Tear Jerker / Percy Jackson and the Olympians

  • Tyson appearing to die in The Sea of Monsters.
  • It's angering as much as it is sad, but the lingering effects of Gabe's Domestic Abuse on Percy gave this troper pause. Of note is a moment in the second book when he spies on Clarisse communicating with Ares. His holographic image raises a hand to Clarisse, doesn't even hit her, and Percy flinches back. When Annabeth finds him, she says he looks like he's seen a ghost, and the moment marks when Percy and Clarisse's relationship begins the change from schoolyard enemies to grudging allies. Especially considering that it's Truth in Television. Abuse doesn't disappear just because the abuser did.
    • Related to Gaby, Percy's homecoming from Yancy in The Lightning Thief (Gaby's first words being demanding money from Percy and pointing out he has to have some if he came with a taxi, and ending with Gaby yelling after Percy that his report card arrived and he should watch his mouth, before Percy goes into his room, which was completely trashed by Gaby, having beer and all littered inside), his angry thoughts about how his mom would deserve a millionaire not someone like Gaby, and then later the revelation of why she put up with him.
  • Annabeth falling and Bianca di Angelo dying, especially when we find out she died to get a toy to give to her little brother, who she had left behind when she joined the Hunters of Artemis
  • Zoe Nightshade's Heroic Sacrifice, which is made twice as tragic by the fact that it was unnecessary. She died throwing herself in front of Atlas to save Artemis, who she thought was injured too badly to keep fighting. It turns out that Artemis was faking her injury to trick Atlas.
    • Also, Artemis is an immortal goddess; Atlas couldn't have killed her anyway, but in that moment, to Zoe, it just didn't matter. Her goddess, her best friend, was in danger.
  • "Let the world honor you, my Huntress. Live forever in the stars."
  • "Where's my sister?"
  • The entire chapter with Calypso, really. The poor girl just seems so lonely. It makes it worse that Percy clearly returns her feelings and badly wants to stay. Her chaste kiss on the forehead in lieu of a goodbye brings home the tears every time.
    • A blink-or-you'll-miss-it moment earlier in the chapter: Percy learns how much damage his desperate measures caused, helping free Typhon and hurting innocent mortal bystanders, and for the first time, seriously considers staying on Ogygia. He outright thinks maybe the world would be better off without him.
  • Daedalus dying to save everyone else, even if he was a jerk in Battle of the Labyrinth.
  • Beckendorf dying (you know it's going to happen when he pulls out the photo, but that only makes it worse) and then his girlfriend, who had been completely devastated by his death, dying while posing as her best friend, especially when she reveals that she was the spy the whole time.
  • Annabeth, who had finally given up on Luke, gave him a knife and had him stab himself to save the world. Luke gets a few more moments of life, then dies, and the villain throughout the whole thing is a hero in the end and his insane mother is waiting for him to come home and... dear God... in The Last Olympian. And that's just the tip of the iceberg, really. And the flashbacks. Even Percy, who has hated and resented Luke for years, seems shaken and upset, and makes sure Luke is honored with the traditional Greek funeral rites.
    Percy: "We need a shroud... a shroud for a child of Hermes."
  • And Ethan Nakamura's death. He was a Jerkass, true, but in the end, he made a Heel–Face Turn and joined Percy's side by stabbing Kronos in an attempt to kill him. It didn't work, but it bought them a little time. Kronos then stomps his foot so hard a giant crevice opens up in Mount Olympus right under Ethan. Since Olympus is in a different plane than Earth, Ethan is falling forever. He likely starves to death or died of something along those lines, because after all, there is no ground for him to land on.
    "If they just- had... thrones..."
  • Kronos and the Titans were jerks, but the gods were just as bad. A Tearjerker in sheer fury happens when Athena said something like, "Percy is right. We should not have left our children unclaimed. It proved a strategic mistake and almost brought about our downfall. " Really? Really Athena? Do you actually find it okay to have a random kid and not take the time to get to know and love them? Do you think about how this would affect the kid, or is all you think about how the little demigod child can be used to your advantage?? Argh!!! *Sob*
    • I think this might be a YMMV because 1) Athena is the goddess of battle strategy, 2) Athena is literally a child born from logic, she is the embodiment of logic, so she wouldn't be all emotional about this, and 3) the gods in general are immortal, and probably have seen thousands of their children born and dead. This is either a coping mechanism or just purely not caring, because honestly, if a person cared for every single one of their children, knowing they'd outlive them, they'd go mad.
      • While definitely a YMMV calling Athena a being of logic is stretching it. She was born of Zeus' head, but that's about it. A logical being wouldn't create a monster, spiders, and betray a patron city. But her stating it was a strategic mistake wasn't wrong, cold and a little sad, but not wrong.
  • Related to the above, the situation of most of the demigods. It's easy to forget when seeing the worst members of cabin Ares or the worst of cabin Aphrodite, but they have all only one parent in their lives (if that- there could be demigods around whose mortal parent died either early on or a bit later), have troubles fitting in thanks to their ADHD and dyslexia (even bookworm Annabeth is dyslexic and has to carry books in Ancient Greek to be able to read them without frustration), are implied to have each gone through several schools (when Percy snaps at Annabeth in early book one that she knows nothing about her, this is one of the first things she brings up), may or may not be threatened by monsters on a somewhat regular basis in the outside world depending on their parent, and are painfully aware of the odds stacked against them, especially since at the only place they can be free, happy and among comrades who understand them, they all get a pearl for their necklace each year to celebrate they survived one more year.
  • Bianca's death, which involved just getting a certain collectible which was missing in her brother's collection, Silena's death and reveal as The Mole, Luke's sacrifice in The Last Olympian, and May Castellan's fate. Percy wonders at the end of the book about her, saying that she will be baking cookies for her son who would never come home. These are just a few examples.
  • In the film, when Percy and Annabeth arrive at Olympus. Annabeth sees Athena and meekly says "hi, mom" - looking like she's trying not to cry.
  • Related-one of the only times Percy openly cries is in the beginning of The Lightning Thief, after Sally is taken. The description of the aftermath-Percy hauling Grover up Half-Blood Hill, sobbing and calling for his mother, is heartbreaking. It really drives it home that despite the massive conflict he's pulled into, Percy is just a lost boy who wanted his mother back.
    • A bit later, after getting the talk about gods and all, as they are on the tour of the camp, Percy asks Chiron whether, if the gods are real, the underworld is real too. When he gets a yes for an answer, he starts to think of ways he could go there and bring his mother back and in fact this is the only/main reason why he accepts the quest for fetching the master bolt from the Underworld.
  • Earlier from The Lightning Thief, when they are at the beach in Montauk (the place where Sally and Poseidon met and spent a month together), Percy asks his mom what his dad was like. She sadly replies he had a big heart, was tall, strong but also kind, that Percy has his black hair and green eyes, and that she wishes he could see Percy now because he would be so proud. To this, Percy wonders to himself what on Earth would there be for his father to be proud of in him, an ADHD and dyslexic kid who keeps on getting into trouble and has been kicked out of six schools in six years.
  • The Lightning Thief, after killing Medusa and shipping her head to Olympus, Grover and Percy have a talk. Grover says he might not be as brave as Percy or as smart as Annabeth but as a guardian satyr, he is good at reading feelings, and says that Percy does care about what his father thinks of him, this is why he came on this quest and shipped the head to the gods, so that Poseidon will have no choice but notice what he did. Percy angrily denies it.
    • Later in the same book, when Percy and Poseidon finally have some time together for the first time, Poseidon says he wishes Percy hadn't been born, not because he feels it was a mistake but because Percy being his son makes him a demigod hero... and demigod heroes are not famous for getting happy endings. Which is actually the reason why Percy's mom picked his name: Perseus was one of the very few who did end up quite happy.
  • Any time Poseidon and Sally talk about each other. He calls her a queen amongst mortals and it's clear he loved her dearly, and she says he actually offered her her own palace underseas and "thought he could solve all my problems with a flick of his hand."
  • Pan's death in the Battle of the Labyrinth is probably one of the few Green Aesops that can make you cry. Percy, Annabeth, Grover, Tyson, Rachel and Nico all arrive at a beautiful underground paradise where extinct animals like mammoths and dodos. Pan isn't dead yet, as most believe, but he's close to dying, because the thing he stands for- the Wilderness of Earth- is almost entirely gone. He fades away into nothingness in front of all of them, along with all the extinct animals, and there's nothing any of them can do.

     Percy Jackson's Greek Gods 
  • Rhea having her children be swallowed by Kronos one by one. By the time she is pregnant with Zeus she is just all numb to it, and Percy theorizes that he gave her last child that name not to mean 'sky' or 'shining', but simply 'living' note , because "at this point, she had simple hopes for the kid: keeping him alive and away from enemy stomachs."
    • Made even worse when Hestia's chapter states that she can remember being swallowed.
  • The story of Demeter and her mortal lover. Didn't know she had one? That might be because Zeus killed him.
  • The story of Persephone's kidnapping is this laced with heartwarming at the end (with everyone happy with the arrangements.)
  • The sheer Foregone Conclusion seeping from the early Hera chapter as it describes how all Hera wanted was a good and faithful husband and she knew he was a no good cheating bastard who would move on to other women as soon as she gave in to him. Also the narration pointing out that Zeus could be actually a funny and attentive guy when he wanted to be, and that he and Hera were actually kinda happy... for all of 300 years, before Zeus got right back to being the incurable Casanova who chased anyone he happened to set his eyes upon. (Which for immortals isn't probably that long.) And for a little fridge, remember how Zeus often changes shape to court a woman? Yeah that's how he won over Hera too.
  • Hades' sorrow when it seems he has to give Persephone back to Demeter.
  • Athena's tears when she accidentally killed her best friend Pallas whom Zeus startled with Aegis because he thought Athena was actually in danger when she and Pallas were only sparring as training.
    • Arachne's story. She really was good, but very impoverished, suffered a lot (leading her to adopt a "the gods never did anything for me" attitude) and weaving was the way she found her standing in the world. She thought the people loved her yet when Athena ridiculed her they turned on her.
  • Hephaestus. He was thrown off of the Olympus for being less than perfect-looking, and when he came back and took revenge on Hera it did not satisfy him. Dionysus (who had his own HUGE reasons to hate her, see below) convinced him to forgive and let her go, saying (in a foreshadowing to his own chapter) "if you bottle it up... well... eventually even the finest wine turns to vinegar". Then they mock him with an arranged marriage to Aphrodite, who cheats on him all the time. When he takes pity on Hera and frees her from her punishment after the coup on Zeus, Hera is grateful but Zeus throws him off of Olympus for the second time.
  • Dionysus' story is Trauma Conga Line incarnate. It starts with his mother Semele being burnt to death by exposure-to-a-god's-divine-form while being pregnant with him, then after he's born (for the second time) Zeus takes him to relatives of his mother to raise. They treat her like a girl in public to throw off Hera's scent but it only buys them a few years: Hera finds them and drives them so insane they kill their own son and after they realize what they've done, they kill themselves while Dionysus, turned into a goat at the last minute by Zeus to save him, can only watch and he learns insanity can be a weapon. Then he is sent off to Mount Nysa (hence his name, which is a shortening of "The son of the god Zeus living on Mount Nysa") to live with nymphs and satyrs, and makes friends, until one of them dies trying to get Dionysus a strange new plant. Dionysus cries and yells at the plant to bear fruit in repentance right now and thus the first grapes are born. During a visit to the sea, he cries in the arms of Thetys (his great-aunt), a water-titan, complaining how everyone he gets close to meets a messy end. As he starts to carve out a fame and following for himself, he gets more and more callous (the narration bitterly pointing out about his use of insanity tricks that he learnt from the best), turning into the Jerkass Woobie we meet at Camp Half-blood and having only a handful of bright spots, such as falling in love with Ariadne and making her and in some versions his mother Semele into goddesses.
  • Apollo and Daphne. He was hopelessly in love with her thanks to an arrow of Eros, but she hated him and asked to be turned into a tree.
    • Marsyas. He was a satyr who was really good at music but happened to incur the wrath of Apollo.
  • Artemis having to kick Kallisto out of he Hunters, because Kallisto kept her pregnancy a secret after being raped by Zeus as Kallisto was afraid she would be the one to be blamed.
    • The story of Ares' kidnapping, especially with how absolutely nobody cares to even launch a rescue mission. Yes he's brutish, yes it's supposed to be funny because of how easily he got caught as the god of war, but imagine losing to two enemies and your family not only doesn't try to help you, but you are dragged off and held hostage for months with no sign of any assistance coming from them. He only ever got out because Artemis killed the giants when one of them wanted her to marry him and because the mother of the giants took pity on Ares.

     Percy Jackson's Greek Heroes 
  • Percy's warning in the introduction about how tragic most heroes' stories are: "If you ever think your life couldn't suck more, just read a few of these stories to realize that these guys and gals had it worse. If that doesn't cheer you up, I don't know what will."
  • Perseus finds Medusa, he's armed with special weapons, she's asleep... and as he sees, she's obviously pregnant (with Pegasus and Chrysaor.)
    • When he finds the cave, he sees the statues... then tries to calm himself with the fact that he had help from two gods, Hermes and Athena, only for doubt to set in: how can he know the other guys didn't and Perseus isn't just the latest on the list of candidates?
  • Eros and Psyche. Especially Eros talking of how much he loves her, how he says Psyche realizing who he is would shatter their relationship, and Percy understandingly deciding her fatal flaw must have been insecurity. At the end even ZEUS takes pity on the girl and agrees to turn her into a goddess. And no wonder- the girl was so beautiful people started to worship her even though she tried to stop them, the Oracle said she will marry a monster even the gods fear, her parents left her at a spire of rock to die under orders of the Oracle, and when she finds happiness with her invisible husband, her sisters stoke her doubt and get her to look at his face while he is sleeping, breaking Eros' one rule. Eros leaves (with a burn mark caused by lamp oil), she tries to reunite with him and two goddesses whose shrine she cleaned say she has to face Aphrodite. So she does, but Aphrodite puts her through almost literal hell with beating and torturing her then sending her on not three but four quests. The last gets her almost killed as she opens a box because she thinks it has a beauty cream in it and she doesn't want Eros to see her so tired and ugly.
  • Percy has to take a moment to prepare himself before being able to start the chapter on Daedalus because it still hits too close to home, and at the end of Daedalus' chapter, he says Mrs. O'Leary is still missing her old master.
  • Daedalus' chapter is full of these and Nightmare Fuel. First Daedalus was doing great until a young relative of his, Perdix, came along, who proved to be so smart as to make Daedalus jealous, so Daedalus pushed him off of the Acropolis, regretting it immediately. "Some versions say Athena took pity on the boy and turned him into a partridge, hence why perdix means partridge in Greek. (...) But if that is true, how do we explain the bloody mess Perdix' body made landing at the bottom of Acropolis Hill? Daedalus saw it." He gets banished for it because he is guilty enough to try bury him and he is caught in the act, and goes to Crete, where he gets swept up in the Pasiphae-Minos-Minotaur history (being one of the only people to ever use the Minotaur's real name Asterion, no less), being locked in his own labyrinth after Theseus kills the Minotaur and elopes with Ariadne. His son, Icarus, helps him with his escape plan despite not being a genius, but dies on the way out.
  • Cyrene, at the end of her life, goes back to her old country, finding nobody who knows her and feeling dejected. She runs across Ares who taunts her that she was born a killer and she cannot change herself, she fights him but breaks down crying and Ares is actually gentle to her. After this short fling, when she goes back to the town bearing her name, Apollo, her former lover awaits her, and though he knows what she did, he isn't mad at her. He offers her a choice, and turns her into a naiad.
  • Theseus' slippage from honourable hero who had sympathy to huge douchebag. To wit, he volunteered to go to Knossos with the other kids chosen as sacrifices just a month after getting to his father, and even has sympathy for the Minotaur, calling him by his real name before killing him.
  • Orpheus and Eurydice. The unappreciated boy finds his calling in music, finds an understanding girl, gets married, and they live together for about a month before Eurydice dies. He tries to die as well but can't, so he goes to get her back. Hades agrees to send her spirit after him but he cannot turn to look at her until they get to the surface, or as Hades says, "the strength of your love must be sufficient". But without his music, Orpheus feels he is a nobody, he was never called strong, and doubt starts to set in, so he turns back at the last minute when he can't get an answer after asking if Eurydice is behind him. She collapses and turns to ashes in his arms. He tries to kill himself again but cannot die, until a group of maenads (Dionysus' violent nymph followers and bodyguards) rip him apart for barely even looking at them.