|“||I try not to think. It interferes with being nuts.||”|
Leo Valdez is one of the main protagonists in The Heroes of Olympus series and one of the seven heroes of the Prophecy of Seven. He is a son of Hephaestus and Esperanza Valdez. He is currently the head counselor of the Hephaestus' Cabin.
Leo was born in Houston, Texas to a mechanic named Esperanza Valdez. When he was little, he had a babysitter named Tia Callida, whom later was discovered to be Hera in disguise. She was watching Leo because she knew of his destiny as one of the seven in the prophecy. She tried to "kill" him by putting him in an active fireplace and by letting him play with knives. She also tried to make him poke a rattlesnake, which he refused to do. This was done to help train Leo to be strong at a young age. He once drew a picture of a flying boatwith a bronze dragon head as the masthead in crayon at the age of five and just as Leo was going to sign his name on the picture, it was blown away by the wind. Tia convinced him to use his abilities to start a fire to "warm these old bones," and he ended up burning his fingerprints into the table.At the age of eight, Leo was visited by Gaea, the Earth goddess, whom intended to break his spirit, after being notified by Medea that he would have a part to play in her downfall. Horrified, Leo tried to use his pyrokinetic abilities as defense to save his mother and himself, but lost control and started a fire, burning the mechanic shop. His mom didn't make it out, and none of his relatives would take him in, thus forcing him to be sent to several foster homes.The death of his mother haunted Leo for years. The emotional strain caused him to run away from his different foster homes. After running away for the 6th time, Leo was sent to the Wilderness School, where he met Piper McLean, who unbeknownst to him, was a daughter of Aphrodite. When Hera switched Percy Jackson and Jason Grace, she manipulated theMist so Leo would think Jason was his best friend, although they became real friends later on.
Leo's back-story is a very rare one, as he is the only known case of a demigod who met and befriended another demigod (Piper) before either of them ever even knew they were demigods.
Leo is good-natured, easygoing, upbeat, energetic, funny, and loves to tell jokes, even if they aren't funny. Leo is genuinely intelligent and honest, and cares about his friends and family. He sometimes doesn't think before reacting and he enjoys pulling pranks on people, especially those who he doesn't like. Despite all this, Leo is emotionally scarred from the death of his mother and knowing that he caused the fire that killed her. Leo has been shown to have a serious side, which happens when he is angered by someone or when the situation calls for it. He is also seen building small bits of machinery and equipment and is very skilled and serious about his work.
He is also known to frequently fall in love with any beautiful girl as long as she is completely out of his league, such as in the case of Khione and Thalia. For example when Thalia, Jason and Leo were in the cave alone, Leo asked Thalia if her no-dating policy was seasonal, but she ignored him. Khione herself being a snow goddess, hates Leo as she can sense the fire within him and takes his compliments (Leo once called her hot) as insults. It is possible that this characteristic comes from his father, Hephaestus.
Near the end of the book, he starts to let go of the pain of his mother's death and learns that his pyrokinesis is a gift and tool, not a curse. He also decides to stop running from his past and he starts opening up to his friends more.
Leo is described by Jason to look like a "a Latino Santa's elf," with curly black hair, dark brown eyes, pointy ears, a cheerful, babyish face, a mischievous smile, and being of normal height with a slim build. He is 5' 6. His most notable trait is that he has a look in his eyes that makes him look like he has taken much more caffeine then the normal limit; this could be linked to his ADHD.
- ADHD: Like most demigods, Leo possesses inborn supernatural battle reflexes and senses that he uses to analyze the fighting style of his opponent.
- Dyslexia: His brain is hard-wired for reading Ancient Greek instead of modern languages.
- Fighting skills: Despite receiving no known formal combat training, during the battle at the Wolf House, Leo displayed considerable combat skills by using two silver-tipped blacksmith's hammers to "smash any monsters that got in his way."
- Morse Code: Leo's mother taught him Morse code, a skill he has retained, and he was therefore able to understand Festus' last wish.
- Bilingual: Leo can speak both Spanish and English fluently, having learned both languages from his mother as a child.
- Mechanical Aptitude: He has amazing mechanical abilities (even for a child of Hephaestus); he can manipulate a megaphone to say "The cow says moo" in a low voice like Darth Vader's and build a working helicopter out of pipe cleaners. He was able to fix the mechanical dragon Festus in one night, even though the rest of the Hephaestus cabin thought it was beyond repair and had to be destroyed. He even added wings to the dragon so it could fly.
- He can understand and sense machinery and has the ability to expertly operate machines he has had no prior experience with.
- Because Leo is a demigod child of Hephaestus, he can instinctively fly or drive any mechanical vehicle expertly, including cars, trains, or helicopters.
- Trap Detection: Leo can also sense traps, shown when he saw the hidden trap meant to catch Festus, and when he knew where all the defense mechanisms were in Midas's yard and disarmed them.
- Pyrokinesis: He is the first demigod child of Hephaestus in hundreds of years to master their natural ability of pyrokinesis, the ability to generate and control flames and hot temperatures. At low-level ability would probably be moving a candle back and forth; if better, maybe putting out the flame with his mind or making it relight. Pyrokinesis is one of the more practiced skills like telekinesis. It is too, for warming people up or setting objects aflame. His pyrokinesis is supposedly a curse, but he is determined to interpret it as a gift. His pyrokinetic abilities can go as far as to shoot white hot flames high in the air that could burn through a metal chain link. He was able to easily keep the upper hand against the snow goddess Khione for a long time, forcing her to flee. An impressive feat given that fighting a god/goddess is "suicide," this is made even more impressive by the way Leo was close to completely overpowering Khione and this could show Leo's power is comparable to that of a child of the Big Three . However, sometimes he has trouble controlling his pyrokinesis when he gets excited or scared, beginning to heat up and smoke. He can throw fireballs/fire bolts, fire blasts and (if he concentrates hard enough), columns of fire.
- Leo can increase the heat of his fire, and can also create walls of fire. This is the main defensive use of his powers.
- Fire Immunity: He discovers he is fireproof (he can even survive a kerosene barrel explosion without feeling any pain, unlike Jason who feels the pain of heat but is unharmed by lightning). For example, when he was a small baby, Hera (in the form of Tia Callida, his "insane" babysitter) puts him in a blazing fireplace and he is completely comfortable. However, when he was attacked by Festus' firebreath, it did sting him slightly. Many other things like this follow.
- Heat Sensitivity: He can sense heat, flames, and metals.
- Buford - Leo's magical three legged table.
- Festus - A Giant bronze dragon Leo repaired in one night. Died protecting Leo, Jason, and Piper from King Midas' laser defense system.
- He has a magical tool belt that he uses constantly. He can pull practically any tool he needs from the toolbelt, including the mechanical tools he needs, as well as food, medical supplies, and breath mints. The belt is seemingly endless and he doesn't know where it all comes from. However, larger items, especially things that don't have to do with mechanics, require the belt to recharge or "cool down." It is also known that big items, such as chain-saws, or magic items, like Jason's sword,Ivlivs, cannot be pulled out of the tool belt.
- Leo's Primary Weapon is his 3-pound Club Hammer, which he summons from his tool belt from time to time.
- Festus the Bronze Dragon was repaired and managed by Leo after his discovery of Bunker 9, used in the American Civil war as the Hephaestus bunker. He supported Leo, Jason, and Piper, all the way to Midas's mansion, where he was destroyed by lasers to save Leo, Piper, and Jason.
- Holographic Scroll - Leo's own invention, used in The Son of Neptune to alert Camp Jupiter, that the Argo II is coming.
Love InterestsEditJason's sister, he started hitting on her, but she showed no signs of even acknowledging him. Leo took this as her not wanting to show how impressed with him she was, even though she was simply ignoring him. When him and Jason explained what had happened on their quest so far, he played up his own abilities. He also asked Thalia if the "Not Dating" rule all the Hunters of Artemis had to swear to was always or just a seasonal thing. Thalia just looked at him like he had evolved from pond scum, which only made Leo like her more.
When first meeting Khione, Leo states he acted like a total fool, but couldn't help it. While Jason and Piper where upstairs talking to Boreas, Leo had his clothes cleaned, his hair brushed, and took a pack of breath mints from histoolbelt in hopes of impressing her, which ultimately failed.
When meeting Khione again at the Wolf House, Khoine tried to use Leo's attraction to her against him. Saying that he could join her and become her champion, instead of following the path the Fates had given him. Leo on the other hand rejects her because of what she had done to Festus and comments that he can't believe he thought she was hot, something Khione, the snow goddess, takes great offense to.
Piper and Leo have been friends for a long time, meeting at the Wilderness School. Piper trusts him enough to tell him the truth about her father Tristan McLean, who is a famous movie star. Leo knows enough about her as well to know that she doesn't like people fighting her own battles. When he was given fake memories by the Mist aboutJason Grace, he had feelings of become a third wheel to Jason and Piper, something that begins to happen again when Jason and Piper start getting close all over again. Despite Piper being very beautiful, Leo never hits on her or asks her out, acting more like a brother who looks out for her. In The Mark of Athena, Piper even kisses him on the cheek after he returns safe and sound from Camp Fish-Blood, showing that she loves him as a brother.
Despite their time at the Wilderness School being fake, Leo still considers himself Jason's friend. He even volunteers to go on a quest with him and goes to repair the Bronze Dragon to give them a means of transportation. Despite Leo and Jason being good friends, Leo feels jealous of Jason. People look at Jason and respect him for being the son of Zeus (really Jupiter), while he only sees himself as the lowly mechanic. He also feels left out as Jason and Piper start to reform a relationship. The only time he doesn't feel jealous of Jason is when Thalia talks to Jason about his past and how Hera had taken him away from their mother. Leo remembers that while his own life wasn't that good, his own mother wasn't possessive of Hephaestus and only wanted Leo to know him.
- He is currently the only known living son of Hephaestus who has been given the gift of Pyrokinesis.
- He can get the ingredients for tacos and tofu burgers out of his magical belt.
- Because of his pointy ears and Jason Grace calling his dad Vulcan instead of Hephaestus, Leo claims that he doesn't even like Star Trek; a reference to Spock, one of the main characters of Star Trek who is a Vulcan.
- He is the only one of the seven to not have lived in California at any point in life.
- The name Leo is a zodiac sign which has fire as it's element.
- Leo, Frank Zhang, and Hazel Levesque are the only known demigods that can speak two languages (that have nothing to do with them being a half-blood), as he can speak Spanish and Morse Code.
- Leo looks almost exactly like Sammy Valdez, Hazel's old friend from the 1940's. This is because Sammy is his great-grandfather, as stated in The Mark of Athena.
- In Latin, Leo means "Lion."
- While Leo is a son of Hephaestus, he shares many traits with children of Hermes, including elfish ears, a mischievous smile, and a love for practical jokes.
- It is said that, even by demigod standards, Leo is seriously ADHD.
- Leo is the only known demigod who can go toe-to-toe with Khione and not freeze to death.
- Leo Valdez and the Quest for Buford is in his point of view.