173 – Quest Narratives

The Mythcreant Podcast

This week, we’re talking about quests, and not the kind where you go out and kill ten boars. These quests are the stuff of legends, of great heroes venturing out to seek a relic of power. Or of a young child taking a gift basket to a neighbor. Quests come in all shapes and sizes, and not everyone can even agrees on what a quest is. In this episode, we try to straighten that out and then talk about how you can use quests to best effect in your own stories.

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Opening and closing theme: The Princess Who Saved Herself by Jonathan Coulton. Used with permission.

Show Notes:


The Odyssey

Star Wars

Jane Eyre

Gulliver’s Travels

Alice in Wonderland

Lord of the Rings



The Garden Party


Luke Crane Games

The Writer’s Journey

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  1. Julia

    You know what story falls squarely in this topic? Elfquest! (It’s right there in the name.) The wolf riders get chased out of their home by humans and fire, they meet other elves, go looking for more elves (some of who are not so nice), fight a war, and in the end find out the world is not what they thought it was. The original storyline is worth a look.

  2. Paul Drury

    I enjoyed listening to this podcast.

    The initial definition of quest threw me a bit. I didn’t know that the characters had to change in one. I can see that it would be better if they did change, but I’m still not sure that they necessarily have to in order for there to be a quest.

    I did like the combination of discussion of errand and quest. So much questing in videogames seems to be just errand running.

    I wonder whether quest has a different meaning to the population at large and to the character involved in the quest? A world spanning epic like Lord of the Rings has an epic errand/quest. But to an individual any overcoming of personal traits (shyness, addiction etc) could be regarded as being a quest if it leads to significant changes within that person?

    Just a thought. Anyway, thanks for this episode.

  3. Jonathan Sharp

    From this discussion, it seems that some fairy tales would also fit into the definition of quest – even if we don’t think of them as quests in the traditional sense. Take Little Red Riding Hood for example: she is given a basket of treats to take to grandmother. She encounters a wolf, who then goes ahead to grandmother’s house, eats her, and then disguises himself, lying in wait for Red, in order to make a meal of her. Wolf eats her, she and grandmother are rescued by a woodsman, and then their lives are changed, and Red grows, learning not to talk to strangers.

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