|“||My point is you heroes never change. You accuse us gods of being vain. You should look at yourselves. You take what you want, use whoever you have to, and then you betray everyone around you. So you'll excuse me if I have no love for heroes. They are a selfish, ungrateful lot.||”|
Dionysus is the Greek god of grape-harvest, wine, madness, parties, and ecstasy as well as theater. He is also known as Mr. D, the camp director of Camp Half-Blood. He was placed as the director by his father Zeus as punishment for chasing after an off-limits nymph. After the decree that Olympus would be closed and that gods would have no contact with their demigod child, he was recalled to Olympus. His Roman counterpart is Bacchus. Dionysus is portrayed by Luke Camilleri in The Lightning Thief. He is portrayed by Stanley Tucci in the film Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters.
Dionysus was often called the 'twice born' because of the circumstances around his birth. His mother was a mortal woman named Semele, daughter of King Cadmus of Thebes, and his father was Zeus. This makes him the only Olympian to have a mortal parent, and according to some traditions the only one to have been born a demigod.
As with most of Zeus' acts of infidelity, Hera became jealous when she found out that Semele was pregnant with Zeus' child. She disguised herself as a nurse (or old crone in some stories) and made Semele begin to doubt that it was truly Zeus. While in disguise, Hera convinced Semele to ask Zeus to reveal his true form and, to make sure that he would do it, to swear on the River Styx, which is sacred to the Greek gods and an unbreakable oath. Zeus tried to get around the promise, but in the end swore on the River Styx, and Semele asked to see his true form. Unable to go back on the promise, he did so, and she was burned to ashes. Zeus managed to save the infant, sewing him into his thigh until he was born a few months later as a full grown baby on Mount Pramnos in Ikaria. He was born a demigod, like Hercules and Perseus.
In his early life Zeus sent Dionysus off with Hermes, who took Dionysus to King Athamas and his wife Ino, Semele's sister and Dionysus' maternal aunt. Hermes had them raise Dionysus as a girl to hide him from Hera's scorn. When Dionysus was three he was discovered by Hera who disposed of his guardians and their children through inflicting madness upon the household, him only surviving as Zeus turned him into a goat to hide him. Following that that the boy was then taken to the rain nymphs of Mount Nyssa. They raised him through childhood, and in reward for their care, Zeus placed them as the Hyades in the stars. When he grew up, he discovered the vine, and extracted the juice. He was struck with madness by Hera at this point, and ended up wandering various parts of the world. Rhea cured him, and taught him her religious rites, and he wandered through Asia teaching about cultivating the vine.
He was very handsome as a young man, eager for challenges. Dionysus later said he was good at nothing in his human life but cultivating wine. The people in his village mocked him, not knowing of his heritage, his father, or knowing his future, and what he would one day become. Later, when Dionysus was invited to Mount Olympus, it was Hestia who graciously offered him her golden chair to prevent any conflict or embarrassment. Hestia was a goddess known for her warmth and kindness. Dionysus then rescued his mother from Hades, and she became a goddess on Mount Olympus, with the new name Thyone, presiding over the frenzy inspired by her son Dionysus. When Theseus abandoned Ariadne sleeping on Naxos, Dionysus found and married her. When she died, he went to the Underworld and rescued her, taking her up to Mount Olympus, where he made her immortal. He was disguised as a mortal on the seashore once, and a few sailors spotted him. They thought he was a prince, and tried to kidnap him and hold him for ransom or to sell into slavery. They tried to tie his hands behind his back, but no ropes would hold him to the pole. Some ideas are that the material they were made of then was similar to the vines, and would refuse to hold him. At this point Dionysus turned into a lion and let a bear loose on board. It killed those it came in contact with, and those who jumped off the ship were turned into dolphins as an act of mercy. The only one to survive was the helmsman Acoetes, who had recognized him as a god, and tried to stop his comrades from the beginning.
After chasing after an off-limits wood nymph twice, Zeus punished him by putting him in charge of Camp Half-Blood for 100 years. During this time, he is not allowed to drink wine (so instead drinks several liters of Diet Coke) or grow grapes for wine, even though he does use his powers on other plants such as strawberries which helps with Camp Half Blood's expenses as their cover name is Delphi Strawberry Service. It is hinted that the first time he did use his powers on grape vines, his punishment caused the Prohibition era. After The Last Olympian, Zeus decides to make Dionysus work at Camp Half-Blood for only fifty more years, as a reward for his good behavior and bravery. He appears to have the fewest demigod children out of all the gods, not including the Big Three or the virgin goddesses - only having two sons, his twins, Pollux & Castor - possibly due to his hatred of heroes or his strong dedication to his immortal wife Ariadne on Olympus. He does care for his sons, as proven in The Battle of the Labyrinth and in The Last Olympian, when he is shown being depressed after the death of his son, Castor, and afterwards becomes discreetly protective of his only remaining child, Pollux.
Dionysus is introduced as Mr. D and is called this throughout the series by campers at Camp Half-Blood. Dionysus is first seen playing pinochle with Chiron, described by him as one of the best games (along with Pac-Man and gladiator fighting) invented by humans. He is not impressed by Percy upon meeting him, and upon his return to camp makes fun of him. He insists on getting Percy's name wrong when talking to him and on his camp report, on purpose.
Dionysus does not play a large part. He is shown to dislike Tantalus, and is said to miss Chiron, saying there is no one to play pinochle with. He does nothing to prevent Percy, Annabeth Chase, and Tyson from leaving camp to rescue Grover, though it may be because Hermes was shielding them from Dionysus' eyes. In the end, after Chiron is cleared of all suspicion with the help of Percy, Dionysus gladly sends Tantalus back to the Fields of Punishment.
Dionysus is indifferent about Annabeth's supposed death and even calls her 'Annie Bell', and Percy almost hits him, but is stopped by Chiron. Percy then confronts him about his lack of love for the Campers, and Dionysus says nothing. After that, Nico di Angelo meets Dionysus, calls him the "wine dude", and excitedly tells him that he is his favorite card in his game of Mythomagic, but also annoys him with his chattering. Later, when Percy follows Zoë Nightshade, Thalia Grace, Bianca di Angelo and Grover Underwood, riding Blackjack, Dionysus stops him by binding him and Blackjack at the top of the Chrysler Building with vines while they were flying through the air, as shown on the cover.
Dionysus confronts Percy about leaving camp without permission, and Percy angrily demands the reason why Dionysus hates him so much. Dionysus then tells him he hates all heroes, because they are all the same. Dionysus then proceeds to tell him the story of Theseus, and Ariadne, and how he later married Ariadne after Theseus abandoned her. He mentions that Zoë has a bad history with heroes. However, Dionysus lets Percy go, knowing that two are doomed to die, and he is hopeful Percy will be one of them. If not, then Dionysus promises Percy that he will one day prove him right, by acting like all the heroes before him. This could also explain his lack of demigod children.
Later on in the book, Dionysus is sent an Iris Message by Percy. He then says that they could say please to him and then maybe he would save them from the Manticore, Dr. Thorn. Percy prays for Dionysus' help and Dionysus responds by making Dr Thorn's guards mad and wraps grapevines around Dr Thorn, crushing the Manticore. Dionysus does not react to this impressively, describing it as "fun". He also uses Percy's real name which Percy then points out but Dionysus denies.
Later at the winter solstice, Dionysus votes for both Percy and Thalia to be executed, and is seen at the party afterwards with a very beautiful woman on his arm, Ariadne. It is mentioned that this was the first time Percy had ever seen Dionysus happy.
Dionysus is seen very briefly. He is mentioned early in the novel as being on a mission, checking up on all the minor gods and making sure they aren't going to join arms against Olympus. Later in the book, he enters Camp Half-Blood after the battle, looking very upset, saying that he just learned his son Castor is dead (this may be the only time in the series when he's shown with sympathetic or sad emotions). He dissolves the committee, and later talks to Percy, saying Percy "always managed to annoy him". He tells Percy things are not looking good for Olympus, and that he supposedly should thank Percy and Annabeth for saving camp. He then shows Percy that he cured Chris Rodriguez from the madness inflicted on him by King Minos while he was in the Labyrinth. Percy is shocked by this, knowing that Dionysus doesn't do nice things very often. Dionysus proceeds to assure Percy that he "simply oozes niceness" and that Chris deserved a second chance. Dionysus does not fail to see Clarisse La Rue's happiness at Chris' healing, and tells Percy in a statement most unlike Dionysus that sometimes the little changes can make the most difference in the end.
Dionysus is one of the gods fighting Typhon, although he is knocked out in the Appalachian Mountains, and summons Percy to him, where he is at a party, playing Pac-Man and cursing Blinky. Dionysus asks Percy to save Olympus and make sure that his son Pollux survives the battle, calling him by all the wrong names throughout the conversation. Dionysus annoys Percy by repeatedly asking him to get him a Diet Coke. He also tells Percy that gods need heroes, although they would never admit it, and if Percy mentions this to anyone else he will deny it.
He is later seen at the end when he comments that Percy might not be so bad after all but was still going to make life difficult for him. He states that Percy probably saved the world through his expert training, for which the god was obviously responsible. He also adds that due to his bravery in the war, Lord Zeus had shortened his 'rehabilitation sentence' at Camp Half-Blood from a 100 years to only 50. This statement amused Percy and he tries to imagine what it would be like to put up with Dionysus for 50 more years (assuming he lived till then).
After Zeus closed Olympus and forbade the gods to have any contact with their children, Dionysus was recalled as the camp director to return to Olympus. Before his leave, he left many mementos of himself at the Big House; these include a living leopard head named Seymour (this was due to the leopard being his sacred animal and him horrified by its condition), a Pac-Man Game, party masks, and grape-vines with grapes on them.
Dionysus, along with most of the other Olympians, was incapacitated (with his personality split between him and his Roman form Bacchus, though stabilizing more on the latter) after Leo was manipulated by Gaea into shooting upon Camp Jupiter from the Argo II.
When Percy and Jason meet Bacchus, Percy mentions that he knows him as Dionysus, after which the god briefly flickers to Dionysus before complaining that he hates being thought about in his Greek form. He later appears when Jason Grace and Percy are fighting the twin giants Otis and Ephialtes, and turns this into entertainment in the Colosseum, in front of a crowd of Lares, though he does finally help slay his own Giant banes after the demigods manage to prove themselves worthy of his help.
When Reyna, with the help of six pegasi finally manages to place the Athena Parthenos on Half-Blood Hill, golden light ripples across the ground, seeping warmth into the bones of both Greek and Roman demigods, and curing all of the Olympians (including Dionysus) of their split personalities. It is possible that Dionysus joined his fellow gods in the final battle with the Giants in Athens, but he is never mentioned by name, and his opposites Otis and Ephialtes were instead taken down by Poseidon and Percy.
At first glance, Dionysus seems like a rather displeasing god. He enjoys calling people by incorrect names, especially Percy Jackson, whom he often calls "Peter Johnson" and "Perry Johanssen". He sometimes does this with campers who have been at camp for a long time, such as Annabeth Chase who he calls "Annie Bell" right after she was captured. He often does this to make the campers think that he cares so little for them, that he will make no effort to remember their names. He even refuses to acknowledge when he calls them by their correct names. This is also because he hates almost all heroes. His hatred for heroes stems back to how Theseus abandoned Ariadne, and thus is why he has the fewest shown demigod children among the major gods. He presented the exterior of a true misanthrope: cruel, intensely bitter, facetious and sarcastic to a fault. He also apparently has a catastrophic temper, as when he confesses himself to not be in a good mood whilst arguing with Silenus, all of the satyrs back down so as not to provoke the god.
Dionysus doesn't like to be known as 'the wine dude". The first time is when Nico called him that after the orientation video. Dionysus is not pleased but tones down his anger when Nico starts complimenting him in his excitement. The second time this happens is when Dionysus catches Percy as he chases after Zoe, Thalia, Grover and Bianca. Blackjack yells "God alert, it's the wine dude" and Dionysus becomes exasperated and threatens to stick the next person (or horse) who calls him that in a bottle of Merlot. He can also be quite unforgiving, as Chiron claimed that Dionysus viciously punished Seymor's previous owner for what he did to the animal, to the point that Seymor's current status (a discorporial head) is much better than the mortal's own.
However, despite the impression he tries to give, deep down, Dionysus cares about his campers quite a bit. For example, while Dionysus stresses the fact that he cares little for the campers (except his own sons, Castor and Pollux) he dislikes Tantalus due to his demeaning attitude and for treating the campers badly (even though he himself is generally disrespectful towards them), he finds humor in his attempts to grab food and is also happy to send him back to the Fields of Punishment. He is no kinder to Chiron, but never threatens him like he threatens the campers, and even admits he misses him during Chiron's exile from Camp Half-Blood (as he was fired by the gods). He asked Percy to look out for his son, Pollux, right after Castor died in the battle of the Labyrinth, and Percy stated being surprised that Dionysus could actually be a loving parent.
Dionysus is also willing to send help using his godly powers when a camper is in danger and desperately needs help. For example, in The Titan's Curse, when the Manticore was attacking Percy Jackson, Thalia, and their friends, he used grape vines to kill the Manticore, Dr. Thorn, and caused several to descend into madness, saving Percy's life - he later coldly remarked that it was fun, hinting that he hadn't exerted himself in the act. Also, despite his rude demeanor, he tells Percy he is one of the nicest gods, as he had cured Chris Rodriguez from his madness when he came back out of the Labyrinth, in spite of having previously betrayed them. Both actions proved that he's much more selfless than he appears to be. In stark contrast to his gruffness and bitterness, Dionysus has been known to enjoy parties (likely because he is the god of festivals where there is wine). However, this is mostly because he hates being at Camp Half-Blood, so he is usually in a bad mood.
Dionysus has a chubby face, a red nose and curly hair so black, it looks purple. He normally has watery, blue, bloodshot eyes from drinking. He is usually described as wearing tiger-striped (or leopard-spot) Hawaiian shirts and purple running shoes. He is described by Percy as a cherub who had grown up in a trailer park. Anyone can tell he's no stranger to wine just by looking at him. However, this might not be his true appearance, since in Percy Jackson's Greek Gods, he is described as incredibly handsome (more so than a mortal man). During his conquest of India, Dionysus rode in a golden chariot pulled by two centaurs. He wields a pine cone-topped thyrsus rod wreathed in ivy while battling foes, which can "glow with purple fire" when he is agitated.
As a son of Zeus, Dionysus is an extremely powerful god.
- Prowess in Battle: Dionysus is known to have fought bravely in the first Gigantomachy (while still a demigod), wielding a pine cone-topped thyrsus rod. He helped Hercules take down Otis and Ephialtes, and also took down Clytius together with Hercules and Hecate. Dionysus also participated in the Olympians' massive battle with Typhon in The Last Olympian, though he was defeated and smashed deep into a mountain by the huge Storm Giant.
- Chlorokinesis: Dionysus can grow, control, and summon plants, but he prefers grape and strawberry vines.
- Vine Binding: He can bind and suffocate his enemies with grape vines which are incredibly strong and durable, shown when he killed Dr. Thorn and when he trapped Percy and Blackjack in The Titan's Curse.
- Vine Manipulation: In The Battle of the Labyrinth Dionysus telekinetically creates a throne of grapevines to sit at the Council of Cloven Elders.
- Madness: As the god of madness, Dionysus is able to both induce and cure it.
- Induced Madness: He can induce madness, shown in Percy Jackson's Greek Gods, when he instantly drove King Lycurgus insane, and in The Titan's Curse, when Dionysus did the same to Dr. Thorn's minions.
- Curing Madness: Dionysus can cure madness, shown in The Battle of the Labyrinth, when he quickly cured Chris Rodriguez, whom not even nectar and ambrosia could cure.
- Alcokinesis: As the god of wine, Dionysus can manipulate alcohol. However, in the first series he is not allowed to partake in alcohol, with Zeus stripping him of this ability. This ability was, however, apparently finally restored shortly before The Lost Hero, when Dionysus was recalled as the camp director to return to Olympus.
- Alcohol Transformation: He can transform people and objects into anything wine related, as he threatened to do with Percy and Blackjack in The Titan's Curse.
- Alcohol Conjuration: He can conjure any kind of drink, but generally only creates cans of Diet Coke, due to his prohibition to drink any kind of alcoholic beverage.
- Alcohol Immunity: Dionysus is completely immune to the effects of any amount of alcohol.
- Partying: Dionysus can appear anywhere a party is held. According to Percy Jackson's Greek Gods, his parties are wild and infamous.
- Maenad Curse: Despite the fact that Dionysus despises the Maenads, he is obliged to curse anybody who either hurts or kills a single one of them, as revealed in The Demigod Diaries.
- Photokinesis (limited): Dionysus can generate an intense purple aura with his power. In The Titan's Curse, the sky was tinged with purple when Dionysus strangled Dr. Thorn.
- Levitation: A revealed in The Titan's Curse, Dionysus has the ability to levitate, which he did when confronting Percy and Blackjack on the roof of a nine hundred foot tall building. Dionysus later used this ability in The Battle of the Labyrinth when "walking" with Percy and conversing with him.
- Teleportation: As shown in The Titan's Curse, Dionysus can teleport, instantly dissipating and leaving a faint smell of grapes.
- Granting Powers: As King Midas mentions in The Lost Hero, Dionysus was able to give him his infamous Golden Touch.
- Forced Transformation: Dionysus can turn people into animals. This happened in Percy Jackson's Greek Gods, when he was kidnapped by pirates by mistake, and he subsequently turned them into dolphins (with them later joining Chrysaor's crew).
Dionysus' attributes are his Thyrsus, his silver goblet (which he brought back from his conquest of India), as well as grape vines. His sacred animals are the leopard, goat, and donkey. Dionysus is also the patron god of theater.
Dionysus' loyal attendants are the fierce Maenads, and while he despises them, he is still obliged to curse anyone who either hurts or kills a single one of them. The satyrs at Camp Half-Blood also serve Dionysus, and can be seen sitting with the god at his table in the Dining Pavilion.
- Hemithea (granddaughter)
Dionysus is played by Luke Camilleri. He does not have a major part and does not appear as the camp director. Instead, Chiron seems to be the camp director. He is shown at the Olympian Council along with the rest of the gods.
Dionysus is portrayed by Stanley Tucci. Dionysus does act rather vain and arrogant, for instance claiming that searching for the Golden Fleece was his idea instead of Annabeth's.
Dionysus has a good relationship with Ariadne. When Theseus abandoned her on an island, Dionysus found her and made Ariadne his immortal wife on Olympus when she died. This is one of the reasons why he hates heroes so much. When he and Ariadne appeared at the Olympian party near the end of The Titan's Curse, Dionysus appeared happier than he usually was at Camp Half-Blood.
Dionysus has two sons, one of which he lost during the Battle of the Labyrinth. His seeming indifference suggested that Dionysus disliked demigods, but he surprised Percy in The Last Olympian, when he asked the demigod to look over his remaining son, Pollux, suggesting that Dionysus indeed cares for his children. He was obviously affected by Castor's death, being very depressed, and Percy stated that it looked like he was suffering more from grief than alcohol withdrawal at the time.
Dionysus seems to hold his father in high esteem, and works with him when the Titans or the Giants threaten to destroy Olympus. Dionysus also joined forces with Zeus to fight off Typhon in The Last Olympian.
Dionysus greatly dislikes Percy Jackson because he's a hero, even more so because he is a son of Poseidon, like Theseus. He is often irritated by Percy, and he votes for Percy to be killed at the Olympian Council, during The Titan's Curse. However, he seems to show him more respect later on in the books, shown by the fact that he offers him his advice more often than to any other hero. By The Last Olympian, Dionysus even trusts Percy to look out for Pollux, his remaining demigod son.
Even as Bacchus, their relationship in The Mark of Athena is very similar to their relationship as Greeks. Also it is seen that Bacchus is giving Percy advice, help and eventually telling him that his future is not happy.
He has a good relationship with Chiron, and they enjoy playing pinochle together, though he sometimes accuses Chiron, of cheating because he always loses. He does, however, exile Chiron in The Sea of Monsters, due to the latter being suspected of having poisoned Thalia's tree, though he admits to missing him, and instantly accepts him back to camp as soon as Percy proves Chiron's innocence. Chiron, in turn, appears to miss Dionysus after the latter leaves in The Lost Hero.
Dionysus does not have a good relationship with Annabeth. As with Percy, he calls her the wrong name out of disrespect. He does not seem to care about her fate when she is kidnapped during The Titan's Curse.
Ampelos was described in Percy Jackson's Greek Gods to have been Dionysus' best friend, and his accidental death induces the latter to invent wine.
- Bacchus, a white wine grape, was named after his Roman counterpart.
- Dionysus is the youngest of the major Olympians.
- Dionysus received his Olympian throne in the Hall of the Gods from Hestia, who willingly gave it up to him.
- His mother Semele was a demigod daughter of Harmonia (daughter of Ares and Aphrodite), making Dionysus a legacy of Harmonia. This would also make Aphrodite his great-grandmother and Ares his great-grandfather.
- Dionysus hates heroes, despite the fact that he himself was one, and his grandfather, Cadmus was one of the first great heroes along with Perseus and Bellerophon. He states that this stems from Theseus abandoning Ariadne on the island of Naxos, only for him to find her, heart-broken, and marrying her after they fell in love. Some versions of the story say he fell in love with Ariadne while she was on the ship and forced Theseus to abandon her.
- He is the only major Olympian to be born to a god and a mortal, making him an immortal demigod.
- All his demigod children are known only by their first names.
- He has one (alive) demigod child at Camp Half Blood and one more in Camp Jupiter.
- As revealed in Percy Jackson's Greek Gods, Dionysus is also the patron god of all transgender and intersex individuals, due to him being forced to conceal his true gender in public during his childhood.
- Dionysia is a large festival named after Dionysus, that celebrates the cultivation of vines.
- Dionysus is the first god Percy meets personally.
- Dionysus is one of only two Olympians that does not use a chariot (the other being Hephaestus), though he is seen using one in Percy Jackson's Greek Gods, while attempting to conquer India.
- His Egyptian equivalent is Shezmu.
- Dionysus tends to call heroes the wrong names. For example, he refers to Percy as Peter Johnson, Perry Johanssan, or Pierre Jorgensen and Annabeth as Annie Bell.