|“||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 primordial Greek goddess of the Earth, and the main antagonist of The Heroes of Olympus series. Her current husband is the protogenos Tartarus and her former husband is Ouranos. 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 the sky (Ouranos) formed above the earth. Two more Protogenoi followed in suit: 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 Hundred-Handed Ones. Although Gaea loved all her children, Ouranos resented the younger races, mainly for their ugliness. Despite Gaea's protests, Ouranos chained the Elder Cyclopes and Hundred-Handed Ones up, before banishing them to the depths of Tartarus.
Murder of Ouranos
Angry at her husband's actions, Gaea called forth her remaining children, the Titans, and presented to them the newly forged scythe. She requested one of them to step forward and accept the task of killing Ouranos with the scythe, taking his place as king of the cosmos. All the Titans were ambivalent at the prospect of killing their father, 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 so that he and his brothers (with the exception of Oceanus) can 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 slice up his body and flung the remains into the ocean. After the murder, Gaea proclaimed Kronos as lord of the universe, and sank into deep slumber once the Elder Cyclopes and Hundred-Handed Ones were released.
When Kronos married his sister Rhea 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. When Rhea gave birth to a son whom she named Zeus, Gaea brought forth a stone to replace the baby, as well as Kouretes to make noise that will cover up Zeus' crying.
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 giants, each one born to oppose a specific god. However, with help from Hercules and Dionysus - demigod sons of Zeus - the children of Gaea were all vanquished.
Gaea's final act of defiance against the gods was in the form of Typhon, her monstrous son whom she goaded into attacking Olympus. Typhon 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.
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. She used Hazel'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 also learned 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. Leo 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 during the Second Olympian War. However, after the war, she managed to open the Doors of Death after Thanatos was captured, allow the dead to once again walk the earth and aid her in her plan.
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.
Gaea appears 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 by though not by name.
Gaea has become far more active. She 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 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. 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.
She 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. She will do anything to protect them, even if it means taking the most extreme measures. It is because of this protectiveness that she is known to be very cruel to anyone who threatens them. Oddly, this includes the gods, who are her own grandchildren. Gaea is very manipulative towards the seven demigods, as she tries to convince Percy to join her along with Hazel and Annabeth and wants to kill Frank, Jason, Piper, and Leo.
Because Gaea is literally the earth itself, she may not have a physical form to speak of. However, she tends to appear to people in the form of a woman wearing a cloak made of black dirt that churns and shifts, as well as a veil made of dust. Behind the veil is a pale face that appears to be asleep, signifying that Gaea is not yet awake. Leo - when he was younger - confused her with Hera, but Gaea simply said it was a family resemblance. Gaea 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. 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.
During The Mark of Athena, Gaea once again visits Percy in his dream. Instead of the dark cloak she wore when visiting Leo in his youth, she appears in a forest green robe will small amounts of gold and white, as if sunlight were shining on the robe through tree branches. She had black hair that was the same color as tilled soil and she had a beautiful face, even if her eyes were originally closed. According to Percy, even with a dreamy smile on her lips, Gaea seemed "cold and distant." Percy also got the feeling she could "watch demigods die, or cities burn, and that smile would not waver." As revealed in Percy Jackson's Greek Gods, her son Kronos would later inherit that smile. When she opened her eyes, they appeared green and black, like the crust of the earth.
In Percy Jackson's Greek Gods, Gaea is described as a matronly woman with a flowing green dress, curly black hair and a serene smile, which "hid a nasty disposition".
In The Blood of Olympus, an awakened Gaea is described as a 20-foot-tall figure of a woman – her dress woven from blades of grass, her skin as white as quartz, her hair brown and tangled like tree roots. Gaea's eyes are described as "solid green, like all nature had been condensed into a few spoonfuls of organic matter".
- As one of the Protogenoi, Gaea presumably has the standard powers of a goddess, only to an infinitely more advanced level due to her status.
- Geokinesis: being the physical embodiment of the Earth, Gaea has divine authority and absolute control of the earth.
- She knows whatever happens on the earth.
- She can manifest from dirt while sleeping.
- 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 Olympian gods.
- Gaea can show memories or visions to others.
- Gaea is able to forcibly open the Doors of Death.
- Gaea can possess people for short periods of time when they are asleep.
- Gaea is able to keep her children alive as long he or she is touching the ground, as she did with Antaeus.
- Gaea is the only major villain from the second series to be mentioned (multiples times) in the first one.
- In The Battle of the Labyrinth, Gaea's name is misspelled throughout the book as Gaia.
- Gaea, a crater on Amalthea (a moon of Jupiter) is named after her.
- Gaea's Roman name is Terra. However in the series, she is known as Gaea to both Greeks and Romans. Though, like Thanatos, Romans could prefer for her to stay Greek. However, just like Aphrodite's, Gaea's Greek and Roman forms can be completely identical.
- In The Son of Neptune, Nico says that Gaea was stirred in her sleep when the Titans lost. But, when Hazel has her flashbacks, it appears that Gaea has been planning to overthrow the gods since World War ll. It is possible that she went back to sleep again after the end of the War and woke again when the Titans were defeated.
- In The Heroes of Olympus, Gaea appears as a giant sleeping woman's face, first appearing in toilet sludge in The Lost Hero; she then appears in the shadows of clouds and mountains in The Son of Neptune.
- Her sacred animals are the serpent, the lunar bull, the pig, and bees.
- Her Roman name, Terra, is where the word "terrain" comes from.
- Because Gaea is Kronos' mother, and the reason for him turning evil; and the fact that she is the main antagonist in The Heroes of Olympus, makes her presumably the main antagonist of both series.
- The large land mass that made up all the continents before they separated is known as Pangaea, with Pan- meaning Entire and Gaea meaning Earth.
- When the earth was formed, it developed a living personality, calling herself Gaea, the Earth Mother.
- Ironically several of her children supported the gods, and yet she loves all her children, so even if she had won, the Giants would have had to fight the Elder Cyclops and the Hekatonkheires, as they are also her sons.