While Bo certainly is a hero of Lost Girl, how do her triumphs and travails follow the Hero’s Journey? We use symbols and narrative archetypes to examine Bo’s adventures over the course of the series.
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- What was with all the elevators in Season 5? In particular, elevators were closely associated with the Ancients: elevator in Tartarus, the Ancients crashed an elevator to claim their vessels, and the elevator in the Ancients apartment building.
- Earlier this season, they referred to Fae who “ascend,” thereby gaining god-like status. (Musashi)
- Sadly, elevators have not been used like they are on Grey’s Anatomy, i.e. places for lots of surreptitious making out.
- In dreams, ascending elevators often symbolize progress in a person’s life, such as ascending to power or status with relative ease. Descending elevators symbolize setbacks and feelings of powerlessness. Out of control elevators not surprisingly represent chaos.
- Elevators are also liminal spaces, meaning places of transition. In anthropology, liminality is the ambiguity and/or disorientation of being in the middle of a ritual. The person no longer has their pre-ritual status but has yet to attain their post-ritual status. Rites of passage are good examples of rituals with liminality — “no longer a girl but not yet a woman.”
- Elevators are also symbolic axis mundi, or world axis. In several religions or philosophies, there is this concept of an axis mundi that connects a lower realm with an upper realm through which communication may flow. For example, in Norse Mythology Yggdrasil is a tree that runs through all nine worlds, and a little squirrel runs up and down the tree fueling a feud between an eagle and a dragon who live near different parts of the tree. The ring Trick gives Kenzi is the Ring of Yggdrasil, and it allows her to move freely from the human and Fae worlds.
The Hero’s Journey
- Axis mundi plays an important part in the hero’s journey. It is the vehicle by which the hero moves between the ordinary world and the special world, and it often involved in the hero’s call to adventure (the beanstalk for Jack, the tornado for Dorothy).
- Bo’s journey begins in an elevator in “It’s a Fae, Fae, Fae, Fae World” when she saves Kenzi from that yucky predator, which leads Dyson and Hale to her and draws her into the Fae world.
Stages of the Hero’s Journey
- THE ORDINARY WORLD. The hero, uneasy, uncomfortable or unaware, is introduced sympathetically so the audience can identify with the situation or dilemma. The hero is shown against a background of environment, heredity, and personal history. Some kind of polarity in the hero’s life is pulling in different directions and causing stress.
- THE CALL TO ADVENTURE. Something shakes up the situation, either from external pressures or from something rising up from deep within, so the hero must face the beginnings of change.
- REFUSAL OF THE CALL. The hero feels the fear of the unknown and tries to turn away from the adventure, however briefly. Alternately, another character may express the uncertainty and danger ahead.
- MEETING WITH THE MENTOR. The hero comes across a seasoned traveler of the worlds who gives him or her training, equipment, or advice that will help on the journey. Or the hero reaches within to a source of courage and wisdom.
- CROSSING THE THRESHOLD. At the end of Act One, the hero commits to leaving the Ordinary World and entering a new region or condition with unfamiliar rules and values.
- TESTS, ALLIES AND ENEMIES. The hero is tested and sorts out allegiances in the Special World.
- APPROACH. The hero and newfound allies prepare for the major challenge in the Special world.
How has/has Bo completed these stages?
- THE ORDEAL. Near the middle of the story, the hero enters a central space in the Special World and confronts death or faces his or her greatest fear. Out of the moment of death comes a new life.
- THE REWARD. The hero takes possession of the treasure won by facing death. There may be celebration, but there is also danger of losing the treasure again.
- THE ROAD BACK. About three-fourths of the way through the story, the hero is driven to complete the adventure, leaving the Special World to be sure the treasure is brought home. Often a chase scene signals the urgency and danger of the mission.
- THE RESURRECTION. At the climax, the hero is severely tested once more on the threshold of home. He or she is purified by a last sacrifice, another moment of death and rebirth, but on a higher and more complete level. By the hero’s action, the polarities that were in conflict at the beginning are finally resolved.
- RETURN WITH THE ELIXIR. The hero returns home or continues the journey, bearing some element of the treasure that has the power to transform the world as the hero has been transformed.
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