Study Guide

Harpies

  • Profile

    The Harpies are the last gals you'll ever want to have over for a BBQ. These awful creatures, with the heads of women and bodies of birds, have a nasty habit of swooping down from the sky, snatching whatever food they see, and then pooping on the remains. (Um... gross.) Back in the day, they were thought of as the spirits of sudden gusts and whirlwinds, and they were blamed whenever somebody or something suddenly disappeared.

    These ugly bird-ladies are sometimes called "the hounds of Zeus," because the king of the gods often sent them to punish mortals by snatching things precious to them or by snatching the offending mortals themselves. "Harpy" actually translates to something like "snatchers," so it seems like they were pretty aptly named. Just remember, if you want to keep your burgers in your buns, stay away from the Harpies.

    Basic Information

    Name

    The Harpies: Okypete, Aello, Celaeno (Podarge)

    Nickname

    Okypete: the Swiftwing
    Aello: the Stormswift
    Celaeno: the Dark

    Sex

    Females

    Current city

    The Strophades Islands

    Work & Education

    Occupation

    Spirits of sudden gusts and whirlwinds
    Professional torturers

    Education

    The Furies' Torture Academy

    Beliefs

    Political views

    Pro-Zeus

    Family & Friends (& Enemies)

    Parents

    Thaumas (Dad)
    Elektra (Mom)

    Siblings

    Iris

    Children

    Aello might've been the mother of Xanthos and Podarkes, some super-fast immortal horses.

    Friends

    Iris (who saved us from the Boreads)

    Enemies

    Aeneas
    Phineus
    Jason
    Boreads

    Relationships

    Relationship status

    Single

    Interested in

    All-you-can-eat buffets

    Favorites

    TV Shows

    Storm Chasers
    Paula's Best Dishes
    Around the World in 80 Plates

    Quotations

    "Birds of a feather flock together."
    – Proverb

    "They have sown the wind, and they shall reap the whirlwind."
    – Bible, Hosea 8:7

    "A forest bird never wants a cage."
    – Henrik Ibsen

    "They hear a voice in every wind
    and snatch a fearful joy"
    – Thomas Gray

    "I don't give a damn 'bout my bad reputation
    You're living in the past it's a new generation
    A girl can do what she wants to do and that's
    What I'm gonna do
    An' I don't give a damn ' bout my bad reputation"
    – Joan Jett

    Books

    Wicked by Gregory Maguire
    Angels in America by Tony Kushner (The angel in his play is no joke.)
    "The Cask of the Amontillado" by Edgar Allan Poe (We just love a good story about torment.)
    "The Pit and the Pendulum" by Edgar Allan Poe
    "Leda and the Swan" by William Butler Yeats
    Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? by Edward Albee (Martha is a Harpy at heart.)
    The Amber Spyglass by Philip Pullman (No-name the Harpy is our heroine.) 
    The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
    "The Eagle" by Alfred, Lord Tennyson
    "Jabberwocky" by Lewis Carroll (We happen to be good friends with the Jabberwocky.)

    Music

    Wild Ones by Flo Rida
    Littlest Birds by The Be Good Tonyas
    Bad Reputation by Joan Jett and the Blackhearts
    Myth by Beach House
    Rock you Like a Hurricane by Scorpions
    The Wind Beneath my Wings by Bette Midler
    Bird Song by Florence and the Machine
    Blackbird by the Beatles

    Movies

    The Birds
    Winged Migration
    Up
    The Wild Parrots of Telegraph Hill
    Eat Pray Love (We mostly get into the "Eat" part.)
    She-Devil
    Fried Green Tomatoes
    Misery
    Saw
    The Wizard of Oz
    Twister
    The Perfect Storm

    Activities & Interests

    Likes

    Skydiving
    Bird sanctuaries
    Torture chambers
    All-you-can-eat buffets
    Angry Birds

    Interests

    Ornithology
    Meteorology

    Groups

    Monster Human Alliance
    Bird Ladies of the Mediterranean

    • Spotter's Guide

      Why would you want to hang out with the Harpies? They are seriously nasty creatures, whose favorite thing to do is snatch food off of people's tables and then poop on the scraps left behind. If you're really determined to meet them, all you have to do is go to the Strophades Islands near Greece and lay out a picnic. They'll be the stinky bird-creatures with the heads of ugly women that come and steal everything. We seriously recommend you avoid this whole situation. You'll be better off never having met them.

      Sex: Females
      Age: It's kind of hard to tell
      Build: Plump
      Complexion: Pale
      Hair Color: Brown, Black
      Facial Hair: Chin hairs
      Scars/marks/tattoos: Lots of warts
      Jewelry and accessories: Feathers, wings
      Clothing: None
      Armor: None
      Type of Weapon: Razor sharp talons and beaks

      Typical Companions:

      Other Harpies

      Known Hangouts:

      The Sky
      Big Bill's Country Buffet

    • Sightings

      Jan 1, 1970 - Jan 1, 1970

      Theogony by Hesiod

      Hesiod gives you the lowdown on the birth of the Harpies and their sister Iris in this ancient epic poem.

      Jan 1, 1970 - Jan 1, 1970

      The Argonautica by Apollonius Rhodius

      The Boreads duke it out with the Harpies in this ancient poem, which tells the story of the Quest for the Golden Fleece.

      Jan 1, 1970 - Dec 20, 2019

      The Argonautica by Valerius Flaccus

      The Harpies also pop up in this other version of the Quest for the Golden Fleece by the author often recognized for having the most ridiculous name ever.

      Dec 20, 2019 - Dec 20, 2019

      The Aeneid by Virgil

      Aeneas and his men get into some serious trouble with the Harpies when the heroes mistakenly eat some of the bird-ladies' cattle in Virgil's epic.

      Dec 20, 2019

      The Metamorphoses by Ovid

      In this epic collection of poems, Ovid sings the praises of the Boreads for chasing the Harpies away from Phineus. (For the record, the Harpies hate Ovid.)

      Dec 20, 2019 - Dec 20, 2019

      The Inferno by Dante Alighieri

      Dante's version of Hell sounds like Heaven to the Harpies, because they spend their days in the Seventh Circle, torturing those who have committed suicide.

      Dec 20, 2019 - Dec 20, 2019

      The Tempest by William Shakespeare

      Ariel appears to the traitorous Alonso, Antonio, and Sebastian in the form of a Harpy in this magical play. (It's not exactly the most flattering disguise the world has seen.)

      Dec 20, 2019

      The Amber Spyglass by Philip Pullman

      No-name the Harpy turns from enemy to ally for Lyra and Will in the final novel of Philip Pullman's amazing His Dark Materials trilogy.

      Dec 20, 2019

      God of War

      If you like hacking up Harpies, then you ought to play this game, in which Kratos slices and dices whole flocks of the ugly bird-ladies.

      Dec 20, 2019

      The Son of Neptune by Rick Riordan

      Ella the Harpy turns out to be an ally to Percy Jackson in this novel for young adults. (A nice Harpy? Say what?)