I am writing a story that is based on mythology. I have my own characters which have their own voice. One of those characters, the wise old man archetype, has certain qualities and has a background which is very similar to one of the characters from mythology. The more I thought about it the more I am convinced that it will make for a good reveal. Kind of tying the story firmly to certain mythological events (not from the story).
However, this is where I am stuck. I don't know what to do with this reveal or how to take it forward. I am sure the reveal is subtle and will make the readers go "why did I not make the connection?" as well as strongly include the mythology into the world building (kinda like alternate explanation for the mythology) but beyond that I am not able to craft it into a story line or an arc or to make it serve a purpose. What can I do to make a piece of information that has world building importance relevant to the plot ?
Edit: To provide an example which I have given in the comments below. The MC and his group run into the old man while on a quest and he decides to join them. Through the journey, the old man rises into the role of a teacher, teaching the MC a necessary skill (let's say summoning lightning). At that point, I can -
- Have the MC guess who he is (say Thor) and so is able to teach him
- Conversely, I could just say he is a master of the mystic arts and be done with it.
The thing is that by calling the old man Thor, I not only lend credibility to him being able to teach that skill, plus there are certain events which happened prior to the MC's birth, they easily become part of the Norse mythology (like a cause-effect and alternate history thing). The issue is that the reveal needs to happen in the middle of the journey and then I don't know what to do with the fact that he is Thor for the rest of the journey. The old man has his own character arc and I cannot decide how being Thor fits into that. Hope this helps.
OK, so I thought about it a bit more and thought it might help to have a pros and cons list.
Pros to revealing the old man is Thor -
- It instantly gives him a richer backstory. [True I could just copy his backstory but it won't be as relatable.]
- It is more believable that he is able to summon Lightning and can teach it.
- It ties events which have happened prior to MC's birth to actual Norse events. For e.g. Ragnarok caused a certain new element to be discovered which is then used to forge a destructive weapon
Cons to revealing the old man is Thor -
- I don't know what to do with the fact after the reveal. The old man has his own character arc and being Thor is not having any significance to it.
- All the above pros can be explained in alternate ways without calling the old man Thor.