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Discussion topics for ‘The Lightning Thief’

Here are questions to think about as you read Al's second book choice by Rick Riordan.
/ Source: TODAY

The second book we'll be reading for Al's Book Club is “The Lightning Thief” by Rick Riordan. Reading a book with others is another way to enjoy a book. So even though you may read by yourself, you’ll probably want to talk about the book with your friends and find out what they thought about it. Below are some discussion questions from the book’s publisher, Miramax Books, a division of Hyperion Books for Children.

  • Percy has been diagnosed with ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder). He feels restless and fidgety. He may blurt out comments or act without thinking. Does this profile fit Percy? Discuss how Percy does/does not seem like an ADHD child.
  • What do you think of Mr. Brunner as a teacher?
  • When describing his mother, Percy says, “She’s the best person in the world, which just proves my theory that the best people get the rottenest luck.” How does this apply to Percy’s mom? Is this theory true in life? In the Greek myths?
  • Do you find Sally Jackson a strong character? Does she stand up for herself? For her son?
  • What is your reaction to the way Dionysus is portrayed in the book? The Greek gods have very human traits — would this make them easier or harder to believe in?
  • Chiron describes Western Civilization as “a living force. A collective consciousness that has burned bright for thousands of years.” He says the Greek gods are part of this, and move around as different nations become the central power of Western Civilization—Greece, Rome, Germany, France, England, the United States. What do you think of this idea? Is “the West” a clearly identifiable cultural force?
  • How is Annabeth like her mother? Does anything about Annabeth’s character strike you as unlike Athena?
  • After Percy learns he is a half-blood, he wonders who his own father is. How would you feel if you were in Percy’s place? Would it be easier to believe your father was dead, or to know that he was alive but not communicating with you?
  • When Percy finally learns the truth that he is the son of Poseidon, are you surprised? What hints are dropped before the revelation? How does Percy’s personality fit or not fit the god Poseidon?
  • Throughout the book, humor is used to counterbalance the serious situations Percy faces. Does it seem appropriate for a sixth-grade narrator? Does it change your perception of the mythology?
  • When describing the effects of Mist, Chiron says, “Remarkable, really, the lengths humans will go to fit things into their version of reality.” How is this true in the novel? In Greek mythology? In real life?
  • Does Percy seem like a pawn? Why or why not? If you were given Percy’s quest, would you undertake it or would you rebel?
  • Read Grover’s account of the search for Pan in Chapter 12. Do you think the search for Pan is an appropriate metaphor for modern man’s relationship with nature? Is “the wild” being lost forever?
  • Dreams play an important role in the narrative. What would the book be like without these dream episodes? Is there information that Percy can only get from his dreams?
  • Percy’s fight with Echidna and the Chimera is a low point for his morale. He begins to doubt that he is capable of being a hero. Why does he feel this way, and do you think his doubts are reasonable? What does this fight scene reveal about Percy’s character?
  • The god, Ares, says he loves America. He calls it “the best place since Sparta.” What does he mean? Do you think this is a fair critique of American society? Why or why not?
  • The Lotus Casino in Las Vegas is a modern-day version of the Land of the Lotus Eaters, which Odysseus visited on his way back from Troy. Read the original version from The Odyssey. How do the two accounts differ? Is the danger Odysseus faced similar to the danger faced by Percy and his friends? Is society today more dominated by “Lotus Eaters”?
  • As the book progresses, we learn more about Annabeth’s family life, and her unhappy history with her father. How does this compare with Percy’s own family? How does this help the two half-bloods overcome their mutual distrust?
  • Read the modernized description of the underworld in Ch. 18 — What do you think of this portrayal of the afterlife? Do you think believing in paradise and punishment makes people more likely to do good deeds?
  • What do you think of Percy’s decision to leave his mother behind? What does the scene in the throne room tell you about the three friends — Annabeth, Grover, and Percy?
  • When Percy finally meets his father, Poseidon seems distant and hard to read. Percy says that he is actually glad about this. Do you agree with Percy? Do you find yourself liking Poseidon or not?
  • How does the last line of the prophecy — you shall fail to save what matters most in the end — come true? What do you think of this ending? Did Percy make the right choice? What would you have done in his place?
  • In the end of the book, do you sympathize at all with Luke’s feelings of betrayal? How does his story act as a foil (a counterpoint) to Percy’s own?