|“||Governments fall. The dead rise. Giants attack Olympus. But gold retains its value!||”|
–King Midas to Jason, in The Lost Hero
Midas was the king of Pessinus and second king of Phrygia in Greek mythology. Midas ruled the kingdom of Phrygia in the eighth century B.C.E. In the mythological age, kings of Phrygia were alternately named Gordias and Midas.
He was famous for his ability to turn everything he touched into gold being granted by Dionysus when he visited him. Midas had a son named Lityerses and a daughter named Zoe. When Dionysus's stepfather and satyr friend, Silenus, went missing for drunkenness, Midas discovered him when his servants brought Silenus to him. He kept Silenus to entertain him for ten days. On the next day he sent him back to Dionysus in what is now modern-day Lydia. Dionysus was so pleased he granted Midas one wish; and Midas demanded the Gold Touch, which was given to him immediately. He was happy, for everything he touched turned to gold, until he tried to eat and his food turned into solid gold. After accidentally turning his daughter into gold after she hugged him, a devastated Midas begged Dionysus to take the so-called "curse" away, and Dionysus commanded him to bathe in the river called Pactolus. He did and he washed the curse off of him, and left a poorer but wiser man.
Later he helped judge a music battle between Pan's pipes and Apollo's lyre. He was the only one who voted Pan and Apollo said "you will have the ears of a donkey," and Midas grew the ears of a donkey. His barber was the only mortal who knew and he swore not to tell. One day the barber could not hold his promise, dug a hole, whispered the secret and covered the hole again. A thick bed of reeds grew from the meadows, and told the story, whispering, "King Midas has the ears of a donkey."
Midas is one of the dead brought back to life by the opening of the Doors of Death, appearing in a river front mansion in Omaha, Nebraska. When Piper McLean, Leo Valdez, and Jason Grace crash into his mansion, he is polite. Midas tells them that he never learned his lesson after he touched his daughter, turning her into solid gold, and laughs at the claim.
Midas touches Piper's backpack, turning it into flexible gold, proving he still has the magic touch. Midas admits that he would sometimes pat his son Lit on the back accidentally, but he always has the river to rinse it off. He also adds that he had turned his daughter into gold, but she was so annoying he just kept her that way. Midas then reveals he is working for Gaea and turns Leo and Piper into gold. He gives Jason a choice: be turned into a gold statue for his collection, or fight Lityerses and die. Midas talks about how Lityerses and him had fought off Artemis' Hunters when they arrived. Jason decides to fight Lit and eventually tricks Midas into touching him, turning him into gold. Midas then goes after Jason, and Jason uses all the gold in the house as a good conductor of electricity and tears the ceiling off. A thunderstorm starts, turning Leo, Piper, and everyone else Midas froze back into humans. They supposedly kill him, but his ultimate fate remains unknown.
Midas is a very greedy person who loves gold. The only love he has is for his son, Lit. He originally wished for the power to turn things to gold out of greed, but soon regretted it when he found that even food would change to gold. However, in The Lost Hero, it is shown that after finding out how to reverse the change, he did not learn his lesson and continued turning things to gold. This including his own family or anyone that annoyed him, turning them into gold statues. Midas does not seem to care that he was revived by Gaea and simply enjoys how even after thousands of years, gold is still one of the most valuable metals on earth.
Midas is described as a pudgy man in a white bathrobe, with a white beard and a long, old-fashioned sleeping cap on his head, which he uses to hide his donkey's ears.
Midas' only and most known ability is the power to turn anything to gold with a touch. In The Lost Hero, it is shown that objects turned to gold become enchanted, as Piper's backpack was able to hold the storm spirits. This ability however is constant, meaning Midas will occasionally turn things to gold he did not intend to (including his own son, Lityerses). This ability can be reversed by placing the object that was turned to gold into running water.
- Midas uses his power to turn anything to gold to fund Gaea's army.
- Midas is one of the few people who can resist Piper's charmspeak, as gold can neutralize it (more so the ability to turn people into gold, not gold itself).