For other uses of the name Zoe, see Zoe (disambiguation).
|“||Stars. I can see the stars again, my lady.||”|
Early Life and Helping Hercules
Zoë served in the Garden of the Hesperides, but she was exiled by her sisters after helping Hercules trick Atlas. She gave Hercules her hair pin that transformed into Anaklusmos. Eventually, she joined the Hunters of Artemis, and became their lieutenant to get away from men like Hercules. She held a grudge against male heroes, because Hercules gave her no credit for her clever plan for him to complete his quest on Mount Othrys and abandoned her.
Zoë would also spend centuries trying to track down and kill the giant Orion (without success, however), who harbored a strong hatred for both the Huntresses and Amazons, due to his tragic past with Artemis.
Quarrel with Thalia
She once ran into Thalia Grace, Luke Castellan, and Annabeth Chase when the three were wandering around the country. Zoë almost made Thalia join the Hunters. However, Thalia did not want to leave Luke, causing Zoë to become very angry. Feeling offended, she and Thalia got into a heated argument. Zoë told Thalia she was being "stupid," and that "she would regret it," stating Luke would let her down in some way.
Zoë and the Hunters rescue Percy Jackson, Thalia Grace, Grover Underwood, and Bianca and Nico di Angelo from a Manticore, Dr. Thorn, who disappeared with Annabeth Chase. She convinced Bianca to join the Hunters and accompanied her 'sisters' to Camp Half-Blood. The Hunters won the match of Capture the Flag when the Oracle left the attic and approached Zoë Nightshade for a quest to save Artemis, who had gone missing.
Zoë went on the doomed quest along with Thalia, Bianca, and Grover, but could not bring Phoebe, another Hunter, as planned for the Stolls sprayed centaur blood into a shirt and gave it to her and caused her to be covered in hives. Percy followed them secretly on Black Jack, wanting to make sure that Annabeth was found safe and sound, while having also promised Nico that he would keep his sister Bianca safe. Zoë was furious with Percy once he revealed himself, but he warned them that a Nemean Lion and a dozen skeletal warriors were on their way. And also that someone called "The General" was behind the attacks, which frightened Zoë.
They all fight against the lion and Zoë managed to kill it with some of her arrows, but she let Percy keep the pelt because it was his plan of feeding it with astronaut food which made it open its mouth so Zoë could kill it. She then said the first joke Percy had ever heard her say: "It was thy ice-cream sandwich that did it," referring to the astronaut food from the Smithsonian gift shop, which Percy force-fed the lion with.
They continue their quest, going west to find Artemis. Zoë is very worried about the goddess and was anxious to find her. They get help from a disguised Apollo, by giving them transportation west is all he can do, as by divine law, he is not allowed to interfere directly with their quest.
While in the desert, going through Hephaestus' junkyard, a prototype and defective version of Talos attacked them, and Bianca sacrificed herself to subdue the automaton. Zoë feels guilty over Bianca's death, which is understandable, as Zoë picked an amateur Hunter who was only twelve for a suicide mission. She believed that Bianca had the potential to replace her, as Zoë couldn't be the lieutenant forever. Percy tried to comfort Zoë after Bianca's death, and later dreamt from Hercules' point of view of his relationship and betrayal of Zoë.
After traveling to California, Percy gives up the Nemean Lion's pelt as a sacrifice to his father, Poseidon, to keep Grover and Bessie the Ophiotaurus safe on their journey to Olympus, and tells everyone, Zoë in particular, that he is nothing like Hercules.
To reach Artemis, they are forced to go through The Garden of Hesperides. There, Zoë encounters her sisters who disowned her and tells them that they never had the courage, before waking Ladon. The dragon, after a while, sensed Zoë wasn't really who she "used to be" and almost killed her. However, when the dragon attempted to kill Zoë, she dodged, but was still hit in the side. The dragon's teeth were venomous and the poison slowly weakened her, but she hid the injury from the others, until her death.
They found Artemis holding up the sky which she had taken from Annabeth. The General, Atlas, was revealed to be Zoë's father. Percy took Artemis' burden and Zoë, in her attempts at keeping Atlas from destroying Artemis, was knocked aside by her father, causing massive internal injuries and big emotional injuries. Because Hunters of Artemis lose their immortality when they 'fall in battle' this defeat by her father meant she was no longer immortal and now susceptible to the poison of Ladon, which killed her. When she died, Artemis turned her into a star constellation, "the Huntress," in the Southern sky. The form of the stars was of her shooting an arrow. Her death was meant to be because the last line of the prophecy stated that: "One shall perish by a parent's hand."
She doesn't formally appear, but her constellation is shining in the night sky, when Percy mentions to Calypso, another child of Atlas, on Ogygia that he had met another daughter of Atlas and that she was one of the "bravest people he had ever met."
When Percy sees Mount Tam, Hazel tells him about Camp Jupiter's assault on the Titan base. Percy has a flashback of fighting there, remembering when he was there with Zoë, Artemis, and Thalia Grace fighting Atlas, but he couldn't remember their names, and the memory soon leaves him.
|“||He was all the things I'd originally disliked about Zoë, with none of the good I'd come to appreciate.||”|
–Percy, talking about Atlas and Zoë's similarities.
Zoë was a loyal lieutenant to Artemis, never wavering in over 2000 years. In The Titan's Curse, Zoë fights with Thalia quite often. This was because (before the books) Thalia had refused to join the Hunters when Zoë offered her the chance. However, she eventually changes her mind, influenced no doubt by Zoë and Bianca's bravery. Zoë has an extreme hatred of campers, especially males, but eventually warmed up to Percy during their quest to save Artemis. Throughout when Zoë is mentioned and when she talks, Zoë speaks Early Modern, or Shakespearean, English. She is said to speak in a strange accent more heavily when she is upset. She shows an interest in stars, a trait that would probably come from being immortal. She is offended when Percy says Ursa Major was "the bear thing" and when Percy talks about the bear simply being a constellation, Zoë claims "It was a worthy opponent!" She does seem irritated when Thalia corrects her speech, saying "I hate this language! It changes too often!" referring to the way the English language has changed over the centuries. She herself spoke using "thou, thee, and thy." She also has some of her father's traits, but is a much kinder person that Percy had come to respect.
In the beginning, she seems aloof and unfriendly, but she turns out to have a big heart and endless loyalty to Artemis. Deep down, Zoë was loyal and kind. When Atlas was about to kill Percy, she screamed, "NO!" and fired a handful of arrows into his armpit so he would turn on her and give Percy a chance to recover, showing that she has come to like him. She risked her life to save Artemis despite knowing that the line in the prophecy saying "One shall perish by a parent's hand" was about her. With her dying breaths she told Percy, "You spoke the truth. You are nothing like... like Hercules. I am honored that you carry this sword," referring to the fact that she used to own Riptide and was also the one that made it.
Finally, in the end, Zoë's legacy remains as her persuasion seemed to come through and Thalia declares that she will join the Hunt, to forsake men like Luke and not be the demigod in The Great Prophecy.
Zoë is described by Percy to be tall, graceful, and gorgeously beautiful: dark brown eyes, a slightly upturned nose, copper-colored skin, and the silver circlet braided into the top of her long dark hair gave her the impression of a Persian princess. Percy also states that he could see the family resemblance between Zoe and her father Atlas, with them sharing the same regal expression, the same cold proud look in their eyes (which Zoe got when she was angry), though on him it looked "a thousand times more evil."
- Immortality due to being one of Artemis' Hunters (unless she falls in battle or breaks her oath).
- Excellent aim with the bow and skilled with hunting knives. Her skills with a bow and arrow are sufficient to keep her father, Atlas, pressured during their battle.
- Highly skilled Hunter.
- Leadership and tracking skills.
- Can make a bow appear when she wants and also she can make them disappear.
- She has a silver-colored aura.
- She is naturally stronger and faster than a regular mortal, demigod, or nymph.
- She usually has the upper hand in battle because of her fighting powers.
- She can talk to wild animals.
- Due to her being the daughter of Atlas, it is possible that she had stronger, unseen powers compared to the other Hunters, but she did not demonstrate them.
- Can die if beaten in battle or if her immortality is revoked, whether forced or voluntary.
- Is reluctant to accept help from men and campers from Camp Half-Blood.
- Protective of her Hunters (shown in The Titan's Curse when she refused to take another Hunter on her quest when Phoebe got poisoned by the centaur blood T-shirt in fear of losing another Hunter).
- Extremely loyal to Artemis (shown when she was willing to take the sky for her in The Titan's Curse).
Hercules was given Riptide by Zoë. Back then, Riptide was a hair clip she owned, but she gave it to Hercules as a gift in order to aid him in his labor and betrayed her family in order to make sure Hercules succeeded. Hercules eventually betrayed Zoë, resulting in her dislike of men, heroes especially, in general, comparing them all to Hercules.
|“||"No! Do not offer, Zoë! I forbid you.||”|
–Artemis, holding up the sky on Mount Tamalpais
Zoë was an extremely loyal and devoted lieutenant to Artemis. She loved Artemis over anyone, a platonic love that her mistress reciprocated. When she saw Artemis being forced to hold up the sky, Atlas challenged her to take it for Artemis, and she probably would have, had Artemis not ordered her not to. Before Zoë died, Artemis assured her that she had served her with great honor, and was the finest of her attendants. She even transformed Zoë into a constellation as a way of ensuring that she would be honored by the world, and was so upset over her death that she flickered with silver light, causing Percy to fear that she might lose control and appear in her Divine Form.
|“||You spoke the truth. You are nothing like... like Hercules. I am honored that you carry this sword.||”|
–Zoë to Percy, in The Titan's Curse
When Zoë and Percy first met, she disliked him because he was a male and reminded her of Hercules, the hero who betrayed her.
She also becomes annoyed when she finds that he had been following their group the entire time. However, she begins to trust him after his idea managed to defeat the Nemean Lion and even gave the monster's pelt to Percy, as his plan was the one that worked. Toward the end of The Titan's Curse, before she dies she says that Percy is nothing like Hercules and that she is honored he carries the sword she made. She also says that not all men are bad, and looks at Percy after saying this to Thalia.
Even before the events of the series, Zoë and Thalia had been at odds. Their feud originated when Thalia refused Zoë's invitation to join the Hunters and her advice that all men would let her down. The two fought over the smallest things, including the proper way to speak current English. However, the two reconciled after the fight with Atlas, with Thalia admitting that Zoë may have been right about men, and the dying Zoë admitting that she may have been wrong. Zoë even apologised for their arguments and admitted that she would have been happy to have Thalia as her sister. Thalia then takes over her spot as lieutenant of the Hunters of Artemis after her death.
- In The Titan's Curse, Percy has a dream about Zoë's past. In the dream, Zoë claims that her mother is Pleione, but in the myths the mother of the Hesperides is Hesperius.
- At first, Zoë severely disapproved of Percy because he was a male, but before she died, she made her peace with him and acknowledged his worth as a true hero. This makes her the third Hunter of Artemis who did not hate Percy because of his gender, along with Thalia and Bianca.
- Her name is of Greek origin, and the meaning is "life" or "full of life."
- Interestingly, she says that her last name is Nightshade, although back in Ancient Greece, no one had a last name. Hence, it was possible this is a title of sorts that she had picked up over the years.
- Nightshade is an appropriate last name for Zoë as:
- Nightshade: shadow of night and Hesperide: nymph of the sunset. Possibly foreshadowing to her lineage.
- Her bitter relationship with Percy may be a reference to the fact that the nightshade flower is poisonous to horses, which Percy's dad created.
- In the Brazilian translation, she is referred to as Zöe Doce-Amarga (Zöe Sweet-Bitter).
- Water nymphs tend to be mean to Zoë, as she claimed that they have never forgiven her for betraying her mother, Pleione, the water goddess.
- In some alternate translations of the book, such as Portuguese or Spanish, her last name is "Belladonna" rather than "Nightshade." Belladonna and Nightshade are in fact two names ascribed to the same plant, a medicinal herb that has been used as an anesthetic, and more often as a deadly poison.
- Zoë is the second known person Artemis sent to the stars, the first being Orion.
- Zoe is one of three deceased female Hunters mentioned by name in the series (Bianca di Angelo & Phoebe being the others).
- Zoë shares similarities with Merope, another mythological daughter of Atlas and Pleione. Both girls betrayed their sisters - the Hesperides and the Pleiades respectively - for a mortal man; Zoë by helping Hercules on his quest and Merope by marrying the mortal king Sisyphus.