Percy Jackson: The Lightning Thief. Movie vs. Novel

Guess who finally got around to reading the first Percy Jackson book? This lady over here. I figured I might as well read what the hype was about with this series, considering the second movie is coming out. I quite enjoyed the first movie as well, and the second looks better, so I figured: hey, why not read the book?

First: I apologize for getting to this so late.

Second: I understand why book lovers despised the movie so much. The differences are phenomenal. I’ll go into detail below.

And third: my thoughts on the book as a whole. Obviously this was for an audience of young readers, since the writing style was very simple. Little too simple for me, but I could still appreciate the plot it presented. At first it took me a while to get into it, since Percy felt a little 2d to me, but about a quarter of the way through or so I started to connect a bit. Started getting more suspenseful near the end of the story, which made the last thirty pages or so a very quick read.

Alright, now to compare and CONTRAST the movie and book. Obviously there will be spoilers, so deal with it šŸ˜‰

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Where to start? Okay, let’s start with the biggest differences.

-Percy is supposed to be 12. 12!

-Annabeth is blond, with curly locks. Erm…

-A camp advisor isn’t even in the movie. “Mr. D” is only in the book. I think he’s in the second movie, though, from the looks of it.

-We don’t even know Percy is the son of Poseidon until a quarter of the way through the story. We know he’s a demigod, but not exactly who his father is.

-We don’t know the lightning bolt is stolen until Percy is given a quest about halfway into the book (little before then, but just giving a generalization). Which, by the way, he was given permission to leave the camp.

-Luke isn’t known as the lightning thief until the final chapter. Hello! Which, speaking of, Percy speaks with an Oracle to know that one of his friends would betray him, and the quest was practically a different motivation. In the movie he wanted to try and make a deal with Hades even though he didn’t have the lightning bolt for his mother back, and in the book it’s his mission to find the lightning bolt (Hades is the main suspect), and that’s why they go to the Underworld to begin with. Percy, though, still cares about his mother more than the bolt in both the movie and the book. The three main pearls to get him back home aren’t even the main mission, however, instead they’re given to him.

-The camp doesn’t even focus on the different cabins in the movie. Each cabin signifies the god they’re the children of, and only after Percy finds out Poseidon is his father does he get a cabin to himself. It wasn’t just given to him right away.

-Percy has a fight with a god. A FIGHT. With Ares, the god of war. Hello? WHY would they not add that?

-Speaking of Ares, the god was convinced to start a war with the gods by Kronos. Luke, also, was convinced by Kronos, who decided to have a war of the gods after he failed a quest and felt like the gods were mocking him because the quest has already been done before. MUCH different plot than in the movie, where Luke was plainly angry at them. Never explained why. Percy and Luke never fight in this one.

-There are names and places that aren’t mentioned in the movie. Learning about all of these places and Greek names was actually quite interesting and educational. Want to read the list? Let’s do it!

  • Hera
  • Apollo
  • nymphs
  • Dionysus (Mr. D, the second camp leader)
  • Clarisse (enemy of Percy at camp)
  • Orpheus, Hercules, Houdini
  • Ares
  • The Oracle
  • The three furies (Mrs. Dodds is one of them, but there are also two other main ones in the novel)
  • Pan (the god of wild places)
  • The Chimera and Echidna
  • Iris (the rainbow goddess)
  • Hephaestus
  • The Silent One/The Rich One (nicknames for Hades)
  • Neriad, a spirit of the sea
  • Riptide (his sword’s name)
  • Procrustes
  • Charon
  • Cerberus


  • Fields of Asophodel, Fields of Punishment, and Elysium (parts of the Underworld)

I’ll stop there for now šŸ™‚ Those are just some examples of what the movie missed.

Percy runs into a lot more monsters in the book, and a lot more plot twists. Also, it was Ares that framed Percy with the bolt and not Luke.

Smaller points that the movie missed:

-Annabeth isn’t so full of herself when it comes to fighting. She let’s herself show fear in the book, and indecision. She’s a bit more vulnerable in the books, but in a way she’s also more self-kept about her thoughts and such. She’s not so friendly to Percy at first when she finds out he’s the son of Poseidon, but eventually they get along better. She still teases him, though šŸ™‚

-There’s a power even to a name. Saying names (such as Hades or Kronos) can bring more power to that god or creature. You have to be careful.

-Percy never battled a Hydra like in the movie. The Lotus Casino was also directed toward children with games and not an every day casino with slots.

-Each character has a better, in-depth background than what the movie presents. Then again, isn’t that with every book to movie adaptation?

Alright, now let me COMPARE them instead.

-All the characters have the right names. Yay?

-The overall idea, I suppose, is correct: the lightning bolt needs to be returned to Olympus so there’s not a war of the gods.

-Percy’s mom is to the T: caring, loving, and always wanting to be there for her son.

-So is the step-dad, all smelly and gross. Sally (Percy’s mom), does use the Medusa head to turn him into stone. Which reminds me, Percy did fight with Medusa, although the fight went differently.

-The three pearls to get home from the Underworld ARE in the movie, but not the main focus. In fact, Annabeth, Percy, and Grover use them to get out, with Percy’s promise to return back to retrieve his mother. Once Hades gets his half of the deal, he does release his mother back to him. Grover is never left with Hades’ wife, in fact, we don’t even meet her in the book. We do, however, meet hell hounds! Yay!

-There is the game of Capture the Flag. Percy is on Annabeth’s team, though. Did I forget to mention she has a baseball cap that turns her invisible? Yeah, the movie forgot that too.

That’s basically about it. Lot more differences than similarities, which makes me understand why readers were so upset about the first movie. I’m tempted to read the second one, but it’s so close to the second movie coming out that I may get pissed at that movie if it screws it up just as badly. Agh. Indecision.

Anyway, there you have it! Percy is such a seaweed brain šŸ˜‰

Keep on reading! And watching book to movie adaptations. Well, more decent ones, that is.

-S. K. Robitaille


11 comments on “Percy Jackson: The Lightning Thief. Movie vs. Novel

  1. Yay! You read the first book! *happy dance*
    I agree with all your points. I have to say how they got THE WRONG BAD GUY in the movie is what ticked me off the most. They said it was all Hades, now how are they going to fix that in the second movie?? That should be interesting.
    And Annabeth movie version? Uhhh…. Not quite right.

    Definitely read the rest of the books, then the Heroes of Olympus series! Percy is even more of a seaweed brain in those. :’D

    • Yeah I’m thinking I’m gonna read the second one, at least, to see the development of the plot. And I’ve seen in drawings how many characters are introduced, which gets me excited. I love plenty characters. Makes my brain happy.
      THANK YOU! I was so confused. Like wtf he fought with ARES. Ares! And now the god of war hates him! Like, hello? Plot point, much?!
      I enjoy Annabeth much more in the books. More human. Personality wise, I mean šŸ˜‰ Then again that goes for everyone!
      I like some of Percy’s comebacks, like this whole “I don’t care if you’re a god, I’m gonna sass you anyway” kind of thing going on. Kind of reminds me of Max šŸ™‚
      We write too much in comments…

      • Haha yes! Lots of new characters! Though some of the old favorites get a little forgotten.. šŸ˜¦ oh well. Don’t want it to be a overwhelming amount of characters I guess.
        Right?! Ugh how are they going to fit that into the rest of the movies?!

      • Oops didnt finish my comment when I hit send.. Lol!
        Anyways. I read somewhere that the director of the first movie didnt even read the book! But now they have a new director, so maybe things will change for the better. We’ll see.

        Ikr. Some people’s comments: “Nice!” Our comments: “Next new novel!” Haha

      • Well, new directors are always really nice, I feel like the first ones screw it up, and the second ones make it super better. So *cross fingers*
        I’ll always say “next novel” before “next movie” lol šŸ˜€

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