Mentor - Wise Old Man or Woman
The Mentor is one of the most entertaining sources in literature or film. In the Wizard of Oz, we find Glenda, the good witch. In Cinderella it is the Fairy Godmother; Merlin in King Arthur. The Mentor could be the best of Self or our conscience. He may be a hero to the main character, a parent, aunt, grandmother/grandfather or someone to whom the hero looks to for advice.
The Mentor can serve many functions - teacher, gift-giver, inventor, or, as I said before, conscience.
They motivate, plant information, and offer love. However, a dark mentor may mislead, misguide the audience as well as the hero. Sometimes the Mentor seems to stand in the way and the hero must overcome or outgrow the energy of her best teachers.
Other Mentors have fallen. Take Tom Hanks in A League of Their Own. He faces his own road to redemption while trying to Mentor his team. The audience roots for him to succeed on his own road to recover from his past.
Sometimes a Mentor continues into a sequel such as the Chief in Get Smart or the grandparents on the Waltons, who continually show up in episode after episode. Or multiple Mentors help the hero, like 007 in the Bond movies. He has three Mentors in the form of the spymaster "M", "Q" who is the weapons and gadget maker, and Miss Moneypenny.
Comic, shaman, and inner Mentors appear with a definite purpose in a story. Each or several mentors show up at different times. Not always is the Mentor introduced in Act I but may be needed later as someone who can show the ropes to the hero. Mentors provide motivation, inspiration, guidance, training, gifts for the journey, yet, do not solve the hero's problem.
I have something scheduled for every day this week which includes three days of driving into Denver. Bear with me if I miss the Thursday post and post it on Friday. Thanks for following. If you have comments, I'd love to hear them.
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