This monomyth is a universal pattern of story structure that transcends human boundaries to bubble up in myths from ancient Greece, to medieval courtly romances, to today’s commercial fiction. To put it simply--the Hero’s Journey is the story plot which has lasted the longest because it strikes a basic, universal human chord of truth.
The first real step of the Hero's Journey, after setting up the ordinary world, is the Call to Adventure--the catalyst or trigger that gets the story rolling. The Call to Adventure prompts the heroine to leave her Ordinary World for the Special World. It could be something that threatens the peace of the Ordinary World if the heroine does not go off to deal with it.
Each of Harry’s calls to adventure also directly reflects the primary focus of that book’s story.
- PS/SS--Letters from Hogwarts -- the letters signify Harry’s initiation into Hogwarts and the wizarding world.
- CoS--Dobby’s warning -- spurred by the diary of Tom Riddle which Lucius, Dobby’s master, will pawn onto Ginny Weasley
- PoA--the Muggle newscast regarding Sirius' escape -- this starts the immediate focus on Sirius and his mystery
- GoF--Harry's dream of Voldemort and Wormtail at the home of Riddle’s father -- foretells the climatic scene at the graveyard of Riddle’s father with Voldemort's rebirth
- OotP--the Dementors attack -- the Dementors sent by Umbridge reflect the intensifying discord between Hogwarts under Dumbledore and the MoM under Fudge as manipulated by Umbridge
- HBP--Dumbledore’s arrival at Privet Drive -- sets the stage for the private lessons into his Pensieve which form the core of the book
- DH--The seven Potters -- the sacrifice Harry’s friends are willing to make for him by drinking his Polyjuice is directly reflected in the self-sacrifice Harry will make for them all in the end.
It's lovely when a call to adventure at the beginning of a story can set the tone for what is to come and hint toward the resolution as well. Of course, the call should intrigue the reader and provide a strong hook to what is to come.
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What have you used as a call to adventure? How has it reflected your central theme or conflict?