Thursday, November 12, 2009

Going Down?

Hello, NaNos. One of the common themes in classical literature is the "hero's" journey into the underworld. Odysseus had to do it. So did Orpheus (and we all know how well that turned out). Most Harry Potter books (all of them?) involved our intrepid young wizard in the Forbidden Forest at one point or another. The underworld is usually a place of learning or trials, a place for your MC to meet a mentor or gain wisdom, an important stop on the journey to solving his/her/its "big problem". It doesn't even have to be underground (um, Forbidden Forest, anyone?)

Take your protagonist on a trip to the dark side. He/she/it will emerge stronger, wiser, and/or ready to slay the dragon. (unless, like Orpheus, he/she/it doesn't listen to directions and crosses the streams--er, that's from Ghostbusters)

10 comments:

Jamie Eyberg said...

My fav hero's quest is Star Wars. Every classic element rolled into a tight little trilogy. (yes, i said trilogy).

Cate Gardner said...

Does anyone else go all dizzy looking at that picture? I love the story of Eurydice and Orpheus.

Barry Napier said...

I still think the best telling of the tale of Orpheus comes from the brilliant Mr. Nick Cave..."The Lyre of Orpheus"

K.C. Shaw said...

Diana Wynne Jones does a fascinating take on this theme in Deep Secret. I love that book.

Aaron Polson said...

Jamie - Star Wars is the prototype, isn't it. Trilogy, yes. I'm with you. What prequels?

Cate - Can you imagine going down without the rail?

Barry - I love that double-album.

K.C. - Sounds interesting...secrets are always fun.

Danielle Ferries said...

Fantastic photo.

katey said...

Weird that you bring that up, as I've been messing around with the idea of re-writing Orpheus as a modern-day OCD indie-band kid for months now. Zeitgeist!

Or something.

Hero quest is the best, though. An objective, motivation, everything you need to keep your interest. Nothing will ever top The Hobbit for me, man. Except maybe Lord of the Rings, on a good day.

Aaron Polson said...

Danielle - Does make you feel a bit off-kilter, doesn't it?

Katey - I like it. Orpheus is full of awesome.

Danielle Ferries said...

A sensation of wanting to fall forward.

Natalie L. Sin said...

Aww, the hero in that picture gets a handrail?? Lucky protagonist ; )