Joseph Campbell’s: The Hero’s Journey

An image representing The Hero’s Journey

The Hero’s Journey is one of the most commonly used story structures, even if people don’t realise it. Written about in his book, The Hero with a Thousand Faces, Joseph Campbell outlines how most archetypal heroes use the same story, but with different characters. Popular works of fiction that The Hero’s Journey applies to are; The Lord of the Rings, Spider-man (2002), Harry Potter, Star wars, and many more.

In today’s blog, I’ll be explaining how The Hero’s Journey is shown in “The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess” and which each point means. First, I want to outline the two worlds. The ‘Ordinary world’ symbolises the state the character is in when they feel “Normal.” This is when their everyday life isn’t changed radically by the story. The ‘Special world’ is where the bulk of the story takes place. The character is out of their comfort zone, they may not leave where they live, but their day to day activities are changed radically.

Part 1: The Ordinary world. The start of the story is in the ordinary world, this time is used to set up who the character is, what setting they live in, and maybe to start the threads of the story. This is how the character lives their everyday life, nothing new or especially exciting. In The Legend Of Zelda: Twilight Princess. This is where Link, the protagonist of the game, is living on Ordon Village. We see his everyday life, helping townsfolk, Living with friends, and spending time with the love interest of the game Ilia.

From this point, the game becomes more interesting. Part 2: The Call to Adventure. The protagonist of the story is required to take action. This can be through orders, a message, a villain, or their own will that they get this call. For Link, this call is when he is knocked out by Bokoblins, a race of Orc or Goblin like creatures. The Bokoblins kidnap Link’s friends and love interest. He tries to follow his friends. But he encounters a wall of Twilight, a border into the twilight realm.

Link is then pulled through by an evil arm, starting part 3: Refusal of the Call. this is where the Hero first denies the call, they feel they are too weak, they’re not important or special, they think they’re not the hero. Continuing Link’s story, once pulled into the twilight realm, He undergoes a physical transformation, turning into a wolf. He then passes out and wakes up in a prison cell. Unable to go and help his friends.

That is until he meets the mentor, part 4 of the story. The Mentor is normally some kind of teacher, role model, friend, or spirit. They inspire the hero and guides them on their quest. In Link’s case, this is Midna, a small imp-like creature of twilight . Midna shares similar goals with Link. Link, Although reluctant and not getting on well with Midna, accepts her help and escapes the cell.

From this point, the hero can truly cross the threshold, Part 5, from the normal world into the special world. They can’t turn back from here. They have their goal in sight, and now they need to achieve it. Teaming up with Midna and moving past the bars of the jail cell and starting his journey is were Link crosses the threshold.

The next section makes up a majority of the game. Part 6: Tests, Allies, and Enemies. These are the various quests the characters embark on, the friends they make along the way, and the enemies that the hero has to face. For Link, this was saving his friends, Collecting Fused Shadows, Assembling the Mirror of Twilight. he fought many different enemies, made new friends, and overcome many tasks. Although Link had saved his friends, they still weren’t safe. The Antagonist of the game who we had seen so far was only a puppet for a greater threat. One that just took a position of power in the world.

This leads into part 7: Approach to the innermost cave. This is the Hero heading towards their final fight. They get ready with all their tools and skills and prepare, heading into the final fight. For Link, This is the Final dungeon. Heading into Hyrule Castle to face his greatest foe, Gannondorf.

Part 8: The Ordeal. This isn’t always the climax of the story, it’s this point where all routes have led to, and where they will change forever going forwards. For Link, this is his final fight with Gannondorf. Everything has led to this moment of the fated fight.

Part 9: The Reward. The hero has saved the day, and they got what they originally set out to do. They can reap the fruits of their labour. For Link, He has saved his friends from all harm, As well as the rest of the kingdom of Hyrule.

The road back is part 10. Everything is becoming normal again, and the story is wrapping up. The hero doesn’t need to do any more fighting. For Link, this is shown by him visiting the friends he made during the quest. The friends from his village still haven’t returned home just yet though.

Resurrection is part 11. The character is shown to be Reborn in some way, normally spiritually. For Link, this is his final conversation with Midna. the resurrection is shown with Midna, Now the curse on her is gone, She changes from her Imp Form, to her True form as ruler of the Twilight Realm. And during this conversation, Both Link and Midna are sad to be parting. A massive change from when the two first met and reluctantly got along.

Finally, Part 12: Return with the Elixir. The Elixir can be anything the hero set out to get, Medusa’s head, Excalibur, or a love interest. After saying his farewell to Midna, Link returns to Ordon Village with his friends and love interest. Everyone is safe from danger and can go on living their every day life.

And that is the Hero’s Journey. A long twelve part story. The great thing about storytelling, is there’s no right or wrong answer. I wanted to keep this blog post fairly brief, you can go into a lot more detail on each of these points in the story. But really, it’s best for an aspiring author to work out what each one means for themselves. The Hero’s Journey isn’t a solid method you have to follow. but it’s a great way to structure the story. It forces the writer to focus on the character and their development. To me, That is one of the most important parts of the story. In a future post, I’m going over the 2002 Spider-man film and reviewing how it fits with the 12 act structure. However, I may change this for Spider-man: Into The Spider-verse. The best way to learn what all these points truly mean, is to work it out for yourself. I’d recommend looking at Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s stone, or Star Wars: A New Hope. If you also want to check out either 2002 Spider-man or Spider-verse, then you can compare your thoughts to what I write down too.

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