In Percy Jackson: The Lightning Thief, Team Percy is lured into the Lotus Casino and never wants to leave due to the effects of the "drugs" in the lotus flower snacks. When they finally escape, only a few hours seemed to pass for them when, in fact, it had been five days.

In the casino, Percy runs into a dude playing a pinball game who thinks it's still 1971. Assuming he was at least 21 yrs old when he entered the casino in 1971, he would've been at least 60 years old in 2010, if not older. Yet the guy appears to still be in his 20s. Why doesn't he seem to age or why doesn't neither Percy or Grover show 5 days worth of facial stubble?

  • 2
    This mainly comes down to magic. – Adamant Oct 7 '16 at 8:23

In a word, magic

The Lotus Casino is based on the Isle of the Lotus-Eaters from the Odyssey. As such, its main effect is to render those who stay there in an altered state of consciousness and unwilling to leave:

Nine whole days
I was borne along by rough, deadly winds
on the fish-infested sea. Then on the tenth
our squadron reached the land of the Lotus-eaters,
people who eat the lotus, mellow fruit and flower.
We disembarked on the coast, drew water there
and crewmen snatched a meal by the swift ships.
Once we’d had our fill of food and drink I sent
a detail ahead, two picked men and a third, a runner,
to scout out who might live there—men like us perhaps,
who live on bread? So off they went and soon enough
they mingled among the natives, Lotus-eaters, Lotus-eaters
who had no notion of killing my companions, not at all,
they simply gave them the lotus to taste instead …
Any crewmen who ate the lotus, the honey-sweet fruit,
lost all desire to send a message back, much less return,
their only wish to linger there with the Lotus-eaters,
grazing on lotus, all memory of the journey home
dissolved forever.

The Odyssey

However, the Lotus Casino also has the power to slow or arrest the passage of time (or at least its effects), not merely its perception, to some extent. The person who had been there since the 70s didn’t merely look like he’d just stepped out of the 70s for comedic effect: he had not aged since he entered the building.

“This place is a trap.”

She didn’t respond until I shook her again. “What?”

“Listen. The Underworld. Our quest!”

“Oh, come on, Percy. Just a few more minutes.”

“Annabeth, there are people here from 1977. Kids who have never aged. You check in, and you stay forever.”

The Lightning Thief

In fact, a major plot point in The Titan’s Curse concerns some demigods who were sent to the Lotus Casino, and who had not aged at all since the 30s.

“Bianca,” I said. “That hotel you stayed at. Was it possibly called the Lotus Hotel and Casino?” Her eyes widened.

“How could you know that?”

“Oh, great,” I said.

“Wait,” Thalia said. “What is the Lotus Casino?”

“A couple of years ago,” I said, “Grover, Annabeth, and I got trapped there. It’s designed so you never want to leave. We stayed for about an hour. When we came out, five days had passed. It makes time speed up.

The Titan’s Curse

This is all rendered a little confusing in the film, since the emphasis appears to be on the lotus-flower snacks (as in the Odyssey), which are missing from the original book. Nonetheless, it is clear that the power of the casino to slow the passage of time is still at work.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.