There are a lot of people who accuse Rick Riordan of ripping Harry Potter in his series Percy Jackson and the Olympians. After all, the two stories have a lot of similarities. But they also have some interesting differences.
It should be noted that Rick Riordan’s other series – Heroes of Olympus, Kane Chronicles, and Magnus Chase and the Asgardians – are not being counted.
POV and Writing Style
The biggest difference to me is the writing style and POV (Point Of View). Harry Potter is written in third-person and in a very narrative style – even though it is obviously Harry’s point of view, it has an objective and, well, third-person feel to it. Percy Jackson and the Olympians, on the other hand, is first-person and the writing style has a lot more character to it. It feels a lot more like Percy’s own thoughts than another narrative writing it.
In Harry Potter, each book takes place in the same amount of time: it starts in the summer, and then through the following school year.The final battle takes place at the end of the school year. It’s clockwork.
In Percy Jackson and the Olympians, the books have a more varied timeline. The first two books, The Lightning Thief and The Sea of Monsters, as well as the fourth book, The Battle of the Labyrinth, all take place during the summer during Camp Half-Blood’s summer camp (similar to a year at Hogwarts, but shorter). However, The Titan’s Curse takes place during the winter, and most, if not all, of The Last Olympian takes place in August, after Camp Half-Blood’s summer campers usually leave.
This also means that the stories in Percy Jackson and the Olympians take place in less time (usually weeks) than the stories in Harry Potter, which take place over the course of a year.
Deadlines and Directness
In Percy Jackson and the Olympians, the quests are very direct. The problem or perceived problem is stated, a group of demigods are given permission to fix said problem, and Percy is either in that group or sneaks out to fix problem. The exception is The Last Olympian, which instead focused on the war. All of the books except The Battle of the Labyrinth have a usually absurd deadline as well, speeding up the process a bit.
On the other hand, Harry has to figure most things out on his own. He does this by eavesdropping, being overly suspicious, and nosiness. None of the plots have a deadline, either, which is a major difference in structure from Percy Jackson and the Olympians.
In Harry Potter, the villains were written to be despicable. Voldemort’s main motivation is racism and revenge on his father. Many of the Death Eaters are caught up in traditionalism. And then there’s Umbridge, who is the definition of hated.
Rick Riordan takes a different approach. While many of the mythological villains are just horrible, the humans are a different story. Yes, the main protagonist Luke is bitter and has daddy issues, but a lot of his followers are very likable. Many have very good reasons for being on the “evil” side of this story – being ignored, thrown aside, or just tired of the way things were. This highly contrasts to the despicable traditionalist Death Eaters.
There are many other differences in the two series, but these are the four stylistic ones that I thought made the two stand out from each other.
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