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Husband, we talked about this. You can't go around incinerating every hero. Besides, he's brave. I like that.

–Persephone, to Hades, about Percy Jackson, in The Last Olympian

Persephone is the Greek goddess of springtime, flowers, vegetation, and fertility. She is the daughter of Zeus and Demeter, as well as the wife of Hades, therefore being the Queen of the Underworld. Her Roman counterpart is Proserpina.

History

New Demeter

Demeter, her mother

Unlike many of Zeus' other children, Persephone has no position at Olympus and used to live far away from the other deities, except for her mother Demeter, goddess of the Harvest, and her closest nymphs. She mostly passed her days within Nature herself, planting seeds and nurturing the flora.

When she reached marriageable age, several gods tried to woo Persephone, but Demeter rejected all their gifts and hid her daughter away from the company of the Olympian deities. Her mother said that Persephone could have married the god of doctors, though. Thus, Persephone lived a peaceful life before she became the Queen of the Underworld.

Kidnapped by Hades

Persephone's uncle, Hades, was very lonely and wanted a wife. One day, he spotted her in the fields and became entranced by her tender expression and beauty. He fell in love at first sight and asked help to her father Zeus, despite his estrangement with his brother. Having passed certain time, Persephone was innocently picking flowers with some of her nymph friends in a field in Enna when Hades came to abduct her, bursting through a cleft in the earth. Life came to a standstill as the devastated Demeter searched everywhere for her lost daughter. Hecate, goddess of magic, told Demeter she had heard Persephone scream that she was being kidnapped. Her mother stopped caring for the Earth, so the land didn't flourish and people began to starve and die.

Hades was determined to make Persephone love him and tried in many ways, trying to buy it with many gifts and riches. She hated him at first for snatching her away from her mother, but soon she came to revel in Demeter's absence as she had never been allowed away from her mother before. Hades eventually took to spending all of his day with his new wife, working to make her happy and asking the dead gardeners of the Underworld to make fields full of her favourite flowers and trees. At some point, Hecate came down to the Underworld and befriended Persephone, something which made the goddess very happy and also Hades as his wife wasn't depressed. She eventually began to value her role as the Queen of the Underworld.
Persephone full2

Hades abducts Persephone

Pressed by the cries of the hungry people and by the other deities who heard their anguish, Zeus finally forced Hades to return Persephone to his mother. However, it was a rule of the Fates that whoever consumed food or drink in the Underworld was doomed to spend eternity there. Before Persephone was released to Hermes, who had been sent to retrieve her, Hades tricked Persephone into eating six pomegranate seeds and so she was required to return to the Underworld for six months each year. In another version she ate the pomegranate off of a tree not knowing the results, but a servant (or sometimes a gardener) of Hades testified against her forcing her to return. There are also some versions of the story where Persephone eats the seeds of her own volition so that she may be able to return.

When Demeter and Persephone are together, the Earth flourishes with vegetation and color. For six months each year, when Persephone is in the Underworld, the Earth once again becomes barren. That is how the seasons came to be.

However, there are some earlier versions of Persephone's story that have her as a young woman rather than a girl, who deliberately went adventuring and happened upon the Underworld rather than be kidnapped. Even older versions have her travel to the Underworld in an attempt to comfort the dead after hearing their anguished cries. In the most ancient versions, she appears without Hades, the sole goddess of the Underworld and Death.

Leuke and Minthe

While he did very much love his wife, Hades was quite lonely during the time Persphone spent with Demeter. This is when he would have affairs, but they usually ended badly: For instance, when he fell in love with the beautiful Oceanid Leuke, a jealous Persephone eventually transformed her into a poplar tree. When the beautiful nymph Minthe bragged about Hades' great love for her and claimed to therefore be more beautiful than Persephone, the jealous and infuriated goddess instantly appeared before her and transformed her into the plant mint.

Adonis

9aphrodite.jpg

Aphrodite, her rival for Adonis's love.

After a beautiful child was born from a tree, Aphrodite chose Persephone to help her raise him, with both goddesses taking turns raising the boy, shuffling him back and forth between Aphrodite's secret lair on Cyprus and Persephone's Palace. He would eventually grow up into an incredibly handsome young man, by far the handsomest mortal man in the world. As a result, both goddesses instantly fell in love with Adonis and began fighting over him. With them unable to reach a compromise, the two took Adonis to Mount Olympus, where her father and King of Gods, Zeus, decided that it would be best for Adonis to spend a third of each year with each respective goddess, and have the final third to himself. During the time he spent with her, Adonis would have to hide in closets and under Persephone's bed every time Hades entered her chambers, since the latter didn't know about his wife's secret boyfriend. Shortly thereafter, Adonis was stabbed to death by a wild boar of Ares, Aphrodite's main lover, much to the two goddesses' dismay and grief. This would remain the one and only time that Persephone ever cheated on her husband Hades with another man.

Psyche

Persephone was visited by Psyche, who had been sent by Aphrodite to retrieve some of Persephone's beauty cream. Still furious at Aphrodite's involvement in her past affair with Adonis, the Queen of the Underworld filled Psyche's rosewood box with Stygian sleep (the very essence of the Underworld) instead.

Orpheus

The famous demigod musician Orpheus, devastated by the untimely death of his wife, the nymph Eurydice, created a new entrance to the Underworld with his beautiful music and singing. He made his way all the way to Hades' palace, with ghosts, Charon, Cerberus, and even the Furies themselves being brought to tears by his ineffably lachrymose and beautiful music. Even Hades himself shed a few tears, while a very touched Persephone wept. Impressed by the man's love, bravery and skill, the rulers of the dead allowed Orpheus to take Eurydice back, on the condition that he would walk in front and not look behind him as he led her back to the upper world along the borderland between the living and the dead. However, Orpheus couldn't resist the temptation the moment he crossed the border and looked back just before his wife left the Underworld, losing her forever.

Percy Jackson and the Olympians

The Titan's Curse

When Percy talks to Grover how Artemis had been kidnapped and questions how it would even be possible to kidnap a goddess, Grover tells Percy that Persephone was kidnapped. Percy replies, saying that she was " ... like, the goddess of flowers." Grover, being a satyr and as such very into nature, takes offense to this and corrects Percy, telling him that Persephone is the goddess of springtime.

The Demigod Files

The Sword of Hades

When Percy Jackson, Thalia Grace, and Nico di Angelo were sent to the Underworld, Persephone appeared above them and told them that the new sword (forged from one of Hades' keys) was stolen during its creation. She gave them a flower (yellow carnation), which would point them in the direction of the thief. She stated that its petals will fall, and when all have fallen, then the thief would have escaped.

Later, when the demigods had recovered the sword, Percy realized that the sword was ordered to be made by Persephone against Hades' orders to make him more powerful. However, Hades later swore to Percy that he would never use it against the other gods.

The Last Olympian

While Hades was debating what to do with Percy after he was tricked by Nico to come to Hades' palace, Persephone appeared with her mother, Demeter. She asked Hades not to kill Percy, stating that it was a shame to kill a hero who was so brave. Hades decided to lock Percy up and Persephone appeared as if to object to her husband's decision, but then let it go, continued arguing with her mother and disappeared.

Later, Persephone appeared with Hades and Demeter on a chariot riding as reinforcements against Kronos outside the Empire State Building. Along with her mother, Perspehone turned all the scythian dracanae's spears into sunflowers, reducing several attacks from the foot soldiers.

Appearance

PersephoneGG

Persephone in Percy Jackson's Greek Gods

In Percy Jackson's Greek Gods, Persephone was described to be an incredibly beautiful young goddess with tender countenance. Before the seasons began, her eyes were sky blue like her father's and her hair was blond like her mother's. Her beauty enough to attract the attention of Hades, who hardly ever left the Underworld, and even Adonis had trouble choosing bewteen her and the goddess of beauty Aphrodite. When Psyche visits her during the winter in Percy Jackson's Greek Heroes, Persephone had watery gold eyes and wore a pale gray and green dress, "the color of frost on grass". When Orpheus visits the Underworld, she wore a yellow and grey gown, akin to the sun behind winter clouds.

In The Sword of Hades, Persephone was described to be a tall young woman with a beatiful but deathly pale face and long dark hair that floated and curled as if it were weightless. Her eyes were said to be multicolored but washed out, as if the Underworld had sapped her life force. Percy Jackson had the impression that in the world above, she would be even more beautiful and even brilliant. Persephone wore a dress that billowed around her like smoke which made Percy to initially think it was white, but he later realized that it was made of all sorts of changing colors - red, blue, and yellow flowers blooming in the fabric - but it was strangely faded..

In The Last Olympian, Persephone was said to look totally different from the last time Percy had seen her, due to it being summer: She had warm brown eyes and lustrous black hair. She wore a dress that shimmered with colors and flower patterns which changed and bloomed - roses, tulips, and honeysuckle.

The differences in Persephone'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 stunning beauty and grace no matter what physical manifestation she adopts. Furthermore, her appearance changes just like the seasons.

Proserpine

Persephone can change her appearance into her Roman counterpart of Proserpine. As Proserpine, she becomes more disciplined, warlike, and militaristic. The Greeks believed Persephone's return from the Underworld signified the rebirth of crops, whereas the Romans thought that Proserpine preserved their seeds during the winter.

Abilities

As the daughter of two Elder Olympians (one of them from the Big Three) and Queen of the Underworld, Persephone is extremely powerful, more so than a demigod, though less so compared to an Olympian. She is considered a minor goddess 

  • Chlorokinesis: As the daughter of Demeter and Goddess of Springtime & Flowers, Persephone has absolute control and divine authority over flowers and other plants, but not quite as much as her mother in other related provinces.​​​​​​
  • Season Control (Limited to spring): As the daughter of Demeter and Goddess of Springtime, Persephone has divine authority and absolute control over the season of spring and the concepts of rebirth, renewal and regrowth. 
    • Fertility Manipulation: As the Goddess of Vegetation & Fertility, she has the power to manipulate fertility, the natural capability for living beings to reproduce (in terms of animals) or grow (in terms of plants). In Percy Jackson's Greek Gods, she either granted or enhanced the fertility of the earth, turning barren plains into fertile fields, encourage orchards to bear fruit, and flowers to bloom. She could also render things infertile, making them unable to reproduce or grow.
  • Geokinesis (limited): As the daughter of Demeter and wife of Hades, Persephone has absolute control and divine authority over the earth to certain extent. In The Sword of Hades, she split open the ground beneath Thalia, Percy, and Nico to get them into the Underworld.
  • Height Manipulation: In Percy Jackson's Greek Gods, an infuriated Persephone grows 50 feet tall before dealing with​​​​ [naiad]] Minthe.
  • Necromancy: As the wife of Hades, Persephone has absolute control and divine authority over the dead, though to a somewhat lesser extent than her husband.
    • Stygian Sleep Induction: As shown in Percy Jackson's Greek Gods, she has the ability to manipulate pure Stygian sleep, the essence of the Underworld. She filled Aphrodite's rosewood box with Stygian sleep, making Psyche to pass out when she accidentally inhaled it, with her life beginning to ebb.  
  • Umbrakinesis: As the wife of Hades, Persephone has absolute control and divine authority over darkness and shadows, though to a somewhat lesser extent than her husband. In The Sword of Hades, she sent a shadow to Nico's location and apparently, forcefully shadow traveled him to New York City to join Percy and Thalia. 

Attributes

  • Pomegranate, asphodel, narcissus, willow, lily, and mint (sacred plants)
  • Bats, monkeys, and parrots (sacred animals)

Relationships

Demeter

During her early life, Persephone only knew her father (who rarely saw her), her mother, and the nymphs that accompanied them. She grew up very close to her overprotective mother, to the point that the elder goddess became dependent upon her and is only happy when her daughter is with her, making their relationship slightly unhealthly and affecting the fields over the world. When Hades kidnapped her, she wanted to return home, but over time, Persephone was relieved to be free from her mother's bossiness, nagging, and smothering for a time. Though she was tricked into eating the six pomegranate seeds and wanted to stay with her mother, she came to value the time away from her. This came at a cost, as Demeter never could accept that her daughter had married Hades, and left "her poor mother", increasing her mother's nagging. Despite the problems between them, Persephone and Demeter love each other dearly. She is known to be reluctant to follow her mother's will and finds her highly irritable though, as proven in The Last Olympian.

Hades

When Hades kidnapped her, Persephone didn't want to stay with him and wanted to be rescued. He tried to buy her affection with many riches at first. In his order, his gardener Asklaphos tricked her into eating the pomegranate seeds, which would forced her to stay with him for half of the year. Due to these actions, she despised Hades for having had the nerve to trick her (and thus force her to stay). However, Hades was very kind, sympathetic, and never tried to assume control over Persephone, unlike her mother. He began to spending all of his day with her and make several fields of magnificent flowers and her favourite trees. In time, she grew to respect him and value her position as Queen of the Dead at his side.
Hadesssss

Hades, her husband

Eventually, Persephone fell in love with Hades for his empathy and respects him as she calls him "my lord", looking forward to spend her time with him. She helps to calm down her husband's temper and ordered a weapon for him so he would be more powerful during the next war, though she did this actions on his back and this action could be seen as reckless as he would have more weapons than his brothers. In turn, Hades is very protective of Persephone, shown when he severely punished Theseus and Pirithous in Percy Jackson's Greek Heroes for attempting to kidnap his wife from the Underworld. He goes so far as to claim that despite him being the god of wealth, she is dearer to him than any precious metals or gems. As he got lonely without her during their separation, Persephone is forgiving to Hades' infidelities, though his relationship with other women does makes her jealous. This is shown in Percy Jackson's Greek Gods, when she demands that Hades kill the ocean nymph Leuke (though he turned her into a poplar instead) and personally killed the naiad Minthe of the Underworld River Cocytus, turning her into the plant called mint. Persephone herself has only ever cheated on her husband with the incredibly handsome mortal man Adonis.

Hecate

Hecate is one of Persephone's few friends who often visits her during her time in the Underworld. The two have control over the dead and shadows. It is assumed they are close because according to the myth, Hecate was the first to tell Demeter what had happened to her daughter.

Nico di Angelo

Persephone and her stepson Nico mutually dislike each other, as he is a reminder of Hades' affair with Maria di Angelo, who Persephone is jealous of as Maria was the only lover of Hades who he loved as much as her.  At some point, Persephone turned Nico into a dandelion during a "family spat", as stated by him in The Demigod Files when Percy, Thalia, and he ended up in the Underworld together.

According to Nico, Persephone is trying to be nice to him. In The Mark of Athena, it is revealed that he carries around some pomegranate seeds from her personal garden in case of an emergency and so he used them when he was trapped by the twin giants, Otis and Ephialtes. However, it is unknown how she feels about Nico using an item from her garden, or if she is aware at all.

Children

Partner Children
Hades Makaria, Zagreus, and Melinoe (Possibly)
Zeus Melinoe (Possibly)

Film

The Lightning Thief

Persephone
Meet Persephone - Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief

Meet Persephone - Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief

Persephone is played by Rosario Dawson. Unlike in the books where she first appeared in The Last Olympian (and The Demigod Files), she is one of the first of the gods Percy meets in the film. Her personality and relationship with Hades are the exact opposites of what they are in the books and in mythology; Hades apparently keeps her prisoner in the Underworld. When Luke spoke about her, he says, "Needless to say, she hates it there. 'It's hot, he's a weirdo'. So she has...secret 'visitors'." In a deleted scene where Hades describes to Percy the extent of his damnation, he claims: "I'm hungry but cannot taste, I'm tired but cannot sleep..." He then glances at his wife and says, "I'm in love but cannot...fulfill my desires." Although Persephone starts to show some form of emotion as he is talking, when he finishes she merely walks off and mutters, "Excuses." Hades tells her, "Heard that!" and yet Persephone merely says, "I know." She also seems to have feelings of infatuation toward Grover and claims that Hades is 'cruel and abusive'.

Although she only made one appearance, she was vital to the success of Percy's quest in two ways. Unlike in the book, where Percy received the magical pearls from Poseidon through a Nereid, in the film the pearls are owned by Persephone and there are apparently dozens of them around the world, with three currently in the U.S.. Although from a different source, their use is still virtually the same: you crush them under your feet and visualize where you want to be taken. Persephone mainly used them as a way for her 'secret visitors' to escape quickly and easily from the Underworld. The first pearl was located inside Aunty Em's Garden Emporium, which was actually Medusa's lair. Percy manages to behead her and claim the pearl, which somehow ended up on her bracelet. They also take her head with them to retrieve the second pearl, which they find on the crown of Athena's statue in the Parthenon in Nashville. Percy uses Luke's flying shoes to get it and then uses Medusa's head to petrify the Hydra that guards it disguised as the Parthenon's five janitors. The third and final pearl caused their biggest setback; it was held in a roulette wheel in the Lotus Casino in Las Vegas, which was actually the home of the Lotus-eaters. Percy, Annabeth, and Grover are doped by the Lotus flowers and accidentally spend five days there (they thought it was just a few hours), but Poseidon breaks the trance on Percy through telepathy and the trio escape, taking the pearl with them.

The second time she helps them is more direct and takes place in the Underworld. She greets them at the front door to Hades's palace, constantly tries to seduce Grover, and is in the background when Hades is speaking with Percy. When the Master bolt is discovered in Percy's shield, Hades claims it as his own and Persephone summons multiple hellhounds to 'kill' Percy, Annabeth, Grover, and Sally Jackson. She then kisses Hades to distract him, giving her the chance to snatch the bolt away from him and blast him with it. She calls off the hellhounds, and when asked why she did so, she explains that, when confined to the Underworld, the only thing she has to look forward to is her time in the world above with her mother and the other gods, and that if Hades overthrew them all and took control of Olympus, she would be completely alone with the man of her nightmares. She hands the bolt to Percy to take to Olympus and stop the war; however, since there are only three pearls and four quest members (Percy's mom was given permission to leave also), Grover decides to stay with Persephone, much to the goddess's delight. Percy promises to come back for him, and on Olympus he asks Zeus to bring him back, which Zeus agrees to. When Percy and Grover reunite back at camp, he recounts some of the things he and Persephone did together, how much of a great time they had, and about how she might really like him.

Trivia

  • Persephone's name is speculated to mean "destroyer of light".
  • Kore is another title for her (which happens to be a moon of Jupiter), meaning "maiden".
  • Proserpina, a main belt asteroid 95.1 km in diameter, is named after her Roman counterpart.
  • Her Norse counterpart (in terms of attributes) would be Frey and Idunn
  • Unlike her mother, Persephone doesn't appear to be very close with her own daughter, Melinoe.
  • According to Percy Jackson's Greek Gods, Adonis was the only one with whom Persephone ever cheated on [Hades]]. That makes her the only wife of the Big Three that has cheated her husband.
  • In The Last Olympian, her mother said that Persephone could been marriage with the god of doctors, which could means [[Asclepius]. Although she said doctors instead of medicine, this could be an error on Riordan's part or just the simple implication of mother-in-law with the son-in-law.
  • Homer describes Persephone as the venerable queen of the Underworld, who carries into effect the curses of men upon the souls of the dead.
  • In Ovid's version of the myth, as is recounted in his Metamorphoses (Book V), Aphrodite saw Hades riding in his chariot and tasked her son Eros to shoot one of his arrows into Hades' heart and make him fall in love with Persephone.

Gallery

Percy Jackson and the Olympians
Core Series: The Lightning Thief | The Sea of Monsters | The Titan's Curse | The Battle of the Labyrinth | The Last Olympian
Main Characters: Percy Jackson | Grover Underwood | Annabeth Chase | Tyson | Clarisse La Rue | Thalia Grace | Nico di Angelo | Chiron | Luke Castellan | Rachel Elizabeth Dare
Minor Characters: Travis Stoll | Connor Stoll | Mrs. O'Leary | Silena Beauregard | Charles Beckendorf | Sally Jackson | Paul Blofis | Blackjack | Zoë Nightshade | Bianca di Angelo | Juniper | Michael Yew | Ethan Nakamura
Olympian Gods: Zeus | Hera | Poseidon | Demeter | Ares | Athena | Apollo | Artemis | Hephaestus | Aphrodite | Hermes | Dionysus | Hades | Hestia
Minor Gods: Amphitrite | Ariadne | Hecate | Iris | Janus | Morpheus | Nemesis | Pan | Persephone | Triton
Titans: Kronos | Atlas | Calypso | Iapetus | Krios | Hyperion | Oceanus | Prometheus
Related Content: Rick Riordan | The Lightning Thief (film) | The Sea of Monster (film) | The Demigod Files | Demigods and Monsters | The Ultimate Guide | The Heroes of Olympus

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