In case you hadn’t picked up quite what I’ve been putting down, we are working our way through the middle build, toward the climax of the story. On Tuesday, Day 23, we will hit the Climax. But in the meantime, we have some foundation to lay down.
Yesterday’s spread was about the second display of power by the Antagonist that spurs the passion in the MC to sort this problem out. Today we are going to prepare for heartache.
For the next three days we are going to look at the downfall of all those we hold dear. In order for there to be a good emotional impact, there has to be some failure. It makes the triumph at the end that much more powerful.
Of course, the failures of your characters don’t have to go in this order, you can put them in any order you want. But today’s focus is going to be on the Demise of the Mentor.
In Mapping the Hero’s Journey With Tarot by Arwen Lynch, she writes in chapter 5 (I won’t mark the page down, I have the e-book version and I keep messing with the font sizes):
‘You may wonder why the teachers usually have to die. It’s for character motivations, darlings…Show the Hero, poor sad Hero, struggling with big bad nasty fears. Cue the Mentor. Enter a kindly old man or a curmudgeonly wizard or a gun-toting fed or a strange suit-wearing man named K. Let him or her guide the Hero through the Refusal and get them to the other side. Then we kill the Mentor leaving the Hero alone yet again.
Et Voila! You’ve created sympathy from the reader if you do it right’ (Location 471).
The Mentor doesn’t explicitly have to die—after all, Gandalf didn’t die—or he did, but didn’t? I’m not enough of a LOTR buff to really know how that worked. However, it did motivate Frodo, regardless of the death or non-death. There was a seeming demise, or a situational demise, and thus Frodo was spurred forward.
This spread is just about that.
Choose a signifier that you feel represents your mentor. You’re also going to choose a second card, and this second card is going to go back to Day 5’s Mentor Spread. Card 7 represented the Mentor’s demise. This will also act as your signifier, which you’ll cross across the Mentor representation card.
If you haven’t done this, don’t worry, you can develop the demise here, or you can go and do the spread and select said card.
The first card of the spread represents the weakness of the Mentor that will be exploited. This might not be consciously done, but it will essentially be the Achilles Heel.
Card 2 represents the event during which the Mentor falls. This is what is going on, the situation in which they reach their failing point.
Let’s give your Mentor some credit, they’ve got to put at least somewhat of a fight before they go down. This card represents how much of a fight and what kind of a fight. Consider the suits when you’re looking at this card, or the elements represented. Is the fight emotional? And Argument? Energetic? Action?
While Card 2 is about the surroundings and the situation during which the Mentor falls, this card represents the fall itself. This is how the Mentor fails. If you want to go the extra mile, consider the up-right or reversal of the card to see whether or not the MC recovers, either in this scene so that they can continue fighting only to fall again, or to remain down. Another way to look at up-right vs. reversal is whether or not your character dies.
Card 5 is the immediate impact the fall of the Mentor has on your MC. Your MC doesn’t have to witness the fall, though they will find out, and here is where you’ll determine their initial response.
The final card in the spread will be the greatest lesson the fall of the Mentor gives to the MC. This will be what they take away from it which helps them in the defeat of the Antagonist later in the story.
For my signifier, I just stuck to the King of Swords (though the 10 of Swords was how they met their demise in the Mentor reading).
My Mentor’s weakness is also his power. It’s his position as a Lord. He’s outdated and kind of kooky, and refuses to leave his post. And it’s his post that my Antagonist wants (as I mentioned in yesterday’s spread). Thus, this is what leads to his demise.
This is interesting, since the thing that is going on around him and the Antagonist is the 7 of Cups. I think that there is a blanket mystification across the town in some way. Given that the second display of power lead my MC to hallucinate wounds of the past coming back to life, and the event going on is the 7 of Cups in this spread, I think that there is just a blanketed magic going on that warps reality.
For this card I got the 6 of Cups, nostalgia. You might not think that this is much of a fight, but my Mentor character is also the surrogate father to the Antagonist. Thus, his fight is to remind her of their relationship, her youth with him, and their time bonding.
I got the Knight of Swords reversed. Considering that his fall in the Mentor spread was the 10 of Swords, I feel like the Knight of Swords is quite appropriate. Though, I haven’t quite worked out the details. I think it will be a matter of the Antagonist ordering the killing of the Mentor rather than doing it herself, as I’d like a chance at redemption for her as well.
I think that my MC will witness it just as the Mentor is falling to his knees. My MC isn’t a fighter, well, isn’t much of one. He’s a craftsman. And thus he goes to the Mentor and holds him as he dies. Very emotional. This pushes him into a downward spiral of despair (5 of Pentacles). But the upside of this is to have faith.
The lesson that the MC takes with him is the Queen of Wands. Right, so this is going to get a little weird. Because I want a chance at redemption for the Antagonist, I think that the thing my MC is going to take with him is that she wasn’t the one to kill her father. She ordered it, which means that she couldn’t do it in the first place. Given that the MC is somewhat also in love with her, he has hopes of still being able to bring her back from the cliff’s edge of badness. He wants to be able to alter her into something good, pure, loving, and passionate. Thus, the Queen of Wands.
What have you decided for your Mentor? Are they going to live? Are they going to die? What impact do you feel this will have on your story?
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