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Supernatural Aid


Disciplines > Storytelling > Campbell's 'Hero's Journey' > Supernatural Aid

Description | Discussion | See also


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Some help is given to the hero, sufficient to make them wiser and stronger, and hopefully better able to face the challenges of the adventure.

The aid given may include maps, information, weapons or some special talisman. It may be discovered by the hero, but is often furnished by a mentor of some kind.

The hero may also be joined by a companion of some kind or perhaps an entire party, who will provide help along the way but cannot do what the hero must do.


In Star Wars, Luke receives the light saber, plus guidance and training from Obi-Wan Kenobi. He is later joined by Han Solo, Chewbacca and Leia.

In Lord of the Rings, Frodo receives the ring from Bilbo and advice from Gandalf. Later, he also receives the sword Sting and the mithril jacket. He starts out with the three other hobbits and later is joined by the full Fellowship of the Ring.

Harry Potter gets a magic wand from Diagon Alley. He also later gets a very swish magic broom. Particular support comes from both Hagrid and Professor Dumbledore. He is joined in adventure by other friends from Hogwarts.


The hero starts out as an ordinary person who would perhaps not be able to defeat the terrible opponents who will block his path. The aid acts to redress the balance somewhat, giving the hero some chance of success.

Depending on the story, the aid may be magical or supernatural in nature. In 'real world' stories where magic is not allowed, then more normal aid may be given, such as where an older detective gives sage advice to the enthusiastic young rookie.

A critical attribute that the mentor often gives is confidence. This gives the hero the ability to accept the call and face the slings and arrows of the unknown adventure.

Note that this aid must not be too powerful or else there would be no excitement in the story. An 'invulnerability suit' would likely be just too boring. Thus, for example, Frodo's ring has the downside of trying to take over his mind and exposing him to Sauron's gaze.

The hero's companions serve both as support, much as a football team who makes the space for the actual score. Companions also act as contrast, throwing light onto the hero and highlighting their special and heroic qualities.

See also

Acquisition: Hero gains magical item


Campbell, J. (1949). The Hero With a Thousand Faces, New York: Bollingen

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