Gods are a race of immortal higher beings who control the forces of nature and human endeavors. They are the descendants of the older Titans, their ancestors and chief enemies. There are currently twelve major gods, the Olympians, who rule over the universe, all of whom are under the rule of Zeus, god of the sky. There are many other minor gods who serve smaller but necessary purposes in the world. Despite their immense power, they are subject to divine laws, and, in theory, cannot break oaths sworn upon the River Styx. However, due to their immortal nature, breaking such oaths does not have severe consequences to them. A male would be called a god, whereas a female would be called a goddess, however the word "god" can be gender-neutral, applying to either female or male.
HistoryThe six most powerful Greek gods and goddesses were Demeter, Hades, Hera, Hestia, Poseidon, and Zeus, perhaps because they were the sons and daughters of the two rulers of the Titans: Kronos and Rhea.
Fearing his children would overthrow him in the same way he had done to his own father, Kronos devoured his first two sons and his three daughters after they where born. Hestia first, then Demeter, Hades, Poseidon, and Hera. He would have devoured Zeus as well, but Rhea, unable to bear the pain of losing another child and seeing her husband now for the monster he was, entered into an alliance with Gaea, smuggled her son away to safety, and gave her husband a rock instead to devour.
After years in hiding, Zeus was finally old enough and strong enough to overthrow his father. He returned to his father's palace to free his siblings who, being immortals, remained alive and undigested within their father. According to some accounts, Zeus freed his family by smuggling a potion into his father's meal, forcing him to vomit his children.
Having freed his siblings, as well as the Hekatonkheires and the Cyclopes whom Kronos had re-imprisoned in Tartarus, Zeus led a rebellion against the Titans. In gratitude, the Cyclopes forged the Big Three's symbols of power: the Master Bolt, the Trident, and the Helm of Darkness, while the sheer strength of the Hekatonkheires proved to be a great advantage against the Titan army.
The final blow was delivered when Zeus, using his father's own scythe, cut Kronos into a thousand pieces and dropped them in Tartarus where he would never rise again. This marked the end of the Titan age and started the Olympian age.
The Olympians have been challenged many times for their control of the world, but they have always managed to stabilize their rule, often with the help of their children, the demigods. This is exemplified when the Giants rebelled against the gods, and Hercules, the son of Zeus, helped them vanquish the Giants.
Zeus married his sister Hera, and subsequent children ― Ares, Hephaestus, Hebe, Eris, Eileithyia, and Enyo ― followed. From affairs the other gods and goddesses were created. However Aphrodite was born when Ouranos' genitals touched the sea. Thus she is more powerful and the oldest of the gods, and an actual embodiment of love.
Gods, in their natural, fully empowered form, are radiant with a divine light so intense that no being less than a god can look upon it without disintegrating to ashes. To interact with mortals and heroes, the gods take on a lesser form which can be safely observed. Gods can instantly call back this power any time they desire, and may even revert involuntarily to their divine form if experiencing intense emotions.
The danger posed when looking at gods in their divine form can be observed in The Lost Hero, when Hera unleashes her divine form, which was strong enough to kill all the monsters in her vicinity. However, Jason Grace looks at Hera's divine form for only a second before supposedly dying. Piper McLean utilizes her ability to charmspeak by calling out to Jason's soul to return to his body and managing to bring Jason back to life, something Hera said was impossible though the reason for this could have been that Death was chained at the time.
The Judeo-Christian God has been mentioned in the two series. First by Chiron in The Lightning Thief, then by Leo Valdez in The House of Hades. Chiron specifically differentiates God from the gods, and says that the gods are quite a smaller matter, but that they shan't deal with the metaphysical. Leo later mentions that God could be the one who created the Earth, like a machine needs a creator.
The gods are superhuman beings with a variety of magical powers, such as control of the weather and seas. In addition to their immortality, all gods draw most of their power from their sphere of control or domain, but they all share certain powers, and even abilities specific to their individual domains can sometimes overlap. A case in point is the one of Morpheus and Hypnos who both have control over dreams and sleep.
Each of the Big Three, after overthrowing the Titans, took one of the three largest physical domains on Earth (the heavens, the ocean, and the Underworld). This is why the Big Three are the most powerful and influential gods on Olympus.
Gods possess a nearly limitless amount of magical control over their domain, as well as many general powers including levitation, teleportation, telepathy, physical abilities such as strength and stamina which surpasses those of mortals, and manipulating the elements among other vast amounts of control over the world. The limits of a god's power in this regard is unknown, as is to what extent they can cross into the domain of another. Since their true, divine form is too powerful to be looked upon by mortals or demigods, all gods can shapeshift into any form that they desire- even animals, as stated by the myths and the series.
However, gods are not all-powerful. They can tire or be overpowered by immortals and even demigods. If they choose to engage in physical battle they can be injured through the proper weaponry. Percy Jackson was able to wound Ares, destroy Hades' minions, and nearly defeat a weakened Hyperion all in combat, through the use of his own powers, or some combination of the two. However, because gods can exist in many places at one, only a fraction of their power is used in combat.
Gods can appear in multiple places at once, so long as their domain is being invoked. Dionysus, for example, was able to manifest at a party despite the fact that his true self was buried under a mountain. It is unknown how many of these "copies" can be made at once, or what powers the god retains while in this state.
Gods consume a divine food and drink called nectar and ambrosia. It is too powerful for mortals to eat under normal circumstances as they will literally burst into flames, yet in some myths the gods have used nectar and ambrosia to bestow immortality upon a mortal, though its more likely that the nectar and ambrosia is specially prepared for a mortal. Demigods, however, can consume small amounts of both in order to regain strength and heal wounds, though too much will make them ill or destroy them in the same way it would a mortal.
Gods also adapt to their host country's culture when they move with Western Civilization, and if they stay long enough it can become a permanent part of their aspects. The gods are also able to speak multiple languages. For example, Aphrodite can speak French, as it is the language of love and she is the goddess of love and beauty. Boreas can also speak French, but that is because he lives to the north in Quebec, and the official language of Quebec is French.
As they follow the flow of Western Civilization, the gods will change slightly to reflect the culture of the country they currently reside in. Normally, this change has only a small effect and is not permanent. Such changes include Zeus wearing designer suits and Apollo's chariot becoming a sports car. However, the gods have resided in Rome almost as long as they ruled from Greece, and therefore each god has a Roman aspect to themselves that they can change into. In this form, the gods became more disciplined, warlike, and militaristic ― the characteristics associated with the ancient Roman Empire.
As Roman gods, they rarely interacted with mortals or had affairs with them. When they did, however, these relationships produced Roman demigods who knew of their godly parent only by their Roman name, spoke Latin, and possessed a disciplined, ferocious and orderly quality not present in the Greek demigods at Camp Half-Blood. These Roman demigod children were sent to be trained by Lupa at The Wolf House, somewhere near San Francisco.
While the gods are normally in harmony with both of their forms, this can change if their Greek and Roman children begin to know about, consequently resent, and finally declare war on each other. Because both camps call their godly parents for help, both their Roman and Greek forms are at odds with each other, giving the gods splitting headaches, indecision, and focus problems. They are also slightly schizophrenic. If, for example, a god in his Roman aspect appears before a demigod who thinks about the god in his Greek aspect, the god's form will flicker back and forth from his Roman and Greek forms ― apparently causing intense headaches ― until the god is able to settle back into one form.
The deity most affected by this conflict is Athena, who was stated to be the most Greek of all gods, and therefore, the one who has the most difficult time being a Roman deity.
While this aspect conflict happens to most of the gods, there are other gods who are unaffected by this split. Such gods are Aphrodite and Nemesis ― as both love and revenge are universal for Greeks and Romans ― and gods who have only one aspect, such as Bellona, the purely Roman goddess of war. Bacchus, on the other hand, is not as affected by this split as the other gods.
Though twice, when an individual's gods child shows or highlights high bravery or brave act they will settle into one aspect of themselves, allowing the conflict to end though it only last for a short while, this happened with Frank Zhang showing bravery, thus bring his father, Mars, to a settled persona; this occurred also with Hazel Levesque's father, Pluto, when she showed a brave act against Scrion, he appeared to her as Pluto showing that his persona had settled into one aspect.
Despite their primal powers and divine authority, gods are bound by certain laws. Some of these rules are laid down by Zeus and others are just in the nature of being a god. Only a few of these rules have been explored.
- No god can directly steal the symbol of power of another. This applies to both the Titans and Olympians. As mortals and demigods are free from this rule, this is the reason why Zeus knew a hero or mortal had stolen his Master Bolt.
- No god can enter the domain of another unless invited by the lord/lady of said domain (unless their domain overlaps). The only known gods to freely travel the worlds are Hermes and Iris, both of which are the messenger deities. Hecate, in some cases, is said to be honored and allowed to freely travel in all of the three major domains for her help in the First Titan War.
- It is stated by Chiron that immortals can only fight demigods after being challenged or attacked first (however, the Titans have been shown to ignore this rule). It is likely though, that this rule is not compulsory.
- Gods are limited to how much they can interfere in mortal affairs. This rule is a decree of Zeus. It also depends on how much Zeus enforces it or knows about it. Some gods have violated this rule without incurring any punishment, such as Apollo in The Titan's Curse, or Hera in The Battle of the Labyrinth.
- The Big Three were banned from having children after World War II as any one of their children would be responsible for the Great Prophecy. Zeus broke it by siring Thalia Grace, and Poseidon followed suit by having Percy Jackson. Hades was the only god of the Big Three to keep true to his oath and not sire any more children, as his two youngest children, Bianca and Nico di Angelo were already born before the oath was made. This rule was dissolved at the end of The Last Olympian at Percy's request for he had fulfiiled the prophecy.
The gods do possess some weaknesses, physical or otherwise. They can be injured by supernatural weapons such as those made from Celestial bronze, Stygian iron, and Imperial Gold. If a god's domain is attacked, he/she may weaken, age, and take the form to represent their current state of said domain. Gods can also fade from existence should they lose the will to live — either from a lack of worship or the diminishing of their domain (such gods are Helios, Selene and Pan respectively). However, since the Titans were able to survive despite a lack of worship or the loss of their domains, and based on statements from various monsters, the (major) key is the will to live.
A god can survive lack of worship or loss of their domain so long as their will to live is strong enough. Otherwise, they will fade, However even if they're will is strong enough they won't be powerful enough to maintain physical form, as Kronos was able to survive yet remain powerless in Tartarus. If their thrones (or other sources of power) are destroyed, they will also fade along with it or become so weakened that they can no longer take a physical form, as stated in The Last Olympian by Prometheus.
Gods are, in general lustful — with the exceptions of the maiden goddesses and most wives such as Hera and Amphitrite — and often have many illegitimate children, both immortal and demigod. Most gods also tend to be petty or immature. Because the gods are immortal, they feel little reason to change or adapt (except to adapt to their current home) as a result they often lack maturity or sense of personal growth, often resulting in broken promises.
In addition, the gods can be very prideful of the things they do or the choices they make. They are often too proud to admit when they need help or when they have committed mistakes, instead believing themselves to be beyond help from regular mortals and demigods. Gods believe that they should be feared and respected. Due to their pride, they see admitting they need help as a sign of weakness. Furthermore, the gods will show signs of contempt towards the children of their enemies, sometimes even if those children are the offspring of other gods, most likely since Divine Laws prevent gods from attacking each other directly and thus do fight through their demigod offspring. It is these traits that often cause many beings, both mortal and immortal alike, to hate the gods and the reason why the gods are occasionally viewed as being no better than the Titans.
If a god or goddess is magically bounded or trapped in a magical prison of some kind, his or her power is useless. Some examples of this are the situations of Hera and Artemis in The Lost Hero and The Titan's Curse respectively as well as Hephastaus trapping Aphrodite and Ares together in a magic net in older myths.
List of Gods
- Main article: List of Deities
Major Olympian Gods and Goddesses
Minor Gods and Goddesses
- In The Kane Chronicles, there are references to a group of Egyptian gods and magicians that reside in Brooklyn and elsewhere. Greek and Egyptian gods coexist in the same world as they are both connected to the Western Civilization, though the same passage also states that the two pantheons must not meet, possibly reflecting the historical conflicts between Ancient Egypt and Rome. The nature of their connection, if there is any, is unknown though Thoth implies that he met Hermes (and that it did not go well).
- Grandma Zhang mentions Chinese gods and dragons in The Son of Neptune, and Cherokee myths and divine beings have been mentioned in The Lost Hero. It is unknown if both are just myths, another pantheon of gods like the Egyptian Pantheon or the same Olympian gods only in a different form.
- In The Son of Neptune, after Percy take a ride with a Inuit Indian (who also tells Inuit myths and gods), Percy starts to believe that other gods beyond Greeks-Romans might exist, but given that his life is already quite complicated, he prefers to not think much about it.
- Other mythical beings are not yet confirmed to exist except for the Egyptian, Roman, and Greek Pantheons.
- It is still a mystery if there are other forms that the gods have adopted due to the transfer of the flame of civilization. They may have taken other names and other mythical forms or they might have simply adopted mortal forms where the flame was strongest.
- It is unknown apart from the stories of Greek mythology if the gods had any other children with other gods. This might be possible, but those gods may have far smaller roles than the minor gods. These beings have been named "godlings" in the series. This term may also apply to demigods. Godlings appear briefly in the series, and they only appear in Olympus.
- Gods do not have DNA.
- The metaphysical concept of a monotheistic God was briefly mentioned in The Lightning Thief.