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Thetis
Thumb Thetis
Mediterranean

Goddess of ...

Sea and Earthquake

Lives in ...

Mount Olympus

Relatives

  • Calibos † (son)
  • Achilles † (son)

Powers

  • Immortality
  • Shapeshifting
  • Teleportation
  • Magic

Alignment

Neutral

Affiliations

The Olympian Gods (formerly)
the Kraken

Status

Alive

Portrayed by

Maggie Smith (1981)


Thetis is one of the Nereids, mother of Calibos, and one of the two secondary antagonists (alongside Medusa) of the original Clash of the Titans, in which she is portrayed by Maggie Smith. While most extant material about Thetis concerns her role as mother of Achilles and, as such, she is largely a creature of poetic fancy rather than cult worship in the historical period. She is seen to be a cruel and jealous being.

Clash of the Titans (1981)[]

Thetis was first introduced as the beautiful Goddess of the Sea, as well as a prominent honored member of Mount Olympus. Later on, she was also revealed to be the Patron Goddess of the Kingdom of Joppa, and was in a romantic relationship with Poseidon, who was devoted to her. In fact, Zeus himself had tried to court her once, but she was able to turn him down. Hence, it could be said that she had considerable power in both the worlds of deities and mortals.

However, it was eventually revealed that Thetis did not use her divine powers and authority wisely: she spoiled and indulged her son, Calibos, to the extent where he believed he could do whatever he wanted whenever he wanted with no consequences. As a result of this, he not only hunted and destroyed every living creature in the domains that Thetis had given him to rule, but also trapped and killed Zeus' sacred herd of flying horses (except Pegasus).

Zeus became determined to punish Calibos for his misdeeds and, turning a deaf ear to Thetis' desperate pleas for mercy, dealt with him accordingly: Calibos was transformed into a monstrous satyr, and forced to live as an outcast in the swamps and marshes. Through this punishment, Zeus also ensured that Thetis' plans for Calibos to become ruler of all Joppa and Phoenicia by marrying the Princess Andromeda were forever ruined.

Heartbroken, possessive, and indignant at this, Thetis declared that if Calibos could not marry Andromeda, then no man would. She helped Calibos put a curse on Andromeda, which ensured that she cannot marry unless her suitor successfully answers a riddle, and the failure in providing the accurate answer would result in the suitor being burned at the stake. Thetis also turned her ire on Perseus (Zeus' son and current favorite), for she believed that if it had been Perseus instead of Calibos who committed the atrocities that had angered Zeus so much, he might have been forgiven, and she was bitterly resentful over this possibility as well as Zeus' adamant refusal to show the least leniency towards her son. Hence, she transported Perseus from Seriphos to an abandoned amphitheater in Joppa, having instinctively foreseen that her doing so would set him on a path of fears and hardships.

When a defeated Calibos appealed to Thetis for revenge against Perseus, she confessed that she could do nothing against him as he was under the personal protection of Zeus. However, later on, she was given the perfect excuse for vengeance against Perseus in another method: Andromeda's mother, Cassiopeia, boasted that her daughter was more beautiful than Thetis herself, whereupon the indignant Goddess demanded that Andromeda be sacrificed to the Kraken in 30 days on pain of Joppa's complete destruction.

The 30 days pass and as Perseus battles Medusa, Andromeda is chained to a rock outside of Joppa in preparation to appease the demands of Thetis and be sacrificed to the Kraken. Fortunately for Andromeda, Perseus arrived just in the nick of time to save her: killing the Kraken with 'Medusa's Head, turning him to stone.

After this, Zeus triumphantly forbade any of the other deities to take vengeance on Perseus and Andromeda, leaving Thetis resigned to her defeat.

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