Category: character archetypes series

Character Archetypes Series: #9 Trickster

Character Archetypes Series: #9 Trickster

We have thus come to the end of this long journey. We explored the Hero’s Journey with its stages and Campbell’s archetypes. However, there is a final archetype that supports the Hero on his journey: the Trickster: we talk about him in the last article of the Character Archetypes Series. Last but not least.

Indeed, it is often a character that is remembered very easily even after a long time. Let’s find out who the Trickster is and what are its characteristics.

Who is the Trickster

Trickster represents the archetype of the cheater, of someone who lies.

However, he is not an antagonist to the Hero. He is someone who accompanies him on the Journey but who is unable to be honest about himself.

Often this character has a comic streak.

Let’s think of the Disney cartoon Mulan. Mushu is Mulan’s guardian red dragon who pretends to have been sent to protect her. In reality, his primary interest is to return Mulan home, victorious, so that he can be reinstated among the ancestors.

Mushu, like Donkey in Shrek corresponds to the archetype of the Trickster and retains some comic characteristics. Donkey too, in fact, supports Shrek in his business but for his personal interest.

In Harry Potter, instead, Dobby represents this archetype. He is the elf of the Malfoy’s family, who accompanies Harry Potter causing him some trouble every now and then.

The role of the Trickster

This archetype has a double well-defined function:

  • dramaturgical function: this character generally has the task of playing down the narrative.
  • psychological function: the trickster laughs at his own limits while trying to overcome them.

Put simply, we can define this character as the shoulder of the Hero.

It is a very useful archetype because it helps to ease the tension during the Hero’s Journey, as difficult moments, or a quarrel between the Hero and the Allies. For this reason, the Trickster has usually a part in moments immediately before the battle. For all these reasons, the reader or the viewer becomes easily fond of him.

Create the Archetypes of your Journey with bibisco

bibisco provides you with its novel writing software to create the characters of your narration, according to the model of Campbell’s archetypes.

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Thanks to the interview mode you will thus be able to create a Trickster that has a good comic streak and that the reader or spectator will quickly become attached to. Creating the characters will be simple, fun and the final result is absolutely satisfying.

The final steps of the Hero’s Journey

The Hero must now go home.

The enterprise does not end with passing the Supreme Ordeal. Even the road back home is however full of pitfalls that try to make the Hero fall into temptation again.

The Hero makes it clear why he decides to return to his Ordinary World, instead of staying in this new, extraordinary world. In this passage, the beginning of the end of the Journey, the protagonist faces the consequences for deciding to challenge the Shadow and his dark forces during the Supreme Ordeal. 

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The moment in which the Hero feels he has definitely changed is that of the Resurrection.

In this step, the Hero passes the ultimate test ever. In this journey back to his Ordinary World, he proves to have changed, resisting what would have previously led him to a different way.

And for this reason, it is approaching the last phase of the Journey: the Return with the Elixir. The protagonist of the narration returns home but does not do it empty-handed. He brings with him a treasure that will be useful to his entire community.

The message of this final part is clear. It is important to know how to share one’s mistakes, one’s growth and change with people around us.

“Life has no meaning. Each of us has meaning and we bring it to life. It is a waste to be asking the question when you are the answer.”

Joseph Campbell

Conclusions

The Hero has come to the end of his enterprise. In the same way have we in this narrative between archetypes and moments of the Hero’s Journey.

The Hero has completed the Supreme Ordeal and deserves the just reward. This is usually an object, such as a sword, a person like one’s beloved or simply the awareness of the change that the Hero has faced since leaving the Ordinary World.

In this journey we have learned that the different types of archetypes hide in every Hero and also in each of us. There are those who are Allies, Trickster, who have a function as Herald or Guardian, or who have become the Shadow because they have succumbed to their weaknesses, and to the dark side of each one.

Our Hero who accompanied us on our long journey is now ready to enjoy his Ordinary World with a new awareness of himself and leaves us the way to continue on our personal and daily Hero’s Journey.

Character Archetypes Series: #8 The Guardian

Character Archetypes Series: #8 The Guardian

Speaking of the difficulties the Hero faces before considering his venture and Journey over, in the eighth article of Character Archetypes Series, we now encounter another archetype: the Guardian

The guardian tests the hero by creating difficulties for him, probing his strength and will to complete his journey. 

The Guardian: ally or enemy?

In Campbell’s Hero’s Journey he is identified as the Threshold Guardian.

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The Guardian is a contradictory archetype. This character mostly tests the Hero’s internal demons. He seems to be playing the role of an enemy but can turn into an ally. This archetype is not the hero’s direct antagonist, because his purpose is not the opposite of the Hero’s. His purpose is to hinder him to probe his limits and face his emotions. The Guardian is often the right-hand man of the Hero’s main enemy.

Can you imagine in Harry Potter who the Guardian might be? One is definitely the Whomping Willow, a tree we know in the first book. He will also have a role later, in “The Prisoner of Azkaban”, when Harry Potter, Hermione, and Ron find out who Sirius Black is.

Have you ever seen the movie Stardust? If you haven’t, we recommend it to you, and without spoiling anything, we can reveal to you that here the Guardian is actually The Wall Guard. His job is to stop young Dunstan from crossing the wall. He does not want to try to defeat the Hero but only tries to hinder him to verify how much it is decided.

In many other narratives the Guardian presents itself as an element of nature, architectural or an animal.

Why is this archetype important?

The Guardian is sometimes a character the Hero must win the trust of, so he can continue the Journey. It is an important archetype because it allows the Hero to understand how determined he is to change.

Overcoming the difficulties and obstacles of The Guardian, gives the Hero himself the opportunity to understand how deep his determination is. He thus confronts his own uncertainties, fears and internal demons.

It is one of the archetypes that allows the Hero to grow, more than others.

What the Guardian represents are the Hero’s internal demons, his limits, which prevent him from growing up and having a development.

Every time the Hero tries to make a change in his life, these demons return, blocking him. This is not a sign of fate that prevents him from continuing, but a test that verifies his determination and ability. By defeating these demons, the Hero will be able to continue to his Journey with a different self-awareness.

The same happens to all of us throughout our lives. Anyone who stands in the way of our change becomes The Guardian. It doesn’t have to be bad or he’s not on our side. It represents, however, that drive to remain in the present situation, which we know very well. But if we overcome this obstacle, we learn to be stronger and to know better what our skills and limitations are.

You enter the forest at the darkest point, where there is no path.

Where there is a way or path, it is someone else’s path. You are not on your own path.

If you follow someone else’s way, you are not going to realize your potential.

Joseph Campbell

Use bibisco’s innovative interview mode to create your archetypes

Creating characters, archetypes, is not easy.

The Guardian figure, for example, should normally appear around page 60 of a novel and in the first hour of a cinematographic film. There are some rules, some canons to be respected to create The characters of a narrative.

Thanks to bibisco’s novel writing software special feature, the interview mode, giving life to your archetypes will be fun and will give you many satisfactions!

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Conclusions

Over the course of everyone’s life, every time you start to walk a new road out of your comfort zone, you meet people and situations that we can trace back to the archetype of The Guardian. They test our character, our intentions to go all the way on our path.

Although they apparently appear to us as enemies, it is they who give us a chance to grow more. By overcoming these challenges, we can gain self-confidence and skills that were unknown to us. 

Character Archetypes Series: #7 The Shadow

Character Archetypes Series: #7 The Shadow

In the eighth article of Character Archetypes Series, we talk about Shadow.

We have arrived at the “Supreme Ordeal“, the moment in which the Hero wages battle against his enemy, The Shadow.

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This is the most powerful of the archetypes we encounter on the Hero’s journey. He is the hero’s antagonist, his enemy but also his alter ego. In Disney fairy tales and cartoons, it is represented as the villain, in the form of a dragon or monster.

This character got overwhelmed by the negative and dark side of his character and became a Shadow.

What can a Hero do to not give in to this archetype and turn into something dark?

He can learn to recognize this negative side, dominate it and counter it in order not to give in.

We’re used to thinking that the antagonist, the Shadow, is a flesh-and-blood character, a monster, but that’s not always the case. In some cases, The Shadow may be our fear. Let’s think about our daily life.

Have you ever had to do something that scares you, in order to achieve a goal or a loved one? Have you ever, for example, taken the plane to reach your sweetheart, despite the fear of the plane? Many romantic films show The Shadow in the guise of these inner fears.

What is the role of the Shadow?

Within the Hero’s Journey, the Shadow hinders the protagonist during his exploits and creates difficulties for him. To continue on his path, the Hero is forced to overcome them all and thus reach the end of his path.

The purpose of the Shadow is always opposite to that of the Hero. For this reason, the protagonist of the Journey has no choice but to face it.

In some narratives, the Shadow has the appearance of a demon, a general threat. In others, it is represented by a man, an ex-Hero who has succumbed to bad feelings.

Let’s go back to the example of Star Wars that followed us during this imaginary journey through Campbell‘s archetypes. Darth Vader is the dark side of Anakin Skywalker, Hero of his Journey but who has succumbed to the dark side of the force. His goal is totally different from that of Luke, Obi-Wan Kenobi and their allies. For this reason, Darth Vader hinders Luke Skywalker on several occasions and clashes with the Hero of this new Journey.

We also think of Voldemort, Harry Potter‘s enemy with whom he has an indissoluble bond. So powerful that one of the two will have to die in order not to let the other survive. In The Lord of the Rings, Sauron is a fighter who has been attracted by the dark power of the ring. He fights against Frodo who he wants to eliminate to achieve his goal.

How a character turns into The Shadow.

What makes the narrative interesting is the explanation of how a character turns into The Shadow.

All these characters succumbed to the dark side of their personality and lost touch with their human side.

Another important example of this transformation is shown to us in the film “Maleficent”.

We find that Maleficent, the evil witch, has not always been evil. She became a villain when she suffered a great disappointment of love and succumbed to anger and revenge.

The fight against the Shadow

The Heroes of these narratives, like Luke Skywalker, Harry Potter, Frodo and the Fellowship of the Ring, face the various difficulties set up by the antagonist. They try to reach the end of the path and return home victorious.

Not in all situations, there is a single hero facing obstacles. As already said, the Hero can count on the Allies, the Mentor and other figures who help him along this path.

Think of the movie Armageddon: a team of NASA-trained drillers goes to space to fight against the huge asteroid that is about to hit the Earth, Dottie, and saves humanity. Each of the team members plays an important role in this narrative.

The Supreme Ordeal 

This is the moment of greatest tension. The Hero must emerge victorious to conclude the Journey but seriously risk death.

On some occasions, it dies only to be reborn, with a new awareness. A reversal of the situation creates suspense, and it seems that luck no longer assists the Hero. The Hero, therefore, faces his deepest fears, the fear of failure.

This step is very important because it is here that the Hero changes and becomes different.

Usually, the action of this point takes place in a hidden place such as inside a forest. Think of the scene in Harry Potter, when he is hit by the spell “Avada Kedavra” and then escorted to Hogwarts in Hagrid’s arms. Moreover, on a mountain, or inside a cave as happens to Frodo at the foot of the volcano, during the fight with Gollum.

Use bibisco novel writing software to create your Shadow

Without the Shadow there would be no narrative. There would be no reason to start the Hero’s Journey.

For this reason, it is fundamental to create a believable character, who knows how to hinder the Hero in his path. In addition, it has to arouse a sense of fear even in the reader.

The Shadow must represent something dark and unknown. Each of us hides a part of the dark ego in himself. Thanks to bibisco’s innovative feature, the interview mode, you can create the archetype you have in mind and make the reader fall in love with your narration.

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Conclusions

After the Hero also surpasses the Supreme Ordeal, he can enjoy victory.

However, he will find himself changed and will no longer be the same Hero who started the Journey.

This moment is the deepest meaning of the Hero’s Journey: facing one’s fears, the enemies, and the Shadow. This is the inner part that represents the dark part of the ego.

We are almost at the end of the Hero’s Journey. Before moving on towards the conclusion of the Journey, in our next articles we will introduce two more last archetypes, very important for the narrative.

Character Archetypes Series: #6 Shapeshifter

Character Archetypes Series: #6 Shapeshifter

Before getting to the final part of the Hero’s Journey, we stop to describe two important characters in the narrative. In the previous article, we talked about the Herald, and this article of Character Archetypes Series we talk about Shapeshifter.

This is a character who changes throughout the story. However, it does not change shape but function in the Hero’s Journey. When we met him, he seemed to be bad. His role is to hinder the Hero in his path. Only towards the end of the story, the Shapeshifter reveals himself to be good.

He is also a figure who has worked behind the scenes to help, without even letting the Hero himself know.

Similarly, the Shapeshifter can apparently be a friend. In the end, he turns out to be an enemy, or someone ready to thwart the Hero.

The Shapeshifter archetype in the Hero’s Journey

Batman in his story had to face many villains. However, one of the most successful characters is Catwoman. She finds herself a superhero, after being fallen out of a window and rescued by some stray cats.  She is very similar to Batman; a night vigilante but decides to join forces with Penguin, Batman’s arch-enemy.

However, Selina Kyle, Catwoman’s human part, begins a relationship with Bruce Wayne, aka Batman. With the narrative, Batman will discover who is behind Catwoman’s mask and that his beloved is actually an enemy to fight. 

On the contrary, a famous example of a character who initially we thought to be the antagonist of Harry Potter is Severus Snape. In the last chapter of the narrative, we discover that he was protecting the young wizard on many occasions.

He always led him to the right path. He fell in love with Harry’s mother, Lily, and for this reason he tried to always protect the boy. And he does not ever let anyone know anything. 

«After all this time?»

«Always» answered Snape.

Harry Potter

The function of the Shapeshifter

This character has the function of creating doubts, suspicions, and uncertainty. It also makes a twist in the story. This character is not to be confused with a liar. Even if they are aimed at a different purpose from what we thought, the actions he does are still real.

According to Campbell, it is related to the Hero’s soul and his energy. It is a catalyst for change, changing behavior in the service of history.

Use bibisco novel writing software to create your own Shapeshifter

The Shapeshifter has its own identity. He tries to confuse the hero during his Journey.  However, this element makes the adventure more eventful and helps to strengthen the hero’s determination. In conclusion, the archetype of the Shapeshifter is crucial for the success of the story.

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Thanks to the innovative interview mode of bibisco novel writing software, you will understand how to create a Shapeshifter character. With this archetype, you could hit the viewer or the reader with a twist at the moment of its revelation. 

Conclusions

During the Hero’s Journey, the Shapeshifter could represent some uncertainties of the Hero’s ego. When he has grown up enough, he will be able to abandon this condition of dissatisfaction that led him at the beginning of his Journey.

In our lives, the Shapeshifter represents the moment when we face our personality and everyday difficulties. We could identify these proofs as the Unknown World tests that our Hero and each of us on our journey face before getting to the heart of the problem in the Supreme Ordeal, which we will discuss in the next article.

Character Archetypes Series: #5 Herald

Character Archetypes Series: #5 Herald

In the fifth article of Character Archetypes Series, we talk about Herald.

In the previous articles, we arrived at the last step of the Hero’s Journey. But let us stop for a moment in our narration, and return to the initial stage, that of the “Call to Adventure”.

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We have always said that it is an event that starts the story. It is at this very moment, in this event, that we know the next archetype the Herald.

The Hero’s Journey begins with an inner need, a kidnapping of someone dear or with someone’s warning.

Who is the Herald?

The name of this archetype Herald itself already makes us understand what its role is.

It corresponds to that moment in which even the reader or viewer will understand that things are about to change. We know that the Hero is about to leave the Ordinary World to respond to the Call to Adventure.

The Herald communicates the beginning of the Hero’s Journey, an upcoming change and the need of the Hero to face it. Similarly, it is the triggering event that starts the whole story. For instance, the Herald can be a loved one, a stranger, an object but even an event like a phone call.

“You must give up the life you planned in order to have the life that is waiting for you.”

Joseph Cambell

The function (and the importance) of the Herald in the Hero’s Journey

We can make some examples to better understand the role of this archetype in a narration of in some movies.

Think about Harry Potter. What event causes the narrative to begin? Harry Potter is a little boy who lives with his uncles, unaware of being in possession of magical powers. So he discovers what Hogwarts school is when he receives some letters brought home by different owls. These animals are the Herald of this story.

Similarly, there is also a Herald in the movie Star Wars. Can you guess who or what it might be?

The Herald it’s R2D2 with the mission he has to accomplish for Princess Leia. Inside his memory there is a hidden message that Luke Skywalker discovers. This moment and the hidden message mark the beginning of his adventure.

This archetype has a very important and profound function towards the Hero. The Herald has a psychological role that affects the deepest part of the Hero. Moreover, he prepares him for a change that is about to happen and for something inevitable that must be faced.

Sometimes you hear this inner voice when you live in a situation that no longer satisfies you. Some call it conscience, others destiny. Anyway, this strength allows us to make some decisions even in the most unexpected moments and to take our life in hand.

Create your Herald by using the innovative tool of bibisco

We know that creating a character from scratch is not easy. Giving life to a Herald is even more difficult, be it a person, an animal or an event. He must have the ability to strike a chord of the Hero but also the reader, so that he feels the same sensations of strength and need for action as him.

With bibisco’s novel writing software you can create the Herald your Hero’s Journey needs. Use the easy and useful interview mode to understand what kind of archetype you need to create. With bibisco you will exactly know what characteristics it has to have.

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The interview with the characters gives you the tool to allow you to give life to a new archetype, without leaving out any detail.

Conclusion

In conclusion, not all the most important characters in a story are the most powerful ones. Neither who appear throughout the development of the narrative or to whom you become more attached.

The Herald is someone or something that initially seems marginal but without which the narrative would have no reason to exist.

So, at first we do not remember the letter that Cinderella and her family received announcing the ball at the castle. But thinking more carefully it becomes the moment without which the story would never have begun.

Character Archetypes Series: #4 Ally

Character Archetypes Series: #4 Ally

In the fourth article of Character Archetypes Series, we talk about Ally.

Our Hero has just crossed the First Threshold and has definitively abandoned the Ordinary World. He is now in the company of the Mentor, a fundamental character he met in the first stages of his Journey. He is, in fact, who pushes him to embark on this path.

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However, this is not the only important character that the Hero meets. By approaching the first challenges that the character of the Ally is introduced.

Who is Ally?

Just beyond the First Threshold, our Hero begins to face the first real difficulties and to understand who the real enemies are.

For example, Neo in the world of the Matrix begins to understand who the Agents really are, what role they play in their power. 

The approaches with the reality that the Hero does not know are difficult and challenging. Often these can be even harder and seem insurmountable if there were not an important character who supports the Hero.

There are Heroes who are lucky enough when several Allies surround him. Think about Harry Potter aided by Hermione and Ron throughout his fighting against the Dark Lord.

In the Lord of the Rings, Frodo discovers that Sam has followed him not to leave him alone. Sam also promises to Frodo that he will be next to him along with Pippin and Merry Brandybuck.

Moreover, in Star Wars Luke Skywalker is joined by Chewbacca (nicknamed Chewbe), a Wookie over two meters tall, co-pilot of the Millenium Falcon, the ship of Ian Solo. 

The character of the Ally is a hymn to friendship: in literature and cinema there are many indivisible couples such as Sherlock Holmes and Watson, of Batman and Robin and many others.

The Trials, the Allies, and the Enemies 

Along with the first difficulties and the Allies, the Enemies arrive. The reader or viewer now understands who is on one side to help the Hero, and who is on the other side to hinder him.

This is a representation of everyday life. When we abandon something that we know very well for something else that is completely unknown, with the first moments of difficulty we begin to understand who we can trust. We understand who is next to us and who opposes us. 

These new experiences, although frightening, are fundamental for defining new relationships and understanding what meaning they have, whether positive or negative.

Think of a long-time friendship of yours. This relationship will probably have strengthened in a particularly challenging moment in your life and in which this person has shown that he wants to stand by you to support you.

The Approach to the Inmost Cave

“The cave you fear to enter holds the treasure you seek.”

Joseph Campbell

The Hero approaches a dangerous place where the object of his research is hiding. This object is the reason why he embarked on this Journey. At the entrance of this place is the Second Threshold where the Hero will face the central test.

At this point, we also encounter another character, which we will discuss in the next articles.

For now, let us leave the Hero to study his own strategy, organizing the fight and the best ways to evade all the threats that will hinder his entry. 

In this, the help of the Allies is essential. Each of them is able to give their contribution to the Hero, willing to fight alongside him.  Despite this, they are aware that the final test will have to be completed by the Hero and by him alone.

Create your character with novel planning software such as bibisco

The character of the Ally is anything but easy to create. It can be a childhood friend, a neighbor, a family member. However, he is an especially important character to outline because he allows the Hero to move forward on the Journey, without losing hope even in moments of greatest difficulty.

Thanks to bibisco and its novel planning software you can create the best Ally you can ever write.

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How can you do that? By using the interview mode to define the character of the Ally and give him the right characteristics.

Conclusions

No one would ever want to be completely alone in their life.

There are moments in which we are overwhelmed by difficulties and do not know how to go on.

These are the occasions that allow us to recognize friends, our Allies and faithful travel companions on our journey. They accompany us in our growth, supporting us during successes and failures.

This is why for us at bibisco, unity is only strength but really the difference.

Character Archetypes Series: #3 Mentor

Character Archetypes Series: #3 Mentor

In the third article of Character Archetypes Series, we talk about Mentor.

To do this, let us resume our Hero’s Journey.

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Our Hero, whom we talked about extensively in the previous article, has now just passed the third phase also called “Refusal of the Call”. Being faced with a difficult situation, he initially refuses to understand or undertake the physical journey.

It is precisely at this moment, in this fourth phase called “the Meeting with the Mentor” that he meets one of the most important characters for him and for the journey itself: the Mentor.

The Mentor acts as a compass for the Hero, advises him and guides him through the narrative.

The characteristics of the Mentor

This is the most important character in the Hero’s Journey and the one most discussed. The relationship between the Mentor and the Hero takes up, in some ways, to the relationship between a parent and a child. The mentor is an essential figure in any narrative. He is Obi-wan Kenobi for Luke Skywalker, to whom he teaches the ways of the Jedi.

This archetype acts as a shoulder to the Hero and guides him in facing his Journey. He is normally a person whom the Hero trusts.

Often he is a former hero. Someone who has already faced the same kind of difficulty and path in his time. He is a very wise person, sometimes an elderly bearded man who aims to motivate the Hero and pushes him to embark on his Journey.

The Mentor explains the rules of the Special World to the Hero

In “The Lord of the Rings”, for example, it is Gandalf who explains to Frodo what he is about to run into and urges him to flee by embarking on the Journey. He will always be close to him, in one way or another.

The same goes for Morpheus in “The Matrix” in search of the Chosen One. When he finds Neo, he saves him from the Matrix by explaining to him what reality is built by machines and what is real, concrete. Morpheus is also a Mentor who trains Neo, the Hero, advises and stands by to guide him to the completion of the Journey.

“The Matrix is ​​everywhere, it is the world that has been placed before your eyes to hide the truth from you”.

MORPHEUS

The Mentor can be one or even more than one.

In Harry Potter, for example, there are two Mentors: Hagrid and Dumbledore. Hagrid follows Harry Potter from the beginning, worrying about saving a small baby from Voldemort by entrusting him to his uncles until he is fourteen years old. Dumbledore who will take care of Harry and to grow him as a wizard on his Journey.

What is the Mentor’s job?

His task is to prepare and instruct the Hero for the difficulties and trials he might find on his path. For this reason, he sometimes gives him gifts that can protect him or make him stronger.

Continuing with the example of Harry Potter, even after his death, Dumbledore makes sure that Harry Potter has gifts that can be useful to him in the final challenge of the narrative. Think of the resurrection stone, or the same cloak of invisibility given to Harry in the first year of school.

The Mentor, however, leads the Hero towards his goal, until the completion of the mission but can never face any test in his place. Even in the final difficulty, the greatest, the Mentor steps aside. The Hero learned everything he needed from the Mentor. Now he must be able to complete the Journey on his own.

This is why the relationship between these two is fundamental: one needs the other. Without the Mentor, the Hero would not be able to undertake the Journey. But without the Hero, the Mentor would not achieve his purpose or something that completes his life path.

In “Hercules” Disney animated film, the ancient hero trainer Philoctetes has the dream of educating a hero so strong that his image will be painted among the stars by the Gods and everyone will remember him “that’s Phil’s boy “. It is with this motivation that Hercules, the Hero of history, finding himself in the position of having to leave his Ordinary World to begin his Hero’s Journey, convinces him to train and instruct him.

The next phase: Crossing the First Threshold

In the stage of the “Crossing the first Threshold” the Mentor has instructed his Hero, giving him all the tools he needs and the Hero is ready to embark on the Journey. He then crosses the First Threshold.

It is the complete abandonment of the Ordinary World from which the Hero had begun to detach himself.

Thinking about Neo taking the red pill when he decides to discover the truth. It is the moment of decision and the first action that will lead the Hero to never go back. The challenges that await him are endless and unknown. But now, ready and supported by the Mentor, he cannot help but continue.

In the other stages, the Mentor will always be present but other characters will also intervene. I will explain them with the subsequent stages of the Journey in the next articles.

Develop the character of the Mentor thanks to a novel writing software like bibisco

As explained, the Mentor is one of the most important in the Hero’s Journey. It can be an older and more experienced character, a former hero, a friend or family member.

Character Archetypes Series: #3 Mentor - bibisco character's interview
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bibisco’s interview mode, helps you to understand how to create this important character, what characteristics and what structure to give him so as to guide your Hero on an exciting journey that will thrill your audience.

Conclusions

We become fond of the figure of the Mentor, almost as much as that of the Hero. It is thanks to this character that the Hero is able to face his Journey and trials, even the most complicated ones.

On the other hand, when we have to face a difficult choice, all of us look for our mentor. Be it a friend, a parent, a brother or sister, we seek advice from someone who has more experience than us or who has already faced the same choice. His closeness and his advice give us comfort, strength and make us feel less alone.

Because, as in every narrative and life story united we stand, divided we fall.

Character Archetypes Series: #2 Hero

Character Archetypes Series: #2 Hero

In this article of Character Archetypes Series, we talk about Hero.

The Hero is the first of the Characters Archetypes.

Joseph Campbell in his work The Hero with a Thousand Faces talks about it in depth. Campbell’s studies also directly involved Christopher Vogler, a consultant for the Disney screenplays, who in the late 90s wrote a book taking cues from Campbell’s archetypes and his Hero’s Journey also called Monomyth, developing a useful book for the analysis of films and written stories.

So, we see in so many narratives, literary and cinematographic, that the protagonist leaves his “comfort zone” to go to another place to face challenges and inner demons that will lead him to change forever, and then return to his own world, with a different awareness of himself.

Who is the Hero?

The Hero is almost always the protagonist of the narrative. The story and the Hero’s Journey are concentrated around him.

Character Archetypes Series: #2 Hero - Hero's journey.
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Illustration by Valentina Forni @cloudandcowfish

The figure of the Hero is presented in the first part, that of the Ordinary World.  Here we describe the context in which he spends his daily life, what are his bonds, his values.

However, the Hero also has a weakness, defined as “Fatal Flaw“, which can coincide with the affections or with the strong desire to change the condition of his current life.

It is a missing puzzle piece that intrigues him, which makes him stay awake at night like Neo in the Matrix, drawn to the feeling that the world he belongs to is different. Likewise, Harry Potter.

They both feel the lack of something unknown that does not allow them to feel complete.

He is a character with a strong desire, like Pinocchio who wants to grow, transform, and become a child.

You must give up the life you planned in order to have the life that is waiting for you.

JOSEPH CAMPBELL

Characteristics of the Hero 

The protagonist has characteristics in which the reader recognizes himself: he has contradictions and has defects that in their own way contribute to making him more attractive in the eyes of those who read his stories as well as making him more “real“. 

Thanks to this strong bond created between the Hero and the public, we want as much as the Hero himself for the Journey to end successfully.

During the story, the Hero grows, reflects, changes, and returns at the end of the Journey as a different Hero from the one who left, with a greater awareness of himself.

Another striking example is Mulan, the protagonist of the Disney cartoon. She’s a young girl who dishonors her family because she does not reflect the characteristics of the perfect woman and wife.

Mulan feels she does not belong to the context that surrounds her. Only when she decides, disguising herself as a man, to take her father’s place in battle, she finds herself and she honors her family.

How the Hero’s Journey begins 

In the second stage, the “Call to Adventure”, an event turns the “Ordinary World” upside down and the Hero understands what his goal is.

It is not obvious, however, that he immediately decides to follow his Journey.

Why should he put his life in danger or risk leaving what he has, what he knows well, for something unknown?

This step is called “Refusal of the Call”. It involves a triggering, dramatic event: the death of a loved one, for example, or the impossibility for the Hero to return to his previous life.

The protagonist lives the situation of the classic straw that breaks the camel’s back and is now able to make the decision to venture into the narrative by finding his own personal motivations.

This is the main difference between the “Call to Adventure” and the “Refusal of the Call”: in the first, his social world has been subverted and the motivation to undertake the Journey is external, while in the second phase the Hero finds an internal and personal motivation. 

The Hero’s Journey in films and books 

Many narratives, be they books or films, take the same path.

Let us take the movie “Star Wars” as an example. George Lucas, the director, admits that the script largely follows Campbell’s Hero’s Journey. 

Think about how the narration of the film begins. Luke Skywalker is a young man who lives in Tatooine, a desert planet of the Outer Rim. He works with his uncles in the fields. Even though he wishes to enroll in the academy, his uncle Owen does everything to keep him out. Here is his “Ordinary World”.

When the two droids, R2-D2 and C-3PO arrive, Luke’s world is turned upside down. This is the time for the “Call to Adventure”. But Luke will initially refuse to get involved, simply trying to retrieve his uncle’s droids and return home, restoring the “Ordinary World”.

The triggering event is the murder of his uncles and so the Hero’s Journey begins.

How does the Journey continue?

The first three phases belong almost exclusively to the Hero and his world.

These are moments in which the public begins to understand who the Hero is, what his characteristics are, and in which world he lives.

In the following stages, however, our Hero will meet other characters who will accompany him on his Journey.

We will talk about these and the other characters in the next articles.

Create your perfect Hero thanks to bibisco

In this article, we have described the initial stages of the Journey that a Hero must face and the characteristics that must belong to his character.

However, it is not so easy to think of structuring a protagonist with such an interesting character to capture the attention of the public from the very first moments.

Thanks to bibisco novel writing software everything will be much easier.

Character Archetypes Series: #2 Hero - bibisco character's interview
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bibisco character’s interview

You can use the interview mode to understand which structure and what behaviors to give to your Hero, thus creating a character that you will not forget!

Conclusion

The Hero is not an infallible character, he is much more human than what the term itself suggests.

Thanks to his flaws, his indecisions, his values ​​he manages to create a particular bond with his audience to the point of passionate and moved him in following the events of his Journey.

The beauty of this character is the evolution that characterizes the life of each of us.

Think about it, what moment of your life was your “Call to Adventure”?

Character Archetypes Series: #1 What is an archetype?

Character Archetypes Series: #1 What is an archetype?

An archetype, by definition, is the first example of something.

Carl Gustav Jung talked a lot about archetypes in the field of analytic psychology. He defined archetypes as the unconscious content of a group that replicates certain behaviors according to particular constants.

From these studies, Joseph Campbell, an American scholar of comparative mythology and history of religions, started to define the archetypes of a narrative. They are a canvas that guided every narration, albeit with different elements, protagonists, plot and historical periods.

His studies led to the publication in 1949 of the essay The hero of a thousand faces.

Campbell analyzed the structure of many myths and narratives in order to define an archetype, that is, a structure of elements, characters (called Character Archetypes) and events that are repeated in the course of the story.

According to his model, each narrative was composed of a pattern that was always the same, or rather an archetypal model, which he called “the Hero’s Journey”.

Character Archetypes: what and which are they?

We introduced the concept of Character Archetypes identified by Campbell in the narrative.

The definition of these figures is fundamental to create the characters of a story and is an essential prerequisite for the drafting of a text.

Many novice writers tend to focus all attention on the plot of the story, leaving aside the characterization of the characters which, however, is as fundamental as the narrative texture.

The archetypes are in fact models of behavior. They are models of the roles that the character must play and that represent the narrative functions in the story.

Each character has a different role and function within the narrative. And for each of them, their human nature must emerge, characterized by strengths, defects and contradictions. 

Different types of hero

We think of Ulysses, a tenacious mythological hero who sails for ten long years in the direction of home. But who lets himself be tempted by the pleasures of the flesh bewitched by the sorceress Circe.

Think of Alice, who in Wonderland follows the white rabbit in his lair, falling into the tunnel that leads her to Wonderland.

Or even to Harry Potter, who lives his internal duplicity by fighting the part of Lord Voldemort that is inherent in him.

These three characters are some typical examples of the figure of the Hero, although they represent diametrically opposed characters.

Characters and archetypes

In the most interesting stories, the characters evolve.

So the association between a character and an archetype is not necessarily fixed. There are characters that are born with a particular function and that in the course of history acquire another.

Because the engine of every story is the conflict of the characters and their evolution.

Campbell’s archetypes

Campbell defined eight Character Archetypes:

  1. Hero
  2. Mentor
  3. Ally
  4. Herald
  5. Shapeshifter
  6. Shadow
  7. Guardian
  8. Trickster

In the articles that follow in the coming weeks, I will describe them carefully, one by one.

The phases of “The Hero’s Journey”

Character Archetypes Series: #1 What is an archetype? - Hero's journey.
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Illustration by Valentina Forni @cloudandcowfish

While there are eight Character Archetypes, the Hero’s journey consists of twelve distinct phases.

The call to adventure signifies that destiny has summoned the hero.

JOSEPH CAMPBELL

The ordinary world

Let us start with the first phase, the “Ordinary World”.

The hero leaves one world to begin his journey and enters a second world.

Although it’s the starting point and the one that the protagonist leaves after a short time, the Ordinary World is anything but marginal.

It’s the element that reinforces the story. It makes the reader grow fond of it because it gives the protagonist a reason to complete the journey and return to his habits, his world, or his loved ones.

The “Call to Adventure” is the second stop. Here the objective of the Hero’s journey is established and coincides with the moment in which something happens that starts the rest of the narrative.

The other two phases are connected to each other: the “Refusal of the Call” and the “Meeting with the Mentor”.

Without the Hero who refuses the action and initially shun their duty, there would be no meeting with the Mentor, the one who guides the protagonist during the journey with his wisdom.

The First Threshold

When the Hero finally accepts the challenge, we find “Crossing the First Threshold” and it’s the point of no return.

The story now begins and we only look forward to what will happen during the journey.

In the area of ​​“Tests, Allies, and Enemies”, the Hero faces the first challenges, meets Allies, Enemies and you understand the parts of all the characters. Who is on the good side and who is on the bad side.

The Second Threshold

The second threshold is the “Approach to Inmost Cave”.

This is the most dangerous part of the Journey and of the story. It’s when internal struggles of a team happen. It’s the moment in which the Hero understands something more about himself. 

We then move on to the “Supreme Ordeal”, the most critical and hard part of the test in which the Hero risks his own life.

If he passes it, the Hero goes directly to the next phase, “Reward”, in which reaches his reward or its goal.

Then, we set out for the return “The Road back”, where we see a different Hero from the one who left, who has learned a lot from himself and from the journey. 

The Third Threshold

The third threshold, the last one, is the “Resurrection” which could also be called the litmus test.

It’s the moment in which the Hero proves to have really changed.

Where even the reader recognizes himself in the awareness of the Hero until the final phase, “Return with Elixir”. In this phase, the Hero return to his world, from which he started and that concludes the story.

Develop your characters with innovative novel planning software such as bibisco

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As explained, archetypes are fixed and predefined patterns of behavior that recur in narratives.

The characters, however, are the “mobile” element of the story. They made up of conflicts, uncertainties, mistakes and which evolve over the course of history.

This is what makes a story interesting.

With bibisco, you can easily define the role and behavior of your character thanks to the interview mode.

Character Archetypes Series: #1 What is an archetype? - bibisco character's interview
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bibisco character’s interview

Conclusions

This article opens a long series of eight other articles about the Character Archetypes.

A question may arise: how is it possible that the narratives are so different from each other if they have the same structure as the archetypes and stages of the Hero’s Journey?

What makes the difference is obviously the context of the narrative itself, as well as the part that is defined for each character.

The nature of each character changes during the story, making them more real and thrilling for the reader.

Some characters amaze us because, in the end, they turn out to be friends like Professor Snape, who turns out to be the one who always looked after Harry Potter, or traitors, like Gollum in The Lord of the Rings.

So, in addition to the plot, it’s the characters that make the difference in the narrative, and in this bibisco helps you to perfectly build the personality of the protagonists of your next story.