|“||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 the eldest child of Kronos and Rhea. She is the Greek virgin goddess of the hearth, home, the right ordering of domesticity, and family. She received the first offering at every sacrifice in the household. 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.
After growing up, Zeus successfully infiltrated Kronos' Palace on Mount Othrys as the Titan King's royal cup bearer. 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.
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.
As for Hestia herself, unlike her more prominent younger siblings, she was 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. Also, 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. However, he was ignorant of the fact that she was actually Hestia, and did not 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, Rhea, in the sense that she was gentle, good-natured, never said a bad word about anyone, and even appeared to be devoid of vanity (she always dressed modestly and never used makeup). However, 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, Kronos, and she could never forget how Rhea had wailed in despair. Besides this, she actually had concrete evidence that even her youngest brother, Zeus, 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 on he divorced Themis to prevent their marriage from producing more offspring that could be more terrifyingly powerful than the gods. While this could be viewed as Hestia being unable to let go of the past, it still testifies to her possessing remarkable skills of observation.
Despite her utter lack of desire for matrimony and motherhood, Hestia did not have a problem with others' families. In fact, she loved all her siblings and their children dearly, and her fondest wish was that her entire family was able to get along. Though she was obviously not always successful in maintaining familial harmony on Olympus, she still did her very best by watching out for each and everyone - she consoled, healed, cheered, advised, and supported every single deity in the Greek pantheon. Hence, she was the only Olympian to have an amiable relationship with every other Olympian, even the vain Apollo, the conceited Aphrodite, the grim Hades, and the violent Ares. In fact, everyone in her family also watched out for her when they could, and it was an acknowledged fact that their protection ensured that Hestia was not one to be trifled with, for her family would willingly protect her and even issue severe punishment on her behalf on those who offended her.
Hestia's sweet, earnest, and helpful nature also 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 - though the two gods were upset by her rejection of their proposals and her subsequent appeal to Zeus to let her become an eternal virgin, her good nature was such that they not only acknowledged her rejections with good grace, but also declared that they would defend her rights of eternal virginity. Given how the gods usually find it intensely difficult or impossible to accept rejections, it was a definite testament of sorts as to how powerful Hestia's gentle goodness could be, since it was able to effectively appeal to the best nature of others, letting them honor her wishes even if it was not innate for them to do so.
In The Last Olympian, where Hestia finally surfaced in the series as a prominent character, her portrayal was consistent with that in Percy Jackson's Greek Gods: she was of a calm and humble disposition, and far kinder than most other Olympians, who frequently take offense at the slightest provocation. She also proved herself to be a kind and loving aunt to Percy and Nico - she provided them with good advice so that they could better understand their enemies and as to how they could effectively fight back, as well as sincere encouragement for Percy to stand against the seemingly insurmountable odds. In fact, she went as far as to participate in the final battle against Kronos himself in her own way, and though she only made one strike against her father, it was still an effective blow that testified to her strength and her courage.
Last but not least, Hestia was shown to 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. She 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 instead in her dedication to tending the hearth, which in turn proves that she is a self-conscious and responsible woman of her word.
According to Percy Jackson's Greek Gods, even as a baby, Hestia was beautiful and perfectly proportioned, with eyes that were too intelligent for a newborn, and she radiated 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. She wore plain, modest dresses and never used makeup, and usually kept her hair tucked under a linen shawl (much like her Titan aunt, Themis). She also had a delicious scent of wood smoke and toasted marshmallows. Though she was not as beautiful as her younger sisters, Demeter and Hera, her charm was such that both Poseidon and Apollo were once enamored of her, and Priapus even tried to bed her.
In The Lightning Thief, where Hestia made her actual first appearance in the series, she was portrayed as a nine-year-old girl tending the camp's hearth, poking the coals with a stick. However, Percy neither paid particular attention nor tried to talk to her as he was ignorant of who she truly was.
In The Last Olympian, Hestia was described as an eight-year-old girl with mousy brown hair and a simple brown dress, and she wore a scarf over her head so she looked like a pioneer kid. Percy also noted that she had warm and cozy red eyes.
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.
Sacred AnimalHestia's sacred animal is the donkey after a party in Olympus.
Hestia was sleeping and Priapus wanted to take advantage of her. While he was coming to her bed, a donkey brayed out loudly. Hestia woke up screaming and ran away from Priapus. After that unpleasant situation, she declared that she was to be grateful and defined the donkey as her sacred animal.
Hestia can change into her Roman counterpart, Vesta. As Vesta, she becomes more disciplined, militaristic, and warlike. In ancient times, the Vestal Virgins were maiden priestesses who maintained the sacred fire that was spread to every Roman household. As such, it is possible that the Vestals are the Roman counterpart of the Hunters, but were less aggressive and didn't fight. 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.
According to Percy Jackson's Greek Gods, Hestia is not as powerful as her more prominent younger siblings, and in The Last Olympian, she herself claimed to be the least of the gods. However, as Kronos's oldest daughter and therefore the eldest Olympian, she is still an extremely powerful goddess in her own right.
- Pyrokinesis: As the Goddess of the Hearth, Hestia has absolute control over fire. As observed by Percy in The Last Olympian, the fire that she tended to seemed to glow "more richly red than a normal fire", and later on she demonstrated her powers by heating the Scythe of Kronos to the extent where he was forced to drop it. After Kronos was destroyed, Percy saw that the Scythe had liquefied into molten metal and given how it trickled into the coals of the hearth, it is a plausible theory that it was Hestia's doing as well.
- Bond Manipulation: As the Goddess of Home and Family, Hestia shares the same jurisdiction as her sister Hera (the other goddess of domesticity) over all things related to domestic and familial relationships. Her unique status as a domestic goddess also grants her abilities of:
- Food Conjuration: As shown in The Last Olympian, Hestia could conjure delicious food, a power that Hera had also exhibited in The Battle of the Labyrinth. Percy described the taste of her food as the home cooked meals that everyone should have eaten while growing up.
- Shared Retro-cognition: As shown also in The Last Olympian, Hestia possessed psychic powers that enabled her to share family-related visions of the past with others. She showed Percy visions of Luke'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 Transportation: As shown again in The Last Olympian, Hestia was able to send people back to their own hearth (home), as she did with Percy and Nico.
- Sanctuary Protection and Prohibition: Hestia's influence protected any mortal that entered one of her temples from the wrath of the gods, and none of the gods could fight in her presence on Olympus.
- Comfort and Ease: Hestia always emitted a pleasant, protective, and comfortable aura that put everyone about her at total ease - a power that she had inherited from her mother, Rhea.
- Shapeshifting: As seen in Percy Jackson's Greek Gods, Hestia had the power of shapeshifting, though she hardly ever utilized it. 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 of arousing romantic love and passion in others, as well as Cupid's 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 described the taste of her food as the home cooked meals that everyone should have eaten while growing up.
- As revealed in Percy Jackson's Greek Gods, Hestia is the eldest child of Kronos and Rhea, and thus, the first swallowed by her father, after he realizes that she is not a Titan.
- In Percy Jackson's Greek Gods, it is revealed that Hestia still recalls that terrifying moment of being swallowed by her father Kronos. This is part of the reason why she chooses to remain a virgin for all eternity.
- According to Percy Jackson's Greek Gods, Hestia's personality is very similar to that of her mother Rhea.
- When asked to describe Hestia's cabin at camp, Rick Riordan said that she has no cabin because it just was not her style. This would make Hestia the only one of Kronos' and Rhea's children who does not have a cabin at Camp Half-Blood.
- Hestia's favorite aunt is Themis, the Titaness of Divine Law and Justice.
- As opposed to the twelve enthroned Olympians, Hestia does not 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.
- Hestia would be the last Olympian if the thrones of the gods are destroyed, as she relinquished her own throne and seat of power to Dionysus. Her power is enshrined in her realm - the hearth and home.
- She is one of the three virgin goddesses. The others are Athena (whose children are born through a meeting of minds, not bodies, as explained by Annabeth) and Artemis.
- Vesta, the second largest object in the asteroid belt, is named after Hestia's Roman counterpart.
- In The Lost Hero, Hera states "I am the goddess of family. My family has been divided for too long," which seems to confirm her sharing the same jurisdiction over domesticity with Hestia, since Hestia is considered to be the true official goddess of home and domesticity.
- Percy describes her to look like eight or nine years old when he first meets her, but she appears older during his first visit to Olympus in The Last Olympian.
- The priestesses of her Roman counterpart Vesta were known as Vestal Virgins. Rhea Silvia, mother of Romulus and Remus was to become a Vestal Virgin, but wasn't able to due to her siring of Romulus and Remus by Ares (Mars).
- 4 Vesta, is an asteroid named after her Roman counterpart, Vesta.
- Vesta family, a group of asteroids, is named after her Roman counterpart.
- 46 Hestia, a large, dark main-belt asteroid, is named after her.
- In The Last Olympian, Hestia reveals that Nico was the first demigod to talk to her in ages.
- As shown by her interactions with Percy and Nico, Hestia seemed to have a particular fondness for these two nephews of hers, especially Percy, to whom she gave good advice and even provided direct assistance in his fight against Kronos.
- When Percy meets her, he remarks to himself about how similar her eyes are to Ares' eyes.
- 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 was not identified until The Last Olympian).
- Hestia's name means "home and hearth" in Greek.
- 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 Zeus and his siblings (including Hestia) were fully grown, and had defeated the Titans.
- According to Greek mythology, of all the gods and goddesses, she was considered the gentlest, the mildest, the kindest and the most forgiving and discreet goddess with a passive, non-confrontational nature.
- Her Egyptian equivalent would be Anuket.