Carmen. 20. Nerdy College Kid. Georgia. My interests vary, but the most prominent things on my blog are Doctor Who, Homestuck, Avatar: the Last Airbender, Harry Potter, My Little Pony, Attack on Titan, and Free!
I basically like everything (ノ゜ω゜)ノ
also for the sake of not having an overly cluttered blog I have an anime tumblog set to the side
The Glasswinged Butterfly.
The pretty creature, who is a native of Mexico and South America, does not lack the tissues that make up a full wing, but rather the coloured scales that other butterflies have.
- My Brother: Is it illegal to expose yourself to a blind person?
- My Brother: Why is it called a building when it's already built?
- My Brother: If money doesn't grow on trees, why do banks have branches?
- My Brother: When something is shipped by ship it's called cargo, but when something is shipped by car it's called a shipment...
- My Brother: If love is blind, then why is lingerie so popular?
- My Brother: Why is impediment so hard to say when used to describe someone who has a hard time talking?
- My Brother: What's the speed of dark?
- Me: -awake forever trying to figure out all the answers-
I’ve been thinking about the Hero’s and Heroine’s Journeys recently, in large part because Book 2 of Legend of Korra is one of the most glorious examples of the latter I can think of, and I’ve come to a bit of a realization:
Because the structural foundation of each pattern is so vague, the story’s own structure is a terrible way to determine whether it follows either pattern.
It’s entirely possible for the same story to fit both patterns well enough to argue that’s what it was based on. Let’s look at Book 2 and see how that works out.
The Hero’s Journey: Book 2
- Ordinary World: This could either be Air Temple Island, the Southern Water Tribe, or both. Either way, we start with Korra in peacetime, living her life as normally as she can.
- Call to Adventure: Korra is called to seek out spiritual knowledge, first by Tenzin and then by Unalaq’s warning about spirit attacks.
- Refusal of the Call: Korra is unsure what to do. She does not want to follow Tenzin on his extended Air Temple vacation, but initially she doesn’t want to break ties to follow Unalaq either.
- Meeting the Mentor: Unalaq saves the festival by purifying a spirit, and Korra decides to follow him.
- Crossing the First Threshold: Unalaq brings Korra to the South Pole to open a spirit portal, and she does so, removing the boundaries between the worlds of spirits and humanity.
- Tests, Allies, Enemies: Over the course of the next three episodes, Korra struggles to figure out who’s on her side and who isn’t, setting herself first against her father and Varrick, and then taking their side against Unalaq. Eventually she travels north to seek allies, first in Republic City and then in the Fire Nation.
- Approach to the Inmost Cave: After being attacked by a spirit, Korra is brought to a temple to heal.
- Supreme Ordeal: Korra must fight for her life by reconnecting to her deepest Avatar memories and finding Raava.
- Reward (Seizing the Sword): Korra awakens with a new resolve and understanding of what must be done. She is now able to purify spirits.
- The Road Back: Korra must return to the South Pole to close the spirit portals. Unfortunately, Unalaq expected this and all his plans come to fruition. He destroys Raava, and it seems all is lost.
- Resurrection: Korra finally awakens her inner spirit and is “reborn” as Cosmic Korra.
- Return with the Elixir: Korra uses her new power to save the world, then reconnects with Raava and returns to the South Pole as a fully-realized Avatar.
That seems pretty clear-cut, doesn’t it? Here’s the thing, though… the Heroine’s Journey pattern is just as accurate!
The Heroine’s Journey: Book 2
- The Illusion of a Perfect World: Korra believes that her role as the Avatar is everything she has ever wanted, and is willing to go along with the limitations that come with that even though she is frustrated with the way Tenzin treats her. (Note: The Illusion of a Perfect World is much stronger in Book 1 — there’s a good argument to be made that the Heroine’s Journey arc of LoK spans both books, with an illusory death/support/rebirth at the end of Book 1 that’s really more of another descent/eye of the storm. However, Korra still has some illusions about the compound, so Book 2 can be analyzed as a stand-alone arc too)
- Betrayal or Recognition or Realization: Unalaq tells Korra that her father and Tenzin were responsible for her being raised in a compound. She decides she needs to break free from their control.
- Awakening and Preparing for the Journey: Korra takes Unalaq, her father, and her friends on her initial journey to the South Pole. Her Avatar abilities, however, are her most valuable tool.
- The Descent: This stage happens multiple times throughout Book 2, to the point that the descent/eye of the storm pattern is the closest thing to “village of the day” that the show has. (This is, in fact, a normal thing in Heroines’ Journeys) All of Korra’s allies and tools fail her — Unalaq proves himself to be an enemy, her father must be left behind in the South (and he and his rebels end up being unable to help even when she returns), her friends are left behind in her first major task of opening the southern portal and then left behind again or lost in Republic City due to her pursuit of other allies, Raiko is unwilling to support her, she never makes it to the Fire Nation to ask for military support, Tenzin can’t go into the Spirit World, Jinora is kidnapped, Varrick’s battleship and airplane prove useless, and Mako and Bolin are unable to stop Unalaq.
- The Eye of the Storm: With each failure, however, Korra is able to pick herself back up and move on, recognizing that she can survive without whatever she lost.
- Death/All is Lost: Finally, however, Unalaq rips Raava out of Korra and kills the Avatar Spirit herself. Korra is no longer the Avatar, and it looks like the world is doomed to 10,000 years of darkness. All is lost, until…
- Support: Tenzin reminds Korra that her strength doesn’t come from Raava, but her own inner spirit.
- The Rebirth and the Moment of Truth: Korra finally connects to her own spiritual self and is reborn as Cosmic Korra.
- Full Circle/Return to Perfect World: Once the world is saved, Korra reconnects with Raava and becomes the Avatar once again. This time, however, she realizes that there’s more to her than that and is able to accept her role as a major part of her rather than as the only thing important about her.
Basically, the relative length of each step vary depending on which form you’re trying to fit Book 2 into, but there aren’t any steps missing from either of them. The patterns themselves are generic enough that it can fit into both without having to force it too much.
And, this is where I’m going to start coming up with a theory of my own — the patterns themselves are largely irrelevant, and what really matters is the story’s orientation.
The traditional Hero’s Journey is oriented externally, upward and outward. The hero starts out as a defenseless blank slate who refuses the call and must rise to meet his destined role, expanding his sense of self by gaining allies and finding success through growth. Since it’s not inherently gendered, let’s call it the Yang Pattern.
The Heroine’s Journey, on the other hand, is oriented internally, downward and inward. The heroine starts out heavily defended and believing herself to have already met her destined role, and has that illusion stripped from her to such a degree that she answers the call of her own free will. Her illusory sense of self is thoroughly deconstructed as she loses allies and is repeatedly broken down by failure, until nothing remains but her true self. Instead of external success, she finds internal understanding, which can then be used to change the world around her. Essentially, it’s a Yin Pattern.
Book 2, then, might fit either structure equally well, but it’s clearly a Yin Pattern story, in contrast to Aang’s Yang Pattern story in A:tLA. And that, I think, is both a neat way to balance the Avatar franchise and the reason why the two series garner such different reactions from the fanbase. Yin Pattern stories are not all that common in the western world… the fanbase might simply not know what to do with them!
i laughed so hard at the “i don’t know” and “something is wrong”
the twilight one is like abstract poetry
If you read it all together it’s like the most awkward, tense conversation ever.
"My name is Katniss Everdeen," I sighed. Nothing happened.
"I don’t know," he sighed.
Harry looked around, I shake my head and shrugged.
Harry stared. “I am seventeen years old.”
I frowned and he waited.
"My home is District 12."
Harry chuckled and said nothing. Now I wish I had.
I laughed. We looked at each other. I swallowed hard. He shrugged. Harry blinked and hesitates. I flinched.
He looked around. “I’m not really surprised.”
I took a deep breath, something he didn’t have last time. “Something is wrong.”
He didn’t answer. He stood up.