Published: April 17th, 2014
History repeats itself like a song. The verses may vary, but the melody is always the same.
The eastern empire of Aukasia has a new leader, a man who means to bring war to all the land. Yet, even in all his bloody ambition, he does not realize that he is but the puppet of a greater evil.
Only the Kalyra - The Children of the Crystal Star - can stand against what's coming. Only they can protect the world of Valcoria from the mad hatred of the fallen god, Aedar.
A new verse of the song has begun. The last verse...
"Jason King weaves powerful stories that grip the reader to the last word with a perfect blend of amazement, fear, love, and destiny..." ~James Wymore, author of Theocracide and The Actuator
Why the Hero's Mentor Has to Die
By Jason King, author of Valcoria Children of the Crystal Star, published by Curiosity Quills Press
Obi Wan Kenobi, Dumbledore, Brom, Kelsier, and Gandalf. What do these fictional characters have in common? Well, they were all mentors to great heroes, but also each of them did not live to see their protégé’s win the day (well Gandalf cheated and came back to life). So why does a hero’s senex have to die? Do they have to die? What would happen if they didn’t die or leave the hero to finish their work? I believe the answer to this question is yes; the mentor must die (or leave) in order for the hero to rise to his or her full potential. Why? Well, let’s look at a real-world example:
Meet Stevie. Stevie is a twenty-five year-old, single male who lives in his parent’s basement. He has a part time job at the local burger-joint, but doesn’t pay rent, buy groceries, or worry about dependents. The only way Stevie will see the need to go to college, save money, or get a full time job is if he is forced out of his moocher’s paradise. In short, Stevie’s parents have to kick him out in order for him to develop the necessary ambition to go anywhere in life. He needs a reason to grow up, and that reason comes in the form of a life-altering catastrophe. You get the point.
When a hero embarks on his journey, he or she is usually weak, vulnerable, and always inexperienced. Consequently, they need protection, training, and an education. They need someone to give them a reason to fight, a reason that is driven home by the sacrifice of their mentor. Think about it. How much more motivated did Luke Skywalker become in fighting the Empire when Ben Kenobi was reduced to a pile of robes by Darth Vader? He didn’t really start growing up until everything Obi Wan taught him about the evil of their enemies was illustrated in his being slain by those very villains. Therefore, the mentor capstones all of his preaching and moral instruction with an object lesson, one that says “this is what you’re fighting and this is how important it is that you fight it.”
But how does the death of the mentor make the hero stronger? Aside from galvanizing the hero into determined action, the absence of the mentor exposes the hero to the full threat of his enemies. Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows is an excellent example of this. With Dumbledore gone, there is no longer anyone standing between Harry and Voldemort. His survival, and that of his friends, depends entirely on the choices Harry makes. He now has to use everything Dumbledore taught him in order to defeat Voldemort. Like the resistance of weight-training, the facing of death and danger without anyone to shield the hero forces them to stretch, draw on all of his or her resources, forge their own alliances, and ultimately grow stronger. Without this, the hero would never rise to the challenge of changing the world.
So the next time someone says, Dumbledore shouldn't have had to die, you can answer: if he didn't, Harry would've never saved the world.
About the author:
Jason King is the author of Valcoria, Lure of Fools, and Thomas Destiny. Other books attributed to him are an error.
Jason King wishes he was raised on a desert planet by his aunt and uncle and watched over by a mysterious old recluse, but his life is much duller than that. He supposes that’s why he started making up stories. Born in Salt Lake City Utah, Jason grew up on a steady diet of anime, science fiction, Dungeons and Dragons, JRPG’s, and chocolate cake donuts. He pretended not to be a nerd just long enough to get married and start a family. And although dismayed by the revelation that Jason was a geek, his wife stuck with him and they are now the proud parents of four beautiful children. Jason holds a bachelor’s degree in I.T. Management and is currently the Internet Marketing Manager for a local bookstore chain, but he is determined to one day quit his “9 to 5” and write full-time. Jason has two indie books; “Valcoria Children of the Crystal Star” and “Thomas Destiny,” but “The Lure of Fools” is his first published novel.