Wednesday, August 17, 2011

HJ4W 12 Return with the Elixir

Writing Wednesday - The Hero's Journey for Writers

After all the excitement of the Final Battle and the hero's transcendent victory, the final stage of the hero's journey, in which he Returns with the Elixir, may feel like an obligatory dénouement.

Kim Hudson* describes the return as follows:
"The hero has thwarted the impending threat to the village. The village is now safe, the wrong has been righted, order has been restored, or the source of evil has been removed. The hero Returns with the Elixir, which secures the future safety of the village."
In many stories, the return is a cause for celebration and/or a wedding--something to show that balance and peace have been restored.

You may be tempted to dismiss it as a bit of a formality. In fact, many movies end with the dawning of a new day (either figuratively or literally) after the antagonist has been defeated, confident that the audience understands that everything will be well now.

But there's an important dimension to the return that you mustn't overlook: it is the proof of the hero's transformation.

Take, for example, the hobbits' return to the Shire after all their adventures across Middle Earth and in the final War of the Ring. Instead of the furtive four who barely made it to Bree and Strider's protection, Frodo, Sam, Merry, and Pippin (along with the hobbits who rally round the heros) are more than a match for the ruffians who had taken over their homes.

And what about you, as a writer?

How has the journey transformed you?

What will you do with your hard-won power and knowledge?

* Kim Hudson, The Virgin's Promise

Image: Simon Howden /

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