|Title||Prince of the Underworld|
Persephone (Birth mother)
|Affiliation||House of Hades|
Zagreus has always had a sense that he doesn't belong in the House of Hades. Sometime before the start of the game he decides, against his father's will, to escape from the Underworld—no matter how many tries it might take him. He is aided and encouraged in his journey, primarily by his caretaker Nyx and his mentor Achilles. Others outside the House of Hades, such as Sisyphus, Charon, and the Olympians sometimes offer their aid as well.
Zagreus is met with numerous obstacles throughout the realms of Tartarus, Asphodel, Elysium, and the Temple of Styx. He is mostly faced with various aggressive shades working for his father, but he also has run-ins with the Furies (Megaera, Tisiphone and Alecto), the skeletal remains of the Lernean Hydra, and the champion of Elysium, Theseus, and his friend, Asterius, in order to arrive at the Temple of Styx. These battles, combined with the dangerous landscape of the Underworld, serve to bring a painful end to Zagreus's escape attempts sooner or later.
Characteristics and Personality
Zagreus is the rebellious son of Hades and, unknowingly, Persephone; but was raised by Nyx. He is largely defined by his persistence, good humor and wit, and his kindness. Having spent most of his immortal life bearing the brunt of his father Hades' repressed frustration and rage, he grew up feeling distant and out of place from the other denizens of the underworld, partially due to his failing to meet the heavy expectations of his father, and partially his apparent inability to contribute to the running of the Underworld. When he discovers the truth of his parentage, he decides to attempt to escape the realm of the dead to seek out his long-lost mother. Despite all the trials and many deaths he faces, he never wavers in pursing his goal, never showing any sign of doubt in his efforts, even in the face of his father's wrath, nor when his own mother at one point tells him not to seek her out anymore.
Zagreus is often shown to be humble, good-humored, and often sarcastic and self-deprecating. His jovial, if somewhat-insubordinate nature allows him to easily befriend the many people he encounters, treating people of lower status as his equals, although he is respectful of his elders (aside from his father), especially his fellow gods. He is sometimes shown to be somewhat blasé, which has led him to offend the people around him or act without thinking of the consequences. However, he often reflects on this and is quick to apologize when he oversteps. He has a mischievous side, and is fond of pranking others.
He is fiercely protective of his friends and loved ones, and goes out of his way to defend them with little regard toward status or societal expectations. He often leverages his own influence to improve the lives of others.
Due to his sheltered upbringing, Zagreus is often shown to be ignorant of the world outside of the Underworld, relying on others to relay information about the outside world.
Zagreus is somewhat small for a god, considerably smaller than Hades and a head shorter than Persephone. He is presumably of reasonable height for a mortal as he tells the Minotaur he is the same height as Theseus. He has heterochromia with one of his father's red eyes and one of his mother's green. His hair is jet black like his father's though with his mother's spikier texture. His skin is quite pale, and he is physically strong and muscular. His feet are perpetually on fire.
Completing the Epilogue will unlock the complete Codex Entry.
Hades: Zagreus has a bitter relationship with his father Hades, who seems to think of him as lazy, naive, and foolish. The two frequently bicker, and Hades thwarts his escape attempts at every turn. Zagreus's memories of his father's treatment of him spur him on at the beginning of his escape attempts. Upon Persephone's return and subsequent encouragement, the two eventually come to something of an understanding, with Hades making Zagreus' escape attempts an official job to stress-test the security of the Underworld. By the time of Persephone's return, thanks to her his relationship with his father has slowly begun to improve, although Zagreus still not able to forgive his father's rude and bitter treatment over the years with him while Hades expect not to be forgiven in any sense, but recognizes that it is his fault in the first place. In a comic sense they still mock each other with trivial matters when both fight at the surface but showing mutual respect for their skills and combat abilities.
Persephone: For most of his life, Zagreus was unaware of his mother's existence or relation to him, having been led to believe that Nyx was his mother instead. The realization of her existence is once of the reasons for his escape attempts. Upon meeting her, he finds that she too was unaware of his existence, having been led to believe that he had died at birth, and left out of grief. The two connect immediately and with each meeting learn more about the circumstances of their separation and why the truth was hidden from them. Eventually, through Zagreus's persistence, Persephone returns to the Underworld, and she formulates a plan to finally ease the tension between the Chthonic and Olympian gods.
Nyx: Though Zagreus is initially shocked to learn that Nyx is not his biological mother, he was understanding, and they remained on good terms. Nyx supports his decision to leave and helped him contact the Olympians. Zagreus eventually learns that Nyx's intervention was the reason that Zagreus exists at all, due to her pulling a favor with her daughters, the Fates, to revive Zagreus when he died at birth. Zagreus has the option of reuniting Nyx with her parent, Chaos, after their years of separation and no contact.
Cerberus: Cerberus is Zagreus's beloved pet and best friend. He is affectionate towards Zagreus, and is quite mournful when he leaves. Zagreus also refuses to fight Cerberus and dislikes his father using him as a way to guilt him into staying, implying emotional harm and potential physical harm (since the two would eventually have to fight should Zagreus continue his escape attempts) on the pet as a result of his son leaving.
Achilles: Achilles is Zagreus's mentor, having taught him to fight. He supports Zagreus's escape attempts and expresses pride in his progress. Upon receiving a 5th nectar bottle, Achilles takes Zagreus's generosity for possible romantic affection and apologizes, explaining that his heart belongs to someone else. Zagreus's reply implies he already 'kind of' felt that was the case and whatever affection he bestowed to Achilles were not for such a pursuit. Zagreus eventually has the option to reunite Achilles with his former lover, Patroclus, in Elysium, through relaxing the terms of Achilles' contract with the House of Hades.
Megaera: Zagreus and Megaera appear to have some past history, but their relationship has since ended due to a mistake from Zagreus part. Megaera is aloof and hostile towards Zagreus and thinks his escape attempts are foolish. Further strain is placed on their relationship each time they have to fight to the death. Zagreus has the option to mend their relationship and rekindle their romance.
Thanatos: He and Zagreus are childhood friends, both being raised by Thanatos's mother, Nyx. Thanatos is initially very hurt when Zagreus attempts to escape the Underworld, as he had not been informed, but continues to help him at times. Despite being opposites in terms of personality, the two share a strong bond, likely due to their respective roles in representing death and life/rebirth. Zagreus has the option of forming a romantic relationship with Thanatos.
Dusa: Zagreus is friendly to Dusa, and doesn't talk down to her despite their difference in status. Dusa often becomes flustered whenever he talks to her. Nyx is initially disapproving of their friendship and of Dusa's tendency to overwork herself, and eventually abruptly fires the Gorgon; however she reverses the decision after Zagreus’s intervention (with some stipulations, however). Dusa is another possible romantic interest for Zagreus; however she ultimately turns Zagreus down, realizing she thinks of him merely as a kind friend.
Orpheus: Zagreus is fond of the morose musician, and is upset when Hades casts him off into the depths of Tartarus for refusing to sing out of his depression for losing his muse, Eurydice. Zagreus has the option of both having him be returned to the House of Hades, and having the terms of his contract lightened so he may visit his muse in Asphodel. Zagreus overall tries to cheer the musician up and get him to sing more, even going as far to tell him tall tales to improve his mood.
Chaos: Zagreus is respectful of his primordial ancestor, and in turn, they are fond of Zagreus, finding his actions and goals fascinating. Although normally disinterested in predictability and ever blunt, Chaos finds Zagreus's gestures of kindness and reverence refreshing, and aids the young god in their own way.
Olympian Gods: The Olympians, most of whom are aunts, uncles, and cousins to Zagreus, seem to sympathize with him and welcome him to join them on Olympus. They contact Zagreus during escape attempts, offering a friendly chat and Boons to aid him in his escape. They believe Zagreus is trying to escape so he can be with them; which is not the case as his objective is actually finding Persephone.
- Zeus: Zeus is proud of his nephew, often comparing him favorably to Hades (even jokingly offering to tell others that he is Zagreus's father instead of Hades). He occasionally brings up his distant relationship with his brother, and at one point brashly tries to have Zagreus mend their relationship by offering forgiveness to Hades, an attempt that only irritates Hades. Eventually Hades reveals to Zagreus that Zeus was the one who spirited away Persephone to the Underworld without telling anyone, after learning of her discontent of Olympus and Hades' fondness of the goddess. Upon learning this, Zagreus thinks that his uncle might be the type to act without thinking of the consequences.
- Poseidon: Poseidon is ecstatic to learn of Zagreus' existence, and shows a great fondness for his long lost nephew. Like the others, he offers his aid. Much like his younger brother, he sometimes compares Zagreus to Hades favorably.
- Demeter: Both Zagreus and Demeter are initially unaware of their relationship, that Demeter is Zagreus's grandmother through Persephone. Zagreus, like many of the other gods, shows reverence and a level of fear towards Demeter, who has developed a reputation of being ruthless and cold upon losing her daughter. He is often reminded of the potential repercussions of what she might do if she were to learn of the truth of Persephone's disappearance. When Persephone does eventually reveal herself to be alive (albeit with a slightly fabricated retelling of the events), Demeter's demeanor begins to soften simply out of relief; and she begins to regard Zagreus much more fondly. However, despite undoing her eternal winter upon Persephone's return, she keeps the area around the Temple of Styx frozen over, out of lingering resentment over being deceived.
- Artemis: Artemis expresses a sense of kinship with Zagreus, believing that they might have a lot in common as they both feel alienated from their families. She respects Zagreus's skills in hunting and seems to be among the most personally invested and eager in her relationship with Zagreus among the Olympians. She learns that Zagreus was mentored by Achilles, who she shows a strong fondness for, despite him being a mortal, even asking to meet him. Later in the game, Artemis confessed to Zagreus that she feels out of place among the Olympians and considers herself an outcast because of it, but she feels more welcomed and happy when she interacts with him.
- Athena: Athena was one of the first Olympians to reach out to Zagreus and offer her aid. She, like Artemis, seems personally invested in Zagreus's success and the idea of having her cousin reach Olympus, due to her interest in mending the tensions among her family. She has a good relationship with Zagreus's foster mother, Nyx, and admits to Zagreus that she envies their relationship due to not having a mother. When Persephone reveals her relationship with Hades and tells a false story of their apparent love-affair, Persephone suspects that Athena likely sees through the ruse, but due to her interest in keeping the peace in the family, chooses to play along with it.
- Ares: Ares is proud of his cousin and admires his capacity in bringing death (albeit to the already-dead); Zagreus on the other hand is a little weary of the god of war, due to his reputation of cruelty and violence. He shows interest in Zagreus' foster mother, Nyx, due to feeling a debt of gratitude for her role in his work as the manifestation of night herself and asks Zagreus to send his regards to her. The two eventually form a correspondence and meet in person with Zagreus's help (albeit with some unease on his part due to Ares violent, bloodthirsty nature and desire of violence).
- Hermes: Hermes is the only Olympian who has ever seen Zagreus in-person prior to the events of the game, due to his role as a Psychopomp and his working relationship with Charon; although like the rest of the Olympians, he appears to be unaware of Zagreus' true parentage. When he and the other Olympians are invited to the Underworld for a feast, he pretends to not have met Zagreus previously. It is unclear if he knew of Persephone's absconding to the Underworld prior the events of the game.
- Aphrodite: Aphrodite, like the other Olympians, takes an interest in Zagreus' escape attempts. Whenever Zagreus forms a romantic relationship with Megaera or Thanatos, Aphrodite takes notice of it and will comment on it.
- Dionysus: Dionysus shares a relaxed relationship with Zagreus and like the other Olympians, offers his aid to his cousin. At one point, the two collaborate together in pranking Orpheus, leading the musician to believe that the two are the same person.
- Zagreus has heterochromia, having inherited an eye color from each of his parents (his red eye from Hades and his green eye from Persephone).
- The Olympian Gods were not aware of Zagreus' existence until they were contacted by Nyx, whom they believe to be Zagreus' mother.
- Dionysus comments that Zagreus is his favorite demigod, while Aphrodite refers to him a godling and Artemis calls him a "half-god", all implying that Zagreus is not seen by the Olympians as a true god, possibly because Nyx is not seen as a true goddess.
- Despite Zagreus' insistence that he is not "the god of anything", Achilles maintains that every god, by definition, must be the god of something; as such, he theorizes that Zagreus might be the god of blood and, by extension, life. According to Achilles, this would explain the special bond Zagreus shares with Thanatos despite their apparently incompatible personalities.
- Zagreus doesn't know what birds are.
- 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 is occasionally added along with major updates:
- '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.