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Psullie

Christopher Robin (spoiler warning)

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Okay perhaps I'm spending too much time on the lozenge lately but when to see Christoper Robin yesterday and on the way home realised that it was a very good example of a HeroQuest

Our hero, Robin (not Pooh) was out of sync with his family and only by re-entering his childhood world of hundred acre wood and re-enacting the myth of his childhood was he able to restore community balance. It had everything a good HeroQuest has: magical entry point, wise (though of little brain) guide, getting lost, finding allies and finally defeating the old self and being reborn.

Has anyone else seen it and if so what do you think?

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If we're talking about heroquests in film, Moana is almost explicitly a heroquest. Grandmother Tala issues a call to adventure and shows Moana the secret cave (crossing into the hero plane) where she discovers a lost truth, that her people were once seafarers. She sails the ocean and finds Maui, but Maui refuses to return Ta Fiti's stolen heart. They have to fight off the Kakamora and she realizes that Maui needs to recover his fish-hook, which requires them to defeat Tamatao in the Realm of Monsters (the Underworld?). Maui then teaches her the secret of sea-faring. Together they sail to confront Ta Fiti, and Moana realizes the secret that Ta Fiti is the benevolent Te Ka without her heart. Restoring the stolen heart heals Te Ka, who in turn heals the oceans of the blight that has poisoned them. Moana returns, establishing herself as chieftain, sea-farer, and culture hero. 

It couldn't have been any more a heroquest if it had been written by someone at Chaosium. The crossing over point is obvious and the stations are clearly defined. It seems likely that the fight with Tamatao is the Heroquest Challenge (it's because of that success that Moana acquires the ability to sea-fare, although not directly from Tamatao). One might imagine that the Kakamora are clan enemies of the Motonui people, pulled into the quest by Moana's involvement. And it's a really nice example of a women's quest, where the secret is the villain is not violently defeated but rather restored to benevolence (Ernalda's Other Way principle). 

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4 hours ago, Bohemond said:

And it's a really nice example of a women's quest, where the secret is the villain is not violently defeated but rather restored to benevolence (Ernalda's Other Way principle). 

It's interesting that the Lightbringer's Quest ends this way too. Orlanth is also accompanied by a wise ghost... (the ghost of the Earth). He discovers he doesn't need her to tell him what to do: the power of 'there is always another way' has become a part of him too.

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14 hours ago, Bohemond said:

If we're talking about heroquests in film, Moana is almost explicitly a heroquest. Grandmother Tala issues a call to adventure and shows Moana the secret cave (crossing into the hero plane) where she discovers a lost truth, that her people were once seafarers. She sails the ocean and finds Maui, but Maui refuses to return Ta Fiti's stolen heart. They have to fight off the Kakamora and she realizes that Maui needs to recover his fish-hook, which requires them to defeat Tamatao in the Realm of Monsters (the Underworld?). Maui then teaches her the secret of sea-faring. Together they sail to confront Ta Fiti, and Moana realizes the secret that Ta Fiti is the benevolent Te Ka without her heart. Restoring the stolen heart heals Te Ka, who in turn heals the oceans of the blight that has poisoned them. Moana returns, establishing herself as chieftain, sea-farer, and culture hero. 

It couldn't have been any more a heroquest if it had been written by someone at Chaosium. The crossing over point is obvious and the stations are clearly defined. It seems likely that the fight with Tamatao is the Heroquest Challenge (it's because of that success that Moana acquires the ability to sea-fare, although not directly from Tamatao). One might imagine that the Kakamora are clan enemies of the Motonui people, pulled into the quest by Moana's involvement. And it's a really nice example of a women's quest, where the secret is the villain is not violently defeated but rather restored to benevolence (Ernalda's Other Way principle). 

My friend got me to watch this by telling me "It's a gloranthan heroquest.  Totally.  You have to watch it." 

So I did and it was.  Totally ;)

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Ahem...  You are all going to hate my guts for saying this, but can't all stories be potentially treated as Hero Quests?  Can't we potentially treat "Little Red Riding Hood" as a myth?  And when dealing with larger narrative structures such as say Don Quixote, couldn't we treat episodes from that more complex tale as myths?  Now without doubt, Moana is a Disney retelling of a legitimate Polynesian mythological cycle, and of course it will work as a Hero Quest, but lets face another truth, i.e. the John Frum Cargo cult could potentially be expected to make a Hero Quest out of a trip to the Supermarket:

1) We gathered the powerful symbol of the greenbacks

2) We mounted into the magical wheeled chariot, and placed our faith in the one who drove it.

3) We went to the magical palace of plenty wherein all was bright and all things can be had, then we chose the things we wanted. 

4) The moment of crisis came when we approached the  cashier.  Did we carry enough of the sacred greenbacks?  Were our desires greater than our symbolic power to overcome the obstacle?  What dire fate would await us if we failed?  Would we achieve part of our quest and return some items, or would we contest and be fed into the eldritch horrors of the police and legal system to face the peril of prison and the underworld?

5a) We return with the bread, the milk and the packet of cigarettes, and the tribe gives us a nod and keeps watching the hearth box of endless stories.  All is right with the world and the supplies are replenished.

or

5b) Having not enough symbolic power we failed to obtain the cigarettes and needs must make recompense to the disgruntled tribe member addicts of nicotine.

or

5c) Knowing we lacked the symbolic power of the greenback, we took the items and hid them, and yet were discovered, and so began our tale of dark descent.

or

5d) With cunning and subterfuge, we took the items from the palace that we sought but the guardians of the palace failed to notice our deception, and so we gathered even more than we set out to achieve, and retained even the symbolic power of the greenbacks for another day.  We took a great risk but the rewards were also greater and the tribe was surprised, but we must be wary for the guardians may become more vigilant next time.

I ask you now to consider the power of drama in Athens, and the point at which the telling of stories became separated from tales of religion, and the point at which the Deus ex Machina was first removed from tales where once it was a complete fixture.  There was a point at which it wasn't the gods who stood as judges of the story, but the audience, and the audience was set a knotty moral problem to confront, even in the form of comedy.  Arguably this is the birth of secular morality.  It is not unreasonable to suggest that the telling of stories is one of the most authentic and defining human activities, and the hobby of Role Playing Games is quite a marvelous innovation on that.  So what makes a Hero Quest different to a story?  Well, within religions IRL, the answer is that we are invoking important cultural archetypes (deities, heroes etc.) in a narrative structure, and most cultures insist on a measure of ritual performance in order to awaken the telestic enthusiasm that makes the theurgic connection to the archetypes possible.  Within this context, then by analogy, if myth is a story, then the steps of ritual performance become the sentences and the symbols become the words.  

 

Edited by Darius West
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8 minutes ago, Darius West said:

Well, within religions IRL, the answer is that we are invoking important cultural archetypes (deities, heroes etc.) in a narrative structure, and most cultures insist on a measure of ritual performance in order to awaken the telestic enthusiasm that makes the theurgic connection to the archetypes possible.  Within this context, then by analogy, if myth is a story, then the steps of ritual performance become the sentences and the symbols become the words.  

You lost me a bit there, as there were a bit too many big words after one another. Or maybe it's just early over here.

HOWEVER, the difference in Gloranthan terms between just acting out a story and a Heroquest is, to my knowledge at least, that a Heroquest is a reenactment that connects to a pre-Time myth. The best definition of myth is something like "a sacred story", and the sacredness is the key aspect here. Simply acting out any old story won't really cut it. By this definition the Moana story isn't so much a heroquest as perhaps the original story on which a later heroquest would be based - or maybe she is in a sense reenacting her ancestors' voyages, I don't know. Maybe I'm wrong here, and that Heroquests can be novel in their events, even within Time.

Secondly, there's the notion of mixed linear and cyclical time in Glorantha, which seems like a pretty clear loan from Australian aboriginal Dreamtime, which essentially makes the Heroquest a Songline (the path one travels to reenact the ancient and ongoing events of mythical entities to shape the landscape and define social norms) and the act of Heroquesting roughly analogous to the Walkabout in some aspects.

The separation of secular theatre from traditional public rituals is a topic I don't know a whole lot about, but it's interesting in its own right.

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On 9/11/2018 at 12:49 PM, Sir_Godspeed said:

HOWEVER, the difference in Gloranthan terms between just acting out a story and a Heroquest is, to my knowledge at least, that a Heroquest is a reenactment that connects to a pre-Time myth. The best definition of myth is something like "a sacred story", and the sacredness is the key aspect here. Simply acting out any old story won't really cut it. By this definition the Moana story isn't so much a heroquest as perhaps the original story on which a later heroquest would be based - or maybe she is in a sense reenacting her ancestors' voyages, I don't know. Maybe I'm wrong here, and that Heroquests can be novel in their events, even within Time.

I haven't seen Moana, but I did watch The Whale Rider, which was definitely a HeroQuest. 

Grr, can't get Spoliers to work properly, so have moved it to the bottom ...

In Glorantha, a HeroQuest conects to a Mythic Event, not a PreTime one, so you could do the Red Goddess tames the Crimson Bat HeroQuest and come out with a Batling, even though that happened within Time. It had an effect on the God Plane/God Time, so can be accessed.

I normally say that a HeroQuest is a Myth overlayed onto a Situation. To have a HeroQuest, you need a Myth and a Situation. Without a Myth you haven't got a HeroQuest. Without a Situation, you are just telling a story. Put them together and you get a HeroQuest.

 

On 9/11/2018 at 12:49 PM, Sir_Godspeed said:

Secondly, there's the notion of mixed linear and cyclical time in Glorantha, which seems like a pretty clear loan from Australian aboriginal Dreamtime, which essentially makes the Heroquest a Songline (the path one travels to reenact the ancient and ongoing events of mythical entities to shape the landscape and define social norms) and the act of Heroquesting roughly analogous to the Walkabout in some aspects.

In Glorantha, the God Time is very similar to what I understand Dreamtime to be. HeroQuests as Singlines and Walkabouts are very appropriate, I think.

 

On 9/11/2018 at 12:49 PM, Sir_Godspeed said:

The separation of secular theatre from traditional public rituals is a topic I don't know a whole lot about, but it's interesting in its own right.

Have a look at Mummers' Plays, they are HeroQuests. Passion plays are HeroQuests. People in the Philippines who crucify themselves are doing a HeroQuest. The Orangemen Parades in Ireland are HeroQuests. All have a large part of theatre.

If you want to see HeroQuests in action, watch HBO's Rome, there is a scene where someone clearly invokes Pluto (?) and curses someone in a ritual that is a HeroQuest.

 

 

Girl tries to learn forbidden secrets, girl is told to shut up, girl learns forbidden secrets, girl is exiled, girl does something that only a sacred ancestor has ever done before, girl becomes Chief, girl makes Simon cry like a baby each time he watches it)

Edited by soltakss
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