This is about the deity who ferries dead souls. For the centaur with the similar name, see Chiron.
|“||I don't suppose you have coins for passage. Normally, with adults, you see, I could charge your American Express, or add the ferry price to your last cable bill. But with children ... alas, you never die prepared. Suppose you'll have to take a seat for a few centuries.||”|
–Charon to Percy, Annabeth, and Grover, in The Lightning Thief.
Charon was born from the primordial goddess of night, Nyx, through parthenogenesis (by herself). At some point, Charon became the ferryman of Hades. He carries the souls of the newly deceased across the River Styx, that divided the world of the living from the dead. A coin to pay Charon for passage, usually an obolus or drachma, was sometimes placed in or on the mouth of a dead person. He sometimes grudgingly allows the living to enter Underworld such as Hercules, Orpheus, Aeneas, and Psyche.
When a pregnant Psyche wanders into the Underworld on a final quest for Aphrodite, Charon initially refuses to take her over the Styx but has a change of heart once she gives him a fresh golden drachma. He takes her back over for a second drachma after she got a box of "beauty" from Persephone.
Percy Jackson, Annabeth Chase, and Grover Underwood ask Charon to allow them to enter the Underworld, but he refuses. However, he is successfully bribed into letting them board the ferry when Percy gives him two columns of golden Drachma coins (and warns that if this doesn't work then he'll give more). Charon asks Percy to tell Hades he wants a pay raise. When Percy does this, Hades claims Charon keeps asking for more money after discovering Italian suits.
After the War Games, when Gwen comes back from the dead, she says, "There was a river, and a man asking... for a coin?" That man is clearly Charon.
Later, Charon is seen in a flashback. He meets Hazel Levesque after her sacrifice, stating that it "wouldn't be proper" to leave her at the river's edge since she is a daughter of the Lord of the Dead.
Charon was stylish and witty in his answers. He mentions that he wants a raise because he would like to buy more Italian suits, which he loves. Charon is shown to have a British accent, but as if he learned English as a second language.
Charon is tall, elegant, and handsome, with chocolate-colored skin and bleached-blond hair, shaved military style. But most of the time he appears as an ugly old man, with a greasy beard and a cone-shaped hat. His eyes are empty, full of death and despair, as Percy puts it.
Charon wears tortoise-shell shades and a silk Italian suit that matched his hair. A black rose was pinned to his lapel under a silver name tag. While in the Underworld, Charon wears a black tattered robe, while his appearance, as seen in The Son of Neptune starts to resemble that of a skeleton.
- Pyrokinesis: Charon is able to generate and control fire. In the film adaptation, he set cash on fire.
The Lightning Thief
Charon is played by Julian Richings. He is simply referred to as "ferry man", instead of Charon. The film portrays him as he is usually portrayed, a robed man, steering a ferry down the River Styx.
In the movie, Charon only accepts gold drachmas as currency. When Grover instead gives him American dollars to pay for his fair, the paper burst into flames in his hands.
His name (Charon = χάρων) means: “of keen gaze”, referring either to fierce, flashing, or feverish eyes or to eyes of a bluish-gray color. His name may have been a euphemism for death.
- Charon, Pluto's moon, was named after him.
- Like Medusa and Ares, Charon used the term "godlings" to Percy and Annabeth as demigods.
- In Greek mythology, Charon is the god of Boundaries and Territories.
- While he has no Roman counterpart, Terminus, the Roman god of Boundaries, can be seen as his equivalent.
- Charon is portrayed by Julian Richings in the film adaption of The Lightning Thief.
- Unlike the books whereas he is stylish and witty, in The Lightning Thief movie, he was dressed in a dark robe and was monotone.
- In The Lightning Thief: The Percy Jackson Musical, Charon is portrayed as female.