|“||The Master Bolt, which packs enough power to make mortal hydrogen bombs look like firecrackers.||”|
Forging the Master Bolt
Zeus' eldest brother, Hades, was very skilled in navigating under the earth, was able to lead all of his siblings into Tartarus, with the intention of freeing the Elder Cyclopes (Arges, Brontes, and Steropes) and Hekatonkheires (Cottus, Gyges, and Briares). All six of them were imprisoned in the maximum-security zone of Tartarus, surrounded by huge bronze walls, and a lava moat, guarded by fierce demons. Their guardian, Kampê, was the most ferocious and fearsome monster in all of Tartarus, and even Zeus, Poseidon, and Hades initially shuddered with horror when they saw the infernal monster for the first time. However, the gods overcame their fear, and were able to sneak in. Zeus managed to talk to the Cyclopes Brontes, and convinced him to forge powerful weapons for him and his siblings (which would be more powerful than Kronos' Scythe) behind Kampê's back. Together with his brothers Steropes and Arges, Brontes forged three incredibly powerful weapons, the first of which was the Master Bolt, which was given to Zeus. The power of the Bolt made Zeus' body tingle with energy, and he tested his new mighty weapon on a huge nearby bolder, which was instantly blasted to dust. Shortly thereafter, Kampê noticed the gods' presence, and proceeded to attack them. However, Zeus once more utilized the Master Bolt, and instantly incinerated the mighty monster by many simultaneous tremendous bolts of lightning.
The bolt itself is considered to be the most powerful of the three weapons forged by Arges, Brontes, and Steropes (making a mortal hydrogen bomb look like a firecracker in comparison), and all of Zeus' later thunderbolts were molded after it.
Shortly thereafter, Zeus successfully wielded his new mighty weapon during the subsequent 11-year-long war with his father and the other Titans. The Titans initially had the upper hand in the battles, since they were very skilled, and much more experienced warriors. Zeus, however, quickly became a skilled, dangerous, and ferocious warrior as well, and, together with his siblings and uncles, ultimately prevailed against his Titanic foes. During the final battle, Zeus used his Master Bolt to shear off the top of Mount Othrys, and hurl Kronos from his Black Throne, defeating the evil Titan King.
Zeus' Symbol of Power
After the Titanomachy, the gods (who now called themselves the Olympians) chose Mount Olympus as their official residence, and Zeus as their King. Hence, while the Master Bolt remained Zeus' personal weapon in times of need, it also became his symbol of power, along with his pet eagle. He wielded it on multiple occasions, most notably while fighting Typhon, his greatest foe of all.
Percy Jackson is accused by Zeus of stealing his Master Bolt for his father Poseidon, as gods cannot steal each other's symbols of power, and Percy is a son of Poseidon and lives in New York City (where Mount Olympus is located). After discovering the theft, a devastated Zeus sent out Apollo, Athena, Artemis, and Ares, to search for his lost mighty weapons. However, only Ares was able to find the true lightning thief (Luke Castellan). Nonetheless, Ares did not turn Luke over to Zeus, and kept the Bolt and Hades' Helm (which Luke also stole) in order to start a war between the gods. As a result, Ares later told Poseidon that he suspects Hades to be behind the theft.
Because of this, Percy Jackson, Annabeth Chase, and Grover Underwood embarked on a quest to retrieve the Master Bolt. Shortly thereafter, Ares meet them, and gave Percy an enchanted backpack, which he had glitched, so that the backpack made the Bolt would appear inside it when he arrived in the Underworld, making Percy look like the lightning thief. Percy accused Hades at first but the Lord of the Dead denies this, saying that his Helm of Darkness was also gone. Percy retrieves both items and returns them safely after fighting and defeating Ares.
During the Olympian Council meeting, while arguing with Poseidon about where the Ophiotaurus should be kept, Zeus' Master Bolt appears in his hand, and fills the entire Throne Room with a strong smell of ozone.
Zeus used it repeatedly to attack Typhon, but while it nearly knocked the gigantic monster off balance, it only injured Typhon slightly, and he quickly regained his footing and continued attacking the Olympians.
Percy sees the statue of Jupiter at his temple in Camp Jupiter. He claims that the Master Bolt doesn't look like that, but Octavian and Hazel Levesque don't understand what he is talking about or what the Master Bolt is.Giants at the Acropolis. He is seen using it to blast back the Giant King Porphyrion when fighting him alongside his son, Jason Grace. Shortly thereafter, a blast from the Bolt destroys the Giant King, after which a victorious Zeus clips the weapon to his belt.
The Master Bolt is portrayed as a shaft of crystallized lightning that can discharge bolts of electricity. Instead of being hidden in a backpack by Ares, the bolt was concealed in the handle of an expandable shield Luke gave to Percy for his quest.
It is a two-foot-long cylinder of high-grade Celestial Bronze capped on both ends with god-level electrical explosives. It is stupendously powerful, "makes mortal hydrogen bombs look like firecrackers" according to Chiron. When the Master Bolt is activated, the ends of the cylinder emit crystallized electric bolts, making it look like a classical lightning bolt.
The first of the weapons created by the Elder Cyclopses, Zeus' Master Bolt is possibly the most powerful weapon in existence. In The Lightning Thief, Chiron mentions that it is after this bolt all other lightning bolts are fashioned. In Percy Jackson's Greek Gods, the Master Bolt is called the "nuclear arsenal of Mount Olympus." Zeus' entire body tingled with power when when he first touched it.
- Cataclysmic Explosion: When Zeus hurls the entire Master Bolt, it is a force of unsurpassable, nigh unstoppable destruction. According to Chiron, its firepower "makes mortal hydrogen bombs look like firecrackers." Described as a column like blast of white-hot power, it has vaporized Kampê (daughter of two Protogenoi, who had kept an iron grip on the Elder Cyclopses and Hekatonkheires), shorn off the top of Mount Othrys, ransacked Kronos' palace, and hurled the Titan off of his black throne. In The Last Olympian, when Zeus hurls it at Typhon (with enough force to nearly knock the colossal monster off-balance), the blast "lights up the world", and Percy can feel the shock-wave of the impact many miles away.
- Electric Blast: While Zeus could throw the entire Bolt for maximum damage, he could shoot smaller, but still extremely powerful, blasts from it. In Percy Jackson's Greek Gods when he first received it, he aimed it at a boulder, and "a thousand tendrils of lightning zapped it to dust."
- Lightning Bolts: The Master Bolt can discharge hundreds of smaller lightning bolts. Zeus used the Master Bolt this way to raze Salmonea and wipe it off the map.
In The Lightning Thief, Ares claims that the backpack he gave to Percy was the Master Bolt's sheath, only morphed a little bit to disguise it. It is unknown whether the backpack was an actual sheath that belonged specifically to Zeus. According to Ares, the bolt is magically connected to the backpack/sheath and will always return to it when lost, much like Percy's sword. This heavily implies that the sheath was stolen from Zeus. In The Blood of Olympus, however, Zeus is shown to simply clip the Bolt to his belt when not wielding it.
- It appears that Jupiter may not have a version of the Master Bolt, because when Percy mentioned it to Hazel she didn't appear to know what he meant. However, it is possible that she simply had never heard of it, or that it had a different Roman name.
- A stylized version of it is the astronomical sign of the planet, Jupiter.
- According to some myths, Pegasus was given the task of carrying Zeus' lightning bolts.
- As shown in Percy Jackson's Greek Gods, the Master Bolt was the first weapon forged for the Olympian gods by the Elder Cyclopes.