As a Moments subpage, all spoilers are unmarked as per policy. You Have Been Warned.
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The Lost Hero
- Jason is looking through Annabeth's collection of pictures. He asks who the blonde haired boy with her and Thalia is:
- Heck, Leo's whole childhood. Accidentally burning his mother alive and then being kicked out by his own family.
- Worse still, it might look like it wasn't an accident, but Gaea influencing his not-yet-fully-controlled powers...
- Thalia talking about what happened after Jason was taken away.
- To wit, Zeus made the capital mistake of cheating on Hera with the same woman twice, the second time being in his Roman form. To save his behind, he gave the kid the name Jason because Hera liked the original Jason, leader of the Argonauts, and promised her his life. Repeat, Zeus sold his own son and threw him under the bus to switch Hera from erupting-in-rage to merely simmering in anger. Then when the boy was two, Hera actually came and took the kid away, not telling anyone where she is taking him. Thalia describes having let her baby brother leave her sight for two minutes before it happened and running around screaming his name searching for him while Beryl, their mother, was nearly catatonic. This being the last straw and Jason being the only reason she stayed behind at that point anyway, Thalia left her mother (and later got herself killed trying to protect her friends on the border of the camp) who she deemed equally guilty of selling Jason, not even mentioning to anyone she has a brother because it was too painful before she got to finally meet him.
- Chiron and his promise: Never to tell anybody about the other camp of Demigods, because last time they met each other, the American Civil War happened. Just the fact that he knows, and no one else can, makes it harder.
- The degree of manipulation with the memories of everyone especially Jason. Good intentions but still.
The Son of Neptune
- Percy calls home for the first time in months and gets the answering machine. He's so visibly upset that both Frank and Hazel are concerned until a monster attacking their train interrupts.
- The scene where he calls Juno out for taking all those months from his life, and when he sees his father's shrine also counts. Contrary to the Greeks, the Romans were terrified of the sea. Percy is shaken by the knowledge that not only will he be unpopular here, the campers are scared of him. Thankfully, he bounces back well, saying he has a feeling it isn't the first time he's been an underdog. Still, the reminder of Percy's chronic loneliness isn't nice.
- The later part of Hazel's childhood, particularly her death. Suffering intense bullying due to her race and dyslexia, being held at a distance by her mother, and then discovering that said mother made a Deal with the Devil and was about to let a very powerful Sealed Evil in a Can out. So she does what any frightened kid would do, and sacrifices herself to bury them all under enough rock that it took Gaea another 70-odd years to rise again. Her descriptions of the oil filling up her throat....*shudder*
- Similarly, Gaea drowning Hazel and Percy in muskeg straddles the line between this and Nightmare Fuel. She traps Hazel in a vision of a perfect, sunny day in New Orleans with her mother-whose eyes are blank and mouth is gaping, because Gaea is speaking through her. She tells Hazel that she can make it so she can live out all the years she missed right here, in the last moments before she dies. Grow up, marry her childhood sweetheart, die peacefully in her sleep instead of going back to the arduous life of a demigod. She refuses and screams in the face of a goddess once she reminds Hazel that Percy is dying below her, and letting him die will mean throwing a major player right into the enemy's hands(not to mention losing a newfound friend who compared her to family just a few chapters earlier).
- While we don't see it, Percy's half of the equation was equally as awful. Afterwards, when he describes it to Hazel, he's either on the verge of tears or outright crying just remembering. The consequences stretch through the next book, where he has all the major symptoms of PTSD regarding it, to the point of having a hard time even being around large amounts of water, and fears that if he lets it get too bad, his powers might slip out of his control, or outright disappear. He mentions the fact that Jason can fly and Thalia can't, and she has a severe phobia of heights-so he could actually be right. It's a gutwrenchingly realistic portrayal of somebody taking something that was always a source of identity and strength for him and twisting it to hurt him. And we don't know if Gaea showed him things while he was down there, or spoke to him, or if she just let him hang there, slowly suffocating and viscerally aware of his own inability to do anything about it.
- Ella. Poor, poor Ella.
- Mars visits the deathbed of Frank's grandmother and has a talk with him, admitting that Frank wishing someone else was his father is normal, because "nobody welcomes war, not if you're sane." Mind you, this is Mars talking, respected god of the Romans and father of the founder of their city. Imagine Ares, the butt of many a joke in the Greek pantheon and admittedly The Unfavorite of Zeus and The Friend Nobody Likes to everyone else.
The Mark of Athena
- Echo staying behind to try and save Narcissus.
- "We're staying together. You're not getting away from me. Never again."
"Tell her hello for me."
"Hello, Hazel Levesque."
- Sammy's depressing conclusion that Hazel's gift diamond to him was cursed after all: he never saw her again, did he? Poor Hazel is on the verge to break down sobbing while she tries to explain she wanted to come back, she wanted it so much but Sammy just can't hear her...
- Nicos eyes looked like shattered glass. Percy wondered sadly if something inside him had broken permanently.
- Annabeth's story about the spiders in her bedroom when she was a child. Also Nightmare Fuel.
- Following the declaration of war between the Romans and the Greeks, the gods all go a bit wonky due to the schism. While most of them are hit very hard by this, Athena takes the cake. When Annabeth sees her, she resembles a slightly off homeless woman and (at least temporarily) disowns Annabeth because of her daughter's insistence that peace can be made between the Greeks and Romans.
- Annabeth falling into Tartarus, and Percy following because he's promised that he's absolutely not going to lose her again.
- What the Romans did to Athena was also pretty horrible.
- On the way towards the Mediterranean, the group finds out that the fabled Pillars of Hercules at Gibraltar are indeed real, manifesting as an island with Hercules himself waiting there. Turns out he is quite a Jerkass Woobie: He is at first understanding and says he will only give them a very easy task because he knows what these quests are like. He's been stuck on that island for a good while: Back after his mortal essence burned away at the pyre, he was asked what he wanted as reward. He said he wanted to guard the gates of Olympus. His wish got him stranded on an island and unable to leave as everyone he knew, including his father, left him behind as they left the Mediterranean. He's broken by pressure from the massive expectations everyone has of him, and says that Dionysus, another demigod-turned-god (also his half-brother and fellow posterchild for Hera's hatred of Zeus' children), is the only one that understands him. Then he figures out that Hera brought their group together, and all civility goes away, because he doesn't do what she says. Ever. So he sends Jason and Piper to take the other horn of Achelous, one of Deianeira's suitors who lost her to Heracles. They're trapped on the island with only each other for company.
- After being rejuvenated, the nymph Hagno happily talks about her projects for the future. When Percy gently tries to warn her the world has changed, she said Pan would never have let humans truly destroy nature - oh, and she would like to see the faun god again. Piper notes that Percy is about to say something but ultimately keeps quiet - probably remembering how Pan died in front of him because he was so old and tired to see his beloved nature ruined by uncaring mortals.
The House of Hades
- Everything about Nico. Not only had the poor kid just gotten out of the Greek Mythological Hell Pit, but now we find out that he's gay and has/had a crush on Percy. Percy who fell into Tartarus to stay with his girlfriend. Not only does he have to deal with the pain of knowing the person he loves most is going through the horrible trauma that he did, but Nico was born in the 1930's, when it was most definitely not okay to be gay. Considering this, one can only imagine how ashamed he must be. It also just adds to his feelings of isolation.
- The whole scene where this happened was just heartwrenching. Eros/Cupid, God of Love, is just goading Nico on, forcing him to reveal his true feelings about Percy, while all Jason can do is listen.
Nico: I had a crush on Percy. That's it. That's the big secret. Happy now?
Jason: You know, no one's going to judge you.
Nico: Really? That would be a first. I'm the son of Hades, Jason. I might as well be covered in blood or sewage, the way people treat me. I don't belong anywhere. I'm not even from this century. But even that's not enough to set me apart. I've got to be- to be-
- He's so ashamed he can't even say the word.
- Hazel, Nico's half-sister, also grew up in the 1930s, dying in 1942. Even if he were to accept Jason's more modern sensibilities toward homosexuality, he'd have every reason to believe his sister wouldn't.
- And the fact that he's had this conversation before, with Percy, who started out saying Nico would be accepted at Camp Half Blood, but eventually admitted that Nico would never really fit in. And that was just about Nico being the son of Hades Percy didn't even know Nico's entire circumstances.
- Annabeth wandering around blind, thinking Percy's abandoned her while he's forced to watch. Pretty much the entire Curse scene was this with Nightmare Fuel.
- The confrontation with Akhlys becomes this if you take it from Annabeth's perspective. Dark!Percy rearing his vicious head was bad enough already. Then you remember that Annabeth has seen this all happen before, the anger, the fear, the festering bitterness-with Luke. Her begging Percy not to touch that power again goes from upsetting to gutwrenching. The poor girl was probably seeing every bad thing in the original series happening over again, another boy she loved losing himself, and probably blaming herself for not seeing it coming and preventing it.
- Annabeth overhearing Bob and Damasen talking about how long it's been since they've seen the sun. The way Damasen especially sounds is sad and hopeless because he's been in Tartarus for so long that he's lost hope to ever see the surface.
Damasen: Yes. It was yellow. When it touched the horizon, it turned the sky beautiful colors.
Bob: I miss the sun. The stars, too. I would like to say hello to the stars again.
- As a matter of fact, Damasen's backstory can be considered a Tearjerker too when you realize he's only in Tartarus because he was trying to avenge his farmer friend.
- When Bob's getting ready to sacrifice himself to let Annabeth and Percy get to the Doors of Death, he tells Percy to Tell the sun and stars hello for me. Zoe Nightshade from the previous series was turned into a constellation when she died. Zoe was the daughter of Atlas, who was the son of Iapetus/Bob. It might be unintentional, but Bob was essentially telling Percy to say goodbye to his granddaughter for him.
- Howl of Sorrow: When Jason is "devoured" by Sciron's turtle, Hazel hears Piper wailing all the way from the ship, over the sound of the alarm bells.
- In the final chapter of House of Hades, Percy tries to thank Nico for guiding the others and for indirectly saving his and Annabeth's lives by being nice to Bob and convincing him that Percy was a friend, even though Percy never gave him a second thought. Percy's trying to live up to his resolution in Tartarus to start treating the people around him better— he specifically singles Nico out among those. But Nico is being distant and dismissive towards him, and Percy's inner monologue goes on a bit, noting how much Nico has changed over the years and lamenting the fact that he's never been able to understand Nico and he doesn't know why. By this point, the reader knows it's because Nico had a crush on Percy, and there's evidence that, despite what he says, he's not really over it and has a hard time dealing with Percy being oblivious, being with someone else, and just the fact that he grew up in the '30s/'40s and is ashamed of liking dudes. The tragedy comes from the fact that Percy wants to understand Nico and do right by him, but Nico just can't let that happen.
The Blood of Olympus
- Hades telling Nico that few of his children are happy (hoping that Nico will be an exception). You know he's right, and you can see how much it hurts him.
- Doubly tear-inducing because of the contrast with the rest of the series; outside of this moment and maybe a couple from the previous series, none of the gods really seem to care whether or not their children are happy. They care that they survive and bring their parent honor, yes, but not whether they're happy.
- It's a Call-Back to The Last Olympian, too. When Hades cursed the Oracle of Delphi, he meant it to last until his children were no longer scorned and ostracized. Hazel's first life was miserable, Bianca was happy for the short time she was a Hunter, then died miserably because she felt guilty about leaving Nico. This is something that's been weighing on Hades for a long time.
- Might not occur at first, but consider this. Nico is actually glad to realize that whatever happens, he will be with his father when all is said and done. Hades has the same assurance, knowing that his children will come to his realm no matter what. But none of the other gods or their children have that- heck they might not even want to (see Thalia and Zeus' case.)
- In The Blood of Olympus Nico thinks of the Plato story that once men and women were conjoined but split by the gods because they feared their strength and that was why men and women fell in love. He then asks himself what that means for him.
- Even worse if you know the original story: there actually were both homosexual and heterosexual couples. But Nico comes from a time when homosexuality was actually illegal, meaning most likely the homosexual pairs were deliberately left out of the myths. It makes you think once again how harder coming from the past is making it all for Nico.
- Similar to the forced coming out in House of Hades, Percy's confession to Jason that he intentionally endangered himself in battle rang a little too true to a lot of readers. While it's unlikely that anybody reading this ever used divine power to choke and torture a goddess, the obvious desperation and self-blame is achingly familiar.
Percy: Thing is, as I was choking just now, I kept thinking: this is payback for Akhlys. The Fates are letting me die the way I tried to kill her. And...honestly, a part of me felt like I deserved it.
- The ending of The Blood of Olympus: amidst all the heartwarming Earn Your Happy Ending for almost everyone, Reyna doesn't get one, though she at least gets respect from Athena, Bellona and Pegasus.
- As heartwarming as the final chapter was, Leo doesn't have a way to tell anyone that he's alive after all, so his friends will still think he's dead. We also don't know how much time passes in Ogygia, so even if Leo and Calypso find a way back into the mortal world, it could be years and years since the Final Battle (and Leo's 'death') and Leo could potentially and unintentionally outlive his friends in that aspect.
- Apollo cowering before Zeus as Zeus pins the blame for all that happened in the series on him and Hera. Jason even points out in his narration that Apollo looks like a scared teenager(perhaps to diminish Zeus's anger), and when he tries to stand up for his half-brother, Zeus gets pissed off (read: Jason is actually wondering if his dad is going to kill him) at Jason as well. Despite having said he was proud of him moments before this.