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Literature / Get to Work, Hercules!

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Get to Work, Hercules! is Book VII in Kate McMullan's Myth-O-Mania series, published 2003. Hades reveals how he helped his short-tempered, dim-witted nephew Hercules complete XII seemingly-impossible labors.

This book provides examples of:

  • Adaptational Early Appearance: The NeMean Lion gets one when he steals some cows from Hercules' relatives, resulting in Hercules killing the Lion before Eury tells him to.
  • Agony of the Feet: Hercules beats Geryon in wrestling after stomping on the latter's big toe.
  • Bad Powers, Good People: The Hydra killed humans with her toxic breath by accident instead of malice, and turns out to be a good friend, helping Hercules clear the Augean Stables, although because of her Walking Wasteland powers she has to use sign language to communicate with the other characters.
  • Bowdlerise: Instead of having Zeus impersonate Alcmene's husband Amphytrion and impregnate her with Hercules under these circumstances, Alcmene is a princess who got pregnant with Hercules when she was married to Zeus and marries Amphytrion later on.
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  • Cool Uncle: Hades becomes one to Hercules while keeping him out of trouble. Unlike Theseus, Hercules even calls him, "Uncle Hades".
  • Dreadful Musician: Hercules can not sing.
  • Dumb Is Good: Hercules seems pretty dense, to say the least.
  • Hair-Trigger Temper: Hercules has one.
  • Idiosyncratic Episode Naming: All the chapter titles contain the word "Big".
  • Laser-Guided Amnesia: When Hades catches Theseus' friend Peirithous serenading Persephone, he makes the men sit in the Chair of Forgetfulness, which erases their memories. Theseus becomes freed with help from Hercules, but Peirithous gets left in the Chair for centuries.
  • Meaningful Name: Hades tries to help protect Alcmene's and Zeus' son from Hera's jealousy by giving him a name meaning, "For the glory of Hera". Alcmene picks the Roman "Hercules" over the Greek "Heracles", so she wouldn't have to actually say the fearsome goddess' name when calling him.
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  • Mistreatment-Induced Betrayal: The NeMean Lion's enslaved cousin, Cee, helps Hercules defeat him.
  • Name To Run Away From Really Fast: Cee and Hades both emphasize the "Mean" in the aunt-killing, cousin-kidnapping, cow-stealing NeMean Lion's name.
  • Ne Mean Skinning: Hercules dons the NeMean Lion's skin.
  • Offscreen Moment of Awesome: While Hades and Persephone spend a romantic winter in the Underworld together, Hercules completes Labors VII and VIII without his help, with Hades learning in spring how exactly Hercules accomplished them.
  • On the Next: In the epilogue, Hades proposes to Hestia a book about the tough, yet selfless, Atalanta.
  • Quest Giver: As in the traditional myth, Hercules' cousin, Eury, assigns each of the Labors.
  • Speaks Fluent Animal: Hercules can speak cow, after spending his adolescence at a farm owned by his stepfather's cousins.
  • Super Mode: Cerberus scares Eury by changing from a little three-headed dog, to a giant, spiked, red-eyed three-headed dog.
  • Tempting Fate: Hercules remarks that Labor IX, borrowing Queen Hippolyta's girdle, sounds very easy. He doesn't expect Hera to frame him of kidnapping the queen, invoking the wrath of her Amazonian subjects.
  • What Could Have Been: In-universe, some of Alcmene's rejected names for Hercules include "Chickapeckus" and "Duckawaddleus".

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