At the start of Act 2 we find our hero in the Special World of the story. He’s Crossed the Threshold and will now face new challenges on his hero’s journey. This new world should be very different from the Ordinary World he’s left behind. Even if the hero physically stays put, the Special World will involve exploring new emotional realities.
At this stage of the journey the hero will encounter tests of character in preparation for the ordeal to come later. Many of these tests will come in the shape of enemies or rivals. In confronting these characters the hero’s potential to become something more is thrown into sharp relief. After all, if something you want is denied, you will fight for it all the harder.
Our hero doesn’t have to deal with all this stress alone. He will also meet new friends and allies, people who help him in his quest and support him while he learn the rules of this new and strange world.
Thor: Tests, Allies, Enemies
Things don’t look good for Thor in his Special World. He has been stripped of his godly finery and dumped onto Earth. Then some woman hits him with her car. If that isn’t bad enough, her friend then Tasers him and knocks him out. In the film Thor’s entrance to his Special World is played for laughs: despite hitting him with her car, Jane turns out to be an ally and love interest.
At first, Jane Foster, astrophysicist, sees Thor as evidence in her experiments – he could be the key to understanding what she has discovered. But as she helps Thor to settle in and learn the ways of Earth (smashing your coffee mug on the floor of a café and bellowing, “Another!” is not acceptable behaviour), she finds herself attracted to him. Thor is pompous and keeps babbling about ancient Norse mythology, but he has a strange, old-fashioned charm. He may still be a bit of an ass, but what an ass!
Thor’s main enemy at this stage is his own brother, Loki. Back in Asgard Loki has discovered his true origins. He is the son of Laufey, king of the Frost Giants. Odin took him to Asgard as a baby and used him to bring peace between the two worlds. Loki realises he will never become king of Asgard and has a massive fight with his adoptive father, causing Odin to collapse and fall into the Odinsleep. Loki now takes over as ‘acting’ king.
Back on Earth Jane is having problems with S.H.I.E.L.D. They have taken all her equipment, data and notes, telling her to cease and desist with her research. Agent Coulson and S.H.I.E.L.D.’s men in black look set to be another enemy Thor will have to battle on his hero’s journey. His troubles are only just beginning…