|“||Bravo! Bravo! Our hero has arrived. Applause for another bastard child of Zeus, just in time for the final act.||”|
Hera was the Olympian Goddess of Women and Marriage, and the sister and wife of Zeus. She was also the mother of Ares and Hephaestus. She is also Queen of the Gods. She is a minor antagonist in God of War III.
In Greek mythology, Hera was the goddess of marriage, protector of women, and Queen of the Gods. Wife to Zeus and also one of the original six Olympian gods, Hera is sister to Zeus, Poseidon, Demeter, Hades, and Hestia as well. As Zeus' wife and queen, Hera was frequently enraged by her husband's constant adulterous escapades, and she often went out of her way to punish his mistresses and illegitimate children. She had a particular hatred of Hercules, and famously orchestrated most of the hardships and tragic events of his life, including his famous Twelve Labors. With her husband Zeus, Hera was the mother of Ares, Hebe, Eileithyia, and Eris. Hephaestus was also sometimes called a son of Zeus and Hera, but other accounts say that she gave birth to him without a father after Zeus brought forth Athena seemingly without a mother.
Her Roman equivalent was Juno.
In the God of War series
Again without appearing herself, Hera is mentioned when her favorite pet, the giant beast Argos, tries to stop Kratos. After it is killed by an unknown assassin, Kratos is blamed by the Gods for its murder, at the same time being stopped from uncovering the truth.
|“||You look terrible, dear.||”|
–Hera to Kratos
Sometime later, Kratos finds her again in her garden, weakened by the plagues that are killing her plants. Angered and still drunk, she tells him that she told Zeus to kill him the day he was born, but he took pity on him, much to her anger. Blaming him for her garden's state, she yells to Kratos that he is destroying the entire world with his actions, even attempting to ineffectually strike him in the process. After Kratos repels her, she staggers away, declaring that his "simple mind" will never find a way out of her gardens.
In order for Kratos to reach and extinguish the The Flame of Olympus, he must pass through the marble-walled maze, even taking Hera's Chalice to activate a statue in aiding his passage. As he nears the end of the garden, he comes across Hera once more. She goads Kratos by calling Pandora 'that little whore', causing him to lose control, snapping her neck and silencing her voice forever. With her death, all flora on Olympus, and on Earth withers and dies.
In death, Hera becomes Kratos' involuntary aid in escaping, as he uses her corpse to weigh down several pressure plates.
Hera was shown to be a heavy drinker and an ill-tempered woman when she encountered Kratos on Olympus. Likely due to the effects of the evils from Pandora's Box, Hera displayed traits of Gluttony and Sloth, barely able to stand and lounging while her two stepsons fought each other.
She was furious at Kratos for the damage he was causing to the world, mourning the plants she was unable to protect nor restore. She charged at Kratos during his journey to the Labyrinth, although she was far too weak at that point to inflict any damage, and was easily pushed aside by Kratos. Soon after, her offensive comments about Pandora enrage Kratos to the point where he snaps her neck like a twig, killing her.
Traits that seemed to be a part of her rather than caused by Pandora's Box were her hatred for Zeus' illegitimate children, (interestingly she hated her own son Hephaestus) and her unwillingness to let Kratos near Pandora. Ironically, Hera seemed to enjoy the idea of Kratos murdering her husband, yet by allowing this to happen, Olympus would fall and the world would be driven to chaos, the very things she blamed Kratos for causing.
Hera, as a goddess, was immortal and presumably possessed many godly powers, including the power to control and manipulate plants (although in Greek mythology, that role belongs to Demeter). However, the exact abilities Hera may have had are not shown at all, and due to her very quick death, it can be surmised that she was one of the weaker Olympians, at least in this interpretation. It can also be assumed that the death of numerous Olympians (Kratos had already killed Poseidon, Hades, Helios, Hermes, Athena, Ares, Hephaestus, and Thanatos by this point) and the present plague weakened Hera to such an extent that she could be easily killed. It probably did not help that she was drunk and in a state of intense depression. She may have had the ability to teleport, as she was seen at the Olympus' Garden rather quickly while it took Kratos a good while to traverse through the maze.
And because this interpretation of Hera was the Goddess of plant life, her death caused all of the world's plants to wither and die. It may well be that Hera was forced to take over this role from Demeter, who was grieving from the death of her daughter, Persephone. It is known that Demeter grieved when Persephone was forced to leave her to spend time in the Underworld with Hades, so having lost her daughter altogether would have made Demeter inconsolable. However, Demeter never appeared in the series (although she is mentioned several times), so it may be presumed that Hera was given her role.
- Hera is voiced by Adrienne Barbeau.
- After her second encounter with Kratos, Hera throws away her chalice, leaving it for Kratos to be picked up freely. Due to the role of its embedded jewel in solving the subsequent puzzles, it is the only mandatory Godly Possession in the game.
- It would seem that Hera has somewhat of an attraction to emeralds. Both the necklace retrieved by Kratos in Pandora's Temple in God of War, as well as the chalice she is seen drinking from in God of War III, have a large emerald set in them.
- Based on the murals throughout Olympus, as well as her statue in Pandora's Temple, it can be inferred that Hera's aged image is the result of her becoming weaker due to the deaths of the other gods, as well as that of plant life. Her early concept art also depicted her as being younger looking and very similar in appearance to her portrait in the hall of the Flame of Olympus.
- Given her constant drinking, the evil of Pandora's Box that infected Hera was most likely Gluttony. Her pompous behavior may also indicate pride.
- Strangely, when Kratos kills Hera, her plague involves the death of the plants on Olympus, and possibly, the world, but she is not the goddess in control of nature. That role belongs to her sister Demeter. It is possible that since Demeter did not appear in the game, her role as Goddess of Nature and plant life was given to Hera instead. However, it is stated by Hera that her power is merely keeping the plants in her garden alive, as they are already dying from a lack of sunlight.
- Though, considering the demise of Persephone at the hands of Kratos in Chains of Olympus, it is possible that Demeter became so distraught and heartbroken by the permanent loss of her daughter, that she was incapable of fulfilling her role in as the Goddess of Nature, as she could not overcome the sadness over Persephone's death. It is possible that Zeus relieved Demeter of her role and gave it to his wife Hera, much like how Kratos was made the new God of War after Ares' death.
- The peacock was the sacred animal of Hera, and peacock feathers can be seen adorning several of her possessions throughout the game, such as her crown and her throne in the Forum.
- Hera's drinking may be attributed to the god Dionysus who was the God of Wine.
- Hera hated all illegitimate children of Zeus, especially Hercules. She made his life the worst it could be, yet she chose him as her champion in battling Kratos. This may be due to the fact that battling Kratos would be a suicide mission, given the deaths of her two brothers: Hades and Poseidon. Knowing he would die in the process, Hera uses this opportunity to finally get him killed. Her enjoyment is shown through her laughter and multiple side comments.
- This is also likely an allusion to Hercules's proper Greek name, Heracles, which means "champion of Hera", which is ironic in and of itself. Hercules is the Roman form of Heracles.
- Hera angrily alludes to having demanded Zeus to kill Kratos the day he was born. Her hate stemmed from the fact that Zeus had cheated on her yet again.