We like to think of Don as the Rick Riordan character most likely to go to summer outdoor music festivals. But that’s only if he can score free tickets by pretending to be a roadie. The way he’s always asking for spare change, we can’t imagine he’d splurge on face value. As he proved in The Tyrant’s Tomb, however, there’s more to this faun than his free-spirit image would suggest.
Having been off the Riordan radar for some time, Don reappeared with lollygagging charm intact, teaming up with Lavinia Asimov in the forest after Apollo and Meg crashed their hearse into a nature spirit gathering. They bickered adorably about so many things—from Lavinia’s dryad romantic interest, Poison Oak, to whether or not Don should flee the ghoul-infested scene. Thankfully she grabbed his wrist before he could join his fellow departing fauna.
Not Just Comic Relief
From that point on, Don proved to be so much more than just a twitchy goateed hippie who overused the word “dude.” While he certainly wasn’t a natural choice as Jason’s pallbearer, he took on this sober task with minimal grousing. And let’s not forget he’s responsible for reuniting Meg at the People’s Park dryad sit-in with our favorite one-word uttering karpos, Peaches. We definitely saw a more sensitive side of Don at that event, tearing up at Apollo’s singing “The Fall of Jason Grace.” Who can blame him for getting into his feelings? Jason was gone. The natural world was going up in flames. It was a heavy time for fauna.
His Heroic End
Don showed exceptional resolve in the end, rallying Peaches and the Nereids to attack the imperial yachts and suffering major burns from the event. Apollo was with him when he met his tragic end, along with dryads, fauns, and Pranjal the healer offering soothing Jarritos cherry soda for the pain. Although his death was truly devastating, this laid-back slacker died a hero. As his remains crumbled into the soil, the sapling of a laurel tree, the tree of victory, emerged. Apollo asked the assembled dryads to make it grow tall and healthy in Don’s honor.
Don reflects the best of nature spirits—humor, playfulness, sensitivity, courage. We admire his respect and concern for the natural world, and we hope to handle adversity with such commitment and resourcefulness.
Stopping short, of course, of dabbing our tears with a discarded burrito wrapper. But never mind…