Chosen One of the Day: Medusa from Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief

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Feb 12, 2018

We all have our personal heroes. They are scientists, ass kickers, explorers, and sometimes just really awesome nerds who keep their cool in a crisis. Usually they are inspiring, standing up to adversity with grace and aplomb or kicking its teeth in with a hair flip and a snarky comment.

Sometimes, though, your heroes are just pissed off. And sometimes they can't flip their hair because it is made of literal snakes because your hero is Medusa.

Specifically, Medusa as played by Uma Thurman in Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief

Why does she merit such high praise? Well, for one, she was probably the best thing in an adaptation that can best be described as "meh." Also because she is Uma-freaking-Thurman, aka one of the few women in the world who can make you seriously consider bringing a photo of a woman with snakes for hair to your stylist to see if maybe she can do something with this.

Then there's the fact that for some reason that defies explanation this movie, the book on which it is based, and the original Greek myth upon which the book is based have all been trying to convince you that somehow she is the villain when it's so obvious she's a long-suffering victim who just wants to be left alone.

To the credit of both the book and the movie, they kept Ovid's version of the story, in which Medusa is raped by Poseidon in Athena's temple and then turned into a monster by the very angry goddess of wisdom. Naturally, when faced with the children of both Poseidon AND Athena trespassing on her property to steal her things, she might get a little angry, perhaps even seek a little revenge. And what does she get for suffering in solitude for centuries? Beheaded, of course. And to make matters worse, her head is then kept and used as a weapon against others. Talk about adding insult to injury.

Sure, Percy is on a noble quest to save his mother, and fine, maybe it's wrong to try to kill the children of the immortal beings who wronged you in the past, but in her defense, she was only trying to turn them to stone. You don't know that it would have killed them.