|“||Even Tartarus had to rise from somewhere. This is the edge of the earliest darkness, which was my mother. Below lies the realm of Chaos, my father. Here, you are closer to nothingness than any mortal has ever been. Can you not feel it?||”|
Chaos (also known as Khaos, Kaos or "the Gap") is the initial rudimentary mass of being, as explained by Ovid in his Metamorphoses. From it emerged the Protogeni. Besides being a deity, Chaos is a shapeless void below even the depths of Tartarus, the realm embodied by one of its sons. Once someone enters Chaos, he/she/they becomes nothing and is dissolved by the void. This is where faded gods reside in eternal sleep.
Beginning of Creation
Before the sea and lands and sky, there was but one face of nature in the entire universe, whom they called Chaos. It was a rough and uneven mass, in which there was nothing except idle weight and the congealed, dissonant seeds of unstable things. No Titan yet gave forth his sunlight to the world, nor yet did Selene display the waxing moon, nor did an earth yet hang in surrounding air, nor had yet Amphitrite held in her embrace the far reaches of the world. The ground was unstable, the waves unswimmable, the airs lightless; no form of anything lasted, for one hindered another, and in one body cold contended with hot, wet strove against dry, soft things fought with hard things, and the weightless grappled with the weightful.
Eventually, some of Chaos' matter collected to form the Earth (Gaea), the Sky (Ouranos), the Seas (Pontos), the Infernal Pit (Tartarus), and the Mist/Darkness (Erebos). Later, Night (Nyx) would also be born from Chaos in union with Tartarus. Along with Nyx, Chaos created Misery/Poison (Akhlys). In some myths, Eros also emerged from Chaos.
After beginning an Olympian riot against her husband Zeus, Hera and the other gods were punished for their rebellion. While Apollo and Poseidon were temporarily stripped of their godly powers, Hera was given the worst punishment of all: she was chained right above the terrifying abyss of Chaos. Every day, Zeus would visit his wife with the Master Bolt and threaten to let her tumble into the void. Hephaestus could hear the wails of his mother all the way from Mount Olympus, which infuriated him, as he could not bear to hear her suffering such a harsh punishment. As a result, he finally set her free. Hera tearfully embraced him and promised to never to call Hephaestus ugly ever again.
While in Tartarus, Percy Jackson and Annabeth Chase confronted Akhlys at the "verge of final death, where Night meets the void below Tartarus." Annabeth reacted with surprise that "anything" was below Tartarus. Akhlys explained that even Tartarus had to rise from "somewhere". She showed the two demigods that below them they would see her mother, the earliest darkness, and her father, Chaos. Being brought to the edge of Chaos grants them the Death Mist.
Later, while confronting Nyx and her children, Percy and Annabeth leapt through the Mansion of Night, risking tumbling into Chaos - which would have meant a true death, as their very souls would be destroyed. They managed to make it past both Chaos and the River Acheron into the heart of Tartarus, the current home of the Doors of Death.
Meg McCaffrey and Apollo's consciousness took a brief trip through Chaos, which Apollo shields Meg from.
Apollo and Python's battle causes them to fall through Tartarus all the way to the very edge of Chaos itself which starts stripping apart the two. As they continue to struggle, Apollo and Python dangle on a ledge over Chaos. Apollo manages to kick Python free, sending him falling into Chaos, erasing Python from existence. Styx appears to Apollo and encourages him to hold on to both the ledge and the lesson that he has learned. Apollo becomes a god again and pulls himself up before returning to Mount Olympus.
Two weeks later, Zeus states that Apollo erasing Python for existence appears to have worked. Apollo realizes that even Zeus couldn't see their fight at the edge of Chaos and Apollo reassures his father and the other gods that Python no longer exists.
As the first primordial God and creator of the universe, Chaos is the ancestor of all gods and therefore inviolable to any one of them, since they are only "parts" of their own creation. Nevertheless, due to his position as the personification of the Void and the first being to exist, he is ostensibly the most powerful entity in the entire series, with immeasurable levels of power far greater than anyone in existence.
- Supreme Power: As the Protogenos of the Void/Nothingness, Chaos's power is truly immeasurable, being the most powerful of the Protogenoi and thus far surpassing that of any Olympian, Giant, and Titan.
- Domain of Creation and Destruction: As the primordial god of Void, the power of Chaos is, presumably, immeasurable. Being supposedly the most powerful of the great gods, he is therefore the most powerful being in Greek mythology, far surpassing that of any deity that emerged later, including even the other protogenoi. It is believed that the power of Chaos is so vast that it is capable of actually killing immortals and even permanently erasing their souls from existence, something considerably impossible for all Titans, the gods of Olympus, the Giants and the vast majority of their children.
- Immortality: Being the first being to emerge in existence, Chaos is believed to be the only entity that is completely immortal and eternal.
Akhlys (Misery, Poison)
- Chaos somehow was able to parent most Protogenoi alone despite being considered "male". However, it should be noted that in mythology, Chaos is mostly described as genderless.
- Apollo, in The Tower of Nero refers to Chaos as female.
- Its Norse counterpart would be Ginnungagap, though the latter was just seen as a place.
- Its Egyptian counterpart is Ogdoad Cosmogony, especially Nun, the androgynous primordial sea of Chaos from whom the Protogenos emerged.
- In The Kane Chronicles, Isfet is also referred to as Chaos and the Kane siblings travel to the edge of the Sea of Chaos to find Apophis' sheut. When Sadie mentions the Realm of Chaos to Annabeth Chase, she wonders if there is a connection between the Greek Chaos and the Egyptian Chaos, having great respect for Sadie given her own experiences with Chaos.
- Chaos and the Sea of Chaos appear to have many similarities. When Carter Kane, Zia Rashid and Setne approach the Sea of Chaos in The Serpent's Shadow, it attempts to pull their very being apart with only the power of Khepri shielding the three. This is similar to what happened to Apollo and Python when they fell to the edge of Chaos in The Tower of Nero. In addition, the description of the spit of land at the edge of Chaos is similar to the one at the Sea of Chaos where Apophis' sheut was found.
- Some myths name Chaos as the creator of Eros and Aether. However, in most myths and Riordan's series, Eros is considered to be the son of Aphrodite and Ares, while Aether is one of its grandchildren.
- In some myths Akhlys is listed as a primordial goddess born even before Chaos, rather than its daughter.