Recently on Twitter I mentioned a deleted scene from The Last Olympian, in which Percy Jackson comes across his old nemesis Nancy Bobofit, the mortal girl who bullied him in The Lightning Thief. The scene was cut from the book for the sake of keeping the narrative moving, but I've always liked it. This week I spoke with Publisher's Weekly about how I decide which characters to highlight and sideline in each book. As an extension of that interview, the deleted Nancy Bobofit scene is featured below.
Percy, Thalia, Annabeth and Grover are heading to Central Park to fight the Titans when they run across a group of unconscious mortals. As you may recall, the god Morpheus put all the mortals in Manhattan to sleep before Kronos' army attacked the city:
The lights of the city were blinking on. I guess they were on automatic timers. The streetlamps in the park glowed, making the lanes and the trees look spooky – like we needed any more spookiness.
Thalia stopped and tensed, like she was catching a scent. “I’ll be back. Need to check the Hunters on the right flank.”
Her bow appeared in her hands and she disappeared into the trees.
We stepped over bodies of sleeping New Yorkers, moving them to safety when we could. We were just coming to a stone bridge on the northern side of the park when we came across a dozen kids, all slumped next to a pretzel stand, like they’d been lined up to buy snacks.
Grover yelped. “Percy . . . look.”
He crouched next to a girl with orange hair and freckles. She reminded me a little of Clarisse, because she was a big girl, like she was built for tackle football.
And then my eyes widened. “Oh my gods. It’s . . . Nancy?”
I hadn’t seen her in four years, but I still recognized her. Nancy Bobofit, a bully who’d made my life miserable in sixth grade. Grover and I had been at Yancy Academy, and she would pick on us mercilessly. She’d been around the first day I suspected that I was a demigod.
“Who’s Nancy?” Annabeth asked.
“A girl we used to know,” Grover muttered. “Not a very nice girl.”
I looked at the other sleeping kids. Some I’d never seen, but a few looked familiar.
“This is our class from Yancy,” I said. “They must’ve been on the summer trip.”
“Yeah,” Grover said. He pointed to a lady in a flowery dress. “Here’s Mrs. Watt. She always chaperoned the summer New York trip. If we’d stayed at Yancy . . .”
He didn’t finish the thought. We both knew that was impossible. We didn’t live normal lives. We never would’ve made it through middle school without monsters destroying us or the school or both. Still, it was strange looking at my former classmates. I never went backward. Once I left a school, I always tried to leave it behind for good. Besides, the memories were usually bad. But looking at the kids who’d kept going, even stupid old Nancy Bobofit, I felt a wave of sadness wash over me.
“They’re right in the path of the battle,” Grover said, and he looked at me to see what I’d suggest.
“We have to move them,” I said. “Under the bridge, maybe. They’ll be safer.”
“After all she did to us,” Grover mused, “it kind of serves her right to be stomped by a titan army.”
“But we can’t.”
He sighed. “Yeah. You’re right. Maybe . . . draw a moustache on her, at least?”
Four years ago, it would’ve been tempting. Now, I realized that I didn’t hate Nancy anymore. I was a different person. She was a mortal in the path of danger – we were the only thing between her and destruction.
“No moustaches,” I said. “Annabeth, give me a hand?”
She was studying me carefully, trying to read my thoughts, but she didn’t say anything. She just helped me drag the school group to safety.