Study Guide

The Lightning Thief Chapter 2

By Rick Riordan

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"Three Old Ladies Knit the Socks of Death"

  • For the rest of the school year, nobody in Percy's class knows who Mrs. Dodds is. Percy feels like everyone is playing a trick on him.
  • Percy's grades get worse and worse, and he can't control his anger in class.
  • When summer approaches, he learns that he won't be invited back to Yancy Academy for his seventh grade year.
  • While he's excited to go home and see his mom, Percy knows he's going to miss certain aspects of Yancy. He's going to miss Mr. Brunner and Grover, and the pretty countryside around the campus.
  • Finals are here, and Percy knows it's not going to be pretty. He's been failing his classes, and so taking these exams won't be fun.
  • Percy decides that he really wants to do well in Latin class, so that Mr. Brunner won't think he is such a slacker or a dummy.
  • But studying for his Latin exam is terrible – Percy can't remember any of the names of the Greek gods or goddesses. He gets really frustrated with himself.
  • He decides to go ask Mr. Brunner for some last-minute help the night before his exam.
  • As he approaches Mr. Brunner's office, he overhears Grover talking to Mr. Brunner about Percy.
  • Percy can't help but eavesdrop.
  • Grover says things like, "But he may not have time. The summer solstice deadline–" (2.30). Mr. Brunner says things like, "the Mist over the students and staff will be enough to convince him" that he never saw or knew Mrs. Dodds (2.34).
  • Mr. Brunner says they just have to worry about keeping Percy alive until next fall.
  • Percy drops his textbook when he hears this, and Mr. Brunner and Grover go silent, listening.
  • Percy runs down the hall and hides in a classroom. The shadow of a figure that must be Mr. Brunner, but that doesn't really look like him at all (because it's big, and Percy hears a clomping sound rather than the sound of Mr. Brunner's wheelchair) searches the hallway. But Percy remains hidden.
  • When Grover and Mr. Brunner leave, Percy returns to his room, terrified by what he's heard.
  • The next day after his Latin exam, Mr. Brunner tries to say good-bye to Percy in front of his the whole class, telling him that it's for the best that Percy has to leave Yancy. Mr. Brunner also says that Percy is not "normal." Mr. Brunner is flustered.
  • Percy is embarrassed and hurt that his favorite teacher thinks that he's a stupid weirdo; or at least that's how he interprets the idea of being not "normal."
  • Percy leaves Yancy for good, and he and Grover take a Greyhound bus back to New York City.
  • On the bus, Grover is acting weird, looking nervously all around him.
  • Percy flat out asks Grover about the conversation he overheard Grover having with Mr. Brunner.
  • Grover lies and says that he was just concerned about Percy and went to Mr. Brunner to express this concern.
  • Percy doesn't believe him.
  • The bus breaks down in a nice, quiet stretch of country.
  • Everyone gets off the bus.
  • There are maple trees and trash on one side of the busy, four-lane road, and there's a bountiful fruit stand on the other side. Three old ladies sit next to the fruit stand, knitting a pair of giant, electric blue socks.
  • Grover suddenly gets very worried and tries to get Percy back on the bus, but Percy won't budge.
  • The three old women seem to be staring directly at Percy. One takes out a pair of giant gold scissors and cuts a piece of yarn. It looks almost like a ritual.
  • Soon after, the bus driver fixes the bus, and everyone gets back on the bus.
  • Percy tells Grover what he saw the old lady do with the scissors, and Grover grows even more terrified.

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