ACT I: Departure1. Call to Adventure
This is the hook. Your main character experiences an event that forces her to make a change in her daily life. For example, Harry Potter receives a letter from Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.
2. Refusal of the Call
The hero should resist the change at first. Who can resist when Harry Potter says, “I’m not a wizard. I’m just Harry.”
3. Meeting the Mentor
Hero stories always have someone who shows the way. It could be the character that represents purity or balance. Harry Potter meets Dumbledore through Hagrid’s eyes.
4. Crossing the Threshold to the Special World
This is the Trigger or start of the Adventure. This is also the point where the hero leaves the ordinary world and travels somewhere never seen before. Harry Potter first experiences magic when they travel to the Leaky Cauldron Pub and Diagon Alley.
5. The Belly of the Whale
The hero explores her new world. Harry first enters Hogwarts.
ACT II: Initiation6. The Road of Trials
The hero experiences crisis and struggle. For Harry, both Draco Malfoy and Severus Snape have it out for him. The mountain troll Harry and his friends face on Halloween is the perfect example of a hero’s challenge.
7. The Meeting with the Goddess
Campbell thinks the hero must interact with the purity/balance character. For Harry, this event occurs when he has a conversation with Dumbledore about not visiting the Mirror of Erised.
8. Woman as Temptress
Unfortunately, Campbell saw all women as villains (or maybe it was the ancient Greeks who felt this way). I interpret this part of the journey as increased conflict and suspense through a a greater crisis and struggle. In Harry’s case it would be his first face-to-face encounter with Voldemort in the Forbidden Forrest..
9. Atonement with the Father
This is Campbell’s Epiphany, or the point at which the hero realizes she must be the one to save the day. Firenze, the centaur, helps Harry understand Voldemort’s plan to be restored with the Sorcerer’s Stone.
10. Apotheosis This is where the hero develops a plan to win the final battle (acting on the Epiphany). Harry and friends decide to get past Fluffy, the three-headed dog, and retrieve the stone before Voldemort can find it.
11. Reward, Seizing the Sword This is the Climax. Harry faces Voldemort, beats him and takes the stone.
ACT III: Return12. Refusal of the Return
Campbell thinks the hero resists all change, even going home. In Harry’s case, he’d rather stay at Hogwart’s year round.
13. The Magic Flight
Something drives the hero to return home. From Harry’s perspective, he’s forced to return to the Dursley’s because Dumbledore insists. We find out later that the protection spell his mother cast only works as long as he spends part of the year living with a blood relative, that is, his Aunt Petunia.
14. Rescue from Without
A final assist from the mentor proves to the hero that the mentor is no longer needed. In the movie, Hagrid reminds Harry that the Dursley’s aren’t aware that he is forbidden to use magic at home, which gives him some leverage over his bullying cousin, Dudley.
15. Crossing the Return Threshold
The hero is hailed by his family and friends. Harry says goodbye to Ron, Hermione and Hagrid.
16. Master of Two Worlds
The hero has changed as a result of her adventure but is still a part of her original world. Harry has more confidence now that he has seen his own potential.
17. Return with Elixir
This is the happy ending. Harry knows he’ll be back in the magical world in two months.
Joseph Campbell believed that this process of success and self-discovery was cyclical throughout a hero’s life. In Harry Potter’s case, he goes through the cycle six more times before completely destroying Voldemort.
Christopher Vogler has a more modern take on the Hero’s Journey. I’ll review his theory in my next blog post. I hope this gives you an idea of how to develop your own hero or heroine.
Don’t forget to check out my trilogy, The Queen of the Night series at http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=series_rw_dp_labf?_encoding=UTF8&field-collection=The%20Queen%20of%20the%20Night%20Series&url=search-alias%3Ddigital-text/.