan is a sort of super-satyr; Grover, Percy's appointed protector, is half-goat and very interested in the daughters of Aphrodite - not inconsistent with the ancient Greek myths, where Aphrodite is sometimes shown warning off a satyr by whacking him with her sandal.

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The Fury

Tisiphone gets revenge for Juno on Athamas and Ino
Tisiphone gets revenge for Juno on Athamas and Ino. Antonio Tempesta/Wilhelm Janson/Wikimedia Commons 

Usually encountered in a group, Percy first gets the hint that something odd is going on with him when his substitute teacher transforms into the winged, toothy Fury in a back room of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in "The Lightning Thief".

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Regula, deTraci. "Percy Jackson and Greek Mythology." ThoughtCo, Dec. 6, 2021, Regula, deTraci. (2021, December 6). Percy Jackson and Greek Mythology. Retrieved from Regula, deTraci. "Percy Jackson and Greek Mythology." ThoughtCo. (accessed May 29, 2023).