|“||I am here because when all else fails, when all the other mighty gods have gone off to war, I am all that's left. Home. Hearth. I am the last Olympian.||”|
Hestia (meaning "hearth" or "fireside") is is the Greek virgin goddess of the hearth, home, the right ordering of domesticity, and family. She also is the current guardian of Elpis, the spirit of hope. She is the eldest child of Kronos and Rhea. Her Roman counterpart is Vesta.
Birth and Rescue
Hestia was the eldest child of Kronos, the Titan King of Mount Othrys, and his sister-wife Rhea. At first, Kronos seemed willing to be a good father, and not to resemble Ouranos. However, the Titan King suddenly realized that Hestia was not a Titaness, but rather, a more powerful and beautiful immortal (a goddess). Kronos, fearing that Hestia might one day overpower him, quickly swallowed her whole, to the horror of Rhea.
Hestia, thus, spent her childhood undigested in her father's stomach along with her younger sisters (Demeter and Hera), and younger brothers (Hades and Poseidon), all of whom were also swallowed shortly after their birth. As a result, Kronos became known as "King Cannibal." Rhea pleaded with Kronos to spare their children but with no success, since even Kronos' great love for Rhea was not enough to overpower his selfish and evil nature. However, Rhea soon gave birth to her final child, Zeus, who she secretly raised on Crete, far away from Mount Othrys. She gave a huge boulder as a decoy for Kronos to eat.
After growing up, Zeus successfully infiltrated Kronos' Palace on Mount Othrys as the Titan King's royal cupbearer. Hestia was finally released during the final drinking competition that Kronos had with his Titanic brothers and nephews. Zeus poured an extremely powerful emetic (made from nectar mixed with mustard) into Kronos' goblet, which caused the Titan King to disgorge all of the contents of his stomach, in reverse order of swallowing: first the boulder, then Poseidon, followed by Hades, Hera, Demeter, and finally, Hestia herself. Since they were immortal gods who could not truly die, all five of them had grown to their maturity undigested in Kronos' stomach.
Hided by their grandmother Gaea until then, Zeus quickly introduced himself to his elder siblings, and all of them (including Hestia) quickly escaped Mount Othrys, before their Titanic father, uncles, and cousins could react. In Zeus' Cave at the base of Mount Ida, Hestia happily reunited with her beloved mother, Rhea, who tearfully embraced her. Shortly thereafter, Hestia and the other gods accepted Zeus as their leader and reached a unanimous consensus on declaring war against their tyrannical father. Being the kindest and most peace-loving of her six siblings, Hestia was the only one who initially objected, and suggested diplomacy, but was finally persuaded to agree with Zeus. However, since they still had no weapons, Hestia agreed to help Zeus release their Elder Cyclopes and Hekatonkheire uncles from Tartarus first.
Rescuing the Elder Cyclopes and Hekatonkheires
Hestia's brother, Hades, who turned out to be astonishingly skillful in navigating under the earth, was able to lead them all into Tartarus (through a network of Underworld tunnels). There, imprisoned in the maximum-security zone, surrounded by huge bronze walls, and a lava moat, guarded fierce demons, were the Elder Cyclopes and Hekatonkheires. Their guardian, Kampê, was the most ferocious and fearsome monster in all of Tartarus, and even Zeus, Poseidon, and Hades initially shuddered with horror when they saw the infernal monster for the first time. However, the gods overcame their fear, and were able to sneak in. Zeus managed to talk to the Cyclopes Brontes, and convinced him to forge powerful weapons for him and his siblings behind Kampê's back. The three Elder Cyclopes forged three incredibly powerful weapons: the Master Bolt (for Zeus), the Trident (for Poseidon), and the Helm of Darkness (for Hades). With these new weapons, Zeus killed Kampê, and Poseidon shattered the chains of the Elder Cyclopes and Hekatonkheires, releasing them. Afterwards, Hades safely guided his siblings and uncles back out of Tartarus. In return, for their release, all six of Hestia' uncles agreed to fight on her side in the upcoming war with the Titans.
Shortly after their return from Tartarus, Hestia and her siblings officially declared war on Kronos and the other Titans, which resulted in the terrifying 11-year-long Titanomachy. The Titans initially had the upper hand, since they were well-armed and much more experienced warriors. However, as the years of the War passed, the gods quickly became skilled warriors as well, and with the help of their new extremely powerful weapons, as well as the aid of the Elder Cyclopes and Hekatonkheires, they finally prevailed. While preparing for the final battle of the War, Hestia and her siblings ascended to Mount Olympus (the tallest mountain in Greece after Mount Orthys). During the final battle, Zeus used his Master Bolt to shear off the top of Mount Othrys, and hurl Kronos from his Black Throne, defeating the Titan King. Shortly thereafter, the gods invaded the ruins of Mount Orthys, and finally overwhelmed Atlas, Hyperion, Iapetus, Krios, and Koios.
In the aftermath of the battle, the Elder Cylopes chained up all of the defeated Titans, while the Hekatonkheires forced them to kneel before Zeus, Poseidon, and Hades. Zeus took his father's Scythe, sliced Kronos into a thousand pieces, and then cast him into Tartarus along with the rest of his followers (except for Atlas, who was forced to hold the Sky).
Becoming the Last Olympian
The gods chose Mount Olympus as their official residence, and the Elder Cyclopes build magnificent palaces there for them all. As a result, the gods started to call themselves the Olympians. Shortly thereafter, Hestia's three brothers divided world between themselves: Hades received the Underworld, Poseidon seized the seas, and Zeus claimed the heavens as his domain, becoming the King of Mount Olympus and the Olympians.
Unlike her more prominent younger siblings, Hestia herself was very humble and never sought power. Many years later, when Dionysus was accepted as one of the Twelve Olympians, Hestia even willingly gave up her throne to him and took to constantly tending the Olympian sacred hearth. However, in Percy Jackson's Greek Gods, Hestia never had a throne and always kept to the hearth. Like her mother Rhea, Hestia was always very sweet and kind, which earned her the love of her entire family, and none of the gods could fight in her presence on Olympus. During any of their massive family feuds, any Olympian could chose to take a break by sitting down next to the hearth with Hestia, whose presence alone was enough to calm anyone talking with her. Hestia was empathetic to all her siblings (even Hades) and their children, she consoled, healed, cheered, advised and supported every single god and goddess in on Olympus, and was the only Olympian to get along with every other Olympian (even Ares).
However, unlike Rhea (who was the Titaness of Motherhood), Hestia never desired to marry or become a mother herself and turned down several gods. Hence, shortly thereafter, Zeus (who greatly admired his sister) allowed Hestia to remain an eternal virgin, and - along with Poseidon and Apollo - vowed to punish anyone who would ever attempt to woo her in the future. Hestia therefore retained her role as the Virgin Goddess of the Hearth. She later even gave some sacred fire from the Olympian hearth to the Titan Prometheus, who desired to give it to humans.
Incident with Priapus
While celebrating the anniversary of her children's victory over the Titans, Rhea organised a grandiose party on Mount Ida on Crete. All gods and neutral Titans were invited, as well as many nymphs and satyrs. Hestia, who rarely attended parties soon wandered out into the woods, and fell asleep. Priapus, a minor god of vegetation, spotted the beautiful goddess and wanted to take advantage of her. However, while he was approaching her, a donkey brayed out loudly. Hestia woke up screaming and ran away from Priapus. The feasting Olympians instantly ran to her side, and proceeded to harshly beat and berate Priapus, and never invited him to their divine parties ever again. After that unpleasant situation, Hestia declared that she was to be grateful and defined the donkey as her sacred animal.
When Percy Jackson first arrived at Camp Half-Blood, he saw a young girl stoking next to the hearth and poking the coals with a stick. However, he was ignorant of the fact that she was actually Hestia, and didn't pay particular attention to her.
Hestia was later mentioned by Chiron to Percy while discussing the arguments between Zeus and Poseidon: apparently, Chiron had hoped that either she, or Demeter, or Hera would be able to calm down the brothers and get them to see reason.
Hestia first appears as an eight-year-old girl in Westport, Connecticut after Percy Jackson and Nico di Angelo meet Ms. Castellan. She tells Percy that in order to understand Luke Castellan, his enemy, he must first understand Luke's family. She gives Percy constant visions of Luke's upbringing as a way to gain insight as to what he has gone through and why he made the choices that he did. Hestia tells Percy that sometimes the hardest power to master is the power of yielding. She reminded Percy that when Dionysus was made a god she gave up her throne for him to avoid civil war among the gods.
Later during the Battle of Manhattan at Olympus, she helps Rachel Elizabeth Dare realize her destiny as the Oracle of Delphi. Hestia also reminds Percy that when all the other gods are away in the fight, hearth and home are what will always remain. Percy also entrusts her with Pandora's Pithos, which Prometheus had given him in order to tempt him into surrender. He claims that she should be its guardian because hope survives best at the hearth, and the Pithos does not continue to follow Percy relentlessly.
Later when Percy is fighting against Luke, who was possessed by Kronos, Backbiter is tossed into the hearth. When Kronos tried to retrieve it, Hestia appears in the fire and heats the scythe to such a degree that Kronos cannot retrieve it. Percy sees her image in the flames looking disapprovingly at her father. After Kronos is defeated and the war over, Percy returns to Camp Half-Blood and sees Hestia tending to the camp's hearth, mirroring the first time Percy saw her when he first arrived at camp. She winks at Percy, implying that she is content not being noticed, as long as some people do notice her once in a while.
Hestia, along with most of the other Olympians, was incapacitated (with her personality split between her and her Roman form Vesta) after Leo was manipulated by Gaea 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 Hestia) of their split personalities. However, as the Last Olympian, Hestia is the only Elder Olympian not to join her siblings, nephews, and nieces in the final battle with the Giants in Athens.
According to Percy Jackson's Greek Gods, Hestia's personality is very similar to that of her mother: She is good-natured, sweet, and gentle, never saying a bad word about anyone. In The Last Olympian, she is far kinder than most other Olympians, who frequently take offense at the slightest provocation. This ensured that it was difficult for any of her family to become angry with her, for it was a quality that was rare and valuable amongst the Olympians. An example of this could be illustrated through how Poseidon and Apollo had tried to court her for marriage, but failed and the two gods were more upset by her subsequent appeal to Zeus to let her become an eternal virgin, but they still acknowledged her rejections with good grace and declared that they would defend her rights of eternal virginity. Given how the gods often find it intensely difficult or impossible to accept rejections, it was a testament of how powerful her gentle goodness could be, since it was able to effectively appeal to the best nature of others and lets others honor her wishes even if it wasn't innate for them to do so.
In one regard, Hestia was extremely different from Rhea: she had no desire to become a mother herself. Part of the reason was that she still recalled that terrifying moment of being swallowed by her father and could never forget how her mother had wailed in despair. Besides this, she actually had concrete evidence that even her youngest brother could be as bad as Kronos: he swallowed Metis to circumvent the prophecy that the son he fathered by Metis would overthrow him one day and later divorced Themis to prevent their marriage from producing offspring that could be more terrifyingly powerful than the gods. Though this can be viewed as she being unable to let go of the past, it still testifies to her remarkable observation skills. Hestia is perfectly aware that her vow of eternal virginity meant she would never have either divine or demigod children to ensure that praises would be sung to her or that great deeds would be done in her name, but she still honours her chastity and takes pride in her dedication to tending the hearth, which proves her self-consciousness and responsability of her word.
Despite her utter lack of desire for matrimony and motherhood, Hestia doesn't have a problem with others' families and loves all her siblings and their children dearly. Her fondest wish is that her entire family was able to get along. Though she wasn't obviously always successful in maintaining familial harmony on Olympus, she does her very best by watching out for each and every deity in the Greek pantheon - she consoles, heals, cheers, advises, and supports them. Hence, Hestia is the only deity to have an amiable relationship with every other Olympian, even the vain Apollo, the conceited Aphrodite, the violent Ares, and the grim Hades. Due to these actions, everyone in her family watch out for her when they can and it is acknowledged that their protection ensures that she isn't one to be trifled with, for her family willingly protects her and even issues severe punishment on her behalf on those who offend her. Hestia proved to be a kind aunt to her demigod nephews Percy Jackson and Nico di Angelo, helping them on the Second Titanomachy and giving sincere encouragement for Percy to stand against the seemingly insurmountable odds.
In The Last Olympian, where she finally surfaced in the series as a prominent character, Hestia is portrayed to be of a earnest, calm, and humble disposition. As opposed to the twelve enthroned Olympians, she doesn't seek attention or recognition but exists contentedly at the hearth, the final guardian and place of solace one can turn to should they need her. Percy is of the opinion that she prefers to remain obscure, as she only leaves her post in extreme situations she knows her presence is needed, including her direct participation in the final battle against Kronos himself in her own way.
Last but not least, Hestia was shown to be a genuinely respectable goddess of true wisdom and excellent understanding, especially given her ability of knowing when it was appropriate to give in and even doing so willingly - a quality that was supremely rare amongst the prideful Olympians. In The Last Olympian, Hestia provided the demigod heroes with good advice so that they could better understand their enemies and how they could effectively fight back.
According to Percy Jackson's Greek Gods, Hestia was beautiful and perfectly proportioned baby, having eyes that were too intelligent for a newborn and radiating power. As a mature goddess, she was sweet-looking and beautiful in an unpretentious way, with an honest smile, warm brown eyes, and black hair that framed her face in ringlets. Her scent was described as delicious, being of wood smoke and toasted marshmallows. Though she wasn't as beautiful as her younger sisters, her charm was such that both Poseidon and Apollo were once enamored of her.
In The Lightning Thief, Hestia was portrayed as a nine-year-old girl tending the camp's hearth. In The Last Olympian, Hestia was described as an eight-year-old girl with mousy brown hair. Percy Jackson also noted that she had warm and cozy red eyes, very similar to her nephew Ares' eyes. She appears older during Percy's first visit to Olympus.
Hestia wears plain, modest dresses and never used makeup. She usually keeps her hair tucked under a linen shawl, much like her Titan aunt Themis. In The Last Olympian, Hestia wore a simple brown dress and a scarf over her head, so she looked like a pioneer kid.
The differences in Hestia's physical description throughout the novels could be attributed to the fact that, as a goddess, she has the ability to assume any shape she desired, though it must be noted that she retains her sweet beauty and warm charm no matter what physical manifestation she adopts.
- Fire (symbolizing hearth and thus home)
- Cloak (symbolizing warmth)
- After her chastity was saved by the animal in an Olympus party, Hestia declared the donkey as her sacred animal.
Hestia can change into her Roman counterpart, Vesta. As Vesta, she becomes more disciplined, militaristic, and warlike. Hestia was envisioned by the Greeks as the gentle goddess of domesticity whereas Vesta was considered to be the stern guardian of the Roman state and home. In ancient times, the Vestal Virgins were maiden priestesses who maintained the sacred fire that was spread to every Roman household. It is possible that they are the Roman counterpart of the Hunters, but were less aggressive and didn't fight
According to Percy Jackson's Greek Gods, Hestia isn't as powerful as her more prominent younger siblings, claiming herself to be the least of the major gods in The Last Olympian, she herself claimed to be. However, as Kronos's oldest daughter and therefore the eldest Olympian, she is still an extremely powerful goddess in her own right. Though she only made one strike in battle, it was still an effective blow that testified to her strength even weapons made by Gaea.
- Bond Manipulation: As the Goddess of Home and Family, Hestia shares the same jurisdiction as her sister Hera over all things related to domestic and familial relationships.
- Shared Vision: As shown in The Last Olympian, she has the power to share family-related visions of the past with others. She showed Percy Jackson visions of Luke Castellan's past (which helped him to understand Luke better) and of happy memories that he had shared with his family and his friends (which enlightened him further as to how he could better fight Kronos).
- Home Teleportation: Also shown in The Last Olympian, she has the power to teleport people back to their own home (hearth), as she did with Percy and Nico di Angelo.
- Food Conjuration: As shown in The Last Olympian, she has the power to conjure delicious food, an ability that shares with her sister Hera.
- Pyrokinesis: As the Goddess of the Hearth, Hestia has divine authority and absolute control over fire. As observed by Percy in The Last Olympian, the fire that she tends to seems to glow "more richly red than a normal fire". Her flames can heat the Scythe of Kronos to the extent where he was forced to drop it. After her father was destroyed, the scythe had liquefied into molten metal was trickled into the coals of the hearth.
- Serenity Inducement: Hestia has the power to induce potent feelings of serenity in others, allowing her to keep everyone who surrounded her at total ease - an ability that she inherited from her mother Rhea.
- Shapeshifting: As shown in Percy Jackson's Greek Gods, Hestia has the power to transform and reshape the form of her body, though she hardly ever utilizes this ability. She once transformed into an eagle to escape from Kronos' palace on Mount Othrys, and later into a bat to sneak into Tartarus' maximum-security zone with her siblings.
- Amokinesis Immunity: As a virgin goddess, Hestia is completely immune to Aphrodite's ability to arouse romantic love and passion in others, as well as Eros' infamous romantic arrows.
- Culinary Arts: In Percy Jackson's Greek Gods, Zeus confirmed that Hestia was an excellent cook, being capable of toasting perfect marshmallows that were neither too soft nor too crispy. Percy also described the taste of her food as the home-cooked meals that everyone should have eaten while growing up.
- Hestia's name means "home and hearth" in Greek.
- Hestia is considered to be the true official goddess of Home and Hearth, but her younger sister Hera is the official Goddess of the Family and Home. It is confirmed that the two share jurisdiction over domesticity.
- Hestia is one of only three current Olympians who is a virgin.
- Her Egyptian equivalent would be Anuket.
- When asked to describe Hestia's cabin, Rick Riordan said that she has no cabin because it just wasn't her style. This would make Hestia the only Elder Olympian who doesn't have a cabin at Camp Half-Blood.
- Rhea Silvia was to become a Vestal Virgin (the priestesses of her Roman counterpart, Vesta), but wasn't able to due to her siring of Romulus and Remus by Mars (Ares).
- 46 Hestia, a large, dark main-belt asteroid, is named after her.
- Vesta, the second largest object in the asteroid belt, is named after her Roman counterpart.
- Vesta family, a group of asteroids, is named after her Roman counterpart.
- 4 Vesta is an asteroid named after her Roman counterpart.
- Since it was never stated as to when exactly did Aphrodite arose from Ouranos' remains, it is highly likely that Hestia is the oldest Olympian, especially given the likelihood of Aphrodite arising only after Hestia and her siblings were fully grown and had defeated the Titans.
- Hestia's favorite aunt is Themis, the Titaness of Divine Law and Justice.
- In The Last Olympian, she reveals that Nico di Angelo was the first demigod to talk to her in ages.
- Hestia was the second of the Olympian deities to meet Percy Jackson, but the last one to be identified as such (Percy met Dionysus in Chapter 5 of The Lightning Thief and spotted Hestia in her nine-year-old form in Chapter 6, but she wasn't identified until The Last Olympian).
- According to Greek mythology, of all the gods and goddesses, Hestia was considered the gentlest, the mildest, the kindest and the most forgiving and discreet goddess with a passive, non-confrontational nature.