Sunday, February 17, 2013

The Two Mr. Hero's Journeys, First Half

EDIT: This used to be a ridiculously long post so I cut it in half and made things less crazy. And added pictures. So here is Ordinary World through Tests, Allies, and Enemies.

It's here! It's here!

Last time we we talked about the nine elements for basics. The five for external, the four for internal.

Now, onto the the twelve steps that are paired with the emotional/internal Hero's Journey.

1. Ordinary World

External: This is the normal setting, the current situation of the hero.

This is where we learn what the protag looks like, where (the government, etc.) he lives, what he does.

Internal: Something's missing (the Want) and the hero knows it's missing. It's his goal to get it.

We're also introduced to the Flaw. This is what the hero doesn't know is missing. It's what's keeping him from the Want.


In The Dark Knight, after the whole robbery scene, Batman kicks butt and saves some "helpers" (read: copycats.) He's got a lot of things to get through, cleaning up Gotham as one does when one is the Batman.


The Want: He wants to clean up Gotham.

The Flaw? He takes on everything. Copycats, dogs, mob, Scarecrow. He has no limits. (Alfred says "Know your limits" later on. It's the way the movie makes sure you know the internal problem for sure.)

Like in a movie, The Ordinary World is your opening image.

2. Call to Adventure

External: The problem introduces itself. The Goal from The Nines, Part One.

This is the real ride. The hero has his problems; his normal isn't perfect, but this is the line for the roller coaster.

Internal: The hero knows this will change everything. The hero's unsettled already.


Batman investigates that bank robbery from the beginning of the movie. A crazy man is on the loose. (We already know what The Joker's capable of because of the robbery.) And the Batman has a vague idea too.

3. Refusal of the Call

External/Internal: declining the invitation. Remember the hero's already got his hands full with his own goals and problems.

(Just because the hero has his own problems doesn't mean he can't say 'yes.' Someone else can say no for him. (Example in MG/YA: could be parents.))


Batman, right in the bank, tells Gordon and company that he has bigger problems (like the mob) than to chase one creepy bank robber.

4. Meeting the Mentor

External: Interacting with the mentor, the person who knows about the journey and who *could* (doesn't mean will) help and give advice when the hero needs it.

(The mentor could be unhelpful and not wise at all.)

Is what Albert should have said.

Internal: The hero is encouraged to commit to the journey. Whether because the mentor encourages him or discourages him. (In the latter case, the hero's out to prove the mentor wrong.)


Alfred, throughout TDK, always has something to say. At the house, while Bruce cleans up, Alfred tells Bruce to know his limits. (Later in the movie, he tells a story of a criminal who is just like The Joker. God, I love the writers of The Dark Knight!)

5. Crossing the First Threshold

External/Internal: This is the inciting incident. This launches the journey into motion. This is when the roller coaster starts moving up the tracks.

The hero's committed to reaching the goal, solving the problem, or taking the opportunity.


Batman commits when The Joker crashes Harvey Dent's fundraiser and asks for Dent and endangers Rachel.

If you remember, the Dent fundraiser was Wayne's way of helping clean up Gotham so he can be with Rachel. The character is busy with their own life and their personal goal up until right now. This conflict has become the most pressing reason the hero can't achieve his personal goal.

But this isn't a one-time problem. This has to be a series of incidents, preferably getting more difficult with each  struggle.

6. Tests, Allies, Enemies

External: New people, new experiences, clashing with the antagonist and/or villain.

Internal: The hero's disoriented. This is all new. There are things he has to learn. He fails a lot. He's vulnerable but there's something about him he didn't know existed. (The signs of Essence/the side of him that has the Need.)


New gadgets and tactics and stories for Batman. Too many to list but these are try-and-fail fights with The Joker too.

Obviously, these clashes escalate to the greatest danger. Can't have a peak with no build-up.

Edit: Second part is here!

It had to happen.