The Hero’s Journey Part 6 – Tests, Allies, Enemies

Now that our hero has crossed the first threshold, he has fully entered the other world.

Set the Ground Rules

This is the other world.  We need to very quickly show the differences between the ordinary world our hero has left and the special world he has entered.  There will be new rules here, new emotional experiences.  How the hero interacts with the world, and how it interacts with him, will be different.  The tone and voice used might differ.  This place will be more difficult for the hero, failure will carry more dire consequences.

Trials and Tribulations

Stories in general are about conflict.  The myth structure usually revolves around a quest.  Quests are never easy.  The hero finds himself tested, often thwarted, until he learns new lessons and overcomes.  Just as in crossing the first threshold, in this stage there will be other tasks to complete, more threshold guardians to defeat.  These tests will contribute to the hero’s growth for the ultimate battle that will need to be waged at the climax of the story.

Allies

During the hero’s trials, he may find help in the form of allies.  It can be one of the hero’s tests to find out who can be trusted in this new world.  While allies could be those who travel with the hero, it could also be characters that the hero helps along the way who repay him later on.  If your goal is to build a team around the hero, this would be the place to do it.

A special subclass of ally is the sidekick.  The sidekick is usually far more devoted to the hero and will follow him through most, if not all, of the quest.  The sidekick can act as a foil for the hero, providing comic relief, a voice of conscience, they could even fill the role of mentor if your initial mentor character has parted ways with the hero.  The best sidekicks are the ones that are given a character as deep and meaningful as the hero’s.  Remember too, there needs to be a plausible reason that this person would choose to follow the hero.  After all, the hero does not walk an easy road.

Enemies

The hero has stormed a foreign domain.  Often these domains are controlled by a powerful person that is not going to welcome the hero’s meddling.  It is very easy at this stage for the hero to develop enemies.  These could be the main antagonist, the antagonist’s minions, or other types of threshold guardians.  Consider a situation where the hero must defend his life.  In order to survive, he slays his opponent.  What if that opponent has a brother, sister, mother, or father?  This person has now become the enemy of the hero.

The hero might also encounter rivals.  These are people that aren’t interested in destroying or killing the hero, they are merely in competition with the hero for a common goal.  For instance, Jacob and Edward in Twilight both have commendable qualities and though there is bitterness between them due to competition over Bella, they still unite for the common good.

This stage could form the bulk of your narrative.  This is the ground for numerous conflicts, the building of relationships, both good and bad, and for the hero to grow.  Soon the hero will need all the skills, allies and courage he can muster as he faces his greatest challenge ahead.

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