Study Guide

Charon

  • Profile

    Charon is the grumpy old Ferryman who transports the souls of the dead into the Underworld by taking them across the River Acheron or the River Styx. Don't thank him quite yet: this was not a free service our man Charon was offering. You could only hitch a ride with the Ferryman if you had an obolus (a coin) to give him. Otherwise, you had to wait on the banks of the River Acheron for a hundred years until Mr. Grump would take you across. Make sure you bring exact change! You also weren't welcome on Charon's boat if you hadn't had a proper burial: in that case, you'd be doomed to wander the earth as a ghost, which the ancient Greeks thought was a fate worse than death. But the Greeks wised up: they were pretty obsessed with proper burial, and – don't forget about the fee – they would always place a coin under the tongue of the recently deceased.

    Basic Information

    Name

    Charon

    Nickname

    Kharon, the Ferryman, the Boatman, O Captain My Captain

    Sex

    Male

    Current city

    Underworld (pretty darn close to Hades)

    Work & Education

    Occupation

    Occupation: Ferryman of the Dead. No big deal.

    General Duties: Taking the souls of the dead into the Underworld by ferrying them across the River Acheron (and/or the River Styx)

    Education

    Night School

    Beliefs

    Political views

    Hades for King

    Family & Friends (& Enemies)

    Parents

    Erebos and Nyx

    Children

    Absolutely not

    Friends

    Thanatos
    Hades

    Enemies

    Let's be honest: nobody really likes me all that much.

    Relationships

    Relationship status

    Single. It's kind of tough to meet people down here.

    Favorites

    Quotations

    "The hasty and the tardy meet at the ferry."
    – Arabian Proverb

    "Indigestion is – that inward fate which makes all Styx through one river flow."
    – Lord Byron

    "Don't pay the ferryman until he gets you to the other side."
    – Proverb

    "Because I could not stop for Death –
    He kindly stopped for me –
    The Carriage held but just Ourselves –
    And Immortality."
    – Emily Dickinson

    Books

    His Dark Materials Trilogy by Philip Pullman
    "Because I could not stop for death" by Emily Dickinson
    The Aeneid by Virgil
    The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman
    As I Lay Dying by William Faulkner
    The Frogs by Aristophanes
    The Voyage of the Dawn Treader by C.S. Lewis
    Treasure Island by Robert Lewis Stevenson
    The Metamorphoses by Ovid
    Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain
    "Thanatopsis" by William Cullen Bryant
    Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad
    Moby-Dick by Herman Melville
    Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel Garcia Marquez

    Music

    Row, Row, Row Your Boat
    Come Sail Away
    by Styx
    All Aboard from The Frogs by Stephen Sondheim
    The Cave by Mumford and Sons
    The Ferryman by the Dubliners
    Boat on the River by Styx
    Good Feeling by Flo Rida
    Skeleton Dance
    Thriller
    by Michael Jackson
    If I Die Young by The Band Perry

    Movies

    Grumpy Old Men
    Grumpier Old Men
    The Ferryman
    O Brother Where Art Thou?
    River Styx
    The Walking Dead
    Charon
    Dead Man
    Pirates of the Caribbean
    series - all of them!
    Underworld Series (especially the first)

    Activities & Interests

    Likes

    The Navy
    Gondolas
    Regattas
    Windsurfing
    Log Flumes
    Rubber Duckies
    Slot Machines

    Dislikes
    Interests

    Numismatics (the study of coins)
    Maritime Archaeology
    Thanatology (the study of death, named after my buddy!)

    Groups

    Coin Collectors
    Styx Fan Club
    The Ferrymen's Union
    Slot Machine Enthusiasts
    River Acheron Yacht Club

  • Spotter's Guide

    You look a little too alive to want to hang out with Charon. He pretty much only chills with the souls of the dead. You'll find him on the border of the Underworld, ferrying the dead across the River Acheron. Or was it the River Styx? People say both things. I get confused. Anyway, I've never met Charon, but everybody says he's a really grumpy guy, who's not much fun to talk to. The only thing he gets excited about is the coins that each soul gives him. I have no idea why he wants all those coins--all he wears is old ratty robes, but it's none of my business. So, if you're determined to hang out with the Ferryman, you'll have to go down to the borderlands of Hades and get in line behind a ton of ghosts. If you want my advice, though, you'll find somebody else to chill with. Sooner or later, everybody meets Charon anyway.

    Sex: Male
    Age: Super Old
    Build: Scrawny
    Complexion: Very Pale
    Hair Color: Gray/White
    Facial Hair: Beard
    Scars/marks/tattoos:
    None
    Jewelry and accessories: None
    Clothing: Ratty black robes and something covering his head
    Armor: None
    Type of Weapon: Rowing pole a.k.a. an oar (more like a transportation accessory)

    Typical Companions:

    • The souls of the dead
    • Hermes
    • Thanatos
    • Cereberus
    • Hades

    Known Hangouts:

  • Sightings

    Dec 20, 2019

    The Frogs

    In Aristophanes' ancient comedy, The Frogs, Charon gives Dionysus a boat ride across Acheron, as the god of wine travels to the Underworld to bring back one of Athens' great tragedians. Useful chap, that Charon.

    Dec 20, 2019 - Dec 20, 2019

    Aeneid

    In Virgil's Aeneid, the ferryman takes Aeneas and Sybil across the River Styx. And get this: Aeneas isn't even dead yet. What's with the special treatment?

    Dec 20, 2019 - Dec 20, 2019

    The Divine Comedy

    In Dante's epic poem, The Divine Comedy, Charon gets bossed around a bit by Virgil as he and Dante make their way through Hell.

    Dec 20, 2019

    "The Hollow Men"

    T.S. Eliot drops references to Charon and his river in "The Hollow Men," a dark masterpiece of modern poetry.

    Dec 20, 1974

    Sondheim's The Frogs

    Charon gets to show off his singing voice in Burt Shevelove and Stephen Sondheim's modern musical remake of The Frogs by Aristophanes.

    Dec 20, 1994 - Dec 20, 2019

    TV Star

    The Ferryman was played by Michael Hurst in two TV Series: Hercules: the Legendary Journeys and Xena: Warrior Princess. Both worth a viewing, we'd say.

    Dec 20, 2019

    The Lightning Thief

    Charon has a taste for Italian suits in The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan.

    Dec 20, 2019

    His Dark Materials

    In The Amber Spyglass, the third installment of Philip Pullman's awesome His Dark Materials trilogy, Will and Lyra have to convince the Boatman to take them into the Land of the Dead.

    Dec 20, 2019

    God of War

    In the grizzly God of War video game, Charon has robes with severed heads. Very classy.