The Hero’s Journey: Departure Part 4: Meeting with the Mentor
The mentor represents a wise figure whose purposes include protecting, teaching, testing, guiding, and training the hero. In meeting with the mentor, he provides the hero with something he needs to take on the Hero’s Journey, sometimes multiple times. In meeting with the mentor, the hero gains the knowledge, confidence, and supplies that he needs in order to start the adventure.
Meeting with the Mentor
There are a lot of stories that tell of the relationship between the hero and the mentor. Mentor’s hold a vital force during the key moments of the hero’s story.
Sources of Wisdom
In some cases, there may not be a specific character playing the role of the mentor. If this is the case, the hero almost always needs to find some source of wisdom before he takes on the adventure. This may involve the hero finding wisdom within himself, or they may simply consult a map of the adventure. Either way, your hero will (or should) want to know exactly what he’s taking on.
Avoiding the Cliched Mentor
The mentor archetype is a character that the audience will be extremely familiar with. The mentor appears in dozens upon dozens of stories. For this reason, it’s very easy to let your mentor become cliche, or fall into a stereotype. So, defy the typical archetype. Don’t allow your mentor to become a fairy godmother, or an old man in a pointy hat. Make your mentor completely out of the norm, or do without him altogether and see what happens.
Conflict Between Hero and Mentor
If the hero is ungrateful, or prone to violence, the relationship between the hero and the mentor can take a turn for the worst. Other times, the mentor becomes the villain and betrays the hero. If utilized correctly, this can be an interesting turning point in the story.
The mentor has a strong influence on the hero’s decisions, if only for a short time. Sometimes, the mentor only has a passing influence, but this influence is critical to get the hero moving and undertaking the journey ahead of him. Whether presented as a character, or not, this archetype is critical to get the story moving.
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