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Zagreus is the prince of the Underworld and the rebellious son of Hades. He is the older brother of Melinoë and is the protagonist of Hades.

He always had a sense that he doesn't belong in the House of Hades. After finding out the truth about his lineage, he decides to escape the underworld no matter what, going against his father's will. He is aided and encouraged in his journey by his mentor Achilles and his caretaker Nyx, who puts him into contact with the Olympian Gods who grant him boons to make him more powerful during his escape attempts. Despite their aid, they only see him as a half-god.

In his escape attempts, Zagreus will start at Tartarus, continue upwards and end his journey at the surface, where he cannot stay for long and must return back down along the river. Along the way, he may meet Sisyphus and other friendly faces who will help him, as well as Charon the shopkeeper who sells his various powerful wares. Zagreus is met with many obstacles in his journey upwards such as aggressive shades working for his father and has run-ins with the guardians of each region like the Furies, Bone Hydra, and the champions of Elysium Theseus and Asterius - culminating in a fight against his father, Lord Hades. Losing all of his health at any point results in an express trip back home.

Zagreus is mentioned in Hades II, as he is Melinoë's brother and part of the driving force of her mission.

Characteristics and Personality

Unlike most of the residents of the House of Hades, Zagreus is laid back and characterized by his good humor and kindness. However, he is endlessly persistent, restless, reckless and stubborn. His confident attitude, sarcasm and occasional obliviousness can lead to rocky relationships with the ones close to him, such as Megaera and Thanatos.

Zagreus is very energetic and has trouble doing the official underworld duties his father relegated to him, and decides to forego them in favor of his escape attempts. He is determined to escape his father's oppressive rule of the Underworld and meet his birth mother, Persephone.

Zagreus has a penchant for using his influence for mending relationships around him, as well as befriending everyone he can with gifts of Nectar and Ambrosia. He regards his Olympian family members with respect and politeness. Zagreus is very forgiving and amicable with the residents of the house and the peaceful denizens of the Underworld, but despite that shows annoyance towards certain characters, such as Hypnos and Theseus.

Physical Description

Zagreus has spiky black hair and wears a burning laurel crown on his head. He has differently colored eyes, his mother's green on his left and his father's red on his right. He has pale skin and is physically strong and muscular. Like his father, his feet are constantly on fire. He is often described as short. He bleeds red due to having mortal blood. He wears a black and red toga, decorated with bone white belts leading to triple-headed hound skulls on his shoulder. His arms are adorned with red ribbons and bracelets.


As the Fates prophesied that Hades would never have an heir, Zagreus was stillborn. His mother Persephone fled the underworld, heartbroken. However, Nyx used her power and the aid of her daughters to revive him without Persephone's knowledge. From then on, Nyx raised him, and he was trained and mentored by Achilles.

As Zagreus' sense of unrest about his family grew, he asked Hypnos to put a spell upon the house and sought the truth. Once he found out Persephone is his birth-mother after rifling through Hades' desk and finding a letter written by her hand, he was dead set on getting out of the underworld to find her. He quit his job at the administrator's chamber and set out to find Persephone with Nyx's help, despite Hades' insistence that there is no escape from the Underworld. He then got in contact with Athena, and from there, the rest of his relatives - who were under the impression he is Nyx's son, trying to get to Olympus. All but Hermes were oblivious to his true goal.

At the end of every escape attempt, Zagreus must confront his father and vanquish him in order to leave and see Persephone. Since their first meeting, she is overjoyed to meet her son. However, he cannot stay on the surface for long due to his chthonic blood, and after a brief conversation he perishes and goes down the river Styx and back to the house. Each time, they discuss the circumstances under which Persephone arrived in the underworld and her relationship with Hades as she is hesitant to go back, fearing she will be discovered by Olympus and a war will break out. After numerous victories, Hades lets him go freely and Persephone agrees to return to the Underworld, with Charon as their ferryman.

Impressed by his ability to pass through Underworld defenses, Hades hires Zagreus back to keep escaping and finding breaches in the Underworld's security in an official capacity.

After the family is reunited and many bonds have been formed with his relatives, Persephone hatches a plan to peacefully resolve the potential conflict her absconding could cause. A great feast is held in the House of Hades after Zagreus personally invites all the Olympians, and most of everything is set straight with careful wording and a bit of deception.

Hades II

After Chronos escapes his imprisonment in Tartarus and captures the residents of the House, Zagreus is trapped. He appears in a painting that was commissioned right after Melinoë is born, which she sees as a grim motivator to rescue her family.

Codex entry

'...Take one look at him and I think any questions of his parentage are soon resolved. He never seemed to like it much, there, growing up within Lord Hades' well-appointed house. One day I took him on as a disciple, under orders from Lord Hades; the Master worried that his heir lacked any firm direction in his life. And, indeed, Zagreus took well to the martial ways, and I am proud to say now that he was my student.'

Completing the Epilogue will unlock the complete Codex Entry.

'He was never insubordinate with me, despite his reputation. Perhaps my own lack of decorum in my youth made it easier for us to get along. He learned quickly, exhibiting his father's might, and even greater swiftness. Yet, he soon showed a quality that startled me much more. Forgive me, O gods! You are not known for your kindness. But this son of Lord Hades always regarded me, a mere shade, with respect; and the congenial manner of an old friend. Rumors swirl about the lad; about how he bleeds red like a mortal does. Well, if there's a trace of mortality in him, I am certain he is better for it. I should know.'


  • Due to Persephone's father being a mortal, Zagreus is 3/4 God, and 1/4 mortal.
  • According to initial design documents, Zagreus appears 22 and his tone reference is Tom Hiddleston as Loki in Thor. Other visual and tonal references were Alucard from Castlevania, Spike Spiegel from Cowboy Bebop, Dante from Devil May Cry and Dread Pirate Roberts from The Princess Bride.
  • Zagreus' accent is meant to be "fantasy british" a la Lord of the Rings. It is considered an Olympian accent, which he has due to Hades insisting to teach him how to speak in his own way.
  • Artemis notes that Zagreus' name means "great hunter."
  • The game references the Orphic myth of Zagreus being reborn as Dionysus in the form of the song Hymn to Zagreus, as well as referencing the versions where Zeus is his father by joking he would be a better father to him than Hades.
  • If the player goes through the polyamory route, Zag can enter in a V relationship with Megaera and Thanatos. A V relationship is when one person is dating two others, but the latters aren't romantically or sexually involved in any way; in this case, Zag is the one dating both Meg and Than.
  • Upon catching a Flameater, Zagreus might sing its name in the tone of "Snake Eater" from Metal Gear Solid 3.
  • If Zagreus's codex entry is viewed in the game's files, there is additional text that does not appear in the game. Like the other content of the codex, it appears to be written from Achilles' point of view. More text was occasionally added along with major updates:
Spoilers Ahead!
'Listen, Mortal. You are not supposed to be reading this. You are most bold, or most unwise, to have been digging through these arcane texts, or to have gleaned the knowledge from someone who has. Sometimes, herein, you may find traces of the weavings of the Fates. That is true. At other times, however, your attempts to glean the future shall be thwarted. Best not to spoil the surprises that the Fates may have in store for you, if you ask me. For the Fates work in mysterious ways, and defy prediction; remember that.
We all sprang from Chaos, did we not? They offer us as suitable an explanation for the sheer improbability of life and consciousness as ever I have heard. Chaos fundamentally is unexpected and inscrutable; know that it is their workings that shall forever frustrate your attempts to make predictable the ever-changing aspects of the Underworld. The days and seasons may be following a seemingly set path -- but the Underworld shall evolve as it is meant to, and by no other means.
We all are mortal and immortal, save the gods, who only are the latter. Some say that mortals flow from Dionysus from another life, for he is partly mortal from the details of his birth, and yet very much immortal in his station and his disposition. So, then, should it not be possible for other gods to be part-mortals, too? And, are we to take the stories of their ancestry at face value, unquestioningly always, even when the details of their origins are far too absurd or scandalous to be believed? Truly does the god of wine hold sway upon our minds, if such tales of their exploits are to spread unchecked, as fact.
Though I digress; let us discuss, for this one moment, Death. Death is the most expected of the gods among mortals, is he not? Entirely expected, and yet capable of striking during unexpected times, and taking unexpected forms. Yet even Death is subservient, here; Death almost never saw the light of day. Imagine, then, how empty this place would have been, how paradoxically devoid of warmth, had Death remained obscure. You are to be commended for keeping his secrets.
And when I think on Death, my mind wanders, so often as it does, to someone else, and Fear. Fear is for the weak; yet, I fear so much when it comes to him. That I may never see him again. That he shall be remembered not for all his grace and brilliance, but because he died because of me. I shall commemorate him here. He was my world. When he perished in the blasted war, because of all my stubbornness, I shortly followed him, of course. Though, somehow I knew I'd not see him again. It is not my place to say anything more, except for this: I pray that he forgives me, for all that I have done. And may he bask forever in the glory of Elysium, a paradise that ought to be for men like him.


Additional notes

For additional information about Zagreus that does not pertain to Hades, see Wikipedia's article: Zagreus.