Whoosh! Issue 65 - February 2002

FOR THE LOSS OF A BROTHER
By M. Roell
Content © 2002 held by author
WHOOSH! edition © 2002 held by Whoosh!
6431 words

Author's Note

The subject of this paper is broken up into headings that refer to the Shakespearean character, Ophelia. The character of Ophelia has become a modern day metaphor for the suppression and destruction of a girl's personality through societal influences or tragic events. Unlike Shakespeare's Ophelia, Xena, as a modern metaphor for the struggle of girls and women to retain their personal strengths and independence under the barrage of negative influences, succeeds to move beyond the tragedies and emotional immaturity that sends Ophelia into madness and death. To keep this paper at a reasonable length, the in-depth exploration of the similarities and differences between Shakespeare's Ophelia and Robert Tapert's Xena are left for a future paper.



OPHELIA ENRAGED (01-04)
   Amphipolis (01-04)
OPHELIA INSANE (05-21)
   Caesar (05-10)
   Lao Ma (10-13)
   Akemi (14-16)
   Alti (17-19)
   Borias and Solan (20-21)
OPHELIA IN HEALING (22-33)
   Hercules (22-23)
   Gabrielle (24-26)
   The Journey Begins (27-29)
   Insanity Revisited (30-33)
OPHELIA REDEEMED (34-43)
   For the Loss of a Friend (34-36)
   Journeys End (37-43)
Acknowledgements
References
Biography



FOR THE LOSS OF A BROTHER



OPHELIA ENRAGED

Amphipolis

I wonder if he'll ever figure out I put that ''kick me 
hard'' sign on his back
Xena is briefly reunited with her brother in REMEMBER NOTHING.

[01] Imagine a young girl of 15 growing up in a family consisting of a strong-willed mother, an older brother, and a younger brother, in a peaceful and prosperous village in Greece. This young girl has skills, talents, and courage that far exceed her siblings and peers, and her younger brother idealizes and loves her for all of that and more. She and her brother are inseparable and he trusts her completely. Xena takes this trust seriously and protects her younger brother from the pains and harm that are want to be visited on children by evil people and life's misfortunes. She delights in showing Lyceus the wonders and joys of the peaceful world around them, and takes joy in teaching him all that she knows even at her own very young age.

[02] Now imagine that a warlord destroys the peace of the village by attempting to take the village resources through force. The young girl chooses to fight as she clearly sees that to surrender, while easy in the short- term, will only lead to a life of pain and hardships. This courageous girl tries to convince her fellow villagers that fighting is the only solution for them. They must stand up to this warlord or be victims forever. The villagers reject her solution, until her younger brother, without hesitation and with absolute trust, stands up and sides with her. Together they convince the majority of the villagers to organize a defense of the village which will ultimately be successful, but which will lead to the greatest tragedy of this young girl's life and begin her journey into darkness and insanity.

[03] During the fight with the warlord's forces, the warlord recognizes that Xena is the leader of the village defense. She is directing the villagers without fear and with amazing strategic skill to a defense that will defeat his goal of taking the village. With one arrow, he hopes to win the day for his forces. He aims and shoots the arrow at the dark-haired girl, but it never reaches her because it is intercepted by a young boy who has jumped between his sister and the arrow. And Lyceus dies in his stricken sister's arms. Her brother's death devastates Xena and in a rage, she kills the nearest enemy soldier and rallies the villagers to drive off the warlord's army. She wins the day but loses herself in the pain and rage over the loss of her brother.

[04] The guilt that she is responsible for the other casualties from her village compounds the pain of losing her brother. If she had only given in to the warlord, her brother and her friends in the village would be alive. This anguish is more than she can face, so she shuts down her emotions, hides from the guilt and pain, and chooses to focus, not on grieving, but on the rage still boiling within her. She uses this rage to persuade the villagers of the goal of making sure that no one else in her village will ever lose someone they love at the hands of this or any other warlord. Xena organizes an army of her own and leads them to take the surrounding villages as a buffer against further attacks. The death of her brother, Lyceus, will begin Xena's journey toward being the most feared warlord of her age.


OPHELIA INSANE

Caesar

Boy, I sure am glad I didn't get any spaghetti sauce 
on this clean toga, right Brutus?
Casear finally gets his come- uppance.

[05] During her campaign to safeguard her village, Xena becomes even more distanced from her emotions as she loses the friends, who joined her army, in the bloodshed and cruelty necessary to achieve her goal to protect her village. Her rage over the losses in her life fuels the goal. Yet, even at this stage, it is possible for Xena to calm the rage within her and to return to a life of peace through the acceptance and process of grieving over the loss of her brother. Unfortunately, the Fates do not allow this to occur and instead, introduce Xena to the one person who will begin her journey into a world of insanity and destruction.

[06] Caesar ignites the spark that fires the flames of Xena's insanity, leading to her become The Destroyer of Nations. The ultimate sacrifice of a stowaway slave girl becomes the fuel to sustain the spark.

[07] M'Lila is one of the first people, along with Caesar, that Xena allows through her emotional defenses since the loss of Lyceus. This stowaway first impresses Xena with her fighting skills and fearlessness in evading Xena's men, and later, with her trust of and friendship with Xena. M'Lila makes a choice to trust Xena and teaches Xena the skills that will help her become a feared and unstoppable fighter. This trust leads to a friendship that was teaching Xena how to put aside the rage in her heart and grieve for her brother and, through that grief, return to a life of peace.

[08] Caesar's betrayal and attempt to kill Xena destroys any hope that she can learn to walk a path different from the one she chose at the death of her brother. The betrayal ignites the fires of insanity that will consume the known world. M'Lila provides the fuel by sacrificing her life to save Xena's, in a way similar to Lyceus' sacrifice. Without the support and shared grief of friends and family to smother the flames that Caesar's spark ignites, this second sacrifice shatters Xena's soul. She tips over the edge into a world of destruction and madness that lasts for the next nine years.

[09] During this nine year journey though madness, despair, and anger, Xena continues to try to recover her soul, not through the healthy release that the path of forgiveness and grieving offers, but by trying to replace the trusted friend she has lost with the death of her brother. During her drive to reclaim control of her life, lost during one brief instance in the fight to defend her village, Xena also seeks to find an instant friend to share her burdens with and light her way out of despair and loneliness. Her first opportunity to obtain these goals occurs in the land of Chin.


Lao Ma

[10] With broken legs and shattered soul, Xena journeys to the land of Chin in the company of a warlord. Borias is a tool Xena uses to achieve her goal for absolute power, wealth and control over her destiny. The first step towards the goal to control all the nations in the known world requires that Xena gain control over an army. Borias is just the first in a long list of tools Xena uses in pursuit of conquest and wealth. There is no possibility that these power-sharing relationships will ever be more than stepping- stones to achieving her insane goal of world conquest. The pain and anger in her heart does not allow Xena to open herself to love and to possible further betrayal from the people she shares power with or who have power over her. During this time, one person may have had a chance to break down the wall to Xena's heart and show her another, saner, way to live her life, if not for the timing of events.

[11] Lao Ma is that one hope, before the emergence of The Destroyer of Nations, to end Xena's torment and her quest for control of her destiny through conquest. Following the teachings of Lao Ma would have allowed Xena to reclaim her humanity by putting aside the rage and the goals that were fostered by that rage, allowing room for her to grieve. Xena is offered freedom from her anguish and a humble position as Lao Ma's Warrior Princess, but when confronted with the prospects presented by Borias and his army or Lao Ma's offer, Xena's choice is to reject Lao Ma and continue with her plans for power and control through conquest.

[12] Lao Ma failed to understand the depth of this young 17-year old girl's torment. Saving Xena's life, trusting Xena with her teachings and secrets, and healing Xena's legs may have been enough to pull Xena from her path of rage and vengeance if not for the actions that Xena would perceive as betrayal on the part of Lao Ma. It is too soon after Caesar's betrayal for Xena to accept a repeat of those events through Borias' betrayal of her to Ming Tzu and Lao Ma's betrayal of her to both Ming Tzu and Borias. With the powerlessness of her inability to save her brother still fresh, the arbitrariness of giving control of her life and destiny to the roll of the dice did more harm than good in enlisting Xena into Lao Ma's service. In her state of mind, there can be no other possible path for this young shattered girl but the path that will give Xena what she believes will restore her world: power and control through conquest.

[13] Xena failed to understand Lao Ma's teachings, which could have led Xena to the knowledge that she always has control of her destiny. By letting go of the emotions and surrendering control, one achieves control of one's life. The failure to see this path to peace has Xena continuing down the same path of rage, vengeance, and betrayal throughout her long journey to obtain power through conquest. It will take many years before Xena will gain an understanding of Lao Ma's teachings. Nonetheless, the trust and love that Lao Ma showed to Xena, during the attempt to free her from her destructive path, leaves a lasting mark on Xena's soul. This mark allows others to touch Xena's soul, and after the fires of her rage have been banked, it will save her soul. But while the fires of her insane drive for power are still raging, the need for aggressive control in her life and for a trusting friend to light her way leaves a break in Xena's defenses that allows others to exploit her weaknesses for their own ends.


Akemi

[14] Shortly after leaving the kingdom of Lao, Xena and Borias discover and attempt to use a young girl from Japa to gain further wealth to continue their conquest for power. Xena believes she is using the girl to extract a ransom from the girl's father. However, Akemi exploits Xena's weakness and uses Xena, first, in an indirect manner to extract vengeance on Akemi's own father, and then second, directly to restore Akemi's honor after the completion of this act of vengeance. Xena's weaknesses, born from her rage and desperate need to reclaim a friendship lost, open the way for her to be easily manipulated. Until Xena can accept and forgive her role in Lyceus' death, these weaknesses continue to be an easy route to controlling this young mad warlord.

[15] Unlike the young Ming T'ien, Akemi shows no fear of Xena, but instead offers her love, an invitation to be a teacher, and a need for protection, all within minutes of meeting Xena. In her shattered state of mind, with the glimpse of love and trust that Lao Ma had given her still fresh in her heart, this offer by Akemi is the perfect bait for this tortured warlord. One has to wonder at how this young girl learned to read Xena so well as to play on this one major weakness of Xena's, minutes after meeting her. Most likely, it was a wild gamble born from her own experiences with her evil father. Whatever the reason, the gamble pays off better than Akemi could have hoped, and Xena becomes Akemi's tool of vengeance and absolution.

[16] Xena begins to love Akemi and trusts her enough to teach her the one skill that Xena, with one exception, will never share with anyone else. Akemi's openness and offer of love works to accomplish two things. It protects her from the hair-trigger violence inherent in the young Xena. It also ensures that Xena will care enough about Akemi to restore her honor, even after Akemi betrays Xena's trust, and kills her own father using Xena's pressure point technique. Akemi's betrayal of this sacred trust given to her by Xena breaks Xena's heart and leads to a future final consequence for herself and her soulmate, Gabrielle. Xena's need for a trusted friend, so expertly exploited by Akemi, only adds the fuel of Akemi's heartbreaking betrayal to the flames of Xena's rage-driven madness. This leads Xena to becoming The Destroyer of Nations.


Alti

Taunted by schoolmates with 'hey, raccoon head' 
once too often, Alti turns to evil
Alti is one bad dudette.

[17] While journeying west from Japa, Xena and Borias meet an Amazon shaman who further feeds the rage in Xena's heart and brings about Xena's destiny as The Destroyer of Nations. Xena embraces Alti's vision because she believes this destiny will give her the power and control she lost when her brother died in her arms. What she loses pursuing this vision will haunt Xena, years later, as it will result in the death of two people very close to her, Borias and Solon.

[18] Alti uses her apprentice, Anokin, as a tool to control Xena through her need for a friend. Alti fosters an attachment between Anokin and Xena that leads to the warlord handing Alti the power she craves. It is very likely that Alti killed her apprentice herself to start Xena down the path to handing Alti the power over the dead. Even Borias was puzzled over why Xena was devastated over Anokin's death after only knowing her for less than a moon. Xena's need for a friend and student works to Alti's advantage and this pretend apprentice's rejection of Xena in the land of the dead only seals Alti's trap tight around the insane and emotional warlord.

[19] Alti's manipulation of Xena even extends to Xena and Borias' unborn child. Alti makes a pact with the forces of darkness. In exchange for the power over the dead, Alti will deliver up The Destroyer of Nations. To ensure this happens, Alti curses Xena's unborn child to never know the love of his parents. This ensures that Xena will not turn from the path of darkness that will make her The Destroyer of Nations, by denying her the one person that could calm the rage in Xena's heart. In the face of her child, Xena would have seen the unconditional love, need for protection, trust, and the student that her heart so desperately craved. This child could have given Xena all that she lost with the death of her brother and allowed for the healing of her shattered soul.


Borias and Solan

[20] Alti leaves Xena with the prophecy that she will get her wish to be The Destroyer of Nations with the godlike power of the Ixion Stone. It is during the campaign to obtain the Ixion Stone, hidden on Centaur lands, that Borias turns from the path of destruction and thereby betrays Xena. By this time, Xena has taken most of Borias' army under her control, and she prepares to fight both Borias and the Centaurs. She also prepares to give birth to her child. It is for his love of this unborn child and Xena that Borias turns away from the path of destruction. But for the manipulations of Satrina, Borias may have been able to break Alti's curse and save both himself and his son's life, and turn Xena from her mad path of rage and vengeance.

[21] Satrina uses the 18-year old Xena to fulfill her desire to learn the art of conquest and war from a person she recognizes as a master. To continue her education under Xena's tutorship, Satrina stops Borias from taking Xena and their son away from the battle. Satrina's manipulation causes the death of Borias and Xena's trust in this 'servant' leads to a heartbreaking sacrifice on the part of Xena. Xena's grief over Borias' death causes her to protect her newborn baby from her enemies and to give him a chance at a peaceful life. She agrees to pull back her army if the Centaur Kaleipus adopts her baby son Solan. It is this sacrifice on her part and her failure to realize Alti's promise of godlike power that opens the door to Xena's soul just a little wider. It is the grief over her voluntary loss of her son that eventually leads Xena to the path of healing. It takes seven more years of destruction and bloody campaigns in Britannia, the Norselands, and Greece before the beginning of this path is shown to Xena by the greatest hero of her age.


OPHELIA IN HEALING

Hercules

[22] For the next seven years, Xena continues to strive for Alti's promised prophecy of power. But, with the tragedy of Borias' death and the loss of her son, the fires of her rage and the pursuit of Alti's promise decrease in their intensity until they are smothered by the events surrounding her plans for Hercules' destruction. During these seven years, a still power-driven but wiser Xena begins to have glimpses of the horrors she is performing, and she allows herself brief moments of love and warmth. For a short time, she loves a mercenary named Marcus and cares for a warlord called Draco. She shortly feels the horror of the destruction by fire of a town called Cirra and the apparent death of a young village girl named Thelassa, staked out as hostage in a crab infested cave. Regret for her role in these tragedies are suppressed by the still chaotic emotional turmoil of her soul, until Hercules helps smother the flames of her rage and shows her another way to live her life.

[23] During a plan to kill Hercules, through the manipulation of Iolaus, three events lead to Xena choosing a different path from the one of rage and vengeance. A 25-year old Xena saves the life of a baby over the orders of her power-hungry second-in-command. This act brought about through her remembered maternal desire to protect her own son, leads to her army turning against her. These two events coupled with the forgiveness, love, and guidance of Hercules, lead Xena to chose to leave the path of conquest and destruction that has been her life since Caesar's betrayal. With the awakening of Xena from the darkness of her insane quest for power, she begins to take steps to come to terms with the childhood that she lost when her brother was killed. It is while journeying to the place where her childhood ended that Xena crosses paths with a young girl who sets this tortured ex-warlord on a path to redemption and absolution.


Gabrielle

[24] In her newfound state of clarity, Xena begins a journey to the place where it all started to go wrong. She chooses to abandon and bury the warrior part of herself and returns to Amphipolis to grieve for Lyceus. The anguish over the losses in her life and her regret over the last 10 years of destruction, so clearly brought into focus by Hercules' intervention, compels Xena to return to and accept the judgement of her village, even if that judgement is her death. It is while on this journey to find release from the pain and anguish in her heart that Xena finds a new purpose, beyond giving up and accepting death, through the rescue and adulation of a young village girl.

[25] Gabrielle sees, in this tortured ex-warlord, a chance to become more than what the narrow confines of her village life will allow. In Xena, she gains a mentor and a guide to the world outside of the peaceful and confining roles of village life. Gabrielle's fearless attachment to a very dangerous and suicidal warrior changes the warrior in ways that no one would have expected, leading to events that will change the world and allow Xena to put right some of the evil she caused during her drive for conquest.

[26] Through Gabrielle's journey from childhood to womanhood, Xena experiences the lessons of maturity that were denied to her when she embarked on her quest for power. With the acceptance and companionship of Gabrielle and the forgiveness of her mother Cyrene, Xena begins to find the strength to live with the pain of her past. Through her relationship with Gabrielle, Xena finds a reason to live, reclaims the silliness of her lost childhood, finds a friend with whom to share the wonders, joys, and pains of the world, and takes on a willing apprentice eager to learn all that Xena is willing to teach.


The Journey Begins

[27] It is during her 6-year shared journey with Gabrielle, that Xena completes the healing of her soul and accepts the loss of Lyceus and the consequences of her past evil deeds. She realizes a destiny more powerful than any imagined, and she comes to learn what is needed to accept the losses in her life. It takes three more years before Xena comes to terms with her role over the loss of her brother and thereby learns what is necessary to redeem her soul. This acceptance of Lyceus' death occurs shortly before a repeat of this action by Gabrielle, which almost tips Xena over the edge into despair, if not for the lessons learned while traveling with this young village girl. This journey changes both of them and, unlike any relationship of Xena's past, begins as most healthy relationship do: slowly.

[28] Unlike with Akemi, Anokin, and Satrina, Xena does not trust this young tagalong upon first meeting her. In her awakening from the nightmare of her insane desires born from rage, and with the anguish of her past weighing heavy on her soul, Xena does not repeat the pattern to instantly reclaim the friendship lost with Lyceus' death. For the first year of their journey together, Xena, at first, attempts to dissuade Gabrielle from following her and makes no protest when Gabrielle, at times, chooses to leave her. Gabrielle's return to Xena's side is a constant source of amazement to this warrior, and leads Xena to care for and fiercely protect this newfound friend. The choice on Gabrielle's part to give up a full scholarship at the Bard Academy in Athens affects Xena so deeply that she finally accepts Gabrielle as a friend and apprentice. The full impact of her need and love for Gabrielle becomes apparent to Xena, when, at the end of the first year, Gabrielle is fatally wounded in a battle. Xena's fierce denial of Gabrielle's death brings her friend back and forever leaves a place in her heart for this extraordinary gift of friendship. For without Gabrielle in her life, Xena has no desire to continue living with the darkness and anguish of her past deeds weighing heavy on her soul.

[29] With the acceptance of Gabrielle into her heart, Xena begins to experience some of the childhood joys she lost after Lyceus' death. She begins to trust this young girl with knowledge of things more precious to her than her own life. Xena learns compassion and the ideal of a better world without violence from this idealistic village girl. Together they wander the known world fighting for the rights of the oppressed and undoing the damage caused by Xena's past drive for conquest. If not for the intervention of the Gods, Xena's path to forgiveness and acceptance in her role over her brother's death would have occurred without a repeat of the destruction and rage embraced after Caesar's act of betrayal. Xena's failure to follow a path different from that of rage, vengeance, and betrayal, will make her and Gabrielle the unwilling mortal agents in the war between the Gods.


Insanity Revisited

When those leather skirts get tied a little too 
tight
Xena is driven to the brink of madness by the Furies.

[30] When Ares convinces the Furies to drive Xena mad, it starts in motion a series of events that leads Xena to experience destruction, torment and death on a scale she has not seen since Caesar's betrayal. This revisiting of Xena's fractured soul opens an old wound that leads to tragic consequences for her and Gabrielle. Fast on the heels of this new violation on her fragile emotional state, the opportunity to exact vengeance against the man who betrayed her 11 years ago confronts Xena. Xena's inability to forgive Caesar and walk a different path leads her on a quest for vengeance against Caesar, which destroys a precious relationship with Gabrielle, and causes the death of her son, Solan.

[31] The rift that develops between Xena and Gabrielle redefines their relationship and defines the mortal battlefield for the war between the Gods. In her single-minded goal to exact vengeance on Caesar, Xena drives Gabrielle into Dahak's grasp. The failure on Xena's part to protect Gabrielle from Dahak destroys the trust that Gabrielle has placed in Xena, and causes Gabrielle to react by lying to and betraying Xena. This betrayal destroys Xena's trust in Gabrielle, and Gabrielle's lie and trust in her demon daughter Hope, leads to the death of Xena's 10-year-old son, Solan. This tragedy destroys their friendship and takes Xena into a repeat of the nightmare of emotional turmoil fed by rage and the need for vengeance, brought about by this new betrayal on the part of Gabrielle (Caesar) and the grief over the loss of Solan (M'Lila). With the return of Xena to the state of madness, Dahak's reign of destruction and darkness is free to begin. It is only through the intervention of Solan and the Fates in the land of Illusia, that Dahak's reign is stopped.

[32] To resolve the rift between Xena and Gabrielle and allow any chance to stop Dahak, Xena consciously has to choose love and forgiveness over the destructive path of rage and vengeance. She has to ask and receive forgiveness from the one person she betrays through her return to the path of rage, vengeance, and betrayal. With the choice to embrace love, and with the forgiveness of Gabrielle, Xena has the means to save herself and the world from Dahak's dark madness. Choosing love and accepting her mistakes allows Xena to forgive herself for her role in Lyceus' death and for the 10 years of destruction she inflicted in her insane drive for power.

[33] Forgiving Gabrielle for her role in Solan's death and asking and receiving forgiveness for her failures in that sad affair allow Xena and Gabrielle to rebuild their relationship. This new friendship is not so blindly trusting, but it is equal and it grows stronger with the changes. It is during the rebuilding of this relationship that Xena finally completes her grieving over Lyceus' death. With the acknowledgement of her love for Lyceus during her actions to return the North Star to the heavens, and through her choice to help the Northern Amazons over her need to see Gabrielle one last time, Xena completes the redemption of her soul.


OPHELIA REDEEMED

For the Loss of a Friend

[34] In the fight to end Dahak's influence in the mortal world, Xena loses a dear friend and commits one last act of rage and revenge that has far reaching repercussions in the war between the Gods. In her anger and pain at losing Gabrielle, Xena kills the Olympian Goddess Callisto. Callisto's death at the hands of a mortal and the death of Strife by Callisto highlight the vulnerability of the Olympian Gods and sets the stage for the overthrow of these Gods through the direct agency of mortals. This last act of rage, fueled by Gabrielle's sacrifice, is the beginning of Xena's unwilling participation in the war of the Gods.

[35] Gabrielle's willing sacrifice of her life to save Xena during a fight to stop Dahak's dark bid to rule the world lights the way down a new path for Xena. This sacrifice at first sends Xena into denial and despair, and causes her to attempt to follow her friend into the afterlife. Xena cannot forgive herself for her role in Gabrielle's death because she cannot accept the loss of this important friendship. After months of dangling on the edge of madness and despair, Xena remembers, and takes into her soul, the lessons of acceptance, love, and forgiveness that she has learned during her journeys with Gabrielle. She chooses to help people she has wronged in the past instead of revisiting the unhealthy desire to deny the loss of a friend. Xena's acceptance of the new path of forgiveness and love, instead of the path of obsession and denial, leads Xena to the redemption of her soul.

[36] At the age of 28, Xena puts the pain and anguish of her past to rest and finds peace in her soul. The spiritual peace with herself gives her rest from the nightmares of her past; but this newfound strength is not enough to allow her to overcome her destiny and lay down her sword. She has found redemption through love and forgiveness, but it will be another three years before Xena is released from the fighting that has become her life since she pushed aside her grief over her brother's death. With this newfound peace, Xena no longer dwells on the past, but concentrates on protecting and teaching the people who mean so much to her. Saving Gabrielle and her own daughter Eve, from the manipulations of the Gods becomes the focus of Xena's life.


Journeys End

[37] With the return of Gabrielle, and with the death of Gabrielle's daughter Hope, thereby ending Dahak's bid to control the world, Xena begins to follow a path unconnected with the insanity of her past deeds. She begins a new journey to find peace in her life. This journey starts with Xena questioning the warrior path she is walking. Her newfound spiritual peace lead her to seek that same peace in other elements of her life, which lead her to question if the way of the warrior is the right way for her. At the same time, Gabrielle also questions her path as an apprentice in the warrior arts. At the end of this search for meaning and peace in their lives, both women choose the 'way of the warrior' as the only means to protect and safeguard each other from death at the hands of the agents of destruction.

[38] This choice, by both women, to follow the path of the warrior sets in motion events that lead to the end of the reign of the Greek and Roman Gods. A new God, Eli's God of Love, manipulates Xena into ushering a new theological order into the world by giving Xena the mortal tool for the destruction of the Greek Gods in the form of a child. It is through Xena's love and protection of her child, Eve, that the 'Twilight of the Gods' is realized.

[39] Ares' long attempt to manipulate Xena into his service as his mortal agent in the coming war, in the end, protects him from this new God's desire to destroy all rivals. The few Greek Gods that survive this new God's rise to power survive by helping and thereby receiving Xena's gratitude during the battles to protect Gabrielle and Eve from death. The God of Eli manipulates Xena, through her love and desire to protect Eve, into destroying the old theological order and into setting up a new one ruled by this new God. During her unwilling participation in this war, Xena will recover her daughter with the help of Eli's God only to lose her, in the end, when Eve willingly decides to be in the service of this new cult.

[40] During the events that herald the 'Twilight of the Gods', Gabrielle completes her apprenticeship in the warrior arts and begins to take on the full responsibilities of a warrior. Gabrielle's proficiency as a warrior allows her to protect Xena and her child Eve during the Greek Gods' fight for survival. Along with the skills at arms, Gabrielle learns the emotional cost of her chosen field of endeavor and, unlike the young Xena who followed the path of rage and vengeance, is able to accept and forgive her mistakes and the mistakes of others. This hard-won wisdom, at the end of their shared journey, allows Gabrielle to accept the loss of a friend more important to her than her own life: Xena.

[41] Six years after beginning her journey to reclaim her soul, Xena lays down her sword as only a heroic warrior can and knows the rest and peace of a hero's death after a life of unbelievable burdens. With Xena's death, a partnership of arms ends, leaving the stronger relationship of love between her and Gabrielle intact. Xena has found a rest from the fighting and struggles of the last 16 years of her life, but she continues to be a part of Gabrielle's journey as a spiritual, emotional, and psychically physical guide. For this bond of friendship between Xena and Gabrielle, so necessary to Xena's redemption is eternal.

[42] Thus ends one young girl's journey from childhood, to warlord, to warrior, to friend, to mortal agent of the Gods, to mother, to hero, all begun in the fires of rage over the loss of a brother.

[43] Rest in peace, Xena.


Acknowledgements

Thanks to Rob Tapert, Lucy Lawless, Renee O'Connor, and the talented cast and crew of Xena: Warrior Princess for this complex six-year journey of a tragic hero's sixteen-year odyssey for redemption and peace. The exceptional quality and love behind the production of this series has enriched those lives who experienced the wonder and joy of watching this odyssey played out through the medium of television. Many thanks for trying and succeeding. Thanks to Melissa Good for highlighting the emotional impacts of the tragic warrior's failings. Without the expansion of the emotional consequences behind key events from the series, so expertly portrayed in A Journey of Soulmates series, the deeper motivation and emotional continuity of this warrior's journey to absolution would have remained fragmented and lost.


References

The following are the episodes referenced indirectly in this paper:

HERCULES: THE LEGENDARY JOURNEYS

THE WARRIOR PRINCESS (H09/109)
THE GAUNTLET (H12/112)
THE UNCHAINED HEART (H13/113)


XENA: WARRIOR PRINCESS

Setting the Record

SINS OF THE PAST (01/101)(Cyrene and Amphipolis)
DREAMWORKER (03/103)(Xena's first kill)
THE PATH NOT TAKEN (05/105) (Marcus)
THE RECKONING (06/106) (Ares' attempt to enlist Xena)
ATHENS CITY ACADEMY OF THE PERFORMING BARDS (13/113) (Gabrielle's return to Xena)
MORTAL BELOVED (16/116) (Marcus)
TIES THAT BIND (20/120) (Ares' tries again)
CALLISTO (22/122) (the village of Cirra and Xena's destiny had she not met Hercules)
DEATH MASK (23/123)(the warlord who started it all)
IS THERE A DOCTOR IN THE HOUSE (24/124) (Gabrielle dies)
ORPHAN OF WAR (25/201) (Solan)
REMEMBER NOTHING (26/202) (Lyceus)
RETURN OF CALLISTO (29/205) (more consequences of the burning of Cirra)
DESTINY (36/212) (M'Lila and Caesar)
THE QUEST (37/213) (no, Xena doesn't stay dead)
The Rift and its consequences:
THE FURIES (47/301) (Ares' tries yet again)
THE DELIVERER (50/304) (the beginning of The RIFT between Xena and Gabrielle)
GABRIELLE'S HOPE (51/305) (More pain and anguish)
THE DEBT I & II (52/306, 53/307) (Lao Ma and Borias)
MATERNAL INSTINCTS (57/311) (death of Solan)
THE BITTER SUITE (58/312) (Xena learns to forgive)
FORGET ME NOT (63/317) (more RIFT material and Ares)
FINS, FEMMES, & GEMS (64/318) (Xena acknowledges her love for Lyceus)
SACRIFICE I & II (67/321, 68/322) (Gabrielle's sacrifice and Xena kills Callisto)
ADVENTURES IN THE SIN TRADE I & II (69/401, 70/402) (Alti, Xena's redemption)
Searching for their Way:
A FAMILY AFFAIR (71/403) (end of Dahak)
LOCKED UP AND TIED DOWN (75/407) (Thalassa)
PAST IMPERFECT (77/409)(Satrina and Borias)
DEVI (82/414) (we meet Eli)
THE WAY (84/416) (Xena chooses the way of the warrior, Gabrielle turns away from that path)
IDES OF MARCH (89/421) (Gabrielle chooses the way of the warrior)
Mortal agent to the Gods:
FALLEN ANGEL (91/501) (Xena is given Eve)
CHAKRAM (92/502) (Xena kills her second God - OK, minor God)
SUCCESSION (93/503)) (Ares looking for another mortal agent)
SEED OF FAITH (99/509) (we meet Eli again)
GOD FEARING CHILD (102/512) (the first Olympian Gods die)
AMPHIPOLIS UNDER SIEGE (104/514) (Olympian Gods are angry, but Ares is willing to make a deal)
LOOKING DEATH IN THE EYE (109/519) (Olympian Gods appear to win by killing Xena and Eve)
LIVIA (110/520) (meet Eve)
EVE (111/521) (sees the error of her ways)
MOTHERHOOD (112/522)(Many Gods die, Ares and Aphrodite help Xena and live)
COMING HOME (113/601) (Ares gets some of his own back when the Furies drive him insane)
THE HAUNTING OF AMPHIPOLIS (114/602) (Eli's God meddles)
HEART OF DARKNESS (115/603) (Eli's God really meddles)
YOU ARE THERE (125/613) (Ares and Aphrodite get Xena's help)
Relief in the service of the Greater Good:
A FRIEND IN NEED I & II (133/621, 134/622) (Akemi and the end of one warrior, plus the beginning of a new hero)

The Two movies:

Single White Female (what the loss of a close sibling can do to a fragile mind) Boys On The Side (lasting friendships)


Biography

a woman of mystery M. Roell
Oldest of four children and lover of comic books, science fiction, and fantasy stories. All of which led to being obsessed with Xena. Hence, this paper.


Favorite episode: DESTINY; THE DEBT (they go together)
Favorite line: Xena: "I have many skills." Various episodes
First episode seen: XENA SCROLLS (viewed after seeing Lucy Lawless on the Rosey O'Donnell show)
Least favorite episode: MARRIED WITH FISHSTICKS (seeing Gabrielle in that wig - eeyyuu)

 

 

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