How could we let Women’s History Month go by without acknowledging arguably the most powerful woman in all of existence? We can’t think of anyone, goddess or otherwise, with more history than Gaea.
We’ll take any opportunity to talk about our favorite antagonist from the Heroes of Olympus series. Trust us, there’s more to Gaea than meets the eye. And no, we’re not just saying that because she’s the physical embodiment of everything you see outside your window (and also, we’re very, very afraid of her).
We’re not going to sit here and pretend we fully understand the nature of the entity known only as Chaos. Everything that occurred before the birth of the gods and goddesses we know and love today can get a bit abstract.
What we do know is that Chaos is responsible for the creation of Gaea, along with the other protogenoi, including Tartarus, Nyx, and Gaea’s eventual husband, Ouranos, the Greek embodiment of heaven.
Gaea and Ouranos were “blessed” with three “lovely” sets of children: the Titans, the Cyclopes, and the especially unfortunate Hekatonkheire. None too thrilled that some of his children were super weird looking, Ouranos cast the Cyclopes and Hekatonkheires into Tartarus. All while Gaea was taking an extended siesta.
Like any good mother, Gaea reacted to the news of her children being locked up in the darkest, deepest part of the Underworld by enacting a simple, two-step plan:
1. Rally the Titans to free Cyclopes and Hekatonkheires from Tartarus.
2. Rally the Titans to get rid of Ouranos once and for all.
Admittedly, it was easier said than done. However, Gaea and her children were ultimately victorious against Ouranos. And the MVP of the whole ordeal? Kronos the Titan. Remember him?
After striking the final blow against Ouranos, Kronos received two presents from his parents. From Gaea: the title of king of the universe. From Ouranos: a curse to ensure that Kronos would eventually suffer the same fate as his father. Unfortunately, not even millennia of therapy could save this family.
Under a Green Thumb
Despite her immense, nearly unfathomable amount of power (earth control, weather control, plan control, pretty-much-everything control), Gaea does have one key weakness: she absolutely loves taking long naps. During one of these naps, Kronos got kicked to the curb and was overthrown by his children: the Greek gods. Just as Ouranos had intended.
Gaea would then spend century after century conceiving new ways of exacting revenge against her grandchildren. Almost exclusively, these plans involved producing even more weird children, including the Gigantes and Typhon, the storm giant.
Somehow, the Greek gods were able to get their acts together, unite as one, and defend themselves against Gaea time and time again. Yeah, we’re just as skeptical about the whole thing as you are.
Attack of the 20-Foot Woman
As that old saying goes: “If you can’t beat your evil grandchildren, go after your significantly weaker great-grandchildren instead.”
After the Greek gods and their children beat up Kronos yet again, Gaea decided to go on the offensive. Her first priority was to take care of this annoying little prophecy that claimed she would meet her end at the hands of seven mortal demigods. After she was awoken from another of her naps, of course.
And this time, Gaea pulled no punches. She sent giants, Eidolons, and even a resurrected King Midas to defeat those pesky kids. And when all else failed, she rose from the earth, took the form of a 20-foot tall woman, and launched an unforgettable all-out assault on Camp Half-Blood.
So, how did the Heroes of Olympus finally thwart Gaea? Well, if you know you know. And if you don’t, we don’t want to spoil the surprise here of all places.
All we can say is that while we’re glad that Gaea’s reign of terror is no longer causing trouble for our favorite demigods, we still stand in awe of her unyielding commitment to vengeance and retribution. Or maybe we just like her because she’s responsible for the rivers, trees, animals, and breathable air we enjoy each and every day.
It’s gotta be one or the other. We just haven’t decided which.
Where does Gaea rank among your favorite Riordan villains? Would you like to see her make a comeback one day? Let us know!