Sunday, July 31, 2011

What Do Heroes Mean to You?

The stories I tend to love best are those that center around a good hero journey. I think the widespread Harry Potter love of the past decade shows that this story structure continues to be powerful and meaningful to us both as individuals and as a society. Fascinating, because the hero journey is as old as the first literature we have access, and now, thousands of years later, it's still such a powerful storytelling paradigm.

These especially were meaningful to me as a kid: Luke Skywalker, Willow, and John Conner from Terminator (especially T2).

Outline of the classic hero journey structure:
  • Destiny chooses a young child who grows up NOT knowing they are special.
  • When the hero reaches a certain age, circumstances bring this slowly to their awareness, and they get to chose to answer the call to be a hero or not.
  • Often they reject this call for awhile (ex. whiny Luke Skywalker),
  • but eventually the hero comes around,
  • faces tremendous and impossible trials,
  • and saves the world (or the galaxy!)
What hero stories have been meaningful to or left a lasting impression on you? Why do you think we continue to find this a meaningful story?


Heather Anastasiu is the author of GLITCH (St. Martin's Press/Spring 2012) Glitch in three words: Dystopia, Superpowers, & Love :) Check out my website for more info, news, and updates.


  1. LOVE the hero's journey. Thanks for putting it out here!

  2. Not a young child, but Neo in the Matrix. The first time I saw the movie, it was in German and I thought Keanu Reeves sounded so smart!