In Science fiction and fantasy there is an abundance of scientific professionals such as archaeologists, journalists, detetectives and doctors who end up on quests in strange realms, seeking talismans of great power or significance, and encountering strange and mythical creatures and tests. My childhood favourite was Tin Tin, who always managed to run into some mystery and follow it through to its mysterious end.
The more I read, and the more I read “about reading”, the more I discover something called the “hero journey”. This ‘hero journey’ accounts for common features between stories, such as:
- An ordinary person, selected for a quest. Sometimes unwillingly, due to birth right or a prophecy.
- The leaving of home or the realm of the familar.
- Encounter with mythical creatures, tests and trials.
- Characters who come along at the right time as “helpers” to aid the hero.
- Hero battles creatures and overcomes trials and tests through courage and wit, often this requires great self sacrifice.
- Return home of hero to the realm of the familar but forever changed inside.
In the case of the archaeologist/ scientist, it seems that the curiousity of the individual and their passion for knowledge leads them into a hero quest, often a treasure hunt. Their scientific nature gives them a firm footing in our current familiar world, making them believable as they journey through mythical realms. They stand as though the bridge for us between two worlds, the real world and the mythical dream world which we cannot reach ourselves.
They become our avatar into dreams.
The tougher, the more sceptical and scientific they are, they more we can trust them and allow them to guide us into the dream world, knowing that they will be able to discern the tests that await and bring us home.