Navigating the ‘Sea of Monsters’

They may be demigods, but they’re far from invincible.

In the film adaptation of the second book in Rick Riordan’s bestselling Percy Jackson & the Olympians series, Percy, Annabeth, Grover, and Tyson set off to the Sea of Monsters, better known as the Bermuda Triangle, in order to find and retrieve the Golden Fleece which will restore the health of the mystical shield that protects the demigods’ home, Camp Half-Blood. With the safety of the creatures living at the Camp at stake and a bevy of monsters to fight, Sea of Monsters is one grand adventure. But, amidst the melee of mechanical fire-breathing bulls, Luke’s treachery, and Kronos’ frightening attempt to rise from his prison in Tartarus, the filmmakers packed some important lessons into the mythical storyline.

Here are four takeaways for successfully navigating your own monster-infested waters:

1. No arrogance allowed.

Clarisse La Rue (Leven Rambin) learns a lesson in humility. Here she brings back the Golden Fleece.
Clarisse La Rue (Leven Rambin) learns a lesson in humility. Here she brings back the Golden Fleece.

At the end of The Lightning Thief, Percy is Camp Half-Blood’s hero who has successfully retrieved Zeus’ lightning bolt and prevented a war between the gods of Olympus. But when Sea of Monsters opens, Camp Half-Blood has a strapping new hero who seems to want to take Percy’s place. That new hero is Clarisse La Rue who has “a serious humility deficiency.” She is arrogant, stubborn, and has a deep dislike of Percy. Even though the quest for the Golden Fleece is given to her, Percy & Co. go off in search of it on their own. And, it turns out that Percy and his friends have to rescue Clarisse after she gets swallowed by a monster. (Remind anybody of Jonah?)

It sounds like Clarisse could have used this advice from Proverbs: “Pride comes before destruction, and an arrogant spirit before a fall.”

Later, Percy demonstrates his own humility by allowing Clarisse to take the fleece back to Camp and get the credit for retrieving it.

2. Stay happy and helpful.

Tyson (Douglas Smith), Percy's half-brother, goes on the quest.
Tyson (Douglas Smith), Percy’s half-brother, goes on the quest.

Tyson is the newcomer who joins Percy & Co. on their quest. He’s Percy’s half-brother, but Percy nor Annabeth really take to him right away. Despite that fact, Tyson is constantly optimistic and helpful throughout the quest. He tries to win his half-brother over, and eventually makes a great sacrifice for him. Like the Bible says, ‘A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for times of trouble’ (Prov. 17:17).

People like Tyson are the kinds of folks you want to have around when you’re going on quests of your own. Whether it’s surviving high school, getting through your first semester at college, or finding a new job, the doom and gloom crowd will do nothing but dampen your spirits. Stay as far away from them as sailors would (or should) from sirens.

3. Keep your crew close.

Percy & Co. stick together in Sea of Monsters.
Percy & Co. stick together in Sea of Monsters.

In Sea of Monsters, lots of emphasis is placed on the importance of family. And when it comes to family issues, the demigods of Camp Half-Blood really have it bad. One parent is never around due to his or her status as an actual godparent. And their offspring usually have to leave their human parent behind in order to train to fight and stay safe.

It’s hard out there for a demigod.

Percy, seeking some sense of his own family, frequently goes down to the sea to talk to his father Poseidon. Mostly, the sea god remains silent, and Percy is tempted to believe that he really doesn’t care about his son. Percy’s nemesis, Luke, son of the god Hermes, feels pretty badly about his father. One of the reasons why Luke becomes a villain is because he is extremely angry that his father was never there for him when he needed him early in his life. Even though he lives for a time at Camp Half-Blood, Luke’s anger towards his dad and the other gods grows, and he eventually betrays them all and becomes loyal to the Titan Kronos.

In the film, Hermes acknowledges his mistakes and tells Percy, “If there’s anything I’ve learned in 3,000 years, it’s that you just don’t give up on family.”

Your family and friends won’t be perfect. They’ll have their quirks and weirdnesses. They’ll get on your nerves. But, whatever you do, don’t give up on them. Love them and keep them close.

4. Make others feel like they belong.

Hippocampuses don’t judge.

Even though Percy initially gives the cold shoulder to his half-brother Tyson, after Tyson demonstrates how much he cares for Percy, Percy is given a second chance at making things right between them – and he make the best of it. He also makes sure that Tyson is accepted at Camp Half-Blood. You see, Tyson is a cyclops — he only has one eye in the middle of his forehead, and he wears sunglasses to hide what he sees as a deformity. But, Percy encourages him not to hide who he is and helps him fit in.

Meeting and working with people who are different than we are is a part of life. When they act or look different than we do, we have to remember that somewhere out there, there is a place where we would be who they are – we would be the freak, the outcast, the one who gets looked down on or passed over. So, while you’re in your comfort zone, reach out and make someone else feel like they belong.

Navigating the Sea of Monsters is no easy task. But these four lessons can help us avoid the sharks (and getting shipwrecked!) and help us be successful on our quests in life.