Favorites February: The Titan’s Curse

Favorites February

Welcome back to Favorites February! This week I will be looking at the third book in the Percy Jackson series, The Titan’s Curse. This might be my favorite book in the original Percy Jackson series. There’s just so much to love about this book.

The_Titan's_Curse-1

Synopsis

Percy, Annabeth, Grover, and Thalia are making a special winter trip to rescue some half-bloods and bring them to camp. But when the monster proves tougher than they expected, Annabeth goes missing. Percy and Thalia join forces with the Hunters of Artemis to rescue Annabeth and save Olympus from a mysterious monster with the power to destroy the Gods.

Why I Love This Book

  • Riordan nails elementary school humor again. You can’t go wrong with Hoover Dam jokes.
  • It explores themes of sacrifice, death, and grief in a way that is appropriate for young people, but still moving and heartbreaking.
  • Thalia is a fascinating, conflicted character.
  • The Gods play more direct roles in the story, and Percy interacts with over half of them.
  • Blackjack is one of my all-time favorite animal side-kicks.
  • Bessie is sooooooooo cute!
  • Percy starts to like like Annabeth, awwwww

Favorite Quote

“‘Let us find the dam snack bar,’ Zoe said. ‘We should eat while we can.'”

Godly Profile: Artemis

Artemis(Graphic_Novel)Goddess of the Hunt
Physical Description:
 Young girl, maybe 12 with auburn hair.
Personality:
Serene and calm, brave, doesn’t like boys, protective of young girls, quick to jump into action during times of need.
Comparison to Original Myth: 

Artemis is the twin sister of Apollo, although I don’t know if any versions of the myth other than Riordan’s would include the exasperation with her annoying, loser younger brother, lol. In this book Apollo brags about being born first (a common boast among twins), yet it sounds like Artemis was born first in the old myths because she somehow assisted with the birth of her brother. Weird.

I saw nothing to indicate that Artemis prefers to appear as a young girl, however the myths did agree that she remained a virgin and insisted her companions do the same. Companions who broke this vow were punished harshly. But she DID do much to protect them, much the way she sacrificed herself to protect Annabeth.

Artemis was a hunter, although it sounds like the idea that she was always on the hunt is a bit more out of Riordan’s imagination of what a goddess of the hunt might be like, rather than ancient stories. She often turns men into animals, something that is jokingly referenced in this book. I figured that was just more of Riordan’s silly sense of humor, but was pleased to see that it was actually a nod to the myths. In fact, I learned that Artemis was the one who turned Callisto and her son into bears. This vengefulness also seems out of character with the way Riordan presented her.

Overall, I think Artemis is so far the least similar to the ancient myths of all the gods we’ve met so far, although there were references and nods to the old tale.

Discussion Questions

Warning, spoilery content ahead! Please feel free to join the discussion in the comments!

1. Why does Bianca make the choice to become a huntress of Artemis? Do you know anyone who would be willing to make this choice? What are the advantages and disadvantages of this decision?
Bianca decides to become a Hunter because she wants independence. She has been taking care of her brother, Nico, for … we don’t know how long. And Nico, he’s a pretty immature kid at this point in the narrative. I’m sure he wasn’t easy to care for. Bianca joins the Hunters to get away from him and to create an identity apart from that. To be her own person. Which, personally, I agree with Percy is pretty selfish. Especially when you consider what ends up happening to Nico after this adventure ends.

But, I mean, it’s kind of hard to blame her, too. Immortality fighting the forces of evil is a pretty admirable thing to do. She will never age, never have to take care of anyone, never have any responsibilities other than the ones Artemis gives her. But, on the other hand, she will out-live the one person she cares for, be stuck a 13 year-old long after he has died. There’s no way that would be easy. Maybe it was better for her that things ended the way they did…

2. Which monsters in the novel are your favorites? Which one would frighten you the most? 
Okay, it’s probably just because I’ve read future books where they come into play again, but the baby Saber-Tooths are so cute! I want to take one home a raise it. *cuddle*

I think maybe I was supposed to be terrified of the dragon, but he didn’t sound any worse than a Hydra, really. Those skeletons, though. Creepy. And they never did figure out how to kill them. There isn’t much out there that’s scarier than something that can’t be beat. I wouldn’t want to face the skeletons in a fight.

3. While the Olympians offer guidance and occasionally a cool weapon, they do not get directly involved in the quests of mere mortals. Why? What would happen if the gods and goddesses were involved in these battles? 
Riordan gives a half-hearted explanation in the books about how the gods don’t interfere in mortal business because of “ancient laws” they have to abide by, or something. But I think there’s two REAL answers. 1. Because they are gods and they just don’t care all that much. (Maybe not so much the case for Percy, but just try to convince me the gods cared what happened to Andromeda.) 2. Because they can’t play favorites without potentially starting fights with other gods. And a war between the gods, that would be no fun.

4. How was Thalia tempted by power? Do you think most people could resist ultimate power or not? Why? 
I think to say that Thalia was simply tempted by power is unfair to this brilliant moment in the book. Back in The Sea of Monsters, Luke told Annabeth that Thalia would be on his side, and throughout this book she has shown clear resentment to the gods, especially her father. I think Thalia was tempted not only by the power represented by the Ophiotaurus, but by revenge, or possibly the desire to make the world a better place. Maybe it was a simple “Maybe THEN he would notice me”. Either way, I think it was change more than power that Thalia was tempted by.

But no, I don’t think most people can resist power of any sort. Just look at history. We have a terrible track record. Those who accumulate power just want more power. Few people in history have ever actually given power away. It’s one of the things I admire about George Washington. Well, spoilers, Percy too. At the end of the series Percy CHOOSES to give up power. It’s admirable, and it takes a really special sort of person.

5. Which heroes in the Greek myths fail to give credit to the women who helped them? Do you think Percy would do something similar? What does he do that proves he is different from the demigods that came before him?
Um, ALL heroes in the Greek myths fail to give credit to the women who helped them. lol. Seriously, try to think of a woman who does something awesome and DOESN’T get turned into a monster.

But Percy has already proved that he won’t do that. He lets Clarisse finish her quest instead of taking the glory for himself. He cedes seniority to Thalia at camp, even though he’s been there longer. He isn’t afraid to tell his friends that Rachel Elizabeth Dare saved his life. He goes to the ends of the earth to save Annabeth. He trusts Zoe’s judgement above his own, and honors her when she falls. I mean, just look at how he treats his mom! I promise, that’s not normal 15 year-old boy behavior. Later in the series he will continue to show a respect for women beyond what is typically expected of an American boy, and FAR surpassing the way the Greeks did.

5 thoughts on “Favorites February: The Titan’s Curse

  1. Whoa, it’s been waaaay too long since I read the series, but your review brings memories back! I like your discussion about how the series is pretty female-empowering; I noticed it before, but yess, Percy is very respectful of the females around him. Great points!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I love that about this series! Annabeth is such a cool role model for girls, but there’s also Selena Beauregard, who is completely different but also an awesome person. I feel like this series tells girls they can be anyone they want to be. ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Hello ,

    I saw your tweet about animals and thought I will check your website. I like it!

    I love pets. I have two beautiful thai cats called Tammy(female) and Yommo(male). Yommo is 1 year older than Tommy. He acts like a bigger brother for her. 🙂
    I have even created an Instagram account for them ( https://www.instagram.com/tayo_home/ ) and probably soon they will have more followers than me (kinda funny).

    I have subscribed to your newsletter. 🙂

    Keep up the good work on your blog.

    Regards
    Wiki

    Like

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