As a descendant of the Titan Helios, the niece of the sorceress Circe, and a priestess of the goddess Hecate, Medea was a powerful sorceress renowned for her healing skills and her proficiency in using herbs and drugs.
When the original Jason was sent on a quest to find the Golden Fleece, Medea fell deeply in love with him by Aphrodite's hand, according to Medea. Her father agreed to grant Jason his request, but only if he accomplished impossible and deadly tasks. With the help of Medea's magic, Jason was able to steal the Golden Fleece from the king and escape.
Jason at first agreed to take Medea with him and marry her upon returning to Greece, which he did. But soon afterward he left her in order to marry Princess Creusa instead, following the death of King Pelias. Heartbroken by Jason's betrayal, Medea wrought a terrible revenge by poisoning Princess Creusa and the people of Corinth, and Medea, in her anger, murdered her two children from her marriage to Jason. Helios, her grandfather, then sent a flying chariot driven by golden sun dragons to take her away to Athens.
However from other references, it is said that after obtaining the Golden Fleece, they went to Lolcos to renew the youth of Jason's uncle, Pelias. Aeson, Jason's father, was the rightful King of Lolcos but Pelias (his half brother and a son of Poseidon) took over the throne. He sent Jason to find the Golden Fleece so no one would get in his way of usurping the throne, and so that he would regain his youth. Assuming that the mission caused Jason's death, he told Aeson about it, thus causing him to drink poison, but with the help of Medea, Jason succeeded. When Jason and Medea returned, Pelias refused to give up the throne. Medea persuaded Pelias' daughters to cut him up and boil the pieces, assuring them that this was part for restoring their father's youth. When Jason was unfaithful to her and sought to replace her with Glauce, the daughter of King Creon, as his new wife, she murdered Glauce and, to spite Jason, his and her own children as well. From this situation she escaped to Athens.
At Athens, Medea was married to King Aegeus and had another son, Medus. One day, Theseus came to Athens. Medea recognized him as King Aegeus' son and worried that he would become king instead of Medus. So she sent Theseus to capture the Marathonian Bull, an emblem of Cretan power. Theseus returned victorious, and sacrificed the bull. Medea then tried poisoning him. At the last second, Aegeus recognized the sandals, shield, and sword, and knocked the poisoned wine cup from his hands. He banished Medea and she supposedly fled to Asia.
Dionysus mentions Medea as one of the people Percy should ask if he wants to know how heroes always betray women and confirm that heroes are a selfish lot.
Jason Grace, Piper McLean, and Leo Valdez come to her underground mall, M's, after following some venti, where Medea introduces herself only as the Princess of Colchis. She begins to show the demigods her stock of magic objects and potions, but becomes angry when she hears Jason's name, as he is named after the hero that betrayed her. It quickly becomes evident to Piper that Medea is up to no good. When Jason and Leo seemed to want to keep shopping, Piper notices that Medea is charmspeaking them into buying whatever she wants them to. Piper attempts to snap them out of it with her own charmspeak and the stories of the horrible things Medea committed in the past.
When they ask for the price of Coach Hedge and the venti, Medea narrates that the price would be quite high since the trade was unfair, and that the person buying the product is named Jason. As Medea continues to charmspeak them to the point that they are barely listening to Piper. Medea tells them to chop each other into pieces and she would bring them back to life even stronger (the same way she killed Pelias). As Leo and Jason pull out their weapons, Piper gets Medea to admit that she can see the future and knew that Leo would rise up against Gaea, so she warned Gaea from the Underworld. This event set in motion the awakening of Gaea and the death of Leo's mother. As a reward, Medea was set free of the Underworld and allowed to return to the land of the living, as long as her mall remained underground so Gaea could keep watch on anyone that entered.
Eventually, the two come to their senses, and they blow up the mall after Festus appears, who helps Leo and Jason to defeat the two sun dragons which attacked them on the order of Medea. Medea shouts that she will not be abandoned again as she was by Jason and almost manages to gain Piper's sympathy by offering to cure Jason of his amnesia. They choose to leave her, however, when they realize that Medea was only trying to buy more time to destroy them. She is an agent of Gaea, and the one who Hera had warned them about. As they fly away with Coach Hedge and the storm spirits (caged in the bottom floor of Medea's mall), they look back to make sure the she wasn't chasing them. Later, Aphrodite warns Piper in her dream where she is shopping in Medea's mall, that Medea will return later on, along with others.
While it was unknown as to what her initial personality was, after she was betrayed by the original Jason, Medea became a vengeful psychotic, killing her own children and putting the blame on him. She even grew to hate the name "Jason" itself, as demonstrated by her encounter with Jason Grace, in which she also displayed her belief that she is never at fault, and that others are always to blame.
In Percy Jackson's Greek Heroes, Medea was described as being beautiful in a mysterious yet dangerous way, with shadow-dark hair that tumbled over her shoulders, eyes that flickered with knowledge of dark things, and a remorseless detached face that flushed like a girl's when she looked at Jason. She wore a black silk dress, and a golden necklace on which gleamed the symbol of Hecate - two crossed torches.
In The Lost Hero, Medea was described to look like a retired fashion model, with long dark hair swept over one shoulder, talon-like fingers with long red-painted nails, and her face was gorgeous in a surreal super-model way. She wore an elegant black dress with diamond jewelry, and her voice was rich and exotic, with a pleasing accent.
After rising from the Underworld, she seems to have a faint glow around her and when she gets angry, her face literally glowed to the extent where one could see her skull beneath her skin.
As a powerful sorceress descended from Helios, the Titan of the Sun, Medea possessed the abilities of:
- Mystiokinesis: Medea had the ability to control and cast magic, which she learned from her aunt, Circe. Examples of other powers she derived from her magic are:
- Amokinesis: As shown in Percy Jackson's Greek Heroes, Medea had the ability to control the emotion of love and desire - she once made Selene, the Titaness of the Moon, fall in love with a mortal.
- Magical Manufacturing: As shown also in Percy Jackson's Greek Heroes, Medea had the ability to create objects that possess mystical properties - she concocted a special ointment that granted Jason superhuman strength as well as immunity to heat and flame, and later used a magical dust to deepen the enchanted sleep that she induced upon the guardian dragon of the Golden Fleece. In The Lost Hero, it was shown that she was also able to make magical potions that range from healing any disease to manipulating memories.
- Chlorokinesis (possibly): As shown again in Percy Jackson's Greek Heroes, it was possible that Medea had the ability to control and manipulate plants - when the enchanted trees of the Grove of the Golden Fleece became too aggressive in their "attacks" towards Jason, Medea caused them to stop by muttering a spell.
- Charmspeak: As shown in Percy Jackson's Greek Heroes and The Lost Hero, Medea had been trained by Circe in the ability of charmspeaking, and was therefore a skillful charmspeaker despite not being a child of Aphrodite. She used this ability to sing a song of enchantment that lulled the guardian dragon of the Golden Fleece to sleep, and later on used it to put Jason and Leo under her influence, to the extent where it was only Piper's timely interference that prevented them from fighting each other to the death.
- Foresight: As shown in The Lost Hero, Medea had the ability to see into the future, which she used to aid Gaea.
- Teleportation: As shown also in The Lost Hero, Medea had the ability to instantaneously transport herself from one place to another without having to physically travel through space, which manifested itself in the form of smoke.
- Medea is a legacy of Helios.
- Medea was known for potions, and was granted the ability of charmspeaking by her aunt, Circe.
- As revealed in Percy Jackson's Greek Heroes, by Hera's request, Aphrodite and her son, Eros, enchanted Medea to fall in love with Jason.
- As revealed by Piper in The Lost Hero, it was Medea who killed the children that she had with Jason, not the people of Corinth.
- Medea still kept the sun dragons that her grandfather, Helios, had given to her when she escaped from Corinth.
- Medea was mentioned three times in the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series: by Circe and Annabeth in The Sea of Monsters, and by Dionysus in The Titan's Curse, before her appearance in The Lost Hero.
- Medea used a diamond instead of a drachma for an Iris message in The Lost Hero. It is unknown how she did this.