The Hero's Quest: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe

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Jane Swanton Wills Honors English 10 17 Apr. 2013 The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe

“All stories consist of a few common structural elements found universally in myths, fairy tales, dreams and movies” stated screenwriter Christopher Volger (“The Writers Journey”). The traditional hero quest plotline is seen anywhere from old Greek myths to the blockbuster films of today. All hero quests have the same set of steps; some are harder to define then others. The steps of the hero quest include; the call, the threshold, the descent, trials and ordeals, the abyss, transformation, atonement and finally the return. The call is the first step in a traditional hero quest. The Call invites the Initiate into the adventure (Thompson and Harris). Before the call the Initiate has no intention of being called to something bigger. The Initiate may feel that something is missing in life, and during the call the Initiate may refuse it; eventually to revoke that decision and go to the world of adventure (Thompson and Harris). The threshold is the point when the Initiate leaves the known to enter the unknown. It is the “jumping off point” between everyday life and adventure (Thompson and Harris). The Initiate may go unwillingly or willingly to adventure. This is also the step where the Initiate may inherit or find a mentor. The descent is not literally descending into something, but going deeper and deeper into the unknown (Thompson and Harris). The danger becomes clear to the Initiate, but the Initiate decides to go on. The next step, trials and ordeals, take up most of the hero quest. These are a series of battles, cliff hangers, and obstacles that are in the Initiates way; that force the Initiate to grow physically and mentally (Thompson and Harris). The next set of steps, the abyss, transformation and atonement are sometimes hard to pick out in the plotline. The abyss is where the Initiate must face or fight the greatest fear or enemy. It is the do or die moment. The transformation deals with after the abyss, when the Initiate finishes the abyss and transforms and is reborn as the hero (Thompson and Harris). The atonement brings the Initiate to peace, and the missing piece in the call has been filled. It is not Swanton 2

normally an event, but in the mind or heart. The hero may or may not feel happy with the outcome. The last step is the most difficult for the new hero (Thompson and Harris). This is where the hero must return to everyday life, and bring the peace the Initiate feels to the real world. The traditional hero quest is seen in numerous ancient folklores, to the headlining movies of today; all of them contain the same essential steps. Even in classic myths, the hero quest is clear to see. In the ancient myth of Theseus and the Minotaur, the hero quest is seen within Theseus; the myths Initiate. The Minotaur was the child of Pasiphae, wife of King Minos; the king of Crete. Queen Pasiphae slept with a bull sent by Zeus, and gave birth to the Minotaur; half man, half bull (“Myth of Theseus”). King Minos was embarrassed by this, but did not want to kill the Minotaur, so he hid the monster in the Labyrinth built by Daedalus. Later King Minos’ son was killed by the same bull that had impregnated his mother at the Panathenaic Games in Athens (“Myth of Theseus”). Enraged, Minos demanded that every seven years King Aegeus of Athens send seven men and women to the Minotaur to be eaten. The third year...
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