Words of Genius From the Master

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The Hero’s Journey- The Supreme Ordeal

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Intellectual Credit Joseph Campbell

Last time we delved into the Belly of the Whale, today it’s all about the Supreme Ordeal.

The Supreme Ordeal

This is the seminal moment in the story. This is where it all comes together. The moment we’ve all been waiting for. This is the moment the protagonist finally takes on the mantel of the hero and has his/her standoff with the main antagonist.

There are four ways in which this occurs:

1. Sacred Marriage

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This type of ordeal can sometimes be named the the “Goddess Meeting”  but this is more of a misnomer. The idea is that the protagonist needs help from the opposite sex. If the hero is a boy he needs a girl’s help, and vice-versa. There could be an actual meeting with a goddess, or this help can come from the female character using her powers to join with the male character’s, or she could simply save the hero from certain doom. Either way, the significance is found in the protagonist needing the opposite sex. A number of examples include Trinity and Neo, Frodo and Galadriel, or Luke and Leia.

2. Father Atonement

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This is where the hero must defeat his father as the main antagonist. Often, it is a reconnecting for the two of them. For a classic case, just think of Luke and Darth Vader. (Or Buzz and Zurg, if you’re a kid at heart.)

3. Apotheosis

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The apotheosis is where the hero must finally become a full master of his powers in order to defeat the enemy. Sometimes he doesn’t become a master, but discovers his powers in victory. Either way, think of it as becoming godlike. A great example is Neo. Once he accepts his true identity as “the one” he can do anything.

4. Elixir Theft

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This is the hero confronting his arch-enemy and in defeat of him, steals a prize possession. Sometimes the hero kills his enemy, sometimes he lets him live, but the focus should be on a stolen item. Classic case: Bilbo Baggins and Smaug.

At the conclusion of this stage we should see a quick unravelling of the story as we speed through our last two stages beginning with, Flight.

Until then,
Peace and Long Reads

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