Archetypes of the Hero’s Journey Series #8: The Trickster

Archetypes The Trickster

Archetypes of the Hero’s Journey Series

#8 The Trickster

By Leigh Holland.

The Trickster is the archetype of change and chaos. Sometimes, the Trickster will also serve as an ally or sidekick. Tricksters can provide comic relief during a tense moment, or troublemaking antics that can hinder or assist the hero as needed. The Trickster, a ball of chaotic energy, often challenges the status quo, even if that happens to be your hero. Is your hero a bit too full of himself? Maybe it’s the antagonist who thinks too highly of himself. The Trickster can cleverly cut either of them down to size for you. Unsure how to get the hero out of a precarious situation? Tricksters are catalysts for change. Because of his (or her) unpredictability, readers accept it when the Trickster shows up out of the blue with the flying car he stole and save the hero and his sidekick from certain doom. Of course, that wasn’t what the Trickster was really doing out there in that flying car. It was just good luck that he happened upon them along the way. Don’t confuse the Trickster with the Shapeshifter. The Shapeshifter questions and at times, deceives. The Trickster disrupts, using a variety of tools, of which deceit if merely one.

Being true to his name, the Trickster can surpass the role of unpredictable comic relief and take on a more sinister, deceptive quality, deceiving friends and foes alike. And of course, the Trickster can easily occupy more than one role. In some tales, the Trickster, Hero, and even the Shadow are one and the same. One example that comes to mind is the main character from the film Atomic Blonde.

Here’s a series of clips showing the Trickster in LOTR: Gollum.

This is one of my favorite examples of a Trickster: End of the Line and Resisting Arrest.

Find other articles on the Hero’s Journey:

The Ally

The Shapeshifter

The Herald

The Threshold Guardian

The Mentor

The Hero

What is The Hero’s Journey?