Medusa is a gorgon who can turn people to stone if they look her directly in her eyes.



Athena, the goddess who cursed her

Medusa was a daughter of Phorcys and Keto, and was once a priestess of Athena. Poseidon was bitter at Athena for recently turning his beloved Coronis into a raven, and beating him to the city of Athens, so he decided to get back at her by seducing Medusa within the goddess' virgin temple. As a result, the infuriated and disgusted Athena cursed Medusa and her sisters, much to Poseidon's horror and dismay. The girl's hair was turned into serpents and anyone who would look upon her gaze would turn to stone. Her sisters, Stheno and Euryale, were eventually made immortal, though they do not have the power to turn people to stone like their sister.

Medusa had a child with Poseidon, Chrysaor, who was born from her neck, and another child, Pegasus, who was born from her blood when Perseus beheaded her (while the Gorgon was asleep). The hero would subsequently use Medusa's severed head to defeat Poseidon's ferocious sea serpent, saving Andromeda in the process.

Percy Jackson and the Olympians

The Lightning Thief

Posing as a Middle Eastern old lady named Aunty Em, Medusa lures people into her "Emporium" and then turns them into statues by making them look  at her face, usually directly at her eyes. She wears a veil to hide her face, and would trick people into looking at her face by pretending to take a photo of them and lifting the veil to uncover her head. At one point, Percy Jackson, Annabeth Chase, and Grover Underwood are lured into the shop by the smell of food during their Quest. Medusa feigns kindness, by giving them food and talking to them about her shop. She also mentions that her sisters are gone (they faded because people forgot about them, like Cottus and Gyges), but then attempts to turn them into statues. Annabeth and Grover realize who Medusa really is and try to get Percy to let them leave. Percy, however is under Medusa's spell and keeps them from going. Percy only figures out that "Em" means M for Medusa when it is too late to escape. After a struggle, Percy defeats Medusa by severing her head with Riptide, his celestial bronze sword. He then sends the head to Olympus via the Hermes Express. Her severed head is later used by Percy for several other purposes such as giving it to his mom, who later uses the head to turn Gabe Ugliano to stone. Medusa had turned many people and creatures into statues, including Grover's Uncle Ferdinand. Grover mentioned the statue looking like his uncle from the start, but did not realize that it was actually him until Medusa revealed herself.

The Last Olympian

  Although Medusa does not formally appear in this book, her lair was being used by Kronos as his base in the Battle of the Manhattan; while speaking to Ethan Nakamura, he mentioned that unfortunately for him, Medusa had not reformed yet ever since Percy had defeated her. May Castellan is also shown to have a TY Beanie doll of her that she calls "Mrs. Medusa."

The Heroes of Olympus

The Son of Neptune

Medusa's sisters, Stheno and Euryale, were chasing down and trying to kill Percy Jackson who was the last person to kill Medusa. One Gorgon even looked like her sister, Medusa, as she was scared she would be turned to stone by her own reflection. The two were also mad at Percy for believing that they can turn him to stone like their sister.


Medusa was actually kind to Percy in The Lightning Thief in her own strange way, and wanted him to stay with her forever by becoming a statue because, according to Annabeth, she and Poseidon were former lovers, which is established to be true in Percy Jackson's Greek Gods. Since Percy was Poseidon's son, she did not want him to suffer, unlike Annabeth, who she wanted to turn to a statue and destroy her, because Annabeth's Olympian goddess mother was Athena, who had turned her into a fearsome monster. That thing also led to one of the most important reason Athena resents Poseidon; he desecrated her temple with Medusa by meeting her there. Medusa wanted to turn Annabeth to stone as revenge on Athena for turning her into a Gorgon. This is why Medusa harbors a strong hatred against the family of Athena.


Poseidon, her former lover


As seen in Percy Jackson's Greek Gods, Medusa used to be a beautiful woman. After Athena cursed her, however, Medusa is transformed into a tall woman with slithering green vipers for hair (which gave off a nauseating "reptilian smell"), long hands with sharp brass talons, and bat-shaped wings of Imperial Gold.

When Perseus later encounters Medusa in Percy Jackson's Greek Heroes, she wore a simple white chiton, with her belly swollen (as she was pregnant with Pegasus and Chrysaor). Her face had tusks like a wild boar's jutting from her mouth, with her lips curled in a permanent sneer. Her eyes bulged, making her look vaguely amphibian. But what really made her so ugly, according to Perseus, was how her features were so misshapen and disproportionate, so that all of her features, taken together made her look so grotesque, that it didn't make sense. Hence, a reflection of Medusa's face was akin to an optical-illusion picture that makes observers dizzy and nauseous when stared at for too long, only "a thousand times worse." When she briefly awakens, Medusa shrieks "like an electrocuted jackal" while lunging at Perseus.

In The Lightning Thief, she wore a long black gown, and her face is a shimmering pale circle under her black veil. In disguise, her body looks normal, but once she takes the disguise off, she reveals she has green snakes instead of hair. She speaks in an exotic Middle Eastern accent, which her son Chrysaor later inherited.


  • Gorgon Petrification: If someone looks into Medusa's eyes, they turn to stone. She is said to be petrify people due to her uglyness.
    • Post-Mortem Petrification: Her head can still be used to petrify people after it has been removed from her body.
  • Snake Hair: She can use the snakes in her hair as an offensive weapon.
  • Talons: Her hands turn into sharp claws that can tear through flesh.
  • Charmspeak: She has an extremely persuasive voice; she could slightly charmspeak.
  • Gorgon Blood Properties: As is the case with all Gorgons, blood from her right side can cure anything, but the blood from her left side is deadly, as it killed Phineas even when the Doors of Death were open and under Gaea's control.
Medusa and her statues

Medusa and her statues.

Known Victims of Medusa

  • Ferdinand - He was enticed into Medusa's lair during his quest to find Pan.
  • Gabe Ugliano- After her head was cut off.
  • Hydra- In The Lightning Thief (film), Grover Underwood used the head of Medusa to turn the Hydra to stone at the Parthenon in Nashville.
  • Unknown woman and her husband - In The Lightning Thief (film), a woman was with Annabeth Chase when they first encountered Medusa. She opened her eyes and was turned to stone while holding Annabeth's hand. She also claimed that her husband was turned into stone before her.
  • In both the film and book versions of The Lightning Thief, Medusa's lair is filled with statues of people that had been turned to stone by Medusa. In the book, one of them is a girl holding an Easter egg basket.


The Lightning Thief

Uma Thurman as Medusa-HD
from the official soundtrack

Uma Thurman plays Medusa in the film. Percy is seen using an Apple iPod Touch (so he can see what he's fighting without getting turned to stone) to fight Medusa in the film, as opposed to the globe he uses in the book. In the book, she never gets near turning Percy to stone but in the film; Percy is only stopped from opening his eyes (Medusa's snakes were opening Percy's eyes forcefully) by Medusa being run over by Annabeth and Grover in a pick-up truck formerly used by one of Medusa's customers that had been turned into stone. She is shown as being a beautiful middle aged woman with flawless Caucasian skin.

Meet Medusa - Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief00:45

Meet Medusa - Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief




Aegis is a bronze shield that has an imprinting of Medusa, given to Zeus by Athena as a gift. Thalia Grace owns a replica of this shield, which is activated by tapping a silver bracelet on her arm.


  • As revealed in Percy Jackson's Greek Gods, the actual reason that Poseidon took Medusa into Athena's temple was to get back at the goddess for turning Coronis (a girl whom Poseidon had tried to seduce) into a raven.
  • In mythology, Medusa was said to be the only mortal sister of the Gorgons, but in the series she is treated as a monster.
  • Some depictions of Medusa describe her as half woman and half serpent, with her hair being a mass of poisonous snakes and having a long serpent's tail as the lower part of her body.
  • In the film, when Medusa is turning someone to stone her eyes glow a silver white color and her snakes hiss in unison at the victim.
  • According to The Son of Neptune, Medusa's mother says she is the most hideous one in the family, of the three gorgons.
  • Medusa and her sister Stheno both have green snakes for hair while Euryale has coral snakes.
  • The group of Cnidarians called Medusa are named after her since they have tentacles hanging like the snakes in Medusa's hair
  • Blind people, as well as immortals are immune to her curse.
  • In a late version of the Medusa myth told by the Romans, Medusa was originally a ravishingly beautiful maiden, "the jealous aspiration of many suitors," priestess in Athena's temple, but when she and Poseidon were caught together in Athena's Temple, the enraged Athena transformed Medusa's beautiful hair to serpents and made her face so terrible to behold that the mere sight of it would turn onlookers to stone. Perseus describes Medusa's punishment by Athena as fair and well earned.

See also

Species: Centaur | Cyclopes | Dragon | Drakon | Empousa | Fire-Breathing Horse | Giants | Gorgon | Harpy | Hyperborean Giant | Ichthyocentaur |

Katobleps | Laistrygonian Giant | Lycanthrope | Merpeople | Nikai | Nymphs | Pegasus | Satyr | Skolopendra | Stymphalian Birds | Telekhine | Blemmyae

Friendly Monsters: Argus | Blackjack | Briares | Chiron | Don | Ella | Festus | Gleeson Hedge | Gray |Grover Underwood | Hippocampus | Mellie | Mrs. O'Leary | Ophiotaurus | Peleus | Scipio | Tyson | Tempest
Enemy Monsters: Agrius and Oreius | Arachne | Basilisk | Charybdis and Scylla | Chimera | Chrysaor | Clazmonian Sow | Colchis Bull | Echidna | Euryale | Geryon | Joe Bob | Kampê | | Nanette | Manticore | Medusa | Minotaur | Nemean Lion | Polyphemus | Sphinx | Stheno | Typhon | Scythian Dracanae
Neutral Monsters: Carnivorous Sheep | Cerberus | Erymanthian Boar | Gray Sisters | Gorgons | Furies | Flesh-Eating Horse | Gryphon | Siren