The Rules: Everything has rules, and our recurring Hero Swap articles are no different.
1. The Rule of One. Only one character can be swapped out per movie.
2. Main Street Rules. The main character is the one to be swapped out.
3. The Main Character from One Thing Can’t be Added as a Supporting Character in the Other.
4. All of These Rules Will Be Broken Eventually.
So the basic premise of this series is based on an idea I’ve had for a while about how movies or books would be different if the main character was replaced by the main character of a different movie or book. I would like to note that the YouTube channel How It Should Have Ended does something similar, but I had the idea first, and this is a little more serious, and that this version is partially inspired by Shea Serrano’s Better Same Worse: Movies But With the Rock Instead, from his illustrated Basketball (and Other Things) newsletter.
Hero Swap: Percy Jackson and Artemis Fowl
In this, the third edition of the critically acclaimed (but not really) Hero Swap series, I’m examining what the results would be if the heroes of my two childhood favorites switched places. These are easily the least recognizable of the heroes that I’ve swapped so far, so here’s a quick crash course in what each brings to the table. Percy Jackson in a demigod (like the ancient Greek myths) son of Poseidon, who is beginning to realize his powers throughout the course of the book. He goes on a quest (with his friend Grover, and eventual friend Annabeth) to save Zeus’ lightning Bolt from Hades to prevent a war between the Gods, but really to save his mother who Hades is holding prisoner. Artemis Fowl is an Irish Millionaire evil genius. He along with his best friend/mentor/bodyguard Butler, kidnap a fairy (more on this later) in order to hold it for ransom in order to restore his families fortune, which has taken a hit since his father’s disappearance in Russia, but really to save his father who he believes to be alive.
Which Versions Are Being Swapped?
The brief summaries above kind of gave this away for anyone familiar with the series’. I’m swapping out the 12 year old Percy Jackson from the first Percy Jackson book The Lightning Thief, and the also 12 year old Artemis Fowl from the first Artemis Fowl book Artemis Fowl. In a new twist however, and in violation of rule number one, two characters from each book are being swapped. So, Percy is joined by Annabeth Chase, the 12 year old daughter of Athena, and Artemis is joined by his nearly 7 feet tall bodyguard Butler. This rule breaking will be absolutely crucial going forward.
Which Character(s) Fare Better?
So for this category, a slightly more complex summary of both novels are probably necessary.
In The Lightning Thief Percy is a 12 year old student at a boarding school in upstate New York who spends the year protecting his crippled friend Grover from bullies. During a field trip he is attacked by a Fury (one of Hades’ minions) disguised as a teacher, and is aided by another teacher Mr. Brunner. After the attack Grover and the teacher act like nothing happened, and none of the other students know of the teacher that attacked him. As the story progresses, Percy kills the Minotaur with his bare hands (and it’s horn), is attacked by a hellhound and other monsters. With the help of Grover (revealed to be a satyr), Mr. Brunner (revealed to be the centaur Chiron) and Annabeth a precocious strategist/myth encyclopedia/fighter, he goes on a quest to the Underworld to retrieve Zeus’ stolen lightning bolt, and prevent a war amongst the gods, and save Percy’s mom. The trio become great friends and overcome a betrayal by a senior mentor at the camp for heroes. They are ultimately
successful in their quest.
Annabeth, Percy and Grover from the horribly, terribly, bad movies
In Artemis Fowl Artemis is a 12 year old evil genius who has concocted a plot to kidnap a fairy to hold for ransom from it’s people. In this world fairy’s aren’t like the ones from our stories, they are a race of magical beings, with technology that is decades ahead of ours. Artemis steals a copy of their Bible (which literally has all of their secrets) and translates it to aid his nefarious plans. His mother is driven mad by the disappearance of his father, and so he has been more or less raised by his bodyguard Butler, one of the deadliest men alive. Together (with some help from Butler’s sister Juliet) they kidnap Holly Short the first female in the history of the elite fairy police force the LEPrecon Unit. As the fairies attempt to save her they freeze time on the Fowl Manor, send their Commander to negotiate, send an elite squad of their soldiers (who are easily dispatched by Butler) send a criminally inclined dwarf to break in and run recognizance, send in a troll (a huge beast he size of an elephant but with the speed and grace of a gorilla) (which kills Butler until he is saved by Holly’s magic, and then is utterly destroyed by the healed Butler, which when you read it is very impressive) and finally they send in a bomb that kills all living things in the Manor (which Artemis and his associates escape from). During this time Holly is able to negotiate half the ransom money back in order for curing Artemis’ mother’s insanity. Artemis and Butler are ultimately successful in their goals, and Holly shows off her chops as a hero.
From Left to Right Artemis, Holly and Butler, from the goofy Graphic Novel
So, which character(s) fare better? I’d have to say Artemis and Butler. Artemis is a genius and would be able to figure out the real plan underway in The Lightning Thief and the best way to proceed. Butler is far more capable than a trio of twelve year olds, and has proven successful in competing against magic.
Meanwhile, Percy isn’t stupid, but he isn’t super smart by any means, and Annabeth is certainly very precocious, but she simply isn’t on Artemis’ level, especially not as far as nefarious scheming. Secondly, Percy is supremely powerful, so he’d be able to defeat the troll, and he’d probably even hold his own agains the fairy elite squadron, but he isn’t on Butler’s level and would succumb to them eventually. This is particularly true because Percy isn’t nearly as powerful in this book as he is later on in the series. Also, the technological differences between the fairies and Percy and his allies would be far more disastrous than it was for Artemis.
Which Book is Changed More?
Both books are changed substantially after the swap. Artemis is a bad guy, and Percy is a hero. That means that the plots of both books would have to be altered to account for this. However, Artemis Fowl (which I guess would be called Percy Jackson) is changed significantly more than The Lightning Thief.
Artemis and Butler would likely undergo a similar quest to Percy and Annabeth. The main differences would be that Artemis would definitely demand some sort of payment for his help in tracking down the missing lightning bolt, but all in all he would be able to easily accomplish what Percy and Annabeth do, so the book wouldn’t change much at all.
Since Percy is a hero, he wouldn’t be in the business of kidnapping anything at all. If he were it would be in order to save something or someone else, and the thing being kidnapped would probably be evil. So that’s a massive difference. In addition, as mentioned above Percy and Annabeth wouldn’t be able to succeed in doing what Artemis and Butler do in their adventures, which is another massive difference. So the whole plot of Artemis Fowl would have to be completely changed, while The Lightning Thief would only experience minor, cosmetic changes.
Which Book is Better After the Swap?
These books both hold a special place in my heart, so if you asked me this about the real versions, it’d be like asking a parent who their favorite child is. However, it’s pretty obvious that The Lightning Thief is the vastly superior book after the characters are swapped. Artemis Fowl is a totally different book, and that unknown makes this decision super easy. It is possible that the Percy Jackson helmed addition of Artemis Fowl could be better than the Lightning Thief, but based on the facts currently available to me, I can’t in good faith make that call.
So, that concludes this edition of Hero Swap. Feel free to let me know who you wanna see swapped next.