Percy Jackson and the Olympians mentions all of the twelve olympians, and some minor gods and goddesses. Percy meets almost all the twelve olympians; Zeus, Poseidon, Ares, Hera, Athena, Aphrodite, Hephaestus, Dionysus, Hermes, Apollo, Atremis, and Demeter. Rick Riordan has the gods and goddesses portrayed with a modern twist to their description in old myths.
Zeus first makes an appearance in The Lightning Thief. The Twelve Olympians are never seen in their true Godly appearance, because if someone who was any bit mortal saw them in that form they would burst into flames. The Olympians choose what they look like.
"Zeus, the Lord of the Gods, wore a dark blue pinstriped suit. He sat on a simple throne of solid platinum. He had a well-trimmed beard, marble gray and black like a storm cloud. His face was proud and handsome and grim, his eyes rainy gray." The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan.
In the greek myths, his brothers are Hades, and Poseidon. Hades is not in Olympus except for one day a year, so Zeus doesn't see him often, but he sees Poseidon frequently. Like most siblings they have their quarrels, one of which is seen by Percy in his dreams. The fights between Zeus and Poseidon made it easy for Zeus to suspect Poseidon of being the mastermind behind the disappearance of his weapon of choice, the master lightning bolt. This shows signs of gullibility, which is also a trait he has in greek myths. According to Greek myths Fate, Hera (his wife), and Poseidon have been able to trick him.
Constantly in myths he is falling in love with women, and if a child was born they would be a demi-god (see the demi-god page for an explanation of what they are). In the Percy Jackson books he swore upon the River Styx, along with Hades and Poseidon, to never fall in love with a mortal women again. This was due to World War Two, which had been a fight between their children. Zeus along with Poseidon broke the promise and each had a demi-god child. In the Percy Jackson series and Greek myths, Zeus is married to the Goddess of Marriage, Hera.
"He reminded me of a beachcomber from Key West." The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan.
Just one look at Lord Poseidon and you would know who he was. He chooses to appear in a Tommy Bahamas shirt, Bermuda shorts, and leather sandals. Unlike his brothers, Zeus and Hades, Poseidon is kind, light-hearted, and patient. This doesn't fit with the description of Poseidon in Greek myths. In the myths he is said to be short tempered, moody, and enjoys getting revenge. Poseidon was said to have gotten revenge on Odysseus for blinding a cyclops, that was Poseidon's son. Supposedly Poseidon spent eight years getting revenge on Odysseus by using his godly powers.
Rick Riordan's Poseidon may not be as short tempered as the Poseidon of Greek myths, but he still holds a grudge with another Olympian, Athena the Goddess of Wisdom. This is also in the Greek myths.
"He looked about seventeen or eighteen, and for a second, I had the uneasy feeling it was Luke, my old enemy. This guy had the same sandy color hair and outdoorsy good looks. But it wasn't Luke. This guy was taller, with no scar on his face like Luke's. His smile was brighter and more playful. (Luke didn't do much more than scowl and sneer these days.) The Maserati driver wore jeans and loafers and a sleeveless T-shirt." The Titan's Curse
We first meet Lord Apollo in The Titan's Curse when we does a favor for his "little sister" (Artemis, who is actually is twin) by giving Percy, Thalia, Nico, Grover, and Artemis' hunters a lift to Camp Half-Blood in his sun car. Myth says he drives a chariot pulling the sun behind it, but in Riordan's books it is a blinding red car he can change at the click of car keys, which by the way is solar powered. He usually has it set as a convertible, but he changes it into a bus in order to fit everyone in. He is a care free person who likes to have some fun. Apollo is also the God of Poetry, and medicine. Being the God of Prophecies, he knows almost everything.
"This one [girl] was a little younger than me, maybe twelve or thirteen. She had auburn hair gathered back in a ponytail and strange eyes, silvery yellow like the moon. Her face was so beautiful it made me catch my breath, but her expression was stern and dangerous." The Titan's Curse
The Goddess of the hunt, the moon, and of maidens, Artemis is Apollo's twin sister. We shortly find out in The Titan's Curse that they are complete opposites. Artemis is serious and unlike Apollo doesn't like nonsense. She travels with her group of hunters. Greek myths say that when a woman died painless and quickly they had been shot by Artemis' silver arrow. In both Percy Jackson and the Olympians, and the Greek myths the deer is sacred to Artemis.
"Next to him [Zeus] sat a beautiful woman with silver hair braided over one shoulder and a dress that shimered colors like peacock feathers. The Lady Hera." The Titan's Curse by Rick Riordan.
"She was tall and graceful with long hair the color of chocolate, braided in plaits with gold ribbons. She wore a simple white dress, but when she moved, the fabric shimmered with colors like oil on water." The Battle of the Labrynth by Rick Riordan.
Hera is Zeus' wife, the Goddess of Marriage, also refered to as the Queen of Heaven. We first meet her in her twenty feet tall form they appear in when in Mt. Olympus in The Titan's Curse, but Percy doesn't get to talk to her until The Battle of the Labrynth. Hera is known for not liking heroes that much, although when questioned about it she says that her "little spat" (a.k.a trying to kill him MULTIPlE times) with Hercules was only because he was Zeus' child. For reasons unknown to Percy and the others, she helps them on their quest by granting a wish, but gives an indirect answer. In Greek myths she is also known for trying to kill Hercules during his quest. In myths she is often punishing women for having affairs with Zeus. She also was said to be behind the Trojan War ending badly, due to the fact someone said another goddess was prettier than she was.
"The man facing me was small, but porky. He had a red nose, big watery eyes, and curly hair so black it was almost purple." The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan
The God of wine and parties, known as Mr. D by campers, Dionysus is the newest and youngest of the Twelve Olympians. Hestia, the goddess of the hearth, gave up her spot in Olympus for himm this is the same in Greek myths. In myths he is said to have been born in Thebes to a mortal woman. Mr. D appears apathetic, but he sometimes shows acts of kindness in interesting ways. He currently is on probation, and is not allowed to drink alcohol.
"The guy on the bike would've made pro wrestlers run for Mama. He was dressed in a red muscle shirt and black jeans and a black leather duster, with a hunting knife strapped to his thigh. He wore red wraparound shades, and he had the cruelest, most brutal face I'd ever seen --handsome, I guess, but wicked--with an oily black crew cut and cheeks that were scarred from many, many, fights. The weird thing was, I felt like I'd seen his face somewhere before" The Lightning Thief, by Rick Riordan.
Ares the god of war is not one to be reckoned with. He is easily angered, especially if called a coward. He holds grudges easily, which is not the best thing when fighting a war. Ares isn't the smartest person, er, god. If you say no to an offer he makes he will become offended, he'll also be offended if you try to give him advice, because in Ares world no one knows strategy better then himself. In Greek myths it is said that Ares was whiny and mean. In both Percy Jackson and Greek Myths it is said that Ares is Aphrodite's lover. Also, Aphrodite is Hephaetus' wife.
"Next to her [Demeter] sat a beautiful gray-eyed woman in an elegant white dress." The Titan's Curse.
The Goddess of Wisdom, Athena was born in full armor and sprang from his head. She is sometimes known as Pallas Athena, also Athena is known for having gray eyes, which is why she is somtimes dscribed as clear-eyed or gray-eyed. In Percy Jackson and the Olympians Athena does not approve of Percy. She doesn't want him hanging out with one of her daughters, probably bwcause her daughter (Annabeth) has a lot of potential to make a mark on the world. Athena also holds a grudge against Poseidon in myths and Percy Jackson, partly over the arguement of who should be the patron god or goddess of Athens. Athena was suppose to have been Zeus' favorite child, which is why she was givin the aegis, which probably could be used to scared away your enemy. Athena's symbol is the owl.
"Thinking back on it, I can't tell you who she looked like. Or what color her hair or her eyes were. Pick the most beautiful actress you can think of. The goddess was ten times more beautiful than that. Pick your favorite hair color, eye color, whatever. The goddess had that." The Titan's Curse.
Aphrodite, known to the Romans as Venus, is the Goddess of Love and Beauty. She is the girlfriend of Ares, god of war, and wife of Hephaestus, god of the fire. In Percy Jackson she appears to get a kick out of romances and doesn't seem to realize that although two people who love each other end up being together something bad happens to someone else.
" 'Love conquers all,' Aphrodite promised. 'Look at Helen and Paris. Did they let anything come between them?'
'Didn't they start the Trojan War and get thousands of people killed?' [Percy]
'Pfft. That's not the point. Follow your heart.' " (The Titan's Curse)
"He wore a jumpsuit smeared with oil and grime. Hephaestus, over the chest pocket. His leg creaked and clicked in its metal brace as he stood, and his left shoulder was lower than his right, so he seemed to be leaning when he was standing up straight. His head was misshapen and bulging. He wore a permanent scowl. His black beard smoked and hissed. Every once in a while a small wildfire would erupt in his whiskers then die out. His hands were the size of catcher's mitts..." The Battle of the Labrynth.
Hephaestus, the god of the forge and fire, and the husband of Aphrodite, he is the ugliest of all gods and goddesses. In myths it is said that Hera threw him off Mt. Olympus when she saw that he was deformed, other myths say that Zeus threw him off because he tried to defend Hera. Rick Riordan brings up the two different myths by saying that Hera says Zeus did it when she really was the one who threw him off. According to Homer is is respected and honored in Olympus for his skills with making things. In The Battle of the Labrynth Percy meets Hephaestus in one of his cluttered workshop. Both myths and Rick Riordan say that his forges are under volcanoes. Hephaestus can be grumpy but he really is kind.
"Standing right next to me was a guy in nylond running shorts and a New York City Marathon T-shirt. He was slim and fit, with salt-and-pepper hair and a sly smile."
God of messengers, travelers, and thieves. Hermes is known for his trademark sandles and helmet with wings attached. Riordan updates them to a pair of sneakers. In both myths and Percy Jackson Hermes is mentioned to have stolen Apollo's cattle, but was forced to give them back and gave Apollo a lyre as an apology. Hermes is always on phone calls with gods, goddesses, and other creatures in Percy Jackson and the Olympians. His phone doubles as two snakes named George and Martha who enjoy bickering with each other, they are where he carries the packages, inside their mouths.
"The woman standing between them was obviously Persephone's (see The Underworld) mother. She had the same hair and eyes, but looked older and sterner. Her dress was golden, the color of a wheat field. Her hair was woven with dried grasses so it reminded me of a wicker basket. I figured if somebody lit a match next to her, she'd be in serious trouble." The Last Olympian.
We rarely get to see Demeter, the Goddess of the Harvest in Percy Jackson and the Olympians, and Percy never gets to have a full conversation with her. We know that she loves agriculture, because she won't stop talking about it. She is constantly bickering with her daughter because she does not approve of her being married to Hades, and how Persephone doesn't visit her.