Last summer, we took a look at four major Game of Thrones characters to see if their experiences fit into the classic Hero’s Journey model developed by Joseph Campbell: Jon Snow, Daenerys Targaryen, Tyrion Lannister, and Brandon Stark. We discovered that all four of their journeys fit into Campbell’s paradigm. But with Season 6 over and done with, where are our heroes now? Are they farther along in their journeys now?
What is the Hero’s Journey? It is a basic narrative pattern common across all cultures and time that seems to be shared by all heroic characters. With this in mind, mythologist Joseph Campbell designed a paradigm, also known as the monomyth, to identify the universal stages of the Hero’s Journey.
You can brush up on the structure and stages of Joseph Campbell’s famous 17-stage Hero’s Journey paradigm and Christopher Vogler’s more modern 12-stage version here. It is important to remember that the Campbellian Hero’s Journey paradigm is highly flexible, so not all stages need appear in order or appear at all. Joseph Campbell sums up the monomyth concept below:
A hero ventures forth from the world of the common day into a region of supernatural wonder: fabulous forces are there encountered and a decisive victory is won: the hero comes back from his mysterious adventure with the power to bestow boons upon his fellow man.
What have the events of Season 6 done to the journeys of Jon, Daenerys, Tyrion, and Bran? At the end of Season 5, everyone but Bran was close to the transition between Campbell’s Stage 2 (Initiation) and Stage 3 (Return). Have our heroes progressed through Campbell’s next stages, stayed in place, or gone off the monomyth rails? And if each hero is still advancing through the expected stages, what can we expect for them in Season 7? Let’s take a look.