The hero’s journey is a narrative framework that has captivated audiences for centuries.

From ancient myths to modern-day blockbusters, this storytelling pattern has stood the test of time and continues to resonate with people around the world.

The hero’s journey is a twelve-stage process that a protagonist goes through in order to achieve their goal or complete their quest.

The twelve stages of the hero’s journey are:

  1. The Call to Adventure – The protagonist receives a call to leave their ordinary world and embark on a journey.
  2. Refusal of the Call – The protagonist initially resists the call to adventure, often due to fear or insecurity. They can even go back to their regular life for a while.
  3. Meeting the Mentor – The protagonist meets a mentor who provides guidance and support on their journey.
  4. Crossing the Threshold – The protagonist leaves their ordinary world and enters the unknown world of adventure.
  5. Tests, Allies, and Enemies – The protagonist encounters various challenges, makes allies, and faces enemies along the way. In fantasy, this usually includes a tavern scene.
  6. Approach to the Inmost Cave – The protagonist approaches the most dangerous and challenging part of their journey.
  7. Ordeal – The protagonist faces their greatest challenge and often experiences a symbolic death and rebirth.
  8. Reward – The protagonist achieves their goal or receives a reward for their efforts.
  9. The Road Back – The protagonist begins their journey back to their ordinary world.
  10. Resurrection – The protagonist faces a final test that forces them to confront their deepest fears and flaws.
  11. Return with the Elixir – The protagonist returns to their ordinary world with newfound knowledge, skills, and wisdom.
  12. Freedom to Live – The protagonist is transformed by their journey and is free to live their life in a new way.

The hero’s journey framework has become a popular tool for writers, storytellers, and filmmakers to structure their narratives and create compelling and relatable characters.

It’s not the only framework, but it’s a classic.

By following this framework, storytellers can create a relatable protagonist who faces challenges, grows and transforms through their journey, and ultimately achieves their goal.

One of the reasons why the hero’s journey resonates with audiences is that it reflects the challenges and struggles that we all face in our own lives.

By following a relatable protagonist on their journey, we are able to connect with their struggles and triumphs and learn valuable lessons that we can apply to our own lives.

The Hobbit follows the classic twelve-stage pattern of the hero’s journey.

  1. The Call to Adventure: Bilbo is recruited by the wizard Gandalf to join a group of dwarves on a quest to reclaim their homeland, which has been taken over by the dragon Smaug.
  2. Refusal of the Call: Bilbo initially resists the call to adventure, feeling that he is not cut out for such a dangerous quest.
  3. Meeting the Mentor: Gandalf acts as Bilbo’s mentor and provides guidance and support throughout his journey. Though Bilbo already knows Gandalf from before, the wizard is the one who plants the seed for the quest in Bilbo’s life.
  4. Crossing the Threshold: Bilbo leaves his comfortable life in the Shire and enters the unknown world of Middle-earth, embarking on his adventure with the dwarves.
  5. Tests, Allies, and Enemies: Bilbo and the dwarves encounter various challenges and obstacles along the way, including trolls, goblins, and giant spiders. They also make allies such as the shape-shifter Beorn and the elf king Thranduil, and face enemies such as the dragon Smaug.
  6. Approach to the Inmost Cave: Bilbo and the dwarves reach the Lonely Mountain, where Smaug resides and their ultimate goal of reclaiming their homeland lies.
  7. Ordeal: Bilbo faces his greatest challenge when he sneaks into Smaug’s lair and must outsmart the dragon to obtain the Arkenstone, a valuable gem that the dwarves need to rally their forces.
  8. Reward: Bilbo is rewarded when the dwarves are able to defeat Smaug with his help.
  9. The Road Back: Bilbo begins his journey back to the Shire, but not without facing some challenges and dangers along the way.
  10. Resurrection: Bilbo faces a final test when he returns to the Shire and must confront his fellow hobbits who do not understand the changes he has gone through.
  11. Return with the Elixir: Bilbo returns to the Shire with newfound knowledge, skills, and wisdom, and has also gained a sense of adventure and bravery that he did not possess before.
  12. Freedom to Live: Bilbo is transformed by his journey and is free to live his life in a new way, appreciating the simple joys of home and hearth but also the excitement and wonder of the wider world – which eventually has long-reaching consequences as this adventure leads into the events of LOTR.

The Hobbit follows the hero’s journey framework closely, with Bilbo facing challenges, growing and transforming through his journey, and ultimately achieving his goal of helping the dwarves reclaim their homeland.