Percy Jackson's Greek Gods (Percy Jackson and the Olympians companion #5.5) - Rick Riordan
I HOPE I’M GETTING EXTRA CREDIT FOR THIS.
A publisher in New York asked me to write down what I know about the Greek gods, and I was like, “Can we do this anonymously? Because I don’t need the Olympians mad at me again.”
But if it helps you to know your Greek gods, and survive an encounter with them if they ever show up in your face, then I guess writing all this down will be my good deed for the week.
If you don’t know me, my name is Percy Jackson. I’m a modern-day demigod—a half-god, half-mortal son of Poseidon—but I’m not going to say much about myself. My story has already been written down in some books that are total fiction (wink, wink) and I am just a character from the story (cough—yeah, right—cough).
Just go easy on me while I’m telling you about the gods, all right? There’s like forty bajillion different versions of the myths, so don’t be all Well, I heard it a different way, so you’re WRONG!
I’m going to tell you the versions that make the most sense to me. I promise I didn’t make any of this up. I got all these stories straight from the Ancient Greek and Roman dudes who wrote them down in the first place. Believe me, I couldn’t make up stuff this weird.
So here we go. First I’ll tell you how the world got made. Then I’ll run down a list of gods and give you my two cents about each of them. I just hope I don’t make them so mad they incinerate me before I—
Just kidding. Still here.
Anyway, I’ll start with the Greek story of creation, which by the way, is seriously messed up. Wear your safety glasses and your raincoat. There will be blood.
IN THE BEGINNING, I wasn’t there. I don’t think the Ancient Greeks were, either. Nobody had a pen and paper to take notes, so I can’t vouch for what follows, but I can tell you it’s what the Greeks thought happened.
At first, there was pretty much nothing. A lot of nothing.
The first god, if you can call it that, was Chaos—a gloomy, soupy mist with all the matter in the cosmos just drifting around. Here’s a fact for you: Chaos literally means the Gap, and we’re not talking about the clothing store.
Eventually Chaos got less chaotic. Maybe it got bored with being all gloomy and misty. Some of its matter collected and solidified into the earth, which unfortunately developed a living personality. She called herself Gaea, the Earth Mother.
Now Gaea was the actual earth—the rocks, the hills, the valleys, the whole enchilada. But she could also take on humanlike form. She liked to walk across the earth—which was basically walking across herself—in the shape of a matronly woman with a flowing green dress, curly black hair, and a serene smile on her face. The smile hid a nasty disposition. You’ll see that soon enough.
After a long time alone, Gaea looked up into the misty nothing above the earth and said to herself: “You know what would be good? A sky. I could really go for a sky. And it would be nice if he was also a handsome man I could fall in love with, because I’m kind of lonely down here with just these rocks.”
Either Chaos heard her and cooperated, or Gaea simply willed it to happen. Above the earth, the sky formed—a protective dome that was blue in the daytime and black at night. The sky named himself Ouranos—and, yeah, that’s another spelling for Uranus. There’s pretty much no way you can pronounce that name without people snickering. It just sounds wrong. Why he didn’t choose a better name for himself—like Deathbringer or José—I don’t know, but it might explain why Ouranos was so cranky all the time.
Like Gaea, Ouranos could take human shape and visit the earth—which was good, because the sky is way up there and long-distance relationships never work out.
In physical form, he looked like a tall, buff guy with longish dark hair. He wore only a loincloth, and his skin changed color—sometimes blue with cloudy patterns across his muscles, sometimes dark with glimmering stars. Hey, Gaea dreamed him up to look like that. Don’t blame me. Sometimes you’ll see pictures of him holding a zodiac wheel, representing all the constellations that pass through the sky over and over for eternity.
Anyway, Ouranos and Gaea got married.
Happily ever after?
Part of the problem was that Chaos got a little