Threshold guardians keep unworthy people from going through doorways and gates. They can be against the hero, indifferent to the hero or even allies but they will still always serve their purpose. No one goes onto the next stage before proven to be worthy. They can be thought of as bouncers, bodyguards or doorkeepers and represent ordinary obstacles people encounter in life such as prejudice, bad luck and opposition.
The mentor is the one who aids or trains the hero. They teach the hero, protect him and give him useful (often essential) gifts. The word comes from The Odyssey, in which a character named Mentor guides the hero. The mentor relationship often resembles that of a parent-child relationship. They are what the hero might become (and transcend) if he continued on the road of trails. They are the higher self, the wiser and nobler part of us.
The word “Hero” is Greek and it means “to protect and serve”. It is someone who would sacrifice his own needs to help others. In psychology terms, according to Freud, the individual consists of three layers. The it, the ego and the superego. The it represents desires and doesn’t care about right or wrong. The superego doesn’t care about anything other than right or wrong. The ego is left in the middle. It has the it telling it what it wants and the superego telling it what it shouldn’t want and the ego must mediate between the two.
For writers, the Enneagram is a useful tool to character development, especially in conjunction with dialogue to reveal the characters in the story. It is a study of nine basic types of people, explaining why they do what they do and shows the direction for individual growth. In real life, it can be used to improve relationships with family friends and so on. The roots of the Enneagram go back many centuries. Its exact origin is not known, but it is believed to have been taught in secret Sufi brotherhoods in the Middle East.
An important aspect of fictional character is giving them motive. People have needs. Thankfully we can look to the world of psychology for help in that department. Need theories can be categorizes as “content theories” of motivation. Maslow (1954) identified a hierarchy of needs from primitive to higher forms of life.