The Lightning Thief
by Rick Riordan
Language and Communication Quotes in The Lightning Thief
How we cite our quotes: Citations follow this format: (Chapter.Paragraph)
Over the roar of the storm, I could hear the blue-robed one yelling at the green-robed one, Give it back! Give it back! Like a kindergartner fighting for his toy.
The ground shook. Laughter came from somewhere under the earth, and a voice so deep and evil it turned my blood to ice.
Come down, little hero, the voice crooned. Come down! (9.19-23)
Percy has a series of dreams throughout the story that seem to grow more and more violent and visceral. This is the first vivid dream that we hear about, and we can interpret it as Zeus and Poseidon fighting. Zeus's symbol is the eagle. Poseidon's symbol is the horse. They are fighting in Percy's dream perhaps because they are fighting up on Mount Olympus. This tells us that Percy is incredibly powerful – even before he knows that he is a half-blood or what that even means, he's dreaming about the gods. Gradually, his dreams become used to communicate or spy on something in the Underworld.
My fists clenched, though I knew this poker party couldn't be real. It was an illusion, made out of mist.
Gabe turned toward me and spoke in the rasping voice of the Oracle: You shall go west, and face the god who has turned.
His buddy on the right looked up and said in the same voice: You shall find what was stolen, and see it safely returned.
The guy on the left threw in two poker chips, then said:
You shall be betrayed by one who calls you a friend.
Finally, Eddie, our building super, delivered the worst line of all:
And you shall fail to save what matters most in the end. (9.130-134)
The Greek gods are big on knowing their fate and on knowing how things are going to turn out, but getting that information can be tricky, and even dangerous. The Oracle speaks in riddles, and these riddles really stump Percy and put him on his guard. Solving the riddles can help someone understand a situation, but misinterpreting the Oracle's words can really mess them up. Misinterpreting the Oracle is what leads to Percy's scorpion bite.
"Very well, Percy. But know this: the Oracle's words often have double meanings. Don't dwell on them too much. The truth is not always clear until events come to pass." (9.151)
Hold the phone. So, you seek out the Oracle's advice to help you understand what's about to happen, but "the truth is not always clear until events come to pass." Why should someone seek out the Oracle's advice? Is the Oracle helpful in this story? If so, how is the Oracle helpful? Why is it a good idea to hear what the Oracle has to say?