This is the question classics students and Riordan fans have been asking since . . . well, 2005 at least.
If you’re anything like us, you’re more interested in debating the literary merits of ancient mythologies and analyzing the timeless themes of power, authority, and familial relations found within these texts from historical and sociological perspectives.
Oh, who are we kidding? We’d be lying if we said we didn’t also sometimes wonder who would emerge victorious in a brawl between all the gods and goddesses. And frankly, we’re betting the gods themselves are dying to know the answer.
We combed through the Greek, Egyptian, Roman, and Norse pantheons and singled out those who we believe could walk away with the championship belt. We’ve outlined our reasoning below, crunched the numbers, combed over the data, and hopefully, hopefully, have uncovered the one true, completely unbiased, objective answer to the question that’s been keeping us up at night for years.
We’re positive that many of you will disagree with our findings. But that’s part of the fun, right?
. . . Right?
The Case for Zeus
Pros: Frequently cited as the most powerful of the Greek gods. Claims ultimate dominion over the sky, thunder, and lightning. Current king of Olympus. Impeccable fashion sense.
Cons: Arguably less powerful than his father. Definitely less powerful than his grandfather. Swollen-headed and arrogant. Hard to imagine his brothers and sisters rallying behind him unless they really, really had to.
The Case for Odin
Pros: Chief of the Æsir tribe. God of wisdom, poetry, war, death, divination, and magic. The current king of Asgard. Somehow convinced the rest of the gods to refer to him as “All-Father.”
Cons: His ultimate defeat is inevitable, as we already know that one day he’s destined to be gobbled up by Fenrir. Despite his “All-Father” title, he’s actually not that great of a dad.
The Case for Isis
Pros: As the goddess of magic, she possesses plenty of supernatural powers in addition to her godly abilities. She also has divine wisdom. Current queen of the Egyptian gods. Willing to be sneaky and fight dirty. Never loses her cool.
Cons: A little too loyal to her husband, Osiris. Seems more concerned with ensuring that he is the most powerful god than advocating for herself.
The Case for Hera
Pros: Current queen of Olympus. Goddess of the air, the sky, and the stars. Significantly more competent and level-headed than her siblings. Possesses the power to manipulate reality. Able to induce madness in the gods.
Cons: Is “significantly more competent and level-headed than her siblings” really that much of a pro in this family? She’s prone to losing her temper. It’s generally agreed that she’s less powerful than her brothers (don’t shoot us—we’re just the messengers!).
The Case for Ra
Pros: The Egyptian god of pretty much everything. Basically the father of all creation. So powerful we can barely even comprehend his vast, vast set of supernatural abilities.
Cons: Lost a battle with the less-powerful Apophis and spent a very long time trapped in an old, senile body. Required the assistance of mortal teenagers to regain his true form.
The Case for Pluto
Pros: God of the dead and the underworld. Can manipulate mortal souls with ease. Feared by the Greek gods. His command and control of currency make him the most powerful god from a purely financial standpoint, which goes a long way in the mortal world. More cunning and ruthless than his powerful Greek counterpart, Hades.
Cons: Always seems to back the losing side in conflicts between mortal armies. Disrespected by the Roman gods. His suits aren’t as fancy as Zeus’s.
The Final Verdict
At the risk of sounding noncommittal, the question “Who is the most powerful god or goddess?” can be interpreted in several different ways.
If we’re solely measuring raw power, we have to hand the title to Ra. But if we’re defining strength as one’s ability to competently and effectively wield that power, the clear winner is Hera.
And if we’re only seeking the answer to the question “Who would win in a fight?” we have to assume the vast armies of Odin would wipe the floor with the competition.
Putting everything else aside, we can’t think of any other god or goddess who would have been able to share a body with Sadie Kane for as long as the queen of the Egyptian Gods herself, Isis, did. If that’s not the purest definition of power, we don’t know what is.
Congratulations to Isis for being crowned Read Riordan’s official most powerful divine entity! At least for this year.
We’re sure you have opinions, so please be sure to let us know why we’re totally right or completely wrong!