MEETING THE MENTOR: The hero is encouraged by the wise old man or woman. By this time, many stories will have introduced a Merlin-like character as the hero’s mentor. The mentor can only go so far with the hero, but may give him a magical gift – a sword, a potion or even knowledge. But the hero must soon face the unknown by himself. Often the Mentor gives the hero a swift kick in the pants to get things going.
- The Hobbit: Gandalf.
- Star Wars: Obi-Wan Kenobi.
- Cinderella: Fairy Godmother.
- Homer’s Odyssey: Athena/Mentor
- Many Greek legends: Chiron (Sagittarius)
This mentor will often die later in the story (spoilers!), sacrificing himself for the young hero. This symbolises the older generation giving way to the new – just as our parents and elders give up their lives to raise us. It also gives the young in general, and the hero in particular, an example: he must risk all to save people, since others have died for him. The hero’s parents are often dead, and the Mentor a survival from their time – old friends of the family, uncles, fellow warriors … It is also a good way for ‘backstory’ to come out – for the storyteller to explain, through the Mentor, a little of how we came to this point.