The hero has encountered many tests on his journey so far, but none as dangerous as this. Often this point of the story is called the Midpoint or the Point of No Return. It’s when the hero has a direct confrontation with his greatest fear and the goal of his journey is in dire jeopardy.
This is the point where the hero is pushed to the edge and could experience a life or death moment. It doesn’t have to be a literal death; it’s often symbolic – the death of a relationship or of an old part of his personality. Something needs to happen to push him over the brink into real change, real transformation. Things may need to get worse before they can get better again.
Thor: Supreme Ordeal
Thor has stormed the crater complex and ploughed through dozens of guards, to arrive at his goal. Finally he is reunited with his beloved hammer, Mjolnir. Thor grasps the handle and prepares to lift it from the ground.
It doesn’t move.
He tries again, gives it a bit more welly. Still the hammer won’t budge.
Thor sinks to his knees, defeated, and cries out to Odin in anguish. He has failed.
Thor is captured by the guards, locked up and interrogated by Agent Coulson. Unable to comprehend what has happened, Thor sits in silence. It’s not like he’s refusing to cooperate, he just doesn’t speak. What could he say?
When Coulson steps outside for a moment, Loki sneaks in. He brings news from Asgard. Loki lies to his brother that Odin is dead. Thor feels responsible. To make matters worse, Loki informs him that he must remain in exile – his own mother has forbidden his return.
This is Thor’s lowest point so far. His father is dead and he is exiled from his home, all because he didn’t listen. This is obviously a symbolic death. Thor is humbled by his failure. There is no sign of the cocky, brash, impulsive boy he was at the start of his journey. Thor is beginning to change…
Next: Thor receives his Reward