Assuming for a second that I am right, and Xaden and Violet are Gods, or the fact that the Gods really are among us in Iron Flame. This would mean we can start drawing parallels between them and the Greek Pantheon.
My article looks at how characters from the Iron Flame might be similar to gods and goddesses from Greek myths.
We’ll see if characters like the brave dragon riders or wise leaders in Iron Flame have anything in common with figures like Zeus, Hades, or Hermes from ancient stories.
This isn’t just about matching characters with gods based on their powers or roles, but I’m hopeful that it could potentially clue us into what we can expect from the rest of the series.
It’s a fun way to think about the characters and see the story from a different angle.
Now, if I’m entirely wrong, I still think it’s a lot of fun to dive a little deeper into the fantasy world. Now, this is a little more difficult than usual as this is Rebecca Yarros’ first fantasy book. So we don’t particularly know what she takes inspiration from. I honestly believe it is the Greek Pantheon and she did a smart retelling of the Legend of the Olympus.
Fair warning, my parents used to tell me bedtime stories inspired by the Legends of the Olympus. While I don’t remember it all, I am currently doing my own research about the pantheon and certain myths and legends. Please excuse me if I make mistakes here. I strive to be accurate but ultimately this theory is how I envision Iron Flame characters and their relationship to certain pantheons / Gods.
I would like to mention a special thanks to one of our readers and commenters here, Vlad! He stirred me in the right direction when it came to Ridoc and gave me a lot of solid points I could expand on. Thank you so much!
I strongly encourage you to comment in the section below to strengthen this theory together!
Let’s get started.
Parallel between Iron Flame characters and the Greek Pantheon
Why the Greek Pantheon? When it comes to characters, I do think there is a strong correlation between their powers and the Greek Gods. Please note that I’m not talking about dragons (yet). And as you can imagine, Fourth Wing and Iron Flame are not just a straightforward retelling of Greek myths. Oh no, it has so many influences it’s unbelievable. Which is why is so good and successful. It plays on the tales we are so familiar with, infused with a modern twist of romance (and smut, thank you!) as well as the author’s strongest signet: military context.
Looking at the characters and their God like features, I find it most likely that they do draw inspiration from the Greek Pantheon (and epic Greek stories).
Violet – Zeus
To me, Violet is like Zeus. Zeus is known as the king of the gods, wielding immense power and authority over Olympus and its deities. She was told by venin that she can commend the sky (which could be interpreted as she could command the Empyrean; sky = Empyrean). Zeus is the sky and thunder God. His signature weapon was the lightening bolt.
Xaden – Hades
I already told you in the previous articles that there is a strong parallel between Xaden and Hades. Hades is the god of the underworld, a realm that is often associated with darkness and shadows. Similarly, Xaden is depicted with an affinity for shadows. I mean, come on, the guy can wield them!
Ridoc – Hermes
Well, he himself told us that he is the God of land navigation. In Iron Flame! Yup, that’s right. Which probably means he is our equivalent of Hermes. Did you know that Ridoc is regarded as the divine trickster? That sure sounds like our Ridoc.
Rhiannon – Hera
From the very beginning, she was associated with the renderings of Amari. Rhiannon is a little more difficult here. She is leadership and has aspiration to leadership. Chances are, she will be our wingleader in Book 3. There are two options as the Queen of the Gods. She is either parallel to Hera (The Queen of the Gods in Olympus) or a parallel to Rhea. Rhea is the mother goddess, the Titaness daughter of Gaia and Uranus. Given her affinity to Violet, I would say more Hera than Rhea. Now, of course, please remember that the Empyrean Series has its own twist and it drew inspiration from the Pantheon, it doesn’t follow it by the letter. Which means that just because Rhi is inspired by Hera, it doesn’t mean she needs to be Zeus’s wife (or in a romantic relationship with Violet, but best friends instead).
Sawyer – Hephaestus
Sawyer would be Hephaestus, right? His signet is metallurgy. Guess what, Hephaestus (among others) is the God of metallurgy and metalworking. But wait, there is more. As a smithing god, Hephaestus made all the weapons of the gods in Olympus. So it could be that we will see more of Sawyer’s signet in the coming books. Besides, yes, you remember right, Sawyer lost a whole leg in Iron Flame. Well, Hephaestus was cast off Mount Olympus because….(drum roll) he was lame. Hephaestus had a physical disability or impairment that affected his ability to walk or move in a typical manner. Whoa….
Jesinia – Homer
I have to thank Vlad, yet again for this one. He pointed me to the right direction. Who could our Jesinia be? We don’t have scribes in the pantheon, now, do we? But not everyone NEEDS to be a God. They could be supporting characters, supporting creatures to the Gods or…even the author who created them? In this context, Jesinia might just be our Homer. After all, didn’t she just “transcribe” the whole book into modern language? Much like how Homer wrote the Iliad and the Odyssey? My mind is blown but in the best of ways.
12 Gods – Who are they in Iron Flame
In ancient Greek stories, the twelve main gods are called the Olympians because they were thought to live on Mount Olympus. The most well-known are Zeus, Poseidon, Hera, Demeter, Aphrodite, Athena, Artemis, Apollo, Ares, Hephaestus, Hermes, and either Hestia or Dionysus. They became the top gods after Zeus led them to win a big war against the older gods, the Titans, who were their parents and uncles and aunts. The Olympians are a family of gods that includes Zeus and his brothers and sisters, as well as his children like Aphrodite and Athena. Hades is also one of Zeus’s brothers, but because he lives in the underworld, not on Mount Olympus, he’s usually not counted as one of these main twelve gods.
Let’s draw a parallel, then. Who is who? Now please remember that again, not all Gods need to be present in Basgiath. At least I haven’t found them all yet…
Poseidon – He was the God of the waters. For a character to mirror Poseidon’s traits in the Empyrean Series, we need someone with a strong connection to water, power, and a certain tempestuous nature, much like the god of the sea. Based on the search, Heaton, who can breathe underwater, stands out as a potential parallel. This unique ability directly ties him to the essence of water, much like Poseidon’s dominion over the seas. While Heaton’s ability to breathe underwater might seem modest compared to Poseidon’s grandeur, it symbolizes a deep connection with the aquatic element. Heaton doesn’t seem to be as much of a main character right now, though.
Demeter – What’s the number one thing that stands out when you think of Demeter? Her eyes, right? Those gorgeous green eyes. And what is the one thing Rebecca Yarros reminds us about Imogen? Her green eyes. Now, In Greek mythology, Demeter is revered as the goddess of agriculture, harvest and fertility. Hmmm, this doesn’t really scream Imogen, now right? Imogen is fierce and powerful. However, she does seem to be gentle towards Violet and even “lend her an ear” to talk about Xaden and push her towards forgiving him.
Aphrodite – The Goddess of love and beauty. Well…it’s Basgiath ladies and gentlemen. We have war and death and very little love and beauty. I’m afraid, I’m not finding a parallel yet. However, one of our readers, Olivia (see comments) mentioned that Catriona would be an excellent candidate for this. She is, after all, very beautiful, the type that would fit the court in Calldyr. If we add the flyers into the mix, then I have to agree, Catriona would make an exceptional Aphrodite.
Artemis – The Goddess of the hunt. Known as the goddess of the hunt, wilderness, childbirth, and virginity, Artemis is often depicted as a huntress with a bow and arrows. A character that would parallel Artemis in the Empyrean Series would likely be skilled in combat or survival, have a deep connection with nature or animals, and possibly exhibit a fiercely independent and protective nature, particularly towards women and children. Hmm…protective nature. Could this be Mira somehow?
Apollo – Apollo is the Greek god of many aspects including music, poetry, art, oracles, archery, plague, medicine, sun, light, and knowledge. As a god associated with healing and medicine, a character similar to Apollo could have abilities or skills in healing…or mending. Are we potentially looking at Brennan here?
Ares – Ares is the Greek god of war and courage. Again, I don’t particularly have anyone in mind for this, although I am sort of thinking of Garrick. Why? “Classes are out for the afternoon, and I see Xaden and Garrick leaned up against the wall of the academic building like gods surveying their domain.” So clearly Garrick is some sort of God. But which one? We don’t even know his signet.
Hermes – Already talked about it. This is our Ridoc. It all makes sense here. He is the God of land navigation. Thank you Rebecca Yarros for spelling it out for us.
Hestia or Dionysus – Hestia is the virgin goddess of the hearth and the home. Dionysus is the god of wine-making. Neither of which seem to have anything to do with Basgiath.
Elements of Greek mythology in Iron Flame
I feel like there are many elements in Iron Flame which reminded me of stories my parents used to tell me.
Pandora’s box and Violet’s suffering
One of the main things that beckons is the reference to Pandora’s box in Iron Flame. Throughout the book, Violet shoves every bad emotion in a box. “It takes me a second to shove the memories, the emotion, back into the box they have to stay in for this to work.” or “It goes into the box where I keep every other overwhelming emotion.”
Dain Aetos – Aëtos
In one version, Aëtos is depicted as a childhood companion to Zeus during the latter’s hidden years in Crete, away from his father, Cronus. The story suggests a close bond between Zeus and Aëtos, which led to Hera’s jealousy. Hera, known for her vengeful nature towards Zeus’s companions and offspring outside their marriage, transforms Aëtos into an eagle. Zeus, in response to this act and perhaps as a way to honor their friendship, elevates the eagle to a position of prominence, making it a symbol closely associated with him.
Fables of the Barren – Zeus, Poseidon, and Hades?
According to myth, after overthrowing their father Cronus, the three brothers drew lots to divide the world among themselves. Zeus became the god of the sky and ruler of Olympus, Poseidon became the god of the sea, and Hades became the god of the underworld.
Could it be that there is a relation between the three siblings and the Fables of the Barren, The origin?
Dragons – Gods? Titans? Primordial deities?
“What, dragons don’t think we need the gods on our side?”
“Dragons pay no heed to your puny gods.”
In short, I don’t know. I don’t see a relationship between Dragons and Gods right now. While every single dragon’s name means something (potentially representative to the signet or to the God they could represent), I cannot really see who the dragons truly represent. They could be primordial deities, which are the first generation of gods and goddesses. They sure live a much longer time than humans, so…maybe?
Or maybe they are like the Titans? They were 12 Titans. And the Gryphons are the other 6? Or perhaps the Gryphons are somehow the equivalent of Cyclopes. Afterall, dragons do look at gryphons as being somewhat lesser.
The Gods in Fourth Wing and Iron Flame
Malek – The God of death. He is the protector of souls and he claims them. Who is Malek? I have no doubt that Malek is related to Violet. There is no other explanation as to why he didn’t take Sawyer and sent Liam to her as a kindness. That also explains why Lilith said she will see “him” soon. I know, I know, you’re thinking it was the dad. I do not think so…She was talking about Malek.
Zinnal – The god of luck. We do not know anything about this God. I have no clue from the books. I know that according to the Greeks, Tyche was the deity of fortune and prosperity. “Zihnal may love you, but let’s not test him,” Aaric grits through his teeth, holding out a blistered hand. Who is Zihnal and why does he love Violet?
Amari – Queen of Gods. I believe this is simply Rhiannon or related to Rhiannon one way or another. Maybe she is the daughter of, given the similarities in facial features. We already covered this. Hera!
Dunne – The Goddess of strength and War. Ares. Could it be that Ares is a lady Goddess here in Empyrean Series? Probably, yeah. And I already did say how much I think Dunne is Xaden’s mother, one way or another. Or at least Xaden is related to Dunne given that we’ve seen the wreath of Dunne in his very eyes. 🙂
I think there is a lot of Greek mythology that has been borrowed and translated into the modern masterpiece that is Fourth Wing and Iron Flame. There are a lot more elements I’m discovering and I’m eager to share with you as we go along.
I’m currently reading the books again and combing through for details and new theories I can bring to you all.
Want to help make this better? I am currently looking for your theories too! Whether you want to emphasis something I might have missed or want to submit your own theory, please let me know in the comments section below!