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Name: Iolaus
Occupation: Warrior, Blacksmith
Relationships: Hercules (best friend)
Fandom: Hercules: The Legendary Journeys, Young Hercules
Other: played by Michael Hurst
Young Iolaus played by Dean O'Gorman
"black and white drawing of Iolaus in his shirtless vest, a bow and quiver of arrows at his back"
Michael Hurst - Iolaus by amberj8 (2014)
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Iolaus is a fictional character and the deuteragonist of the television show Hercules: The Legendary Journeys, portrayed by Michael Hurst.

He is also a character in the spin-off prequel, Young Hercules, where he is portrayed by Dean O'Gorman.

In the show, he is Hercules' sidekick and best friend.

Iolaus is a well liked character within the fandom for the show, and was often the focus of mailing lists and individual fan sites in the 1990s and early 2000s. In fanworks, he is a popular target for whump and hurt/comfort.


Iolaus is the best friend of the demigod Hercules, and grew up with him in the same village. They went to Cheiron's Academy together, fought in their first war together, and have traveled through Greece to deal with monsters, warlords, gods and demons together ever since.


Most of the early fandom around Iolaus, and the series, was located on mailing lists and small individual H:tLJ fan sites and archives, like The Iolausian Library, most of which are now defunct. A few, including the Less Than Legendary Journeys, survive and several stories are now archived at AO3.

Fanon and Fannish Debates

  • Eye Color: While the actor who portrayed Iolaus has gray green eyes, Michael Hurst occasionally wore blue contact lenses "to mess with the fans." He wore the contacts in just a few episodes but they included a few memorable ones. As a consequence, the Iolaus that was written about in fandom had very bright, very blue eyes. His blue eyes are often a key point in the description of the character. In bad writing, he has blue "orbs". Kevin Sorbo (Hercules) actually has blue eyes, which may also account for the fan writer insistence on a blue-eyed Iolaus.
  • Golden Hunter: This epithet was never attached to Iolaus on the show, but it became very popular in fandom, to the extent that Iolaus is often called just 'the hunter' in fanfic. (And never, for example, 'the warrior' or 'the mortal', or even 'the blacksmith'.) The fanon apparently got back to the show's creators, which resulted in official "Iolaus, the Golden Hunter" T-shirts.
  • Pallid Hunter: Cf. We Always Hurt the One We Love, an essay by Helena Handbasket, which describes (and derides) the fanon where Iolaus is a wimpy, pathetic figure who always needs to be rescued, and who is treated appallingly badly by Hercules.
  • Iolaus' sons: most fanfic that deals with Iolaus' and Ania's ill-fated offspring suggest one child, almost always a son. Sometimes there are two sons, sometimes three. In an interview, Michael Hurst stated that he was told that Iolaus had two sons, and in Maze of the Minotaur Iolaus refers to the difficulties of being a single parent after Ania's death. The children are never mentioned again.

Common Tropes and Storylines in Fanworks

  • Hurt/Comfort: Iolaus is popular character to be whumped in fanworks. He is usually comforted by Hercules or other characters. These stories were sometimes labelled FSFI (Feel Sorry For Iolaus).
  • Kidnapping: it was a common trope to have Iolaus kidnapped or captured by villains, these stories could include torture and other dark elements. Many stories often resolved with a big rescue from Hercules.
  • Adventure: similar to canon, where he defends those in need, usually beside Hercules
  • Episode Codas: expanding on individual episodes and sometimes dealing with the aftermath of canon events. The Iolausian Writer's Circle had challenges connected to various episodes.
  • Young Iolaus: these stories can be set within the Young Hercules series, or completely fan-created, with a focus on Iolaus as a child, teen and young adult. Before the introduction of the Young Hercules film Iolaus' background was a little bit fuzzy, aside from being Hercules' childhood friend, so fans would try and fill in the gaps.
  • Pre-canon: these fanworks usually take place post Young Hercules and before the beginning of The Legendary Journeys usually when Iolaus was marred to his wife Ania.
  • Iolaus' deaths: Iolaus died and then was resurrected a few times on the series, before being killed off for the last time. Many fanworks will try and deal with this and the effects it could have had on Iolaus and those around him. Although, it is not unusual for some fans to ignore his death completely in their fanworks,
  • Resurrection: after Iolaus' canonical death in season five, it was popular to write fic where he was resurrected in some fashion.


Iolaus was shipped in a large number of pairings, including slash (Hercules/Iolaus, Iolaus/Ares, Iolaus/Autolycus, and other pairings), and het (Iolaus/Ania, Iolaus/Niobe, Iolaus/Nebula, Iolaus/Xena, Iolaus/Gabrielle, and many others).

His most popular pairing is Hercules/Iolaus. Unlike in many other fandoms of its time, the sexual undercurrent between Hercules and Iolaus was quietly acknowledged by the actors and everyone involved, if only because in myth, Heracles had sex with everybody including Iolaus, who was his nephew and charioteer.

There was also a large gen fandom focused on Iolaus' friendships, the most popular being Iolaus & Hercules.

Example Fanworks



  • The Encounter by Denyse M. Bridger (Black Magic Issue #4, 2002) - While on his way to visit Iphicles, Iolaus meets a young woman who steals his heart. Too bad she's hiding a secret that might destroy them all.
  • Home is Where the Heart is by LTLJ and Kimberley Rector, one of the many "Iolaus comes back to life" stories written after his death in the fifth season. There is an entire alternate timeline based on this story, including one of the greatest crossover stories of all time, "When Hellmouths Collide," that drops Buffy Sumers and company into the Hercverse.
  • Many Deaths by Therienne, playing on Iolaus's canonical many deaths.
  • Refiner's Fire by Melisande. Hurt/comfort stories were very popular in the fandom. In this one, Iolaus has to transport an injured Hercules across rough country, with Gabrielle's help.

Graphics and Gif Sets




Example Art Gallery


Mailing lists

The majority of these mailing lists were on Yahoo groups and are no longer active:

Archives and Links