|“||It isn’t easy being a brilliant inventor, always alone. Always misunderstood. Easy to turn bitter, make horrible mistakes. People are more difficult to work with than machines. And when you break a person, he can’t be fixed.||”|
Birth and Rivalry with Hera
Through her own power, Hera got pregnant with Hephaestus, which may explain why he was deformed at birth. When Hera saw the unsightly appearance of her son, she threw him from Mount Olympus, crippling him forever. Afterward, Hera spread a false rumor that it was actually Zeus, his father, himself who hurled Hephaestus down from Olympus. Hephaestus landed in the sea, where he was found and raised by Thetis, a kind Nereid. However, Hera's act of cruelty haunted Hephaestus, and he sought revenge.
After spending nine years under the sea with Thetis, Hephaestus finally rode back to Mount Olympus on the back of a donkey. As he rode into the Olympian Throne Room, all of the gods (especially Hera and Ares) were shocked into silence. With him, Hephaestus had brought magnificent new thrones for all of the Olympians. Hera's throne was made from shining pure translucent blue adamantine, making it particularly grandiose. A very impressed Hera quickly seated herself in it, and instantly, she was tightly bound by invisible and unbreakable chains. The chains grasped Hera so tightly, that she could not breathe, and all of the divine ichor in her veins flowed to her hands and feet. Ares and Hermes tried to convince Hephaestus to release his mother, but the latter remained stubborn and inexorable. Finally, his youngest half-brother Dionysus (the god of wine), decided to take matters into his own hands. Dionysus began visiting Hephaestus' forge from time to time, and peacefully chatting with him. The two gods quickly became friends, and a week later, Dionysus introduced Hephaestus to wine, and finally convinced the intoxicated god to forgive Hera, and took him back to Mount Olympus on the back of a donkey. There, Hephaestus declared his forgiveness of Hera's act of cruelty and released her. Afterward, Hephaestus and Hera made peace with each other.
As the new Blacksmith of the Olympians, Hephaestus soon created the metal giant Talos, the Colchis Bulls, and other various elaborate automatons, which were his specialty. He also built the impenetrable armor of Achilles, a powerful and great tool.
Athena and Erikthonius
Hephaestus' father Zeus eventually began experiencing terrible headaches (caused by Athena, the child of his swallowed wife Metis, banging around inside his head, desperate to escape), so Hephaestus offered to put Zeus out of his misery by splitting open the latter's head with his awl and hammer. While most of the other Olympians held Zeus down on his throne, Hephaestus banged his awl into his father's head with a mighty blow, creating a fissure, thick enough for Athena to squeeze her way out, after which she grew into a full-size goddess, much to the astonishment of the other gods. Hephaestus subsequently stitched up the fissure in Zeus's head.
Hephaestus had managed to develop strong unrequited feelings for Athena, all the more because they had similar interests in tools and crafts respectively, as well as a penchant for solving mechanical problems. Unfortunately for him, however, Athena, as one of the Virgin Goddesses, was incapable of romance, and never desired to marry anyone. A lovesick Hephaestus would not be deterred, however, and persistently followed and flirted with the beautiful goddess, finally flinging himself at Athena, wrapping his arms around her waist, tearfully burying his face in her skirt. In the process, some of his divine sweat and tears rubbed off on Athena's bare leg where the skirt was parted, much to her chagrin. She kicked Hephaestus away and snatched up a piece of cloth to wipe the godly moisture off of her, hurled the cloth off Olympus, and ran away from her persistent admirer.
The cloth, containing the essence of both Hephaestus and Athena, would subsequently transform into a mortal baby boy Erikthonius, a mortal child of both gods. Athena placed her son into a wooden chest, along with a magically conjured serpent, with the intention of Erikthonius's godly qualities eventually being enhanced by the serpent, making him immortal. Athena then took the chest to the Athenian Acropolis (her most sacred place) and gave it to the daughters of Kekrops (the first king of Athens), and warned them not to open it. While the princesses agreed, they would be overcome with curiosity after only one night, they opened the chest. However, seeing Erikthonius and the serpent rendered them insane, and they promptly jumped off the side of the Acropolis's cliffs, plummeting to their deaths. As a result, the spell was broken before Erikthonius could become immortal, and the serpent slithered away, inducing Athena to raise him herself. Athena would eventually take out her vengeance on the girls' father, Kekrops, whom a grown-up Erikthonius would banish, usurping his Athenian throne.
Olympian Riot and Hephaestus' Punishment
Hera, enraged at her husband's infidelity, decided to start the first (and last) Olympian riot against Zeus. Hera managed to gain the support of Poseidon (who secretly desired to become King of the Olympian gods), as well as Apollo, and Athena. Hephaestus, however, chose to remain neutral, as he deemed his mother's idea of a riot ridiculous. As a result, after Zeus was freed by Briares, the King of Olympus did not punish him.
However, Hephaestus could not bear to see his mother Hera hanging chained right above the terrifying Void of Chaos. As a result, he finally set her free. Hera tearfully embraced Hephaestus and promised to never to call him ugly ever again. Zeus, however, was infuriated. He violently stormed into Hephaestus' chambers, easily overpowered him, and flung Hephaestus all the way from Mount Olympus to Lemnos (which broke every bone in his divine body). In time, however, Hephaestus' wounds were healed, and he returned to Olympus. Zeus was somewhat ashamed of his past angry fit with his son, and (in a rare act) apologized and welcomed his son back with open arms.
Marriage to Aphrodite
The goddess of love and beauty, Aphrodite, was causing a lot of problems on Olympus due to her radiant beauty. While Zeus, Poseidon, Ares, Apollo, and Hermes all wanted her for themselves, Hephaestus didn't participate in the commotion, and instead sat in the shadows, quiet and dejected, knowing that his ugliness stripped him of any chance of competing for the gorgeous Aphrodite. Hera, feeling that her godly family was about to unravel, was determined to prevent that, and hastily ordered the other Olympians to silence themselves. As the goddess of marriage, she felt an obligation to pick the perfect husband for the new goddess and proclaimed that such a perfect match was her son Hephaestus, much to Ares and Aphrodite's dismay. Hephaestus himself was so surprised, that he fell off of his throne. Athena was quick to agree with Hera as well, pointing out that if Aphrodite were to marry anyone else, all of the other male gods would never stop fighting about it, while it would be nearly impossible for them to be jealous of Hephaestus. Hence, Zeus married both of them right then and there, with Hephaestus promising to be a loving husband.
Humiliating Ares and Aphrodite
While Hephaestus did keep his word, Aphrodite would stay away from her husband as much as possible, with them never having any kids. She soon began an affair with Ares, the handsome god of war, which became the worst kept secret on Mount Olympus, with Hephaestus being the only person that didn't know, possibly because he wanted to believe that his wife could love him.
However, he did finally become suspicious after the birth of Aphrodite's first son, Eros, whose very handsome features bore a striking resemblance to Ares'. Her next child, Harmonia, was equally beautiful, without any resemblance to Hephaestus. Finally, the all-seeing Sun Titan Helios took pity on Hephaestus and revealed Aphrodite's infidelity to the latter. The devastated blacksmith god fashioned an unbreakable yet extremely thin golden net and wove it over the bedposts in his bedroom. He then claimed to be departing to Lemnos for a few days and left.
Ares and Aphrodite then retired to the latter's bedroom but were imprisoned and immobilized by the net as soon as they jumped into bed. A returned Hephaestus then proceeded to lead the rest of the gods into his bedroom, determined to humiliate the cheating pair. However, Zeus and Hermes found the situation hilarious, and were promptly joined in prolonged contagious laughter by the other gods, with Apollo jeering at Ares and Athena at Aphrodite. Finally, however, Poseidon managed to collect himself and requested that Hephaestus release the pair. The blacksmith god begrudgingly agreed, but only on the condition of Zeus repaying him all the gifts that he had made for Aphrodite's dowry. Poseidon then insisted that Ares be released as well, vouching to ensure that the war god would pay any price that would settle this debt. Hephaestus agreed, requesting a price of 10 wagon loads of the best armor, weapons, and war spoils from Ares' fortress. With an agreement reached, Hephaestus finally released them both.
In the subsequent years, however, Hephaestus continued to find ways to trap and publicly embarrass Ares and Aphrodite, as seen in The Lightning Thief. Hephaestus would also continue to resent their children, most notably, their daughter Harmonia, who would choose to become the mortal wife of King Cadmus. Hephaestus would give her a magnificent golden necklace for her wedding, which would get passed down her family for generations, inducing horrible tragedy quite a few times. Harmonia and Cadmus, for instance, got transformed into serpents at the end of their lives.
Other Relationships and Children
While he and Aphrodite still remained married, Hephaestus would now feel entitled to pursue relationships with other women as well, the first of them being Aglaia (one of the 3 Charities and Aphrodite's handmaidens), with them having several godly daughters: Eukleia, Eutheme, Euthenia, and Philophrosyne. He would at one point also date the nymph Etna, with them subsequently having some children together called the "Palikoi", spirits of hot springs and geysers. He would later date the nymph Kabeiro, and father Alkon and Eurymedon with her, with them being called the "Kabeiroi" as a result. Much like their father, the Kabeiroi were ugly and excellent blacksmiths, so they would sometimes help out in his forges as a result. They would later join the then-demigod Dionysus in his conquest of India. Hephaestus's most famous demigod son would be Archimedes.
Hephaestus doesn't appear, but Percy and Annabeth get caught in a trap made by him after they see his symbol Eta, Greek for 'H'. The trap was originally intended for Ares and Aphrodite, in Waterland, but Percy and Annabeth got trapped there instead, while trying to retrieve Ares' shield. Percy retrieves it and also collects Aphrodite's scarf. The scarf now resides in the big house attic. Before leaving the ride, Percy bows to the camera as the trap had been airing on Hephaestus TV.
When the Hunters and Campers are going through his junkyard, Bianca di Angelo picks up a little statue of Hades because it is the only Mythomagic statue her brother doesn't have, which causes one of his automatons to attack the group. They attempt to defend themselves, but the automaton is too powerful, and Bianca decides to go up its foot and to shut it down from the inside. Percy volunteered, but Bianca insisted after Percy pointed it out to her. When she shuts it down, the robot falls to the ground and Bianca was electrocuted. Her little brother, Nico di Angelo, later blames her death on Percy. During the winter solstice, Hephaestus later voted to let Percy live, though he didn't remember him later.
His first close encounter with Percy and friends. He sent them on a "mission" to find out who was using his favorite forge in Mount Saint Helens, the same mountain where the monster Typhon was being held captive. He goes to retrieve Percy, who had been marooned on Calypso's island for weeks. He was also the one who told Percy about how Hera likes her "perfect family" a certain way. He gives Percy another hint about how a regular mortal was able to navigate the maze when demigods and monsters could not, and that Percy knew the answer (which was something Hera had told Percy before). This leads to Percy realizing he needs the help of Rachel Elizabeth Dare, a mortal able to see through the Mist. Hephaestus also gave them information on what happened to Daedalus, though very little.
Hephaestus was also in the fight between the gods and Typhon. However, he was hit by Typhon and "was thrown from the battle so hard he created a new lake in West Virginia."
Hephaestus later votes to abide by Percy's wishes in claiming all of their demigod children by the time they turn thirteen years old.
Hephaestus appears in the dream of one of his son's, Leo Valdez, using an old dream radio, and talks to him, (with bits of Wheel of Fortune cutting in) giving information about why Olympus was closed down and the Giants being the sons of Gaea and Tartarus. He is shown to view Percy as an ingrate for refusing immortality. He transports Festus' head back to Bunker 9 when Leo crashes him, surprising his friends with an act of kindness when he deigns to be "unsilent" and help Leo.
Hephaestus, along with most of the other Olympians, was incapacitated (with his personality split between him and his Roman form Vulcan) after Gaea sent an eidolon to manipulate his son, Leo, into shooting upon Camp Jupiter from the Argo II.
When Reyna, with the help of six pegasi finally manages to place the Athena Parthenos on Half-Blood Hill, golden light ripples across the ground, seeping warmth into the bones of both Greek and Roman demigods, and curing all of the Olympians (including Hephaestus) of their split personalities. As a result, Hephaestus promptly arrives in Athens to participate in the final battle with the Giants. He is seen working the weapons on the Argo II helping his son Leo, shoot down several Giants, after which Hades sends their lifeless bodies back to Tartarus.
After the battle, when Zeus suggests hurling the Argo II all the way back to Camp Half-Blood, Hephaestus says it could work, but despite the fine work Leo put into the ship, it would not survive the journey. Ultimately, the demigods decide to do it anyway as it was the only way for them to reach camp in time to help.
Hephaestus is aloof, pragmatic, cynical and has a subtly fatalist point of view of others, especially his fellow Olympians if not all organic life forms in general. He has a tendency to be gruff, as well as to be bitter and disappointed in life, in people, and in other "living organisms". Hence, he preferred to put his faith in machines instead of people, as machines would never disappoint, and even when they were broken, they could still be fixed, unlike people. He loves his wife, Aphrodite, though he is sad and angry with her infidelities. Hephaestus is also prone to unleashing a brutal temper when angered, especially on the subject of Daedalus (an extremely intelligent inventor who committed dishonorable acts that, in Hephaestus's opinion, gave inventors a bad name) or Hera (who threw him from Olympus as an infant and condescended him his entire life), which is so intense that it makes his beard burst into flames.
He is very bitter and hateful towards his "perfectionist" mother, Hera, and even once tricked her into sitting on a throne with hidden unbreakable chains. Hephaestus' tendency to bear grudges (namely against his mother) for a very long time, making him similar to his uncle, Hades. However, as shown in Percy Jackson's Greek Gods, Hephaestus is shown to have at least some love for his mother, as seen when he could not bear to see her chained over the Void of Chaos, and he finally rescues her. Despite his view of organic life forms, he appears to have a soft spot for Cyclopes like Tyson, and seems to be on very good terms with his half-sister Athena (for whom he initially had unrequited feelings in Percy Jackson's Greek Gods), while they both mutually despise Ares.
He is, however, able to productively work together with Ares in extreme situations, shown when they both took down the Giant Mimas along with Hercules. Hephaestus is also very good friends with his half-brother Dionysus, who was the only one able to convince Hephaestus to unchain his mother Hera. He also seems to be on good terms with his uncle Poseidon, who persuaded him to release Aphrodite and Ares from the embarrassing golden net Hephaestus had imprisoned them in. Hephaestus also greatly admired Daedalus, above all other mortal men. Despite his bitterness, Hephaestus is the lover of many things, such as his foster mother Thetis, his unfaithful wife Aphrodite, his many demigod children (especially Leo) and their mothers. He also pays Calypso friendly visits from time to time. However, there is also a darker side to Hephaestus, shown in Percy Jackson's Greek Gods, when he gives Harmonia (the daughter of Aphrodite and Ares) a necklace with a horrible curse.
Hephaestus is a huge, deformed lump of a man with his shoulders at different heights (so that he always seems to be leaning) and a huge, bulging, misshapen head and his leg in a creaking steel brace, bushy eyebrows, and a wild brown beard that sparks fire from time to time. He is the only Olympian to show such extreme physical injuries, but he is also very muscular from working in his forges. According to Leo in The Lost Hero, Hephaestus' face is red, lumpy and covered with welts, "as if he’d been bitten by a million bees, and then dragged across gravel."In Percy Jackson's Greek Gods, it is revealed that he has "too much man fur" and had to shave multiple times a day, even as a child. According to Percy, Hephaestus' voice is deep, booming, and rumbly. Hephaestus is also said to wear a "permanent scowl". According to Leo, his father's laugh is so loud, that it makes his tools rattle off their workbenches.
Inside his workshop, Hephaestus wears a jumpsuit smeared with grime and oil with the name Hephaestus embroidered over the chest pocket. When he is on Olympus, however, he is much cleaner and almost elegant. In The Battle of the Labyrinth, Percy says "I guess he'd cleaned up when I saw him on Olympus or used magic to make his form seem a little less hideous."
- Main article: Vulcan
Hephaestus can change into his Roman counterpart of Vulcan. As Vulcan, he becomes more disciplined, militaristic, and warlike due to the Romans being a more warlike race than the Greeks. He may have children or descendants at Camp Jupiter. The Greeks envisioned Hephaestus as a benevolent and clever being. The Romans believed Vulcan to be the god of volcanoes, giving him greater respect among them.
As the son of Zeus and Hera, Hephaestus is an extremely powerful god. As a smithing god, Hephaestus made all the weapons of the gods in Olympus. He served as the blacksmith of the gods and was worshipped in the manufacturing and industrial centers of Greece, particularly Athens.
- Technokinesis: As the god of blacksmiths, Hephaestus has unbelievable mechanical abilities which are second to none. As shown in Percy Jackson's Greek Gods, Hephaestus' skills surpass even those of the Elder Cyclops and Hekatonknieres.
- Enhanced Forging: Hephaestus can build any kind of machine out of any kind of material, as well as animate it and make it do things to suit his needs. He can even do this absentmindedly, fiddling with parts and gears when nervous or thinking hard over something, as shown in The Lost Hero. As mentioned in Percy Jackson's Greek Gods, Hephaestus can make everything from fierce Automatons (most notably, Talos and the Colchis Bulls), indestructible weapons to jewelry and entire Olympian palaces of unprecedented beauty, including all of the Olympians' thrones in the Hall of the Gods. He is known to have made the bows and arrows of Apollo and Artemis, Orion's mechanical eyes, the body of Pandora, and all of the Olympians' thrones.
- Trap Creation and Incapacitation: as shown in Percy Jackson's Greek Gods, Hephaestus was vastly skilled in creating virtually inescapable and undetectable traps, shown when he imprisoned Hera on her own new throne and later Ares and Aphrodite in a golden net. In both instances, only Hephaestus was capable of disabling these complex traps. He was later even able to use his tools to unchain Hera, while simultaneously keeping himself and her from falling into the Void of Chaos.
- Machine Sensitivity: Hephaestus can instinctively sense faults in a metal ore.
- Pyrokinesis: As the God of Fire, Hephaestus has absolute control and divine authority over fire, heat, and lava. In Percy Jackson's Greek Gods, Hephaestus sends Ares and his sons into retreat rather quickly with this ability. As this is an exceptionally powerful and dangerous ability, only children that he chooses would inherit it from him. He has the same pyrokinetic abilities as his son, Leo Valdez, only to a far more advanced level.
- Fire Blasts: In Percy Jackson's Greek Gods, Hephaestus generates a wave of flames that instantly flattens the wheels of Ares' war chariot, and completely melts the helmets of Deimos and Phobos. Hephaestus can generate fireballs, fire blasts and columns of fire. He can also set himself on fire and create a wall of flame, for defense.
- Fire Cape: In The Battle of the Labyrinth, Hephaestus appeared, in a massive "column of fire".
- Fire Immunity: Hephaestus is completely immune to any amount of fire and heat, as he works with them constantly in his forges.
- Super-heated Fire: Hephaestus can increase the heat of his fire, to the point that it becomes white-hot.
- Heat Sensitivity: He can sense heat, flames, and metals, akin to thermal vision.
- Geokinesis (limited): As God of volcanoes, lava, and magma, he has a certain level of control over earth as volcanoes are connected to earth, and magma, which is just underground lava, is rocks at a high level of heat.
- Magmakinesis: As the god of fire, he has control over magma.
- Typhokinesis: As the god of fire, he has control over smoke.
- Prowess in Battle: Due to his constant work in his forges, Hephaestus is extremely strong and therefore a formidable warrior in battle, despite he is the most injured of the Olympians. For instance, he successfully fought against the Giant Mimas in the First Gigantomachy, and managed to bring him down with the help of Ares and Hercules. However, he could still be physically overpowered by other stronger opponents, such as Zeus (who literally seized him by his ankles and tossed him off Mount Olympus in Percy Jackson's Greek Gods) and Typhon (who defeated him in The Last Olympian, knocking him out of the sky with such force that a new lake was created when he landed).
- Hammer Mastery: Hephaestus excelled in fighting with a heavy hammer.
- Cursing: As shown in Percy Jackson's Greek Gods, Hephaestus placed a powerful curse of misfortune on the necklace he made for his stepdaughter Harmonia as a wedding present. Hence, though it was the most beautiful piece of jewelry imaginable (precious jewels in delicate gold lace), horrible tragedies would always strike the person who wore it.
Hephaestus' symbols are his heavy hammer, the ax, the anvil, and tongs. His sacred animals are the donkey (since he can relate to them being ugly, stubborn, and comical, but also strong and sturdy), the dog, and the crane (due to its legs not matching the rest of its body, much like his).
Hephaestus' attendants, as mentioned in Percy Jackson's Greek Gods, were usually the three Elder Cyclopes, as well as his twin Kabeiroi sons (Alkon and Eurymedon), all of whom frequently helped the god in his forges.
Aphrodite is Hephaestus' wife but she is notoriously promiscuous with Ares as her most notable lover. He constantly tries to trap the two when they are together and humiliate them as he did the first time. After their marriage was ended, the smith god has had his own number of affairs.
|Ms. Faynor||Thomas Faynor|
|Ms. Beckendorf||Charles Beckendorf|
|Ms. Mason||Jake Mason|
|Ocrestia||Cacus and Servius Tullius (as Vulcan)|
|Esperanza Valdez||Leo Valdez|
|Aglaia||Eukleia, Eutheme, Euthenia, and Philophrosyne|
|Kabeiro||Alkon and Eurymedon (the Kabeiroi)|
|Ms. Schuster||Isaac Schuster|
- The word "Volcano" and "Volcanic" both derive from Vulcan, his Roman aspects' name.
- Another name for Vulcan is Mulciber which means "fire" in Latin.
- Along with, Aphrodite, Hephaestus is the only other Olympian who is not a child or sibling of Zeus.
- He claims to have once admired the Hekatonkheires.
- He is one of only two Olympians that doesn't use a chariot (the other being Dionysius)
- As revealed in Percy Jackson's Greek Gods, Hephaestus was flung off of Olympus twice: first by Hera (right after his birth), and then by Zeus (after he rescues Hera from Zeus' punishment).
- He has the most named demigod children out of all the other Olympians.
- His Egyptian equivalent is Ptah.
- In the books, Hephaestus is still married wherein Homer's accoun he demands his bride-price back after catching his wife Aphrodite and her lover Ares, which means in the modern sense they divorced. Homer has him remarry the goddess Thalia. Though some versions of the story claim they are still married.
- In the books, Hephaestus is pictured with light skin. However, in the movie, he was played by an African-American actor.