Xena (right) and Gabrielle (left).

Template:Infobox Hercaverse and Xenaverse Character

For the singer Gabrielle, please see Gabrielle (singer)
For the moon formerly nicknamed Gabrielle, see Dysnomia.

Gabrielle is a fictional character in Xena: Warrior Princess, played by Renee O'Connor. She is also referred to as the Battling Bard of Potidaea.



Gabrielle joins Xena in the first episode as her travelling partner and sidekick, and remains with her until the end of the show. It is this partnership which forms the core of the show.

When they meet, Gabrielle is a young, innocent and idealistic scholar. She studies maps and the stars, reads mythology, writes stories, and dreams of travelling beyond her village to see the world. She wants to be a travelling bard. She also has strong ethical beliefs. She believes in the essential goodness of every person, and is willing to put her life on the line for that.

In stark contrast, Xena is cynical, hard and world-weary. Xena has killed thousands and, overcome with guilt, is returning home, perhaps to give up her own life. But on seeing Gabrielle's willingness to sacrifice herself for others, she is inspired to spend the rest of her life redeeming herself, and this becomes the driving theme throughout the show. Together they embark on an arduous, spirited adventure lasting over 30 years. Gabrielle acts as Xena's guiding light, keeping her dark memories at bay and reminding her of the goodness that she once possessed. In return Xena provides Gabrielle with travel and great adventures, and teaches her about survival and the fighting arts, acting as her protector both physically and spiritually.

Gabrielle's story is one of growing up. Life with Xena is extreme in many ways, and travelling together often proves more dangerous than she had bargained for. But their friendship grows quickly, and they both overcome doubts, grief, the loss of hope, and even death. Eventually they learn that their destiny is woven together, in this and all future lives. As a burgeoning warrior, Gabrielle becomes more useful to Xena in combat and is increasingly treated as an equal.

By the end of the show, when Xena dies and finally leaves her, Gabrielle has been transformed - into a tough and courageous leader, a woman of the world, and a great warrior in her own right. But with this power comes sadness: issues of the loss of her own innocence, and what to make of the rest of her life without Xena.

Gabrielle - from farm girl to warrior

When Gabrielle first meets the Warrior Princess, Xena, she is a farm girl living in the village of Potidea. She and her sister Lila, along with several other village girls, have been kidnapped by the men of the warlord, Draco, to be sold as slaves. Xena intervenes and rescues them. Awed by her fighting skills, Gabrielle decides that she wants to become a warrior too. She also wants to avoid the marriage her parents Herodotus and Hecuba have arranged for her with her childhood friend Perdicas. Gabrielle insists on following an initially reluctant Xena on the road.[1] The two women soon develop a strong bond of love and friendship. Over the six years of the series, Gabrielle evolves from a naive, idealistic teenager into a fully fledged, but deeply conflicted warrior fighting alongside Xena.

Gabrielle becomes an Amazon when she defends a dying Amazon princess during an ambush. Before she dies, the Princess Terreis passes her "right of caste" to Gabrielle, and Gabrielle inherits her rank and possessions. This leaves Gabrielle the heiress presumptive to the Amazon Queen Melosa.[2] Melosa's adopted daughter, Velasca, becomes a rival for the position of Queen of the Amazons after Melosa's death, but Velasca's schemes (which include aspirations to godhood) are foiled by Xena and Gabrielle.[3] As Gabrielle wishes to travel with Xena rather than rule the Amazons, she appoints her friend Ephiny to act as Amazon Queen in her place.[2]

Gabrielle learns how to fight with a fighting staff from the Amazons.[2] With Xena's encouragement, she develops a philosophy of fighting for the Greater Good without killing.

About a year after meeting Xena, Gabrielle encounters Perdicas again and decides to marry him. The morning after their wedding, he is murdered by Xena's nemesis, Callisto. Gabrielle's grief and anger tests her ideals of reverence for life, but she nonetheless resists the impulse to kill Callisto.[4] During this period, Gabrielle's strong commitment to peacemaking and compassion often serves as a counterbalance to Xena's warrior nature.

When helping to defend Britannia against Caesar, Gabrielle comes in contact with an evil cult that tricks her into killing one of its priestesses, Meridian. The loss of Gabrielle's "blood innocence" enables the evil god Dahak to impregnate her.[5] After a pregnancy that lasts only a few days, Gabrielle gives birth to a girl child she names Hope. After becoming convinced that the baby is simply a vessel for Dahak, Xena wants to kill Hope. Gabrielle manages to save her daughter by putting her in a basket and sending her downriver.[6]

Several months later, Gabrielle finds Hope again, now looking like a nine-year-old, and already in the process of helping her father, Dahak, implement his plan to take over the world. Hope allies herself with Xena's enemy, Callisto. In revenge for Xena's attempt to kill her as a baby, Hope murders Xena's only son, Solan. This forces Gabrielle to accept that Hope was indeed evil. She kills her daughter by giving her poison,[7] an act that continues to haunt Gabrielle throughout the series. She holds herself responsible for Solan's death, as well as for betraying Xena a second time, even after reconciliation with Xena is effected through their musical journey in the Land of Illusia.[8] Therefore, when she once again encounters Hope,[9] who was saved from the funeral pyre by her father Dahak, Gabrielle sacrifices herself to save Xena by jumping into a lava pit and taking Hope with her.[10] Gabrielle mysteriously survives the fall, and is later reunited with Xena.[11] It is revealed later that Ares saved Gabrielle, with plans to use her as a bargaining chip against Xena.

After her first kill,[5] and the traumatic events with Hope that followed it,[7] Gabrielle temporarily embraces complete pacifism as an alternative to fighting by Xena's side. She and Xena travel to India, where they encounter a series of false prophets and gurus, as well as a genuine healer and teacher, Eli.[12] Eli claims to have found enlightenment and Gabrielle becomes interested in his philosophy of nonviolence and inner peace, which he calls the Way of Love. Gabrielle attempts to follow Eli's way, and throws away her staff under his influence.[13] However, when Xena is in the midst of a battle with the Romans in effort to rescue Gabrielle, Eli, and a group of prisoners, Xena is struck down by Callisto, who uses Xena's own chakram. Gabrielle chooses to fight to save Xena and even kills some of the soldiers herself. Before their crucifixion, Gabrielle tells Xena that she had chosen "The Way of Friendship".[14]

After being crucified, Gabrielle and Xena ascend into Heaven, but are soon ambushed by demons.[15] The demons are able to take Gabrielle to Hell, where she comes face to face the demonic form of Callisto. Xena and a group of archangels are able to rescue Gabrielle from Hell before Gabrielle herself can fall to the darkness; however, she then learns Xena has taken Callisto's place in Hell. She eventually forgives Callisto for the murder of Perdicas, and that forgiveness grants her the right to join the Archangels in battle. During her fight with the demon-Xena, they are restored to life by Eli.[15]

File:Chakram 05.jpg

Gabrielle, as she appeared in Season 5.

At this time, Gabrielle accepts her new path as a warrior and acquires a pair of sais, which become her signature weapon thereafter.[16] Xena's pregnancy, revealed shortly after the duo's return to life, further forces Gabrielle to fight and sometimes protect Xena. On two occasions, the god of war Ares, impressed by Gabrielle's new warrior skills, tries to recruit her to his side, but Gabrielle always resists.[17]

Gabrielle and Xena sleep in an ice cave for 25 years after Ares places them there because he mistakenly believes they are dead.[18] After waking up, Gabrielle discovers that her parents have been killed by the North African warlord Gurkhan, who has also kidnapped her niece, Sara, for his harem.[19] Around this time, Gabrielle develops a close friendship with Joxer's eldest son Virgil, who shares many of her traits as a bard and warrior. Gabrielle struggles with the issue of seeking vengeance against Gurkhan.[19] She is often troubled by her role as a warrior, particularly when she has to lead her Amazon tribe into a high-casualty battle against a superior army led by the demigod Bellerophon to rescue a fellow Amazon queen. Despite the success of the mission, Gabrielle tells Xena, "With each battle, I lose more of myself".[20]

Nonetheless, with Xena's death in Japan, Gabrielle apparently steps into her friend's role as the Warrior Princess. Symbolically, she inherits Xena's trademark weapon, the chakram. The series' final scene finds her on a ship headed to Egypt, where she apparently intends to continue the fight for the Greater Good, with Xena accompanying her in spirit.[21]

The Battling Bard of Potidaea

"When I first met you, you barely had the skill to skip a rock. I guess Xena's been a positive influence on ya after all." — Ares: Seeds of Faith

Gabrielle starts as a young girl who more or less stands behind Xena, and relies on her to protect her.[1] In the course of 10 episodes, she acquires a fighting staff from the Greek Amazons[2] and is a decent fighter with it shortly after.[22] Another 10 episodes later, she displays immensely impressive skills with the staff, taking on numerous soldiers single-handedly, in the attempts to rescue Xena's presumably dead body.[23] Probably what was most impressive that season, is that two episodes later she blocks an arrow in flight with her staff.[24]

As time goes on, we see Gabrielle not only improve with her abilities with the staff, but as a total warrior as well. As she adds kicks, and minor acrobatics to her fighting (such as rolling over a hunched over opponent before proceeding to beat them).

While in India, Gabrielle is also thrown through time by a Darsham to save Xena's soul. It is said that their souls are together throughout time.[25] In this next life Xena is the Mother of Peace Arminestra and Gabrielle is Shakti, a Warrior Prince of India.[25] At the end of season 4, however, is when Gabrielle shows a leap in warrior abilities. After months of following her path of the Way of Love,[13] Gabrielle picks up the sword of a paralyzed Xena and fights off a large group Roman soldiers with incredible skill.[14] This however sparked concern among fans who wondered how Gabrielle knew to use a sword so well. One theory that could make sense is that in her time as a complete non-violent person, Gabrielle as an experienced fighter, no longer had to focus on her fighting and instead watched as Xena fought. At that point, as a seasoned fighter, Gabrielle is able to grow in a dramatic way through observance.

By season 5, we see Gabrielle reach an undisputed status as a warrior, fighting with her sai,[16] incorporating a small amount more of acrobatic ability, even performing a wall run and back flip.[26] Other than sai and sometimes a new casual staff (her old one, that was her only weapon through 3 seasons, she throw it away in India in season 4th), she can use a large array of weapons with proficiency. Gabrielle also fights against warriors with notable skill, such as being able to defeat the warrior Mavican,[17] as well as stand against Ares and Hades in battle for a brief period before they defeat her. She also fought in a sword duel with Brutus, former Caesar's right hand and one of leaders of Rome, eventually killing him.[27] As previously mentioned, Gabrielle's abilities become noticed by the God of War who seeks her out as his new protége. It is also mentioned later by Gabrielle and numerous others that Xena trained her throughout the years, although there have only been a few episodes that actually show Xena giving her any sort of martial art training.

By season 6, there are clear signs that dictate the battling bard as heading towards Xena's level, such as Xena teaching a part of the pinch along with other pressure points[21] (Xena telling her about one that could stop a heart) performing cartwheels and flips, and learning that she had earned the title as the Battling Bard of Potedeia. One of her more impressive moves was whilst holding a cannibal in an arm lock, Gabrielle runs forward and kicks a second cannibal in the face by performing a back flip kick like maneuver, landing with the first cannibal still in hold.[28]

One of Gabrielle's biggest fights of the season was her fight against fellow Amazon queen, Varia. They fought in an enclosed arena in a match in witch Eve's life was at stake, and they appeared to be at a stand-off before she was beaten by Varia.[29] Gabrielle however takes the loss graciously and continues to grow in skill over the season, regaining the title of supreme Amazon queen very soon.[20]

By the last episode, it is clear that Gabrielle has grown fairly close to Xena's equal as she displays incredible acrobatics, walks a tight-rope, develops and coordinates strategies, learns Xena's mystifying listening skills, learns how to perform the pinch in its entirety, defeats a powerful samurai general twice; once in sword and second in hand to hand combat, and more notably throws and catches the chakram with the skill of her mentor.[21]

Gabrielle as a bard

Despite Gabrielle's ascendancy as a warrior, her role as a bard remains important as well. About a year into her travels with Xena, her scrolls about Xena's exploits begin to gain popularity, apparently helping (according to Ares) turn Xena into a legend. After their 25-year sleep, Gabrielle finds out that her stories had been read as far away as North Africa where they were popular among nomad tribes.[30] It is a part of the series' basic concept that the episodes are based on Gabrielle's scrolls, discovered in one of the "future" episodes.[31]

Gabrielle's costumes

Throughout the course of the series, Gabrielle had a total of 7 regular costumes which continue to grow smaller and become more conducive to her fighting style as the show progresses.

  • Gabrielle's first costume is her peasant outfit from her home village, which includes a light blue shirt, long red skirt and dark blue jacket.[1] Gabrielle's hair is always tied back when wearing this. This outfit makes its final appearance in the 10th episode of the first season, Hooves and Harlots.
  • Gabrielle's second costume is a slight variation of the Amazon Princess tube top that made a one time appearance when she was made Queen of the Amazons,[2] and is used for the remainder of the first season. The costume features dark brown leather boots, a brown shirt with an exposed midriff, blue patterns and a matching brown miniskirt. Gabrielle's hair is still tied back the same way as before, but changes colour between blonde and a brunette-red tone in the later episodes. Gabrielle also carries her fighting staff with this costume. In a chronological error, the episode in which it debuts[32] was actually aired prior to the episode where she is given the costume[2] in several countries. In this episode, Gabrielle is still wearing the blue Amazon necklace, but discards it for the remainder of the season.
  • Gabrielle's third costume makes its debut at the beginning of season 2.[33] It features a new, lighter brown miniskirt along with a woven, dark green sports bra with large diamond patterns (known to fans as the "BGSB", or Bilious Green Sports Bra). The boots remain the same as before. Her hair is left loose for the majority of the season, but is tied back similar to the previous costumes for the first few episodes. It is last seen in the second episode of season 3.[34]
  • Gabrielle's fourth costume is a variant of the previous one. The miniskirt now has a more reddish tone to it, and the bra top is now smaller, lighter in colour and features small leaf patterns as opposed to the diamond designs of the previous one (but could easily be mistaken for the previous version by the more casual viewer). Again the boots are also identical to before. It first appears in the third episode of season 3,[35] and makes its final appearance in season 4.[12]
  • Gabrielle's fifth costume makes its first appearance in season 4.[12] Possessed by the demon Tataka, Gabrielle now sports a bright yellow Indian two-piece along with an orange veil and sandals. Throughout the episode she also wears pearls and heavy make-up, but are gone once Tataka is defeated. In the following episode,[25] Gabrielle's hair is cut to chin length and features elaborate Indian body patterns, while the next episode,[13] she disposes of the fighting staff for good. The costume makes its last appearance when Gabrielle and Xena are crucified.[14]
  • Gabrielle's sixth costume makes its first appearance in the second episode of season 5.[16] The outfit consists of a threaded leather brown bra with beads hanging off the bottom and an exposed back, save for 3 straps. She also wears a very small orange miniskirt, with a brown threaded belt matching her bra top with straps hanging off the middle at the front and back of the skirt. Also included are brown armbands, silver gauntlets, a necklace and dark brown laced boots where Gabrielle keeps her new Sai daggers. When in colder climates, she wears a tan and white suede duster, too. Her hair is now much longer, and the costume makes its final appearance in season 6.[36]
  • Gabrielle's seventh and final regular costume is seen in the third episode of season 6,[37] and is kept for the remainder of the show. The new bra top is near identical to the previous one, only now red in colour with slightly different patterns and no longer sporting beads. Alongside is a new red miniskirt with a black and silver belt, a new necklace and a single silver band on her right arm. The boots and gauntlets remain untouched.

Discoveries and inventions

Along with Xena occasionally, she is known to be credited with a variety of discoveries and inventions.

  • Discovered and named the The Big Dipper.
  • Pioneered the custom of Santa Claus bringing down gifts during Solstice Eve.
  • Created the game of charades.


  • Sunny Doench was considered to play Gabrielle, but she didn't want to leave her boyfriend in California, so Reneé O'Connor was chosen, after she impressed producers with her role in the Hercules TV Movie The Lost Kingdom.[citation needed]
  • Gabrielle learned to throw and catch Xena's Chakram as well as put on and take off the pinch by the end of the series.


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