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Tear Jerker / Percy Jackson and the Olympians

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    The Lightning Thief 
  • The book starts with two disclaimers by Percy before he starts relating his tale: one, he never wanted to be a halfblood, and two, if you suspect you are one, throw away the book, because being a halfblood is a messy business and you will probably get a gruesome, bloody and early death because of it.
  • Related to Gabe, Percy's homecoming from Yancy in The Lightning Thief (Gabe'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 Gabe 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 Gabe, having beer and all littered inside), his angry thoughts about how his mom would deserve a millionaire and not someone like Gabe, and then later the revelation of why she put up with him.
  • 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, 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, 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.
  • Thalia's fate. Here is a 12 year old girl who ran away from home, met two friends and survived despite huge odds against her, then after a guardian satyr finds them, they head for the camp. They are followed by literally every monster Hades can send after them including all three Furies. They make it to the hill on the edge of camp, but are wounded. Thalia stops there, turns around and tells the satry to take her two friends to safety while she keeps the monsters at bay. Having no choice, the satyr does as told, and Thalia dies sacrificing herself. Her father, Zeus, finally takes pity on her and turns her into a pine tree strengthening the boundary around the camp.
    • Heroes of Olympus adds an extra layer of tragedy to it with what happened before that: Jason. Thalia's brother and the only reason she stuck around, was basically sold by Zeus to Hera to calm her down at least a bit, and when Hera took him away, Thalia saw no reason to stay anymore.
  • Medusa's Breaking Speech or Hannibal Lecture, saying the gods don't give a damn about them and only use halfbloods to do their dirty work and as puppets, and that Percy and co. would be better off just letting themselves be turned into stone, as that hurts much less. Coupled with Annabeth's theorizing that Medusa wanted to tear Annabeth apart and make a statue of Percy for what their parents did to her (Poseidon by raping/seducing her and Athena by turning her into a monster for the sin of being raped/having sex in Athena's temple) paints Medusa as pretty broken.
    • Actually Annabeth says Medusa would want to kill her, but preserve Percy as a statue because "she still has a soft spot for his dad." That would imply the thing with Poseidon in Athena's temple was consensual, and Athena was furious that the pair desecrated her temple, and is the one Medusa is angry at. Still counts as Disproportionate Retribution, but not as horrible as the other version.
  • 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, and 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.
  • Annabeth's family situation. His father met Athena while working on his doctorate at Harvard, then one day got a golden crib with Baby Annabeth inside. He didn't plan a kid, it threw his plans totally out of whack, and she knows it. He married a normal woman, having two kids who are normal, which is described by Annabeth as him forgetting and turning his back on Athena. Then after a few years, monsters started sensing her. The family fought a lot and everyone was accusing towards Annabeth and saw her as the reason for the troubles... so she decided her father chose and she does not fit into his new life and ran away. She was seven when she did, meaning that the attacks probably started when she was six or even five. And if she hadn't met Thalia and Luke, she would have died, a fact she is more than aware of. And the kicker? A year or two later she did try to patch things up and go back for the school year. The monsters attacked again and the fights got bad enough she asked Chiron to take her back before the Christmas holidays.
  • Later in the same book, when Percy and Poseidon finally have some time together for the first time, Poseidon calls conceiving Percy a mistake and says he wishes Percy hadn't been born, not because he isn't proud of his son or hates him 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.
    • Percy at first even muses to himself Poseidon seems to be a bit unsure what to think of Percy, which is actually fine with the boy because he doesn't know what to really think of Poseidon either and Poseidon being all affectionate would feel all kinds of fake at this point.
  • When saying goodbye to Poseidon, Percy almost asks him if he wants to come with him to meet Sally. Almost- because he realizes how awkward it would be.
  • Luke's reasoning for siding against his father Hermes and with Kronos in his speech.
    • When Percy asks "Is this what Thalia would have wanted?", Luke yells at Percy to not talk about Thalia to him and that the gods let her die. And the kicker? As described below, it has been established only a god would have had the power to save Thalia, which means that Luke deciding that if the gods didn't help her then they abandoned her to her death and let her die is even more understandable than just grief and them being close.
    • Luke had a quest of his own once (which he got the flying shoes for), picked by his father: to snatch one of the golden apples of the Hesperides. He fulfilled it, though getting his noticeable scar (hence Chiron not allowing anyone on quest between Luke's adventure and Percy arriving), and when he came back, all he got was basically "Got the adventuring out of your system? Good. Now sit back down and stay in your place." To add insult to injury, he felt the quest was pointless anyways, after all, what glory is there in doing something someone else already did? The first to steal one of those apples was Herakles/Hercules himself after all.

     The Sea of Monsters 
  • It's angering as much as it is sad, but the lingering effects of Gabe's Domestic Abuse on Percy are clearly visible. Of note is a moment 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, which makes sense especially considering that it's Truth in Television. Abuse doesn't disappear just because the abuser did.
  • Tyson's apparent death.
  • Tyson's entire situation. He's a homeless kid, a monster son of Poseidon, who lives in a box. His first real friend (later found out to be his big brother) is embarrassed around him because people like to tease him about it behind Tyson's back. He's got scars on his body from monster attacks who were attracted to him, he's an easy target for bullies and is a Gentle Giant who has done nothing wrong. And yet the universe seems to like to use him for a punching bag. On top of that, Annabeth at first seemed to pick on him because of Fantastic Racism. Which makes the above-mentioned "death" Harsher in Hindsight.

     The Titan's Curse 
  • 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 fully killed her, 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?"
  • Thalia's temptation and her following decision. When she finds out whoever kills the poor innocent Ophiotaurus and sacrifices it will gain tremendous power, she actually considers it (which is stated to be a Fatal Flaw she inherited from her father, being weak to the temptation of power that is.) It takes Dionysus driving the mortals present insane to snap her out of it. Afterwards, at the obligatory debriefing report at Mount Olympus and the gods actually talking of voting whether to kill her and Percy, she says she will defy the prophecy that one of the children of the Great Three will be the ruin or salvation of the gods after turning 16... by becoming a Hunter of Artemis, essentially renouncing her father to his face and becoming immortal just days shy of 16, thus making the only choice she has available that ensures she and her friends stay alive at least for the moment (and which conveniently takes her out of the reach of Hera.)

     The Battle of the Labyrinth 
  • Daedalus dying to save everyone else, even if he was a jerk.
  • Nico being under the influence of Minos, with him promising that there was another way for Nico to get Bianca's soul back from the Underworld. Nico is so desperate and lonely to see his sister again he's willing to do anything.
    • What hurts him more was when Bianca's spirit was in constant contact with Percy, trying to warn him of her little brother's actions and confesses that the reason she didn't come into contact with Nico was in hopes that he would just give up on trying to revive her. Nico cries in frustration at this and says he would never have given up and is angry that she trusted Percy more. However, Bianca points out that Nico was actually angry with her and not Percy, something he tries to vehemently deny. She says that he was mad because she left him at camp for the Hunters and he was angry with his sister abandoning him.
  • Nico and Bianca having one final conversation before Bianca returns back to the Underworld, waiting to be reborn.
  • Pan's death. Percy, Annabeth, Grover, Tyson, Rachel and Nico all arrive at a beautiful underground paradise where extinct animals like mammoths and dodos thrive. 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.
  • One of Dionysus' twins dying. Pollux is unable to give Castor an eulogy without breaking down, and Percy notes Dionysus himself seems to suffer more of grief than being forcibly off the bottle.
  • 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.
  • Percy and Nico's relationship throughout this book. Percy blames himself for loosing Bianca in the Titan's Curse, and Nico claims to hate him because of it, saying that Percy had promised to keep her safe. So when Percy finds Nico, he's desperate to protect him in order to fulfill Bianca's last wish not only out of a sense of duty but also of guilt.
  • After Percy celebrates his birthday with his mom, he finds Nico outside his window on the fire-escape and notes that when Nico looked at his cake, he wondered whether or not Nico had a lot of birthday's as a kid.

     The Last Olympian 
  • 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.
    • Silena also describes that Luke charmed her. This is what destroys Annabeth's faith in Luke; whether or not the charm was magical or emotional, he used someone else to achieve his end goals. Just like he used her.
  • Nico offers to help Percy, but ends up making it look like he turned him over to Hades. Even after Nico rescues him and gets him to the River Styx to gain Achilles' curse, Percy is extremely bitter towards the younger demigod. When Percy tells Nico to stay in the Underworld in order to convince his father to join the fight, Nico could only hang his head sadly, knowing that he had broken Percy's trust by betraying him.
    Nico: You mean you don't trust me.
    • What makes it worse was that Nico didn't know his father wasn't going to honor their agreement. Before he was whisked away, Nico stood up in anger and yelled at his father, "You said you wouldn't hurt him!"
    • And given the revelation of House of Hades, Nico must have felt awful about his crush distrusting him.
  • Before Kronos possessed him, Luke came to Annabeth begging her to run away with him. Except the last time she trusted him, he left her to hold the sky, which nearly killed her. Understandably, Annabeth turned him down because she had no reason to trust Luke.
  • When Percy finds himself in his father's keep, he meets his immortal stepmother Amphitrite who treats him coldly, and he's reminded Poseidon is married, and Percy's very existence is an insult towards the goddess as he's the living proof her husband strayed. She warms up to him later, but still...
  • When Percy accused him of abandoning Luke and May and causing Luke to turn bitter, Hermes was livid enough to warn Percy never to speak to him in that manner again. Immediately afterwards though, Hermes broke down to such an extent that Percy felt sorry for him.
    Hermes: My son, my greatest poor May...
    • Look at it from a parental perspective. If your child does something horrifying or even evil out of resentment for you, you will feel nothing but pain, grief and regret. Now remember, Hermes is not only a god so he knows of prophecies, but also a god who can tell the future himself with his dice. He knew all along how it would turn out but he was powerless to stop it and save those he loved, because every attempt at stopping a prophecy only makes it worse.
  • And the reason for May and Luke's predicament, why May went mad after trying to become the Oracle? Because Hades lost his love, Maria di Angelo, mother of Nico and Bianca, when Zeus attempted to kill her and the two children after World War Two (the kids were not in the building the lightning hit). Right after Hades tried to warn her and wanted to keep the three of them safe, too... No wonder Hades cursed the Oracle in grief and anger. Keep in mind Zeus wanted Maria, Nico and Bianca gone despite the fact that the children were born way before the great prophecy was spoken and way before the three brothers adapted the no more children policy - which by the way Hades would be the only one to stick to.
  • After Annabeth gets injured protecting Percy's Achilles heel, he goes into a rage and cuts down anyone in his path. He then tearfully carries her back to the hotel in order for her to get patched up and refuses to leave her side.
  • 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."
  • 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 says something like, "Percy is right. We should not have left our children unclaimed. It proved a strategic mistake and almost brought about our downfall.
    • This may be 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.
      • 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.
  • Blink and you miss it but when Ares practically glomps Clarisse for her achievements during the battle, Clarisse first seems terrified he's going to hurt her instead, in a Call-Back to Book Two where his mere hologram makes her flinch.
     Percy Jackson's Greek Gods 
  • Rhea having her children be swallowed by Kronos one by one. She only sticks with her husband out of a combination of terror, helplessness (she has nowhere to run) and trying to stay sane holding out for a chance to save her children as she knows they are just as immortal as she and Kronos, so must be alive and unharmed in there. 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."
  • The story of Demeter and her mortal lover. Didn't know she had one? That might be because Zeus killed him.
    • Demeter was raped by two of her three brothers, and the third kidnapped her daughter. It is a miracle she "only" created scorching summer or freezing winter, depending on the version, when the latter happened...
  • The story of Persephone's kidnapping is this laced with heartwarming at the end (with everyone happy with the arrangements.) Particularly Hades' sorrow when it seems he has to give her back- the narration points out his eyes which looked like he just cried.
  • 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 Zeus 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.
  • Percy reminding us in narration of the fact that though the gods are mildly more interested in mankind as a whole than the titans were, we are still considered, in general, armed cockroaches and ants that learnt how to speak, and even though some of us get their attention and favour, that doesn't mean by a long stretch that they actually care as they would about friends/family or even as rulers should about their subjects. We may be remotely useful at times but that's it, and there's always more where we came from. Especially jarring because it's plain he even counts his own father in when speaking of gods like that, and because this is very similar to how he described the titans' reaction to Prometheus creating us in the first place: some ignored us, some were like the kid who likes to burn ants or trample bugs, some looked us like the class gerbil: cute and interesting at first but gets old way too soon.
  • 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 (thanks to Hera telling her she has only Zeus' word for his identity and he could call himself anyone, which is actually true), 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. This happens at the tender age of three. 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. Especially as Artemis says that, had Kallisto been upfront and honest about her ordeal, Artemis would have released her from the Hunt with full honors and would have seen to it that she has a comfortable life and even would have even struck her a good match. That's right, the virgin goddess who shuns the company of men offered to search for one suitable for one to marry one of her dearest Hunters.
  • The story of Ares' kidnapping, especially with how absolutely nobody cares to even launch a rescue mission. Yes he's brutish, violent, uncouth and a huge jerk, 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.
  • Bellerophon. This was not his real name, he got this because he accidentally killed a friend, then his parents send him to another king to ask for any task in penance (as was custom then), said king's wife tries to seduce him and frames him for trying to rape her, resulting in the king sending him to his own father-in-law (with a letter about how Bellerophon almost raped the queen and must be put to death), said father-in-law puts Bellerophon to several big tasks hoping Bellerophon will get killed (letter notwithstanding, Bellerophon was a guest, so the father-in-law didn't want to kill him), but he doesn't, what he does is get famous, prompting the father-in-law to fess up about the letter. After a while however, his fame fades, and, wanting to stay relevant, he rides Pegasus one last time, trying to get to Olympus. Zeus hurls a bolt at him, blowing him out of the sky.
  • Phaeton. His mother told him he is a son of Helios, but she had no proof, and when a son of Zeus was showing off his chariot, Phaeton went to Helios' palace and asked to be able to steer the Sun Chariot as Helios said he can ask whatever he wants. Helios has no choice but to comply with the terrible idea, and gives him many warnings, which Phaeton first heeds but then finds boring, resulting in him losing control of the chariot, the sun scorching part of the Earth, and, again, Zeus blowing him out of the sky with a bolt. At the end, Phaeton is even glad to be able to die because he is terrified at what is happening.
  • 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 comes 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.
  • Jason's love life is an utter catastrophe. He is pressured into taking in a creepy sorceress who loves him (though because of one of Eros' arrows, not of her own volition) but who is obviously way too dangerous, then when his home city asks him to pick someone else because she has outstayed her welcome by a long stretch and he does, she kills their children, Jason's new bride whom Jason actually likes, and the bride's father, because Jason promised her he would never leave her.
  • Though it is spiced with plenty of snarking at the outrageous amount of stuff he did and Percy does not let him off for killing Megara and their children, Hercules' chapter has heaps of this, especially the end where he is killed over what is really pretty much a misunderstanding as the girl he brought to the temple was intended to be a temple servant, not his new bride. Zeus, for once doing the right thing, announces Hercules has suffered more than enough and he WILL reward him, and even Hera, the kid's lifelong archnemesis, does not protest.
     The Musical 
  • Already the first song sets the tone as it starts with the campers, mostly Luke and Annabeth, informing you, that those gods you gave no mind to in stories are not only real but ignore you too, busy doing godly things and making godly plans that never involve you.
    • Despite his reasons for hiding the truth from Percy, it's upsetting to see Chiron blatantly lying to him and making him feel crazy for what can seem like no reason if you aren't familiar with the source material. Percy's reaction makes it abundantly clear that he figured Chiron thought better of him than any other adult had, and is crushed to find out that Chiron isn't going to help or listen to him at all.
      Chiron: Perhaps it's for the best. This wasn't the place for you. It was only a matter of time before-
      Percy: I got kicked out?
      Chiron: That's not what I was going to say.
      Percy: You think I'm trouble just like everyone else.
      Chiron: No! But, that is to say...I can only accept the best from you, Percy. Someday you'll understand why. I'm truly sorry.
      Percy: Yeah. Well...I'm sorry I let you down.
  • "The Minotaur" features Percy seemingly being Forced to Watch while the Minotaur murders his mother. Chris McCarrell's scream sounds a little too real. Possibly even worse in live performances, where he barely manages to whimper the line.
  • "Their Sign" twists the knife of Sally's "death" even harder. First, Percy realizes that it wasn't All Just a Dream, and promptly blames himself, because she was only trying to protect him. Then, when he demands to know who the mysterious dad who's caused all this trouble for him is, he's clearly trying to sound angry and tough to cover the fact that he's close to tears.
  • "Campfire Song" has funny moments (A jar of dirt from Demeter? Seriously?) but it's basically the kids lamenting how their parents ruling the universe ruins their lives.
    • Silena says Aphrodite keeps stealing her dates (apparently just because she can because why she would or even need to, being Aphrodite, is everybody's guess). It's also horrifying to realize that given Silena's age, her dates were probably minors.
    • Luke says everyone but him gets a message or call from Hermes. His faux-dramatic "oh no!" obviously comes from genuine unhappiness.
    • Annabeth says Athena goes to loads of places but never to camp
    • Percy says he doesn't even KNOW who his father is but once he shows his face Percy will have a few choice words to him. He also calls back to his self-deprecation in the opening of "Strong", admitting that he thinks his father hasn't come back because he didn't want the trouble.
    • And before that, when all the other campers get Percy to sing, he starts singing about how much he loves his mother, who for all intents and purposes was vaporized before his eyes not too long before. His small voice referring to her in the past tense is heart wrenching. And when they specify they meant his father, he tries to excuse himself that if he opens up that can of worms, there might be a hurricane.
    • The kicker is Chiron who admits his father is none other than Mr. I-Ate-My-Kids Kronos, to which even LUKE admits that is hard to top in suckiness.
    • The whole song becomes a lot more sad in retrospect. After it comes out that Luke is the traitor, he begs the other campers who noticed his fight with Percy to join him. Even worse than the idea that he faked his affection for the other half-bloods is the implied truth, that he desperately wants to protect them from exactly the kind of treatment this song talks about and can't fathom their refusal to leave the gods behind.
  • "Good Kid" is a big one since it perfectly shows the first book's version of Percy and how being labelled a bad kid and being given up on so many times has affected him.
    • Specifically, it offers a glimpse at the helplessness and sense of rejection he feels because of things he can't seem to control. "All you get are bad grades and a bum rap and a bad rep and a good smack and no friends and no hope and NO MOM! ... She's taken away."
    • His calling Sally "the only family that really mattered" reminds the listener that for years now, she's been the only person who really cared about him.
    • The mix of fear and anger in his voice as he growls, "a good smack" hits like a punch in the gut. And the way the song is soaked in Percy's trademark Self-Deprecation makes it sound like a part of him feels he deserves it.
    • The way his voice breaks slightly on the last repeat of the refrain is so honest and heartbreaking that it can choke you up even if the rest of the song managed not to.
    I swear I never stole anything...
    I never meant to hurt anyone.
    I swear, I swear that I'm a good kid, a good kid...
    Who's had a bad run...
  • "My Grand Plan" does for Annabeth what "Good Kid" does for Percy. The bridge in particular has her break from discussing her own ambitions to bitterly explain that her mom and her dad ignore her and her stepmother thinks she's a freak. Suddenly, her independent tough girl routine is less impressive and more depressing.
    You win at every single game; you want a quest, they tell you, "tough". If you don't go, you'll never know if you'll ever be good enough.
  • "The Tree On The Hill" details Thalia's death, and Grover's guilt over not being able to save her.
    • Especially as when Percy hears the story and Grover gets to Zeus personally showing up, Percy immediately asks "He saved her... right?" No he didn't. He turned her into a tree to protect the others, "The way I [Grover] couldn't do for her."
    • It's thoroughly established in the series that there was absolutely nothing anyone short of a god could have done to save Thalia, other than die beside her and make her sacrifice in vain. None of that stops Grover from running agonizing what-ifs in his head for years after her death:
    And maybe if I'd been a little bit braver...maybe if I'd stayed behind to fight...but "maybe" doesn't let me go back and save her... "Maybe" doesn't make it all right.
  • A minor one from the beginning of "The Last Day of Summer". Percy spots Luke walking past in the background and goes after him, looking and sounding genuinely upset when one of his only friends ignores him.
  • Luke's part in "The Last Day Of Summer" really hammers home how much he resents the gods, and how shitty his life is because of it. He sounds barely in control, only just keeping himself from screaming at Percy that he's done everything the gods asked of him for years and got less than nothing for it.
    • He's flat out told he's being used. His answer? "Good."
  • When the trio returns from their quest, Annabeth mentions to Clarisse that they met Ares and he "wasn't that tough". Clarisse sneers a bit, but as Annabeth starts to walk away, the words register, and Clarisse just stammers out a repeat of the fact that they met her dad before chasing after Annabeth asking if he mentioned her. She might be the camp bully, but Clarisse is just as much of a lost and lonely kid as the rest of them.
  • 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 him, 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.
    • And this is not even mentioning the poor sods in the Hermes Cabin/Cabin 11 who didn't get claimed- and as Cabin 11 is stuffed to such full capacity they have to make room for a sleeping bag on the floor, there must be loads of them. They look always sulky and unhappy, and Percy notes in the first book he knows the look from Yancy and other schools as a telltale sign of a child whose parents are too rich and important to even bother with the kid.
  • 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."
    The Movies 
  • Percy realising that the only reason his mother put up with Gabe for all those years was to protect him.
  • At the climactic scene in Olympus, once Percy and the gods have finished tying up loose ends, Athena and Annabeth lock eyes. Alexandria Daddario whispers "Hi, Mom" so bittersweetly, and the Goddess of Wisdom briefly looks heartbroken at how this is the only contact she can have with her daughter.
  • Percy and Poseidon having to part only a few minutes after they've properly met. Kevin McKidd conveys so much restrained sadness as he watches his son walk away.