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Adapted from The Lightning Thief, the freshman season of the series follows the 12-year-old titular protagonist (Walker Scobell) — having just discovered that he is the scion of a mortal woman (Virginia Kull) and the god Poseidon (Toby Stephens) — who sets out on a quest with his newfound best friends, Annabeth (Jeffries) and Grover Underwood (Aryan Simhadri), to save his mother from the underworld and to find Zeus’ master lightning bolt before a war breaks out on Olympus.
After having spent the last five years at Camp Half-Blood, Annabeth is particularly eager to prove her mettle — and her worth — in the human world. Jeffries reveals that there were a number of details that helped her get into character: Her playlist included Mary J. Blige and Lil’ Kim’s “I Can Love You”; her flowing, braided hair made her feel powerful like Annabeth; and she would often refer back to Annabeth’s famous New York Yankees cap, a gift from Athena that gives her daughter the power of invisibility. (She dons the hat in the second episode.)
“Annabeth is the obvious veteran in the group,” Rick Riordan says. “She is the one that knows the most, has the plans, has always been in charge. She is bringing a kind of leadership quality to the trio that is critical but also chafes a little on the boys. She can come across to them as ‘Well, who made you the leader?’ She and Percy grow to respect one another and become good friends, which is tough for a boy and a girl who are 12. There’s going to be a lot of friction and awkwardness there.”
Jeffries is well-aware that longtime Percy Jackson fans have been clamoring for the development of Percy and Annabeth’s relationship, which has remained a cornerstone of Riordan’s novels. They meet for the first time in the second episode at Camp Half-Blood, a demigod training ground, where Annabeth recognizes that Percy is her ticket to the quest on which she has always wanted to embark.
“When Annabeth sees Percy, there’s a certain difference in her body, in her mind, in her eyes, and how she says things. Percy’s thinking, Why does she keep watching over me? Does she ever talk? Why is she just so stubborn? This girl must be crazy. Annabeth knew that Percy was going to be the one, even though Percy does not see that,” Jeffries explains. While she trains him to survive in the mythological world, Percy helps Annabeth reconnect with her humanity. “She’s very straightforward, and Percy’s more on the goofy side and not taking it seriously, but that’s what really builds [their relationship].”