Rick Riordan, the New York Times #1 bestselling author of the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series, is one of my favorite authors and I absolutely adore him. Personally, I think he is not only a great author but an excellent educator and all-around great person. Here’s why.
P.S. #7 contains spoilers for The House of Hades and The Blood of Olympus, so if you haven’t read those and plan to (or just want to avoid spoilers), go ahead and skip that.
1. Nobody—and I mean nobody—hates the Percy Jackson movies more than Rick Riordan does.
2. He has an abundant amount of fandom references in his books for us fangirls.
In The Blood of Olympus, he references Doctor Who. In Percy Jackson’s Greek Heroes (or Gods—I’m not 100% sure), he references Justin Bieber. In another part of Blood of Olympus, he makes a reference to The Hunger Games. All these allusions are just so amazing.
3. His books are for people of all ages.
The Percy Jackson books are typically for kids in elementary in middle school, but people of all ages can enjoy it. The Heroes of Olympus series, though typically also for middle school kids and young adults, anyone at any age can enjoy the books. Rick Riordan also has written adult books, like his Tres Navarre series. He also wrote the first book, The Maze of Bones, in The 39 Clues series.
4. He wrote two actual mythology books—kinda.
In Percy Jackson’s Greek Gods (released last year in August) and Percy Jackson’s Greek Heroes (which came out less than a week ago), Rick Riordan takes the voice of Percy Jackson himself to retell the original Greek myths of the gods and heroes in a voice everyone can easily understand. Plus, there’s some kickass art by John Rocco in the books, too. Like, seriously. Check them out:
5. A diversity in ethnic backgrounds is actually present amongst his characters.
I’ve seen some reviews of the Percy Jackson books that state they’re not too peachy of the predominantly white cast. Don’t worry, readers—Rick makes up for it in the second series.
Jason is white, yes, but Piper is half Cherokee and, contrary to her parental lineage, she isn’t all about glamour. In fact, she’d rather not deal with that, having tried to avoid it her entire life. Leo is Hispanic and scrawny—not your average hero. Frank is Chinese and Canadian and Roman and Greek and gets insulted by a horse for having a bit of a pudgy exterior. Hazel is African American. Nico (who we first see in The Titan’s Curse) is Italian. Originally, his skin was dark but it lost its color, ultimately becoming almost sickly pale. A minor character, Drew Tanaka is an Asian daughter of Aphrodite. Mike Kahale from Camp Jupiter is Hawaiian and built like a football player.
In the Kane Chronicles, Riordan’s Egyptian mythology series, Carter and Sadie Kane are mixed—half-black, half-white. The two look nothing alike, though, as Sadie takes after her mother—sometimes mistaken for white. I can’t remember much else, as it’s been a while since I read the books, but I can tell you that they’re great books for sure.
6. Rick used to be a teacher.
Yes, that’s right. Rick Riordan taught middle school students in New Braunfels, Texas then at Presidio Hill School in San Francisco and then middle school again at Saint Mary’s Hall. Based on Rick’s stories, his classes were pretty fun. He was that one teacher who was just enthusiastic enough to make the class interesting and quite possibly almost too enthusiastic—to the point where he might just be completely and utterly strange. Most of his students enjoyed having him, though not everyone was a fan of his. I, for one, would’ve loved to be his teacher.
7. He has an LGBT character! **SPOILERS**
In this book, it is revealed that Nico had developed a crush on Percy, despite everyone’s belief that he had a crush on Annabeth. He spent years denying who he was, keeping himself hidden, pushing away anyone who got close, et cetera—all due to the fear of rejection and knowing he was different. He felt more alone than most demigods did, because he felt in his heart that he would never fit in because of who he was.
This very problem exists, which is why I love that it’s brought up in the books. People in the LGBT+ community often feel alone or misunderstood growing up if not surrounded by a fully-supportive family. I empathize with Nico’s character so much because of this. And so often, there is little representation of LGBT+ characters in novels—and if they’re present in books, it’s usually in YA Fiction or strictly Adult Fiction. Rarely does a children’s book (which is what the Percy Jackson and Heroes of Olympus books primarily are: children’s books) feature an LGBT+ character with a key role in the plot.
Rick also talks about this in his FAQ page on his website:
“As a middle school teacher, it was critical to me that all my students saw my classroom as a safe, supportive environment where they could be honored for who they were and express themselves without fear.“
“It’s essential to me that young readers find a variety of relatable, positive role models in my books. [. . .] No child should be shamed or shunned for being different.“
“. . . it would have been a disservice to his [Nico’s] character, the plot of the books, and all my readers simply to sweep the issue under the rug and pretend it didn’t exist. Turning a blind eye to children’s needs is never an acceptable answer.“
“The idea that we should treat sexual orientation itself as an adults-only topic, however, is absurd. Non-heterosexual children exist. To pretend they do not, to fail to recognize that they have needs for support and validation like any child, would be bad teaching, bad writing, and bad citizenship.“
Can we please give this man a round of applause?
8. Rick Riordan is just about the sassiest person in the whole universe.
Seriously, just look at his Twitter:
Emotional Support Kangaroo will be the name of my next band.
— Rick Riordan (@camphalfblood) February 4, 2015
.@Skyesis Told my roommate the sink water was coming from the Phlegethon. She didn’t get the ref & burned her hand /Myths = useful irl.
— Rick Riordan (@camphalfblood) January 22, 2015
— Rick Riordan (@camphalfblood) December 13, 2014
9. The Percy Jackson series started out as a bedtime story for his son.
True story. His eldest son, Haley, asked Rick to tell him stories and he did using Greek myths. When he ran out of myths, Haley asked for something new with original characters. And thus, Percy Jackson was born.
Tons of characters from the series were even based off of and/or inspired by people Rick knew in real life—like Mrs. Dodds, Nancy Bobofit, and Luke Castellan.
10. He used to be in a band.
Back when he was in college, Rick played in a folk rock band. We can all agree on one thing: anyone who used to be in a band is pretty fucking cool. As for Rick Riordan?
. . .
Seriously, this guy is awesome. Not only is he a great writer, but he used to be in a band, was a teacher, and is LGBT-friendly. Honestly, how can you not love this guy?
Images: Reaction gifs are from reactiongifs.com while all other image sources are listed below the image. Art from Percy Jackson’s Greek Gods are from Rick Riordan Wikia.
All the information stated here has either been retrieved from Rick Riordan’s website, one of his interviews or his books themselves.
Also, I’m super duper sorry for not posting something in ages. I just started school and it’s kind of been a pain in the podex. Luckily, I’ll be able to start up frequent posts. I’ll try to post at least once or twice a week! 🙂