Anyway, Riordan announced that there will be a "capstone" series in PJO, one more return to the Greek/Roman world of Camp Half-Blood and (presumably) Camp Jupiter. He promises that we will see what's going on with everyone we care about, as Apollo, made human because he angered his father, tries to earn his way back to Olympus. (And I should have realized because Riordan knows his stuff, but I'd forgotten: This actually is another riff on Greek myths. Apollo was, in point of fact, turned human as a punishment. Twice -- once for killing Python, and once for the Olympian rebellion against Zeus. The first time went well, the second, at Troy, involved not getting paid for years of labor, which he responded to by sending a plague.)
Supposedly, he will fall to earth in his teenage guy form, landing in a dumpster in New York without his powers and making his way to Camp Half-Blood to avoid the people and monsters who wouldn't mind taking advantage of is mortality.
Oh, and the chapter titles will be bad haikus, so, so will my LJ-Cuts. ;p
Things I expect / The set up has revealed them / I thusly foresee...
- Apollo will have to slay Python again at Delphi. This is almost a given. The snake is there. Rachel and Ella have gone back to Camp Jupiter for the specific purpose of figuring out the prophecy problem. It's Apollo's first deed in mythology, and it was left unresolved here. That may be the first book quest, or it may be the full series quest. I'm thinking first book, at the end of which, Rachel will get the spirit of Delphi back and issue a prophecy to tell him the rest of what he needs to do.
- Reyna will be his primary companion, and it will end up a romance. Again, what else would be the point of the "No demigod will heal your heart" prophecy, dropped randomly in Blood of Olympus with no payoff? Apollo is not a demigod, and when he's back to full power, he's the god of healing.
- Will Solace will take a larger role. The sudden expansion of his role at the end of Blood of Olympus was probably not just to give Nico a satellite love interest. He talks a lot about what he thinks Apollo wants or stands for, so I expect he'll be the second stalwart companion (with Nico as the satellite this time, though probably a more active one, since he's a fan favorite). Besides, how weird would it be for a teenage guy to have a teenage guy as his kid (and the more mature member of that relationship, most likely)? Too weird to resist, I think. Rachel Dare, as his oracle, will almost certainly feature prominently. (Maybe there will even be a team of four or five?) He may be going to talk to her in California when he meets up with Reyna.
- Bigger Artemis presence because, well. Artemis. Apollo.
- Someone will try to cheat Apollo after manual labor, as a reference to the myth about the King of Troy.
Desirable things / My hopes for all the answers / Floating in aether...
- I hope we'll find out more about what it's like for the gods. There were a couple hints dropped in Heroes of Olympus that their bad behavior may not be entirely what the demigods perceive it as. For instance, Hephaestus speaks of his relationship with Esperanza more as if she initiated it, and, even back in The Last Olympian, Dionysus talks about how his spirit is drawn to people having parties. My thought on the subject is that the gods literally aren't in control of these relationships. They're drawn into them by mortals who call out to them, which is why it becomes impossible to do things like keep the pact of the Big Three. To stay out of mortal lives, they'd have to withdraw from their spheres of influence. They'd never admit that in the myths, of course, since it presents them as lacking self-determination, but it's a theory of mine.
- I wonder if, as a mortal, Apollo's artistic talents will actually be what he thinks they are as a god, bad haikus aside. I was listening to Percy Jackson's Greek Heroes, and the curious way Riordan refers to Apollo's support of Orpheus is that, having been mortal in the past, he appreciates the beauty of mortality in Orpheus's music. Unlike the poetry, we haven't really seen a sign that Apollo is a bad musician as a god (though he doesn't get the Valdezinator right away -- and I expect to see the Valdezinator again), so maybe he'll still have that talent as a mortal, and be better at it.
- I think it's likely that he'll lose an early fight or two because he's surprised by his lack of strength, but 4000 years of skill practice could easily pay off, making him a good fighter as a mortal. Practice does count for something, after all.
- I hope he doesn't choose to stay mortal. First, it's already been done. Second, he represents quite a lot of the ancient Greek culture, and no one seems likely to take it over. So I hope he does go back to being an Olympian, but with a better understanding of the world to bring to everyone else. I hope, instead, that his relationship with Reyna follows the Dionysis/Ariadne pattern instead.
- Which brings me to the question of their new aspect. Greek and Roman aspects have come together, but the gods aren't in Greece or Rome anymore. They've been living in the Anglo and American sphere for a few centuries. Is a totally new aspect arising? What's it like for them as it does? And how is that aspect different? These are questions I'm genuinely interested in. I think it's at least possible that we'll see it addressed.
The darkest guesses / Fears as deep as Tartarus / (Not the most fun part)...
- Despite the fact that I have no doubt that there will be a ship (there's nothing wrong with having one in the story, if it makes sense), I hope it's not taken over by the damned shipping. The focus on that was a tad annoying in HOO. But I worry that we're going to have chapter after chapter of fretting over who likes whom, and poor Nico is going to be inflicted with more gaygnst, which other characters will have to acknowledge by speaking spontaneous poems to honor his deep pain and bravery. What I would really like is for, by the beginning of the first book, Nico and Will to be dating and just enjoying life, with it as natural a part of things as Percabeth was in the second series. But I fear we're going to get more "LOOK HOW DARING I AM" bluster.
- I'm a little concerned about the tendency to make new characters powerful at the expense of old ones. We saw it a little in the devaluation of Percy in Blood of Olympus. You don't need an old friend to become less important to make a new one seem more important.
- There's always a danger that, "We'll check in with all the old friends" will turn into an aimless quest that's mostly an opportunity to please fans of different characters. I trust Riordan a little more than that, but the last two books were so all over the place in terms of action and theme that I'm leery.
- And if Riordan does even one more arc about how someone should feel just terrible for not returning someone's feelings, I will write him a stern letter. The repeated thumpings in House of Hades about ouch, Percy loved Annabeth so oh, noes, he's not returning Nico's feelings, and wasn't he a shit about breaking Calypso's heart, or Jason's ruminations about how guilty he feels about poor, lonely Reyna were... you know, there's not a word for it. Percy and Annabeth were in love with each other throughout the series, and neither of them was obliged to pretend to be in love with anyone else. Jason hadn't even led Reyna on, let alone dated her, and was in love with Piper. No one had anything to feel guilty about. (There was a whiff of it in the first series, when Annabeth was guilted about not returning Luke's feelings when it might have helped, but I didn't get the impression that she actually should have, if she were only a better person. I did get a whiff of that in HOO, and I disliked it. You are not obliged to return someone's crush, PERIOD.) I guess this goes back to my rant about not getting sidetracked by the damned shipping in general.
Drop in on old friends / To see about their progress / Who shall we visit?
- Riordan says we'll see everyone, but I expect a lot will be cameos. We'll probably see the more powerful ones early on, when Apollo needs more protection. But crowding up the stage for the sake of crowding it up wouldn't make good fiction, so I think we'll mostly see them as stops on the road.
- It's been a year, so Percy and Annabeth will likely be in college in New Rome. Technically, Percy is still in service to the legion, too. Annabeth may or may not seek to join the legion; she could be a sort of "foreign student" there rather than behaving as a citizen. She may be helping to rebuild and repair after the war, especially since it was her ship that attacked (albeit not on any Greek's orders). She can help him with sorting out the logic. I think Percy could even rescue him somehow in a big intro moment.
- Jason may be working closely with Annabeth on his altar and temple building projects. Regardless, I think that's likely to be a big part of his function. He'll be traveling back and forth, and may travel with Apollo for a while.
- Calypso, back in the world after a few millennia on Ogygia, is someone Apollo could talk to, so I can see a nice, quiet scene of some kind in Leo and Calypso's garage.
- As representatives of Artemis, Thalia and the hunters could have a prominent role in keeping Apollo abreast of what's going on on Olympus, since Artemis would totally break the rules to look after her brother.
- Not much was resolved with Piper's dad and his memory issues. I hope that we'll see some of that. (Maybe, when Apollo is restored, he can heal the guy -- not just bring back his memories, but strengthen his mind to be able to handle it?)
- Frank's firewood could burn at some point in the series, in a sacrifice that somehow saves Apollo, leading him to think about what mortals do for each other.
- I wonder if it's possible to get any more resolution on Mae Castellan.
- I have no ideas whatsoever for Hazel, Grover, Chiron, the party ponies, Clarisse, Coach Hedge....
ETA: Wild mass guessing here / A gold arrow in the dark / Shooting at nothing...
In the utterly random guess jar:
- Rather than Frank dying, Nico does something and ends up getting swallowed by the shadows. Hades, not willing to let his favorite son die, makes him into a lieutenant, a god in charge of people returned from the dead (there are, after all, more of them in this age of life-saving than there were in Ancient Greece, and Nico's job can involve gently ushering them out of the Underworld and making them able to function better in life; he does have experience with that).
- Luke Castellan appears in some manner.
- I keep predicting and it keeps not happening (though at least Blood of Olympus came into the neighborhood): Odysseus. I mean, come on. He made Leo's astrolabe! He's Athena's BFF! He can totally show up, right? (Or are we going to get Percy Jackson's Iliad and Percy Jackson's Odyssey?)
- We'll see one of the Olympian/mortal relationships in action, rather than just the aftermath.
- Apollo's absence will be notable in the mortal world in some manner. He talked in Titan's Curse about how the sun chariot was solid symbol of what the sun means to humans. So, if they only have the sun in its astronomical sense, but not in its poetic sense, how could it make things different for them?