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I was weary and sore and felt like I’d aged a few decades. But those mental pictures also lingered . . . the images of growing older with the people I loved, with my best friends. And that made me feel like I could handle the aches and pains. Percy. Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Chalice of the Gods

The Chalice of the Gods

Percy Jackson and the Olympians #6

by Rick Riordan

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Rick Riordan’s newest installment in the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series follows Percy as he navigates applying to college — a college for demigods of course. Percy is a demigod child of Poseidon, which makes him “a child of one of the Big Three” — Zeus, Poseidon, and Hades. These three gods were not supposed to “sire any more demigod children.” This means Percy has a “debt . . . for existing” and the Olympian Council of Gods wants Percy to work off this “debt” before he can attend the demigod university, New Rome University. How can he do this? Well, Percy finds out that he needs “three [recommendation letters]. From three different gods.” Percy is frustrated, saying, “I have to do new quests, don’t I?”  

Percy’s first quest for the “divine recommendation letters,” is to help Ganymede, the “cupbearer of the gods,” find his missing chalice. Even though Percy’s quest to find Ganymede’s godly chalice is the ostensible plotline of the book, the novel explores the themes of changing friendship dynamics through the characters of Percy, his girlfriend Annabeth, and his best friend Grover. As Percy and Annabeth begin applying to New Rome University, Grover realizes that he feels left behind. Grover explains to Percy, “I’m worried about you and Annabeth leaving me next summer.” On top of this, Percy discovers that his mom is having a baby, and Percy will be leaving for college soon after his sibling is born. Percy is excited for his mom and stepdad, but he describes, “I was thrilled for mom and Paul . . . But also, it made my own departure seem even more real. I would be leaving just as Mom and Paul were starting a new chapter. I wasn’t sure how I felt about that. . . ”  

Percy ultimately decides that he is ready for this next chapter of his life and that leaving for university does not necessarily mean he won’t be able to stay connected with his family and friends back home. Percy reassures Grover that he intends to always keep his best friend in his life. Percy explains to Grover about his dream of growing old: “I told him about the daydream that got me through the wrestling match — of Annabeth and me and him, dozing in the sunshine at a cottage on the seashore.” Percy realizes that, as Annabeth says, “[You’re] never alone . . . We’ll always be here to help you,” even when he ultimately goes away for school. Though Percy is applying to a college specifically for demigods, many readers, especially those in high school, will be able to relate to Percy as he worries about his relationship with his family and friends changing when he goes away for college.  

Overall, The Chalice of the Gods will thrill fans of the original Olympians series, but could also be read alone without confusion. Riordan explains the references to Percy’s previous adventures in a way that allows The Chalice of the Gods to make sense to new readers. For example, Percy references earlier books as he explains how his relationship with his demigod powers has changed. Percy says, “Back when I was ten or eleven, things just happened, and I didn’t understand why. Fountains would come alive. Toilets would explode . . . As I’ve grown older, I’ve learned to control my powers, more or less.” 

The Chalice of the Gods emphasizes the importance of acceptance of life’s changes. For instance, Percy and his friends confront Geras, the god of old age, and in order to get back the chalice, Geras tells Percy he must defeat him. Instead of fighting back against Geras, Percy is able to end the battle by hugging Geras instead, explaining, “Getting old might be scary and difficult. It involved things I didn’t want to think about, like arthritis varicose veins, and hearing aids. But if you grew old with people you loved, wasn’t that better than the alternative?” 

Sexual Content 

  • After successfully escaping a dangerous river, Percy kisses Annabeth. Percy explains, “I tried to give [Annabeth] a kiss, but it was difficult, because she started laughing . . . She kissed me back. ‘I love you, too, Seaweed Brain.’” 
  • After Percy obtains the Chalice from Geras, the god of old age, Annabeth “marched up and kissed [Percy].” 
  • At the brunch for the gods at Mount Olympus, Zeus comments while watching Ganymede distribute food and beverages, “I do love watching [Ganymede] walk away . . . ” Hera, a goddess and Zeus’ wife, exclaims, “Could you not at the brunch table?” 


  • Percy explains that demigods under eighteen can’t use cellphones because “they attract monsters” who then “show up and eat them.” 
  • Percy sneaks into a river belonging to the river god Elisson and is nearly drowned by the angry god for swimming in his sacred river without permission. Percy explains, “there’s a river god tossing me around at the bottom of his grotto, flushing gunk through my nostrils and mouth, it’s like trying to breathe in a sandstorm. I was blind and disoriented, slamming into rocks, unable to concentrate.” Percy is able to escape by causing the river to shoot him out like a geyser.  
  • Geras, the god of old age and the god who has stolen the chalice, tells Percy that he must “defeat [Geras] in wrestling” or be turned into “a pile of powdered bone.” Percy escapes this fate by embracing Geras and surprising the god.  
  • During the battle, Geras punches Percy. “With his free hand, he punched me in the ribs . . . At least he wasn’t smashing my face into the pavement yet.”

Drugs and Alcohol 

  • Percy’s mom explains, “Why I’m not drinking [wine] tonight.” Then, she reveals that she is pregnant. 


  • Occasionally, characters exclaim, “Oh, my gods.” 


  • The ancient Greek gods, heroes, and monsters are all real.  
  • Percy meets the new guidance counselor at his school and realizes she is actually a sea spirit called a nereid. Percy says, “I studied her more closely. Her curled hair was in fact a bed of oysters. Her dress shimmered like a jellyfish membrane.” 
  • Percy explains what is known as “the Mist.” He describes, “It’s weird how the Mist works. Even for demigods who see supernatural stuff all the time, you have to concentrate to pierce the barrier between the human world and the godly one. Otherwise, the Mist kind of just plasters over what you see, making ogres look like pedestrians or a giant drakon look like the N train.” 
  • Percy’s quest is to find a stolen chalice belonging to Ganymede, the cup bearer to the gods. Ganymede explains that the cup cannot fall into the wrong hands because “the goblet makes drinks taste good to the gods. But if a mortal got hold of it . . . one sip from it would grant them immortality.” 
  • Percy and Annabeth communicate through Iris-messages as opposed to using cellphones. Percy explains, “You shine a light through the water vapor to make yourself a rainbow. You throw a coin into it, say a prayer, and voila — you’ve got a shimmering Annabeth sitting next to you.” 
  • Percy uses his demigod abilities as the son of Poseidon. For example, Percy explains how he blasts himself out of a river god’s dangerous river. “My tidal wave had swept the cliff walls right up to Annabeth’s feet, leaving the rock sparkling clean . . . I had apparently given the River Elisson my super-deluxe Poseidon Wash package.”  
  • Percy uses a magical staff from the goddess Iris to fly. Percy explains that the staff can fly him to deliver a message. “Just before the staff had started pulling me upward, I’d been thinking how much I wanted to tell Annabeth I loved her. That was the message.” Percy describes flying via the magical staff: “I wasn’t just flying inside of the rainbow . . . I was becoming part of it, which sounds a lot cooler than it felt. All the molecules in my body dissolved into energy.” 

Spiritual Content 

  • There are references to the gods and goddesses of Greek mythology throughout the book.  
Other books by Rick Riordan
Other books you may enjoy

I was weary and sore and felt like I’d aged a few decades. But those mental pictures also lingered . . . the images of growing older with the people I loved, with my best friends. And that made me feel like I could handle the aches and pains. Percy. Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Chalice of the Gods

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