The Lightning Thief
by Rick Riordan
Versions of Reality Quotes in The Lightning Thief
How we cite our quotes: Citations follow this format: (Chapter.Paragraph)
During third grade, a man in a black trench coat had stalked me on the playground. When the teachers threatened to call the police, he went away growling, but no one believed me when I told them that under his broad-brimmed hat, the man only had one eye, right in the middle of his head.
Before that -- a really early memory. I was in preschool, and a teacher accidentally put me down for a nap in a cot that a snake had slithered into. My mom screamed when she came to pick me up and found me playing with a limp, scaly rope I'd somehow managed to strangle to death with my meaty toddler hands. (3.112-113)
Imagine being a kid who sees unordinary things all the time, but never having people believe you when you tell them what you've seen. That's enough to make a person good and loopy, and it's also enough to make a person really lonely. Sometimes seeing things a different way means being excluded from a group or community that you belong to.
That night I had a vivid dream.
It was storming on the beach, and two beautiful animals, a white horse and golden eagle, were trying to kill each other at the edge of the surf. The eagle swooped down and slashed the horse's muzzle with its huge talons. The horse reared up and kicked at the eagle's wings. As they fought, the ground rumbled, and a monstrous voice chuckled somewhere beneath the earth, goading the animals to fight harder. (3.124)
Dreams are super-important in The Lightning Thief. Here, Percy dreams of Poseidon's symbol (the horse) and Zeus's symbol (the eagle) fighting, helping him to understand what exactly is going on over on Mount Olympus. While the dream is just a dream, and the horse and eagle are just symbols, we know that they are telling Percy something important about things going on right now on Mount Olympus. The dream world seems to be another version of reality in this novel.
I was too shocked to register that he'd just cursed in Ancient Greek, and I'd understood him perfectly. I was too shocked to wonder how Grover had gotten here by himself in the middle of the night. Because Grover didn't have his pants on—and where his legs should be…where his legs should be… (3.138)
Sometimes Percy is too distracted by things (scary things) going on around him to realize that he already exists in another version of reality. He doesn't notice things like the fact that he can understand Ancient Greek at first. The poor guy has been labeled as "troubled" all his life for noticing abnormal events and occurrences, and he has to learn how to actively look for and seek out these events and occurrences really quickly.