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Is Ares Xena's father?

AresThere has been much speculation as to Xena's parentage. After all, Xena has many skills—so many, goes the thinking, that she has to be at least half god. And who more likely to father a warrioress like Xena than Ares, the God of War?

Xena's father of record is Atreus, her mother's husband (and most probably the father of Xena's two brothers). He disappeared when Xena was about seven years old; until the events told in THE FURIES [#47], she believed that he had deserted the family. We now know that Atreus, a warrior of some note, had come home from Ares's temple in a rage, and had tried to kill Xena. Xena's mother killed him to save her daughter's life. These events are not as clear-cut as they may seem, however. What had Atreus learned from Ares to put him in such a blind rage? And why was he so determined to kill his young daughter?

atreusAlso interesting is the fact that Atreus returned home suddenly on the night of Xena's conception, only to mysteriously disappear soon afterward. It should be remembered that shape-shifting is a favorite trick of the gods—for example, Zeus took the shape of Alcmene's husband when he seduced her and conceived Hercules. It is highly possible that Ares took on the appearance of Atreus for the same purpose.

Ares has never made a secret of the fact that Xena is his favorite. In THE RECKONING [#06], he tells her that he's "in her blood." While this could be interpreted to refer to Xena's martial leanings, it could also be taken literally.

a family affair?If Ares is indeed Xena's father, the fact that he has had sexual relations with Xena must be dealt with. Their love-hate relationship crackles with sexual tension. While it was not uncommon for the Olympian gods to seduce their parents, children, and siblings, such relationships are considered taboo in our society. It may be for this reason that the identity of Xena's father has been obscured.

In the original script of THE FURIES, it's made plain that Ares is indeed her father; however, the final product muddies the issue considerably. It may not be a bad thing for us (and Xena) to be kept in the dark about her parentage. On one hand, if Xena turns out to be half-god would remove much of the awe and respect with which we regard her abilities and her constant struggle against her dark side; on the other hand, it would explain a lot.

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