The Fates (also known as The Moirai) are the three white-robed personifications of destiny. They control the metaphorical thread of life for every living thing from birth to death. Their Roman counterparts are the Parcae or Fata.
Rick Riordan chose two different versions of the Fates' parentage. According to Percy Jackson's Greek Gods, the Fates are the children of Zeus and Themis. Their father is so afraid of them, that it resulted in his divorce with their mother.
The Fates were the responsables to punish Calypso, as she sided with her father Atlas and other Titans against the gods. Every few hundred years, the Fates send Calypso someone that can never stay for long and will always be someone that she can't help falling in love with.
When their school year ended, Percy Jackson and Grover Underwood were taking a bus from Yancy Academy back to Manhattan, the bus broke down on a stretch of country road. On the other side of the highway was an old-fashioned fruit stand, occupied by three old ladies sitting in rocking chairs, knitting a huge pair of socks using an electric blue yarn. The lady on the right and left were each knitting a sock, while the middle one was holding the yarn. Percy described them as ancient, with their silver hair tied back in a white bandanna, wearing cotton dresses and having bony arms.
They were looking right at Percy when the middle one took out her scissors, a large, gold and silver long bladed one similar to shears, and cut the yarn. The resulting snip could be heard over the four lanes of traffic. They balled up their yarn afterwards. Grover, seeing this, was extremely scared, thinking the yarn was Percy's lifeline, and that he was going to die soon.
The Fates were mentioned by Artemis while Zoë Nightshade was dying, Percy asked the goddess why she could not heal Zoë of her wounds. Artemis replied that life is a fragile thing and if the Fates will the string to be cut, there is little she can do but try. Percy also says during the council of the gods that "controlling the prophecies never works" because prophecies are what the Fates have decreed.
Right before Percy is about to decide if he will stay with Calypso or go back to Camp Half-Blood, Calypso explains the nature of her punishment. She claims the Fates are cruel as they always send someone that would break her heart in the end. Right after she offers Percy the chance to stay, she says that she wasn't going to but did it anyway, something that the Fates may have known she would always do.
The Three Fates appeared on Olympus to take away Luke Castellan's body after the end of the Second Olympian War. One of them looked at Percy and he saw his life flash by. She said "It is done", holding up the snippet of blue yarn. Percy knew instantly that it was the same blue lifeline that he had saw them snip four years ago. Percy at first thought that it was his lifeline, but then realizes that it was Luke's, the life that had to be sacrificed to set things right. After Luke's body was taken away, Hermes says that "no one can tamper with fate, not even a god".
The Fates are seen during the final battle with the giants, mercilessly beating the giant Thoon with their bronze clubs, just like they did in the past. After the giant battle, Zeus tells them to give Apollo a punishment, which they are eager to do.
Being the ones responsible for manipulating the fate of every single being in the world, their status is above that of any god, giant, or titan. Only Gaea and other Protogenos are the only beings who dare to challenge the Fates.
- Control Over Fate: Fates all possess power beyond the Olympians since it was stated that not even a god can defy fate. Hence, they can change and control the destinies of both mortals and immortals.
- Prophecy (presumably): As they can control and manipulate fate, it can be assumed that the Fates can see into the future. According to Artemis, they decree prophecies.
- Prowess in Battle: The Fates defeated two giants in the Giant War, Agrios and Thoon, both of whom they clubbed to death. Jason, who witnessed them do it again in The Blood of Olympus, describes it as a very fearsome sight.
- The Greek word "Moira" literally means "part or portion", and by extension one's portion in life or destiny.
- Their Egyptian equivalents are the Hemsut.
- Their Norse equivalents are the Norns.