In the second last season of Xena Warrior Princess, we have come to the climax of the overall arc of the story.
Up to this point, Xena has gone from being a former bloodthirsty warrior, newly repentant and wracked with self-loathing, to a devoted friend and fighter for good and justice, to a self-assured paladin following the righteous spiritual path known as the Way of the Warrior.
Meanwhile, Xena’s best friend and sidekick, Gabrielle, has gone from a plucky, idealistic peasant girl, to an unwitting Amazon princess and novice fighter, to an adherent of the nonviolent spiritual path known as the Way of Love, to an eventual apostate of that path in favour of becoming a warrior – no longer a sidekick – in her own right.
Xena and Gabrielle are following opposite spiritual paths
Season 4 of Xena Warrior Princess was one marked by both growth and death.
Part of that growth was external. By season 4, the show had gained widespread popularity and started tell stories that demonstrated this. The sets were more complex, the costumes more elaborate.
The Xenaverse itself expanded: moving beyond just Ancient Greece and the gods and heroes of Greek mythology, Xena and Gabrielle travel to an entirely different country and have encounters with the gods of a different culture.
Will the real Warrior Princess please step forward?
I originally started my replay of the seasons of Xena Warrior Princess to help me in re-conceiving an old, shelved novel of mine that I want to rewrite set in Ancient Greece.
Of course, I recognize that what will help me most in this endeavour is a thorough study of actual Ancient Greek history since Xena, although a rollicking good time to watch, is historical-ish at best – a work of historical fantasy that’s at times quite heavy on the fantasy, straining the linearity of the historical timeline to the limit.
(This season alone, Xena has dealings with legendary Celtic queen Boudicca, with Egyptian queen Cleopatra, in ancient China, and against the Persian army on their way to the Hot Gates at Thermopylae.)
It was with season 2 of Xena Warrior Princess, I now recall, that I fell in love with the show.
Thinking back on it, season 2 may well have been the first season I actually saw. My memory of it all is rather cloudy. While watching season 1, I remembered every episode, but for some reason don’t recall having viewed them on TV, at least not from the beginning.
In any case, I do remember that it was also season 2 that made me want to be an adventurer – to roam far and wide meeting people, solving problems, battling evil, and having fun.
My decision to re-watch all six seasons of the show Xena Warrior Princess – which is set in Ancient Greece – corresponded with my decision to someday rewrite my shelved first fantasy novel as historical fiction, also set in Ancient Greece.
That and because Xena is such a thrilling character – my favourite fictional character, in truth – whom I hadn’t watched since the show ended in 2001.
Xena of Amphipolis, aka the Warrior Princess, is indeed my favourite fictional character.
(For the record, her character wasn’t actually a princess, which I like better now that I’m well past the age of 5 and its pervasive draw to all things “princess”.)
The show Xena Warrior Princess aired while I was in high school and university, from 1995-2001.
I’m not sure how it was I came to discover it or its two companion shows, Hercules: The Legendary Journeys and The Adventures of Sinbad, but all three quickly became part of my Saturday afternoon routine. Xena was always my favourite.