Secret motifs on the Screen: Part 4: Why the Guru dies

Have you noticed that the hero’s guru or fairy godmother is never there when desperately needed? Why didn’t the Fairy Godmother, with a swish of her wand, reunite the prince with Cinderella? Why does Dumbledore have to die? Why should Obiwan Kenobi? Why, asks the hero, why have you forsaken me, Father?

Who is to blame for the guru’s disappearance? The villain? The writer? No, gentle reader, or movie-goer, it is you! You? One who wouldn’t hurt a fictitious fly? Sorry, yes.

The Secret

  1. All of us have, deep in our minds, the structure of a good story.
  2. We look forward to the hero’s adventures and want him or her to win.
  3. The effect is spoilt if the hero is sidelined and someone else does what the hero must do.

These are the basic premises. To satisfy us, the storyteller gives the hero, and us, a guru: a parental figure who teaches the hero everything about the world of adventure and trains the hero. That world is sort of alien to the hero at first. Hagrid, Dumbledore, Morpheus, Obiwan, Yoda, Gandalf, the Fairy Godmother, Getafix, M, Q…

If you notice, the guru disappears when he is needed most, and leaves the hero to solve his major problem or fight the arch villain. Yes, yes, sometimes the guru fights the villain, like Obiwan fights Darth Vader, but you will see that that is not the major fight in the Star Wars original trilogy. Usually the guru dies, as Dumbledore does, or as Obiwan does, later.

That’s because you would not like it. You would want a good strong hero who battles his own demons himself. Or herself. That’s why, in old movies, the cops come in after the hero has defeated the villain.

The guru’s job is to teach skills like Yoda does, give weapons like Q gives James Bond or Godmom gives Cinderella, explain what’s happening like Morpheus does and pass on, leaving everything in the hero’s capable hands. Now you know why Dumbledore had to pass through the veil?

They killed their gurus for your sake!

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Comments 42 comments

ripplemaker profile image

ripplemaker 8 years ago from Cebu, Philippines

Kenny, you are so right! We are being taught to fight our own battles. We've been guided. We've been taught. But in the end there is only us. :) Great point as always. I enjoyed this hub. :)

--michelle


Kenny Wordsmith profile image

Kenny Wordsmith 8 years ago from Chennai Author

Good Morning from India, Michelle! :)

Well, that's not my insight; that idea that we are complete only when we stop depending on our parents and gurus is programmed into our psyche.

Thank you for the first comment!


ripplemaker profile image

ripplemaker 8 years ago from Cebu, Philippines

Hi Kenny :) Good Morning back to you and Happy Father's Day. :) You lost me there. Could you expound some more? Am I still sleepy? hehe Thanks.


Kenny Wordsmith profile image

Kenny Wordsmith 8 years ago from Chennai Author

Thanks, Michelle!

Only meant that one is complete only when one lets go. And that idea is built into our minds. :)


VioletSun profile image

VioletSun 8 years ago from Oregon/ Name: Marie

Morning Kenny, or goodnight, as I am getting ready to go to sleep in the a.m. :), the way I understood your message is that fairytales stories are very much like life, we get to deal with our challenges on our own, to learn, grow, evolve, on our own without depending on an outside power.


ripplemaker profile image

ripplemaker 8 years ago from Cebu, Philippines

Aaaahhh okay, got it. Hehehe Too true. I guess that's why I came up with the "Are you My Missing Piece?" hub. Enjoy your day.


Kenny Wordsmith profile image

Kenny Wordsmith 8 years ago from Chennai Author

Hi Violet! (Hi is safe!)

Yes to your concept, but I only want to bring these story-telling devices to your attention.

I shall take a look at the hub, Michelle! Intriguing, that title! :)


compu-smart profile image

compu-smart 8 years ago from London UK

Another great Article Kenny! very interesting and again, many things to think about when I'm enjoying these films and plays ..

My question is, Why do you keep disappearing!? lol...Good to see you back and Happy Fathers Day 2u:)


jimmythejock profile image

jimmythejock 8 years ago from Scotland

Apart from the Fairy Godmother, I was beginning to see a pattern with the others and was about to give you a warning Kenny, all of the characters you mentioned have beards lol and i was going to ask you to shave and save your own fate .....jimmy


Kenny Wordsmith profile image

Kenny Wordsmith 8 years ago from Chennai Author

Hi Compu-smart! Work drags me away! Thanks!

Yes, Jimmy, you stumbled on the truth that I was planning to put in the next hub: gurus are usually bearded, sexless old men! LOL!

Warning taken; I must be very careful! :)


funnebone profile image

funnebone 8 years ago from Philadelphia Pa

Kenny if you were green, 3 foot tall and had pointy ears I would come stay with you for the summer to learn your wisdom and drink beer.


Kenny Wordsmith profile image

Kenny Wordsmith 8 years ago from Chennai Author

Pointy ears matter not. Summer to stay welcome you are. Plenty of beer for you there is. :)


funnebone profile image

funnebone 8 years ago from Philadelphia Pa

haha touche!


Kenny Wordsmith profile image

Kenny Wordsmith 8 years ago from Chennai Author

Thanks for coming back, Funnebone!


Isabella Snow profile image

Isabella Snow 8 years ago

Fabulous insights, as usual. And so true, the hero has to do it on his own!


Kenny Wordsmith profile image

Kenny Wordsmith 8 years ago from Chennai Author

Thank you, kind Isabella! :)


Zsuzsy Bee profile image

Zsuzsy Bee 8 years ago from Ontario/Canada

Never be the Guru...mind your own beeswax, let the ungrateful 'hero' work out his/her own problems...it will be healthier for the Guru in the long run.

Kidding aside Kenny great hub again

regards Zsuzsy


Kenny Wordsmith profile image

Kenny Wordsmith 8 years ago from Chennai Author

I shall mind my own beeswax, hehe. Honeyed comment from a kind Bee! Thanks!


darkside profile image

darkside 8 years ago from Australia

What a fantastic read!


Kenny Wordsmith profile image

Kenny Wordsmith 8 years ago from Chennai Author

Your lighter side is showing through in your kind comment, O Darkside, thank you!


dayzeebee profile image

dayzeebee 8 years ago from Cebu, Philippines

kenny you are a prolific writer and a genius of an artist. i am fascinated by the motif series. thank you.


Kenny Wordsmith profile image

Kenny Wordsmith 8 years ago from Chennai Author

That encourages me to do more, Dayzee! May your tribe flourish!


michele 8 years ago

hi, to all... have a nice day to all..


Research Analyst profile image

Research Analyst 8 years ago

Interesting stuff.


Kenny Wordsmith profile image

Kenny Wordsmith 8 years ago from Chennai Author

Thank you Research Analyst! :)


Ram 7 years ago

The unanswered question is why is the hero or his girlfriend dumb enough to walk unarmed into the villain's den? And why is the villain dumb enough not to bump them off when he has the chance? I know I'm digressing from your topic, but this question bothers me no end.


Kenny Wordsmith profile image

Kenny Wordsmith 7 years ago from Chennai Author

He is never unarmed, Ram. He has reasons, the right weapon and his wits. The villain rests on the security that his den gives him. But did you have a particular story in mind?


tdarby profile image

tdarby 7 years ago

I appreciate this hub. Thanks for the insight into why the hero has to get it done on his own.


tdarby profile image

tdarby 7 years ago

I enjoy your other hubs also.


Kenny Wordsmith profile image

Kenny Wordsmith 7 years ago from Chennai Author

Thank you, tdarby, delighted!


Iðunn 7 years ago

Back on heroes, are we? :) Great hub.


Kenny Wordsmith profile image

Kenny Wordsmith 7 years ago from Chennai Author

Great to hear from you after ages,Iðunn!

How have you been?


Iðunn 7 years ago

actually doing really great now. you seem to be doing very nicely. it's going to take me forever to catch up on your Hubs, but I don't wish to miss any of them. :)


Kenny Wordsmith profile image

Kenny Wordsmith 7 years ago from Chennai Author

Aw I haven't written a hub since Obama won. Have to get back to speed. My hubs will always be there, Iðunn, waiting for you. :)


Iðunn 7 years ago

Are you still taking requests on art? I remember how much you enjoyed decoding the Kandinsky. hehe


Kenny Wordsmith profile image

Kenny Wordsmith 7 years ago from Chennai Author

Sure, make yours. Will do my best to decode that. :)


Iðunn 7 years ago

I think she's contemporary but could you do:

La Dormeuse - Tamara Lempicka


Kenny Wordsmith profile image

Kenny Wordsmith 7 years ago from Chennai Author

Sure will do. As long as it's not a nude, I can do it here. LOL


Iðunn 7 years ago

well, take a peek and let me know. I can pick something else if you don't like it. I'm fond of lempicka, so any of that work would do. :)


Iðunn 7 years ago

'the rest' by picasso would be a good alternative also. I love that painting.


Kenny Wordsmith profile image

Kenny Wordsmith 7 years ago from Chennai Author

Hey hang on! I'm doing the first first. :)


Iðunn 7 years ago

lol! thank you, I actually had no expectations but it's great that you accepted this mission. this mission, should you accomplish it...

will make me very happy. :D

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