The publication of my three Greek Gods books could not have been better planned. Within weeks of their release in late 2009, Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning Thief, a movie based on a book by Rick Riordan, was released. It galvanized a great interest in students to know more about the Greek Gods, which the movie is based upon (Percy’s life resembles that of Greek hero Perseus).
The three Greek Gods I wrote about are Hephaestus-god of the forge; Hermes–the messenger god; and Hades-god of the Underworld (all published by Mitchell Lane).
The middle school where I work in the library has a hard time keeping these titles on the shelves. Male students, especially, seem interested in the Greek gods.
Here is p. 1 of my book on Hephaestus (reprinted with permission of the publisher). The mythological life of Hephaestus abounded with intrigue, mystery, and excitement. Who was Hephaestus’ father? Why did Hephaestus’ mother refuse to reveal his name? Who would be the recipient of Hephaestus’ prized gift of a bronze net– or is it really a curse?
Please leave me a note after reading about Hephaestus. What do you think of the god the Greeks created to explain fire? Would you want to be around him? Does his personality resemble someone in your life? I look forward to hearing from each of you.
I’ll talk more about writing these book on the Greek gods — what helpful hint I discovered for research; what I chose to include in the books and what I chose to leave out — in future posts. Stay tuned.
Profiles in Greek and Roman Mythology: Hephaestus
Chapter 1: The First Fall
With a deafening clang, the heavy hammer slammed against the fiery-hot anvil, creating sparks in the blackened cave. Bent low over his work, Hephaestus (heh-FES-tus) barely noticed the raucous noise. Day after day, he stood at the forge, heating metal in the flames until it glowed red, orange, yellow, and finally white. At that stage he knew the metal had softened and could be shaped.
After years of swinging his heavy hammer, his sweaty muscles were huge. Bending, twisting, he held the hot piece with a pair of tongs, pounding gold and bronze sections into a variety of resplendent and useful items. The metal might become a nail, sword, or even a goddess’ canopy bed. The Greek god of the forge could create them all.
Usually Hephaestus worked on assignment, making items others had requested. A long list awaited his attention, but his current project took priority.
He was making a throne for his mother, Hera (HAYR-uh). The royal seat he had designed would delight the queen of the gods, Hephaestus knew, as it was like no other in Olympus. Golden cuckoos and willow leaves decorated the back, a full moon hung above it, and white fur adorned the seat.
Hephaestus smiled grimly as he pictured Hera’s pleased expression upon seeing the graceful throne. He had made it fancier than any of the other thrones on Mount Olympus. “When my mother sits on it,” he chortled, “she will know how much I love her.”
Hephaestus’ reputation was well known. He had become skilled after spending years at his forge. Everyone knew he preferred working at his forge than being with people…
(Story continued on p. 2 in the book)