|“||I thought Zeus would have killed you by now||”|
Hephaestus (Hēphaistos) was a Greek god, whose Roman equivalent was Vulcanus, though in Roman Mythology he is not considered to be the "Fallen" god and has a higher status than his Greek form. His mother was Hera, who gave birth to him either alone or with Zeus. He was the god of technology, blacksmiths, craftsmen, artisans, sculptors, metals, metallurgy, fire, and volcanoes. He served as the blacksmith of the gods, and he was worshiped in the manufacturing and industrial centers of Greece, particularly in Athens.
The center of his cult was in Lemnos. Hephaestus' symbols are a smith's hammer, an anvil and a pair of tongs, although sometimes he is portrayed holding an axe. Hephaestus is the only Olympian God to have been exiled from Olympus and return. In a Homeric version of Hephaestus' myth, Hera, mortified to have such a grotesque offspring, promptly threw him from Mount Olympus. He fell nine days and nights and landed in the ocean. Hephaestus, being the most unfaltering of the gods, was given Aphrodite's hand in marriage by Zeus in order to prevent conflict over her between the other gods. However, this did not stop her from having secret affairs with other men, be it mortal or god. It was Ares she was attracted to the most, something that Helios told Hephaestus after catching them in an affair.
Hephaestus created an invisible net and hung it above his bed, making sure it was completely hidden. Then he told his wife that he was going on a trip. The moment her husband was gone, Aphrodite invited Ares for a visit. The lovers went to bed, but the net fell on them while they were making love. It was impossible for the couple either to escape or to separate. The more they tried, the more they became tangled. Hephaestus then invited the other gods to see their shameful position, in further mockery. Naked and damp, their limbs entangled in each other's and in the golden web that held them. After publicly humiliating them, Aphrodite and Hephaestus' relationship became bitter, and Hephaestus grew to dislike Ares even more.
In the God of War Series
Pre-God of War
Before his elder brother Ares' death, and Kratos opening Pandora's Box, Hephaestus was the most prized craftsmen of all Olympus, and was rewarded with marriage to Aphrodite. Hephaestus' deformed appearance may be due to being brutally attacked by Zeus after the King of the Gods was filled with the Evil Fear, and became enraged with Kratos' retrieval of the Box.
Chains of Olympus
Hephaestus was mentioned as the creator of the Gauntlet of Zeus. It is said in the description of the item that Zeus demanded him to craft a weapon that would bind the Titans to the very walls of Tartarus. Thus was created the Gauntlet of Zeus.
God of War III
When Kratos traveled through the underworld after being dislodged from Gaia, he stumbled upon Hephaestus in his forge. After exchanging insults, Hephaestus revealed that although Zeus was the one to imprison him. Kratos was in fact the true source of his torment, though Kratos insists he did the Smith God no wrong and that he is after only one Olympian. "Well, as long as it's one Olympian," chuckled Hephaestus. When Kratos inquired about the Flame of Olympus, Hephaestus told of how everyone on Olympus knew and respected it. He continued to warn Kratos, saying that it was powerful enough to kill both man and god. When Kratos insisted upon knowing its location, Hephaestus sarcastically replied by stating that if Kratos could find his way out of the Underworld, he could find the Flame as well. "You have been truly helpful, Hephaestus," Kratos sarcastically replied back.
After killing Hades, Kratos returned to the forge, informing the Smith God of his triumph over the God of the Underworld. The Smith God chuckled, "Dead? Hades deserved to suffer, though I thought his death would be impossible." "Olympians overestimate themselves," said Kratos. Hephaestus replied, laughing, "Interesting. I will keep that in mind, Spartan." Kratos looked at a Hyperion Gate nearby, but the Smith God told him, "You need the soul of a God to use the Hyperion Gates, Kratos. And that one has not been used for centuries. I'm sure it's broken; otherwise I would have seen my beautiful...You know Kratos, I wasn't always like this: a monster!" Hephaestus then regaled Kratos with his past life as the prized craftsman of the gods, but concluded by stating that his perfect life ended when Kratos killed Ares. Furthermore, the girl whom he considered his daughter, Pandora, had been taken away from him by Zeus, never to return. He had tried to recreate her in the forge ever since, but failed time and time again. He asked Kratos to retrieve Pandora for him, but Kratos dismissed his request, stating he had other concerns, although Hephaestus tried to persuade Kratos again by reminding the Ghost of Sparta about his own role as a father. Kratos, visibly touched, paused for a moment, before leaving the Forge.
Kratos returned to Hephaestus through the Hyperion Gate connecting the Forge with Aphrodite's bedchamber. At first Hephaestus believed it to be his wife, before recoiling at the sight of Kratos. He asked humorously if Aphrodite had "conquered another God of War". Kratos called that a question Hephaestus should ask his wife, demanding to know the whereabouts of the Labyrinth, to which Hephaestus expressed some confusion as he thought Kratos was only searching for the Flame of Olympus. He quickly realized that Pandora was being held in the Labyrinth and that Kratos intended to use her as a means of destroying the Flame. Hephaestus angrily told Kratos to stay away from Pandora, citing that he was the reason both of them were imprisoned, to which Kratos retorted that he did them no wrong. Hephaestus countered, saying it was because he opened the box, but Kratos replied that he "did what had to be done", at which point Hephaestus began to unfold a bigger picture: The Evils from the first Titanomachy could not easily be contained. That is why Hephaestus forged Pandora's Box in a power greater than the Gods: the Flame of Olympus. As the raw metal took its shape, he realized that the flame was the safest and only place to protect it.
To open the Box, he forged a key that took on its own life and took the form of a teenage girl; neither living nor dead. Dubbed Pandora, the two would grow to love each other as father and daughter. Aware that Zeus would take Pandora from him, Hephaestus hid the girl away and lied to Zeus, saying the safest place to keep the Box was on top of Cronos' back. After Kratos used the box to kill Ares, Zeus, driven by madness and fear, angrily battered Hephaestus until he revealed his deceit, despite the fact that Zeus had actually aided Kratos on his quest to retrieve the box from Pandora's Temple. Zeus subsequently took Pandora from her father, and sent him to the Underworld. Hephaestus then desperately attempted to dissuade Kratos from finding Pandora, but the Ghost of Sparta claimed that nothing would stop him from destroying Zeus. Running out of options, Hephaestus decided to kill Kratos. The smith god first faked wanting to help him, and told the Spartan to travel to the Pit of Tartarus in order to find the Omphalos Stone, so that he could make a weapon for Kratos. Kratos initially did not want a new weapon, stating he already had plenty, but Hephaestus insisted the weapon he would create would be a "special" one that would "give him the retribution he deserved". However, when Kratos entered the door that led toward Tartarus, Hephaestus sealed the door shut, snickering out loud.
Whilst on his quest, Kratos battled the Titan Cronos, and slew him, taking the Omphalos Stone from his body. Returning to Hephaestus, Kratos was furious, as he believed the Smith God had sent him on a suicide mission. Hephaestus pleaded innocence, claiming that he knew the Ghost of Sparta could handle himself. After completing the Nemesis Whip, Hephaestus tried electrocuting Kratos with his Ring in a final attempt to kill him, shouting, "Here is your retribution!"
Kratos managed to shake off the effect as Hephaestus tried to kill him with his hammer but the Spartan deflects it. Kratos then uses his new weapons to electrocute and kill Hephaestus by impaling him on his own anvil. In his dying words, the smith god pleaded with Kratos to spare his daughter, as well as begging for Pandora's forgiveness, after which he passed away.
After this Kratos appeared to bear no ill will towards Hephaestus for this betrayal however, as he later told Pandora that Hephaestus he had died after he did what any father should: protect the life of his child.
Powers and Abilities
Hephaestus, as a god was immortal, and possessed regeneration and super strength, as well as the ability to shapeshift, although clearly to a lesser extent than the other deities. He was also a masterful blacksmith, forging powerful artifacts such as Pandora's Box and the Gauntlet of Zeus. Even after his fall from grace, Hephaestus retained his skill, being able to make several flawless statues in Pandora's likeness (albeit unable to breathe life into them as he had with the original), and forging the Nemesis Whip out of nothing but the Omphalos Stone and his bare hands in very short notice. As the god of fire, Hephaestus is completely immune to the element. During his conversations with Kratos, Hephaestus can be seen sitting in molten, boiling lava, without so much as flinching. During his battle against Kratos, it was revealed that he can discharge electric charges from his ring. But even being a god, he was killed off far easier than the other gods, of whom most had been weakened by extreme power or killed by divine weaponry. (It is possible that the anvil which impaled and killed Hephaestus was considered a godly weapon/item. This would explain why it was able to kill Hephaestus, a God.)
Out of all the Gods Of Olympus, Hephaestus was the most benevolent to Kratos besides Athena. Hephaestus loved the things he forged and created, with his most cherished creation being Pandora, whom he came to love as his own daughter. However, Hephaestus had very low self-esteem due to the fact that his mother Hera hated him despite bragging of his talent, and also because his wife Aphrodite cheated on him with Ares and then Kratos. Hephaestus was most likely infected with the evils Misery and/or Deceit after Kratos opened Pandora's Box to destroy Ares and after Zeus brutally beat him and kidnapped Pandora.
- Rip Torn, who provided Hephaestus' voice, ironically voiced Zeus in the Disney movie, Hercules.
- Judging from his constant depression over Pandora and two attempts at killing Kratos, Hephaestus was most likely infected with the evils Misery and Deceit from Pandora's box. Albeit he showed no intent to deceive or betray the warrior until Kratos became a threat to his daughter's life, intentionally or not. His sadness also might have been caused by Zeus' brutal and merciless punishment for keeping Pandora and taking her away from him. He also lied to Kratos that he would help him destroy Zeus and asked him to bring him the Omphalos Stone so that a new weapon could be built. This however was merely a suicide mission so he would protect Pandora from Kratos.
- Interestingly, no significant event happens upon the death of Hephaestus, though he was the god of volcanoes, smithery, forging, and similar things dealing with fire. The GoW Community theorized his death triggered the eruption of volcanoes.
- In a way, Hephaestus himself was indirectly responsible for bringing about his own demise, as Pandora's Box was designed to forever contain the evils of the Titanomachy, and yet, he created Pandora as a key to retrieve the box. Whatever reason compelled him to create a means, while it was never meant to be opened again is unknown. Hephaestus blaming Kratos for his suffering is therefore a meaningless argument.
- Similar to Gaia, Hephaestus first aided Kratos—in this case by crafting him a new weapon—only to turn his back on him.
- Helios informed Hephaestus about Ares and Aphrodite's affair in Greek Mythology, hence Hephaestus remark on Aphrodite having conquered another god of war.
- Kratos seemed to have little to no lingering animosity over the Smith God's betrayal, later telling Pandora that Hephaestus died doing what any father should do: protecting the life of his child. This meant that Kratos completely understood why Hephaestus tried to kill Kratos in the first place and Kratos would have done the same in that situation.
- Kratos and Hephaestus have similar lives, as both had a family, both were attacked by their father, Zeus, both would do anything to protect their children, both treated Pandora like a daughter, and both were cast down from Olympus.
- Hephaestsus' right eye is horribly scarred, most likely as a result of being tortured by Zeus.
- The fact that he was killed off so easily by Kratos, by stabbing him on his own anvil, might implied that Zeus removed certain of his godly abilities after his betrayal, as similar to what he had done to Kratos and Prometheus.
- During Kratos' third encounter with Hephaestus, he warned him to stay away from Pandora, which is strange because when Kratos met the Smith God for the second time, Hephaestus asked Kratos to rescue Pandora. Perhaps the change of heart occurred after Hephaestus realized the reason why he was searching for the Labyrinth and Pandora: to destroy the Flame of Olympus, which will require the sacrifice of Pandora's life in the process.
- In Greek mythology, Hephaestus was born ugly and cast down from Olympus for this reason. In the God of War mythos, however, Hephaestus was once normal-looking but this was changed when he was tortured and deformed by Zeus.
- Interestingly, the Smith God had nothing to do with the creation of the Gods' most powerful weapon, the Blade of Olympus.
- Hephaestus' power over electricity seems to be a common trait from his family. His father (Zeus), uncle (Poseidon) and grandfather (Cronos) all possess this ability.