Previously on Zeus, Rise of the Storm King (What? I have poetic license.) Zeus took down his dad Cronus and cut his siblings free of dad’s stomach, and, um, raped his mother. Now that he’s free he needs to consolidate his power, and one of the best ways to do that is to marry. For his bride he chooses his sister Hera. But, well, she’s not exactly willing to marry him. Might be that whole thing where Zeus raped his mother Rhea that put her off, or maybe because the whole reason Rhea forbid him to marry was that he would be a womanizer who would perpetually cheat on any wife.
Regardless, Hera ain’t cool with that, but this is Zeus, so he’s going to have his way. In fact, he does to Hera what he did to mom, which ain’t cool. But there is a difference. Rape in itself is not a reason to marry, except for Hera. She is literally “shamed into marrying” Zeus. But why? The text doesn’t give us a quick explanation. Other goddesses and mortals will be raped, often by Zeus, but Hera is the only one who is shamed into marriage. Aphrodite, in fact, is quite shameless in her affairs (but that’s for later).
As with most mythology, we have to read between the lines. In this case, we have to remember Hera’s particular portfolio. Just as Apollo is a god of music and Athena a goddess of war, Hera is the goddess of marriage. Therefore, having been defiled by Zeus, she must marry or it will weaken her power. So even though there marriage will be fraught with affairs, it will be a marriage that preserves her power. After having been defiled by Zeus, it’s also unlikely that the other gods would even want her. The goddess of marriage must be married, otherwise what’s the point.
Rape in any form is bad, and Zeus knew full well what he was doing, here. He didn’t have to force her into marriage when he went beyond to remove other options from her. This makes Zeus very clever. He’s a total bastard for doing it, but we can’t discount his cunning and intelligence.
So, having raped both his mother and his future wife, and knowing that he will be with other goddesses and many mortal women to sire heroes, we can add sexual power to Zeus’s toolbox along with the thunderbolt. The thunderbolt is reported to be his most powerful weapon, but perhaps it’s actually sex.