A Harpy was a type of ravenous monster from Greek mythology that would attack people in order to steal their food, though they were not above kidnapping people as well - they were sometimes regarded as embodiments of the destructive nature of the wind and were considered spirits rather than true flesh and blood.
Harpies were originally depicted as winged human females but over time became more associated with their current form as ugly bird-women hybrids, in most myths they retain their savage behavior regardless of form.
Phineas, a king of Thrace, had the gift of prophecy. Zeus, angry that Phineas revealed too much, punished him by blinding him and putting him on an island with a buffet of food which he could never eat. The harpies always arrived and stole the food out of his hands right before he could satisfy his hunger, and befouled the remains of his food. This continued until the arrival of Jason and the Argonauts. The Boreads, sons of Boreas, the North Wind, who also could fly, succeeded in driving off the harpies, but without killing any of them, following a request from Iris, who promised that Phineas would not be bothered by the harpies again, and "the dogs of great Zeus" returned to their "cave in Minoan Crete". Thankful for their help, Phineas told the Argonauts how to pass the Symplegades.
Harpies in Media Depiction
Clash of the Titans
The Harpies are the minions of Hades and supporting antagonists in the 2010 film Clash of the Titans.
After some soldiers from Argos destroyed the Statue of Zeus, Hades sends the Harpies after them. They burst out of the water near the ship of Perseus's family and go attack the soldiers, slaughtering many of them. Then, all the Harpies merge and make Hades appear, who destroys the ship and kills everyone on board except Perseus.
During the Kraken's attack on Argos, Perseus, who is riding Pegasus, arrives in the city with Medusa's head, however Hades suddenly appears and sends the Harpies after him. One of them manages to snatch the bag containing the head and flees inside the city, pursued by Perseus and Pegasus. Some of the other Harpies pounce on them but Pegasus fiercely repels them. At the same time, the Kraken starts to rise up and one of his tentacles accidentally crushes one of the Harpies pursuing Perseus and Pegasus in the city. Perseus takes an axe from a peasant and uses it to drop hanging sheets on a Harpy who falls on the ground and is severly beaten by peasants. Two other Harpies then try to attack him, however Ozal and Kucuk come and send their Giant Scorpion to kill them. The last Harpy flies near the Kraken who tries to bite Pegasus and narrowly misses him. Perseus finally jumps on the Harpy and they both fall into the Temple of the Cult of Hades where the Harpy ends in the fire and burns to death while Perseus survives and recovers Medusa's head.