Hera: The Goddess and her Glory is the third book in the Olympians series. This book tells the story of Hera’s greatest moments, including her marriage to Zeus, her ascension to the throne of Mount Olympus, and Heracles’ twelve labors. Meet Hera before she became Zeus’ queen, and discover all of the problems that come along with being the queen of the Gods.
1. Hera is the goddess of marriage, yet her own marriage to Zeus is full of fights. Who do you think is to blame for that, Zeus or Hera? (Watch out for lightning bolts and giant snakes when answering this question.)
2. When Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster created Superman in the 1930s, they consciously modeled him on Heracles. What are some aspects that Superman and Heracles have in common?
3. Heracles and Jason are two of the greatest heroes of ancient Greece, and are both closely connected to Hera, but their respective relationships with her are quite different. Why do you think that is?
4. Many of the names in this book will be very familiar to modern readers, like Atlas and Heracles. What are some modern things that have names taken from Greek mythology?
5. Do you think it’s fair that Hera punishes the children and girlfriends of Zeus? Is it fair that Zeus keeps cheating on Hera?
6. The number twelve comes up often in the Greek myths. Heracles performs twelve labors; there are twelve Olympians, and twelve Titans before them. Why is the number twelve so important? What other numbers come up a lot in the Greek myths?
7. Heracles is given a choice between a hard life, in which he would have to work for everything but would be remembered forever, and an easy life, in which everything would be given to him. Did he make the right choice? What would you choose?
8. Very few people believe in the Greek gods today. Why do you think it is important that we still learn about them?
This Reader’s Theater has been taken from pages twelve to twenty of Hera: The Goddess and her Glory. It comprises the scene in which Hera discovers Zeus with his lover Io, who is disguised as a cow.
Read the original scene as it is portrayed in Hera: The Goddess and her Glory. Then assign roles from the cast list. Act out the scene with each character speaking and acting his or her part.
Worst Gift Ever.
Hera: Zeus? Zeu-us! Poseidon, have you seen Zeus?
Poseidon: I think I saw him with Apollo.
Apollo: Haven’t seen him all day, have you asked Artemis?
Artemis: Try the throne room. He likes it there.
Hestia: Have you tried the forge?
Hera: I don’t suppose any of you have seen my husband lately?
Aphrodite: I think I saw him down on earth. Some pretty mortal princess or another…
Hera: (on Earth) Zeus, are you here? You can come out now!
Zeus: (whispering) Oh no! It’s her! Quick, hide!
Cow: (whispering) Her? Her who? Hera!? Hide where?!
Hera: Here you are! Having a picnic…with a cow?
Zeus: Hera! I can explain!
Hera: Well, this should be good…
Zeus: Yes, well, you see…She’s a gift! For you!
Hera: For me? Zeus, I can’t remember the last time you got me a gift! Let’s get a look at you…
(Hera looks at Cow)
Whatever made you think to get me such a romantic gift?
Zeus: It’s, uh, because she has such beautiful eyes! They remind me of yours!
Hera: Did you hear that? Cow-eyed! I have a very flattering husband.
Hera: But you’re right–she is a very beautiful cow, Zeus. That must be why you were having a picnic with her.
Hera: I shall take her and put garlands on her horns and sing her praises. Wouldn’t that be lovely, dear?
Zeus: Uh, on second thought…I’ve seen more beautiful cows. Let me go get you another one–
Hera: More beautiful?! But you said that this cow has eyes as beautiful as mine!
Hera: Are you saying that you’ve seen cows with eyes more beautiful than mine!?
Zeus: Well, I–
Hera: Yes or no, Zeus? You can’t have it both ways. Have you or have you not seen cows with eyes more beautiful than mine?
Zeus: No! Of course not! Even this cow’s are not so beautiful as yours! I merely meant her eyes, her eyes had a…shade of something that reminded me of yours. And now of course, I see that it is just the reflection of the sky.
Cow: (sadly) Moooo
Zeus: The same beautiful blue color of your eyes.
Hera: That’s better. Very well, Zeus. I accept your very thoughtful, very romantic gift.
Zeus: Umm, where are you taking her?
Hera: Someplace safe. Someplace where she will be under guard twenty four hours a day, seven days a week. For all of time.
Cow: (alarmed) Moo!
Zeus: But Hera!
Hera: A cow as lovely as this, it would be a shame if she were stolen. By the way, what’s her name?
Zeus: Io. It’s Io.
Hera: A lovely name for a cow.
Cow: (sadly) Moo…