I have so much to say, more professions to make on The House of Hades, which may just be my favorite Percy Jackson book evarr.
My Percabeth sailed to the depths of Tartarus because, well, they’re Percabeth. Duh. They’re THE power couple of contemporary Greek mythology, and they’re so cool they could have a date in the deepest, darkest, most harrowing part of the Earth and still stir Feelings and Love (and Jealousy! I LOVE YOU PERCY. TRULY.) I especially like that Riordan’s reimagined Tartarus did not only contain Evil, but there also misery, anger, and loneliness, which I find fitting if you were to recreate a place so horrible, you must really hurt everywhere; your insides and heart included.
[Annabeth] didn’t want to sleep, but her body betrayed. Her eyelids turned into lead. “Percy, wake me for second watch. Don’t be a hero.”
He gave her that smirk she’d come to love. “Who, me?”
Of all these creatures made from the Bad Thought of every person/demigod/god (man, this list could go on and on), my favorite characters were the Arae that let Percy and Annabeth feel the same pain they inflicted on another creature. They brewed an interesting conflict in me: I hate that, and hurt when, Percy was in pain, but man, Riordan (re)created the Arae in such brilliant way that I thought, “But BB Percy, they have a point. You let them feel this way.” I was actually cheering both sides on. Huh.
This among a whole slew of battles all book long, but I enjoyed the little, insignificant conflicts inside me because at least, my heroes are safe in my head. And in my heart.
On the other side of the Earth was Jason and his gang of ADHD demigod friends. Jason never had my heart despite being Tin’s Obvious Preferred Male because he’s straight-laced and his sense of humor is off, but in The House of Hades, he finally tugged at my Percy Jackson Blackened Heart. I always thought that Jason lacked character development; it felt like the exploration of his character hinges upon Just Being a Son of Zeus, but it took me four books to finally see him: the burden that he carried by being the Son of Zeus and how he heroically failed to live up to the standards he set for himself. It was a nice arc, seeing how Jason stepped up and claimed his spot as an equal of Percy.
Acceptance. The House of Hades was about these little puppies accepting that they had a Herculean task at hand, yet again, (Not that I’m complaining, though! I lurve you Riordan.) and acknowledging, and working around, their limitations. This fuzzy theme brought us to Riordan’s Big Character Reveal. Okay, there’s no way to talk about this without giving spoilers so skeddadle to your empty, sad space if you haven’t read The House of Hades yet because I’m going to tell you how much I love that Nico di Angelo is gay.
While it was not explicitly stated that he was a homosexual that is attracted to a male, but it was there, warming our cold, beaten hearts. Thanks to the incessant prodding of Cupid who churn a love quote after another, Nico admitted having a crush on Percy and I was a happy (Half-Blood) camper. Also worth noting: How much do I love that Cupid is cynical about love! I mean, Hah.
“Oh, do you expect me to play fair?” Cupid laughed. “I am the god of love. I am never fair.”
I always thought that Riordan wanted us to find a part of ourselves in these characters that he created, and then, there was Nico. His parentage was enough to set him apart from, huh, everyone, and he was basically an old soul. He was a character so awesome with his powerz over the deadz, but terrifying as well. He was ambitious, but he preferred to stay at the shadows of Percy Jackson. All for his love. I mean, WHY ARE YOU NOT MELTING! HAVE YOU NOT HAVE A HEART.
“I had a crush on Percy,” Nico spat. “That’s the truth. That’s the big secret.”
EEEEK! Giggle giggle!
Likewise, I find this particular reveal really important since his books are classified as Children’s books, for those Middleschool and establishing the foundation of their individuality. I find it significant and brave to broach this topic. Riordan was really careful and skillful on treading these sensitive waters, especially with parents who are slightly being, well, oversensitive with the spew of YA books with once-taboo topics. (I’m looking at you Eleanor and Park ban-ners.) The word homosexual or gay was never mentioned in the story, and granted, should Riordan lose his er, courage, he could make the worst twist by putting “It was just a crush! Maybe a phase!” but it was there: Nico likes Percy .
I do hope, good Sir, that you’d stick to your guns!
I’m not saying that we should all be gay, and I’m not saying either that liking another person of the same sex is bad, hell no, but just, there are people who will eventually find themselves liking someone they think they aren’t supposed to like, and it is always a struggle to accept it at first.
This made Jason’s sturdy, very likable, and almost inflexible character the best support and perfect foil for Nico, who was barely coming to terms with his gender. He might have a long way to go and the denial phase might be endless, but having found a friend who did not judge him and wordlessly accepted him like it was not a big deal, should be a big step for Nico. Also, I will try my very best to send Nico a truckload of hugs that should last him a fictional lifetime. Hells of Tartarus, I’ll hug them all until they get through The Blood of Olympus.
I loved that, as action filled as the penultimate book to Riordan’s Heroes of Olympus series was, it also packed us a whole picnic bunch of heartwarming character moments, as we unraveled more layers of our favorite heroes. Much as it agonizes me to wait for another year to finally see the end of the battle (OR IS IT REALLY ENDING because Riordan said there’s still a possibility for moar Percy Jackson), I shall sit myself in a corner and rock myself back and forth while I digest the thought that I will be bidding another goodbye to Percy Jackson in one last book, coming on October.
Let’s keep our hearts still and pretend we’re not alive while we wait for The Blood of Olympus, eh?