THE GOD WHO LOVED HER: THE XENA-ARES STORYLINE ON XENA: WARRIOR PRINCESS, p.1 (April - #67)
Fanpop original article: I here to talk you the truth behind Xena & Ares relationship from the Smashed hit. Much of Ares' relationship with Xena remains ambiguous, including whether he is at least partly redeemed by his love for Xena, or to what extent Xena. Ares also develops some awareness of the human condition and the costs of perhaps, as the genesis of the Ares-Xena relationship in Seasons 5 and 6.
In others, we had Xena frolicking around with other characters that were neither Ares nor Gabrielle. This is an unprecedented situation and a foolish technique that has done nothing but embitter many fans that would have give anything to see their loved characters come together at last. Such technique had done nothing but perpetuate the bitter rivalry between shippers and subtexters.
I cannot help resent this situation for there has never been a show that has caused so much discontent among its fans because of their lack of identification. Researchers have agreed that emotions involve several components, including physiological arousal and we know how "physiological" our God of War tends to getovert or expressive behavior, cognitive appraisal, and subjective behavior. Ares manifested these characteristics, and so we assumed he was capable of emotions.
He instills in those fans that are capable of seeing the hidden depths of objects and the abstract characteristics of a personality the need to understand his motivations as an individual.
He has the power to provoke passionate reactions and opinions concerning him. His idiosyncrasies parallel those of human beings. It is no coincidence that the Greek Writers created their Gods in their own image, as human looking and human acting deities with omnipotent powers. Ares, being one of these Gods, was not the exception.
Unfortunately and unfairly, though, Ares has been the recipient of rejection and contempt throughout mythological history. The Intellectual Greeks were not interested in war. They despised war and anything that had to do with it, and so Ares was more often than not portrayed in a negatively manner.
He is depicted as a hated being, disliked by his siblings, hated by humanity, and neglected by his Father Zeus, the God of all Gods. Ares was left to grow under the over-protective wings of his bitter mother, Hera.
No doubt, his aggressive and egotistical behavior is the product of his father's favoritism of his other children and neglect, and his mother's dubious and vengeful motivations. Although suffering sometimes builds character, it may also bring out the worst, and that has been the case with Ares. Frustration created anger, which generated aggression. Ares grew up amidst these aversive stimuli evoking hostility and resentment in him. He demonstrated he is capable of experiencing all the emotions that makes us human beings unique: The objections are mainly composed of two issues: Ares "abusive" behavior towards Xena and Ares' "rape" threats.
What I imply by worse is the fact that Gabrielle has been the constant recipient of Xena's volatile rage without once defending herself, while Xena on the other hand has been more than capable of thwarting Ares' every manipulation.
Clearly it was a battle of will and wits between them. For the sake of plot development, Ares became the villain of the story and Xena the hero of the same. Both characters gave glimpses of a shared past, and Ares' obsession with Xena became a new theme in the series. It became his goal to bring Xena back to his side, and in return, it became Xena's goal to thwart his every attempt.
The obsession became a link and established the relationship between them. Were we aware of Ares' deceptions and selfishness? Yes we were aware of it, and we did not ignore it.
We analyzed it and tried to understand its motivations. Ares has been portrayed as the villain since day one, and as such, many fans, I included, expected him to behave as one. This is what made the relationship so interesting and exciting. Xena's capability to thwart his every scheme no matter the odds against her was what made this so exciting.
The fact that Ares had never killed her, although he possesses the power to do so, was very intriguing. The fact that Xena had never killed him, although she has had many opportunities to do so, was self-explanatory and intriguing.
Some call Xena the victim and Ares her abuser, but in this series Xena has never been anybody's victim, much the less the God of War's. She is more than capable of fighting back as the magnificent warrior and the brilliant strategist she has demonstrated to be. The popular media, be it the present one or past ones, always celebrated the rugged individual, the bad boy who was true to himself and bucked social conventions, the intriguing loner who answers to none but himself.
It became an icon of sexiness. Personas like Marlon Brando and James Dean are icons of the bad boy image. Ares portrays this image to perfection.
This was the first factor that induced fans to take a second look at him. The rugged individual Ares became obsessed with the Warrior Princess, and he set out to do whatever it took to bring her back to him. What dissenters consider stalking, many fans consider as what is presently known as foreplay, lover's banter, and flirtation. The constant interaction between the two individuals enshrouded in apparent hostility veiled an obvious attraction between the two.
In this film, two individuals were united by adverse circumstances and immediately treated each other with hostility and contempt, when in fact they were sexually attracted to each other all along. The more they interacted and treated each other with hostility, the more attracted to each other they became.
The popular media has always exploited the Romantic Notion of the seduction. It might be considered an unrealistic script, but so far, such writing gender has maintained its popularity. Scarlett O'Hara was carried to bed screaming and unwilling and woke up singing and overmuch content. This romantic notion has been part of life since the earliest of times. All we have to do is read from Shakespeare to The Iliad, to contemporary romance writer Johanna Lindsey. Xena is a prime example of this gender.
Do I condemn Ares' behavior towards Xena? No, I do not. Do I approve of it? Many times, I have not. Ares has only manifested human emotions, and as a sinner of such emotions, I cannot condemn him. I do not approve of his schemes, and in many instances, I wished he did not behave in such an aversive way. Yet, all of the characters in the series, including Xena and Gabrielle, behaved in unethical manners at one time or another even though they are the heroes of the show and their responsibility is to convey a positive moral message at the end of the story.
Suffice to say they have not behaved in a heroic manner always and Xena herself has behaved worst than Ares himself in many instances.
He is the villain of the story and behaves accordingly. One could understand Ares' motivations even if one did not agree with them.
Ares is no worse or better than anyone else in the series. Ares is only manifesting human emotions, being blocked of a goal that increases people's readiness to aggress. Frustration creates anger, hurt feelings create frustration, and rejection creates hurt feelings.
Ares' vulnerability is Xena, and her constant rejection led him to act like a spurned lover, a hurt individual who in a moment of frustration tries to cover his hurt with mean but empty words. His self-preservation mechanism triggers itself when his feelings are hurt. Ares, in his hurting anger, acted like a spurned lover, demanding Xena to give him what he wants.
It was funny how many were so ready to condemn Ares over this incident when in fact, have not many of us acted in a similar manner to try to hide hurt feelings? Again, this was an expected and appropriate human emotion and behavior.
Nothing to be proud of, but nothing to be horrified of either. Amidst all her rejections and denial she indulged herself in his arms whenever she got the chance, and many times before permitted Ares his intimate advances, obviously enjoying them.
Her behavior suggested she was subconsciously attracted if not downright in love with Ares. She declared she despised him, she asked him to leave her be, but she was not able ever to ignore him. In one instance, he told her "Honey, you could not ignore me even if you tried". Hatred is not the opposite of love; on the contrary, it is another facet of it.
Indifference is the real opposite of love and indifference is not an active ingredient in this relationship. If Xena is not a demigod, she should not have been able to win.
Does Ares decide to reward her brilliant stratagem of claiming him as Daddy? Does he, deep down, have a soft spot for her? Is he worried about the damage he could do to her if he used his full power?
Perhaps that is why Ares gets such a nervous look when Xena challenges him, prompting Alecto to ask what he is afraid of. Or could it be all of the above? When the god warns his new protege Agathon not to underestimate Xena as others have, the brash young warlord retorts, "No, no, no, no, War God, nobody underestimates Xena.
You've got a hot spot for the killer babe, and when push comes to shove, you follow your, uh, lower instincts, know what I mean? Later, he visits the Warrior Princess to deliver a warning: I'm not gonna make any deals this time. I promised Agathon I would not interfere.
THE GOD WHO LOVED HER: THE XENA-ARES STORYLINE ON XENA: WARRIOR PRINCESS, p.2 (April - #67)
If you attack, he's gonna kill you. We do not know if he is trying to stop Xena from messing up his plans or from getting hurt. When push does come to shove, he does not intervene as promised, and thereby allows Xena to kill Agathon.
Maybe he is simply swayed by her argument that a warrior whom he has to bail out is not worthy of his patronage, which would mean that his earlier warning to Xena was indeed for her benefit, and not Agathon's.
Perhaps there is something more going on as well. But as always, ambiguities abound. Ares emerges here as the ultimate survivor, an opportunist who is willing to kneel before Dahak to save his hide but may well be playing his own game. When Ares tells Gabrielle that if she does not stop Xena from killing Hope, Xena will die under a deal he has made with the Fates, is he protecting Hope or making sure Gabrielle is the one who kills her?
When he brags to Xena and Gabrielle about having sired Hope's demon child, is he genuinely gloating, or putting on a show for Dahak while priming Gabrielle for the kill?
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- Love/Hate Relationship With Xena & Ares
The suppressed emotion in his voice as he bids Xena good-bye and says, "It's been fun" is unmistakable. Were They or Weren't They? How well did Ares and Xena know each other before the Warrior Princess turned away from the dark side? True, he has been wearing a hood, but Xena does not seem to recognize his voice either, though she does figure out who he is.
Her remark, "I used to wonder what you looked like," further suggests that she has never laid eyes on him before. While Ares says that he wants her back and that he has "missed" her, he may be talking about her having been "with him" in a symbolic sense when she served War.
In support of this theory, it should be noted that none of the "Evil Xena" flashbacks show her with Ares. That can't be good for you. I wasn't the easiest warrior you ever dealt with. No, no, you never let me get away with anything.Xena And Ares Forever
You had the nerve to question me and you never took what I said at face value. After tricking her adversary Mavican, the War God's right-hand woman wannabe, into asking for Ares' help and ensuring that he gives up on her, she explains to Gabrielle, "Years ago, Ares said to me that anyone who asked for his help doesn't deserve it.
When Ares tells her that he did not know who Livia was and "it wasn't personal", Xena replies, "It doesn't get more personal than when you corrupt my daughter the way you did me".
Evil Xena and Ares did know each other, and he pursued her sexually, but without success. When Xena, ostensibly, offers herself to Ares, he says, "I have desired you from the very first time I saw you in battle. And now, after all these years, after all these games, the cat and the mouse, will I, won't I - 'Ares, I'm yours, take me'? After Iolaus follows Callisto back in time but fails to stop her from killing Alcmene and preventing Hercules' birth, he tracks her to her next stop, just before Evil Xena's troops ravage Cirra.
We see Xena in her tent, abusing a groveling king who has come to pay her tribute and chatting with the God of War, who sits behind her. While this scene takes place in an alternate time-line in which Hercules was never born, it happens at a point in time when Xena was still a vicious warlord in the "real" world as well, before she would have met Hercules and seen the light.
Until then, her life in the alternate universe should have been no different than it "really" was, and if so, the scene can be regarded as an Evil Xena flashback showing her with Ares.
The only possible counter-argument is that in a Herc-less universe, Ares would have had more time and energy to play with his "number one femme". Yet surely, his skirmishes with Hercules could not have kept him that busy.
A Creation Entertainment photo from this scene shows Ares, evidently wearing nothing but a dreamy expression on his face, with his legs draped around Xena, who is adjusting her leathers and smiling a catlike smile.
Obviously, a scene cut from an episode cannot be considered a part of "canon", but it still raises the question of whether Xena and Ares were almost shown to have been lovers.
Cruel, heartless, merciless -- Xena!
After all, we do not know exactly what went on in that cut scene. It could have been Ares saying, "So, when are we going to actually do it? Xena, crucified by the Romans, has been resurrected by the Eastern mystic Eli with her "dark side" missing.
This makes her a perfect tool to get the "light chakram", a god-killing weapon coveted by both Ares and Kal that can only be taken from an altar by a completely pure soul.