Lightning Thief movie shows compelling nature of Greek myths

February 15, 2010

It’s not hard to figure out why The Lightning Thief, either as a movie or book, would be compelling to young audiences…actually its a no-brainer.

Set in the present day, the best selling series charts the adventures of 12-year-old-Percy Jackson as he discovers he is the son of the Greek god Poseidon and the adventures begin. With his friends, who are also the offspring of Greek gods, Percy embarks on a quest to prevent an apocalyptic war between the Zeus, Poseidon and Hades. In the process, he befriends satyrs and battles minotaurs and more.

But, according to Daniel Berman, associate professor in the Department of Greek and Roman Classics at Temple University, Greek mythology has always had its fans in modern America.

“The Greek myths, which are interwoven into the Percy Jackson series so well, have staying power, because the stories can still help us come to grips with conflicts in our lives, just as they did for the ancient Greeks,” said Berman.

But the myths influence our culture in deeper ways. The narrative patterns pervasive in modern stories mirror those in many Greek myths, said Berman.

“A foundling or otherwise disadvantaged protagonist is raised and eventually comes into his own, often into a kingship or other heroic status, or a son takes over the authority of his father only to be usurped by his own son in time,” said Berman. “These narrative patterns are familiar to us today.”

For more, check out Lightning Thief shows Greek mythology’s staying power

–Kim Fischer

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