The Goddess and Her Glory

Book - 2011
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Introduces Hera, Zeus's wife and goddess of air, sky, and the heavens, and the only thing Zeus is afraid of.
Publisher: New York : First Second, 2011.
ISBN: 9781596437241
Characteristics: 76 p. :,chiefly col. ill., geneal. table ;,26 cm.


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Feb 04, 2018

It's no surprise when Hera is introduced as the one force Zeus fears. But as O'Connor tells it, it's not because she's an evil shrew but because he loves her. Hera "played hard to get" and meant it. She also gave Zeus ample warning about what would happen if he stepped out. According to this version, Zeus strays not because he was unhappy with Hera but because their offspring were less than perfect- Ares is handsome but bloodthirsty, Hephaestus is kind and skilled but ugly and Hebe is... a girl(?). Surely, Zeus has a duty to produce better offspring, right? As we all know, Hera does not agree.

The bulk of the book focuses on the story of Heracles ("the glory of Hera"), the son of Zeus and the mortal Alcmene, and his strange relationship with Hera. Yes, she despises him from before his birth; yes she made sure he wouldn't sit on the throne of Mycenae and yes, she arranges for him to be bound to serve out 10- oops, 12!- labors. But she also gives him strength, literally and figuratively (you'll have to read it if you want to find out exactly how). To paraphrase Jason (of Argonaut fame), sometimes our patron helps us win glory not by making things easy but by making them hard.

By his own admission, O'Connor cleaned up the story of Heracles and makes no mention of the alternate version in which Hera causes Heracles to go mad and kill his wife and children in a frenzy. While I think that version is fascinating- was Heracles mentally ill?- and worth the mention he gives it in his notes, it's fair to say that illustrations of the event could be upsetting to many young readers and he probably made the right call.

O'Connor touches on the fact that while most of the Greek myths that have come down to us were written by men, the stories of the women were muted if not entirely lost. Maybe we'll never know what those stories were, but the contradictions in what we do know are enough to hint that Hera and the other goddesses were not two dimensional foils for the gods but important deities that deserve just as much respect.

Need I mention that the illustrations are as gorgeous and the dialogue as humorous as the rest of the Olympians series? Well, they are.

Basically, if you consider yourself a Greek myth fan, go out and get this now.

Oct 06, 2015

havent read it soooo exited to put it on hold

orange_dolphin_185 Jun 29, 2014


Mark_Daly Aug 06, 2013

One of O'Connor's strengths as a storyteller is his ability to offer a fresh take on familiar material. In this volume, instead of treating Hera as Zeus's foil, he places her at center stage, and works in some Hercules tales to boot.

Sidewinder88 Mar 18, 2013

This one is a balance between myths centered on Hera and the 12 labors of Heracles/Hercules. I liked how it portrayed Zeus's and Hera's relationship, considering that Zeus cheated on her most of the time. For Hercules/Heracles' story they did change a few things around, but it still follows the original myth pretty well. As good as the others, loved it.

unbalancedbutfair Apr 24, 2012

This entire series by O'conner is excellent. Not just an excellent graphic depiction of greek mythos, but simply good telling of the greek mythos overall.This series is perfect for the child first exploring greek mythology, and for the adult who wants to revisit these myths. The myths are made understandable, but they are not as watered down as they normally are. O'conner does an amazing job balancing the content of the myths within a PG level story so that you really don't lose much of the original story. The conversation is good, it feels real, and has nuggets of other myths inside it. Even if you disagree with his interpretations I think you'll enjoy the work. Read them.

Apr 08, 2012

Only about half the book centers on Hera, the rest on Heracles/Hercules.


People have always been fascinated with the Greek gods, in part because they’re just as human as we are. They have their faults, their lusts, their mistakes, and their gross failings. Hera is interesting because her fault is finding fault in the wrong people. Rather than punish Zeus for his philandering, she punishes the innocent victims of his attention. Yet under O’Connor’s hand she also has an undeniable charisma. You suddenly understand what Zeus saw in her, because you see it too. It’s one thing to write a myth book about a character and humanize them. It’s another thing entirely to redeem them.

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orange_dolphin_185 Jun 29, 2014

orange_dolphin_185 thinks this title is suitable for 9 years and over

Jun 11, 2014

ChenCheryl thinks this title is suitable for 8 years and over

navy_giraffe_36 Jun 30, 2013

navy_giraffe_36 thinks this title is suitable for All Ages

Dec 30, 2012

black_eagle_227 thinks this title is suitable for All Ages


ELIZABETH RAMSEY BIRD thinks this title is suitable for 9 years and over


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orange_dolphin_185 Jun 29, 2014

Zeus and Hera fall in love but they have trouble with each other. One day a baby named Heracles is born and Zeus wants Hera to take care of him,so Hera makes a deal with Zeus if she takes care of Heracles, she will assign him 12 tasks to do. if he fails, he will get killed, but if he succeeds he will live a happy life he gets assigned to extra tasks because he had 2 he received help with.He succeeds all the tasks.


We all know she’s the wife of Zeus, but there are things about the goddess Hera you might not expect. Sure she’s inclined to destroy the lovers and children of her husband’s philandering, but she’s just as likely to turn around again and feed his starving son by another woman. She’ll send a guy like Heracles on twelve impossible missions without cease, yet in doing so she’ll be responsible for his fame and glory. This is the story of Heracles and Hera, his namesake, and the strange relationship the two were drawn into. Our muses aren’t always the people who do us good. Sometimes they’re the people who challenge us.


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