|“||Don't lose hope, Frank. Rainbows always stand for hope.||”|
Iris is the Greek goddess of the Rainbow. She delivers Iris Messages for gods, goddesses, and if asked nicely, and she's not too busy, for demigods. Interestingly, her affiliation is unknown, as she has been known to deliver messages for both gods, demigods, and Titans. It is possible that she was neutral in the Second Titan War because she was too busy carrying messages, as she wasn't among the many minor gods and goddesses who had switched over to Kronos' side. Her Roman counterpart is Arcus.
Iris is the daughter of Thaumas, one of the minor sea gods, and the Oceanid Electra. Her sisters are the Harpies, Aello, and Ocypete. She also has a twin sister, Arke, who served as messenger for the Titans in the first war and was thrown into Tartarus with her masters by Zeus after ripping her wings off. As the sun unites Earth and heaven, Iris links the gods to humanity. She travels with the speed of wind from one end of the world to the other, and into the depths of the sea and Underworld. She is married to Zephyros, who is the god of the west wind. Their son is Pothos. She also wields a pitcher of water originating from the River Styx. Whoever promises to tell the truth and lies, she uses it to put the liar to sleep. She was said to bear golden wings of a butterfly. She is commonly underestimated as goddess of rainbows, but her children are, in the case of Butch, rather powerful.
Throughout the series, Iris' services are called upon (by throwing a drachma into a mist) so that the characters may communicate with each other.
Iris is mentioned to be on good terms with Hermes, as they are both messenger gods, and always helps the demigods in moments of peril. Chiron mentions that he and Iris have been friends for centuries and that he asked her to notify him if anything strange happens in the Miami area.
Iris is the mother of Butch in the series. Even though Zeus forbade the gods to interact with the surface, Iris still sends Iris Messages for the demigods; making an exception for her as a messenger. The demigods also use her to contact their allies.
Iris is first shown when a huge rainbow appears before the army of monsters, led by the giant Polybotes approaching San Francisco. They attack the light, but it burns their bodies, and melts the weapons into rainbow colors. She then throws a gluten-free, no-sugar-added, vitamin-enriched, soy-free, goat-milk-and-seaweed-based cupcake simulation (which the monsters first assume is a grenade and which both parties assume is a Ding Dong) at the horde when they demand food. She says that she has eased up on her duties as messenger of the gods and has opened a chain of stores called Rainbow Organic Foods & Lifestyles (R.O.F.L). The stores are described as having "bins of nuts and dried fruit, baskets of apples, and clothing racks with tie-dyed shirts and gauzy Tinker-Bell-type dresses." The entire store is adorned with wind chimes, crystals, geodes, dream catchers, macramé, and other "strange stuff." Iris tells her employee Fleecy (who she now has handle Iris-Messaging) to give an ailing Percy "green tea with organic honey and wheat germ" for his memory sickness. Hazel goes with them so that Iris could have a private talk with Frank.
She encourages Frank to reject the quest and his destiny, live without the gods, while showing him visions of his past to try to explain his gift. She also offers to hire him, but he declines. She prompts him to seek Phineas and ask him for help, but not to kill her sisters, the harpies. She also instructs him to use his spear to kill the basilisks. Her last words of advice come with a prophecy - he will die holding his piece of tinder, but he will live longer if he gives it to someone he cares for. She gives Percy Jackson a tie-dyed "masculine accessory bag" (a purse) that she states looks "good" on him before they leave to continue their quest.
Iris is a free spirit. She is a strictly non-violent goddess who only attacks in self-defense. She is also upset that living a life for others (by delivering messages for others) has left her with no identity, as there are no shrines to her or a sacred animal. Because of this, she opened up her own store and is doing what she wants to do, like giving advice to Frank.
Iris has olive-colored skin, long black hair and warm brown eyes. She appeared as a middle aged woman with glasses to Frank, Hazel, and Percy. She reminds Frank of his mother by the way she smiles, with one side of her mouth, her warm brown eyes and the way she tilts her head like she's considering a question.
Arcus is Iris' Roman counterpart. As Iris is a free spirit who only attacks in self-defense, it is unknown if she becomes more militaristic and warlike in her Roman aspect.
Most of her powers are unknown but the following is known because her son Butch has demonstrated a few powers:
- She presumably possesses the standard powers of a goddess.
- As the Messenger of the Gods, she can go into any realm, even the Underworld, like Hermes.
- She can summon pegasi, rainbows, and blasts of multicolored energy.
- She can move at extremely fast speeds (so she can deliver messages)
- Photokinesis: As the goddess of the rainbow, she has absolute control over light.
- She can use rainbows to reflect off objects so she can project them off as rainbow–colored beams that can cause great damage in buildings.
- She can use light from her rainbows to create multicolored flames and burns to ward away enemies.
- She can blind enemies with the use of the rainbow's light.
Iris is also able to create Iris messages. To Iris Message someone, you must find or make a rainbow (easier in modern times with the advent of the water hose with which you can get a fine spray), and throw a drachma through it, then say:
"O, Iris, Goddess of the Rainbow, accept my offering."
"O Fleecy, do me a solid . Show me:__________________"
Then name who you wish to talk to and where.
She is also friends with Chiron (and has been for centuries), allowing him to eavesdrop on some Iris-Messages as shown in The Sea of Monsters.
- 7 Iris, a large main belt asteroid, is named after her. It is one of the brightest objects in the asteroid belt.
- Iris is a species of flowering plants with rainbow colored flowers, named after her.
- Chiron claims that him and Iris have been friends for a millennium. She even allows him to listen in on Iris Messages.
- Iris, the colored part of the eye, is named after her.
- Iris, a shade of the color blue, is named after her.
- Iris and the Egyptian goddess Isis, another rainbow goddess, have similar names.
- Iris asking Frank Zhang to stay with her is similar to how Calypso asked Percy Jackson to stay at Ogygia.
- She is said by Frank to look at lot like his mom, sharing the same eye color, hair color, and cocking of head when considering a question.
- The Iris Nebula is named after her.
- She was the one who Hera sent to kidnap Eileithyia, the birth goddess, so Leto couldn't give birth.
- In the myth of the Abduction of Persephone, she also was sent by Zeus to Demeter asking her to resume her duties so the earth wouldn't become barren.
- As a messenger goddess, she was one of the few gods who were able to travel to the Underworld (the other was Hermes).
- In the Underworld her duty was to collect water from the River Styx for the swearing of solemn oaths.
- Iris appears as a character in William Shakespeare's play The Tempest.
- Iris is the only god or goddess to appear in her Greek form in The Son of Neptune.
- Iris was often described acting as the intermediary between Hera and Hypnos.
- Even though Iris is a Greek Goddess, in "The Son of Neptune ," Iris mentioned that she was deciding between Taoism and Buddhism as a religion.