- This article is about the character. For the episode of the same name, see "Ares (Episode)".
Ares, the God of War, was a major character and villain on Hercules: The Legendary Journeys, Xena: Warrior Princess and Young Hercules. He is the Greek god of war and violence, who has a strong rivalry with his half-brother Hercules, and a love-hate relationship with Xena.
He took Xena under his wing as his protege, sometime after she first met with Caesar. He also gave her the Chakram, sometime after she left Chin and headed towards the Norselands. He continues to follow her throughout the series, tempting her back to her old ways, but eventually gives up and turns into more of a hinderance than an enemy because he falls in love with her.
He also takes quite a liking to Gabrielle, trying to seduce her away from her travels with Xena and tempt her to become his new protege. The two become good friends, after he ressurects her in "Motherhood".
Ares' relationship with Hercules is fueled by jealousy because Zeus, their father, has always favored and liked him over Ares and his siblings. Thus Ares is motivated to constantly try to destroy his demi-god half brother.
Ares was played by Kevin Smith.
Characterization and Personality[edit | edit source]
Ares is the god of war and violence. He is primarily the patron god of Sparta, but armies from all city-states offer prayers to him before going into battle.
Though he represents the physical aspect of war, Ares is far from some mindless thug. He is, in fact, a brilliant strategist, preferring to plan his battles carefully rather than going into a fight with his proverbial guns blazing. Whenever possible, he seems to like the methods of getting other people to do his work for him or finding ways to get his enemies to destroy themselves. The latter is something he repeatedly attempts with Hercules, knowing that he cannot kill his half-brother without suffering the wrath of Zeus.
Despite the often chaotic results of his worshipers' actions, Ares sees himself as a subtle strategist, as befits the god of war, rather than the god of brawling. He also exhibits curious mix of sportsmanship and cheating when convenient for him.
In his relations with the other Olympians, he relies on the fact that they need him, so he usually runs his own schemes with little regard for the wishes of his colleagues, although he is still careful not to defy Zeus. He’s genuinely fond of his sister Aphrodite, though he rarely lets it show. Discord and Deimos (and his predecessor Strife before his death) are his junior partners, whom he bullies and directs.
And finally, he’s obsessed with the two greatest heroes of Greece: Hercules (whom he wants to destroy) and Xena (whom he wants back to her warlord days and is in love with). Most of his schemes these days are centered on those.
He often attempts to lure Xena away from her quest with Gabrielle, to join him as his Warrior Queen. He offers her huge armies and historic victories, great wealth and great power, and in later seasons his love -- offers which she consistently rejects despite being sometimes tempted. Ares also gave Xena her Chakram.
Noticing his half-brother gaining the love of their father Zeus, Ares has hated Hercules since he was a boy and has tried repeatedly to kill his younger brother. From teenhood to manhood, Hercules and Ares go at each other in a fashion similar to sibling rivalry, though Hercules gains the upper hand every time.
Powers and Abilities[edit | edit source]
As an Olympian, Ares possesses all of the typical godly powers of a child of Zeus, including immortality, enhanced stamina, strength, durability, and reflexes, and the ability to walk invisible among mortals. As the god of war, Ares often used his powers to benefit those that waged war, and as a result he was often the object of worship for warlords and their armies.
Ares and his sister Aphrodite share a link that balances their powers of war and love respectively. If one of them loses their powers, the other will lose theirs as well, as love must be balanced by war, and vice versa.
History[edit | edit source]
Young Hercules[edit | edit source]
The main antagonist of the story, Ares is the god of violence and war. He is primarily the patron god of Sparta, but armies from all city-states offer prayers to him before going into battle. Ares also claims Amazons as his favorite mortals (Battle Lines: Part 2) and has been known to send them prophetic visions.
Though he represents the physical aspect of war, Ares is far from some mindless thug. He is, in fact, a brilliant strategist, preferring to plan his battles carefully rather than going into a fight with his proverbial guns blazing. Whenever possible, he seems to like the methods of getting other people to do his work for him or finding ways to get his enemies to destroy themselves. The latter is something he repeatedly attempts with Hercules, knowing that he cannot murder his half-brother without suffering the wrath of Zeus.
Hercules First Season[edit | edit source]
Ares never appeared in person, as his voice can only be heard in some of the episodes he's in. During the Festival of Dionysus, Ares poisoned the new wine and controlled Marysa and the other virgins to murder King Iphicles so that his loyal servant, Prince Pentheus, could become king ("The Festival of Dionysus"). He gathered a group of young boys led by Aurelius to become bloodthirsty warriors ("Ares"). To feed his dog, Graegus, Ares manipulated Daulin and Poena into fighting each other so that he can gather bodies of the fallen soldiers. He even took control over Jarton's body ("The Vanishing Dead"). After Darphus was killed, Ares brought him back to life to feed Graegus once again and rule the Earth ("The Gauntlet"). Hercules, with help of friends, including Iolaus, Xena, and Salmoneus, stopped Ares in each scheme ("Unchained Heart").
Xena First Season[edit | edit source]
Ares framed Xena for murdering three villagers in the hope that she would call on him for help when threatened with execution. He also takes the shape of Xena's long-lost father Atrius and nearly tricks her into attacking a village. However, these plans are thwarted by Xena and Gabrielle ("The Reckoning" and "Ties That Bind").
Hercules Third Season and Xena Second Season[edit | edit source]
Ares joined forces with Xena's now-dead archenemy Callisto and engineered a body switch so that Callisto's soul occupied Xena's body while Xena was trapped in Tartarus. He seemed to be grooming Callisto-in-Xena's body to be his new Warrior Queen, and had sex with her, but later turned away from her, realizing that she was too madly obsessed with revenge against Xena and too uncontrollable. Xena, who had persuaded Hades to release her, was able to send Callisto back to Tartarus ("Intimate Stranger").
Ares had often tried to make Hercules' life miserable as can be, especially when Hercules had married Ares' protege, Serena, the last Golden Hind. Ares told Hercules that he would release Serena from her vow of service to him, and allow her and Hercules to marry, if Hercules gave up his superhuman strength. Later, Ares' underling, Strife, murdered Serena and he and Ares attempted to frame Hercules for her murder. He was saved by the intervention of Xena and Zeus ("Encounter", "When a Man Loves a Woman" and "Judgment Day"
After losing his godhood due to Sisyphus' trickery, he needed Xena's help to get it back: Xena reluctantly agreed to help him after realizing that the Earth needed a God of War and Ares was the best man for the job. As a mortal, Ares showed a new humanity and conscience, but after getting his godhood back he seemed to revert to his former cold-hearted self and it was also the new start of upcoming feelings that Ares started to have more than just feelings for Xena, he began to get even more obsessed with her now than before ("Ten Little Warlords").
Hercules Fourth Season and Xena Third Season[edit | edit source]
Ares had sired a child with the now-mortal Goddess of Retribution, Nemesis. The child, Evander, was born with supernatural abilities. Ares wanted to take the boy from Nemesis and raise him to be loyal to him, hoping to use him as a weapon against Hercules. However, Hercules and Iolaus managed to foil his plan and return the child to his mother ("Two Men and a Baby").
Later, Ares teamed up with Callisto, now a goddess, to trap Hercules in a passageway between parallel universes. Callisto (working with Dahak's daughter Hope) then turned on Ares, badly beat him in a hand-to-hand fight, and used a dagger dipped in the blood of a golden hind to kill Strife.
Ares' relationship with Xena grew more complicated: he was still trying to win her back to the fold, but also tried to form an alliance with her to fight the demon god Dahak. Under threat from Dahak, Ares ended up briefly switching sides until Dahak was defeated by Xena. Ares plotted with his mother Hera to murder Zeus.
Xena Fifth Season[edit | edit source]
Determined to protect his own power and the rule of the Olympian deities, Ares murders Eli, a Jesus-like prophet who urged the people to abandon the old deities.
After the Fates prophesied that Xena's child Eve would bring about the end of the Olympian deities, Ares tried to declare his love for Xena, offering to protect her and her baby from the other deities and willingly become mortal if they could be together and have a child of their own. Ares offers to take Xena away but she declines. Xena rushes to stop the battle and surrenders her daughter. Just as Athena is about to kill Eve, Ares intercedes and begins to fight Athena. Xena takes on Ilainus and kills her while Gabrielle and the villagers force Athena's army to retreat. Athena disappears with Ilainus' body. With the battle over, Ares wishes to pick up where he left off with Xena. Xena rejected his offer, refusing to believe that his feelings could be sincere. When Xena and Gabrielle faked their deaths to escape the deities' persecution, Ares inadvertently thwarted their plans by burying them in an ice cave where they slept for 25 years. After mourning Xena for years, Ares unknowingly took Eve (now the Roman warrior Livia) as his protegée and lover. When Xena returned, he resumed his pursuit of her: enraged by her continuing rejection, he first encouraged Livia/Eve to kill her, and then joined the other Olympians in their effort to kill Eve. At the last minute, however, his love for Xena prevailed and he gave up his godhood to heal the mortally wounded Gabrielle and Eve.
Xena Sixth Season[edit | edit source]
After the Twilight of the Gods (Olympian Massacre), the Olympian worship died out and Ares was no longer allowed to act as patron god of warriors. Early in season 6 he was driven mad by the Furies, a plot that was devised in order to pit Xena against Ares and have one or both of them kill each other. As Xena and Gabrielle head out to find Ares, Fury Xena is belittling him into such a rage that he dives for her, threatening her life. She vanishes and when Ares looks up, he sees the real Xena, who tries to make him realize that the Furies are driving him mad. Unable to convince him, Xena dodges his blows and escapes, concluding that Ares must kill her in order to be released from the clutches of the Furies. Xena was able to defeat the Furies, and, as mortals, they were both able to share a tender, sweet moment together ("Coming Home").
Xena risked her life to save the now-mortal Ares from the Furies. Xena helped Ares again, hiding him from vengeful warlords on her family's farm. Gasgar, the warlord decides to dispatch his army when young Siki reveals that he followed Ares and two women to the Lacoon Valley. Meanwhile, Xena, Gabrielle and Ares get word from a concerned neighbor named Greba that Gasgar's army is headed their way. Xena immediately sets off to intercept him. When Xena enters Gasgar's tent, she claims she has come to present him with Ares' head on a platter. Gasgar insists he doesn't need her help, but becomes interested when Xena tells him she knows where Ares is. Xena and Gabrielle stage a fight to the unsuspecting Gaspar heads off in search of Ares, once again in the wrong direction. Later that day, Xena and Gabrielle return to the farm with Horace, whose owner has been convinced that the dog will be better off there and they bid farewell to Ares ("Old Ares Had a Farm").
While in Rome when Xena tries to stop Caligula. Ares slips into the crowd. Xena jumps out of the chariot and lands in front of Caligula. She goes to kill him, but Ares runs from the crowd and pushes her aside. He tells an angry Xena that if she kills Caligula, she also kills Aphrodite. He says the lives of Caligula and Aphrodite are bound together somehow. Later Ares tells Xena that the Goddess of Love becomes unbalanced without the God of War. Later in the palace, Caligula brings out Ares and tells Xena to kill him. Xena says okay, but there's a floor show Cinda and I used to do and we'd like to perform it first. She gets all hot with Ares and asks Caligula if he'd like to participate. He says no. Xena goes to him and kisses him and bites his lip. Ares and Gabrielle watch Xena seduce Caligula. Xena goes back to Ares and kisses his nipple. When Xena defeats Caligula, Ares helps Aphrodite adjust to being mortal ("The God You Know").
Nigel a reporter attempts to interview the mortal Ares. Drunk, Ares scoffs at the idea of Xena becoming his queen. After mentioning that other Greek deities escaped the Twilight, Nigel hears a voice and storms into the dilapidated shack. There, he finds Xena, but is thrown out by Ares. Xena restored his godhood with a golden apple wrested from Odin, but refused his offer to become a goddess and rule by his side. ("You Are There").
Ares and Xena were once again adversaries as she foiled his plot to get the Amazons into a war with the Romans in order to gain more worshipers. However, they also seemed to share a new mutual understanding and acceptance that one will never be able to change the other. ("Path of Vengeance").
Modern Day Adventures[edit | edit source]
At some time, for an unknown reason, Ares is trapped in a coffin made by Hephaestus, inside a tomb, and only Xena throwing her chakram at a part of the coffin could free him. In 1940, the descendants of Xena, Gabrielle, and Joxer go looking for the Xena scrolls in that tomb. They find a broken chakram and when it's joined together, Xena's spirit goes into her descendant Melinda. She throws the chakram, that frees Ares and He wants to use Adolf Hitler to help him ascend not only back to his former glory, but to ascend higher than he ever did. Before Xena's spirit leaves, she throws the chakram again and traps Ares in the tomb, but he finds a way out. Ares also appeared in the two Hercules "ubers": "Yes, Virginia, There is a Hercules" (S4) and "For Those of You Just Joining Us" (S5). In those episodes, which were set in the present day and based on the premise that Kevin Sorbo was actually Hercules himself, Ares was still at war with his half-brother and was plotting to get Hercules: The Legendary Journeys off the air. He also tricks the reincarnated Xena to show up, but he's weak from not being worshiped and is defeated. Once the contract of Ares and Xena's marriage is found, he shows up again, to take Xena's soul, but she tricks him into destroying the contract and frees herself.
Background Information[edit | edit source]
Behind the Scenes[edit | edit source]
- Ares has appeared in 11 seasons of Xenaverse productions across three shows plus the Young Hercules movie and Hercules and Xena - The Animated Movie: The Battle for Mount Olympus. Aphrodite has appeared in 10, Xena has appeared in nine, and Hercules has appeared in eight. Ares is the most frequently major character in the entire franchise by sheer number of appearances.
- Kevin Smith also plays Iphicles, Ares II, and Jerry Patrick Brown.
- Although the last two were consequences of him playing Ares, Smith was cast as Iphicles independently, with Iphicles debuting in "What's in a Name?" a few weeks before Ares's first anthropomorphic appearance in "The Reckoning". The visual differences between Iphicles and Ares meant there was no need to recast.
- Like many of his co-stars, Kevin Smith's American accent was put on, as he was from New Zealand.
Trivia[edit | edit source]
- Ares' favored element seems to be Thunder.
- Ares, Aphrodite, Hercules and Athena are the only characters that have called Zeus "father" on-screen.
- While Hera's hatred of Hercules is stems from him being a symbol of her husband's infidelity rather than his personality or actions, Ares' hatred is based on jealousy of Hercules being loved, liked or favored more by Zeus and humanity in general. Hercules' regular thwarting of Ares' schemes doesn't help their relationship.
- The historical Julius Caesar, Mark Antony, Octavius Augustus and Caligula considered themselves to be descended from Mars, Ares' Roman aspect.
- Ares as seen in the series is a composite of his Greek and Roman versions. The Greek Ares was a bloodthirsty god who reveled in combat but was barely interested in strategy (more the god of battle than the god of war), while Mars was more of a divine general and tactician.
Galleries[edit | edit source]
Hercules: The Legendary Journeys[edit | edit source]
Xena: Warrior Princess[edit | edit source]
Appearances[edit | edit source]
See Also[edit | edit source]