Last time in our discussion of the Hero’s Journey we looked at The Helper.
Today we will examine the danger of Crossing the Threshold.
The point of no return.
Once this line is crossed the hero has only two options: Succeed or Die. The danger gets exponentially higher making option two seem more likely and option one less attainable. But make no mistake, there is a clear distinction now for the hero. His/Her eyes have finally opened, and he/she is not in Kansas anymore, Toto.
A good example of this is seen in The Matrix.
Neo gets unceremoniuosly pulled from his day job into a trail of mystery leading him to his infamous meeting with Morpheus. Here, he is offered a choice: red or blue. Blue lets him go back to his boring office job (World of Commn Day) while red leads to truth and the “real world”. (or is it just real world?)
Obviously, we know what he chooses. (Or do we? Seriously, it can get too confusing if you really think about it.)
Anyway, the point is that he made the choice and, therefore, Crossed the Threshold.
Now, don’t expect the hero to leave this world easily. Standing between the threshold and the hero most often is a Threshold Guardian.
The Threshold Guardian
This character’s job is simple- keep the hero from crossing the threshold by killing him/her. And usually, this villain is an expendable, one-time use bad guy.
For example, look no further than Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning Thief.
As Percy tries to make it to Camp Half-Blood, he is pursued by a Minotaur who wants nothing more than to kill him.
He is forced to battle his way past this mythological creature before he can gain entrance into his world of adventure. Lucky for him, and us, he wins. Otherwise there would be no story.
And once this line has been crossed we celebrate our hero for the accomplishment, but fear for the worst as we know that the danger only grows from here.
We will discuss that growing danger next time when we study The Road of Trials!
Peace and Long Reads