- This article is about the character. For information on the statues, see Daedalus Twenty-Three.
|“||The view changes from day to day; it’s always some place high up. Yesterday it was from a skyscraper overlooking Manhattan. The day before that, there was a beautiful view of Lake Michigan. But it keeps coming back to the Garden of the Gods. I think the Labyrinth likes it here. A fitting name, I suppose.||”|
–Quintus, about the Labyrinth, in The Battle of the Labyrinth.
Daedalus (also known as Quintus) was a Greek demigod, the son of Athena and inventor of the Labyrinth. A genius ahead of his time, he was also one of the oldest known demigods, or simply the only adult one shown in the series who wasn't made immortal by the gods. Daedalus was a polymath, able to succeed at nearly anything he turned his hand toward.
A skilled inventor and artificer, Daedalus was hired by Minos of Crete, to create the Labyrinth, in order to house the Minotaur. When he aided the hero Theseus and Princess Ariadne (Minos' daughter), his treachery was discovered, as Minos had Daedalus and his son, Icarus, thrown in prison with little chance of escape. Daedalus, however, told his son: "although he blocks the lands and waves, the sky still opes its regions; thither let us go, for Minos may hold all in his power save the heavenly airs." He spoke, and turned his mind to arts unknown, reshaping nature to his will. He then began to craft a set of wings, placing the feathers in a row, with the shorter ones following the longer, as if they were growing on a slope. Then he bound the middle with thread and the bottom part with wax, and bent the feathers in a slight curve, so that it would imitate the wing of a genuine bird. Daedalus instructed his son: "I caution you, Icarus, to fly the middle path, lest, if you fly lower, the waves weigh down the feathers, and if higher, the sun's fire scorch them. You must fly between both perils; now, with me your guide, let us take to our journey!" As he taught these instructions of flying, he bound the wings to his shoulders. Between his labors and warnings, his old cheeks grew moist and his fatherly hands shook. He then gave his son a kiss, never to be given again, and, sustained by the feathers, he flew before and feared for his companion. Soon, when Icarus began to rejoice in this bold flight, he forsook his guide; drawn by the desire for the sky and aroused by their lofty ascent he drove his course higher and higher. But his nearness then to the sun caused the fragrant wax, the feathers' bonds, to melt. In vain, he shook his bare arms, and bereft of his means he could catch no wind, but, crying out his father's name, he was received into the sea.
Then Daedalus cried, "Icarus! Icarus! Where are you? In which place should I seek you, Icarus?" When he beheld the feathers afloat in the waves, he cursed his own arts which had wrought this doom. He buried the body in a grave, and that land which holds it is named, after the buried child, Icaria.
Years later, Daedalus went to live with his nephew, Perdix, and trained him in the ways of the mechanical arts. Although Perdix was fairly young, he showed signs of ingenuity and intelligence that could have in time rivaled even Daedalus himself. One day Perdix showed his uncle plans for a way to live forever by transferring your consciousness (called animus - Latin for soul, or mind) into an automaton. While Daedalus claimed it was impossible, Perdix showed him his notes on the subject, but Daedalus still claimed it wouldn't work. Eventually, Daedalus' jealousy over his nephew's brilliance turned to anger and he made an unforgivable decision. Daedalus challenged Perdix to a game of catch and while playing pushed him over the edge of a balcony. Athena saw this and transformed Perdix into a partridge. Then she cursed Daedalus and branded him with the mark of a murderer that would never fade.
Daedalus spent years hiding in the palace of King Cocalus and serving as a teacher to his daughters. Meanwhile, Minos had not forgotten about him and in an effort to lure Daedalus out, he issued a challenge of wits. He would give a thousand gold talents to anyone who could thread a sea shell without breaking it. Daedalus couldn't refuse such a challenge, and found a way by tying a silk string to an ant and placing honey at the other end of the shell. When the news his challenge had been met reached Minos, he knew at once that he had found Daedalus. However, because Daedalus had been a kind teacher to the daughters of Cocalus and treated them as if they had minds of their own; the daughters killed King Minos in defense of their teacher. While the only person Daedalus really feared was now dead, he knew Minos would be waiting for him in the Underworld and he would never have a fair trial. He retreated into his Labyrinth, which had by then grown and taken on a life of its own. This way he would be able to hide from death forever. Then, using the notes Perdix had made, created a new body for himself. But the mark Athena had branded him with followed him into each new automaton body.
Daedalus is disguised as Quintus, the new swordsman trainer at Camp Half-Blood. He has a huge hellhound as a pet named Mrs. O'Leary, which Percy at first mistakes for a wild monster and goes to attack it. Daedalus quickly intervenes, blocking Percy's attack and introducing himself as Quintus, the new sword master. He claims he is there to help while Dionysus is away on business. As the two talk, Percy notices five large crates, which Quintus says are for a little game he has planned. He explains that the demigods at the camp need more challenges as there wasn't a camp for demigods when he was a child, something Percy finds surprising as he had never met a fully grown half-blood before. Quintus jokes back, saying not every demigod is the focus of a horrible prophecy, but Chiron appears and interrupts before Percy can learn how much Quintus knows about the prophecy.
Later that day, Tyson and Percy meet Quintus again in the Sword Fighting Arena, where he teaches them a few moves. Percy compares him to a chess master with a sword, but Quintus loses his rhythm when Percy asks about a burn mark on his neck, something Quintus claims is an old reminder before covering it up. The two continue to fight until dinner, while Tyson plays with Mrs. O'Leary.
The following day, Lee Fletcher reports a drakon is circling the Camp's borders, which Quintus says will continue to happen as long as the war continues, which is why he has set up that night's challenge. That night, Quintus assigns the campers into teams of two for a War Game. Each team is to go out into the woods and find the Giant Scorpion with a golden laurel strapped to it. He then calls out the teams, which include Percy and Annabeth, who wind up being on the same team. During the game, Annabeth and Percy are attacked by multiple scorpions around Zeus' Fist, and they fall into the Labyrinth. While Percy doesn't understand where they are, Annabeth does. She tells him to search for the mark of Daedalus to help them escape and they do so in a short amount of time. Once out it is revealed that Luke plans to invade Camp Half-Blood using Daedalus' Labyrinth.
That night, Percy dreams of Daedalus and his son Icarus being held in prison by Minos for helping Theseus kill the Minotaur. He tortures Daedalus and forces him to invent more wonders or his son will be the one who is punished. When Percy wakes up, he heads to the war meeting where it is agreed that there must be a quest to find Daedalus and his workshop before Luke does, so that he can't ask Daedalus for a way to navigate the Labyrinth. While Annabeth goes to get a prophecy from the Oracle, Juniper informs Percy that Quintus was also poking around the Labyrinth entrance and Percy shouldn't trust him. As everyone starts to go their separate ways, Quintus pulls Percy aside to warn him that the Labyrinth plays tricks on demigods and he had once been inside, barely escaping with his life. While Percy doesn't trust him, Quintus still gives him a Stygian Ice Whistle to aid him in the Labyrinth.
The next morning, Quintus is one of the people there to see off the questers. Percy talks to Chiron alone and Chiron admits he is somewhat suspicious of Quintus, even if he hasn't done anything openly against the camp and could just be a demigod looking for a home. During the quest, Percy and Annabeth find themselves at the Triple G Ranch. Percy remembers seeing the same name on the boxes of scorpions at camp and realizes that Quintus got the monsters from Geryon, who is also supplying monsters and demigods to the Titan Army. When Percy returns to camp after spending some time on Ogygia, Chiron lets Percy know that Quintus had left the camp three days prior. Percy tells Chiron about the Triple G Ranch, leading to the conclusion that Quintus was indeed a spy for Luke. However, Quintus had left so quickly that Mrs. O'Leary was left behind. This is something Percy didn't believe he would do.
Once back in the Labyrinth, Percy and Annabeth are guided to the workshop by Rachel Elizabeth Dare, a clear sighted mortal who became friends with Percy after he almost cut her in half. She manages to bring them to the workshop (after escaping Antaeus' Arena), only to find Quintus waiting for them. Annabeth demands to know what he had done with Daedalus and thinks he is working for Luke. Quintus corrects her and says he only works for himself, before admitting that he himself is Daedalus, which shocks Percy. Daedalus explains that he had used his nephew's idea of making a new body for himself to extend his life, even if the mark Athena had placed on him for killing his nephew would never go away. He also explains that the reason he went to their camp was to see if it was worth saving, but it can't be saved as Luke is already leading an army there using Ariadne's String. Daedalus was offered a deal that when the Olympians fall, he would be placed as the ruler of the Underworld so he could have his son and nephew back, a deal which he accepted. He also took the deal so he could finally be rid of King Minos, the king who had followed him for revenge even after his death.
Just then, Minos and Kelli enter the workshop with a small attack force and a tied up Nico di Angelo. They admit that now that they have what they want, Daedalus is no longer useful. A battle breaks out in the workshop, but Annabeth, Nico, Percy, and Rachel manage to escape. Daedalus however stays behind to protect Mrs. O'Leary, who had found her way back to him. Daedalus' workshop then disappears out of sight as the four kids flew away using fake wings.
Daedalus reappears during the battle at Camp Half-Blood, bringing along Tyson's friend Briares whom he had found along the way. After doing some thinking, he realizes that Annabeth was right when she said children of Athena were supposed to be wise, not just clever. After the enemy is pushed back into the Labyrinth thanks to Grover's Panic yell (a gift from Pan), Daedalus asks Nico to release his soul and allow him to die, as he can no longer run from his past and his sacrifice would save the camp. Before he dies, he hands Annabeth his laptop, which he saved from the fire and feels that she could complete the plans he never finished. He also says his goodbye to Mrs. O'Leary, whom he leaves to Percy. Nico then releases his soul, causing the Labyrinth to collapse as it was tied to his life force.
While in the Underworld, Hades gives him a special punishment; to build overpasses in the Fields of Asphodel to help ease the congestion of souls. It is a punishment he enjoys and he gets to see Perdix on the weekends.
During the Battle of Manhattan, Annabeth uses Daedalus Twenty-Three, a plan on Daedalus' laptop, to bring to life an army of Automatons to aid in defending Olympus. Percy wonders if Daedalus had put all those automatons on the island to use as an army for or against the gods.
Annabeth still has Daedalus' Laptop and uses it to explain to Frank Zhang how a pair of Chinese hand-cuffs work, scanning the toy and showing him an image on her computer. Later, when trying to reach the Athena Parthenos underground, she can't help but feel that the caves were part of Daedalus' Labyrinth that hadn't completely died when he did. Once finding Arachne, she uses the picture of the hand-cuffs she had scanned on Daedalus' laptop to trick Arachne into trapping herself.
Daedalus was incredibly intelligent, but could also be a coward at times. He tended to run and hide from his problems instead of facing them, even hiding from death itself for nearly two millennia. He was also a very sad and lonely person, claiming to only work for himself.
When he was younger (during his first lifetime), he loved to invent and considered the Labyrinth his greatest creation. He prided himself so much on his intelligence, that when his nephew began to show signs of being even smarter than he was, he became jealous and bitter, eventually leading him to kill the young boy.
When confronted about his flaws however, he is able to do the right thing and even sacrificed himself to save others, even knowing he would not receive a fair trial in the Underworld thanks to Minos, as the King had become one of the Underworld Judges, being a son of Zeus and having experience with law and order.
In his first body, Daedalus was an older man with long hair with streaks of gray, as well as a curly beard. While in Minos' prison, Daedalus was very thin and his hands were raw and red from years of work. His tunic was also covered in grease.
While disguised as Quintus, Daedalus appeared to be in his fifties. He had short gray hair and a clipped gray beard. He dressed in black mountain-climbing pants and a bronze breastplate strapped over his Camp Half-Blood t-shirt. When meeting him again in his workshop, he was dressed in jeans and boots, but still had on the camp t-shirt. He had a sword by his side at all times.
Because of the mark Athena branded on him for committing murder, a small purple partridge would appear around his neck no matter how many bodies he transferred into.
Daedalus is a master of many things, having had nearly two thousand years of practice in many things. He claims that while he is primarily an inventor, he is also an extremely skilled swordsman, an architect, a scholar, and is even good at basketball. His skill in swordplay is displayed by his ability to effectively train Percy one-on-one, even once disarming him. Also, because of his mechanical body, he is extremely hard to kill and he may not feel any pain at all. While he does bleed, if injured, it is actually golden oil instead of blood.
- In traditional mythology, both of Daedalus' parents were regular mortals; his father's name was either Metion, Eupalamus, or Palamaon, and his mother, Alcippe, Iphinoe, or Phrasimede.
- It was never exactly specified on why Minos locked Daedalus in the Labyrinth. According to some myths, it was because he made Pasiphaë that cow suit which resulted in the Minotaur.
- Daedalus' story is told differently in Percy Jackson's Greek Heroes. The most notable change is that he killed Perdix before Icarus was even born, the judges of Athens sentenced him to exile for this, which is why he went to Crete.
- Daedalus takes on the name Quintus, as he is in his fifth body (as quintus means 'fifth' in Latin).
- While the Labyrinth is tied to Daedalus' life force, Chiron doesn't believe that the Labyrinth is truly gone and has grown beyond him. Later, in The House of Hades, it is revealed that this was true as the Labyrinth was connected to Pasiphaë's life force, and even when she is sent away, the Labyrinth still appears in The Trials of Apollo.
- When Leo Valdez says in The Mark of Athena that Arichimedes' sphere is bigger than Daedalus' Laptop, it is spelt Daedlus' laptop.
- In addition to being a son, he is a legacy of Athena, as his father, Metion, is one of the sons of Erechteus.