"Young people don't always do what they're told, but if they can pull it off and do something wonderful, sometimes they escape punishment."
Hermes is the Greek god of roads, speed, messengers, commerce, travel, thieves, merchants, athletes, and mail deliverers. His Roman counterpart is Mercury. His symbol is the caduceus.
Hermes was born sometime after the first Titan War to Zeus and a nymph named Maia. He matured rapidly and within a few minutes of his birth stole the cattle of Apollo and invented the lyre. He even thought of a clever way to cover up his crime: tying bundles of grass to the cows' feet and leading them backward out of the pasture to make it look like something had been led into the pasture, but not away from it. Despite this, Apollo found out and went to Zeus for justice. When brought before his father, Hermes attempted to charm Zeus into letting him go by telling him he was just an innocent new born baby. Undeceived, but amused by the child's boldness, Zeus instead forced him to compensate Apollo, which Hermes did by presenting him with the lyre. Hermes also traded the shepherd's pipe (another invention of his) to Apollo in exchange for his golden staff and knowledge of the art of prophecy. When he came of age, Hermes was made the messenger of the gods.
As the messenger of gods Hermes would often serve as the intermediary between the gods and the mortal world. He aided Odysseus against Circe and told Calypso to either let him go or face the wrath of Zeus. During the Trojan War he sided with the Trojans and delivered Zeus's order to return Hector's body to his father. Also in the Trojan War, Hermes and Apollo teamed up to help guide the arrow that killed Achilles, and Hermes helped Helen escape with the rest of the citizens of Troy when they were over run by the Greek armies.
In other stories, Hermes gave a pair of his winged sandals to Perseus when Perseus went to behead Medusa. In some tales, he freed Zeus after the latter was initially defeated by Typhon and freed Ares from his imprisonment by the Alodai among numerous other feats.
In contrast to many of the other Olympians, Hermes is much more reasonable and helpful than the other major Olympian gods with a greater understanding of mortals. He is not prone to the overt arrogance of some like Zeus or Ares nor the character quirks like Apollo or Aphrodite. Part of this may be due to part of his job being to help mortals rationalize divine events giving him a greater understanding of things beyond himself. He is shown to care a great deal for his children and to be far more accepting of others. Both traits not found as common among the major Olympians. His visits are often beneficial to gods and demigods and often helps them out though often this is at the request of another god or personal motivations. He tends to be one of the more clever gods as he tricked Argus into falling asleep and outsmarted Apollo when he was a child. He can get very angry when crossed or when someone implies he does not care about his children. However, he takes his duties as a god seriously and will not breach them, even to save his own children since not even he can defy the fates and to do so would make things worse. All in all, he is by far one of the more reasonable and beneficial gods.
He is described as appearing to resemble a middle-aged man with an athletic figure-slim and fit with salt-and-pepper hair, as a jogger and in his original form has a muscular build, curly black hair, blue eyes, elfish features, and a sly grin. He has been known to wear nylon running shorts and New York City Marathon T-shirt while jogging, an outfit similar to a mailman's when delivering mail with a pith helmet which sprout wings, and a suit. He carries a cell phone which turns into a caduceus. He has been known to sport winged shoes, as said in the books.
Hermes can change into his Roman counterpart of Mercury. As Mercury, he becomes more disciplined, militaristic, and warlike. He has children and perhaps descendants at Camp Jupiter in San Francisco.
It is not mentioned what supernatural powers Hermes has, but much can be guessed from what he is known for:
- Several Enhanced Skills: Hermes is perhaps the most versatile Olympian to be the god of so many diverse things. Example: animal husbandry, roads, travel, hospitality, heralds, diplomacy, trade, language, writing, cunning wiles, ect. Because of all these skills, Hermes could be described as a Jack of all trades, a title Luke once used when describing the children of Hermes.
- Hermes presumably possesses the standard powers of a god.
- Enhanced Speed: Hermes is the fastest god and can travel the speed of wind due to his winged shoes.
- Enhanced Thievery: Hermes is the god of thieves, so he might have a supernatural way of stealing things without others noticing.
- Power of persuasion
- Enhanced Strength: Hermes has stronger physical strength than other gods.
- Hermes is an unbelievable inventor only surpassed by Hephaestus.
- ==He has an enhanced athletic ability==
- Cleverness: Hermes has shown his cleverness by outsmarting Apollo and stealing his cattle.
- Hermes also possesses divine wisdom and is only surpassed by Athena and Zeus, being a messenger of the gods.
- Hypnokinesis: Hermes is also a god of sleep and dreams. He has limited power of this.
- As the messenger of the gods, Hermes can go to the realm of any god, including the Underworld.
- Prophecy: Hermes may have the power of prophecy. As a child he persuaded Apollo to teach the art of prophecy to him. This may be how he knew Luke's fate.
"If there's one thing I've noticed about having family forever, is that you never give up on them."
Hermes to Percy in Sea of Monsters