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Percy Jackson and Greek Mythology

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

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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.

1. Perseus - the Hero Behind "Percy"

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".

2. Zeus

Zeus and his thunderbolts
Picture by deTraci Regula; licensed to About.com

I have a hard time imagining Zeus misplacing his thunderbolt, as he does as a crucial plot point in "The Lightning Thief", but stranger things have happened in Greek mythology.

3. Poseidon

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".

4. Chiron, the Centaur

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".

5. Athena

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 chlld-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.

6. Hermes

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.

7. Aphrodite

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

8. The Minotaur

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 sacrfice it. The maneating Minotaur was the result.

9. Persephone

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.

10. Hades

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.

11. Pan and Satyrs

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.

12. The Fury

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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