|“||Ethan, me, all of the unclaimed...don't let it happen again.||„|
|~ Luke to Percy moments before his death - his most famous quote.|
Luke Castellan is a son of the Greek god Hermes and his mortal lover May Castellan and the central antagonist of Rick Riordan's Percy Jackson and the Olympians series.
He holds a strong grudge against the gods, and is trying to awaken the Titan Kronos (also known as Cronus) to destroy the Olympian gods. Luke also serves as the protagonist and narrator of The Demigod Diaries story The Diary of Luke Castellan (which takes place 5 years before the events of The Lightning Thief).
Before the Series
Much of Luke's early life is unknown, but that he was born sometime in the mid to late 1980s in Westport, Connecticut to May Castellan and Hermes and that when he was around a year old his mother attempted to become the next host of the Oracle of Delphi at Camp Half-Blood, a training camp for demigods. However, May was unaware of the curse Hades put on the current host and was driven insane. After this incident May would have occasional visions which would cause her eyes to glow green, scaring Luke so much that he ran away from home when he was nine. Later two important events occurred that developed his character, and his hatred for the gods. After Luke found out that he was a demigod (half-god, half-mortal), he journeyed at the age of 14 with Annabeth Chase, a 7-year-old daughter of Athena and Thalia Grace, a 12-year-old daughter of Zeus. When Thalia got injured, Luke was forced to return to his old home for supplies and ended up meeting his father Hermes. Luke got angry at Hermes for not answering his prayers and for not being around, before storming out of the house with Thalia and Annabeth, declaring them to be his family now.
Eventually, the trio were found by a satyr named Grover Underwood who then escorted them Camp Half-Blood (after Hermes contacted Chiron to send a satyr to bring Luke to camp). However, when they were almost there, they were attacked by monsters sent by Hades, who was angry at Zeus for breaking the oath he made with him and Poseidon to not have any more demigod children. Thalia sacrificed herself to allow her friends to get to Camp Half-Blood. Zeus took pity on his daughter and turned her into a pine tree to keep her from dying. About 3 years later, the now 17-year-old Luke was given a quest by Hermes to steal a golden apple from the Garden of the Hespirides. He was given the quest, but scarred in the face by Ladon, the dragon that guarded the tree with the gold apples. Enraged that he was given a quest with no glory (because Hercules did it once) and then failing, and his belief that the gods let Thalia die, Luke began to plot against the gods. Luke dreamed of Kronos, who convinced him to serve him.
Percy Jackson and the Olympians
The Lightning Thief
Luke serves as the hidden true main antagonist in The Lightning Thief.
When Percy Jackson, a 12-year-old son of Poseidon, arrives at Camp Half-Blood and briefly joins the Hermes Cabin (until he is claimed by Poseidon), a now 19-year-old Luke (who was the cabin's counseler) makes him feel welcome. Unbeknownst to Percy, Luke was actually pretending to be his friend and had managed to earn his trust.
When Percy gets a quest to retrieve Zeus's lightning bolt along with Annabeth and Grover, Luke gives him a pair of winged sneakers he used for his failed quest. Percy gives these to Grover because Zeus, who holds a grudge against Poseidon, will not let a son of Poseidon enter his "domain", meaning he is not allowed to fly.
Later, the protagonists reach Tartarus, which was the pit where the gods cast their enemies. The winged sneakers began to drag Grover to the pit because he was wearing them. Grover manages to get them off, and they escape before Kronos can pull them in.
Later, after the lightning bolt is retrieved, and Percy is back at camp, Luke admits to Percy that he stole Zeus's lightning bolt, framed Poseidon, and enchanted the winged sneakers to drag the wearer into Tartarus. He sets a pit scorpion on Percy, which stings him. Luke flees, and Percy is barely saved by the other campers.
The Sea of Monsters
Luke returns as the main antagonist in Sea of Monsters, next to Kronos.
The following year, Percy along with Annabeth and his Cyclops half-brother Tyson leave Camp-Half Blood when they get a quest to find the golden fleece when Thalia's pine tree is poisoned. They encounter Luke, who is captain of the Princess Andromeda, which is a demon cruise ship. Here, he tells the protagonists that every time a half-blood joins their cause, a piece of Kronos appears in the sarcophagus that is on their ship and attempts to convince Percy and Annabeth to join him, but they refuse. Luke is also surprised that Annabeth has allied with a cyclops (as they and Thalia had a run in with a cyclops when they were travelling together). The protagonists manage to escape the ship, and later get the golden fleece.
Luke captures them again, and is enraged to learn that Percy sent the fleece ahead with another hero Clarisse La Rue, a daughter of Ares. Luke was planning on using the fleece to speed up Kronos's revival, and also admits he poisoned Thalia's tree. Percy challenges Luke to a sword-fight, which Luke accepts so as not to appear weak to his followers.
Luke quickly wins the fight, and nearly kills Percy, but they escape again with the help of Chiron, Camp Half-Blood's director, and his gang of centaurs.
The Titan's Curse
Months later, Luke gets the Titan Atlas to join his side when he and his allies capture the goddess Artemis, and make her bear his burden- holding up the weight of the sky. He also plans on sacrificing the entrails of a creature known as the Ophiotaurus, to gain unlimited power over the gods. This plan fails when Thalia (who had been resurrected by the Golden Fleece) refuses to join Luke and sacrifice the Ophiotaurus, and the heroes attack Atlas and Luke.
Thalia personally duels Luke herself. The two prove to be incredible fighters - described to be fighting like demons - but Thalia eventually wins. She forces her former friend over the edge of a cliff, but Luke survives the fall due to the Curse of Achilles which gave him complete invulnerability.
The Battle of the Labyrinth
Luke somehow manages to survive after Thalia presumably kills him in the previous book. Now, he is trying to use Daedalus's labyrinth as a way to transport his army into Camp Half-Blood and around the world.
At the end of the book, Percy opens Kronos's sarcophagus (see The Sea of Monsters above) and finds Luke in it, with a piece of his chest missing. When Ethan, son of Nemisis, the goddess of revenge, joins the Anti-Olympian cause, Kronos is awakened in Luke's body. His sword Backbiter was reforged into Cronus's Bronze Scythe.
However, Kronos was not fully accustomed to Luke's body, as seen when the mortal girl Rachel Elizabeth Dare throws a blue hairbrush at his eye, and Luke briefly regains his senses.
The Last Olympian
In The Last Olympian, much more is revealed about Luke's own past. Luke bathed in the river Styx, so that he would not disintegrate as Kronos entered his body. It is also revealed that he convinced and charmed a daughter of Aphrodite named Silena Beauregard to act as a spy for him at Camp Half-Blood, saying that her boyfriend Charles Beckendorf (a son of Hepheastus) would not be hurt if she helped. Silena later turned against Luke and sacrificed herself to save the other campers from a drakon.
In order to confront him, Percy, with the assistance of Hades' son Nico, also bathes in the Styx to increase his power. Later in the story, Percy and 40 other members of Camp-Half Blood plus the Hunters of Artemis team up to hold off Kronos and his seige of Mount Olympus.
Kronos finally makes it to the throne room of Olympus where he is confronted by Percy, Annabeth, and Grover. They fight Kronos, who manages to wound Annabeth and Percy. Annabeth manages to talk Luke to his senses, while Kronos prepares to assume his true form, which would kill Luke and the others. Luke manages to fight Kronos out of his mind, and uses Annabeth's dagger (which he gave to her when they first met) to kill himself by stabbing himself in his "Achilles Heel", his armpit, which became his weak spot after bathing in the Styx.
In his dying moments, Luke asks Annabeth if she ever loved him to which she says no as he was like a brother to her. In his dying breath Luke asks Percy not to let the unclaimed demigods be forgotten again.
After the gods return to Olympus, Luke's body is taken away by the Fates but not before a devastated Hermes kisses him on the forehead.
Luke's wish for unclaimed demigods to not be forgotten came true after Camp Half-Blood built cabins for the demigod children of minor gods.
The Heroes of Olympus
The Lost Hero
Set 4 months after the Battle of Manhattan, Luke appears in photographs with Thalia and Annabeth in the Zeus cabin at Camp Half-Blood. Thalia's younger brother Jason comes across these photos and asks Annabeth who the boy in them are to which Annabeth replies "That's Luke. He's dead now". From the way Annabeth says this, Jason wonders if Percy (who is missing) was not the only boy Annabeth liked.
The Son of Neptune
Though not named outright, Luke is referenced when Percy (who has had his memories stolen by Hera) comes to Camp Jupiter (a training camp for Roman demigods) and meets its augur Octavian. Percy tells Octavian that he reminds him of someone but cannot remember who. This person is Luke as Octavian has a similar hair color.
The Demigods Diaries
The Diary of Luke Castellan
Taking place 5 years before the events of The Lightning Thief, 14-year-old Luke and 12-year-old Thaila follow Zeus' sacred goat, Amaltheia. It is revealed that Luke, after leaving home, had briefly befriended mortal children who believed that being a demigod was a game, which resulted in Luke leaving and that he ran into Thalia in a dragon's cave in Charleston as she was led there by Amaltheia. Being a demigod herself, Thalia was able to understand Luke, and they chose to team up to stay alive, subsequently traveling across the United States, battling monsters (and at one point, several automaton statues), fending for themselves, with Thalia "saving [his] life a dozen times" according to Luke.
One morning, they had reached Richmond, Virginia, where once again, Thalia was in pursuit of Amaltheia. Luke seemed to have a crush on Thalia and just could not tell her no, even though he knew it was against his better judgment. The goat directed them to an old mansion and once inside (Luke's handiwork) they discovered it was a deadly trap. They met Halcyon Green, a demigod son of Apollo, who had been imprisoned inside the mansion, unable to speak, because he had saved a demigod girl's life in his youth, with his abilities to see into the future, incurring the wrath of the gods. A part of Hal's curse was also to bring in demigods to be eaten by three leucrotae who feed at sunset. Luke was angered that the gods would do this to Hal and wanted to find a way to rescue him and Thalia. Hal told them that every demigod thought that at first, that they could escape, but soon realized that it was impossible. Hal told them of a treasure that was in the mansion, assuming that they came there for it, but they had not. They went after it anyways. Luke was magically able to break the lock, and Thalia was able to claim the Aegis bracelet as a sign from Zeus, as he has a shield very similar in design.
They were running out of time and ways of defeating the leucrotae until Luke discovered they could make Greek Fire, after hours of searching the Internet with no solution. Within the hour, they had created the Greek Fire from different ingredients and some lightning. Hal decided that he would sacrifice himself to give them time to escape, as he may have foreseen. But before he did, Hal had predicted Luke's dark future but left him vague answers when questioned about it. Luke did not know what he meant, but was disturbed from what he said. Hal also gave Luke his personal diary and a dagger and made Luke promise that he would learn from his mistakes and not be pushed around by the gods. Thus, by making this promise, Luke made the first step towards his ultimate betrayal of the gods and allegiance to the Titan King Kronos.
When the leucrotae attacked, Hal used the Greek Fire to cause an explosion, which killed himself and two of the monsters. One leucrota escaped, but barely, which surprised Luke, but Thalia was able to use the bracelet to summon Aegis and scare the monster away, giving them enough to reach the doors, just as the mansion completely exploded. They got away quickly, cleaning up in the local restrooms, and resting before Luke sensed a presence in a nearby alley. It was in that alley that the two meet 7-year-old Annabeth Chase, and, adopting her as his little sister, Luke became the fatherly figure of the group, they left Richmond and headed to their safe house on the James River. Luke would later write down this incident in the green leather diary that Halcyon had given him.
The Trials of Apollo
The Hidden Oracle
In this book, which takes place 2 years after the Battle of Manhattan, it is revealed that Luke was supplied funding by Nero via Triumvirate Holdings.
Luke reprises his role as the main antagonist in the films. He is portrayed by Jake Abel as a young adult and Samuel Braun as a child.
Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning Thief
Luke's role is mostly the same as in the novel up until the climax. He confronts Percy on the Empire State Building, revealing his true intentions. The two demigods duel over the Master Bolt until arriving at a series of water towers, which Percy uses to blast Luke into the Atlantic.
In this film, Luke's character is different. He claims to have never met Hermes and seems to be mere acquaintances with Annabeth, and he lacks his scar from the novels, though Percy does inflict a similar scar in the climax. He also seems to have no connection to Kronos.
Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters
Luke's role is drastically different this time around.
Luke is first seen in a flashback with Annabeth, Thalia, and Grover escaping to Camp Half-Blood. He is present when Thalia sacrifices herself, turning into a tree to save the others.
In the present day, Percy first encounters Luke after the latter poisons Thalia's tree. The rogue demigod informs Percy of his goals to resurrect Kronos and takes his leave.
Luke abducts Grover with Chris Rodriguez's help in Washington, DC. He later imprisons Percy, Annabeth, and Tyson on board the Andromeda. The heroes escape despite Luke's best efforts.
Luke eventually catches up with the heroes in Polyphemus' lair, swiping the Fleece, seemingly killing Tyson, and restraining the heroes for Kronos' resurrection. An all-out war occurs between the heroes and Luke's minions, while Percy duels Luke with a revived Tyson's assistance. Upon Kronos' resurrection, Luke greets his master, but is eaten in the process.
In the end, Luke is ejected into Polyphemus' lair and is about to be eaten. As no more films were produced, it's unknown whether Luke was devoured by Polyphemus or if he escaped and continued fighting Percy and his friends.
Initially, Luke was quite terrified by his mother's crazy antics, which prompted him to run away from home at the age of 9. Luke began to feel angry at the Olympians ever since Hermes abandoned his mother (which is how Luke saw it), and did not answer to his prayers. However, Luke was much more selfless and moral in his youth, and blamed the gods only for what he saw as injustice, such as Hermes abandoning him, Zeus abandoning Thalia, and Apollo placing a curse on Halcyon Green. Also, he always looked out for Thalia, and took great care of Annabeth. In The Diary of Luke Castellan, Luke takes his new responsibility as her surrogate father very seriously, and is determined to do a better job than his own father did with him.
After Halcyon makes him promise to learn from his past mistakes, Luke misunderstands this as not letting the Olympians push him around, and begins to feel motivated to fight back. This is the first time he begins questioning the gods himself. Thalia's sacrifice greatly depressed Luke, and he was never able to get over the fact that she was actually transformed into a tree, and that her father, Zeus "let her die" and could not find another way to save her from Hades. Luke get the urge to make them pay for it, and begins questioning the gods even more than before. Luke later claimed that if Thalia was alive that she would be on his side, opposing the gods. Like Annabeth, Luke showed a particular dislike of Cyclopes, since one of those monsters had been the actual cause of Thalia's death.
However, the final straw would finally come 3 years later, after Luke failed on his quest to retrieve a golden apple from the Garden of the Hesperides. However, Luke saw this quest as unoriginal, and saw "no glory in repeating what others had done." He felt so miserable and irate at the gods, that, as Luke later admits, his attitude became far crueler than before, and he "wanted to pull Olympus down stone by stone right then", but was able to wait. Even Annabeth claims that Luke never was the same ever since returning from his quest. At that point in time, Luke started dreaming of Kronos, and, after being punished through nightmares, Luke finally allied himself with the evil Titan King, ultimately betraying Camp Half-Blood, just as Halcyon had predicted that he would, years ago. By this point in time, Luke became a very deceitful, convincing, manipulative and persuasive person, as he was easily able to initially persuade Percy that he was a friend, and nobody, not even Annabeth or Chiron suspected him of associating with Kronos. According to Luke himself, he can sometimes be overconfident and pretentious, such as when he underestimated Ares, and was nearly killed. Only Kronos' timely intervention saved him.
For the sake of resurrecting Kronos, Luke became crueler than ever, and was even willing to send Percy to his certain death into Tartarus through trickery and deceit, just so that his master could retrieve the Helm of Darkness and the Master Bolt. Further demonstrations of Luke's newfound cruelty are his firm belief that "the West is rotten to the core and has to be destroyed"; his wish to destroy Olympus and every throne "crushed to rubble"; his lack of consideration before poisoning Thalia's pine (though he did this only to have Percy resurrect her and to persuade Thalia to side with him by burning the Ophiotaurus); and his malicious manipulation and blackmail of Silena Beauregard. He was also an intensely callous and sadistic individual, intending to make Percy watch as his friends Tyson and Grover were devoured by an Aethiopian Drakon aboard the Princess Andromeda in The Sea of Monsters, and also sneering at Thalia when the latter held him at the point of a sword in The Titan's Curse. However, Luke still did seem to possess at least some morals, as in The Battle of the Labyrinth he was furious and disgusted with Kelli for egregiously murdering a boy in Seattle, and he disapproves of Kampê's release, as she is too chaotic.
By The Battle of the Labyrinth, Luke starts fear Kronos more, and might have had his first doubts about the Titan King, since Luke visited Annabeth and tried to convince her to run away with him before Kronos uses him body as a host. According to Kronos himself, he later "had to pressure Luke in many ways" in order to convince him to bath in the Styx. Kronos later reveals that Luke secretly feared Percy, possibly because only he had the potential to ruin the Titan King's plans with his prophesied ultimate choice to save Olympus. Luke has an extremely strong will, this was shown when he was able to fight Kronos himself for control of his body in The Last Olympian.
In the end, however, when Annabeth reminds Luke of his initial promise to be a proper family for her, Luke realizes that he was mislead by Kronos the entire time, and that the Titan ultimately views him as disposable, as he intended to destroy his body as soon as he returns to full power. Ultimately, Luke proves that he is ultimately good at heart, and chooses to sacrifice himself in order to destroy Kronos once and for all. In this way, Luke is more "heroic" in the old sense of the terms, such as the stories of Theseus, Jason or Hercules. Just before he dies, Luke repents of his sins, and makes Percy promise to never let another war like that ever happen again. Luke selflessly pleads that Percy makes sure that all of the unclaimed demigods are finally claimed by their parents and given their own cabins. In that way, Luke is overall a fully redeemable character in the end.
Interestingly, in most of the times, he appears as the villain in Annabeth's presence. Luke tries to pull strings with his masters, so that Annabeth is unharmed or held to benefit from the outcome. As such, it is shown that he was certainly affectionate towards her.
- According to his mother May, when Luke was younger, he loved peanut butter sandwiches and Kool-Aid.
- Luke and Annabeth's relationship in the films differs from in the books. The books and the second film both show Luke and Annabeth (alongside Thalia and Grover) traveling to Camp Half-Blood as children, though in the films, they act like acquaintances rather than childhood friends as they were in the books. Though it is possible that in the films, they were close as children but grew apart when they became teenagers.
- In the second movie, Luke is similar to Professor Pericles in Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated for 2 reasons:
- He resurrects an evil and powerful villain (Kronos for Percy Jackson and the Evil Entity for Scooby-Doo)
- He is betrayed and eaten by this evil figure (although Luke is spat out after the defeat of Kronos).