Tag: guardian

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.

Character Archetypes Series: #8 Guardian - Hero's journey - 
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Illustration by Valentina Forni @cloudandcowfish

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!

Character Archetypes Series: #8 Guardian - bibisco interview mode
bibisco blog | useful resources by your novel writing software
bibisco interview mode

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.