Well. First off, I have to say that I haven’t actually read the Percy Jackson books or watched the movie! I have heard good things about them but tbh I really don’t care about it and I have been angry about this several times because DUDE THAT IS MY CULTURE.
Let me explain: I am totally and absolutely fine with people writing things based on the greek myths. I am totally into the idea of processing stories through writing about them (I write fanfiction, how could I not?) and expanding them, because well. That is what people have done since forever! Our collective traditions, our stories, our literature, have been created through rethinking and rewriting older myths and stories. People have been making up headcanons about the greek gods since forever as well; the myths themselves were created this way, which is why every mythology in the world is so rich and why there are dozens of myths with similar beginnings or several versions of the same story.
My problem with the Percy Jackson books is not that they are based on mythology and the greek gods! MY PROBLEM IS THAT IT DOES SO WHILE (as far as I know) COMPLETELY IGNORING GREECE ITSELF. I guess it could be essentially called cultural appropriation (correct me if I’m wrong). The whole story centers around a white, USAmerican boy whose dad is Poseidon (according to wikipedia, Neptune in the books. Hmm.). Most of the other demigods he meets are also USAmericans. His best friend is a satyr or something and the Olympian Gods reside in the United States. WHY. WOULD. THEY. DO. THAT. His girlfriend (Annabeth?) is Athena’s daughter (wtf Riordan, ATHENA WAS A VIRGIN GODDESS. why would you take asexual characters away from us).
So yeah the thing is: this series takes a culture born in one place of the world, and transfers it to another. That would be okay for me, except that:
a) THERE ARE TOO MANY THINGS SET IN THE USA. PLEASE STOP MAKING EVERYTHING IN THE US, DEALING WITH US THINGS. (while USAmerican issues are of course important, they are not universal. And while there are universal ideas, motifs, etc., narratives can, and should, also deal with more specific themes.)
b) Greece was once powerful, etc., etc., but it is not anymore. There are a hundred of issues I could address in regards to Greek people’s often hyperbolic love and possesiveness towards their country, but that is a whole other post. Truth is that a lot of people here, if not the most of them, do tend to have problematic reactions when foreign creators use the Greek mythology and tradition to base their own ideas on. That is a whole other post, too, but I would rather state first that I’m not horribly nationalistic in this way. The thing is, I feel, that right now Greece is going through a shitton of problems and is not a powerful country at all. And you know what, I NEED FICTION TO ADDRESS IT AND PEOPLE TO RECOGNISE IT. And setting the Greek myths in a foreign environment with no social commentary or recognition of, idk, the existence and the place of their country of origin really does not sit well with me.
Wow, I really did ramble a lot.
a) PLEASE STOP MAKING EVERYTHING ABOUT THE USA!!!!!! Please.
b) THERE ARE OTHER COUNTRIES IN THE WORLD, PEOPLE OFTEN USE THEIR MYTHOLOGIES AND IGNORE THE COUNTRIES AND THEIR CONTEMPORARY ISSUES AND I DO NOT LIKE THAT. ESPECIALLY WHEN YOU TAKE THE OLYMPIAN GODS AND HAVE THEM LIVE IN THE EMPIRE STATE BUILDING BECAUSE ~*~center of power~*~. NOT COOL.
c) and a third point unrelated to cultural appropriation: ATHENA IS ONE OF THE FEW MYTHICAL FIGURES THAT COULD BE ASEXUAL*, WHY WOULD YOU TAKE THAT AWAY FROM US.
d) [EDIT] a thing I forgot to say before is that I also think it’s very important to challenge the problematic aspects of myths! And by that I don’t mean to dismiss, gloss over, or ignore other peoples’ ideals and views on the world; I mean comment, bring out, and work on issues apparent in myths, such as misogyny and racism. I don’t know if Riordan does that! (I do hope he does) This part was more of a general thought of mine.
and a final note: If you think anything I sat here is terribly problematic or offensive, PLEASE DO TELL ME! I am very cautious around such issues and if anyone thinks I misstepped somewhere, I would really like to be educated.
*Of course a lot of asexual people do have sex and kids, but. Ugh. There is already zero asexual representation, so we could use a little recognition there.