Mythic Hero Story Structure

Any reference materials that don't fit in Images or Links.

Mythic Hero Story Structure

The Furox
Elite Class Racer
The Furox
Elite Class Racer
Joined: Mar 29 2005, 07:18 PM

Apr 27 2005, 12:45 AM #1

Introduction

I think there are some interesting things we can talk about regarding the story structure in Dragon Booster. This is a really long posting because this is a topic that really interests me, so I tend to want to talk at length about it. I have no idea if anyone feels like reading this but I had fun writing it if nothing else. I tend to think a few people will think me crazy for writing all this (or perhaps just more crazy than you originally thought) but to me it's worth the effort to see if anyone else likes this stuff. If not, then that's OK too. Just as some people enjoy writing fan fiction, I enjoy writing this kind of stuff.

I've divided this into sections and posted them separately to make it easy to skip ahead to the next section if you want. And since I realize not everyone is going to want to read all this, let me cut to the chase and make my main observation up front (there's more on this main point at the very end in case you don't want to read all the stuff in the middle):

When I first discovered Dragon Booster, I pretty much assumed it would be just another episodic cartoon where each week the good guys would simply defeat the bad guy's evil plan. But as we all now know, there appears to be larger story arc forming. At this point in time, I've seen all the season 1 episodes and have had some time to think about it and the thing that strikes me is that the overall structure of the story appears to be following the beginning stages of the structure for the classic mythic hero adventure. In particular, season 1 looks sort of like act 1 (give or take) in a 3 act story. Coincidentally, a press release I read from The Story Hat said that 39 episodes had been ordered. Since each season is 13 episodes, that's the right number of episodes to divide each season into one act. Could we be so lucky that they actually intend to tell a complete three act story across the 39 episodes with a real conclusion at the end? Whether that happens or not, I think it's fun to look at the story structure of the show in more detail.

I'm sure people are aware that I tend to go on and on about story points, so let me start by saying why I like this topic. I became interested in this a long time ago when I started to wonder why certain stories were "good" and why certain movies were more popular than others. For example, why is Star Wars the phenomenon it is? Not having any writing background or knowing anyone who did, I didn't get very far with this question for a long time until Disney's Gargoyles came out in the mid-90's. As now, I was able to locate other fans online to discuss the show and was fortunate enough to meet someone who was able to point me in the right direction (a person I'm still friends with 10 years later). In particular, I was pointed at two books that anyone interested in story structure or writing should get: "The Writer's Journey : Mythic Structure for Writers" by Christopher Vogler and "The Hero with a Thousand Faces" by Joseph Campbell. (Both books are cheap and available on amazon.com.) Basically, Vogler's book a simpler, more condensed version of Campbell's book. It's an easier read and is a better way to be introduced to the topic than reading Campbell's book first, which is a bit dry. If you only have time to read one of these, read Vogler's. If you read both, read Vogler's first then Campbell's.

If you've ever wondered like me what makes a good story good, then I can't recommend these books highly enough. For someone like me who has no creative writing experience nor much skill in that area, it was like being handed the Rosetta Stone. If this topic interests you, then read on because I'm going to give an overview of the subject and how it applies to Dragon Booster. If you've already read these books or have taken a writing class that covered this or are just skilled enough to have figured this out on your own, then you can always skip down to the next posting where I talk about the overall story arc of the show. Also, let me make it clear that I don't claim to be an expert on this subject by any means. This is just my best interpretation of what I've read and observed.
Quote
Like
Share

The Furox
Elite Class Racer
The Furox
Elite Class Racer
Joined: Mar 29 2005, 07:18 PM

Apr 27 2005, 12:46 AM #2

Mythic Hero Story Structure

The basic structure of a mythic hero adventure can be broken into several common stages. Vogler uses 12 stages. Campbell uses a few more. It doesn't really much matter as this isn't supposed to be taken as a strict formula for writing stories. It's just a framework for understanding and discussion. I'm going to go with Vogler's stages because it's more concise and to the point. The way this works is that the story begins at stage 1 and progresses forward through the stages, concluding at stage 12. Here are the common stages to mythic hero stories:

1. Ordinary World
2. Call to Adventure
3. Refusal of the Call
4. Meeting the Mentor
5. Crossing the First Threshold
6. Tests, Allies, Enemies
7. Approach to the Inmost Cave
8. Supreme Ordeal
9. Reward (Seizing the Sword)
10. The Road Back
11. Resurrection
12. Return with the Elixir


This list will no doubt look odd if you've never encountered it before, but it describes the various stages of a mythic hero story goes through from beginning to end. To illustrate what these mean, I'll use two examples: the original 1977 Star Wars movie (the one now called episode 4) and the most recent episode of Dragon Booster "The Lost Track of Doom." Both follow this classic structure to a high degree.

Stage 1 shows us (the audience) the ordinary life and Ordinary World the hero starts in. In Star Wars, it's Luke on the moisture farm with his aunt and uncle. In "Track of Doom" it's the gang toasting marshmallows, having fun, hearing stories from Mortis and the beginning of the marathon race. Seeing the ordinary, frequently mundane life of the hero gives the audience something to contrast the rest of the adventure with and can also help the audience identify with the hero.

Shortly after the beginning of the story, the hero(s) will be summoned with the Call to Adventure where they will be asked (in one form or another) to take on the challenge of the rest of the adventure. In Star Wars, the Call is the recorded message from Princess Leia R2D2 is carrying and Obi-Wan's request for Luke to come with him to Alderan. In "Track of Doom" the Call begins when Cain suddenly appears and warns them of the orange dragons ahead and continues with Moordryd's cry for help. The main point here is that the Call to Adventure interrupts the Ordinary World.

The hero(s) will almost always initially Refuse the Call or be reluctant to accept it. Luke refuses Ben's request saying he has to stay on the farm. Lance wants to heed Cain's warning and turn back and stay in the Ordinary World and avoid the adventure that may lie ahead. It's worth pointing out that every stage doesn't need to be in every story. In "Raiders of the Lost Ark" Indy never refuses the Call, for example. But one way or the other, the hero will eventually accept the call. Luke accepts the Call when he finds his aunt and uncle have been killed by the Empire. Artha accepts the Call when he chooses to rescue Moordryd and is plunged further into the adventure as a result.

I think you get the idea by now, so I won't go through them all in quite so much detail. Note that the writer is free to combine the stages at will. In "Track of Doom" the short sequence at the end of act 1 from the point when the gang encounters Cain to the point where they drop off the track into the hands of the Prophets represent stages 2, 3, 5 and 6 with stage 4 having already occurred at the beginning. As Vogler continuously points out in his book, the framework isn't to be taken as a strict formula.

It's worth talking a bit about stage 8, the Supreme Ordeal. Despite its name, this is not the climax of the story which actually comes in stages 10 and 11. The Supreme Ordeal instead occurs in act 2. In Star Wars, the Supreme Ordeal is getting out of the Death Star alive with the princess. The hero will generally face death and narrowly escape at this stage as Luke does in the trash compactor scene. In "Track of Doom" the Supreme Ordeal is the test of the Track of Doom itself with everyone, and Parmon in particular, nearly being killed.

For surviving the Supreme Ordeal, the hero obtains a Reward. In older stories, the hero frequently obtains a magical sword, amulet or whatever that will help him/her complete the quest, which is why this stage is called Seizing the Sword. In Star Wars, the Reward from the Supreme Ordeal is Princess Leia herself. She knows the location of the secret rebel base and what to do with the plans R2 is carrying. However, the Reward in stage 9 doesn't necessarily have to be a physical item. It can also be knowledge or experience. In "Track of Doom" the heroes don't gain a physical reward for completing the track, but the experience of working together as a team and the wisdom of sticking together and not abandoning each other. They become stronger as a result. In any event, the Reward should be a key to resolving the rest of the story.

After the Supreme Ordeal, the heroes try to take the Road Back but the villain will be blocking the way or pursuing them. In Star Wars, Darth Vader pursues the heroes after having hidden a tracking device aboard their ship. In "Track of Doom" Propheci misjudges their completion of the Track of Doom and forces them into the pit. This leads to the climax of the story.

The conflict in the story is resolved when the hero is able to apply what he/she has learned during the story (typically using the Reward) during the Resurrection phase. This is typically a second life or death moment paralleling the Supreme Ordeal in some fashion. In Star Wars, the combination of the Reward, namely Princess Leia knowing what to do with the plans R2 had which located the vulnerable reactor vent port, coupled with Luke's new found knowledge of the Force enables him to make the key shot that destroys the Death Star. In "Track of Doom" the group of heroes stay together and Artha quite literally applies the advice from Mortis about becoming one with your dragon. Only through team effort are they able to survive and save Propheci, and it's saving Propheci's life that gets them out alive. This stage is called the Resurrection because the heroes are essentially reborn and can now return to their Ordinary World with the newfound knowledge, skills or whatever that they have gained during the story. In "Track of Doom" the gang returns to the race still in progress more willing to work together as a team than they were at the start.
Quote
Like
Share

The Furox
Elite Class Racer
The Furox
Elite Class Racer
Joined: Mar 29 2005, 07:18 PM

Apr 27 2005, 12:47 AM #3

Two Examples

If we look at the episodes we tend to favor like "Horn of Libris" we find that they more closely follow the stages, while episodes most of us tend to like less such as "All is Not Lost" don't follow the stages as clearly or are muddled. Let's look at these two:

In "Horn of Libris" life in the Ordinary World continues until the end of the race, at which point Khatah issues the Call to Adventure when he reveals to Artha that the horn isn't just a trophy. Artha then meets with Parm and Kitt who play the role of Mentors in this episode. This is another point from Vogler and Campbell in that characters can change roles at various stages. Parm advises that this is something that can't be ignored and Kitt knows the location of Moordryd's compound. Stages 5, 6 and 7 occur as they head to the compound. The Inmost Cave is Vogler's term for a place of power for the villain, which of course is Moordryd's compound in this story. The Supreme Ordeal in this story is getting into the compound to rescue/help Khatah and get out with him and the horn. The Reward for the Supreme Ordeal comes when Khatah acknowledges that heroes don't have to work alone and accepts Artha's help out of the jail cell. The Reward is wisdom in this case, plus they can now go for the physical Reward which is the horn itself. Just as they're about to complete it, Moordryd blocks the Road Back. He throws up a further challenge by summoning Libris. The Resurrection occurs when Artha convinces everyone to stop fighting and all contribute some energy to re-balance Libris. Stage 12 is completed with the wisdom gained (Khatah repeats that heroes don't have to work alone) plus they now have physical possession of the horn.

Contrast this with "All is Not Lost" where many of the stages are muddled, lost or not scripted clearly. The Call to Adventure is rather vague. Artha is caught in a trap, which is Call of sorts. The main Call to Adventure seems to go to Parm and Kitt when Mortis tells them about the Muhorta and they have to decide to act to help Artha. But they don't really do all that much in the story. The Call should go clearly to the hero who is going to be doing the main action. Stages 5-9 are all muddled in my opinion. There is literally a cave in the story that Artha and Beau hide out in, but it's not a place of power for the villain. The Supreme Ordeal that Artha and Beau have to face is basically just facing their fears of being alone and isolated from their friends. This comes off poorly since there's no reason for them to be so freaked out at this point in the overall story. The Ordeal isn't much of an ordeal since they're just alone for awhile in the cave without any immediate threats. It ends when Artha has a dream that reminds him that the original Dragon Booster was able to stop an entire war so surely he should be able to get out of his current situation. That realization is supposed to be the Reward, but it isn't much of anything significant and doesn't help Artha later in the story. Both Vogler and Campbell point out that the various stages can be journeys of the mind as opposed to physical journeys. So it would be valid to have a Supreme Ordeal take place in the hero's mind (inner turmoil, for example), but this still doesn't come off as much of anything in this particular story. I've noticed that a lot of stories that lack a solid Supreme Ordeal tend to feel weak overall.

A final note I'll make is that this story structure works in places other than standard mythic hero adventures. For example, most Star Trek episodes follow these stages. The story begins with the crew going about their routine duties in the Ordinary World, when the Call to Adventure comes in as a distress signal, the detection of a spatial anomaly or attack by an alien ship. The story then proceeds down the remaining stages from there. Even some love stories are structured according to these stages. I find it uncanny how frequently it shows up.
Quote
Like
Share

The Furox
Elite Class Racer
The Furox
Elite Class Racer
Joined: Mar 29 2005, 07:18 PM

Apr 27 2005, 12:48 AM #4

Why this Works

That's the basic structure of these types of stories. The question I started with above is why are stories that follow this structure generally deemed "good"? The reason is that this structure and the elements in it symbolize or are metaphors for universal life experiences that everyone must face in one form of another. If you take a major experience in your life and analyze it according to the structure above, you will probably find parallels. Take going to college. Before going to college, people live in the Ordinary World safely taken care of by their parents. The possibility of going to college is the Call to Adventure which is usually issued by parents or others when they ask if you've decided what you want to study or what career you want. Many will hesitate to accept the Call. People will met with guidance counselors and other people who advise what colleges to look at and how to proceed. Crossing the First Threshold is the first day on campus. There were several Supreme Ordeals involved in getting through difficult courses, all finally ending in stage 12 when the person receives their diploma. Similarly, every job change we face involves these stages as well with the Supreme Ordeal usually being the job interview itself. The decision to start a relationship, enter into marriage, have a child, and so on all have stages that follow the above sequence. Anyone that goes through any of these challenges and comes out the other side is a changed person in some form, thus the aptly named Resurrection stage near the end.

Of course, just following these stages doesn't guarantee that a story is automatically good. The writer still needs to come up with an interesting story to tell and find an interesting way to tell it. Using the stages helps get the story across since it presents the story in a framework that the audience has directly experienced themselves in one form or another. That was one of the key things I got out of the books.
Quote
Like
Share

The Furox
Elite Class Racer
The Furox
Elite Class Racer
Joined: Mar 29 2005, 07:18 PM

Apr 27 2005, 12:49 AM #5

So back to Dragon Booster and it's possible grand story arc:

If we take all the episodes in season 1 collectively as part of a larger story, we quickly find that stages 1-6 have occurred across these episodes. Stages 1-5 all occur in the first two episodes and all the remaining episodes form stage 6. More precisely, in episode 1 we see Artha as the ordinary teenager in the Ordinary World who wants nothing more than to write vid games. He receives the Call to Adventure from his father who tries to encourage him to go to the racing academy and to try riding Beau and be the hero. Artha Refuses both Calls. At the end of episode 1, Artha finally accepts the Call when he chooses to save Lance and ends up being chosen by Beau. In episode 2, Artha meets the Mentor who gives him the Dragon Booster armband. It is very typical for the Mentor to bestow a gift just as Obi-wan gives Luke the light saber. With the gifts and advice from the Mentor, Artha Crosses the First Threshold when his friends are in danger and uses the amulet for the first time. As Vogler describes it, this is where the hero fully commits to the adventure that is to come, along with all its problems and challenges. The remainder of episode 2 as well episodes 3-13 represent Tests, Allies and Enemies which I think is fairly self explanatory.

If the writers on this show really are taking us down this story structure, then at some point in season 2 we should see stages 7-9 though it's also possible they'll delay this until the beginning of season 3, in which case season 2 would be filled with more episodes representing stage 6. And if they really intend to conclude the story, stages 10-12 will happen at the very end of season 3.

I'm not really sure if this will happen and I'm certainly not going to hold my breath. But the fact that stages 1-6 have already occurred and the fact that a number of things have happened in this series that don't normally happen in the typical cartoon series leads me to want to keep my fingers crossed and hope.

So...

I have no idea if anyone is still reading at this point. But I had fun writing it even if I'm just talking to myself right now. If you're interested in this subject like me, there are a couple of ways to go from here. We could expand upon any of the points above, we could talk more about Vogler's book, we could take a few episodes and try to analyze them according to the story structure to see why they may have been "good" stories or not and maybe look for ways the stories could be made stronger, we could try to speculate what the Supreme Ordeal might be that could be coming up, or whatever. Just post a reply and let me know.
Quote
Like
Share

LightningFlash
Elite Class Racer
LightningFlash
Elite Class Racer
Joined: Mar 29 2005, 03:34 AM

Apr 27 2005, 01:10 AM #6

Nicely written and well thought out, I'm impressed. :)

I actually want to see how this applies to many things, other episodes, the OF (that will be interesting, as the end of the last season was far from triumphant from the Hero's POV, and the Supreme Ordeal seems to have just begun), my fanfics.

The Supreme Ordeal could (I wish) be the Dragon-Human war, as the prevention of it seems to fit as Tests, or something.
Quote
Like
Share

Sarah Frost
Elite Class Racer
Sarah Frost
Elite Class Racer
Joined: Mar 29 2005, 12:16 PM

Apr 27 2005, 05:42 AM #7

Yes, I think this is very interesting and well-written. :) I've come across the Hero's Journey before, so it wasn't particularly new to me, but you matched up events very well. I think that most books are structured, well or poorly, around a Heroic Journey of some sort; and while certain elements may be put out of order or brushed over, this kind of structure can fit nearly anything. I can certainly well expect the other two series of Dragon Booster to fit this pattern; after all, the reason WHY it's a pattern is because it fits so many stories (to wit, Star Wars, Lord of the Rings, the OF, etc.). You make an interesting point about the not-so-good episodes failing to follow the structure, but on the other hand following a formulaic structure can lead to boredom in many cases, so there are pitfalls on both sides of the line. I think the ingredients to a good story are more about interest, characterisation, and tight plotting rather than imitating the Hero's Journey (which will probably happen on its own, as it is essentially an expanded version of the introduction-climax-resolution pattern of any story). (In a current fanfiction project, I skip the Call and Ordinary Life so I can jump into the action, and the Mentor is a nasty-tempered ghost who would really rather go back to being dead.)
Quote
Like
Share

The Furox
Elite Class Racer
The Furox
Elite Class Racer
Joined: Mar 29 2005, 07:18 PM

Apr 27 2005, 07:36 AM #8

Sarah Frost @ Apr 27 2005, 03:42 PM wrote:You make an interesting point about the not-so-good episodes failing to follow the structure, but on the other hand following a formulaic structure can lead to boredom in many cases, so there are pitfalls on both sides of the line.
Yes, absolutely. As in most things, the trick is in knowing when and how to break the rules. The most successful writers know how. Vogler talks about this quite a bit in his book: how the stages can be left out, combined or re-ordered. Leaving out the Ordinary World at the start is a great way to get into the action and all three Indiana Jones movies open this way. While two of the movies later go back to show his regular life before moving on, the "Temple of Doom" doesn't and goes straight from the action opening to the Call and Mentor stages. Though it could be said in this particular movie that the action opening is Indy's Ordinary World in some sense.

Vogler also talks about how different characters can play different roles and even switch for different portions of the story. In the movie "Dark City" (one of the best sci-fi thrillers I've ever seen) we're shown the Ordinary World through the eyes of one character (who becomes the Mentor) and then the focus shifts to the hero who receives the Call from the Mentor. The audience doesn't get to know about the hero's past (his Ordinary World) prior to the Call since all that is part of the suspense revealed along the way. It's very effective.
Quote
Like
Share

hyperpsychomaniac
hyperpsychomaniac

Apr 27 2005, 11:37 AM #9

Hey, I found that very interesting. I've never actually read anything about that kind of structure but it does make sense. I hope Dragon Booster does end up following it seeing as its already got the first bit down.
Quote
Share

The Furox
Elite Class Racer
The Furox
Elite Class Racer
Joined: Mar 29 2005, 07:18 PM

Apr 27 2005, 11:14 PM #10

I'm glad to hear you found it interesting. I found this topic quite interesting myself when I was first introduced to it many years ago and I've never forgotten it. I thought it might be worth sharing seeing as how the episodes are structured along these lines.
Quote
Like
Share

The Furox
Elite Class Racer
The Furox
Elite Class Racer
Joined: Mar 29 2005, 07:18 PM

Apr 27 2005, 11:16 PM #11

LightningFlash @ Apr 27 2005, 11:10 AM wrote:The Supreme Ordeal could (I wish) be the Dragon-Human war, as the prevention of it seems to fit as Tests, or something.
Yes, I think it would be really something if the war actually started in some form. As you say, right now we're in a prevention phase which fits in to stage 6. Babylon 5 was like this. In season 2, the good guys are actively putting defenses in place and attempting to head off the prophecy of war, but at the end of the season, things begin to head down hill for them. Season 3 begins with things further deteriorating with full scale war finally breaking out. The stakes and tension in the story go up tremendously at that point.

I would favor saving the outbreak of war for the act 3 climax and do something else for the Supreme Ordeal. Vogler's book devotes an entire chapter to each of the stages where he goes through a myriad of variations the stage can take. It's actually quite interesting to read as you see elements from virtually every book and movie you've ever seen. So there are lots of choices.

I been thinking a bit about what form the Supreme Ordeal might take (since I'm stuck in the void here waiting for season 2 to begin) and one of the possibilities that Vogler mentions is to have the hero face his worst fear. So aside from the fear of seeing Word being victorious in the war and taking over the word (which is a conflict probably best left for the act 3 climax), what would Artha's worst fear be? How about the death of his father.

I think we all agree that Artha's reaction to his "missing" father is poorly scripted, so let's put that aside for the moment. From Artha's point of view, Connor is just mysteriously missing and not known to be dead. So what if Word were to discover the existence of Mortis, unmask him and learn who he really is. Given that plus the existence of the elevator between Penn Stables and the Dragon Temple, it would probably be enough for Word to deduce that Artha must be the Dragon Booster. Word could then hold Connor hostage and make an offer to Artha to exchange his father for Beau, otherwise his father gets the ax. I think that would put Artha in a rather painful situation and might make a good Supreme Ordeal.

As in most stories, the way out of course would be for Artha to mount a high risk rescue attempt. It fits the story structure well since Word would naturally be holding Connor in his citadel which represents the Inmost Cave for stage 7. Stage 8 would be Artha getting out alive with Connor and Beau. This would also be an excellent point in the story for Artha to call in one or more of the allies he has gained in the previous episodes to help with the plan. Word is so far unaware of Artha's potential allies, so that surprise element could be what tips the scales in Artha's favor. This could also be the lead in to the act 3 climax: when Artha is successful at rescuing Connor and they're on The Road Back, Word who is now aware of Artha's allies may not want to wait any longer before starting the war fearing that Artha will gain more allies and become too powerful if he waits any longer. So just as it looks like the good guys are going to get away cleanly, Word pulls the trigger and begins the war which propels things through the rest of act 3. The stage 9 Reward would be Artha getting his father back plus Connor could come back with some key piece of information about Word's plans that's used to win later.

There are lots of variations here of course. For example, instead of Connor Word could finally be successful in abducting Beau, forcing Artha to try and get him back on his own. But I think having Connor involved makes the personal stakes higher for Artha.

That's about the most intense Supreme Ordeal I've been able to think up that doesn't take away from the actual dragon-human war which could be used for the act 3 climax. Can anyone think of any others?

Of course, the Supreme Ordeal doesn't have to be intense. I just happen to favor the intense ones myself. In the movie "Dark City" I mentioned above, the Supreme Ordeal is rather subdued. In it the hero finally learns what's actually going on the city. This is a suspense thriller movie and up to this point, neither the hero nor the audience has all the pieces to what's going on. So the Supreme Ordeal is to get all the cards on the table. The climax of the movie is then dealing with the sinister forces behind everything. So for Dragon Booster, a possible Supreme Ordeal would be an effort to fully learn Word's plans for the war.
Quote
Like
Share

Sarah Frost
Elite Class Racer
Sarah Frost
Elite Class Racer
Joined: Mar 29 2005, 12:16 PM

Apr 28 2005, 05:30 AM #12

It'd be really nice to know if Word HAD a plan for the dragon-human war or not. Because it seems that he benefits more by the status quo (selling gears for dragons and humans) and he wouldn't be selling gears to the dragon side of the dragon-human war. Maybe he thinks he can win using the wraith dragons and the chaos created, but his motives remain very ambiguous. I'm really hoping he'll develop beyond "I am evil. Mwa ha ha".

Great idea for the Supreme Ordeal, too.

You know what I think would make a good Supreme Ordeal?

Not Word's plans, but Mortis', revealed. And they are more sinister than expected. Because look at the guy! He's deserted his sons, one of them TEN. He's lying to both of them. He's forcing a sixteen-year-old to become a hero. He's thoroughly manipulating the whole thing. Word Paynn might THINK of himself as a manipulative genius, but I'm telling you, he's got nothing on Connor! So far, the Dragon Booster and crew have had mostly successes--and behind them, pulling their strings, is Mortis. They trust the guy completely! (When they probably shouldn't. He's just a random Dragon Priest who appears to know a bit more about the situation than they do. People are so apt to trust others who mutter random mumbo-jumbo about prophecy and destiny, aren't they?) And, look. Who had the star amulet in the first place? Who's been secretly working to bring back the golden dragon? Who's been training young riders, thereby gaining an immense influence over the dragon riding circuits? Who breeds and sells dragons, giving him even more influence? Who's been maintaining two identities? Who's been waiting to give ultimate power to a teenager conveniently under his control? I'm telling you, Word Paynn has nothing on Connor/Mortis.

And, what is Connor's motivation?

If we still wish to cast him as a man with Ideals, we may think that his goal is to set up a peaceful dragon-human empire...with him in an important position, no doubt, and Artha as a figurehead. Because Mortis thinks that he knows what's right. Mortis gives off the impression of total omniscience. Mortis reveals what information he sees fit whenever he wants to. Mortis? Has a great deal of power, and as the Dragon Booster's power grows, so will his. And of course he'll wield that power fairly. Because he's Mortis, right? He's the God of the little HeroicGang. He is He Who Knows All And Cannot Be Disobeyed. This is the role Mortis has set up for himself, and this would be the one he would play in any instance of Artha gaining political power.

Maybe he is somewhat insane. He places an unusual level of reliance on ancient prophecies, doesn't he? And so far he seems to have lived his life entirely according to said prophecies. Maybe THAT'S why he's been lying to Artha and everyone else (even his old friend Word Paynn). Maybe he'd run around Dragon City with his underwear on his head if an ancient prophecy said so. Maybe that's his real goal, to fulfil ancient prophecies--and what happens if said prophecies are illogical, immoral (which they already MUST be), or just plain wrong?

Or maybe his goal is still more sinister. What that would be...well, I'm short of inspiration now.

But Mortis/Connor is a sinister figure.

I just hope he gets forced to answer for it in canon.
Quote
Like
Share

The Furox
Elite Class Racer
The Furox
Elite Class Racer
Joined: Mar 29 2005, 07:18 PM

Apr 28 2005, 07:26 AM #13

I would like them to reveal more about Word's plans as well, though I tend to think they won't develop his character at all. My take on Word's character arc for the series is that he basically doesn't get to have one. I think they intend to keep him exactly the way he appears in episode 1 all the way through to the end. (Moordryd, on the other hand, I'm betting will have the largest character arc.)

I actually have no problem believing that Word is doing what he's doing simply because he wants power and control over others. The reason I can believe this is I used to work for someone exactly like that. This guy was absolutely unbelievable. From the moment he arrived at the company he immediately started building his power base and never stopped. None of the stuff he did was helping the company. He was just doing it for the power and control. Sadly, people like this really exist.

On the subject of Mortis/Connor:

If the writers are really going to follow the story structure and have a Supreme Ordeal, I would really like to see Connor involved some how and to reveal what happened that night at Penn Stables and what his motivations are as you pointed out. They've scripted it all so far to hide all this from the audience, so that makes it pretty clear that they intend to do a reveal at some point, and the Supreme Ordeal would be the ideal place for it.

LightningFlash and I were speculating what rationale the writers are going to give for Connor doing what he's doing back on the tvtome.com forum. The first scenario we talked about there was the "tough love" cliche where he intentionally abandoned Artha (and Lance) to force him to stand on his own two feet and so on, out of either rather misguided benevolence or his own possible power play as you pointed out. The second is the amnesia cliche where Connor took a blow to head in the explosion that night and forgot who he was and simultaneously started believing he was a dragon priest named Mortis. That's convenient for the writers since it absolves Connor of any guilt in abandoning Artha and Lance, but it's such an awful cliche that I'm going to wince in pain if they use it.

There's also a third possibility that occurred to me, though it's a little far fetched. I was planning on starting another thread about that when I get some time to write it up (maybe this weekend). In any event, I'm hoping the writers have something better in mind than the above cliches and I hope they reveal it during the Supreme Ordeal.
Quote
Like
Share

Sarah Frost
Elite Class Racer
Sarah Frost
Elite Class Racer
Joined: Mar 29 2005, 12:16 PM

Apr 28 2005, 08:42 AM #14

I understand the need for power and control over others, but you must admit that your boss wasn't planning on taking over the world any time soon.

I don't believe real people think like that; in order to act as stereotypically evil as Word one must either be insane, or the sort of adolescent poseur who wears lots of black. The vast majority of humans find it necessary to cast themselves as the heroes in their own life's dramas; Word seems to lack any trace of humanity, and that's my main issue with him.

I'm betting on the "tough love" cliche, and after a bit of accusation and anger there'll be a Big Family Hug and everything will be all right again. *barf* I hope they'll manage something better than that, but I'm not holding any hopes.

Maybe Mortis is actually Connor's evil (or possibly good) twin brother. ;)
Quote
Like
Share

The Furox
Elite Class Racer
The Furox
Elite Class Racer
Joined: Mar 29 2005, 07:18 PM

Apr 28 2005, 09:14 PM #15

Sarah Frost @ Apr 28 2005, 06:42 PM wrote:I understand the need for power and control over others, but you must admit that your boss wasn't planning on taking over the world any time soon.
Perhaps not the world, though I actually think he would want to be dictator of a small country if that were feasible. :)

But I do agree with you that Word is an exaggerated caricature with his evil world domination plans and all. I can see where the roots of that come from though, so I don't have much trouble believing that he wants world domination even it defies logic and reason.
Quote
Like
Share

DragonBooster500
Elite Class Racer
DragonBooster500
Elite Class Racer
Joined: Nov 8 2005, 08:40 PM

Dec 2 2005, 04:12 PM #16

This is very well thought out and well written. I learned quite a lot from reading this!! A very interesting portrayal of events in DragonBooster I must say..However there is hardly any mention of the "romantic" side of Db because as most people know Artha has a crush on Kitt which for some odd reason has never gained enough courage to open up and tell Kitt about. I would like to see that happen eventually....also when does Lance ever get to be the hero sometimes? I mean he too is a main character and is the DragonBooster's BROTHER and should have at least ONE scene where he takes the part of the hero if that hasn't already been done.

It also seems like Kitt never gets to be the heroine. She is always the "princess being saved by her prince charming". She's always caught and then dramatically rescued and people just don't give Kitt any credit because of that and because of this she is considered a useless girly-girl character by those who write fanfics containing her though not all do.

More on this later folks...I'll investigate and figure out more as I see more DB.

Animation by Stormryda! :D
Quote
Like
Share

The Furox
Elite Class Racer
The Furox
Elite Class Racer
Joined: Mar 29 2005, 07:18 PM

Dec 3 2005, 05:33 AM #17

I'm glad to hear you found this subject interesting, and that you seem to be having fun with the older threads here. If you like this stuff, I highly recommend reading Vogler's book. You can get a used copy off amazon.com for just a few dollars (Christmas is coming ;) ). The book is very well written and it reads very quickly. I'm also in the process of preparing a new version of this for dragon-city.org. I might get it done this weekend, so look for it. :)

Regarding the Artha/Kitt romance, I personally don't expect to see it progress much beyond where it is. The show is primarily aimed at young boys who don't go for "mushy" stuff. Perhaps Artha and Kitt might become a bit more steady. Perhaps we'll see them going out for a movie in the opening of an episode to show the Ordinary World. But they're only 16, so it's not like they're going to get married any time soon. :D

DragonBooster500 @ Dec 2 2005, 08:12 AM wrote:also when does Lance ever get to be the hero sometimes?
I actually think they did a good job with Lance in "Faster than Fear" and "Wraith Booster". If it wasn't for Lance, there's a good chance that no one would have gotten out of the Shadow Track. So I'd say he was the hero in that episode. He also played a significant role in affecting Moordryd's decision in "Wraith Booster," so I think that qualifies him as the hero in that one as well. I think they did a really good job with Lance in those two episodes. In most shows, the little kid is just an annoying comic relief side kick, but these two showed that Lance can be more than that.
It also seems like Kitt never gets to be the heroine.
Yeah, pretty much. Kitt's biggest role is in "Fanning the Flames," but she has to be rescued by Artha at the end, so that doesn't quite count. Rob hinted that Kitt would be getting a bigger role and I think "Still Waters Freeze" hints at that as well, so this could be coming up.
Quote
Like
Share

Kereea
Elite Class Racer
Kereea
Elite Class Racer
Joined: Aug 18 2005, 10:49 PM

Jan 1 2006, 11:55 PM #18

Moordryd has also been following this structure in his own way. After all, who said that the mento, Arrmeggadonn in this case, had to be training the hero for the hero's benefit? I'm still sure that eventually (an I say this very losly, it could take until the final season) Moordryd will help the DB. It's kinda one REALLY BIG journey, that unlike Artha's many short ones that only last one episode, Moordyd's is spanning entire seasons. He has his brief moments of heroisme, like at the end of Pirde of the Hero, and one full episode in Wraith Booster.
*Yoda impression(please note Yoga fans, I respect this guy a lot, I'm not making fun of him)*
" The young Payyn, while glimpse the light he does, continuously slip into the dark side he shall. In right direction, big shove is needed"
*quits*
yeah, from what i heard, Artha didn't have much of a reaction when Mortis unmaskes in Drakkus part 2. Scales!

Treason, is a term used by winnners, as an excuse for hanging the losers.-Ben Franklin, 1776 the musical
Quote
Like
Share

Amethyst Fire
Amethyst Fire

Jan 2 2006, 12:26 AM #19

LightningFlash @ Apr 27 2005, 11:10 AM wrote: Nicely written and well thought out, I'm impressed. :)
Indeed. It disappoints me when the instances of this structure are abused. For instance, in cartoons such as Danny Phantom and Super Robot Monkey Team (long stretch, I know), we are only shown a snippet of how it all began. Thus, the viewers are forced to rely on vague concepts and opinion.
Quote
Share

The Furox
Elite Class Racer
The Furox
Elite Class Racer
Joined: Mar 29 2005, 07:18 PM

Jan 2 2006, 06:36 AM #20

Kereea @ Jan 1 2006, 03:55 PM wrote:Moordryd has also been following this structure in his own way.
Definitely. Moordryd has his own hero's journey going on in parallel to Artha's. As I've mentioned before, it's pretty clear that Moordryd will have the biggest character arc in the whole series. This is what helps makes the story line so appealing.
Amethyst Fire @ Jan 1 2006, 04:26 PM wrote:It disappoints me when the instances of this structure are abused.  For instance, in cartoons such as Danny Phantom and Super Robot Monkey Team (long stretch, I know), we are only shown a snippet of how it all began.
Yeah, episodic shows that are just after comedy or action are going to be less likely to follow the hero's journey structure. Though the better comedy shows do. South Park is a good example of that. The show of course is about satire, but each episode also follows the stages of a mythic hero story. Makes it a lot more interesting in my opinion.
Quote
Like
Share

Hunter
Hunter

Jan 11 2006, 09:49 PM #21

well i know Moordryd's a big character,but Artha just melts my heart,so im cheering for him.

but yeah,Moordryd kinda goes along the same story line as Artha.remember,Moordryd could also been the Dragon Booster,remember Pride of the Hero?but Moordryd's the bad booster now.i dont know what to call it so i call it that.thats preatty amazing to have the choice of being 2 different Boosters.its preatty crazy.
Quote
Share

SilverDragon
Elite Class Racer
SilverDragon
Elite Class Racer
Joined: Dec 2 2005, 08:10 AM

Aug 2 2006, 11:26 AM #22

We're learning about this in school, at the moment. Very interesting stuff. :D


I am a Caledonii.
I am cunning and rebellious.
I am also a chick magnet.
Need I say more?
Quote
Like
Share

The Furox
Elite Class Racer
The Furox
Elite Class Racer
Joined: Mar 29 2005, 07:18 PM

Aug 3 2006, 02:05 AM #23

Yeah, it is interesting that stories seem to need a certain structure to them to make them satisfying, almost like a rhythm.

And that's pretty cool that they're teaching it in school. None of the schools I went to ever broached this topic. I wish they had. It took me a long time to discover it on my own. :) In fact, my schools never did all that much with creative writing in general. The focus always seemed to be on writing summaries, essays, reports and other types of factual writing. I suppose that was good given all the technical writing I ended up doing, but it would have been nice it they had balanced it out with more creative writing. Oh, well. Things always seem obvious in hindsight. :D

So is your school using any textbooks for this subject? I really like "The Writer's Journey: Mythic Structure for Writers" by Christopher Vogler. It's so clear and well written that it makes the subject seem quite easy. It's actually one of the few textbooks I've ever had that's actually fun to read and actually increased my interest in the subject matter. :D Most are so dry and boring that I dreaded having to study them and I couldn't wait to put to them down and move on to something else.
Quote
Like
Share

SilverDragon
Elite Class Racer
SilverDragon
Elite Class Racer
Joined: Dec 2 2005, 08:10 AM

Aug 4 2006, 07:59 AM #24

We're studying it as part of a larger unit on 'Heroes', and the only book we're reading is The Theban Plays, specifically Oedipus Rex. Personally, I do not find the play all that interesting. Well, the overall story, sure, but it goes so SLOW. I'm finding my own texts to read. Heard of the Cattle Raid Of Cooley?

We do get to do creative writing; we invented superheroes early on, and thus the likes of 'Infringement Man', 'Dildozer', 'Carjack', 'Llama of Doom', and my own 'Steam Powered Weasal Man' were born. :lol:


I am a Caledonii.
I am cunning and rebellious.
I am also a chick magnet.
Need I say more?
Quote
Like
Share

Sarah Frost
Elite Class Racer
Sarah Frost
Elite Class Racer
Joined: Mar 29 2005, 12:16 PM

Aug 4 2006, 11:37 AM #25

Have you read the sequels to Oedipus Rex, Oedipus at Colonus and Antigone? They might give you a bit more to do. :P

You might also want to try other Greek plays. Lysistrata is a fun one, though you might be a little young for the bawdy innuendo therein. It's not exactly classically heroic, though...

Or go dig up the Epic of Gilgamesh if you haven't read that one yet. Observe the changes in social standards across the years. :)
Quote
Like
Share

SilverDragon
Elite Class Racer
SilverDragon
Elite Class Racer
Joined: Dec 2 2005, 08:10 AM

Aug 5 2006, 02:45 AM #26

Thanks for the pointers. I'll be sure to keep a look out for them. :)


I am a Caledonii.
I am cunning and rebellious.
I am also a chick magnet.
Need I say more?
Quote
Like
Share

The Furox
Elite Class Racer
The Furox
Elite Class Racer
Joined: Mar 29 2005, 07:18 PM

Aug 6 2006, 07:41 AM #27

SilverDragon @ Aug 4 2006, 12:59 AM wrote:the only book we're reading is The Theban Plays, specifically Oedipus Rex. Personally, I do not find the play all that interesting. Well, the overall story, sure, but it goes so SLOW.
Well, you're not alone. :) I couldn't really get into that either. The works of Homer didn't suit me either. Though it doesn't hurt to sample things like this. You never know what you'll end up liking.
Heard of the Cattle Raid Of Cooley?
Not until I looked it up just now. :D Are you enjoying it?
We do get to do creative writing; we invented superheroes early on
Speaking of superheroes, I kind of liked the movie "Unbreakable". The pace of the movie was awfully slow, but I liked how it made comic book style mythology become real.
Quote
Like
Share

Penny Dreadful
Academy Racer
Penny Dreadful
Academy Racer
Joined: Jul 1 2006, 04:06 AM

Aug 6 2006, 01:44 PM #28

Have you read the sequels to Oedipus Rex, Oedipus at Colonus and Antigone? They might give you a bit more to do.
Those were really just inspired my Oedipus. That's like calling Scarlett a sequel to Gone With the Wind...psah...I remember studying Oedipus. I took it upon myself to make the entire class uncomfortable by reading the part.
Speaking of superheroes, I kind of liked the movie "Unbreakable". The pace of the movie was awfully slow, but I liked how it made comic book style mythology become real.
I like that it was "realistic". If we DID have a super hero with powers in the real world, it wouldn't be nealy as pretty as what we see in cartoons.

Mythology is always interesting to read. It's usually not as straightforward as most hero arcs have become now. For instance, I'm rather fond of Mesopotamian mythology, especially stories of Ereshkigal.
Quote
Like
Share


Confirmation of reply: