Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Race in Percy Jackson

So, I haven't been reviewing the Percy Jackson series, because I've been listening to them and I don't review audio books (have to draw the line somewhere!) BUT! I have been enjoying them (I'm currently on disc 1 of Last Olympian.)

Anyway, Chasing Ray had a link to this post at HappyNappyBookseller about the racial implications of one of the character deaths in Last Olympian. (Not too spoilery--the death happened like, in Track 6 on the first disc, so it's fairly early.)

It's worth a read.

Also, I'd like to call out Jesse Bernstein, who narrates these books. Asian-American characters DO NOT have Asian accents. Sorry, nope. There is no reason that Mrs. Chase should have a really, really thick generically-East Asian accent. NONE. It bugged me so much, I even grabbed a copy of the book to see if she was written with one. NO. Also, if I recall correctly, Ethan Nakamura doesn't need a slight Japanese accent. Just because you're Asian doesn't mean you're not a native speaker of English. D'UH.

I love the series, and overall the audio is really good, but this bugs me to no end. And it's not the way the books were written.


Anonymous said...

You should email the publicist for the company...that would irritate me too!

Sean said...

Of course, there is every chance that the accent was added to the audio version with Rick Riordan's full approval, despite the fact that the text wasn't written that way. Given the high profile of the series, I can't imagine that the producers would have let it go if Riordan disapproved.

Doret said...

Have you seen the cast for the movie. The actors playing Percy, Annabeth, and Grover look a little old. Still don't know how I feel about Grover being Black. I am still asking myself why. I guess part of my problem is they would never make Annabeth or Luke Black, because it's not true to the story. But sure, they'll go ahead and add a little color with the half goat half human.

Plese forgive this mini rant, hopefully if won't make you regret the link. Thanks for that BTW.

Jennie said...

Amanda-- I just might, but I don't know what good it would do at this point.

Sean-- While Riordan disapproved, these characters appear in later books, when the audio has been pushed out quickly. I wonder if he heard them before publication?

Doret-- SO OLD! WAY TOO OLD! The guy playing Percy is 17 and Annabeth is 23! Grover is 25 WTF?! Honestly, I've been so irked about the ages (how can Grover go through satyr puberty if he's already 25?!), that I hadn't even thought about race. But, you do have a good point.

At least it's not as bad as Harry Potter, where they originally cast Lavender Brown as black in Prisoner of Azkaban but as soon as she gets lines and has to make out with Ron, they recast her as white! (I can understand recasting a roll that goes from small to huge, but dude, at least try to make them sort of look alike!)

Jennie said...

Also, I was excited because the Michael Yew was read with a southern accent instead of a Korean one, but then I looked it up, and discovered his last name was Yew, not Yoo. :(

Also, Demeter sounds like Stan's older sister from South Park. When she argues with Hades, I keep expecting her to shout "shut up turd!"

Doret said...

The actors all look their age, it would be okay if they could pass for 14 but they can't.
Sorry about the audio book, at least with a bad book I don't hear voices in my head.

David said...

This bugged the crap out of me. Almost to the point of stopping the book. While I am enjoying the books, Jesse's accents are just bad. Like when his "Australian" one devolved into a southern one. That made me laugh but this ticked me off. I'll just chuck it into the pile of words he mispronounces.

KitCon01862 said...

So I'm relistening to the Percy Jackson series and just finished The Battle of the Labrynth and Rhe Last Olympian they edited Eathen and Annabeth's mom so that they don't have accents anymore, which really confused and sort of irritated me because when I first listened to them when they were first published to adio they did have accents. So it was definitely fixed. Other people probably won't notice that it was changed but I'm weird that way lol.