Myth Monday: Monsters in The Son of Neptune

The Monsters

The gorgons: We saw the gorgon Medusa in The Lightning Thief. The infamous Medusa had two sisters named Euryale and Stheno. All three of them were gorgons, monster-ladies with snakes for hair and usually part-serpent bodies. Medusa had an extra-special curse that turned people to stone if they looked at her. Euryale and Stheno are just terrifying and will probably eat you. The Son of Neptune opens with the two of them chasing Percy, partly for fun and partly to avenge their sister. 4/5 Monstrous Rating for their Bargain Mart disguise.

Karpoi: The karpoi (or carpi) are spirits of the grain/fruit. They work primarily for Demeter/Ceres (goddess of agriculture, etc) and Gaea (Titan of the Earth). They’re depicted as infants, kinda like little angry cupids that grow plants. Gaea recruits them to her side in The Son of Neptune by promising them all the land they need to grow ALL the grains! They’re really annoying, angry, and tiny, but I like watching them argue about which grain is best. 3/5 Monstrous Rating.

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Gaea and the Carpi: Source
Gegenes the Earthborn: These are six-armed giants from Greek mythology, not Roman, which is confusing because why are they in this Percy Jackson series? Whatever. The Argonauts (Jason and Co. who went after the Golden Fleece) had to fight them. They’re part of Gaea’s army but so far haven’t done anything else. 3/5 Monstrous Rating.

Cyclopes: We saw these guys in Sea of Monsters. Cyclopes are one-eyed giants, and while they seem to be herdsmen when in their own country, Zeus and Hephaestus use them as workmen at their forges. They supposedly forged Zeus’ famous thunderbolts, but they also seem to enjoy eating humans when the opportunity arises. I like how Riordan gives us the good and bad extremes of Cyclopes, since the myths seem undecided on them, but the cyclopes in TLH are pretty monstrous. The scene where they try to cook and eat Jason and his friends reminds me a lot of Bilbo and the trolls in The Hobbit. 3/5 Monstrous Rating for being pretty terrifying but also pretty dumb and over done.

Centaurs: We saw centaurs in the last series of Percy Jackson books, but in this series they’re the Roman version of Centaurs. Roman Centaurs have a greater tendency to murder all your men and rape all your women and steal all of your stuff, as opposed to the hero-trainer Chiron or other Greek centaurs that can be really drunk and out of control but not usually as violent. Percy Jackson is PRETTY UPSET to find that the centaurs are allying themselves with Gaea in The Son of Neptune. 3/5 Monstrous Rating.

Polybotes: Polybotes is a giant and happens to be a (im)mortal enemy of Poseidon (Percy’s dad). He’s a little pissed because during the war between the gods and the giants, Poseidon dropped an island on top of him. Polybotes has it out for Poseidon and all of his descendants. He’s a Big Bad in The Son of Neptune, leading an army to attack Camp Jupiter (home of the Roman demigods including Frank and Hazel). 4/5 Monstrous Rating.

Alcyoneus: Yet another giant, and a son of Gaea, Alcyoneus was said to be invincible in his home territory. He fought Hercules, who only managed to kill him by shooting him and then dragging him out of his territory to die. Cold, Hercules. The heroes in The Son of Neptune employ a similar tactic against him. That being said, he is pretty terrifying, and Gaea goes to a lot of effort to bring him back from the dead. 4/5 Monstrous Rating.

Basilisks: Basilisks are not terrifying giant dragons, like you may have been led to believe, but relatively small snakes. They’re super poisonous, able to wither plants with only their breath, and obviously their venom is super lethal to anyone. In The Son of Neptune, Frank has to fight three of them while they’re hiding in tall grass. 4/5 Monstrous Rating because deadliness>size.

Arion: Arion is the son of Neptune/Poseidon and Ceres/Demeter. At some point Poseidon decided he was in love with Demeter, and even though she ran away and turned herself into a horse to escape him, he decided to turn into a horse himself to get what he wanted because he’s terrible (gods are sometimes cool and sometimes The Worst). Their son Arion is an immortal horse and had famous riders including Hercules. In The Son of Neptune, he decides Hazel is the best (because she is) and allows her to ride him. He’s super fast and super powerful and will bite your hand off if he doesn’t like you. 5/5 Monstrous Rating.

Harpies: Harpies are wind-spirits, similar to the venti that we saw in The Lost Hero, but these ones take the form of bird-human hybrids (usually they look like birds except for their human heads. Yikes.). They like to eat other people’s food. I usually only see harpies portrayed as monsters so it was fun to have a sympathetic supporting harpy character, Aella, in The Son of Neptune. She has a photographic memory and has read a lot of books, so she is endlessly helpful. 4/5 Monstrous Rating.

Laestrygonians: You can experience these guys in all their violent glory in The Odyssey. Odysseus’ crew reaches a very promising-looking island, until they’re chased off by giants who throw rocks at them. In The Son of Neptune, Gaea tells them that if they eat Frank they will receive his superpowers, so they encircle Frank’s family mansion and lob it with fireballs. If you didn’t notice, there are SO MANY species of mythic giants  and almost all of them want to eat you. 3/5 Monstrous Rating.

Spartus/skeleton warrior: Sometimes known as the Sparti/Spartoi, the hero Jason had to face these scary dudes during the Argonauts’ quest for the Golden Fleece. When the Argonauts reach the land of King Aetes and ask him for the Golden Fleece, the king can’t turn them down outright because they’ve become his guests. So he tells Jason that he has to perform a task for him: yoke some fire-breathing bronze oxen, sow a field with dragon-teeth, and kill the crop of armed men that spring up. Jason is a little taken aback by this very specific and lethal request, but he’s the one who signed up for the quest, after all. In The Son of Neptune, the demigod Frank gets a spear on loan from the god Mars which gives Frank the power to summon a spartus three times to fight his enemies. It was cool to bring these guys back to use on the good guy’s side, although Frank probably should trust his spartus too much. 5/5 Monstrous Rating.

Gryphons: Gryphons or griffins usually have the body of a lion and the wings and head of an eagle. There are some variations, and in The Son of Neptune the gryphons that attack our heroes have the body of black panthers rather than lions. I don’t really know why except to be scarier, maybe? I can’t find any evidence of actual myth griffins with panther bodies, but it seems reasonable. Apollo likes to ride griffins probably because, let’s face it, they are very cool-looking. 4/5 Monstrous Rating.

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Apollo on a Gryphon: Source

Hyperborean giants: In mythology, the land of the Hyperboreans was far to the north and inaccessible to normal humans, but it was apparently a super great, heavenly place that was always springtime. In The Son of Neptune, Percy and his friends come across a few of them in Alaska: they’re huuuuuuge, blue, and not very smart, but basically harmless like giant blue frost-breathing cows or something. 3/5 Monstrous Rating because I want to be friends with them.

The Reborn

Phineas/Phineus: Phineas was a little too good at predicting the future, so Zeus cursed him to be haunted by harpies. These harpies would steal his food no matter what, so that Phineas could never eat. He was rescued from the harpies by the Argonauts. In The Son of Neptune, Gaea has brought him back to life and he is working for her with his prophecies.

Otrera: Otrera was the first queen of the Amazons. Depending on the story, she is either Ares/Mars’ wife or daughter (yikes how do those get confused?). She is killed by the hero Bellerophon (he notably killed the Chimera, and befriended Pegasus). In The Son of Neptune, Gaea brings her back to life to work for her, and Otrera is attempting to take over the queenship of the Amazons again.

The Sources

Bulfinch, Thomas. Bulfinch’s Greek and Roman Mythology: The Age of Fable. Dover Thrift, 2000. Print.

Hamilton, Edith. Mythology. New American Library, 1969. Print.

Riordan, Rick. The Son of Neptune. Disney Hyperion, 2011. Print.

See also the links above for more sources!

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The Jungle Books Readalong

Our August Readalong is The Jungle Books by Rudyard Kipling! We will be reading from August 1 through September 11 (6 weeks). The Readalong hashtag will be #JungleRead . Please join us; there are no prerequisites for this kind of shenanigan!

JunglebookCoverThere are two collections of stories, so make sure your edition has both of them. Book 1 should start with “Mowgli’s Brothers” and end with “Parade-song of the Camp Animals.” Book 2 should start with “How Fear Came” and end with “The Outsong.”

I’m using the Barnes & Noble Classics paperback. Project Gutenberg has Book 1 and Book 2 . Kindle has a free version here.

I’m looking forward to reading this book with you! I will be hanging out on Twitter and posting here on the blog. If you’re planning to do any Jungle Books-related blogging or projects, let me know. I’m going to try to do a scheduled chat at least once during the month; day and time TBD but it will likely be a Saturday.

 

Reading Schedule

August 7th: You should have read through “Road-Song of the Bandar-Log”

August 14th: You should have read through “Darzee’s Chaunt”

August 21st: You should have read through “The Law of the Jungle”

August 28th: You should have read through “A Ripple Song”

September 4th: You should have read through “Angutivan Tina”

September 11th: You should have finished the book through “The Outsong”

 

Hamilton Book Tag

I finally got around to doing the Hamilton book tag! You can watch the video below, or just read my answers to the prompts even further below.

Let me know if you end up doing this, too, because I want to read your answers!

THE QUESTIONS:

The Room Where It Happens (book world you would put yourself in): I would definitely choose Middle-Earth! I’ve spent years thinking about, reading about, and writing about that stupid place. I know all the best places to live, stop for coffee, or buy a horse.
The Schuyler Sisters (Underrated Female Character): Anne Elliott from Persuasion. She’s amazing and deserves so much more love than she gets. She’s sensible, not a show-off, kind, compassionate, observant, and loyal.
My Shot (A character that goes after what they want and doesn’t let anything stop them): I mean, I’m not sure if I should apply this in a good way or a bad way, but the first character that sprang to mind was Nathaniel from The Amulet of Samarkand. He is terrifyingly ambitious but also I love him.
Stay Alive (A character you wish was still alive): WOW UM SPOILERS for “The Tale of Beren and Luthien” (from The Silmarillion) but I’m still really upset about Finrod Felagund. I will probably always be really upset about Finrod Felagund.
Burn (The most heartbreaking end to a relationship you’ve ever read): SPOILERS for Doctrine of the Labyrinths series by Sarah Monette – um Felix and Gideon from The Mirador messed me up real bad.

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You’ll Be Back (Sassiest villain): Piper Greenmantle from The Raven Cycle. I mean, she’s also terrifying and ice-cold, but she can be pretty hilarious. I almost picked her husband Colin but I think she’s better.
The Reynolds Pamphlet (A book with a twist that you didn’t see coming): Any book by Megan Whalen Turner, several books by Timothy Zahn
Non-stop (A series you marathoned): SO MANY but I’ll mention The Lord of The Rings because it involved stealing from my brother, and honorary mention goes to The Mortal Instruments trilogy because I could barely put those books down even though it was the middle of a college term and it was INCREDIBLY STRESSFUL.
Satisfied (Favorite book with multiple POVs): The Son of Neptune by Rick Riordan, or any book in that series (The Heroes of Olympus).
Who Lives, Who Dies, Who Tells Your Story (A book/series you feel like will be remembered throughout history): The Lord of The Rings – I know I keep giving Tolkien answers but I can’t help how I feel! It’s already a classic, obviously, and so many of the themes and characters are universal, that even with its problematic elements I think it’s going to last a good long while!

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BONUS QUESTIONS:

Helpless (A relationship you were pulling for from the very start): I can’t think of any that I didn’t think were going to eventually get together. But I really liked Kate and Curran from the Kate Daniels series immediately, and shipped them, even though they are both kinda jerks at first.
Ten Duel Commandments (Favorite fight scene): Any of the duels in Swordspoint by Ellen Kushner, but especially the opening chapter.
Say No To This (Guilty pleasure read): I don’t believe in guilty pleasure reads. I read them and love them or I don’t. But I think manga is the thing I get the most side-eyes for reading, and I know I’ve had to justify Fruits Basket more than once (even though it’s one of the best comic series, period, ever written).
What Comes Next (a series you wish had more books): The Goblin Emperor by Katherine Addison, or Howl’s Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones (there are 2 sequels but I want more, obviously).

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Right Hand Man (Favorite BROTP): Sherlock Holmes and John Watson from Arthur Conan Doyle’s stories.
What’d I Miss (a book or series you were late to reading): I’m late to EVERYbook, let’s be real. I just recently read The Oresteian Trilogy by Aeschylus and that party has been around for over 2000 years…

Blog Semi-Hiatus & Readalong Update!

I’m going on a semi-hiatus for the month of July 2017. What does this mean?

  • Regular series won’t be updated
  • I may or may not blog at any given time on a random topic
  • I will be paryting hearty
  • ^that means I will be reading, sunning, and working

The Readalong page has been updated.

Our next readalong will be The Jungle Books by Rudyard Kipling and I will post a schedule at some point this month. Hashtag: TBD. If you have hashtag ideas, leave me a comment!

You can catch up on Scripture Sunday here.

You can catch up on Myth Monday here.

You can read all of the Northanger Abbey posts here.

Thank you to my followers for stalking me, everyone who reads my blog, and all of my lurkers ! I love you all very much.

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June ’17 Reading Wrap-up

I read less overall this month than in May, but I’m pleased that I managed to get a bit of nonfic read. It’s a Christmas miracle in June! The nonfic I enjoyed the most, to no one’s surprise, was the series of Great Course lectures on Alexander the Great by Kenneth Harl. WAIT NONFICTION AND AN AUDIOBOOK?

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I’m really happy that I was finally able to finish Pandora Hearts (a manga) because it’s been years in unfolding and wait no I am not happy that I finished it because it was completely soul-crushing. Oh, well.

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I bolded my favorite fiction reads below because there were a few and no clear winner.

Nonfiction:

The Great Divorce by CS Lewis (4/5 stars)

Wonder Women: 25 Innovators, Inventors, and Trailblazers Who Changed History by Sam Maggs (2/5 stars)

Alexander the Great and the Macedonian Empire by Kenneth Harl (4/5 stars)

Jane Austen’s Letters by Jane Austen (5/5 stars)

Poetry:

AnOther E.E. Cummings  by E.E. Cummings (4/5 stars)

Comics:

Wonder Woman: The Lies by Greg Rucka (5/5 stars)

Thor: Who Holds The Hammer? by Jason Aaron (3/5 stars)

Giant Days volumes 3-5 by John Allison (5/5 stars)

Pandora Hearts volumes 23-24 by Jun Mochizuki (5/5 stars)

Lando by Charles Soule (4/5 stars)

Fiction:

The Sorcerer of the Wildeeps by Kai Ashante Wilson (5/5 stars)

A Taste of Honey by Kai Ashante Wilson (4/5 stars)

The Voyage of the Basilisk by Marie Brennan (5/5 stars)

Bull by David Elliott (4/5 stars)

The Oresteian Trilogy by Aeschylus (5/5 stars)

Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen (5/5 stars)

Peter Darling by Austin Chant (3/5 stars)

The Lost Hero by Rick Riordan (5/5 stars)

Fallout by Gwenda Bond (5/5 stars)

How To Repair a Mechanical Heart by JC Lillis (4/5 stars)

Princess Academy: Palace of Stone by Shannon Hale (5/5 stars)

When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon (3/5 stars)