Lightning Thief

Lightningthief Jonah is half way through The Lightning Thief. He said that he was so engrossed in the book during DEAR time at school (that's "Drop Everything And Read Time" aka free reading period) that he forgot where he was, until a girl startled him with a cough. He read last night, instead of getting his 30 minutes of video game time. That' s huge, people.

The movie just came out, so both Jonah and I have to finish reading the book this week. Can't wait!

(Thanks to Aunt Tammy for this great gift.)

47 thoughts on “Lightning Thief

  1. My daughter loved the books. (And there are four more waiting for Jonah! Hooray!)
    We went to the movie and I (who hadn’t read the book, bad mama) really liked it. My daughter said “That was a great movie! That was a terrible movie!” By which she meant, it didn’t follow the book quite as precisely as she would have liked. But good fun anyway.

  2. I love these books. I saw the movie the other night, and I was meh on it for a lot of reasons I can’t go into right now since this is probably a spoiler-free zone.🙂
    My daughter was so influenced by these books that she is doing her big project/presentation tomorrow on Greek Mythology. She sculpted Medusa’s head and made a big posterboard onto which she pasted copies of the drawings from D’Aulaire’s.

  3. My wife and two oldest daughters have been obsessed with Rick Riordan’s masterful little books for more than a year now. They read them and discussed them constantly, and couldn’t wait for the movie (which they liked, though faulted for some of the same reasons they faulted the first couple of Harry Potter movies–unsurprisingly, given the director).
    Some people dump on the Percy Jackson books because of the very obviously ways in which the stories and characters parallel those in Rowling’s HP books, and I’ll agree that sometimes the Potteresque elements of the books are little egregious. Basically, though, I say the more the merrier. Riordan didn’t create as fully imagined a world as Rowling did, but he’s a better writer of character, dialogue, and motivation. Fortunately, there’s no reason to choose between the two.

  4. For my son, who had torn through the whole series, watching the movie was pleasurable because he is at the stage of commenting about ‘how different this is from how I imagined it’ while reading. From what I gather from tepid reviews, the screenwriters really butchered the stories. My son was a little annoyed that they changed the story, especially by redacting major characters. No Ares? Are you kidding? Also, the hip and wry Percy of the book comes across a little doltish on the screen. Also, Laura, the Percy character is amusingly neuro-atypical.

  5. I didn’t love the book but I enjoyed the movie trailer and might go see it for big dumb mythology fun. Clash of the Titans remake, too.
    (And my husband introduced the 6-year-old to the original Clash of the Titans recently–it was a hit and now she is all mythology-curious.)

  6. These books have been huge hits at our house since first exposure a year ago; they hold their own in the re-reading queue.
    We have already seen the movie, and my response was “meh,” partly because I didn’t think it held together well as a movie (the Percy-Poseiden interaction seemed EXTREMELY cliched and hackneyed) and partly because I liked the plot of the book MUCH better. It was harder to read the kids’ take — they noticed all the missing pieces of plot, but seemed beguiled by the special effects.
    It’s pretty clear that Riordan will be writing another series, now that the first one is done, so I expect these books could keep Jonah diverted for a while.

  7. My daughter loved these books, and enjoyed the movie, which she insisted on seeing on the day it opened (we didn’t agree to the plan of seeing it at midnight). She’s seen it again since then. Like the others, she complained about the missing plot elements.
    Her school is doing a project on greek mythology, and she loves that stuff anyway, so the movies/books are a great tie in.
    I read the first book, and then got bogged down. I personally am not enthused by the books. There’s too much randomness (i.e. quests where a number of different things happen without good tie-ins) for my tastes. It’s a flaw in the Potter books, too. But, I think I’ll give the series another try just to be caught up to my daughter.
    I’m finding interesting (and fun) how quickly my children’s sphere of knowledge has stopped being a subset of my own.

  8. To venture into spoilery territory, one of my problems with the movie is that they showed us all the gods and goddesses. Part of the fun of the books is when Percy and co. run into someone only to learn that he or she is a god. I loved the intro of Hermes, for example. Oh, Apollo’s entrance is hilarious, too.
    I also think the kids are played by actors who are way too old, and I was distracted totally by Annabeth’s breasts which, you know, don’t play such a significant role in any of the books, even the last one.

  9. Wendy, that was actually one of the few things my wife and kids made a big deal about in regards to the movie; they had low expectations when going in, and basically enjoyed the fun of it, but they agreed that something was really lost in turning all the characters into your typical beautiful Hollywood teenagers. One thing you have to give Chris Columbus (or his people) some credit for when it came to the HP movies–they did cast kids of the appropriate age.

  10. “One thing you have to give Chris Columbus (or his people) some credit for when it came to the HP movies–they did cast kids of the appropriate age.”
    Yes, I agree. The actors were very appropriately cast in the Potter movies — frankly so well that they’ve superseded whatever vision of the characters I might have had before the movies.
    I believe the woman who plays Annabeth — Alexandra Dadario is 24 years old. That’s a good 10+ years older than she’s supposed to be in the books. The actress currently has a part in White Collar, the TV show, playing the girl friend of someone in his 30’s.

  11. “One thing you have to give Chris Columbus (or his people) some credit for when it came to the HP movies–they did cast kids of the appropriate age.”
    I expect that Rowling insisted on it. She basically fired Stephen Spielberg as directer over a dispute on casting. (He wanted Haley Joel Osment to play Harry Potter, Rowling insisted it would be a British boy, Spielberg said Osment or he’d quite and Rowling told him not to let the door hit his butt on the way out was the story I’ve heard, though who knows if it’s true.) The actors now seem too old, I think, but I don’t see how that could be avoided very easily. It is annoying to have people obviously the wrong age used too often in films.

  12. I expect that Rowling insisted on it. She basically fired Stephen Spielberg as directer over a dispute on casting.
    I’ve heard that same story, Matt, and it might be true, but I kind of doubt it. For one thing, from news reports it doesn’t seem as though Rowling ever demanded that level of authority over directoral choices; if she had, than she would have been able to insist upon her first choice of director: Terry Gilliam. (Who I really, really wish could have done at least one of the HP movies; his imagining of Hogwarts and of Quidditch would have been wonderfully bizarre.) But who knows? Rowling or Columbus or David Heyman (the producer on all the films), they were both wise and pretty lucky in their casting of the Trio.

  13. Wendy, I’m laughing, because now that I think about it, Annabeth’s breasts _were_ practically a character in their own right.
    If I started cataloging all the ways they deviated, and badly, from the book, I’d be here all night. I do wonder, though: why change SO MANY elements of the story? I understand compression (I thought the movie’s explanation of how Percy acquired the lightening bolt was less convoluted than the book’s) but totally rewriting Hades? Abandoning the Great Prophecy? Even the kids couldn’t understand what happened to Kronos.
    I refrained from any snippy comments about how the movie-makers shied away from THAT sort of fatherhood story, and went with … well, that completely bizarre hymn to fatherhood that Poseiden gave, instead.
    Why bother with buying a book’s rights, if you’re going to ditch all its themes for another Hollywood cliche anyway? (Oh yeah, because of the power of the brand. Sigh.)

  14. now that I think about it, Annabeth’s breasts _were_ practically a character in their own right.
    Well, I have to admit that I was a bit disappointed that when the guy who made y tu mama tambien directed a Harry Potter movie that he didn’t manage to work a threesome into it, or at least an erotic shower scene. But I did think he focused the camera on Hermione’s butt a bit more.

  15. “I was a bit disappointed that when the guy who made y tu mama tambien directed a Harry Potter movie that he didn’t manage to work a threesome into it, or at least an erotic shower scene.”
    I thought all the feverish talk about snogging in HP book 6 (???) was excessive. 7 was kind of a mess editorially, but you had a lot less snogging talk. The let’s-sulk-in-a-tent portions of 7 would be entirely different if you got your wish.

  16. The Prisoner of Azkaban was a very different movie than the first two or the next three in terms of how it was shot. I’m not a real expert on film terminology, but the visuals were much darker and jumpier. Also, thought the actress may have been older, Hermione was supposed to be like 13 or 14.

  17. Now, I’m mostly curious to see what Guillermo del Toro can do with The Hobbit. I was not a fan of the LOTR movies, but the Hobbit might be a better basis for a film.

  18. “…the Hobbit might be a better basis for a film…”
    It’s a fun book, but it’s extremely episodic. First one thing happens, then another, not necessarily closely related. It doesn’t have the sort of unity that you can get out of LOTR, even with LOTR being so immensely large. I also don’t think splitting The Hobbit into two movies is a good idea, if that’s the plan.
    Voyage of the Dawn Treader (the third Chronicles of Narnia book) has similar issues. Many of the episodes in the book are very good (I like Eustace’s life as a dragon), but in some ways it would be more suitable as a miniseries than a single movie. The only hope I can see for VotDT as a conventional feature film is to focus on Eustace’s reformation, and pare down other elements. I thought the movie version of Prince Caspian was better than the book (big structural problems in the book which are ruthlessly fixed by the movie), while The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe was worse.

  19. First one thing happens, then another, not necessarily closely related.
    I think of it as one journey ending in a single, neat climax (Battle of Five Armies). The finding of the Ring does add an unrelated element that cannot be skipped for obvious reasons. But it need not take much screen time. You’d probably have to dump Beorn and the eagles. Wikipedia says they have cast Weaving, so apparently Elrond will be in the movie, even though he is barely in the book.

  20. I’m very divided on the expansion of The Hobbit into two movies. One the one hand, since they’re going to be essentially constructing the material for the second movie out of Tolkien’s lengthy backstory and many appendicies, it means that we’re going to see, perhaps, the fall of Numenor, the founding of The White Council, the orc-goblin wars, the hunting for Gollum, and who knows what all else. My fanboyish and Tolkien geek self will be delirious to see any of that. My film nerd self, however, fears that it’ll compromise the story they have to tell. And The Hobbit deserves to be told well; I actually think that it, as a stand-alone written work, is a superior story to LOTR. LOTR gives you the epic world-creation, but The Hobbit gives you characters and conflicts and tension that are less world-historical, and thus more fun on the page.

  21. the orc-goblin wars
    I’m guessing RAF meant the dwarf-goblin wars. Which could make a great movie. Tolkien only laid-out the bare bones of the story (unless there is something in the History of Middle Earth), but you’ve got a great grudge war. With axes.

  22. I wasn’t trying to score a nerd point. Your mention just got me thinking how the dwarf-goblin wars could make a great movie. I don’t think putting it at the front of the Hobbit would make much sense. It isn’t going to help understand Thorin’s character and motivation the way the backstory on Erebor’s fall might.

  23. What, MH isn’t trying to score nerd points? Sorry, you’all are deep into nerd territory. And, I like LOTR.🙂
    The book I want to see made into a TV serial (I don’t like the movie format, and think it’s too short for complex dramas) is the Fionaver Tapestry by Guy Gavriel Kay. Everyone always complains that everything is derivative, if it came after LOTR, but I think FT adds some interesting twists: humans at the stories center — Canadians, instead of Hobbits, and no, that’s not the same thing. It has some cute phrases: “Brightly woven” for well done, and “The Sun rises and sets in your daughter’s eyes” as the formal method of proposing. I like that book.
    Tigana by Kay is also very good. The other books became more historical and less fantasy, and lost some of my interest, but I also like Song of Arbonne. The viking book lost me.

  24. “And apparently Canada has better pipeweed than the Shire.”
    Is that true of British Columbia, or more generally?

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