Gabrielle is a fictional character played by Renée O'Connor in Xena: Warrior Princess. She is referred to by fans as the Battling Bard of Potidaea. Her trademark weapons are the Amazon fighting staff and later, the sais. She was also an Amazon Princess and later an Amazon Queen.
Gabrielle is first portrayed as a teenaged farm girl stereotype (a version of the maiden archetype) - young, naive, with an ambition to broaden her horizons yet no idea what 'real life' means. This is shown in "Dreamworker", where she desperately wants to join in a fight, despite lacking any training in combat. She picks up Xena's sword and is ready to attack, but reveals seven episodes later in "Hooves and Harlots" that she doesn't like swords. This shows that she has matured during her short time with Xena and has learned that all answers don't lie at the end of a sword. She has been shown to be able to talk her way out of almost any situation. An example of this very early on is in "Sins of the Past" when she talks a cyclops out of eating her. This possibly stems form her skills as a bard. She has a love for a writing, penning her travels with Xena wherever they go. She applied for the Athens City Academy for the Performing Bards and was accepted, but chose not to attend, as she realizes that her heart is on the road with Xena.
She has the ability to spontaneously improvise as she has been shown in many situations to tell stories on the spot, or create a believable lie in an awkward situation. This also probably stems from her bardic skills, having a mental advantage above others in that time, who were usually lacking in the area of literacy.
One aspect that Gabrielle struggled to cope with, was her control over emotions. Whilst she had a lot of morals and a personal view on life, she hadn't dealt with emotional loss during her simple life in Poteidaia. She didn't really have to deal with this until the loss of her newlywed, Perdicas. When he was killed by Callisto, she didn't want to mourn him. Instead, she wanted revenge by killing Callisto, which was very out of character for Gabrielle. We begin to see a different side of her as she matures throughout the series. She eventually sustains her control over emotions and this is shown when Joxer is killed. Eve brings his death up in conversation, implying an apology, but Gabrielle interrupts and says that he is at peace.
Gabrielle has also been shown not to bear long-term grudges. An example of this is in "Forgiven". When Tara beats her up, she says to Xena: "Why don't you use your Chakram... To slice some of her ear off". Gabrielle forgives Tara countless times throughout the episode, but Tara keeps being childish and nasty towards her. Despite what she does to her, Gabrielle forgives her. This shows the amount of maturity she has towards situations.
Gabrielle's bardic skills appear to be natural and self-taught. In the opening episode, she displays a remarkable ability to talk her way out of fearsome or difficult situations: she talks a cyclops out of eating her, and makes an ally of him, talks an old man into giving her a lift, talks a violent crowd out of killing Xena, and talks her way into joining Xena as her traveling partner.
Besides her persuasive ability, she also reads and writes - rare skills for that time, loves to tell stories and has some musical ability. As she travels with Xena, she records their adventures on a series of scrolls, with an eye for flair and drama. Occasionally her tendency to exaggerate and glamorize the facts gets her into trouble, She is also shown telling stories for money in an inn. In other episodes, she wins a place in the Athens City Academy for the Performing Bards.
Another unique ability is briefly mentioned in the first episode - the gift of prophecy. This ability is left largely unexploited in the series, although in "One Against an Army", Gabrielle dreams that Xena is killed by a soldier who enters through the roof with a double-edged sword and warns her about this. When the battle between Xena and the Persians commences, she is aware of the soldier and stops him.