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”.

Character Archetypes Series: #5 Herald - Hero's journey - 
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Illustration by Valentina Forni @cloudandcowfish

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.

Character Archetypes Series: #5 Herald - bibisco interview mode
bibisco blog | useful resources by your novel writing software
bibisco interview mode

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


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.

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