Let’s Talk Mythology #4: Hades Loves Kidnapping And So Should You

Hello, everyone! I just finished watching The Office (three years after it end nbd) and I’m distraught. Glad everything worked out the way it should, but why can’t a television series last forever ? Anyway, time to delve back into the twisted, yet devilishly entertaining world of Greek mythology. On the agenda: how Hades found a wife…who he kidnapped and forced into wedlock.

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Kidnapping is the secret ingredient in all happy marriages

The story starts with Hades, god of the Underworld who, in spite of his flawed characterization in Hercules, is actually a pretty chill dude who prefers his “gloomy palace in the underworld” to Olympus. In modern times, Hades would be your average recluse avoiding Saturday night plans. He’s someone we can all identify with.

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There was one problem with Hades’ underworld palace: he was a bachelor. Naturally, as all bachelor gods must do, he cast his eyes about the world and searched for a bride. Thus, like a clumsy rom-com heroine, Persephone fell into his path.

[Persephone] was the daughter of Demeter, goddess of the harvest, and her mother loved her so dearly that she could not bear to have her out of her sight…Wherever Persephone danced on her light feet, flowers sprang up. She was so lovely and full of grace that even Hades, who saw so little, noticed her and fell in love with her.

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I see it now! Hades and Persephone were the original Jim and Pam. Like Jim, Hades watched Persephone from afar, desperately in love. I assume that next, Hades will buy her a teapot full of inside jokes and kiss her at Casino Night.

Hades wanted her for his queen, but he knew that her mother would never consent to part with her, so he decided to carry her off.

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That’s one way to accomplish things

Being an all-powerful god, Hades doesn’t need to rely on stealth or cunning to kidnap his beautiful bride. Instead, while Persephone was wandering the fields one afternoon, he split the ground with an enormous chasm, galloped to the surface with his black steeds, plucked Persephone from the field, and disappeared. Simple, yet effective.

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These Greek gods had major style. If they wanted to punish someone, they turned them into a goddamn spider or a cow or even a tree. If they wanted to kidnap someone, they were like “fuck this ground” and split it in half. Nowadays they would probably be thought of as terrorists, but back then all the mere mortals could do was cower and get used to eating grass.

Persephone is understandably terrified by the kidnap, but she’s only the daughter of a goddess and has no way of stopping Hades. Though she’s weeping with fear, Hades leads her down to his palace and tries to comfort his kidnapped bride with a lure irresistible to all women: jewelry.

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He seated her beside him on a throne of black marble, and decked her with gold and precious stones. But the jewels brought her no joy…the gardener of the underworld offered her the tempting pomegranates to the queen, but Persephone refused to touch the food of the dead. Wordlessly, she walked through the garden at silent Hades’ side and slowly her heart turned to ice.

Poor Hades can’t do anything right. Back in Olympus, Demeter frantically searches for her lost daughter. Even though the gods can see LITERALLY EVERYTHING and you know that Zeus knows where Hades took Persephone, no one tells Demeter where her daughter is. Seriously, you want me to believe that Athena can hear a peasant girl insult her from all the way up on Mt. Olympus, but not a single god sees Hades open up a field and kidnap a member of their own family? I say they’re being douchebags.

. Without Demeter to nurture the world’s harvests, the earth faces a perpetual winter. The crops died, mortals starved, wars were fought (I assume), and even though the gods beg Demeter to bless the Earth , she won’t do it until she finds her daughter again.

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Bent with grief, Demeter turned into a gray old woman. She returned to the meadow where Persephone had vanished and asked the sun if he had seen what had happened, but he said no, dark clouds had hidden his face that day. She wandered around the meadow and after a while she met a youth whose name was Triptolemus. He told her that his brother, a swineherd, had seen his pigs disappear into the ground and had heard the frightened screams of a girl. Demeter now understood that Hades her kidnapped her daughter.

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Unfortunately, Demeter has no power to compel Hades to return Persephone to the world of the living. Though you would think that simple human decency would make him do such a thing, but, alas, no. Demeter gives Zeus an ultimatum: if he doesn’t command Hades to return Persephone, Demeter will never make the world green again and everyone will die. Zeus gives Hades the command, not because he cares a whit about Persephone, but because he doesn’t want the whole earth to die. And if you think that’s callous, wait until you read about all the other women Zeus kidnapped/ raped/ impregnated.

Even Hades had to obey the orders of Zeus, and sadly he said farewell to his queen. Joyfully, Persephone leaped to her feet, but as she was leaving with Hermes, a hooting laugh came from the garden. There stood the gardener of Hades, grinning. He pointed to a pomegranate from which a few of the kernels were missing. Persephone, lost in thought, had eaten the seeds, he said.

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Wow, gardener of the underworld, just wow. I have to wonder what could make someone so bitter that they would prevent a kidnapped girl from reuniting with her mother over some pomegranate seeds. Hades lets Persephone return to Demeter, only to remind her that since she tasted the food of the dead, she must return to the underworld. Demeter and Persephone are devastated. Douchebag Zeus doesn’t use his ultimate authority to place a restraining order on Hades and keep Persephone away from her kidnapper forever. Instead he agrees that Persephone must return to Hades, but since Demeter almost killed the world last time Persephone left, he said that Persephone must only return to Hades for three months of the year, one month for every seed she ate.

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And this is why the Greek gods fell out of fashion. Someday or another, you have to wake up and realize that there’s a golden rule of kidnapping: don’t give the victim back to their kidnapper. It’s Kidapping 101 and I’m surprised that Zeus, a master kidnapper himself, doesn’t  realize this. This is why Greece turned to Jesus.

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Though this is a horrible story of kidnapping, it’s also Greek mythology’s way of explaining the reason for the seasons. If Hades hadn’t kidnapped Persephone, we never would’ve had winter. Come to think of it, that sounds like a wonderful situation. You suck Hades.

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What is the dubious moral? 1) Do not go out wandering by yourself in a meadow! 2) If you are kidnapped, it’s better to starve than eat the food of your kidnapper. 3) If you do crack and eat his food, a gardener will betray you. 4) Never leave your house.

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