- 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
As the god of war, Ares is violence. He is primarily the patron god of Sparta, but armies from all city-states offer prayers to him before going into battle.
Though Ares represents the physical aspect of war, he 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 Ares' worshipers' actions, he 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 Ares' 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.
Finally, Ares' 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.
Ares 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 Ares' 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 half-brother. From teenhood to adulthood, 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
As an Olympian god, Ares has all of the typical powers of Olympian, as god of war Ares represents hatred and anger. 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. In case Ares loses his power people with little self control are quick to anger. Aphrodite and Ares share a link that balances their powers of war and love respectively. If one of them loses their godhood the other will be affected as well, because love must be balanced by war, and vice versa.
The limit of Ares' divine powers was unknown, but seemed to weaken when not having been worshipped for a long time, or when his favor from those around him is lessening. He specialized in abilities that were often violent and destructive, however, he was also able to use them for more practical instances that suited his schemes.
- Conjuration: In The Xena Scrolls, it was shown that Ares is able to summon swords out of thin air and propel them at enemies. He also used this ability to summon one of Gabrielle's sais in Succession.
- Dream manipulation: Ares has been shown stepping into and altering Xena's dreams on two occasions. First in Intimate Stranger and then again in Eternal Bonds.
- Elemental control: As a god, Ares has a fair amount of control over the elements. Being a god of war, these were mostly on the destructive side of nature.
- Fire: Usually used for show, Ares is able to conjure fire, although he seems to prefer lightning. Although, he has at times been shown creating destructive blasts of fire (God Fearing Child).
- Flora: While riding past on a motorcycle in Soul Possession, flowers would suddenly wither and die.
- Ice: In Looking Death in the Eye, Ares was able to create a wall of ice to seal a cave. From the coffins in the cave, it is also assumed that he can create constructs of ice as well.
- Lightning: Ares mainly used the element of lightning. He would normally shoot these as arcs from his fingertips and could range from a light zap (The Quill is Mightier...) to being able to causing explosions. His lightning does not seem to be as powerful as Zeus' however. At times, thunder would be heard booming when Ares was angry. He is also able to channel his lightning through objects such as his sword (Amphipolis Under Siege).
- Rain: In Motherhood Ares was shown standing in the rain without getting wet.
- Energy projection: Aside from power over the elements, many gods possess the ability to also channel their divine power into blasts of energy. Ares has been seen doing this many times such as when blasting Xena and Mavican apart in Succession or when killing a soldier during Eternal Bonds.
- Immortality: Like all gods, Ares is immortal. He heals instantly from any damage done to him and will live agelessly for eternity. He has stated feeling pain for the first time in Ten Little Warlords after being turned mortal, meaning that he not only heals quickly, but also feels no damage done to him. He does seem, however, to be able to be momentarily stunned by powerful blows.
- Invisibility: The ability to render yourself unseen by others around you. Ares is easily able to make himself invisible to some mortals while allowing others to see him. Xena, and those with divine blood, seem to be either immune to his invisibility or can at least sense when he is around.
- Intangibility: Ares is also able to make himself intangible to those who can't see him (The Reckoning).
- Lust: He is able to inflict lust with a touch of his hand, which presents itself as a red glow. (Path of Vengeance)
- Omnipresence: Ares can be summoned just by the mention of his name. He is also able to watch events taking place on Earth even if he is not present in the area at the time. Sometimes it is unclear whether Ares is watching from afar or if he is invisible.
- Portal creation: Similar to teleportation, creating portals will open a window into another place. Ares was shown using this to open doorways into other words such as the Strange World, the forest, and the dark room from Succession. He can also cause these portals to pull in their targets like a vacuum.
- Power sharing: During Seeds of Faith, Ares was able to share a taste of his godly powers with Gabrielle. This allowed her to feel what it was like to be a god but did not seem to actually impart any divine abilities onto her.
- Resurrection: Ares was able to easily bring the dead back to life in full health during The Reckoning. His ability to do this seems to have been limited when the rulership of Olympus changed from Zeus to Athena, after which he could only heal with Athena's blessing, or by sacrificing his own godhood.
- Shapeshifting: He is able to change his shape to appear as anyone he choses.
- Soul joining: In Succession, Ares joined Xena and Gabrielle's souls into one body. This caused them to transform back and forward into each other whenever the sun rose or set.
- Strength: Gods possess greatly enhanced strength compared to mortals. Ares has been shown sending people flying with a single hit, dealing blows to knock down other gods, and lifting people with one hand. When fighting other gods, sparks will be shown when his hits make contact. Against Kal, many of these blows resulted in booms of thunder and lightning.
- Teleportation: Another common power among gods is the ability to disappear and reappear instantly wherever he chooses. For Ares, this takes the form of an indigo or blue ball of light and a plume of smoke. His form of teleportation is similar to Aphrodite's, Discord's, and Athena's in appearance.
- Telekinesis: The ability to move things without touching them is another ability held by many gods and spiritually powered people. Ares has also been shown using this to fling his enemies around in fights or move objects.
- Combat: Ares is an excellent fighter, being able to master many different styles. While fighting Xena, Ares' style will often mirror her acrobatics, twists, and use of weaponry. While fighting Hercules, Ares focuses more on his strength and hand to hand combat.
- Strategy: One of his most useful skills is the use of strategy. Ares will often plan out complicated schemes to get into the heads of his enemies. He also seems to prefer pulling strings from a distance and having others do his dirty work rather than having to step in himself.
- Strength: Even without his godly powers, Ares still has a great amount of physical strength. He was able to knock out men and beat back Xena in Coming Home.
- Swordsmanship: As a god of war, Ares seems to prefer sword fighting when going up against worthy opponents. Matched with his strength, Ares is able to deal devastating blows fend off quick slashes.
- Sword: Ares carries a large, ornate sword on his hip. When the sword was stolen by Sisyphus in Ten Little Warlords, Ares lost his godly powers, which were then transferred over to whoever held the sword. His sword has since been broken and separated from him many times, however, without him losing his godhood. After losing his godhood in Motherhood, the sword also remained intact. It's possible that his powers are not in the sword itself, but rather, are symbolized by it.
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
At some point, 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 is 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.
Behind the scenes
- 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.
- Ares' favored element seems to be thunder.
- Ares' Aphrodite, Hercules and Athena are the only characters that have called Zeus "father".
- While Hera's hatred of Hercules is stems from him being a symbol of her husband's infidelity; instead of 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.
- 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.
Hercules: The Legendary Journeys
Xena: Warrior Princess