Who Is Hephaestus? Percy Jackson Episode 5’s Godly Cameo Explained

Warning! This article contains spoilers for Percy Jackson and the Olympians episode 5.


Summary

  • Hephaestus, the Greek god of smithing and fire, plays a prominent role in Percy Jackson episode 5, allowing for further worldbuilding and character development.
  • The tragic backstory of Hephaestus, including his disfigurement and mistreatment by the other gods, is hinted at in the episode, showcasing the deceitful nature of the Greek gods.
  • The changes made to Hephaestus’ appearance in the Disney+ show may be setting up future storylines and criticisms of the gods’ treatment of him, making him a sympathetic character.

Percy Jackson and the Olympians episode 5 includes a cameo from Hephaestus but who exactly is the character, and what importance will he play in the overarching thematic story of the show? Percy Jackson episode 5 picks up directly after the ending of episode 4 with the titular character emerging from the Mississippi River after his battle with the Chimera. This leads the trio further west towards Los Angeles and the Underworld where they encounter two more of Percy Jackson‘s Greek gods.

The more prevalent of the two deities is Ares, the god of war. However, a smart Percy Jackson book change involves Hephaestus in the emotionally complex story of episode 5. Through this change, not only does Percy Jackson continue criticizing the Greek gods in the perfect way as the source material did but it allows the world to be further fleshed out, relationships to be developed deeper, and future storylines to be teased. Not only that, but Percy Jackson and the Olympians’ cast of characters grows to include more godly characters with Hephaestus allowing for the most sympathetic member of the pantheon yet.

Related

Percy Jackson And The Olympians Cast & Character Guide

The cast of Percy Jackson and the Olympians for Disney+ includes a mix of rising talent and veteran actors to bring Rick Riordan’s books to life.


Hephaestus Is The Greek God Of Smithing & Fire

Another of the Olympian gods becomes involved in Percy’s journey to the Underworld.

Timothy Omundson as Hephaestus in Percy Jackson episode 5

Hephaestus is yet another of the Greek gods that have settled in modern America in the world of Percy Jackson and the Olympians. Interestingly, the character’s first book appearance is not found until the third installment, Percy Jackson and the Titan’s Curse. While his presence is felt in the first book, the story of which Percy Jackson and the Olympians season 1 is adapting, he does not physically play a role until later. This just goes to show that Percy Jackson and the Olympians is not afraid to make changes to the source material where necessary, especially if those alterations can improve the story, worldbuilding, or characters of the show.

Regarding Hephaestus, the character is the Greek god of smithing and fire. Hephaestus is largely responsible for many of the mechanical aspects of Olympus as highlighted by his contraptions found in Percy Jackson episode 5. In Percy Jackson episode 5, Hephaestus is played by Timothy Omundson and appears by extension of Ares’ story which further highlights the backstabbing nature of the Olympian gods.

Hephaestus’ Tragic Backstory Is Hinted At In Percy Jackson Episode 5

The deceitful ways of the Greek gods continue to be explored in the Disney+ show.

Adam Copeland as Ares holding a long sword in Percy Jackson and the Olympians.

Throughout Percy Jackson and the Olympians’ prior four episodes, the show has done an excellent job of criticizing the Greek gods for their narcissistic, selfish, domineering behavior toward everyone around them. From Medusa’s story with Athena and Poseidon and the power-hungry ways of Zeus to the manipulative nature of Dionysus and Athena’s punishment of Annabeth in St. Louis, Percy Jackson has showcased that the gods are not the benevolent beings many hope them to be. This continued in Percy Jackson episode 5 through Ares’ role, but mostly through the inclusion of Hephaestus.

The premise of the episode surrounds Annabeth and Percy traveling to Waterland, an abandoned amusement park constructed by Hephaestus. The duo ventures there to recover Ares’ shield, unbeknown to them that Hephaestus stole the shield due to Ares’ actions towards the god of fire. This waterpark reveals Hephaestus’ story to Percy, Annabeth, and the audience and highlights how tragic it truly is. Percy Jackson episode 5 reveals that Hephaestus was born to Hera, the queen of the gods. However, Hera disowned Hephaestus for his physical appearance and threw him from Mount Olympus.

Hephaestus eventually worked his way back to Olympus and managed to persuade the other gods to accept his birthright, though the other Olympians continued to ridicule him for his physical deformities as Hera did. Hephaestus was then promised a wife: Aphrodite, the goddess of love. That said, Aphrodite was less than enthused about the marriage and was constantly unfaithful to the god of fire, predominantly with Ares. This explains why Hephaestus stole Ares’ shield so that he could humiliate the god of war and Aphrodite for their affair.

Related

Percy Jackson’s Greek God Criticisms Are Setting Up The Perfect Betrayal Twist

Percy Jackson and the Olympians season 1 has hurled a lot of criticisms at the Greek gods, with this perfectly setting up a major book twist.

Hephaestus’ Golden Throne Explained: Real Greek Myth & Percy Jackson Importance

The book changes to Hephaestus’ Waterland story in Percy Jackson episode 5 explained.

Percy Jackson and Annabeth riding in a boat in the Tunnel of Love

This overarching story between Hephaestus, Ares, and Aphrodite is found in Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief too, though the Disney+ adaptation makes some changes to the proceedings. In the book, Percy and Annabeth find the shield at the bottom of a drained pool where a boat is surrounded by cameras streaming to Olympus so that Hephaestus can expose Ares and Aphrodite to the other gods. In Percy Jackson episode 5, however, the shield’s location is slightly different and stems from a real Greek myth.

Hephaestus used the throne to capture his abusive mother, Hera, with Zeus promising Hephaestus a place on Olympus and Aphrodite as his wife should Hera be freed.

The myth in question is the real-world story of how Hephaestus bargained his way back to Olympus. The god of fire built a throne that, should it be sat on, would lock its user in place and was above the power of any god to free its captive. Hephaestus used the throne to capture his abusive mother, Hera, with Zeus promising Hephaestus a place on Olympus and Aphrodite as his wife should Hera be freed. In Percy Jackson episode 5, this throne is used again. Percy or Annabeth must sit on the throne to release the shield, though whoever does will be trapped forever.

Percy Jackson Episode 5’s Hephaestus Has Some Differences From The Original Book

Some changes are made to the Greek god of fire in the Disney+ show.

Chris Rodriguez next to a smither from the Hephaestus Cabin in Percy Jackson and the Olympians

Aside from not being present in Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief, there are a few other differences between Hephaestus’ book appearance and the version played by Timothy Omundson. The primary way in which the two versions of Hephaestus are different is his physical appearance. The book series’ description of Hephaestus leans much heavier on the physical deformities that resulted in the god of fire being cast out from Olympus and his subsequent teasing by the other gods.

Percy Jackson and the Olympians may have reduced Hephaestus’ physical deformities for budgetary reasons.

The book describes Hephaestus’ face as being covered in welts, scars, and lumps from his long work in the forges of Olympus. Similarly, Hephaestus is described as having mismatched shoulders to make him appear as if he is hunching constantly. The one similarity between the two versions is the character’s limp, requiring him to have a cane to walk with. These differences may seem disappointing at first, as Hephaestus’ physical appearance is important to understanding his character.

That said, it could be the case that Percy Jackson and the Olympians is saving Hephaestus’ true physical appearance for future roles. Hephaestus could be using magic of some sort to appear more normal to the other gods which would provide another criticism of the latter. This could allow future seasons to delve deeper into Hephaestus’ teasing based on his appearance, making him one of the more sympathetic gods just as he is in the source material.

Percy Jackson Episode 5’s Hephaestus Book Change Is Better For Season 1’s Story

Leah Sava Jeffries as Annabeth in Pery Jackson and the Olympians and Athena

Despite not being in Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief, Hephaestus’ role in Percy Jackson episode 5 is better for season 1’s story as a whole. The reason for this stems from the show’s overt condemnations of the gods. The overarching theme of the entire book series is that the gods simply need to be better people to not only each other, but their children, themselves, and everyone around them. Percy Jackson and the Olympians is translating this too, arguably on an even greater level than the books did.

As such, Hephaestus’ inclusion in Percy Jackson season 1 furthers that moral message. In Percy Jackson episode 5, Hephaestus’ story is used to push Annabeth to the breaking point. Annabeth comes to realize that the backstabbing, deceitful, narcissistic nature of the gods should not be the norm and that people, like Percy, should try to be better than that. This causes Hephaestus to become more sympathetic than the other gods, as his troubles with the Olympians help him to realize that Annabeth is right, thus freeing Percy and allowing Percy Jackson and the Olympians episode 5 to perfectly continue the series’ overarching themes.

New episodes of Percy Jackson and the Olympians release every Tuesday on Disney+.