Study Guide

Orion Summary

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How It (Supposedly) Went Down

Brief Summary

Orion is a giant and an awesome hunter (cool). When he forces himself on Merope (not cool), the daughter of King Oinopion, the king blinds him. With the help of Hephaestus and his servant Cadalion, blind Orion eventually makes it to Helios, the sun god, who heals the giant's blindness. When Orion comes to take revenge on Oinopion, the king escapes by hiding underground.

Later on, Orion becomes best buds with Artemis, the goddess of the hunt, and they do a lot of... you guessed it... hunting. Orion manages to seriously tick off Gaia, the Earth, when he brags that he'll kill every wild animal there is. So, Gaia sends a giant scorpion to sting Orion to death. It does. He dies. Then he becomes a big, shiny constellation.

Check out below, "The Less Short Story," for alternate endings.

The Less Short Story

  • There are a coupla different stories about how Orion is born. Tell us which one you like best.
  • One: He was born of Euryale, Medusa's gorgon sister, and Poseidon, god of the sea.
  • Two: He's born after Poseidon, Zeus, and Hermes all pee on an ox hide and bury it in the dirt. A little while later, baby Orion pushes himself up out of the soil.
  • Okay, vote now. One or two?
  • Yeah, we agree.
  • However he was born, Orion grows into a giant (literally) and becomes one of the best hunters the world has ever seen.
  • He also has the ability to walk on water, which he got from his dad, Poseidon. (This will come in handy later.)
  • Anyway, Orion's first big job is being a hunter for King Oinopion of the island of Khios.
  • Orion clears the island of wild beasts, and everything is going swell (for everybody except the beasts).
  • Things take a turn for the worst when Orion takes a shine to the King's daughter, Merope.
  • The King acts like he'll let Orion marry Merope, but keeps stalling the marriage.
  • (Really, he thinks Orion isn't good enough for his daughter.)
  • One night Orion gets really drunk and decides he can't wait anymore.
  • The giant busts into Merope's room and rapes her.
  • Oinopion is furious with Orion and blinds the giant as punishment.
  • Blind Orion stumbles away from the island, walking across the sea. (See, we told you the water-walking would come in handy.)
  • Orion hears the sound of hammering and walks toward it across the waves.
  • He ends up at the fiery forge of Hephaestus, the god of volcanoes, fire, and blacksmiths.
  • Hephaestus feels bad for Orion.
  • The smith god tells the giant that he's got to hit up Helios, the sun god, if he wants to get his sight back.
  • "Um, that's gonna be a little hard," says Orion. "Especially since I can't see."
  • "Good point," says Hephaestus.
  • So, Hephaestus tells his assistant Cadalion to help guide Orion to Helios.
  • "Sweet, thanks," says Orion, and off he goes, with Cadalion sitting on his massive shoulder and whispering directions in his ear.
  • Eventually, the pair makes it to Helios' golden palace at the edge of the world, and the sun god heals Orion’s blindness with his magical sunrays. 
  • (How does the sun cure blindness, you ask? Whatever, it's magic and stuff.)
  • Orion drops Cadalion off with Hephaestus and heads back to Khios to get revenge on King Oinopion.
  • The King hides out in an underground chamber, though, and Orion can't find him.
  • Eventually, Orion gets bored with the whole revenge thing and takes off.
  • Orion ends up on the island of Delos (or Crete) where he becomes best buds with Artemis, goddess of the hunt.
  • We bet you can guess why they get along so well.
  • Yup, they both love hunting, and they do it all day long.
  • One day Orion gets too big for his britches (and his britches are already gigantic).
  • He brags that he's going to show the world how awesome a hunter he is by killing every wild animal on Earth (the definition of overkill).
  • For some reason, Gaia, the Earth, doesn't like the idea of Orion turning her into a big gross slaughterhouse, so she decides to bring Orion down.
  • Gaia creates a giant scorpion, which creeps out of the ground and stings the giant on his ankle.
  • Before you know it, Orion is dead as a doornail.
  • Artemis is way sad to see Orion go.
  • To honor him, Orion is placed in the stars as a constellation.
  • The scorpion is also placed beside him as the constellation, Scorpio.
  • Why the gods thought he'd want to hang out with the thing that killed him for all eternity is anybody's guess.

Alternate Endings

  • Although death-by-scorpion is the most popular story of Orion's demise there are a few other versions.
  • One: Orion tries to force himself on Artemis' girl Oupis, so the goddess shoots him with an arrow.
  • Two: Orion tries to force himself on Artemis and gets shot for it.
  • Three: Artemis gets jealous when Orion has a fling with Eos, the goddess of dawn, so she shoots him.
  • Four: Apollo, Artemis' twin bro, gets jealous that she's spending too much time with Orion. 
  • So, Apollo tells Orion to swim way out in the water up to his gigantic shoulders. 
  • Then he bets Artemis that she can't hit that black speck out in the water (Orion's head). 
  • Artemis nails it, and Orion dies.

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