In the fourth book of The Heroes of Olympus entitled “House of Hades”, Nico di Angelo, the son of Hades came out of the closet (well, more like been forcefully kicked out of the closet). The readers and the fans were quite shocked and have mixed reactions regarding this revelation.
Some of them who hate Nico for being a bag of teen-aged angst just hated him more while many decided to cut the boy some slack for it is quite understandable. Nico lived during the 1940s, a time in which the LGBT were seen as an abominations or people with mental illnesses.
But let’s not get side tracked, on with the revelation! No one really saw it coming, most of the fans believed that Nico has a crush on Annabeth that’s why he seemed to be kinda pissy when Percy interacts with her. And then page 292-293 came up in which Cupid bullied Nico into revealing the person he likes in front of Jason.
’Tell him, Nico di Angelo’, Cupid said. ‘Tell him you are a coward, afraid of yourself and your feelings. Tell him the real reason you ran from Camp Half-Blood, and why you are always alone.’
‘Will you hide among the dead, as you always do?’ Cupid taunted.
I was like: “Meh, Y u so worked up, we know u liked Annabeth.”
Waves of darkness rolled off the son of Hades. When they hit Jason, he almost lost consciousness – overwhelmed by hatred and fear and shame …
Images flashed through his mind. He saw Nico and his sister on a snowy cliff in Maine, Percy Jackson protecting them from a manticore. Percy’s sword gleamed in the dark. He’d been the first demigod Nico had ever seen in action.
Later, at Camp Half-Blood, Percy took Nico by the arm, promising to keep his sister Bianca safe.
Nico had believed him. Nico had looked into his sea-green eyes and thought, How can he possibly fail? This is a real hero. He was Nico’s favourite game, Mythomagic, brought to life.
Jason saw the moment when Percy returned and told Nico that Bianca was dead. Nico had screamed and called him a liar. He’d felt betrayed, but still … when the skeleton warriors attacked, he couldn’t
let them harm Percy. Nico had called on the earth to swallow them up, and then he’d run away – terrified of his own powers, and his own emotions.
Jason saw a dozen more scenes like this from Nico’s point of view … And they left him stunned, unable to move or speak.
‘I left Camp Half-Blood because of love,’ Nico said. ‘Annabeth … she –’
‘Still hiding’, Cupid said, smashing another skeleton to pieces. ‘You do not have the strength’.
‘Nico,’ Jason managed to say, ‘it’s okay. I get it.’
Nico glanced over, pain and misery washing across his face.
‘No, you don’t,’ he said. ‘There’s no way you can understand.’
‘And so you run away again’, Cupid chided. ‘From your friends, from yourself’.
‘I don’t have friends!’ Nico yelled. ‘I left Camp Half-Blood because I don’t belong! I’ll never belong!’
The story of Psyche finally made sense to him – why a mortal girl would be so afraid. Why she would risk breaking the rules to look the god of love in the face, because she feared he might be a monster.
Psyche had been right. Cupid was a monster. Love was the most savage monster of all.
Nico’s voice was like broken glass. ‘I – I wasn’t in love with Annabeth.’
‘You were jealous of her,’ Jason said. ‘That’s why you didn’t want to be around her. Especially why you didn’t want to be around … him. It makes total sense.’
‘I hated myself,’ Nico said. ‘I hated Percy Jackson.’
Cupid became visible – a lean, muscular young man with snowy white wings, straight black hair, a simple white frock and jeans. The bow and quiver slung over his shoulder were no toys – they were
weapons of war. His eyes were as red as blood, as if every valentine in the world had been squeezed dry, distilled into one poisonous mixture. His face was handsome, but also harsh – as difficult to look
at as a spotlight. He watched Nico with satisfaction, as if he’d identified the exact spot for his next arrow to make a clean kill.
‘I had a crush on Percy,’ Nico spat. ‘That’s the truth. That’s the big secret.’
He glared at Cupid. ‘Happy now?’
For the first time, Cupid’s gaze seemed sympathetic. ‘Oh, I wouldn’t say Love always makes you happy.’ His voice sounded smaller, much more human. ‘Sometimes it makes you incredibly sad. But
at least you’ve faced it now. That’s the only way to conquer me.’
Cupid dissolved into the wind.
So everyone (me included) just popped my eye sockets out of shock when the realization hit my head like a warship in full-burn. And now here is the tear jerker part for me:
‘Nico knelt and picked it up. He regarded Jason, as if waiting for an attack. ‘If the others found out –’
‘If the others found out,’ Jason said, ‘you’d have that many more people to back you up and to unleash the fury of the gods on anybody who gives you trouble.’
Nico scowled. Jason still felt the resentment and anger rippling off him.
‘But it’s your call,’ Jason added. ‘Your decision to share or not. I can only tell you –’
‘I don’t feel that way any more,’ Nico muttered. ‘I mean … I gave up on Percy. I was young and impressionable, and I – I don’t …’
His voice cracked, and Jason could tell the guy was about to get teary-eyed. Whether Nico had really given up on Percy or not, Jason couldn’t imagine what it had been like for Nico all those years,
keeping a secret that would’ve been unthinkable to share in the 1940s, denying who he was, feeling completely alone – even more isolated than other demigods.
‘Nico,’ he said gently, ‘I’ve seen a lot of brave things. But what you just did? That was maybe the bravest.’
Nico looked up uncertainly. ‘We should get back to the ship.’
‘Yeah. I can fly us –’
‘No,’ Nico announced. ‘This time we’re shadow-travelling. I’ve had enough of the winds for a while.’
So that was it. Nico is in love with Percy. And big brownie points for Jason who did not freaked out on Nico. Personally I think if Nico didn’t end up with Percy which is kinda unlikely because Percy is the big damn hero who has hots for Annabeth and kinda can’t be gay; but then again maybe Ricky might surprise us, The world is changing. I mean Korra and Asami got together right? And Korra was like the big damn hero there. So I am still hoping for Nico, but if all else fails I just wish he just end up being with Jason because just because you are a gay fictional character in children’s books it doesn’t mean you gotta follow the path of Dumbledore who ended up being celibate.
“Nico’s sexual orientation became clear to me the longer I wrote about his character. It was not something I planned. I had no agenda. But when I realized this was a major part of his life experience and the reason for so many of his difficulties with the other characters, it would have been a disservice to his character, the plot of the books, and all my readers simply to sweep the issue under the rug and pretend it didn’t exist. Turning a blind eye to children’s needs is never an acceptable answer.”
– Rick Riordan
(Source: FAQ from Rick Riordan Website http://www.rickriordan.com/about-rick/faq.aspx)
PS: This is just an excerpt. You can read his whole statement if you would click the link and find the “Q: How did you decide on Nico’s character on House of Hades”.
J.K Rowling and Rick Riordan, two authors whose works I would definitely make my future kids and grandkids read. Personally I think that children at a young age be taught that being gay is normal and is not something to be ashamed of, be taught to be open minded and less bigoted and prejudiced. But that’s just me. What about you? Well, what do you think?
Contributor: Yves Pagcaliwagan
Follow him! @yvespagcaliwgan