- This article is about the curse of holding up the sky. You may be looking for the book of the same name.
|“||The sky still yearns to embrace the earth. Someone must hold it at bay, or else it would crush down upon this place, instantly flattening the mountain and everything within a hundred leagues. Once you have taken the burden, there is no escape. Unless someone else takes it from you.||”|
The Titan's Curse is the burden of holding up the sky to prevent its weight from crashing down upon the earth. The curse can only be forced upon a Titan, though a pure-hearted hero can willingly take on the burden if they choose to, as can gods.
After the Olympians' assault on Mount Othrys, Zeus confined his four Titan uncles to Tartarus as punishment. Laughing at the gods' ignorance, Atlas reveals that the presence of the four Titan Lords is the only thing keeping the sky in place. As a solution to this problem, Zeus had the Elder Cyclopes chain Atlas to a mountain and cause the sky to form a central support pillar, which they then forced upon his shoulders to bear as punishment.
As his tenth labor, Hercules had to obtain the golden apples of immortality from the Garden of the Hesperides. Unable to bypass Ladon, Hercules was instructed by Atlas' daughter, Zoë Nightshade, to trick her father into stealing the apples for him. Hercules did so by taking on the Titan's Curse while Atlas obtained the apples for him, but upon returning, Hercules once again tricked the Titan into taking on his burden once again.
Luke Castellan takes on the Titan's Curse to free Atlas from his punishment. While on a mission to retrieve two half-bloods from Westover Hall, Annabeth Chase is kidnapped by the Manticore and tricked by Luke into taking the burden of the sky from him. When Artemis herself is captured by Atlas while hunting the Ophiotaurus, she willingly takes the burden from Annabeth, who was on the brink of dying from holding up the sky too long.
The Oracle issues a quest to Zoë so they can free Artemis. She takes Thalia Grace, Grover Underwood, and Bianca di Angelo as companions, with Percy Jackson later joining them. Bianca dies during the quest but the others reach their destination, the ruins of Mount Othrys. A battle ensues, in which Percy frees Artemis and convinces her to let him bear the Titan's Curse, thus fulfilling the Oracle's prophecy in doing so. In the midst of battling Atlas, Artemis once again forces the burden of the sky onto the Titan General, relieving Percy of it at the same time. Poseidon later confirms that no one from the Titan Army would be capable of holding up the sky for Atlas, as only a hero with strength, a true heart, and courage would be able to.
In a dream, Percy sees Atlas still trapped under his burden. He demands that Krios and Hyperion let him out, as he is the Titans' greatest warrior. Hyperion reminds Atlas that he failed when he was freed from his burden, and that he is better suited to remain where is, holding up the sky.
Bearers of the Titan's Curse
With the exception of immortals like Atlas and Artemis, bearers of the Titan's Curse obtain a streak of gray hair from holding up the sky. Eventually, however, the streak would disappear over time.
- Poseidon says that the Titan's Curse can only be forced on a child of Ouranos and Gaea. However, Atlas is a second-generation Titan, the son of Iapetus and Klymene.