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Name: GLaDOS (Genetic Life-form and Disk Operating System)
Relationships: Wheatley (enemy), Chell (frenemy)
Fandom: Portal
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GLaDOS is a major character the the Portal video game series. She is an advanced Artificial Intelligence who runs the Aperture Science testing facility. GLaDOS stands for "Genetic Life-form and Disk Operating System." She is the central antagonist in the first game and an antihero in the second game.


"You've been wrong about every single thing you've ever done, including this thing. You're not smart. You're not a scientist. You're not a doctor. You're not even a full-time employee. Where did your life go so wrong?"
GLaDOS, while trying to kill you

In the first game GLaDOS talks almost completely in monotone, making her more robotic and less personal. Her chassis hangs stiffly with only a little bit of a sway. In the second game GLaDOS has personality in her voice and is capable of making sarcastic remarks that can actually be understood as sarcasm. Her chassis is given much more movement. She is able to swing her head around, express emotion with her one eye, and manipulate the panels of the wall to match her mood.

Through both games GLaDOS is shown to be cold, manipulative, and rude. Her attitude is amplified in the second game due to the team making her less robotic. She insults Chell's weight, intelligence, and constantly gaslights her by suggesting she's a terrible person for destroying GLaDOS, even though GLaDOS likely knows she's just as murderous. Later in Portal 2 GLaDOS is forced into a potato (called "PotaDOS") and it sequentially dwindles her energy and mind power. Though she's still manipulative and rude, she becomes much more relaxed than before. She draws up old memories and realizes she was once a human who was forced into a computer. GLaDOS, after being put back into her body, credits this human "Caroline" for the release of Chell at the end of the game. She then supposedly deletes Caroline, but some fans have their doubts and believe GLaDOS was lying.

During the course of both games GLaDOS is a habitual liar, and even admits to this in the first game ("Have I lied to you? I mean in this room"). Because of just how much she lies to Chell, it's impossible to say what information she's given about her is true or not. For example, GLaDOS makes fun of Chell more than once by saying she's adopted. There is no other proof besides GLaDOS's word and GLaDOS's word has proved to be worth very little.


Tropes & Fanon

  • Backstory
  • Human!GLaDOS
  • PotaDOS: The fan named for GlaDOS's potato form in Portal 2.
  • Music


A popular ship, and perhaps one of the only ships available in the first game, was Chell/GLaDOS, also called "ChelDOS" or "ChellDOS." When Portal 2 was released some fans began to argue against Chell/GLaDOS, as the game gave a reference to an employee at Aperture having had an intelligent daughter named Chell. Though never confirmed officially, some assume Chell could have been the daughter of Caroline, the human form of GLaDOS before she became a machine. Thus those who subscribed to this theory saw Chell/GLaDOS as incestuous.

GLaDOS/Wheatley is a bit rarer, as well as GLaDOS/Chell/Wheatley, though they exist. Fans of Chelldos and Chelley sometimes create discourse with one another, some citing GLaDOS/Chell as being abusive while simultaneously saying that Chell/Wheatley is not.[1] In response, one Chelldos fan said that "if GLaDOS was voiced by a man ChellDOS would be so much more popular."[2]


When only the first game was released there was little to theorize about GLaDOS. However, some theories were still out there. One of the early theories regarding GLaDOS was a 2008 theory that suggested there was a giant woman bound and gagged inside of GLaDOS. " I recall pointing out to my wife that there were distinct similarities to a woman hanging upside down, but it was hard to put my finger on just what it was that made me think that."[3] Though this theory may not be literal- as in GLaDOS is not a literal woman hanging upside down in a straight jacket- it was an early theory that suggested GLaDOS was, in some way, a human woman in suffering, painfully bound to the ceiling.

A theory that quickly came from Portal 2 is the "Caroline/GLaDOS is Chell's mother" theory. In this sequel it is revealed that GLaDOS's brain is not that of pure A.I., but is instead a copy of a human's brain. Caroline, the secretary of Aperture's CEO Cave Johnson, lives inside of GLaDOS. In one part of Portal 2, when Chell and PotaDOS are navigating through the old parts of the facility, an over grown potato battery from 'take your daughter to work day' can be found pushing giant vines up through the room. Upon inspection of the project reveals it was created by "Chell." This at the very least meant that Chell was canonically the daughter of someone who worked at Aperture. Though there was never any proof in the game itself, many fans began to speculate that this meant Chell was Caroline's daughter, and thus GLaDOS's daughter. The father in this theory is speculated to be Cave Johnson himself, which also insinuates he had relations with his secretary.[4][5]

Example Fanworks

Links & Resources


  1. ^ Tell Me Again How Chelldos is Inherently Abusive, Tumblr. Circa 2017 (Accessed 5/2/2020)
  2. ^ Reply to Tell Me Again How Chelldos is Inherently Abusive, Tumblr. Jun 28, 2017 (Accessed 5/2/2020)
  3. ^ GLaDOS Bound and Gagged, Veteran Gamers. May 2, 2011 (Accessed 6/21/2020)
  4. ^ Portal Theory: Caroline/GLaDOS and Cave Johnson are Chell's Parents, Reddit. Aug 16, 2013 (Accessed 5/2/2020)
  5. ^ Daughter of Cave and Caroline, Half-Life Wiki. Circa April 20, 2011. (Accessed 5/15/2020)