We sat down with Hera to discuss her relationship with Zeus. We wanted to get an insight into how she felt hearing about his many lovers and ultimately try and discover why she decided to stick by her man.
We went to meet Hera at the south slopes of Kronios Hill at her oldest temple. She had her sceptre and crown, appearing in all her glory just for us.
Hera vs Leto – Leto was a lover of Zeus, one of many. Hera found out that Leto was to birth twins Apollo and Artemis. Zeus married Hera after the pregnancy.
What was your first thought when you heard the news about Leto’s pregnancy?
“I was very shocked but I knew I couldn’t allow her to give birth as it would threaten mine and my children’s position in Olympus. My first thought was to ensure that there would be no land that would take her in. Another trick of mine was the send Python to chase her down, instil some fear into her. I also tried to keep Eileithyia (the goddess of childbirth) away from her.”
Next, we discussed the tragic story of Semele and her son Dionysus, word spread that Dionysus would be named as Zeus’ heir and this obviously triggered a raging reaction within Hera.
Can you tell us what happened with Semele and Dionysus?
“Yes, it’s quite simple really. I heard that Zeus was out and about spreading his seed again, this time with a mere mortal, her name was Semele. When I heard about this, there had to be something done to teach him and her a lesson. I couldn’t allow Dionysus to be born so I had to get rid of her before she could give birth. I quickly came up with a plan. I appeared to Zeus as Semele, he was so overly smitten it made me sick, from then I knew I didn’t care how, she had to go. He was asking how he could impress her. That was my opportunity, I told him to appear in all his glory, just like he had appeared to me. I knew Semele would not be able to cope with such power and showmanship and I knew Zeus didn’t do things by halves. I waited, he appeared to Semele, charging in on his chariot and throwing thunderbolts all around her. She died of shock.”
Do you not feel responsible for her death? She was pregnant after all.
“No, firstly, she shouldn’t have been messing about with my man. Secondly it was technically Zeus’ fault that she died so you can take that up with him. If he wasn’t so eager to show off it wouldn’t have happened, but it did so it’s time to move on and get over it.”
What was your reaction when you found out that Dionysus was still born and living?
“Well I did hear through some people that Zeus gave Dionysus to Hermes and instructed him to hide him. Hermes should stick to doing anything else but hiding people because it wasn’t long until I discovered Dionysus was living with his mother’s sister. I knew I couldn’t touch him. So, I got the next best thing, his family. I drove his aunt and uncle to insanity and watch them kill their two sons.”
Next, we went on to discuss the relationship that Zeus had with Io, this was more of a touchy subject for Hera as Io was her mortal priestess. When Io found favour with Zeus, we argue that she was rightful to get even with Io.
Tell us about Io and the events that followed you discovering her relationship with Zeus.
“I was understandably raging when I discovered their relationship. She was supposed to be my priestess and she completely stabbed me in the back. I had to seek revenge. The best way I knew how to deal with Io was to turn her into a cow”
Well that seems quite tame for you really, is there more to this story?
“Yes, there is more, I sent flies to follow her and sting her as she wondered the land as a cow. It’s what she deserved” she said this with a wicked smile.
Now came the story everyone has been waiting for. We bravely or stupidly, we are quite sure which is the right one yet, on to Alcmene.
What angered you the most about the news of Heracles?
Hera looked us dead in the eye with a mix between a blank and piercing stare. We felt chills down our spine and kind of wished that the world would have swallowed us whole at this point, we would have rather been Prometheus, having our liver plucked from us every day than begin to feel the wrath of Hera. She stormed off. After what felt like days in the underworld, Hera returned and sat down. There was an air of uneasiness for a while. We dared ask the question again. This time Hera was more than happy to answer.
“I think what bothered me the most was that before finding out this news, Zeus had announced that the next descendent would rule over Mycenae. I wasn’t about to let his lover’s child take that from me. Just because he was deceivably named, making people believe I liked the child and he had gained some sort of favour from me, he didn’t. Not in the slightest. I once again ensured that Eileithyia was tied with her legs crossed to prevent Alcmene from giving birth to the child in the first place. I don’t know why I bother with Eileithyia anyway she always seems to have some sort of scheme against me and he was born anyway”
There are many stories behind how he got his powers, do you know the truth?
“Yes, and let me make it as clear as day, I was the one that gave him his powers, or shall I say he stole his powers from me.”
Really, how did he manage to steal his powers from you? That seems far reaching even for a son of Zeus…She once again gave her death stare and gripped tighter on to the base of her sceptre seeming like she could have swung it at us at any point. But she didn’t thank all the gods. She sighed and rolled her eyes.
“His mother, the contriving little B****, tricked Athena into bringing the thing to me. I took pity on the child not knowing who it really was. I nursed him to keep his strength up. He would suckle so hard that one time I couldn’t bare it any longer and had to rip him off me. This act would lead to him taking his power from the milk I would nurse him with. I also created the milky way, so you’re welcome for that too.”
Hera refused to answer any more questions on the matter of Heracles. We both decided that this would be a nice end to our chat. We presented Hera with a tribute for her company and we both went our separate ways.
I want to thank Hera for spending her time with us and being gracious enough to not enact her rage onto us and giving us never discussed information.
XOXO, Gossip God