|“||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 is the Greek virgin goddess of the hearth, home and family. She is the eldest of the Twelve Olympians, the firstborn child of Kronos and Rhea, and the current guardian of Elpis, the spirit of hope. Her Roman counterpart is Vesta.
Birth and Rescue
Hestia was the oldest child of Kronos, the Titan-King of Mount Othrys, and his wife, Rhea. When she was born, Kronos was initially willing to be a good father until he realized that Hestia wasn't a Titaness, but a more powerful and beautiful immortal (a goddess) and therefore had the potential to overpower him one day. Fearing the possibility, Kronos quickly swallowed her whole - much to Rhea's horror. However, as an immortal goddess who couldn't truly die, Hestia wasn't killed or destroyed by her father's swallowing her whole, and instead spent her childhood undigested in her father's stomach. She was later joined by her younger siblings (Demeter, Hera, Hades, and Poseidon), all of whom were also swallowed shortly after their birth.
Ultimately, Rhea gave birth to her sixth and final child, Zeus, whom she hid away and secretly raised on Crete with Gaia's aid, faraway from Mount Othrys. In place of Zeus, she gave a huge boulder as a decoy for the tired Kronos to eat. After he reached his maturity, Zeus successfully infiltrated Kronos' Palace on Mount Othrys as the Titan-King's new royal cupbearer. Hestia was finally released during the final drinking competition Kronos had with his Titan brothers and nephews, for Zeus poured a potent emetic into Kronos' goblet, which caused the Titan-King to disgorge all the contents of his stomach in reverse order of swallowing. First the boulder, then Poseidon, Hades, Hera, Demeter, and finally Hestia herself. Zeus quickly introduced himself to his elder siblings and all of them quickly escaped Mount Othrys before their father and their Titanic relatives could react.
In Zeus' cave at Mount Ida, Hestia and the other gods accepted Zeus as their leader, and though she initially suggested diplomacy, she was finally convinced to agree with her younger siblings about declaring war against their tyrannical father. Hestia was happily reunited with her mother Rhea, who tearfully embraced her and her siblings and recommended their releasing their Elder Cyclopes and Hekatonkheire uncles from Tartarus first, for the Hekatonkheires could serve as strong allies in their battle and the Elder Cyclopes could forge excellent weapons.
Rescuing the Elder Cyclopes and Hekatonkheires
Her brother, Hades, turned out to be skillful in navigating under the earth and 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, were the Elder Cyclopes and Hekatonkheires. Their guardian Kampê was the most ferocious and fearsome monster in all of Tartarus.
However, the gods overcame their fear and were able to sneak in. Zeus managed to talk to the Cyclops 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 her uncles agreed to fight on the gods' 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 passed, the gods quickly became skilled warriors as well, and with the help of their new extremely powerful weapons and 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 Othrys). During the final battle, Zeus used his Master Bolt to shear off the top of Mount Othrys and hurl Kronos from his throne, defeating the Titan King. Shortly thereafter, the gods invaded the ruins of Mount Othrys and finally overwhelmed Atlas, Hyperion, Iapetus, Krios, and Koios.
In the aftermath of the battle, the Elder Cyclopes chained up all of the defeated Titans, while the Hekatonkheires forced them to kneel before the gods. Zeus took their 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). The gods chose Olympus as their official residence and the Elder Cyclopes built magnificent palaces there for them all. As a result, the gods started to call themselves the Olympians.
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. After drinking, Hestia 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, who was never invited to their divine parties ever again. After the event, Hestia declared that she was to be grateful and defined the donkey as her sacred animal.
After the war, Hestia decided to become the Goddess of the Hearth and Family. She secretly allowed Prometheus to take some sacred fire from the Olympian hearth, as he desired to give it to humans. Despite this, no member of her family suspected her (or at least, they didn't punish her). Feeling bad for Prometheus' severe punishement, Hestia protected every mortal pursued, attacked or in trouble if they made it to either a house's or a town's hearth. People of that household or city would be obliged or honor-bound to help and protect them if they asked for it.
Becoming the Last Olympian
Unlike her more prominent younger siblings, Hestia never sought power. When her nephew Dionysus was accepted as one of the Twelve Olympians, she was willingly gave up her throne to him and took to constantly tending the sacred hearth. 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 near her.
Unlike her siblings, Hestia never desired to marry or become a mother, so she turned down several gods. After Poseidon and her nephew Apollo proposed to her, Hestia talked with Zeus and requested to remain a virgin. His brother respected her enough to allow the petition, while Poseidon and Apollo vowed to punish anyone who would ever attempt to woo her in the future.
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.
Shortly before the events of the book, Hestia met and talked with Nico di Angelo, the first demigod to talk to her in ages. Hestia first appears as an eight-year-old girl in Westport, Connecticut after Percy and Nico meet Ms. Castellan. She tells Percy that in order to understand his enemy, he must first understand his past. 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 before transporting him and Nico to New York.
During the Battle of Manhattan at Olympus, Hestia helps Rachel Elizabeth Dare realize her destiny as the Oracle of Delphi and reminds Percy that when all the other gods are away in the fight, hearth and home are what will always remain. Percy entrusts Hestia with the 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.
When Percy is fighting against Luke (possessed by Kronos), Backbiter is tossed into the hearth. When Kronos tries to retrieve it, Hestia appears in the fire and heats the scythe to such a degree that he cannot retrieve it. Percy sees her image in the flames looking disapprovingly at her father.
After the war, the gods returned to the destroyed Olympus. When her brothers and relatives asks Percy to come closer, Hestia's smile gives him the courage to approach them.
Percy later returns to Camp Half-Blood and sees Hestia tending to the campfire, 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: gentle, good-natured, irresistibly lovable, and never saying a bad word about anyone. She was quieter and more peaceful than her siblings - in fact, out of the six children of Kronos and Rhea, she was the only one who suggested reconciliation with their father after they were freed. Her fondest wish was that her entire family could get along, and despite being unsuccessful in maintaining harmony on Olympus, she still watched out for each and every deity in the Greek Pantheon, which ensured that it was difficult for any of her family to be angry with her, for her genuine amiability was a rare and valuable commodity amongst the Olympians.
However, Hestia is supremely different from her mother in one aspect: she had no desire to become a mother herself. Part of the reason was that she had vivid, unforgettable memories of being swallowed by her father, her mother wailing in despair over how he was a child-swallowing cannibal, and of all those years being imprisoned in his stomach. The other part was having concrete evidence that her brother, Zeus, could be as bad as Kronos - he swallowed his first wife, Metis, to circumvent the prophecy that the son he fathered through her would overthrow him one day, and later on, he divorced his second wife, Themis, to prevent their marriage from producing more offspring that were more terrifyingly powerful than the gods. Though this can be interpreted as an inability to let go of the past, it still testified to Hestia's powers of observation and caution.
Hestia was also kind and sympathetic towards humanity - though it was never specifically confirmed, it was still highly likely that she played a major role in how Prometheus successfully gifted humanity with fire (as she was always at the hearth, it was impossible for him to have stolen the hot coals from the hearth without her noticing, so she either helped him do it, or at least turned a blind eye to his theft). Also, though he ended up being punished severely for his theft, she ensured his sacrifice was not in vain by becoming the patron goddess of each and every hearth in the world, as well as a sworn protectress of sorts to those in need if they made it to the hearth.
In The Last Olympian, she was portrayed to be calm, humble, and much kinder than most other gods, who frequently take offense at the slightest provocation. As opposed to the Twelve Olympians, she did not seek attention or recognition, but existed contentedly at the hearth, the final place of solace. She also proved to be a warm and loving aunt to Percy and Nico (greeting them with a delicious homemade meal during their first meeting her, providing timely words of wisdom and even visions to help them better understand and fight their enemies, etc.), as well as a goddess of true wisdom and excellent understanding - she knew perfectly well that due to her oath of chastity and her giving up her throne to Dionysus, she would have neither demigod children nor epic poems about her deeds, but she is fine with that as she is, at her very core, a peacekeeper ("Sometimes the hardest power to master is the power of yielding...I keep the peace. I yield when necessary..."). During the final battle against Kronos, Hestia did deliver a single blow that truly testified to her formidable power as an Elder Olympian, and when the battle was over, it was implied that she was content with not being noticed, as long as some people do notice her once in a while.
According to Percy Jackson's Greek Gods, as a newborn baby, Hestia was beautiful and perfectly proportioned, with eyes that were much too intelligent for a newborn, and she radiated power. As a mature goddess, she was sweet-looking and lovely in an unpretentious way, having an honest smile, warm brown eyes, and black hair that framed her face in ringlets. She also had an incredibly delicious scent of wood smoke and toasted marshmallows, and usually kept her hair tucked under a linen shawl, wore plain, modest dresses, and never used makeup. Though she was not as beautiful as her younger sisters, she was still so charming that both Poseidon and Apollo once proposed to her, and Priapus once tried to rape her.
In The Lightning Thief, Hestia was portrayed as a nine-year-old girl, but Percy did not take particular notice of her as he was ignorant of her true identity.
In The Last Olympian, Hestia was portrayed as an eight-year-old girl with mousy brown hair, and fire-red eyes that differed from Ares' for they were warm and cozy. She wore a simple brown dress with a scarf over her head, giving her the look of a pioneer child. When Percy encountered her again after acquiring the Curse of Achilles, he noted that though she still wore the same brown dress, she appeared as a grown woman. After the final battle against Kronos, Hestia took the form of a girl again, looking happy and content to be sitting by her fire again, and her smile gave Percy the courage to approach the gods.
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 desires, though it must be noted that she retains her beauty and sweet charm no matter what physical manifestation she adopts.
- Her attributes are the fire and cloak.
- Her sacred animal is the donkey.
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. In ancient times, the Vestal Virgins were maiden priestesses who maintained the sacred fire housed inside the Temple of Vesta. It is possible that they are the Roman counterpart of the Hunters, but were less aggressive and didn't fight.
In The Last Olympian, Hestia herself claimed to be "the least of the gods", and she is indeed less powerful than her younger siblings (Demeter, Hera, and the Big Three). However, as an Elder Olympian, she is still a powerful goddess in her own right, stronger than the younger Olympians, and her strike against Kronos in the final battle testified to her strength.
- Pyrokinesis: As the Goddess of the Hearth, Hestia has divine authority and absolute control over fire, and to a far greater extent than her nephew, Hephaestus. The fire she tended also seemed to glow "more richly red than a normal fire". During the final battle against Kronos, her flames heated up his scythe to the extent that he was forced to drop it, and his host's hands were smoking and seared. After he was destroyed, the scythe liquefied into molten metal and trickled into the hearth's coals. These were particularly impressive, for Kronos' host - Luke - was near-invulnerable from the Curse of Achilles, and the scythe had been forged by Gaea to strike down the mighty Ouranos.
- Shapeshifting: As a goddess, Hestia has the power to transform and reshape her own body as she desired - she transformed into an eagle to escape from Kronos' Palace and, later on, into a bat to sneak into Tartarus' maximum-security zone.
- Bond Manipulation: As the Goddess of Home and Family, all things related to domestic and familial relationships are under Hestia's jurisdiction. Examples of other abilities she derived through this province are:
- Food Generation: Hestia has the ability to generate or conjure delicious food, manifesting them anywhere she desired. Percy described the taste of her food as "the kind of home-cooked meal people are supposed to have but never do".
- Shared Vision: Hestia has the ability to share family-related visions of an individual's past with others - she showed Percy visions of Luke's past to help him better understand his enemy, and also reminded the former of his own happy memories with family and friends to encourage him to fight.
- Home Teleportation: Hestia has the ability to teleport people back to their own home - she teleported Percy and Nico back to Percy's home.
- Serenity Inducement: Hestia has the ability to induce potent feelings of tranquility in others, enabling her to keep everyone who surrounded her at total ease and calm - an ability that she inherited from her mother.
- Hearth Guardianship: As the Goddess of the Hearth, Hestia had divine authority and absolute control over all central fireplaces (hearths) of all mortal homes, and any mortal pursued, attacked, or in trouble would be under her special protection if they made it to either a house's or a town's hearth. In fact, her hearth on Olympus is still acknowledged by all the other gods to be "neutral territory", where anyone could go to for a rest and none of them could fight one another there. An additional ability she possibly derived from this province is:
- Oath Keeping (possibly): Hestia possibly had the ability to maintain and preserve any sort of oath or pact that was made between two or more individuals, for in the days of Ancient Greece, families swore their important oaths by the hearth, and a foreign ambassador would always visit the town's hearth first to proclaim they had come in peace.
- Divine Wisdom: In The Last Olympian, Hestia showed herself to be an exceptionally wise and knowledgeable goddess with an excellent understanding - she provided Percy, Nico, and even Rachel genuinely useful advice regarding their enemies, and how they could effectively fight back.
- Culinary Arts: As the Goddess of the Hearth, Home, and Family, Hestia is an excellent cook and baker - in Percy Jackson's Greek Gods, Zeus commented that she toasted perfect marshmallows that were neither too soft nor too crispy, and she kept "an excellent hearth" (the very place where people cooked their food and baked their bread during the days of Ancient Greece).
Hestia developed a good relationship with her aunt Themis, who resembles her in personality. She considers Themis her favourite aunt.
Hestia is the only deity to have an amiable relationship with every other Olympian, even the vain Apollo (who once proposed to her), the conceited Aphrodite, the violent Ares, and the grim Hades. She is empathetic to all her siblings and their children, consoling, cheering and supporting every single god and goddess in Olympus. Due to these actions, everyone in her family watches 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 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 during the Second Titanomachy and giving them sincere encouragement to stand against the seemingly insurmountable odds.
Her name means “hearth” in Greek.
- Hestia would be the last Olympian if the thrones of the gods are destroyed, as her power is enshrined in the hearth.
- Although Hestia is the goddess of the hearth and home, her younger sister Hera is the goddess of family and home. It is confirmed that the two share jurisdiction over domesticity.
- In ancient times, Hestia received the first offering at every sacrifice in the household, and, at feasts, the first and last libations were dedicated to her.
- Despite her statement in The Last Olympian, Percy thinks that Hestia never had a throne and always kept to the hearth because it was “more her style” in Percy Jackson's Greek Gods.
- When asked to describe Hestia's cabin, Rick Riordan said that she has no cabin because it “just isn’t her style”. This would make Hestia the only Elder Olympian who doesn't have a cabin at Camp Half-Blood.
- 46 Hestia, a large, dark main-belt asteroid, is named after her.
- According to Greek mythology, of all the gods and goddesses, Hestia was considered the gentlest, kindest and most forgiving deity with a discreet nature.
- Hestia is one of only three current Olympians who is a virgin, the other two being Athena and Artemis.
- Hestia was the second of the Olympian deities to meet Percy, 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).
- 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.
- Her Egyptian equivalent would be Anuket.