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Thread: What Happen's after the Hero's or You saved the world now what?

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    Question What Happen's after the Hero's or You saved the world now what?

    "Humans write to figure out how things are." - Varric Tethras, Dragon Age Inquistion. Party banter.


    Recently I bought a copy of "The Anatomy of Story: 22 Steps to Becoming a Master Storyteller", I haven't finished it do to my reading backlog, I'm slow to finish none fiction. I'm glad that I bought it because something in those early pages blew my mind. The fact that so many stories are tales of maturation, even stories that aren't obvious coming of age stories.

    The Hero or Heroine begins their respective journey as figurative or literally children possessing traits associated with being immaturity and or weakness, and through the events of the story are molded into an adult by then of the story.

    This revelation was mind blowing because it answered one question that had bugged me for years.

    "Why does the story end right when the Hero has gotten their stuff together and is ready to do battle with Godlings?"

    I can't be the only person who's had that question buzzing around in their skulls?

    The answer is that the story was about the transformation of a weak and immature individual into a strong productive adult. All the trials and tribulations through out the story were there to facilitate the transformation of the hero. Thus once a Hero has come into their power the story ends, because the story was about the rise to power/maturity not what to do now that you've attained those qualities?


    In essence many stories,especially among the most beloved are about "becoming" rather than "doing". The Star Wars Original Trilogy for example.

    The Prequel Trilogy was about a Villain Becoming or the Villain's Journey.

    I've yet to see a version of it that I'd consider definitive, however This is the first one that I'd stumbled across.


    The Hero's Journey is about growing up...so what happens afterwards? What's the story about navigating the world of power and adult responsibility, what happens after the evil Overlord has been beaten?


    Have the steps of a Post Hero's Journey ever been mapped out?

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  3. #2
    Moderator Steerpike's Avatar
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    Eve Forward's book Villains By Necessity takes place after the evil lord has been beaten. That's pretty much where it starts. Not exactly following up on the themes you're talking about, but interesting.
    All cat stories start with this statement: "My mother, who was the first cat, told me this...”

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    Moderator skip.knox's Avatar
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    The challenge there would be to continue the theme of change. If the hero has become who he's meant to become, then he has reached stasis. The next story would have to be about further change--a fall from grace, apotheosis to godhood, ... hm, that's about all I can come up with.

    While the first could be interesting, it almost requires a series; otherwise, we'd not be invested enough in the hero to have sympathy with the fall. And, of course, we'd need a third book which restored the hero to hero status, in which case we'd be back where we started at the end of book one.

    I see the theoretical interest, but I'm not sure it will translate into real story.
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    Senior Member Demesnedenoir's Avatar
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    To say every change story is a bildungsroman inside of a hero's journey to interpret in some respect or another is a tad loose with definition if you ask me. You can run with that if you like, upto you. I would also say that stories end where the story ends... so to speak. Star Wars 4 ends with the destruction of the Death Star, the established goal of the story... 5 does not end, but spins into 6, why? Because the goal wasn't met. 6 ends because the goal is met, the Empire is broken with the death of the emperor and Vader. The maturation of the character, as such, is taking place inside of a greater structure.

    In more literary works, the bildungsroman may be the story, but in typical hero's journey style the growth is specific to effecting a specific story ending goal, so the story ends. In EP4 Luke destroys the Death Star but Vader spins out of control into space, still alive, not only leaving a big bad guy alive, but foreshadowing Luke's need to continue to grow in order to face his father and defeat him and the Empire. This sort of "yes, but" ending is a great hook to spin into another cycle of growth.

    To sequal this sort of story is interesting. The character can go on another journey of growth (but not necessarily a bildungsroman IMO) which may or may not place them in a menotr style role, a new character takes on the journey of growth, or they can become James Bond or generic Super Man type character who doesn't really change any more. That's 5am off the top thinking, anyhow. The trouble with option 3 is that if you've got a successful first installment (still using Star Wars) then suddenly switching to an unchanging hero figure is probably going to be off to the audience's sensibilities. If Luke were just ready to go after Vader day one post Death Star, matured into Vader slaying James "Luke" Bond, fans aren't going to be very happy with that story.

    Again, Luke... in 6 we see a very similar setup to 4, a death star needs destroying, but it isn't Luke going after it because he has matured beyond that storyline. It's no longer about accepting the Force, it's about his overcoming his daddy issues. The big new death star has become a prop, a symbol, not a goal, the war was won by killing the top bad guys. Which in part is probably why the destruction of the new death star falls far more flat than in the original... aside from redundancy.
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    Senior Member Demesnedenoir's Avatar
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    Interestingly enough, breaking down the Kung Fu Panda movies would probably give an idea of one way to sequal a typical Hero's Journey structure.
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    Senior Member Russ's Avatar
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    Personally after I save the world I like to have a cold beer.

    In the traditional hero's journey many suggest that there is a another part after saving the world where the hero returns home to either set things back in order, or to irrevocably change the order of things. Sometimes the hero is so changed he cannot go home.

    I think there is a lot of thought given and discussion around the area of what happens with the hero after he saves the world.
    “Tomorrow is the most important thing in life. Comes into us at midnight very clean. It's perfect when it arrives and it puts itself in our hands. It hopes we've learned something from yesterday.”- John Wayne

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    Aside from the above mentioned apotheosis and fall from grace, there's another possibility. After the hero completes his own journey, he could become a mentor figure. After all now that he's (probably) the most powerful good dude around, he's more or less stepped into the position that his own mentor once occupied, which is now probably empty due to narrative conventions. He can fulfill that role in someone else's journey, but this time we see how it plays out from the mentor's point of view. Instead of the challenges of growing up, we see all the challenges associated with parenthood. The circle is complete. Another possibility is that during his original journey, the hero made a mistake or took a shortcut that he didn't see the immediate consequences of, but those consequences show up later in a big way and he has to deal with it. It's not quite as thematically poetic, but still makes for a good sequel.
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    Junior Member Insolent Lad's Avatar
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    The advantage of having interesting secondary characters or a sidekick is that one can turn to their stories after the hero retires. I prefer to let him/her have a well-deserved rest, maybe give a little advice at most or be remembered by those who carry on. Moreover, we know that hero by then and there may not be much more of interest to say about him.

  11. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by skip.knox View Post
    The challenge there would be to continue the theme of change. If the hero has become who he's meant to become, then he has reached stasis. The next story would have to be about further change--a fall from grace, apotheosis to godhood, ... hm, that's about all I can come up with.

    While the first could be interesting, it almost requires a series; otherwise, we'd not be invested enough in the hero to have sympathy with the fall. And, of course, we'd need a third book which restored the hero to hero status, in which case we'd be back where we started at the end of book one.

    I see the theoretical interest, but I'm not sure it will translate into real story.
    @ skip.knox

    Since I'm not interest in failure stories at the moment that leaves me looking into the "apotheosis to godhood", as the model of what does the Hero do after they've won? Do you know of any write up on the steps of the Ascension plot?



    Quote Originally Posted by Demesnedenoir View Post
    To say every change story is a bildungsroman inside of a hero's journey to interpret in some respect or another is a tad loose with definition if you ask me. You can run with that if you like, upto you. I would also say that stories end where the story ends... so to speak. Star Wars 4 ends with the destruction of the Death Star, the established goal of the story... 5 does not end, but spins into 6, why? Because the goal wasn't met. 6 ends because the goal is met, the Empire is broken with the death of the emperor and Vader. The maturation of the character, as such, is taking place inside of a greater structure.

    In more literary works, the bildungsroman may be the story, but in typical hero's journey style the growth is specific to effecting a specific story ending goal, so the story ends. In EP4 Luke destroys the Death Star but Vader spins out of control into space, still alive, not only leaving a big bad guy alive, but foreshadowing Luke's need to continue to grow in order to face his father and defeat him and the Empire. This sort of "yes, but" ending is a great hook to spin into another cycle of growth.

    To sequal this sort of story is interesting. The character can go on another journey of growth (but not necessarily a bildungsroman IMO) which may or may not place them in a menotr style role, a new character takes on the journey of growth, or they can become James Bond or generic Super Man type character who doesn't really change any more. That's 5am off the top thinking, anyhow. The trouble with option 3 is that if you've got a successful first installment (still using Star Wars) then suddenly switching to an unchanging hero figure is probably going to be off to the audience's sensibilities. If Luke were just ready to go after Vader day one post Death Star, matured into Vader slaying James "Luke" Bond, fans aren't going to be very happy with that story.

    Again, Luke... in 6 we see a very similar setup to 4, a death star needs destroying, but it isn't Luke going after it because he has matured beyond that storyline. It's no longer about accepting the Force, it's about his overcoming his daddy issues. The big new death star has become a prop, a symbol, not a goal, the war was won by killing the top bad guys. Which in part is probably why the destruction of the new death star falls far more flat than in the original... aside from redundancy.



    @ Demesnedenoir

    Well not power strictly, stories of transformation that are about maturation in some form or fashion deal with moving from a figurative childlike state to adulthood. When viewed over the course of the OT Luke does indeed follow the Hero's journey to a T, with each of the three episodes containing steps of the Hero's Journey.

    I do agree with you.
    The Hero either has start again after a fall, change again, or the story centers around an already settled character - which concerned with the character doing rather than being.

    Which leads me to the question what is the story path for a hero doing?

    Quote Originally Posted by Russ View Post
    Personally after I save the world I like to have a cold beer.

    In the traditional hero's journey many suggest that there is a another part after saving the world where the hero returns home to either set things back in order, or to irrevocably change the order of things. Sometimes the hero is so changed he cannot go home.

    I think there is a lot of thought given and discussion around the area of what happens with the hero after he saves the world.

    @ Russ

    That's what I'm looking for, the next journey.
    Information on the Hero's Journey is easy to find, so far I've seen nothing on that next tale.
    The only films that I recall dealing with a post hero's journey are the last two Matrix films;a criticism I've heard of them is that Neo shouldn't have mastered his powers by the end of the first film,and that he had nowhere to go.

    Neo did have someplace to go it just wasn't the Hero's Journey because he'd already finished it in the first film; he was on the path to ascension.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mindfire View Post
    Aside from the above mentioned apotheosis and fall from grace, there's another possibility. After the hero completes his own journey, he could become a mentor figure. After all now that he's (probably) the most powerful good dude around, he's more or less stepped into the position that his own mentor once occupied, which is now probably empty due to narrative conventions. He can fulfill that role in someone else's journey, but this time we see how it plays out from the mentor's point of view. Instead of the challenges of growing up, we see all the challenges associated with parenthood. The circle is complete. Another possibility is that during his original journey, the hero made a mistake or took a shortcut that he didn't see the immediate consequences of, but those consequences show up later in a big way and he has to deal with it. It's not quite as thematically poetic, but still makes for a good sequel.
    @ Mindfire

    Has someone done a Mentor' s Journey write up?


    Quote Originally Posted by Insolent Lad View Post
    The advantage of having interesting secondary characters or a sidekick is that one can turn to their stories after the hero retires. I prefer to let him/her have a well-deserved rest, maybe give a little advice at most or be remembered by those who carry on. Moreover, we know that hero by then and there may not be much more of interest to say about him.
    @ Insolent Lad

    The potential lack of interest in a hero "doing" verses a "becoming", is in part because we've grown so accustom to stories of growth and transformation, that we complain and criticize when they don't happen. A story about dealing with the burdens of power and responsibility could be very entertaining.

    The closest book to the post Hero's Journey that I ever read was the second Mistborn novel.

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    Senior Member Malik's Avatar
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    My series actually starts ten years after the hoariest of fantasy cliches: a young man from Earth discovers he's a long-lost prince and the son of a sorcerer in another world, and then travels there and uses his new-found magic and modern knowledge to win back his father's throne. (I still have that story; I'll eventually release it as a prequel once I've made it suck a lot less.)

    Ten years on, though, a neighboring kingdom is losing its mind because they've discovered that the ultra-powerful sorcerer-king next door is -- from their perspective -- a demon conjured from another world. A third kingdom has also figured this out, and is allying with the demon, because they know a winner when they see one. The series begins when one of the neighboring realms launches a mission to Earth to find advisers to help them figure this guy out and, if necessary, counter him.

    So, yeah. What's the line? "Every new beginning comes from some other beginning's end."

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