The Underworld is where the souls of the dead go when they die. The Underworld is divided into various sections. The Judges of the Underworld decide where a soul should go based upon their life's accomplishments. In Ancient Greece, a man named King Rhadamanthus judged the dead and was later joined by King Aeacus and King Minos. It is located beneath DOA Recording Studios in Los Angeles, California.
DOA Recording Studios
- Main article: DOA Recording Studios
Door of Orpheus
- Main article: Door of Orpheus
The Door of Orpheus is a lesser-known entrance, which stands in Central Park, New York. Orpheus created it to retrieve the dead spirit of his wife, Eurydice. Music is required to open this door and Percy Jackson and Nico di Angelo used it in The Last Olympian with Grover Underwood's reed pipes. It lets out behind the main gates, therefore being more direct to Hades' palace.
The Doors of Death
- Main article: Doors of Death
The Doors of Death act as way for Thanatos to quickly enter and exit the Underworld. However, he claims that the doors aren't in a physical place and normally only he knows where they are. Unfortunately after Thanatos was captured, Gaea managed to chain down the Doors of Death in Tartarus use them to allow monsters to quickly reform and souls to return to the land of the living, such as Medea, King Midas, and Phineas.
In the film adaptation of The Lightning Thief, Percy Jackson and his friends enter the Underworld through the Hollywood Sign, following the map given to them by Luke Castellan. On the letter "H" of Hollywood, there is an Ancient Greek text. When Percy reads the text aloud "Woe to all depraved souls," a bit of the ground next to the sign crumbles away, leaving an entrance to the Underworld. More specifically, the entrance at the River Styx where Charon awaits them.
Other Entrances/Exits to the Underworld
While the above entrances are the main ways to get into the Underworld, there are other ways to get out as shown in The Demigod Files. Hades can use his keys for creating and closing the gates to the Underworld almost at will. The exact locations of these entrances are unknown.
Locations of the Underworld
- Main article: River Styx
Charon's ferry floats along this river on its way to the main gate on the Walls of Erebos. In ancient history, Achilles used the Styx to become invincible (His mother, Thetis, held him by his heel to keep him anchored to the mortal world, dipping him into the river.) Since the river is so powerful, the person bathing in it has to pick one vulnerable spot on their body to make sure they are anchored to their human life, or else they will dissolve into the river. Thus the saying "Achilles' Heel" came to be because he was defeated in his vulnerable spot, his heel. There is also a place on the human heel that is called the "Achilles Tendon", mainly because that is what scientists discovered and named with Achilles.
Luke Castellan used the river to be able to host Kronos. His weakness was a small bit of skin just under his left arm.
Getting the idea from Nico di Angelo, Percy Jackson used the river to become invincible so he could defeat Kronos. His vulnerable point was in the small of his back. Also, swearing on the River Styx is the most serious oath you can make.
- Main article: Judgment pavilion
Once a spirit enters the Underworld, it enters the Pavilion, where three spirits judge them and put them in a certain place, according to their actions during life. One of the three judges is known, King Minos. Annabeth mentions William Shakespeare and Thomas Jefferson being some of the other judges. In Greek times, a man named King Rhadamanthus judged the dead and was later joined by King Aeacus and King Minos. Now there is a select group of judges that rotate regularly.
The Fields of Punishment
- Main article: Fields of Punishment
The Fields of Punishment are fields of complete and brutal torture for souls of people who have done extreme wrongs in their lifetime.
- King Sisyphus cheated death numerous times with the first one having him chain up Thanatos so that no one can die. He even appealed to Persephone that his wife never gave him a proper funeral. Sisyphus was sentenced to roll a boulder up a hill that would roll back down when it gets close to the top, and was constantly plagued by the fact that he wanted to roll the stone up again, probably as an added side effect.
- King Tantalus was invited to dine with the gods and was said to have stolen nectar and ambrosia and brought it back to his people alongside the secret of the gods. Tantalus later chopped up his son Pelops and served him as food to the gods. Upon his death, his punishment was to stand in the middle of a lake under the branches of a fruit tree, but whenever he reached for the fruit, the branches would retreat from his grasp, and whenever he leaned down for a drink, the water would recede from him.
- Ixion was the king of the Lapiths, the most ancient tribe of Thessaly. Ixion got mad at his father in law and ended up pushing him onto a bed of coal and woods, committing the first kin-related murder. The princes of other lands ordered that Ixion be denied of any sin cleansing. Zeus took pity on Ixion and invited him to a meal on Olympus. But when he saw Hera, he fell in love with her and did some under the table caressing until Zeus signaled him to stop. Zeus created a cloud-clone of Hera to test him and Ixion made love to her which resulted in the birth of Centauros who mated with some Magnesian mares on Mount Pelion engendering the race of Centaurs who are called the Ixionidae from their descent. Zeus ended up driving Ixion from Mount Olympus and then struck him with a thunderbolt. He was sentenced to eternity in the Fields of Punishment tied to a winged flaming wheel that was always spinning. Only when Orpheus came down to the Underworld to rescue Eurydice did it stop spinning because of the music Orpheus was playing.
It has "miles of barbed wire separating the different torture areas." Some of the torture areas include being burned at the stake, running through cactus patches naked, being chased by hellhounds, and being forced to listen to opera music. It is also noted in The Lightning Thief, that there were lots of people in the Fields of Punishment. One notable prisoner is a Televangelist who used his funds to be richer and died on a police chase in his "Lamborghini for the Lord." Percy mentioned that what he believes in a different hell is exactly the Fields of Punishment and mortals just one to see what they want.
The Fields of Asphodel
- Main article: Fields of Asphodel
Souls who don't wish to be judged go to the Asphodel Fields. According to Grover, it is described as "standing in a wheat field in Kansas for eternity." Also for people who are judged and who have not done enough good or bad in their life end in Asphodel as Annabeth stated that "most people don't do good or bad in their life." Most souls forget their lives when they are in these fields.
- Main article: Elysium
Elysium is the place of paradise for the heroic and the virtuous. The souls of those who had either died a hero's death or led a virtuous life will live in peace in Elysium forever. It is where the demigod and ex-Hunter, Bianca di Angelo, went before she chose to be reborn. Charles Beckendorf, Silena Beauregard, Lee Fletcher, Michael Yew, Ethan Nakamura, and Luke Castellan are also there. In the middle of the Valley of Elysium, there is a glittering blue lake, on which is the Isles of the Blest.
According to Percy, Elysium seemed to be the only happy part of the Underworld, and beyond its gates, one could see neighborhoods of beautiful houses from every time period in history. Flowers of silver and gold blooms on the lawns, the grass ripples in rainbow colors, and one could hear laughter and smell barbecue cooking even when standing outside the gates.
Isles of the Blest
- Main article: Isles of the Blest
The Isles of the Blest is reserved for people who had chosen to be reborn three times, and three times achieved Elysium. It is described as a glittering blue lake with three small islands like a vacation resort in the Bahamas.
According to Percy Jackson, not many people live in the Isles of the Blest, and not many will, as there are few people who do good in their life, and fewer will prefer rebirth to the eternal residence in the blissful Elysium. However, he knew at his first sight of the Isles that it was where he wanted to go when he died. Annabeth also acknowledged its incredible appeal, stating that it was the ideal place for heroes.
Luke Castellan was one of those who wished to go into the Isles of the Blest, when he sacrificed himself in order to destroy Kronos. According to Nico di Angelo, his sister Bianca also choose rebirth as she was aiming for entry into the Isles of the Blest.
- Main article: Tartarus
Tartarus is the darkest and deepest area of the Underworld. Tartarus is where the gods imprison their enemies, chiefly the Titans. Kronos is known for being held there. When a monster is slain, its essence is sent to Tartarus until they can reform.
Tartarus is the lowest region of the world, as far below earth as earth is from heaven. Tartarus is described as a dark, gloomy pit, surrounded by a wall of bronze, and beyond that a three-fold layer of night. According to the Iliad, it is a 9-day anvil fall from the other regions of Hades. It was here that Annabeth and Percy spent many days trapped, searching for the doors of death.
The Fourth Age
Before the battle when Kronos ruled, he kept the Hekatonheires (Hundred-Handed Ones) and the Cyclopes in Tartarus, guarded by Kampe.
The Fifth Age
Tartarus is where Kronos, along with some other Titans, were imprisoned after the battle between the gods and the Titans. Their jailer were the Hekatonheires.
The River Lethe
- Main article: River Lethe
The River Lethe is the River of Forgetfulness, and it is used on people who try for rebirth. It has pure black water and is seen in The Demigod Files. According to Annabeth, it is strong enough to wipe the mind of a Titan, proved when Iapetus's mind is gone after he is dragged into the river by Percy. Even one drop can make people start to forget who they are. Percy held up this river in The Demigod Files to let Nico and Thalia get across.
- Main article: Hades' Palace
Hades' palace is where he lives and operates his command over the Underworld. His gate is engraved with images of death and his throne is made of bones, with a flowery throne next to it for his wife, Persephone. Hades built it to resemble Olympus even though everything is black and bronze and on Olympus, everything is silver and white. It is mentioned in The Last Olympian that Nico di Angelo has a room here.
- The main entrance to the Underworld is in Los Angeles, California. A lesser known fact is that the full name of this city is el pueblo de Nuestra Señora, Reina de los ángeles. In English, this means, "the city of our Lady, Queen of the Angels". This could be a reference to Persephone, who is Queen of the Underworld, or, city of Angels, though it is doubtful that this is what the Roman Catholic Spaniards intended when they founded the city.
- The map of the Underworld places Cerberus before the Judgement Pavilion, however in The Son of Neptune, Frank and Hazel are in a blackout together when they pass Cerberus after the Judgement Pavilion.