Percy Jackson Series Changes Percy’s Prophecy for the Better

The words of Percy's prophecy are straight from The Lightning Thief, but the series changes how Percy handles the weight of his fate.

Annabeth Chase (Leah Sava Jeffries), Grover Underwood (Aryan Simhadri), and Percy Jackson (Walker Scobell) stand on a beach in Percy Jackson and the Olympians
Photo: Disney

This article contains spoilers for Percy Jackson and the Olympians episode 3.

In the world of Percy Jackson and the Olympians, prophecies are a big deal. The oracle who resides at Camp Half-Blood doesn’t just give them out willy nilly, they are given to those that fate has deemed worthy. For the demigods of Camp Half-Blood, a prophecy typically signals the beginning of a quest, and the chance to prove oneself in the eyes of their deified parent.

Percy Jackson (Walker Scobell) receives his first prophecy not long after he first arrives at Camp Half-Blood. He, Annabeth Chase (Leah Sava Jeffries), and Grover Underwood (Aryan Simhadri) are tasked with retrieving Zeus’ missing lightning bolt before the Summer Solstice and stopping an impending war between the gods. Before they set off, Percy receives valuable insight from the Oracle, though it’s not clear what parts of the prophecy mean.

While the show doesn’t really change how Percy receives the prophecy or the words that comprise it, it does change an important part of how Percy reacts to it. In both the book and the series, Percy willingly shares the first two lines of his prophecy with Chiron (Glynn Turman), Annabeth, and Grover –  “You shall go west, and face the god who has turned. You shall find what was stolen, and see it safely returned.” But he keeps the last two lines to himself – “You shall be betrayed by one who calls you a friend, and you shall fail to save what matters most, in the end.”

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However, instead of keeping these two lines a secret until the end of the quest as Percy does in The Lightning Thief, this version of Percy tells Grover and Annabeth the truth of the prophecy fairly early into their journey after they defeat Medusa (Jessica Parker Kennedy) and Alecto (Megan Mullaly) in episode 3. This episode tests the trio’s bond and how much the trust each other as Alecto and Medusa offer Annabeth and Percy deals that tempt them to betray each other for what they really want. 

After defeating the monsters that tempted them, Annabeth and Percy confront each other about their respective deals, which prompts Grover to finally voice his own concerns about how to move forward. It’s in that moment that Percy reveals why he’s been so on edge – not only does he have to worry about one of them potentially betraying him, he also has to contend with the fact that he may have to choose between saving his mom from the Underworld and saving the world from Zeus’ wrath.

Since the book is told through Percy’s perspective, we are privy to his innermost thoughts as the reader and don’t necessarily need an extra scene that tells us how Percy has been feeling since he got the prophecy. We know that those two lines of the prophecy are constantly in the back of his mind as he and the trio push forward. In the show, however, this scene gives us important insight into his character and how he feels about his companions and the journey ahead.

In an interview with Den of Geek, Aryan Simhadri shared why that emotional scene in Medusa’s basement was an important step in bringing the trio closer together. “It’s definitely a tense moment,” Simhadri explains, “Percy and Annabeth are still getting over their differences, if they’ve gotten over any at all by that point. They’re very cautious of each other [in that moment].”

Percy chooses Annabeth for the quest because he knows that she will do whatever it takes to succeed, even if that means pushing him down a flight of stairs, as he points out to Chiron during the selection ceremony. Annabeth agrees to the quest because she feels she is owed the opportunity after everything she’s been through and done for the camp, and because she desperately wants a chance to impress her mother, Athena.

Grover has been trying his best to keep the quest moving forward, but realizes in this moment that something has to change if they’re going to survive the quest and stop the impending war of the gods. “This is gonna sound a little blunt, but they’re basically using each other,” Simhadri continues, “And I think that trust that Percy shows [in] his willingness to confide, and Annabeth’s as well, it just brings everyone closer together. And it makes them more like friends as opposed to acquaintances.”

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By revealing the prophecy and his anxieties over what it means so soon into their quest, Percy makes an important step in trusting his companions, and shows them that they can trust him as well. According to Walker Scobell, this moment is the biggest hurdle in their journey, and relationship-wise it’s “smooth sailing” for the trio from here.

This change in how Percy handles the prophecy is ultimately for the better, as it serves to bring the trio closer together and cement their trust for each other. Even though Percy still worries about someone betraying him, those fears seem to be quelled for a time, as he realizes that all three of them have a stake in this quest and need it to succeed. Their heart-to-heart in Medusa’s basement may not be in the book, but it’s a welcome addition to the story.

The first three episodes of Percy Jackson and the Olympians are available to stream on Disney+ now. New episodes premiere Tuesday nights, with the finale set to drop on Jan. 30.