|“||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.
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.
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. Hephaestus chuckled at Kratos' comment and told him about the Flame of Olympus. He warned him that the flames were lethal to both Man and God. Kratos then asked the Smith God where he could find the Flame of Olypmus; Hephaestus sarcastically replied that if he could find his way out of the Underworld, he could find the Flame.
After killing Hades, Kratos returned to the forge, informing the Smith God of his triumph over the God of the Underworld. Hephaestus chuckled, amused by the fact that Hades was killed. He told Kratos a bit of how he came to the Underworld. Kratos pointed towards a Hyperion Gate, and Hephaestus told him that he would need the soul of a God in order to use it and assumed it was broken, as he would have seen his wife if it wasn't. While imprisoned in the Underworld, he kept trying to re-create Pandora, but failed, so he asked the Spartan to retrieve her. Kratos showed no intention of fulfilling his request, so he reminded him of himself as a father; while Kratos was visibly touched for a moment, he left the Forge without saying anything.
Kratos returned from Aphrodite's bedchambers through the Hyperion Gate, returning to Hephaestus' prison. He initially elated that Aphrodite had come to pay him a visit, but was disappointed when it was Kratos instead. He sarcastically asked him if his wife had "conquered another God of War" and Kratos told him that it should be something he should ask her himself. Kratos then asked him if he knew where the Labyrinth was - he was confused at first, but realized that Kratos intended to find Pandora and angrily told the Spartan to stay away from her, citing that he was the reason why they were both imprisoned.
As he created Pandora's Box to hold the evils of the Great War, he realized that keeping it in the Flame of Olympus would be the safest place for it. However, because the "key" (Pandora) created a life of its own and created a father-daughter relationship with him, Hephaestus could not bear to keep the Box there and told Zeus that it would be safer on Cronos' back, as no Mortal could best the Titan. However, this was revealed to be a ruse when Kratos extracted the Box from him, and an enraged Zeus pummeled Hephaestus until he revealed the truth of his deceit. Zeus apprehended Pandora and left her in the Labyrinth, and imprisoned Hephaestus in the Underworld for his actions. He tried to convince Kratos again, but the Spartan told him that he would stop at nothing to have his vengeance.
Seemingly disappointed, Hephaestus told Kratos that the death of Zeus would outweigh losing Pandora, and told him that he would create a new weapon to give him the "vengeance that he rightfully deserves". Kratos stated that he had weapons, but the Smith God insisted on making the weapon from him. He told Kratos to find the Omphalos Stone, and that it was located in the Pits of Tartarus. Kratos entered Tartarus to find the Stone, and Hephaestus closed the doors behind him, laughing loudly, revealing his deceit - he knew the Stone was inside the Titan Cronos, and assumed that the Spartan was no match for him.
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!"
Hephaestus chuckled as he watched Kratos struggle against the electricity, but panicked when he shrugged it off and attempted to pummel the Spartan with his hammer. Kratos managed to throw the hammer away, after which he used the Nemesis Whip to electrocute the Smith God, his ring falling into the lava. Kratos then hit a lever, causing an anvil spike to impale Hephaestus in the stomach. 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.
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 do: protecting 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.
- In Greek Mythology, Helios informed Hephaestus about Ares and Aphrodite's affair. This is referenced when Hephaestus remarks 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 means 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 imply that Zeus removed a certain amount of his godly abilities after his betrayal, which is 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 by Hera for this reason, an act which broke his legs and condemned him to limp for the rest of his life. In the God of War mythos, however, Hephaestus was once normal-looking but this was changed when he was tortured and deformed by Zeus. It's unknown if he's also limp since he's always seen sitting in his forge.
- 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.
- Cronos and Hephaestus shared some similarities, in addition to their genealogic tree: both were banished to Tartarus by Zeus after Kratos opened Pandora's Box for the first time and both of their corpses can be seen from The Forge after Kratos kill Hephaestus.
- Hephaestus is one of the few gods that Kratos kills in pure self-defence, since the Spartan always insisted to have no interest in taking the smith god's life until Hephaestus himself tries to kill him.
- The novelization of God of War claims that Hephaestus is the one who forged the Blades of Chaos, while the original game mentions they were forged by Ares in the Underworld. Since the Forge is indeed located in the Underworld, it's possible that Ares merely commissioned them to the Olympian blacksmith.