A Background on the God of Death, Thanatos

Thanatos is the Greek god of death. In Omega and Lantos, he is mentioned so briefly, the only thought I gave to him was when I paused to think, wait, isn’t Hades the Greek god of death?  Then, in the Silent Queen, Thanatos explodes onto the scene, taking his share of the stage, and now I know this minor god is going to impact Lizzy’s Omega characters in a major way!

To start off with, I was, of course, wrong when I thought Hades was the god of death. Hades is the god of the Underworld, and therefore, the god of the dead, not the god of death, which isn’t the same thing at all. Hades governs the Underworld while Thanatos is wrapped up in the business of taking life and carrying souls off to the realm of the dead.

So where does Thanatos come from and who are his people? According to Greek mythology, Thanatos is the son of Nyx, goddess of night, and Erebos, god of darkness. He was born into the first generation of Greek gods (the second generation being the Titans and the third generation being the famous Olympic gods we’re familiar with). He has a host of terrifying siblings, including violent death, old age, strife, retribution and deception. Charon, the Boatman who leads souls to the Underworld, and Hypnos, god of sleep, are also his brothers.

Unsurprisingly, Thanatos is hated by both mortals and gods. Phoibe, in Silent Queen, certainly isn’t thrilled when Thanatos shows up. I think it’s because he doesn’t care if a person is rich, royal or really good-looking – to him, everyone has an expiration date. His hard and pitiless heart makes him one of the most feared of all of Nyx’s children.

Interestingly enough, though, Thanatos is associated with peaceful death. On the good-and-evil scale, he’s a neutral party. However, Phoibe, the keeper of the Bloodline, represents a family who has escaped Thanatos’ attention for 10,000 years. Can we say natural conflict? Thanatos has got to be feeling some professional affront about this girl who is exempt from death when no one else has that luxury.

When these two tangle in the Theta Beginnings Miniseries, those closest to Phoibe are heavily impacted. I still can’t decide if that impact is good or bad for her peeps. You’ll have to read the books, too, and let me know what you think!

–          Amanda, Rabid Reader

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