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"K.H.R.O.T.U, King Hades, Ruler of the Underworld, that's me."

When it comes to the Greek Myths, things aren't always what they seem.

Lots of people (or at least those who are especially interested in that sort of thing) have some knowledge of Classical Mythology. Many of the myths feature brave heroes and the mighty Zeus, who rules on Mount Olympus. But in this children's series by Kate McMullan, Lord Hades, Ruler of the Underworld, tells you the real story of what actually happened. The myths we've all heard are a pack of lies told by Zeus, the biggest myth-o-maniac (old Greek-speak for "liar") ever, to make himself look good. And he only got to be ruler of Mount Olympus by cheating at cards!


The Myth-O-Mania series provides examples of:

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  • Adaptation Distillation: Aside from such embellishments as anachronisms and a larger role for Hades deities, Hit the Road, Helen! and Get Lost, Odysseus! seem more like The Trojan Cycle and The Odyssey trimmed and translated into middle-school syntax, than entirely new takes on them. The Stone Arch editions of all X books also include two-three page, traditional summaries of the myths in the back.
  • Adaptational Attractiveness: In-universe, Zeus removed references to his own pudginess and bald spot when rewriting the myths.
  • Adaptational Heroism: Happens to many of the monsters, such as the Minotaur, the Hydra, Medusa, Echidna, and Orthus. In contrast with the myths, the Greek heroes' encounters with these famous monsters tend to be resolved peacefully (often with the help of Hades).
  • Adaptational Villainy: In-universe, Zeus' versions of the myths exaggerate monsters' scariness.
  • Affectionate Nickname: Hades calls Poseidon, "Po", Persephone, "P-Phone", and Cerberus, "Cerbie."
  • The Alleged Car: Hermes transports souls to the Underworld in a broken-down bus.
  • Anachronism Stew: The mythological characters make constant use of technology more advanced than that of Ancient Greece.
  • Annoying Younger Sibling: Hades can just barely put up with conceited, deceitful Zeus, or bossy Hera.
  • Bag of Holding: The monogrammed wallet that Hades receives from Persephone can hold anything regardless of size. She explains that she bought it from some nymphs.
  • Canine Companion: Cerebus to Hades, and Argos to Odysseus.
  • The Casanovas: Zeus and Poseidon court several women throughout the series, while Hades instead remains Happily Married to Persephone.
  • Character Narrator: Hades narrates each book, usually only providing plot details that either he was present for, or someone else told him about. (Have a Hot Time, Hades! does include some plot points that don't seem to fall into either category; Hades quotes events preceding his birth, but doesn't say who detailed those events to him.)
  • Cliffhanger: Each chapter usually ends at a tense spot.
  • Cold-Blooded Torture: The ghosts of the wicked become subjected to fire, lava, and tar in the Underworld pit of Tartarus. In Stop that Bull, Theseus!, Hades decides to build up an Underworld Wrestling league by way of persuading some big bad bullies who are otherwise headed for Tartarus to sign wrestling contracts to get out of this. Souls who had already landed in Tartarus couldn't join because the severity of their punishments caused them to lose their fighting spirit.
  • Cool and Unusual Punishment: The ghosts of those who were not-so-good but not-so-bad have to memorize an endless list of difficult spelling words.
  • Cupid's Arrow: Cupid uses three different kinds of arrows when spreading love between people, two of which invoke the Temporary Love Interest trope. Love induced with yellow-tipped arrows only lasts an hour. Orange-tipped arrows create romantic effects that wear off after three days. Red-tipped arrows make people permanently fall in love. Cupid only carries prototypes of the orange-tipped arrows in his first appearancenote , with the other two debuting in Nice Shot, Cupid!
  • Dark Is Not Evil: The majority of the inhabitants of the Underworld, such as Hades himself and the Furies, are decent people. Most of the monsters, with the exceptions being Typhon and the NeMean Lion, turn out to be more-or-less good guys who will listen to reason.
  • Dirty Coward: Zeus tends to wuss out of fights and confrontations.
  • Doorstopper: The Big Fat Book of Greek Myths, Hades' main source for Zeus' revised versions of the tales. Hades apparently gets plenty of equally thick books from The Big Fat Book of the Month Club.
  • Everybody Hates Hades: Averted; Hades actually seems like the most helpful god most of the time, so the only mortals who fear him include those who mistake him for a messenger of death (a discrepancy he does express annoyance with).
  • Excited Show Title!: Each book has a title that ends with an exclamation point.
  • Fertile Feet: Wherever Persephone walks, grass and flowers grow from her footsteps.
  • Fractured Fairy Tale: Even though these are retellings of Greek myths rather than fairy tales, each book otherwise fits this trope.
  • Fun with Acronyms: For starters, Get To Work, Hercules! uses "T.R.U.T.H." and "F.I.B." as abbreviations for "Totally Real Unadulterated History" and "Factually Inaccurate Bull-Hooey", respectively.
  • George Lucas Altered Version: Since the publisher changed from Hyperion to Stone Arch Books for the 2011 reprints, the epilogues for Phone Home, Persephone! onwards were re-written to show Hades talking with someone other than the Titan Hyperion.
  • Getting Crap Past the Radar: The content can often become rather adult for juvenile fiction.
  • Gratuitous Italian: Aphrodite talks with this. The author says this trope is used so Aphrodite has an excuse to use the Roman and more familiar version of Eros's name, Cupid, which would otherwise be out of place with Greek names.
  • Group Photo Ending: Say Cheese, Medusa! and Go For the Gold, Atalanta! both end with Hades getting his picture taken with the title character and her family and friends.
  • Happily Married: Hades and Persephone never divorce or cheat on each other, and even when she must leave the Underworld to bring spring to the world, he makes time to visit her on Earth.
  • Hurricane of Puns: These books provide several puns.
  • Idiosyncratic Episode Naming: Each novel has a title that sounds like someone giving a character a command or comment. Most of them also name their chapters with a theme related to the title and/or the main character.
  • In-Series Nickname: Most serve as abbreviations for names that children might find too long to properly spell and/or pronounce.
    • The gods refer to Hera as, "The Boss."
    • The Furies Alecto, Megaera, and Tisiphone go by Alec, Meg, and Tisi, respectively.
    • Gaia and Uranus have the respective nicknames of "Mother Earth" and "Sky Daddy".
    • Pandora and Epimetheus have the respective nicknames of "Pandy" and "Epi".
    • Hades' gardener, Ascalaphus, also goes by, "Cal".
    • Medusa's sisters, Euryale and Sthenno, have the respective nicknames of "Riley" and "Eno".
    • Hercules' cousin, King Eurystheus of Tiryns, also goes by, "Eury".
  • Incest Is Relative: Unusually for a modern-day work based on Greek mythology, especially because it's aimed at children, the series is very forthright about the fact that the gods, goddesses, and Titans are all related to each other... even when they're all marrying each other. However, Hades hand waves this by saying that "we gods live by different rules than you mortals."
    • Hades, the narrator of every book, is married to Persephone, his niece. The story of how they got hitched is further elaborated in Phone Home, Persephone!
    • Zeus had a daughter with the Titaness Metis.
    • Brother–Sister Incest
      • Cronus and Rhea are full siblings as well as husband and wife
      • Zeus had a daughter with his sister Demeter
      • Zeus marries his sister Hera
      • Zeus suggests that his daughter Persephone marry his son Hermes
    • Kissing Cousins
      • In Get to Work, Hercules!, Hera tells Hercules that she will give him her daughter, Hebe, in marriage. Zeus is Hercules's father, making Hera his aunt, therefore making Hebe his cousin.
  • Invisibility Cloak: Hades' Helmet of Darkness can turn him, and anything or anyone he holds, invisible.
  • The Judge: Hades' mother, Rhea the Titaness, presides over trials and weddings.
  • Kayfabe: Almost all references to Professional Wrestling (such as Hades wrestling a Titan in the Olympics, attending "Eagle-Eye" Cyclops' latest match, or starting his own wrestling federation) try to make it sound more like a legit sport than a scripted event.note 
  • Lemony Narrator: Hades' accounts tend to develop a cynical tone.
  • Life of the Party: Poseidon loves to party.
  • Never Mess with Granny: Gaia, AKA Mother Earth, AKA Granny Gaia, has a pretty bad temper.
  • On the Next: The epilogue of each book features Hades telling one of his friends or relatives which myth he will retell next. Until Go For the Gold, Atalanta!, he even shared the name of the next book. Specific characters that Hades has talked to in each Stone Arch epilogue include Hyperion, The Furies, Persphone, Uncle Shiner the Cyclops, Hermes, Thalia the Muse of Comedy, Hestia, Hestia again, Cassandra's Ghost, and Persephone again.
  • Precap: The original versions of the books each had one.
  • The Promise: A promise made over the waters of the River Styx can never get broken.
  • Punny Name: Several characters have one, including these:
    • Shiner the cyclops has one eye, and is named after the term for a black eye.
    • The Hundred-Handed Ones go by Fingers, Highfive, and Lefty.
  • Speaks Fluent Animal: Gods can communicate with animals via the Creature Communication Channel.
  • Teleportation: Gods perform this with an "Astro-traveling spell", which Hades refuses to share with the readers.
  • Title Drop: Several books do this.
  • Walk into Mordor: For people who haven't died, travel between the Underworld and the Earth requires either a nine-day trek on the Underworld Highway, or access to Hades' secret shortcut. Not even astro-travel can help a god quickly reach the Underworld.
  • Wrestler in All of Us:
    • In Stop That Bull, Theseus!, Hades meets a lot of mortals with great wrestling skills, from Theseus, to the bullies on the Trozen-Athens Road, to the Minotaur, to the Athenians who could actually survive living in the labyrinth.note 
    • Hercules out-wrestles two pythons as a baby, and also takes wrestling classes as a boy.
    • Atalanta spends her life training to wrestle an immortal in the Olympics.
  • Written Sound Effect: Some of the most commonly used include the "POOF!" of Hades turning invisible, and the "FOOP!" of him re-appearing.
  • You Gotta Have Blue Hair: Poseidon, albeit streaked.

    Have a Hot Time, Hades! (2002) 
  • Androcles' Lion: Hades protects the puppy Cerberus from dog-kicker Zeus, so when Echidna later attempts to strangle Hades, Cerberus convinces her to let him free.
  • Archnemesis Dad: Hades' father, Cronus, swallowed him, Poseidon, and their sisters as babies, just to prevent a prophecy that one of Cronus' children would overpower him. When Rhea feeds him an herb that makes him cough up their now-grown offspring, they all act understandably pissed towards him.
  • Chekhov's Gunman: Some of Typhon's and Echidna's babies, whom Hades encounters while saving Zeus, grow up to become either enemies or allies of Hercules.
  • Chicken Joke: When Thalia asks the gods, "Why did the chicken cross the road?", Hera guesses, "To be sacrificed to the gods, of course." Thalia corrects Hera with the original punchline, eliciting laughter from the other Muses.
  • Companion Cube: Young Demeter acts very protective of the rock that Rhea feeds Cronus in lieu of baby Zeus. In the next book, Hades finds it unsurprising that she grows up to become Persephone's doting mother.
  • Cool Shades: Hyperion wears these, since he fathered the dawn, the sun, and the moon before Apollo and Artemis took over that duty.
  • Feet-First Introduction: Hyperion has one.
  • His Name Really Is "Barkeep": The cyclopes Thunderer and Lightninger forge lightning when presenting Zeus with the Bucket O'Bolts.note 
  • Idiosyncratic Episode Naming: Each chapter title has a pun regarding either heat or light.
  • The Olympics: Hades and his siblings, with help from Zeus' children, the Cyclopses, and the Hundred-Handed Men, compete against the Titans in this to decide who should live on Mount Olympus.
  • Take a Third Option: "Third" sounds like an understatement, but when Campe challenges Hades and his brothers to find the key to the Cyclopses' and Hundred-Handed Ones' cell, he finds it in an unexpected place. Zeus and Poseidon each try to find it in the big stack of keys attached to her brass ring, but both end up choosing the wrong keys. Hades figures that Campe must keep the right one in a place where she could easily find it, then correctly guesses that she wears it on the gold chain around her neck.
  • Token Good Teammate: Hyperion betrays the Titans when he sits out the Olympics, then tells Hades and his teammates where to find the Cyclopses and the Hundred-Handed Ones, who could help overcome Cronus.
  • The Unfavorite: The Cyclopses and the Hundred-Handed Ones became banished to Tartarus after Sky Daddy deemed them uglier than their siblings, the Titans.
  • You Do NOT Want to Know: When discussing the realms of the Underworld in the introduction , Hades uses this phrase in reference to the torture inflicted upon the souls of the wicked. (The glossary reveals that it involves fire and lava.)

    Phone Home, Persephone! (2002) 
  • Adaptational Villainy: In universe, Zeus claims that Hades broke into Persephone's garden and kidnapped her, when Persephone actually hitched a ride on Hades' chariot while running away from her overprotective mother. Persephone recognizes this as a ploy to make Demeter choose Hermes over Hades for P-Phone's husband, and convinces her not to fall for it.
  • Altar the Speed: Hades and Persephone have to reschedule and relocate their wedding when her parents reach the Underworld sooner than expected, after bribing Hermes to show them the shortcut.
  • Armor-Piercing Question: After Cupid reveals that he helped Persephone win Hades' love by shooting him with an arrow, Hades becomes pressured into deciding whether or not he truly loves Persephone, especially since the magic of that arrow wore off three days after Cupid fired it.
  • Classified Information: Even when under interrogation, Cupid refuses to reveal his formula for love.
  • Food as Bribe: In the first chapter, Persephone offers Hades a pickle in exchange for a visit to the Underworld.
  • Fourth Date Marriage: Hades proposes to Persephone after only dating her twice, at most — Persephone pays Cupid to shoot him when she brings him to a picnic.
  • Gold Digger: Uncle Shiner suspects Persephone of courting Hades mainly to become Queen of the Underworld, until she assures everyone, under an oath of honesty, that she just wants to marry Hades for love.
  • Hidden Depths:
    • Demeter, the goddess of agriculture, also seems adept at technology when she invents the cell phone — initially to keep tabs on Persephone, though the other gods also buy some phones to communicate in the next few books.
    • King di Minos, the judge of the Underworld, also moonlights as a Supreme Chef.
  • Idiosyncratic Episode Naming: Each chapter title has a pun related to telephones.
  • Little Stowaway: Persephone first visits the Underworld by sneaking onto Hades' chariot, after he refuses to bring her there himself.
  • Love Epiphany: One day after Hades overhears Persephone harbor a crush on him, he also declares genuine love for her, due to realizing that even though Cupid's magic has worn off of him, he still doesn't want to lose her to Hermes.
  • Meaningful Name: Persephone means "picky eater", according to Demeter.
  • My Beloved Smother: Demeter constantly dotes on Persephone before the latter becomes Queen of the Underworld (separating them for at least three months each year).
  • Picky Eater: Persephone. Zeus even states that this is the meaning of her name! Indeed, Persephone is less than willing to eat Underworld food.
  • Power Is Sexy: Persephone recalls Hades looking "so strong, so godly, so... in charge" during their first meeting.
  • Ship Tease: At Hades' and Persephone's wedding reception, Poseidon dances the night away with Medusa.
  • Speak Now or Forever Hold Your Peace: Uncle Shiner and Rhea interrupt Hades and Persephone's first attempt to marry.
  • Supreme Chef: King di Minos runs a successful pizzeria in the Underworld, and also caters Hades' and Persephone's wedding. When picky Persephone samples the appetizers, not even she can resist triple-dipping an asphodel chip into the pomegranate dip (this book's equivalent of the traditional myth's pomegranate seeds).

    Say Cheese, Medusa! (2002) 
  • Bit-by-Bit Transformation: Athena's chant for changing Medusa, Eno, and Riley from beautiful moon goddesses to snake-haired, reptilian Gorgons encompasses several stanzas, giving her victims and the witnesses ample time to let the Transformation Horror sink in.
  • Blonde, Brunette, Redhead: The Gorgons, with Eno as the blonde, Medusa as the brunette, and Riley as the redhead.
  • Body Double: The Furies disguise as Gorgons to sidetrack Perseus from his search to behead Medusa.
  • Bowdlerise: Poseidon and Medusa attract Athena's rage by having a picnic in her temple, as opposed to making out inside the temple. When Stone Arch reprinted this book with a more traditional retelling of Medusa's story in the back, it used a version that removes Po altogether; while the main story keeps him, the back instead has Athena punish Medusa for boasting that she looked so beautiful, that the architects of the temple should've built it in her honor, instead.
  • Brown Bag Mask: Medusa wears variations (including a seaweed mask and a blue silk bag) whenever Hades visits her, so she doesn't accidentally turn him to stone.
  • Camera Fiend: Eno loves taking photographs, resulting in her delivering the Title Drops.
  • Contrived Coincidence: Hades meets baby Perseus and his mother, Princess Danaë of Argos, after discovering that one of the Underworld's jewel mines leads to a brass cube, in which Danaë's father imprisoned her.note  Hades and Persephone both befriend Danaë, who afterwards appoints the couple as Perseus' god-parents.
  • Driven by Envy: Medusa eventually figures out that Athena cursed her and her sisters with snake hair out of jealousy with how much finer their real hair looked than Athena's constant case of helmet hair. She convinces Athena to reverse the curses by offering a remedy for helmet hair in exchange.
  • Generation Xerox: Perseus looks similar to Zeus, and shared his pompous and untruthful traits for a few years.
  • Human Popsicle: When Hades tries to talk Athena out of punishing Medusa, for partying in one of Athena's temples, Athena freezes Hades instead. He melts the ice after Athena starts subjecting Medusa and her sisters to a monstrous transformation, but right before the victims reach the stage where they develop spiked tails.
  • Idiosyncratic Episode Naming: Each chapter title has a pun regarding cheese, with one exception.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Perseus might act as boastful and deceitful as Zeus, but he only desires Medusa's head because giving it to King Polydectes would halt the wicked monarch's attempts to force Danaë to marry him. Hades and Riley help save both Danaë and Medusa by giving Perseus a sculpture of the latter's head, to give Polydectes in lieu of the real one.
  • Locked Out of the Loop: After Hades figures out that Zeus is Perseus' father, Danaë decides not to tell Perseus, whose ego would grow even larger after learning he has such a powerful dad. Consequently, Perseus doesn't discover his father's identity until the second-to-last chapter, when Zeus tells him in person.
  • Magic Misfire: When Medusa accidentally turns Perseus into stone, Athena ends up taking three tries to change him back. Her first two tries turn Perseus into butter and cheese, instead.
  • Rhymes on a Dime: Calliope, the muse of poetry, taught Athena how to cast rhyming, extra-powerful curses.
  • The Rival: Athena to Poseidon. Their rivalry dates back to when the founders of what is now Athens offered to name their citynote  after the god who gave them the best gift, and Athena won the contest after the judges deemed her olive tree more useful than Po's salt-water spring.
  • Ship Tease: In addition to their dance in Phone Home, Persephone!, Poseidon and Medusa have further hints of romantic potential, from Po inviting Medusa and her sisters for a party at "his" (actually Athena's) temple, to Po helping Medusa and her sisters hide from a vengeful Athena.
  • Surfer Dude: Riley's favorite model, Troy of Hyperborianote , behaves like one while giving Hades directions to the Gorgons' beach house.
  • Taken for Granite: Athena curses Medusa to turn everyone who sees her face into stone.
  • What Could Have Been: In universe example; Hades claims that Athens would've gone by, "Poseidonville", if the people better appreciated Po's gift.
  • You Can't Fight Fate: The entire phrase is said by Persephone in the epilogue, after she learns that Perseus' grandfather failed to escape his prophesised death at Perseus' hands.

    Nice Shot, Cupid! (2002) 
  • Accidental Misnaming: Cupid refers to Psyche as, "Psycho", until he falls in love with her.
  • Adaptational Attractiveness: In-universe example: Cupid meets Psyche during his awkward adolescent phase, but Zeus' version of their story makes Cupid sound like a hunk.
  • Beauty Is Never Tarnished: Psyche manages to remain attractive even while performing Aphrodite's grueling Engagement Challenge.
  • Characterization Marches On: Cupid claims in Phone Home, Persephone! that he'd be "out of a job" if he ever fired arrows that make their targets permanently fall in love, only to create such arrows in between that book and this one.
  • Determinator: Psyche, big time. She spends years completing endless lists of near-impossible tasks just for the chance to see Cupid again. And unlike other heroes, she does most of them without Hades' help.
  • Driven by Envy: Aphrodite and Psyche's sisters jealously torment Dude Magnet Psyche. After Cupid and Hades convince Zeus to turn Psyche immortal, so she could marry Cupid, Aphrodite objects until Psyche promises not to steal the title of "goddess of beauty" from her.
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: Psyche earns immortality and a chance to marry Cupid after years of completing a series of endless tasks.
  • Engagement Challenge: Aphrodite gives Psyche an ever-increasing list of tasks that she has to complete before she'll allow Psyche to see Cupid again.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: Nice Shot, Cupid! has a non-malicious instance. To boost Cupid's self-confidence in his gawky appearance, Hades shoots him with one of his own arrows, making Cupid fall in love with his own reflection.
  • The Last of These Is Not Like the Others: The second list of tasks Aphrodite assigns for Psyche consists of nine commands following the format, "Bring me X item from Y faraway place to help me tend to Cupid", followed by, "Bring me una tazz, a cup, of sea foam from the ocean waves that break on the shores of Cythera, just because I said so."
  • Love at First Sight: Cupid admits feeling this for Psyche, even without accidentally piercing himself with his arrow (as happens in some versions of their myth).
  • My Beloved Smother: Aphrodite spoils the teenage Cupid, and fusses over his physical appearance.
  • Sickeningly Sweethearts: Hades encounters a few, including Orpheus and Eurydice, shortly before he finds Cupid in the middle of "target practice". Later, Hades gives Cupid and Psyche some face-to-face alone time, by using some stolen orange-tipped arrows to make everyone else on the premises fall in love with each other.
  • The Voice: Cupid initially hides behind a curtain while talking to Psyche, so she calls him this until she discovers his identity.

    Stop That Bull, Theseus! (2003) 
  • Accidental Marriage: Poseidon married the mortal woman Aethra after the two of them had "too much bubbly". Since Po and Aethra had already fallen in love before that, he admits to Hades that he would have actually stayed with her, and their son, Theseus, if she didn't dump Po for King Aegeus.
  • Character Exaggeration: Most versions of Theseus' story have him forget to change the color of the sail of the boat that transports him between Crete and Athens, which scares King Aegeus to death, after he interprets the black sail as a sign that Theseus perished in his fight against the Minotaur. Stop That Bull, Theseus! reveals Theseus as a full-blown Forgetful Jones.
  • Competition Freak: Theseus will never take the easy way out, doing things like walking to Athens instead of sailing, so that he could fight the bullies that plague the road.
  • Cool Uncle: Theseus never learns that Hades is his uncle, but they become "buddies", in Theseus' own words, while traveling together.
  • Death by Despair: As a kid-friendly alternative to King Aegeus drowning himself after receiving greatly exaggerated reports of Theseus' death, this book has the news give him a heart attack, plunging his lifeless body into the sea.
  • Doorstopper: Discussed; When Hermes asks Hades why the novel doesn't document the adventures that Thesus had after becoming king, Hades explains that he didn't want the book to become too thick. Hermes informs him that some mortals enjoy thick books, as evidenced by the popularity of "Harry What's-his-name."
  • Exactly What It Says on the Tin: Theseus almost calls the Aegean Sea, "The Blue Sea That My Dad Plunged Into After He Died of Grief", until Hades suggests something shorter and more respectful.
  • Forgetful Jones: Theseus has a pretty poor memory.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: Theseus accidentally murders three bullies with their own Death Traps.
  • Humongous Mecha: Crete has a giant robot guard, Talos.
  • Idiosyncratic Episode Naming: Each chapter title has a pun regarding bulls.
  • Pro Wrestling Episode: Hades forms a wrestling federation, while accompanying Theseus to four unscripted wrestling matches.
  • Road Trip Plot: Theseus and Hades share a road trip while walking from Trozen to Athens together. During their journey, Theseus wrestles three bloodthirsty bullies, whom Hades recruits for the Underworld Wrestling Federation.
  • Temporary Love Interest: Hades convinces Cupid to hook up Princess Ariadne of Crete and Theseus with an orange-tipped arrow, so that she would help Theseus survive the labyrinth. After he returns from fighting the Minotaur, Ariadne tries to sail back to Athens with him. Unfortunately, she gets so seasick, that they have to stop at an island, where they end up parting ways.note 
  • The Unfavorite: Zeus felt so ashamed of having the Minotaur as a grandson that he wrote a story in which Theseus killed him.
  • Worthy Opponent: The fight between Theseus and the Minotaur ends with a tie; Hades recruits them to eventually rematch in the Underworld.

    Keep a Lid on It, Pandora! (2003) 
  • The Bet: Zeus and Hades have one over whether or not Pandora will open her box.
  • Cheaters Never Prosper: Even after Zeus tricks Pandora into removing the lid of the box, Hades insists that he won the bet.note 
  • Constantly Curious: As a side effect of Zeus' gift of curiosity, Pandora speaks only in questions.
  • Cool and Unusual Punishment A few of the evils unleashed by opening Pandora's box include cavities, poison ivy, and mosquito bites, but also telemarketing, square dancing in gym class, and "I Before E Except After C". All sound pretty minor in comparison to stories in which Pandora's box contained all the evil and suffering in the world.
  • Dreaming of Things to Come: Prometheus has visions of Hercules freeing him from his chains.
  • Exact Words: Thalia gives Pandora "the ability to tell a great joke". Pandora tells one after accidentally opening the box, but struggles to think up another one.
  • Fourth Date Marriage: Pandora and Epi date for "what, twenty minutes" (in Prometheus' own words), before they decide to get married.
  • Green Thumb: Demeter gives Pandora the ability to grow lush plants, and accidentally turns Pandora's thumb green as well.
  • Happily Married: Hera blesses Pandora to share a long and happy marriage with her lover.
  • I Broke a Nail: When Hades first asks Pandora if she feels tempted to open the box, she replies that she doesn't want to break the long fingernails Aphrodite granted her.
  • I Want Grandkids: In Keep a Lid on It, Pandora!, set before Hades meets and marries Persephone, Rhea nags Hades to settle down and give her some grandchildren. Even after Hades finds a wife, he still ends up not having any children.
  • Idiosyncratic Episode Naming: Each chapter title has a question.
  • Massive Numbered Siblings: Pandora and Epi have a lot of daughters, born three at a time.
  • Meaningful Name: Zeus tells everyone who is present at Pandora's creation that Pandora means "everybody gave me a real nice gift", as a lead-in to his telling them to each give her a gift.
  • Nice Shoes: Hermes gives Pandora some sandals with decorative, non-functional wings.
  • Paper-Thin Disguise: Pandora and Epi see through some of Zeus' ruses without Hades' help.
  • Prolonged Prologue: Keep a Lid on It, Pandora! begins with the creation of man and the story of Prometheus. Because of this, Pandora doesn't show up until the seventh or eighth chapter. The fifth chapter actually bears the title, "Where is Pandora?", and begins with Hades telling impatient readers when she'll come, then advising them to "Keep a lid on it!" until her entrance.
  • The Scapegoat: Zeus attributes the existence of greed, disease, and pain to Pandora failing to heed his warning not to open the box containing these. Actually, greed, disease, and pain already existed in other forms, and Pandora wouldn't have unleashed new versions if Zeus didn't trick her into opening the box.
  • Something Only They Would Say: Zeus dons several disguises when attempting to coerce Pandora into opening the box; Hades sees through them when Zeus calls Pandy, "Sweetheart".
  • Ugly Guy, Hot Wife: Hephaestus and Aphrodite, respectively. According to Hades, Zeus set them up as an apology for crippling Hephaestus, and Aphrodite agreed to the union because of Hephaestus' ability to produce beautiful gold jewelry with his forge.
  • Women Are Wiser: Pandora seems more intelligent than the first male mortals, especially after Athena gives her the gift of good judgement.
  • You Gotta Have Blue Hair: Thanks to Aphrodite's gift of "capelli interessante"note , Pandora has a pink Beehive Hairdo.

    Get To Work, Hercules! (2003) 
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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".

    Go For the Gold, Atalanta! (2003) 
  • Archnemesis Dad: Atalanta's father abandons the baby princess just because he wanted a son instead, and only invites her back to his castle after she becomes a celebrity, whose fame the king attempts to profit from.
  • Beary Friendly: Honey raises human Daughters of Artemis, such as Atalanta, with the same care that she provides her own cubs.
  • Big Eater: Atalanta. Hades even refers to her as this, word for word!
  • Child Marriage Veto: Atalanta vowed to Artemis not to be married off to anyone, so she sets up an impossible Engagement Challenge.
  • Defeat Means Friendship: Even after Melanion becomes the last man to lose Atalanta's Engagement Challenge, he gets on her good side by admitting that Hera and Aphrodite forced him to help break her vow of celibacy.
  • Early-Bird Cameo: The Argonauts appear well before the release of their own book. Hades and Atalanta both recall helping them and Jason find the Golden Fleece, although Hades says the specifics of his involvement are "another story".
  • Engagement Challenge: When Atalanta is imprisoned by her father after years of abandonment, he wants to marry her off. However, the Daughter of Artemis does not want to, so she says that she'll marry anyone who can beat her in a race, which no one ever does.
  • Good-Guy Bar: Calydon has one aptly named, "Heroes".
  • Idiosyncratic Episode Naming: Each chapter title has a pun regarding bears.
  • Lame Pun Reaction: Persephone laughs sarcastically when Hades assures her that he'll be "rooting" for her to win an Olympic Gold Medal for weeding.
  • Lampshade Hanging: Hades admits that it seems unbelievable that he would have known Perseus, Hercules, and Atalanta ever since they were babies, and that becoming entrusted with Atalanta made him wonder if he became "some sort of baby magnet".
  • Luke, I Am Your Father: Gender-flipped: Atalanta's father banished his wife after she gave birth to a girl instead of a boy, so Atalanta doesn't discover until the epilogue who her birth mother was. Artemis reveals that her mortal friend Clymene, whom Atalanta meets before the race against Melanion, is the princess' birth mother.
  • Nemean Skinning: Artemis wears the fur of animals she hunts.
  • The Olympics: Atalanta strives to become the first mortal to compete against the gods.
  • Rhymes on a Dime: The Calydonian Boar can talk in rhyme.
  • Running on All Fours: Atalanta can do this, since she was raised by a bear. This skill helps her win the race against Melanion.
  • Something Completely Different: Hades admits that Zeus only played a spectator role in the story of Atalanta and Melanion, leaving Hades with no idea why Zeus rewrote her chapter of The Big Fat Book of Greek Myths; he speculates that Hera, the goddess of marriage, convinced Zeus to let Melanion win Atalanta's hand.
  • Take a Third Option: Atalanta learns before the race that Melanion will try to distract her with three of Hera's golden apples, so Atalanta makes plans to both claim the apples, and win the race.
  • Tempting Apple: Atalanta finds the golden apples tempting, because all that gold could pay off a ransom on the life of Prince Meleager of Calydonia.
  • Warrior Princess: Atalanta, a strong and tough Daughter of Artemis whose long-lost birth parents reigned over Arcadia. After she both helps the Argonauts find the Golden Fleece, and saves Calydonia from the rampaging Calydonian Boar, everyone calls her, "The Princess Hero".

    Hit the Road, Helen! (2013) 
  • Achilles' Heel: The Trope Naming warrior appears. When Thetis grabs baby Achilles by his heel, and immerses him in the invincibility-granting River Styx, Hades warns her that no mortal could survive two dunks, leaving the heel as Achilles' only weak point. Thetis orders some "heel protectors" from Hephaestus, but Achilles refuses to wear them, because they give him blisters. Achilles eventually dies after a poison-tipped arrow, shot by Prince Paris of Troy, pierces his heel. Ironically, when Achilles reveals his weakness prior to fighting in the Trojan War, one of the other soldiers expresses doubt that anyone would harm him there.
  • Achilles in His Tent: Achilles refuses to fight in The Trojan War after he and King Agamemnon have a disagreement regarding a sacrifice to Apollo. He comes out of the tent after the death of Patroclus, and re-joins battle to avenge him.
  • Apple of Discord: Eris crashes Peleus' and Thetis' wedding, and uses her golden apple to start an argument among Hera, Athena, and Aphrodite over who is the fairest goddess.
  • Bittersweet Ending: The Trojan War ends, but only after countless warriors perish in battle. Accordingly, the last chapter before the epilogue ends on a more serious note than usual. Helen and Menelaus agree that after all those years she spent with Paris, their marriage will take a while to rebuild. After they head back to Sparta, Hades sees the destroyed city of Troy, then heads off to lead yet another batch of casualties into the Underworld. The epilogue tries to lighten things up by assuring the reader that Helen and Menelaus did rekindle their love, after a wayward wind left them stranded in Egypt for many years, and that the couple resumed their thrones in Sparta before their daughter married Achilles' son.
  • The Cassandra: The Trope Namer makes several warnings that other mortals refuse to heed. This time, she was a priest of Apollo, given a job prophecy, but she quit to get married. Apollo angrily cursed her so no one would believe her. Later, she or her ghost encourages Hades to make Book X an Odyssey story instead of his planned Jason and the Argonauts story.
  • "Could Have Avoided This!" Plot: Hades considers the likelihood that the Trojan War wouldn't have happened if Zeus accepted the responsibility of picking the fairest goddess, instead of using Prince Paris of Troy as a scapegoat.
  • Crossover Cosmology: Hades and Persephone take a cruise with Norse Mythology deities Thor and Sif after Hades finishes writing Hit the Road, Helen!
  • Cupid's Arrow: Cupid uses the brand-new "Smoochie Woochie" arrow to make Helen of Troy leave Menelaus for Paris. The Smoochie Woochie's effects wear off of Helen after Philoctetes slays Paris.
  • The Dandy: Prince Paris of Troy enjoys trying on and showing off fancy outfits more strongly than he does performing princely duties, such as defending his city from invaders.
  • Disney Villain Death: Paris falls off of the wall surrounding Troy while dodging an Arrow of Hercules, fired by Philoctetes.
  • The Scapegoat: Zeus deems Helen of Troy responsible for the Trojan War, which he says arose after she left her husband, Menelaus, for Paris. Although, Hades argues that Helen wouldn't have run away with Paris if Aphrodite and Zeus didn't tell Cupid to make them fall in love, after Aphrodite promised Paris the world's most beautiful woman in exchange for Eris' golden apple, after Zeus chickened out of choosing the goddess worthiest of the apple by making Paris pick her instead.note 
  • Uncancelled: Go For the Gold, Atalanta! ended with Hades and his publisher feeling undecided on what myth to share next, prompting Hades to go on vacation with Persephone. Then another book saw the light of day 10 years later.
  • War Is Hell: Recalling the Trojan War prompts Hades to reflect on all the mortal lives lost during petty wars. Kate McMullan also sugarcoats it less strongly than par for the series.

    Get Lost, Odysseus! (2014) 
  • "Could Have Avoided This!" Plot: Hades believes that Odysseus wouldn't have had so much trouble going home from Troy if he didn't reveal his real name to the cyclops he blinded, which would have left Poseidon unaware of who to punish.
  • Loophole Abuse: Hades swears on the River Styx not to directly help Odysseus return to Ithaca, then proceeds to find ways to indirectly help him.
  • Papa Wolf: After Poseidon learns that Odysseus has blinded his cyclops son, Polyphemus, he swears to give Odysseus a death at sea, and to flood the Underworld if Hades ever provides direct assistance to Odysseus' journey back to Ithaca.


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