Study Guide

The Lightning Thief Traditions and Customs

By Rick Riordan

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Traditions and Customs

The Lightning Thief is based on the idea that the Ancient Greek gods and goddesses are still alive and still ruling the earth, sea, and sky. Mount Olympus, the home of the gods, follows the heart of Western Civilization wherever it goes and is now located on the 600th floor of the Empire State Building in New York. Our narrator, Percy, discovers that he is very much a part of this tradition, and throughout the story he learns more and more about the customs of this tradition. At the heart of this story and of Percy's quest is a plot to destroy Greek gods and goddesses. Many are beginning to question the traditions and customs that have ruled for thousands of years. Some view tradition and customs as a means of manipulating a people, while others revere tradition and customs for the way they protect and celebrate humanity and civilization. We are left wondering whether change might be a good thing or an incredibly destructive thing.

Questions About Traditions and Customs

  1. How long have the Greek gods and goddesses been around? Will the Greek gods always be around?
  2. Who is in charge of the gods?
  3. How is the immortal world different from the mortal world? How do the gods interact with the mortal world?
  4. What do the gods have to do with Western Civilization? What is Western Civilization, exactly?
  5. Why is Zeus angry in The Lightning Thief?
  6. Who is Kronos? What does he have to do with the history, customs, and traditions of the Olympians?
  7. What rules do the gods and goddesses have? How do they expect demi-gods to behave? Does Percy ever have a hard time following any of these rules?
  8. Does Percy believe that the Olympians have a right to be in charge? Do you think they do? Why or why not?
  9. Why does Luke team up with Kronos?
  10. Have you read any Greek myths? How are Riordan's versions of these stories similar to or different from the other versions you read?

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