12. The End of the Journey
This is the final stage of the hero’s journey. She returns home to her Ordinary World a changed woman and will have grown as a person, gained knowledge, faced many terrible dangers and even death but now looks forward to the start of a new life. Her return may bring a renewed hope to those she left behind, a direct solution to her problems or even a new perspective for everyone to consider.
The final reward that she gains can be literal or metaphorical. There might be a cause for celebration, self-realization, or an end to the worries and troubles that have plagued her. But whatever happens, it has three qualities––it represents change, success and proof of her journey. This also must be a time of resolving the struggles of the other important players in the story. The hero’s critics and enemies will be humbled or ostracized, and her allies rewarded. The hero goes back to the beginning, but things are different and will never be the same.
Let’s look at Doris and her Return With the Elixir:
“And from that time on, the bats kept watch over the fairies at night, and neither the bats nor the fairies had anything to fear. The bats protected the fairies at night, swooping down to scare away anyone who threatened to clip their wings. And the fairies made the bats laugh during every thunderstorm. And Doris never questioned why she was born a fairy ever again.”
Doris has sowed peace and community into the woodland. The fairies never again have to be scared of bad people doing bad things because the bats protect them. And the bats don’t have to tremble at the sound of a thunderstorm again because the fairies make them laugh and stick around so they can share good times with each other. Because Doris gave the woodland a new perspective to consider through her party and honey cakes, everyone can stop being afraid and instead help one another in the community.
Have you ever returned from a quest to help people consider a new perspective? When have you renewed hope for your community? Have you ever come home but everything was different and will never be the same again? Write about the experience you have with the times you’ve returned from a quest as a changed woman? How did it affect your friends and enemies?