John William Waterhouse - Ulysses and the Sirens (1891)
fantasy myth

Your Questions about Harpies Answered

As you can tell, ever since I had my dream in 2020 and I created a book about harpies based on that dream, I have been fascinated with these mythological creatures. Their myths and origins are interesting and the more I read about them, the more I realize how many questions people ask online about harpies. So, I decided to compile some of those queries and get your questions about harpies answered.

At the same time we can explore their myths and origins.

Questions about Origins

  1. What is a harpy?
    1. A harpy is a half-bird, half-woman. She has the face of a woman, large wings that can reach incredible speed, and bird-like legs.
  2. Where did harpies come from? How were they created?
    1. There are different versions.
      1. According to one legend (by Hesiod) they were the daughters of Thaumas and Electra.
      2. Another legend by Valerius claims that harpies were daughters of Pontus and Gaea, or of Poseidon.
  3. What is a harpy in Greek mythology?
    1. In Homer’s Odyssey, they were winds that carried people away. In mythology, they could have been seen as wind spirits, but there are also accounts that describe them as tomb figures. That last description is a little closer to the scary creatures we known them as today.
      Your Questions about Harpies Answered
      A tombstone figure could be ghost-like or maybe something ghoulish.

Strengths, Power, Weaknesses

  1. How fast can harpies fly?
    1. They can fly faster than birds and even the wind
  2. What powers do harpies have?
    1. flight – they can fly at an incredible speed.
    2. sharp and deadly talons and claws
    3. extraordinary strenght
  3. Does a harpy have a weakness?
    1. According to Greek mythology, sons of Boreas – the Boreads – had the skill to eliminate harpies. An ancient oracle predicted that harpies were to die at the hands of the Boreads but if the Boreads failed, then the harpies would slaughter them.
    2. Another theory is that a heart injury (inflicted by a knife or any other weapon) could weaken a harpy. The wound can regenerate but as long as the harpy is incapacitated due to the damage in her heart, she can easily be burned.

Other Questions

  1. Are harpies only female?
    1. Male harpies also exist and are known as “Alan.”
  2. Why are harpies evil?
    1. First, because of their scary appearance. Imagine a bird-like woman flying at you at breakneck speed, sharp claws and talons stretched out.
      Harpies are often described as spiteful beings who will attack anyone they take offense to. Notoriously sadistic, they enjoy inflicting pain on their victims.
      Wikicommons-[[File:Drawing of Harpies.jpg|Drawing_of_Harpies]]
    2. Second, in several stories they were described as evil creatures who snatch and punish people on behalf of the gods. That’s why there were also known as the “Hounds of Zeus.”
  3. Are harpies beautiful?
    1. It depends. In many ancient myths they were described as hideous creatures but there are also accounts that depict them as beautiful.
  4. How old can harpies get?
    1. In Greek mythology their lifespan can range between 25 and 50 years.
  5. What do harpies symbolize?
    1. Good question! In Greek mythology, they symbolize divine punishment. Famine is one of the more well-known ones and there is also the example of Phineus, a blind seer whose food they would steal.
Wikicommons-[[File:Phineus and the Harpies by Willy Pogany.gif|Phineus_and_the_Harpies_by_Willy_Pogany]]

Final Thoughts

These are the most common questions. Their myths and origins provide enough material to create books about these frightening creatures. Unfortunately, I find them in few novels, but maybe that just means that it’s time to write more about them.

In my books, harpies live longer than 25 or 50 years. The creatures I created are immortal. They can transform into their human and harpy form at will, and look terrifying as harpies but at the same time beautiful since each one has her special characteristics and colors.

My harpies are not the sadistic monsters that are described in Greek mythology and they won’t rob a blind man of his meal, but they are a force to be reckoned with and they are certainly no one’s favorite opponent.

However, they have the same powers as described in mythology, speed, sharp talons and claws, and super strength. Additionally, I also gave most of them a special talent that is useful for them and the harpy community. As for the method of destroying a harpy, I took a few liberties there; it’s not like in Greek mythology.

Well, it’s a whole new world I created, with its laws and rules.

I hope you enjoyed reading the answers to these questions. If you find harpies as fascinating as I do, then why not take a look at the Stone Series? You’ll never look at harpies the same way again 🙂

The Stone Series - Christine Duts

8 thoughts on “Your Questions about Harpies Answered

  1. Chas

    Hi Christi,
    Thank you for this wonderful post answering all of our questions about the Harpies. I did not know that much about them, so they were always a mysterious creature to me. I was thinking they were immortal, and was surprised to learn that they can be burned after a wound to the heart.
    I don’t think I would want to have harpies attacking me, because it sounds like they are all the wrath of a woman scorned with sharp claws and teeth, Yikes!

    1. Christine

      Hi Chas,

      There’s a reason why a woman who gets called “a harpy” is usually cruel or just nasty 😉
      They certainly are interesting creatures 🙂
      Thanks for your comment!

  2. Tom

    Hi Christi,

    WOW, Harpies are one of the most interesting myths I have learned about from you. Your books are amazing but I love how you go into more detail through your articles on specific characters.

    In films, you only ever really see half man/half wolf or half man/half bird. We need to start seeing Harpies in new films, and more people need to start learning about these amazing characters you have created.

    Keep sharing your amazing articles and keep creating your incredible characters.

    All the best,


    1. Christine

      Hi Tom,

      I agree, we need to see more harpies in books and films. They are fascinating creatures.
      Thank you for your comment!

  3. Zvezdan

    This article is very interesting and surely has its message for everyone. Considering that harpies will not attack for no reason, then we just have to do good deeds to avoid God’s punishment 🙂 But I would just like to ask you if harpies can also be protectors or just punish, I haven’t seen that in Greek mythology. Thank you for this great article and I’m sure everyone here will find a message for themselves and realize that basically, harpies are not as evil as they seem 🙂 I wish you good health.

    1. Christine

      Hi Zvezdan,

      As far as I have read, in Greek mythology, harpies are used for punishment. They were created for that, to dole out just punishments, but then later they were also known as evil creatures who attacked randomly. In my books, the reader can see the world through a harpy’s eyes and learn more about their motives and back stories.
      Thank you for your comment!

  4. Matt

    Hi Christine,
    It’s interesting to know so much about harpies, which I never knew before reading and commenting on your posts. The more you dig for them, the more you like to write about them in your 3rd novel. Although the description of harpies is terrifying here, your interviews with your characters in the previous articles made me imagine them as precious and pretty creatures. 🙂


    1. Christine

      Hi Matt,

      I didn’t have the intention of my harpies appearing as precious creatures 😉 Mine are also terrible, but perhaps you like them more because I also added some humanity to their characters?
      Thank you for your comment!

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Looking for a Great Book to Read? Look No Further!

One harpy rebellion. Two parallel stories, two different worlds, even two different centuries -- In Camden Town, London, Eva leaves a party with a stolen jacket, followed by her ex-boyfriend, Darryn. She has no idea what dangerous item is hidden in her pocket. When her hand closes around it and its heat sears her skin, the ground splits open, whisking her and Darryn away into an underground time tunnel. Darryn’s brother Daniel, who is the only witness to the strange event, retrieves the Stone, unwittingly unleashing its owner, Aeron. Aeron, a creature of darkness, weakened by the loss of the Stone, is set on killing Daniel and recovering his lost power. However, Calliope, a wayward harpy, puts a stop to his plan, snatching Daniel out of his grasp and whisking him away into the world of harpies.

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