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Triptolemus

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Frank Zhang, I forgive you! You've got spunk. If you ever change your mind, my offer is open. I'd love to see you get a degree in farming!

–Triptolemus to Frank Zhang, in The House of Hades

Triptolemus, also known as Trip or Buzyges, was the mortal son of Celeus and Metanira, but later became an immortal lieutenant to Demeter as the God of Farming. He was equally associated with the bestowal of hope for the afterlife and with the expansion of the Eleusinian Mysteries.

Triptolemus was depicted as a young man with a branch or diadem placed in his hair, usually sitting on his winged chariot, which was adorned with serpents. His attributes include a plate of grain, a pair of wheat or barley ears, and a scepter.

Percy Jackson's Greek Gods

While Demeter (in the guise of an old woman) was searching for her daughter, Persephone, who had been abducted by Hades, she received an exceptionally hospitable welcome from Queen Metanira of Eleusis.

Touched by Metanira's kindness, Demeter partially confessed her plight (her daughter had been kidnapped), and Triptolemus, Metanira's firstborn son, pledged to help her find her daughter by sending out riders to gather news and spread word of the abduction. They also persuaded Demeter to stay with them as an honored guest in the meantime.

In gratitude for Metanira's and Triptolemus' hospitality and subsequent aid, Demeter secretly planned to make the infant Demophon (Metanira's younger son as well as Triptolemus' younger brother) immortal through a magical ritual: every night, she fed him a mixture of milk and nectar, whispered powerful blessings of protection over him, and placed him in the fireplace to burn away his mortal essence. However, she was unable to complete the ritual as Metanira walked in on her on the third night, and snatched Demophon out of the fireplace.

Though his mother ordered the guards to arrest Demeter, Triptolemus noticed how his brother was completely unharmed, and how she looked more exasperated than guilty or frightened. It was then that Demeter assumed her true form as the radiant golden-haired Goddess of Agriculture, explained her intentions of making Demophon a god, and rebuked Metanira for having irrevocably destroyed her magic. In the midst of his mother's apologies to the goddess, Triptolemus gave Demeter news he had just received regarding Persephone. An excited Demeter gave Triptolemus thanks beyond measure, promised to reward him handsomely after she had reclaimed her daughter, then turned into a turtledove and flew out the window.

True to her word, after she had reclaimed Persephone, Demeter rewarded Triptolemus: she gave him a serpent-wheeled chariot of his own, and made him her immortal lieutenant as the God of Farming. She taught him the art of agriculture and, from him, the rest of Greece learned to plant and reap crops.

The Heroes of Olympus

The House of Hades

After Hazel Levesque, Frank Zhang, and Nico di Angelo were attacked by katoblepones in Italy, Triptolemus protected them from harm in his home. However, when he learned that Nico and Hazel were children of Hades/Pluto, he became angry and refused to help them. When Nico threatened the god with his Stygian iron sword, Triptolemus turned him into a corn plant. Given his past history with the Lord of the Underworld, having two of his children in his temple was insulting. He rounded on Frank as well, who quickly informed him that he was a child of Mars. Triptolemus remarked that that was not much better. He cheered on slightly, when Frank returned his almanac, leaving out the fact that it had been the Kerkopes who had stolen it in the first place.

Triptolemus agreed to let Frank go, but insisted that he couldn't release two children of the Underworld, not after the crimes Hades committed against Demeter. As Frank tried to remember why Demeter didn't like Hades, Triptolemus snapped at him for using the Roman name Proserpine, rather than the Greek Persephone. At that, the voice of Mars ordered Frank to kill him. The voice of Ares agreed, but held a more favorable opinion of his aunt's lieutenant. Triptolemus finally agreed to help Nico and Hazel, if Frank would stay on as his apprentice, something the centurion did not want to do. Instead, Frank promised to fix his chariot by finding him another serpent, adding that Hazel was a favorite of Hecate, the goddess who lit the way for Demeter as she searched for Persephone. Triptolemus saw Hecate's reasons for sending them there; he told Frank to fix his chariot or his friends would be killed and he would be transformed into sorghum.

With his father's blessing, Frank fought every katobleps in Italy and managed to defeat them, using his shapeshifting gifts along the way -- transforming into an elephant, a lion, and a dragon. Once he had succeeded in his mission, Mars appeared before him and granted him what he sought: a serpent. The god said that his victory united his Greek and Roman aspects, if only for a moment. He urged him to save his friends, but warned him that his greatest task was yet to come. He started to tell him something about his upcoming confrontation with Gaea's armies in Epirus, but was unable to before he split back into Ares.

It was only when inside Triptolemus' temple that Frank noticed that he'd been blessed by Mars in another way, as well -- he had physically grown taller, making him appear much buffer and less pudgy. He marched into the temple with the serpent and demanded that the god help his friends. Even after ensuring that the snake would work, Triptolemus tried to back out, due to his dislike of Frank's tone. However, Frank strangled the god and warned him to watch his next words, forcing the god to swear on the River Styx that he would help Nico and Hazel.

Using his herbs, Triptolemus healed Hazel from her injuries sustained in the battle with the katoblepones. She noted that Frank had physically grown taller, something that surprised him. Immediately after, Nico was returned to human form and he wondered aloud why Frank had grown taller. Reluctantly, Triptolemus told them how they would survive at the House of Hades. He told them that in the temple, they would be offered a chalice of deadly poison that they must drink, as it would tie them to the world of the dead. He added that barley was the secret to surviving the poison. He said the barley would absorb the worst of the poison, but would allow them to enter the temple. Then the god boarded his chariot, heading out to instruct the world about agriculture.

Appearance

In Percy Jackson's Greek Gods, Triptolemus was described as a handsome young man.

In The House of Hades, Triptolemus is described as a young man with curly black hair and a friendly smile, wearing jeans and a denim shirt. He is usually seen riding in a winged red-and-gold chariot, with two pythons wrapped around the rims of its wheels.

Abilities

Triptolemus presumably possesses the standard powers of a god.

  • Chlorokinesis: As the God of Farming, Triptolemus has divine authority and absolute control over plants, though to a lesser degree compared to Demeter and Persephone. He could either grant or enhance the fertility of the earth, turning barren plains into fertile fields, and encourage orchards to bear fruit and flowers to bloom.
  • Geokinesis (limited): As the God of Farming, Triptolemus could increase the fertility of soil as well as the output of crops. He was also eager to teach others "the glories of tilling, irrigation, fertilizing".
  • Transfiguration: As shown by how he swiftly transformed Nico di Angelo into a maize plant, Triptolemus was capable of transfiguration.
  • Knowledge of Plants: Triptolemus was shown to be knowledgeable in plants and herbs, given how he used herbs to heal Hazel from her ingestion of katoblepones' poisonous breath, and how he knew to utilise barley to survive drinking from the chalice of poison at the Necromanteion.

Trivia

  • In the series, Triptolemus was also called Trip, a name only his friends should call him.
  • Triptolemus' name means "pounding husks."