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Why go home again?
  #1  
Old 10-07-2017, 08:28 PM
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Default Why go home again?

Wizard of OZ and Alice in Wonderland are two of the most well known of these.

Chronicles of Narnia. Harry Potter. Etc.

No matter how bad a character's home life is no matter how amazing the magical world they find themselves in is they always go back home at the end of the adventure and to this day I don't get why.

Often times this is also combined with the parents suddenly realizing how horrible they were as parents. No one is ever allowed to stay on their adventure to embark on their own life or explore the world. Once your adventure is over you have to go back home to the crappy situation only now you better appreciate the situation regardless of the fact it's still as bad as before. Mom and Dad still neglect you and still don't care but go back.

Does this drive anyone else nuts? I always feel devastated and betrayed when I reach the end of a story and the character who left home and grew up goes back home and the adventure fades to no more important in their life than a week in summer camp.
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  #2  
Old 10-07-2017, 11:53 PM
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Well, I wouldn't use Wizard of Oz in your example if you haven't read the books. Even in the movie, Dorothy had a loving aunt and uncle, and friends back home that she wanted to return to. Sure, the land may be magical and amazing, but she wanted to go home (she was also quite young.) In the movie all she knew was that the tornado ripped her up and into the land of Oz, so she had no idea if her friends and family were safe and alive.

Sorry, but I can completely understand why she wanted to go home. Also, in the books she ends up going to Oz over and over again via varying methods with different adventures, but returning home once everything has been resolved. (There are a ton more Oz books, not all including Dorothy, and not all even happening in Oz itself.)

For Harry Potter, most wizards live in the muggle world anyway, and there was an established reason why he was returned to the Dursley's (magical protection while he was staying with family) in between school years.

Chronicles of Narnia... depends on which book you're referring to. Not all of them actually have someone coming from our world and ending up in Narnia, IIRC. If you're talking about the Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, the four main protags lived and ruled over Narnia for years, completely forgetting about their original world and only returned to it on accident when hunting a great White Stag. They also did end up returning (after hundreds of years had passed in Narnia too.)

I can't remember all the story from Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass and what Alice Found There, read them a long time ago. But from what I recall, Alice's Adventures in Wonderland was just her dreaming, and I believe Through the Looking Glass and what Alice Found There was exactly the same thing, with a more heavy implication that life itself is only a dream. It was creating a larger idea.

For both Narnia (L,W,W) and Alice, however, the "awful situation back home" was literally that the kids were bored and needed something to occupy their time with.

Honestly, no, I don't feel betrayed or devastated when they return home. Most of the stories where this happens revolve around younger characters, it could be possibly argued that, yes, their great adventures WERE just a game played at a week in summer camp.

I take it less as "now you appreciate it but it's still bad." It's a lesson of self determination. Yes, the situation at home may be bad, but you have just proven to yourself that you are capable of handling it and moving forward. Now it's time to prove you (the character in the story) CAN do that.

Having the character remain in happy, awesome, magical, amazing fun land could be considered having them just running from the situation (despite growing and learning how to handle it and themselves). Since a lot of the stories revolve around growing up; part of growing up is knowing when something has to end. As a final note; often their amazing adventure was just a mirror reflection of the bad situation at home anyway, teaching them the tools and allowing them to grow in order to handle it. So if they did not return home after learning the lesson and growing.... having the adventure itself is meaningless.

Last edited by AmbrosiaWriter; 10-07-2017 at 11:58 PM.
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Old 10-08-2017, 04:05 AM
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To clarify my complaint is that over a century later that's still the trope. Even if the person is 18 they still rush home after the adventure is over. They still turn down becoming a vampire.

Every single Narnia book was someone from our world going there. Last Battle was the only one they stayed. I used older properties as examples of the going back home as they are beyond the spoiler window.

Jumper (the first book not sequels) is a great example of the person leaving for adventure and never returning home.

The Harry Potter one is a whole other discussion in and of itself. My point is less "why do this back then" as why is it still forbidden to have these characters not go back home.

Some of those yes they totally should go home but not every single time.

Every book I read where a kid's home life sucks (more common in modern stories than in older ones) and there is no magical reason like Harry Potter to go home the writer still ends the story with the character back at home.

Like it's forbidden for a fictional kid to get away from the abusive situation.
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Old 10-13-2017, 09:22 PM
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1. you'll find that most books where they always return are children's books- or at least marketed primarily at children- so it's probably partly to prevent people claiming the books are trying to encourage kids to run away from home.
2. You might prefer the Young Adult genre- that genre tends to have more books where the protagonist actually does escape the crappy home life (albeit the home life tends to be somewhat crappier)
3. the situation isn't actually normally that crappy where the kid does return- or, if it is, they usually force a change in the situation.
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Old 10-18-2017, 02:49 PM
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I want the new Star Wars trilogy to end with Luke returning to Tatooine to pick up those power converters at Tosche Station.
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Old 10-28-2017, 11:25 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bloodsoul View Post
I want the new Star Wars trilogy to end with Luke returning to Tatooine to pick up those power converters at Tosche Station.
That's a Funny or Die sketch just waiting to happen.
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Spoilers look away spoilers!!!
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Old 10-28-2017, 11:48 AM
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Default Spoilers look away spoilers!!!

SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS

Okay so this has been something that's bothered me since I was a kid including when it happened in Wizard of OZ (to my young mind Dorothy was clearly an adult and should be getting out on her own anyway)

But recently I watched the movie Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children. In the movie I will grant it's not as well established that Jacob's parents suck. Hell given that they think Jacob is crazy they're downright sympathetic. But the movie ends with Jacob leaving home for good and joining his new friends on future adventures.

Then I read the books. He freaking went home again. The reason this actively bothers me is that his home life is shit. His mom doesn't care about him at all she sees him as a burden the same as his dad. She's from a no nonsense kind of family. They don't think Jacob is crazy in the books just traumatized. In fact even Jacob thinks all of his grandfather's stories are crazy and that anything he himself saw was just part of his trauma.

By the end of the third book he goes home to parents that don't really want him but predictably they have "learned the error of their ways" even though nothing in their characters points to them completely altering who they are to be better parents to Jacob.

There's a series of books called Bedlam's Bard. Eric Banyon is a guy who discovered he had magic while onstage during a performance in Julliard it freaked him out and he ran off of the stage. Shortly after he ran away from home.

His parents didn't have Eric to have a child that they would love they had Eric because in their socioeconomic strata that's what you do. He was a trophy.

After he ran away they had another son and treated him the same way. He also ran away eventually finding his way into his older brother's life who gave him a loving home. The parents spend part of the books trying to get the younger brother back because this all reflected rather poorly on them.

This is when I have an issue with kids going home. If a kid in a book series comes from an openly (to the reader) abusive home and then chooses to return home and the book gives some bullshit about these abusive parents "Learning how wrong they were" It's a bad message.

I came from an abusive home and I read books like this all of the time because the idea of leaving home of getting away from the abuse was an attractive one but as a kid you don't exactly have a lot of options. But these books kept telling me that if I stayed my parents would get better that they would realize the error of their ways and stop being who they were.

While the abuse stopped as I got too old for it they never apologized or made amends or really thought of anything they did as wrong. My dad died still denying what he'd done to me and my sister.

So when I read a book with clearly abusive parents (honestly arguments could be made for Jacob's parents either way) and the kid returns home I am not pissed off because the character did so but because of the message that sends any abused kids reading that book.

Most parents aren't abusive but we aren't great at helping abused kids. Mandatory reporting laws make it unlikely a kid will have anyone to open up to. He/She are too ashamed to open up to peers and they can't talk to counselor's or they will destroy their own families when the counselor has to go to the police and tell them about something the kid can't prove.

Growing up all of the literature, movies, and TV shows told me that secretly my parents were awesome and either it was my fault for not properly appreciating them or they just needed to learn the error of their ways.

So either we need to give abused kids in books realistic paths where they don't return home from a wonderful place to a shitty place and then define the shitty place as the wonderful place or a place of "protection"

Or just stop using abused kids in books. Stop making our main characters abuse survivors that we then pretend were never abused. I'm looking at you Harry Potter.

Seriously the fact Harry is abused by his aunt and uncle is such non-factor in most of the story that it could have been pulled out and the entire series would have read the same.
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