Whoosh! Issue 24 - September 1998

IS XENA'S FATHER A GOD? YES! IS IT ARES? NO!
IAXS project #461
By Margaret Matthews
Copyright © 1998 held by author
3242 words



Introduction (01-02)
Demigoddess? (03)
     Her "Many Skills" and Abilities (04-07)
     Number of Lookalikes (08)
     Her Knowledge of the Gods (09-20)
     Number of Times the Gods Ask or Thank Her for Help (21-28)
     Her Special Weapon (29-31)
So Which God? (32-43)
THE FURIES (44-46)
Conclusion (47-48)
Bibliography
Biography



Is Xena's Father A God? Yes! Is It Ares? No!



Why lap dances can be risky.


Not quite a paternity suit, but the next best thing, in THE FURIES.



Introduction

[1] Like many people, I started off watching Hercules: The Legendary Journeys and enjoyed the program, but I was not overly concerned if I missed the odd episode. When Xena made her appearance, I loved the character even though she was a "baddie".

[2] When they started showing Xena: Warrior Princess in Great Britain, I quickly became a serious fan of the show. The wonderful stories, inventive action, marvelous laugh-out-loud funny moments, great acting, and complex characters have come together to give us a series that is more than just entertainment. It gets you involved and makes you think about the morals and the backgrounds of the characters. My thoughts keep returning to the great unanswered question: Who is Xena's father? What follows are some of my musings on that subject.


Demigoddess?

[3] I am convinced that Xena is the offspring of a god and a mortal, like Hercules. My reasons for thinking this are as follows:


Her "Many Skills" and Abilities

[4] As we all know, Xena has "many skills", but one relevant to this paper are her fighting talents. These "skills" give her control over life and death. Her fighting skills mean she often does not need to kill, but she can do so with ease if necessary. The moves she makes in a fight require strength and agility far beyond any that a mere mortal could possess, however well trained.

[5] The second skill relevant to this paper are her medical abilities. Her grasp of pressure points ensures that she can either get any needed information or reduce the pain for someone injured. Her medical skills were seen most clearly in IS THERE A DOCTOR IN THE HOUSE? (24/124). Gabrielle "dies", but Xena's skill and willpower bring her back.

[6] This power over life and death has also been seen in THE GREATER GOOD (21/121) when Xena appears to die in order to overcome some poison in her system. She says she "went to the other side". In DESTINY (36/212) and THE QUEST (37/213), Xena dies again, but is encouraged to return to life by M'Lila.

[7] A third skill Xena exhibits is the ability to possess someone else's body. She does so first with Autolycus in THE QUEST (37/213). Her "soul" cohabits his body and together they manage to keep her body and steal the dagger of Helios, needed to get the ambrosia to revive Xena. Later she possesses Gabrielle when Velasca tries to take the ambrosia. This is an unusual skill, to say the least. It was seen a third time, however, in INTIMATE STRANGER (31/207), though here it is Ares who instigates the exchange. Xena still manages to convince Hades that she really is Xena in Callisto's body, and she is allowed a day of life to sort things out. As lord of the underworld, restoring an individual to life is a power Hades has, but he seems to use it rarely. Hades only uses it here to get back at Ares, because he thinks Ares is interfering in his domain. As for all her other skills, Xena is just one talented lady!


The Number Of Xena Lookalikes

Three little maids from school are we...


Three lookalikes, no waiting.


[8] In WARRIOR...PRINCESS (15/115), WARRIOR ...PRINCESS ...TRAMP (30/206), and WARRIOR ...PRIESTESS ...TRAMP (55/309) we meet three other young women who are identical to our heroine, in looks if not temperament. In Whoosh! #7, Bret Ryan Rudnick's article, "Xena: A Demigod?", mentioned the lookalikes and suggested all children of a god might look identical. That is a clever explanation and one which could go a long way toward explaining both the number of Xena lookalikes, and the fact they are lookalikes in the first place.


Her Knowledge Of The Gods

[9] Xena shows this talent first in CRADLE OF HOPE (04/104) when she figures out that hope is where it has always been, safe inside all of us.

[10] In THE RECKONING (06/106), a hooded man causes trouble for Xena, and she realizes it is Ares before he reveals his face. She also manages to trick him into getting her own way and bringing the dead villagers back to life. She exercises that power of life and death again, but by manipulating Ares to act.

[11] In the cross-over episode PROMETHEUS (08/108), Xena recognizes Prometheus' cry over the thunderstorm. She also knows what to do to free him as Hercules has told her. Now why would Hercules do that? Perhaps just in case he cannot get there, and, as she is a demigoddess, he knows she is just as capable of dealing with any problem as he is.

[12] In DEATH IN CHAINS (09/109), Xena knows who Celesta is without being told. Xena and Lycus, her old friend, are also the only ones who know about the Titan Key and ambrosia in A FISTFUL OF DINARS (14/114), and one could assume that Lycus only knew because Xena had told him in the past. Like Hercules, Xena knows not to pay Charon to cross the River Styx in MORTAL BELOVED (16/116).

[13] In A THE ROYAL COUPLE OF THIEVES (17/117), Xena realizes what the warning on the Ark means and warns Autolycus and Gabrielle not to turn away. This shows it is not just the Greek gods with whom she has a special relationship. Similarly, in ALTARED STATES (19/119), Xena ensures that Maell does not succeed in tricking his father into killing his younger brother, Icus. The "voice" at the end, when Gabrielle had failed to get hold of the "loud talking thing" shows again the importance of Xena's help to all gods.

[14] Ares strikes again in TIES THAT BIND (20/120) and does rather better than in his last attempt to turn Xena back to her old ways. This time, he pretends to be her father, Atrius. Xena nearly succumbs to violence, but is saved when Gabrielle knocks some sense into her, literally, with a well swung pitchfork. Xena then sees that Atrius was Ares in disguise.

[15] In GIRLS JUST WANNA HAVE FUN (28/204) Xena knows Dryad bones kill Bacchae and that only a Bacchae can kill Bacchus.

[16] THE XENA SCROLLS (34/210) tells us that Xena trapped Ares in the past. How many mortals know how to trap a god? Later, Xena's descendant, Mel Pappas, has all the skills and knowledge to trap him again. Pretty potent genes!

[17] A NECESSARY EVIL (38/214) again shows that Xena knows you need an immortal to fight an immortal, and she knows about Callisto's immortality. Is this something a demigoddess just knows?

[18] LOST MARINER (45/221) has Xena ending Cecrops' curse by showing him how to escape from his ship. Poseidon also knows Xena and does not seem very happy about her being involved.

[19] In GABRIELLE'S HOPE (51/305), Xena knows the Banshees have to assume mortal shape before they attack and that they cannot enter any building unless invited. (The image of Angel at Buffy's [the Vampire Slayer] window appears in my mind. Oops sorry loss of concentration there).

[20] Xena shows her knowledge again in THE QUILL IS MIGHTIER (56/310) when she realizes the truth will break Aphrodite's enchantment of the scroll. She breaks another of Aphrodite's enchantments in FINS FEMMES AND GEMS (64/318) while mere mortals like Gabrielle and Joxer remain under its spell.


Number of Times the Gods Ask or Thank Her For Help

I'm not like the others.  Trust me.


Hades has come to Xena for help before, but it's Xena who seeks Hades' aid in the Season Four opener.


[21] Hades asks Xena to free Celesta when Sisyphus has captured her in DEATH IN CHAINS (09/109), and turns up personally in his chariot. Most mortal's response to this would be to run or scream or faint or some combination of these! They would not say, as Xena said, "What do you want"?

[22] Hades needs her again in MORTAL BELOVED (16/116) when Marcus is sent to enlist her help when Atyminius has stolen Hades' helmet of invisibility and is causing chaos in the underworld. She also gets her way with Hades by getting him to give Marcus two days of life to help her, (again demonstrating her power over life and death) and then insisting that Hades judge Marcus again to ensure Marcus does not have to go back to Tartarus.

[23] The Fates thank Xena for saving their temple in REMEMBER NOTHING (26/202), and say that all know the faces of fate "but few glimpse them". Would they have bothered to rework history if some average warrior had helped them?

[24] In GIRLS JUST WANNA HAVE FUN (28/204), Orpheus needs Xena to get back his head, and his lyre.

[25] Ares is in trouble in TEN LITTLE WARLORDS (32/208) and needs Xena to recover his sword/godhead. Sisyphus has stolen it in an attempt to kill ten warlords (Hades' price for Sisyphus's immortality).

[26] At the end of COMEDY OF EROS (46/222), Cupid does as Xena requests and leaves Draco in love with Gabrielle. Can you imagine Cupid doing this for any mortal who asked?

[27] Both Ares and Aphrodite need Xena's assistance in THE QUILL IS MIGHTIER (56/310) when one of Aphrodite's enchantments backfires on her, and both she and Ares lose their powers.

[28] In FORGIVEN (60/314), Apollo needs Xena to retrieve a stolen urn. It was a priest who asked, but it was on Apollo's behalf.


Her Special Weapon

[29] No one else seems to have a chakram, and only Callisto knows how to catch and use it without getting seriously damaged in the process, and, as we know, she became a god. True, Autolycus uses it as a weapon in THE QUEST (37/213) but only after he has been taken over by Xena's spirit, so it is really her, not him, using it. Other characters have used the chakram, but never as a weapon. Gabrielle uses it as a fish gutting knife in A DAY IN THE LIFE (39/215). In WARRIOR...PRINCESS...TRAMP (30/206), both Meg and Diana use it; for Meg it's a good luck charm ("my trusty shamrock") and for Diana, a fashion accessory.

[30] Many gods have a special weapon, for example, Ares' sword, Hades' helmet, Poseidon's trident, and Zeus' lightning bolts. Our favorite demigod, Hercules, has his strength and his gauntlets, and our demigoddess her "many skills" and her chakram.

[31] To sum up, Xena treats the gods more like irritating relatives than omnipotent beings to be feared -- unlike the rest of the population, who worship and fear their chosen gods and treat them with the utmost respect. These reasons leave little doubt that Xena is indeed a demigoddess.


So Which God?

[32] So far we have met the following gods: Zeus, Ares, Bacchus, Cupid, Poseidon, and Hades.

[33] We know Zeus is rather fond of the ladies, but one would think that Xena would know she was his daughter, like Hercules knows he is Zeus' son. Even if she did not know, Hercules probably would have known. He makes no mention of it. There is also the little matter of their dalliance in the past. That would probably have been out of the question (brother and sister! tut, tut Hercules). The other gods seem to have no concern about who goes with whom, but our hero demigod would no doubt have moral problems with a brother-sister thing. And anyway, Zeus is more likely to want Xena as a lover, given her resemblance to a certain Amazon with whom he has already had a dalliance -- Lysia.

[34] What about Ares? I cannot accept Ares as the father. To be sure, as god of war, he gets about a bit, visiting his warriors' wives, but given the fact that he is obviously sexually attracted to Xena and Callisto, and Cyrene does not look to be his type, I would venture that his being Xena's father is a long shot.

[35] I also cannot imagine either Princess Diana's or priestess Leah's mother being Ares' type either, given what their daughters are like. The only reasonable offspring for Ares would be Meg, whose mother may well have been rather more the "h*llcat" type, given the nature of her daughter's behavior. Still, a child of Ares would probably be more violent than Meg who, although a "bad" girl, is not really that bad; she just wants some easy money.

[36] How about Baccus? Bacchus is far too busy with his Bacchae to be bothered with ordinary mortals.

[37] Or Cupid, perhaps? As far as I can tell, he seems happy with Psyche and is undoubtedly kept busy watching out for Bliss!

[38] Poseidon does not like Xena, which suggests he knows her. In MORTAL BELOVED (16/116) and ALTARED STATES (19/119), Xena shows she is at home in the water, but she really spends too much time on land to be too closely related.

[39] There's only one left. Hades. Now, Hades is a definite possibility. Why? We know that before he met up with Persephone, he was lonely, so perhaps he had a few nights out. Also, Persephone seems a gentle soul. He obviously likes that type, so selecting Cyrene as female company does not seem out of character for him. As mentioned above, one could assume Diana and Leah's mothers would be similarly gentle souls, and maybe Meg does not take after her mum at all. Perhaps Meg's mum was a sweet young thing. We may never know.

[40] Hades has the power over life and death, and Xena seems to have inherited a little of this ability. She certainly brought Gabrielle back in IS THERE A DOCTOR IN THE HOUSE? (24/124), or was it that Hades felt sorry for his little girl? Or perhaps he was scared of the amount of work he would get if he let Gabrielle die!

[41] Both Hades and Xena drive a mean chariot. They both like "dark", sartorially speaking. Hades has control over Cerberus, his fierce dog, and Xena certainly showed King Gregor's dog who was boss in CRADLE OF HOPE (04/104).

[42] As mentioned above, Hades asks for her help twice. Perhaps this is because she is the warrior he feels closest to. Poseidon did not like her, and as he is Hades' brother, maybe it is a family feud or something similar.

[43] When Caesar betrays her and M'Lila is killed in DESTINY (36/212), she proclaims, "Tell Hades to prepare himself. A new Xena is born tonight with a new purpose in life....death!" Why warn Hades? Why not tell Ares that he has a new recruit? Perhaps because she feels closer to Hades?


THE FURIES

I gotta go!  NOW!


Dad or not, Xena kicks Ares up one side and down the other in THE FURIES.


[44] When I heard the third season started with THE FURIES (47/301), and Ares saying that he is Xena's father, I thought I would be looking for another title for my article. However, having seen it, I find the episode helps, rather than hinders, my argument.

[45] We find out Cyrene was visited unexpectedly by her warrior husband, Atrius, and that their lovemaking was better than usual. This suggests, perhaps, a visit from a god. We also discover Cyrene killed Atrius to protect Xena, as he intended to kill her. Why?

[46] Try this scenario: It is known that Ares visits the wives of his warriors, so what better cover could Hades wish for? We can assume he only got away with it for couple of years as all the lookalikes we have met so far appear to be around the same age. When Ares found out about Hades' abuse of Ares' "perk", he would be furious and perhaps he demand the death of any of Hades' offspring. Perhaps Ares wanted Xena dead because she was not his child, and he influenced her warrior father to do his dirty work. Maybe he only found out about Xena and was unaware of the others, or perhaps most of the lookalikes perished leaving only four or five or more? This episode also confirms she is not a mere mortal, but is the child of a god as she beats Ares in a challenge.


Conclusion

[47] The evidence supports the theory that Hades is Xena's Dad. In THE FURIES (47/301), when Ares asks Xena if she believes he is her father, she responds by saying that it doesn't matter what she believes, it only matters that the Furies believe it. This evasive answer to a straight question is most unlike her. Is it because she does not want to believe she could be the daughter of Ares? Perhaps it is because she knows in her heart she is not.

[48] Ares' pursuit of Xena and his various attempts to convert her to his cause are not the desperate attempts of a father to win over his daughter, but a way to spite Hades for abusing Ares' godly privileges with warriors' wives. What better revenge than to turn Hades' daughter into a goddess of war?


Bibliography

Dekker, Nusi P. Whoosh! #06 "Who Was Xena's Father?"

Rentoul, Ian. Whoosh! #08 Xena And The Challenge Of Destiny"

Rudnick, Bret. Whoosh! #07 Xena: A Demigod?"

Silva, Anita Louise. Whoosh! #15 "Reflections Of A Father"

Swenson, Gregory R. Whoosh! #08 "Puritanism, Transcendentalism. And Capitalism In Xena: Warrior Princess"

Whoosh! Episode Guide

Buumzers Episode Guide

Cathy O'Grady's UK Xena Page

History of Xena Warrior Princess

Robert Graves - The Greek Myths (1981) Cassell Ltd



Biography

Margaret Matthews Margaret Matthews
I am a farmer's daughter from Derbyshire in the North West of England. I worked in local government for many years but am now a happy housewife, looking after Pete, my husband, and our pond full of an expanding population of goldfish. As my job had involved working with computers, the last thing I wanted was one at home, but my husband was interested in this "internet thing", so we joined the ranks of the techno anoraks. I have to confess to using it more than him now, so thanks, Pete. I love cooking, gardening, reading, and watching Xena (and a few other things!) My favorite authors are Terry Pratchett, Anne McCaffrey, David Eddings, Julian May, Robert Asprin, Stephen R. Donaldson and (of course) Tolkien. My favorite US TV shows are DS9, X-Files, Pretender, ER, Highlander, Earth: Final Conflict and Buffy The Vampire Slayer. I also loved American Gothic; why did they drop it? It was brilliant.
Favorite episode: CALLISTO (22/122), A DAY IN THE LIFE (39/215), BEEN THERE, DONE THAT (48/302), THE DEBT I & II (52,53/306,307), THE BITTER SUITE (58/312)
Favorite line: Dagnine: "With this I'll sweep the world like a rampaging wind. I'll kill Xena, I'll kill Hercules, I'll take Athens! I've got so much to do! I'll have to make a list". ORPHAN OF WAR (25/201); Xena: "Please don't let that light that shines out of her face go out. I couldn't stand the darkness that would follow". RETURN OF CALLISTO (29/205)
First episode seen: WARRIOR PRINCESS (H09/109)
Least favorite episode: THE TITANS (07/107), GIANT KILLER (27/203), THE DIRTY HALF DOZEN (49/303), and TSUNAMI (65/319)

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