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Opening August 7th—the second film derived from Rick Riordan’s epically successful YA novels, is based on the premise that the Greek gods are alive and well and making mischief in modern-day America. (Percy, of course, is the half-human, dorky-hot son of Poseidon.) And the Bay Area, where Riordan taught English and social studies for eight years at Presidio Hill School, plays a starring role.
Bay Area Landmark: San Francisco
To Mere Mortals: A magically beautiful city filled with tech titans, entranced by its own mythology.
To Greek Gods and Their 21st-Century Offspring: The modern-day analog of ancient Athens, surrounded by mythological titans and their monstrous allies.
Where Percy Jackson Fits In: Percy’s girlfriend, Annabeth Chase (demigoddess daughter of Athena, goddess of wisdom), lives there with her scientist dad, even though it’s a magnet for angry demons.
Bay Area Landmark: Tamalpais
To Mere Mortals: Great for day hikes and killer bike rides; often foggy for meteorological reasons.
To Greek Gods and Their 21st-Century Offspring: The contemporary equivalent of Titan stronghold Mount Othrys, often foggy because the monsters are restless; also where the Titan Atlas holds up the earth.
Where Percy Jackson Fits In: The Titan leader Kronos and his siblings—imprisoned in ancient times by Kronos’s sons Zeus, Hades, and Poseidon—fortify Mount Tam and take Annabeth captive.
Bay Area Landmark: Alcatraz
To Mere Mortals: Historic prison, timeless tourist trap.
To Greek Gods and Their 21st-Century Offspring: An exit from the Labyrinth, where the Titan jailer Kampê (who takes many forms, all of them nightmarish) guards the noble hundred-handed Briares.
Where Percy Jackson Fits In: Percy and his pals have to free the good monsters and then make their own escape from Alcatraz.
Bay Area Landmark: The Piers
To Mere Mortals: The stretch of ticky-tacky but picturesque waterfront from the Embarcadero to Fisherman’s Wharf.
To Greek Gods and Their 21st-Century Offspring: Where Nereus, the shape-shifting ancient sea prophet, avoids attention by disguising himself as a homeless guy.
Where Percy Jackson Fits In: Catching Nereus grants you the answer to one question—in Percy’s case, the where-abouts of a particularly lethal monster.
Bay Area Landmark: Caldecott Tunnel
To Mere Mortals: Three-bore highway tunnel through the East Bay hills that makes for a hellish commute.
To Greek Gods and Their 21st-Century Offspring: The secret entrance to Camp Jupiter, a training ground for the half-human offspring of the roman gods, located near Moraga.
Where Percy Jackson Fits In: Somehow Percy finds himself lost among the Roman demigods (ask your kid to explain why this is a problem).
Originally published in the August issue of San Francisco