Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning Thief

by Rick Riordan

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Summarize chapters 20 and 21 of Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning Thief.

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The coast guard picks up Percy, Annabeth, and Grover in the middle of the bay, where the bubbles that had transported them from the Underworld had just dropped them off. When they arrive on Santa Monica beach, they walk for miles and talk about what had just happened. Percy and Annabeth realize that the prophecy was talking about Ares, not Hades, when it mentions "the god who has turned." Percy also realizes that it is not Hades who has stolen the bolt and framed him: it must be Ares. He wanted a war so badly that he stole the bolt, Hades's helm, and framed Percy for the crime.

Up ahead, they see Ares waiting for them on his motorcycle. Percy confronts him about what has happened, but Ares contends that he did not steal the bolt himself: he used someone else. Solidifying Percy's suspicions, he then pulls out the helm of darkness and brandishes it. He also reveals his real plan. Percy was supposed to die in order to anger Poseidon, Zeus was supposed to get angry at Hades for having the bolt, all while Hades searches for his helm. If the plan had worked perfectly, there would surely be a war among the gods. Ares had even enchanted the backpack he gave Percy in Denver to ensure the master bolt would always find its way back to him.

Percy believes that Ares was simply dispatched by Zeus to find the thief who stole the bolt, and Ares did find them, but he let them go in order to set a war into motion. He then accuses Ares of taking orders from the voice in Tartarus, which enrages Ares. He sets a wild boar on Percy, but Percy fights back, cutting off its horn and making the waves drag it out to sea.

The battle between Percy and Ares begins, with Percy relying on his sea powers. Ares tries to keep Percy away from the water. People start to gather, but instead of seeing a demigod and a god battling, they see a tough guy and a teenager having a shootout. Police begin to swarm as Percy backs into the sea, manipulating the surf. He sends a massive wave to crash onto Ares, and then stabs him in the ankle with Riptide. Ares curses and leaves, leaving the helm on the beach. The Furies, who have watched the entire fight, arrive and realize that Percy is not the thief.

Percy gives the Furies the helm and asks them to return it to Hades. Percy, Annabeth, and Grover celebrate, but then realize they'll have to fly back to New York to make it to Olympus before the deadline, which means they'll be smack in the middle of Zeus's territory: the sky.

In Chapter 21, Percy is no longer a criminal; America believes he is a kidnapped child who was forced to travel across the country with his captor. Reporters feel sorry for him and gather money to buy Percy and his friends plane tickets home. The plane ride is terrifying; Zeus is definitely mad about Percy being on his turf.

Back in New York, Annabeth and Grover head to Camp Half-Blood to tell Chiron what has happened. Percy, on the other hand, heads to the Empire State Building to deliver the master bolt back to Zeus. He rides up to the 600th floor and makes his way to Mount Olympus, nestled in a very real and beautiful ancient Greek city. Percy enters the palace on Mount Olympus and finds a throne room, where he sees Zeus and Poseidon.

Zeus is wearing a pinstriped suit and sits on a platinum throne, while Poseidon wears a Hawaiian shirt, Bermuda shorts, sandals, and sits on a fisherman's throne. Percy greets his father first and then tells Zeus the whole story as he gives him the master bolt. He also brings up the voice in the pit, but Zeus dismisses the conversation quickly. Still, Zeus says he'll spare Percy's life, hesitantly thanks him, but tells him to never fly in his territory again.

Poseidon shrinks to human size to talk to Percy and explains that Kronos is in the pit in Tartarus. Kronos is not only the king of the Titans, but also Zeus and Poseidon's father. Zeus had cut him into a thousand pieces and banished him to the pit. Percy believes that Kronos wants to rise again, but Poseidon reminds Percy that Zeus has closed that discussion. He then tells him to go to his mother, who has been returned by Hades since the helm of darkness was returned to the Underworld.

At Percy's apartment, Sally is back, but Gabe is still there. Sally does not remember anything after the battle with the Minotaur. Percy and Gabe get into a huge fight, but Sally still defends him. Percy storms into his bedroom and finds a package on his bed containing the head of Medusa, which Percy realizes the gods gave him so he can use it to turn Gabe to stone. He leaves the package with Sally and heads to Camp Half-Blood. He decides, by the end of the summer, to make a definitive choice about whether he's going to stay at Camp Half-Blood forever or return home.

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