Both Percy Jackson and Harry Potter are arguably the most popular fantasy books of the past few decades. Harry, with the wonderful wizarding world, and Percy, with the amazing Greek pantheon.
However, there have been many debates on which of the two series is better. Here is an article outlining exactly that.
1. Humour- Percy Jackson
This point definitely goes to Rick Riordan, who has nailed the art of witty banter. Just by looking at the chapter titles in his books you can see how he has put an interesting and humorous spin on some rather dark events. Harry Potter does have some light moments, but they’re swamped in all of the deep and dark topics.
2. Creativity- Harry Potter
It is almost hands down to Harry Potter. Although Percy Jackson includes some awesome and original ideas (like putting the entrance to the Underworld in a recording studio up in LA), it just cannot compete with J.K. Rowling’s Potterverse. Dementors, Quidditch, Parseltongue and more are products of her own imagination, unlike Percy Jackson being based on Greek mythology.
3. Relationships- Percy Jackson
Whilst J.K. Rowling did a good job with her older characters, her main cast’s romance was pretty forced. Harry and Ginny have zero development until book six, and no build up at all. On the other hand, Percy and Annabeth have a better arc; they first hated each other (well, Annabeth did), but then accepted each other, became best friends, then fell in love. The build up is better and the chemistry is more believable.
4. Diversity- Percy Jackson
Rick Riordan is an amazing writer who includes a whole cast of diverse characters in his books. Gay, bisexual, gender fluid, non-white characters and more have been displayed throughout his works; he’s even gotten the Stonewall award for his efforts. Contrastingly, the Potterverse has merely small handful of non-white characters (with a ridiculously small percentage of page time; a fan broke down the dialogue in the films, and approximately 99.5% of the dialogue across the whole Harry Potter franchise was spoken by white characters) and no LGBTQ+ ones. And no, we are not counting the disaster that was the ‘introduce Dumbledore as gay without actually putting it in canon’. It’s not enough to simply add a small side note in Rowling’s stories to pretend she’s LGBTQ+ supportive, or add a queer writing storyline becuase she wants more support. It’s simply uncalled for.
5. Series length- Tie
This one is honestly a toss up, and depends on your own preferences, if you prefer thick books, Harry Potter is for you, whereas Percy Jackson is a quicker read. That is, not counting Percy Jackson’s sequel series, Heroes of Olympus. In which case, the word count is roughly the same.
6. Descriptions- Harry Potter
According to popular opinion, Harry Potter is ‘better written” than Percy Jackson, which is true to some extent. Harry Potter was written in a third person POV, which allowed Rowling to add lyric descriptions and a flowing plot. Percy Jackson was written in the snarky, first person POV of a 12 year old New Yorker. Obviously, the level of description would be less in the latter.
7. Reality- Percy Jackson
Whilst Harry Potter deals with some issues that we see in real life, such as racism and bullying, it simply cannot compete with Riordan’s stories filled with real life problems written in a way that is understandable to the age group. Abuse, abandonment, LGBTQ+, family issues, attention disorders, dyslexia- the list goes on and on. Percy Jackson shows readers that everyone suffers through life, but you can persevere through it. The main characters who have dyslexia and ADHD are heroes. Percy’s stepfather’s abuse led to him turning into a stone and finally getting what he deserved! All these problems are addressed and the readers are shown that there are evils in this world that have to be dealt with. Percy Jackson shows the real world, not just a utopia hidden away from muggle life.
8. Character development- Percy Jackson
This is probably one of the most important factors that appears in this debate. Character growth is essential for readers to relate to the characters and see how they evolve as they get older and experience more. Harry starts off the series as a lonely orphan who is nothing special, but in the first two books alone we suddenly find out that he’s Voldermort’s chosen one, the only known survivor of the Killing Curse, youngest seeker in Quidditch history, the second Parseltongue in hundreds of years, an exceptional wizard at the dark arts, and more! There’s not that much he can improve on, except perhaps his emotional growth. Percy starts off with not being able to do much except make fountains burst and explode toilets. However by the end of the series his dedication and hard work allowed him to finally master his abilities and become a courageous leader, expert sword-fighter, and the most powerful demi-god. His development along the story is clear, and gives the readers an opportunity to understand and sympathise with the characters. That’s why Percy Jackson gets the points.
Overall, both series are absolutely amazing. They’re fabulously written with huge fan bases. Although Harry Potter may have been around for longer, and is generally considered the standard for children’s and young adult fantasy, Percy Jackson addresses lots of current issues, and includes far more relatable characters. The use of descriptions and storytelling within Harry Potter is some of the best however cannot outplay the humour, character growth, diversity and more within Percy Jackson, to mesmerise children all over the world. Therefore, I believe that Percy Jackson is the better of the two series.
If you would like to read the two series, here is the list of the books in order:
Harry Potter series: The Philosopher's Stone; The Chamber of Secrets; The Prisoner of Azkaban; The Goblet of Fire; The Order of the Phoenix; The Half-Blood Prince; The Deathly Hallows
Percy Jackson series: The Lightning Thief; The Sea of Monsters; The Titan’s Curse; The Battle of the Labyrinth; The Last Olympian