In constructing a story, I plan on following the following patterns:

The Hero's Journey: The Hero's Journey

The Villain's Quest: The Villain's Quest

My question is, what would be the structure of "The Guardian's Journey"?

By guardian, I mean a character that watches over and guides the hero, and even the world.

A good example of this is Gandalf from "The Lord of the Rings", or Sider Ament from "Legends of Shannara: Bearers of the Black Staff".

1 Answer 1


I don’t think there is an archetypal “Guardian’s Journey” in the same sense that there is a Campbellian “Hero’s Journey”. Your Guardian character can be a static force in the story, or could learn from his/her experience guiding the Hero to be an even better Guardian (Gandalf), or become disillusioned about the whole Guardian role (Saruman), or... whatever works best with your main plot line.

PS: Before you invest too many brain cells in making your story comply with “The Hero’s Journey” archetype, you should read these cautionary words from Film Critic Hulk.

  • Thank you very much for that article! It was very inspiring. I was just planning to use the mold of the hero's journey, along witb the intertwining journeys of the goddess, the villain, and the guardian. I also enjoy how "But" and "Therefore", are also better than "And then". However, all of this being said, I would like a better alternative for an outline than "The _____'s journey". I've heard it said that it is better to copy success than to venture on a new idea. Given the bad and good consequences of that statement, I'd still like to use something that's been proven to work. Nov 11, 2013 at 22:58
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    +1 for the critique of Campbell, whose reductionist nonsense should be treated with the same degree of respect as poor Mr Casaubon's 'key to all mythologies' (Middlemarch).
    – micapam
    Nov 11, 2013 at 23:24
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    The Hero's Journey is a legitimate tool, but it's not a jail sentence. It's a starting point. And @micapam, Campbell is not "reductionist nonsense." And yes, I did read the entirety of Hero with a Thousand Faces as well as The Power of Myth. Nov 12, 2013 at 11:03
  • Nice article, except Hulk almost burned my eyes out with the caps lock. Had to change it to lowercase. Maybe it's less authentic this way, but better for my fragile sanity. Dec 14, 2017 at 18:43

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