The Top 10 Best Chapters From 'Percy Jackson and the Olympians'

The Top 10 Best Chapters From 'Percy Jackson and the Olympians'

Whether it's for their writing or their action, these chapters are some of the best of the original series.

With the arrival of "The Lightning Thief: The Percy Jackson Musical" Off-Broadway next month, the original "Percy Jackson and the Olympians" series has come back into the limelight. In case you don't have the time to reread before the musical's release, or if you'd just like to relive the series' best moments, here are the top ten best-written chapters of the original series, as chosen by its fans.

10. I Set Myself On Fire (The Battle of the Labyrinth)

This chapter starts off the list mainly for its final moments, when Percy and Annabeth have their first kiss and Percy has his epic, if a little painful to read, stand-off against the telekhines. The kiss is short and Percy is forced to move on from it quickly, but it's so delightfully unexpected and followed by so much discomfort later on in the book; It's always fun to see Percy and Annabeth in the constantly clumsy early stages of their relationship. Percy's attempt to escape the telekhines, on the other hand, begins with Percy screaming while being soaked in lava and consumed by fire, and ends with him discovering that he may have inherited some of his father's "Earthshaker" abilities in the process, as he causes the entire volcano to erupt in an attempt to free himself. Both moments stand out in the end, but this chapter is also filled with smaller details and plot points that become essential as the series continues, disguised as a simple quest for Hephaestus gone sour. The chapter introduces Typhon and the threat he poses, Grover and Tyson's decision to split up from the crew to find Pan, and the revelation that the telekhines inside the forge are actually using it to create a weapon Percy doesn't recognize. In the chapters that follow, it is revealed that Percy's improvised escape plan that led to him burning to death Anakin Skywalker style actually woke Typhon, Grover's decision to split off from the group allowed him to complete his quest to find Pan, and the unknown weapon the telekhines are forging was actually Kronos' scythe, completed just in time for his resurrection. The chapter is full of moments that lead to larger plot points, and it's exciting to see those moments planted here before the chapter reaches its exciting conclusion.

9. An Old Dead Friend Comes to Visit (The Titan's Curse)

In many ways, "The Titan's Curse" marks a clear shift in the series as it moves into heavier territory, and this chapter actually takes that journey within itself. The chapter opens on Percy and Grover spending the morning sitting in the meadow, talking through a nightmare Percy had before getting to the action of the chapter: Thalia and Percy acting as co-captains in a game of capture the flag. This interaction is one the series has been leading up to since "The Sea of Monsters," when Annabeth tells Percy that he and Thalia are so alike that they either "would've been best friends or [they] would've strangled each other," so getting to see them trying to work together without Annabeth or Grover to keep them in line is, as might have been predicted, not pretty. They find themselves at odds throughout the game, all the anger and resentment they've been harboring toward each other coming to a head when Thalia loses control of her powers, leading to the series' first real example of what can happen when two powerful demigods face off. The chapter's end is unsettling, to say the least, as their fight is cut off by the creepy image of the oracle limping through the trees and whispering a prophecy foretelling death into the minds of everyone in the forest. This chapter is constantly building, taking the book from a place of calm mornings in the meadow to a place of foreboding uncertainty. The overall arc and movement is telling of what is to come.

This chapter also has Nico bouncing around in armor that's too big for him so that alone could put it on this list, honestly.

8. I Go Cruising With Explosives (The Last Olympian)

This chapter starts off the final novel of the original series and immediately lets the reader know that it will not be a smooth ride. It functions in the same way "An Old Dead Friend Comes to Visit" does, by beginning the chapter in a soothing setting and ending with a taste of what is to come. It starts with Percy and Rachel taking a drive on the beach before launching into Percy and Beckendorf trying to orchestrate one of the first missions of the war. As their plan unfolds, we get to see Percy meet Kronos in his new form again, see Ethan as a part of the Titan Army, and learn that there is a spy at camp, all leading up to the final moments when Rick Riordan actually kills a beloved character in the very first chapter, setting up the novel as one that is not exactly going to be kind to us.

7. I Take the Worst Bath Ever (The Last Olympian)

Outside of the fact that this chapter takes on some interesting new meaning after Nico's feelings for Percy are revealed in the later books, it is also the culmination of the cliffhanger at the end of "The Battle of the Labyrinth," when Nico approaches Percy with what he believes is the only way Percy can stand a chance in the coming war, an idea that is only truly revealed to us in this chapter. It opens with Percy being woken up by Nico, who's trying to rescue Percy from the prison Hades has left him in. Though it takes some convincing to get Percy to trust Nico enough to follow him from the cell, the two eventually make their way through the guards and back to the River Styx, where Percy is approached by the spirit of Achilles warning him that while the curse may make him stronger, it will make his weaknesses worse. When combined with Percy taking on Hades' army and Hades himself on his own after his dip in the Styx, Achilles' warning makes it hard not to wonder what consequences that kind of power will have, especially as the chapter ends with Percy telling Nico that he's going to go find Luke. The chapter may resolve the question of how Nico was planning on helping Percy, but it doesn't offer any kind of security in its resolution, only anticipation of what is to come.

6. We Trash the Eternal City (The Last Olympian)

Considering it's the conclusion to the main arc of the books, it's not surprising that this chapter makes the list. It opens on Olympus in ruins, an image Luke has been describing since the beginning, and takes the main trio into their final battle with Kronos and the final resolution to the great prophecy, though, in true vintage Rick Riordan style, not in the way anyone expects. The final moments also subvert expectations of the final fight between the hero and villain, since Kronos' defeat is more Annabeth's doing than Percy's or Luke's, proving, as she always does, that she is "nobody's sidekick."

5. I Open a Coffin (The Battle of the Labyrinth)

Though this chapter starts with cute moments like Percy flying and finally cooperating with Nico, it mainly makes it onto the list for its plot twist. When Percy opens the golden coffin that's been haunting the books since "The Sea of Monsters," he finds not only the final stages of the plot to resurrect Kronos, but an uncomfortably familiar face that we might have seen coming if we and the characters within the story had only listened to Luke. It's the moment the series has been leading to, where we finally get to see Kronos awake and using his powers outside of Percy's dreams. Percy's reaction to the scene is endlessly relatable, as he defies the expected reaction we see in characters like Harry Potter, who decides he wants to "die upright like his father" when approached with the resurrection of Voldemort, and instead sees Kronos raise his scythe and immediately turns and runs. Percy has rarely run from a fight in the previous books, so when he tries to escape and finds himself trapped by Kronos anyway, it really makes the whole situation feel hopeless. The chapter also ends with Rachel hitting the lord of the titan's with a blue plastic hairbrush, so it's clearly a good one.

4. We Break a Bridge (The Last Olympian)

This entire chapter takes place on Williamsburg Bridge and is filled with moments that make this one of the most memorable of the battlefields in "The Last Olympian." The battle begins by showcasing how far Percy's come in his fighting skills, as he faces off against one of the first monsters he ever fought, the minotaur, and starts to get some use out of his new invincibility, leaving just twenty out of two hundred soldiers alive and letting loose "a crazy laugh that scared me as much as it did my enemies." The battle takes a turn, though, when Annabeth is stabbed while trying to protect Percy's weak point and Percy destroys the bridge in an effort to keep Kronos' army from crossing into Manhattan, accidentally killing Michael Yew in the process. Since Percy can't physically be hurt at this point, it becomes clear that any pain that comes to Percy from here on will have to come at the expense of those around him. The stakes become higher, especially because now we've seen that even a character as essential to the story as Annabeth isn't going to be kept safe by virtue of being a main character.

3. Annabeth Tries to Swim Home (The Sea of Monsters)

This chapter stands out not only from "The Sea of Monsters" but from the series as a whole because it's one of a few moments where a change in Percy's perspective deeply affects the way the chapter is told. As they approach the island of the sirens, Percy puts wax in his ears so that he can guide the boat while Annabeth is tied to the ship so that she can hear the sirens without being able to swim after them. This means that the entire chapter has to be narrated in the absence of sound. Annabeth's screams are described physically, written with a focus on tears and facial expressions, and any dialogue is lost, most notably Annabeth's whisper at the end that was never heard.

This chapter is also full of memorable moments, since it begins by introducing two concepts that will become important down the line: the fact that Hephaestus' forges can be found in the hearts of volcanoes, and the fact that Percy dreamed of Thalia opening Kronos' coffin and reacting with horror. It also provides a brief look into Annabeth's mind and past, as well as one of the most touching moments in Percy and Annabeth's relationship as Percy holds her until she stops crying in an air pocket beneath the waves. Though it's unfortunately rare to find someone whose favorite book of the series is "The Sea of Monsters," it's just as rare to find someone who doesn't list this chapter as one of their favorites, whether it be because of the way the story is told, the foreshadowing hidden in its smaller moments, or how it formed Annabeth's character.

2. I Take a Permanent Vacation (The Battle of the Labyrinth)

Percy wakes up from the explosion in "I Set Myself on Fire" to the sound of waves and Calypso's voice, and what follows is a neat little love story tied up in a single chapter, yet developed enough that I find myself tearing up at the end basically every time I read it. It's sweet and simple, full of descriptions of crystal-covered caves and stargazing and gardening, and serves as a brief oasis in a series that's on the brink of war. This chapter essentially tells an entire story in a few pages and then offers Percy the chance to make it last longer, to avoid the prophecy and "grow flowers in the garden and talk to songbirds and walk on the beach under perfect blue skies," in true Disney Princess fashion. Calypso presents a life of perfection to him, and even though we know that he has to turn it down so that the story can continue, it's impossible not to feel a little heartbroken when his loyalty to his friends back home forces him to leave her behind.

1. I Put on a Few Million Extra Pounds (The Titan's Curse)

Of all of the chapters in the original series, this chapter is most often chosen as a favorite. It combines so much of what made the rest of this list, from illustrating the books' changing tone to using foreshadowing and important relationships to its advantage to using Percy's narration to his disadvantage. The previous chapter ended with Zoe revealing that Atlas was her father, and though the book doesn't bring the prophecy up at that moment, you can instantly guess at how this battle is going to end from the line that has been repeatedly brought up in relation to Thalia: "And one shall perish by a parent's hand." The scene that follows is interesting, partially because it provides one of the only interactions between the demigod trio that started it all, Luke, Thalia, and Annabeth, and partially because it provides a piece of foreshadowing for "I Open a Coffin," as Luke begins to plead with Thalia to join him: "It's my last chance. He will use the other way if you don't agree. Please." This moment asks readers to feel the same sympathy for Luke that Percy suddenly finds himself feeling, which the books before this have never really asked the reader to do. The battle that comes out of this uses the same narrative technique as "Annabeth Tries to Swim Home," as Percy tries to narrate from beneath the weight of the sky, forcing him to try to focus through pain and blurred vision. His narration becomes a series of moments, Artemis moving as "a blur of silver," Luke and Thalia being given a few lines of attention while surrounded by lightning, Zoe being shot with an arrow but landing just outside of Percy's vision. This type of narration appears again at the end of the chapter, as Percy has to look away after seeing Luke's broken form on the rocks and can't look at Zoe's wound long enough to describe it at the end of the chapter. The chapter spends so much time without the light-hearted tone that the majority of book has that when Percy lies dazed in the Artemis' chariot and murmurs that it reminds him of Santa Claus' sleigh, it hardly lifts the mood, only drives home the fact that these are only kids. In the end, the entire chapter marks the shift in tone and stakes that "An Old Dead Friend Comes to Visit" foreshadowed earlier in the book.

There are plenty of other chapters in the series that deserve to be mentioned, from "We Visit The Garden Gnome Emporium" in "The Lightning Thief" to "I Scoop Poop" in "The Battle of the Labyrinth," so if there's a chapter you think should've made the list, or one you think shouldn't have, leave a comment below!

Cover Image Credit: John Rocco

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Advice Every 20 Year Old Needs to Hear

Your 20s is your peak; the prime time to figure out what the next step in your life will be.

You have to hustle between finishing your higher education and jump-starting your career. There’s a lot of pressure coming from your family, your peers, and most importantly, the pressure you put on yourself to become the absolute best.

Yet, it’s so easy to get lost in all the desires to be instantly successful and recognized. But in an era where everyone is trying to achieve the same thing, instant gratification is not the way to make it in the long term. I know it’s tempting to appear to be #blessed by donning Cartier bracelets worth your entire college tuition fees. Maybe you long to buy yourself a Range Rover and customize it with extravagant decors, but let’s be real, normal people don’t really live like that.

As a 20-something fresh graduate, I know how difficult and scary it is to start this chapter in our lives. I was overwhelmed by anxiety and so ridiculously afraid of making mistakes. On the other hand, my yearning to emulate the Kardashians and the Jenners, like many millennials these days, sidetracked me. It made me focus on the wrong reasons as to why I strive to be successful. Sure, being well-known for your successes and have the riches as proof can be great. Be that as it may, if you’re not happy and content when you go to bed at night, you need to retrace your steps.

Based on the advice given by entrepreneur and marketing expert, Gary Vaynerchuk here, this article is for you, my fellow, struggling, 20 year olds who’s trying to make it in this harsh, superficial, digitally-driven world.

Explore your options

Being cautious can have its advantages but you can utilize your youth to explore different paths. Flirt with different ideas and reach outside your comfort zone. If you don’t consider all the options that you want to do, the thought of ‘what if’ can be crippling. It will prevent you from reaching your highest potential. There are so many young adults in their early 20s that are unhappy with where their life is going due to pressure from parents and family members. Don’t punish yourself by doing something you know you won’t enjoy doing for 10+ years. Take your time to find something that you do love and are passionate about. If you want to explore the world before settling down, go for it. Or if you want to start your own startup company, just do it. Pursue what you want to do and ignore what others have to say.

Never look at others’ successes

Do not ever compare yourself with others. You might see other millennials hit important milestones early in their 20s but always remember that everyone is doing what they’re supposed to do at their own paces. Of course, through social media, it’s easier to highlight one’s material achievements. However, those Instagram posts from ‘rich kids’ are just shallow portrayals of superfluous successes.

When you compare your successes to others, this can deter your motivation and you may have a hard time bouncing back from the rut. The jealousy and envy is toxic. Every second you spend on thinking about what somebody else has achieved is taking away the time you can use to create something out of yourself. Channel that energy to motivate yourself to do better and beat your previous accomplishments. We are our greatest competitions after all.

Prepare to make sacrifices

Be willing to sacrifice weekend hangouts or pub crawls with your besties. The time for entertainment can be used to better yourself, your career, and your life as a whole. The time spent chilling with friends every afternoon is likely to be reduced to just a weekend brunch or a quick dinner. Get ready to spend those free times by doing work to meet deadlines.

With that being said, since it’s your 20s after all, life can often be forgiving. The sacrifices you make doesn’t have to be drastic; it can be small yet impactful. Know how to balance out your responsibilities with your leisure time. The quick dinners and weekend brunches with friends might seem short, but as long as you keep thinking of these times as a reward after all the work you did, then you’re good to go.

Set a realistic goal

You want to be a millionaire by the time you’re 25? Good luck because you’ll be needing all of it. All those people on Forbes’ 30 under 30 list have been working their asses off before they were even legal. Some became millionaires because of pure luck or their fortunes were served on a silver platter. Rather than focusing your energy to become extremely rich, steer your attention towards enriching your life instead. Like said before, your 20s is your prime. It’s the perfect time to explore and experience new things. But it doesn’t mean you can let go of all responsibilities and ignore the consequences. It’s okay to dream big, but when exploring those paths, set a realistic and beneficial goal that you can actually see yourself achieving. 

Enjoy the grind

At the end of the day, whatever you’re doing to achieve success should be enjoyable. Embrace the journey of getting there; no matter where ‘there’ is.  Even if you have to flip burgers at a fast food joint to make ends meet or cater demanding clients, you must find joy in the smallest thing to avoid discouragement and resentment. The journey is always more essential than the destination. On your way up, you can learn critical skills and knowledge that you can use in the long run. Getting to the top instantaneously can leave you empty as it allows you to do less enriching work. Knowing that you’ve put in 110% into everything is enough to fill you with joy and keep you motivated.

Love your battle scars

Recognize all your failures and welcome it with a positive mindset. All our mistakes and failures will open new doors that can lead to something greater. Never ever be too hard on yourself if you get rejected from that prestigious master’s program or if you’ve been turned down from the perfect job position. Never be afraid of failure because you know that you gave it your all. These minor setbacks could propel you further in your career. “The universe will unfold as it should.” Keep this mantra close through thick and thin. It can reassure you that no matter what obstacles you’re facing, it can lead to greater and better things, and all your failures will make you who you are today.

Slow & steady wins the race

Your 20s is the moment to practice your patience. Slowly work your way up your career ladder or save money for that big solo trip you’ve always dreamed of. Know that nothing can be achieved overnight. You must dedicate time and effort, sometimes for years, before you can see results. You may see a lot of hares out there who have achieved great things early on in their 20s but fret not, with constant hard work and dedication, tortoises always reach the finish line no matter how long it takes.

Reflect from time to time 

When push comes to shove, always come back to yourself and reflect. Always ask yourself who are you doing all this for? What does success mean to you? The answer should always benefit you and yourself alone and not for any other reasons. To obtain happiness is, of course, the ultimate reason why you should do anything. Other reasons like to make your parents proud or to pay off those student loans can also help to drive you forward. If you sense that I’m beginning to lose grasps on why you should live a productive life, look for motivation elsewhere. I often read the prose Desiderata by Max Ehrmann that teaches you how to live, not just your 20s, but your entire life, positively and happily. Regular reflections can keep you grounded and in check with your ideals.

Don’t beat yourself up

Whatever your goals may be and whatever your idea of success is, be gentle with yourself. Don’t beat yourself up and don’t hold yourself accountable for arbitrary fantasies. Bear in mind that everyone’s journey is different. No matter what your goal is and no matter how you’re going to achieve that, be sure to savor this time. There will be less room in your 30s and 40s to make mistakes and redeem yourself. There’s a reason why there are so many articles out there calling your 20s as the worst, hardest period yet your most important decade. This decade is forgiving; it forgives all your failures and the wrong choices made. All in all, whatever you decide to do with your 20s, strive to make the most of it by keeping true to your goals and your principles.

Febriana Ramadhanya is currently writing as an English Editorial Content Writer for a Malaysian-based price comparison website, iPrice Group. She’s also still getting used to (weirdly) referring to herself in third person. For more lifestyle articles please visit iPrice Group 

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Onesies, The Pajamas That Bring Every Spirit Animal To Life

Who knew one article of clothing could bring countless memories?

Lions. Tigers. Unicorns. Leopards. I saw them all this past weekend. No, I was not at a zoo. No, I was not tripping on some crazy drug that made me think I saw unicorns. I saw them, IN REAL LIFE. Let me give you a little hint as to what I was experiencing.....ONESIES. They're not just for babies. Adults can wear them too! I wore one for the first time this past weekend and fell in love. Now, some of you may have worn a onesie before. Others, like myself before this past Saturday, may not have. So I just wanted to take a little time discuss just how awesome onesies are! Get comfy, grab some popcorn, and open up a new tab in your internet browser so you can shop for one after reading this. 

Wearing a onesie is like Halloween every day of the year. You can literally be whoever or whatever you want. Once you zip it up and put the hood on, YOU ROCK IT. You are what you're wearing. SO. The first step is to decide what kind of onesie you want. Get in touch with your inner spirit animal. If you wanna be a Squirrel, GREAT. Theres a onesie for that. If you want to be a Rockstar, GREAT. There's a onesie for that. If you want to be a Stormtrooper from Star Wars, GREAT. There's a onesie for that. You get my point. 

Next, be prepared to be extremely comfortable. Like, really comfortable. Like, your favorite blanket covering every inch of your body kind of comfortable. Don't worry about getting cold because your onesie wont allow for that to happen.

So now, not only are you expressing your inner spirit animal but you're super comfy doing it. As far as wearing clothes underneath them, welll....that's your own personal choice. Some prefer nothing. Others, like me, prefer a comfy shirt and pants. Hey, I'm not judging. Onesies are all about comfort and expression people!

Most onesies zip in the front so you don't have to worry about completely stripping down to go to the bathroom. And with the zipper in the front, it's a lot easier to operate. If the zipper was in the back...well that would be a different story. I've had a lot of horror stories with not being able to get the zipper down from the back.....way too many....but we will save that for a different day. 

Overall, onesies are a necessity in life.  The ability to tap into your inner spirit animal. The comfort. The warmth. The easy mobility. It's all there. Life in a onesie truly is a good life. 

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