|“||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 the son of the Greek god Hermes in the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series. He holds a grudge against the gods, and is trying to awaken the Titan Kronos (a.k.a. Cronus) to destroy the Olympian gods. He wields a sword called Backbiter. He is one of the main antagonists of the series.
Before the Series
Much of Luke's early life is unknown, but that he was born 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 but 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 he ran away from when he was nine. Later two important events occurred that developed his character, and his hatred for the gods. After finding out he was a demigod (half-god, half-mortal), he journeyed at the age of fourteen with three of the eventual protagonists, Annabeth Chase a daughter of Athena, Thalia Grace a daughter of Zeus and Grover Underwood a satyr to find Camp Half-Blood, a safe-haven for demigods. However, when they were almost there, they were attacked by monsters sent by Hades, and Thalia sacrificed herself to rescue her friends. Zeus, took pity on her and turned her into a pine tree to keep her from dying. About three years later, Luke now seventeen 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, he began to plot against the gods.
The Lightning Thief
Luke serves as the hidden but true main antagonist in The Lightning Thief.
When Percy Jackson, the son of Poseidon, arrives at Camp Half-Blood, a now nineteen year old Luke pretends to be his friend and is successful in earning 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. 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 blot 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 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. 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, 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 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 Luke 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 wouldn't disintegrate as Kronos entered his body. In order to confront him, Percy, with the assistance of 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 kills 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 he asks Percy not to let the unclaimed demigods be forgotten again.
Initially, Luke was quite terrified by his mother's crazy antics, which prompted him to run away from home at the age of nine. Luke began to feel angry at the Olympians ever since Hermes abandoned his mother (which is how Luke saw it), and didn't answer to his prayers. Luke, however, 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 abandoningThalia, 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 couldn't 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 three years later, after Luke failed on his quest to retrieve a golden apple from the Garden of the Hesperides. Luke, however, saw this quest as unoriginal, and saw "no glory in repeating what others had done." He felt so miserable and furious 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 very deceitful and convincing, 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, 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 new found 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 intensely callous and sadistic, 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 him to run away from 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, showing that he had a certain affection towards her.
- Although Hades was presented as the main antagonist in The Lightning Thief, Luke turns out to be the true main villain because he had bigger plans than anyone else. In the sequel, Luke was in a Big Bad Ensemble with Kronos, but after resurrecting the latter, he was ultimately killed off, leaving Kronos as the final boss.