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Percy, even immortality has limits. Sometimes…sometimes monsters get forgotten and they lose their will to stay immortal.

Grover explaining fading, in The Battle of the Labyrinth.

Pan fading

Fading is the process of gradually being forgotten by humanity and is the only way that immortal beings, such as gods and monsters, can truly die. Einherjar can also fade if they close themselves off. It only exists in the Percy Jackson universe and fading does not exist or occur in original Greek mythology. It was based on some other questions about gods.

Description

Fading is caused, at least partially, by the diminishing of a god's realm or people abandoning their belief in them. Gods that are not well remembered or were never worshipped can also fade. Gods seem to be able to resist fading on some level, by finding a will to survive.

If a monster or god loses their will to remain immortal, or if they lose faith in themselves, it can have great influence on whether or not they fade. Pan, for example, sent out a message to tell the world he was dead, in the hope that he would be able to fade. However, the satyrs believed in Pan so strongly that he was kept from completely fading, meaning that beings are not always able to fade and can't choose when it will happen. It is unknown if a god must consciously give in to the process in order to fade or if it will inevitably overtake them. Harpocrates was able to will himself to fade from existence and took The Oracle of Cumae with him as she desired an end to her immortal life.

While fading is considered to be the only way for an immortal being like a god or monster to die, Gaea was shown to be able to revive at least Stheno and Euryale, hinting that the process can be reversed for monsters. Chiron also mentioned that a demigod once Googled the Gorgons, resulting in them appearing even if they had already faded (with the exception of Medusa). Medea was also able to reverse the fading of Helios which is stated to involve summoning him from the deepest part of Tartarus. When Apollo convinces Helios to fade again, he states that Helios will be returning to Chaos which is shown to exist below Tartarus in The Tower of Nero. In The Dark Prophecy, while talking about endangered monster species with Meg McCaffrey, Apollo suggests that for monsters, fading simply leaves them trapped in the depths of Tartarus forever. Apollo states that "when monsters start to fade from mortals' collective memory, they regenerate less and less often from Tartarus."[1] This possibly explains how Gaea brought back Stheno and Euryale, using her control over the Doors of Death to release them from Tartarus.

Several old Egyptian Gods from the House of Rest in the Duat are known to have faded, or at least were have believed to have done so. Among these gods was Onuris. When Anubis called for backup for the Kanes in the Land of Demons, many of the old gods that had faded returned because they were needed once again, due to the War Against Apophis giving them a reason to exist. After their return, some of the old gods returned to their old duties or the Heavens. Tawaret suggested to Sadie Kane that the gods not fading again depended on the mortals remembering them and making them feel important. Tawaret believed that if the gods were remembered and made to feel important again, they would be fine.

Percy Jackson and the Olympians

The Lightning Thief

When talking with Medusa, she says that she used to have two sisters, but they are no longer with her. This is because while Medusa is very well known, her sisters weren't as 'popular' and they ended up fading because people didn't pay much attention to them.

The Titan's Curse

While Apollo drove a group of demigods and Hunters to Camp Half-Blood, he was asked why sometimes he drove the Sun Chariot and other times it was Helios. Apollo explained that the Romans started "downsizing" the number of gods, resulting in Helios' and Selene's roles being given to Apollo and Artemis and they eventually faded.

The Battle of the Labyrinth

Pan the god.jpg

Demigod children of Hades can detect the fading of gods, or perhaps just when a dead or semi-dead god is near, as seen by Nico di Angelo when he reveals that Pan is indeed fading, that what they see is more like a memory that can't pass on.

Pan is the only god that Percy Jackson has seen fading during the entire series. His fading was caused by the rapid diminishing of his realm, as there were almost no wild places left on earth. He was not able to completely pass on, however, as the satyrs never believed that he had died and their belief kept him alive for centuries. Pan would spend these centuries in a state of hibernation, waking up for small periods of time to conserve his power. Just before he faded, he passed his power on to Grover Underwood and his friends, giving the implication that fading gods can entrust a portion or all of their powers to another being. As Percy watched him fade, he remembered what Apollo had told him about the gods Helios and Selene, as well as what Medusa told him about Stheno and Euryale fading.

Briares' brothers are also said to be faded when Tyson questions him about the others, after they rescued him from Kampê's prison.

The Heroes of Olympus

The Son of Neptune

Stheno and Euryale, Medusa's sisters who faded, were revived by Gaia and attacked Percy. It is unknown how Gaea resurrected them as they had faded.

The Kane Chronicles

The Serpent's Shadow

After the destruction of Apophis, Tawaret marvels at the return of Onuris and several old gods to the House of Rest. Tawaret states that the other gods, particularly Onuris, had been believed to have faded long before. When the gods were needed again against the Forces of Chaos, they reappeared from various locations to help. Tawaret admits that she doesn't know if the return will be permanent, but expresses hope that it will be.

The Trials of Apollo

The Dark Prophecy

Encountering a pair of yales with Meg McCaffrey, Apollo tells the demigod that they can't kill them because they are on the endangered-monster list. Apollo explains that when monsters start to fade from mortals' collective memory, they regenerate less and less often from Tartarus and need to breed and repopulate, something that is closely monitored by Artemis.

The Burning Maze

Medea tried to make Caligula the new sun god by bringing back the essence of her faded grandfather, Helios. The essence spread through the Labyrinth under Southern California, and caused many droughts and wildfires. As a result, they called this area the Burning Maze. Apollo, who was made into a human, managed to calm Helios down and convince the Titan to fade once more. It is revealed that the essence of things that are faded go to Chaos.

The Tyrant's Tomb

After learning that Ida is a legacy of Luna, Apollo is surprised as he had believed that Luna, the Titan who controlled the moon before Artemis, had faded away a long time ago. Apollo then remembers that he'd thought the same about Helios before encountering him in the Labyrinth.

Harpocrates wills himself to fade in order to help Apollo complete the recipe in summoning a god. Harpocrates is able to take The Oracle of Cumae with him, who also desired an end to her immortal life.

Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard

The Sword of Summer

During Magnus' first breakfast in Valhalla, his hall mates tell him that he should not close himself off and to occupy his time. They tell him they if he does, he will fade into nonexistence.

Gunilla, captain of the Valkyries, showed Magnus Valhalla, where a majority of the Aesir's halls were abandoned. She told him that it is a dark time for the gods. This could be implying that many of the gods have faded from mortal knowledge, as many of the old Norse myths were destroyed and erased by Christianity.

The Ship of the Dead

Thomas Jefferson Jr. tells Magnus that one of the soldiers he killed just before he died came to Valhalla as well, but faded by the time the son of Frey arrived. T.J also explained that many other soldiers closed themselves off and eventually disappeared as well.

Known Faded Beings

References

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