|“||Very well! In the name of the Council, we swear by the River Styx to grant your reasonable request, as long as it is within our power.||”|
Zeus is the Greek god of the sky, weather, air, lightning, honor and justice. He is the King of Olympus, the youngest son of the Titans Kronos and Rhea, and the husband of the goddess Hera. His Roman counterpart is Jupiter.
Circumstances of Zeus' Birth
Zeus was the youngest child of Kronos, the Titan King of Mount Othrys, and his sister-wife Rhea. All of Zeus' elder siblings had been earlier devoured by Kronos, who was terrified of one of his children (who were gods, a more powerful race of immortals than the Titans) ultimately overpowering him. Hence, determined to retain his omnipotence, Kronos consecutively devoured Hestia, Demeter, Hera, Hades, and Poseidon, all at birth. As a result, Kronos became known as "King Cannibal." Rhea pleaded with Kronos to spare their children, but with no success, since even Kronos' great love for Rhea was not enough to overpower his selfish and evil nature. A distraught Rhea soon heard the voice of Gaea, advising her to give birth to her final child (who would save his other siblings) on the island of Crete. Claiming that Koios, her clairvoyant brother had advised her to do so, Rhea successfully departed for Crete.
Rescuing his Siblings
On Crete, in a cave at the base of Mount Ida, Rhea gave birth to her sixth and final child. His name would be Zeus. Rhea gave her newborn son to the Nine Nymphs that attended his birth (including Hagno), and returned to Mount Orthys. She used a huge smooth boulder the same size and shape as a newborn (given to her by Gaea) to deceive Kronos, by wrapping it up in swaddling clothes, and pretending that it was her final child. Kronos swallowed it without even looking (which gave him an intense stomachache), and was successfully deceived. Throughout his childhood, Zeus was raised by Rhea (who visited him often), the Nine Nymphs, the loud Kouretes, and the goat Amaltheia. Rhea would often tell Zeus about his brothers and sisters, all of whom he was destined to rescue from his father's stomach.
When Zeus grew to adulthood, he successfully transformed into a Titanic version of himself, and (with some help from his mother) infiltrated Mount Othrys by convincing Kronos to hire him as his royal cup bearer. With the help of his great singing and dancing skills (as well as his knowledge of many outrageously hilarious "Satyr jokes"), Zeus was able to constantly entertain all of the Titans at Mount Othrys, even Kronos himself. Shortly thereafter, Zeus encouraged all of the male Titans to participate in drinking contests. As the Titan King of Mount Othrys, Kronos would always win, since he could not let his siblings or nephews overcome him in anything. Finally, the Titan King began trusting Zeus completely, which is exactly what the latter was waiting for.
One evening, when Kronos was dining together with his Titanic brothers and nephews, Zeus prepared a special set of drinks for them all. The god prepared nectar mixed with sleeping potion for Kronos' guests, while he prepared an extremely powerful emetic (made from nectar mixed with mustard) for Kronos himself. As before, Zeus entertained them all with his excellent singing, wild Kouretes' dance moves, and outrageously hilarious satyr jokes. Near the end of the Titanic banquet, Zeus encouraged all of the Titans to have yet another drinking contest, and handed out the prepared goblets. As before, Kronos won the contest, but Zeus' emetic was so powerful, that it forced him to instantly disgorge all of the contents of his stomach, in reverse order of swallowing: first the boulder, then Poseidon, followed by Hades, Hera, Demeter, and Hestia. All of them had been growing undigested in Kronos' stomach, being gods.
Zeus quickly introduced himself to his elder siblings, and they all promptly escaped Mount Othrys, before their Titanic uncles and cousins came to their senses. In Zeus' Cave, at the base of Mount Ida, all six of them happily reunited with their mother Rhea, who tearfully embraces all of her rescued children. Shortly thereafter, the gods accepted Zeus as their leader, and reached a unanimous consensus on declaring war against their father. However, since the Titans were well-armed, and the gods still had no weapons, Zeus decided to release his Elder Cyclopes and Hekatonkheire uncles from Tartarus first.
Rescuing the Elder Cyclopes and Hekatonkheires
Zeus' eldest brother, Hades, was very skilled in navigating under the earth, and was able to lead them all into Tartarus (through a network of Underworld tunnels). There, imprisoned in the maximum-security zone, surrounded by huge bronze walls, and a lava moat, guarded fierce demons, were the Elder Cyclopes and Hekatonkheires. Their guardian, Kampê, was the most ferocious and fearsome monster in all of Tartarus, and even Zeus, Poseidon, and Hades initially shuddered with horror when they saw the infernal monster for the first time. However, the gods overcame their fear, and were able to sneak in. Zeus managed to talk to the Cyclopes Brontes, and convinced him to forge powerful weapons for him and his siblings behind Kampê's back. The three Elder Cyclopes forged three incredibly powerful weapons: the Master Bolt (for Zeus), the Trident (for Poseidon), and the Helm of Darkness (for Hades). With these weapons, Zeus killed Kampê, and Poseidon shattered the chains of the Elder Cyclopes and Hekatonkheires, releasing them. Afterwards, Hades safely guided his siblings and uncles back out of Tartarus. In return, for their release, all six of Zeus' uncles agreed to fight on his side in the upcoming war with the Titans.
Shortly after their return from Tartarus, Zeus and his siblings officially declared war on Kronos and the other Titans, which resulted in the terrifying 11-year-long Titanomachy. The Titans initially had the upper hand, since they were much more experienced warriors. However, as the years of the War passed, the gods quickly became skilled warriors as well, and with the help of their new extremely powerful weapons, as well as the aid of the Elder Cyclopes and Hekatonkheires, the gods finally prevailed.
While preparing for the final battle of the War, Zeus and his siblings ascended to Mount Olympus (the tallest mountain in Greece after Mount Orthys). During the final battle, Zeus used his Master Bolt to shear off the top of Mount Othrys, and hurl Kronos from his Black Throne, defeating the Titan King. Shortly thereafter, the gods invaded the ruins of Mount Orthys, and finally overwhelmed Atlas, Hyperion, Iapetus, Krios, and Koios.
In the aftermath of the battle, the Elder Cylopes chained up all of the defeated Titans, while the Hekatonkheires forced them to kneel before Zeus, Poseidon and Hades. Zeus took his father's Scythe, and sliced Kronos into a thousand pieces, before casting him into Tartarus, along with the rest of his followers (except for Atlas, who was forced to hold the Sky). Afterwards, Zeus offered the Hekatonkheires to return to Tartarus, this time as the jailers of the Titans, to which they readily agreed.
Becoming the King of the Olympian Gods
The gods chose Mount Olympus as their official residence, and the Elder Cyclopes build magnificent palaces there for them all. As a result, the gods started to call themselves the Olympians. Shortly thereafter, Zeus had a private meeting with his brothers Poseidon and Hades, and the three brothers agreed to divide the world between themselves. Although it was Hades' birthright (as Kronos' eldest son) to be named his father's successor, he agreed to divide the Titan King's former domain with his brothers. Hades received the Underworld, Poseidon seized the seas and oceans, and Zeus claimed the heavens as his domain. Shortly after this division, the three sons of Kronos came to be known as "The Big Three." However, Zeus' authority was recognized as superior to that of his brothers, and Zeus became the King of Mount Olympus, and the Olympian gods.
Marriage to Metis
Zeus took his childhood sweetheart Metis as his wife after the war. Metis had served the King of Olympus as his adviser and mentor for much of his life. When his wife was pregnant, Zeus learned from her that their son was destined to one day surpass him. Like his father and grandfather before him, he tried to forestall this fate and promptly swallowed both Metis and their unborn child. The goddess, however, gave birth to a daughter instead, named Athena, who came into the world by springing from her father's head when she was fully grown.
Marriage to Themis
Shortly after swallowing Metis, Zeus took Themis, the Titaness of Divine Law and Justice, as his second wife. Themis gave birth to two pairs of triplets: the Horae (goddesses of the seasons), and the Fates (the three white-robed personifications of destiny). The Fates were already born as old women, which horrified both of their parents. After becoming the father of the Fates, Zeus, fearing the prospect of having even more intimidating children with Themis, advocated to end their marriage, to which the Titaness agreed, and peacefully stepped aside.
Relationship with Demeter
Shortly after ending his marriage with the Titaness Themis, Zeus courted his beautiful sister Demeter. After transforming into a serpent, he successfully seduced her. Zeus' and Demeter's affair resulted in a very beautiful daughter named Persephone. Though their romantic relationship eventually ended, Demeter was still overjoyed as she loved Persephone dearly. Persephone grew up without want, always staying close to her mother, and later became the goddess of springtime and flowers, and her mother even shared some of her power over the earth with her. Demeter cherished Persephone as the most important thing in her life, and spent all of her time with her.
Marriage to Hera
Soon after her return from Oceanus and Tethys, Hera caught the attention of Zeus himself. Since she was extremely intelligent and the most beautiful goddess in creation (before Aphrodite's birth), it was only natural that he would be attracted to her, but while Hera had strong feelings for him as well, she refused to be another conquest for the King of the Gods. However, Zeus was just as stubborn and would not be dissuaded. He applied his excellent singing, dancing, and joking skills to entertain and woo Hera, but she would not initially give in. Zeus made a bet with Hera that if she would ever confess her love for him, she would become his bride.
A few days later, Zeus proceeded to generate a tremendous thunderstorm around Olympus, and cunningly disguised himself as an injured cuckoo. The cuckoo flew into Hera's chambers, just as she was shutting her windows, and proceeded to fall on the marble floor. The sympathetic goddess took what she thought was a defenseless creature in her arms, dried its feathers, and revived it with some divine nectar. On the next morning, the cuckoo did not seem inclined to leave, and affectionately rubbed its beak against Hera's finger. Hera admitted having grown quite fond of the bird herself, and gently cuddled it in her arms. At that very instant, the cuckoo transformed into mighty Zeus himself, still in Hera's embrace.
Although she was embarrassed and outraged by her brother's deception, Hera was very impressed at Zeus' cleverness and resourcefulness nonetheless. She finally agreed to become his consort on the condition that he married her, and remained loyal to her. Their wedding (which was described as the most magnificent and grandiose wedding in history) was held in a spectacular celebration on Mount Olympus, and was attended by many gods and neutral Titans. Zeus and Hera arrived on a huge golden chariot, steered by Eos (who illuminated the bride and bridegroom with brilliant rosy light), and the ceremony was lead by the three Fates themselves. Through her marriage to Zeus, Hera became the Queen of Mount Olympus and the Olympian gods. Zeus and Hera received great gifts from all of their wedding guests, but Hera's favorite was a magnificent apple tree (with golden apples) that she received from Gaea. Hera had the tree taken far off to the west, and planted in a beautiful orchard. Hera employed the Hesperides, daughters of Atlas, to guard the tree, but as the nymphs would occasionally pluck an apple from the tree themselves, she put a fierce one hundred headed dragon named Ladon there as well. This orchard was later named the Garden of the Hesperides.
The newlyweds enjoyed a wonderful honeymoon, and were both very happy with each other for 300 years, and had four divine children: Ares (the god of war), Hebe (the goddess of youth), Eileithyia (the goddess of childbirth), and Hephaestus (the god of fire and blacksmiths). However, Zeus eventually became restless, and it was not long before he began the first of his many affairs. Hera was infuriated and frustrated to no end by his infidelity, and devoted most of her time to keeping Zeus in sight, as well as making the lives of his mistresses and illegitimate children miserable. Her hatred is most evident in the story of Hercules, whom she tried to kill repetitively.
Hera, enraged at her husband's infidelity, decided to start the first Olympian riot against Zeus. Hera managed to gain the support of Poseidon, as well as Apollo, and Athena. That evening, Apollo, Poseidon, and Athena hid themselves in the hall adjacent to Zeus' royal chambers, awaiting Hera's signal. As soon as Zeus had fallen asleep, all four of them quickly tightly bound the King of Olympus with unbreakable and tightening golden chains. Even chained up and completely immobilized, an infuriated Zeus still looked very intimidating. Finally, Poseidon attempted to reason with his brother, and demanded that Zeus be a better ruler. Zeus refused, which prompted Hera to advocate leaving him chained up in his chambers until he agrees. Shortly thereafter, the four Olympians departed for the Throne Room for the first (and last) democratic meeting of the Olympian Council, which proved to be a very cumbersome task. Fortunately, the violently trashing and bellowing King of Olympus was found by the Nereid Thetis. After convincing Zeus to be merciful towards the rioting Olympians, Thetis managed to find the Hekatonkheire Briares by the sea shore. He was more than happy to save Zeus, recalling that he owes his own freedom from Tartarus and Kampê to him. Briares quickly unchained Zeus, after which the latter seized his Master Bolt, and barged into the Throne Room, violently ending the meeting. Zeus remained true to his word, and was merciful towards the rioters, but he still punished them all accordingly.
Poseidon and Apollo were temporarily stripped of their divinity and godly powers and subsequently forced to serve Laomedon, the mortal King of Troy. Laomedon ordered Apollo to shepherd his herds, and Poseidon to build huge new walls around the city of Troy with his bare hands. The famous Walls of Troy came to be extremely durable, and would later keep the Greek forces at bay for 10 long years in the Trojan War. A number of years later, after accomplishing his mission, Poseidon returned to Olympus, where Zeus finally ended Poseidon's exile, restoring his divinity and powers. However, due to Poseidon's riot, Zeus would gain a strong and lasting distrust for his brother Poseidon.
Hera, however, received the most severe punishment of all: Zeus chained her right above the terrifying Void of Chaos. Every day, Zeus would visit her, and threaten to severe the chains with his Master Bolt, and watch her tumble into the Void. Hephaestus could hear the wails of his mother all the way from Mount Olympus, which infuriated him, as he could not bear to hear her suffering such a harsh punishment. As a result, he finally set her free. Hera tearfully embraced him, and promised to never to call Hephaestus ugly ever again. Zeus, however, was infuriated. Hence, he violently stormed into Hephaestus' chambers, easily overpowered him, and flung Hephaestus all the way from Mount Olympus to Lemnos (which broke every bone in his body). In time, however, Hephaestus' wounds were healed, and he returned to Olympus. Zeus was somewhat ashamed of his past angry fit with his son, and (in a rare act) apologized and welcomed his son back with open arms.
In the Series
Oath of the Big Three
Over the centuries the Olympians moved west to the countries that held the seats of their great power and influence. During World War II, Zeus' and Poseidon's demigod children fought together against Hades' own demigod children. After Hades' side (Nazi Germany, Fascist Italy and Imperial Japan) was defeated, the Oracle prophesied that a half-blood child of one the three brothers would either cause the downfall or salvation of Olympus. This caused The Big Three gods to swear an oath to no longer sire any more demigod children, but because Hades already had two demigods (Nico and Bianca di Angelo), Zeus ordered him to take them to Camp Half Blood. Hades disobeyed, for fear that his children would either be turned against him or killed. Angered, Zeus tried to kill the young demigods, Bianca and Nico di Angelo, by destroying the hotel they were currently residing in, but Hades managed to protect them. He, however, failed to save their mother Maria di Angelo, and was greatly grieved, and threatened to "crush him" for what he had done.
Thalia and Jason
In 1988, Zeus became immensely attracted to a beautiful television starlet, Beryl Grace, and had a child by her ― Thalia Grace. He left her but returned seven years later in 1994 as his Roman aspect, Jupiter. Within the year, he had sired a Roman demigod, Jason Grace, who was named after the original Argonaut Jason, in order to appease Hera, as she was angered by his infidelity, and at the risk posed by having a Greek and Roman child born in the same family. Eventually, Zeus left Ms. Grace again, as it was custom for gods to leave their mortal consort.
Hades discovered Thalia's existence and was infuriated that Zeus had broken the oath. This betrayal, coupled with the fact that Maria di Angelo's death at Zeus' hands was still fresh in his mind, caused Hades to send an army of his most fearsome monsters after Zeus's daughter. As Thalia and her friends ― seven year-old Annabeth Chase, fourteen year-old Luke Castellan and a satyr named Grover Underwood ― reached the borders of Camp Half-Blood, the monsters overwhelmed them, causing Thalia to sacrifice herself to save her friends. Zeus took pity on her and transformed Thalia into a pine tree to preserve her spirit, keeping it out of Hades' reach.
Zeus' Master Bolt is stolen and immediately blames Poseidon. Soon after, Poseidon claims Percy Jackson as his son, and Zeus believes he had found the means by which Poseidon had stolen his bolt. Outraged, he threatens Poseidon with war unless the bolt is returned to him by the summer solstice. This situation gives Percy a quest to retrieve the bolt. He and his new found friends, Annabeth Chase and Grover Underwood, travel across America to do so. They are successful and consequently return to New York City by plane. Percy travels to Olympus alone to return the bolt.
Percy relates the events of the quest to Zeus and Poseidon, and from there, the two gods conclude that their evil father, the Titan Lord Kronos must be behind the scheme. Zeus, however, refuses to immediately discuss the threat posed by their father. He promptly leaves to purify his Master Bolt in the waters of Lemnos to wash away the human taint that it had received from Luke and Percy. Zeus compliments his nephew Percy and decides to spare his life to show his thanks, but states that should Percy ever fly again, he would blast the demigod out of the sky with the Master Bolt. Zeus, however has never gone through with this threat since.
Zeus blames Chiron (who is a son of Kronos) for the poisoning of Thalia's tree, resulting in Chiron being fired, and replaced by Tantalus. By the end of the book, however, Zeus learns that the true culprit is in fact Luke Castellan, and promptly reinstates Chiron at the activities director at Camp Half-Blood. Also, due to the great power of the Golden Fleece, Zeus' daughter Thalia Grace comes back to life.
After the rescue of Annabeth and Artemis by Percy, Grover, Thalia, and Zoë Nightshade, the campers go to Olympus for the Council of the Olympians. There, the Olympians debate on whether or not to destroy Percy and Thalia, as either of the two demigods will hold the fate of Olympus when they turn sixteen. Zeus, though, refuses to destroy his daughter Thalia and is openly concerned when Artemis offers Thalia the now vacant position of Lieutenant of her Hunters. Thalia accepts the offer and vows that the prophecy would not be hers, but Percy’s. The Olympians then vote on whether Percy should live, and despite somewhat disliking Percy's existence, Zeus ultimately votes for his life.
Zeus allows Hera to interfere with the quest. However, when he feels that Hera has been with Percy, Annabeth, Grover, and Tyson for too long, he gives the cue for her to return. Hera claims that Zeus and she had had some excellent marriage counseling recently.
Zeus and the other Olympians leave Mount Olympus to battle Typhon (their greatest foe), leaving their demigod children and a few minor gods to defend their thrones. Zeus refuses to let any of the other gods return to Olympus, although he does send Hermes to relay messages. The gods constantly fight for days, but nevertheless Typhon manages to arrive in New York. The gods are exhausted, but with the arrival of Poseidon, their fighting spirit is renewed and they defeat the fearsome monster, with Poseidon striking the final blow. Meanwhile, due to Luke's selfless bravery, Kronos is defeated. The Olympians return to Mount Olympus to find the Throne Room in ruins, but they manage to repair it in a very short time. Zeus also makes the top of the Empire State Building glow blue to assure Percy's mother that her son is alive.
Zeus commends the gods for their bravery, and gives thanks to Hades for joining the war against their father Kronos, and to Poseidon, without whom they would never have defeated the fearsome Typhon. Zeus then rewards the heroes. To Thalia, he grants help in filling the Hunter’s ranks; to Tyson, the Cyclopes son of Poseidon, Zeus gives the position of General of the armies of Olympus. To Percy, Zeus offers the ultimate gift of immortality ― to become a god and a Lieutenant to Poseidon. He is incredulous when Percy (after much thought) denies the gift and asks for a different wish instead. Percy asks Zeus and the Olympian Council to swear on the River Styx first to be assured that his wish would be granted. Zeus and the other Olympians reluctantly agree to grant Percy's request as long as it was within their power. Percy, satisfied with this promise, asks them to pay more attention to their demigod children by showing them who is a demigod at the age of 13, to honor the minor gods, and to allow the minor gods to have cabins at Camp Half-Blood. Percy adds that the oath of the Big Three to abstain from having children should be dissolved as it was never truly effective in the first place, and that any children the three mighty brothers may have from their affairs with mortals should be trained and accepted instead of feeling abandoned. Though somewhat outraged at such huge a request, Zeus and the Olympians nevertheless agree to fulfill it.
In a combination of paranoia, and anger at Percy Jackson for his refusal of immortality, Zeus closes off Olympus and recalls all gods there. He also forbid contact between the gods and demigods, as he concluded that the increasing intervention of the gods in mortal affairs must be causing the rise of both Gaea and the Giants. Here, it is also revealed that he has a Roman son, Jason Grace, the lost but recently found brother of Thalia Grace.
Some of the gods, namely Aphrodite and Hephaestus believe that Zeus is acting merely out of wounded pride. Hera herself admits to having great difficulty at trying to guess Zeus' motivations for anything, but thinks his actions are bordering on paranoia. Including Artemis, the four gods disobey his commands to stay on Olympus and work behind his back to avoid getting caught. Despite this, Zeus indirectly aids Jason, Piper McLean, and Leo Valdez several times on their quest, most notably answering his son's prayer for aid against the Giant Enceladus.
Zeus himself never appears, and is rarely mentioned. At Camp Jupiter Percy enters his magnificent Roman temple, the Temple of Jupiter, where the god is referred to as "Jupiter Optimus Maximus." Percy sees a massive golden statue of the god with the Master Bolt and mentions that the Bolt does not look like that at all. Later, when Percy flies to Alaska, and starts feeling turbulence on the plane, he wonders if Zeus is messing with him.
Zeus, along with most of the other Olympians, was incapacitated (with his personality split between him and his Roman form Jupiter) after Leo was manipulated by Gaea into shooting upon Camp Jupiter from the Argo II.
Zeus has driven Apollo off of Olympus, blaming both Hera and him from the current crisis. He is also still angry at Artemis for disobeying his orders by helping her Hunters. Zeus also has Asclepius kept under guard, to prevent him from seeing anyone. Ascplepius expresses worry for his father, noting that Zeus tends to be unreasonable.
When Reyna, with the help of six pegasi finally manages to place the Athena Parthenos on Half-Blood Hill, golden light ripples across the ground, seeping warmth into the bones of both Greek and Roman demigods, and curing all of the Olympians (including Zeus) of their split personalities. As a result, Zeus promptly arrives in Athens to participate in the final battle with the Giants. He arrives riding in a huge golden chariot, with the four Wind Gods (in equine form) pulling it, and Nike as his charioteer. Zeus fights with the Master Bolt alongside Jason against the Giant King Porphyrion himself. After Jason knocks Porphyrion off of a cliff with an extremely powerful gust of wind, Zeus uses the Master Bolt to reduce the Giant King to ash that spreads across the landscape, to prevent Gaea from raising him once more. Zeus comments that he is proud of his son Jason, and does not at all hold the latter responsible for the current crisis.
Following the battle, Zeus starts to assign blame for the war. He turns his attention toward Hera and Apollo. He blames them for the Second Gigantomachy, since Apollo allowed the Prophecy of Seven to be spoken (despite Apollo's earlier claims that he has little control of the prophecies or when they are spoken) and Hera for taking it upon herself to interpret the prophecy. Zeus reasons that there were multiple ways the prophecy could have been interpreted, which is why he was slow to act and why he cut off the ties between the gods and demigods, but the moment Hera started acting upon it, the number of possible outcomes became severely limited.
After Zeus sends Apollo back to Olympus to await punishment, Jason tries to speak up for Apollo about the futility of assigning blame and how that is what caused the ongoing schism between the Greek and Roman demigods. Zeus is furious with Jason for questioning him in front of the other gods, but is calmed by Artemis, who intervenes and soothes the situation, giving Jason a look says that she will reason with Zeus later, when he has calmed down.
To get the Seven Heroes of Olympus back to Camp Half-Blood in time to stop Gaea, Zeus grows in size, and successfully hurls the Argo II back to camp at supersonic speeds, though the ship is torn apart in the process.
Zeus, as the King of the Gods, is very proud, commanding and has an extremely high amount of self-respect, almost to the point of sanctimoniousness, condescension and narcissism. He demands respect and precedence from mortals, demigods, and the other gods. One of the many examples of this is in The Lightning Thief when he was slightly irritated because Percy acknowledged Poseidon before himself. He also shamelessly interrupted Poseidon praising Percy in The Last Olympian when Poseidon inferred that Percy's bravery may have exceeded Hercules. In this, Zeus disregarded the fact that Poseidon was entitled to be proud of his own son for literally defeating Kronos and saving Olympus (which meant saving Zeus as much among others).
Despite being the god of honor and justice and demanding high standards from others, Zeus does not always provide the best moral example. He is, at times, extremely paranoid, as well as hypocritical, self-centered and easily insulted. He forced the oath to have no half-blood children on his brothers going so far as to try and murder the children of Hades and claim Poseidon fathering Percy as a severe crime, yet Zeus broke this oath himself and played favorites by trying to save Thalia while forcing her to endure the consequences of his broken oath. He can also be incredibly jealous when it comes to his wife Hera as depicted when he punished a mortal who once tried to court Hera. Yet he has become infamous for breaking his marriage vows to her time and again reflecting his lustful and libidinous nature. His rampant unfaithfulness to his wife Hera is a very prominent theme in Greco-Roman myths, and he often places his mistresses and even his own children in dangerous situations all in the attempt to hide his affairs.
If he imagines that he is being plotted against or insulted, he can be very unforgiving. He often allows his negative traits to override his better judgment. His decisions are not always based on justice, but rather his personal whims and what he sees as best for himself, rather than the greater good. Zeus is, in some ways lustful for power. It is evident in his title as King of the Gods and his fear of his own brothers betraying or dethroning him.
Zeus has a tendency to hold grudges. He has a very strong and lasting distrust of Poseidon as he falsely believes the latter had once attempted to overthrow the former from his throne (when really all Poseidon wanted was for Zeus to be a better ruler). Zeus instantly blames Poseidon for anything that the latter could be guilty of in the barest despite having no evidence and all facts pointing to the contrary. For example, he immediately blamed Poseidon for stealing his weapon without even understanding the entire situation. Later, he blames Apollo for hastening the second Gigantomachy and continues to distrust him for participating in the attempted overthrow and for once killing several of the Elder Cyclopes to avenge the death of his son.
Zeus absolutely hates damage to his self-image and tries to assign blame to others to avoid making himself look at all bad. He blames Apollo and Hera for the second Gigantomachy and the conflicts between the Greek and Roman demigods since Apollo assigned a new oracle who spoke the Prophecy of Seven and Hera took it upon herself to interpret it. This ignores the facts that Apollo has little direct control or understanding of the prophecies made by the oracle, the Prophecy of the Seven was already foretold centuries before by the Sibylline Books and that the giants were already attempting to rise by the World War II. If Hera had not acted it would have been too late to do anything.
Zeus is noted to often be quite unreasonable especially if he has been proven wrong or made a fool of. He get angry, try to assign blame elsewhere, and takes any attempts to reason with him as challenges to his authority. The only thing one can do is wait for him to calm down and try to reason with him later.
Zeus' several flaws often get in the way of him being a good king. His refusal to change his decision when he is wrong, decides to put himself before the other gods, or even admit a problem actually exists has put both Olympus and the world in danger numerous times. Hence, it has been noted that it is actually Hera who holds Olympus together and without her the gods would quickly implode.
Despite being the Ruler of the Universe, Zeus is also prone to making huge tactical blunders, which throws Olympus's safety into jeopardy. He didn't bother to maintain a standing army to defend Olympus, throwing the responsibility on Percy, Annabeth and Chiron. Despite repeated warnings, he gathered all the gods to fight Typhon, when the real threat was Kronos. Zeus didn't bother to take immediate action against the rising Titans, much to Percy's dismay. In spite of his extreme recklessness in facing Typhon, he dedicated all of his energies into defeating the monster, to such an extent that he wouldn't let Athena leave the clash because she was his greatest strategist, showing a fair deal of tactical skill. That said, subsequently he didn't bother to stop the Giants immediately either. Instead he made it worse by cutting off communication with the demigods.
Despite his several flaws, Zeus does have a somewhat respectable side. He does love his children, but cannot show as much love as the other gods do, as he is the leader and must set an example. It also cannot seem that he is merely choosing favorites. Despite this, he often does play favorites especially his daughters, such as sparing Thalia while insisting Percy's birth is a crime in itself. He also favors Artemis over Apollo, despite both disobeying him at times, and Artemis has confirmed that Zeus has never been able to be angry with her long, since she has the ability to charm him into forgiving her and Athena since she wasn't punished in the first attempt to defeat him. Zeus is still quick to turn on his children if he feels they have somehow insulted him or challenged his authority.
Although Zeus is short tempered and vengeful, he is also capable of sympathy for those that have suffered the same injustices that he and the other gods suffered in their lives. A clear example of this can be found in The Titan's Curse, where he was the most willing to kill the Ophiotaurus due to the risk that it posed to the gods. Percy Jackson, however, pointed out that what they wish to do was the same thing that Kronos tried to do with them in the past, and Zeus was the first god to acknowledge the injustice and reconsider his decision.
Despite his usually strict, serious, and prim demeanor, in Percy Jackson's Greek Gods, Zeus is revealed to have a fun and entertaining side as well (which he rarely demonstrates, however), as well as quite the sense of humor, thanks to his knowledge of many outrageously hilarious Satyr jokes.
Zeus is very tall, imposing, and very muscular, with long black shoulder-length hair with a gray-and-black neatly trimmed beard. He has brilliant electrically-blue eyes with a serious and proud, but very handsome face. However, when Zeus is infuriated, his face becomes "as dark as a thundercloud." In addition, when he is saddened, Zeus' gaze seemed "as far away as the ozone layer" to Jason. Zeus' normal attire is a dark blue pinstriped suit. According to Percy, the air around Zeus smells like ozone, though Jason describes him smelling of "rain and clean wind" instead. In Percy Jackson's Greek Gods, Zeus wears white robes with threads of gold, and is described as looking very intimidating even when he is completely immobilized and chained up. In his Divine Form, Zeus is described as being surrounded by a "massive column of twisting lighting and fire." While helping the Heroes of Olympus fight the Giants in The Blood of Olympus, Zeus rode into battle on a huge golden chariot, with the four Wind Gods (in equine form) pulling it, and Nike as his charioteer. While not wielding the Master Bolt, Zeus has it clipped to his belt. He sometimes wields the Aegis, which appears as either a bronze shield, with the fearsome visage of Medusa upon it, or a glowing mantle, that glitters "as if woven through with filaments of Imperial Gold."
As one of the Big Three, Zeus has the ultimate powers a god can possess, and is rivaled only by his brothers, Poseidon and Hades. He possesses the standard physical and magical superiority inherent in all gods, though to a much greater degree due to his status as one of the oldest Olympians as well as one of the Big Three. Even Gaea refers to Zeus as "the first among the gods."
- Massive Strength: Zeus has incredible physical prowess, and in Percy Jackson's Greek Gods, he is mentioned being able to lift and hurl entire mountains at his enemies. Most notably, Zeus was able to crush and imprison Typhon himself (the only known being with strength superior to his own) by hurling Mount Etna on top of him. Also, when Hephaestus angered him, Zeus easily overpowered him, and flung his son all the way from Mount Olympus to Lemnos. This is especially impressive because Hephaestus is one of the physically strongest Olympians in creation, exponentially exceeding the likes of Ares. In The Blood of Olympus, Zeus was able to fling the Argo II all the way from Athens to Camp Half-Blood, at supersonic speeds.
- Battle Prowess: Zeus is an extremely skilled, formidable and experienced warrior. He thus easily overpowered his son, Hephaestus, defeated the infamously terrifying Kampê, battled his Titan father Kronos, and even held his own against the more powerful Typhon. That particular battle was incredibly difficult and long, and both Dionysus and Hephaestus - enormously powerful Olympians - were forcibly, violently removed from the fight with critically brutal injuries, which contributes to Zeus's mastery of combat techniques and strategy. Despite this, he recognized that there were those more strategically skilled and knowledgeable than him, as he considered Athena to be his finest strategist in the battle against Typhon.
- Height Manipulation: Zeus can tremendously increase his height, shown in The Blood of Olympus, when he grows 100 feet tall before hurling the Argo II all the way from Athens to Camp Half-Blood. In Percy Jackson's Greek Gods, Zeus grows even taller, until he is half as tall as the Storm Giant Typhon.
- Aerokinesis: As the God of the Sky, Zeus has absolute control over air. He has the same aerokinetic powers as his son, Jason, only to an infinitely more advanced level, enabling him to perform feats such as:
- Wind Generation: Zeus can generate tremendously powerful hurricanes and tornadoes at will. A notable example was when he generated a massive thunderstorm around Mount Olympus in Percy Jackson's Greek Gods, while attempting to win favor with Hera.
- Air Ropes: As seen in The Blood of Olympus, as the Lord of the Sky, Zeus had divine authority over all 4 Wind Gods, whom he bound and harnessed to his war chariot with tightly wound ropes of wind that he generated.
- Inhalation: In Percy Jackson's Greek Gods, Zeus sucked Metis into his stomach through his mouth with a mini-tornado.
- Flight: Zeus could manipulate the air currents around him to hover and fly at great speeds.
- Cloud Manipulation: As demonstrated in Percy Jackson's Greek Gods, where Zeus made an indistinguishable living replica of Hera out of a cloud, which King Ixion later seduced, giving birth to the first centaurs.
- Air waves: According to Hephaestus, Zeus' domain also includes the air waves, as he was able to detect Hephaestus' pirate radio in The Lost Hero.
- Atmokinesis: As the God of the Sky, Zeus has absolute control over the weather.
- Celestial Hydrokinesis: In Percy Jackson's Greek Gods, Zeus brought about a global flood by causing tremendous torrents of water to pour down from the heavens all over the world for nine days and nights. As a result, the entire world was flooded (except for the highest mountains), and most of the human race was destroyed. Deucalion and Pyrrha were among the few that survived this great calamity.
- Electrokinesis: As the God of Thunder and Lightning, Zeus has absolute control over both static and celestial electricity, which grants him the abilities of:
- Lightning Generation: Zeus can generate tremendous bolts of lightning from his fingertips.
- Static Electric Shocks: Zeus can send great amounts of static shock through the bodies of others on contact.
- Electrical Immunity: Zeus is completely immune to any amount of electricity.
- Master Bolt: Zeus's most powerful weapon, the Master Bolt, is stupendously powerful (generating many tremendous white-hot lightning bolts simultaneously), easily making a hydrogen bomb look like a firecracker in comparison. When Zeus hurls it at Typhon, the blast "lights up the world", nearly knocks the colossal monster off-balance, and Percy can feel the shock-wave many miles away. In Percy Jackson's Greek Gods, Zeus used his Master Bolt to swiftly raze the entire city of Salmonia to oblivion after Salmoneus pretended to be Zeus.
- Supernatural Sight: As the God of the Sky, Zeus has incredibly keen vision, as seen in Percy Jackson's Greek Heroes, when he manages to see Danaë, who was trapped inside of an underground bronze cell. He was later able to mentally zoom in and clearly perceive Phaethon driving Helios' Sun Chariot.
- Chlorokinesis (limited): In Percy Jackson's Greek Gods, to help Hades kidnap Persephone, Zeus caused the earth to grow several magnificent fields of flowers, each one more colorful and fragrant than the one before it. The roses he caused to grow did not even have thorns, and their beauty and fragrance was such that it made Persephone giddy and lured her further away from her chaperones. This shows that, despite his status as a sky god, Zeus has a level of control over the earth and its natural elements.
- Knowledge of Plants: As shown in Percy Jackson's Greek Gods, Zeus had an extensive knowledge of the properties of herbs and plants, which he learned from the nymphs who raised him. As a result, he was able to brew an extremely powerful emetic, a single goblet of which caused Kronos to regurgitate all five of his swallowed children (as well as the boulder that Rhea used to impersonate him with).
- Justice: As the God of Justice and Honor, Zeus maintains control over the other deities by preventing their feuds from escalating to epic proportions, and ensuring the overall order of the world by handing down and enforcing justice. A good example in Percy Jackson's Greek Gods is when Zeus assembles the first ever Olympian trial for the murder of Poseidon's son Halirrhothius by Ares, with Zeus himself as the Chief Justice. As a result, Ares was justly acquitted.
- Granting and Stripping Powers: As the King of the Olympian Gods, Zeus can temporarily strip away (and later restore) any other Olympian of his/her godly powers and divinity, just as he did in Percy Jackson's Greek Gods to Poseidon and Apollo (after they participated in an unsuccessful Olympian riot against him), and claims that he would have permanently done so to Ares, had the latter not been his son. Zeus later punished Apollo in this way again after the latter killed some of the Cyclopes that forged his thunderbolts (in retaliation for Zeus striking down Asclepius). As seen throughout the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series, Zeus was able to strip his son Dionysus of the latter's alcokinesis abilities as a punishment for chasing after an off-limits wood nymph twice, and only restored them again shortly before The Lost Hero. Zeus would punish Apollo this way yet again in The Trials of Apollo series.
- Shapeshifting: Zeus had always had a talent for shapeshifting, even transforming himself into a Titanic version to deceive his father and the other Titans. Later on, he frequently transformed himself into other shapes to seduce those whom he fell in love with. As shown in Percy Jackson's Greek Gods, Zeus has transformed himself several animals to woo different women (and sometimes men). Those include a bull (for Europa), an eagle (for Ganymede), a swan (for Leda), a cuckoo (for Hera), an ant (for Eurymedousa), a serpent (for Demeter), Artemis (for Kallisto), Amphitryon (for Alcmene) and even a dazzling shower of gold (for Danaë in Percy Jackson's Greek Heroes).
- Transfiguration: In Percy Jackson's Greek Gods, Zeus transforms thousands of ants into an army of hardened and fearless human warriors (who would later become known as the Myrmidones) at the request of his son Aeacus. He would later transform his girlfriend Io into a cow, Lycaon into the first werewolf, and his daughter Thalia into a pine tree.
- Teleportation: As seen in The Lightning Thief, Zeus can disappear in "a blinding flash of lightning."
- Control of Animals: Zeus can summon and control animals that are sacred to him, shown when he sends a huge golden eagle to punish Prometheus in Percy Jackson's Greek Gods, and later another one to assist Psyche in Percy Jackson's Greek Heroes.
- Entertainment Skills: In Percy Jackson's Greek Gods, Zeus was revealed to be an excellent entertainer, being able to sing, dance, and joke, all skills that he acquired from the Kouretes that helped raise him. Zeus's singing was said to be "as clear as the streams on Mount Ida", and his satyr jokes were outrageously hilarious. His entertainer skills enabled him to win favor with all of the Titans at Mount Othrys, even Kronos himself, such that they grew to harbor no suspicions of his true intentions at all. Zeus also later applied these skills again to woo his beautiful sister, Hera.
Zeus had several loyal attendants, including the four Wind Gods Boreas, Notus, Zephyros, and Eurus (who would pull his war charriot), the goddess of victory Nike (who served as Zeus' charioteer), his son and messenger Hermes, as well as his cupbearer and lover Ganymede.
|Alcmene||Hercules (born a demigod)|
|Gaea||Agdistis/Kybele and the Cyprean Centaurs|
|Beryl Grace||Thalia Grace (born a demigod, became immortal by joining the Hunters of Artemis)|
|Hera||Ares, Hephaestus, Hebe, Enyo|
|Leto||Artemis and Apollo|
|Selene||Ersa and Pandia|
|Semele||Dionysus (born a demigod)|
|Electra||Dardanus, Harmonia, Iasus|
|Europa||Minos, Rhadamanthys, and Sarpedon|
|Beryl Grace||Thalia Grace (Mortal before joining the Hunters of Artemis.) Jason Grace|
|Leda||Helen and Polydeuces|
|Lamia||Herophile, Demetrius and Altheia|
|Amelia Otis Earhart||Amelia Earhart|
|Antiope||Zethus and Amphion|
|Aegina||Aeacus, Grandfather of Achilles|
Zeus is played by Sean Bean.
There are both similarities and differences in his character between the film and the novel.
The most notable similarity is that, after his Master Bolt is stolen, he accuses Poseidon's son of being the thief despite the lack of concrete evidence. His film version was also shown to be as stubborn as his novel version, being willing to discard Athena's wise advice and threaten to wage war against his brother.
However, it should be noted that there are numerous differences between his novel version and film version. For instance, the novel Zeus is described as having black hair, a grey-and-black beard, and electric blue eyes, but in the film, his hair and beard are dark strawberry-blond, and his eyes are stormy green. The film Zeus also does not wear a suit like his novel version (except at the very beginning), but wears Grecian armor like the other gods.
Last but not least, the film Zeus was portrayed to be more easy-going than his novel version, though no less intimidating and law-enforcing when need be. It was revealed that he had passed the law forbidding the gods from having physical contact with their mortal children because his brother, Poseidon, was becoming increasingly human and less concerned with his divine responsibilities whenever he was with Sally (his mortal lover) and Percy (his half-mortal child), and Zeus believed it to be a negative influence, and presumably feared that the same thing would happen to the other gods should they continue to have physical interaction with their mortal children. He was also able to silence the entire Olympian Council when they were in the midst of a heated argument with just a simple command.
However, it was shown that Zeus could be agreeable: after Percy returned his Master Bolt and explained the truth of the theft, he actually praised Percy, agreed to Percy's request to return Grover from the Underworld, and even permitted Poseidon to speak and have physical contact with his son. Percy himself later discovered that, not only was Grover returned to him safe and sound, but that Zeus had promoted him to the rank of senior protector. Hence, it could be said that the film focused on bringing out a kinder and more generous side of Zeus, especially since in the novels, Zeus' only thanks to Percy for returning the Master Bolt was sparing his life.
- Zeus can mean "day" in Ancient Greek. However, as revealed in Percy Jackson's Greek Gods, it could also mean "shining" or "life".
- Zeus is the only Elder Olympian who was not born on Mount Othrys, since he was born in a cave at the base of Mount Ida on Crete.
- Interestingly, as shown in Percy Jackson's Greek Gods, Zeus is the only Olympian who has ever turned into a "Titanic" version of himself for disguise.
- As revealed in Percy Jackson's Greek Gods, Zeus is an excellent singer and dancer. He also knows many outrageously hilarious "Satyr jokes".
- In Rome, he was referred to as "Jupiter Optimus Maximus" ("Jupiter the Best and the Greatest").
- Zeus trying to prevent the First Great Prophecy from passing actually caused the Great Prophecy to eventually pass:
- When he tried to kill Nico and Bianca di Angelo so they wouldn't become the demigods of the prophecy, he only managed to kill their mother.
- When the Oracle of Delphi told Hades this would happen, he became so angry that he cursed the Oracle so that her soul would never leave her body.
- May Castellan decades later tried to become the new Oracle, but failed and was driven insane.
- Her son, Luke Castellan, hates his father for never helping him, especially during one of his mom's fits of madness.
- This hatred eventually extends to all the gods, leading to the events depicted in the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series.
- In The Lost Hero, Clovis states that Zeus likes tailored suits, reality television, and a 'Chinese food place on East Twenty-eighth Street'.
- The Olympic Games started as one of the religious festivals in Ancient Greece in honor of Zeus.
- Zeus broke the pact of the Big Three twice, despite him initiating it in the first place.
- Jupiter, the largest planet of the Solar system, is named after Zeus' Roman form.
- Zeus is the only one of the Big Three gods who has broken the oath more than once.
- Zeus is the only Olympian that wields a weapon that cannot be used by mortals.
- Zeus' Egyptian counterpart (in terms of supreme authority) is Ra, though in terms of attributes, Zeus has much more in common with Amun.
- Zeus' Norse counterpart (in terms of supreme authority) is Odin, though in terms of attributes, Zeus has much more in common with Thor.