|“||I choose to be more than Iapetus. You do not control me. I am not like my brethren.||”|
Iapetus (also known as Japetus or Bob) is the Titan lord of mortal life, the brother of Kronos, the father of Atlas, Prometheus, Epimetheus, and Menoetius by Clymene, who was the daughter of his brother Oceanus and sister Tethys.
Iapetus was the fifth son to be born to Gaea and Ouranos, the respective personifications of the earth and sky. The Titans were the eldest of the three races born to Gaea the Earth and Ouranos the Sky, before the Hekatonkheires (Cottus, Gyges, and Briares) and the Elder Cyclopes (Arges, Brontes, and Steropes). All were detested by their father, but he detested the younger children so much (mainly for their ugliness) that he imprisoned them in the terrifying abyss of Tartarus, which was itself deep within the Earth. Enraged, Gaea told her remaining twelve children (including Iapetus), the Titans, to take the mighty Scythe that she had forged, and avenge their brothers by overthrowing their arrogant and sadistic father. However, while Iapetus detested his father, he was ambivalent at the prospect of murdering him, and did not step up to take the Scythe. However, after his younger brother Kronos did, Iapetus agreed to help him in the murder, albeit reluctantly (since he was silenced by Hyperion). Nonetheless, Iapetus' elder brother Oceanus, as well as his sisters Theia, Tethys, Themis, Phoebe, Mnemosyne, and Rhea all refused to participate.
Murder of Ouranos
While preparing to ambush his father Ouranos, Iapetus hid himself by posing as a tree (with his arms spread out). Together with his brothers Hyperion, Krios, and Koios, Iapetus held Ouranos down, after which Kronos used the Scythe to slice Ouranos into a thousand pieces and claim his supremacy over the universe. During the murder, Iapetus was kicked in the face by his thrashing father (something his brothers frequently teased him about afterwards). However, right before Kronos sliced him up, Ouranos predicted that one day Kronos himself would suffer the same fate at the hands of his own child. Most notably, while Hyperion, Krios, Koios, and Kronos all roared with laughter after defeating their father, Iapetus felt nauseous. Afterwards, Kronos hurled all of the remaining pieces of Ouranos into the sea as a gesture of loathing against his brother Oceanus for not helping slay their father. Much later, these particles would mix with the ocean spray to form Aphrodite.
The Titan Lord of the West
After Kronos claimed his supremacy as the Titan King of Mount Orthys, and ushered in the "Golden Age", Iapetus was justly rewarded for his help with control over the West. Iapetus' usually very calm, "as calm as the sunset", in stark contrast to his passionate and ferocious brother Hyperion. However, Iapetus was capable of great displays of anger as well, and was later nicknamed "The Piercer" due to his great skills at fighting with a long spear. Iapetus would also frequently approach his wise and clairvoyant brother Koios with questions about the future.
Iapetus later married his niece Clymene (a daughter of Oceanus and Tethys), and fathered three sons: Atlas (the Titan of Endurance and Strength), Prometheus (the Titan of Forethought), and Epimetheus (the Titan of Afterthought). Shortly after the birth of his children, Iapetus no longer visited Kronos on Mount Orthys, not even during the latter's weekly Sunday dinners. While he claimed to be too busy, Kronos knew that the actual reason was Iapetus' secret fear of his brother's might and infamous temper.
Atlas would grow up to become Kronos' most powerful follower, and the General of the Titan King's forces. Prometheus, who would grow up to become almost as intelligent as Kronos, and eventually make mankind out of clay. As for Epimetheus, he was one of the more flawed Titans, and tended to always think after he acted.
Zeus Rescues His Siblings
However, years later, after Kronos hired a young Titan by the name of Zeus (actually a god in disguise), Iapetus was very entertained by the latter's excellent singing, dancing, and "Satyr jokes", and took to visiting Kronos on Mount Orthys more often. Shortly thereafter, Zeus encouraged Iapetus to participate in the newly established Titanic drinking contests. As the Titan King of Mount Othrys, Kronos would always win, since he could not let his siblings or nephews overcome him in anything.
One evening, when Iapetus was dining with his brothers and nephews, Zeus prepared nectar mixed with sleeping potion for Iapetus, and a powerful emetic for Kronos. As before, Zeus entertained them all with his great singing, dancing, and jokes. Near the end of the Titanic banquet, Zeus encouraged all of the Titans to have yet another drinking contest, and handed out the prepared goblets. As before, Kronos won the contest, but the emetic caused him to disgorge all his swallowed children, while Iapetus was temporarily knocked out by the sleeping potion, and could not stop them from escaping.
Shortly thereafter, all six of Kronos' children quickly declared war against their father, as well as the other Titans, which resulted in the terrifying 11-year-long Titanomachy. Iapetus initially had the upper hand in his battles with the gods, since he was a very skilled and a much more experienced warrior. However, the gods quickly became skilled warriors as well, and with the help of their new extremely powerful weapons (Zeus' Master Bolt, Poseidon's Trident, and Hades' Helm of Darkness), as well as the aid of the Elder Cyclopes and Hekatonkheires, the gods finally prevailed. 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 Titan King. Shortly thereafter, the gods invaded the ruins of Mount Orthys, and finally overwhelmed the remaining Titans (including Iapetus himself).
In the aftermath of the battle, Iapetus was chained up by the Elder Cyclopes, after which the Hekatonkheires forced him to kneel before Zeus, Poseidon, and Hades. Zeus proceeded to taunt his uncle Iapetus, prompting the latter to hang his head in shame. Zeus proceeded to hurl Iapetus into Tartarus, along with Hyperion, Krios, Koios, and Kronos' remains. The Titans would be imprisoned in the maximum-security zone of Tartarus, surrounded by huge bronze walls, and a lava moat, guarded by their Hekatonkheire brothers.
|“||I'm sure my brother Kronos will reward you. But now we have killing to attend to.||”|
Iapetus is indirectly mentioned by Annabeth Chase while she and Jason Grace were in the Hypnos' Cabin asking about losing memories and how to retrieve them. She says that Percy had told her that the River Lethe could wipe even a Titan's memory. It can be said that she was referring to Iapetus.
|“||Tell the sun and the stars hello for me.||”|
–Iapetus, sacrificing himself at the Doors of Death
Later, they were attacked by five empousai, one of them being Kelli. While they were in no state to fight, they tried to talk and trick them into leaving them. This worked partially as Kelli killed one empousa but still they were outnumbered. Just as two empousai were about to kill Percy , a shadow fell and Iapetus (believing he was Bob) dropped out of the sky and stomped Kelli flat. Bob used his broom to kill the other empousai . His broom could jut out a spear head from its end and could return to him as a broomerang if he wanted.
When he was asked how he came, he said that Percy called him. It is later known that when Percy left him, Hades and Persephone made him his servant. He used to sweep up bones and mop up tortured souls. This makes Percy feel guilty for not coming and visiting or even remembering about him. It is also revealed that Nico would come and tell him that Percy was a friend which also remind Percy that he used to neglect Nico , as well. He seems to recognize Tartarus as he leads Annabeth and Percy . He recognizes a shrine and tells Percy and Annabeth that it was Hermes' shrine. When Annabeth asked him how he knew, Bob's smile fades and his eyes have a vacant look. This scares Annabeth and Percy as they were afraid that Bob might regain his memory and attack them.
When they stumble upon Hyperion (who was reforming), Iapetus sees how similar their features were which scares Annabeth even more. It is stated in her description that "Take away Bob’s broom and his janitor’s clothes, put him in armor and cut his hair, change his color scheme from silver to gold, and Iapetus would have been almost indistinguishable from Hyperion ." However, Percy makes Bob agree that Hyperion was a bad Titan even though he was his brother. Iapetus agrees ,saying that he was good as there was a single good creature everywhere- Monsters, Titans , Giants. After saying this, he destroys Hyperion's reforming bubble using his spear hoping that it will reform elsewhere.
Even though Bob slowly regains his memory throughout the process, he seems to be almost disgusted with who he had once been. He becomes friends with one of the cats raised from saber tiger's teeth from The Titan's Curse and names it "Small Bob." When they reach the doors, he makes a final decision to side with Percy , sacrificing himself so his allies can escape through the Doors of Death while he tries to fight Tartarus with Damasen. He defied his brothers and his previous way of life. As a final request, he asked Percy and Annabeth to say hi to the sun and stars for him, as he missed them after all his time in the Underworld . They promise they will and that Bob will forever be remembered as a hero by them and their descendants.
The first night after escaping Tartarus , Percy attempts to mend the trails of his friendship with Nico , but fails. He later stands with Annabeth , looking to the stars and fulfills Bob's final wish.
As Iapetus, he was somewhat cruel and arrogant, just like his brothers. However, according to his brother Hyperion, Iapetus was always "conflicted" about helping murder Ouranos, and even describes him as "the soft Titan of the West, soft as the sunset." This implies that while Iapetus was cruel, he was never quite as brutal as his other brothers, namely Kronos and Hyperion. This is confirmed to be true in Percy Jackson's Greek Gods, where Iapetus is shown to be calm and patient (in stark contrast to Hyperion), and while his brothers roared with laughter after defeating their father, Iapetus felt nauseous. However, Iapetus did seem to regard demigods with contempt (though most deities tend to view lesser beings with contempt anyway), since although Kronos' orders were to return as soon as possible, Iapetus disobeyed them as he felt he could destroy the "weaklings" (Thalia, Percy, and Nico) and start his vengeance against the Olympians. Before he could do so however, Percy dragged Iapetus into the river Lethe, and wiped his memories. This erased all the effects of the Titan's rule, and Iapetus was renamed as Bob. Apparently, he cared about keeping his promises as, when he was regaining his memories, he said that both Iapetus and Bob didn't like breaking promises. As he regained his memories, Iapetus' knowledge surfaced more and more, but his personality remained buried. Some of this may have been by choice as while talking to Damasen, "Bob" tells him that he prefers himself as Bob, showing that Iapetus may have seen his memory erasure as a second chance. This is further demonstrated when after his memories fully return, the "Bob" personality remains in charge instead of Iapetus' more cruel one appearing.
After losing his memories, Iapetus is told by Percy that he is his friend, Bob. As Bob, Iapetus became more friendly, gentle, amiable and somewhat childlike. In the House of Hades, he's shown to be bored of his new duties, as Hades (who despised his Titanic uncle) treats him like a slave, and orders him to clean all the messes in the Underworld. Iapetus is shown to have good hearing as he was able to hear Percy call his name all the way from Tartarus (though he might share this skill with other immortals as well). Even though not even the gods go to Tartarus, Iapetus/Bob doesn't give second thoughts and jumps into the pit, saving Percy and Annabeth's lives from the Empousai.
Iapetus/Bob consistently helps Percy and Annabeth throughout the journey (in fact, he was the main reason they remained alive). He is shown to be very sentimental, when he bonds with a kitten and names him Small Bob. He also shows a love for the sky, stars and the Sun, wishing to see them again. His helpful nature eventually earns Annabeth's admiration (which is not very easy to win so quickly), and Percy is ashamed of himself for not caring for him. Even as he regains his memory slowly and learns that Percy erased it in the first place, he remains loyal, though faltering briefly for a moment until Percy apologizes for being a bad friend. Some of his loyalty, despite his faltering, is because he made a promise to help and as both Iapetus and Bob, he doesn't like breaking promises.
At one point, Annabeth overhears a conversation between Iapetus and Damasen where they discuss their fates. Damasen points out that they are supposed to be Percy and Annabeth's enemies and the two have done nothing for them. Despite now knowing who he is though without full memories, Iapetus tells the giant that he's grown to like himself as Bob and likes the idea of changing his fate.
As he regains his memories, Iapetus seems torn between his identity as Iapetus and Bob. While he retains the personality of Bob, he also retains the knowledge of Iapetus and the more that knowledge comes out, the more his memories return. As he learns his past, he struggles with it, though Annabeth takes it as a good sign he continues to go by "Bob" even after learning he is Iapetus. His time as Bob fundamentally changes him as when he finally regains his memories fully, he chooses to remain "Bob" and help his friends after Percy suggests that he takes the parts of Iapetus' past that he wants while leaving everything else behind. He stands up to Tartarus himself, despite knowing it will lead to his death, stating that he chooses to be more than just a regular Titan. He also identifies himself as Bob, showing that he has chosen to be Bob rather than Iapetus. Despite this, his personality changes somewhat, possibly showing a merge between Iapetus and Bob as he's more mature and sure of himself than he previously was.
After escaping Tartarus, Iapetus wore a tattered orange prison jumpsuit, has wild Einstein silver hair that sticks up in every direction, a scraggly long beard, pure silver eyes, and is very thin and haggard and is said to be 20 feet tall.
However, after he had his memory erased and started working for Hades, he wears a blue janitor's uniform and a name tag that reads "Bob" and carries around a massive push broom. As mentioned in The House of Hades, he also bears great resemblance to his brother Hyperion, apart from Iapetus's signature color being silver instead of Hyperion's gold. While in Tartarus, Iapetus's silver hair glows in the dark.
Powers and Abilities
- Prowess in Battle: As an Elder Titan, Iapetus was an excellent warrior, though he was defeated in the First Titanomachy. In The Demigod Files, he easily fended off Thalia and Nico's attacks, and held his own against Percy himself. In fact, Percy was only able to win by pushing him into the Lethe. In The House of Hades, Iapetus shows great mastery in wielding his broom/spear, even when having his memories erased. He's able to fight and defeat many monsters simultaneously thanks to his skill. Hence he was aptly named Iapetus, which means "The Piercer." By the time his memories has returned, Iapetus was even able to fight Tartarus himself, but only for a short time, and was severely injured in the process. Iapetus, however, was stated to be weaker than Krios and Hyperion.
- Enhanced Strength: Since Iapetus is one of the Elder Titans, he has very enhanced strength, speed, and endurance, which allows him to survive Tartarus. Although it is later stated by Tartarus himself that Iapetus was weaker than Krios or Hyperion.
- Pyrokinesis (possibly & to an unknown degree): When Annabeth needed to burn her note, Iapetus' spear erupted in silvery fire. This, however, might have instead been magic from his spear.
- Vitakinesis: Iapetus can heal most wounds just by touching them. This proves to be advantageous to Percy and Annabeth during their journey through Tartarus in The House of Hades, although Iapetus could not cure Percy when the latter was poisoned by Gorgon's blood, and was forced to take him to Damasen, whose healing abilities were superior.
- Titanic Divine Form: As an elder brother of Kronos, Iapetus' Divine Form might also be able to incinerate any being less than a god/Titan, even if they aren't looking at him and are only in his presence.
- Titanic Energy: Like all Titans, Iapetus has the ability to blast things hundreds of yards away from himself with a yell or a wave of the hand.
- 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. Hence, Iapetus understands and speaks it perfectly.
- Iapetus, the third largest moon of Saturn, is named after him.
- Iapetus being the Titan of mortality is fitting as his sons Prometheus and Epimetheus were responsible for creating mortal creatures (humans and animals respectively).
- His being the god of pain also counts as Atlas is the god of endurance and he is punished to carry the sky for all eternity.
- Nico di Angelo had apparently been visiting him in the Underworld and told him how good a friend Percy was. Percy, however, feels bad about how bad a friend he was to Iapetus.
- According to Hyperion, Iapetus was the least cruel of the Elder Titans, though if this statement included Oceanus, who was neutral against their father and the first Titanomachy, is unclear.
- His brothers tease him because when they were restraining Ouranus he was kicked in the face.
- Apparently, he pretended to be a tree while waiting for Kronos's signal to attack their father. Somehow, it had worked and Iapetus had gone unnoticed. However, this might have been because Iapetus is skilled in shape-shifting.
- At the end of The House of Hades Iapetus said, "Tell the sun and the stars hello for me." This is believed to be symbolic, since Zoe Nightshade, his granddaughter, turned into a constellation. Percy later fulfills this wish for him.
- Even as Bob, Iapetus shows a great deal of knowledge about Tartarus. Annabeth believes that this is his knowledge of Iapetus' time trapped in the pit coming through due to his memories being healed by being in Tartarus.
- In the House of Hades, Iapetus has a similar role to Percy and Annabeth that Setne had to Carter and Zia in the Serpent's Shadow, guiding them through a dangerous part of the realm that they end up in, Tartarus and the Duat respectively. However, unlike Setne, Iapetus truly aids Percy and Annabeth with no ulterior motives.