Riptide is deciphered from the Greek name, Anaklusmos. It is the prized sword of Percy Jackson that is made of Celestial Bronze, a material that is only effective on gods, demigods, Titans, Giants, and monsters. It does not affect mortals, as it just passes through them harmlessly. The sword is a medium length xiphos.
Riptide was formerly owned and used by Hercules and Pleione. The sword's dormant form was originally Zoë's hair clip, which she gave to Hercules to help him fight Ladon. Riptide draws its power from the ocean, which is why it works well for ocean spirits and children of Poseidon like Percy. Hercules did not give Zoë any credit for bypassing Ladon, leaving her to face the wrath of her father and sisters alone. This betrayal was the basis for her later hatred of male demigods, and the reason why she joined the Hunters of Artemis.
Riptide is only wielded by a certain few in the series; Percy (its current owner) uses it as his main weapon; Chiron possessed it at Yancy Academy before he gave it to Percy, and Hercules used it to defeat the dragon, Ladon. Chiron also hinted that the sword has had other owners, as he claimed it had a long and tragic history.
Percy is first given Riptide to defeat the fury Alecto, who was disguised as Percy's pre-algebra teacher in his school. After the battle however, Chiron takes it back and tells Percy to bring his own writing utensil next time, trying to convince Percy into thinking the fight never happened. Then, just before Percy leaves for his quest, Chiron gives it to him, saying that the sword has "a long and tragic past." Percy has used the sword ever since against monsters and whoever else he's battled.
Percy has a dream that shows Zoë giving her hair clip, which turns into Riptide, to Hercules. Chiron tells Percy the sword has a tragic history, which includes Hercules leaving Zoë to the wrath of her family, who are Atlas' daughters and Zoë's sisters, the Hesperides. This action of Hercules led to her dislike of all male heroes. During the fight with Atlas, Riptide becomes incredibly heavy and Percy is unable to use it. He then remembers Ares' curse, that his weapon would fail him when he needed it most. Percy couldn't defend himself and instead holds up the sky to allow Artemis to fight Atlas.
Due to the line "The hero's soul, cursed blade shall reap" in the Great Prophecy, Percy thought that the mentioned blade was his own sword, due to Ares placing a curse on Riptide - to fail Percy in his time of need, which it did during his battle with Atlas. The cursed blade turned out to be Annabeth's Knife, which had been given to her by Luke. It was cursed because Luke had broken his promise and betrayed his friends.
Percy wakes up with Riptide at the Wolf House. He is said to have used it to try to kill the Gorgons, but they stayed alive. Reyna says that they used to have a few Celestial Bronze weapons in the armory at Camp Jupiter. Frank Zhang describes it as leaf-bladed with Greek writing on the hilt. For a short time upon entering New Rome, it was taken care of by Terminus, who was able to keep it from returning to Percy's pocket, but how he did so is unknown. Riptide is used as a light, both in the war games and when they first see the army heading toward Camp Jupiter. Riptide almost got frozen on Thanatos's chains until Frank helped Percy pull it free.
In The House of Hades, it is revealed that, when touching the handle of the sword with a cap, Riptide can transform into working ballpoint pen with ink glowing like Celestial Bronze.
In its dormant form, it's a disposable ballpoint pen that reads Anaklusmos on the side when not in use. Once the pen is uncapped, it transforms into its true sword form. Riptide is about 3 feet long (including the hilt) and weighs about 5 pounds with a perfect balance that Percy wields well. Riptide's blade is also said to have been shaped like a leaf in the The Son of Neptune. On the cover of The Lightning Thief, The Battle of the Labyrinth, and The Mark of Athena Riptide's hilt bends upward. In The Lightning Thief, Riptide was described as "a shimmering bronze sword with a double-edged blade, a leather-wrapped grip and a flat hilt riveted with gold studs".
Riptide is used in close combat and is perfectly balanced in its wielder's hands. Riptide can destroy monsters and hurt immortals. But, since it is made out of Celestial Bronze, it cannot hurt or kill humans, as "they aren't important enough." As a result, when accidentally or even intentionally swung at humans, the blade simply passes through them. For example, in The Titan's Curse, Percy swings Riptide at a human named Rachel Elizabeth Dare by mistake and nothing happened to her. In The Lightning Thief, Percy defends himself against a gang of youths with Riptide, simply acting on instinct, but the blade simply passes through them, which infuriates the gang leader and causes him to chase Percy, Annabeth Chase, and Grover Underwood into Crusty's Water Bed Palace.
It is almost impossible to lose as it is enchanted to appear in Percy's pocket if it is somehow lost. However, if Percy doesn't have pockets, it doesn't return, and this has led to a disadvantage, such as when Laistrygonian Giants attacked Percy in The Sea of Monsters. Also, considerable divine power can subdue the enchantment and prevent Riptide to return into Percy's pocket, as seen in The Son of Neptune, when Terminus confiscated Riptide and Percy only got it back when Terminus personally returned it to him.
Riptide is used at least twice as a throwing knife, though that was for distracting the enemy instead of being an actual attack. In the books Riptide is summoned when uncapped, and stored away by recapping it on the tip, but in the movie it is summoned when clicked open. It is unknown how Percy stows back the sword in the film, although when Persephone hands him the bolt in the Underworld, it shows a zoom-up of his sword in his hand as it retracts into pen form. This is the only time that it is shown while being transformed. Riptide also reappears back into the pocket of whoever had it last whenever lost, misplaced, or even thrown. In The House of Hades, it is revealed that, when touching the handle of the sword with a cap, Riptide can transform into working ballpoint pen with ink glowing like Celestial Bronze.
|“||Take this to defend yourself. It's a powerful weapon. Only use it in times of severe distress.||”|
Riptide appears in the film throughout the movie. After Chiron scares the Fury out of the museum, he gives Percy the pen before he and Grover leave for Camp Half-Blood. Thus, he already has it when he fights the Minotaur. The pen is a click-pen, so that you 'click' it instead of taking the cap off. Interestingly, the name 'Riptide' is never mentioned at any point in the film, nor is it's connection to Poseidon or any other aquatic figure. However, it has a blue trident inscribed into the blade, near the hilt, so it can be assumed that it has something to do with a sea deity.
- Zoë Nightshade (Original owner)
- Hercules (Given by Zoë Nightshade)
- Poseidon (He had it at an unknown time before he gave it to Chiron)
- Chiron (Given by Poseidon)
- Percy Jackson (Present owner - given by Chiron)
- Riptide was previously owned by Hercules, and it was given to him by Zoë Nightshade.
- In the books, it transforms when uncapped; the movie version transformed when clicked.
- In the Graphic Novel version of The Lightning Thief, Riptide is noticeably longer than both the books and the film. In fact, in the film, it's probably shorter than in the books, about 30 inches at most compared to the 3-foot long weapon of the books, whereas in the graphic novel, it appears to be a longsword\hand-and-a-half sword (perhaps about three and a half to four feet long) a relatively large weapon for a twelve year-old boy. This seems to have been rectified both in the more recent graphic novels and in the Sea of Monsters film.
- Percy has demonstrated, at least twice, that when stabbing the ground with Riptide he can make massive cracks similar to fissures: once when he destroyed the Williamsburg Bridge, and more recently when he destroyed the fake Roman camp in Alaska. Whether this is his power wielded through Riptide or a power of Percy's is unknown.
- Because of the Mist, Riptide has appeared to others as a baseball bat, a lacrosse stick, and even a rifle.
- If its cap is touched to the hilt of the sword, it transforms into a working pen, as shown in The House of Hades.
- Chiron would sometimes bring Riptide to class when teaching at Yancy Academy. It is unknown if Chiron dispelled the Mist so the students could see it clearly, or if the Mist doesn't affect humans while the sword is in pen form.
- In Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief, Riptide has a different appearance than that of the second film, where it seems to have a more mechanical appearance.
- In Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters, it is stated that Poseidon used Riptide to defeat Kronos.