Whose journey is it? (Of journeys and come-uppances)
- "Do all good stories revolve around a journey of some kind?" a friend
asked me. "If so, do both the hero and heroine have to grow along the
So that was the question on my mind yesterday, when I meant to blog,
but couldn't resist watching Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets -
-again-- last night. My favorite scene is the demonstration duel,
where Gilderoy is so busy posing that he gets legally zapped by
At least, I'm pretty sure Severus Snape is simply quick on the spell-
casting draw, in neat dramatic contrast to Draco Malfoy, who cheats.
Why do I like that scene? I find it immensely gratifying when a
poser gets their come-uppance! Don't we all? One of the most
enduring themes in literature is hubris: the dramatic downfall of
someone who gets too big for their boots.
As for journeys, I think --as long as the journey could be a literal
journey, or a metaphorical one-- the answer might be Yes...
especially if the story includes the rise and fall of someone
I suspect that we'd all love to announce, "Your High-and-Mightiness,
you are in deep shit!" but in real life, we probably wouldn't dare
say that to a boss or world leader.
(One of my characters says it --and lives-- in Insufficient Mating
There's another popular literary tradition that it isn't healthy to
be the bearer of bad news... as was demonstrated on a documentary
yesterday morning about Great Intelligence Blunders.
Yes. I watched too much television yesterday.
The most powerful example of a story based on a journey might be Lord
Of The Rings. Does anyone not know that the Ringbearers travel from
The Shire to Mordor in order to destroy the Ring and save the world?
The Odyssey would be another example of a long and difficult journey.
Both are sagas, not romances, although Odysseus's travels are
prolonged and complicated by various powerful and dangerous sexual
Metaphorical journeys might have the hero or heroine move from Moral
Point A to Moral Point B; or from Unmarried and Innocent (or not) to
the presumptive Happy Ever After.
Usually, when I write, I am more interested in one of the two
protagonists. I don't have a problem with one of them doing the
lion's share of the growing, or changing, or traveling.... or
Sometimes, I don't have a problem using a really good cliche, either.
I wish you all an interesting week.