If you have played several of the games in the King’s Quest series, you may have noticed that many of the characters roaming the lands are references to mythological figures. Being a great fan of Graeco-Roman mythology, I decided to devote a section describing the tale and myth behind some of them. Click each image to enlarge it.
CERES – Goddess of harvest. Her Greek name is Demeter. Unlike the other gods, who were fickle and mostly caused mischief to humans, Ceres was kind and loving. She was worshipped by the people of Eleusis. The ceremonies held in Eleusis for Ceres were so secret that not even the other gods knew what they were like (this is the origin of the word elusive). In King’s Quest 7, Valanice must save Ceres and seek her guidance to help unfreeze Mab.
CHARON – The old ferryman in Hades who brought dead people across the Styx river in his ferry. Charon allowed passage only to the persons who were buried properly with a coin (an obol) under the tongue. The dead ones who did not have a coin had to wander on the river bank for 100 years. It seems, though, that Count Dracula had some kind of influence on Charon because Charon let King Graham to enter his boat, thinking that he was Dracula. Now, why did the corpse in the catacombs contain 2 coins? And why did Alexander have to pay the 2 coins to Charon? Did the old ferryman charge double fee from live people? Perhaps. Charon makes several appearances in King’s Quest. He ferried Graham across the poisonous lake to Dracula’s house and Alexander across the River Styx. Connor talks to a boatman in the Dimension of Death who may also be Charon.
CUPID – God of love. His Greek name is Eros. In most myths, he was a small mischievous child who used to shoot love arrows at mortals and gods as well — even at Zeus. In King’s Quest 4, Rosella startles Cupid but is able to get his bow and arrows that prove to be of great use to her.
THE FATES – Also known as the Moirae, they were three goddesses who controlled the death date of all mortals. Their names: Clotho, Lachesis and Atropos. Clotho was the goddess who wove the thread of life; Lachesis cast lots to determine when a certain mortal would die; and Atropos used the terrible scissors to cut the thread, thus ending mortal life. In King’s Quest 7, Valanice must seek the help of the Fates several times to save Etheria and the surrounding lands.
THE GRAEAE – The Grey Sisters, three old Goddesses who lived in the north. They had only one eye and one tooth. When Perseus traveled north to kill Medusa, he needed guidance from the Grey Sisters; but knowing that they would not reveal any information willingly (the Gorgons were their relatives after all), he stole their only eye and gave it back only after they gave him directions. In King’s Quest 4, Rosella must face the Graeae and steal their eye away from them before they captured her in their cave.
THE HARPIES – Evil Goddesses, half-women, half-birds, who were sent by the Gods to punish mortal sinners. They would appear whenever those sinners were about to eat, grabbing all the food, leaving only foul stench and filth. In King’s Quest 5, the Harpies captured Graham and
injured Cedric, but Graham cleverly distracted them.
MEDUSA – One of the Gorgons — three evil goddesses, with snakes instead of hair, who could turn to stone whoever looked in their eyes. Medusa was mortal, unlike her two older sisters, so Perseus managed to kill her. He used polished shield when striking her, so he did not have to look straight at her and be turned to stone. In King’s Quest 3, Medusa terrorized Gwydion in the desert until he turned her to stone.
MINOTAUR – An evil monster, half-bull, half-man. Minos, king of Crete, held the minotaur in a great labyrinth where he would throw in Athenian prisoners to feed the beast. Theseus, the famous hero, managed to find his way in the labyrinth and killed the minotaur with the help of princess Ariadne, who gave him a ball of thread to find his way in and out of the labyrinth. In King’s Quest 6, Alexander must battle with the minotaur in the catacombs to save Lady Celeste.
NEPTUNE – God of the sea. His Greek name is Poseidon. Neptune’s weapon was the trident. With it, he would cause earthquakes. In King’s Quest 2, Graham seeks an audience with King Neptune in his undersea kingdom.
ORACLE – The temple of the prophet God Apollo in Delphi. The term is also used for the prophets. People from all over Greek used to visit Delphi to ask the Oracle for future-telling. These prophecies, though, were mostly vague and ambiguous. Alexander seeks an oracle’s help in King’s Quest 3 and in King’s Quest 6. The picture is of Apollo’s Temple at Delphi.
PAN – A lesser Greek God — satyr (half man, half goat), God of forests and shepherds, protector of sheep and cattle herds. Pan invented a flute made out of reeds — which is called “Pan’s Pipe.” Pan used to frighten unwary travelers by making a terrible noise (this is where the word panic came from). In King’s Quest 4, Rosella successfully persuades Pan to give her his flute.
PANDORA – The first mortal woman. After Prometheus stole the fire and gave it to humans, Zeus sought revenge. He created Pandora and married her to Epimetheus, brother of Prometheus. Zeus gave Pandora a beautifully-crafted chest as a wedding gift. In fact, the chest contained all kinds of illnesses and diseases. Pandora, being curious, opened the chest, letting go of all the evil that had been in it. This was the revenge of Zeus. Hence the phrase “Pandora’s Box” — origin of terrible mischief, which is harmless as long as no one tampers with it. In King’s Quest 4, Lolotte tells Rosella to seek Pandora’s box for her somewhere in Tamir.
PEGASUS – Winged immortal horse. Bellerophon, who sought to kill the Chimaera, managed to catch and tame Pegasus, using magic bridle which was given to him by Athena. In King’s Quest 2, Graham magically transforms a snake into Pegasus. Sirocco in King’s Quest 7 may also be a manifestation of Pegasus.