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16 Key Differences Between The New "Percy Jackson" TV Series And The Original Book, According To A Die-Hard Fan

🚨 There are major Season 1 spoilers ahead! 🚨

If you're here, that hopefully means you're a Percy Jackson and the Olympians fan in some capacity, so I'm going to say it: Welcome back, campers!

Dionysus says "Peter Johnson is here"
Disney

Let me start off by saying that when Disney+ announced in 2020 that it was going to adapt PJO into a show with author Rick Riordan at the helm, my world was turned upside down in the best way possible. Though there was an attempt to bring PJO to the big screen in the 2010s — which only lasted until the second movie, Sea of Monsters — Rick himself has been very vocal about disliking the films. But on Dec. 19, 2023, about a decade later, the first episode of Percy Jackson and the Olympians began streaming!

Title card for "Percy Jackson and the Olympians"

Also, I will not allow ANY Logan Lerman slander.

Disney

The first season followed the events of the first book in the series, The Lightning Thief, and a new episode dropped every Tuesday evening on Disney+. With an eight-episode rollout, the season finale aired on January 30, 2024. After rereading the book, watching all the episodes, and soaking everything in, I have a lot to yap about, discuss, and, yes, cry over. But mainly, I'm here to talk about the major changes and additions the show adaptation had from the book!

Percy asks Grover, "Does she think she's in charge?"

Before we get into it, so that y'all know I mean business, here's me being a ~certified~ Percy Jackson fan:

The author is posing with a "PJO" show poster and is showing off her Camp Half-Blood birthday cake

If anyone cares, the best book that has Percy in it is Son of Neptune.

Dannica Ramirez / BuzzFeed

Disclaimer: If you haven't watched the show yet and/or haven't read the book, this is me telling you that there are some pretty huge spoilers beyond this point! Alright, let's start!

The author is holding up her copy of "The Lightning Thief" and is holding a bowl of popcorn
Dannica Ramirez / BuzzFeed

1.🔱 The fight between Percy and Mrs. Dodds at The Met happens way quicker:

Mrs. Dodds, a Fury, attacks Percy on the steps of the Met

2.🔱 Sally "Best Mom Ever" Jackson has a much more active role in the TV series than she does in the book. In fact, several not-in-the-books moments between Sally and Percy made a massive difference in the overall storytelling, and I was 100% here for it:

Sally Jackson tells Percy: "You are singular, and you are my son. Hold fast"

3.🔱 Chiron and Dionysus don't want Percy to know about Sally's fate in the Underworld (for some reason), but it gives Grover a chance to "redeem" himself after selling Percy out:

Dionysus tells Grover not to tell Percy, but Grover says he doesn't want to lie to him about it anymore

4.🔱 Percy did not get attacked by a Hellhound after Capture the Flag:

Percy Jackson gets claimed by Poseidon

5.🔱 Percy gets to pick who goes with him on his quest, and it lays the groundwork for his and Annabeth's friendship:

Annabeth looks pleased and a bit triumphant

6.🔱 We find out that Athena is far from being a girls' girl after hearing Medusa's side of the story. The show cuts the fun and silly antics of Aunty Em entertaining the kids and, instead, uses the time to shine a light on Medusa as a victim:

Medusa explains the curse Athena put on her

7.🔱 We get to see a lot more of Echidna and the Chimera after she hijacks the train the trio is on and chases them to the St. Louis Arch:

Echidna and the Chimera are being shown

8.🔱 Ares and Grover have a heart-to-heart about war as part of Grover's attempt to find out who the lightning thief is. Grover's character in the show in general has a lot more depth and complexity, and this scene displays that wonderfully:

Grover and Ares are conversing

9.🔱 The Thrill Ride O' Love ride puts a spotlight on Hephaestus and his deep-rooted issues, but the show backs away from what could have been a very funny and campy scene thanks to the addition of a chair:

Annabeth watches Percy turn into gold

10.🔱 When the trio arrives at the Lotus Hotel and Casino, there is no fun, there are no games, and there is no Lady Gaga playing in the background while everyone parties the night(s) away. In fact, the trio knows exactly what they're looking for and what they have to do, and they don't allow any distractions (except for Grover):

Percy, Annabeth, and Grover are at the Lotus Hotel and Casino

11.🔱 Hermes is at the Lotus Casino and Hotel and talks to Percy and Annabeth about his regrets with Luke and Luke's mother, May. Meanwhile, Grover meets an older satyr named Augustus, who everyone thought had gone missing while on his search for the nature god, Pan:

Hermes says, "I was warned to stay away." Augustus the satyr is eating nachos

12.🔱 The Summer Solstice passed, meaning Zeus and Poseidon are set to go to war after Percy fails to return the bolt in time. When Percy insists on continuing the quest, he is given four pearls that allow safe passage from the Underworld:

Nereid gives Percy four pearls

13.🔱 The show spends a little bit of time in the Fields of Asphodel, where Annabeth gets "tied up" with her regrets and is forced to stay behind. At this point, we don't know many specifics about Annabeth's past, so this could hint to a bigger reveal/conversation later in the show:

Annabeth is tied up by the Asphodel roots

14.🔱 Sally and Poseidon have a "coparenting" moment, and we see for the first time how Poseidon feels about having to leave Sally to raise Percy on her own:

Sally and Poseidon are sitting together

15.🔱 Poseidon finally beats the deadbeat dad allegations (barely):

Poseidon defends Percy from Zeus

16.🔱 Luke's reveal is more emotional and intentional. Not only did Luke think he had a chance at successfully recruiting Percy, but he ended up unintentionally revealing his plans in front of Annabeth:

Luke says, "The gods are my enemy"

Alright, demigods, we've come to the end of Season 1 of Percy Jackson and the Olympians. Though there were some other minor differences not mentioned, I thoroughly enjoyed the show and am SO EXCITED for Season 2! Now that the show has been officially renewed for a new season, I am already anticipating the absolute chaos that is Sea of Monsters. Until then, you can find me re-reading the book yet again!

What did you think of Season 1? Do you think it did the book justice? Let me know in the comments!