|“||Governments fall. The dead rise. Giants attack Olympus. But gold retains its value!||”|
–King Midas to Jason, in The Lost Hero.
Midas was the king of Pessinus and second king of Phrygia in Greek mythology. Midas ruled the kingdom of Phrygia in the eighth century B.C.E. In the mythological age, kings of Phrygia were alternately named Gordias and Midas. His mother was the Phyrgian goddess, Cybele.
Once, Silenus, Dionysus' drunken companion, stumbled upon his kingdom. King Midas immediately recognized him to be a friend of Dionysus, and so, upon the arrival of the guest, he held a celebration for ten days and nights. When at last the lofty array of stars had been driven across the sky for the eleventh time, the happy king went to the Lydian fields and returned the him to the god. Dionysus, rejoicing to be again with Silenus, gave Midas the choice of a gift. The king, however, who would come to regret his decision. Dionysus agreed and granted him the gift, which would only harm him, and was pained that the king had not chosen better. The king left happily and rejoiced in this evil. He tested the truth of the promise by touching things, and hardly believed his eyes when it was not a greening twig he plucked from a lofty oak, but one that had been made golden; he lifted a stone from the earth, and the stone paled also with gold; he touched the soil, and the soil became heavy at his potent touch. He held an apple plucked from a tree, and it was as if the Hesperides had given it to him, and when he placed his fingers upon the tall pillars of his palace, they too gleamed goldenly. Even when he washed his hands with water, the water flowing from his palms became gold.
Later he attended a feast, where his servants placed the banquet-tables before him heaped with dishes. However, when he touched the bread with his right hand, it hardened, and when he tried to drink his wine mixed with water, it seemed that liquid gold were pouring into his mouth.
Surprised by the strangeness of the misfortune, he, wealthy and yet unhappy, wished to flee his wealth and hated what desired just before. No amount of riches could sate his hunger and dry thirst scorched his throat, and he was tormented by the detested gold. And so he raised his hands to the sky and, extending his glittering arms. Dionysus then restored the king, who was admitting his wrong, and released the gift he had given by promise. The king went to the indicated waters; then, the gold was washed at last from his body into the flood, coloring the waves with a faint yellow hue.
Later he helped judge a music competition between Pan's pipes and Apollo's lyre. He was the only one who voted Pan and Apollo cursed Midas with the ears of a donkey. His barber was the only mortal who knew and he swore not to tell. One day the barber could not hold his promise, dug a hole, whispered the secret and covered the hole again. A thick bed of reeds grew from the meadows, and told the story. Some sources say his cause of death was drinking the blood of an ox.
Midas is one of the dead brought back to life by the opening of the Doors of Death, appearing in a river front mansion in Omaha, Nebraska. When Piper McLean, Leo Valdez, and Jason Grace crash into his mansion, he is polite. Midas tells them that he never learned his lesson after he touched his daughter, turning her into solid gold, and laughs at the claim.
Midas touches Piper's backpack, turning it into flexible gold, proving he still has the magic touch. Midas admits that he would sometimes pat his son Lit on the back accidentally, but he always has the river to rinse it off. He also adds that he had turned his daughter into gold, but she was so annoying he just kept her that way. Midas then reveals he is working for Gaea and turns Leo and Piper into gold. He gives Jason a choice: be turned into a gold statue for his collection, or fight Lityerses and die. Midas talks about how Lityerses and him had fought off Artemis' Hunters when they arrived. Jason decides to fight Lit and eventually tricks Midas into touching him, turning him into gold. Midas then goes after Jason, and Jason uses all the gold in the house as a good conductor of electricity and tears the ceiling off. A thunderstorm starts, turning Leo, Piper, and everyone else Midas froze back into humans. They supposedly kill him, but his ultimate fate remains unknown.
Leo mentions King Midas when Hazel Levesque mentions she can summon gold.
Since Lityerses appears as a minor antagonist in this book, his father, Midas, is unsurprisingly mentioned several times. It was revealed while Lit managed to stay alive after the Doors of Death were closed, Midas has died once again. Commodus once mocks Lit for being no better than his idiot father and not having the golden touch like him.
Midas is a very greedy person who loves gold. The only love he has is for his son, Lit. He originally wished for the power to turn things to gold out of greed, but soon regretted it when he found that even food would change to gold. However, in The Lost Hero, it is shown that after finding out how to reverse the change, he did not learn his lesson and continued turning things to gold. This including his own family or anyone that annoyed him, turning them into gold statues. Midas does not seem to care that he was revived by Gaea and simply enjoys how even after thousands of years, gold is still one of the most valuable metals on earth.
Midas is described as a pudgy man in a white bathrobe, with a white beard and a long, old-fashioned sleeping cap on his head, which he uses to hide his donkey's ears.
- Chrysopoeia: Midas's only and most known ability is the power to turn anything to gold with a touch. In The Lost Hero, it is shown that objects turned to gold become enchanted, as Piper's backpack was able to hold the Storm Spirits. This ability however is constant, meaning Midas will occasionally turn things to gold he did not intend to (including his own son, Lityerses). This ability can be reversed by placing the object that was turned to gold into running water.
- Midas uses his power to turn anything to gold to fund Gaea's army.
- Midas is one of the few people who can resist Piper's charmspeak, as gold can neutralize it (more so the ability to turn people into gold, not gold itself).
- Midas says that he was told that 'there was an oracle in Omaha', a reference to investor Warren Buffet, who holds the title 'Oracle of Omaha'