Spoilers are precisely defined here. Rules vary by the story's medium. Info from television stories can't be added here until after the top or bottom of the hour, British time, closest to the end credits roll on BBC One. Therefore, fans in the Americas who are sensitive to spoilers should avoid Tardis on Sundays until they've seen the episode.



The Chains of Olympus was a Doctor Who Magazine comic story featuring the Eleventh Doctor, Amy Pond and Rory Williams. It was the first DWM story in which Rory appeared, though it was not the first comic in which the character had appeared, that being First Foot First. It marked the beginning of another "story arc" and another question that haunted the Eleventh Doctor: What is buried in man?


The Doctor, Amy and Rory visit ancient Greece and meet Socrates and Plato. But all is not as it seems as an entity claiming to be Zeus unleashes the wrath of gods on its blasphemous people...


Part 1: The Chains of Olympus[]

The Doctor, Amy and Rory arrive in Athens, 410 BC. The Doctor searches for Socrates, but finds him asleep on a bench. He punches the Doctor, and a young man intervenes. Socrates goes with him back to the tavern. The Doctor, shocked, tells Amy and Rory to wander off while he figures out what's happening.

Amy and Rory walk through the streets, and encounter an old woman trying to stop some soldiers, led by Captain Alexios, from transporting something. One of the soldiers, Dimitris, insults her, and Alexios tells him to show some respect. She pulls away the cover and reveals that they are going to destroy a statue of Athena, goddess of wisdom. The woman, Calidora, begs them not to melt it down or the city will be destroyed. Alexios says he's sorry, but continues to transport the statue. Amy and Rory go to Calidora, who is crying. She tells them that they intend to melt down the statue to help fund their war with Sparta, and that the gods' wrath will be swift and final. She thanks Amy for her kindness in offering her help, and gives her a talisman that she has had since she was a girl. She runs away, telling them that Athens is doomed.

At the tavern, a drunk Socrates apologises to the Doctor for punching him. The Doctor talks to the young man with him, who introduces himself as Plato, and explains that after he was portrayed as a fool in a play, he became a laughing stock. The laughter of the Athenian youth wounded him, and his spirit faltered.

In the foundry, Hektor the blacksmith and his student Doros prepare to melt the statue. Doros is concerned about Calidora's warning but lowers the statue into the furnace anyway. Outside, people begin to be struck by lightning. Amy runs to save a young child, but is hit. The Doctor and Plato rush outside to see an enormous face in the sky declaring himself to be Zeus and that the people will pay for betraying his sacred trust in blood.

Part 2: Acropolis Now[]

As the Doctor and Plato head to the acropolis, Rory rushes to Amy's side. She somehow survived the lightning bolt. The child's mother rushes to him and thanks her for saving him.

The Doctor addresses Zeus, but gets no response. He throws a rock at him, and again gets no response. He works out that the projection has gone onto a screensaver, and the Doctor shuts it down. Athens is now in chaos, and two men are trying to tear down a library, thinking that the pride of man has brought Zeus's fury. He believes they must show obedience.

Indoors, the Doctor explains to Amy, Rory, Plato and Socrates that aliens were either mistaken for gods or are posing as gods. Socrates suggests that he assumes too much, but the Doctor tells him he can manage without him. Amy drags him outside and asks him why he was being so rude. The Doctor tells her he thinks Plato is the real genius, not Socrates, as everything anyone knows about Socrates comes from him. Amy tells him that her hero let her down once, but she grew up and got over it. They return indoors, and Amy shows the Doctor Calidora's talisman. The Doctor works out that it is not made of normal gold, and absorbed the lightning bolt and saved Amy's life. The group split up, and the Doctor and Socrates see that Zeus is awakening again.

Amy, Rory and Plato go to Calidora's house to find that she has taken her own life with hemlock. Meanwhile, Athena begs Zeus to show mercy.

Dimitris suggests to Alexios that they should hide inside with the citizens. Alexios wonders if Zeus was actually real. As they argue, a tree transforms into Cyclops and attacks them. Gargoyles rise from the ground, water from the well transforms into Cerberus, and a griffon flies from its pedestal at the library.

The Doctor and Socrates visit the foundry and find the metal that the statue was made of. The embers from the furnace transform into the hydra.

Part 3: Zeus Ex Machina[]

The Doctor uses a poker covered in the metal from the statue and puts Calidora's talisman on it, releasing the energy from Zeus's thunderbolt and destroying all of the monsters. The metal on the poker is the same as the talisman, and disrupted the psychokinetic energy holding the substances that the monsters were made of together. Hektor and Doros attempt to sneak away, but the Doctor stops them and gives them a task.

Plato finds a letter written by Calidora. As a girl, she found a golden egg that fell from the skies. Believing it to be a gift from the gods, she was commanded to bury it in the most sacred of places. However, some of the gold had dripped from the shell, and she kept it for herself. When her father, a blacksmith, fashioned a statue of Athena, she added the sacred gold. She used the rest to make the talisman. When the statue was destroyed, her last hope was that her death would appease the gods. Rory and Plato go to find the Doctor, and Amy stays behind briefly to thank Calidora for saving her life.

The Doctor and Socrates find Amy, Rory and Plato, and make a plan. The Doctor and Socrates go to find the egg at the acropolis while Amy and Rory perform a task of their own. The Doctor and Socrates find the egg, buried not in the ground but in the air. The Doctor uses the sonic screwdriver to make it appear, and it has grown huge from the prayers of the faithful. He thinks it is a belief engine. The Doctor and Socrates touch the egg and enter it, ending up in what appears to be Olympus. Zeus chastises Hermes, Aphrodite and Hephaestus for allowing the voices of their worshippers to fade. Athena begs him not to release "the beast", but Zeus tells her that the mortals have brought this upon themselves. As he releases Athena's brother, the Doctor interrupts him, and is chained to a column upside down.

In Athens, Ares arrives. Alexios orders his men to fight against him, but is slaughtered. Ares declares that there will be war.

Part 4: Mad Gods and Englishmen[]

The Doctor tries to convince Zeus that he is not a god, but a psychic construct. Receiving no response, Socrates agrees to take over.

Dimitris apologises to Alexios, and tells his men to evacuate the city. However, Plato tells him to stop, as they have a plan. He tells Dimitris to assemble his men at the Agora.

Socrates greets Zeus, but is immediately attacked. Athena attempts to persuade her father to hear the man's words, but Zeus ignores him. Socrates manages to talk his way out of being destroyed.

As Ares terrorises the city, Amy arrives on horseback and taunts him into following her. As Socrates attempts to prove that Zeus's power is not absolute, she leads him to the Agora, where Rory challenges him to a duel. Wielding a sword made from the psychic metal, forged by Hektor and Doros, he breaks Ares' sword and starts to cut off his limbs. The men realise that Ares is not real, and join the attack, smashing him to bits.

Zeus is enraged, but Socrates uses this opportunity to prove that Ares was not a real god, and therefore neither is he. Finally believing him, Zeus sheds a tear before exploding. The Doctor and Socrates move to escape, but are stopped by Athena, who was aware of the truth the entire time. She poses a question to the Doctor that he must answer or all will be lost: What is buried in man? She crumbles to dust and they escape.

Dimitris thanks Rory for saving the city, and the Doctor holds the now tiny egg in his hand. It was made to intimidate a population into moving back to the caves. Socrates thanks the Doctor for reminding him of his purpose in life, and hopes he will seek the truth within himself. Socrates, Plato and Dimitris all witness the dematerialisation of the TARDIS in shock.



  • Rory mentions Frankie Howerd.
  • Athens is at war with Sparta.
  • Aristophanes wrote the play The Clouds, which portrayed Socrates as a fool.
  • The gods are created by a belief engine.


  • This story begins a new story arc with the question "What is buried in man?" and the appearance of psychic metal, both of which would haunt the Doctor through his travels.
  • The title "Zeus Ex Machina," used for part 3 of this story, had previously been considered for the name of an episode of The Myth Makers.