A few weeks ago, I wrote about warrior woman characters and whether they helped or hindered the ongoing struggle for women’s equality in real life.
Having concluded that such characters do indeed benefit women and society, I can now happily share my top favourite warrior women characters who aren’t named Xena.
I have to include the stipulation of “not named Xena” because Xena is, in my opinion, the greatest warrior woman character there is.
Midway through my replay of all six seasons of Xena Warrior Princess last year, I heard word of possible reboot of the show.
Details on the project have since remained scarce. No one has been cast – not even the eponymous character – nor have there even been rumours about who’s under consideration for any of the roles.
Initially, the showrunner for the Xena reboot was set to be Javier Grillo-Marxuach, one of the writers from my new favourite TV show, The 100 (Xena having been my old favourite show). However, just last week, it was announced that Grillo-Marxuach had left the project due to “unsurmountable creative differences”.
A reporter determined to get the scoop on Xena
In time, all good things come to an end.
In a way, I could have said this at the end of the season 5 of Xena Warrior Princess, which itself wasn’t as strong as seasons past, in my opinion.
By season 6, much of what previously made the show great – Xena and Gabrielle wandering Greece and interacting with various gods and mythological figures – fell by the wayside.
Xena receives some unexpected news
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.
I can’t even believe I once altogether stopped watching television.
Such is the power of love, I guess, that because the guy I was infatuated with didn’t like TV, I was able to quit cold turkey, enduring years of long, dark, post-Daylight Savings nights Time without it.
Maybe TV sucked anyway during that period. Or maybe my reading list was a whole lot longer. My reading list is still pretty long – never-ending, in truth – as is my writing schedule rather rigorous.
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.)
Xena looking stern and steely-eyed after a bath.
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.
One season down, five more to go!
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.