|“||Such a valuable pawn. Do not fear, Percy Jackson. Come north! Your friends will die, yes. But I will preserve you for now. I have great plans for you.||”|
Gaea (also spelled as Gaia) is the Greek primordial goddess of the Earth. She is the first being to have sprung from the void of Chaos. Gaea is the main antagonist of The Heroes of Olympus series, being directly responsible for some of the major events in the series, such as the Second Giant War. Her current husband is the protogenos Tartarus, whom she conceived the Giants, and her former husband is Ouranos, whom she had the Titans. Her Roman counterpart is Terra.
Birth and Marriage to Ouranos
Gaea was the first of the Protogenoi to emerge from Chaos, born when some of its matter collected to form the Earth. She was initially alone in the universe, until she asked for company. This resulted on the birth of the sky (Ouranos), who was formed above the Earth. By this time, Gaea gave birth to the rustic domains and the mountains (Ourae). Two more Protogenoi were born from Chaos: Pontus (the sea), and Tartarus (the Pit). Both of them harbored feelings for Gaea, but she ultimately chose Ouranos as her husband.
Eventually, Gaea and Ouranos had three sets of children together, namely the Titans, the Elder Cyclopes, and the Hekatonkhieres. Although Gaea loved all her children, Ouranos became distant from their family and resented their children, particularly the two younger races, as they were hideously ugly. Despite Gaea's protests, Ouranos seized the Elder Cyclopes and the Hekatonkheires, chained them and cast them to the depths of Tartarus.
Murder of Ouranos
Angry at her husband's actions, Gaea called forth her remaining (and then favorite) children, the Titans, and presented to them her newly forged scythe. She requested one of them to step forward and take the scythe so as to kill Ouranos and free their brothers from Tartarus. All of the Titans were ambivalent at the prospect of killing their father even though they all hated him, but the youngest and most power-hungry - Kronos - agreed to the deed. He accepted the scythe from Gaea and convinced his mother to lure Ouranos down to Earth into attending a romantic dinner, so that he and his brothers - with the exception of Oceanus - could ambush him.
When Ouranos showed up to meet with Gaea, Krios, Koios, Hyperion, and Iapetus all sprang from their hiding places and ambushed their father. While the four brothers held Ouranos down, Kronos used the scythe to castrate Ouranos and then cut his body into pieces, flunging Ouranos' severed genitals into the ocean. However, Ouranos cursed Kronos and said that he would one day be overthrown by his own children, just as Kronos had done to him. Her children laughed but this was later revealed to be true. Gaea then proclaimed Kronos as lord of the universe and after the Elder Cyclopes and the Hekatonkheires were released, she sank into a deep slumber for a millenia.
Shortly after Kronos became king, he got disgusted by the appearance of his younger siblings, the Elder Cyclopes and the Hekatonkheires, and imprisoned them in Tartarus again, without the sleeping Gaea noticing. When Kronos married his sister Rhea - Gaea's favorite daughter - and had five godly children with her, he promptly swallowed each of them whole upon birth, fearing that Ouranos' prophecy of being usurped by his own children would come to pass. While pregnant with her sixth child, Rhea was advised by the sleeping Gaea to go to Crete and deliver the child there. She named her child Zeus, and after Gaea hid him away in a cave, she returned to Mount Othrys and gave her husband a stone wrapped in swaddling-clothes to swallow instead. A group of warrior nymphs called the Kouretes appeared near the entrance to Zeus' cave and clashed their spears against their shields - the noise that they made drowned out the sound of Zeus' crying.
Later, when Zeus grew up, he disguised himself as a Titan and journeyed to Mount Othrys, where he was appointed Kronos' cupbearer. He eventually invited all of the Titans to a drinking contest and put a powerful knockout potion into all of the Titans' jars, except for Kronos' in which he put a potion that would make him vomit up all that he had consumed. Being immortal beings, Gaea's godly grandchildren had all grown up completely undigested in their father's stomach and after being freed they declared war on the Titans. This Titanomachy, as it is known, lasted for 11 years and although the Titans initially had the upper hand against the gods, the gods eventually became experienced and powerful fighters as well and managed to defeat the Titans, banishing them to Tartarus.
Upon reawakening and discovering that the Olympians banished her Titan children to the Pit, Gaea consorted with Tartarus and gave birth to a new set of children: the Gigantes, each one born to oppose a specific god. When it came to the First Giant War, the Olympians received help from Heracles and Dionysus - demigod sons of Zeus - and the Gigantes were all defeated.Gaea's final act of defiance against the gods was in the form of Typhon, her monstrous son whom she goaded into attacking Olympus. He rose to the upper world and unleashed a path of destruction on his way to Mount Olympus. The gods rode into battle to face the storm giant, but his ferocious appearance scared them into fleeing all the way to Egypt. Only Zeus remained behind, and after a long battle, he managed to defeat Typhon by imprisoning him under Mount Etna. Following the defeat of yet another child of hers, Gaea admitted defeat and went back to sleep.
Interactions in her Slumber
During the wedding of Zeus and Hera, Gaea give them as a present was a magnificent apple tree with golden apples. Hera had the tree taken far off to the west and planted in a beautiful orchard. The Queen of Olympus employed the Hesperides, daughters of Atlas, to guard the tree, but as the nymphs would occasionally pluck an apple from the tree themselves, she put the fierce one hundred headed dragon Ladon - one of Gaea's grandchildren - there as well. This orchard was later named the Garden of the Hesperides.
At some point, the sleeping Gaea gave birth to a type of Centaurs called the Cyprian Centaurs. They were the result of Zeus accidentally impregnating her during his failed attempt to seduce Aphrodite.
When the nymph Daphne reached a dead end from the lovestruck Apollo, she cried to Gaea for help. The primordial took pity on her and transformed her into a laurel tree just as Apollo threw his arms around her. Heartbroken by the transformation that meant he had irrevocably lost her, Apollo declared that he still would honor her, wearing a crown of her leaves, which would become a symbol of victory for all time.
After Apollo drove her son Orion insane with the urge to hunt every beast on earth due to being in love with his virgin sister Artemis in fear she would break her vows, the giant's claims drew the attention of the sleeping Gaea. The earth protogenos summoned a Giant Scorpion to sting her son, its poison finally putting an end to his life.
In the Series
Gaea once again started to wake while the gods were fighting among themselves during World War II. Gaea used the opportunity to try and once again raise her children, the Gigantes: she lured Marie Levesque, a lover of Pluto, to Alaska, a land where she would be out of the reach of the gods. Pluto tried to tell her it was a trap, but she wouldn't listen and took their daughter with her when she left. Once in Alaska, Gaea would take over Marie's body and lure Hazel to a phantom island in Resurrection Bay, using the cursed demigod's power over all the riches below the earth to bring forth the giant Alcyoneus. This continued until the night where Alcyoneus was supposed to rise. Hazel followed her mother to the island for the last time, but she quickly realized that her mother was no longer under Gaea's control, but was going to give herself to Alcyoneus as a sacrifice to save Hazel. Hazel didn't want her mother to give herself to Gaea, so she used her abilities to destroy the island and Alcyoneus, much to Gaea's annoyance. Gaea went back to sleep for almost forty years after her failed attempt, but woke up again in the 80's and finally managed to raise Alcyoneus.
Eventually, Gaea learnt of the individuals who would be a part of the Prophecy of Seven. While Hera tried to bring the seven together, Gaea tried to break their spirits. She learned of Leo's role in the prophecy from Medea, a mortal with the ability to see the future. When Leo was still a child, she trapped his mother inside a factory and approached Leo, who tried to protect his mom using his fire abilities, but it caused the entire warehouse to go up in flames and his mother to die. Gaea remained mostly silent after this, staying quiet as the Titans began to rise.
Gaea is mentioned by Annabeth Chase in the book when Percy Jackson battles her son, Antaeus (also a son of Poseidon), in an arena deep within the Labyrinth. At first, Percy is unable to harm him, because any wound he receives is instantly covered by sand and healed by Gaea's power. Percy is able to defeat him by causing him to be disconnected with the Earth, baiting Antaeus to climb up some chains hanging from the ceiling after Percy. Percy wrapped him in the chains and then stabbed him, causing him to turn to dust with his mother unable to protect him.
A river nymph also mentions her when she tells Percy that the area around her river, including Geryon's stables, were once part of the ocean when only Gaea and Ouranos reigned. This references the First Age of the world before the Titans ruled.
Between the Series
One month after the events of the second Olympian war, Gaea was involved in convincing the giant Cacus, son of Hephaestus, to cause havoc on the Olympians. Cacus did so by stealing the staff of Hermes which temporarily disrupted communication. Hermes then sent Percy Jackson and Annabeth Chase to retrieve it. Together Percy and Annabeth defeated Cacus with Percy striking the killing blow when he utilized the staff of Hermes' laser mode to incinerate (thus combining his efforts with a god) the giant.
Gaea appeared spiritually when Leo Valdez was little and leaving his mom's work place, and caused it to burn down. Leo was alive because of his ability to resist fire, but his mom didn't make it out. So Gaea might have been very weak but beginning to wake when Leo was little. Gaea also appeared during Jason's Quest to save Hera, speaking to Leo through a medium of spilled toiled chemicals. It is officially revealed that Gaea is awakening and using the Giants to try and overthrow the current rulers of Olympus, the Olympians as she did after the First Olympian War. It was said if she fully awoke, she would literally shake civilization apart. Her army revealed they are going to go to Greece and destroy the gods from their roots. Gaea is mentioned throughout the story. She assisted the giants at The Wolf House but was put to sleep by Piper's charmspeak.
Gaea appears as a face on a mountain in Percy's dream after the war games, stating that he is the key to the gods' defeat. She appears shortly after in another dream telling him to come to Alaska. She later helps Percy win his gamble by telling Phineas to drink the poisonous Gorgon blood, for which she states his death will be more painful than Gorgon's blood. Ella stated that "the lady in the ground" has big plans for him.
Later, she stations Laistrygonians outside the Zhang mansion to kill Frank Zhang, and a few days later attempts to capture Percy and Hazel when they fall into muskeg and taunts them when they regained the Eagle. She also appeared and talked to Hazel about Nico di Angelo, Hazel's half-brother, who she kidnapped and held him somewhere in Rome.
Gaea sends the Eidolons to possess three members of the seven (Percy, Jason Grace and Leo). She also talks to Piper McLean in Kansas telling her to make a choice between Percy and Jason, as she needs the blood of a male and female demigod to awaken. Piper refuses to choose and saves the boys from killing each other. The earth goddess also demands Otis and Ephialtes for Rome to be destroyed on July 1.
She appears to Percy in a dream in a human-like form, telling him that he will fall alone and that she plans on destroying Camp Half-Blood and leaving it bare forever to show that the demigods were powerless to defeat her and the giants. She leaves Percy with a message to enjoy Tartarus. Gaea told her Annabeth that the "weaver would meet her soon" and hopes that the demigod survives to be her sacrifice, but decided to let Arachne take her revenge. According to the twin giants Otis and Ephialtes, the earth goddess has chosen Percy Jackson, son of Poseidon and Annabeth Chase, daughter of Athena to be the sacrifices to awaken her. They later state she will awaken in one month.
Gae also continually tells Leo that he is the "seventh wheel" meaning that he will never be able to fit in with the other six demigods.
During a meeting with the Romans, Grover Underwood states that the nature spirits can sense her stirring and that she is right on the edge of consciousness.
Gaea is mentioned many times during the story as her giants prepare to wake her and the Seven try to find a way to defeat her. Kymopoleia gives Jason Grace a clue when she reminds him of the fact that Ouranos was previously beaten despite being a primordial god-like Gaea. The information from Kymopoleia gives Leo an idea and he works on a plan to defeat her, one that Apollo confirms could work, but would kill any mortal nearby. The Seven also learn that one of them will die fighting Gaea so they get the Physician's Cure to resurrect the one who falls.
During a battle in Athens with the giants, Annabeth receives a cut on her leg and spills blood and Percy gets a bloody nose. The combination of the two bloods awakens Gaea who is at first restrained by the power of the Athena Parthenos, but eventually emerges from the ground at Camp Half-Blood to get her revenge. However, before she can do much, Leo Valdez arrives on a rebuilt Festus and snatches her off the ground and takes her into the sky. Jason and Piper McLean join him as they had figured out her weakness: like her husband Ouranos, when she's cut off from the source of her power, the ground, she is weakened. In the air, Gaea repeatedly attempts to get back to the ground, but Jason manages to contain her and she grows steadily weaker. Piper has Jason bring her close and uses charmspeak to try to put Gaea to sleep. While Gaea resists, eventually she is put back to sleep, takes on a human form and slumps in Festus' claws. However, the demigods know it won't last long and Leo has Festus drop Jason and Piper while he hits Gaea with a massive blast of fire that, combined with an onager shot from Octavian, incinerates her. Like her son Kronos, Gaea is not destroyed completely, but her essence is scattered so much that she hopefully will never be able to form a consciousness or a body ever again. After the battle, Grover Underwood and the nature spirits confirm they can no longer sense her presence and the Earth is returning to normal without her like the sky continues to exist without Ouranos. Defeating her kills Leo, but he is resurrected with the Physician's Cure by Festus.
|“|| “Gaea?” Leo shook his head. “Isn’t that Mother Nature? She’s supposed to have, like, flowers in her hair and birds singing around her and deer and rabbits doing her laundry.”|
“Leo, that’s Snow White,” Piper said.”
In many ways, Gaea is the ideal mother, loving her children first and foremost despite many of them were known for their hideous appearance. She has certain preferences among them, such as her favorite daughter Rhea and apparently her favorite son Clytius. It was originally her decision to let the Olympians beat the Titans in order to help her daughter, but she eventually got enraged due to the way that the gods ruled. She will do anything to protect them, even if it means taking the most extreme measures. It is because of this protectiveness that Gaea is known to be very cruel to anyone who threatens them. This oddly includes the gods - her own grandchildren- and even her children who don't follow her plans or goals, such as Damasen (who she cursed and imprisoned in Tartarus for not fighting against the gods) and Orion (who claimed that he would kill every beast on earth, probably including some of her children).
Gaea had a serene smile which hides a nasty disposition. Her voice reminds Piper of corn growing, a crackling, hissing, hot and persistent noise. Trying to avoid their interference of her plans, Gaea is very manipulative towards the Seven demigods, causing tragedies in their lives and forcing them to help her in Hazel's case. She also tried to convince Percy and Annabeth to join her, while she wanted to kill Frank, Jason, Piper, and Leo, Furthermore, Gaea has been dishonest multiple times in the past, including to her allies.
Nemesis described Gaea as "proud and that there is none who deserve tearing down like her". It is presumable that Gaea might have succeeded in her dreams of conquest had she not become rash and take on an defeatable physical form.
Gaea seems to try to manipulate Percy more than any other demigod. She seems to hate him and Jason more than the other members of the Seven, as described in The Son of Neptune. Perhaps this is because they each sent one of her Titan sons to Tartarus, Hyperion and Krios respectively, along with the fact that both of them assisted greatly in defeating Kronos. This shows a great resentment which mirrors the character of many of her descendants.
Despite this, Gaea showed to have a relatively calm life before her marriage to Ouranos. She liked to simply walk on the earth, but eventually became lonely and asked for company. This was the first step to form (and ironically destroy) her family. Gaea also showed certain level of sympathy, as she transformed Daphne into a plant so Apollo wouldn't follow her anymore.
AppearanceBecause she is literally the Earth itself, Gaea might not have a physical form to speak of. She will sometimes appear to people in the form of a giant sleeping face, such as when she shifted the snow, asphalt, and chemical sludge from some toilets to make a face in The Lost Hero. Percy thought he saw her face in his dreams when she manipulated some clouds to cast a shadow of her face on a mountain overlooking Camp Jupiter in The Son of Neptune.
Gaea tends to appear to people in the form of a woman wearing a cloak made of black dirt that churns and shift, as well as a veil made of dust. Behind the veil is a pale face that appears to be asleep, signifying that she isn't yet awake. When he was younger, Leo confused her with Hera, but Gaea simply said it was a family resemblance.
In Percy Jackson's Greek Gods, Gaea was described to be a matronly woman with curly black hair and a flowing green dress. Her son Kronos was revealed to have inherited her smile. Gaea could be beautiful and attractive when she wished: when she tricked Ouranos, he was utterly taken aback by her beauty: She was dressed in her best green sleeveless dress, her curly hair was braided with jewels, and she smelled of roses and jasmine.
In The Mark of Athena, when Percy saw her in a dream, Gaea had a beautiful face even with closed eyes, hair as black as tilled soil, and eyes which swirled in green and black as deep as the crust of the earth and gave the impression of her being all-seeing. There was a dreamy smile on her lips that made her seem "cold and distant", which made Percy to feel that it wouldn't waver at seeing demigods die or cities burn. Gaea was dressed in forest-green robes that were dappled with gold and white, as if sunlight were shifting through branches.
In The Blood of Olympus, an awakened Gaea is described as a 20-foot-tall figure of a woman – her skin as white as quartz, her hair brown and tangled like tree roots, and her dress woven from blades of grass. Her eyes are described as "solid green" like all nature had been condensed into a few spoonfuls of organic matter".
AbilitiesAs the Protogenos of the Earth and the second being to exist, Gaea is one of the most powerful beings in existence, with power rivaling that of Ouranos, Tartarus and Pontus.
- Supreme Power: As the Protogenos of the Earth, Gaea possess immense levels of power that vastly exceeds that of the gods, Titans and Gigantes. Her only known superiors are Chaos and Ouranos. So immense was Gaea's power, she could overwhelm and restrict the powers of other beings with her mere presence. In The Blood of Olympus, when Percy Jackson attempts to free himself from Enceladus' grasp at the Acropolis, he only manages to summon a gesyer of water a hundred yards away. Porphyrion explains that this is because Gaea's essence was so concentrated there, that Poseidon himself would only be able to summon a "salty spring". She later overwhelmed the magical barrier of the Athena Parthenos (which were channeled from Athena herself, and from the hundreds of campers she was protecting) in seconds.
- Creation of Sentient Life-Forms: Gaea can create monsters powerful enough to cause troubles and even challenge the gods, such as Geminus soldiers and Python. As shown in Percy Jackson's Greek Gods, she recreated humanity through her "bones" (rocks).
- Geokinesis: As the physical embodiment of the Earth, Gaea has divine authority and absolute control of the Earth. As mentioned in The House of Hades, she opened the earth to trap Damasen in Tartarus. Her jurisdiction over this province grants her the abilities of:
- Earth Rejuvenation: She is able to keep her children alive as long as he or she is touching the ground, as she did with Antaeus and Orion.
- Earth Awareness: She knows whatever happens on the Earth.
- Earth Manifestation: Even when sleeping, she could manifest from dirt to anywhere she wished to be. However, she can't interfere with the events at first, as she didn't oppose Kronos and Zeus directly.
- Ferrokinesis: As the embodiment of the Earth, she can bend the metals of her "body" in any shape she wants. Most notably, she was able to create a scythe powerful enough to destroy the bodies and souls of fellow primordial deities.
- Quicksand Generation: Immediately upon her awakening, she could sink all the forces at Camp Half Blood into the earth all at once, including Hazel, Nico, or Percy despite their own powers over earth. Only Jason, Piper, and Leo escapes by ascending into the air.
- Magmakinesis: As the embodiment of earth, Gaea has control over molten rocks and lava.
- Chlorokinesis: As the primordial goddess of the Earth, Gaea has infinite control regarding plants and all kinds of flora.
- Plants Growth: She is able to create plants spontaneously at a whim. As revealed in Percy Jackson's Greek Gods, she created Hera's tree of golden apples whilst still asleep. In The Blood of Olympus, a mere gesture from her caused dozens of trees to bend.
- Plants Transformation: As revealed in Percy Jackson's Greek Gods and The Hidden Oracle, she has the power to transform any object or being into something else - she changed Daphne into a laurel tree so she could permanently evade Apollo's advances.
- Atmokinesis: As the primordial goddess of the earth, Gaea can presumably control and manipulate the weather.
- Aerokinesis (limited): She can create and manipulate the air, though to a lesser extent than Ouranos.
- Cryokinesis (limited): She can create and manipulate ice. This was shown she shifted the snow to make a face in The Lost Hero.
- Premonition: Gaea can show memories or visions to others. She often visited the dreams of the Seven to tell them future events.
- Immortality Granting: Gaea can give eternal life to others. In Percy Jackson's Greek Heroes, she gave Aristaeus immortality during her sleep
- Control of Animals: As the primordial goddess of Earth, Gaea appears to have a high level of control over animals. As seen in Percy Jackson's Greek Gods, she summoned a Giant Scorpion to sting Orion with poison.
- Possession: Gaea can possess people for short periods of time when they are asleep. According to Leo, being possessed by her feels like a cold feeling inside the host.
- Tongue of the Old Times fluency: According to Tyson in The Battle of the Labyrinth, this is the ancient language that Gaea spoke to the Titans, Elder Cyclops, and Hekatonkheires before the birth of the Olympians.
|Ouranos||First Generation Titans, Hekatonkheires, Elder Cyclopes, Meliai|
|Tartarus||Gigantes, Typhon, Karpoi, Kampê|
|Pontos||Nereus, Phorcys, Keto, Thaumas, Eurybia|
|Zeus||Agdistis/Kybele and Cyprian Centaurs|
|Poseidon||Antaeus and Charybdis|
- Her sacred animals are the serpent, the lunar bull, the pig, and bees.
- Her name, Gaea, means "Earth", in Greek.
- In The Battle of the Labyrinth, her name is spelled throughout the book as "Gaia". Rick Riordan stated that the reason he spelled it as Gaia is because "he felt like it."
- In the British edition of The Heroes of Olympus books published by Puffin books, Gaea is still spelled as Gaia.
- Her Roman name, Terra, is where the word "terrain" comes from.
- The large landmass that made up all the continents before they separated is known as Pangaea, with Pan meaning "all" and Gaea meaning "Earth".
- Gaea, a crater on Amalthea (a moon of Jupiter) is named after her.
- Though she is far more powerful, Gaea was defeated much easier than Kronos. She managed to gain full power, but took a defeatable form and was only to be swooped up until being destroyed.
- According to Percy Jackson, it is unknown how and why she and Poseidon had children. This is also "something that he doesn't want to know."
- Ironically, several of Gaea's children supported the gods, so even if she had won, the Gigantes would have had to fight the Elder Cyclops and the Hekatonkheires, as they are also her sons.
- Her Egyptian equivalent is Geb.
- Her Norse equivalent would be Jord.
- Her Mexica equivalent is Tlaltecuhtli.
- Gaea is the only major villain from the second series to be mentioned (multiple times) in the first one.