Book Review: Percy Jackson and The Sea of Monsters by Rick Riordan
When I think back to my experiences with reading, I’m reminded of this strange feeling I would get whenever I was introduced to a new book. It was that feeling of seeing something familiar, over and over again. Looking back, these stories probably felt familiar because they all shared one aspect: character archetypes. Along with other novels, Riordan’s Percy Jackson and The Sea of Monsters also includes typical character archetypes. In this thrilling sequel, Percy, the main character, finds out his summer camp is no longer safe because the camp's protective borders have been harmed. This makes everyone living there vulnerable because the borders are what protect the demigods from getting killed by monsters. As a result, Percy must travel to Cyclops Polyphemus’s cave to save his friend Grover who will give him the Golden Fleece. The Golden Fleece is the name of a healing artifact and is the only thing that could ever save Camp Half-Blood, so needless to say, this is truly one crucial item. Faced with this daring quest to save all half-bloods, Percy Jackson from The Sea of Monsters represents the wildcard archetype.
Undeniably, Percy Jackson from The Sea of Monsters is a wildcard character because he is a humorous person. For instance, while Percy and Annabeth were going to obtain the Golden Fleece to save the camp, they came across some cliffs that stood in their way. While they were climbing, the two had some difficulties as mentioned by Percy himself. He says: “We only came close to dying six or seven times, which I thought was pretty good. Once, I lost my grip and found myself dangling by one hand from a ledge fifty feet above the rocky surf. A minute later, Annabeth hit a slippery patch of moss and her foot slipped. Fortunately, she found something else to put it against. Unfortunately, that something was my face.” [Annabeth] “Sorry." [Percy] “S’okay,” I grunted, though I'd never really wanted to know what Annabeth's sneaker tasted like” (Riordan 96). Percy’s lighthearted dialogue shows that he likes utilizing humor to make light of a serious situation. He even looks for amusement while he's on the verge of death. Likewise, he sarcastically insists that he’s okay even after getting a shoe to his face. This shows that he’s both funny and a wildcard because he never forgets to find relief on his difficult journey. Being a wildcard, he often lightens up the mood throughout the book.Specifically, after Percy saw what the sirens showed Annabeth. Annabeth was reflecting upon herself and her flaws then, they started to have a short conversation that began with Annabeth saying. “My fatal flaw...That’s what the sirens showed me. My fatal flaw is hubris.” [Percy] I blinked. ”That brown stuff they spread on veggies? She rolled her eyes.” [Annabeth] “No Seaweed Brain, that’s hummus. Hubris is worse.” Percy: “What could be worse than hummus?”[Riordan pg. 94]. This demonstrates that Percy is humorous because it shows that he knows how to create comic situations by using wordplay. In addition to adding a dash of comedy, he also uplifts Annabeth's mood by making foolish comments while she’s trying to be serious. For this reason, Annabeth teases him for being a “Seaweed Brain”. This gives off the idea that Percy Jackson is a wildcard character because this archetype often makes people sick of their silly antics. This situation, for instance, was one of the numerous times Annabeth has rolled her eyes at Percy, which shows that he’s starting to bug her. Another time, Percy and his friends were having a chat with Percy’s mentor, Chiron. They were talking about what happened to Kronos, the titan lord, when Percy added: “You'd think getting chopped up into a million pieces and cast into the darkest part of the Underworld would give him a subtle clue that nobody wanted him around.” [Riordan, pg.28]. This gives us another glimpse of his amusing personality because he often makes snide remarks whether it be out loud or internally. This leads readers to believe that Percy is a wildcard character because he tends to be sarcastic, giving him one of the common traits that are seen in the archetype.Overall, Percy Jackson from the sea of monsters has a humorous personality because of his sarcastic comments.
In Percy Jackson and the Sea of Monsters, Percy is a wildcard because he’s unpredictable. During his time at Camp Half-Blood, he ran away from the cabin to sit outside and received some gifts from Hermes. After spontaneously escaping he says: “Sneaking out after curfew was against the rules, too. If I got caught I’d either get in big trouble or be eaten by the harpies, but I wanted to see the ocean”. [Riordan pg. 47]. Percy then sees Hermes walking by, receives some gifts from him, and is told: “I’d make up your mind in the next five minutes if I were you. That's when the harpies will come to eat you.” [Riordan pg. 50]. This gives us an example of his tendency to be fluid because he aimlessly chose to sneak out of camp knowing it was against the rules. Sooner or later, he would have died after being devoured, but since he is unpredictable he faced the risks anyway. This shows that Percy Jackson is a wildcard because these characters are all about doing what they want and when they feel like it. Because Percy felt like seeing the ocean, he ran away from camp simply because he wanted to. For example, in the book, the following quote is mentioned:(Percy): “I ran to the curb and grabbed a taxi.”Clarisse, I yelled” come on you're going to the airport. “I’m not sure which of them looked more stunned as I took the Fleece letter jacket from Annabeth, tucked the cash into its pocket, and put it in Clarisse’s arms…” (Annabeth) Percy. That was so- Insane...You’re betting the lives of everybody at camp that Clarisse will get the Fleece safely back by tonight”[Riordan, pg. 110]. This shows that Percy Jackson is unpredictable because he made a risky decision solely based on instinct. Clarisse and Annabeth were stunned because nobody would have predicted him to go about the situation this way. On top of that, the decision he made was described as “insane” by Annabeth because he was putting everyone's lives in jeopardy. This makes it pretty obvious that he is a Wildcard character because being impulsive is a common trait among wildcards. Wildcards have the tendency to be fluid and spontaneous which makes them unpredictable just like Percy.“Lifeboat!” I yelled. We ran for the nearest one.“Get in!” I yelled. I uncapped Riptide and slashed the first volley of arrows out of the air. The lifeboat was hanging over the side of the ship, high above the water. Annabeth and Tyson were having no luck with the release pulley. I jumped in beside them.“Hold on!” I yelled, and I cut the ropes. A shower of arrows whistled over our heads as we free-fell toward the ocean. [Riordan, pg. 64]. This shows that Percy Jackson is unpredictable because he instructed his allies to free fall into the water. Since most people use a boat to get around water, Percy’s previous moves were definitely uncalled for. Even in dangerous situations, Percy acts without hesitation. This demonstrates a Wildcard character because Wildcards are all about the action. Percy diving into the ocean happened within a split second. As a wildcard, he doesn't think things through, and because he’s all about the action he does have the time to think about his actions. To sum things up, Percy Jackson from Percy Jackson and the Sea of Monsters makes for a predictable character because of his risky and instinct-based decision-making skills.
Throughout this story, Percy Jackson from The Sea of Monsters proves he’s a wildcard and never fails to deviate from that archetype. He is a funny guy overall and readers never know what he’ll do next. Percy Jackson is a humorous, unpredictable character and his charisma continuously unravels throughout the plot. As was shown, Riordan has made great use of the wildcard archetype. Obviously, he’s not the only one to make use of this tool. Archetypes can be seen in many other works of literature and help to create memorable characters with strong personalities. So next time someone sits down with a book and wonders why they are constantly noticing familiar character personalities, there’s a rather big chance that they are looking at some archetypes.