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Charon

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This is about the deity who ferries dead souls. For the centaur with the similar name, see Chiron.


I don't suppose you have coins for passage. Normally, with adults, you see, I could charge your American Express, or add the ferry price to your last cable bill. But with children ... alas, you never die prepared. Suppose you'll have to take a seat for a few centuries.

–Charon, in The Lightning Thief

Charon (pronounced Care-on), not to be confused with Chiron, is the ferryman that transports dead spirits to the Underworld. He is also the Greek god of boundaries and territories. He is portrayed by Julian Richings in thefilm adaption of The Lightning Thief.

History

Charon, son of Nyx, was the ferryman of Hades, who carries the souls of the newly deceased across the River Styx, that divided the world of the living from the dead. A coin to pay Charon for passage, usually an obolus or drachma, was sometimes placed in or on the mouth of a dead person. He sometimes grudgingly allows the living to enter Underworld such as Hercules, Orpheus, Aeneas, and Psyche.

Psyche

When a pregnant Psyche wanders into the Underworld on a final quest for Aphrodite, Charon initially refuses to take her over the Styx, but has a change of heart once she gives him a fresh golden drachma. He later takes her back over for a second drachma.

Percy Jackson and the Olympians

The Lightning Thief

Percy Jackson, Grover Underwood, and Annabeth Chase asks him to allow them to enter the Underworld and he refuses, but is successfully bribed into letting them board the ferry when Percy gives him two columns of golden Drachma coins (and warns that if this doesn't work then he'll give more). He asks Percy to tell Hades he wants a pay raise. When Percy does this, Hades claims Charon keeps asking for more money after discovering Italian suits.

The Heroes of Olympus

The Son of Neptune

After the War Games, when Gwen comes back from the dead, she says, "There was a river, and a man asking... for a coin?" That man is clearly Charon.

Later, Charon is seen in a flashback. He meets Hazel Levesque after her sacrifice, stating that it "wouldn't be proper" to leave her at the river's edge since she is a daughter of the Lord of the Dead. Like in The Lightning Thief, he is shown to have a British accent.

Film

The Lightning Thief

LostSouls
Lost Souls
Music-harp2
St12
from the official soundtrack

Charon is played by Julian Richings. He is simply referred to as "ferry man", instead of Charon. The film portrays him as he is usually portrayed, a robed man, steering a ferry down the River Styx.

In the movie, Charon only accepts gold drachmas as currency. When Grover instead gives him American dollars to pay for his fair, the paper burst into flames in his hands.

Appearance

As seen in The Lightning Thief, Charon is tall, elegant, and handsome, with chocolate-colored skin and bleached-blond hair, shaved military style. He wears tortoise-shell shades and a silk Italian suit that matched his hair. A black rose was pinned to his lapel under a silver name tag. His eyes are empty, full of death and despair, as Percy puts it. While in the Underworld, Charon wears a black cape robe, while his appearance, as seen in The Son of Neptune starts to resemble that of a skeleton. According to Percy, he speaks in a British accent, but as if he learned English as a second language.

Name Etymology

His name (Charon = χάρων) means: “of keen gaze”, referring either to fierce, flashing, or feverish eyes or to eyes of a bluish-gray color. His name may have been a euphemism for death.

Charon's Boat

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Charon's boat on the map of the Underworld.

Charon's boat is the boat Charon uses to sail souls across the River Styx into the Underworld.

Trivia

  • Charon, Pluto's moon, was named after this deity.
    • Pluto is the Roman counterpart of Hades, whom he is serving.
  • Despite him being the god of boundaries, he isn't mentioned to be a god at all in the series.
  • In The Lightning Thief, Hades mentioned that Charon loves Italian suits.
  • Like Medusa, he referred to Percy and Annabeth as godlings. Ares also called Percy a godling after Percy defeated him.
  • He mentions that he wants a raise, maybe because his love for Italian suits as he would want to buy more of them as mentioned by Hades that he loves them.
  • In the book, Charon was stylish and witty, while in The Lightning Thiefmovie, he was dressed in a dark robe and was monotone.
  • While he has no Roman counterpart, Terminus is the Roman god of Boundaries.

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