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The Heroine’s Journey
Buffy, Willow, River, Skye,
Kitty, Nico, Fray
Campbell's Model: The Hero's
Journey
My Model: The Heroine's Journey
World of Common Day World of Common Day
Call To Adven...
Hero
• Heroes quest to
defeat the Dark Lord
and rule as the High
King
…and Heroine
The heroine quests to save loved
ones, a quest as dangerous as any
journey of the hero.
Modern Questors
Quests
• Kitty’s Quests:
• Freeing hostages
• Rescuing her lover
• Saving her son
• Saving the Earth
Buffy saves children
...
Common Day
The tale begins in the humdrum world of kitchen chores and
powerlessness. The heroine lives with an absent moth...
Call to Adventure
Without a catalyst, Cinderella might remain
in her kitchen forever. Some event, either a
chance at freed...
Refusing the Call
Here, the hero is
faced with the
unknown. By
contrast, home
represents
safety and
security, a place
the ...
Ruthless Mentor, Bladeless Talisman
While heroes almost always
receive a sword (wand,
lightsaber…) from their kindly
old m...
The Heroine’s Treasures
Feminine symbols:
amulet, apple, bag, ball, bird, cauldron, cave, circle,
cloak, clothing, comb, c...
Buffy’s Talismans
• Quipping – power of the magical voice
• Silver cross (moon magic and the mystic feminine)
• Holy water...
Vanishing: Kitty Pryde
• Scott Summers tells her, “You’re not a fighter. Your power isn’t
aggressive, it’s protective. Tha...
Embodying, Echoing, Sensing
• Buffy (and Fray, Faith…) has slayer dreams and can sense vampires.
• Simon: River was more t...
More Powers: Magic, Intuition,
the Earth
Threshold
The heroine must surrender
her reliance on logic and
willingly enter the world of
emotion and fantasy.
Sidekicks,
Trials, Adversaries
Animal helpers and
teams generally
represent part of the
heroine’s psyche,
pointing out thi...
Prince Charming:
The World of Eros
In the game of love, the hero and heroine each view
their partner as a shapeshifter. Th...
Beauty and the Beast
around the World
• Shimchong, The Blindman's Daughter (Korea)
• The Brahman Girl who Married a Tiger ...
Beauty and the Beast Retold
Prince Charming:
The Helpless Father
At some point, the heroine
returns home to discover the
prince, or father-figure, can...
Descent into Death
The heroine descends
into the realm of
darkness toward
initiation and wisdom,
seeking her own elusive
d...
Shadow
• Darla, Cordelia, Kendra, Drusilla, Faith
• “Nightmares,” “Halloween,” “The Wish”
• Harmony, Aprilbot, Buffybot, T...
Villains: The Child-Killer
• The witch is anti-life, killer of
children. She freezes the world
into sterility, forbidding ...
Atonement with the Mother
Like the witch-queen of Snow
White, the Terrible Mother is
enraged that she is no longer
fairest...
Reward
Triumphant, the heroine wins what she has
sought for so long. She snatches her lover
from the Fairie Queen’s horse,...
Mastering Life and Death
To achieve the greatest
success, the heroine
becomes a queen or
“goddess” herself. In this
way sh...
Ascension
Still, the other side of the
benevolent mother
goddess is the destroyer:
Medea turns murderous
and Gaia can dest...
Learn more at www.vefrankel.com
More on the journey
Learn more at www.vefrankel.com
More on the journey
The Heroine's Journey in Joss Whedon's Works
The Heroine's Journey in Joss Whedon's Works
The Heroine's Journey in Joss Whedon's Works
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The Heroine's Journey in Joss Whedon's Works

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Buffy, Fray, Dollhouse, Serenity and the comics -- discover the heroine's journey step by step from Valerie Estelle Frankel, author of the book Buffy and the Heroine's Journey. Presented at WhedonCon.com, May 13, 2016.

Published in: Entertainment & Humor
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The Heroine's Journey in Joss Whedon's Works

  1. 1. The Heroine’s Journey Buffy, Willow, River, Skye, Kitty, Nico, Fray
  2. 2. Campbell's Model: The Hero's Journey My Model: The Heroine's Journey World of Common Day World of Common Day Call To Adventure Call To Adventure- A Desire to Reconnect with the Feminine Refusal of The Call Refusal of The Call Supernatural Aid The Ruthless Mentor & Bladeless Talisman Crossing The First Threshold Belly of the Whale Crossing the First Threshold: Opening One’s Senses Road of Trials Sidekicks, Trials, Adversaries Meeting With The Goddess Woman as Temptress Marriage to the Animus, Confronting the Powerless Father Atonement with The Father Apotheosis Atonement with the Mother. Apotheosis through the Feminine The Ultimate Boon Reward: Winning the Family The Magic Flight Magic Flight Reinstating the Family Master of the Two Worlds Power over Life and Death
  3. 3. Hero • Heroes quest to defeat the Dark Lord and rule as the High King
  4. 4. …and Heroine The heroine quests to save loved ones, a quest as dangerous as any journey of the hero.
  5. 5. Modern Questors
  6. 6. Quests • Kitty’s Quests: • Freeing hostages • Rescuing her lover • Saving her son • Saving the Earth Buffy saves children (“Killed by Death,” “Band Candy,” “Gingerbread”), abused women (“I Only Have Eyes for You,” “Anne,” “Beauty and the Beasts”) her mother (“School Hard,” “Ted,” “Helpless”), and finally her little sister Dawn (“The Gift,” “All the Way,” “Once More with Feeling”). River saves her friends and reveals the slaughter of innocents on Miranda. Skye’s seeking her parents. This goes poorly.
  7. 7. Common Day The tale begins in the humdrum world of kitchen chores and powerlessness. The heroine lives with an absent mother and brutal stepmother. The father figure, if there is one, is equally obstructive. More than anything, the girl longs for an escape, an adventure. Here the story begins.
  8. 8. Call to Adventure Without a catalyst, Cinderella might remain in her kitchen forever. Some event, either a chance at freedom and happiness or a devastating act of destruction propels the heroine from her place of safety and into the frightening world of the spirit.
  9. 9. Refusing the Call Here, the hero is faced with the unknown. By contrast, home represents safety and security, a place the child is loathe to leave. Buffy: What I want is to be left alone! Angel: Do you really think that’s an option anymore? You’re standing at the Mouth of Hell. And it’s about to open. Don’t turn your back on this. You’ve gotta be ready. (“Welcome to the Hellmouth”) “There’s no “we,” okay? I’m the slayer, and you’re not” (“The Harvest”) Buffy: I’ve got a way around it. I quit! Angel: It’s not that simple. Buffy: I’m making it that simple! I quit! I resign, I-I’m fired, you can find someone else to stop the Master from taking over! Giles: I’m not sure that anyone else can. All the... the signs indicate... Buffy: The signs? Read me the signs! Tell me my fortune! You’re so useful sitting here with all your books! (“Prophecy Girl”)
  10. 10. Ruthless Mentor, Bladeless Talisman While heroes almost always receive a sword (wand, lightsaber…) from their kindly old mentor, girls walk away with household objects. All of the heroines accomplish their quests without violence, needing cleverness and fortitude more than Excalibur. Actions in the so- called “women’s domain” frequently save the men and allow the heroines to accomplish their goals.
  11. 11. The Heroine’s Treasures Feminine symbols: amulet, apple, bag, ball, bird, cauldron, cave, circle, cloak, clothing, comb, crown, cup, egg, eye, flowers, forest, girdle, grail, helmet, home, hoop, jewelry, keys, lasso, mirror, moon, night, oven, ring, rose, serpent, slippers, spindle, spiral, thread, tree, vase, veil, voice, water, web, well.
  12. 12. Buffy’s Talismans • Quipping – power of the magical voice • Silver cross (moon magic and the mystic feminine) • Holy water (purification and feminine source of life) • Stakes: Weapons are an extension of the hero’s will but also the counterpart of the monsters the hero must fight—while vampires impale people with pointy teeth, Buffy impales them in turn, taking their power as her own. • She slays the Big Bads with only masculine weapons in the earliest seasons - she impales the Master on a stake and stabs Angel with a sword. • She progresses through traditional feminine powers, using trickery to play on the Mayor’s emotions, and wielding magic against Adam. • Finally, Buffy uses the mystic scythe, shaped like the moon, and a classic feminine symbol. Just as the Great Goddess Demeter, Inanna, Cybele, or Dana was represented by life and grain, she also appeared in her death aspect as the reaper of both plants and souls. As the First Slayer warns her, Buffy must experience death as well as life, pain as well as joy, in order to transcend her existence and become the ultimate savior.
  13. 13. Vanishing: Kitty Pryde • Scott Summers tells her, “You’re not a fighter. Your power isn’t aggressive, it’s protective. That’s good to show. And people like you.” She battles fading away completely in the third and fourth volumes. • While in the movie X-Men: The Last Stand, Kitty saves the child, in the comic, Kitty rescues Peter, who throws Wolverine after the girl in a flashier scene. While her team takes the credit, Kitty rescues all the hostages at the story’s climax, silently slipping in and spiriting them away.
  14. 14. Embodying, Echoing, Sensing • Buffy (and Fray, Faith…) has slayer dreams and can sense vampires. • Simon: River was more than gifted. She...she was a gift. Everything she did, music, math, theoretical physics -- even-even dance -- there was nothing that didn't come as naturally to her as breathing does to us. • River: You're wrong about River. River's not on the ship. They didn't want her here, but she couldn't make herself leave. So she melted... Melted away. They didn't know she could do that, but she did…. I'm not on the ship. I'm in the ship. I am the ship. • “You’re the key. The key to everything. You’re going to save us all,” says Langton in “The Hollow Men” (2-12). “You’re going to be the savior of the world,” he insists. • Echo’s goddess power, carried in her unique spinal fluid, reflects her status as the ultimate vessel. “There is no me . . . I’m just a container. You think anybody would worship us? Be like worshipping a cup,” she says in “Omega” (1-12). But that is her power—filling herself with souls until her sum is a far, far greater whole. “I can kill you with my brain….”
  15. 15. More Powers: Magic, Intuition, the Earth
  16. 16. Threshold The heroine must surrender her reliance on logic and willingly enter the world of emotion and fantasy.
  17. 17. Sidekicks, Trials, Adversaries Animal helpers and teams generally represent part of the heroine’s psyche, pointing out things she doesn’t notice and teaching her how to outwit her adversary. They guide her, bolstering her courage when the quest is daunting.
  18. 18. Prince Charming: The World of Eros In the game of love, the hero and heroine each view their partner as a shapeshifter. This “other half” they must cleave to like themselves has frightening mood swings and unpredictable desires. Physically, the two people are opposites, with contrasting desires and emotions. Hence, many tales appear about enticing swan maidens from the sea or taming beastly monsters into Prince Charmings.
  19. 19. Beauty and the Beast around the World • Shimchong, The Blindman's Daughter (Korea) • The Brahman Girl who Married a Tiger (India) • Bull-of-all-the-Land (Jamaica) • Pretty Polly (Appalachian America) • Egle, Queen of Serpents (Lithuania) • Eros and Psyche (Greece) • The Lizard Husband (Indonesia). • Monkey Son-in-Law (Japan) • The Princess and the Pig (Turkey) • The Frog Prince (Germany) • Bluebeard (France) • The Green Serpent (Italy) • The Frog Prince (Sri Lanka)
  20. 20. Beauty and the Beast Retold
  21. 21. Prince Charming: The Helpless Father At some point, the heroine returns home to discover the prince, or father-figure, cannot save her. She must leave the patriarchy and rely on herself. • Buffy’s father, Giles, Angel, Wesley, the Watchers • Boyd Langdon, Paul Ballard, Alpha • Cabin in the Woods • Urkonn in Fray • Kitty and Professor X and Colossus “You take care of me, Simon. You’ve always taken care of me. My turn.”
  22. 22. Descent into Death The heroine descends into the realm of darkness toward initiation and wisdom, seeking her own elusive dark side. There she will find her greatest challenge…herself.
  23. 23. Shadow • Darla, Cordelia, Kendra, Drusilla, Faith • “Nightmares,” “Halloween,” “The Wish” • Harmony, Aprilbot, Buffybot, The First Slayer, Dark Willow, Spike, The First • Buffy/Fray, Willow/Aluwyn (comics) • Kitty/Emma Frost • Fray/Harth/Erin • Skye/Raina/Jiaying
  24. 24. Villains: The Child-Killer • The witch is anti-life, killer of children. She freezes the world into sterility, forbidding growth or change. Frequently, she is the Jungian shadow for the young questor. • Llorona, Mexico • Condenado, South America • Medea, Greece • Houmea, Maori • Lilith, Jewish (pictured) • Baba Yaga, Russia (pictured)
  25. 25. Atonement with the Mother Like the witch-queen of Snow White, the Terrible Mother is enraged that she is no longer fairest in the kingdom. Therefore, she plots the destruction of the heroine. Our heroine descends to the darkest place, and there, confronts her. Killers of Innocents: • Darla, Drusilla • Glory, Dark Willow • The First Evil • Jasmine • Danger Room • Raina Wicked Stepmothers: • Adelle DeWitt • Mrs. Post, Maggie Walsh • Victoria Hand, Jiaying • Emma Frost, Agent Brand In Whedon’s Wonder Woman, Diana’s nemesis, Strife, has an earthly representative in businesswoman Arabella Callas. “The more pain you learn to take, the more power you will control,” says the Witchbreaker, ancestress of the witch heroine Nico (Runaways: Dead End Kids).
  26. 26. Reward Triumphant, the heroine wins what she has sought for so long. She snatches her lover from the Fairie Queen’s horse, or saves her child from certain death. She may find the brief romance she’s sought for so long. Still, the quest has not ended, until she returns safely home.
  27. 27. Mastering Life and Death To achieve the greatest success, the heroine becomes a queen or “goddess” herself. In this way she achieves enormous power and becomes a guardian for the next generation. Even if their ascension isn’t to royalty or goddesshood, all train successors, passing on the wisdom they’ve learned.
  28. 28. Ascension Still, the other side of the benevolent mother goddess is the destroyer: Medea turns murderous and Gaia can destroy as well as create. For the heroine as goddess ascended, it’s a short distance to her own shadow: the Terrible Mother. Willow (season 7) Buffy (season 8/9) Cordelia (season 5) and Illyria (After the Fall) must learn to let go. Echo and Skye retire, their journey done.
  29. 29. Learn more at www.vefrankel.com More on the journey
  30. 30. Learn more at www.vefrankel.com More on the journey

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