- Adaptational Heroism: Rob Tapert has commented that they actively removed the Jerkass qualities from the myths to make Herc a down-to-Earth Nice Guy.
- Ancient Grome: Uses his Roman name, instead of Greek.
- The Ace
- Berserk Button: Harming families (particularly children), slavery, and the gods playing with people's lives.
- A more minor but still notable example would be his mother. Hercules usually doesn't take it well when any man tries to woo Alcmene. He grew especially angry and distrustful when a villain named Demetrius tried to woo her(though for good reason). He also didn't take it well when even his longtime friend Jason began courting his mother, though in Jason's case, Hercules had more of a Freudian Excuse since in the past, Jason had really upset Hercules by going after a girl he was interested in during the Medea Culpa episode. And he eventually grew to accept Jason after getting over his initial reservations.
- Beware the Nice Ones
- Big Good: Many episodes point out how Herc is the hero, inspiring and protecting others.Zeus: You're the champion of mankind in a world that's frequently not fair and always not easy. The people know they can count on you.
- A later Xena crossover had Zeus admit that when push comes to shove, the Greeks hold Hercules in higher regard than the Olympians themselves."He has done something that we gods have tried and failed to accomplish. He's earned humanity's love in every gesture... except fear."
- A later Xena crossover had Zeus admit that when push comes to shove, the Greeks hold Hercules in higher regard than the Olympians themselves.
- Blue Oni: To Iolaus' Red Oni.
- Break the Haughty: The flashbacks to "Regrets... I've Had A Few" open with Hercules being quite full of himself. Then he fights off an attacker and accidentally kills him because he didn't take the fight seriously.
- Call to Agriculture: After marrying Deianeira, he settled down as a farmer—only going on adventures when absolutely necessary.
- Calling the Old Man Out: Seems like every time he runs into Zeus he does this.
- Celibate Hero: Herc actually had three serious relationships during the show, a previous one with Nemesis and a few other serious prospects. Not too shabby, but that's nothing compared to the many women he's turned down.
- Comes Great Responsibility: The flashbacks in "Regrets... I've Had A Few" are about him learning this lesson. It's also a recurring theme whenever he fails to help others.Mabon: How can someone who champions mankind with all its flaws be so unforgiving with himself?
Hercules: Because my mistakes kill people!
- Deadpan Snarker
- Deliberate Values Dissonance: He's not shy about his criticism of the Norse gods and the region's rituals. Balder concedes it all might seem strange to outsiders, but he asks Hercules not to judge the Vikings by the standards of his own homeland.
- Despair Event Horizon: Happens a few times.
- The death of his wife and kids at the beginning of the series leaves him consumed with getting revenge on Hera. After a day, he's calmed down and realizes this is not what his family would've wanted.
- In Season 3's "Judgment Day," the death of Serena, which he's framed for and fears he actually did.
- In Season 5, the death of Iolaus during an adventure Herc insisted going on. It takes a few episodes for Hercules to come to terms with it.
- Divine Parentage: Courtesy of Zeus
- Fantastic Racism: Zig Zagged in regards to gods. Hercules makes no secret of his disdain in general for the gods, but it's often because of how they play deadly games with mortals; he gets along fine with Hades, Aphrodite, and Hephaestus. On the other hand, this trope reaches a fever pitch in "Descent," where Hercules is told his actions allowed Dahak to kill the Sumerian gods. Hercules tells Dumuzi he doesn't care, a result of him grieving over Iolaus's death.
- Fire-Forged Friends: With Salmoneus. He only tolerated him at first, but in "As Darkness Falls," Salmoneus actively helps him and even risks his life acting as a diversion. Afterwards, Herc regards him as a true friend.
- Friend to All Children
- Genius Bruiser
- The Hero
- Heroes Love Dogs: He and his family had a pet dog. Also, in the Underworld TV-Movie, he saves the day by treating Cerberus as a dog instead of a monster.
- Humble Hero
- I Am Not My Father: And how.
- I Just Want to Be Normal: In "Atlantis," he says he saw his strength as a curse while growing up. In "Two Men and a Baby," he hints that (after realizing he was different) he longed to be like everyone else and was disappointed he would never be.
- It's Personal: Toward Hera: Hercules hates her for murdering his family. Hera, in turn, hates him for being the product of one of her husband's affairs.
- Lightning Bruiser
- Martial Pacifist
- Mr. Fanservice: He occasionaly has some moments of Shirtless Scene.
- My God, What Have I Done?: In "The Wrong Path," a villager approaches Hercules for help with the She-Demon. However, Herc's family has just died, so he's not in the mood to help anyone and sends the man away. Later that night, Hercules has calmed down and is ashamed of himself—noting how he's never turned away anyone that asked for his help before.
- My Greatest Failure: Being unable to protect his family from Hera."And I made some wrong turns, but I finally realized I had to do something with my life that would have made my wife and children proud."
- Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!:
- At the end of Season 4, Zeus makes Hercules a full god ostensibly so they can be closer. While he performs some good deeds, though, Hera informs him that Zeus did it so someone would protect him against the other gods. When Zeus admits this is true, Hercules angrily storms out of Olympus. Apollo later keeps Hercules busy while on Earth, giving Hera the opportunity to overthrow Zeus. After their fight's over, Apollo even calls Hercules on this trope—saying he could've saved Zeus had he been on Olympus instead of there.
- In Season 5's Norse gods two-parter, Hercules is used by Dahak and Loki to instigate Ragnarök. Having visions of his own death, Balder believed Odin had made him invincible from all things and was proving it by having his fellow gods strike him with their weapons. Hercules thought this was foolish and was goaded into taking part, so he used a dart offered to him by a little girl. The girl was Loki in disguise, and the dart was poisoned by Dahak's blood, which leads to Balder's death. Despite his dislike of gods, Hercules is saddened by this as Balder truly cared about humanity, so he tries to make things right. Hercules unknowingly adds to the problem, though, when he fights Thor. Hercules didn't learn until later that Thor being defeated in combat by a half-mortal was another prophecy of Ragnarök.
- In "Faith," Hercules and Iolaus are told that the Sumerian gods are wreaking havoc on the land—raining fireballs everywhere that kill many people and wipe out the food and water. Hercules agrees to help the Sumerian king/demigod Gilgamesh recover a magical chalice—being told that the nectar can repair all the damage. However, after braving traps to get to the chalice, Hercules is betrayed by Gilgamesh, who drinks from the chalice and then destroys it. He explains that the destruction is actually fallout from the Sumerian gods fighting Dahak and that the chalice sustained them. As a result of Herc's actions, the Sumerian gods and Iolaus are killed. "Descent" then deconstructs the trope. Hercules is driven to the breaking point over his guilt for Iolaus's death, gets called on his actions by Dumuzi, and is left a broken man by the end of the episode.
- Papa Wolf: In the Underworld TV-Movie, Nessus attempts to rape Deianeira. Hercules shoots him dead with an arrow.
- Pungeon Master
- Screw the Rules, I'm Doing What's Right!: The plot to "Prodigal Daughter" is kick-started by him breaking up a slave ring. Slavery is illegal in the province they're currently in, but no one appeared to object to the slavers transporting them through the area to a province where it is legal."It’s still a problem. You see, I don't believe in slavery anywhere."
- Sins of Our Fathers: Being Zeus' son, Hercules usually has to deal with anyone with an ax to grind—almost always Hera.Hercules: That's between you and Zeus.
Hera: No, you're between us! But if you die a horrible death, maybe he'll think twice next time his eyes start to wander—before he fathers any more half-mortal mongrels like you.
- Comes up also in "Web of Desire":Arachne: You'll pay for your father's crime.
Hercules: What else is new?
- Comes up also in "Web of Desire":
- The Unreveal: Whether he's immortal or not. Even Zeus admits he can't be sure one way or the other. Even taking the present day clip shows into account, it's left ambiguous if living so long is because he's immortal or just because he's half-god.
- Unwitting Pawn: To Dahak in "Faith" and the later Norse gods two-parter.
- We Help the Helpless
- "Well Done, Son!" Guy: He grew up desperately wanting to meet his dad. Even after all the problems and fighting, Herc admits he still has a blind spot when it comes to giving him second chances."The reason I didn't tell you about my relationship with my father is just that—there isn't one to talk about. He had the heavens and Earth on his shoulders. He didn't have time to think or care about me."
- World's Strongest Man: although just how strong he was varied according to the needs of the plot.
- Arrogant Kung-Fu Guy
- Ascended Extra: Was meant to be a one-off friend in Amazon Women whose death furthered the plot. However, Michael Hurst so impressed the producers that they changed the ending to leave Iolaus alive. The only reason Iolaus doesn't appear in the next three movies is because they were written before the change was made. Iolaus returned in the fifth movie and was a recurring character in the first two seasons before becoming a regular in Season 3.
- Back from the Dead: Of all the times he died, only the fifth season really qualifies for this trope, as he wasn't brought back before the given adventure was over. Iolaus dies in "Faith" and (despite Herc's best efforts) isn't resurrected in "Descent." It's not until "Revelations" (the very end of the season) that Iolaus is restored to life.
- Badass Normal
- Boisterous Bruiser
- Bullying a Dragon: At the end of "Porkules," he keeps Ares at bay with Artemis's bow and is openly irreverent towards him. This really comes back to bite Iolaus in "One Fowl Day."
- Dark and Troubled Past: Was a thief that got into trouble a lot and ran away from home.
- Deadpan Snarker
- Death Is Cheap: Died four separate times, but Hercules always found a way to bring him back. These repeated developments became causes for laughter among the crew and even got lampshaded in a few episodes.
- Fake Guest Star: The first two seasons.
- Fire-Forged Friends: With Autolycus.
- Genius Bruiser: Not to Herc's level, but when he takes the time to think his actions through, he comes up with some very clever plans.
- I Owe You My Life: Credits Herc with helping turn his life around.
- The Lancer
- Lightning Bruiser
- Made of Iron: He may not be half-god but Iolaus has withstood and endured physical trials that no ordinary man ever could, most notably displayed in the episode, The King of Thieves. Falsely accused of a crime, Iolaus was put through three arbitrary tests to prove his innocence. In the first, he was dunked underwater for an inhumanly long amount of time, only to emerge still alive and heavily breathing. Second, he had to hold up multiple heavy stones on top of a wooden board across his back for up to the span of an hour... Iolaus endured that as well. And right after he's done with his second trial, he has to face a trial where he's lowered into a pit with a giant boar and he has to survive down there for a long period of time without bleeding. Iolaus passes that test as well and only gets declared guilty because he accidentally cut himself after his trial with the boar was over.
- Odd Friendship: With Aphrodite.
- Overshadowed by Awesome: A recurring theme in the series. Iolaus is skilled, resourceful, and a kickass fighter. He is not, however, a super-strong demigod, so he sometimes winds up as this. Sometimes he is angry about it ("Pride Comes Before A Brawl" and "The Warrior Princess"), or introspective ("A Star To Guide Them"), or very aware of it ("Medea Culpa"), or it is used to mess with his head ("Redemption")."Look, I'm no oracle. There are a lot of things I don't understand, but from the first day I met you, I just knew that you were destined for something the rest of us could only dream about! People like me and Jason—normal people, we'll be lucky if our names are even mentioned in the same breath as yours. And that is not always easy to live with."
- The irony, as revealed in "Faith," is that Hercules considered Iolaus to be his hero.
- Promotion to Opening Titles: Season 3.
- Red Oni: To Hercules' Blue Oni.
- Unwitting Pawn: To Xena in "The Warrior Princess."
- We Help the Helpless: Iolaus is more likely to acknowledge the difficulty of a given adventure than Hercules is, but he always jumps in to help people when they need it.
- With This Herring: He uses fish quite often literally.
- Cool Old Lady
- Face Death with Dignity: In "Twilight," she knows her time is limited, but spends the day doing what she would normally do. Before dying, she says she has no regrets.
- Killed Off for Real: Dies peacefully in "Twilight."
- Mama Bear
- May–December Romance: With Jason, though it started off as a December-December Romance.
- Never Mess with Granny: So, you think Alcmene is just a helpless old woman without her demigod son to protect her? Think again.
- Parental Substitute: To Iolaus.
- So Proud of You: Often towards Hercules.
- Absolute Cleavage: All her "outfit".
- Character Development: Started out as a Bitch in Sheep's Clothing but gradually became more likeable. Was also The Ditz and while that never went entirely away it did lessen.
- Dumb Blonde: Subverted.
- Hidden Depths: In "Reign Of Terror," she's devastated when a mortal friend of Hercules' is going to die."He respected me... for what he saw beneath the surface."
- I Have Boobs, You Must Obey!: She known to stop fights by opening her top and telling them to follow her.
- Jerkass Gods: Though she became more lovable after her first appearance.
- Love Goddess: Share this role with her son Cupid.
- Ms. Fanservice: Invoked In-Universe, just watch her Stripperiffic outfit.
- Noodle Incident: According to "The Apple," she owes Hercules a favor.
- Obfuscating Stupidity:Hercules: I know you. You're smarter than you let on.
- Odd Friendship: With Iolaus and Gabrielle.
- Proud Beauty
- Stripperiffic: Aphrodite often appears in a low-cut, short dress.
- Took a Level in Kindness
- Totally Radical
- Ugly Guy, Hot Wife: She falls for Hephaestus, the supposedly ugly god, because he sees her as more than a sex object.
- Valley Girl: Seems to be the inspiration for her voice and speech patterns.
- Ancient Grome: Like his uncle, uses his Roman name.
- Green-Eyed Monster: Quite literally where a curse from Hera makes him transform into a monster following a jealous fit.
- When You Coming Home, Mom?: Admits to some resentment that his mother is always busy elsewhere unless she needs him to do something for her.
- Winged Humanoid
- Composite Character: She's actually a combination of Hercule's first wife Megara (being his first wife, and murdered by Hera however Megara was indirectly killed by her in the myths, where Hera kills Deineira directly in the show) and Deianeira from the myths (the name, and the run in with the centaur)
- Establishing Character Moment: In Circle of Fire, she denounces the gods as not caring about humanity. This, of course, catches Hercules's interest.
- Killed Off for Real
- Demonization: He inadvertently does this to Hercules in "What's In A Name?" He takes his brother's identity to impress a woman, but her warlord step-father starts touting that he has the son of Zeus on his side.
- Overshadowed by Awesome: It's what motivates him to pull his deception in "What's In A Name?" The backstory to Young Hercules also elaborates that it was so bad that he ran away from home shortly before Hercules went to the Academy.
- "Well Done, Son!" Guy: In "What's In A Name?", part of his problem is that he thinks Alcmene loves him less just for not being Hercules. He gets over it, though.
- Adaptational Heroism: They keep his leaving Medea for another woman, but the implication is that he had a formal divorce and didn't do so lightly. He is also devastated by what happened to his children (with dialogue implying he witnessed it) and trying to make up for what has happened.
- The Alcoholic: In his first appearance. He gets over it and is never seen drinking again.
- Ascended Extra: After appearing a few times, he was reworked into Hercules' other best friend for Young Hercules.
- Badass Normal: Not the leader of the Argonauts for nothing.
- Continuity Snarl: Started off as the king of Argos and a contemporary of Amphitryon (Alcmene's first husband). In his next appearance, he was the king of Corinth. In Season 4, he was retconned into only being a couple of years older than Hercules.
- Heroic B.S.O.D.: In his first appearance, he's a broken man following Medea murdering their children.
- May–December Romance: With Alcmene, though it started off as a December-December Romance.
- My Greatest Failure: Blames himself for Medea murdering their children.
Serena / The Golden Hind.
- Amazing Technicolor Wildlife
- Brought Down to Normal: Was eventually turned into a human girl.
- Cute Monster Girl
- Interspecies Romance: With Hercules.
- Involuntary Shapeshifter: When a mortal touches her. It would later be revealed that Ares did this to her to keep her under his control.
- Last of Her Kind: Zeus slaughtered the other Golden Hinds but missed her. Ares gave her a human form in order to hide her from him.
- Our Centaurs Are Different: She's half deer in the lower part.
- Outside-the-Box Tactic: Her blood can kill a god.
- White Mage: As Serena
- Blue and Orange Morality: Zeus claims to have some sort of moral system that he lives by that is heavily based on non-interferene in anything. Hard to tell if he was telling the truth or making excuses for not doing anything.
- Brought Down to Normal: In "Reunions," he gives up his godhood to save Alcemene's soul.Hera: You've always been so captivated by your precious mortals. Let's see how you like living as one of them! You're a mortal now."
- The Casanova: He is constantly neglectful of his wife, children or responsibilities due to his dalliances with mortals.
- Daddy Had a Good Reason for Abandoning You: Though he kept a closer eye on Hercules than anyone knew, being king of the gods meant Zeus couldn't be a father to him.
- The Neidermeyer: A trait he shares with his wife. He's supposedly the Big Good of the Herc Xena verse but that role better fits his son than him or any other god on series. In truth he's a selfish, irritable, vain, irresponsible and often outright cowardly manchild who really couldn't care less about his family. It's part of the reason why many of them turned on him; Gods, Mortals and even his own son in the end.
- Foil: Contrary to the distant and aloof image of philandering Zeus, Odin is shown to be more involved in the lives of both his family and the mortals under his care. He cares for all of them, dislikes abuses of power, and has a good relationship with his wife.
- The Gods Must Be Lazy: He truly cares for humanity, but he rarely interferes with the other Olympians that cause trouble.
- It's All About Me: Zeus has trouble caring about anything not related to him, focusing on anything but what he wants, understanding anything from someone else's point of view, or anything that does not have to do with him. This attitude turns the other gods against him and by the end he realizes it has caused him to be all alone.
- Kavorka Man: Downplayed. He often appears as a kindly old man—not unattractive, but certainly not Adonis. However, he is quite capable of charming young women, such as when romancing an Amazon in the Amazon Women TV-Movie. Even Deianeira (in Circle of Fire specifically) admitted to being stunned by how effective Zeus was.
- Manipulative Bastard: At times, such as the finale.
- O.O.C. Is Serious Business: Normally, a very benevolent figure, but when he gets mad, even Hercules is taken aback."When you were a child, you used to challenge me. I loved it! But now, you're a man. Don't you dare defy me. I say stay out, and you stay out."
- Papa Wolf: The reason why no god violates his protection of Hercules. On one occasion, Ares was struck by lightning.
- Parental Favoritism: For all of their issues, there is no doubt that Hercules is his favorite child.
- Parental Neglect: Hercules is the most obvious example of this treatment, but Zeus' other children have noted he does the same to them.
- Put on a Bus: He regularly appears to Hercules throughout the TV-Movies, but they have a falling out at the start of the series when Hera kills Herc's family. Afterwards, Zeus is often referred to, but only makes a handful of appearances. Justified since having a god regularly in the hero's corner would be a Story-Breaker Power.
- So Proud of You: Often towards Hercules, even when Hercules mortally wounded him while protecting Xena and her baby."Hercules, you have never disappointed me... especially today."
- Story-Breaker Power: Which was a reason why he was used sparingly on the series. Lampshaded in the flashbacks to "Twilight," where (pinned down by the opposing army) Iolaus would really like it if Hercules tried calling in a favor from the old man.
- Top God: Unquestionably the King of the Olympian gods even if he does a bad job at it.
- Your Cheating Heart: Constantly, much to his wife Hera's chagrin. In fact, the titular character Hercules is the product of one of his affairs.
- The Artifact: She becomes less prominent of an antagonist midway through season 3 in favor of Ares, and doesn't even appear in season 5 or 6 until Back for the Finale yet the opening narration continues to treat as the Big Bad of the entire series.
- Big Bad: For the first three seasons. In Season 4, she loses prominence to Ares and ends up written out until the last episode.
- Evil Matriarch
- The Faceless: She initially appeared as a pair of eyes in the sky and usually with a voice. In "Reunions," she finally appears in human form.
- Hates Everyone Equally: Largely directs her resentments towards mankind as a whole, whether they be faithful to her or not. But in truth she has very little respect for anyone or everyone other than herself.
- Heel–Face Turn: In the finale, she finally accepts the fact that Zeus' infidelity is not Hercules' fault, and puts her anger towards him to rest.
- Heel Realization: She admitted to Hercules she always hated mankind due to her husbands proliferation, only to understand that for all their faults mankind was their greatest creation.
- It's All About Me: What her desperate housewife crusade against her husband and mankind boils down to. In Herc's own words Hera wanted her husband to herself but his fascination with man overshadowed her, when she couldn't have him under her thumb she took her anger out on the world at large.
- It's Personal: Her hatred toward Hercules. She hates him for being the product of one of her husband Zeus's affairs; in turn, Hercules hates her for murdering his family.
- Jerkass God
- My Greatest Failure: The reason she sides with Hercules against Zeus in "God Fearing Child.""Because of a lesson I regret teaching you long ago: parents should never outlive their children."
- The Neidermeyer: What her essential character boils down too. Always blaming her lackeys for her failures, persecuting a species SHE helped create due to her husbands infidelities, culminating in her own lack of backbone in standing up to her slimy spouse and her constant chiding her stepson because of this.
- Omnicidal Maniac: More than once Hera has tried to publicly execute mankind or otherwise hinder them in such a way it comes about.
- O.O.C. Is Serious Business: Something about the Abyss of Tartarus affects her memory, so she doesn't remember Hercules, Zeus, or anything else. She acts quite kind and loving, which Iolaus comments on.
- Out of Focus: She's the main antagonist in four of the TV-Movies and the first two seasons, but she starts losing prominence in Season 3 to Ares and other threats. By Season 4, she only menaces Hercules a couple times (one of which was a Whole Episode Flashback) before being trapped in the Abyss of Tartarus.
- Peacock Girl
- Redemption Equals Death
- Sealed Evil in a Can: In "Reunions," Hercules traps her in the Abyss of Tartarus. She gets out in "Full Circle."
- Unwitting Instigator of Doom: She resurrects Callisto in "Surprise" as part of yet another plan to kill Hercules. This has little long-term importance for this show, but it leads to a number major events on Xena's show.
- Wicked Stepmother
- The Woman Behind The Man: She directs men, monsters and everything in-between after Hercules or whichever insignificant mortals of the week piss her off. Unlike the other gods, she very rarely faces him in person.
- Woman Scorned: Her husband Zeus's infidelities are the main source of her malevolence."I vowed to reclaim my dignity, Hercules, the day you were born. And unlike some people, I keep my promises!"
- Would Hurt a Child
- Alas, Poor Villain: Ares mourned his death—saying he wasn't good at his job but always tried. According to writer Paul Robert Coyle, the response the writers got to Strife's death was so sympathetic that there were discussions about bringing him back.
- Ascended Extra: Appearing five times before getting killed off, Strife went on to be a major antagonist on Young Hercules.
- Butt Monkey: Ares frequently kicks him around.
- The Dragon: To Ares.
- Eerie Pale-Skinned Brunette
- Forgot About His Powers: He fights a Brought Down to Normal Hercules in "Judgment Day" and initially gets his ass kicked. It's then lampshaded.Strife: Help.
Ares: Fight him, you pathetic little fool. You're a god. USE YOUR POWERS!
- Genre Savvy: He knew in "Armageddon Now" that Callisto was trying to manipulate Ares. The war god knew that, too, and was hoping to use her to his own ends, but Strife was insistent on not taking any chances at all.
- Nephewism: Who his parents are is never stated in-story, and he always hangs out with Ares.
- Not-So-Harmless Villain: Though it was Ares' plan, Strife was the one who actually murdered Serena in the original timeline.
- Number Two: To Ares.
- Sacrificial Lion: According to Word of God, he was killed off to up the stakes in the Dahak/Hope storyline.
- Smug Snake
- Totally Radical: Not to Aphrodite's level, but it's there. Ares had to chastise him for not talking like the other gods.
- Voluntary Shape Shifting
- Uncanny Family Resemblance: Over a year after Strife was killed off, Joel Tobeck played his cousin Deimos.Ares: They look enough alike, don't you think?
Deimos: Do not. I'm taller, and he's dead.
- Above Good and Evil: He refers to good and evil as abstract notions in need of shaking up.
- Armor-Piercing Question: He appears fond of these:
- In "Faith," he appears to Hercules in a dream and discusses with him the nature of evil—how it can't be beaten and that it's inside everyone, even him.Hercules: That doesn't mean I'm gonna stop trying.
Dahak: But at what cost? Deianeira, Serena, your precious children—they've all paid the price for your arrogance. How do you expect to save the world, Hercules, when you can't even save the people you love?
- In "Redemption," he hits both heroes with this in different scenes:Dahak: And what exactly were you fighting for?
Iolaus: The chance to make the world a better place.
Dahak: And did you?
Hercules: You used his good intentions against him to corrupt him.
Dahak: He wasn't forced into anything. He chose his own path. Isn't that what you've always believed in, Hercules; the right to choose your own path?
- In "Faith," he appears to Hercules in a dream and discusses with him the nature of evil—how it can't be beaten and that it's inside everyone, even him.
- Badass Boast: In "Redemption":"I saw the Earth formed out of nothing. I brought the serpent of temptation into man's garden. I've even been known on occasion to turn entire oceans to sand in a single breath. I think it's safe to say I know how things will turn out."
- Batman Gambit: Killing the Druids was part of a long-term plan, but he also knew that it would cause Hercules to go to Sumeria and seek him out.
- Big Bad: The first half of Season 5.
- Bigger Bad: During Xena's third season."Dahak is the blind force behind every evil will."
- The Corrupter: The flashbacks in "Redemption" show how he did this to Iolaus: picking away at his self-worth and desire to help others. "Faith" shows he also tempted Gilgamesh after the death of his family and offered the grieving hero salvation.
- Deal with the Devil: With Iolaus and others before him.
- Demonic Possession: Of Iolaus.
- Demonization: Taking advantage of Herc's lengthy absence, he manages to convince many in Greece that the half-god has gone insane and driven the Olympians away.
- The Dreaded: As summed up by Ares in "Armageddon Now":"The one great evil is here. It's part of that creature that was with her. Oh, we've sensed him. Everyone on Olympus has. This force of darkness spells the end of all of us—gods and man alike."
- The End... Or Is It?: Invoked in "Darkness Rising" when he finishes explaining to Hercules how he entered the world:"The ENNNNDDDDDDD! [beat] Or maybe it's only the beginning."
- Even Evil Has Loved Ones: He has regard for his daughter Hope, even saving her from certain death.
- Eviler Than Thou: Ares feared him.
- God of Evil: Ticks all the boxes.
- Hidden Agenda Villain: Invoked in "Somewhere Over the Rainbow Bridge" (where his identity was still a mystery). Loki asks him what his stake in all this is, and he responds by grabbing his face."Understand this: you are a tool! I owe you no answers! My motives are my own!"
- Humans Are Bastards: Believes this.Dahak: Optimism, Hercules, is the shield of fools. As long as people allow themselves to be ruled by their wills, there will always be those that take my path.
Hercules: But there'll be more that don't. There's something in everyone even you can't touch, Dahak; the impulse to create, to nurture life instead of destroy it. As long as it exists, I'll keep my optimism, thanks.
- If I Can't Have You...: He grows quite fond of Nebula and romances her while in Iolaus's body. For her part, Nebula thought she was just daydreaming and later tried to put a stop to it.
- Kill the God: He wiped out the Sumerian gods as part of a plan to enter the world. He also schemed to bring about Ragnarök and wipe out the Norse gods. The Olympians were so terrified of him that they fled before he made his way to Greece.
- The Man Behind the Man: For Loki in the Norse gods two-parter.
- Manipulative Bastard: He knows everyone's buttons and impulses, so he can actively manipulate his foes.
- Nice Job Fixing It, Villain!: He waged a devastating conflict against the Titans to seize control of Earth. He lost and was banished, but the conflict was so debilitating that the Olympians were able to rise up and overthrow the Titans shortly afterward.
- "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Delivers a brutal one in "Redemption" to Zarathrustra, a former believer that betrayed him.Dahak: Zarathrustra, I am so disappointed in you. We had an understanding. I gave you power beyond mortal limitations, but you turned into the worst kind of coward.
Hercules: Why? Because he refused to kill his family?
Dahak: You say "kill his family" as if that were a bad thing. The truth is, he didn't deserve them. Not much of a family man, are you, Zarathrustra? If you were, you wouldn't have accepted me into your heart so greedily. But don't worry. Your failure is my success. And if it's any consolation, when I killed your family, I didn't give them a chance to scream.
- Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: When Loki's about to lose to Hercules, Dahak simply leaves rather than reveal his presence.
- Sealed Evil in a Can: He was banished to another realm by the Titans. A number of plots here and earlier on Xena were to find a way to free himself.
- Shapeshifter Guilt Trip: When he meets Iolaus, he takes the form of his father, then Nebula and finally Hercules. He then proceeds to wear Iolaus down with guilt and regret to make him agree to a Deal with the Devil.
- Thanatos Gambit: His ultimate plan is to have Hercules kill him while possessing Iolaus. This would send him back into his realm, but also condemn Iolaus to the same fate. Having the Big Good do this would shatter an already weakened balance between good and evil, plunging the world into chaos. (Whether Dahak would be outright dead or just come back was never made clear.)
- Underestimating Badassery: Underestimating Hercules, Iolaus, and The Power of Friendship are why he loses.
- Villain with Good Publicity: His worldwide cult is full of people who think he's what's best for the world. During Season 5, he pretends to be Iolaus and claims to have taken ambrosia to ward off an insane, god-hunting Hercules. By the time Hercules makes it back to Greece, the "god of light" has many willing followers.
- We Will Meet Again: At the end of his first fight with Hercules:"I knew you couldn't kill me. You're still holding on to what we were. Well, it's time to grow up. It'll be a whole new day in Greece, buddy!"
- Xanatos Gambit: As he explains to Hercules, all he needed was the sacrifice of a warrior heart to enter the world. He would've settled for Nebula, but Iolaus worked out just fine.
- He wants his Thanatos Gambit to succeed, but if Hercules doesn't play along, Dahak will just "take the whole world soul by soul."
- You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: Defied in the Norse gods two-parter. Loki does everything he was asked to and Dahak will honor his end of the arrangement.
- Beard of Evil: As a Shout-Out to "Mirror, Mirror."
- Berserk Button: Being called his real name sends him into a violent rage.
- Big "NO!": Memorably in "Stranger In A Strange World" when he becomes trapped in-between worlds.
- Destructo-Nookie: Implied to have this with his world's Xena. Lampshaded by Iolaus, who witnesses some of it: "Their foreplay is gonna get me killed!"
- Evil Feels Good: Is very insistent on it."You people should fear me! HIDE FROM ME! Tremble at the sight of me! All I get are happy faces. I hate happy."
- Evil Twin: Hercules as a villain.
- Freudian Excuse: His Alcmene abandoned him as a child, his Zeus went insane, his Cheiron instructed him in the ways of evil, and his family died.
- From Nobody to Nightmare: He notes the irony of a bastard son like him being poised to take over the world.
- I Lied: His response to executing a prisoner he promised to spare: "Oops."
- It's Personal: He despises Hercules for trapping him in-between worlds, but it gets even worse when he realizes Hercules also had a family like his.Hercules: I did. Hera killed them.
The Sovereign: [shoving him] So, she kills your family for something you' did! And when yours died, mine'' did—!
- Killed Off for Real: By Ares in "Stranger And Stranger."
- Missing Mom: His Alcmene abandoned him.
- Never My Fault: Comes up in "Armageddon Now, Part II":The Sovereign: You're to blame for everything that's happened to me. You can forget about getting out of here. You're mine.
Hercules: I'm not responsible for what happened to you or your family, or what you became. You are who you choose to be. We all are.
- No Indoor Voice: "VERY DISAPPOINTED!"
- Omnicidal Maniac: His plan in "Stranger In A Strange World" was to become king of the gods and kill every possible human (save his most devout followers).
- Psychopathic Man Child: Hercules even refers to him as a child when breaking up one of his rampages.
- "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Delivers one to Herc in "Armageddon Now" and is immediately on the receiving end of one.The Sovereign: You're pathetic, you know that?
Hercules: You don't know anything about me.
The Sovereign: Oh, yes, I do. Oh, yeah. See, I've watched you in here. You should make people worship you, tremble in fear. But what do you do? Oh, you help them out. You solve their puny problems. You're pathetic.
Hercules: Maybe you're the one who's pathetic. You ever think about that? Are you so happy with your own life?
- Sealed Evil in a Can: In "Stranger In A Strange World," he becomes trapped in-between worlds in a place called the Netherworld. He briefly gets out in "Armageddon Now" but is quickly returned.
- Smarter Than You Look: Played with. On the one hand in "Stranger In A Strange World," he came up with the plan to take over the world, as well as knew that his Xena was a devious schemer and that his Iolaus was tasked with assassinating him. On the other hand, whereas Hercules uses his intellect to figure out a way to escape the Netherworld, the Sovereign never does so.
- Catch Phrase: "Wait a minute! Wait a minute!"
- Claustrophobia: Hinted at in "Unchained Heart" as the reason he freezes up.
- Cowardly Lion: Though often spooked, he always ultimately stands by Hercules to help out however he can.
- Deadpan Snarker: He can be this usually after having spent the whole day in risking his life of suffering some (albeit comically) injures.
- Everyone Has Standards: He's as greedy as can be, but (as shown in "All That Glitters") he would never bet on a game that endangers children.
- Fire-Forged Friends: With Hercules.
- Get Rich Quick Scheme
- Gold Fever: He's obsessed with striking it rich, but "The Fire Down Below" really runs with it. He finds a great treasure and begins selling it, but it's cursed by Hera, and he ends up in Nemesis's crosshairs.
- Hidden Depths: Beneath the drive to strike it rich is a guy who values his friends.
- Honest John's Dealership
- Kavorka Man: Just ask the 50 Daughters of King Thespius.
- Large Ham: Being a fairly campy show, most of the characters fit the bill now and then, but Salmoneus runs on this trope.
- The Load: He can't fight, so the best he can do is offer moral support. In "Unchained Heart" he actually freezes up during a crisis, though he feels very bad about it. The few times he's forced into combat (like in "Outcast") have him relying on trickery and potshots.
- Lovable Coward
- New Job as the Plot Demands: When Hercules first met him, Salmoneus was a toga salesman. He had many different jobs since in order to strike it rich.
- Out of Focus: A very prominent recurring character in the first two seasons, Salmoneus started making fewer appearances in Season 3, only two in Season 4 and just one in Season 5.
- Recurring Character: He's not a main character but after Iolaus, he makes the third most recurring appearances in the series and is important enough in Hercules' life that he was present for several milestone events in Herc's adventures, most notably seeing Xena go through her Heel–Face Turn, starting the Olympic Games with Hercules, being there with Hercules when his mentor Cheiron was near-death, and planning the wedding of Herc's mother Alcmene and Jason.
- Screams Like a Little Girl
- Vitriolic Best Buds: With Autolycus.
- You Are Better Than You Think You Are: After he freezes up in "Unchained Heart" and denounces himself as a coward:Hercules: You are nothing of the sort, Salmoneus. I remember how you stuck by me when I had to battle the Centaurs without my sight.
Salmoneus: Save your breath. Why should they believe you?
- A Day in the Limelight: "Love On The Rocks."
- Ascended Extra: A one-off in Season 4's "Stranger In A Strange World," he became Herc's partner in the second half of Season 5.
- Better the Devil You Know: When the Empress seized power, he preferred to be in the Netherworld with the Sovereign."At least the Sovereign laughed at my jokes."
- Butt Monkey: The Sovereign's personal one.
- Cowardly Lion
- Dark and Troubled Past: Described his life in Other World as a nightmare he thought he'd never escape. Given that he was under the thumb of the Sovereign, we can believe it.
- Earn Your Happy Ending: He ends his time on the series having grown more confident and being with the love of his life.
- Gadgeteer Genius: Though it only comes up for a couple gags in "Just Passing Through."
- Hidden Depths:Hercules: Before we met, you saw yourself as a jester, so that's what you were. I saw you as a hero who didn't know it yet. Once you saw yourself that way, too; well, that's what you became. We are who we perceive ourselves to be.
- I Owe You My Life: To Herc.
- Lovable Coward
- My God, What Have I Done?: On his world, the rebels approached him to assassinate the Sovereign. When things got tough, he ran, which led to him switching places with our Iolaus."Oh, I'm such a spineless coward. I ran away from the only brave thing anyone's ever asked me to do. He's killed Zeus! And after that, it'll be the rest of the world, save his followers."
- Never My Fault: In "Stranger And Stranger," he blames Herc for the bad things that have happened to him since they last met. Iolaus 2 later admits he wasn't willing to own up.
- Not So Different: He's not Iolaus, but Jason feels he shares the same heart.
- Odd Friendship: With Aphrodite.
- Overshadowed by Awesome: Lampshaded in "Just Passing Through."Hercules: There were times that Iolaus thought he was living in my shadow.
Iolaus 2: And now I'm living in his.
- Sadistic Choice: Leaving his old world permanently. He admits in "Love On The Rocks" and "My Best Girl's Wedding" that it was actually much harder to do than he let on.
- Took a Level in Badass: "Love On The Rocks," where he takes on a group of villains by himself.
- Weak, but Skilled: He lacks Iolaus' fighting prowess, but he has impressive acrobatic abilities.
- Adult Fear: A Roman attack on a village leaves many dead, including a young boy. Seeing this makes Morrigan think of her own daughter.
- Cruel and Unusual Death: Her preferred method of killing people was to rip out their hearts.
- Distaff Counterpart: Guess who.
- Evil Counterpart: A super-strong half-god, but one that enforced her gods' will instead of opposed it.
- Fiery Redhead
- Heel–Face Turn
- I Have Your Daughter: Part of the reason she served Cernunnos was because he had their daughter.
- I Want My Beloved to Be Happy: She walks out on Hercules because an oracle told her that while he would honor their marriage vows no matter what, Greece would suffer without him and that thought would continuously torment him.
- My Greatest Failure: Not being there to protect the Druids from Dahak.
- Nice Job Fixing It, Villain!: She attacks Hercules in "Resurrection" to make an example of him and to break the spirits of the Celts. Thing is, Hercules wasn't going to stay and help them; he was too busy mourning Iolaus's death. Herc getting clobbered and laid up in bed gives Mabon another opportunity to ask for his help.
- Not So Different: Though the comparison is made after she becomes good.Mabon: You were raised a half-god among mortals, she a half-mortal among gods. Similar wounds cause similar scars. What heals one wound—
Hercules: Heals another.
- You Kill It, You Bought It: She killed the old Druid of Justice, which made her the new Druid of Justice. This turned out to be the Druids' elaborate Batman Gambit.Mabon: Who better to restore justice to the land than the one who took it away?