|“||Husband, we talked about this. You can't go around incinerating every hero. Besides, he's brave. I like that.||”|
Persephone is the Greek goddess of springtime, flowers, fertility, and young life. Persephone is the daughter of Zeus and Demeter and the wife of Hades, making her the Queen of the Underworld. Her Roman counterpart is Proserpine.
Unlike Zeus' other children, Persephone has no position at Olympus. Persephone used to live far away from the other deities, a goddess within Nature herself before the days of planting seeds and nurturing plants. When Persephone reached marriageable age, the several gods had all tried to wooed her, but Demeter rejected all their gifts and hid her daughter away from the company of the Olympian deities (Demeter said that Persephone could have married the god of doctors). Thus, Persephone lived a peaceful life before she became the goddess of the Underworld, which did not occur until Hades brought her to the Underworld through his infamous kidnapping of her.
Kidnapped by HadesPersephone's uncle, Hades, was lonely and wanted a wife. He spied Persephone in the fields one day and, entranced by her purity and beauty, fell in love with her at first sight. Persephone was innocently picking flowers with some of her nymphs 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, goddess of harvest, searched everywhere for her lost daughter. Hecate, goddess of magic, then told Demeter she had heard Persephone scream that she was being kidnapped. Demeter then stopped caring for the Earth, and the land didn't flourish and people began to starve and die.
In some stories it is said that Eros, the god of love shot a golden arrow into Hades' heart while he was riding in his black chariot when Hades rode across the field and saw Persephone, thus he fell in love with her. Most versions agree that Hades first obtained the permission of Zeus to kidnap her.
Hades was determined to make Persephone love him, and tried in many ways. 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 very much wanted Persephone's love and, at first, tried to buy it with many gifts. But then he took to spending all of his day with his new wife, working to make her happy. Hecate, goddess of magic, came down to the Underworld and befriended Persephone, and Hades was pleased, because Persephone was not depressed or unhappy when she was around.
Finally, Zeus, pressed by the cries of the hungry people and by the other deities who also heard their anguish, forced Hades to return his daughter, Persephone. 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, which forced her to return to the Underworld for a season 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.
When Demeter and her daughter are reunited, the Earth flourishes with vegetation and color, but for six months each year, when Persephone returns to the Underworld, the earth once again becomes a barren realm; that is how the seasons came to be.
Leuke and Minthe
While Hades did very much love his wife, he was quite lonely during the time she spent with Demeter, which is when he would have affairs, which, however, 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. Later, when a beautiful nymph Minthe bragged about Hades' 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.
After the birth of Adonis, 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 both goddesses took Adonis to Mount Olympus, where Persephone's father 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 Persephone, Adonis would have to hide in closets and under her bed every time Hades entered her chambers, since the latter did not know about his wife's secret boyfriend. Shortly thereafter, however, Adonis was stabbed to death by Ares' wild boar, much to Persephone's dismay. This would remain the one and only time that she ever cheated on her husband Hades with another.
When Persephone was visited by Psyche, who had been sent by Aphrodite to retrieve some of Persephone's beauty cream, the Queen of the Underworld, still furious at Aphrodite's involvement in her past affair with Adonis, and intent on revenge, filled Psyche's rosewood box with Stygian sleep (the very essence of the Underworld) instead.
The famous demigod musician Orpheus, devastated by the untimely death of his wife Eurydice, creates 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, Persephone and Hades allowed him 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 could not resist the temptation the moment he crossed the border, and looked back just before his wife left the Underworld, losing her forever.
Percy Jackson, Thalia Grace, and Nico di Angelo were sent to the Underworld, Persephone appeared above them and told them that the newly created sword (forged from one of Hades' keys) was stolen. 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 they had recovered the sword, Percy realized that the sword was ordered to be made by Persephone against Hades' orders.
While Hades was debating what to do with Percy, after Percy was tricked by Nico to Hades' palace, Persephone appeared with her mother, Demeter. She begged Hades not to kill Percy, stating that it was a shame to kill a hero, they were so brave. Hades decided to lock Percy up, and Persephone appeared as if to object to his decision, but then let it go and continued arguing with her mother and disappeared. She later appeared with Hades and Demeter on a chariot riding as reinforcements against Kronos outside the Empire State Building. She turned the dracanae's spears into sunflowers.
In Percy Jackson's Greek Gods, Persephone was described to be an incredibly beautiful young goddess (enough to attract the attention of Hades, who hardly ever left the Underworld) with her mother's long blond hair and her father's sky-blue eyes. She was so beautiful in fact, that Adonis had trouble choosing between her and Aphrodite.
When Psyche visits Persephone during the winter in Percy Jackson's Greek Heroes, the latter wore a pale gray and green dress, "the color of frost on grass", while her eyes were watery gold, "like the December sun." When Orpheus visits the Underworld, Persephone wears 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 long dark hair that floated and curled as if it were weightless, and her face was beautiful but deathly pale. She wore a dress that billowed around her like smoke, and though Percy initially thought it was white, 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. Her eyes were said to be multicolored but washed out, as if the Underworld had sapped her life force. Percy also had the impression that in the world above, Persephone would be even more beautiful, and even brilliant.
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 lustrous black hair and warm brown eyes, and she wore a dress that shimmered with colors, and the flower patterns in the fabric of her dress 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 desired, though it must be noted that she retains her stunning beauty and grace no matter what physical manifestation she adopts.
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.
- Height Manipulation: In Percy Jackson's Greek Gods, when the Naiad Minthe infuriates her (by proclaiming Hades' great love for her, and claiming to be more beautiful than Persephone), an infuriated Persephone grows 50 feet tall before dealing with her.
- Chlorokinesis: As a daughter of Demeter and Goddess of Springtime and Flowers, she has absolute control over flowers and other plants.
- Plant Transformation: She can turn anything (even people) into flowers or anything related to flora. She used this ability in the Battle of Manhattan, turning the dracanae's spears into sunflowers, and also once turned Nico into a dandelion during a "family spat", and Minthe into the plant mint in Percy Jackson's Greek Gods.
- Travel Roses: She can also create Travel Roses, which she gave to Percy, Nico, and Thalia in The Demigod Files, so that they could return to their world above.
- Geokinesis (limited): As the wife of Hades and the daughter of Demeter, she can manipulate the earth, since in The Demigod Files, she splits open the ground beneath Percy, Thalia, and Nico to get them into the Underworld.
- Umbrakinesis: As the wife of Hades and Queen of the Underworld, she can control darkness and shadows, though to a somewhat lesser extend than her husband.
- Necromancy: As the wife of Hades and Queen of both the Underworld and the Dead, she has the ability to manipulate the dead to do her bidding, though to a somewhat lesser extent than her husband.
During her early life, Persephone only knew her father, her mother, and the nymphs that accompanied them. She grew up very close to her mother (she rarely saw her father Zeus) and her mother in turn became dependent upon her. When Hades kidnapped her, she did not want to stay with him, and wanted to be rescued, but over time, she fell in love with him and was relieved to be free from her mother's bossiness, nagging, and smothering for a time. She was tricked into eating the six pomegranate seeds, and though she wanted to stay with her mother, she came to value the time away from her. Demeter's relationship with her daughter is slightly unhealthy, as Demeter is only happy when she is with her daughter, but they both love each other dearly, despite the problems between them. Persephone is known to be reluctant to follow her mother's will, though, as proven in The Last Olympian.
When Hades kidnapped her, she did not want to stay with him and wanted to be rescued. He was very kind and never tried to assume control over her. He very much wanted her love and tried to buy it with many gifts at first, but then took to spending all of his day with her, trying to make her happy. He tricked her into eating the pomegranate seeds, forcing her to stay with him for half of the year. At first, Persephone despised Hades for having had the nerve to trick her (and thus force her to stay), but in time she grew to respect him and value her position as Queen of the Dead. It gave her a chance to get away from her mother. Eventually she fell in love with him and looked forward to spending her time with him, even forgiving his infidelities, as he got lonely without her. His relationship with other women, though, does makes Persephone jealous. This is shown in Percy Jackson's Greek Gods, when Persephone 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, and turned her into the plant called mint. Persephone herself has only ever cheated on her husband with the incredibly handsome mortal man Adonis, though the latter was also adored by Aphrodite. Hades, in turn, is very jealous of his wife, shown when he severely punished Theseus in Percy Jackson's Greek Heroes for attempting to kidnap her from the Underworld.
During her time in the Underworld, Hecate is one of Persephone's few friends. It is assumed they are close because according to the myth, Hecate was the first to tell Demeter what had happened to her daughter. Not much is known about their relationship, but Hecate does stay in the Underworld often.
Nico and his stepmother Persephone mutually dislike each other, as he is a reminder of Hades' affair with Maria di Angelo, who Persephone is jealous of. This same dislike appears between Percy and Amphitrite, as well as Thalia and Hera. Persephone appears to take it to another level through turning Nico into a dandelion as stated by him in The Demigod Files when Percy, Thalia, and he ended up in the Underworld together.
In The Mark of Athena, it is revealed that Nico carries around some pomegranate seeds from Persephone's garden in case of an emergency, and so uses them when he is trapped by the twin giants. It is unknown how Persephone feels about Nico using an item from her personal garden, or if she is aware at all.
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 book; 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.
- Nico is holding a grudge against her, because they once had a "family spat" and she turned him into a dandelion, though she is trying to be nice to him.
- Her appearance changes just like the seasons.
- According to Percy Jackson's Greek Gods, Adonis, the most handsome mortal man in the world, was the only one with whom Persephone ever cheated on Hades.
- She finds her mother, Demeter, highly irritable.
- She ordered the Sword of Hades to be made.
- Proserpina, a main belt asteroid 95.1 km in diameter, is named after her Roman counterpart.
- Kore is another title for Persephone (which happens to be a moon of Jupiter) meaning "The Maiden".
- Persephone's name has an unknown meaning and is speculated to mean "Destroyer of Light".
- Her sacred animals include bats, monkeys, and parrots.
- Her sacred plants include pomegranate, asphodel, narcissus, willow, lily, and
- Persephone's Norse counterpart (in terms of attributes) would be Frey.